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 fabrics.

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 squares....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.