Sunday, September 8, 2019

Buds in The Basket......A Quilty Finish!

A beautiful welcome to all you lovely lovelies.

Today I am the bearer of good news....well at least for me. After about six months of machine piecing, hand appliqueing and hand quilting, my Buds in a Basket quilt is finished!! YAY!! So very excited.

This quilt embraces all that I love; a gathering of sweet 1930 prints,  pretty baskets  and  of course,  flowers. This quilt oozes scrappylicious loveliness, my very favourite type of quilt.

If you have been reading along from the beginning of the fashioning of this sweet quilt you will recall I found this book what seems a lifetime ago and was saving the pattern Buds in a Basket for a rainy day.

Little bud by little bud, basket by basket, I stitched and stitched on my little vintage Bernina until all the sweet baskets were joined in rows to form the quilt.

When it came to the quilting of this pretty I decided I definitely wanted to hand quilt. Hand quilting can sometimes seem painfully slow and sometimes.....just sometimes I wondered if indeed I was ever going to stitch the very last stitch and see a finished quilt on the bed; but after months of stitching straight lines up and down and up pretty is finished! I love the quilting in this quilt, both straight lines and diagonal lines alternating in opposite direction in consecutive rows. The diagonal quilting gives the quilt a gorgeous texture. When it came to quilting the border I decided simple straight lines of quilting would be perfect. I chose a soft pink Kona solid for the binding as the background of the floral border fabric is pink. I think the pink binding adds a soft touch.

Just look at all those happy, little yellow, trumpet-like daffodils heralding Spring! Though still a wee bit chilly for my liking the sight of these bulbs swaying in the breeze whisper to me that perhaps warmer weather and sunshine is on its way down here. I just have to be patient.

Now that my Buds in the Basket is on my bed, I must say the gorgeous texture and bright and happy baskets do greet me with a quilty smile each morning when I wake up. Why, I do believe sleep is just that little bit more blissful when one spends those sleepy hours exploring  the land of Nod, snuggled under a squishy squashy handmade quilt.

Another quilt completed. Why I do declare there is something in the water down here at the bottom of the world. Within the last six months I have stitched not one, but two quilts from the first stitch to the very last.....why I never!! It probably will never happen again. =) Another quilt oozing scrappyness and loveliness to add to that scrappy pile of mine. Love, love, love scrappy quilts!

Puddles and puddles of scrappy quilts......ahh.....bliss!!

Anyway, thank you for visiting my happy little place. You always delight me with your beautiful visits. You have sprinkled sunshine to what was a rather chilly and overcast Sunday. Ahh.....Spring.....where are thou??

Until the next time..........

Linking up this week to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, Alycia's Finished or Not Friday and Wendy at Wendy's Quilts and More Peacock Party.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Tisket A Tasket, A Pretty Heirloom Basket

A beautiful welcome to all you lovely lovelies♥ Goodness me, it's been a while since I prattled on here at my happy place. July has swirled around and around, tangled and trapped in howling gale force winds blasting into August, without nary a word from moi. 'Tis just a little too cold for me. Wish oh wish I was right smack in the middle of those 40 degrees hot, hot, hot summer days you up there seem to be 'enjoying'. Believe you me I am counting down the days till I can kick Old Man Winter down my ice encrusted country road, so that he can find lodging in some other part of the world! Though I have been absent from blogland for yonks I have been filling my  wintry freezing days with happy stitching.

I have been enjoying hand quilting my 'Buds in the Basket' quilt ('tis nearly finished) ......BUT.......would you believe I have fashioned another quilt, from start to finish! Yes I have; just a little one to adorn a wall in my humble abode. I know, I know, I should be stitching flowers on my 'big girl quilt' but I am afraid I have wandered from that flowery path where irises and daffodils and cosmos nod as I walk by. I have been led down a path where funnily enough pretty heirloom baskets are dotted here and there peeping from behind the blossoms.

