Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rolling Stone

Last week I was all about my delectable mountain blocks which didn't work out for my bee blocks, but I found a solution--the rolling stone block!  Mountains, stones, see the connection?  When I made one to see how it looked, I realized that although it's called rolling stone, it could actually be called a flower.  At the end of January how could I resist something floral.

I don't reinvent the wheel here, so I won't give a blow by blow of process.  If you're interested, I found very good instructions here. It's my go-to site for 12 inch blocks and usually, the directions are simple and well explained.

I decided to go with small floral fabrics, brights and anything that made me think of spring.  My first block sold me on the idea.  Really, anything with polkadots is a shoo-in.


Then I made another just to confirm that I loved the idea.


And before I knew it there were four up on the wall and I will look forward to see what my bee mates make with their stash.


Winter is still upon us with cold temperatures and lots of snow.  But on the plus side, the days are getting longer and the light is very different during the day.  You've got to be a hopeful kind of person when you live in the northern hemisphere.


On cold mornings Mont Sutton starts making snow long before dawn.


As I have mentioned before, my mother  lives in a nursing home and is very well looked after, but she is starting to lose her speech, making it difficult for us to have any chats together.  Lately I've been taking my recorders down when I visit.  I play some music for her and I guess for the rest of the rooms on the hallway too.  So far no one has complained.  It gives her pleasure and I'm happy to do it.


On a sad note, my faithful companion of 13 years is no longer with me.  For all of you who have known and loved a dog, when I say she was the best of dogs, you know what I mean.  I miss her terribly and keep thinking that I hear her coming down the hall.  I am still surprised to I find my shoes where I left them as one of her favourite pastimes was collecting footwear to decorate her bed.
I have been lucky in the dogs I've had over the years--she won't be the last probably.



Have a good week and don't forget to make something!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Delectable Mountains

Isn't that a wonderful word, delectable.  Somehow, the C and the T stuck side by side give a marvellous clarity to the sound and what on earth am I going on about?  Sorry, there's a reason for it.  February is my month to be bee leader and I like to find a block that is both a bit of a challenge and makes some sort of secondary pattern within the quilt .

I was wandering around quilt land when I happened on Elizabeth Hartmann's blog (as I often do) and noticed a beautiful quilt pattern with gradations of solid colours making a fabulous pattern.  She mentioned that it was a variation of the delectable mountains quilt block.

My sewing world's window overlooks my "delectable" mountain, Mont Sutton.  It's where my children learned to ski and snowboard and where we spent many happy hours en famille.  In this very grey, gloomy and cold winter, it struck me as perfect.  So off I went to create my own version of this block.

I've been admiring monochromatic quilts for a while and thought that being February, a red and white block would be perfect, so I made one, just to see how it went.


Then I made a few more, because I wanted to see the pattern.



And then I made many of them--because I was in love with how they looked. I used a tutorial by quiltsbyjen that was very useful. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a picture of the many, but I'm sure they'll show up again!

They look so simple, don't they, but I spent many an unhappy moment up close and personal with my seam ripper.  But, then I had the awful realization that the block size didn't match the requirement for the bee.  Grrrrrrrrrrr!  No matter, I shall continue on my own and finish them.

We finally had good enough weather to go on a sleigh ride with friends and their children and grandchildren.  Good thing too as it was the only day above -20 that week.  I was a lovely ride, but we all got cold by the end.



This morning is another winter wonderland, but I loved the sun dog glinting on the side of the trees.


It's another cold one, but it is winter!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

No Resolutions Here!

So here we are, 2015, and once again, I have no resolutions, no "word" to guide my creativity, no "issues" that I need to deal with (ones I'm willing to share anyway), and aren't I lucky. Both of our children were able to join us for Christmas which was such a joy as both  have  punishing work schedules.  I am just so glad to see them when I can.

I did make some little gifts for people in the shape of earbud cases. They sew up very quickly and I find mine very useful.  They're also wonderful to use up bit and pieces of fabric that you don't want to get rid of but can't think of a use for.





Before Christmas we had such wonderful, picture perfect weather--blue skies and fluffy snow everywhere.  We were all pumped for snowshoe expeditions and maybe some skating.


Then Christmas Eve it started to rain, and by the next day, it looked like this.



The last few days I've been puttering around with Elizabeth Hartman's fox pattern.  I  bought the giant fox and made one block, but found it very fabric intensive.



I decided  to spend some time reworking the numbers to make a more scrap friendly version.  You can just see the single block edge on the left, proof it IS big! So far, I'm using up all sorts of leftover bits of jelly roll. I will have to go get some more of the navy background fabric, but that I got at a local shop, so very easy to get more.  I'm thinking this might be a baby quilt for an expected infant.


Now that the deep freeze has hit I have more incentive to stay indoors and sew!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Holiday

If you're anything like me it's been head down, hunkered over the sewing machine while mumbling to myself, why did I leave it to the last minute.  Needless to say, it won't all get done and really, does it matter?  The biggest problem is that I get sidetracked--start one thing, jump to another and before I know it, sewing world looks like a bomb exploded and I can't find anything.  Then the mumbling escalates to grumbling and it's downhill all the way!

