Monday, 6 September 2010

Black and White mini quilts

These are actually Fabric postcards, (4" x 6").

I have not had much studio time this summer. I did manage to work on some landscaping projects though. This summer has been much more about living than my quilting.

I have 3 post-it notes (projects to get done) left from my spring list. I really am looking forward to a new list.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Quilted Table Topper Puzzle

I managed to complete the base for the modular quilted table topper that I had started in 2007. I actually completed all the modules for this project at a London Friendship Quild workshop a few years ago. It was great fun, Kathleen Bissett has wonderful energy and is so playful. I had been wanting to make her Star Dance modular quilt table topper so I was happy to join the workshop for her square modular piece. Sometimes it is good to learn by following along with someone who already knows what they are doing.

For the best visual effect though, I found that the pieces do need to have a base so that the table colour does not show between the modules. Here are the designs my piece makes.

I have titled this puzzle table topper "Summer always, summer all ways".

This piece has been donated to our annual fund raiser at work. This year our C-Day funds will assist in supporting caregiver relief programmes at Alzheimer Society of London and Middlesex as well as other local charities.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Singer FeatherWeight #2, great deal!!!

Earlier this summer I was at a Flea Market for  a general fun day. I have a rule of thumb, seriously consider buying any FW that is priced under $100.
At the market I noticed the wooden curve of a  Singer sewing machine case, so I ask the price. It is a knee pedal model, circa 1923. The vendor is asking $65 so I am hoping to get it for $50. The sales man tells me that there is  another old Singer for the same price, in the back...would I be interested?
Oh look, a Feather Weight, about $65... I am very interested.
The power cord is bare wire so I can not test the motor. I offer $50 just  because I can not test it. He tells me that the vendor always adds a  note if there is any issue with an item. I offer $50 and they accept the offer; I take my prize to the car. When I am setting it in the trunk I see that there is a price tag of $180 and a note that the motor works but the power cord needs replacing. (I JUST PAID $60.00! and I feel very bad about this).
I figured that my favourite sewing machine repair man (Tom Coolen of Coolen's) would charge less than $70  for a maintenance and then add a new power cord for maybe $100 or $120...?
So, off to the shop I take my prize and Tom is much pleased with the find, and very, very impressed that I managed to get it for less than $100 (I am even embarassed to admit to him that it was only $60.00)
YAY... Tom is quite pleased that I have a  beautiful Centenial Edition Singer for such "a good deal". She is a beauty.
Oh yes, the other Singer... I was so happy about my treasure but so embarassed about my good deal that I had to ask a friend to pick that one up for me. I was afraid they would realize they had made a mistake in the sale.
Now I have 2 new beauties. I really should introduce you to them in photos!

Sock Monkeys

I have made many of these over the last 20 years. I do not use a specific pattern but more a general guideline. You will need 2 socks, they do not have to match (see Carley's pink and blue sock monkey from the previous blog  entry). Basically, from sock #1 you will cut down the cuff to just before the heel to create a body with a butt and legs. I sew the legs up and turn it right side out. Then I secure the head with buttonhole twist thread, about 3" from the toe.

The second sock will provide arms,a tail,ears and a nose. The heel becomes the nose, the cuff (half the width) to the heel becomes a tail, the other half  width forms the arms, the foot bottom will provide semi circles for ears and the toe can be a hat if you decide you want one. (search the internet for "free sock monkey pattern").

There are lot's of patterns, all in the public domain, no copyrights.

Just have fun with the socks and the personalizing of the features.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

July 28, 2010

Another summer day passing. Life is busy with lot's of the non-fun, non-sewing stuff, like  work....
I am dreaming of stitching and sewing machines and fabric and colour and a stack of wonderful finished gifts for people I love.
...I'll be back!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Visit the Quilting Garden and help celebrate 5000 posts. She is sweet.

And yes, I am still guiltily but slowly making the wonderful Wall hanging I promised my Giveaway Winner. Since she was lucky enough (a point of view I guess) to be someone I know in the real live world I am making it special to her as well.  Patience is a virtue.....

Teaser: In a few days I will share my fun Featherweight story. I am picking her up from the repair shop on Friday.

