Friday, September 27, 2013

Photos Galore

Lots of photos for you this morning.  I took the camera with me when I went for my walk yesterday.  A lovely day to take pictures.  I finished the border on the little quilt this morning.  This will go on the wall in the guest room.  It is about 24 inches square.
Country Bride wall hanging.  I did the applique and quilting by hand.

The trail through the bush.

Autumn Colours

Looking towards the back of the property where it slopes to the pond.

Odd shaped mushrooms

Button sized red cap fungi

Heidi leads the way through the shadow and light

Moss covered fallen tree.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

In a Bind

Not feeling very well today.  I think I have some sort of tummy bug.  It isn't enough to stop me from doing what I want but not to feel good while doing it.  I've had my usual bread making session and now want to pin a quilt before doing the top stitching.  I have decided to shadow stitch this one and will do it on my table machine rather than the frame.  I don't have an extension for the frame machine and you need that to do ruler work.  The quilt is only a lap size so it won't be difficult to handle.
I have finished my little hand appliqued and quilted wall hanging and now am working on the binding.  I am so pleased with it.  I expect to have a photo to show you soon.

Speaking of binding, brings me to the tip I have for you today.  Your pre binding procedure is probably like mine; cut the fabric, fold and press in half lengthwise and sew raw edge to quilt raw edge.  While you are doing that, you have yards of binding getting tangled in everything.  You may have rolled it up but that doesn't work very long.  Here is my solution:

Place the center of your binding roll over something sturdy.  I used a serger thread holder.  You will have to give it a gentle pull as needed but it will be all tidy, ready for use and out of the way.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Quilt Carrier.

I am hoping to pick up a video camera for my pc later this week.  Once I have it connected, I plan on making some how -to videos.
Here are a couple of suggestions for secondary uses for items you probably have in your quilt room.

Quilt Carrier: quilts can be quite large and bulky.  Finding a suitable container for carrying one to a show or guild can be difficult.
Here is a solution.  Do you have a carrier that is used to transport a large cutting board?  If so, re purpose it.  Cut two strips of twill tape (available at fabric or notion stores) each the length of the opened case.  Mark the center point of the tape, measure approx. 7" inches from the outside edge of the case and pin the center of the tape to the case bottom.  Do the same on the other side.  Stitch tape to case.
You will now have a handy carry case.  If the case is zippered, leave it undone  so the quilt can extend beyond the edges.  Tie rolled or folded quilt in place and off you go.  You can still use the case to carry cutting boards when needed.

My case was a lovely fabric one that was made and given to me by a friend.  I never used it because our group has a large cutting board that is available to everyone.  As a quilt carrier, it is in constant use.  If you don't have a case, they are simple to make and now you have two uses for them.
Tomorrow, I will have another tip for a secondary use for another common tool.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


This is the view from the west facing studio window.  This is what I see when I am sitting at the computer or sewing table if I turn my head in the correct direction.
The first photo was taken through a misty window and I love the subdued look.  It makes me think of the song words (although it is the wrong time of day)" In the misty moonlight, by the flickering firelight etc."
I have been doing some reading about photography techniques lately as I am trying to increase my skills.  I need to take good shots for my magazine articles and for my quilt patterns.  I also enjoy photography.  It is one of those family traits.  My father was a good photographer, most of my sibs enjoy it and the son of one sister is a professional.  My husband also has a niece who does portrait photography for a living.
I don't have a top of the line camera but it is adequate.  Our trees are almost at their colour peak so I will be getting a lot more practice. I plan on going down to the pond early in the morning one day this week so I can get a photo of the mist coming from it and, of course, I have to do my annual "Heidi in the Leaves" shot.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Love Bears

Our trees are really changing colour quickly now.  Unfortunately,  they are also starting to drop.  Is this a sign of an early winter, I wonder?  I don't mind although I haven't started to get ready for the cold season yet.  There is yard work yet to be done and my summer clothes are still in the closet and on my back.
I have started quilting a baby quilt panel today.  I am doing a pattern called Love Bears which is teddies in a row holding hearts.  I lines that indicate how you sew indicate you do the bear legs and then the top of the heart all the way across.  On the return trip you do the bottom of the heart and the top of the bear.  The result is quite attractive.  I am doing the rows so one line of bears face the top and the next, the bottom.  I am not skilled-or brave, enough to just miss a space and do all the ones facing one way, re roll the top and do the others.
I prefer just turning the pattern around and realigning at the end of each row.  Slower but less likely to goof it up.

