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Friday, November 30, 2007

Quilting at Last


Today I finally got my stitch regulator. It was easy to assemble with no problems at all attaching it. Loading the quilt is quite a job but I'm sure I'll get better at it with practise. I got a start on the first row of quilting but then had to stop for a break. It will get easier I'm sure. It's a bit tense at first.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Winter Words


I am plugging away at the winter words. I am thinking of doing another Aurora Borealis using dark blue fabric and bleach. If I can get the look I want, I'll go back in with turquoise dye. Meanwhile, icicles is too dark for the rest of the letters so I'll either do it again or make some more words with that blue. I am going to make snowflakes so maybe I'll use that color for it if I have enough fabric left.
I seem to be at a place where I am sick of this one. Maybe it's all the cold colors. I am more interested when I'm using lots of different brights. Or maybe it's because it's -20 outside and all white with snow. Maybe I need color inside. Should I switch to spring now and do winter when it's sweltering and I'd give anything for a breath of cool air?
I am still waiting for my stitch regulator. I don't want to load a quilt in case I have to take the frame apart to get it installed. The dealer here has called Pfaff but there seems to be some delay. We have to go to town tomorrow so I'll drop in then and see what's happening.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Impatient Patchworker

A new book arrived in my mailbox today and it couldn't be more suited to me. Impatient patchworker describes me to a tee. The Impatient Patchworker by Jayne Emerson is really aimed at the beginner but has great ideas that will keep the more experienced person interested too. It starts with a basic skills section covering fabrics, equipment and basic sewing and quilting techniques.
The second section is a series of well explained and illustrated projects, starting with a padded coat hanger cover and ending with a zippered makeup bag. Some of the other projects include an apron, cushions. potholders, a clothespin bag, an apron and a notebook cover.
The final section consists of useful information like fabric information, templates for some of the projects and useful terms for sewing.


You can't tell what a book is like until you actually use it though so I headed to the sewing studio to make one of the projects. I seem to be addicted to bags lately so I tried out the padded shoulder bag. It was near the end of the book but still quite simple to make. In case you are nervous about choosing fabric the author gives you the name and number of the Rowan fabric that she used in the illustrated bag. For me, choosing the fabric is half the fun so I spent a little while doing that. The bag only took a couple of hours to make although it would probably take longer for an inexperienced person. The directions were clear and complete. Everything fit together as it should. I will probably add some kind of fastener but other than that I wouldn't change anything.
This book is beautifully done and would be a good addition to any sewing library but it would be especially appropriate for someone who is just starting.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Winter Wonders


It's a good day to be working on a winter quilt because it's snowing and quite cold outside.
I made two more Northern Lights blocks but I'm not totally satisfied with either of them. I may try one with a darker blue and the turquoise. I can still use the one with the pink too if I feel that the whole work is too cold and needs a touch of a warmer color. The color is really off it this picture. The background is actually white so you can see that everything has a brownish cast.

I still have lots of words that I plan to make including snowflake which may be accompanied by a snowflake block or some snowflake fabric. I have a fat quarter that has blue designs that look a lot like snowflakes. I just need to get the right off-white color to go with it.

I am working on a list of winter words but since I have called it Winter Wonders I'm thinking I'll stick to nature phenomena and not use sports like skiing and sledding.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Grey Cup

Today is Grey Cup Day and although I am not into football, we are having lots of family over to watch it so no quilting today.
Instead I found out my fairy name.

Your fairy is called Tangle Rainbowshimmer
She is a fortune bringer.
She lives at the bottom of tangled gardens and in hedgerows.
She is only seen when the first flowers begin to blossom.
She wears tangled dresses of multicoloured petals. She has multicoloured wings like a butterfly.


Not sure if the first name refers to my normal hairdo or not. The multicoloured part certainly fits well enough.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fabrics


Here are my gift fabrics unfolded. Each piece is 18 inches by the width of the fabric so there is lots there to do something with. I will definitely be thinking a bit before I cut into them. I could see a beautiful romantic bag from the pattern I have been using lately. Some of them may appear on a spring or summer wall hanging which will follow the autumn and winter ones.

