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Saturday, December 19, 2009
Theoretically, these were to be made very simply and quickly. But in my case, theory and practise didn't coincide. I'll spare you tedious details, but suffice it to say, I finished only one little stocking to my satisfaction and abandoned the attempt. Falling back on an even simpler idea, I made a set of folded coasters for a hostess gift and realized the annual "make something Christmassy" urge had disappeared.
Late as it is in December, I decided to photograph the items to add a touch of Christmas colour to this blog and that didn't work either. Whether it was the fault of the camera or the computer or me (and I have a strong suspicion it is the last), something didn't work the way it should - so no photos either.
As I thought about these frustrations and plans not working out, I remembered that the First Christmas wasn't without its frustrations either. I'm sure Mary and Joseph didn't expect to have to put their newborn in a manger or spend the night in a stable. But the Christchild came nevertheless.
And this year, too, Christmas will come, and what truly matters is not the external preparations but the preparations of the heart.
In the words of an old Christmas song written by Emily Elizabeth Elliot:
Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown
When Thou camest to earth for me
But in Bethlehem's home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus.
There is room in my heart for Thee.
May The Christchild come with all His blessings to your hearts and homes this Christmas!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Here's a great way to throw out your scraps without feeling guilty. Using an old pillowcase line a garbage bin with it. While you are sewing throw your scraps of fabric into it. When the pillowcase is 2/3's full, sew it shut and take it down to the local anmal shelter. They make great beds for cats and dogs. they are 100% washable and nice and soft for the animals! ... the shelters love it because they fit in the cat cages perfectly and the bed can go home with the animal, so it's something comforting for them while they adjust to their new home.Thanks to Sue and happy quilting!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Before we left home I checked on the internet and found out that The Smithsonian Institute in Washington has a large collection of quilts, which I hoped to be able to see. What I didn’t know, was that the collection is not open on a regular basis, and tours are given only twice a month. By the time I discovered this information, I had missed the latest tour, and so was quite disappointed. I found out that there are a few other quilt collections in DC (at The National Trust for Historic Preservation and The Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, for example), in addition to the one at The Smithsonian, but as we had left our sight-seeing time to the end of our visit (work had to be done first) I was unable to see any of them.
Oh, well, that’s life.
Apart from that disappointment, Washington was lovely. The weather was warm and sunny, ideal for being out and about. We did spend a few days taking in the beautiful sights. Memories of the magnificent architecture of the public buildings, the visit to the Lincoln Memorial, the beauty of the Mall with its lovely reflecting pool; the treasures of the Smithsonian (but no quilts!) and the friendliness of the people we met, will stay with us for a long time.
A week spent in Mesa, AZ on the way home was extremely hot ( 95 -104 deg. F) which meant we were pretty much confined to air-conditioned places. On the bright side, that meant a few fabric and quilt stores where I picked up some of my favorite travel souvenirs: fat quarters!
Now that I'm back home and the laundry is done and put away, it's back to the real world of quilting.
My next big project will be a memory quilt in honour of my nephew David, who passed away in September after a courageous battle with cancer. More on that next month.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Our little neighbourhood quilting group has suspended operations for the summer, but at our last session, I managed to get a flannel baby quilt put together, when one of the ladies asked me how to tie a quilt. I had the top and backing ready, so we speedily layered the quilt and then with five sets of fingers making the ties, it was quickly done. I sewed the binding on soon after but haven't yet stitched it down on the back.
A ten-day trip to the Kootenay region in BC with our son, daughter-in-law, and three grandsons (3 yrs, and twins who are 19 mos.) was lots of fun. I haven't spent as much time in playgrounds and at the beach in years! The scenery in the Kootenays is spectacular and we enjoyed the whole experience.
We returned with 30 pounds of fresh apricots, most of which have been turned into our favourite apricot jam, with some frozen for future pies and puddings.
I decided on the spur of an unguarded moment to learn how to do hardanger embroidery. I've tried many different types of handwork over the years but have never done hardanger. Armed with a beginner's book and materials to make a simple doily, I figured I could learn it on my own. I thought in terms of having a nice relaxing occupation while watching TV. I have discovered that I certainly can learn it, but usually after making all the mistakes possible and much frustration, picking out of stitches and re-doing.
Relaxing, it isn't. It is impossible (for me, at least) to watch TV and embroider at the same time. For one thing, I find it easier to see with my glasses off(!) and for another, counting threads requires close concentration. Hardanger is well named!
But I am persevering. If I live long enough I may actually complete the doily.
That's all for this month. Happy quilting!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In addition to the quilt show (200 quilts) there was a merchant's mall, quilters' boutique, and demonstrations of various quilting techniques, as well as a display of hand-cranked and treadle sewing machines. For those of us involved in the preparations and operation of the various areas, it has been a busy time, and although physically tiring, it has been mentally stimulating for us all to see the beautiful work that has been done. The whole event was a great success. And although I'm still recovering, it was a pleasure for me to work with so many talented, creative people, who were willing to do all that was needed to make it happen.
I entered a few items for sale in the boutique, and two of my fish wall-hangings found homes. One was a new one I had just completed called "A Close Call." (see photo).
When I came home from the show on Saturday, my body needed sleep, but my brain was on sensory overload. Sleeplessness had a positive side as it produced more ideas for future projects.
Now I'm working on a few more fish. I can't seem to get fish out of my system. Perhaps it's my maritime background! Stay tuned for the next one to make its appearance.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
At the beginning of the month I made a list of all the sewing projects that were waiting to be done; some already underway, others just in the fabric stage, some only ideas. There were ten on the list.
Three major projects have taken most of my time.
