Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cold Weather and Warm Quilts

It has been an unusually early winter with lots of snow and many cold days. Ideal for quilting and in spite of Christmas preparations, I managed to find time to make two small quilts for the great-grandsons of a neighbour.

Erick's quilt was a challenge as he has been blind from birth, so I used simple shapes and many different materials - cotton, silk, brocade, embossed, linen, leather, vinyl and some unknown fibres with fuzzy surfaces, to make his quilt as tactile as possible. Each shape is stitched around with a zig-zag stitch which, I hope, will enable him to "see" the shape with his fingers.  The borders and backing are a flannel with Superman motifs.
Parker is Eric's little brother and the colourful blocks repeat the colours in the patterned flannel used as alternate blocks and borders. The flannel motifs are various kinds of trucks and machines. Parker is fond of Batman, so I was happy to find a fleece with large Batman motifs and used it for the backing.  So both boys will have warm,cosy quilts for Christmas.
To all my blog and quilting friends, I wish you a Christmas warm with love and happiness and many blessings of the quilting kind in the New Year.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mission Possible Sale

In October my energies were largely spent preparing for our bi-annual Mission Possible Arts, Crafts and Bake Sale at the Salvation Army. Proceeds from this sale go towards needs in under-developed countries. Projects such as providing clean water, education for children, medical assistance, and micro-credit are all part of The Salvation Army`s work. So I was happy to be able to do my part to help.
People who wanted to participate in the sale could either rent a table or a make a donation in kind. In addition to the rental cost, vendors had the option of donating part of their profits as well. Several of us who are avid quilters had our own little corners. We also had a artist and other crafters selling their wares. Gordon donated some of his books and four wooden breadboards which he makes.
I had fun making a variety of smaller items in addition to a number of large quilts. The response was good, so now my storage area has lots of room for future projects. One I will be working on is a tactile quilt for a little blind boy. More about that in the future.
The attached photos show my corner of the sale room.

Friday, September 28, 2012

One fish, Two Fish...

Thanks to my new quilting friend, Phyllis, I've been having great fun this last few weeks.
When I visited her in August, she generously showed me the |"flying fish" mobiles she had made. She also gave me a short lesson and a copy of the patterns and instructions. The results, as you can see in the attached photos, are quite exciting for one who enjoys "playing with fabric. Fortunately I had most of the materials required in my stash and only had to purchase stiffener for the body. I did indulge myself and bought a half metre of a lovely baik and a spool of matching Egyptian variegated thread that was a joy to use.  So here I am fourteen fish later and only stopped because |I ran out of stiffener.  I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back in Berry Beautiful Newfoundland!

    If a holiday can be said to have a theme, ours was blueberries. We chose the month of August to visit Newfoundland because that’s when the blueberries are ripe. For Gordon, it didn’t much matter what else we did in the month but we had to go blueberry picking. Of course we planned to visit with family and friends and I had some interesting quilters to meet, but if we didn’t get any berries, it would have been a wasted month. When we landed in St. John’s, the question uppermost in Gordon’s mind was "Are the berries ripe yet?"
    As we drove from St. John’s to Lewisporte and looked at the hills, bogs and barrens passing by, if he said it once, he said it a hundred times "I wonder if there are any berries there?" (meaning, of course, blueberries).We were heartened to see cars parked along the roadsides in the middle of nowhere, a sure sign that someone was off either fishing, or picking berries.
    In Lewisporte we took a walk around Woolfrey’s Pond and, joy of joys, along the edges of the boardwalk there were ripe blueberries. Not many, but enough to make us feel optimistic for a later berry-picking day. Luck was with us, for when we called a friend in St. John’s to arrange a get-together, she invited us to join her the next day for a berry-picking excursion. She knew a secret spot where berries grew in profusion. An invitation to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party couldn’t have created more excitement!
    The day dawned cool and overcast, with a good breeze blowing to keep away the mosquitoes. Perfect for picking berries. An hour’s drive brought us to Doreen’s secret spot and two and a half hours later we slowly made our way back to the car with aching backs, wobbly knees and three gallons of blueberries between us.
    Another day brought another berry-picking expedition and we left Newfoundland with half a suitcase full of frozen blueberries packed inside an insulated cooling bag. Some were thawed when we arrived home twelve hours later, but they made delicious jam.
    Oh, and did I mention the blueberry print on the fabric I bought to make napkins to match the blueberry place mats I had purchased on our last visit?

What a trip!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So what have I been doing?

It's been a while since my last post but that doesn't mean I haven't been quilting. Although visits from family, a trip away and the usual day-to-day activities have meant less time for my hobby (passion? obsession?), I have managed to finish a few smaller projects. Here are two little baby quilts that, I hope, will comfort some little body in the future.
The one on the left called "Love, Hugs and Kisses" is one of my favourite patterns for babies.

