Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Time Flies

I’m not sure where June went and have trouble believing the first week of July is already over.  I don’t have much of interest to share with you or show you – especially on the creative side. 

My nephew got married at the end of May and it was a glorious evening on the rooftop of a Toronto hotel with the skyline before us. 

Brock & Jess Get Married

My friends on Facebook have already seen this one, but this is Leo, Sandra & I at the wedding.  Unfortunately, Darren wasn’t in the picture as he took it!

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Leo and I also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in June.  We’re saving the big trip until I’m a bit stronger, but we did have a lovely day in Niagara on the Lake which is one of the prettiest towns in Canada.  The flowers there are always gorgeous and look like they are on steroids. 

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My friend Joan has a July birthday, so I sent this to her.  She’s opened it, so I’m not ruining the surprise.  It’s made from one piece of striped fabric.

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Cropped

My dear Aunt has been sick for the past month and has been in hospital for three weeks.  She has had two surgeries, and they are talking about another one tomorrow so I have been spending most of my days and some of my evenings there with her.  You all know how much she means to me and my heart breaks to see her in so much pain.  It’s been hard to concentrate on much of anything, but in some strange way, it has made me stronger as I have had to face my fears of going back into hospitals and ICU in particular.  Trust Auntie to help me, even when she’s so sick.

I did go to Quilt Canada, but to be honest, I was disappointed.  Maybe after seeing Houston and Paducah I’ve been spoiled, but there were very few traditional quilts and a LOT of what I would call art quilts.  I can certainly appreciate the imagination and work that goes into them, but I think a more balanced mix would have been nice.  There was no picture taking allowed so I can’t share any of the quilts with you.  I did try a newer version of my APQS Millennium with Bliss tracking on it and fell in love.  After doing the math, it wasn’t a whole lot more to buy a new machine than to upgrade the one I have, so I’ve been trying to sell mine.  It’s in excellent condition and I’ve never had any problems with it.  I have had a few enquiries, but since I’m not desperate to sell it, I’m not willing to do a whole lot of negotiating on the price.

Hopefully next time I’ll have more quilting or knitting content to share with you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

It’s A Bust!

I dragged Leo to Buffalo on Thursday as he was in need of some new clothes and shoes and there is a much better selection, not to mention much better prices, there.  We also had to make a trip to the box to pick up some parcels that were waiting.  I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but none of them were for me. (Mine hadn’t arrived yet.)

As we were walking through the Mall, I noticed a sign in a shop window advertising mannequins for sale for $10!  In I went and came out with this:

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As you can imagine, Leo was just thrilled to have to walk through the mall carrying this bust but how could I refuse?  The store were getting all new mannequins and selling their old ones for $10 cash, no tax.  No one could understand what I wanted it for, but I bought it for you – my dear blog readers.  It’s just perfect to show knitted items instead of showing them in a heap lying on a bed.  This is Willow Cowl that I finished a couple of weeks ago.

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This is my Colour Affection which has been done for a while, but I’m not crazy about it.  I went back to the store and changed the colours on this and I wish I had gone back again.  I think I would prefer it in more neutral colours that could be worn with more outfits.  Or, maybe it should have been pink – then I would have loved it!

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It also lets me play with different ways to wear it:

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I’ve still been working on my Spring Bouquet – I got the first border on, but there are still 4 appliqued borders to go.  I have one of them done, but I’m giving it a rest for a few weeks as I’m going blind working with the invisible thread.

Border Cropped

During my hiatus from Spring Bouquet, I made a gift for my Aunt for Mother’s Day.  Those of you who know me, know just how special she is to me. 

Auntie's Birds Mother's Day May 2014

Auntie's Birds Label

We went to visit my Mum last weekend too but she is a sad soul and there wasn’t a single thing I could have taken her that would brighten her day.  She no longer knows who we are and rarely talks or even acknowledges our presence.  It is absolutely heartbreaking to see her like that.

I’m not sure what it’s like where you live, but around here, you have to pay for any type of bag in grocery stores, drug stores and even department stores.  They charge you 5 cents a bag, so needless to say, everyone carries their own bags with them when they grocery shop.  They do sell these horrible ones that can’t be washed and disintegrate after a couple of months usage.  So, I made my own.  Leo does the grocery shopping so the fabric had to meet with his approval as he told me he was not going into the grocery store with bags covered in flowers!  I had all kinds of upholstery fabric that I’d bought years ago – I have no idea what I bought it for as I’ve never upholstered anything in my life.  He looked through the fabrics and reluctantly agreed that these would be O.K.

