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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here's Maggie!

Definitely not the look I was going for. Who knew that the orange would look so much like swirling flames and the fork would look so demonic. Maybe I will make a morality quilt with Heaven and Hell on it. I can't think of any other use for this block.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Country Roads

I was listening to a John Denver CD when I thought that these words would be great on a quilt. I am thinking of trying a landscape quilt. I have a great photo but I need to decide whether to piece the sky or paint it with dyes. I may try the dyes and if I don't like the results go to the piecing. I couldn't wait to start on the letters so here they are so far. I am going to re-do the A in Roads. It's too small, too high and looks too much like an O. I much prefer the one in Take. It's easy to change one letter so I'll do that first thing tomorrow.

Maggie is on the back burner while I wait for some barbed wire for the sashing. I thought I might piece a woman to be Maggie so I did it with the same orange fabric as the letters in the background. I thought that it might work to put a pitchfork in her hand sort of like the painting American Gothic. Sounds like a good idea, right? I'll post the results tomorrow. It's not something that's going to end up on that quilt or probably any other one. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

New Fabric

We went to Winnipeg on Thursday for an art show opening for Heidi Hunter. The link will lead you to her website. Her show is being held at Galery Lacosse if anyone in the area wants to check it out. The show is up until June 9.

During the afternoon I was able to visit three fabric stores. I was looking for a bit of gray to finish my split nine patch quilt (didn't find it but managed to get it together with what I had on hand) and ended up with three pieces that I liked. The green one is actually wire fencing which I thought might come in handy if I ever have to pen in more animals. The blue is shirting fabric and it may end up in a shirt of skirt. I bought it at Economy Textiles by the pound. I also bought a large piece of white for dyeing. Not so interesting to look at but lots of fun to use.

It has been raining and raining and raining around here. We are water-logged and it's still pouring down. We need some sunshine so I can till and plant the garden and we need to mow the grass soon. The forecast, unfortunately, is looking pretty wet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Thrift Shop Treasures

Look what I found yesterday for 50 or 35 cents each depending on how old they were. Excuse the horrible photography and the dangling lens cover. I have never claimed to be a photographer, as you may have guessed from some of the photos I have shown. Some of the magazines are Quilters' Newsletters from the last few years. I love finding a big pile of quilting magazines. Even though I seldom follow the patterns, I get ideas for color and arrangements. Also, there is nothing better than a cup of coffee and a pile of magazines to "waste" most of a morning. Add some chocolate or pastry and it's perfect.

This one particularly impressed me. It's from 1989, which goes to show you that quilts never go out of style. I have been wanting to try Celtic Knots and also a stained glass quilt. Maybe when I am finished the farm quilt...

I also bought some new sewing machine needles. The store had titanium tipped quilting needles. They are about twice the price of regular quilting needles but I bought a package just to try them out. Now I have to be sure not to set a zigzag stitch without changing from my quarter inch foot which just has a small hole for the needle, not a slot. That takes care of a needle in half a second! I wouldn't want to do that to a $3 titanium needle, especially a new one.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Maggie's Farm

I decided to go with Maggie's Farm. (Nedra, you'll like this one, having grown up on Maggie's farm.) I will probably add Down On to make it more Bob Dylan.
The dog's tail has not fallen off, it's just turned back from when I was trying different borders. If I can find a wide stripe in brown and white, I'll go with that to look a bit like a fence. I have a red and white stripe but it doesn't look that good because the stripes are too narrow. The fabric that is up there has little stones on it. It will be my second choice.

Here is a scene about half a mile from our house . It is very typical of the prairies. You can see round bales in a row on the left. We went for a walk and picked up about a hundred wood ticks each. The walk was beautiful aside from the ticks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cat and Sheep

I changed the bib on the cat but I think Molly is right. It does look a bit like a kangaroo. I'm pretty sure it's the angle of the front legs. I may put it aside for an Aultralian quilt and use the first cat I made.
I have also made a second sheep. The fabric has little swirls on it that don't show up in the photo, so it's a very appropriate fabric. The piecing method matches more with the rest of the quilt than the fused one. I think I like it best of all the animals I've made.

And finally, here is a picture of all the animals and people so far. I might make one more chicken and then I think it's about time to start putting them all together. Now that is going to be a challenge! I also want to make some words to go on it. So far I am thinking of "Maggie's Farm" from Bob Dylan or "Down on the Farm". If anyone has any other ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, May 14, 2007

How Does She Do It?

