Liberty of London

Round Robin Reveal

 Beautiful quilt blocks by Elsa, Wendy, Cher, Ellen, Andrea & Brittany.

This is a week that I have been looking forward to for a long time! Last March the Portland Modern Quilt Guild mini-group that I belong to started a round robin. Each of us came up with our own theme and created a starting block. Along with our blocks we included a notebook to discuss our themes, and as each person added to the quilt they wrote notes about what they created and how they were inspired. Beyond the suggestion to look at the quilt and see what it needed next, there were no rules for how to add to the quilt. Quilts were randomly switched every other month, which meant that we got to add to six different quilts, and six different friends added to ours! Speaking of six, despite moving over 600 miles away halfway through the year, I got to keep up with my group and we mailed the quilt tops back and forth.

The Big Reveal!

 This month's timing turned out so that I got to be in town for the big reveal! What an exciting night it was! The image above is my finished quilt. Am I lucky or what? It brought tears to my eyes! I'm just so thoroughly tickled by the whole process and what my friends made that I was moved to write about it. Below, you'll find details about everyone's contributions. 

The starting block

I saw this pattern, "Turkey in the Straw" a couple years ago and was immediately drawn to it. I had been wanting to make it for something, so the start of a round robin seemed like the perfect project! I found references to the pattern from 1933 and 1937. It was either named by or created by a woman named Nancy Cabot. Another name for it is "Swing in the Center". One of the things I love about the block is that it was inspired by square dancing, specifically to the song, "Turkey in the Straw" which is sung to the tune of another old song, "Do your ears hang low". Four dancing couples are represented by the white and blue bars, and arrows point the gents to swing their ladies to the center.

I shared in my notebook how this block inspired me, specifically in regard to dance, music and rhythm. I love how a pattern in fabric can make my mind travel so many places! I also included some extra fabric that I encouraged my friends to use (or not) to their heart's content. 

Andrea's addition

Andrea chose "Boy's Nonsense", a variation on my original block. I love the fabric she used for it. The flowers are a Liberty of London print that I have had for a number of years, and the blue and white fabric I found more recently. It was one of those in the store that I just loved, but didn't have a plan for. I love her placement of them, and how perfectly they parallel the left and right edges of the "Turkey in the Straw" block.

Elsa's addition

Elsa made these cheery "Scrappy Star" blocks picking up with Andrea's fabric choices and adding this lovely yellow wood grain. I love how she matched the grain with the direction of the stars, so their points really stand out!

Ellen's addition

Ellen decided on the placement for Elsa's blocks which was a nice balance for the placement of Andrea's blocks. She noticed that there were a lot of diagonals throughout the blocks, so she had the great idea of finding a block to "ground" the diagonal lines. Her block is called "Checkered Folds" by Yvonne Malone. In her stash, she had this lovely dandelion fabric that matches so beautifully with the original blue in my block. She included extra fabric for me, which I will definitely be able to use!

Wendy's addition part one

Wendy added a whole song to the quilt! It's a round of the song"Shoo Fly", which she explained is a personal favorite. When one of her daughters was in preschool she learned the tune and sang it for about nine months! 

Wendy sang it for me;

Shoo, fly, don't bother me.

Shoo, fly, don't bother me.

Shoo, fly, don't bother me.

For I belong to somebody.

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star.

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star.

She told a hilarious story of working on her addition to the quilt. She had just had surgery and was on pain medication in bed and had the brilliant idea to make all of these intricate notes. When her medication would start to wear off, she would wonder what she got herself into with all of those tiny hand appliquéd pieces! Then, she'd take another pill and be happy as a clam to work on it! I'm happy as a clam that she did it, I think it's just wonderful!

Wendy's addition part two

And of course, what better way to finish of the "Shoo Fly" song than with a "Shoo Fly" block! I love how these fun polka dots mimic the notes in the song, and I also love Wendy's use of different colors of linen to create the staff.

Brittany's addition part one

Brittany made approximately one million darling Crossed Canoe blocks. She was inspired by Wendy's music notes and thought of songs that she sang during her camp days. She also sang it for me at the reveal, and it is so sweet! I hadn't heard it before.

