Firefighter’s Drive

Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

I feel exceptionally lucky to be able to sit here at my desk today, writing this post.  As you have probably heard, last week California was burning to ashes.  After working in the garden last Sunday morning, we spent a quiet day at home since my broken toes are still healing.  As we were getting ready for bed, the wind started howling around us.  I had an umbrella shading one of our gardenias.  We went outside to remove it and then we smelled it, that all too familiar wildfire smell in the air.

 

Firefighter Embroidery Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

We went to sleep wondering where the fire was.  Next morning, as I sat down to work, I noticed the sun.

I started reading the news, and shock took over me.  While sleeping Napa got lucky, the same wind that we heard the night before spread the fire across the mountains to the West and ravaged the city of Santa Rosa.

 

Northern California Wildfire Napa County | Whims And Fancies

 

This was the view just outside my window

 

I love fire.  I make excellent campfires, BUT I also have great respect for fire, a reverence if you will.  I am exceptionally careful around fire too.  

Having lived in southern California where October is wildfire season, wildfires themselves are not new to me.  I have gotten ready for evacuation once before.  We have seen smoky skies and  burning hills more times than I care to remember.  We have camped under a red sun looming overhead, but it’s different.  Seeing this right outside our home still makes me very nervous.

 

Northern California Wildfire Sun | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Tuesday, as I saw smoke growing on the west side where the fire was closest to our home, I started packing.  Soon thereafter we got notification that the very north end of our street had received evacuation orders.  A young man wearing a particle mask came by to warn us.  He was going from door to door, making sure we were aware of the notice.

 

Napa California Wildfire Sunlight | Whims And Fancies

Charlie has taken the colour of Quinacridone Gold from the wildfire sunlight

 

The hardest part is that if you do need to evacuate, you don’t know what you will come back to.  I started with the kitties’ supplies, their boxes, food.  Then came the necessary items for us and after that, a box of would-be-nice-to-save things.  On Wednesday, I packed a few more things ignoring the throbbing in my broken toes.  Whole place reduced to 2 boxes.

 

Napa California Wildfire Map | Whims And Fancies

Fire burning on both sides

 

All of us are ever so thankful to our First Responders.   They worked around the clock, shift after shift, 80 hours straight without any sleep to keep the fires away from us.   When the wind died down they made progress, only for the wind to return again the next day.

We got help.  All the neighbouring states, and states as far away as Florida, South Carolina, Indiana, New York and Alaska came to our rescue.  13 states in total.  We also got help from Canada and Australia.  The National Guard, police, firefighters – everyone pitched in stop the insatiable fire from raging across the state.  Our heroes!!

 

Thank You First Responders! Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Our city was saved thanks to these wonderful people. After multiple wind advisories, we finally got a respite on Saturday. On Sunday the evacuation orders were also lifted for our Northern neighbour, the city of Calistoga, our usual weekend haunt.  A bit of blue sky even showed up. The streets were still quite empty, but signs of life were returning slowly: A couple of children playing outside, a group of teenagers walking together, a few open restaurants.

Although the smoke is back again and we are still under an air pollution advisory, it feels great to not be afraid anymore.

 

Elsewhere however, others didn’t fare as well.  First Responders saved quite a few homes, but a great many were destroyed.  Nothing was left of entire neighbourhoods except for fireplace chimneys and foundations. 

I learned that the line between the destroyed and the saved homes was called the Line of Sorrow.

 

Love Our First Responders! Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Everyone showed extraordinary compassion.  That’s the thing about humanity.  We saw the worst of it last week, and we also keep on seeing the best of it alongside.

Well wishes continued to pour in.  Neighbours checked on each other like the young man who came by our place, while people offered their places to the evacuees.  Multiple animal rescue areas opened up for both large and small animals.  Maine Coon Adoptions also set up a make-shift kitty rescue.  These are only a few examples.  The number of volunteers and donations in goods were at max capacity.

Businesses started collecting donations, and we gladly stepped up.  However, I wanted to do a bit more.

 

Firefighter Quilt Pattern / Firefighter Embroidery Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Firefighter Quilt Pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

Firefighter Embroidery Pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

 

So, on Monday, I started working on these Firefighter patterns.  I worked around the clock to finish drawing and creating the pattern.  That was followed by writing the pattern file, testing and making the block, along with making the necessary edits, all in the last 3 days.  Every time I wanted to stop and rest, I kept myself going thinking about the firefighters who didn’t give up.  I love them, they are my biggest heroes.

 

Firefighter Quilt Pattern

It is my 12″ Firefighter quilt pattern.  I even included instructions to make the block without fire for easier piecing.  I am sure any child or adult who gets wide eyed by firetrucks will love it!

