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Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Bag and Log Cabin

I made another bag yesterday. This is a pattern from a Japanese magazine about making bags. Luckily the illustrations are very good so I could figure it out without reading the instructions , which are in Japanese. I ran out of both fabrics so I'll have to find something else to use for the straps. I have a long piece of strapping but it is black with red trim, not pink so it doesn't look right. Next time I'm at the thrift store I'll check out the purses. Many of them have handles that can be recycled. I have a neat piece of chain that looks fine but might not be very comfortable to wear.

I also got my wonky log cabin sewed together but I'm now stalled until I get some more batting. I really need a whole roll of it. There would probably be a lot less waste than buying precut packages. The biggest problem would be where to store it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Bag

It has been very hot and humid here this week so I took a bit of a break from quilting to make this bag. It is from an old McCalls pattern that I have had forever. I made dozens of bags using this pattern and old Jeans. The front pocket was the back pocket of the jeans. This time I used quilting fabric and the blue is some batik that I made awhile ago. It has only one strap. I was going to make it a backpack with two straps but I made a mistake putting on the rings to fasten the straps to. For some reason I put two at the top and one at the bottom, which is the opposite to what it should be. It was fairly easy to change the top to one ring but it would have meant major surgery to change the bottom, so, only one strap .

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pottery Firing

Here are some photos of our Raku firing on Saturday.

Backwards I know, but here are a few of the fired pots.

This is the setup. The kiln is the rusty looking barrel in the middle which is heated with a propane torch which you can see sticking into it. When they are heated enough the pots are put into cans of sawdust or leaves and smoked. Then they are washed and admired.

Ryan is glazing a pot that Marcel gave him.

Ryan's pot coming out of the smoker.

Ryan watching the first washing of the pot. At this stage it's still pretty hot. Soon after the picture he took it and scrubbed it down until it was gleaming.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I have been working off and on at my wonky log cabin and now have only three blocks left. My rotary cutter has gotten rather dull so it's tough going right now. I hate it when there is a dull spot and on each cut there are a couple of threads hanging on. I have an Olfa but a friend was telling me that her Fiskars one has been sharp through two denim quilts and a silk one. Does anyone else have opinions on which is the best brand? My Olfa certainly doesn't stay sharp that long. Is it worth investing in a Fiskars? Blades cost a lot here so if they stayed sharp longer it would be worth a considerable investment.
Today we are doing a raku pottery firing outside so there will be some pictures of that tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Quilting

Yesterday I quilted the quilt with the black polka dot sashing and had no problems at all. I did straight line quilitng a quarter inch from the seams. That leads me to believe that my FM problems are one or more of the following:
a) poorly wound bobbin
b) poor quality thread
c) poor quilting technique.
I am betting on c. I think I may have been moving the fabric too fast for the speed of the machine. Oh for a stitch regulator!

Meanwhile I have started another wonky log cabin. My scrap pile seems to be growing again. Or is it merely a ploy to avoid the dreaded FM that needs to be done on the farm animals? I plan to do a bit of quilting on it every day before I allow myself to make any log cabin blocks. Am I strict enought to do that? Time will tell.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Finished But...

I finished this quilt that I was doing awhile ago. It was a quilt as you go but I made a real mess of assembling it. I'm not sure I'll be trying that technique again any time soon. I did my first quilt like that but it turned out a lot better. I like the way the back looks but it's all lumpy and puckered. Oh well, it will be fine for the car or the couch. I saw that it was a bit of a disaster so I sewed the binding to the back and turned it to the front and machine sewed it down. I have been wanting to try that for awhile now. That turned out really well. I may do that again sometime.
Meanwhile I finished the one with the dark polka dot sashing. I got some more of that fabric and used it on the back too. There is no restful side to that one! I am half way around with the hand sewing down the binding. I was thinking of finishing it tonight but black on black is a bit of a challenge without daylight so it may have to wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Go Bright

When in doubt go with the brightest. At least that seems to have become my motto. I went for the multi-colored polka dots on black. I like the look but it won't be a quilt that soothes you to sleep. I have to shop for batting and backing before I finish it.
I tried to work on FM quilting on my farm animals but the bobbin thread kept breaking. I'm not sure if it's my speed or faulty thread. It was frustrating and I may have to take another break from it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Three More Blocks