We had two Thanksgiving feasts this year thanks to Brenda and Du from North Dakota who did a bit of cross-border friend shopping last summer. The Canadian one is in October and the Americans celebrate in November. Great timing, I'd say!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Paris Bebe Fabrics


A little while ago I was notified that I had won some fabric from Paris Bebe.
I was thrilled to win something but that was nothing compared to the thrill of opening the BIG box that came in the mail today and finding not the one package of fat quarters that I expected but FOUR of them. Each package has either 4 or 5 fat quarters and is done up with a net ribbon and a rhinestone pin on the top. She also included a pattern for an apron made of fat quarters. Did she know about my current apron mania or what? Her fabrics are simply delicious and I think I will have to save them for a project of their own.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Winter


Since I finished piecing the Crimson Forest, I'm still waiting for the stitch regulator and it started snowing today, it seemed the right time to start a winter quilt. I am still in the early planning stages but I pulled out my blues and pastels and whites. I want to do one with low contrast and cold colors. I did find a hand dye that reminded me of the Northern Lights but I'm not sure if I will use it. I'll have to see how it goes with whatever else I come up with. The frost word is on a bit of the fabric I bought for the duvet cover. It reminded me of frost on a window pane when I first saw it. Maybe the word doesn't show up much but I want it to be very subtle. That's why I'm not sure about the spiral Northern Lights. I may try to dye another one using ice blue and turquoise.

I have the backing made for several tops that have been waiting in line so when I get the stitch regulator (hopefully Friday or Monday) I'll be able to wade right into them.

Edit: It has just been pointed out to me that Borealis is spelled wrong. No worries. It's not sewn down. Spelling was never my strong suit. I used red letters because my face is red.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Almost Finished


I have almost finished putting the crimson forest together. Today I sewed on the orange and green bushes and the Blue Jays. (Thanks to Rose Marie) I still want to put on a few drifting leaves and I need another narrow blue border around the whole thing to stabilize it. I plan to do a lot of quilting on this one so it will sit in line until I have a bit more experience on the new frame. I'll be loading up my Wonky log cabins soon for my first real quilt. I'll do some sort of all over pattern, probably from one of the pantograms.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More Practise


I put black thread in the needle so I could see what I was doing a bit better. The fish is a pattern from a quilting magazine that I copied out ages ago. I need to make a fishy or watery quilt to use it. I tried a bit of meandering but I think I need the stitch regulator to do that well. There is no way to regulate the speed with the machine plugged into the frame unless you have it. That makes it pretty well impossible to make even stitches. I have been concentrating on getting nice even curves and a sharp point where I want points. When using the laser pen it's also hard to know if the pattern is too wide to fit under the harp of the machine. I will have to follow the pattern with the machine not running the first time. I had the problem with the fish. That's why the bottom fin is so flat.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Inspira Frame


I finally got my new frame up and running. It was good to have a few days to learn the new machine so it wasn't wasted time. I don't have the stitch regulator on yet. I think they sent me the wrong one. The dealer is going to call Pfaff and if it's the wrong one he'll get the right one. This one fits on the NG frame but not on this one as far as I can see.


I have done some scribbles and tried following a couple of the pantograms. Not as easy as it looks but I don't think it will take much practise to get reasonably good results. The machine is working like a dream so far. The main thing is to remember to put down the presser foot. I guess I will finish practising on this piece of fabric and then load a real quilt. It will be a scrappy one so the quilting won't show too much. All in all, this is a lot more fun than wrestling a big quilt around on the regular machine.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Duvet Cover


Here is a rather poor photo of the duvet cover. It's pretty simple but very comfortable. The back is the flat sheet of the set we bought recently. I didn't line it at all but serged all the seams after they were pieced together. Hopefully, it will hold up to repeated washing.