The quilt will be a gift for a great nephew and I hope his mother doesn't read my blog!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lime Green!

It has been a beautiful day here in the back woods.  The weather was sunny but not hot, no bugs and we are retired.  Husband removed some shrubs and trees from an area near the house that we want to utilize.  Our little lawn area is getting smaller as we plant apple trees, transplant oak, a maple and a birch to provide shade and fruit.  We thought it would be nice to have an area where we could sit that would be shaded; perhaps put up  a gazebo or bug tent.
While he was doing that, I baked cookies.  I made 10 dozen oatmeal/peanut butter ones from a recipe that I changed/improved.
I finished the quilt that was in the frame and added borders to another top.  I had to spend about half an hour doing some adjusting to the top as one side was almost an inch longer than the other.  Not sure how that happened as they were all the same size before I put them into rows.  Possibly some of the seam allowances weren't accurate.  It doesn't take much to make a difference when a little bit is multiplied.
You might be a bit horrified when I tell you that my borders are a narrow grape colour with a wider lime green but I am pleased with the effect.  It really seems to accent the blocks which are scrappy.
I am looking forward to quilting this one and think I might do it freehand.  I will have to practice a bit first as I have used patterns for the past year or so.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Confession Time

I am just putting the borders on a top that was made from 5" squares.  It is, of course, a scrappy.  I wasn't very pleased with it at first but now that it is nearing completion, I am happier.
I discovered something about myself while making this one.  When it came time to add the borders, I went through my stash looking at first one fabric , then another until I found one that looked best.  It was a purple that I have had for some time.  The reason that I've not used it is because it is part of a group of fabrics from the same designer and I really like them.
I have always found it difficult using my favourite fabrics.  Here was my 'bonger' moment.  Why would I not want to honour my work by using what was best for it?  Why am I saving the fabric?
The purple border really does look nice.  And now I need to find fabric for the outer border. The search will probably be a lot easier now that I won't have reservations.
I wonder if this problem is reserved for fabric artists?  Somehow, I can't see a painter using a colour that wasn't quite right because he/she wanted to save a favourite one.  Would sculptor save a favourite piece of marble, stone, wood etc? 
If I/we really value our creations wouldn't we want to use our most prized products?  I also wonder if this is a gender trait or founded on an economic condition i.e. if a person is lower income they might not be able to replace those beloved fabrics once they are gone?
Lots more to think about.  Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fabric for Sale

We got quite a bit of work done today.  The vinyl siding had got pretty grungy with an accumulation of dirt and, on the north side, some green stuff (algae?).  It was one of those jobs, like cleaning the dryer vent and the bottom drawer of the fridge that kept getting put off.  Today was a nice day so out came the hose, bucket and clothes and off came the grunge.  Husband also rid of some brush while I made bread and sorted through a tote of dressmaking fabric.
I have quite a pile of fabric that I am never going to use so I will measure and fold then sell it on EBay or somewhere similar.
If I don't use what I saved within a year, it is going as well.  However, if I do get it all made into clothes, they won't fit into my closet.
I've almost got another quilt top done.  I think I will send the pattern for this one to a magazine.
Do you subscribe to or buy Quilter's Connection?  I have an article on back basting in this month's issue.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Beets and Other Preserves

Just a few jottings before I end the day.  We ravelled to Orillia (a 90 minute drive) this morning to meet some friends.  We spent some time visiting with them, did a bit of shopping and drove home.
After supper, we covered the tomatoes and other tender plants as frost is predicted.  The wood stove is going and I have a large pot of beets cooking.  Tomorrow, I will make pickled beets.  I don't think they will have completely cooked before I go to bed but they will have a good start.
I always look forward to the cooler fall weather so I can start my preserving.  There is something satisfying about seeing the shelves fill with sealers of jam, chutney, and pickles.  The freezer will receive bags of cut up squash, pumpkin and zucchini as well as produce we have bought at reduced prices and save to be used throughout the winter.
Here is my favourite pickled beet recipe.