I would really love it if you purchase this pattern from my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

 

Firefighter Embroidery Pattern

For those of you who do not paper piece, but want to do a bit of hand sewing, I have a Firefighter embroidery pattern for you too.  Sadly, I ran out of time to stitch a sample, but the pattern is colour coded and has suggested stitches.  You can get that from my Etsy and Craftsy shops too.

 

I will donate all proceeds from both patterns to the Firefighters Fund. 

 

Heroes are not born, they are made.

 

Lets help these heroes a little further.

Thank You!!
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page. Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!

 

 

Comments (15)

Scottish Penguin Glen

Scottish Penguin In A Kilt Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

On Monday I sat down very decisively to work on something happy.  Meet the newest member of my penguin fold – a little Scottish penguin named Glen.  When I shared the initial sketch, Kris asked what a penguin keeps in his sporran.  As I was sewing, I thought of a little story.

 

Glen had always loved wearing his kilt, but the other little penguins made fun of him.  Instead of changing himself to fit in with the others, he spent his days roaming the hills and dales alone, having his own adventures.  Although he was happy to go about on his own,  he sometimes wished he had a friend with him.  During one of his excursions, he found a new hill.  As he walked up the hill slowly – he was a little penguin after all – it started getting colder and darker.  Rain clouds covered the sun and very soon, strong gusts of wind started blowing him all over the place. 

 

Scotland | Whims And Fancies

 

He hurried up the hillside and found an old broken ruin there.  The hill was in a remote area and the entrances to the ruin were all overgrown with brambles.  He took a little knife out of his sporran to clear a path so he could get in without spoiling his clothes.  As he was cutting the brambles, something pink plopped down along with a few Thistle flowers.  He loved Thistle.  When he bent down to pick up the flowers and put them in his little sporran, he found a small pink stone among them.  By this time, big raindrops had started pelting down on him.  He hurried into the ruin to sit inside a big stone fireplace.  There he sat, thumbing the stone and looking at the sky, waiting for the rain to let up a little.

 

Penguin Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Little Penguin Polaris on Etsy and Craftsy

 

A flash of lightning, and he suddenly found himself elsewhere, facing two other penguins.  One was dressed in woolens and the other in Viking clothing.  They were as surprised to see him as he was them.  After a little awkward introduction, Glen learned their names were Polaris and Olaf.  He also found out that they had been lonely penguins too, before they met each other. Polaris loved his matching woolens, he had quite a few sets.

 

 

Viking Penguin Olaf on Etsy and Craftsy

 

As for Olaf, not only did he love his Viking clothes, he also insisted on having horns on his helmet even though he was told Viking helmets didn’t have horns.  He thought the horns made him look very mighty and formidable.  They both welcomed Glen with open arms.

 

Scotland Thistle | Whims And Fancies

 

Polaris gave Glen a little snowflake that sparkled in the moonlight.  Olaf gave him a little fire-stone which glowed in the dark.  Glen remembered the thistles in his sporran and gave each of his new friends a thistle.  He showed them his pink stone too.  All three wondered if rain and thunder somehow activated the stone and if there were more penguins like them.   For now though, they were delighted to have found each other.  Sometimes you just have to look a little farther to find what you are looking for.

 

The photos were taken by me in Scotland.  I took the photo of the Thistles in the mountains standing outside, buffeted by wind gusts of 40 – 50 mph.  It was quite a difficult task, and I feel like I brought a little Scottish spirit home with me captured in that photo.

 

Scottish Penguin Glen Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Scottish Penguin Glen – Etsy and Craftsy

 

Glen doesn’t always like to wear his tie or his belt buckle.  So I included additional sections in the pattern for easier piecing without the tie and the belt buckle.

 

Since I always get asked about pattern links, here are links to all three penguin quilt patterns –

Scottish Penguin Glen – Etsy and CraftsyThe newest member!

Little Penguin Polaris – Etsy and Craftsy

Viking Penguin Olaf – on Etsy and Craftsy

 

Penguin Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

They are a happy bunch, aren’t they!  I love them!

Have a crafty week,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!

 

Comments (33)

Squares Plus Quilt Remade

Squares Plus Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

I had a brand new fun pattern written, fabric pulled, pattern pieces cut, and ready to be sewed.  Then, I broke my toes.   So, now I have to take a break for at least a few days.  I needed to finish sewing the binding on this quilt, so that’s exactly what I did, with my foot propped up on the sofa.  These blocks got a fresh new setting and are the focus of today’s story.

 

Squares Plus Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Last September, I finished making this quilt for my kitty.  He kept on using it happily, but I HATED it!  Yes, I truly hated that green sashing.  I thought the green dulled those bright beautiful colours of the blocks.  I refused to lay that quilt out for my cat.  So finally, before I went on holiday, I started remaking the quilt.

