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Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Blocks

Here are a few more blocks I've made from my new quilting book. I love their way of making tons of blocks and then having fun putting them together. That's what I did with Micha's quilt and it was really a blast and it turned out fine. I also like Freddy Moran's theory that you can't have too much colour. This quilt will be a real test of that.

The close up of the two houses shows how the animals fit into the houses. The horse had an orange roof but it was too small so I ripped it off and will use it on a smaller house. The houses are getting a bit more wonky but I want to take it even further.


Yesterday and last night we had about a foot and a half of nice, soft, fluffy, white snow. We went for a walk and Simba was almost out of sight in it. He was totally enjoying it. In fact , in the morning when I went out on the deck to get something, he actually grabbed my hand in his mouth and tried to coax me out for a walk. It was so funny. I just had to get dressed properly and go.

Here is a picture of our table on the deck with it's layer of snow. It looks just like a big white cake. I should put a candle in it. I'm not sure why the picture turned out so blue but you can see the effect anyway.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Pamphlet Hanger Done

I finished the Pamphlet Hanger this morning and already I can see things I would do differently. Mainly, I would put some sort of heavier backing on it. It puckered a bit when I sewed on the pockets and I think it generally just looks a bit flimsy. It may look better when it is filled with pamphlets. I would sew the binding to the back and topstitch it down on the front. It would look just as good and save a lot of time. I kept forgetting that it was not a quilt and that no one would ever see the back. I put on a bottom hanging sleeve in case it buckles when it's full. Still, I really like the look of it and it should brighten up Christine's office. I didn't have any dowling to put in the sleeve so in the photo it's just pinned to my design wall.

Once that was done, inspired by my new quilting book and recalling Tonya's wonky houses, I used some of the jungle print from the hanger to make these houses. I think the rest of them will be more wonky though. My feeling is, the wonkier the better. I might also remove the grass from the monkey house and put in the vine fabric with a dark path like the hippo has. I also don't like the way the sky comes only to the edge of the roof but that might have to stay. If it were more wonky that area would look better. I do love how the fabric made the door for the monkey and he is standing in front of his house. There are several more animals in the fabric so there will be more houses.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Book Adventure

When we went to California, I bought Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes to read on our trip. Unfortunately, the last 40 pages or so were missing. Instead it started over. I brought the book back to the bookstore where I bought it. They replaced it with a different copy, and found another faulty one on their shelves in the process. I finished it and passed it to Cherie to read. Her comment was that it was a great book but it started on page 41. This one had the beginning missing. Yesterday we went to Winnipeg so I took it back to the bookstore. They were happy to replace it but had no copies at that location. I opted for a credit because I had already read the book. Instead I bought this book!!!!

I have only read part of it but just looking at their sample quilts is inspiring! And I love their idea of a Border Patrol to go along with the Quilt Police. I am about to start a new quilt and I know they will be an inspiration. Now I am off to read some more of it before I head out to the studio.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Christmas is over and silence reigns once more. We had a great Christmas thanks in part to Cherie's great cooking. We all want that stuffing recipe now.
Yesterday Christine (DIL for those who don't know us) came over and we worked on a wall hanging for her pamphlets at work. We got the hard part of measuring etc. done and all that is left is to sew it together. There will be three rows of pockets in the print fabric and I might put a 3 inch border of print around the edges. I'll put a hanging sleeve on the back. This morning I managed to sew the first row of pockets on but now we have to head out to Winnipeg so it will have to wait until tomorrow. We both love the colors and the print fabric. It's very suitable because she works with kids. The picture is a bit dark but you can get an idea of what it is like. I am just wondering if I should put a backing on it to make it stiffer. I guess I'll be able to tell when it's all done. I don't want it to buckle with the weight of the pamphlets but I am hoping that a hanging sleeve will prevent that.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

NinePatch Done!

I grabbed a few spare minutes this morning to finish the binding on the NinePatch. I had a long piece of bias cut binding so I thought I'd try round corners on this one. It sort of softens up the squares of the piecing and goes with the round pattern on the border quilting. It is large enough for a topper on my queen bed but it will probably be a sofa quilt. I am not really happy with the quilting. It stretched out of shape a bit on the first couple of rows of stitching. Then I did free motion on the borders. I am still learning FM as you can see on the close up. It was good practise though so it is not a total loss. Now I have to wash it to see if the marking comes out. I just hate washing new quilts but I think I will have to on this one so I will know if it is safet to use the blue carpenter's chalk for marking on white.
Now off to do some more cooking.
Merry Christmas to all you bloggers out there. Have a good one!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another One Pinned

Today I pinned the Butterflies. It has been sitting on my design wall staring at me, begging to be finished, so I spent an hour or so pinning. I am thinking of doing free motion on it. The blue will be some sort of meander. I may try to get a cloudy look that I have seen in some magazines. I think I will try some feathers on the wings but maybe when I get to that stage I will chicken out. I'll see how the meander goes. It probably won't go any farther than this before Christmas but at least when I am ready to quilt, it will be pinned and waiting. You can see in the picture that the back is orange. I have lots of orange thread but I'm not sure how that will look on the blue. I'll have to try a sample. The other option is orange bobbin thread and blue on the top. I'll know once I make a couple of samples.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jacket Update