I have been working away at the quilting frame. It is good to go except for the stitch regulator. It is a Grace Sure Stitch and the instruction booklet doesn't explain at all how to put it on the Inspira frame. Since it was sold as a package deal, I have to assume that they are compatible. I'll have to call the dealer that sold it to me I guess.

I put the borders or the newest quilt and now realize the benefit of the Pfaff built-in walking foot. I used the new machine that doesn't have one and the borders ended up shorter than the quilt resulting in a big puff when I put it up on the design wall. I'll be taking them off and re-doing them using my other machine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Piecing


I have spent some time with my new machine on the table today. I finished the duvet cover. It's just large squares so it was a good one to start on with an unfamiliar machine. Today I cut and pieced blocks for a table topper from a 2001 The Quilter magazine that I picked up at the thrift shop awhile ago. It's a bit more precision so I am moving up to the next step. I finished the blocks and since I took the picture I have sewn together half of the rows. The color is really off on my computer screen. The lighter strips are almost pink and the background is just off white. The dark is a dark brawn with off white dots. It will be a good one for the new frame because I can try pantograms or free motion in the snowball blocks. I'll probably start with the Mile-a-Minute quilt though because the mistakes (if there are any, ha ha) will be pretty well hidden by the patchwork.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Art Show


These paintings are the contribution of our daughter, Carmel, to the art show. She lives in Australia and sent her paintings over to be part of the group that is showing together. The people at the gallery did a particularly good job of displaying her paintings this time.

Yesterday I bit the bullet and bought a Pfaff Grand Quilter and Inspira frame. I'll post pictures when we get it set up. I tried the machine on the table yesterday and it is FAST! I'm sure there will be a steep learning curve using it on the frame but it will be fun.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Won!

When I got up to check my mail this morning I found I had won a Rhinestone fat quarter package from Paris Bebe Fabrics ! I am impressed! I almost never win anything and they had 85 comments! Now I can't wait to get it. It looks like gorgeous fabric.



Yesterday Marcel (DH for those who don't know us personally) had an art show opening in Portage. This is a picture of his pots and some of his paintings. The paintings on the far left are by Alison Williams of Australia.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Crimson Forest


Here is the next and almost last version. I have not sewn down the light tree, the front bushes or the falling leaves. The blue jay is still paper but Rose Marie has kindly offered to send me a couple of fabric Jays. That solves one problem nicely. The orange bushes looked like fire at first but I think the yellow and green leaves have helped. I'll also use a dark thread to put some branches and shadows in. I will be doing a lot of thread work on this one. I want to make half of the tree row below the hills look like a reflection and I hope I can do that with thread.

I am getting a bit tired of working on this landscape so for a bit of relief, today I cut out 25 blue squares to make a duvet cover. They will be 15 inches finished and then I'll put on a border to make it the right size. I am in the mood for some mindless, straight sewing. It will need a zipper but zippers hold no terror for me. I have sewn thousands into garments, at least it seems like thousands. I found a long zipper at the thrift store awhile ago and have been saving it for the next duvet cover.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Blade Sharpener


I have had several people asking if the rotary blade sharpener works. I have only sharpened one blade so far. It was not very dull but had a couple of spots that didn't cut. I find it very annoying when the cut has two or three threads still holding. After sharpening it cut like a dream. I will be sharpening a couple of much duller blades later today but I see no reason why it won't work. There are two little grinders, one coarser and one finer. Apparently they are diamond grinders so they should last at least as long as my marriage. Lol. The other good thing is that the same tool will sharpen large and small blades. It will not fit the tiniest blade though. I think that one is 28 cm if you are in Canada. I don't have a cutter that small so it's not a problem for me.



