Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Still Thinking Pink

Here is a rosy post for you...and for me too. Always a downer coming home from a Brady visit.
I am happy to report that my first project I hit upon for the RSC2017 has all blocks complete. The pink one is now done.
It's no secret star blocks are my favourite, with the schoolhouse block a very very close second. However, I saw these as house blocks, not quite schoolhouses, when I started this back in January. Each block is 16.5" unfinished. The pattern is free on my Craftsy store, (affiliate link) but it is for the first one I made, which doesn't have the windows. The house has evolved over the course of this year.  This house's 'garden' is a little overrun with dog paw prints! Thanks, Jake for the perfect, much-loved Laurel Burch piece there, and the inspirational thoughts of hers in the windows. 😘 I thought it a nice touch, especially seeing how poor Naala had such a rough and scary month in October. We are so thankful that she is still here, doing really well, got the last of her staples out, has gained 5 pounds back, and is eating like a horse!

The Rising Star is one of my favourite star blocks so I thought it would be cool to have a double star for this last block. I mean what's not to love about a star in a star?! I did pause for a half a minute and think, do I really want to make a 3" star? Like how big, er small would the star points have to be?

Answer: 3/4" finished.

Take a big breath. It wasn't too long before I had this:
Okay, that is tiny! But SO CUTE! Fabrics, I have to tell you: the centre is a scrap from my mum's quilt I just gave her; my previous post tells all about it. The star points are a batik scrap from the coolest bag I made years ago (should blog that on a Throwback Thursday--what happened to those anyhow?), love batiks. The background is a pink Cracked Ice, a very popular fabric in a multitude of colours, much like Moda Grunge, back when I first started quilting in the 90s.
New + old (er, vintage) = perfection!

All my blocks, in chronological order of colour of the month:
I am going to put sashing between, not sure what colour yet. There are scraps from projects done this year, like the house front purple, the border of the Cows quilt, the blue house roof, from Let Your Star Shine, and scraps from forever ago, like the 'garden' the red house sits on, smocked dresses for my girls in the early 90s, the neutral block house front is lining of a patchwork light jacket from the early 2000s, and one of the star points in that block a scrap from the second quilt I made. This is why I love scrap quilts best: the memories, sensations, life goings-on, visuals that pop into my brain when I see a fabric are vast and plentiful and..well. pungent comes to mind because they are just so real, more than just smell and taste.

I am up to date with Wayward Transparency QAL.
Lotsa love on Instagram for this photo. I know I sure am pleased with the pinks! Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to go for them. Wish me luck as the lightest pink is a little iffy, yardage-wise, so I might be creatively cutting... that, or creatively cussing if things go awry! This is the chance one takes when using fabrics from one's stash and leftovers.

Moving along the Colour Wheel to pink's mama, red, I am just ecstatic that I completed the last three blocks in the 150 Canadian Women QAL!
148 - Ada Jane McCallum: now this lady was one smart and colourful Madam! She ran 51 Hollis Street in Halifax, and ran it fairly, looking after her girls; in her 60s she moved to Dartmouth and ran a call girl service; 149 - Beverley Busson: a part of Troop 17, Canada's first women RCMP officers; she also got her law degree, and was Canada's first woman Commander of the Order of Merit of Police Forces, an also was named one of Canada's Most Powerful Women; 150 - Mom: Kat made this last block in honour of all moms/mums in Canada, that it's a choice, not an obligation, and wrote a great paragraph of her thoughts on motherhood. I adapted her heart block (had to finagle a bit, because I only had a 5" square of the flag fabric) to show that I love Canada with all my heart, and am, like my dad, a proud Canadian.