I had to dye the blue fabric twice, the second time with a tiny bit of black as well as more blue, and I would still prefer it alittle bit darker, but decided it was close enough. I like it much better than the black flowery fabric. I still have a couple of little mistakes to correct and binding to put on all around. I am still debating whether to put some sort of buttons on it. Since it was a sweater, there is not really enough fabric to overlap it. I could use round elastic or make tabs from cloth. Or it could be buttonless.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

New Fabrics

Today is the last day our fabric store will be open, but since we will be busy today, I went for a last splurge yesterday. All the quilting fabric was 60% off so I had to buy quite a bit. How to stop, or maybe why, was the question. I ended up with quite a nice assortment and they will match with what I already bought a few weeks ago. I also bought quite a few spools of thread. They didn't have much left but there was some that matched the purples. It all came to less than $100 so I was pretty happy.
Yesterday I got really tired of looking at the flowered fabric on my patchwork jacket so I took it all apart and removed that fabric. It was the last on so it was not that big a deal to take it off. Then I dyed a piece of cotton that I had on hand to a medium blue. I don't think it will exactly match the blue that is already on the jacket. I ran out of that dye and now I can't remember which one it was. I guess I should keep notes but that is just not my style. Maybe an New Year's Resolution? Anyway, stay tuned for a new look. I just didn't have any enemies bad enough to give it to as Lily suggested so I thought I had better remake it to something I actually like. I already liked everything except the flowers so it seemed sensible to change that.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Katya's Pincushion

Here is a tutorial for a really neat pincushion. I have changed the pattern to inches instead of cms but if you want to go metric, it is 5 cm where I have 2 inches. I thinkinches makes a slightly bigger pincushion but any size will work.

You need:
Fabric A: 1 piece 6.5 x 6.5 inches and 1 piece 2x2 inches
Fabric B:1 piece 6.6 x 6.5 inches and 1 piece 2x2 inches
Cardboard: 1 piece 6 x 6

Sew the two small fabric pieces right sides together using a quarter inch seam. Leave a small opening for turning. Turn them right side out and stuff with batting. Sew up the opening by hand.

Cut the cardboard and draw on the inner lines every 2 inches. Score these lines with scissors or a knife so you can fold on them. They will be folded as in Origami. The angle lines are reverse folded.

Sew the two fabric pieces, right sides together with a quarter inch seam, leaving a gap of at least 3 inches on one side. Secure the seam with some backstitches. Turn right side out. Fold the cardboard so you can get it inside the fabric square. This is the hardest part! Sew up the opening by hand. Fold the cardboard diagonals up. Sew the pinchushion to the top.

I hope this is clear. If there are any questions feel free to email me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Katrina at Sunshower Quilts
posted a tutorial about making patchwork jackets using a sweater. I just had to try it. I don't like the flowery fabric under the arms. If I had used the blue fabric (just supposing I had any left!) it might have been all right but with the black flowery fabric it is just too busy even for me.
The technique is great though and I am thinking it might work using a sweater with a zipper. I'm not sure what to do with this one. I may finish it and give it to someone as a gift. They'd have to wear it or hurt my feelings. Lol.

Beta Blogger

I finally bit the bullet and made the change to Beta, mainly because I couldn't leave comments on any blog that had changed. After several witty and wise comments disappeared into the ether, I decided that I had no choice. So far there have been no problems. I haven't logged out and back in so who knows what awaits.

Yesterday we went thrift shopping and I found these odd little scissors for $1 each. There were two more which I didn't buy. I am now wondering why. Maybe because I already have 6 pairs that work just fine. I couldn't find any cloth to try them on. I didn't think the ladies in charge would appreciate my trying them out on some of the clothes that were hanging nearby. When I got them home I tried them and found that they are nice and sharp. What will I use them for? Good question, but I am sure they will find a use eventually.

The beautiful frost is all gone now but the sun is shining so it's a fair exchange.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fairy Frost

We woke up to a real fairyland today. We went for a walk and took a lot of photos. It would be hard to find scenery more beautiful than this. Now it is mid afternoon and the frost is even thicker on the trees and it is still foggy. I am so glad we don't have to drive in it and can just enjoy it.

