Friday, September 17, 2010

Halloween is in the mail

 I got it finished, and since this picture was taken it has been washed, dried and popped into an envelope. I'll head to the post office in a bit. Looks like I have a good chance of getting this to Japan before Halloween.

The pattern for this is my own invention, based on the block Autumn Tints. I used fabric from Minick & Simpson's Halloween Night by Moda. The quilting is straight lines on the diagonal in both directions except in the center where I quilted straight lines about an inch or so from the outer edge. I didn't want any seams or stitching in the very center so that whatever is set there wouldn't wobble.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A busy couple of weeks

I made these newspaper placemats as a retirement present for my friend, who I met on my first journalism job more than 20 years ago. She was the cops reporter when I started, and when you went somewhere with her she would point out crime scenes along the way. She got me more interested in cooking and to subscribe to Bon Appetit, which I still do. Her party was great, and I got to visit with people I hadn't seen in decades, and we told lots of stories of my friend. Those were such fun times. I guess because we were young and had the energy to try anything. 

I was, of course, stitching these placemats up the night before I flew back to New England for her retirement party! I adapted the pattern from Penny's napkin tutorial at Sew Take A Hike, changing the dimensions to be placemat size instead of napkin size, and using two layers of newspaper fabric so the placemats are reversible. I used solid fabrics from my stash for the border, but because I didn't have enough of one fabric for all the borders, I used a different blue for each.

I'm still plugging away at the Aboriginal blocks. This is what they looked like before I took them off the design wall to work on a Halloween table topper.

I searched through Barbara Brackman's "Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns," looking up words related to autumn (fall, leaves, pumpkins, etc.) to find a block that would work for this project. I found Autumn Tints (1103c), which seemed perfect: simple construction that could be arranged into an interesting composition that matched the tone/mood of the fabric.

I made some sketches and started piecing. The center was to be a solid piece of fabric so that if you set a vase or something on the center, it wouldn't wobble on top of a seam or cover up the piecing. The black fabric seemed too stark, and the orange was perfect, but I didn't have a big enough piece.
So I cut the biggest piece of the orange I could, and then cut out the pumpkin stripe from Minick & Simpson's great Halloween Night fabric and mitred it around the edge. When I was done, I realized I hadn't calculated correctly (looked at the finished size instead of the unfinished size when I was cutting!) so I had to add some coping strips to make it a bit bigger!

The plan all along was to use the pumpkin stripe as a mitred outside border, and I like the way it looks even though the pumpkins don't match up on the mitres. I used Harriet Hargrave and Sharyn Craig's book "The Art of Classic Quiltmaking" for a refresher on mitring.
If you've made it this far, then you get to see the lovely little bouquet of flowers my neighbor brought me yesterday when she came to check on me. I was hit by a car Friday night walking home from work. I was in the middle of a crosswalk, when a man who was stopped at the stop sign decided to drive through the intersection. He drove right into me, knocked me down and stopped on my foot. Amazingly, nothing seems to have been broken. I don't know what is more shocking: seeing a car tire parked on your foot or having someone drive into you so purposefully! I've been trying to stay off it and keep it elevated, but it is my sewing pedal foot, and I have a whole long weekend of stitching planned.