Monday was such a nice day, perfect light in the late afternoon for photographing these and the pink house block. Those are fallen leaves from our Norway Maple, such a brilliant yellow, a ton of them now on the ground thanks to all-day thunderstorms (hindered my sewing big time, grrr), pounding rain and crazy wind of Sunday. I wanted to point out that in block 149, the top right, I worked in a bit of my hoarded Canada 150 fabric, a piece I love that has interesting Q&A about Canada. It says 'RCMP officer'. 😊 The opposite large square is actual old newspaper headlines fabric and this one, from the Ottawa (Canada's capital) Citizen talks about the inauguration of Alberta, my home province, into the then Dominion of Canada in 1905 where "the Mounted Police displayed a splendid exhibition drill". Two à propos fabrics, n'est-ce pas?

My second RSC2017 project is the Migrating Geese, which is going to be the one I quilt up for Q4 FAL. I hung up the strips on my design wall uh, ceiling tiles/air space, ha. Then I hung them a little different way, and then again...well I seem to have four possible layouts. Which do you like? Tell me in the comments below please! I was leaning heavily to C, but now I'm thinking maybe D...
Clockwise from top left, A: all geese going the same way (could be down, too); B: alternating strips north and south; C:  first half flying north, second half flying south; D: alternating as in B, but also alternates warm and cool colours, which are still in ROYGBIV order.

Coming full circle, here is my pink begonia, taken Monday, Nov. 6, a little less full thanks to falling over in a bad wind a couple of weeks ago, but thriving still, nonetheless:

I do think its days, and that of the verbena sitting in the willow chair above it, as well as that of the impatiens in the front garden, are limited, seeing as the weather is going to take a turn for the worse, with overnights going below 30F/ -1C beginning mid-week. All things said and done, I adore Fall more each year we have moved back here.
Sunday morning, the road into our 'hood, before the storms hit. Ah, the colours--!! From greens to golds to oranges, to deep reds, a feast for the eyes.

This is the 6th Fall back here now, like how can it be 6 years since I was in the throws of getting into report cards gear at about this time, chasing down unruly teenagers who owed me assignments, agonizing over those going away on vacation right when it was a major test...

BACK to my reality today, which I love! Big breath! Yep, loved teaching, LOVED it, but it is good to be going in other directions... Funny, I realized this morning as I was doing the math for, and planning the execution of another pattern that will be coming out in another Modern By the Yard e-zine (insert ear to ear grin) that I still am teaching, as in yoga, but also as in sharing learning and teaching techniques, by writing patterns. Now to get my butt anchored back in my chair to learn more on EQ.  A little progress has been made in that direction, I am happy to report!

Linking up
Cooking Up Quilts
Freemotion by the River

Friday, November 3, 2017

Forever Flowers

As we know, flowers do not last forever. However, one can replenish one's supply, one's vases, one's garden, with flowers.  Forever.  Right?  Flowers in fabric, now, do not need replenishing; they definitely are forever.  Well for a few hundred years, I hope.
This is 'Forever Flowers', a quilt I made for my mum for her 80th birthday, which was, ahem, almost one year ago. Her birthday, not the quilt finish.

It is one of my goals on my Q4 List which you fill find on that link.

These are glorious Kaffe Fassett fabrics, fabrics I would never, all by myself, have put together. It's worth mentioning the hand of this fabric; I am mesmerized by Art Gallery Fabrics, silky soft that they are. These, by Rowan Fabrics, Mum and I agreed, are like that: a cotton sateen smooth finish to them that is tactile-pleasing out the yin-yang for me, ha.

Here is block 1 cut and beginning to be assembled, above the not-yet-cut fabrics for block 2. There are 33 pieces in each star block.

This is a Craftsy kit (affiliate link that will take you to two pages of Kaffe Fassett fabric and kits, though this one is no longer available) that I bought late last winter/early spring, planning to have it made for my mum's 80th birthday which was November that year, 2016.  Sadly, I did not get it done in time.

There are 30 blocks in the quilt, 15 of each fabric compilation. This is block 1. The colours are incredibly vibrant!

The pattern wants you to do the stitch and flip method for the flying geese and the corner connector method for the outer star points on the rectangles. I figured out the measurements to do the no-waste geese method for the flying geese.  I then made a template so I could pre-cut the triangles and rectangles at 45 degrees to make the outer star points on the rectangles, which you can see below. This means more leftover fabric! I stitched the flying geese on my Bernina, but my 1947 Featherweight did the rest of the quilt.