Why was I led from my flowery path??  What can I say. I will have to blame it on one of my sewing room, tidying up frenzies. Whilst re-organising some books I came across a quilting book, 'Basket Quilt Show'. It is a book showcasing quilts featuring baskets and flowers, all of which won awards in quilt shows back in the day. I bought this book about 25 years ago and I can still remember being rather taken with the 'Heirloom Basket' quilt. At the time, I of course thought that I would love to fashion this pretty one day. Well......that day came about six weeks ago........quite a few years down my quilting path. As I am a gal who adores her baskets flourishing with flowers, both in pretty embroidered stitches, ribbons and fabric; and in real ridgy-didge drink-in-the-perfume-of-real, flowers....I wanted to try my hand at a little cross stitching with tiny squares of fabric.

This quilt was designed by Ruth Diane Hosfield based on the original double bed quilt pattern by Anne Orr, which was featured in Good Housekeeping magazine in January, 1935. This quilt's style is called cross stitch. Years ago I used to do a lot of cross stitch, though mainly as gifts. I loved to stitch Anne Orr's designs. Do any of you lovelies of  'a certain age' remember her books?? As I researched, I learnt Anne Orr created nearly 100 books of designs for needleworkers. As needlework editor of Good Housekeeping magazine her designs became part of the decor of thousands of American homes.....and I suppose Australian homes, too. Ann Orr's designs are versatile. Her charts may be used for any needlework technique worked over counted threads or in blocks; as in cross stitch needlepoint, filet and mosaic crochet, petit point, quilts made from tiny squares of fabric. So when my beady li'l eyes spotted the Heirloom Basket pattern all those years ago, I snapped the book up quicker than quick. Since time immemorial, yes, even when I was a slip of a girl, I have loved flowers in baskets....actually I have always loved flowers. Hard to believe, I know. =) I have a penchant for baskets of flowers either in quilts, or embroideries, I think a quilt of  1" squares of a pretty basket spilling over with flowers, in a cross stitch design would be just the perfect addition to join my collection of flowers in baskets, pretties.

Anne Orr's designs have always evoked in me a feeling of bygone days. Days of quaint scenes of children and animals; period children in silhouettes. And....I love, love, love her baskets of flowers, peacocks, birds, many designs evoking a feeling of whimsy. I have always considered her designs to be charming.

I didn't need to acquire any fabric as I had all the Kona colours I wanted to use for this quilt and the white background is a fabric that I had left over from another quilt. Sometimes it is a most excellent thing to buy more fabric than one needs, isn't it.

This quilt is fashioned of 2,322 1" squares in shades of grey, pink, blue, purple and yellow. As the main colour is white I chain stitched the white squares in pairs. This made the assembly of each row much speedier as I joined the required coloured squares together until each row was completed.

Love, love, love all that messiness of the back. Love, love, love the concertina-like swirls and swirls of the strips.

I love the back of this quilt as much as the front.  Love the soft muted effect of the sun shining through the quilt backing.

Love all the little crosses of the quilting in each square. Looks like cross stitch, doesn't it??

I love this quilt.  The piecing of the itty bitty squares took some doing and was a painfully slow process, but now that the last stitch has been stitched this happy quilt makes me smile. As this quilt is oozing with tiny squares I desired all the corners to be perfectly aligned.....I am funny like that. Thus the stitching of each row to the one below took an age. I pinned every corner and then stitched slowly along till the end of the row. I am glad I took  the 'slow is better' approach, ensuring each corner is perfect as I think it adds to the cross stitch aesthetic. Don't get that magnifying glass of yours out there could be a few corners that are a little less than perfect.

Upon stitching all these tiny squares together I noticed the chart that I had followed did not match the photo of the finished quilt. The ribbon is a little different to that in the photo. Don't you hate that!! What a pain in the royal derriere. I dithered whether or not to unpick the offending squares but I decided to leave everything as is. I had just finished stitching the 2,322nd square....did I really want to unpick and create much angst?? Noooooooooo!! The ribbon bow on my quilt looks tolerable enough. =) I am guessing "Little Miss Persnickety" ain't so persnickety after all! don't you tell anyone.

