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Friday, May 30, 2008

A New Start

We went to the opening of Annie's Sewing Center this morning and I bought a new ironing board They had balloons with discount coupons inside and when I popped one I got 15% off. This is the first time I have ever owned a good quality ironing board and what a luxury! It is very heavy so it doesn't wobble. It's much wider than my old one and much better padded. It also has a place to put the iron so I don't have to reach over to my sewing table. I should have bought one ages ago.
Lately I have been sewing four patches together in my spare time and now I am starting to assemble them. I love the way the pattern starts to appear once you have four blocks up on the design wall. So far I have pieced 20 of the 48 I need.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Out side the Block Again

I finally got back in the sewing room for a bit today. I re-dyed the orange triangles with brown. It still looked a bit too orange so I added a bit of olive green with low water immersion so it would be mottled. I like it much better now. I sewed it together today and now I have to decide whether it needs a border or not. I have some dark brown that might look good as a narrow border or I could use a wider border of a different color. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Trip to Cranberry Portage

We received a call from Irvin Head, a sculptor from Cranberry Portage, telling us that that there would be a festival there this weekend and that we were invited. Within a couple of hours we had woken everyone, packed and headed north.

We stopped at the Spruce Woods Provincial park to see the desert there. It is so amazing to see a real desert with sand dunes and cactus in the middle of the prairie farmland.

One of the highlights was seeing a huge moose by the side of the road in Riding Mountain Provincial Park. It stared at us and then sauntered casually into the woods. It showed absolutely no fear, which was not surprising given its huge size.

In Cranberry Portage we learned how to erect a teepee. It is such an efficient structure that it can be set up and taken down in a matter of minutes. We were such novices at it though, that it took us much longer than that. The most amazing part is how the poles are tied together. In this picture the canvas is being put on.

This is a huge teepee that has been put up by Irvin and some of the people of Cranberry Portage. It is absolutely enormous. They held a concert in it. There was plenty of room for about 200 people sitting around a large stage in the middle.

We enjoyed watching the Whispering Loon Dance group. The little boy in the green costume was the star of the show with his enthusiasm and intricate dance steps.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Yesterday we went to the twins house for their official birthday. We ate sushi and cake and then most of the guests went out and played football. I was the official photographer. You may have noticed in the last two posts that I am not much of a sports person.
When it got too dark and cold to play outside we went in and they played Guitar Hero on the Xbox. There is quite a bit of hidden talent out there!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rainy Monday

True has started a blog as part of his school assignment. If you get a comment that sounds strange coming from a ten-year-old boy (I think Libby got one about her clothesline) it's just that I forgot to sign out from his blog and commented under his name.

We had a rainy day yesterday so some of it was spent in the studio. While I quilted on the big machine, Reve cut and colored. True spent some quality time on the pottery wheel.

Later when the weather cleared up a bit we all went for a walk in the woods.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Things have been pretty hectic around here with no time for sewing. There has been time for a bit of partying though. Yesterday we had a bit of a family get-together which involved a lot of food (potluck, always my favorite) and a baseball game.

Reve had a good idea about how to bat, but he wanted to follow the rules of cricket and keep on batting. He was quite annoyed when Ariana picked him up and ran with him to first base!

Sky and Free are having their 16th birthday this week too. Reve really wants a cake smash but the twins think that 16 may be a bit too old for that kind of thing. We'll see.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More Fun

Here are True and Carmel exploring our creek in the bush behind the house. The creek is in the bottom of a ravine. The sun has come out again but nothing is very green yet. The weather is supposed to get warm today though, so I expect the leaves to appear very quickly. We had two days of much needed rain and that will help.

What the rain didn't help was the mud in the house situation. We went to the thrift shop and got rubber boots for everyone and as you can see, they were well used. I'll take them out and hose them all down today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Visit

Carmel and family landed on Monday night and we have been having fun ever since. Here is True enjoying the last little trace of snow the next day. It's strange that there is still snow in sheltered spots and the leaves are coming out at the same time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Cherie, our daughter, cooked a fantastic Mother's Day dinner for the whole family today. The big plus is that it was warm enough to eat outside for the first time in about six months. It was very sunny and most of us forgot to bring hats. Cherie scoured her cupboards and found several hats. I ended up with one left over from some party but I thought it was quite appropriate for Mother's Day wear.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quick Quilt

I got frustrated with my Out of the Block Quilt. It looks too orange with the triangles on the sides. I'm not sure what color needs to go there . Maybe just more blocks and then cut square even if it goes through a block. That's how it is done in the book but I'm not sure I like that.

In the end, I put it to the side and started sewing scraps together and in only a few hours came up with this scrappy quilt top. Here are the reasons I love this technique.
1. There is no thinking involved. You just grab whatever piece is handy.
2. It goes together incredibly fast.
3. There is no matching at all.
4. It always looks great no matter what you do.
5. It gets rid of some scraps.
6. It is true to the original idea of quilting; making do and making something from nothing.
7. It's great to practise machine quilitng on because the mistakes won't show.

