Saturday, August 19, 2017

Rainbows Abound

I haven't linked up or showed much progress on two of my three (3!! -- how did that happen? Well, it did...) RSC2017 projects with Angela at so scrappy.  I think it's time.

Project 1
My original project.  My house quilt! I drafted a basic schoolhouse block combining several ideas: the one on the cover of my first quilt book I ever bought, The Quilter's Companion from That Patchwork Place, a paper-piecing pattern I have by Denise McKenna from many years ago (15?) that has a quilt block on the side of each house, and Lori Holt's barn blocks on Pinterest. I made the first block in January's colour, purple, made the second one in turquoise leftovers, and felt compelled to turn it into a cushion cover for my new sewing loft space. I had had no idea aqua would be the February colour! So I thought I'd make another in aqua for the quilt, but that hasn't happened.  Nor had any other colours, much to my embarrassment.  Until this week.
March - red. See the candle in the 'window'?! When the owl flew into my purple house little block, I knew I'd be doing something in every house block. A really good quilter would have aligned the stripes in the roof...I'm pleased I got the stripes in the HSTs running in the right direction!
Have I mentioned how much I adore scrap quilts? Here the yard is a red flower-filled cotton print from Cranston Printworks bought 29 years ago when I learned to smock, and made my girls matching smocked dresses. (need to dig up a photo of them wearing them) The roof stripe is a scrap from my first published pattern on Moda Bakeshop, and the windows are scraps of Paintbrush Studio's Windfall, which I used for the quilt that inspired the first QAL I ran here on the blog.

April was multi-coloured fabric, and I haven't decided whether I will make a multi-coloured house yet. Will wait until the end and see how many blocks I have, and how they play together.

May - green. The yard is fabric from my mum's favourite bag I made her that literally fell apart after so much use--love that! The roof scraps from my dear friend John's quilt, Shamrock, the house front leftover backing from Callum's quilt, Shift.
I played around again with a slightly different look to the house front. I'm sure you spotted the cat in the 'window'. I am tickled that I found the green, kind of cloud-like fabric, used in Cheryl's Meadow Mystery for the sky. Love the letters fabric for the front door!
June- yellow. Didn't put anything special in this block, so I'll have to quilt in something. I like the fact that on the little star block a scrap of new fabric, Masterpiece Mixers by Kanvas Studio from my Coins of the Atocha quilt, is used to frame an older batik, bought in NYC, I believe, and scraps of Moda fabric for lining for an Amy Butler bag, bought in Eugene, Oregon!
July - blue. The blue is scraps of Nancy Halvorsen's 'Bree' fabric that I used for my latest, not-yet-released pattern in Benartex's next edition of their e-zine, more Bree scraps are in one of the little over-lapping stars, which has old, but terrific fabrics on the other three sides of it. Cats in the one window, Laurel Burch fabric so generously given to me by my dear friend Jake, and Kaffe scraps in the other from Harbinger of Spring.
August is neutral colours, and I have a block started. If you're curious about the little star blocks (6") on the house side, the red, blue and yellow ones are from the 150 Canadian Women QAL, and the others I've drafted from traditional blocks. A different star is in each house side.

Project 2
Migrating Geese
I haven't done the multi-colour, nor will I do the neutral. I want this in ROYGBIV order. I battled the almost ever-present wind that day:
Gives a new meaning to flying geese, right?!

Project 3
My strings quilt, the project that just kind of happened. It's a leader/ender project using strings, which now also appear to be having babies and multiplying out the yin/yang. In case you don't recall, or didn't bookmark the link the previous times I have shown it, the tutorial is here. She did hers all multi-colour, whereas I had the idea to do opposing corners in scraps of the same colour. I had no plan other than that, just to see what would happen. It's taken a few months to realize I need a little bit of a plan, well a strategy anyhow. So I now don't do both opposing corners in a colour unless I know where the block is destined to fit.

It's starting to take shape! I did add neutral to this project: I had the idea to do the four corners in neutrals, so I have one done here, the top left. I envision this quilt to be 6X8 blocks, so it will finish around 48X64 since these are 8" finished blocks.

By the way, that is half of my eventual full design wall. This is a gridded flannel I bought over 10 years ago from Hancock's of Paducah (paid a shocking amount of duty to get it). I cut it into two lengths so I get an 8 feet square design wall. I use straight pins to pin it into the 1" thick foam board I bought at Home Depot which I found in Windsor in 2 feet wide lengths, yay! Much easier to transport. It is set up in the guest room and will stay there as the loft doesn't have the required height. I'm fine with running up and down stairs when needed. It's good for me.😉

Linking up with soscrappy where there is a ton of inspiration for rainbow scrap projects!