With Bella supervising of course!

Then it was time to cut and piece fifteen block 2's.  It's the same pattern, just different fabrics.

Again sewn on my little girl. I actually like piecing on her better than on my Bernina, shh! She sews better over bulky seams, takes 'em in stride, whereas the Bernina tends to choke a bit, the stitches go very tiny, and I have to help pull the fabric on through.

The photo below shows my design uh, ceiling...wait, design air lol, not enough room for a design wall up here, which soon held the flimsy, all 990 pieces of it, (30 blocks of 33 pieces each) assembled in the Book It! method I describe here.

Then it was time to assemble the backing, which I'd also purchased from Craftsy. I wish I'd thought to try to match the flowers better, but it's all good. The horizontal seam is pretty decent, but the vertical join a bit off.

For the batting, I tried Hobbs 80/20 for the first time which I'd bought at Connecting Threads (affiliate link). It's a little lighter in weight than my favourite Warm 'n Natural 100% cotton. I thought it would be easier for my mum to maneuver around on her bed, and launder as well. I loved the way it quilted up, just slightly more loft than Warm 'n Natural, with definitely less weight to the finished quilt.

I'd decided to quilt my favourite all-over motif, this flower, that I first saw in 'American & Patchwork Quilting' in the early 2000s. I now like echoing it, as you see below, adding loops and leaves. Planned to do that over the entire quilt, as the quilt is all about the fabric. Loaded it.  And then, as quilts are wont to do, it talked to me, said, 'You know, there is this lovely diagonal line to this quilt. You've seen it right from the get-go. Why not accentuate it? The quilt pattern is called Lovely Lattice, why not make a lattice-type effect with lines? Go on. You know you want to...'
and so I did.  And so it was.
I did not realize that it would create a cool woven effect in the orange centres.
I used Aurifil 2123, remembering that Angela Walters says her favourite colour to use on multi-colour quilts is a pale yellow. It was perfect.
Love that particular star block centre.

Quilting the lines, half an inch apart with a ruler, sure did make an all-over lattice effect, as well as emphasize the diagonal flow of the layout.

The binding fabric was that orange stripe, just terrific. But not terrific for my mum, who is a green-obsessed, blue-hater (gasp! like how?). So I perused my greens, pulled a few possibilities: "no, that's a yellow-green, no this one's blue-ish, that's too light, this doesn't make a statement... aha!"
A metre or so languishing in my stash? Did I use it in her 70th birthday quilt? Maybe... I did take a  photo of that quilt, the pattern from 'American Patchwork & Quilting' in 2007 when I was at her house:
Couldn't quite get it all in; it sits on top of her double bed, doesn't hang down much.  Nope, didn't use that green.
 I love appliqué on top of a pieced background. I machine-appliquéd the flowers, leaves and stems, and then went back in and stitched the French knots and stamens by hand.
I even found where I'd stitched her name in this one (yep, I did in the newest one too, wait for it!)
This one was quilted on my Bernina, I believe with a 30-weight Sulky Blendables thread. Those who have followed me for a while know that I always quilt the recipient's name in their quilt somewhere, as well as my own initials. Sometimes I quilt other little important words too.

10 years later:
It's Marian. With an 'a'. 😉

My mum does love flowers. Here is the back, another glorious Kaffe floral (ha! with the arch of the bird feeder stand):
There were two choices of backing, and I couldn't decide so I had Dayna pick. I love her choice!
I sewed on a fabric label with the quilt details handwritten on it with gel pen. I also was sure to sew in my label from Ikaprint:

Mum loved the quilt, has decided to have it in the front room, where she thinks, and I agree, that the colours really pop against her deep green couches and pale green walls. I said that I'd thought it would be for her bed since it's a fair bit bigger than her last one I made, but she thinks she can use it to snuggle under while watching TV. As long as she does use it is all I ask, lots! We tossed it in her washing machine on cold, with her Shaklee laundry detergent, and then into the dryer for a 15-minute cycle on low. She spread it out on a sheet to finish drying, and sent me this photo:

It looks a bit pink, which it isn't! It came out nicely, with that crinkle we quilters love.