I have completed three more blocks. I am trying out the dark sashing to see how dramatic it looks. I still haven't decided which one I like best. The sashing is a bit brighter in real life. The spots are multi-colored and it seems to unite everything. I still like the white with black dots a lot too.
My two computer expert sons have launched a program that some of you quilters who are also computer types may be interested in. It is called The Converted if you want to check it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Back at It

I was having a bit of a hard time getting back into quilting after all our parties and company so I thought the best solution was to start a new one . This is from KarlaAlexander's Stack a New Deck and is really easy to do and lots of fun matching fabrics. I am half done the piecing now and have several options for the sashing up on the wall. Sorry the one on the left is almost cut off. It's black with multi-colored polka dots. Any opinions on the best one? I also have a blue with dark blue polka dots and a pink with darker dots. Too many choices!

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Well, the party went off without a hitch. As is usual with potluck, there was way too much food so we are set for the week.

After eating we went up the hill to the stones and lit a big bonfire. This year the honors fell to a new (to us) neighbour from USA who happend to drop in. She lives in Wallhalla, ND and had seen the stones from the air. She decided to try to find them by car and she and her husband happened to arrive the day of the party. Talk about senedipity. They live only about 5 miles from us but there is an international border between us. It's so strage really.

After the center fire was burend down we all got lighters or matches and set fire to the dry grass ring around the stone circle. That always looks imressive but there was too much wind this year to have the teepee effect that we sometimes get. The good news is that the wind kept the mosquitoes at bay.Finally, as it began to get dark we set of some fireworks. The fun thing this year was there was such a variety of ages. The two youngest were just over a year old and the eldest was in her 80's.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


We are pretty well ready for the party, just waiting for it all to start happening. I love a pot-luck. Not much work for me and lots of delicious left-overs.

Meanwhile, here's a picture of me a couple of years ago with my costume and our neighbour's horse. It's looks pretty glamorous but the dress is so tight around my ribs that I can hardly breathe and it's very sweaty fabric. Anything for a photo-op!

And here's one of various people wearing my cloaks and lighting the fire around the stones. Looks very Medieval and is lots of fun to dress up in costumes.

And here's Summer and Ariana dressed as princesses (I think) and looking so cute. They are much bigger now but just as cute!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back Online

We bought a wireless router and when setting it up suddenly lost all our internet connections. What a drag! After an hour and a half on the phone with the tech people at Xplornet we are up and running again. They blamed the problem on Windows Vista. Who knows . I'm just happy to be back online again.
We will be having a party up at our stone circle on Saturday so the next few days will be spent getting ready for that. We will be having a pot luck supper and a big bonfire after that. Hopefully, there will be some good photos. A few years ago I made some cloaks for people to wear at our parties so I'll probably be hauling them out again if there is anyone interested.
I have been so busy for the last month that I have spent almost no time in the studio so I have no quilty pictures to share. Hopefully all that will change next week when it looks as if our hectic life will return to it's normal pace.

Monday, July 02, 2007

More Dyeing

I am having more computer woes. I may have to finally give in and get a new one. My computer is about 7 years old and in computer years that is ancient. I am still debating on whether I want a laptop or desktop.
Yesterday, Canada Day, was the annual Debreuil family party which has been going on for more than 70 years. The claim is that it has never once rained on the party in all those years. I can vouch for the last 40 or more. It may rain in the morning or at night but during the party, which is always outside, it never rains. Yesterday was no exception. It threatened all day and rained all around us. Some places even got a huge downpour, but we sat outside all day eating, chatting and playing Belgian Bowling, known in the family as "Les Boules".

Today I was inspired to do a bit more dyeing so I tried a gradation in burgundy. I think the colors are a little bit too close so I am doing one now in olive. It is outside stewing in the sun right now.

I also tried tie bleaching. I wrapped a dark gray piece around a stone and soaked it in bleach. I left it in the bleach a bit too long but I really like the pattern and the color it bleached to. I will try one with weaker bleach or a shorter time. Actually, I forgot this one while I was making lunch or it would have been nicer. It has many possibilities for brightening up with thread or more dye , though, so I'll hang it on the design wall for a bit and think it over. It is about 18 inches square.