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Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I tried a few different borders on my cityscape today. I made a bit of zigzag but it didn't look like lightning and it was too busy. It detracted from the city. I also tried orange fire-looking fabric instead of the pinky purple but for some reason it didn't look as good.

Then I got the idea that the city might look bigger if I brought it right out to the border, rather than having it isolated by sky. The two new buildings are not sewn on. I just noticed that the little lean-to on the lelft side has slipped a bit. It should be on top of the grass not at the bottom of it. Maybe it looks a bit to heavy on the right side. Perhaps a shorter building there? Or maybe a taller one on the left? I thought I would let them sit overnight before deciding which I like better. Any opinions?


I couldn't resist posting this photo I took this morning. When the weather is just right, meaning very cold, we experience a phenomenon called Sundogs. Today they are the most defined that I have seen in a long time. They are like little rainbows that form on each side of the sun. It's very beautiful but I still have spots in front of my eyes from taking the photo.
Now I will run out to the studio (and I mean that literally because the wind chill is -29 celsius) and try a colored border on my city quilt.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I never seem to be quite satisfied with this city. This morning I took the bottom half off and worked on it. I put windows in the house on the right and then shifted it down so that the roofline is staggered. That was hard to do and in a couple of places I had to topstitch. I also changed the black roof on the left house to yelllow. It was just getting lost in the background. There are still a couple of tiny things that I don't like but they not big enough mistakes to be worth ripping half the picutre apart one more time to change them. I also added more sky to the top and to the right so that the houses had a bit more space. I think I will go with this border. It just seems to match the picture better and frames it rather than competes with it.

I now have to decide if I want to add something else. I was thinking of words since I went with snakes instead of words on the jungle quilt. The big question, as usual, is what words? I can't think of a short poem or song that talks about a city. Any suggestions would be appreciated whether I use them or not.

Monday, January 29, 2007


I have done all I can on the cityscape. I tore it half apart this morning to replace the polkadot with a darker fabric. Some parts of it I really like. The blue and pink tower on the left looks just as I want it to. I am less happy with the bottom layer of buildings. I couldn't figure out how to make them overlap the back row the way I wanted. I ended up making two sections and sewing them together. It's not exactly what I want but maybe the next one (if there is a next one) will be better. I would probably spend more time with graph paper or the computer, planning it out. Now that I have done one I know more about how things go together.

Now I have two different borders that I have to chose between. The checkerboard seemed a bit too big for the size of the city. It is really quite small, unlike the jungle which finished at nearly 70 inches square. This one is more like 18 inches at this point. I think I am leaning a bit more toward the checkered looking one but I am not sure yet. Then I will have to think about the next border, if I use one, which I probably will.

Most of the fabrics in this quilt are hand dyes which I made during the last year. I use Procion MX dyes and low water immersion method. I really like the gray smog-like background on this one. I wouldn't want to live in this city though.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

City Progress Report

Here is a progress picture of what I did today. There are a couple of things I would change if I were starting over. The purple and orange polkadots would change places with the dark purple building beside them. The purple would look more like a shadow and the windows would show up better on the dots. There will be more in the gray area to the left and more at the bottom. I think the black and white sqares will look fine when the center is a bit bigger.


Since I don't have enough batting to quilt the jungle I started piecing the cityscape, inspired by the Chinese art book. I am straying far from the original already and in the photo I can already see something I will change. The purple building is too close in color to the purple side of the orange building so I tried it on the right side. I don't mind it there but I might change the side of the orange building to a lighter colour and put the purple building on the left side. I can see that the space between the two bottom windows on the purple building is too wide so I will be taking that apart and making it slightly narrower. I have discovered that with this type of free form quilting you have to be ready to undo often but the good thing is most of the seams are only about an inch or so long. I really like the narrow colored bands around the windows in the book but it's hard to get a strip of fabric that narrow so I might try doing it with thread later. A narrow satin stitch might do the trick.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I finished hand sewing the binding down on the Butterflies quilt so it is done except for the label and clipping a few loose ends. In the end, using two colors of bobbins hasn't been all that obvious and if I can refrain from pointing it out as a mistake, probably no one will even notice it. If they do, it's a design element. I photographed it on our queen size bed so it could easily be a double bed topper or a single quilt. Because I had to photograph it from a strange angle it looks square but it is not. I would have taken the piture outside but the wind chill is about -30 today.