Monday, 12 July 2010

In progress

Two projects are on the work table this week. There are more projects in the work basket but let's be happy with the progress so far. {the orange quilt is closer to the work surface now.}

I finally started cutting and stitching the red and purple quilt.  (Please forgive the hazey colours in this photo - it is really very rich in hue and tone.) Here is strip #1. There will be 4 more strips. This strip is  18 1/2" wide by 104" long. The quilt should be approximately 90" wide by 102" long when completed.

This quilt is for DD#1. It is inspired by a photo she saw in a magazine in 2005. It was in the background of the photo so I have no way of actually giving any credit to the designer who created the original. I only looked at the picture for a few minutes. I could even be way off base and this may look nothing like the one in the photo but this is very much the one that is in my head.

The table topper was made with the Tuesday Night Bag Ladies. It needs sandwiching and quilting. I had purchased this fabric (only) last year to make place mats for our new home. I guess we are closer to having them ready too now.

The table topper is 25" across.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

and making jam (not just quilting)


plus (with some help from my honey)


(P.S. FYI,  although I do work for the maker of the Garden Fare gelling powder for making freezer jam, I use the product to make over 50 jars of jam a year because my family really likes the taste of fresh fruit jam)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The photo-print results on Fabric Postcards (Part 2)

Here is the result of last month's photo printing. The recipe worked well although it dried with some crystallization. I  scraped the crystallized areas before I printed but I guess some remained. The ink did not print through the crystals but this did give a nice effect to the images. My plan was to machine embroider the outlines of some of the greenery, the waterfall and the bridge then sew glass beads on where the sunlight would shimmer.

(This is the scene from BC, September 2005)

I am pretty happy with the results. What I would do differently is to make sure that there are no crystal residues on the fabric so that the whole image is sharp. There was very little fading after washing. My printer though was not so happy. 9 postcard sized images used up half of the ink in my cartridges which I think is a very expensive proposition. It took a while to convince the Epson that I did not have a paper jam when I wanted to use it again.  I probably would pay for the photo-printing on fabric at a shop after I am done playing with my solution.
(This is a photo taken at the Guelph Butterfly Conservatory in June 2009)

I also made a bookmark for a swap, using one of the fabric photo-prints.  

 refer to Part 1

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Printing on Fabric (Part 1)

I owe a few fabric postcards. I am late because I was obsessed with trying a specific technique - printing photos on the fabric, then embellishing/quilting them for "so pretty" fabric postcards. I hope they will be pretty.
I worked from the Quilt Rat's recipe although I did use washing soda. My internet research suggested that soda ash and washing soda only differ in their moisture content so I compensated for that in my mixture.
I did make the solution over 3 weeks ago but household responsibilities prevented my playing with my toys for a while.
So, last night I soaked my pieces of bleached muslin and a white cotton. I dried them on a wooden rack overnight. They were pretty crusty so I used a towel to brush off the dried crystals and then ironed the pieces flat. Next, they were pressed onto freezer paper and cut into the paper size I need for my printer.

I had prepared a few photos so that they were close to 4" x 6" and 300 dpi. I printed these at the best photo print setting that I have. Of course I did have to trick the printer into taking the paper. It did not believe that I was using premium quality glossy photo paper; I found that a matte paper setting worked.
Here are the pieces:

.. in the printer

Come back in a few days when I have rinsed and embellished  these prints. I am experimenting!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Quilted Table Runner

Our on-line quilting group does a gift swap to celebrate the Summer Solstice. This is not silly or wiccan or anything like that but it did start with Christmas Swaps. Many groups have Christmas gift exchanges. During the holidays people who do not share the same celebration often feel left out of the fun. I suggested that we hold a Winter Solstice gift exchange. I always say that no matter what our beliefs we still all look at the same moon. It has been a great success. This is why we also do a Summer Solstice gift swap, it is only fair.

I wanted to make a reversible table runner and I had this pattern by Karen Montgomery. I do not recall if I bought it, received it as a gift or just picked it up at free-for-all. I really like it though. The pattern is quite easy to follow -great directions. Here are both sides:

I think I will have a lot of fun making these and using up my stash.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Tumbling blocks style quilt "Honeycomb Waffle"

This was a great quilt!
It was made by the Hawkesville WMCEC and was sold for $1775.  The women did a great job.

Mennonite Relief Sale Quilt Auction May 29

On Saturday, my long time quilter friend, Kathy (Kathy's Quilts blog post on the auction) had a nice spot waiting for me in New Hamburg so that we could enjoy the annual quilt auction.