I machine quilted this pretty. I thought straight diagonal lines stitched through the centre of each square would be the way to go. The diagonal lines stitched through each square gives the effect of cross stitch. I used Mono Poly extra-fine polyester, invisible monofilament thread to quilt as I wanted the quilting stitches to be 'colourless'. I have used a nylon thread before and had so many problems that I vowed I would never use it again. There were a few times when the thread broke but surprisingly the quilting was rather pain free.

I found after quilting this pretty that the quilt was rather wonky. As it was going to be a wall hanging I blocked the quilt to ensure all the 'wonkiness' disappeared. Alas, there are a couple of places that are still a little less desirable, but I think I will just have to live with these imperfections. Perhaps I will block it again. I have never blocked a quilt before so this was a first for me.

I love the cross stitch look of my Heirloom Basket and the gentle gradation of the colours. I love the pixelated look of this quilt. Why, looking through Anne Orr's Charted Designs book there are many other designs that would make a lovely quilt. Perhaps I will fashion another, one of these days.

I am amazed I have completed a quilt within six weeks! Never in the annals of "The History of Kim Sharman's Quilting Adventures" has this ever been done. No big deal to those of you lovelies who seem to whip up quilts within days......but as for me, I am popping the champagne cork!

But enough of me basking in the warmth of  my small accomplishments. Thank you for visiting my little place and taking the time to read my 'stuff and nonsense' about my little "Heirloom Basket" quilt. For the next little while I perhaps should finish my Buds in the Basket quilt and see that some flowers are 'growed' on my flower garden quilt. I can sense that Spring is not too far away........well at least in my dreams! The pretty flowers in the garden are once again beginning to pop up from the earth to herald the season that fills my days with joy. The wattle trees are blossoming and the daffodils and jonquils are beginning to burst from the confines of the prison of their green spathes resulting in bright and happy flowers. Yes indeedy, hundreds of bulbs have broken free from the damp, dank earth and growing towards the sun.

As for my pretty quilt it has now found it's new home on the wall. I must say I love the gorgeous spring feeling it brings to the family room. It adds to the pretty aesthetic which already oozes in this room. May your day be sprinkled with beauty and smiles♥

Until the next time...............

Linking up this week to Wendy's Peacock Party. and Finished or Not Friday over at Alycia Quilts.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Colour My Winter

A lovely Sunday morning welcome to all you lovely lovelies♥

Of late when Old Man Sun has been hiding behind grey threatening clouds, I have been colouring  my wintry days; embellishing many moments with splashes of beauty, pretty colour and smiles. Yes indeedy, I have been playing with pretty ribbons, lush velvets, ribbon flowers, french laces........all for pretties that I want to fashion further down my rambling path. I am thinking I am in need of a new bag.....or two. Also, I haven't fashioned a cushion flourishing with floralicious delight for a very long while. As my ribbon flowers are as scarce as those real 'breathe-in-the-golden-sunshine-so-that-photosynthesis-can-occur', type flowers; I thought I should perhaps twirl and whirl  ribbons around and around, coaxing them this way and that way until  blooming beauties appear. I like to have a smattering of ribbon flowers on hand in readiness for a cushion, or indeed some other pretty that is in need of a ribbon flower.

Here are pretties for a new bag. I know......a tad flashy, but then I am not a plebeian, one-bag-suits-all-occasions, kinda gal. I love to step out and about with a bag overspilling with embellished gorgeousness. Do you know, I really cannot remember when last I purchased a carryall. I have been fashioning one-of-a-kind Kim Sharman bags for years now.

Upon crossing the threshold of a most glorious fabric establishment on Fashion Avenue in the Garment District of downtown New York, (I was blessed to visit this most amazing city last year) a velvet fabric gushing with gorgeous detail caused me to stop dead in my tracks. To tell the truth, many...... oh all right, every bolt of fabric made me stop so that I may linger over each one, drinking in all the exquisite details. The forest green velvet  oozing with beads and jewels and pops of turquoise and black patterned velvet is stunning. I must say at this juncture, I am a little pea green with envy with you lovelies who live in New York or indeed, are only a short air flight away. Seriously, I thought I had stumbled upon the pearly gates of fashion heaven when I strolled down Fashion Avenue, where shop after shop wooed and cajoled and enticed me. With the quote of  that luminary character, Oscar Wilde, in mind....."The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.......I can resist everything but temptation", I succumbed and walked out the rather posh doors with this sumptuous velvet and a few more in hand, but the other pretties are for another post.

