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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

MAM Quilting

Today I finished quilting the MAM and got the binding on. I am half way around with the hand sewing. I am quite happy with how the free hand spirals turned out. The leaves on the borders are slightly less successful but I look on this quilt as a practice piece.
The backing is actually green but looks gray in the picture.
It is very cold here today but also sunny as you can see, so it's cozy and warm inside the house.


Southeastern Manitoba especially in the Red River Valley will not be as lucky. Frigid overnight lows of near minus 36 will combine with 20 to 30 km/h winds Thursday morning to produce extreme wind chills of near minus 50.

Time to leave!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MAM on the Machine

This morning I pinned the MAM quilt on to the machine. Actually I did it twice. I was about to start pinning the top on when I realized I had the backing on inside out. I spent half an hour re-doing that. I decided on this one to try some free motion. The borders are vines and the blocks are spirals. If I were doing it again I'd make the spirals a bit tighter. It's good practise though, and the quilting won't show up that much on such a busy front. I could also go back into it and add another layer of quilting. I do enjoy free montion more that following a panto, although the results look a lot less professional.
I also tried floating the top on this one. I'll know how it worked when I get it off the machine. I will also have to pin it on sideways to do the side borders. I haven't done that before either.
Today the wind chill was at -45. Australia is looking better and better.

Monday, January 28, 2008

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We are leaving for Australia next week so I will not be doing much more quilting. I am hoping to get the MAM on the frame and done but it may not happen. There is a blizzard warning out here for the next couple of days and they are predicting -40 wind chills. That is the same in both Celcius and Farenheit and cold no matter how you look at it. I am hearing that Australia is very hot so it could be a bit of a shock.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Borders On

This morning I put the borders on the MAM after debating for quite awhile and auditioning several different fabrics. I had a blue with darker blue polka dots that looked great but there was not enough of it. Finally, I decided on this green and I am quite happy with it. Now it will join the queue at the quilting machine.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mile-a-Minute Number 2

Yesterday I set out to make some more nine patches in different colors. Then I noticed the clothes rack full of strips of different widths and the big bag of small scraps and suddenly Mile-a-Minute seemed like more fun. This morning when I was just getting tired of making them, I checked my parts drawer and found a dozen or so more. This still needs arranging a bit. The ones from the drawer are more log cabin looking with the darks and lights on opposite sides. It's funny that I didn't really notice that until I looked at the picture. Still, I think they will fit in all right if I distribute them properly. I'll put on a black and white inner border and then maybe another row of MAM squares or some piano keys. I found a long strip of them in the parts drawer too. I should check that drawer more often.


Yesterday I finished sewing down the binding on the Tippy Quilt. I suppose I can't really call it finished because there is no label on it yet. I am going to take a day soon and just make labels. I have several quilts that need them.
The frost on the trees this morning was just too perfect a background for a quilt to pass up so here is the finished version in it's perfect milieu.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Now You See It...Now You Don't

Today I put the binding (gold) on the Tippy quilt and all I have left to do is hand sew it down on the back. I used nearly half a bottle of Elmer's School Glue on this quilt. As soon as I have done the hand sewing I'll toss it in the washer and hope all the glue comes out.

I have long wanted to try a Disappearing Nine Patch so I thought I'd play around with that pattern this afternoon. Above you can see the original nine patch, made large with 4" strips. Below are some different arrangements I tried. I have a lot more with the yellow corners so it's difficult to make a whole pattern.

Here are my questions. Should I make more of the same blocks or go for different colors. I find it a bit drab but then my taste does run to bright. Would it look better with sashing? Maybe yellow? Or just a wide yellow border? I'm sure I'll be playing with the endless arrangements possible with this block for some time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Finished Quilting

This morning we went to town and I was able to get more brown thread. This afternoon I finished quilting the Tippy quilt and now I only have to sew in the thread ends, which I already started, and put on the binding. I don't have enough dark brown for the binding so I guess I'll use the gold. I am not a big fan of contrasting binding. I like the looks of it but a lot of precision is required to make it look really good.
I have watched Sharon Schamber's Binding the Angel on Utube a few times and I am going to try her techniques. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Meet Babylock

Today I want to introduce my serger which has been sadly neglected since I started quilting. I spent some time this afternoon sewing sweaters from the white fleece I bought in Fargo. This Babylock serger is the most amazing machine you can imagine. It can use 8, yes count them, 8 threads at a time but I usually make do with 4. The other 4 are for flatlock stitch, which is the one found on the bottom of t-shirts. The most amazing thing of all, though, is that it is self-threading. If any of you have spent time cussing an improperly threaded serger (overlocker for those of you down under) you will know what I mean. With this machine you just put the thread into the correct hole on the lower front of the machine, push down the lever that is beneath the holes and a big poof of air sends the thread all the way to the needle area. Unlike most sergers, there is no correct or incorrect threading order. On my old serger, an Elna, if you threaded the wrong one first the thread would keep breaking. Sewing with it today reminded me of how fast and neat the seams are with this machine. I can see some more garments in my near future, if only to use this wonderful machine.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

