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Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Iron

I got my new iron this morning. Sorry, for some reason the image is sideways but I'm sure you get the picture anyway. It's a Tfal with auto shut off. I've never had one of those and I know some people love them and others hate them. We'll see which I am. I got it mainly because of the many steam holes, esp near the point. It doesn't fit on the stand on the end of my Rowenta ironing board but that might make it too horizontal anyway and it would shut off every 3 seconds. So far it steams really well and is a bit lighter and smaller than my old one which makes it a bit easier to handle. It was not that cheap but it was between that one and a $12 one from the supermarket. It was the many steam holes that made the decision.

I received two gifts in the mail this week. This was from a draw Zegi at Quilt Bug had. It is a Moda charm pack and very cute.

This one came today and is from Brenda at Scraps and Strings.
I will enjoy putting these beautiful fabrics to some use too. Thanks gals.

K Quilt

Here is the K quilt laid out without the black strips in the middle. It is about half sewn down but then I had to quit until I get a new iron. It will have wide black borders and a narrow red one if I can find a matching red or burgundy. There are two shades of red. I'd prefer the darker one if I can find it.

Here are a few close ups of some of the hexagons. The boxes are also hexagons and each triangle is made from three trapezoids. The smallest piece is 1 3/4 inch tall. There are a lot of seams on this quilt. I have been using Elmer's glue to stabilize the long bias seams. It works great until you have to rip out.

I'm really liking how this is turning out.

Oh, oh. I just noticed that I have the same boxes touching each other. Good thing it's not sewn down. It's amazing what you notice in a photo that you don't see when you are looking right at it.

I really like how this one is turning out. I'll be quilting it with a simple meander and try to avoid the spots where all the points come together in the middle of the hexagons. I'm just wondering if I should continue the meander over the border or do something different there. I guess I'll know more when I get the border on.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Iron

My steam iron seems to have suddenly given up the ghost. It overheats almost instantly. I scorched the cloth that I had over my new ironing board cover. Lucky I had that cloth on there. Now I am wondering if it is worth it to invest in a Rowenta. My present iron is a $100 cordless that I really like but it's only about 4 or 5 years old so I am feeling a bit leery about replacing it with the same one. I suppose that is a long time considering that it is on for several hours most days. I am also wondering if I might prefer something lighter to save the arm muscles when I don't stand up to iron a short seam. The other concern is our hard water. I know they say self-cleaning but most irons that I have owned have started spitting grit out after a year or two. Any advice???

K Quilt

Here is the rest of the K Quilt laid out on the design wall. The first part is rolled up on the left. Before I start sewing I'll unroll it and see how it al looks together. I'll make at least one more box to replace the one that's sticking into the top right black strip. The lightest color on that one doesn't work because the pattern is too big and you lose the illusion of depth. I can also see a couple of pieces I might move now that I see it on the computer.

This is the original dragon fabric. It's hard to fail when you start with such beautiful fabric. There will be at least a panel of it on the back to show what I started with. There isn't enough to do the whole back so it will be mostly pure black.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The K Quilt

Here is the Kaleidoscope quilt so far. I have decided to call it the K quilt because I'm tired of writing out kaleidoscope every time. Sorry the picture is so dark. I have to take apart the boxes on the far right because I have the white part in the wrong place. I spent a few hours yesterday moving blocks around and then finally decided to just go for it. You could spend a liftetime doing that and never get it perfect. I will be doing it in three panels. Each strip, consisting of half hexagons, is all bias seams. Out comes the Elmer's School Glue. I felt it would be too heavy to handle all in one piece without stretching the edges even with the glue. I would also have liked to have the whole thing up on the wall before starting to sew but the wall is not nearly big enough.
There will be a black border all around it and then maybe a narrow red and then another black one, depending on how big it gets. It's hard to judge the eventual size when there are so many seams. I just love the little boxes, especially when they tumble out into the border.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Final Two

Here are last two bags for now. These blocks were made when I was trying out my new Flying Geese ruler. I have lots more of them but I think that is enough bags for the present. Looking at the picture, I think the pink one should have a pink strip beneath the last block. Oh well, too late now and I don't think I had more of the pink fabric anyway.

I cleaned up the studio and started to arrange the kaleidoscope blocks. That looks like it is going to be a lot more difficult than I thought. Stay tuned for some options. I had planned to do it in three panels, maybe of different sizes. I'll be posting pictures of some of the possibilities.