Here is the back showing the cloud-like (I hope) quilting pattern and the attempt at making a feather pattern on the butterfly wings.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Almost Done!

Today I made the last two snakes and sewed them on to the borders. Now all I have to do is sew the borders on. The next big question will be how to quilt it. I probably have to get some more batting before I start, so I will probably not get at the quilting right away. I had planned to do something fairly interesting on the houses, like pebbles on the driveway and shingles on the roof. I am thinking of some kind of leaves around the snakes too. This may all change when I actually start quilting. I had planned to quilt the houses first and then add the borders but in the heat of the moment I forgot. I may cut the batting in three pieces as was suggested by Keryn at Quilting Twin. I have Machine Quilting in Sections by Marti Mitchell and she goes into detail about that method.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I finally found a dark border that I can live with. It looks black but it actually has tiny leaf prints. I wanted a touch of green but couldn' t find exactly what I had in mind. This one was on the half price shelf so that was a bonus. I'm not sure if you can see the pattern in the photo. It's hard to take a good closeup with our dinosaur digital camera.

I have some green that looks like snake skin so I thought I'd carry the jungle theme into the border by appliqueing (by machine) snakes there. I had a closer photo but for some reason Blogger took a dislike to it and refused to load it.
I took Lily from Cascade's advice and put on an orange border before the dark one . I really like the way it goes with the pink, surprisingly. Thanks Lily.
I also got a green print for the backing. Both the new pieces are in the washer right now so as soon as that is done I'll get to the snakes. After the snakes are on and the borders attached I think I will finally be ready for quilting.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I have been tagged by Ferret Fabricates to reveal some things about myself that I haven't mentioned before on my blog. Turns out it is a lot harder than you would think.

1. I taught on an Indian Reservation for three years in the 1960's. It was so exciting. We had to fly in with float planes in the summer, landing on the water, and ski planes in the winter. We had to walk everywhere because it was before snowmobiles. The only other transportation was Bombardiers, a sort of car on skis and tracks,but there weren't many of them. There was no electricity or TV or radio. At night in the winter it was absolutely silent except for the ice cracking once in awhile. I loved it.

2. I have travelled a lot in Europe, China, Japan, Australia and USA as well as across Canada. I still have to see South America, India and Africa and the Middle East but not sure when that will happen.

3. I love to cook. I would start a food blog as well as my quilting one but I am too lazy (or hungry) to take the photos before we eat. I also don't really follow recipes all that much and it seems like a lot of work to write out how I make things.

4. We ran a Youth Hostel for awhile in the 1970's. It was fun, like travelling without having the work of going anywhere. We made a pancake breakfast every morning for the travellers.

5. I went to a one-room country school for grades 1 to 7. My first teaching job was in a similar school.

As for tagging others, this meme has been around for awhile and I don't want to tag someone who has already been tagged , so if you haven't done it yet, consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Village Borders

Today I put the trees and the triangle borders on my village. I got so interested in the borders that I forgot that I was going to quilt-as-you-go on this one and do some intricate quilting on the houses. Oh well, maybe I can still do something interesting there but it will be a lot harder on such a large piece. The next thing to decide is how to finish it. I still haven't come up with any words. It might be busy enough already without adding words to the mix. I like the burgundy border but I don't think I have enough of it. I could get some more but if I am going to buy more fabric I might think of black on the outer border. The piece on the left is the other black and white I bought on Wednesday. It might be all right if it was a bit wider, although it looks a bit gray from a distance. I can't use the checkerboard because it's not long enough and I have no more of the black fabric. Well, I will sit on it for a few days and see what ideas come to the surface. Meanwhile I will think about how to quilt it.

New Appliances

I thought I'd just brag a bit about our new appliances. The stove is a Bosch convection, self-cleaning oven and ceramic top. I was a bit leary of the ceramic top because I love my cast iron frying pan and dutch oven. I can still use the dutch oven in the oven but the frying pan has found a new home. Of course my old cookware didn't work either because the bottoms are not flat so I got a Cuisinart set.

