Sunday, 28 February 2010

Canada is filled with winners!

The 2010 Olympic Games brought record gold to Canada! We are proud of all our medals and our athletes.

Gold,  Silver and Bronze and best of all - over 2700 athletes - the Olympians who give their all with heart and soul. I salute you all!

And the winner here of my Olympic Giveaway...
is Heather.  Her comment  was the magic number counted back from the last comment posted.

Heather will choose between a traditional block style wall hanging or a creative art quilt made especially for her.

Thanks everyone for visiting and I hope you will  keep checking in from time to time to see what I am up to.

P.S.I still have 1 1/2 sides of binding to stitch down on my Olympic Challenge, The Canadian Anniversary  Challenge Quilt. I was so busy watching Olympic Hockey and the closing ceremony  that I kept forgetting to put in the next stitch!

Iron Quilter Challenge

Another online quilt group is running an "Iron Quilter Challenge" this weekend. We had to pull a focus fabric, four to six co-ordinated fabrics which must include an orange, a stripe and a non-cotton specialty fabric, some embellishments, threads, backing and batting. The idea is to complete a project, structured only by a two-hour working window to create a 9" by 12" quilt.

Our very dear Mattie (quilter, knitter, wordsmith and cheery friend extraordinaire) was running the challenge. She posted the rules on Friday night and the group could choose when throughout this weekend they were able to devote the two hours. Mattie even prepared an " inset technique" tutorial to allay fears.

Here is my start ...

and my end point...

An Octopus's Garden Under the Sea

I started with a Laurel Burch fish fabric (leftover from a guild challenge), found my orange (fabric damaged from another color running in the wash) , a stripe (leftover from a backing), a blue batik, a colorful tropical scrap and some random scraps from other projects.

I had some pre-strung beads leftover from making purses, carved seashells, pieces of green organza scrap and a bit of magenta silk chiffon.

I had also pulled out a pack of paper pieced scraps, imagining that I would use them.

Mattie's request to do the inset switched my thinking and so I decided to inset the focus fish into my tropical filowers, as I was playing with that I thought that I could cut the magenta chiffon into strips and twist them so it would be like swimming through seaweed.

I ended up rotating the orientation to landscape and then I knew what direction  to head for the finish.
I pulled some metallic variegated silver/blue thread and a blue sulky thread out of the stash and used these to create texture and flowing water. The orange became more seaweed.

In my haste I left the threads hanging as I moved the stitching lines but I decided that I really like them flowing loose.

I hope you like it!

I used a twin needle, did some couching, twisted pieces of fabric, then did some ruching and I also frayed a lot of edges.

To get the hanging sleeve done within the 2 hour window I set it in between the layers of front, backing and batting so that when I "birthed" the quilt it would be stitched down. I top stitched with the metallic.

I also used a good shortcut to sew down the bottom of the hanging sleeve - carefully  pull away the backing from the main piece, catching the backing with the blind hem stitch.

2 hours and 4 minutes.

The studio however looks like a disaster area

UPDATE: I spent another 30 minutes to add some beads and painted fish (in their previosu life they were earrings).  I"ll leave it alone now.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

On track... the giveaway...

I am on track with my personal Olympic Challenge. I began to stitch back the binding on the Canadian quilt (for my honey) last night during the men's semi-finals hockey game. I am working on the label this morning so it can be stitched in to the bottom left corner of the back. 2 more nights of Olympics to watch so we are good. Woo Hoo!!

Of course this weekend does have other agenda items:
  • Fabric postcards
  • Iron quilter challenge
  • Laundry (not fun)
  • Dishes (not fun)
  • Groceries (not fun)
  • more binding
  • Fun time with DS (very much fun)
This is a giveaway reminder as well. All comments posted in the last 6 weeks are entered in to a draw for a personalized wall hanging. I will make a quilted wall hanging, your choice of art-quilt or tradtional quilt as a celebration gift for having 30,000 visitors to my blog. February 28 at midnight, eastern time I will have a random number drawn and count back to that post.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

It must be comfy

She has fallen asleep on Alberta

Testing the quilt

I am trying to mark my straight lines for quilting along the attic window inserts and that cute Shiraz is making sure that the quilt feels soft and cuddly
3 windows done, 12 more to be done; then the binding. We should make it by the weekend!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Skating across the border and the Olympic give away.

I am working my way through my Olympic challenge. I did free motion Maple leaf's on most of the sub-blocks. I made exceptions for the flag of Newfoundland, the map of Alberta, and a couple of the embroidered blocks.

The ice dance inspired my border quilting. I had no firm idea on what to do, not my usual vine and leaf combo though.
I have those maple leafs all across.

So, after I finish the second border I will switch to a walking foot.
The attic windows will be emphasized with straight line quilting.

I hope to be as far as binding by the time the closing ceremonies are taking place, on Sunday.

That will also be the draw date for my giveaway.
A lucky reader who has posted a comment over the last 5 weeks will win a custom quilted wall hanging - that's right.
You can choose an art type wall hanging or a traditional piece; the main colour as well.

This is to celebrate 30,000 visitors! Yeah!!