Here are the lyrics;

My paddles keen and bright,

Flashing with silver

Follow the wild goose flight.

Dip, dip and swing.

Dip, dip and swing.

And if you'd like to hear it, I found

a group singing it on vimeo

that is really nice rendition.

Brittany's addition part two

Brittany also made this darling "Singing in the Rain" block! Isn't it just cheery and delightful? I love the flowers and bumblebees in the umbrella.

Cher's addition

Cher was inspired by Brittany's "Singing in the Rain" block, and did these incredible wonky/liberated letters. I love their staggered placement and how it echoes the sound of the song. She also created the gold and blue border around the edges that really ties it all together. Cher has a collection of butterfly fabric, and I didn't realize until I got it home, but the background yellow has sweet little butterflies in it so I will definitely think of her whenever I see it!

The final quilt top

All of the colors in the quilt just make me feel so happy, calm and content. The gorgeous blocks made by my friends, and the ideas behind them, make it even more precious. I can't wait to finish it and wrap myself up in song, dance, and friendship! Thank you so much, ladies!

New in the Shop: Folding Box & a Few Words on Stamp Collecting

Another Liberty London infused box! This new box in the shop is covered in burgundy cloth and Liberty London's Small Susanna.

Lately my work has been accompanied by colorful vintage stamps. A few weeks ago I came across a box of stamps and stamp collecting books at the Crown Center antique festival. The gal selling them really wanted to get rid of them so she gave me a deal on the condition that I take the whole box!

 So, now I have a bunch of great stamps, some of which I've set aside to incorporate into projects, and others that I've bundled together in nice color combos to pass on as little gift with purchase treats. Along with the stamps, I now have a bunch of books about stamp collecting, which were fun to look through, but ultimately I'm not a stamp collector*, so I'm giving ebay a whirl. Anybody into stamps?

* I am, however, a major stamp user! I like having a variety of stamps on hand so I can match them with their recipient. That's normal, right? Lately my favorites are the new Love collection and the Pioneers of American Industrial Design stamps. I haven't even used the latter yet, I'm debating about keeping the pane pristine and putting in a frame. Wait a minute...maybe I am stamp collector!

New in the Shop: Trinket Box featuring Liberty London Fabric

I have a new box in the shop and it started out as most of my "for fun" projects do. I sat down with all of my favorite things and started playing. In this case, that button and those charms found their way to each other and I paired them with Liberty London's Fairford pattern for a happy little match.

Here's what happened next! Click on the photo to see a larger version in a new window.

Custom Folding Trinket Boxes

Upon our return from France, my bags were a tad heavier with the weight of souvenirs and trinkets. Among my favorite were beautiful silky cotton prints by Liberty of London. My friend Camille introduced me to the fabric and the Liberty craze that seemed to have taken over all of the shops in Paris. 

I didn't have a specific plan for these treasures, but they just had to come home with me! I spread all of the fabric out for my family this summer and one of my aunts had the idea to have me use some of it to make something for her and my cousins for Christmas. These photos are of the boxes that were under their tree on Christmas morning. The box above uses Liberty's Small Susanna print.

I sent thumbnails of all of my fabric to my aunt and she asked my cousins to pick their favorites, without giving them a reason why. This was a top-secret project! This Liberty print, Mauvey, is the first that caught my eye. I bought a metre of it at the most fabulous store, Merci, also introduced to me by Camille and her friend Cynthia.

This sweet floral print was a JoAnn's find.

For the guy in the brood, Liberty's Pelagia print gave a bit of a masculine touch.
I found this print of the Tuileries Gardens at Hearbeat Quilts in Barnstable, MA. You can just see a few details in this shot, but I have a couple of yards of it, so I imagine it'll make its way into a quilt (and more photos) this year.

These boxes were based on a trinket box that I made for my dad to give to my mom a while back, and now that I've gotten back into the groove of making them, I'm thinking I'll have to make a lot more!