Friday, August 18, 2017

Amazing Canadian Women Update

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that last week I finally caught up with the 150 Canadian Women QAL with Next Step Quilt Designs. I'm still on track, having made this week's blocks two days after they were released. We only have 30 left! Which means...I can't believe I'm letting myself think this, let alone write it: there are 10 weeks until the final week of October. Perish that thought! Let's take a look:

Eeep! Just seeing them all together like this makes me just get a big ol' grin on my face!  Okay, explanation required. There are 150 blocks total. I have the first 75 in a ziploc bag. Those you see in this photo are from 76 to 117 inclusive. I did this a couple of times during the first half of the QAL just to see the effect of them all side by side. I love that I used several values of the neutral background, not just white, but off-white, ivory, cream, light tan, light beige, and even a bit of light grey. I also love the effect of the various shades and values of red, and don't forget the tints of red: pink! Too much fun.

I have decided (well 90% sure) I am going to make two quilts, and I'm leaning heavily to the sashing and cornerstones layout. Much as I love the crazy of the above layout, I would like a bit of separation and the 1" finished sashing/cornerstones plan of Kat's is a good one. Also, I specifically bought a fair amount of 150 Canada fabric from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop. I see aqua sashing and black cornerstones for one perhaps, and grey sashing and black cornerstones for the other. Thoughts?

I haven't shown any blocks for some time, from my 150 CA Women photo file, it looks like the last you saw was the whirling tulips block, second row from the bottom, second column. To expedite things (my writing and your reading) here are closeups of just the last nine with a note about each woman they represent.
112 - Kim Campbell: I knew she was Canada's first female Prime Minister, but wow, she has so many other firsts! Just one that should make your eyes open wider is first woman Minister of National Defence of Canada and of any NATO country (YEAH!!!); 113 - Grace Annie Lockhart: first woman in the British Empire to receive a Bachelor's Degree; 114 - Elizabeth Catherine Bagshaw: from 1932-66 she served as the unpaid director of Canada's first planned birth control clinic (did you know birth control was illegal here until 1969??!). In 1954 she retired at 95 (not a typo!) as Canada's oldest practising physician.
115 - Audrey McLaughlin: another name I knew, she was the first woman to lead a political party; 116 - Jenny Dill: She was the first woman to walk across Canada in 1921; 117 - Emily Howard Jennings Stowe: first woman to apply at and be denied entrance to Toronto's School of Medicine in 1865; finally in 1880 after practising without a license (she went to New York Medical College for Women to obtain her degree) she was admitted entry.  (15 years later!! - her perseverance awes me.)
118 - Kaila Mussell: bronc riding woman who competes against men, I gave her the red and black gingham for a cowboy shirt look; 119 - Shaa Tláa, aka Kate (Klondyke Kate) first woman to be part of the Gold Rush and likely the one who discovered gold but has been largely erased from history and that accolade given to the men she was with; 120 - Taqulittuq: she and her Inuit husband spent nearly 2 years in England learning English and then became well-respected guides in the Arctic, helping Europeans reach the highest latitude ever reached in 1871; the group later shipwrecked  but thanks to her and her husband's skill and knowledge, they survived for 6 months on an ice floe and pack! 
Well after re-reading her story and paraphrasing it here, I certainly don't feel the need for AC! Thank goodness for a hot August day.😎 Rather hilarious that last group that I posed on the hood of the car, isn't it? But look in the top left corner and see the tree shadow and a bit of a super-cool ring of clouds formation.

I have enjoyed this QAL on so many levels.  So many of these blocks are challenging to make, or totally new to me (that last one, 120, isn't it the coolest star? And what about the intertwined ribbon effect of 119? That flying geese block? That very first star of these last 9? Love. I love using up fabric that has such a variety of meanings for me, love mixing the old fabrics with the new ones, love using fabrics that have a meaning for the woman the block represents...and so on.

The following two paragraphs contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog (wow! two readers have already made a purchase today from Craftsy through moi - thank you!🙏😃) and for allowing me to use the money to try different fabrics/patterns/products so I can tell you about them!

I'm sure you've had the email, but there is quite the sale going on over at Craftsy, "Makers' Black Friday." I've found many quilt kits for small lap (48X60") quilts for less than $30CA, just sayin' so that's probably under $25US. Rather than show you a bunch, all you need to do is go to this Quilt Project Kits page, and on the "Sort by" drop-down menu, click 'price low to high' and you can see for yourself! Even a Kaffe Fassett one! I've told you that Craftsy's Boundless fabrics are superb, and I should have a quilt that uses the Botanicals to show you shortly, Suburbia, that I bought at a previous sale. The hand and richness of the colours of the botanical blenders for that quilt are divine. That little Steamfast iron I continue to sing the praises of? Cheapest yet.

