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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Indian Summer


I have finally finished the words for the first verse and I'm sure that's enough! Sorry about the blurry photo. It must be my eyes. It couldn't be the camera or the photographer not knowing how to set it back to auto-focus.
Now I have to decide whether to do a center and put the words as a border or use the words as the center and make an interesting border for them. This might be the time to make a landscape quilt of some sort. I have lots of autumn pictures from our Thompson trip but I'm not sure how many autumn colors I have in my stash. Maybe it's time for a trip to the fabric store.
Does anyone get Threads Magazine? They have an article in the September issue about making aprons. I wear aprons often and am thinking I need a larger wardrobe of them. Their website was supposed to have a selection of aprons but I checked and I guess I have last month's issue and they've put more current articles up. I borrowed my copy from the library. Sewing aprons would be a fun break from all those fiddly little letters.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More on the Thimbles

A friend was visiting and when I showed her my thimbles she thought that all but four of them might be silver. One of the others could be brass. Three of them are new aluminum. The big one she claimed is a thumb thimble which is how some people quilt. It does, in fact, fit perfectly on my thumb but I can't imagine quilting that way. I am wondering if I should try to clean the other ones to see if they are actually silver. I know less than nothing about thimbles, or silver for that matter, so any advice would be helpful. After watching Antiques Road Show I am reluctant to clean anything, even my house. Lol.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

New Quilt

"Indian Summer"

Along the line of smoky hills
The crimson forest stands,
And all the day the blue-jay calls
Throughout the autumn lands.

Now by the brook the maple leans,
With all his glory spread;
And all the sumachs on the hills
Have turned their green to red.

Now, by great marshes wrapt in mist,
Or past some river's mouth,
Throughout the long still autumn day
Wild birds are flying south.

-- William Wilfred Campbell (1860-1919)
Born at Kitchener, Campbell was known as
the poet of the Great Lakes.
He was the author of Lake Lyrics, 1889.


I had to memorize this poem in about Grade 4 . Is anyone else out there familiar with it? I think many Canadians my age may have had to learn it in school too. When I thought I might do a quilt for each season to go with the morning and night one, it popped back into my head.



I have the first two lines done and I think I may stop at the end of the first verse. I'll see how I feel about letter making by then. I have a feeling I'll be over it for awhile. Because there will be such a large area with letters I'll probably just put a couple of borders around it, but you never know with these quilts. It may lead me somewhere else altogether. It would also be a good prospect for a landscape quilt with the words around the border.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Apron


Here is the apron made from a square of the orange '70's fabric. It is basically a square with the top corner turned down. The one I saw had a pocket in the middle done the same way as the apron but I didn't want to spoil the look of the big flowers. I guess I could have put the pocket on the other side. It is completely reversible.


I dropped in at a different thrift shop today and found these thimbles in a bag for 25 cents. Do I need thimbles? No, I don't even like doing hand sewing that much. Could I leave them there? No way. There are a couple of them that are huge, even too big for my thumb. I have quite small fingers but really, I don't know who would be able to use the biggest one. Maybe that's why it looks like new.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thrift Shopping


We went to Portage, a couple of hours drive away, and of course had to stop at their thrift store. I did very well in the fabric department. These pieces are all about 3 yards and at $1 per yard, a very good deal. I was happy to find the blacks and polka dots. The big flowers on the orange background may turn into an apron. I like the 70's look but it's not great fabric for quilting. I saw an apron made out of a lined square used diagonally with the top point tuned down. If that's not clear, check back in a couple of days and I may have a sample done.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Merry Sunshine


Today I did major surgery on Merry Sunshine. I just couldn't get the sun's rays to work out. I had cut the rays with the wrong angle and I kept getting a weird space in the middle no matter how I placed them. I couldn't re-cut the rays because I have no more yellow. I would love to have used the firey looking orange that I had but there is only a tiny piece left. Finally I cut a big piece of blue and top stitched the rays and the sun to it. The first ray on the right is still a bit off but since it's a wonky quilt after all, I decided to leave it. It also eliminates the problem of how to stabilize the top for hanging. It does lose something by being square but, hey, you go where the quilt takes you!



I made another little quiltlet today, starting with an idea from The Uncommon Quilter. She has some beautiful crayon rubbings taken from toombstones. I have some fabric crayons that I got at, yes you guessed it, the thrift shop. I have been wanting to try them so here was my chance. Not having a toombstone handy,I used green crayon over a round leaf repeated three times. It may need a bit more quilting, maybe in a different color. I'll hang it on my bulletin board and see if it speaks to me in the next couple of days.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Uncommon Quilt


