Homage to Helen

In 2011, my godmother took me to visit Helen Knights in Thunder Bay and it was a wonderful visit. Helen and I exchanged a few letters over the last few years and I loved getting cards with fabric cutouts on them with her almost indecipherable cursive handwritting inside. She was such an accomplished artist and had so much wisdom to impart, I feel blessed to have had a chance to meet her.

She passed away recently and when I went back to Thunder Bay in April of this year for my cousin’s wedding, my godmother gave me one of Helen’s last quilts entitled “Showing off the roses”. DSC_0100 She was 102 when she made it! To not only still be quilting at that age, but also to be quilting innovatively, is remarkable.

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I’m imagining her UFO reference is to an Unfinished Fabric Object of the 80’s but I can’t really be sure.

I was beyond touched by this gift and I knew just what I wanted to do to give it a place of honour. Ever since I moved the furniture around the workshop, I had a blank wall above the dresser. I thought Helen’s quilt would be perfect there. The problem was: it looked a little lost. So I endeavoured to make 2 more quilts to attempt to complement hers.

The first one I made is my first try at hexagonal block piecing and free-form machine quilting. DSC_0104I called it “If the Borg liked pretty”. Helen’s UFO reference inspired me, plus the Borg are all about Cubes… except in First Contact when they were in sphere but I ignored that for the purpose of this quilt. Yes, I’m a nerd and a trekkie, let’s move on.

The second quilt I called “Imaginary Windows”. DSC_0101 I used a technique for applique that I learned from Helen, as well as fabric that was donated by my godmother. I kept it all in the same family!

I even installed the rods by myself AND drove myself to Fabricville today because I was missing some brackets. If you’ve known me for a while, you know driving scares me a lot. But recently I got a car (a free one from my future mother-in-law, thanks again!) and I’ve been driving it around. Today, was the first day I drove myself to somewhere I’d never driven before! Normally I need to have a navigator when I drive a new route, preferably the fiancé who answers all my ‘if I stay in this lane, will I be stressed later because of a lane change?’ questions. But I put on my big girl pants, looked it up on Google Maps, wrote out on a card the left and right turns I needed, put the card where I could see it without having to grab it and drove off. And as it turns out, I’m a very capable adult. Which doesn’t make me really happy because I wanted to stay a kid forever but I’ll just have to find other ways of being anti-grown-up.

All this to say, here’s the finished wall. They’re all very different pieces but I thought some of the colours in each tied in well with the others so that even if they’re all so different, they look like they belong together. I hope Helen would be proud. DSC_0098

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Dinosaurs, they protect you

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new. Life has been a little bit busy, as usual. We went to Nepal in October. I hiked up to Everest Base Camp. I hiked back down. I spent a week relaxing in Bali (that was my favourite part of our month-long trip). I came back and dove into a new job. Spent many, many overtime hours working on puzzles there and actually really enjoyed it. I’m still in love with my new job but I’ve just managed the initial puzzling well and things are running smoothly enough that I can work normal hours now. Then when I finally stopped focusing on work so much, I started focusing on wedding stuff, because, oh yeah, I’m getting married in September!! Like 10.5 weeks away. Time seriously flies.

In the midst of all this, I have stayed crafty. I just haven’t updated about it. But, I have some time off this week! I’m spending most of the week with my dad at the cottage. We are working on landscaping projects there and my main tasks are to be a sounding board for his ideas, as well as wheelbarrowing (yes, it’s a verb) dirt from one place to another, often the one place being not that close to the other. The first task is much less physically demanding but the second task is helping me stay healthy so I’ll be able to dance the night away at my wedding and not pass out.

Today, however, I am fully dedicated to Fleur de Pixie. I am not answering the phone or doing much emailing. I plan on crafting, updating the blog, updating the shop and maybe eating leftover indian food from our delicious dinner last night.

So without further ado, here’s my first picture update: My cousin’s second baby with the dinosaur flannel baby blanket I made for him! You have to admit, this pretty much ranks up there on the cute-o-meter!
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Craziness Completed

I finished my crazy quilt!! Check it out!DSC_1029DSC_1036DSC_1039

The most special block is this oneDSC_1030

I asked the fiancé for input on making an ‘us’ block. It seemed to fit which this whole crazy quilt concept because we’re kind of crazy. As I write this, the fiancé is walking around the living room with his snow pants in front of his legs, kicking them and making Godzilla noises. Crazy! That is only a fraction of why I love him.

Anywho, the blue fabric at the middle of the block is leftover from a camping pillowcase he made me the first year we met. I was leaving for a 2 week hike in Corsica and we’d only been together for a couple of months. I’d mentioned that when I hike, I use a stuff sack as a pillow, so he made me a handmade (really handmade because he didn’t have access to a sewing machine) pillowcase in my favourite colour. I would say best gift ever but last August he gave me an engagement ring and I feel that trumps the pillowcase… The heart is stitched in yellow and blue for both our favourite colours. Then, I used the grey fabric to give the block some stability (we’re both individually a little bit off but together, we’re pretty balanced). All the prints around are for the fun yet structured things that happen when we work together and the plain yet colourful fabrics around I thought would just bring the whole thing together. I really like this block!

I liked working on each and every block actually. In some, I tried new things like using yarn and stitching over it:DSC_1031

In some, I had barely any creative ideas because I was just trying to stay awake to beat jetlag:DSC_1029
I lost the fight to jetlag but I kept the block.

Overall, I think this was one of the most freeing and fun quilts I have ever worked on. For a while, I was watching TV and finishing the stitching around the edges:DSC_1033 This is my favourite stitching to do on quilts where I don’t use binding. I just find it makes a blanket just more blanket-like somehow. I know that doesn’t make sense but just go with it.

But now that that’s finally completed, I can just actually use it as the most awesome TV blanket ever!DSC_1046

Now excuse me while I watch more of The Mindy Project!

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Both Blankets in Action!

You know what makes me happy? Knowing that what I make is used and loved!

My cousin sent me these pictures of her two boys with their flannel blankets made with love (and in the case of the panda one, with some difficulty) by their….wait a second, what is my relationship to my cousin’s sons? I’m like a mix of cousin and aunt? A Cousaunt? That sounds awful, I’ll just say made by their mom’s cousin.

She e-mailed the pictures with this little note: “Just wanted you to see we never go anywhere without our precious blankets!”

It was so thoughtful because it really makes me happy to see what I make in action. I would much rather Fleur de Pixie’s work not be left at the bottom of a closet somewhere.

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Sleep well little ones. And try not to give your parents too much trouble ok?

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Crazy Quilt Progress

I’ve left the crazy quilt aside for a while as I focused on other things but I’ve decided to incorporate it in my new routine: 1 block a week. Here are all the blocks I’ve done to date. I’m looking forward to adding a block a week until I can assemble the quilt top!

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