Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dresden Plate

I have a major fondness for Dresden Plate quilts.  I already have two finished quilts of my own, and I have another one in the works from donated 'plates'.  Quilting this beauty was a real pleasure, that's for sure!

The red background fabric is not a common sight, and really makes the colours pop.

The plates were s.i.d. around the outer edge and the inner circle, and the blades were simply quilted with continuous long loops.  The centers were trapuntoed with a second layer of Hobbs 80/20 batting for added pouf.

A lacey motif fills the negative space.
 So, how did y'all feel about the SNOW this week?  Honestly.  Snow on April 21st.  What is this world coming to?  My poor daffodils have been beautifully blooming for a week or two but they were NOT happy with the freeze.  I said some very unladylike words and stayed inside, quilting. 

I have so many quilts on the go here it is kind of ridiculous.  I am STILL three quilts behind schedule, with seven more penciled in on my calendar for the coming week.  Yesterday I threw in the towel and went on a field trip with a friend.  There is a Tupperware outlet in Ancaster!  So we started with lunch, then Tupperware shopping.  That was followed up with a stop at William Dam Seeds in West Flamborough, then off to Limeridge Mall to load up on Bath & Bodyworks product.

Since I was all stocked up on soaps, I got my hands dirty in seed-starting mix. 
  • Roma tomatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cayenne peppers
  • cucumbers
  • cabbage
  • basil
In another week I will start the zucchini (yay!!!  Darling Husband - sorry about your luck.  ha ha ha) and the butternut squash and probably some flowers.  I really must get the quilts up to date before spring really hits, because I will be out playing in the dirt.  The forecast for the next 7 days is warmer and warmer...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

another "Not My Quilt" and coming home from MQX (or: The Boston Airport Bathroom Story!)

On our final day in NH I think we all decided that we'd had the best.trip.ever.  My final class was with Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson from Sew Kind of Wonderful.  They had so many quilts at the show, I have no idea how they got them all there.  There was also a special exhibit of their work with 34 quilts hanging.  I truly wanted to suck every bit of creativity out of their brains.  Now I feel obligated to get better at pebbling.

Sunday was our day to come home and we had a few hours to kill, so the bus took us to Keepsake Quilting, which is probably everyone's favorite quilt shop.  Huge, too - you need a couple of hours to go through the place.  I was feeling rather blase about the whole thing because I was NOT BUYING FABRIC.  Yeah.  I'm sure you can guess how that turned out.

The Boston Airport Bathroom Story
So.  In the morning you have to hurry-up-and-pack-and-be-at-the-bus-by-7:45-a.m.  Well.  Someone (you can guess that was NOT me!) had a leftover box of wine that wasn't opened.  We have no idea how that happened - it must have fallen behind the closet, or something.  It would not fit in her suitcase, even if she used the magic fairy dust.  So, another gal offered to pack it.  However, being so early in the morning she was not exactly paying attention to where said wine was packed.  Well, those nice people at the airport tend to frown on liquids being brought into the cabin in your carry-on bag.  A few pilfered Starbucks cups later...
I was threatened with serious violence and mayhem on my personal body if this made it to the blog, so I have disguised the crazy-ladies involved.  If you realize, a week from now, that you have not heard from me...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

MQX Thursday (Thursday? Yes, Thursday)

You know how when you are out of town, you have NO IDEA what day it is?  Especially when you start your trip on a Tuesday.  Yeah.  That's me.  So.  Today I had two classes - the first was a Divide and Design class with Lisa Calle, who has a remarkably strong resemblance to my friend Jane.  Both of them are natural beauties.  Jane is a little bitchier. 😉  Anyhow...Ooh - good class.  Except for the part where my whole hand was completely BLACK from the pencil rubbing off the tracing paper.  And also transferring all over my WHITE sweater.  That is one of Lisa's quilts in the pic.  Certainly not mine. 

My second class today was with cutie Judi Madsen.  That was a ruler work class.  It was a great class, except that Judi quilts r.e.a.l.l.y. s.l.o.w.l.y.  Which is fine, except that the class was in the afternoon, when I am most likely to start doing the head-bobs.  So, I am currently in my room (after having purchased my SECOND cotton/wool blend batt) having a glass of wine and too many potato chips.  Pondering another nap.  It has quilt ... I mean QUIT snowing but yesterday's fluff has not melted.  Zzzzzz...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Today is the first full day for me at MQX - that's Machine Quilters Expo for those of you who aren't aware.  This morning I had my first class with Judy Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts - that is HER quilt in the pic, not mine.  I have two more classes with her this week, along with several more classes with other teachers.  After mom's passing, almost two weeks ago, I am totally exhausted.  I slept pretty well last night, and I took a delicious 90 minute nap this afternoon.   By the end of the week I may start to feel human again.  But then I will have to fly home, and the Toronto airport will take all the stuffing out of THAT good feeling.
Spring seems to have taken a long walk off a short pier here in Manchester NH, as it is snowing big fat flakes.  None of us brought our winter coats, so a walk for fresh air & exercise will not be happening.  Maybe we will dip into the wine and munchies instead?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

sigh. Bye Mom.