If that isn't enough temptation for a Friday, remember Connecting Threads still has their tools up to 50% off sale going on as well as their wide backing on sale for 25% off. And Amanda Jean's newest fabric line for $6.96/yd. You can click that link or the link in my sidebar, which I still haven't figured out how to make it more prominent, sorry, but I have tried. Need to talk to my good friend Tish...

Happy Shopping!
I'm off to teach my yoga class, but I'll be perusing the wares afterwards. Caution: don't wait too long or you might have an item removed from your cart if it gets sold out...ask me how I know, waaah. I'll be back tomorrow to show you my progress on my three (yes! three!) RSC2017 projects.

Linking up
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Busy Hands Quilts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I Like/Love #7

This has been a summer of many tears. I could fill more than one post with all my sadness and deep grief. Two unbidden and unconscious things keep happening during these periods though. First, my higher self keeps reminding me that my woes, though they seem insurmountable to me now, pale in comparison to the woes of so many just within this past week: people in Burkina Faso, where there was a mass shooting, people in Sierra Leone where there was that horrific mudslide, the many teen refugees drowned in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Yemen when the smugglers pushed them overboard too far from shore, more of those same teens from that boat who survived and witnessed and now must live with such inhumane horror, and then there is the ongoing tragedy of refugees who have no homes, or whose homes consist of a tiny shack one can't even stand up in, or a single bed in a sports stadium... Second, a part of me keeps being quietly grateful for small things, on a daily basis. Here are a half dozen or so for this month. I am blessed.  In many ways.

1. I thoroughly am enjoying writing to Brady, pen and paper in hand, thinking of how happy he will be when he finds another letter for him in his mailbox, imagining him reading it. The last letter took a couple of days to write, and when I picked it up to continue, I re-read it, and I'd told him of something (see #3) that I'd been doing, and how I needed to add that to my list for this post. He's written to me once, and drew me a very good picture of the Wimpy Kid, which I walk past many times a day as it is on my fridge.

2. I love the sound of cicadas here in southern Ontario. We don't have them in Alberta, and before I knew what they were, I just called them heat bugs, because I seemed to hear their extraordinarily loud buzzing on hot days and nights. We all know I like hot days and, well, okay, maybe not hot nights unless I have AC, but warm ones, no prob.

3. I love the smell of fresh sheets that have been dried outside in the sun and breeze. Getting into bed at night, the cotton feels extra-crisp as opposed to coming out of a dryer, and when I lay my head on my pillow, that scent that no detergent can capture wafts up my nostrils, and ahh! I smile.

4. I like a good night's sleep in said sheets. I haven't had one for the past several nights; in fact, a couple out of these several were, I'll kind of sheepishly admit, terror-filled. Yet I kept thinking, as I sobbed and cowered and trembled and jumped at every noise or movement in the guest room in which I'd barricaded myself and the dogs, how much worse it is for kids, for adults, who deal with gunfire and bombs and intruders each and every night in places where there is war.

5. I like bats. I love that one bat can eat about 3000 insects in one night, I love seeing them fly (so FAST!!) over my head in the darkening sky when I'm out walking, I find them fascinating creatures, this one a Little Brown Bat, furry brown with a rather cute black face and amazing very thin almost opaque black leather wings.

I do not like intruder bats in my house, however.
5:40 am earlier this week - note her little feet hooked onto the top of the crown molding; note Bella in the window.
Yeah. I'm pretty sure more than one were flying around in my house around that good ol' witching hour...midnight...1 am...you do not need to ask how I know. Pretty sure more than one because I high-tailed it out of my room, Sunday night when it first appeared, then took half an hour where I made several forays back in to a) get dogs out, then b) get each dog bed, one at a time, then c) get my pillow, d) get my book I'd been pleasantly reading when it had made its presence known, e) get my phone f) grab my favourite quilt off the bed so no poop would get on it g) gaze at it in fascinated horror when it had landed on one wall near the ceiling h) get Bella out (yay that she comes running to treat bags being shaken) and finally i) slide a lamp in the room, suggestion of husband MacGyver to hopefully keep it out of our room and up the stairs in my (waaahh) sewing loft from whence it came.

Of course this happens when my MacGyver is not home.  Of course.