The dishwasher is a Bosch too, which we could never have afforded except that they had a second hand one there. They do the repairs in the shop on site so we thought we could take a chance. We have a week to change our minds on it. We have hard well water, so dishwashers tend to not last very long even with our water softener. We have to get an intake hose and some couplings before we can install it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

More Wonky Work

I have been very lax about posting this week. We have been searching for a new stove and dishwasher and finally got them today. The dishwasher is not hooked up yet but the stove is wonderful.

I got some more fabric in Morden but in the end, after auditioning both of them, I still went with the polka dots in the first border of black and white. I lined it with iron-on interfacing to make it a bit stronger. I will use one of the new fabrics in the next black and white border. The checkers will look great on a cityscape if I make one.
Today I put the dotted border on and the trees on three sides. I still need one more tree. I thought I had enough but when you sew them together the strip gets shorter. Then it will be the triangle border but I have to decide whether the next black and white border will go between thetrees and triangles or after the triangles. In the picture I have it between the trees and triangles but now I am thinking it might be better on the other side of the triangles.

Monday, January 15, 2007


These pages are from the Chinese books I mentioned yesterday. They could be the inspiration for my next quilt. I especially like the city on the right. Maybe my checkerboard fabric will get used soon. I think it would look great around something like this.

Trees are Done!

Whew! I am pretty tired of doing trees but I think I have enough to go around the quilt. This is turning out to be a medallion type quilt. I have pretty well decided to retire the checkered piece to the Parts Department for later use, but it will stay in place until I find something I like better. Today I finished the triangle border, which took almost no time. They are very fast if you string piece them and you can be as sloppy as you want as long as they cover the base rectangle,because they are all supposed to be slightly different sizes. Lol. My type of quilting! Then I did a lot more trees. I got so tired of all the tiny piecing that I made some from fussy cut prints and they turned out quite well. The center bottom one on the pink and blue background is a bit square for my taste but I like the way it looks like a shadow on the ground. I ran out of the darker pink so I had to use a lighter piece. I want to try it with a water looking piece eventually. That's the great thing about this kind of piecing. You discover all sorts of things by accident.
I still have to arrange the trees and try to get them all the same height so I can make them into a border. I also noticed when I looked at the photo, that part of the pink triangle border is on upside down. Good thing it's only pinned to the design wall.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More Village

First, for a bit of a change, here are a few pages from some art books from China. Their designs are fantastic. If I were into applique I would use some for sure, at least as a starting point. Maybe I will do some fusing using some of their ideas. There are several pages of borders too that are very interesting. Maybe I will take more photos tomorrow.

Today I made some checker strips and sewed them onto the village but now I am not so sure about it. The comment I got was that it changed it from a jungle look to more of an urban look. I think that is right so the checks may have to find a different home. I had exactly enough fabric and in fact, the last two black squares had to be pieced. I am planning to back the dotted fabric with interfacing so I can use it. I really like that fabric. So, it may go where the checks are or if I go to town I might look for something that appeals to me more. Luckily, it's not time wasted because you can never have too much in your parts department. I really like the looks of the triangles on the pinkish fabric so I will make some more of that and do a lot more trees.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Still in the Village

I'm sure you are all getting tired of the endless pictures of my village but that is all I am working on right now. I have made lots more trees and tried the triangle border from Freddy and Gwen's book. It is easy to do and I quite like the look of it. I don't think I will be able to use the black and white polkadot fabric, much as I like it. It is quite flimsy and almost transparent. I will look for some real quilting fabric like that. Black and whites are a bit hard to find but I am sure if I look I will find something. I really like the dots but any bold geometric pattern will do. I think it will have to be quite strong to stand up to the colors of the village.
I am thinking that I will Quilt as You Go on this one. I want to do some interesting quilitng on the houses that would be very difficult on a whole quilt. Once I get the right black and white I will start quilting the center pannel.
I still haven't settled on what words I want to use. Any suggestions would be welcome.
It's still great quilting weather here. In other words freezing cold and windy. The sun is shining brightly though so we are feeling quite cheerful about it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Parts Department

