Everyone Needs A Hug


My goodness! Between my Mom's passing, the shooting in Tucson Arizona, snow in 49 states of the US and more water in Queensland Australia than the entire world wants to see, I think we all need a hug and a bit of cheer so I'm going to put my big girl panties on and give it my best try!

Let's start with the newest member of the family.

I'd like to introduce you to Izzy. She's Paul and Angela's new puppy. She is such a sweet little girl, a bit shy with the guys and totally naive to the whole doggy world. She snuggles her 17 lbs. right across your chest with her head on your shoulder just like a baby. Looking at those feet of hers she probably won't be able to do that much longer but I'll enjoy it for now. Clutch, not so much.........he's a bit scared and not too happy his Mommy is cuddling someone else. He skipped his dinner last night in protest.   Izzy was one of 10 puppies rescued when their Mom died during childbirth and is a mix of Lab, Boxer and Pit. We all look forward to watching her grow and learn new things.

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January's Beyond The Cherry Trees block is the center block from the quilt. When I got the quilt there was a big gaping hole right in the middle but I carefully spread it across my sewing table and stitched a piece of muslin underneath to hold it all together. The stitches aren't pretty but it sure helps.

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In a perfect world (haha) there would be this great signature of the quilt maker stitched in this center block with the date and place the quilt was made.

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Look closely, do you see where the quilting stitches are kind of bunched together and not as uniform as the other area? Can you tell what it is? Me either, so this is where my needle and brown thread come out along with a pair of magnifying glasses to go on top of my regular glasses.

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You just start tracing the stitches.

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Here's what I found. A cute flower a lot like what we've seen before so I started to look around a little more.

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How about here? Do you see anything here?

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Not bad........a nice leaf with a "cherry" circle in the middle. Back to the search......

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This is a tricky one........so you see it?

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I was really excited about this find. We haven't seen this design before. It almost looks like it started out as a leaf and somehow she added more leaves and a stem to it. I then moved on and did something I still can't believe I did..........

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I took a pencil and made tiny dots where I could see stitches, This spot is not quite in the center of the block but close enough.

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You can see it, it's there, a flower! I'll admit to taking some artistic liberty here and drafting this as a full flower and I also shifted it's position a little closer to the center to balance the applique shapes.

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These are the treasured grapes. All we can see are the tufts of brown left from the purple print fabric. Way back when we started this project I was able to open one of the tufts enough to get a picture of the print and determine it's original color. I also took some artistic liberty here.

I actually drafted the block twice. The first time I drew all the grapes as 5/8" circles which was the most common size and straightened out the grapevine into a circle. After I finished I wasn't sure I liked it that way. True grapevines aren't perfectly round and all the grapes in a cluster aren't the same size so I started over giving our vine some it's original bend back and matching the grape circles as closely as possible to the fabric tufts that remain.

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I usually like to use Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles when I have circle shapes to applique but even with all the sizes she offers there just weren't enough that matched all the grapes so I pulled out one of the trustly old green circle templates I bought years ago (you can tell can't you) at the art supply store. They're more widely available now and I think you can even find them in the school supply section of most stores like Target and Walmart. I know this is fine for drawing on paper but how will I translate that to working with fabric? Some of the grapes are large enough I could back baste them but I think I'll be doing something else so watch for an upcoming Grape Tutorial.

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The embroidery on this block is unusual to me too. You know how we wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, I wonder what came first, the stems or the grapes? They are stitched in a chain stitch meandering around the grapes going from the top stem downward. Fiona thought the thread might be linen or cotton. It's heavier than quilting thread. We think the blue color of the thread and fabric indicates a darker shade of green which has now faded to blue so the thread was most likely dyed to match the fabric. How cool is that considering how long ago that was done? I'm always in awe of the ingenious spirit of quilters, especially those who stitched before me!

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As I said before, it's not a perfect world and I feel very confident is saying I don't believe there was a signature of any kind in the center block. If there is one hidden in the stitches , we're still looking. I won't discourage you by saying just how many grapes there are in this block but there are only two vines and four leaves to how hard can it be?

How about a little more fun..............

Remember me telling you Petticoats & Polka Dots was in the house? It's in the house and in the Online Store too. It's probably also in your local quilt shop as well but I have a couple of fat quarter bundles and panels I want to give away.

You can see all the different prints on here Blue Hill Fabrics web site

There are 19 fat quarters in each bundle.

There are two panels, one pink and one blue.

All you have to do is leave a comment between now and midnight EST., Tuesday, January 18, 2011 and on Wednesday the 19th we'll give Clutch a break and let Mr. Random Generator pick the winners and I'll announce them here.

Now to finish fixing supper and then I'll move the Midget Mania blocks to the regular Midget Block page for you so they're easier to find.

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