It is so interesting to see the many donated quilts (216 this year) and the funds generated in the auction. It seems that this year the buyers were willing to pay nice money for bright and cute, even if it was a small quilt.

Cheerful crib quilts sold for $300 to $800. It also seemed that the full size whole cloth quilts (hand quilted of course!) sold mostly for $600 each.

The highest price was $6,400 for a quilt that must have a special story because the 2 bidders were sitting together and quickly set this particular piece up for the big price tag of the day. It was a block sampler quilt. I guess the total raised this year was $115,000.

Two quilts in particular impressed me, a unique blue and white reverse appliqué quilt that sold for $1600 and a very colorful tumbling blocks style quilt that really played up the colours to wonderful 3-D effect I will send this link separately

Some weeks life can be so very busy that there are not many minutes available for procrasternetting.

I have no new sewing to report, the " to do" list is a bit longer and the " done" list not very much changed.
I hope that work, home and fun life are in a better balance this week so that I can finish some of these projects laying on my work tables.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Signature Quilt and treasured cherry blossoms

The Signature Quilt is finally completed. I collected messages from all the employees in our department and put them together with bright stash and some Mark Lipinski Califon Blue fabric. The quilting on the blocks is looped hearts, the signature squares are quilted in a repeat of the square in a square pattern of the block. I outlined the borders with straight line and then a wavy line.
We were all very happy with the results. Now I can pace the rest of my work much better. This was a drive over the last month to complete along with everything else but I knew that if I FOCUSED on it I could get it done easily. And I did!  It is 60" square and can be used either as a sofa quilt or a wall hanging since I also added a hanging sleeve.

These few cherry blossoms are harbingers of happiness - we were only able to move a few plants from the last house to this new house. The sour cherry trees had been transplanted to that house by Mum over 60 years ago from the family home on Spruce Street. It was very "iffy" that the trees we moved would survive as the day they were dug out was extremely hot, and it was definitely not the right time of the year to move trees. We tried to move 2 Cherry trees, a lilac (also a 60 year transplant from Spruce Street), peonies and some Rose of Sharon.

The buds on the trees were not opening while all other flowering shrubs were in bloom. I was hopeful but not expecting much. Seeing these buds open (there were only 5) on one of the two trees makes me very happy. 
The lilac did not bud nor burst leaves but the branches are still green wood so there is hope. The second Cherry tree is not even that promising but I will watch for signs of growth all summer.

The peonies are coming up although there is not much hope of any flowering this year.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Signature Quilt

I have been working on this project for the last few weeks. It is a gift (so there will not be any close-ups till next week). I have free motioned little hearts across all the colorful areas of the blocks. I am now quilting "a square in a square" in all the signature blocks. After this I am outlining the inner border in straight line. This all is the work of the Brother 1500s. I will switch to my Husqvarna Lily to quilt some wavy lines in the outside border. I have to put the binding on by tonight. The main fabric is Mark Lipinski's Califon Blue, the rest is a myriad of colours pulled simply because they are cheerful. 

Saturday, 8 May 2010

More Mother's Day Flowers

Honey surprised me with these today. They are in the middle of the studio so I can enjoy them while I sew.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Mother's Day flowers

First call of the morning at work was a local florist confirming that they could deliver me flowers.
What a great way to start a Friday morning.

I was much surprised that DD#1 managed (during her few hours in town while flying between cities/countries) to arrange the delivery and write me a personal note for Mother's Day. These were prepared by Daisy Flowers in London Ontario. I truly appreciate the forethought. That is the greatest gift.

My beautiful Mother's Day flowers in 2009
Amazing Mother's Day Africa Bike in 2008
Mother's Day Flowers and wall plaster casts in 2007

It has been pretty wonderful to feel the love that my grown up kiddles give to me.

Thank you  M, C and K for giving me this everlasting gift of motherhood.  Honey helped quite a lot with this too.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Rainbow Wall Hanging

It has been a while since I have played with snips of fabric and Solvy.
It is a fun technique. Laying out the little snippets in whatever shape your heart desires, add threads or other little bits.
Then layer the Solvy on top. I also place stabilizer underneath.
Then you play, over stitch with whatever threads you like and when it looks pretty well stable,  lay it in a pan of water (or the sink), the Solvy will dissolve and voila! A piece ready to embellish and finish however you like.

