Benjamin Biggs Block of the Month has now only four more monthly blocks to go. In a last minute rush I have caught up with all the blocks so far. (Of course there is also the swag border but we won't mention that - not done a stitch on that yet!)
In the process I learnt an important lesson : "Rushing applique blocks is not a good idea ...and can lead to much activity with the unpicker". Here are my rushed blocks... can you spot the problem?
Block 19 was fine but the corner buds in Block 20 and 21 are all facing the wrong way...grrr.
After much debudding with unpicker and rebudding with needle and thread, the first 20 blocks are now stitched together and the last row started.
And the reason for the rush to catch up with B Biggs? I am signing up to the Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album BOM organised by Doreen and Dawn - couldn't resist as it is too lovely! They've set up this great blog all ready to start in October (click link).
I purchased the download pattern and made a few printing experiments with A4 paper on my home printer - to decide on a block size. It could be enlarged to any size you like. Dawn is making the blocks 9 inches but I'm not quite so brave and will do 12 inches (same as my B Biggs blocks).
I printed a couple of the blocks twice - varying the enlargement slightly to adjust the amount of open space around the flowers - just to see which look I prefer.
|more open space|
|less open space|
My personal preference is the second enlargement group - less open space - filling the block more fully. It's not a big difference but means larger applique pieces - that's going to be easier stitching!
I love all the Shenandoah garden flower blocks - but don't think I will include the rainbow block or the Tree of United States block. These blocks were no doubt the most significant and important in the quilt for Esther when she stitched it, and of great historical value in the context of the American Civil War. My version will merely be inspired by the flowers of her garden - with a couple more block repeats to make up the difference.
Now for fabric selection - I'm not being adventurous and am hoping to use what I have in the stash . Usually I applique on to a solid background - a shade of cream (as in my Auntie Green, Civil War Bride, B Biggs etc). But this time I have pulled a selection of muted prints in creams and greens to try for backgrounds. I'll stitch four squares of different prints together as the background for each block.
For the leaves and stems - hmm - this one gave me difficulty. I have a collection of greens that I have been using for B Biggs - lovely shades of poison green - but I'd like a change from that. A bit of a warmer green this time...so I have a solid and a tiny check that will do for starters.
The fabric choices will 'evolve' once I get started ...so things could well change. Am looking forward to seeing all the different versions to be made.
In August I visited the Quilt Show in Canberra in August - an easy 1 1/2 hour drive from here. This quilt was striking - lovely hand quilting:
|Tokyo Pop by Jo Pulko|
On another quilt cute hexagons brighten a grey quilt border:
This made me smile - a feeling we all know ?
I bought a kit at the Show to make folded fabric stars - thinking "Christmas"- and made the two in the kit ( Japanese fabrics), and then four more from my own fabrics - very quick, very fun.
I found a tutorial on Pinterest here in case you'd like to try - only four small strips of fabric per star and no sewing apart from attaching a thread to hang. Something to pop in Christmas cards?
Last weekend I had visitors and took them to see the tulips in town. Every September here it is "Tulip Time" - tourist crowds and traffic chaos but only for two weeks. Us locals know the best time to view the tulips is before the official opening and before the crowds. There are always a few beds of naughty rebel tulips that misbehave and put on a wonderful display a week or two earlier than ordered. These were my favourite rebels last weekend:
Enjoy Spring/ Autumn wherever you are!