Blog Archive

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Quilt

About nine years ago, we were in Australia and in the course of our trip I was asked to give a talk to a ladies' group which included some quilters and also some new to the craft and to provide them with a small handwork project which they could work on and, if necessary, finish at home. I decided to show them three ways to make the bow tie block and several ways to set it, and then allow them to make the block of their choice by hand. I chose Christmas fabrics for my demo, thinking I would later put the finished blocks into a Christmas quilt. It was many years before I completed the quilt above, which I called "Bows in Boxes", but I was thinking of that quilt lately as we are off to Australia for Christmas and an extended visit which will include three weeks in New Zealand. I've not planned any quilt related activities, but, I'm sure there'll be some quilt shops along the way for me to visit and chat with quilters there. If this blog is not up-dated for quite a while, you'll know that I'm still travelling.

To all my quilting friends, those I've met and those I've yet to meet, my best wishes for a happy Christmas and many good quilting experiences in the new year.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Successful Sale

After months of planning, organizing and sewing, our Mission Possible Sale is over and I'm happy to say it was a great financial success, raising approximately five thousand dollars for projects in developing nations. Attached are a few photos, taken rather hurriedly near the end of the set-up day, hence the rather poor quality.
On a personal note, I was pleased to see that three of my larger quilts plus several wall-hangings and lots of smaller items were purchased, one intended as a gift for a family member in eastern Canada. And my reversible quilt will be going to a new home, some time in the future.
So after an intensive two months of quilting and sewing, I've been taking it pretty easy, with only one little project started, but several others waiting in line. One of which is a quilt, or quilts, based on the mosaic designs I saw on our trip to Italy last April. They are only in the design stages so far, but I know the type of fabrics I want and will be on the look-out for them as we travel to the US and "down-under" in December and January.

Happy quilting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Last of the Stashbusters

This past month has been a time of finishing projects that were started earlier in the year. They were all "stashbuster" quilts and I have now finished five with a little more quilting to be done on the sixth and last (for now) quilt. These are all going to the "Mission Possible" Arts, Crafts and Bake Sale on November 6th in support of Salvation Army World Missions. The money raised will go to such projects as providing clean drinking water, medical and school supplies, and micro-credit to create a source of income for poverty stricken families, often women and children.

Two of the quiltswere especially interesting to me. The green/brown reversible "quilt-as-you-go" was the first time I'd tried this technique and it proved quite easy to finish, if you enjoy hand sewing. My quilt is 51"square, but I could see doing a larger one and using a different pattern for the blocks sometime in the future. Another plus for this pattern is using up lots of left-over strips and pieces of batting too small for most other projects. I used cotton batting, which is very stable.

The other quilt is made of left-overs from a queen-size quilt I made last year. I altered the original design and had a lot of half-octagons and four-point stars left over. Originally I was going to use them as the backing for a quilt, but my "quilting consultant" (aka Gordon) persuaded me that they should be made into another quilt top, so I did.

I hope someone else likes them enough to buy them at the sale. We have lots of items coming in. Sewing, (especially quilts), crochet, knitting, woodwork, greeting cards, books and original photos are some of the crafts being sold. By this time next month it will all be over and (we hope!) a great success.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

QESP (Quilter's Extra-Sensory Perceptions)

I've just returned from a three-week visit to Newfoundland, the focus of which was to be family and friends and, unlike my last trip there, I had no plans for any quilt-related experiences.
But I'm convinced there must be the quilting equivalent of ESP, which, subconsciously, draws quilters together. For somehow or other, quilting seems to make itself a part of every trip I take.
And this trip was no exception.
A highlight of the visit was a reunion of graduates of my alma mater, Memorial University. This was an exciting event, as I reconnected with classmates whom I hadn't seen for years. At the start of the final banquet, I knew only two other couples (long-time friends) seated at our table, but before the evening was over, I had found two new quilting friends who just happened to fill the empty seats at our table - Phyllis, from Conception Bay South (CBS) and Iris from Ottawa.
Naturally we talked quilting, exchanged names and email addresses and promised to keep in touch.
Later on, Gordon and I visited Piecemakers Quilt Shop in CBS and who should walk in but Phyllis! While we chatted, another quilter joined us, and Phyllis introduced her. She was Bonnie, whom I had email correspondence with, but had never met in person.
By this time, Gordon had gone outside and was deep in conversation with Phyllis' husband. No doubt comparing notes on being a quilter's husband!
There was another quilting connection as well. The day before I left home, the autumn issue of Canadian Quilter arrived. I only had time to glance through it, but as I did, I saw the photo and article on The Pigeon Inlet Quilt, recently completed by quilters in Bay Roberts, NL and now displayed in the tourist information centre in that town. I determined to see it, if at all possible.
QESP was operating as I mingled with other alumni prior to the banquet. Before long, I found out I was talking to Eileen Newman, the quilter who had made the central block of the Pigeon Inlet Quilt. Later on, as I viewed the quilt, itself, I marvelled at the workmanship of Eileen and the other quilters who imagined, designed, and constructed such a remarkable quilt.
Non-quilters might call these connections the long-arm of coincidence. But as a quilter, I know it's more than that. It's definitely QESP!