Today I took pictures as I made a cat. I thought you might be interested in how they evolve.
I start with a picture, this time from the internet. I don't worry about copyrigt because the final product will bear almost no resemblance to the original. I draw squares and triangles on the picture so I can see how I need to cut the fabric. I love the tilt on the head on this one but that is going to be a challenge to do.

I start with the head, in this case a 2.5 inch square and add white to the corners to make the faces more triangular. The white will be part of the white bib. I decided that I would do free-standing ears so I drew them on the back of a doubled scrap, sewed around the shape, cut them and turned them. Now I will place them on the corners and sew green background scraps over them so the head will look more rounded at the top.

Oh, oh. I have a problem. I didn't leave a wide enough space on the left side to be able to sew the background fabric there. What to do? Most people would take the ear off and re-do it but I thought I would try just folding the ear back a bit. It turned out so great that I undid the other ear and folded it too. Mistakes often turn out to be the best part.

Now I have cut the white bib at an angle and added the front legs. The bib part had to be cut at an angle so the head would be tipped as in the picture. For the leg I took a rectangle of brown and added triangles of green on each side. It took a couple of tries to get the right look. Looking back, I wish I had made brown angles on the white bib so it wouldn't be so square. It's one of those things that you notice when it's all done and think that next time you'll do it diffenently. It would require ripping back to nearly the beginning to change it now.

Now the back of the cat is on. It was a rectangle with a green triangle on the front and then I also added one on the top back to make it look rounder.

Now I thought it needed back legs and front feet. I made a strip with brown and green to sew on the bottom. It took about 6 tries before I got it right. Sometimes what looks the easiest is actually the hardest to do. You will notice in the last picture that I did some work on the front foot so it doesn't look quite so angular.

Last, I made a tail and attached it when I put on the green border all around. I haven't decided whether in the end the tail will go forward around the feet or to the back as in the picture. Both look all right. I guess it will depend on what is in the square behind it. I make the final border quite wide so I have lots of leeway for squaring the whole piece.
When I see this cat online, the square white bib is really bugging me so I may take it apart and at least put a brown triangle on the left side. That would only require undoing one seam. Of course, if I go back that far I might as well do both sides. Stay tuned.

Seven Things

Judy at Judy in the Dyes has tagged me to tell seven things about myself that you don't already know. I guess family members who read this can just ignore it because these seven things are probably no surprise.

1. I am deathly afraid of heights. I stayed at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower when everyone else went up. When I went up to the top of the Gaudi cathedral in Barcelona I thought I'd have a heart attack. I've been that way all my life.
2. I haven't been to a hairdresser for probably thirty years. That would explain the long gray hair!
3. I can't remember numbers, especially prices. I can remember book and movie plots in detail though.
4. I love to read maps. When we travel I always have a map on my knee and check it regularly.
5. I like to tell stories. I used to tell my kids a new original bedtime story every night. We had the same characters doing different things every night. Too bad I never wrote any of them down.
6. I like to draw, although I'm not very good at it. I used to illlustrate stories for the kids as I was telling them, adding things as the story progressed. They never criticized the drawing no matter how strange it turned out.
7. I'm a sucker for gadgets. One look in my kitchen drawers or sewing room would tell you that.

Whew! That was not easy. I'm tagging Meg, Clare, Anne, Dawn,Norma,Debbi,Donna,and Lily.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I finished the farm dog today as well as the small goose. The dog has a bit of the same expression that Simba gets when he hears the word "walk". I would have liked to make it just like Simba but I don't have any nice blonde fabric on hand. Simba has legs that are a bit longer than this dog. His tongue and tail are not pieced in so they look quite realistic. I make a lined piece, turn it rightside out and sew it into a seam. I really like the tongue done that way.
It's funny that no matter how I plan these animals, they turn out the way they want. Each one has a different expression even if I use the same method as in the two geese.
I have a cat ready to start but I'd like to find some fabric that looks a bit like a gray tabby cat. We'll see.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I made a goose that I am quite happy with except that it is bigger than the horse. I started a smaller one but have not yet put on the feet. I may also make the tail feathers stick up a bit more so it will seem a bit more perky. I'll save the big one for another quilt. Maybe I need to make Chicken Little and friends.
The batteries just died in my wireless mouse so I am doing everything with the digital pen and drawing pad. I have found out that I am a creature of habit. I have reached for the mouse dozens of times in the last few minutes. I found lots of batteries but of course I can't find two that work.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

More Quilt Show

Thanks for all the comments on the quilt show. I'm glad I was standing beside the chickens so you could all see the size (of the chickens, that is!). Most people thought it was smaller than it is.
Since the last few days have been full of meetings, appointments, quilt shows and art shows, I have nothing quilty to show you so I'll give you a few more quilt photos from the show.