I use the Brother PQ1500S for quilting and thread play.
The stitch regulator is "the way I hold my mouth" and I nod my head to set the stitching direction. It looks quite hilarious.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Paisleys are irresistible

Are there any paisleys out there that I have missed?
I can't seem to leave them at the store. I am obsessed with paisleys and I can't help myself.
It is time to start planning how I can use them up.... Suggestions

Monday, 15 February 2010

Another pair of socks done

These are a beautiful  hand dyed Royal Platinum Alpaca yarn . I was not certain that I could finish a pair with only 1 3 oz skein. I made "shorty" socks as insurance.  The yarn is so soft I loved knitting these socks.
Luckily, I completed the pair AND had yarn to spare.

We spent our Family Day holiday visiting with DD#2 and her little family (DSIL and the 2 granddogs). Our dogs, Shiraz and Django, love Chloe and Pepper. Our dogs run to the door each time we say their (Chloe and Pepper)names. Shiraz and Django were thrilled to go for a car ride to visit them.

Valentine's Bouquet

The cheerful colours make me think that spring is coming!

Friday, 12 February 2010

More giveaways

Not only am I having a giveway as a double celebration (30,000 visitors and the Olympics) but a friend - Heather, fellow quilter and blogger is having a super giveaway of red Olympic mitts.
Kathy also has a giveaway for a Valentine's mini-quilt. Roisin led me to this giveaway for Valentine's -really cute bag and stuff at Bookhou at home, a great design blog.

Good luck Olympians! The Challenge is on and a giveaway.

I am definately not the sporty type. I expend my energy by creating, reading, sewing, walking up the stairs, stretching and giving my all to everyday activities. I wish all the Olympians a fun, fair and challenging games in Vancouver.

I will be watching the Opening Ceremonies tonight with my Honey. For the rest of the next 2 weeks, as much of the games as I can from the studio while I finish my Olympic Challenge (the Canadian Quilt).

To celebrate 30,000 visitors, your Olympic challenge is to visit
this blog, leave a comment and by February 28 I will draw a winning name for my wall hanging giveaway. The wall hanging will be created especially for you.

That is right, you  choose either a traditional quilted wall hanging or an art quilt, and the colours too!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

My Olympic Challenge and the giveaway date

This Canada quilt project started as part of a block swap and an online group challenge to celebrate 10 years. I have it basted and ready to quilt. This will be my Olympic challenge. I plan to have this completed by the end of the 2010 Olympics.

So, the last day of the Olympics (February 28) will be the day that I  pick the winning name for a giveaway of a quilted wall hanging. That makes one month of visitors to draw from; the more visitors, the merrier! Please leave a comment so that I know you were here.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

a bit of a postal rant

I try so hard to be patient with Canada Post. I bite my tongue when my priority express shipment to a friend in the US, which is supposed to arrive in 5 to 7 days, doesn't.  I  follow the wonderful tracking tool and I see it has not even left the sorting facility in Mississauga for 8 days. How is that supposed to be delivered in the expected  service time? Time travel is more futuristic than Pony Express.

Anyway, I had ordered some replacement pieces for my Hinterberg quilt frame, thus when they arrived Canada Post sent me a "pick up" card. I live in the country, work M-F, so Saturday was my first opportunity to head to town to pick up my parcel.

I need to pay $8.85 for taxes and service fee to Canada Post (that is really $5 to Canada Post for collecting the $3.35 pst and gst). I am still patient.

What is the rest of the story.... the computer is down and I can't pick it up, they can't take my payment and so I can't have it.  They won't deliver it so they expect I will come back another day, after the system is fixed. I am not that patient. I call Canada Post Customer Service Line... they do not provide service on the weekends. So here I am, in from out of town and not a happy camper. While I wait to figure things out, of course I spend $38 for magazines.

I did feel sorry for the sweet lady who was the clerk at this affiliate office; she had no idea how to do anything other than follow the step by step so when there are no steps to follow she cannot do anything.

Why is there not a manual process for handling a pick up? Why is there not a way to have the pick up card scanned later when the system is back up and running so that I can go home with my parcel after I have left them their $8.85?

To end this story, someone was able to restart the system while I was magazine browsing and eventually they were able to give my parcel. 45 minutes later.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Amy Butler quilted couch pillows

This Amy Butler print "Lotus" looked as if it would be a good choice for bright pillows for DS's couch.

He did not want any embellishments though, no beads, no tassles, no frou frou stuff. The local store did not have any of the companion prints in the same colour-ways. The fabric however was telling me that it was too lonely to simply become a pillow cover. So I put it away to allow it to age a bit. Most fabrics are so much easier to cut once they have been well-aged, under ideal conditions of course.

Then I decided I should quilt it, roughly following the outline of the beautiful flowers. I had some great Valdani thread that was a barely noticeable variagation from a pretty blue to a grey.  I found a piece of batting, some muslin and off we went to the quilting zone.

I added a binding to the edges, using the same fabric. Then folded the piece so that the pillow could slip in and out of the overlapping back pieces. I stitched it around all 4 sides then turned it right side out and we ended up with:
I think that they look great! They are part of DS's Birthday present.

I am still watching for that special day when I can pick a name for a giveaway of a quilted wall hanging. We ae getting close. I am certain it will be close to Valentine's Day.
And the winner will get to make the choice between a traditonal style quilted wall hanging and an artsy, contemporary wall hanging. It will be made especially for you! Please leave your comment. I will draw a winner from the comment names on the day closest to the magic number.