The day that I left to fly to Alberta, I took the quilt to my beloved Seacliff Beach for a few glamour shots.

Perfect late afternoon light
Against the backdrop of Lake Erie that criss-crossing lattice pattern shows up well:

Rolled up, ready to go into the suitcase:

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Lovely Lattice by Heidi Pridemore
Size: 60 X 72" (did not measure it after washing)
Fabric:  Kaffe Collective by Rowan Fabrics for quilt top and backing; binding is 'Texture' by Erlanger Group
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 cotton/polyester
Quilted: on Avril, my Avanté
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Aurifil 2123 40 wt.

It wouldn't be a trip to the beach without at least 10-12 minutes of beach glass and lucky stones hunting. No lucky stones turned up but again, a decent haul of beach glass, so pretty!

Linking up
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Crazy Mom Quilts
Busy Hands Quilts
TGIFF at Summer Lee Quilts
Q4 FAL at

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

150 Canadian Women Update, So Close!

I would have had all 150 blocks finished to show you, but a certain quilt for a certain mother took priority. You'll see that finish on Friday. My November OMG, which I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts, is going to be finishing the top, as in getting this to a flimsy. That's a fairly tall order, but do-able with the chain piecing, leader/ender style of sewing I prefer to do. I haven't shown you any blocks here on the blog (but they've all been on Instagram) since September!
127 - Julia Grace Wales: pacifist, her work to end war led to the establishment of the United Nations; 128 - Yvonne Madelaine Brill: aerospace engineer who invented and patented the jet propulsion system used in positioning satellites, also worked on the rocket engine for the space shuttle; 129 - Nell Shipman: first Canadian woman to make a feature film, one of the few Canadians to make silent movies; turned down Samuel Goldwyn of Hollywood because she wanted to be an independent filmmaker, which hurt her career (she went bankrupt); made films about 'God's Country', Canada; a pioneer in filming on location as opposed to in studio. **See Karen's comment below for a PBS documentary about her airing this Friday. Thank you so much Karen!
130 - Aloha Wanderwell (born Idris Hall): first woman to drive (yep drive) around the world and an entire paragraph of firsts, including filmed the first flight around the world; 131 - Alice Freeman, aka Faith Fenton: investigative journalist, and Canada's first female columnist; 132 - Major General Tammy Harris: in April this year, she became the first woman to hold the post of deputy commander of the RCAF
133 - Eva Vertes: only 32, a researcher in Alzheimer's and cancer, and resident physician who, at age 17, won Best in Medicine at the International Science Fair for her work with brain cells; 134 - Karen Beauchemin: known for her leading work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; I love that she used her prize earnings to establish a scholarship fund for women at a university  in Ghana; 135: Pearl 'Bandit Queen' Taylor Hart: colourful woman bandit whose final years no one knows for sure, but probably led a final quiet life!
I inadvertently discovered a twist on Eva's block which I quite like:

Her fabric reminds me of the DNA models and the woven grey matter of our brains. Making such a wide variety of blocks over the course of this past year has sure lit the embers of quilt possibilities!