Monday, August 9, 2010

August Activities

In spite of what I predicted last month, I have managed to do some quilt related sewing. The impetus has been the fact that my friend Linda and I (together with the Women's Ministries group in our church) are organizing an arts, crafts and bake sale, scheduled for November, to help raise money for Salvation Army projects in developing countries.

In order to have well-stocked sales tables, we have asked everyone we know who does some form of craft work, whether it's with fabric, wool, paper, paint or wood to make a contribution. The response has been great. But naturally, Linda and I want to make as big a contribution as possible. Although neither of us have openly admitted it, this is just another excuse to keep on quilting. Linda calls it "quilting with a purpose."

So over the last month I've made a few tote bags (see photo above) and some Christmas coasters. I've also made a start on a strippy quilt-as-you-go quilt and so far have finished 28 of the 36 blocks planned. I've wanted to try this pattern for a while and another plus is that it's another great stash-buster project. I'm hoping the final sewing together will go smoothly, as I've never finished a quilt in this fashion before. Time will tell.

That's all for now.

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


And here, as promised in last month's blog is "School Friends." I'm pleased to have finished this bright ( 3' x 4 ') wall-hanging, because with visitors and friends coming and going, and trips out of town ourselves during the summer, not much quilting is going to get done until the cooler and more settled weather of autumn rolls around.
So whatever you are doing this summer, I hope you are having a good time. And that, if you are a quilter, somewhere, somehow, whether it's a visit to a quilt show or fabric shop, or a get-together with a quilting friend, or perhaps just a few moments to browse through a quilting magazine, you manage to get a little time to indulge yourself in your favourite pastime.
Have a happy summer!

Friday, June 11, 2010

More "Stash-Busters"

The unseasonably cool, rainy weather of May and June has been good for the trees, grass and quilters. With gardening put on hold - not that I do much gardening anyway - I've been able to complete three of the six quilt tops that I put together earlier in the spring in my on-going attempts at "stash-busting." (See photos.)

As you can see, they are each very different in colour and design, but all fairly simple, which they have to be if I'm ever going to use up my stash of 30-plus years.

On top is a burgundy and green "disappearing nine-patch" pattern. This has become one of my favourite patterns for a fast and easy quilt.

Beneath that on the left is one I call "Autumn in the Square" which was great for using up the pre-cut 2 1/2 inch squares which I had accumulated.

Next to that is a strippy purple, gold and green lap quilt. The strips I sewed onto muslin squares over a period of months, when I was between other projects. Eventually there were enough blocks for a quilt and the green sashing seemed to set them off nicely.

These three will be given to a charity Arts and Crafts sale, which my quilting friend, Linda, and I are organizing for next fall.

Also in the works is another larger (3 ft. x 4 ft.) "tropical" fish scene. But more on that next month, when I hope it will be done.

Friday, May 7, 2010

April Travels

If you were looking for my April blog and found there wasn't one, there was a very good reason. For most of the month Iwas travelling with family in Italy, with a week in London at the end of the trip.
What an experience it was! I'm still trying to mentally process everything I saw. We travelled from Venice south and west to the Bay of Naples, Pompeii and then north to Rome. Everywhere we went we saw treasures of art and architecture dating from hundreds and in some cases thousands of years ago. Of the many things that impressed themselves upon my quilter's mind were the marvellous designs of mosaics in marble, stone and glass that decorated churches, palaces and the homes of the rich as far back as the first century! Some of these patterns were reminiscent of quilts and some of the elements are still used by quilters today.
The two pictured above (the mosaics not my husband and I!) were preserved in the ruins of Palazzo Teodorico in Ravenna. But we saw similar and even more elaborate designs in Pompeii and Rome.
After the excitement and riches of italy, London might have been a bit of an anti-climax if I hadn't already booked tickets to see the exbitbition "Quilts 1700 to 2010" at the Vicotria and Albert Museum. After two and a half hours of looking, reading, and listening I was exhausted, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see sucha wide-ranging exhibition and one I will never forget. (For more on this check the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You will find more there than I could ever tell you.)

