Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Red & White Quilts - next step

Cutting and counting
I had to set this project aside for a while. Life, family, friends, work, all that stuff took priority.

"living, quilting and stuff..." is the truth for me.

Living happens first, then quilting, then other stuff. Living though means family, friends, work, responsibilities. We all have that and if we are lucky we can have that and more. I am lucky. This also means though that there is a lot of time that I am not quilting.

I had a math problem that took some time and a fresh look at the numbers to solve.  I needed to make the quilt larger than the actual pattern. Should be easy...  The quilt has to be 72" x 80"and the pattern is 56" x 74".  Instead of 7 x 8 blocks... I am making it 9 x 10 blocks.  The first time that I did the math I thought I needed 2,250 individual units - is that total? or each set?  I was daunted by all the cutting and subsets. It did not make sense so I had to wait until I could be sure. That would be a lot more work than I really wanted to do. I counted up all my stitching and cutting so far... 255 #1 sets, 259 # 2 sets. I can see that there are 140 of each in the pattern in the magazine so the 2,250 number has to be  a bit crazy.

The mistake that I was making was figuring out that each blocks is 5 sets width ways and 1 row and not 5 x 5. Yay. I only need 225 of each set.  I have enough.

Sorting the mix of prints. I can see that  I am missing some of the prints in my available pieces. I need to make a few more. I plan to use only one white, a Kona white. I need a bit more so if I can pick some up tomorrow I can make another few pieces. If not then I will work with what I have since I do have enough actual pieces right now. I am trying to have each print in both pieces sets if I can.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Our Guild Challenge... RED & WHITE BED QUILTS - "CURVY"

The Oxford Quilt Guild   wants to celebrate Canada's Sesquicentenial 2017 by hanging rows of RED & WHITE bed quilts at our Quilt show in May.

The challenge is to only use reds and/or whites in a full size quilt... any pattern. Possibilities are endless.. right.. so how to decide what to do...
My first inclination is to collect reds... (I probably don't have enough in my stash - really!) and then to use just ONE white - Kona Ultra White.. and now.. what to do with this...

When I buy magazines I will place a sticky note on any pattern I would like to eventually make... so I dug out an older issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting May/June 2013 to find this pattern "Curvy"

I will use the multiple reds in place of all these colours and the pure white to unify them. 

In process: I did need more reds... so I bought them. So many reds look orange when they are laying together so I have to pull them out of the mix. 

Then cutting... strips... more strips... then sewing the strips..then cutting the curves.. and then sewing the curves....  I have a pile already stitched up, but still many more to do and then... use my new "Simple Curves" Ruler. The Curved Ruler that I already owned was far to tight of a curve. 

Before I move on in this project I have a couple other to complete this weekend... 8 PURPLE ties for the groom and groomsmen in a wedding party. 

Friday, 16 September 2016

The quilt for my nephew is done...

I had to wait until he received it before I could share the progress.. The previous blog post reflects the planning challenges.. I played with the pattern on graph paper and in EQ6 but I was not happy with the math... I could not commit to many specific size so that I could start cutting...

My design concept was inspired by a computer motherboard.

The I saw this pattern online,  "Midcentury" by Vintage Modern quilts Pattern Co. and yay..

 I could work with it.. and the math was done

So the Green and Yellow quilt... to celebrate Tyler at University of Delaware .. is complete..

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Quilt Planning Challenge - have the fabrics, now to decide on the design so I can cut them up and sew them back together again!

This quilt is destined for my nephew... he is smart, funny, sweet and deserves something special.  This one has been in the PIM (Project in my Mind) stage since last summer. I did the "Waves and Flips" quilt first.  

I wanted to capture his area of study at University - which is related to Network Security and whatever else is related to computer networking - as well as his school. We went to a local quilt shop together and he selected the first 2 fabrics, I picked out the others. So now we have 2 sets of green and gold, and a few novelty prints related to the internet. 

I have been particularly taken by modern geometric designs, interwoven pathways. I am being inspired by "mother boards", computer chips, workflow diagrams. Now I have to make the math work. 

It would be simpler to pick a pattern on offer but somehow, for this guy, I want to do it all. 

This is the design planning flow so far...

There are a few interesting ways to play with these 2 colours.. I can view it as a monochromatic quilt and leverage the contrast seen through the shading... or I can plan it as a 2 colour quilt... how should I alternate the colours?

The next question is size. The end result should be suitable for a double bed so around 66" to 72" wide by about 72" long.. or so

The pathways should be  2 1/2 or 3" wide...Too bad for me that my version of EQ6 seems to max out at 24 blocks wide and long. I tried to colour this as 3" blocks. 

Watch this space for my progress!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Waves and Flips - A quilt for the beach*

A quilt on the beach???
Quilts are wonderful gifts to memorialize special occasions, like heading off to college. I have beautiful nieces (well- stunningly gorgeous, smart and sweet nieces) and I wanted to acknowledge Morgan's graduation (Valedictorian no less!) from high school with a quilt to take away to college - for anytime hugs, being warm and generally reminding her of how much she is loved. I had expected her to choose her school colours but she loves the beach, and beach colours.

Off to shop for fabric (what a hardship) in beach blues and whites... with some hot pink flamingo's thrown in for fun. DH even went to a quilt shop to pick a few FQ's for me.

I had decided that a Turning Twenty (Tricia Gibbs Turning Twenty - "Twisting Turning Twenty" would be an easy way to play with multiple fabrics and the light/dark angled rows could resemble rolling waves.

I am very happy with the results.

Machine quilted on my Brother 1500s - swirls (click for a closer look)
 I wanted to simulate the essence of the waves as they roll, fall and crash to shore as well as the flips and swirls of Morgan's amazing talent in flips and somersaults in Cheer.  I can barely keep my eyes on her she moves so fast - up, down, over her head, under and over again. I found a variegated thread with the same colour feel.

