Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

This is the wreath I made when Craig was a baby - it's been on our door every Christmas since then.

My sister Carol and I went for a walk again this year on Christmas day - much warmer than last year! It was only about -5C this year. This is Bowmont Park, about 5 minutes from our house.

Carol in the shade.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Red or White?

Wine anyone?

Some time ago, I found this "wine bottle" print. Irresistible.

Then I found this block pattern on line: "Verre a Vin" (the "a" has an up to the left accent but I don't know how to do that in blogger) by Patti R. Anderson. Fabric and block are made for each other.
THEN I found this panel. Things just keep getting better!

So until I get over to the big quilt fabric store to look for some more fabric for the gold/purple quilt I started a couple of weeks ago, I'll chip away on this one. I think I have enough fabric of the necessary colours to do a complete quilt. And it's sort of seasonal, too. But then - you can drink wine any time!
Cheers! :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Minis

I needed to take a break from the purple/gold blocks. I'm up to about 70 or so, but I want to get some different fabric and between the weather and timing, I haven't been able to do that yet. Probably not till I have some time off after Christmas.

In the meantime, I decided to put together this little kit that I picked up at one of the quilt shows (I think Red Deer, but not really sure). I've seen this pattern in a number of places, so maybe you have too. It's really cute! Although to be honest, not too sure about the tree - at least I think that's what it is. Anyway, each of the little guys is about 3.5 *8.5 inches. Very tiny for a quilt! I'm keeping them to put with a little penguin collection I have for the "new" bathroom when Joe gets it finished.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Exit the Socks, Enter the ... well - not sure yet...

I had plans to do a couple of kids quilts next. But... I had an uncontrollable urge to start something a little less defined. One of my new books is Thinking Outside the Block. What's the point of having a pile of books if you're not going to use them? Sew.... I'm starting in at the beginning.

I haven't actually done a "real" quilt, but am thinking of doing a Queen size this time out. Using 6 inch blocks, I'll only need about 255 blocks! I will need to find more fabric. In any case, here is what I've started with. I think I'm up to close to 40 blocks right now. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


It's Christmas party season. We were at Scott's party tonight and so was Margaret. My "Canada Scramble" quilt was "won" in a silent auction at a fund raiser for her charity Inspire Africa by a woman who is going to Rwanda to do more great work there. And she's taking "my" quilt, which is now hers. I'm very pleased about this.

It's gratifying to know that I can contribute to important work by making quilts. I don't have the stamina that people like Margaret have to physically go to places around the world and actually roll up my sleeves and help, but I would like to help in some way. So maybe this is the way. I told Margaret I would make a quilt for her each year for her fund raiser. The next one will be better because by then I hope to have a better mastery of Harley.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Sock Epilogue

I found some gold beads with letters on them - perfect to put names on socks quickly! I dug through my stuff and found some red and green ribbon, threaded the letters with alternating pony beads that I also have from my past life (I love using up all this ancient stuff!). Tied each end to a bell and stitched the bell to the sock. Et voila! Socks with names!

There is also one for Carol and Dan - but you get the idea. If I had more time, I would have done something a bit more elaborate.

Top Secret

Shhhh - it's a Secret!

Some people are special. I like to make things for my special people - see "Like a Cat" post.

I want to keep my scrap heap under control, so what better way than to make some little gifty things with my scraps? At the Red Deer quilt show we saw some little "mini place mats." I didn't measure them, but they are large enough for a cup of coffee and a small plate of cookies, or something more healthy, but smaller than "regular" place mats.

Pam likes "mini" things of all sorts and I had some of the Loralie girls left from her quilt and thought it would be fun to make Pam a "mini" place mat that she can use when she's watching TV under her quilt!

But why stop at one? There were enough of the girls for five.

I also have the five Divas - but there were only four Loralie girls left after Pam. Problem solved: I also had some of the remains of the blue/gold Australian Rail Fence. Diva Karen liked the Australian Rail Fence quilt so much, she bought it. So I think she needs some mini mats to go with her quilt, too!
Finally, our friend Scott always has a Christmas soiree, and we like to take something. Wine is the traditional thing for such events, but Scott is a connoisseur and - well - we like wine, but don't really know much about it - so I prefer not to take Scott wine. I had some scraps from the bridge table covers and table runners I made for my Mom last year for Christmas and I think that fabric will fit in with Scott's stuff. So Scott gets some "minis" from that!

The minis are in the 8-9 inch by 13-15 inch range - I think the blue ones might be a bit bigger - its just the way the squares worked out. (See "artist" post below.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Artist" or "Engineer"

Yup - gonna love these books (see previous post). The ABCs of Longarm Quilting starts off with a definition of two different types of quilters: artists and engineers. So which are you?

Artists: pattern directions are merely suggestions; there are no such things as "perfect points"; and unscripted and spontaneous methods provide inspirations.

Engineers: accuracy is everything; measuring and pre-planning lead to perfection; and knowing exactly how the machine works is important.


I'll not be judgemental toward anyone else, but I spent a lot of today putting together some unscripted and spontaneous gifty things for some special people. :)

Back to "real work" tomorrow. Have a great week!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Socks and Books

Christmas socks done! I will put a few beads and names or initials on them as time permits. They are the same, but different. The cuffs are all different - experimenting with configurations. And the second from the left has one of the wonky trees in it. I did use the other trees - one's on the backside cuff of another sock - and one (oops!) I managed to get upside down - so it's an upside down tree on the other side of a cuff.
Here are the backs - Plain Jane, but they will go against the fireplace or wall where they get hung (and I actually remembered to put hanging loops - an important feature!).
I used Harley to quilt the fronts, more for practice than anything - it would have been faster to just do these little things on the regular machine. But - I'm learning with each thing I do, so not a wasted exercise.

