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.

Houston Oct. 2005 071

 

Houston Oct. 2005 078

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:

Vest

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.

Feb. 2

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

Saturday, December 14, 2013

If I Only Had a Brain….Or A Memory

One of the problems of getting old is you forget things.  One of the problems of getting old and being sick is you forget even more things!  There was something I specifically wanted to tell you about yesterday, but completely forgot.

One blog I have been reading religiously for years is Tommy The Material Girl.   I love her sense of humour, she is a Cordon Bleu chef and she loves animals as much as I do.  The other day, she blogged about a company called Blog2Print.  To borrow Tommy’s words, “It is a simple process of going on line and filling in a little bit of info, like the first day of the year and the last day of the year and your blog address and pick out your cover graphics and voila! You have your blog in a book form.”  I think this is a wonderful idea for people who blog a lot more regularly than I do.  It would be like having a diary of your year.  Check it out!

I also forgot to show you a couple of baby quilts I made – they are both the same as they are both for little boys and I reverted to my old standby strippy quilt.

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I also completed this Santa tablerunner.  I like the idea of this, but I’m not sure if my sense of symmetry can handle it!  It’s right up there with my matchy matchy gene!

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We’re getting dumped on pretty heavily today, so we had to cancel lunch with ‘my girls’.  I am very disappointed and hope we can reschedule before Christmas as a couple of things I have for them are Christmas related.  I didn’t even think it snowed when it was this cold but obviously I was wrong.  My sister in law and a girlfriend are both coming back today from a week in Florida – I don’t think they will be very impressed!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Baby It’s Cold Outside….

No, actually it’s FREEZING outside and it isn’t even winter yet!  The weather in the whole continent seems to have gone wacky and I ask myself every day why we live in a country with such extremes in temperature.  We’re either way too hot or way too cold.  I’d be happy with just Spring and Fall – that would be just about perfect!

I seem to have been busy, but I’m not sure I have a lot to show for it.  I did get back on Tillie and quilted quite a few Cuddle Quilts for our Guild.  It felt good to be back on the longarm, but I have to be careful not to overdo as I had a fair bit of pain in my lung after quilting for a couple of days straight.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – why do people put their ugliest fabric into charity quilts?  I know not everyone does this, but I’ve seen some pretty ugly quilts pass through my hands.  I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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This looks like it was an orphan block top and while it doesn’t look too bad in this picture, trust me, in person it was UGLY!  I like to think my quilting gave it some beauty Smile

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I’m sure some of these panels came straight from the 60’s. 

I finally got my knitting finished but I never did find Bruno, my model, so I guess he was bagged up with the rest of my bears and is now living in the crawl space.  I really should bring him back upstairs, but going into the crawl space is something you have to work up to so it will have to wait for another day.

This is Groovy and I did it in 100% cotton.  My friend Diane kindly blocked this for me – it isn’t my favourite part and when I finished it, I still wasn’t feeling that great so it was wonderful to have it done for me.

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This is another Hitchhiker done in fingering weight wool.

I now have more scarves than I know what to do with!

I did quilt some placemats for our local Meals on Wheels – they were Christmas on one side and regular fabric on the other, but I forgot to get a picture Sad smile

My Christmas shopping is pretty much complete – thanks to the Internet.  I love online shopping – and it’s such a nice surprise when the packages arrive at your door.  There were some great sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and Canadian retailers finally got in on the act and had some great sales to try and discourage cross border shopping.  They still have a way to go to price match, but at least they are trying.

This is the only tree that is going up in our house this year.

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The thought of putting up a tree and all my decorations was just too overwhelming this year – maybe next year I’ll be feeling more like it, but I wouldn’t bet money on it.  I am getting stronger but still tire very quickly and still get awful flashbacks to my hospital stay.  I’m impatient, I know, and should be grateful for how far I’ve come, but I still feel I have a long way to go.

I’m hoping to have lunch tomorrow with my adopted granddaughters – I haven’t seen them for way too long, so I hope the snow that is falling right now stops as they live in the Niagara region and the weather there can be very bad at this time of year with lake effect snow from both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. 

I’m working on a Santa tablerunner, so I better get my act together and get it finished or Christmas will be over before it’s done!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Progress

I’ve been trying to make some progress with my Hunter’s Star, but it slow going as my attention span isn’t the greatest.

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I was hoping to make this queen size so I’ll need 20 full blocks and 5 half blocks, but I don’t think I’m going to have enough fabric, so I may have to re-think the size – either that or put on bigger borders but I’m not a big fan of doing that as I always think it looks too obvious.  Speaking of borders, my original idea was to put a small 1 1/2” finished inner border and a 5 1/2” finished outer border, but I have no idea what fabric I am going to use.  Nothing like winging it – most people would have this all figured out before they started cutting, but I like to live dangerously.

I’ve also been trying to finish a Hitchhiker scarf so I can start on this!

Vest

I saw this on Pinterest but the link provided didn’t take me to the pattern.  Thanks to another kindly Pinterest user, she told me where it came from and I ordered the book and the yarn.  I’m anxious to start it, but promised myself I’d finish the scarf first.  This vest is from a book called Seamless or Nearly Seamless Knits and there are some other very nice patterns in the book.  Since sewing things together is my least favourite part of knitting, this fits the bill perfectly!

I promised you pictures of some of my other knitting projects, but for the life of me I can’t find my model Bruno!  Before I got sick, I cleaned out our spare bedroom and packed away most of my very many bears but I was sure I left Bruno out as he made a great model and he was very special to me.  I have no idea where he has disappeared to so now I’ll have to go searching.

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Here he is modeling a Ruffle Scarf I made a year or so ago.  How could I misplace something this big?  Maybe I did pack him away – who knows – I have no memory anymore, not that it was so great to begin with!

It’s very deceiving looking out the window this morning – the sun is shining and it looks like a gorgeous fall day, but the temperature is hovering around the freezing mark.  I really hope we aren’t in for a long, cold winter as I already missed spring and summer this year! 

I’ve been looking at all the pictures on Facebook from Quilt Market and it makes me wish I was going to Houston.  I’m sure all the stores will be e-mailing all kinds of new goodies to tempt us just as soon as they get home.  Of course, I’m not buying anything – not a single thing – until I use up some of what I already have.  Does that sound familiar?