I made more trees for the forest. The spruce looking trees are from Freddy and Gwen's book. The round ones are from a paper piecing pattern I saw in a quilting magazine but I didn't paper piece them. I just free formed them and then cut them into rectangles at the end. I like the green one in the middle the best,probably because of the way the grass turned out. The bottom orange one is a bit square looking for my taste. I want to make some more that are more wonky, now that I know how to make them.
We took a drive to Killarney (yes, there is a Killarney here in Manitoba, and most of my kids live in Miami, Manitoba) and there I got some black and white fabric. It is in the zig zag piece. The dots were in my stash. I prefer the dots and I'll be looking for some stripes in black and white too. I took the pastels off the design wall but they are not forgotten. I am thinking of a medallion style with the houses in the middle surrounded by the trees. I'm not sure if the baskets will get used on this one. I am trying to come up with a quotation to do in wonky letters. So far I have thought of "In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight." I'm not sure how I would arrange that and at first I thought that it wouldn't do because there is no lion in the picture. Then I realized it is because he is sleeping! Of course, in the unlikely event of finding sleeping lion fabric, I would make a house for him. Unless I can figure out how to make one from fabric. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Granddaughters Again

I had so many nice comments about our Granddaughters that I thought I had better post a few more pictures. They stayed two days and they were fun-filled. (Both the days and the girls!)

Notice the safety wiener sticks. We saw them in a store a couple of years ago and bought several. The points face inward so there is no chance of stabbing anyone by accident.What' s a wiener roast without the marshmallows? We had a contest to see who could roast the perfect one. Of course, the grandparent judges had to do a taste test. Good thing I didn't put healthy eating as one of my New Year's Resolutions.

They made a bump half way down so they could do some jumping. By the end of the day they were able to jump over it without falling down some of the time.

Yesterday I spent most of the day cleaning my studio. It was not a mess left by the girls. They are pretty good at cleaning up. No, it was a huge mess of fabric and dust that was all of my own making. Today I was able to work a bit more on quilting the butterflies. I have decided to do half orange and half blue on the back. I promise not to point it out to anyone as a mistake.

And finally, here is my "parts department" as recommended by Freddy and Gwen. I have rounded up all the stray blocks I could find to add to the ones I am making. I am pretty sure the pastel looking ones will end up back in the drawer, but you never know. I can't imagine how I will put all these together,but maybe if I invest in some black and white fabric and chose a "neutral" like red, it will be possible. It will be fun trying, even if the results end up being a bit strange.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

First You Play...

First you play. So the girls went cross country skiing. Luckily our hill is not very steep where they were. Hard to go up, but easy to come down. I won't post the one where they have all fallen down!

Then you work. First an art lesson from Grandpa.

Then sewing time. What a great method of stash busting!

Ariana made a house which she plans to sew into a bag.

Summer made a bag.

Micha is working on polar fleece slippers. Guaranteed to fit.

Sacha made a pillow.
This evening we are planning a wiener roast so there should be more pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New House

I have had a lot of help from bloggers on the mistake that I wrote about yesterday. The most common suggestion, which I will probably do, is to make more blue patches, or even many colors to make it look like it is a design thing. Great idea! Much better than ripping out.
On the New Year's Resolution front, aside from the general eat better, exercise more, lose weight, etc. which everyone makes and almost no one keeps, my resolution is one of Freddy Moran's rules. Never point out your mistakes. It is a bad habit I have. Totally not necessary or useful. The exception to that rule for me will be on my blog. There I get helpful advice, as in yesterday's post.

Meanwhile, I have made one new house and several trees for my forest. What can be more fun than that?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

First Mistake of 2007

Well, I didn't make it very far into 2007 before making my first big mistake! Sheesh! I would have liked at least a month. I have been quilting the butterflies with free motion. This morning I thought I would get a good start on the new year and used up one whole bobbin. When I took the quilt off the machine so I could refill the bobbin, I realized that I had forgotten that I was using orange on the bottom. I had sewn it with blue on the bobbin which looked ok but different. Yikes. It is not hugely obvious and will be a horror to undo but I will probably have to undo it anyway. I may finish the rest of the FMQ and then see if I have the courage to rip out the blue section. I am not a fan of ripping out at all.

So I went back and did another house and some more "parts" from my new book. There are no such things as mistakes with that method! Right up my alley.