Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January Bits and Pieces

No large finishes this week but a couple of small pleasures for me.  I always like to make zippy pouches for any occasion.  Last week a dear friend was celebrating a milestone birthday so I whipped up a little something using a charm pack that was on hand.  So satisfying to take little pieces and make them into another thing altogether.

Neil had a finish too! A few months ago he found a tree with a large burl on it. (a rounded knotty growth on a tree, giving an attractive figure when polished and used especially for handcrafted objects and veneers-dictionary, no me)

He polished it up and mounted it on a piece of black cherry that was lying around and I really like it.  When you turn it in different directions you can see completely different creatures.  Sometimes it looks like an elephant, sometimes an owl, and sometimes an octopus.  I guess I have a vivid imagination! Right now it appears to be a surly alien.

Another little finish was a block for a scrappy  bee.  The call was for low volume and any colour you want--easy and satisfying.

Yesterday the snow was sliding off the back roof but I liked the frozen lines transferred from the tin and the extended icicles.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hello 2017

Well, here I am again. Creativity has definitely taken second place in my life the last six months.  My mother went into palliative care in August and most of my energy was taken with accompanying her in her last months.  She died the end of November, brave to the end and she will be greatly missed.  She will always be remembered for her smile and her enormous love of life and everyone around her.  She had a gift for friendship, and a true kindness of spirit.

She and my daughter were kindred spirits and it has hit Emma hard.  But how lucky they both were to be able to spend time together.  I love this photo that Emma took last year--mum dearly loved rings!

I have made a few things in the last two months and decided to start a quilt for each of my children at the beginning of December.  Yes, not a smart thing to do, but it kept me busy and I was happy to be back in sewing world.  So, with no pattern in mind and using fabric that I had on hand, I made them each a Christmas gift.

There's no point even trying to remember what fabric lines were used, but I decided on neutral for both quilts.

My husband was particularly enamoured with this fishing fabric!

And I know that I decided to stop hoarding this stuff and just use it for a backing.  (Wasn't easy though!)

For the second, I had bits and pieces left over and decided to tie it all together with grey and lime green.  It was well received but I forgot to take a picture with my son draped in it.  I made it extra long for him and it was a beast to wrestle through my machine.  I went with simple straight line quilting for both due to time constraints.

Again, a simple back using up the last of the leftovers!

I know this one is getting a lot of use!

Living on a farm we are always well aware of weather and wildlife, so here's a little look at my outside life.

This was the morning after a windy and wild night.  I love the light on the wood pile with the dark storm clouds behind.

This is the smallest stone sculpture that Neil has made.  I think it looks like one of those Japanese snow monkeys.

Again, beautiful light in the morning.

And the squirrels are still with us! (looking very overweight too!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pink in the Summer

The most recent baby quilt was finished on one of the few rainy days we've had in the last few weeks.  I love making baby quilts--they take very little time and investment in fabric but give so much pleasure.  I know that most new mums are very well equipped for their little ones, but not too many people make something themselves.  Anyway, knowing that a little girl is on the way, I went with a pink festival in simple blocks that show the fabric.

I love the eye of the tiger peeking out of the darker blocks.  I considered fussy cutting to get the whole face, but liked the randomness of the half face. A simple dark blue polka dot binding set off the lovely Tula Pink prints.

As usual, I did straight line quilting, but was pleased with how the lines converged in the centre of each block. Yes, they are straight lines, but the fabric is bunched a bit!

I used a Peter Rabbit print for backing ( a stash find!). The new mum had a pet rabbit as a child that she called "buny", so I thought it fitting.

In my last post I mentioned that the porch squirrels were getting too tame, and here's the latest glamour shot as proof. No fear there!

They like to snooze under the bird feeder in case treasures rain down from above.

I can't believe myself, but I'm ready for the next project--a quilt for my son.  Recently I went to Ontario to visit a friend and made a little detour to visit Mad About Patchwork, a bricks and mortar quilt shop that also sells on line.  (I had bought from them in the past) A lovely shop with very helpful staff and I ended up with this masculine assortment of fabric.

Have a great week.  I'm linking up with The Needle and Thread Network and Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, June 27, 2016

This and That

It's been a beautiful summer so far, which isn't really conducive to spending a lot of time sewing, but I have managed a few things in sewing world.  I was on hold for a while as my machine needed a tune up.  The repair guy actually took a before picture to prove how much lint and crud was blocking up the innards.  Oh shame on me, but it shows how much I use it.

First up, a Tula Pink fabric quilt for an imminent baby girl. (I do so love making baby quilts!) I pinned and sandwiched it yesterday, so the next rainy day, it will be good to go.

Next, a red/white quilt of delectable mountain blocks that was started last year, but never finished.  I found it languishing in a cupboard in one of my cleaning and purging sessions--the annual big garbage pickup is soon--always a stimulus.

I hated this quilt for a number of reasons, all of which were my fault.  First, I bought an new batting, thinking it would be nice and warm for winter.  When I got it home I realized that it was way too heavy and thick, but did I stop there? No, I basted and kept right on going.  Stupid, stupid! Then I wrestled that beast through my machine and found that my quilting scheme was also unworkable.  Ack! That's why it was bundled and hurled into a cupboard.

Anyway, I found it and decided to spend the afternoon on the porch, in the shade, unpicking the quilting. Four hours of snipping and listening to Radiolab podcasts later, it was done. So now I'm hesitating between making more blocks and continuing in the same plan or unpicking all the blocks too and making a different design altogether.  I think it needs to percolate in the back of my brain for a while.