Anyone who is into Wonky might like to check out Mary Lou's blog.
I think I'm going to need her book.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

And More Bags

Here's another basket bag. It's much brighter in real life. The print is orange and purple. This one is not quilted.

Here is a spare lady beside a tree. I know she is as big as the tree but it's wonky after all.

This one is trial blocks that didn't get used. I quilted it but haven't made a handle yet. I may search the thrift shops for a purse with a suitable handle. I would like one that is adjustable. If I don't find one I'll make a matching one.

I can't seem to stop making bags. I think it is because I'll have to clean the studio before I start anything else. There are scraps, parts and bits of batting everywhere. It will be a major job to get it tidy again.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

On a Roll

I seem to be on a roll with these bags. Here is another one made from my spare parts drawer.I decided that this would be a good opportinity to practise some free motion quilting. It's far from perfect but I think it adds to the bag. On this one I needed to spend a bit more time on the marking.

This one is made with a left-over couple from one of my wall hangings. I think they were too small for what I needed at that time.

The quilting on the back of this one is a lot simpler and easier to do.

The colours are way off on my computer. The green looks turquoise but it's actually a kelly green.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Since my bag collection has dwindled down to practically zero, I spent the day making bags. I had the bright idea of using orphan blocks from my "spare parts" drawer. The purple pinwheel one was the first. It is actually not blue as it looks on my computer. It has a layer of batting and is quilted. It is lined with a red shiny fabric with black dots that I found at the thrift store. You can see a bit of it in the middle of the handles.
The middle one has bead handles that I bought on sale for $1 last year. I will change the pin that is on the flap to hide the sewing where I attached velcro. The next time I am at the thrift shop I'll look for something with flowers that is a bit lighter looking.
The top one is a basket I made from Collaborative Quilting. It didn't make it into a quilt so why not a basket bag?
I am thinking the two pink ones are pretty spring-like for this time of year but they will keep.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Where do you get yours? Go and tell Carolyn at Ohio Quilter's Journey and you might win some fat quarters. I get lots of inspiration from books and magazines as well as blogs. I love trying new techniques and get ideas from those sources.
We brought Carmel, our daughter, and the two kids to the airport for their return trip to Australia today. It's VERY quiet in our house tonight. I'll have to head to the studio tomorrow just to get away from the silence.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shopping Stops

On our way to Cranberry Portage we stopped in Plumas to visit the KickAss Courtry Store which is located in a tiny town but has an amazing selection of fabrics. I think they do a lot of online business. I got some black fabric for my kaleidoscope quilt (if I ever get back to it!) and the little gadget on the left. It is a sort of kaleidoscope that multiplies a block so you can see how it would look if there were many of them. It was only a couple of dollars so just a fun little gadget.
We stopped at a second hand book store in Swan River and I got the quilt book. It's quite old but still has some very good ideas.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cranberry Art Festival

Here are the thirteen smaller tepees set up around the big one which has now been repaired. The last time they had it up, a huge wind strong enough to uproot trees, tore the canvas to shreds. Apparently they were able to save over half of it and the people who made it were able to repair it.
Each artist had a tepee and a canopy if they needed it. The first day we had the quilts under the canopy and the pots on a table with some paintings inside the tepee and some outside on easels. The second day was so windy that the easels kept blowing over so we moved the pottery and paintings inside and we used the table for some quilts and a few paintings laying flat on the table.

This was taken the first day when the paintings were still outside.
Here is the canopy with the quilts hanging from lines by clothespins. The second day I took the burgundy quilt off the ground and put it on the table. I also hung the bags from the front of the canopy.
I sold nearly all of my bags and could have sold more if I had known and brought more. Who knew?
We stayed at Northern Spirit Lodge which was beautiful and facing right on the lake.
The art festival is the brainchild of Irvin and Lisa Head who own a gallery in Cranberry Portage which features Irvin's wonderful sculptures. You can check it out at Northern Buffalo Sculptures
Here you can see some pictures of the tepee being made and erected.
And here are a couple of aerial views of the whole setup.
It was a great time and we really hope that we will be able to go back again next year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Art Show

We will be leaving early tomorrow morning to participate in an art show at Cranberry Portage, eight hours north of here. I doubt that I will have an internet connection at the cabin where we will be staying so I will be gone for a few days. I'll return with lots of cool pictures. Apparently we will be showing our work in tepees. I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Pottery

We had another Raku firing yesterday. This is a red hot pot heading into the smoker.