136 - Jean M Rumney: suffered from polio but became the first woman to graduate from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1939, worked up to her death in 1975; 137 - Margaret Marshall Saunders: author of Beautiful Joe, written in 1983, the story of an abused dog, who she rescued. This was the first Canadian book to sell more than one million copies worldwide, and raised awareness of animal cruelty; her block has the paw prints and text fabrics; 138 - Clara Cynthia Benson: professor and department head of Food Chemistry at the University of Toronto, recognized for her work in Food Chemistry.
139 - Sergeant Karen Margaret Hermeston: only woman photographer during WWII; 140 - Ella Cora Hind: Canada's first female journalist and known as the 'oracle of wheat' because of her ability to accurately predict the wheat crops; her block has the wheat background fabric and text fabric; 141 - Abigail Becker, aka 'The Angel of Long Point' for her ability to wade into the waters of Lake Erie (she couldn't swim!) after ships wrecked and help guide trapped or marooned sailors to shore in the mid-1800s; amazing how many people she single-handedly saved. Note the water-themed fabric in her block, lowest, centre.
142 - Minerva Ellen Reid: in 1915 she became the first female chief of surgery in North America; 143 - Phyllis Jean McAlpine: was mapping genes well before the Human Genome Project, her legacy is the standardization in naming segments of DNA as well as regionally assigning a human gene to a specific chromosome region; 144 - Margaret Paton Hyndman: first woman lawyer in Canada, second woman in British Empire, established the beginning of Legal Aid.
I sewed Phyllis's block wrong but found it made an interesting block nevertheless:

I actually kind of prefer the 'wrong' way one!

145 - Cairine Reay Mackay Wilson: in 1930 she was appointed Canada's first female senator, in 1938 she persuaded a reluctant prime minister to accept 100 Jewish orphans from Germany, in 1949 she was Canada's first female delegate to the United Nations, first female Deputy Speaker of the Senate; 146 - Riel Erickson: fighter jet pilot, first female to win the Top Gun award, currently Chief Flying Instructor at 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School; 147 - Winnifred Frances Roach Lueszler: an incredible swimmer (her block has the pink starfish fabric) at age 25, she was the first to complete the first attempt, the first Canadian, first mother of 3 to swim the English Channel, then in 1957 became the first female baseball umpire, established the Learn-to-Swim programme as well as the first Handicap Swim Programme.
Are your eyes wider at reading these amazing accomplishments of such determined women? Are you just a little tired, LOL, but a whole lot impressed? I know I am, and I've already read about them each week as I've made the blocks.  Three more to do when I get home and then start putting this quilt together. I have waffled from making one 150-block quilt, to two 75-block quilts, to now one quilt. I want all 150 blocks in one quilt, to celebrate these glorious women, of this glorious country of mine.

I keep forgetting to announce that my pattern, Ribbon Stars, that I did for the 'Meadow Dance' blog hop on Sew in Love With Fabric, is up for free download in my Craftsy store (affiliate link).

I guess a lot of you have already checked because as of this morning, it has been already been downloaded 168 times! And just so you know, I did donate this quilt to the Mosque and School of Ehlul Bayt a couple of weeks ago for them to sell. They are raising funds to send to help the Rohingya people, nearly a million of them now, being ethnically cleansed by Buddhists out of Myanmar.

Linking up with
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Fabrication

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Stretch #24 Frog

We spend so much time sitting in chairs or on couches here in the West and not sitting on the floor where our hips can rotate healthily in our hip sockets, that our hips lose their range of motion.  Our hip joints are the largest joints in our body, so lots of tightness happens here from this lack of rotation. There are lots of issues buried deep in the tissues of these joints too. Hip and knee replacements in the West are off the charts, especially as compared to those in the East. Living on the floor is a good thing!

Even if you can't quite get to the full pose of Frog, spending some time in Tadpole will most definitely help tightness in your hips. I have the cutest model for this pose for you today!

Benefits of this pose

  • lovely pull along the inside lines of the legs, which is where the Liver, Kidney and Spleen meridian lines run (acupressure points for these energy lines)
  • works deeply into the groin, and adductors
  • there is a slight backbend, so good for the low back, especially after sitting hunched over a sewing machine or cutting fabric for long periods of time
  • if your arms are outstretched, this stimulates the upper body meridians: the Lung, Heart, Small and Large Intestine energy lines; also a lovely stretch across the shoulders for same reasons as previous bullet
  • aids in digestion
  • helps to relieve cramps, both menstrual and digestive

Getting into the pose

It's best to get onto a yoga mat or a quilt, even a couple of quilts, or a folded quilt beneath your knees. This provides padding and helps the knees gently slide apart as gravity works its magic! Brady has a quilt I made for Brianne 11 years ago (before he was born!) doubled up and then his Halloween quilt I made him folded under his knees for extra padding.