So, I made 3 of these:

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And 2 of these:

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Lee and I heard that we got into Bonnie Hunter’s class in Amherst so I’m really looking forward to that in September.  I’m not interested so much in how to make the quilt, I could figure that out on my own, but I think she will have tons of time saving tips and tricks to share. 

I mentioned that something I ordered hadn’t arrived at the box yet….  I loved this quilt the first time I saw it and contacted McKenna Ryan to see how much the kit for the whole thing would be.  Turns out the laser kit is $695 so I decided I didn’t love it $695 worth!  Then, she had a sale with 25% off everything on her site and I e-mailed and asked if the kit was included.  She said yes, it was, but they also had a regular kit where you cut your own pieces and it was a couple of hundred dollars cheaper.  Still, I sat on my hands until the sale was over.  Then, I noticed on Facebook that the sale had been extended one more day and I caved.  I have many friends that enable me and every single one of them told me to go for it – so I did.  Just think how much I saved – 25% off plus I got free shipping Smile

Dog Park

What could be better to combine my two great loves – animals and quilting!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yes, It’s Been a While

I managed to make it through our awful winter without getting sick, then spring finally comes and I get sinusitis.  Never one to do anything half assed, my knee decided to act up at the same time so I was in agony for a couple of weeks.  Enough said about that!

Now that I’m finally feeling better, I’ve been working on my Spring Bouquet.  I’ve really enjoyed this and while I have all the blocks done, I still have four appliqued borders to do plus a little (1 1/4”) four patch border.

Spring Bouquet Blocks Cropped

I made this table runner for Sandra & Darren quite some time ago, but forgot to post it.  It’s a bit late now for Easter, but here it is anyway.  It’s from the book My Runners by Disa Designs. 

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I’ve also been doing some knitting and Sandra was the recipient of this too.   I’m glad that she likes what I make enough to wear them and use them.  I showed you her bow scarf in my last post, but it wasn’t a very good picture.  Here it is on Sandra.

Bow Scarf

Since I forgot to get pictures of the other two scarves I made, Sandra enlisted the help of one of her models.  The first one is a Churchmouse pattern that I’ve made several times.  This one is done in bamboo which makes it softer than the Koigu which is called for in the pattern. 

SAndra's Ruffle Scarf 1

 

This is one of those easy ruffle scarves that had Sandra’s name all over it.

Sandra's Ruffle Scarf 2

 

I just finished a Colour Affection scarf yesterday, but I need to block it before I get pictures.  I tried a new ‘stretchy cast off’ method and was really pleased with the results.  It gives a wonderful stretchy edge which would be great for toe up socks or any edge that you want some stretch in.  Here’s a link to the video. 

Someone didn’t plan things very well as both The Knitter’s Frolic and the Creative Festival are both being held in Toronto this weekend.  Since the last thing I need is more fabric, (or yarn for that matter) The Knitter’s Frolic won out.   I haven’t been to the Creative Festival for years as for a while there it really got off topic.  There were so many vendors there that, in my opinion, shouldn’t have been – coffee manufacturers, cookies for sale, hand cream – you get the picture.  I think things have changed as I know most of the longarm companies are being represented there, as well as quite a few quilt shops.  Maybe next year….

I’m anxiously awaiting news to find out if we were accepted into Bonnie Hunter’s class at the Amherst Quilt Guild in NY.  I’ve been going for many years and the last few years Lee has been coming with me.  We’re really hoping we get in the class but I’m sure the demand has been overwhelming.  Keep your fingers crossed for us please, especially since Lee has her fabric all picked out already.

Leo retired at the end of March and it’s hard to believe he’s been home now for almost a month.  What is even harder to believe is I haven’t wanted to kill him yet Winking smile  Of course, I haven’t been myself – give it time.

 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sewing and Knitting and Cats and Dogs–oh my!

The dreaded month of February is finally over.  It was a year ago at this time that I entered hell hospital and it’s been a tough time to get through.  Being in hospital for so long, especially in ICU, really did a number on my mind and I’m still trying to recover from that.  Keeping busy helps, so I’ve been doing a lot of sewing.

I got my Broken Star quilted and it’s added to the pile of quilts I have no idea what to do with. 

 

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I quilted it with a clam shell pattern which you can just barely see on the border above.  A certain little kitty seems to like it – in fact, she blends right in.

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I also got my vest blocked with the help of my friend Diane.  She took a finishing class (which I need to take) so came over and blocked it all for me.  It’s a little bit wide on the shoulders, but other than that, I’m happy with it.  The pattern is called Deb and can be found here.