Getting the lids on the smoking pots.

And the big reward, scalloped potatoes, glazed ham and garden lettuce. This dish of scalloped potatoes was the best I ever made. Actually, daughter Cherie and I made them together.
We thinly sliced potatoes and onions (lots of them because we are all potato lovers around here), and then boiled them until they were half cooked. Meanwhile we made a lot of fairly thick white sauce. I grated some mozzarella cheese and a bit of cheddar. We layered sauce, potato-onion mixture and cheese until it was all used up, ending with the white sauce. We popped it in the oven for about an hour, although it was cooked a bit sooner. We had to time it for when the Raku was done. Sometimes I add a little bit of Feta but I forgot. I also sometimes sprinkle Parmesan on at the end but forgot that too. It didn't suffer from lacking either one. I don't think there's any better combination than ham and scalloped potatoes.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Chicken Flock

My chicken flock has been decimated. No, I haven't been cooking and eating them. I seem to have given quite a few away, so today I made some more. I didn't want the last two to be lonesome. It is also a great way to use up a few orphan blocks.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quilting Progress

I finally got all the stitching out of this one and I'm now ready to pin it and re-do it on the regular machine. I'll stitch in the ditch so it will be very simple. I hope I didn't stretch it too much during the ripping out. All I need to do is get rid of all the thread bits and I'm ready to move on with it.

Yesterday I put my autumn quilt on the big frame. I did a meander (I was aiming for a stipple but I think it's a bit to loose to qualify) around the letters with a matching blue thread. The thread matched so well that it was hard to see what I had done so the meander is far from perfect. I got stalled because I didn't have a light blue thread to do the sky, but I bought some in the afternoon yesterday so I'm ready to go this morning. I may try to follow the cloud pattern in the fabric. I got a light brown thread to work on the bark of the lighter tree and I dug out dark brown thread for the dark tree that is not shown in this photo. This one will be fun to quilt because it's all free motion. It will be a challenge when I get to the tree and hills.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

July 7 Party

Yesterday we had our yearly July 7th party. It rained hard all morning but cleared up in the afternoon. We had fewer people this year because of the weather and because it was on a Monday this year. In spite of that, we had a lot of fun.

They did a Raku firing which resulted in several nice pots.

A friend brought along his Tibetan Singing Bowls. You run the stick around the rim and it rings like a crystal wine goblet. He also had a huge one that I didn't get a photo of. They each have a different sound.

There was drawing in our new screen tent. This tent is great because it sets up in seconds. All the poles are permanently in the slots so there is no tedious threading to do.

Our son in law set up his John Deere (he painted them himself) drum set up at the stones. Reve had a great time dancing to Matt's Heavy Metal drumming but unfortunately I didn't get a picture of that.

Then Carmel lit the big bonfire.

Later we had a bit of fireworks.
I didn't get a picture of the pot luck meal but it was delicious.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Fourth of July

We went to Walhalla, ND to help our friends celebrate July 4th. We ate the most delicious BBQ ribs I've had in ages and then went to the point of land on their property that overlooks the Tongue River. What a place to view the sunset! Unfortunately, my photos were mostly either too dark or too light. You can see where the river makes a huge oxbow. We want to go down there with our canoe some day. Later we watched the fireworks from there. We had to sit in our little portable screen tent though, because the mosquitoes were so bad.
We stayed overnight because our border crossing closes at ten PM. This morning we were treated to home made cappuccino and quiche before leaving for home. Thanks Brenda and Du.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Ready to Bind

Today I made the binding for this quilt. I think the dark binding kind of frames the whole thing. Now I have to square the quilt, sew the binding on and then do the miles of hand quilting. I am just wondering whether I should stitch it down on the back with black or white thread. I know there is a correct way and I think it is using the color of the background but I'm not sure.

Yesterday we spent July 1, Canada Day, at a family gathering as we usually do. It was a potluck so of course there was a ton of great food. The kids had a big water fight and got drenched. The only rule was no water on the adults. Some of the older teens got sucked into the fight whether they liked it or not. Us oldies stayed dry. I think everyone had a great time.