Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday, a day of restful sewing

It is good to be back in action. From Thursday until this morning I have been pretty quiet trying to get away from the pain associated with abused muscles and joints. Early in the week, I was moving fabric bolts around, and really I'm not up to a lot of that kind of action. It was fun though, at the time. Today I was able to play at the sewing machine. The small cot quilt I started with my Thimbleberries group now is at the stage where two borders are added, and one row of quilting crosswise is done. I also played a bit with blocks that can be constructed a leaders and enders. One of those blocks was a suggestion from Bonnie Hunter's blog, and the other was inspired by an article I read in an older quilting magazine. Today I started to assemble the first blocks of Easy Street. I didn't want to stay at the machine too long today as I think I still need to be a bit careful with the muscles in my back.
Today is a day to stay inside away from the inclement weather. Snow, freezing rain,ice pellets, and now the wind is starting up. Winter is filled with challenges, but also opportunities to quilt, read, watch a good basketball game, or some other pursuit that is entertaining.
I took a couple of pictures of my mornings play, and I'll post them here. This is a leader/ender block.
This one was a suggestion from Quips and Snips blogspot, Bonnie Hunter's blog. They are 3 inch blocks












This next pic is of a small piece of handwork using wool felt and floss to make a small pincushion



 

I think these used with alternate plain blocks will make a sweet small cot quilt.
The last pic today is my first blocks sewn together for Easy Street. There is a lot happening in this quilt. It will be bulky as we get more rows sewn together.

What we see here is one A or B block plus a corner triangle plus two setting triangles. It is really neat!
That is my offering today. I am starting to wind down for the day.
Lynn




Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What is in a process?

This evening after the evening meal was finished, and I am comfortably established in my favourite chair, I checked the weather forecast on Environment Canada, glanced at my gmail, and breezed over the jottings of my facebook contacts. Then and only then, I came here to record my thoughts, joys, and sorrows. I wonder how many other women have similar routines? I follow Karen Neary's blog http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/sewkaren/and today there was such a pleasant surprise. Karen had received her thread order. The Wonderfil thread in the box was exciting to view, and will be a joy to sew. I have used invisifil for my limited hand appliques. It is fine, and blends extremely well. The 50 weight is fine and strong. The colours are beautiful. I think I may be a threadhead. It is exciting for me to browse different thread displays, and to try various threads. The next serger class I'm doing next week at Martha's,   http://www.thequiltery.com/  will include using various threads in the loopers to create embellishments. I am thinking of using some crochet cotton, some perle cotton, and maybe even some yarn. It is going to be fun for sure.
There is only one more block to construct before all of my Easy Street blocks are done. Then the assembly of the top will begin. This part of the quilting process is always exciting for me. When a quilter sees a pattern that must be made, or has  an intriguing idea that wants to come to life, the process begins. In some cases there is fabric to be chosen, a schedule set for cutting, piecing assembly and then finishing.After deciding on a colour scheme,it is so much fun to search the STASH, then fill in the blanks with new purchases. Where one has an intriguing idea, the idea must be teased into a design, then a pattern must be created(lots of work). After this part, the quilter gets to move forward through the previously mentioned parts of the process. Now after this point is reached, the wheels of my train start to fall off. I don't seem to be able to see the project through the remaining stages all the time. Attesting to this statement would be the 40 plus projects still waiting to be finished. It is just so much fun to start another project. Tomorrow that last block is on my "to do" list.
I have still not settled my mind concerning the paper bag challenge. I think that the addition of other colours will help. I don't want to over think this, and end up on the deadline day with another UFO.
Tomorrow is also bread baking day. It should have been this morning, but I went into work for a few hours that ended up being longer than I thought. I cannot complain though, as I was working with good company and we were up to our eyeballs in high quality quilt fabric. 
Muffins are also on the production list for tomorrow. I bought some Granny Smith apples to try them in the apple pie muffins. Cortlands work very well too.
My eyes are starting to droop. A little basketball on tv, then off to bed
Lynn