Many of you know that I've been Mom's helper for the past many years.  Even though she has been in "the home" for the past few years, she still needed me to be her helper.  The person who bought her clothes and personal care products.  The person who watched tv with her.  Read to her.  Brushed her hair just because it made her feel good.  Well, she passed away last Thursday and was buried yesterday.  As much as I would often get frazzled knowing I had to go visit, I am really going to miss having her here.  My brother, brilliant man, read out mom's favorite inspirational message at the service.  I will leave you with that...

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tackling a Sampler Quilt

Usually, the first thing I do with a sampler quilt is take a photo of it.  Looking at the quilt on a computer screen gives me the opportunity to see the distribution of colours and shapes.  And sparing no expense (OMG, seriously!!  Do you know how expensive INK is for the printer???), I will also print this out so I can doodle some quilting ideas.  It is always a good idea to take a GOOD LOOK at the piecing here - you may find that some of the patches have been stitched in the wrong orientation.  You still have time to fix that - it is much easier before you load the quilt.  Trust me on that.  See HERE.

Step one will be s.i.d. the borders, the setting triangles, and the black chain.  I'm using black thread for that.  And my favorite ruler Janet Lee's Favorite.  This is actually my second of these rulers and I think I'll be buying a third.  It seems they are 'consumables', especially when you zig when you are supposed to zag and take a large chunk out of the edge.  Thankfully said chunks have never come flying at my eyes.

Then, I fire up the IQ and stitch the motifs in the setting triangles.  Pretty, eh?

The IQ is also used for the border.  As you can clearly see (ha ha, pfftt) this border design matches the above motif.

Okey dokey - we are finished with the black thread.  Changing over to olive green... I just love that little border design - Bluebells by My Creative Stitches.
And now we move on to the blocks, with olive thread.  More s.i.d. and some, I dunno, emphasis quilting.  Through the whole quilt, in every bit of that red print I am doing 1/4" inside quilting.

The centers of the blocks are all getting an IQ motif. That is an interesting process because the block centers come in four different sizes and the motif should FIT the area, while leaving a bit of negative space around the edges.

Once the olive green quilting is finished I move on to the cream thread.  For hours and hours of cross-hatching.  Can you say "hello, massage therapist"?
If you click on the pics to look at a large version, you may notice that I have NOT quilted the side borders.  Usually, I quilt the sides as I progress down the quilt.  In this case it would have been done when I was using the black thread.  Then again when I had the olive thread loaded.  This definitely leaves tiny spots on the back where you can see the stops & starts of the stitching as the thread is anchored.  On this particular quilt, the motif was too long to fit in the available space.  When I am ALL THROUGH with this x-hatching I will take the quilt off and reload it with the short sides attached to the leaders and do those other borders.  At that point the whole quilt will get a once-over.  I will likely find a couple of spots where I have missed a motif, or missed some s.i.d. (I have already found some, actually), or neglected to clip some thread tails.  Hopefully I won't find any tiny pleats on the back - they can be a nightmare to fix.

IN THE MEANTIME, here is my salute to spring.  A plastic bag.  Ha ha ha - yes.  But it is covering up my geranium cuttings.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Strippy Quilt, Pi Day, Stash Report

I hope y'all enjoyed Pi day yesterday!  We celebrated by having pie.  One of the six thousand dozen apple pies I made and stashed in the freezer.

Here is a gorgeous strippy quilt. Can you tell this will be a wedding gift? The layout is similar to the Cobblestones pattern from Open A Can Of Worms.

The placement of dark gold fabrics along the outer edges of the strips accentuates the design.  Mmm.  Love.  Quilted with a pretty-but-not-stuffy feather design.
I know you've seen this a few times, now, but I am really happy with my Urban Runner.  Two meters off the stash report.

This was pieced at the retreat last weekend, and quilted this week.  The pattern, which I slightly modified by only making twelve blocks, is here. Another 7.9 meters off the stash.  Yay!!

Light custom quilting - s.i.d. around the blocks and sashing.  A feather/curl motif dropped in the blocks with a curlicue motif in the sashing.  Just a wee 'x' quilted through the cornerstones. 

Mmm - yummy flannel backing.
Used this report:  9.9 m
Used YTD:         48.9 m
Added this report:  0.  zero.  nada.  zip.  Can you see the halo over my head?
Added YTD:      25 m
NET YTD:        (-23.9) m

Men vs. Women
You see MY photos all the time.  Pretty quilts, pretty flowers, healthy vegetables, cute dog.  This is the kind of photo that DH likes to take.  I just thought I'd share that with you.  :-)