I bought some different sky fabric while I was away. I was not happy with the two different fabrics I had and I didn't want the darker stormy looking hand dyed one. I am looking for more of a bright, sunny fall day. It isn't sewn down yet. If I decide I don't like it, I might dye a piece of turquoise the same as the lake. The orange fabric in the foreground is the one I bought this week too. It has little leaves on it and I may cut it to resemble bushes. I am also thinking of sewing tiny flowers on the foreground too if I can find some that seem to be autumn flowers. I had some yellow daisy looking flowers but who knows where they are at this point? Maybe another trip to the thrift shop??

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Haul


Here is a picture of the quilting fabric I got in the States. I also got a rotary blade sharpener. I am hoping it works well because I have lots and lots of dull blades, including the one that is in my rotary cutter right now.
The blues are for a duvet cover top that I have been planning to make for several months now. It will be very plain with fairly large squares or rectangles. Because it will be washed often, I don't want a lot of seams. I may offset the squares and serge it together.
The quilt show at the Plains Art Gallery in Fargo was absolutely fantastic. One wall had about 50 journal sized quilts arranged in a square that was very eye-catching. I came out of the gallery inspired to add beads, yarns and other found objects to my quilts. The thing that probably strikes you the most in any quilt show is the gorgeous colors and this one was no exception. If you are anywhere within striking distance, I'd say this show is one not to be missed.

Monday, November 05, 2007

What's On Your Bed?


Somebody started asking people the above question so I thought I'd add my two cents worth. This is the first full sized quilt I made. It's a rail fence pattern done with Bali Batiks. That's when I decided that scrappy might be the way to go, given the cost of all that batik. It's even backed with batik. The red design in the middle is seven hearts that join to form a star. Technically, I have come a long ways but I still really like this quilt.

The chest at the foot of the bed was hand carved by a friend back in the mid-seventies. It holds several more quilts. The stained glass fairy in the window was a gift from our daughter-in-law. She bought it in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

As you can see out the window, autumn is totally over here and we are just waiting for snow. It looks very much like it could happen today.

I worked a bit on my newest creation but there isn't enough change to warrant a picture. We will be going to Fargo for a couple of days so I may be absent during that time. I hope to spend a lot of time in fabric stores searching for the perfect crimson fabric. I have heard that there is a quilt show at The Plains Art Gallery so we want to check that out too. It should be fun!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Reincarnation


Here is the scenery at the next level. So far the sky, hills and first row of forest are sewn down. The rest is still quite likely to move around. The big black tree is leaning into the picture that much to cover the seam between the two pieces of sky fabric. The fabric on the left was given to me but there wasn't enough to do the whole sky. The rest is one of my hand dyes. I don't have any fabric that I could really call crimson except a very Christmassy one with gold snowflakes on it. I am thinking of doing some leaves with that snip and glue down technique. I've seen it on some quilts and really like the look of it. It would bring the foreground forward nicely.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More Indian Summer



Too bad we aren't actually having Indian Summer. It has cooled off considerably and there is ice on the water this morning.

Here are a couple of arrangements that I've come up with so far. The second line of hills is the only change between the two pictures. I haven't decided which I like better. The turquoise in the foreground will be a stream or a pond. It won't be as long as this. The big black thing is, as Judy suggested, a big old tree. Maybe the blue jay will sit on it if I can figure out how to make it. Maybe this is the time to learn how to print on cloth from the computer. I'm not sure how many different techniques I need on one quilt though , and I do want it to still be wonky enough to match the letters.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Indian Summer


I have tried the arrangement with the words forming the border. I quite like it but am having a problem with what to put in the middle. I have pinned some fabric in fall colors to the wall but have no exact plans as to how they will end up. I 'll do one on paper and use that for a pattern. On the left is a picture of a blue jay printed from the computer, just to see how it would look. I've no idea how I will try to put that one together. I'll probably have to put a large tree or branch on that side for it to sit on. I am thinking a bit of raw edge aplique. I've never tried it but I think it would suit this project very well.

I have made two more aprons but I haven't gotten any pictures of them yet.