2 cups of vinegar (I use regular although I've seen recipes that call for cider)
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of salt.

Cook beets until tender, remove peel (my least favourite part).  Heat syrup to boiling and keep at boil for 5 minutes.  Keep syrup how.  Cut beets into quarters or desired size and pack into hot,
sterilized jars. Pour syrup over beets to cover them.  Run knife down inside of jar to remove air bubbles.  Add my syrup if necessary.  Seal, cool and store.

I always put the smaller beets in a separate jar to give to my mother in law for prefers pickled beets to be made with small whole beets.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Two Quilts

By ArkAngel Creations

ArkAngel Creations
These are my current projects-both sideways in the photos.  The top one is the one I am making from charms and the bottom is on my frame and being quilted.
My sister has just left and is going to her son's for a couple of days and then back to the U.K.  It was lovely seeing her and, in fact, I am have a bonus summer being able to have both my sisters visit.  It is always sad when family leaves but wonderful to be able to be together for even a short time.
Tomorrow, we are off to Orillia so meet friends who are visiting from Edmonton but, for now, it is back to the machine and getting more work done on the cardinal top.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quilting Woes

I got quite a few rows completed yesterday on the quilt I have in the frame.  For a while, I was wondering if I was going to get anything accomplished at all.  The top thread kept breaking so I made sure the machine was threaded correctly, check; no lint or other grunge, check;  make sure frame is level, check; loosen tension, check;  get irritated with machine, double check.  Nothing seemed to make any difference.  I'd sew a few inches and then  hear a change in the sound.  Turn off the speed control and take a look to confirm what I knew had happened.
Finally, I changed the thread.  I had another spool of the same colour but different brand and it has worked without problem.  The original spool is one I have used in the past but I guess it just decided to take a sabbatical.  I will move it to the rack that holds the thread for the table machine.
When everything works properly, a person can quilt a top very quickly.  When it doesn't...

Often when we look at different or newer equipment, we do so believing that if we owned such a wonderful item, turning out quilts that would make others gasp in amazement would be a simple matter of waving a hand.  The reverse is frequently the case.  Everything has its problems and short comings.  Everything has a learning curve.

I am thrilled to have a frame and machine.  It is quicker and less work than quilting on a regular machine. But, it is not trouble free.  Nothing is.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


We had quite the thunderstorm last night.  All the flashing and banging kept me awake for a couple of hours. The weather guy predicted hot and humid weather today and, so far, we have wet and cool which, given the two choices, I prefer.
I have the house to myself today as husband has gone to a euchre tournament.  I plan on getting lots of quilting done although I better get at it soon as the day is half done.
Sunday was a lovely sunny day so we took a walk through the bush and I took a photo of this rather odd fungi and of our picturesque Heidi.  It seems that every time we wander through there is a different flower or other growth.  I've noticed some very small red berries recently.  They are about 1/8th of an inch across but noticeable against the dead leaves if you stay alert.
I have finished unsewing the folds on the back of the quilt that is in the frame so I am really going to try and get some work done on it.  I really am! No more playing of computer games until I've done at least 3 rows.  Honest!


Strange Fungi


Cute Dog


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fabric Purchase.

As you know, I don't usually post on Saturday but I conned a friend into checking out my blog by telling her I would post a photo of my latest fabric purchase.  I also thought I would show everyone else the top layout I have been agonizing over.
So, friend, there's the fabric.  I will bring your purchases to quilt group on Monday along with the blocks for this latest project.
The fundraising motorcycle run had to be postponed because of the weather.  We will try again on Oct. 5th in hopes that the sun will be shining and more of the trees will have changed colour.  When you are doing something that is outdoors and, especially if it involves motorcycling, weather is a factor as is safety.

Friday, September 6, 2013


The weather doesn't look as though it is going to be suitable for tomorrow's motorcycle ride.  I think I mentioned that I organized a run that would raise funds and food for our local food bank.  The weather network is predicting rain and possible thunderstorms.  I will have to wait and see but, if necessary, we will postpone until the 21st.