On the Frame

Today I put the Tippy quilt on the frame and started quilting it. I chose a fairly complex pattern and I will have to buy more thread before I'm done for sure. I was a bit worried that I might have problems with all the seams but so far so good.
Some people have installed a light under the shelf of their Inspira frames and I can see that a light would be very helpful when quilting at night, which I seldom do. The shelf shades the quilting area .
It's still bitterly cold here with wind chills in the -30 range for several days now. However, when it is that cold and there is a full moon like now, it's incredibly beautiful, with lots of moon shadows on the snow. Maybe I'll get brave enough to go out there and get a picture tomorrow.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Top Finished

Today I put the borders on the Tippy quilt. I'll really have to come up with a better name than that. I also got some backing for the braid quilt but now I am thinking it would be better on this one. That means this one will move up ahead of the braid in the quilting queue. I'll look for a darker brown for the braid. I had planned to put orange on the back of this one but now that I have the brown borders on, I am thinking the brown I got today will be better.
Sorry for the dark picture but I didn't finish until it was dark outside and it never looks as good with the flash. Now that I see it published it's nearly too dark to see. I'll put up a better one tomorrow.
I hope this picture taken in daylight is easier to see.


Your Brain is Purple

Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.

A hippie with a purple brain. I guess that describes me. I haven't done much quilting in the last few days, in case you hadn't guessed. I need backing for two tops and that has stalled me a bit. Also, since we are leaving for Australia in less than three weeks, I have started packing. We will be spending two weeks in China on our way home. We are debating whether to go to Tibet or not. Either way, China requires warmer clothing than Australia so it's like packing for two different trips.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

As I Suspected

You are a Hippie

You are a total hippie. While you may not wear birks or smell of incense, you have the soul of a hippie.
You don't trust authority, and you do as you please. You're willing to take a stand, even when what you believe isn't popular.

You like to experiment with ideas, lifestyles, and different subcultures.
You always gravitate toward what's radical and subversive. Normal, mainstream culture doesn't really resonate with you.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Puzzle Solved

I now realize what happened to leave me with two blocks the same side by side. There is one more block with orange on the outside. That means that I should have started with the opposite color. I realized that when I put the first set of blocks up on the design wall but when I put up the final arrangement, I was concerned with getting the middle blocks upright. There are little birds on some of them and I wanted them all facing the same way. If that explanation is not clear go back a couple of days and see how it looked with only the first set of blocks. The only way to correct this one would be to take every single block apart. Not gonna happen. This will have to be my Amish mistake.
I have most of it sewn together now and have to start thinking about the binding. The quilting is going to have to be some sort of motif in the middle of the blocks because there are so many layers where all the points meet that it would be very difficult to quilt, especially given that there is all that dry glue there too. I can barely get a pin through it.
By the way, in case you can't find it, the mistake is on the lower right hand corner.

Putting it all Together

Yesterday and this morning I worked on assembling my blocks. Every seam is a bias and there are tiny points and multiple seams meeting. I decided that the only way to make any kind of job was to use Elmer's School Glue. Once you have everything in place, you iron it to set the glue and then stitch. It doesn't seem to gum up the needle and apparently it washes out completely. It made a great job of holding everything in place and preventing stretching. This morning when I went to sew on the last block I found a mistake. The blocks that tip one way have an orange round and then a green round. The opposite blocks have a green round and then an orange one on the outside. I ended up with two that are same color. I looked and looked but couldn't find the mistake. I will have another look before I sew the rest of it together. I should maybe look at the angles rather than the colors. In the end, if it's that hard to find I'll just leave it. I'm thinking that between the glue and bias edges I'm probably better to live with it anyway.
I didn't think to take a picture of the whole quilt on the design wall so you all could find the error of my ways. When I go back to the studio I'll take one and post it later today.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More Hearts

This morning I made a couple more heart blocks and now I'll send them off to France as soon as I get to town. I have been wanting to do some machine applique and this seemed like a good opportunity. I sewed the hearts to iron on interfacing and used that to turn them right side out and keep them in place. I used different stitches to sew them down. I like the little stars on the big heart, which has star fabric as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Alternate Blocks

Today I did the alternate blocks and I quite like it now. Next I'll trim them and decide on the arrangement. I don't want to play around with them too much because of all the bias edges. I have a choice of dark blue or dark brown for the borders. I want a thin narrow border, either between the quilt and dark border or in the middle of the dark border. The narrow border can be either gold or orange.

Clare from Quilts 4 Leukemia has put out a call for some red hearts for one of her quilts. I made these two today but maybe I'll do a few more. I seems a waste to send only two.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Quilt

Judy from Judy in the Dyes was kind enough to nominate me for You Make My Day Award. The ideas is to nominate ten more people. Since so many of you have already been nominated (and, also, I'm very lazy about this kind of thing) I'll just say that if you read this you are nominated. That includes the hundreds of lurkers who drop in regularly. My sitemeter says there are usually 250 to 300 page views per day, so there are a lot of you out there.