Monday, 11 February 2013

Monday's adventure

Monday has pretty well spent itself. This seemed like a good day to set about reorganizing my stash of quilting magazines, and my much smaller stash of books about quilting. It is just so much fun to renew my acquaintance with some of the magazine issues. I general at this point , I would name American Patchwork and Quilting my favourite magazine. Having said that, I really enjoy many of the Australian stitchery magazines. Besides quilting, I enjoy hand embroidery, and do a bit of that during the year. There are so many projects in those magazines where one gets the opportunity to dabble in both quilting and embroidery.When I made Emily's quilt, those issues were my inspiration for a number of the quilt blocks. It was so much fun seeing the embroidery blocks develop.  Meaghan's quilt had a pastel swirl as it's base . When the top was completed, it reminded me of an old fashioned quilt. Now Seamus will leave the nest this year, and I am deciding on the pattern for his quilt. The fabrics will be from my stash of flannels and homespuns. He is a guy who does not like to stand out in a crowd, so we need to keep the colours neutral and medium to dark. I think a simple construction will suit him well.
The question that is perplexing me today is how I can incorporate the colours from Martha's challenge brown paper bag, into a good looking finished piece. There are two grey pieces, one deep cream background, and a gold piece which has a small red feather through the print.The remaining choices are to come from individual stashes. I'm not much into greys, even if they are "blue greys". I also want the piece to have functionality. As of this minute ,there are six possibilities rolling around in my cerveux.(or crevette).  Crevette is a French word for shrimp, and sometimes my brain seems to be that of a shrimp.
We are expecting more snow tonight, but nothing that begins to equal that of the weekend.Tomorrow I'll be on the road for a short time, probably three hours at my part time job. Tomorrow evening is the valentine party for our square dancing group. We are part of the Cumberland Twirlers.  I'm not sure when we will graduate from class members to mainstream dancers, but no doubt we will be students even after the magic graduation day.
Darkness has fallen and the clock reads 6:22 pm, so it is time for my super.  You know, I have an old treadle in the barn, it belonged to my grandmother. I think it is time to get it in and see if it is still functional. I may go look at it as soon as it is a bit milder outside.
Lynn

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Saturday, the day of and the morning after.

Like all Nova Scotians, we woke up with a fresh supply of the white stuff. The snow was extremely fine before noon, but I have noticed the flakes getting larger, and the wind gusting a bit harder. On Facebook I read comments about this being the worst storm in recent memory. I can't comment on that, but it is one of the biggies I think   There will be opportunity for all who wish, to have their chance to make snow angels. Send me your pictures and we will post the for posterity. That reminds me that I will need to post my email address in the profile area if I want to get mail. That will happen before the end of my today post.
Well yesterday was the first full sewing day for our Thimbleberries group. It was fun. I am fairly easily distracted, and always ready to laugh, but even with those characteristics I managed to get a good start on my first project. I ran into a small batting hiccup, but was bailed out once again by Martha. This is the QAYG technique where the entire back and backing are prepared, then the blocks or block rows sewn on. I found I needed some help from Martha to get started, and also another pair of hands to get the fabrics straight on the tabletop. I look on this project as a learning opp, so there will be a number of imperfections. My camera battery winked out on me just as I wanted to take pics of the club members yesterday. Well next month I will go better prepared.Today I took a few views of the project to post here. This pattern is from Naive and Country QuiltsVol2 Number 1 2002. The designer is Susan Smith, and was inspired by an American antique quilt. It's finished size is  46in. x 57in. The pinwheel block is 6 in. and the 4 patch is 3 in. In addition to traditional piecing, there is a small amount of simple applique in two of the borders. They have titled it "Lucy Charlotte's Cot Quilt".
When you start the attachments, the first step is to make sure the centre of the backing and batting are determined and marked. I used a pencil and drew  line down the centre mark of the batting . That line was my starting line for attachment of my first row of blocks. subsequent additions are made left and right alternately. The first photo shows the first ow(which was a sashing row of 4patch blocks with spacers. Next the adjoining row on the right was added. The third addition was the row of pinwheel blocks left of the original sashing row. This cot quilt has five sashing rows, and four rows of pinwheel blocks. The third picture gives a view showing a small bit of the batting and backing
This next pic was taken by me of the magazines photo of the cot quilt.


 Over the next few weeks I hope to finish quilting the rows to the backing/batting combo, and also hope to make a start at the simple appliqued flowers. Check back for further developments.
While I was doing this yesterday, my friend Marilyn was creating another quilt top, one of her own design. she took a number of her small pieces of kids/baby prints and made a four patch top with sashings. I need to get a photo of this one to show you too.I think she told me that this one was 40 something by 50. Now that is a generous sized quilt for a little one. You know every baby should have a quilt. I wonder if we quilters could manage that?
Today I finished a couple more A blocks for Easy Street http://quiltville.blogspot.ca/  I think I have six more to do before I start to assemble the top. That will be fun.
I am wearing my thinking cap a lot these days. Martha  ( http://thequiltery.com) is hosting a paper bag challenge. For five dollars,you buy a bag with a  half metre of fabric pieces. Then you create and return to the shop by April 30th. I really want to try to get something from my head to fabric for this adventure.