True and Reve

True is feeling much better as you can see in the photo. His Mum painted his cast. There is a dragon on the back. Of course Reve had to have one too so he could be just like big brother.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

More Simba

Since I don't have anything quilty to show, here is another Simba picture. You can see how he enjoys his walk (run) up at the stones. The weather has been a bit milder and a lot of the snow has melted. It was quite foggy all day and this afternoon white frost started forming on the trees. Hopefully, tomorrow it will look like fairyland around here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hat Instructions

Lois R asked for instructions for the polar fleece hat so here goes. The exact size depends on the size of your head, but also on how stretchy the fleece is. Some fleece is much more stretchy and can be made smaller. The measurements shown fit my head if the fleece is quite stretchy. To make it larger just add a bit to each end of the brim and make the top the same.
Cut 2 brim pieces. Notice that the ear flaps are closer to the back. My first one had the flaps in the middle of the brim and they were totally in the wrong place. Sew the back of each brim piece. If you want strings, braid three pieces of fleece and insert them before you sew the two brim pieces together. Then sew the two brim pieces together wrong sides facing along the edge with the flaps. (The curved edge.) Turn right side out and machine baste the top edge.
Now the fun part is adding decoration. I cut a half inch strip of fleece with the stretch. When you pull it, it will turn under and you can zigzag it on. The wonderful thing about fleece is that it won't fray.

Cut two top pieces and sew them together on the round edge to make a hat shape. Then fold it half right sides together so that the seams touch and sew another curve the opposite way. THat doesn't sound very clear, but you should end up with a cross on the top. This just makes the hat rounder. It should look like the top on the pink and blue one.I didn't take a picture of that step but if it is unclear I can take one when I make my next hat. I only do one layer for the top but if you want it very warm you can use two layers. Place the brim and hat raw edeges together right sides together and sew them. Turn right side out.
Voila! That's all there is to it.

New Hat

Yesterday, since I couldn't work on my quilt I decided to make myself a new hat. It is made of polar fleece and I have made dozens of these hats. I took the pattern from a hat that one of my granddaughters got for Christmas one year. The boys don't like the braided ties but otherwise they seem to be unisex. (The hats, that is, not the boys!) I also have to be careful of the colors for the guys. The blue and white one didn't pass because those are Toronto Maple Leaf colors. Oh oh.
The trim in lighter blue is made by cutting a strip of polar fleece about half an inch wide in the direction of most stretch and pulling it. It curls under on both sides and makes a perfect strip to zigzag on.
I like this hat pattern because it makes a hat that keeps my ears warm. There are few things warmer than a double layer of polar fleece.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Quilting the Ninepatch

I am nearly done quilting the NinePatch but I had to spend most of the moring ripping out. The machine wasn't sewing properly and I didn't notice until I had done a row and a half all the way around the quilt. I am not very happy with the quilting job but I have ripped out all I am willing to do. I think it will be a couch quilt.

And here is Simba watching us get ready to go for a walk. He can tell when we are getting dressed and he gets very eager. Thank goodness hunting season is over and we can walk without fear of getting shot at!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Full Moon

Sorry no pictures again. I forgot to get batteries in town yesterday. Too bad because tonight there is a beautiful full moon that leaves shadows on the snow. It is incredible. Maybe I'll get some photos tomorrow night.
True's swelling has gone down in his fingers and he's feeling much better today. He will be able to start going for walks and doing something other than playing with his Game Boy.I'm sure he'll be heartily sick of that cast before it's finally off.
I have been quilting on my Nine Patch and am now working on the border. One more day might do it but I have chosen quite a complicated border so maybe not. It's a good thing I am a Maverick quilter because the quilting on this one is really maverick! I think I should have used more pins especially where I made the first couple of rows of stitching. They kind of stretched out of shape. Well, luckily, it's a busy pattern with lots of colors so not as noticable as it could have been. Hopefully there will be a picture of the finished quilt in a few days.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Broken Arm

My 9 year old grandson from Australia fell and broke both bones in his arm yesterday. He had to be in the hospital overnight and is still on painkillers which explains the groggy appearance. Such bad luck. No swimming all through the holidays because he will be in a cast for at least 6 weeks. He will have to stay home and keep the arm elevated for at least a week. Right now he is saying he wants to stay home until the new year but I think that may get old fairly quickly. I only wish we could be there to help entertain him or at least give him a big hug.
Today will be a day of working on machine quilting the nine patch but I usually end up with a sore neck and back when I do too much of it so I will have to pace myself a bit more.
I think hunting season ends today (I hope!) so we will be able to go for a walk when we feel like it again. Simba will be the happiest dog on the planet. He can't figure out what is wrong with us that we are never walking anymore.

Friday, December 01, 2006

No Pictures

Today the camera batteries don't seem to want to charge so no pictures.
I have started quilting the ninepatch quilt but that is not very interesting to look at and I still haven't decided what to do with the butterfly quilt so really there are no photo-ops anyway.
Blogger is getting more and more eager for us to change over so I suppose soon we will have no choice. I hate changing anything on the computer because all too often there are problems. I think I will save every thing on CD before I start if that is possible.
Today it's snowing lightly and would be perfect for a walk with Simba but I saw two truckloads of hunters so I guess hunting season is still on. I thought it would be over by the end of November but I guess it is the end of this week. Sorry Simba, no walk again today.