Here’s a little smorgasbord of quiltish things going on Maple Hoo lately:
1. The past few weeks have seen a whole slew posts around the fabric blogosphere showing off the goodies on display at Fall Market. I’ve fallen hard for lot of what I’ve seen (helloooo Alexander Henry holidays, Tammis Keefe Tribute, and David Textiles for the V&A), but I also got a delicious up-close-and-personal preview of one of Moda’s new lines. Behold, Charlevoix by Minick & Simpson!
Polly and Laurie have totally outdone themselves with this line. It’s just gorgeous. The butter yellow prints are my favorite — they’re pure “Early Summer”, you know? The rest of the has the signature Minick & Simpson red, white, and blue, but there’s also some delightful coral tossed in, as well. It’s going to make a sumptuous summery quilt (the fabric itself is really soft and light and airy). Actually, as far as Maple Hoo goes, it’s going to make a sumptuous summery quilt and and a fabulous string quilt! You see, Laurie said she’d send us a box of scraps, so Schnookie and I immediately started dreaming of making a string quilt. Then the box arrived. We gleefully spread the contents out on the table and said, “What the heck? These aren’t scraps! These are fat eights and fat quarters!!!” We shouldn’t have worried, though, because a box of strings arrived as well. Sweet! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Laurie, for the awesome, awesome, awesome fabric!
2. Speaking of Laurie Simpson, she posted a lot this summer encouraging her readers to give hand quilting a try. We mentioned it to one of the women at our local quilt shop, the fabulous Pennington Quilt Works, who said, “Are you free on a Saturday? I can hold a hand quilting class here for you!” Yippee! The class was great fun, even if hand quilting is frustratingly not something I was perfect at right away. Just when I would get the hang of it, I’d get the yips. My impulse was to say, “I need to practice this a lot before I can tackle a project” but the teacher’s advice was to start immediately with a real project. Her point was that if you’re only working on a lame-o practice piece, you’ll never really want to work on it. She said to pick an easy quilt and use a low-contrast thread so you’re less-than-perfect stitches won’t show that badly. Genius! I knew exactly which quilt I wanted to start with.
Raccoonsweet is a quilt that I think is cute, but it didn’t turn out at all like I was expecting, so if I screw it up with bad hand quilting, it’s not a big deal. Plus, it’s just squares, so I can easily mark this puppy with a hera marker, doing straight lines from one corner of each square to the other. It’ll make a cute lattice-like effect on the cherry blossom print on the backing! As for the quilting itself, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on the stitches that look good and ignore all the ones that look bad. It’s a little shocking to me how calm I’m being about there being such a steep learning curve for this quilting thing. I’ve been doing some kind of handiwork for so long, I just sort of assume I’m pretty adept at most of it. The quilting stitch, however, is proving to consist of very foreign movements. I can’t even get the hang of wearing a thimble, let alone using one. Every few stitches I lose my rhythm and then flail my be-thimbled finger around like it belongs to someone else’s hand. I’m hoping the more I do this, the less that will be a problem.
3. It’s T-minus 2 weeks to Thanksgiving weekend. You know what that means! CHRISTMAS PROJECTS!!! Schnookie and I have been picking up random Christmas prints for about a year or so, and I finally decided to break into them. I chose Fig Tree’s “Fresh Laundry” pattern, but instead of doing something coordinated and beautiful like all Fig Tree quilts, I went for something more… me. Think Cheeky Dracula City but with more santas and fewer bats.
I want to use all of the awesome Christmas fabrics we have, so I’ll have a fun scrappy Christmas explosion to enjoy every holiday season. Every block will have a white snowflake and a center square that will be dark red or dark green. Everything else will be as scrappy as I want it to be. I’m pretty pleased with the fussy cutting I did with this block:
It’s beginning to look a lot like adorable, retro Christmas!