 

Squares Plus Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Time was short.  Instead of taking the whole quilt apart, I started at the seams that joined the blocks to the sashing.  I unpicked the stitches until the blocks came free.  Since I am a fairly light quilter, I was able to pull the blocks out during one afternoon.  Patience is required for the process though, good thing I like to listen to stories while I work.  Some day I will pull out the yellow backing for use in an another project.

 

Squares Plus Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Squares Plus on Etsy and Craftsy

 

Of course, the blocks were not as crisp as when they were new.  They also shrunk a bit during multiple washes.  After trimming them to be of the same size, pressing them with a hot iron and steam made them good to be used again.

 

Squares Plus Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

This time I used plain white Kona cotton for the sashing to bring out the bright colours of the quilt blocks.  I did somewhat of a grid quilting.  It’s not a perfect grid, but it’s not random either.  The pale sea green thread is almost the same colour as the block background.

 

Squares Plus Quilt Pattern - Grid Quilting | Whims And Fancies

 

I found this steel-grey-blue in my stash for the backing.

 

Squares Plus Quilt Pattern - Binding Tips | Whims And Fancies

 

To keep it light and airy, I used the same fabric for the binding that I used for the block background.  By the way, if you use pins for binding, I highly recommend binding clips.  Clover clips are even better.  I only have one set of those at the moment, I will definitely get more in the future.

 

Squares Plus Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

Squares Plus on Etsy and Craftsy

 

The Squares Plus idea started with my wanting to make a plus quilt.  I also wanted to add a little twist to the traditional plus blocks.  While fiddling with the design, I added the little squares on top of the plus sign.  That became my Squares Plus pattern.  This beginner-friendly and scrap-happy pattern is on my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

 

So here’s the newly-finished Squares Plus quilt for my kitty.  Not that he would know the difference, but I am certainly much happier to lay it out now.

My kitties use their quilts a lot.  If there is not already a quilt on one of their usual sleeping places because I have taken it away to wash, they sit and wait patiently, right beside the spot.  They continue to look at me until I lay a quilt down for them.  Smart, huh?!!

 

Happy Sewing,
-Soma

 

I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!

 

Comments (34)

My Orange Tabby

Striped Cat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

I have done it!  I have reached that elusive finish for this mini.  Once I had finished the block early last year, I went through many ideas of quilting this little one, but nothing really stuck.  At one point I even finished drawing swirls on the block, cut the backing and the batting, but it never made it to the machine.  The problem is the colour of my cat.

 

My Orange Maine Coon Cat | Whims And Fancies

 

You already know that I love my big old orange cat, my constant companion and shadow.  This mini is special because I modeled it after him. 

 

Striped Tabby Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

I used the orange swirly fabric that I love and the black fabric that I had left over from another quilt.  Orange cats are mostly associated with Halloween.  Add a black background and you have a quintessential Halloween project. 

Except, that was far from being my intention.  I added the black background because of my love for the night sky.  The picture I wanted to paint was one where my cat and I would sit by the window and cherish that outer world

 

Striped Tabby Cat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Striped Tabby Cat on Etsy and Craftsy

 

Month after month I looked at the block and put it away for lack of a good idea.  Swirls would just add to the Halloween picture that I did not want to create.  Finally one day it came to me – I wanted to try matchstick quilting.  It would echo the stripes on the kitty too.  Seemed like a perfect solution.

 

Matchstick Quilting On Cat Quilt | Whims And Fancies

 

Since this was my first time doing matchstick quilting, I wanted to err on the side of caution.  So I worked up to lines that are 1/4″ apart and stopped there.  I felt that was perfect.  I used a variegated thread which gave it an additional fun effect.

 

Quilt Facing / Binding | Whims And Fancies

 

I faced the quilt to give it more of an art canvas look.  Since almost all of my quilts are paper pieced art quilts, I will be using facing more often instead of binding going forward.

 

Striped Kitty Cat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

In the end, all that waiting paid off.  I let the project guide me to the finish line and I am very happy for it.  I love the mini, almost as much as I love my kitty!

 

The 14″ Striped Tabby Cat quilt pattern is on my Etsy and Craftsy shops.  The stripes are completely optional, as is the window.  You can fussy cut a piece for the window or leave it out completely.

 

Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow.  Perfect time to place this mini on the wall of my atelier where my kitty and I spend the day together working.  Knowing me, it will end up staying there forever.

Happy Quilting,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with Patty on One Monthly Goal.  Great monthly linky party for finishing those WIPs.

 

I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!

 

Comments (50)