My marathon porch session allowed me time to enjoy watching all the young birds being fed by their parents and laughing at my two baby squirrels that bicker and chase each other.  I think they were orphaned very young as they were tiny when they first appeared.  They're very tame, which isn't good, but we don't have cats and dogs any more, so why should they worry.

It's been a time of great joy here. Our daughter graduated from medical school and is now in Vancouver doing her residency.  The convocation was wonderful--McGill knows how to put on a show and E. was radiant all day.

After the ceremony we went to the Lachine Canal for a picnic and all obsessed with the newest member of the family.  Good thing we had enough quilts!

Our son also finished his degree and is now an engineer.  He didn't want to go to convocation, so I figure we celebrated them on the same day.  I'm so proud and happy for them both.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Kalihna's Quilt

I finished and gifted my latest quilt to a new baby girl, Kalihna.  My niece loves blue so I bought  a fat quarter bundle of the Bluebird line from Cotton and Steel and got to it.

Spread out and pinned, I was really pleased at how the pink stood out and that it was very flat with no puckers or wavy edges.

My sewing machine got very cranky during the quilting process and I wasn't sure it was going to last until the end, but luckily it did and I did a simple cross hatch quilt on the diagonal.

I was pleased at how the pink popped and caught my eye.

I had some lime green alphabet fabric to use as binding, and again, it seemed to brighten some of the more somber blues.

 The backing is a Heather Ross print, name unknown, but it is absolutely perfect for a baby girl quilt.

Here it is posed again on a camelback trunk that's been in the family for a long time. Since my in-laws have lived on this farm since 1803, it has to be older than that.  I bet it could tell some stories.

I'm so pleased to get my sewing oomph back and have another plan for a quilt gently percolating in the back of my mind!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Blue (and Pink)

So, here I am at my sadly neglected little blog, but that's all right.  As much as I love sewing and making pouches, quilts, and other little gifts, I can only make so many without the house being overrun with patchwork.  At this point, everyone in the family has received a quilt, and many friends have too.  But, with much joy, another baby has been born who "needs" a quilt! A best beloved niece has had a beautiful little girl so I've been foot to the pedal for a few days now.

My niece loves blue, so I decided on a blue colour scheme with pops of pink.  I bought a Bluebird fat quarter bundle of Cotton and Steel and got right to it.  I spent time calculating how many squares I could get from each fat quarter length and started cutting.  But I was not pleased when I realized that some of the fabrics had the modern giant selvedge--a full inch of it!

I know that some quilters cut very large strips with the selvedge and use them in creative ways, but I can't help but feel a bit gypped.  I was unable to get five squares from each length with the large edge so had to cut into more fabric.  Not nice!

I went with a simple cross block and used Carkai for the white with the bluebird bundle. I didn't want to repeat any fabrics so used some of the blues from my stash as well.

For the pops of pink, I had some long-hoarded lengths of the original Mendocino by Heather Ross.  I still love it and might have to buy some of the newly released fabric.

The quilt is sandwich is ready for quilting and will be delivered this weekend.  I better get to it!

We spent two months in New Zealand again this winter and had a delightful time.  It's awfully hard to go from this

to spring in Canada, but at least this year there was no snow when we returned two weeks ago.  To be fair, Easter weekend was beautiful and we rummaged around in the basement and found our kites. We managed to persuade our son to leave his studying and come out and play with us. It brought back so many memories of when the kids were little. How can anyone resist a kite against a blue sky like that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Using up the Scraps

It's grey, grey, grey out there; I need some colour in my life!  The October block is one I've never done before and have admired from afar, economy blocks.  They were all done from scraps, no fabric lengths were injured in their making.  I had fun with every one, although sewing world looks like a bomb went off in there!

I'm hard pressed to choose my favourite in this group of four.  I guess the pink ears on the cats still gets me every time.

No contest in this group, the border collies and the high heels.  I bought that fabric to make my mother some throw pillows years ago.  She was always a high heel kind of gal!

This next grouping makes me wish I had a better camera, but like everything else, an expensive camera doesn't guarantee wonderful photos any more than an expensive sewing machine guarantees  perfect points!

I have to say, this one was the favourite.  Bunnies and polka dots are an unbeatable combination.

I also decided to hop onto the Farmer's Wife Quiltalong.  I'm late to the party, but decided that until I get more babies to sew for (soon, I'm sure) then it's best to work on small, slow projects.  There's only so many quilts I can lounge under, even if it's really peak lounging weather.

So, today I made three blocks, in no particular order.  The first was #12, Becky.  It was very easy to sew once you cut out all the little pieces.  I think this was just to lure you into the vortex because it looks like the easiest one in the book.  I can't imagine making an entire quilt using this one block, but it could translate to a bright scrappy quilt.

Next was #8, Aunt.  My practice making economy blocks this months came in handy. I'm still using up bits of fabric, so there won't be a cohesive colour scheme, but I think it doesn't matter to me that much.  I seem to have too many small pieces of material hanging over my head so I'm very happy to keep using them up.  Sometimes scraps just make me anxious and guilty about buying anything new.

Another simple block is Bonnie, #16.  Although it was super easy, I like the look of it and can see it making very interesting repeating patterns in a quilt.  Something to remember.  So far everything is working out to be 6.5 inches, with a little trimming of the edges.

This month's outdoor project was installing a second solar panel on the porch.  It used to be up on the roof, but it was always covered by snow and ice.  There's no way I'm letting Neil onto a tin roof in mid winter to brush it off. With our son supervising, it went up quickly.

And a little eye candy to remind us that there is beauty all around.