Turning Twenty: beach colours with a few Flamingos for fun

I was able to send it to her in October so it is happily covering her bed.
Home away from home.

The next project is a quilt for an equally amazing nephew! He has finished college and starting University at the end of January. I have to get a rush on it!

* Quilts should not be used on the beach....pretty well...never...

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Living, quilting and best intentions....

In 2015 I really intended to post regularly... and living stuff got in the way. I suppose that not posting because I am busy with the living, quilting and stuff is somewhat appropriate.

So 2016 is here, my annual motto has been refreshed. Every year I choose a new motto to guide my year. I gave up on New Year's Resolutions, keeping them is too complicated. I started selecting a motto instead about 12 years ago.  It has been a better solution for me. ☺

Last year's motto was "calmly, peacefully, mindfully..."
2016: "When there is a choice, why not choose what I really want?"

I want to enjoy my family, read, listen to music I love, complete more projects and also to create blog posts more often.

 Happy 2016!

Motto (according to Merriam Webster)


noun  mot·to  \ˈmä-(ˌ)tō\

Simple Definition of motto

  • : a short sentence or phrase that expresses a rule guiding the behavior of a particul!ar
  •  person or group 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Lakeside Mini-Farm (or "I started as a kid in NYC and now I am planting garlic") Week 1

I am not an amazing and experienced gardener, and I do not really have a farm. What I do have are a few plots of soil that I am learning how to grow vegetables in - some that will just be delicious because they are fresh and from my own garden - and some that are worth learning "how to preserve". I am ready to have dirty hands, blisters and learn what works and what I can do with it.

Welcome to a series of posts about learning how to grow food - while you are still busy being a quilter, going to work, enjoying time with your Mister, playing with your grandson and having fun with friends. There is not too much time left for gardening,... so it is sort of good that the gardening season only lasts half the year.

Based on the post title you may have some expectations - the size of my "mini farm"... which in reality is only about 600 sq.ft (two 16' x 16' plots, three apple trees and a small spot for blueberries. )
May 3, 2015
I am not beside a lake either, but I was born in NYC and I do have some garlic growing now - Garden 2015 Edition.
The first thing that I learned about serious gardening (AKA: farming to a New Yorker) is that you have to plan ahead and prepare your soil.
We spent 5 years thinking about how we could start these gardens. The first summer here I was quite enthusiastic about this project. I headed out to the backyard with a shovel, rake and a hoe. After 8 hours I had cleared a swath 2' wide by 6' long. It was packed solid with rock and gravel. Beaten,  I decided that the next year I would have raised beds and start above the packed gravel.
4 years later we built 2 - 16' x 16' raised beds. The Mister dug out all the grass/weeds and rocks. We learned that the particular spot that I had chosen to start the garden those few years earlier was the only spot packed with rocks and gravel. I had really forgotten that we built our home on a decommissioned rail line and it was just random that I had  chosen the old rail bed as the ideal spot to try and start the vegetable garden.
Last summer we brought in multiple trailer loads of soil from a landscape supplier. We shoveled and raked and weeded and planted and weeded and mulched and watered and weeded. There was a blight - no tomatoes. There were bunnies - hollowed out carrots - and snakes for fun.
We did however enjoy countless amazing and delicious meals of freshly picked beets, carrots, green and yellow beans, cucumber and squash. Maybe there was too much squash, too many gourds and  surprisingly  few zucchini but there were lots of beautiful pumpkins, and fresh dill, fresh basil, fresh sage. But I was ready to do it again and so here we are now: Garden 2015 Edition.
Half of the "West Garden" is turned and weeded (May 3);
this past weekend though, the "East Garden" was finished up too (May 17)
Buds on the Apple trees (May 3)

We need to bring in a few more loads of soil before I can plant these garden babies and my seeds. I kept copious notes last year on when I planted, what I planted, what grew and how much I harvested. I ambitiously purchased about 30+ packs of seeds for this year (not all vegetables though). I am looking for helpful tips to get me through season 2 so all comments will be welcome, thanks.
Learnings so far: Rent a tiller for Garden 2016 edition.

My garden babies want to move outside but tonight is another frost night so they will need to wait a few more days.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Random past projects

Some of the past two year's projects include these:

These and another 20-odd similar looking  friends were a fun way to use up stash and scraps. There are quite a few pattern variations on the internet. These cuties are a creative blend of a few other's little owls ideas with my own twist - not enough of any specific pattern for me to attribute the design though. Sorry.
Owie Owls (rice packs for the freezer or microwave)
 Amy Butler's Weekender Bag: It took two weekends to finish though! My poor sewing machine had to go to the sewing machine hospital for TLC. I used an upholstery fabric. The bag was smaller than I expected but it holds more than I expected too! I added extra pockets inside to help keep me organized.
A going away gift - one of our Tuesday Night Bag Ladies sewing group moved away. We sent her off with a group hug. We made these Friendship Star blocks in her favourite design colours. We do miss her and hope things are wonderful in Quebec, her new home.

For Rejeanne - June 2013


I am making good use of my embroidery machine. Towels, tea towels, bibs, bags are just a dew examples of  personalized gifts that I am happy to give.


 My January 2015 score so far: I showed up at Yoga class, posted some random projects to the blog, started a new quilt (special project - wait a few more weeks), slowly working on the hand quilting project (it is coming along), enjoyed a Jill Barber concert - a wonderful night of beautiful music.

And I baked this cake tonight:

Red Velvet Cake - Southern Style

See you soon. I am trying to be a better blogger by posting at least once a week. Happy 2015,