Vest Cropped

It took me forever to knit this – it was all garter stitch which was really boring and I didn’t particularly like knitting with the wool – it was Berroco Blacstone Tweed and is a lot thicker than I’m used to.  I like knitting with fine wool and small needles.

I also finished this bow scarf for my girly girl daughter Sandra.  As soon as I saw the pattern I knew it had her name written all over it. 

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This was knit in Blue Sky’s “Brushed Suri” which I found out is baby alpaca.  It’s 67% brushed baby suri, 22% merino and 11% bamboo and it is sooooo soft.

Just before I got sick, Lee and I had one of those what on earth were we thinking about moments and both bought Edyta Sitar’s Spring Bouquet kit. 

Spring Bouquet

I think this is the first time I’ve ever lied to Leo about the cost of fabric.  When he saw the amount on the Mastercard, I told him that was for Lee’s and mine Smile  Not that he’d care, but even I felt guilty about this one!

The Aurifil thread was included with the kit, but after we had done most of one block, we were in a local quilt store and saw a lot of Edyta’s quilts done with invisible thread and we liked it much better.  So……home we came and started frogging.  I’ve got the top 2 blocks finished and the two on the bottom are fused.  Invisible thread has come a long way since the days it was nylon but it’s still hard on the eyes and a bit of a bitch to work with.  I’ve got 60 wt. thread in the bobbin and so far, so good.

Spring Bouquet Cropped

I need to work on something else in between doing all this applique though or I’ll go blind.  I think I have enough other projects to pick from Smile

We actually got above freezing on Friday for the first day in what seems like months.  It seems it’s all we can talk about – this awful winter weather.  10 more days until spring – let’s just hope that spring like weather comes with it!  My poor baby hasn’t been on his regular walk for months as it’s just too icy and apart from my fears of falling, his little paws get frozen and he refuses to wear anything on his feet.  He doesn’t even like you touching his feet!  He does like the snow though….

Snow Dog Cropped

Here he is, face down, about to roll and get covered in snow.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Memories of Galveston

The first time I attended the Houston Quilt Festival in 2005, my friend Onalee and I took a break from the show one day and drove down to Galveston.  We had a wonderful time walking the beach and had dinner outside overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

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As if we hadn’t seen enough fabric at the show, we also stopped at Quilts by the Bay which was a charming store which unfortunately was destroyed by hurricane Ike in 2008.  I purchased the fabric for this quilt there as I fell in love with the floral – and strangely enough, I still love it.  Sometimes when so much time has passed, we have one of those ‘what on earth was I thinking when I bought this’ moments.

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I quilted this with Metro thread which has a gorgeous sheen to it and picked up the gold in the fabric (although it’s not easy to see in these pictures).

I also got my Broken Star top finished and it’s now patiently waiting to be quilted.

Broken Star 1

Lee and I have been attending a new afternoon Guild.  Since I’ve been sick, I have difficulty driving at night – I’m not sure if it’s the medication but I do know it’s not my glasses as I’ve had them checked.  This Guild just started last September and there are a lot of new quilters who attend.  While it’s nice to go in the afternoon, rather than at night, we both miss the inspiration that our evening Guild gave us.  They have some very talented quilters and amazing Show & Tell every month.  Maybe when the nights start getting lighter, I can try again. 

 

I’ve almost finished knitting this:

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It’s been really slow going as it’s all done in garter stitch and is SO boring.  I just hope I like it when it’s finished.  It’s knit all in one piece, which I’ve never done before, but so far I haven’t had any problems – other than trying to find all my Mum and Grandma’s stitch holders as so far I’ve needed 7!!!  Hopefully by my next post, it will be finished.

The quilting community lost a wonderful lady on January 26th – Rosemary Makhan.  Rosemary was an award winning quilter who showed her quilts all around the world and taught all across Canada, but we were lucky enough to have her living in our City and teaching in our community.  She was a true lady in every sense of the word and she will be sorely missed by all who had the honour of knowing her.  Take a few minutes and look at her gorgeous work – you’ll be glad you did as it’s truly amazing.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day

Well, it looks like both Punxsutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie both saw their shadows this morning which, according to legend, means we are in for another 6 weeks of winter.  I think it’s time we got a new predictor – what the heck do groundhogs know anyway?

My Aunt gave me a beautiful amaryllis for Christmas and it bloomed last week.  There are still more blooms to come, but it was certainly a welcome sight to see this on our kitchen table.