Here is my first attempt at making a mini-quilt using The Uncommon Quilter as a starting point. I took the idea for the tree trunks from one of Jeanne's quilts but hers was a flower stem. Then I thought I'd try the wavy blades for the rotary cutter that have been sitting around unused for a couple of years. The stems looked too big for flowers but reminded me of palm trunks. I was going to make felt leaves but while rummaging around for the right color of felt I came across a bag of bright blue feathers from the thrift store. Hmmm... they look a bit like leaves. They needed a center to cover all the feather ends so out came the felt. I covered the whole thing with netting to keep the feathers under control. When it came to quilting it, the trees seemed to be blowing in the wind so I made wind lines sort of following the trees. I had a bit of silver trim that seemed to want to go around the edge. One thing I learned today is that it's a LOT easier to quilt something that is 10x12 than a queen sized quilt.
I will follow Jeanne's advice and write on the back of it mentioning my inspiration and the date. I'm not sure if I should put #1 on it. Will that cause pressure to make a lot of them? It was really fun and I got to use some of the stuff from the big drawer full of thrift store "junk" that I've been saving forever.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Merry Sunshine


I went to town yesterday and was able to get a blue that suited me for between the sun's rays. It's much brighter and a bit mottled. Now I have to figure out how I am going to put it all together. I'm thinking I'll sew the rays together and then try curved piecing it to the sun. If that doesn't work, but I see no reason why it won't, I'll applique the sun on. I'll probably use an envelope finish on it which will be a first for me. Up until now I have always used borders and binding.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Uncommon Quilter



I was quite excited to receive a review copy of The Uncommon Quilter by Jeanne Williamson. Jeanne committed to making one small quilt a week for seven years, which is mind boggling to me, but she did it and this book showcases some of her results. I pretty much stick with fabric for my quilts but Jeanne goes far beyond that. She uses lots of plastic, such as the bags used for storing vegetables and colorful shopping bags. In these days of re-cycle and re-use it's refreshing to see what an interesting second life such materials can have. She also has a section on paper, surface design and one on fibre. To Jeanne, fibre includes much more than quilting cotton. Think weather stripping, dryer lint and worn out socks, to list a few.

The book is well organized, with a section on basic construction and materials. Then each material has its own section with an introduction explaining where to find it and how to use it. For example, as a sushi lover, I never thought of saving the plastic grass that separates each roll, for use in a quilt. After the basics, there are several examples of art quilts Jeanne has made using the materials highlighted in that section.

The patterns, which are obviously meant as a jumping off point for creating your own work of art, are very well illustrated. There is a list oof materials used for each and instructions on how to put it together. I especially like the small inset on the top corner of each page explaining the inspiration for each piece, taken from Jeanne's daily life. The inspirations vary from choosing the right hair dye to taking a child off to college to a trip to Paris.

Anyone who is interested in art quilts, journal quilts or fabric postcards will find this book fascinating and useful. I know I will find it impossible to toss out those mesh vegetable bags now. Although I won't commit to a quilt a week, I will be trying some of her techniques and materials in the near future. Who knows, it may end up a weekly habit.

Jeanne has a blog at: Jeannne Williamson.
From her blog you can also access her web page and an Uncommon Quilter web page.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Computers!

We are having computer woes here again. Well, this time it's the modem and I can't get online with my computer. It's a nuisance because I am spending a lot of time trying to fix it. I get it going and then suddenly it goes off for no reason that I can see. I'll have to call my computer gurus I guess. Meanwhile, all my pictures are on my computer so this will be a boring, pictureless post.

I have been quilting on Sweet Dreams and am almost finished.
I have been looking at a Pfaff Grand Quilter and frame. They are on sale right now at our local Pfaff dealer. Has anyone had any experience with this machine? Is it worth the price? It's a lot less than a long arm machine. The sale will last until Christmas so I don't have to hurry with my decision.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Slow Cooker Curry

Judy asked for my Curry recipe so I thought I'd share it here. The Corriander Pepper sauce was exceptionally good with it. I served it with brown rice, but noodles would be great too. Sorry, there is no picture. It didn't last long enough!

Cocoanut Curry Chicken
12 skinless chicken thighs
2 onions chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 can cocoanut milk
2 tbsp curry paste (I used Red Thai, one pouch)
4 carrots sliced
1 can chickpeas (I didn't use this, some people here don't like them)
2 cups frozen peas (I didn't have these either but it would have been nicer)
1 cup cashew or peanuts
Fry chicken and put in slow cooker.
Fry onions and garlic and add.
Add everything else except the peas and nuts
Cook on low 5 hours. Mine was in longer because we went for a walk. Add peas. Thicken with flour if you like it thicker. I didn't. Cook on high for15 min more if you add the peas and thickener. Add nuts just before serving or serve nuts and fresh cilantro separately. Cilantro is a love or hate it kind of herb so some people would thank you for that.
I also made this condiment which was a big hit and even better a couple of days later.

Pepper and Corriander (Cilantro) Paste
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp whole peppercorns
2 cups cilantro including stems and roots if available
2 tbsp lemon juice
Crush garlic with salt to a paste. roast peppercorns in dry pan and then crush in mortar and pestle. (Or just grind from your pepper grinder into mixture). Put everything into blender and puree. I used whole peppercorns and the food processor but it didn't grind up most of the peppercorns. Biting into a whole peppercorn! Yikes! Adjust the pepper according to how hot you like it. It was even better a couple of days later when the flavours had blended more.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Merry Sunshine


I worked a little bit more on Merry Sunshine but I still don't have the right blue for the top. I made a picket fence for the bottom and I quite like that. I'm not sure if I need a border around the sides and top. Maybe the binding will be enough there or I might even do an envelope and not bind it at all. I have never done a quilt like that but it could be the best solution for this shape.

