Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Fun

 Not much sewing has been happening around here in the summer--too busy swimming, riding, working outside, etc.  All of those things are wonderful, but when it rains I do scoot up to sewing world and stitch a little of this and a little of that. So, a little plus a little does not equal a lot, but here's what I've been up to.

I finished my great granny squared but haven't decided on a backing or anything else.  I'm pleased with it and the navy background.

I made a couple of zippy bags to take with me to camp. I love the foxes on this one.

And the dress form on this one.  Don't ask me what lines each fabric is from, because I'm hopeless at keeping track of that sort of thing.  I tend to buy when fabric is on sale and pick up fat quarters of whatever catches my eye.

I took the bags with me to hold all the bits and bobs needed while going from one music class to another.  I went to CAMMAC (Canadian Amateur Musicians Camp) for early music week and had a wonderful time.  I was either singing or playing my recorder all day long.  Great food and great company too!

This was my month to receive blocks from my Canadian Wee Bee, so here are most of them up on the design wall (otherwise known as a plastic tablecloth!)  Don't they all look happy and cheerful!  Now I need to think how to put them all together.  I really enjoy making very different types of blocks each month, but this month I am behind!

I am linking up to The Needle and Thread Network today, so go take a look.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pink and Green

It's hard to sew and quilt when it's sunny and HOT outside.  I admit it, I'm a foul weather quilter! But really, I can't garden, ride, swim, hike, mow lawns, etc when there's snow on the ground.  And next week I'm heading off to music camp at CAMMAC, so life is busy.

But, I realize that I have a "blast from the past" quilt that I've never blogged about.  When I retired, I was very excited to get back to sewing, something that got lost in the never-ending round of children and work.  I had always wanted to quilt, but didn't have the time, room whatever excuse there was, but really, I think it was just lacking the mental energy.  I'm sure you all know what I mean. So my first week of liberation I took to the internet and was blown away by the creativity and excitement of fabric lines and bloggers.  What joy it was to see it all.  I lucked onto Elizabeth Hartmann's blog Oh Fransson, and found a quiltalong.  It was perfect to get me going.

So here it is, my pink and green sampler quilt.

I think I made every mistake there was to make, from buying fabric that wasn't good quality to doing matchstick quilting, but it still speaks to me of how happy I was to be DOING it, actually quilting!  It now lives on my mother's bed at the nursing home and she strokes it and admires the bright colours.

And because yesterday was Canada Day and it was glorious, here's the rest of my family (both kids home--yippee!) enjoying Caesars on the porch after an afternoon at the pond.  Hope you all had a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Baby Square

A friend has a little grandchild coming to visit and because they must fly to get here, the mum is upset that she can't bring the baby's quilt with her.  Well!  There's nothing I like more that a reason to put bits of fabric together!

I made a "low volume" block a few months ago, jumping on the bandwagon a bit.  But it didn't speak to me, so I never did anything with it.  I know the baby's mum loves foxes, so I thought I'd use the block and just add borders to it until it became a useful size, so that's what I did.  It is still not as bright and cheerful as I prefer, but it's fine and I'm delighted to have finished something that will be used.

It's about 36" square, so a good size for a baby to lie on the grass.  The back is just a piece of cheerful Ikea fabric.

On a different note, a friend and I went to Sutton on Saturday to participate in a Knit in Public event organized by the local yarn shop, Mont Tricot.  It was fun and quite a few showed up to chat and show off projects.

I brought my ubiquitous socks and Norma brought a sweater she was working on  but got involved with a nasty snarl of yarn.

Of course, we got silly too, but it was fun!

I'm linking up with the Needle and Thread Network, so take a look and see what's going on.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Geese Have Landed

For anyone looking for quilting output here, you'll be disappointed, but spring has sprung and outdoor work takes priority!  Right now we're in those magical two weeks when the leaves are out, the trees are blooming and the air brims with possibility.  (as opposed to last week when manure spreading was happening--no magic there!) For those of you with no winter, you can't imagine the joy we all feel when the sun feels warm and everything is green.

Faithful companion and I took our favourite walk this morning.  It's also a fave with local wildlife and there was lots of bear "signs" and deer tracks.

Anyway, geese.  This month's Wee Bee blocks asked for flying geese, another block I haven't made a lot of.  There's a certain irony about the flying geese block this month.  Every morning at 5 am, a pair of geese make a flyby over our house. Why, I don't know, but I'm not always thrilled about the ecstatic honking only feet above the roof, and our bedroom.  I think maybe they're excited about the sun rising and are taking their equivalent of the Sunday drive.  Sometimes they land on the pond, but they never nest there.

So, sewing geese.  When I sew for myself, I'm somewhat slapdash and carefree.  (That's my story and I'm sticking with it)  But when I sew for others I feel like I have to hold myself to a higher standard.  So I wasn't pleased when my geese had no points.  I reread the instructions and saw that I had to sew a "scant" 1/4 inch seam, the quilting equivalent of a pinch of salt.  After much muttering and perhaps a curse or two, I nailed the scanty seam and whipped off a couple of blocks.  I'm on a roll now and might make a few more!