To the right is a Disappearing Nine-Patch pattern. The main fabric was passed on to me from my quilter friend Linda and the other fabrics I had on hand. I like the bright cheery colours in this and a DNP is so easy to make. I'm glad to show Linda that I actually used the fabric she gave me, although it took a couple of years! And, yes, Linda, I'm going to use the other fabrics, too.

And I'm happy to say that after two or more years with it sitting in a UFO box,  I've finally finished an orange and black quilt, which surprised me by turning into a Halloween Quilt. The story of that will be in my column in the autumn edition of "The Canadian Quilter." But here is a photo for you to see.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Night Owls

Although it's not quite the end March, I'm getting a headstart on my April blog. With the arrival of our little grand-daughter (and parents) tonight, for a two week stay, I will have other joys to occupy my time and no space for quilting. Her play-pen/crib is already set up in my sewing room, and it testifies to this grandmother's love that only for Gracie would I be willing to give up my quilting space; and then only for a short time!
However, I've just completed a project that I'm very pleased with. So it is a natural time for a break.
Two years ago when we were in NewZealand, I bought a copy of the New Zealand Quilter magazine. As I paged through it, a picture of a wall hanging called "Two Little Ruru" by Jenny Hunter caught my attention. Ruru is a Maori name for the morepork owls which means "big eyes."  I thought to myself then, that it would be fun to make something similar. It took a while, but last summer I worked out a pattern for two "Canadian" owls, based on the owl pattern in the magazine, but didn't get around to actually making the hanging until this past month. These owls look very wide-awake in a dark Canadian forest, which inspired the title "Night Owls."  They have already 'flown away' to the home of a friend, who fell in love with them the moment she saw them and is very much enjoying their company. Here they are.

Night Owls
That's all for this time except to wish all of my blog readers a blessed and happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Back to the Landscapes

After finishing a few UFOs and some larger traditional quilts, I returned to my fabric art. I find it's a good change to work on something small after wrestling with larger projects. Here are a few of the pictures. They are matted and measure about 8 x 10 inches with the mats and yet to be framed. 
On the left is "Red Sky at Night" and on the right "Remembering Vincent." Below these is "Water's Edge."


Sunday, February 19, 2012


In my last post, I vented my frustration at not being able to find a suitable pattern for the fabrics I had looked forward to using in a "special" quilt, and I had pulled out the blues and some yellows in my "leftovers" boxes and began to piece a log cabin quilt. Here is the result:

I used a straight furrow setting and am rather pleased with the results.
And all those lovely fabrics I pictured in my last blog post? And my frustration at not finding a suitable patttern in which to use them? After a lot more deliberation, I finally settled on a pattern called "Windflowers," and got to work cutting out the pieces. Laying them out on my design wall, I called in my "quilt advisor and quality control man" whose critical eye was not yet satisfied with the combination of two of the fabrics. Reluctantly agreeing that he was right again, I re-arranged the pieces, which produced a more satisfactory result, but it also necessitated another shopping trip to buy the extra fabric needed for the new design. To make a long story short, I finally put together the top.
I think perhaps it needs another border, but I'm happy with the results so far. The ironic part is that I've only used just one of the original seven fabrics!
Does it need another border and if so, what would you suggest?
Meanwhile I think I'll take a break from the traditional and those other six fabrics and return to my fabric art.
Stay posted!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Searching for the Perfect Pattern

    There is an age-old question that says: Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? For quilters this could easily be re-phrased to say: Which comes first, the fabric or the pattern?  As I'm beginning to realize, it is much easier to select the pattern first.
Having arrived home with a collection of fabrics in my suitcase, but no specific pattern in mind, I've spent the last week hunting for the perfect pattern for the collection.
   As with nearly every quilt I make, I start out wanting to do something original and out of the ordinary but within the limits of my capabilities.  Possibly these are conflicting ideas, but I'm ever hopeful. I got out my pencils, ruler, eraser and graph paper and sketched some ideas. One in particular seemed promising, so I decided to test the block design by gluing small pieces of the fabrics onto a half size photocopy of the pattern. And it was a good thing I did, for it was clear that my fabrics didn't work in my original design.
    Abandoning, my design tools, I turned to quilt books and back issues of quilting magazines for the perfect pattern. This took quite some time, as I examined pattern after pattern, in between reading the interesting articles that I came across in the magazines.  By now, I was getting quite frustrated. I really wanted to get going on those fabrics, but, couldn't find a pattern that appealed. Finally, I decided to lay the fabric collection aside for a while, get out my machine and do something that required no originality, but would diminish the boxes of scrap fabrics, which always seemed to be full and, hopefully, my frustration. Log cabin blocks seemed a good choice. So today, instead of using these lovely fabrics

I'm sewing these 'wonky' log cabin blocks:

I hope by next month's blog, I'll have found the perfect pattern or at least have a log cabin quilt well underway.