Really, it's a wonder I ever do anything else.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Annie's Sewing Center

Now that I have mostly Pfaff machines, the local Pfaff dealer has retired. The good news is that some neighbours of ours, Anne and Wolfgang Schaefer, have started a Husqvarna Viking dealership and will be servicing their machines on site. Too bad I just bought my Pfaff Grand Quilter and frame. They will be able to clean Pfaff machines but probably not service them. The good news is that the Grand Quilter and the Husqvarna machine are pretty well identical so I can get bobbins, needles and anything else I need for my machine quilting there. They also sell the Next Generation frame that those machines fit on. They are going to stock King Tut thread, which I hear is the best for machine quilting and are ordering pre-wound bobbins for me to try.
If you are in the Winkler area, drop in and see their wonderful selection of machines. They are at 915 Navigator Road, Unit 2C, which is parallel to Hwy 14 on the north side.
I am getting ready for our company so no photos today.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Yet More Blocks

Here is the current status of my quilt. It is certainly outside the block. At the top you can see the rejected overdyed blocks. They are just too dark. They will be useful somewhere else though, and are headed to my parts drawer which is getting pretty full. I will still spend some time working on the best arrangement and I have to make a few more blocks. I now have a choice of making setting triangles or just whacking it off to make a rectangle. In the book she does both (but not on the same quilt!). I will probably end up making at least a few setting triangles to see what that looks like. I may want to make it somewhat larger too. The blocks finish at 6 inches square but once they are sewn together, the whole thing is a lot smaller than when they are laid out on the design wall.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yet Another Quiz

What Mythical Creature are you?
Your Result: Elf

Elves are skilled, intelligent craftsmen and warriors. An elf will devote his or her life to a certain trade, and thus become the best in the universe at what they do. Elves are commonly very quiet and reclusive, causing them to be shy. However shy, they are not naive and posess a great deal of knowlege and wisdom that seems to be inherited at birth. Elves are immortal, and very dedicated to nature. They walk in harmony with their surroundings, but are not wholely over emotional beings. Love is not thought of as deep or passionate for these creatures, but rather a pairing, or mating that is ultimately result in offspring.

What Mythical Creature are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Not sure how accurate this one is but I do like the immortal part!
I overdyed some of my connecting blocks but they came out much too orange. I rummaged in my stash a bit and found some more peach pieces so I'll use them and save the bright orange ones for another project.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Big News

Here is the quilt with a few more blocks and some transition blocks added. I was going to dye some fabric but I couldn't wait to see how it would look with the transition blocks so here it is with off white in the background. I may have to put those blocks aside and get some yellow or blue fabric. What do you think? Is the background too pale? I haven't done any arranging yet, just put them up as I finished them, so a different arrangement could change the look quite a bit too.
Now for the big news! Our daughter from Australia, Carmel, has been talking about coming home for a visit. This morning she called and said they got a flight that will arrive on Monday. We couldn't believe she got it all organized so fast. She has been on the computer almost steady for three or four days but she managed to get flights that worked for them. They'll be here until July. We are so excited!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

More Blocks

These new blocks are definitely addictive. Every one is so different. It is also an excellent exercise in color. I will be putting plain fabric between the blocks with some strips randomly going through them. I have to decide what color would work. It will have to be neutral for sure. I also want to arrange the blocks in some sort of random order. That will be the next bit of fun, deciding what should go where. There will be a lot of different arrangements before it's done.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Outside the Block

As promised, here are the first blocks from my new book. They are very easy to do but the fun part is picking the colors. The two on the far left are the first ones I did. The bottom one has not enough contrast between the centre and first border. The white dot fabric on the top one just doesn't work for some reason. In real life, I like the orange one best, probably because the orange fabric is hand dyed and is somewhat mottled. Eventually, there will be plain setting blocks all the same color but with some lines going through them. They will probably be off white or some sort of yellow. I may have to do some dyeing to get the color I need. The blocks are all 6.5 inches square. They look wonky because they are not all sticking to the design wall properly.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to do some free piecing. This is only one of several blocks she uses. I had a hard time deciding which one to do first.

Did I Really Need Another Quilt Book?

No, not really, but outside the block is where I like to be with my quilting. Besides, it was 25% off. What was I to do? It looks like my kind of book with no patterns or rules but lots of ideas. I think my pastel days are over for now. Stay tuned for more brightness.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Freehand Tulips

Yesterday I loaded the Pyjama quilt on the big frame and did freehand tulips all over it. I want to practise my freehand (or is it free-machine quilting, or is this free motion?) and this one is so busy on both the back and front that inconsistencies don't show up too much. I always manage to get them sagging towards the left a bit, which is to the right on the front. I suppose that is because I am right handed. Anyway they turned out better than I thought they would. I am going to do a wide braid pattern on all the borders at once . I will do that on my regular machine so I can easily turn the corners. I want to get a new template for this so there will be some marking in my future. I really like the backing fabric which has little hippos and giraffes on it.
Today we are off to the Barnswallows qulit show in Morden. They always put up a fantastic show with an amazing number of quilts considering the relatively small population around here. I have three pieces in it. They hang anything they receive and there is no judging so it's a low-stress show to enter.
If you enjoy entering draws, drop over to CowgirlQuilter and leave a comment. She is drawing on May 16 for a really nice prize.