I have spent the last couple of days choosing fabric and cutting pieces for this quilt from the new book by Karla Alexander that I got on our Boxing Day spree. When I first cut them out I wasn't sure I liked the colors but now that some of them are put together I'm feeling better about them. The blank spaces will be filled with blocks tipping the opposite way with the oranges on the inside and greens on the outside. I only had time to finish one.
I'm not sure what color I will use for the border. I have lots of the orange and the beiges. I don't think I'll use the beige but the orange might be all right. If I can match the dark blue in the center blocks I'd like that with a narrow orange inner border. I have a big piece of dark blue but it's probably not the right shade. Drat, I may have to go fabric shopping again.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Today was thrift shop day again and I got a couple of treasures. I looked at a marble mortar and pestle when I went Boxing Day shopping but decided to spend the $25 on fabric instead. I'm glad I did because this one cost me only 50 cents.

Then we found this little container with tiny little forks in it. It's only plastic (too bad it's not Chinese Jade) but at 25c, just too cute to pass up.

And finally, this green glass jar called out to come home with us. I'm not sure what it will be used for but I'm sure we'll find something. I couldn't get a good photo of it. I should have waited for daylight I guess.

And what is this for? I couldn't resist it.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Oops and a Finish

On the advice of every single comment, I added the borders to the braid without changing it. I heard once that if three people you trust give you the same advice you should heed it. Well, I heard the same thing from thirteen people who know what they are talking about, so it was an easy decision. I also got several reasons for doing it that way in case anyone asks. Thanks everyone.

I finished quilting Merry Sunshine this morning. When I took it off the frame I discovered that the last bit hadn't been sewn properly. When I changed the thread, I didn't put it in the tension disks properly. Hint: If your sewing machine sounds a bit off, it probably is. Rather than put it back on the frame, I did that bit on my regular machine. I thought it was easier, since it was near the edge. Doing it on my regular machine reminded me how much easier it is on the frame. The most time-consuming part of quilting this one was changing thread all the time. Since you can only do about a six inch or less strip at a time, you can see how many thread changes there were. The upside is that I am now much faster at threading that machine. It was a great chance to practise different free motion stitches. Some were more successful than others , but since I am still at the learning stage, I will not stress about the less than perfect areas.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Braid Quilt

Today I assembled the braid quilt. I had it all together except the top and bottom borders when I noticed that two of the braids are facing in a different direction from the others. My question now is, do I undo all those bias seams to turn the two that are different? I do like the way the colors look the way it is now, but I'm pretty sure the mistake will bug me forever.

Later: Looking at the picture, I might be able to get away with undoing only two seams. What do you think?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Merry Sunshine

I put Merry Sunshine on the big frame yesterday and today I started quilting it. I took the picture when I was about half way through the session. I have finished the orange sun and all the rays, as well as the blue of the sky. I started working on the letters but ran out of steam. Re-threading the machine for each color is a major chore on this machine. Since it runs so fast everything has to be threaded through a hole rather than a slot that you can slip the thread through. However, the quilting itself goes incredibly fast. On this one I am doing all free motion and it's fun to try all sorts of different stitches. I am also using cotton batting for the first time. It's been quilting like a dream so far.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Family Cookbook

I have made a Family Cookbook blog which you can go to via the link on the sidebar. I may change it to a new account later so that my picture won't be on the side. It seems that if I use the same account I can only have one picture and bio. I'll be looking into it some more. In the meantime, enjoy the recipes.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Some people have chosen a word to inspire them throughout the year and after some deliberation I have decided to use the word ENJOY. As I get older, I feel more and more that it is important to live in the moment and spend less time regretting the past or anticipating the future.
I don't usually make more than one resolution. Last year it was to stop pointing out my mistakes on my quilts. I have been able to curb the habit, even though I have not completely eradicated it. This year I want to photograph the results of my favorite recipes. We used to have a family cooking blog, starting with my mother-in-law's best recipes. She was a famous cook and had lots of them. The web page disappeared during a change of servers one time and we haven't gotten it back up yet. I'd like to eventually make the recipes into a family cookbook with illustrations, maybe for Christmas gifts for next year. I have been thinking of starting a cooking blog with this in mind. Right now my DDs and I are trying to come up with a name for it. I spent no time at all thinking of a name for this blog because I just wanted to try it to see if I could get it working. If I had thought for a second that it would turn into such a wonderful experience for me I would have tried to be a bit more creative. So far, for the cooking blog we have come up with Kitchen Table Goodies or we can go with our previous title, The Debreuil Family Cookbook. We are trying for something that is not already taken by a web page so we can eventually make it into a web page as well.

So far I have three pictures of food. Here are my mother's gingersnaps that the kids and grandkids love. You will be able to get the recipe as soon as I have the food blog ready. I'll be announcing it here very soon, I hope.