To finish this one,  I added  glass seed beads in colours to match the rainbow, then gold sequins and a variety of gold seed beads to my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I made the 10" x 10" quilted wall hanging for a Fund-raiser (Music and Art for Kids Education ). I hope someone likes it. 
The funds raised at the silent auction will be used for kids art class subsidies at the Guelph School of Art and Guelph Youth Music Centre.

Hope, Dream, Smile
P.S. I switched the photo at the top for one taken without a flash. In real life the piece is not quite so shimmery. The flash is reflecting on the nylon filament that I have used for the quilting. The shiny picture is below:

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Group projects - a caterpiller Quilt

Friends Lyla and Penny joined me in making another baby quilt for our good friend Jean's latest grandbaby. This is #4. His cousins and sister have quilts that were made by us and it is only fair that he does as well.
We get together with our chosen fabrics and put them together. Amazingly, the random choices work!!!
Our day's efforts netted this so cute quilt top. The  sleepy eyed faces were machine embroidered, manually (using the satin stitch, then narrowing it, as well as straight stitch for the lashes).
Penny cut, Lyla ironed and we all stitched the blocks.

This quilt pattern came from a magazine, Country Woman (p.44, April/May 2009) and is sooo sweet. This is the finished top, I will be quilting it in late May after the other 3 projects in progress are done.

The rest of the weekend included a Toronto FC Soccer match and picking up another Four-footed Grand Dog for a 5 week visit. TFC won. The four-footeds are all sleeping.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Earth Day Clean Up at Fanshawe, Scrappy CAT Quilt and making cappuccino

The week past has been quite full. As community service for Earth Day, a group that I work with donated time to clean a local Conservation area: Fanshawe. This was the second year we worked with TREA. Last year it was the first amazingly beautiful day of spring. This year however we experienced every kind of weather you can imagine in spring except amazingly sunny and beautiful.

Last year I was thrilled to see glimpses of color, there was lots of green this year however so even though we had snow, sleet, hail, rain and wind I enjoyed the simple beauty of nature's art. These tiny pink flowers were only a 1/2" long. Aren't these water droplets so amazingly clear?

I think that  the camera on my Blackberry Curve takes pretty good pictures, most of the outdoor pictures in this blog were taken with it. When I have some free time I will set up some page tabs, one of which will be just for landscape and flower pictures.
I have finished the Scrappy Cat quilt for CAT. It is being couriered to this dear friend on Wednesday so she will have it ASAP. Her follow-up oncology surgeon appointment is Thursday I think; this quilt should keep her safe, warm and definitely not alone in this fight.

See what conditions I have to work under. This little cutie much prefers to tuck her little nose into my elbow while I try to sew or type so that she keeps me still and let her sleep.

My next projects are the little lavender laundry sachets. I was stunned when I saw these selling at a local eco-store for $8. They contain a few cents worth of lavender sewn into a tiny cotton sachets. The tag indicated they were to be tossed into the dryer as an alternative to scenting your fresh laundry. The concept is great, the price is ridiculous.

One last project for this cappuccino mat. I prepare a fresh double shot of espresso and frothy milk every morning. Each day I also spill coffee grounds and wipe the frothing wand clean. That used up a paper towel each day; I know better.

I "borrowed" some terry toweling from a friend (which will be returned as a set of espresso mats) and added some coffee themed fabric to trim the ends. This is just the right size to tamp my freshly ground coffee and catch the overflow, wipe the steamer wand and tidy up any little spills around my prep area. It looks cute too!

Sew... I have been a very busy lady. These goodies,  completing my school term project, evenings with friends and all the other stuff that goes with living like laundry, cooking, cleaning, going to work, paying the bills, and of course, enjoying life with my sweetie and the four-footeds.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Screen Printing 101

This past weekend I took a workshop in screenprinting, my first attempt. I have been wanting to create a printed label for my quilts.   I always outline my quilt labels with hand-drawn stitching, needle and thread. I fill in the rest of the label with details about my quilt, its name, the design, the recipient, and a small story about it. 

The class was taught by  Roisin of bespoke uprising who creates  the wonderful, whimsical prints that I love to play with.  The workshop was held through the Guelph School of Art. This was a great opportunity for me. I will probably redo this in a more delicate format sometime but not today.

This is an open print re-using feathers from other students experiments. It was fun.