I ordered a few more books from Amazon last week - surprisingly (given that I just had them sent regular post and it's getting to Xmas season), they arrived yesterday while we were at work so I picked them up this morning at the post office. I ordered them sight unseen, but after a quick look, think they all look good. They are all for longarm quilting:

1) The Ultimate Guide to Longarm Machine Quilting by Linda V. Taylor

2) ABCs of Longarm Quilting by Patricia C. Barry (smart ass Joe asks - "so what happens when you want to do the D, E, Fs......?") and
3) Mindful Meandering - 132 Original Continuous-Line Quilting Designs by Laura Lee Fritz
I'm looking forward to being able to spend some quality time with these - and all my other - new books. The opportunity cost of sewing is not reading and vice versa. I need several of me - one for work, one for sewing, one for reading, etc.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Straight On

I asked Joe, me darlin' hubby, to hold Elaine's Place up for me so I could get a straight on pix. I don't like it much better. This will be the last of it on the blog, unless I get to Denver and Elaine herself models it. It was a good idea, the execution just needed a bit more thought.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Elaine's Place is finished

Well - for better or worse, here it is. Elaine's Place - her house, imaginary picket fence, garden path, blue birds, flowers and birdhouses.

I went looking for my embroidery floss to use for stitching the buttons on. This is the rats nest of floss.
Why do I have so much? At one point I decided I should try cross stitch. I started a set of four pictures. The macaw was finished in about a year when Craig was a baby - so about 28 years ago. It took me another 8 or 9 years to finish the butterflies. I started the third one - I haven't looked at it for so long, I can't remember what it is! No need to rush these things! Somewhere around year 10 I figured I should frame the ones that I had done. They are up in the "guest bedroom."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas Socks

Moving right along here... on to the seasonal stuff. There won't be much of it. Not enough time. But I did promise the sons that I would make their girls Christmas socks. And it turns out Carol needs one, too. And now she has a new special friend, so I may find it in my heart to make an extra one for him. Due to time constraints, I'm going for simple but effective.

At the last quilt show we were at, we saw a quilt of "wonky trees" that looked pretty simple, so thought as an experiment I'd try a few. The result is above. I think they're OK. I stacked three blocks, one of each colour, sliced them up, rearranged, stitched, then squared up again. They are 5 inch blocks so will end up 4 1/2 inches when stitched into the socks.

I did get Elaine's Place finished, but it's up on the bed and I'm down here, so I'll do a pix for a future post before I "post" it. I still don't like it - but I guess we all have to have a least favorite, lessons learned kind of project once in awhile.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Conclusion of Canada Scramble

Well here it is - Canada Scramble all finished. Nothing fancy on the quilting - just swirly things - keeping control of the machine is my main challenge at the moment. I'll work my way up to complicated quilting designs!

We dropped it off to Margaret this morning, so here she is modelling Canada Scramble.

And here is a bonus "weather pix" - we had a Chinook blow in this morning. Here is the edge of the Chinook Arch. If you're not familiar with this - a Chinook wind is a warm wind that blows down from the mountains. We get them here fairly regularly in the winter. The City relies on Chinook wind to keep the roads clear of snow. In years like last year when it was really cold for a long time - the snow didn't melt and people got pretty cranky about the roads not getting plowed as much as they should have!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Harley's Debut

I didn't purchase leaders for Harley's frame - the fabric that is attached to the rails to make it easier to load the quilt parts on the frame. It would have been ANOTHER $100 for the leaders. The "instructions" that I downloaded from the Pfaff website had directions for making leaders. They are rectangles of fabric. How hard can it be????

Well - not hard. I picked up some gridded fabric pictured above (the store leaders have a one inch grid printed on them). It even sort of goes with my room! I got out my lil ol' serger and quickly zoomed around the edges of some leaders - and attached them to the frame. I even made one for the batting rail, which is not something included in the instruction book. They worked very well so for under $20 I got my leaders and some left over fabric - maybe it will find it's way into a quilt! I think it's sailcloth.

So - now on to the "first quilt." It took me quite awhile to load it up - a learning thing - when I've done it a few times, I expect it will get quicker.

The actual quilting didn't take too long. But... of course - first time nothing works out perfectly. I totally forgot about tension and it wasn't until I started rolling up the first "row" that I could see on the back that the tension was very bad. I adjusted the tension, kept going and finished it. But then I went back and pulled out the first row and redid it. Much better.
I didn't try anything fancy - just a freehand sort of wavy line. It will take me awhile getting used to the speed and idiosyncrasies of the machine. I will also have to learn how to "bump" over bulky seam joins, etc. I didn't expect perfection first time out, that's for sure. I'll have close up pix of the quilting on my next post.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Canada Scramble - Before Meeting Harley

I finally got the "disappearing nine patch" stitched together. I didn't think I'd like it (I've noticed there are quite a few things I don't think I'll like) but I think there are two lessons here:
1 - finish it first before deciding, and
2 - pretty much anything looks good in a fabulous border!

It's sort of like I love pastry and I'll eat just about anything wrapped in pastry!

I started out with the name "Oh Canada" - but I reserve the right to change my mind and I've changed it. "Canada Scramble" is much better, I think!

Here is the "scramble" - I more or less randomly put the fabric combos together and other than putting the prints in the spots that wouldn't be cut (mostly - I missed on a few at the beginning) because I wanted the prints to show, it was pretty random. If you are doing this block and you want to have more of a "non-scramble" - you will have to be consistent with the fabric placement.

So - the plan for the weekend is to introduce Canada Scramble to Harley - it will be my first long-arm quilted quilt. Wish me luck!