You might also want to check out Blue Meadow Designs. They are two former students of my husband's art class who have been featured in several magazines, have written books and designed their own fabric line. Their quilts are wonderful and their books inspiring especially if you enjoy paper piecing. They had several quilts in the show.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Quilt Show

The quilt show was wonderful and inspiring as it always is. There were well over 200 items in it. It always amazes me that a rural area like ours can come up with so many new quilts every year. There are some master quilters in this area including some who have written books and one who is a finalist for applique in that $100,000 quilt challenge magazine. The good thing about the show (especially for a beginner like me) is that anyone can enter and they don't judge the work. I was also very imrpessed with the way it was hung. They managed to put quilts that complimented each other together, making both look better.

Try to focus on the quilt and not on the horrible picture of me. I always hate pictures of myself and this one is no exception. I got a lot of comments about the chickens and many quilters were curious about how they were done.

I love the colors in this quilt by my friend, Jen.

This one really captures Northern Canada at it's most romantic.

This one was inspired by the design on the t-shirt hung on the right side of the quilt.

This one was done by their featured quilter and she used all her own hand-dyes.
The butterflies managed to hold their own even though the quilt is quite small.

I didn't win the bag challenge but I was fine with that because the winning bags were absolutely wonderful. It is interesting to see what different people do with the same bits of fabric.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Animal Farm

Here is the horse all finished. Someone commented that he is robust and I have to agree with that. I fused the sheep but I think I will save it for some different use. It doesn't look much like a sheep with those huge google eyes and also it doesn't match the other animals in style enough. I will look for a piece of quilting cotton that has a sheep-like pattern. Or, if that fails, I'll just use a piece of white.
I went to the quilt show on Friday without my camera but I'll be going back later today for another look and to pick up my quilts after 5, so hopefully I will remember the camera this time. It is very impressive as usual. I am amazed at what a good hanging job they do, putting quilts that go together side by side. It has a very professional look. I'm proud to have some of my quilts hanging there.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Here is a website that some of you might find interesting. It is called HandcraftedCedar
These hats are made by my niece and I think they are just fabulous.
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This one might be my favorite because you can dress it up or down with scarves. Think hand-dyed silk. The two great things about cedar are the wonderful woodsy smell and the fact that it is waterproof.
Meanwhile, I am plugging away at my animals but won't get much done today because I am off to our local quilt show. I am hoping to be inspired as I usually am.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Yesterday at the thrift shop I found some long craft fake fur. There was quite a large piece of black, perfect for a horse's mane. I also got some yarn for the tail. I have been working a couple of hours on it but there is still a lot to do. I have to shape the legs, especially the back one and finish the background. The legs are quite difficult to get anywhere near right on these animals. Partly it's because they are so thin that there isn't much room for error. Now that I look at the picture, I think I may not do that much more shaping on the legs. It's funny how you see it differently in a picture than when you are worknig on it. Mistakes do show up more but sometimes you see that more shaping wouldn't necessarily make it look better.
What do you think?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Legs and a Goat

Bossy now has real legs and I figured out how to put her udder behind her leg. It took a couple of stitches by hand but they are invisible.
Mr. Goat is going well but I ran out of time today so he will have to get his legs put on tomorrow.
I still have in mind to do a horse and a sheep. The horse will probably be a bay with a black mane and tail. For the sheep I will look among my polar fleece fabrics to see if I still have a bit of white. I know it's not quilting fabric but it looks so sheepish. I might applique the sheep so I don't have to piece the fleece. It would be horrible to piece because it's so stretchy, unless I iron on some interfacing. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I'd add some chickens but they woud have to be so tiny to be anywhere near the scale of these animals.
Probably the biggest challenge will be how to fit all these odd pieces together into some kind of cohesive whole.