Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring Has Sprung Quilt

 I always get so excited for Spring even though it means the return of hay fever. Whatever, I'm happy to see the sun again and plants. Out back among the cows, calves start appearing in the field. One was born not forty feet from me, I saw it through the kitchen window last year. Sweet and wonderful and a little gross at the same time. (That summarizes a great deal of nature for me.)

I was in the mood for a new Spring Quilt. I thought of the poem my family used to quote.

Spring has sprung, de grass has riz.
I wonder where dem boidies is?
De boid is on de wing,
but dats absoid, de wing is on de boid.

There are apparently many versions of this poem, it's an untitled, traditional poem that originated in the New Jersey/Brooklyn area. It is sometimes attributed to Ogden Nash.

 Crocus are the first flowers of Spring and usually pop up out of the snow to say Hi.
They are so very reassuring.

 Forsythia is such a bright happy flower. My Mom can never see a forsythia bush in bloom without saying "Forsooth, forsythia!" Now I can never pass one without thinking it.

 I love blooming fruit trees, so so pretty.

 My favorite flower and favorite blooming tree, the Magnolia. I always called them tulip trees as a kid since the blossoms so resemble tulips.(Apparently a lot of other people do too, according to Google.) It wasn't until I was in Indiana where I saw real tulip trees, that I knew the difference. Real tulip trees have very small orange/yellow blossoms that are cup shaped and are a bit of a comedown after the gorgeous Magnolia.

 Iris have a kind of grace about them. The French made them their royal symbol, the fleur de lis.
I only wished they bloomed longer.

I'm just highlighting the grass here. I love it when the grass becomes green again.

I didn't mention the lilacs, which are the only one of these flowers I actually have in my yard so far. The finished quilt is 26 x 32 inches. It is backed and bound by the darker purple fabric. I used a fusible web for all my appliques in my usual draw it, trace it, iron it, cut it, peel it, place it, iron it, zigzag stitch around it method. The forsythia block wins at 45 pieces, the most pieces in a single block. I used three purple, four pink, three green, and two yellow fabrics. I used a yellow quilting thread. My color choices were influenced by this wreath I made.

I happened to be at Michael's one day in January when the Spring flower garlands were 50% off so I bought an apple blossom and forsythia (forsooth) and I had a great time winding them into each other. then I wrapped a foam ring in brown fabric and wired on the garlands. I decided it needed more color so I bought two sprigs of lilacs from Walmart for about $.50 each, cut them up and wove them into the garlands.

Happy Spring!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Valentine's Day Quilt

 St. Valentine's Day. It started as a Roman free love holiday that involved exchanging cards that the Christians tamed and renamed for the martyr Valentine. Valentine, a champion of legitimized relationship love was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. (That abridged history is for those of you that believe Hallmark invented Valentine's Day to sell more cards.) 

I know that Valentine's Day is now a controversial holiday. To some it is Single Awareness Day as those who have love already seem to smugly rub it in their noses. To men in relationships it is Relationship Judgment Day and they feel the pressure to spend lots of money and give the right gift in the right way to not disappoint their lady. To women in relationships it is a day of hearts and roses and attention and love. These are generalities of course, and may or may not be accurate for you.

 I spent most of my Valentine's Days without anyone to love or who loved me in "that way", yet I loved it all the same. I loved the hearts, flowers, delicious chocolates, red and pink and white, the cheesy cards, and most of all the idea that some day I would have someone to share a great love with me. I am lucky enough to now be married to my loving husband, but we don't do much for Valentine's day. This is because our birthdays are only three days apart and only a few days before Valentine's Day. A few weeks before that, we celebrate our anniversary, so by the time we get to Valentine's Day we are celebrated out. Alan usually still gets me flowers since I love roses and we call it a day.

It feels a bit early for Valentine's Day decor. Stores have had it up since December 26 but they are retailers and need to fill their space with something that will sell. I haven't put this quilt up on my wall yet and won't for at least another week. 

We'll start with my sketch, of hearts, birds, flowers, and a cheesy saying.

I didn't stick to the sketch religiously, I never do.

 I employed a great many buttons, bits of wool, polyester knits, 

 cotton knits, cotton woven cloth, yarns

 machine applique, and hand applique.

The finished quilt in 25 x 30 inches.

It was all quite fun with the different techniques involved. I cut out the birds, but used an even cheesier saying. I finished it back in July and have waited this long to show it off to be closer to the actual holiday.