Truly, the pleasure of bees is to be able to make lots of blocks without having to put anything together!

This one looks very anemic--blame it on poor lighting because it's actually nice and bright.

I was lucky to have my daughter home this weekend and we visited my mother at her nursing home.  She was absolutely thrilled to see her (me she sees all the time so it's less thrilling!) and also to be able to go outside and sit on the porch.  So here's a picture of my bookends.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Granny and Me

Months ago, I bought a jelly roll of Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander.  Now, I've never bought a jelly roll before, so it took me a while to decide what to do with it.  I'm more used to grabbing bits of this and bits of that and sewing it up, so a whole line of one fabric was a quandary to me.  I doubt that I would do it again, as there are many fabrics in the roll that I wouldn't necessarily have bought singly.

Anyway, I decided to make a granny square quilt using a tutorial from Blue Elephant Stitches that I had bookmarked long ago.  (I know, why would I need to use a tutorial for a granny square, but I did!)   So that's what I've been toiling away on while waiting for spring.

I decided to use navy as the background fabric and, honestly, I'm not sure about it, but I'm pressing on.  I think it's one of those decisions that might work out once it's all bound and quilted.  Maybe it needs a contrast sashing, maybe........ OK, I haven't got there yet, but anything's possible. I also think the rest of the blocks will have as little of the orange as possible--I find it leaps out at me!

I like this block, probably because it's more restful to my eyes.

Finally, spring has sprung in our area--and not before time!  It's still jacket temperatures, but I can feel some warmth from the sun.  My daffodils are putting on a brave show as they love this cool weather.  I planted them 30 years ago and they still reliably make me happy every May.

There are lots of early flowers in the woods as well, like these dogtooth violets that bloom everywhere.

Another common flower is the red trillium (or stinking johnny as it's known locally).

One last sign of spring is one that any rural dweller knows well, the road breakup.  Each spring we drive our cars on a slalom track, avoiding frost heaves, pot holes and sink holes.  I hate the sound of the bottom of my car dragging through mud and stones and often wish I had some big honking SUV to get around.  Why is it so many urbanites have them and all they do is drive on paved roads! (I'm just jealous)

Today I'm linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and Sew Fresh Quilts, so go have a look!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Paper Piecing (deuxième partie)

OK, I'm throwing in the towel.  I don't think I've ever had so much difficulty with a seemingly simple block.  I seem to be spatially challenged and had more than one nasty episode with the seam ripper.  Finally, I just decided to own the mistakes, sew it all together and move on to something that doesn't require thinking inside out and upside down!

However, the blocks themselves are very cheery, so I hope the bee recipient this month likes them.

There hasn't been a lot of sewing going on around here, what with raking the winter debris from the lawn, picking up broken branches from the ice storm, and getting foolish horses back under the saddle.  The horses are taking a lot of time, because they are especially silly this year.  There is no end of prancing, dancing and head tossing going on!  I tried to get a shot showing how windy it was, but I was too afraid to take a hand off the reins!

Every year I tease Neil about his winter wood pile, also known as the Wall of Wood.  This year it is particularly fine!

But he's gone beyond and is now building the great wall of China!  The man does enjoy a good pile of wood, and we do love to have enough to last the winter.  This year we ran out in March, and it was no fun burning green wood.  It's never a good idea to cut, split and burn the same day.

He's starting on the second row and I have no idea when he's going to stop.  This doesn't include the 40 or so cords in the shed ready to be sold in the fall.  I think it needs to warm up so he can go golfing!

The daffodils are starting to bloom and the grass is getting a bit greener, so I hope we can say that spring is here i

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sugaring Off Season

Saturday was the annual BMP Hospital sugaring off party fundraiser, and what a terrific day it was!  The sun was shining and temperatures went up to 15 degrees, and that alone can put a smile on anyone's face!  It's an annual event that has been hosted by the same family for 22 years now, the Rhicards from Stanbridge East.  It's an event where you meet everyone you know, knew, or will know from all over the countryside. It's kind of like a county fair, but without the rides!

The air was full of the smell of syrup boiling and the sugar-on-snow troughs did a brisk business.

There were four teams of horses giving wagon rides around the farm.  I am particularly fond of Dave Evans girls that were being driven by his grandson, under his expert eye.

A troika hitch was there too, not something you see very often.

There were demonstrations of working with hand tools--this gentleman is making a wagon wheel.

Here, John Rhicard is squaring up a beam. (There has been a sawmill on the farm for over 100 years)

One of the barns was set up for dancing, with people of all ages joining.  I always love the country duos who play, sing, and have taps on their shoes for percussion.  Such fun.

Rob Young brought his ox, who also pulled a wagon for a few rides.

But then he got tired and had to take a nap!

All in all, it was a wonderful community fundraiser with over 900 local people showing up to support our local hospital.  My hat is off to the organizers.