Thursday, October 22, 2020

Pumpkin Patch Time

Earlier this month my husband and I took an afternoon off and drove out to the local apple orchard/pumpkin patch.  The leaves had not yet turned but the pumpkins were ripe and orange...well, except for those white ones, but I like my pumpkins orange so I ignored the "bleached" ones! I enjoyed my long walk through the corn maze and the field of sunflowers, the wagon ride through the pumpkin patch, and ate a few too many apple donuts.  It was a perfect afternoon and the outing nudged me towards the right frame of mind to enjoy fall instead of grasping at summer.

3 patchwork pumpkin blocks

When I got home I was ready for some fall-themed sewing.  I already had several fall throws featuring leaf blocks, and a trio of table runners showcasing fall fabric and colors, but I didn't have any pumpkin décor.  Freshly inspired by the pumpkin patch, I dug through the orange scraps to see if I could remedy the situation.

A pile of orange fabric scraps

I found, happily, that I had more variety in my orange scrap collection than I thought.  I don't know where they all came from, but at this point, I'm not really keeping track.  I just use them!  I spent an evening happily picking out what I thought might suit, then another evening sewing up the cute little pumpkin blocks in this post's first picture.

That took care of the urge to sew up some pumpkins.  I let them just hang out on the design wall, brightening up my studio for a few weeks until last weekend.  At that point I figured if I wanted to use them this fall, I should move the project along. 


I really liked the runner design with prairie point accents that I used for my Canada Day runner this summer,  so I thought I'd try it again for the pumpkins.  This one is a little shorter, with three rather than four blocks, but I think it's perfect for the pumpkins.  The green skinny border doesn't show well in this picture.  It's not as dark as it seems in the picture, and it breaks up the orange quite nicely while tying in with the green stems.

As you can see, it isn't yet quilted.  As always, deciding what to quilt killed the momentum.  After seeing the pretty texture Leanne's tiny stippling added to her Bloom piece, I'm considering using this runner for stippling practice. Or not.  I'm torn!  I really don't stipple well, so I could use the practice, but then I don't want to ruin this runner either, because I think it's kind of cute and it makes me smile.  

While I was pondering the quilting fate of the runner, I made a little detour by the computer to write up a quick pattern for the scrappy pumpkin blocks (not the runner) to share with my newsletter subscribers this weekend.  If you sign up before Saturday, the newsletter with the pattern link should make it to your inbox!

Meanwhile, tell me, what is your favourite fall décor, quilted or otherwise?

Happy quilting!

Joanne

Monday, October 5, 2020

Shuffle placemats and runner

I use placemats and runners on my table year-round. Switching them out to fit the season or occasion is an easy way to freshen up my decorating.  Shuffle was designed this summer, when I was pining for sandy beaches and ocean.  Though I was disappointed to miss my ocean visit this summer, my placemats captured a bit of that summer beach vibe.  



Strip piecing for part of the construction helped these come together quickly.  I easily cut and sewed the tops in a weekend, and quilted them the next weekend. 

Moda Grunge almost-solid fabrics gave this version a modern edge.  I love the way they turned out, but I know focus prints in the accents would look fabulous as well.  Or how about a focus print in the large square and coordinating small prints or textures in the rest?  That's what tester Debbie Crosby chose for hers.

Debbie Crosby's Shuffle placemats

Debbie did send photos without the feline inspector, but how could I not include him?

While I stuck to one color family for the accents, there's no rule about that.  Check out Tammy Howell's version.  It has me thinking of birthday cupcakes with coloured frosting.

Tammy's Shuffle placemats


You can see that Debbie, Tammy and I all used straight line quilting.  I can't speak for them, but I wanted to accentuate the diagonal direction of the accent pieces.  Also, straight line was quick and easy.  If you care to spend more time, the design does lend itself to sampling different freemotion designs, as Vivian McCagg's set showcases.



There is no reason to stick with a light-colored background.  Joanne Embury's placemats feature bold but effective colour.

Joanne Embury's Shuffle placemats

Buffie Lorah and Sandie L. both opted for print backgrounds and more solid accents for a different effect.

Buffie's version of Shuffle placemats

Sandie's version of Shuffle placemats

Thank you so much to all these quilters for their tests and feedback to help me produce the best possible pattern. 

Now that the pattern is published, I thought I might step away from the computer for a little while to get some sewing in, but first I made a little detour into EQ8 to plan some fall place settings.


I also played with Halloween prints, and Christmas prints, and kids' novelty fabrics, and a plethora of color options but I won't subject you to a core dump of my ideas!  I'm sure you have lots of inspiration of your own.  What color or theme would you make these in?

The Shuffle pattern is now available in my shop.  Get yours now through October 7th at 25% off the regular price.  

Friday, October 2, 2020

Stellar Breeze

I really, really like how Stellar Breeze turned out.  I was working on a different design when just one part of it caught my eye.  That one part seemed to want to be the focus, so I started over.  EQ8 got a workout that day!


Would you believe that my favourite parts of this design are actually the two that I least like to sew? For me, the sashing and border are what take this from OK to "Ooh, I like".  They open up the design just a little, making it seem a little lighter and a little more delicate.


The sashing has the added bonus of coming between the points, so if the points don't line up perfectly, no one will notice.  Well, unless someone grabs a  straight edge and checks, but anyone who would do that wouldn't get a quilt form me!

Matching the border to the background made the quilt lighter, but the skinny border and matching binding work together to turn the borders into a frame anyway, without the visual weight of colored borders.


That said, different fabric choices will change the look.  I like these EQ mock-ups too.  What would you choose?  Light or dark background?  Brights or neutrals?  Something else?




My thanks to my pattern testers Sandie L, Kathi Kivi and Kathy Bruckman for providing valuable feedback for the pattern.  Check out Sandie's version on her blog, and  Kathi Kivi's  progress photos on Instagram of her lovely version in rich fall colors. 

The pattern is now in my shop.  Get yours at 25% regular price now through October 7th.