So, what have I done?  I made a lap quilt for my niece's little boy because I couldn't give his sister the happy stars quilt without giving him one too.  I asked Carolyn what he liked and it was soccer and red, green and yellow.  My stash was a little sparse for those requests, so black Friday brought out my hunting instincts and I did a little shopping (for me too).


I had some strips of Australian fabric that I used for the strip down the middle and the binding.  The backing was a piece of batik that a friend brought back from her travels and it seemed to go so well with the front.  I hope he likes it.


I had great plans to make a Christmas quilt this year and even bought a pattern from Freshly Pieced, something rare for me. But the pattern intimidated me and once I had made a couple of the poinsettia blocks, the reindeer block and a couple of trees, I realized that it wasn't going to happen this year, if ever!  However, not wanting to waste effort and fabric, I made a couple of mini quilt wall hangings and tried to finish off a less ambitious wall panel for myself, but we're still not there.  Maybe next week.  Other items are for gifts, so won't be making an appearance here.



We've had relentless snow for the last ten days.  It's beautiful, but hard to get around and the power flickers a lot.  I love how the outside lights look in the early morning light, like something from a Christmas commercial.


And of course, Neil is still working on his great wall of wood, the 2014/2015 edition.  Believe it or not, last year's has all been sold.


I probably won't get back to this little space in the universe until the new year, so happy holidays to everyone and I wish you all good health and happiness for 2015.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blogathon Canada

Today it's been snowing and blowing all day, but I've been having fun visiting the far flung corners of Canada.  Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is hosting a wonderful blogathon so we can see what everyone else is up to.  For those of us who don't live in urban areas we can sometimes feel as if we are sewing away in splendid isolation.  This is a chance to connect to all that creativity out there and feel a part of something great!



Here in Quebec, while the wind blew and the snow fell,  I beavered away in sewing world to finish this, my happy stars quilt.



Taking pictures in snow is notoriously difficult as the colours are rarely true, but even indoor shoots can pose a few problems too.  In my case, my official holder upper was not available, so I had to resort to draping it across the sofa (again!) to try and get all the stars.


These blocks were from my Wee Bee Canadian group and one of the things I truly enjoy about collaborative efforts is looking at the variety of fabrics used.  My stash is almost devoid of greens or yellows, and neutrals are especially skimpy, but I was in love with many of the little scraps that showed up.

How can you not smile at this



or this

 or this, that makes me think of frog eggs in the pond.


Thanks for visiting and I hope that you can check out all the talent out there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Done, Finally!

Do you ever have a project that you started with great enthusiasm and excitement only to have it languish half done in a carefully ignored part of your sewing empire.  I have. Not many, mind you, as I believe in finishing before starting, but this one particular project stopped speaking to me.

I started it off with a jelly roll of Carolyn Friedlander fabric and decided to make a granny square with navy sashing.  There's nothing wrong with the project, the fabric, the construction, the quilting, nothing at all.  (Well, there are imperfections, but there always are!) But I'm having a hard time liking it.


I think it's because it's November, and that means short days with little sunshine.  I think the navy, while classy, absorbs too much light for this time of year.  Maybe had I finished it in July, I would have a different feeling.   After my crankiness about variegated thread in my last post, I tried it again, but this time used  a spool from Connecting Threads.  I am pleasantly surprised by how good, and reasonable these threads are. And no, I'm not being paid to mention them!


I will tuck it away until I find a home for it, or until I change my mind--that has been known to happen!  Interestingly, my husband loves it and he rarely comments on the quilts I make.  Maybe that's it, it's meant for a man!


I also put together my "stars" from my month as bee queen.  They were all made with such happy fabrics, but I'm pondering whether it needs another row at the bottom.  It makes a decent lap size quilt as it is, and is still missing the outer sashing.


I have a little girl in mind to receive this, so I won't be dawdling too long to finish it!

I'm linking up with The Needle and Thread Network and Sew Fresh Quilts, so pop over and have a visit.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Boo!

I'm spending a lot of time quilting something, but it's not ready to show, so I'll just put out my little girl ghost quilt again as I finally finished it off.  It's not an original design, but I already blogged about the link, so just scroll down if you're interested in making your own.


I like how it turned out and will take it down to my mother's nursing home this morning to hang on her door.  I decided to use a 100% cotton variegated thread from Gutermann but remembered half way through why it was sitting unused in my sewing box.  I spent a lot of time rethreading the machine and muttering under my breath as it broke a lot.  Good thing it was a small project.

The other thing I wasn't thrilled about was the way it pooled on the solid borders.  Now that is something I could have thought about ahead of time and used a matching thread, but unfortunately, I didn't, and it's not in my nature to rip out and redo!  Just to be fair to Gutermann threads, I use their polyester ones all the time and have never had issues with them.


I also finished up my Wee Bee Canadian blocks before the end of the month and mailed them off.  The block was Road to Tennessee and scrappy Christmas with no white was requested.  I dusted off my festive scraps and made these.


Some of these fabrics have been in my scrap bag for years, so I was happy to put them all together.  I hope they can blend in with the other blocks!


I'm linking up with The Needle and Thread Network and Sew Fresh Quilts today.  I love looking at what others are working on and get lots of inspiration from them.