To begin with, on our trip to Malaysia, I succumbed to temptation and, lured by the beautiful, colourful silks, I bought some, with the intention of sewing them into an outfit for myself. This was a real learning experience for me in many ways. First of all, I had never sewn with silk before, with the exception of a few silk ties I used in a crazy quilt. But with helpful suggestions found on the internet, I was able to avoid some of the worst problems, such as the movement of silk when cutting it -put some paper under the silk, lay out the silk, pin the pattern to silk and paper and cut through all layers including the paper underneath. I also learned the proper size needles, stitch length and the best thread to use. The biggest problem came with the adjustment of the pattern to fit me, no small task when parts of the body are three different sizes. But, it is finally done, and if not totally to my satisfaction, it doesn't look too bad to wear.
However, I also know why I stopped sewing for myself a long time ago and it will probably be much longer, if ever, before I try something like that again.
Project number two was the completion of a queen-sized quilt that I began last fall. I chose a pattern called Paperweights, because it used lots of different fabrics, and it was my intention to use up as many of the older fabrics that had been in my stash for years and years. Like most of my quilts, the finished article bore only a passing resemblance to the orginal. Once the top was finished, I was faced with the daunting task of basting and quilting it. With the help of my friend Linda and her long-arm sewing machine, that too was finished.
Third project: a bedspread from some lovely cotton fabric purchased in Singapore. This was by far the simplest project of the three, as I just seamed lengths of the fabric together, quilted in straight lines and added a binding. It now adorns our bed and its matching valance is installed over the window.
It's a great relief to have all these projects completed and I'm looking forward to working on some smaller "fun" projects. Two more fish have been swimming around in my UFO stack for far too long. They need to find a suitable habitat.
Let's see what June brings.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
And that's it for this month.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
We arrived back home on March 9th. So the first week and part of the second was gone. By the time we unpacked, adjusted to the time change and sorted out our lives again, another week had gone by. All the while, the lovely fabrics I had purchased or been given, plus those I had already, were calling me to create.
First, I made a set of four placemats and napkins from a Batik fabric I purchased in Malaysia for our neighbours who had taken good care of our home while we were away.
Next, thanks to the generosity of Marianne Bos in Singapore, I was eager to get started on a postcard quilt to showcase some of my fabrics from Pacific countries. The postcard quilt (my name for it, which may or may not be the name others know the pattern by) is relatively easy to put together. The basic block is a 4 x 6 inch rectangle bordered by two 1-inch strips which makes a 6-inch square. These squares are then arranged alternately vertical and horizontal and sewn together in rows. I added extra strips to the outer edges of blocks which didn't have any.
Most of the machine quilting was done before the edge was finished. To finish off I sewed facing strips on the front, cut them to match the irregular edge, turned them over to the back and stitched them down by hand. The finishing was a little tricky, but when it was completed, I was glad I had done it that way. Here is "Postcards from the Pacific."
Finally, this past week I put together a simple top for a baby quilt in blue flannelette.
No wonder I didn't get time to add to my blog until now. At least that's my excuse!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
From a quilter's perspective, the web is agreat asset. I was delighted to meet this past week with quilters here in Singapore, having first contacted them through the web. Thanks to Janice, my contact who invited me to meet with the ANZA (Australia New Zealand Association) quilters and to Maurine who hosted us in her home. Each lady was working on a different project and in addition the group undertakes a charity project each year. I was especially interested in the project to make blocks which would be later made into quilts for victims of the bush-fires in Australia. The blocks are called "wonky stars" and they will be collected and sewn together by Australian quilters. Here is Alison with some of the blocks she had made.
On Wednesday, I met with quilt artist Marianne Bos (you can find her website by Googling her name) and we had a lovely two hours of quilt talk, sharing experiences and information, and looking at her beautiful quilts. Here she is with two of her wall-hangings.
I've never met unfriendly quilters and these ladies were no exception. Thanks to you all for welcoming me and letting me see and photograph some of your work.
Before leaving home, I checked out fabric sources in Singapore on the web and have visited most of them on my list, as well as some I didn't know about until I got here. My suitcase gets heavier and heavier with each shopping trip. And we still have two more weeks to go!
I think I already have enough projects in mind to keep me busy for the next few years.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Makes your feet and fingers glow.
February's cold and sleet
Freeze the toes right off your feet!
This old Flanders and Swan song, hit it just about right for the weather here
in Edmonton. Since mid-December we've been in a deep freeze. And I mean really DEEP! Down to minus 40 deg. Celcius (where the Fahrenheit scale meets it) overnight and with wind-chill factored in. Daytimes not a lot better, averaging minus 18 C. or so. When the temperature has risen to minus 10. deg.C it feels positively balmy! Snow has fallen "snow on snow" as the old carol says and we are living in an almost white world. There's no doubt it's winter in Edmonton!
Christmas was a bright spot in an otherwise dark world, with the lights and the warmth of family and friends making it possible to ignore, if not enjoy the weather. And now that the festivities are behind us, it's back to quilting. One consolation of the cold is that it's great weather for quilting. If you have all your supplies on hand you can just hunker down and be creative. And when you get tired of that, you just cuddle up in a cheery quilt and read a good book.
Having completed some Guild projects, I'm back to my queen sized "Thirty-years of Fabric" quilt, and am just about finished putting the top together. This is the easy part. The more difficult phase of basting and quilting it is to come. Each time I've finished a queen-sized quilt, I've said, "That's the last big quilt I'm going to do." But here I am working on another one!
I guess I just never learn.
Having begun this post with grumbling and ranting about the cold weather, I'll finish this on a warmer note, for next month I'll be in Singapore. So in my next post, you may very well find me grumbling about the too hot and humid weather in that tropical city! But no doubt, I'll be enjoying the fabric shops and market stalls and with any luck, I'll be able to meet some quilters as well. Keep tuned.