So back to that Tuesday morning of the photo. Could I go to yoga, come home and not see that bat, and know I'd have to live with it again for another day and night? No. I knew of several ways I could catch it because by now I'd done a fair bit of research and learned a fair bit about bats, a ton of stuff that I did not know or had incorrectly assumed: for one, they certainly CAN see, very well. So I grabbed the dust mop, then got my phone and took a couple of photos, so I could show MacGyver I was not batty, pun intended, imagining this, and then gently nudged it, trying to get it to fly out of the door, which I'd opened, bugs coming in be damned. It hung onto the molding a lot harder than I'd figured it would! Finally, Bella not moving, bless her feline heart, because she could have run out the door or grabbed the bat, it fell to the floor and lay fairly still. I figured it was exhausted from flying around trying to find a way out and/or keeping away from Bella all night, or fingers crossed it was not, hurt by Bella. It didn't appear hurt, but I wasn't getting too close! I finally managed to nudge it out of the door and onto the deck and PHEW!!! Heaved a massive sigh of relief and wished it a safe journey to hang out (pun intended) for the day and rejoin its baby and sisters that night. Females roost in colonies so that while they hunt at night, the babies keep each other warm. Females only have one baby a season, and I figured maybe the baby was the first bat I saw in our bedroom because it didn't seem very big, and this second one was the mama, because it was a good 5" in length, come to rescue her baby. But I'm not sure, because this one could have crawled under the doorjamb of our bedroom where I thought I'd trapped it, and been what I thought was the second one flying around over the course of the couple of nights. How do I know this is a female? Males roost in trees, not in buildings. I named her (didn't plan to) Hermina. Hilarious sidetone: my phone autocorrected that to Bernina when I was texting Tish about all this drama!

Once I got home from teaching yoga, about 7:10 am, I went around to the deck to see if the bat had moved, hoping she hadn't been caught by a predator. She had moved!! The first shot is of her, yes I got up close and personal and she just moved one wing a little when I took the picture. I kept a close check on her all that day (ya, protecting her after she'd terrorized me over the course of two nights and days) and when the bat people came to do the legal and safe and harmless eviction of them out of our chimney, one of the guys moved her to a tree, where she flew up into it to hang out until dusk.

6. I really am enjoying the deck on this new old house. One day last week I decided to take advantage of one of my Featherweight's portability and brought her out here (where I'm writing this post btw) to sew, in the sunshine. I set up a pressing station on the kitchen table a few steps away through the deck door, thanks to a small homemade pressing and cutting 'book' and my favourite little Steamfast iron, worth every cent. (affiliate link) Hmm, that pressing/cutting 'book' might be worth a future tutorial; I use it a ton.
That is the door out of which I shooed Hermina; she crawled to the right and hung out where you saw her, just under the siding and on the cement blocks of the basement. That little couple leaning together is a bubbling fountain that was a gift from my mum for our 30th anniversary; last week we celebrated out 37th! (I was married at 5 years old right, ha.)

7. I do love my Featherweights. This is the 1947 gal, who I have yet to write about, and tell you her story. She is a dream to sew on. I'm thinking to buy the quarter-inch foot from Nova Montgomery (no affiliation, but a great resource) because her throat plate has no markings, and the one that is on my 1951 girl, and which I switch out on the '47, the seller had etched with the seam guide, but it is not a true quarter-inch; it's too wide. Any thoughts on that, please let me know in the comments or email me by clicking on About Me.


I feel bad about making the bats refugees but I definitely do not want to share my house with them, sorry. I have another project for MacGyver now, to make a bat house, and hopefully one day some offspring from that colony will inhabit it.  There are a great many bats around here, and that may be a big part of why there aren't as many bugs bothering us as there were at our previous house just on the other side of town. 🦇

Linking up with LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Designed by Brady

Oh, to tap the uninhibited creativity of a child! Earlier this summer I was privileged to witness this marvel. Oh to have an ample stash in which to shop! I do, and I was happily able to turn that creative design into a useable item. The designer was no less a marvel than my own sweet grandson, Brady. This was definitely a DrEAMi! Drop Everything (including an e-zine project, yikes) And Make It!


When I was staying with Brianne and Brady for a few weeks back in June/July, Brady was looking through my Photos app on my MacBook. He came across the house block I'd designed for project #1 for the RSC2017.  I showed him my drawing in my graph book. He was absolutely fascinated that something I drew in the graph book, I then made in fabric, into a useable item.

So another day, when I was sketching/doodling, he wanted to as well. He wanted to put a border around one of my 'fooling around' sketches, so I said sure.  I'd been playing again with HRTs. I started another design on the bottom half of the page while he worked on the top half.  This is what he designed:
All the purple numbers and letters and figurings are mine, as well as the 'star' at the bottom; the three odd random black lines are shadows of blades of grass!
For his birthday, I had the idea to turn his design into an actual little quilt. He often munches his breakfast or lunch on the weekend, or his snack, sitting on the couch, watching TV. Crumbs find their way everywhere...think almost 9-year-old boy at the time when I witnessed this, and Grandpa MacGyver and I helped clean up... Enter lap placemat idea using his drawing.