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Lee came over for a sew day a week ago and we tried the Disappearing Pinwheel block from the Missouri Quilt Company.  Both of our blocks were missing a point in the corner and my friend Diane tried it too and didn’t have any success either.  Here is Lee’s block

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and here is mine – Lee’s fabric camouflages the missing point much better than mine.

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Here is Lee working on the tiniest little blocks from a Christmas kit she bought.  She has more patience than I do – she wasn’t happy with the way they turned out, so she took them all apart and is redoing them.

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I was working on what feels like my forever project.  I bought this kit in Shipshewana many, many years ago, started it at a Retreat about 4 years ago and finally pulled it out again to get it finished.  I’m getting there.

Broken Star

I have all the blocks finished, now I just have to get them all sewn together and there are two borders that need to go on.  I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I also got this quilt finished.

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This was done with two packages of Bali Pops.  I don’t know why, but the quilting in the second picture almost looks raised – it’s just an optical illusion – it looks like someone drew the design on – strange…

My little girl always seems to feel the cold, and every time I see her lying here, I feel guilty.  Why would she lie over the vent on a tiled floor?  She has a gorgeous basket to lie in, numerous comfy chairs with quilts on them for warmth, but oh, no, this is where she lies.  I swear she just does it to make me feel badly.

Molly's Cold

I’m working on another UFO and just have the binding to finish.  Hopefully it will be done soon and I can share that with you.  Stay warm…..only 45 more days until spring Smile

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cold Enough For You?

It seems like all we can talk about is the weather, but I don’t remember a winter that started so early and hit us as hard as this one has.  I know we have been very lucky compared to some.  My friend Lee was without power for 6 days.  I just can’t imagine what that must have been like – and I can only imagine what she smelled like after no shower for 6 days Smile

I haven’t been venturing outside as I’m terrified I’ll get sick again with the bone chilling cold or fall on the ice and break something.  That being said, you would think I would have a lot to show for spending so much time at home – well, I don’t!  I have no idea where my days go, but they are over before I know it.  I did get my Hunter’s Star finished but I’ve had great difficulty getting a good picture of it.  I’ve tried it with and without a flash – with the light on and the light off, but the colours just aren’t true.

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The quilting shows up much better on this picture, but the colour is way off.

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I used Deb Tucker’s Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star ruler for this and it was very easy with no Y seams.  This quilt has been on my ‘to do’ list for years.  Lee and I bought the rulers when we went to MQX in 2009! 

I also finished this little runner which is totally off season but I don’t seem to get my act together until after a holiday!

Sunflower Table Runner

I was lucky enough to win these gorgeous hand dyed fat quarters from Starr Design Fabrics through a contest on Facebook.  I absolutely love them and want to make something really special with them.

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We have been having trouble with the TV in our bedroom.  Certain channels aren’t available and others cut in and out, yet our other TV is fine.  Leo called the cable company and a nice young guy came out on Tuesday.  I felt heart sorry for him working on a day like that, but he turned down an offer of coffee and said he was dressed for it.  He took a quick look outside and came in and told me he’d found the problem right away.  He asked if we had a lot of squirrels and I said yes, as a matter of fact we do – we feed them so all the squirrels in the neighbourhood hang out in our backyard.  Well, this is what was wrong with the cable.

Cable Damage

On the cream coloured cable, which is the one that leads to the bedroom TV, they had chewed right down to the copper wire.  The short black one, they were just starting on – it leads to our other TV so very soon it would have started causing us problems too.

Every week, Leo buys TWO of these:

Peanuts

I’ve asked him how much it costs and his reply is always ‘you don’t want to know’.  What I do know is we have the best fed, fattest squirrels in the area!  Then, come spring, Leo will be the first one to complain about them digging up his bulbs and breaking the tops off his tulips.  I asked him why he doesn’t buy peanuts in the shell as I’m sure they are a lot cheaper, but he says he doesn’t want peanut shells all over the back yard!  It’s not always easy being an animal lover!  One little black one in particular comes right to the patio door and scratches on the glass until we feed him.  Molly and Ben just ignore them now unless we let Ben out and he makes a half assed attempt to chase them.

I got a newsletter from my favourite Buffalo Quilt Store the other day and noticed this stamp on the envelope.  I’m sure all my American friends have seen this before, but I thought it was so unusual and really pretty.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a round stamp before.

US Christmas Stamp

Wherever you are reading this from, I hope you are warm and dry.  Just think……only 69 more days until spring Smile