Here is my rudimentary design, my silkscreen and the first labels that I printed. These  labels will be used on my current projects: the scrappy kitty quilt, Heather`s Wall Hanging  (which is in progress), and a couple of other projects which are due to be completed within the next few weeks. These include a signature quilt and another wall hanging.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Plans interrupted

A friend is in need. Sweetie told me that I should make her a quilt (this does not take much persuading). All my other projects in progress are sitting a bit while I make this.
I went to the LQS to see what they had on offer for kitty fabric.
"Feline Friendship" by Whole Country Caboodle seemed to fit the bill. I added some prints and made random blocks.
I will quilt this in a random swirly pattern, just like an unravelled ball of yarn.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Using orphan blocks

Although it is often fun and challenging to be part of a swap for blocks in order to make a quilt, sometimes the blocks you receive just don't quite "do it" for you.
I love green. I love quilt blocks. I love blocks that are signed by people I have met online in quilting groups. The idea of having a green quilt sounded great and so I signed on. My blocks were made and sent off, and I duly received my Squishy of a dozen (or was it sixteen) blocks.
They were mostly very nice, a few were.... not quite nice enough for being in a quilt with its friends.

I have been using them up as orphan blocks in tote bags, place mats, wall hangings and other projects. There were 4 left.

I needed  to make a curtain for my studio door, and Sweetie was tired of the length of fabric that was draped over the curtain rod. I just was not inspired or enthused about making a plain white curtain, mostly because there is not much that is fun or creative about plain white curtain making.

I realized one night however that I could use these remaining blocks as the bottom of a curtain and then make a more interesting top using another block that a friend had sent as a RAQ.

ta da!

The other big accomplishment, besides some great family time, is that Sweetie helped me to put up a design wall. 3 pieces of an "environmentally responsible" styrofoam (2' x 8') and a few yards of extra wide white flannel. The whole unit cost less than $35 for the parts and a "big thanks" to the sweetie that helped me to put it up. 

There was a lot more sewing going on this past weekend as well, but I will have to blog about that project another day.

Pretty pink Kalanchoe

Even more flowers for Easter.
I was quite blessed with so many pretty things.
Spring is very beautiful this year, both inside and out

What are these pink flowers?

More Easter flowers

Bouquet #2.
Even the four footeds are enjoying the scent of these cheery flowers. Freesia, carnations and ??? What are these pink ones?

Easter flowers

Bouquet #1 Star Gazer Lilies.
They smell heavenly, it feels as if I were standing in a garden in the early evening.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Happy Hibiscus

The week is pretty full both days and evenings - It is all work stuff so nothing fun to share.
I thought I would show how happy my hibiscus plant is though. I think it has recovered from the move!

Friday, 26 March 2010

"Walking to New Orleans"

"Walking to New Orleans" may not seem to have much to do with Gees Bend and African textile motifs but that is where I ended up. The guild that I belong to sponsored a workshop that explored the history, energy and art of the quilts of Gees Bend with an eye to traditional African Motifs.
The technique is simple: use colour, traditional blocks in variations, don't use a ruler; then have fun steppping away from all the tradtional quilt rules like matching corners and exact measurements.
The results from everyone were fantastic. So much colorful play with geometry.
Here is a selection of the blocks made by some of the group over the 2-day workshop:

This first set of 2 wall hangings in this photo were the teacher's samples (Stacey Littlejohn).

Stacey also made a bed-size quilt. I love it's bright funky look.

I know that the can-can does not really represent African motifs or the rural south but I love this print by Roisin (bespoke uprising) and felt it needed to be used.

I love green (any shade), purples and orange because they are such happy colours. Really this all is threaded together because Melissa recently returned from New Orleans, I am working on a red and purple quilt for her, I already made her an orange quilt and Roisin is Melissa and Cara's very good friend. There must be a dance party somewhere in New Orleans so the dancing legs work for me!
I figure that perhaps I must not have listened somewhere along the way because my result is not quite the same as the rest of the group's work (which I really liked).
After dinner on Sunday I was obsessed to finish this piece (sorry Heather) and worked till 3 AM quilting it and adding the binding. I spent the rest of my free time this week stitching down the binding and now it is done.
P.S. The oranges were all hand-dyed by me, the greens and purples were hand-dyed gift fabrics, the prints were hand screened and dyed by Roisin, the backing is a true African textile (which I forgot to photograph).
The basic blocks that I made were:Roman Stripe and Bulls Eye in 5 variations of each (and an additional pinwheel block).