We have been having gorgeous fall weather here, near freezing at night and beautiful during the day. Yesterday we went for a long walk with friends and then had a delicious Thai curry that was waiting for us in the slow cooker when we got back. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Merry Sunshine

I have started quilting Sweet Dreams but it doesn't show much yet. I have put shingles on most of the houses. I can only quilt for a short time before getting frustrated with it so I am working on Merry Sunshine at the same time.



I tried the rising sun and I think I like the look of it but I am not happy with the blue. I will either buy or dye some that is lighter and brighter. This one is too turquoise and too dark. I don't have any fabric on hand that appeals to me for this part of the sky. I guess it's another trip to the quilt store. Sigh. I will still need something on the bottom to balance the huge sun on the top. I'm not sure what that will be. I had thought of bordering the whole thing with black and white. Now that the top seems to want to be round, that won't be an option. I guess it will tell me what it wants when the time comes.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

TaDa!

I put all your names in a hat and drew out one. The lucky winner of a bag is Katie from Mismatched Quilter. As soon as you email me with your address and color preference, your bag will be in the mail. Thanks to everyone for their good wishes. I wish I had 26 bags to give away but alas, I am not quite that productive.


Here is what I have been working on. I am not sure if I will use the little people but so far that is my plan. I have to make some more men but they are much harder to do because you have to make legs. Anything on an angle is more difficult. Unless I decide to make it an all-girl quilt. I want to use the piano key border that I rejected for the last one and will probably put a moon and a few stars on the last border. I plan to do them in a color similar to the background so they fade a bit. I am tossing around the idea of a sun on the top half of the quilt, rather than more people. I'll have to spend some time figuring out how I will do that. I want it to be pieced rather than appliqued so it will require some planning. Thank goodness for wonky!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Anniversary


This is my 399th post and later this month it will be my second anniversary of blogging. To celebrate those two events I am offering one of the bags from the picture to one person who comments before the next post. I'll wait a couple of days to give people in a different time zone a chance too. I'll draw one name from the comments and the winner will get the bag of their choice.


Meanwhile, I got Sweet Dreams sandwiched and pinned but then realized that I don't have enough thread of the right color to quilt it. I'll get thread next time I go to town but in the meantime I have started a Good Morning quilt to go with it. These words are the start of a little poem I learned when I was young. I'm not sure if I will stop here or do the rest of the verse. It is a lot of fun making the letters. I'm still not quite satisfied with the word Morning. I've re-sewn it about five times already. The i has to jump up or it gets lost but maybe this one is jumping a bit too enthusiastically. Also the n and g don't seem to be in quite the right place. I usually put a little strip of background fabric between each letter but this time I am trying it with them touching.

I Googled the verse to see who wrote it and it seems to be good old Anonymous. There are two slightly different versions and lots of verses. I'll use the one I learned.

Good Morning merry sunshine
How did you wake so soon?
You scared away the little stars
And shined away the moon.

I am thinking I will use a moon and a couple of stars in the border. I'm not sure what else I'll need but I do love the look of the dark blue letters on the bright yellow background.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thanksgiving


Everyone just left after our big Thanksgiving dinner. We had turkey with stuffing and gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, salad and three kinds of pie. I forgot to take a picture until we were already eating the pie but you get the picture anyway. Carmel, everyone is waving at you and wishing you were all here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sunrise


Here is a picture of a sunrise from our kitchen window. I actually went out on the deck to take it but it's what I look at while eating breakfast, if I'm not reading blogs, that is.
This morning we are leaving for a couple of days in Virden, Mantioba to take down an art show and visit friends. There is a quilter involved so it should be fun. Virden is about 300 km (I think around 150 miles) from here so we are going to leave early and take our time driving. Hopefully, I will have some interesting pictures to show you when I get back.
Monday is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada so I'll be cooking on Sunday and entertaining our children and their families on Monday.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Fabrics Again


We went to Winnipeg yesterday so I, of course, went fabric shopping. I was looking for a black or dark brown mottleld fabric. I didn't find that but naturally I couldn't come away empty handed so these are what I bought. The bead things are purse handles that were regular $8.99 on sale for $1.00. I bought 4 of them and thought later that I should have bought all of them. They'd look pretty cute on an evening bag. Not that I use evening bags. I seldom get out of my jeans (at least I am out of PJs most of the day). I do enjoy making bags though.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sweet Dreams Borders


I have put the piano key borders back in the parts drawer. The quilt was just getting too big. I want it for a wall hanging, not a queen sized bed. The piano keys would have meant at least 6 inches more on each side. Without the piano keys the black and white I was planning to use looked too strong and intense. I think I like it better with this blue fabric. It has little castles and moons and stars on it, the perfect images for sweet dreams. I also feel that the blue color mellows the whole thing out a bit and gives a hint of night sky surrounding the little houses.


Here is a close up of the blue fabric.