Tadpole or Half Frog

Spread your knees apart as wide as they will go with just a slight tugging feeling. Keep your toes together. Stretch your arms out in front of you, draping your chest towards the ground. You can roll another quilt up under your chest if you like to rest on, or, if you have just eaten or want to relieve cramping in the lower abdomen, allow your belly to hang suspended. This is great for aiding digestion but also helps relieve cramping. Stay here for 2-3 minutes. 

If you'd like to go into the full frog, go to this next stage first. Raise your hips so that they are directly over your knees. This increases the backbend in your lower back. See if your knees may like to come further apart.  If you are okay here after several breaths, then proceed to full frog. You can't quite see how Brady is resting his forehead on his right forearm, but you can see his left arm fully extended.


Turn your feet out, Charlie Chaplin style. Allow the knees to slide apart, letting gravity do the work. Your job is to surrender to that pull, relaxing into this intense tug.  However, as Bernie says, you want to feel sensation. Do not make it sensational! 

If your nose gets squished (ask me how I know this) or it is too intense to rest on your chin, then rest your forehead on a forearm. Just be sure to switch arms part way through. The tug you get along the backs of your arms, into your shoulder blades, and in the lower back to some degree, is quite delicious. And then there's the pull into the groin and hips. Lovely. Stay here for 3 minutes or more, breathing slowly in and out through your nose, keeping relaxing as much as you can to get into the connective tissues.

Now.  How to get out?!

Easy.  Just slide forward onto your tummy.  Extend one leg at a time by tucking your toes under, lifting the kneecap to straighten the leg and pushing into the heel. Do the other leg. Be still and feel.  It can be fairly intense.  You may want to groan as you come out!  But. Notice. Breathe.  Then maybe rock over the pelvis a few times, or bend your legs at the knees and wave the lower limbs back and forth windshield wipers style to release.

Remember you can find tons and tons more information on Frog and all things Yin Yoga at Bernie Clark's website, Yin Yoga.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

DrEAMi! Linky #9

I was thinking that since I started these Drop Everything And Make it! linky parties, I have not had as many of those squirrel moments... Is it possible I am getting more focused and having less quilter ADD?!

Well, this month, I did have a moment, but it wasn't something catching my attention; I was actually asked to divert my attention! I got asked if I could whip up a mug rug for a blog hop with a tight deadline, showcasing Amanda Murphy's new line, "Winter Games" for Contempo, a division of Benartex Fabrics. Getting to pick eight fat quarters to use for the mug rug was too sweet a temptation not to rise to the occasion. So I dropped everything, well, the main thing I was working on, my mum's quilt, and followed the trail of this fun squirrel:
I sketched a few ideas, but the original one just stuck, a nod to the quilt on the cover of Amanda Murphy's book, Modern Holiday. I called this mug rug, the Leaning Tree Mug Rug.

I did a test mug rug to see if my free-form cutting of a tree shape would work, and yep, it did. I tweaked a few measurements, and cut into the fabric, and in no time at all I had not one...

but two mug rugs, thanks to a stack, whack and shuffle method developed by Karla Alexander.

They measure approximately 6X9". I went to town quilting them, using several different colours of Holoshimmer and metallic threads by Sulky.  You can find the tutorial here.

Last month:
Anja was entranced by two squirrels, this wallet and a cute drawstring bag
A granddaughter requested...so a granddaughter is indulged! Janine dropped everything to honour that request.
Patty whipped up this terrific Halloween quilt - you have to check out her fabulous quilting!
This. I have such love for Preeti's squirrel moment. What a beauty.
Ah the temptations! Thank you so much for sharing these.

So it's your turn! Link up whatever project tickled your fancy this past month. Be sure to check out some distractions of other quilters. We kindred spirits need to support each other in our oh-so-bad, but oh-such-fun habits!