I have put away the charm project I have been working on and will take it to do at quilt group.  I tidied the cutting and ironing tables and put a new blade in the rotary cutter. The next quilt beckons.  Some time ago, I designed a pattern with tulips and log cabin blocks.  That will be my new project.

Last night I made a 'to do' list for today.  Everything has been done (and it isn't eleven o'clock yet!) except for finding the tulip pattern and fabric.  The other item was to do some more rows on the quilt that is on the frame. It has been sitting for a bit and I need to get it done.  Having a list helps keep me focused. As I was writing that, I was thinking that one of the items I never include on a list is going for a walk.
I try to get out nearly every day but, all too frequently, it is not a priority.  I need to move it up the list and make it so.  As the daylight lessens, we need to get outside and get our dose of Vitamin D.  I also need a shot of daylight to keep the jeebies away.  Jeebies are little gremlins that make me feel not quite depressed but not happy either.  A walk is relaxing, gets a good shot of oxygen in my lungs and reminds me of just how fortunate I am.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Chill in the Air

Such a change in temperatures.  We are in single digits this morning-only 7 C.  I love the cooler weather but must admit that I am not yet ready for long pants and sweaters.
Husband is outside chopping wood and the steady clunk of the ax hitting the logs adds a note of comfort to the morning.  Heidi is sitting at her favourite perch in front of the large window in the studio.  I  put a cushion on the trunk that holds my knitting wool and it is just the right height for her. She is able to see the chicken coop as well as the tool shed and wood cutting area so she can keep track of all the activity.
This morning I got up a bit earlier than usual and decided to make my husband's breakfast.  (Usually, he does his own.) He likes  oatmeal porridge so I cooked that as well as some hardboiled eggs.  Heidi had been sitting at the entrance to the kitchen watching but I knew where she really wanted to be.  When breakfast was ready, I told her she could go and off she charged down the hall, tail wagging, hair flying.  A moment later, I heard my husband greet her and when I went in she was curled up beside him.  She was a perfect picture of contentment.  A good morning for husband.  Two females doting on him.
I have been working on a new quilt pattern and still haven't got it to where I am satisfied.  It is similar to one I have done before but more of a scrappy and am not happy with the overall look.  I may have to unpick one set of blocks and add different sashing.
We have decided to start the woodstove just to take the chill out of the air and now I am going to cut up some ingredients for a stew so it can be cooking.  We can have that for supper tonight with the home made bread.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

After the Fair

Husband and I did well at the local fair yesterday.  The weather was rather miserable with weak sunshine alternating with drizzle and monsoon downpours.  People did persevere and, by mid afternoon,  walking around outside was nice.
I had spent a couple of hours helping an organization that was selling food so my husband came in later so we could walk around together.  Our first stop was the fair entries and we were pleased to see that we had won a number of prizes.  As it was a last minute decision to participate, we were glad to have done so well.  I have already made a list of the categories I am interested in for next year!
I am working on another charm quilt today.  I have half the blocks done and am having to hunt through my fabric stash to cut more squares.  While I am doing that, I am starting to organize the shelves.
Ever since moving into my new studio, I have just been stuffing my material onto the shelves until I had all my storage units in place.  As that is now done, I can start the sorting and folding. I have, over the years, found a system that works for me.  Most fabrics are put in piles according to colour i.e. all the greens go in one section, all the red in another etc.  I don't worry about shades or types of pattern.  Some may be dark, others light.  Patterns, plains and stripes are all together if they share a predominate colour. There are a few exceptions.  Landscape fabric such as pebbles, tree bark, sky go together regardless of colour. Panels are also kept separate.  If I have bought a number of  fabrics from the same designer and pattern i.e. Stonehenge,  I keep them together.  I might not use them all in the same quilt but I usually do.
This block is an example.  All the fabric is from the same designer.  I am afraid I can't tell you who it is although I suspect Northcott, as I used up all but a couple of small bits.

I am sure we all have our own methods of sorting our fabric.  What is yours?  Send me a comment telling of your preference and why and I will share your ideas on my blog.