Ahh......New York!! How I love thee so!! This book toppled from the shelf of a book store the other day, so I had to, had to take it home with me.

The author and photographer of this breathtaking book is Georgianna Lane. Georgianna's sublime photos and gloriously lyrical words which dance off the page has caused me to pick this book up over and over again, drooling over every page. Page after page of gorgeousness spills over with the floral beauty of NYC in the springtime, interspersing throughout with photos of the exquisite botanical details found in the city's iconic architecture. If ever I should visit this magical and exhilarating city again I must do so when Central Park and the surrounding metropolis are buzzing with the beauty that only Spring can bring. To see the "hundreds of thousands of bulbs donated annually and planted by residents and volunteers for the Daffodil project, as a living memorial to those lost on September  11", in the New York Botanical Gardens, would be a show stopping and poignant experience; or indeed, to walk along paths lined with flowering magnolias, crabapple and cherry trees, all blooming profusely would make my heart skip a beat or two. Then, to drink in the hundreds and hundreds of roses in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, where arbors and trellises peep from behind  the climbing roses, would be an explosion of all the senses. Indeed, a walk through this utopia would be a perfumed paradise. Between the covers of this beautiful book there are so, so many glorious flowery experiences to be wowed by, during springtime in New York City. If you were to ask me, Georgianna's beautiful book New York in Bloom is a must-have-addition to your library. Georgianna has published several other 'eye candy' books. Paris in Bloom is on my to buy list and when her book London in Bloom is published, this too  will be finding it's way onto my coffee table.

But I digress yet again, let's get back to those fabrics.

There have been a few days where there has been no illumination by the sun, hence the need to play  with pretty, french-wired ribbons, hand stitching them with a stitch here and there to form flowers, hence cheering up a gloomy soul on a dark and sinister winter's day.

As well as playing with pretty fabrics and sumptuous velvets, I have continued with a little hand quilting of my pretty basket quilt. Four rows have now been completed. Three more rows to be quilted and then the border. Not long to go now.......famous last words!! Love, love, love all that quilty texture!

Once again, on those sunshine-filled days  I have found a sunny spot and quilted. A little hand quilting in a sunny corner is a most enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

Truly, scrappy quilt upon scrappy quilt is a vision splendid!

It is Sunday morning here and I am enjoying a cup of tea in a pretty new teacup. My beautiful friend, Trish, (Holly's mum) gifted me this gorgeous china pretty as a thank you. Isn't it beautiful?? Why, it matches my hydrangea teapot. I did my beautiful friend know that hydrangeas are my all time favourite flower. I truly have no idea. =) Oh, by the way, I always take tea in a teapot with both cup and saucer and teapot resting on a tray........don't you?? No?? Me thinks if one partook in a little tea ceremony each day, where one pours tea from a pretty hydrangea teapot into a pretty hydrangea tea cup, with both pretties resting on a sweet tray, well......the world would be a much happier place. Those ego-maniacal leaders who stomp their feet and shake their fists in a tanty, with murmurings of war and other such deeds of chicanery should sit down, take a chill pill and pour themselves a cup of calming tea in a pretty teacup; relax and think upon  all things peace to mankind. After all, is not a cup of tea the panacea for all ills. =)

Before I am up and at it, I might just linger in my comfy bed for a little while longer, luxuriating with my cup of Melbourne Breakfast tea and flowery book as the sunshine slowly creeps over my quilt, engulfing me with its happy beams. Sundays......a most wonderful day of the week, at least it is for me. Love, love, love lazy Sundays. Off to church, perhaps lunch with friends then this afternoon most definitely a spot of book reading and a little hand quilting. More pretty baskets and buds to be quilted. There is sunshine in my soul today ♥ As always thank you, lovely lovelies, for visiting my sunshiny little place♥

Until the next time............

Sharing this week at Kathy's, Slow Sunday Stitching