So now it's back to my own quilting, with a mind buzzing with ideas for future quilts.
Good luck with yours!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Old and New

"The March wind doth blow and we shall have snow." So the old verse goes. That is pretty well always true for Edmonton, but this month has been surprisingly spring-like with the piles of snow and sand plowed up during the earlier months reduced to dirty heaps along the edges of the roads. Early spring (if I can be so bold as to assume it has already arrived) is not the most attractive time of year in Edmonton.
However, my mind has been occupied with more interesting things than the weather, as I continue in my self-imposed struggle to use as much of my fabric stash , while buying as little new fabric as possible.
The shoe-boxes which contained a miscellany of squares and rectangles are gradually emptying and the quilt-top I made using a lot of them turned out to be surprisingly bright and cheerful, in a very traditional way. I began by sewing pieces together, then combining them into a large square to which I added a variety of pieced borders, none of them very complicated but all seemed to work together in the end. It was sort of a personal round-robin. (See photo at beginning of blog for the quilt in progress.)
Next I took pieces left over from another project and combined them with black sashing into what I intended to use for the quilt backing, but my "quality-control advisor" (aka my husband) said he really liked it and it should be the front of another quilt. Which poses a problem as I shall have to go and buy fabric to back two quilts now!
Currently, I am working to combine the over 30 four-point black-prints stars, (left over when I changed the design of a previous quilt) with vivid orange diamonds. This one is tricky as there are eight points meeting at one place in the design. If I persevere, this will be one striking quilt! And, if nothing else, its orange and black combination will be great for Halloween!
All this, and the end is nowhere in sight, but I'm having lots of fun.
Next month, we are off to Europe. I have already purchased tickets for entry to the Victoria and Albert Museum's 300 Years of Quilts exhibition in London. Stay-tuned for a report in May and
Happy Quilting!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting Away From It All - Except Quilting!

While I have been diligently trying to use up the small pieces in my stash, not a lot was accomplished on that front in February, because we took two weeks to get away from the snow and cold and visited beautiful San Diego, California.
We had a very enjoyable time seeing the sights and sites of San Diego and it was made even more enjoyable when our daughter Susan joined us for a few days. We spent several days in Balboa Park enjoying the warm sunshine, the beautiful gardens, museums and the artists' village. Even then, we didn't see it all.
Another beautiful area was the Old Town, which recreates the buildings and atmosphere of the early days of San Diego's history. The quilter part of me was especially interested in a project which I came across when I noticed two women in period costume seated at a quilt frame. Naturally I was intrigued, and in talking to them discovered that they were working on a reproduction of the earliest known quilt in San Diego, the Juana Machado quilt made in the 1800s, a red on white appliqued quilt. I was invited to sit down and add a leaf to the work in progress, so while Gordon and Susan looked around the town I appliqued one red leaf on the quilt (see photos).
We also managed a day at Ocean Beach, walking along the sand, watching the waves, the dogs (who have their own stretch of the beach to enjoy), other visitors and finished up with a meal at Joe's Crab Shack- yum!!
Of course I had come with a list of fabric requirements for current projects and after visits to four different fabric and quilt shops, I had all the fabrics on the list and more beside.
All in all, it was a very satisfactory experience.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions, as such, although I do make resolutions at various times of the year and one made at some point last year was to try and use up as much of my stash as possible, especially flannelettes, which were overflowing their plastic tub. Baby quilts were the answer (see previous blogs) and I was doing very well combining the bits and pieces of flannelette that I had already acquired. The tub was two-thirds empty with only a few pieces on the shelf waiting their turn to be sewn into quilts. Then I ran into the common problem of needing just another metre to use as a backing for a top I had just finished. Nothing I had on hand was suitable. Naturally this meant a trip to the fabric store, where I fully intended to purchase only what I needed. But, alas, the remnant bin was too good to resist and (like any quilter worth her salt) on seeing an offer of "Buy one, get five free" I started to rummage and hit pay dirt! Before long my hands and arms were juggling six pieces of flannette totaling over five metres and for a cost of only $8.50. Ignoring my previous resolution, I purchased them together with the material I really needed.
Once at home, rationalization began (baby quilts were always in demand and the price was impossible to beat) and so did three more quilts. My total to date is 13, with one or two more to go to use up most of the pieces I now have. Only four remain with me, the rest having been given to various charitable enterprises and of the former, one will be given to a new baby later in the month. So my resolution still stands. I can almost see the end of the flanelette. Then there will only be seven more tubs (and a few boxes of assorted squares and strips) to go!
That is, if I avoid the remnant bin!