The wind is still blowing, and now it seems like a good time to have a snack and a bit of basketball on tv. Hope everyone is warm and safe today
Lynn

Thursday, 7 February 2013

It's Serger Time

As an update from yesterday, I want to report that the beginner serger class at The Covered Bridge Quiltery was a tremendous success. I entered the class with trepidation, but at the end of the evening I left with confidence that I can repeat any and all of the samples made last night. Cathy Constantine was a very competent teacher. She provided individual help to each one of us. There were a variety of serger brands in the class, and Cathy could help explain the workings of each of them. An additional benefit was her use of the individual manuals during the help, as that gave each of the students confidence that we too could work with the manual. I've signed up for the intermediate course in two weeks. This was good value for the twenty-five dollars I paid for the course. Cathy also provided a set of written notes for each student. This will be essential reference material for me. If you want to check out Martha's website here is a link. This is my first successful link. Hurrah!
http://www.thequiltery.com/
Today we have bright sunshine, and cold temperatures. The wind chill brings the T to about -27 C. Now that is cold in my book. My husband wisely decided to relinquish his ski trip to Wentworth today.Instead we are enjoying the woodheat from our little Morso stove. It is a mini champion (my opinion). We have not had to sacrifice large amounts of space in our modestly sized living room.
I think you'll agree that is is on the small side.
This morning we made apple pie muffins. Now these are not my regular bran and yogurt very healthy muffins, but rather one of the tastiest treat muffins I've ever tasted. Maybe I should include the recipe here in case there is someone who would like to try them.

Apple Pie Muffins                  

Batter                                                               Topping

2 1/4 cup AP flour                                                          1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda                                                                       1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt                                                                              1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg                                                                                      2 tbsp melted butte
  1 cup buttermilk                                                                                               
1/2 cup butter (melt                                                        Stir together                 
1 tsp vanilla                                                                Drizzle with butter          
1 1/2 cups brown sugar                                             Blend                               
2 cups diced apples                                                                                        
In large bowl,combine flour, soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg,buttermilk, butter and vanilla. Stir in brown sugar. Pour over flour mixture,sprinkle with apples, and stir until just combined. spoon into large cups.Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 375F for about 25 mins. (My oven cooks them in 22 mins on the convection/conventional bake setting. This makes 18 muffins for me. I'm not sure what the origin of the recipe, but  I've been using it for many years, with success. Thanks to the creator.
Tonight is round dancing. I don't know about venturing out in the cold night. We'll see. Tomorrow I go out to Thimbleberries Club at the Covered Bridge. This is a group of fun women. There is never a dull moment, and the conversation hums.  This month we are introducing our new format. We have evolved  and are becoming an open sewing day. something new will be the opportunity to learn two QAYG techniques. I'm usually up for learning something new. After the day, I'll post pics of my progress .I am starting with a quilt cot found in a magazine. I'd been looking at that little quilt for some time, and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
I peeked at Bonnie Hunter's blog today. There are some very pretty quilt blocks in the new album.If you want to see them,  go to
http://quiltville.blogspot.ca/
I also checked out Karen's blog and there is yet another beautiful piece done with one of her patterns. This is where you can see it.   http://sewkaren-lycreated.blogspot.ca/ 
I think it is time for me to go and sew a block on Easy Street. I hope if there is anyone who finds their way to my site, they have a good visit, and a wonderful day      Lynn


 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

What do you do on a day off?

This question is one that I've been considering since I started a part time job. I've been retired for some time, but recently have been given the opportunity to work a bit in the wonderful world of fabric. The last two days I've worked full days, and now today I have an entire day at my disposal. Isn't that something to celebrate! Well what do you know, the phone just rang and now my entire day is changing. I'm excited. Martha from The Covered Bridge Quiltery has had a cancellation in the beginners serger class scheduled for tonight, and my name is next on the list, so here I go. I love this shop and its staff. They are always so helpful, and I learn something every time I put my foot in the door. You can check out the shop on Facebook I believe, although I'm not yet sure how that process works. Martha hosts a fabulously fun quilting retreat in October. I will get in the registration lineup on June 1st at 7am, to be certain I get a spot. Do you suppose that at some date we'll be camping out in chairs overnight? Never mind. If we do, I'm sure it will be a great group and there will be treats and lots of laughs.There is always a quilt project prepared by Martha and her staff, that one can choose to do, or just do what you wish. The group of women who have been there over my years of attendance,(and it must be 6 or 7 years), have always been friendly and generous of spirit.
I want to share a project I'm working on now. If I haven't mentioned this before, I'm plodding along on "Easy Street". That is a joke, but Bonnie Hunter's projects are never uncomplicated. They are always fun. I'm determined to finish this one. If I ever have a "claim to fame", it will be as a good starter and a poor finisher. Bonnie is the creator of Quiltville.com , every year she hosts a mystery. This year the quilt is called EasyStreet. You can find the steps at  quiltville.blogspot.ca/ 
I have finished all of the individual units and have sewn half the blocks. Ass you can imagine there is still a long way to go to the finish.

This is one of the blocks either A or B The other is like this
My husband loves these colours and the composition. Now that is not always the case with my quilts. I made a top that I really like, and a few others who have seen it, like, but he sees it as "butt ugly". That is what is so wonderful about this world of quilting. There is room for everyone.
Now I'm off to check out the serger I'll be taking to the class tonight, and to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, one of my vices. Lynn


Monday, 4 February 2013

Winter's Wonderland

Without an accompanying wind, the falling snow creates a silent world outside my window. I listen to the silence,  enjoying nature's gift. My husband has been out clearing the snow from the paths we use around our spot. This is what is out the window. When we planted the spruce on the left, it was less than two feet tall. The blue spruce was not much more than a twig when I put it into the ground a number of years ago.
This was a pot roast day here. I love a meal that we can cook in a pot, and have so few dishes to clean later. This is Superbowl night. We'll never stay up for the entire game, but peek in during the play. I watched women's basketball this afternoon.
This post is carried forward from sunday.
The snow has just about finished for this time, but I think the wind will blow it around for today. I am off to work (just a few hours a week), and am curious to learn what the day will bring. Have a great day
lynn


Saturday, 2 February 2013

It is a beautiful Saturday morning in river Philip. Isn't the sunshine a sure fire way to cheer your day. It is mine. This is breadmaking day, and my hubby is making some sweet and sour meatballs for lunch. These are really the leftover ones from last night. Life has so much to offer us, and we don't need to leave home to enjoy much of it. This morning I was updating my address book. I'm still using the ancient art of writing by hand to do this. My friend Marilyn, gave me a delightful address book a number of years ago, and the beauty of it is that it is so much fun to open the book and read the quotes, and enjoy the pictures, that updating is a very pleasant experience.

This is a joy to the eyes



As well, I browsed through the recent posts of my Facebook friends and family. There is so much variety in life. Our son Mike, and his wife Kim, enjoyed a games night last night. One of the games they played was Labyrinth, a Ravensburger game. My experience with this company is that they offer quality products that last well through lots of play.
In one of my earlier posts,maybe even my first I mentioned a recipe for pancakes that we really like. It is simple, and all ingredients are those found in our homes. I'll include that recipe today.

Pancakes:
Mix together in a bowl : 2 cup all purpose flour
                                        2 tbsp sugar
                                         1 tbsp baking powder
                                        1/2 tp salt
                                       
Mix together:               2 eggs
                                     2 cups milk
                                     1/4 cup melted butter
Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix  together but keep a lumpy consistency. Heat griddle pan to 375F. I test with water sprinkle. Water must dance for the heat to be right. Often we cut this in half because we are only two for a meal.
Like many families we have children and grandchildren living in distant spots. It is a challenge to keep or develop relationships when we are so far away and personal contact is infrequent. We have two little granddaughters in BC. Sometimes I feel so sad to realize that we don't have opportunities to be a bigger part of their lives. At Christmas Karolyn(6yr), sent me a purple fairy piece of her artwork.

 Karolyns art

If any quilters happen upon this blog, I want to share with you that I have been plodding along on the Easy Street mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter  at  Quiltville.com or Quiltville'sQuips & Snips  There is a wonderful opportunity with all and any of her quilts to use scraps, or smaller pieces from the STASH. I am always amazed at the speed with which some quilters manage to sew all of the units in one of these quilts during the mystery. I will always be dragging behind.

One of the regular spots I visit for inspiration and information as well, is                                sewkaren-lycreated.blogspot.com/  I haven't yet learned how to link with other blogs, but I hope to in the future.
 For today please be patient with me. God hasn't finished with me yet I guess it is time for me to stop for now. Life is moving along  in a different direction.
Lynn