He obviously liked my HRTs (half-rectangle triangles) because he drew several more at random. However, he covered up most of the sort of star I'd been playing with.

Me:  So why did you do a big scribble in that spot?
Brady: Scribble? That's not a scribble, Nana, that's a big diamond!
Me: Oh.  Of course.

His current favourite colour is blue. Up until recently it was always red. For a little while it was purple.  But now it is blue.  Interesting (red+blue=purple😉)
Flimsy is done

Even though I was twitching tempted to change a couple of the HRTs (the ones under the diamond), I followed his sketch exactly. And I'm so glad I did; it makes me SMILE to realize my eye roves continually all over the quilt. I decided on 2" squares as the grid. I used a navy blue Moda to make the triangles he'd shaded with pencil, and then a piece of shimmery white for the background to tie in with his shimmery gel pens.   He used his those gel pens to colour that checkerboard border, with no advice from Nana; totally his own colour choices too!

I wanted some stellar quilting in that big diamond. Feathers were a little too girlie, and didn't go with the masculine angles.  Angles! Spirograph design! Yesss!
Angela Walters says, and I loosely am paraphrasing her, "It depends how much you love the person as to how much quilting you put on the quilt..."(wink wink), and because I love Brady so VERY MUCH, I took the time to put this easy-but-time-consuming design in his big diamond.

Here is a shot of his sketch beside the finished quilt. The sun showed off the quilting and the YLI  purple and navy variegated thread I used.

I kept the quilting in the background to a minimum, just some echoes around the diamond with Sulky metallic, and stitch in the ditch for the HRTs. I did two straight lines through the checkerboard frame.

and the label:

I used a flannel from my stash for the backing, nice and cosy on a little lap, and a scrap of Warm 'n Natural for the batting. The binding is more of the purple batik. It's now been taken by Grandpa MacGyver to the designer himself, who was pretty tickled to open it.


Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  designed by Brady
Size:  22.5 X 18.5"
Fabric:  scraps and stash
Batting: Warm n Natural
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with YLI 40 wt variegated in plum, Aurifil white 50 wt, and Sulky metallic


Linking up
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Busy Hands Quilts

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two Books Up For Review

This is not an affiliate post, nor was I asked to give these two reviews. You may recall from this post that one of my loves is libraries, another books, and that I snagged no less than five recent interesting-looking quilt books.

The first I perused is The Simple Simon Guide to Patchwork Quilting (not an affiliate link) by Liz Evan and Elizabeth Evans.  I like...

  • that they are sisters-in-law and that both their names are Elizabeth! 
  • their fresh bright quilt designs. 
  • that this is a terrific book for beginners, yet within are more than a couple projects that pushed my 'wanna-make' buttons.



The book starts with quilt basics.  Then it's divided into themed chapters organized by basic blocks, like Churn Dash, or basic units, like the HST.  Within each chapter are a few projects that use that block or unit. For example, the Rail Fence block has a cushion, a skirt and a quilt pattern that each feature the Rail Fence block.  The chapter starts out with how to make the Rail Fence block, using very detailed instructions and clear diagrams.

My favourite project out of the book other than the quilt on the cover would be a pretty sweet flying geese quilt, similar to a hexagon quilt I've seen on Pinterest, and this one:
Ahhh! The riot of colour!  Since when did I like red?  Not that I dislike it, but it's definitely not up there in my colour popularity contest. But THIS--!! Love.  Need to make it. Those reds outshine the lime, the chartreuse, and the navy do they not? It's like I had to look at it for about the third or fourth time before I even realized they were there.

The second book is Cabin Fever: 20 Modern Log Cabin Quilts by Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting.  Natalia has long been a favourite machine quilter of mine. I own her Craftsy class (that IS an affiliate link) and yes, red face of supreme shame, I still have yet to write the review for it. But it's a good'un, s'truth (who says that? It's in a book I read eons ago... I think...)

Deeper red face of shame, but it wasn't until I finished this book and read the author bios that the penny dropped, and I realized that Kathleen Whiting is Natalia's mum! She's a prolific designer. And this is not their first book they co-authored! I will have to get the other one out of the library, Modern One-Block Quilts.

So this book?  It is just so cool. I allowed myself 5 quilts or so at a time to soak up. Then I'd set the book aside and go work on a quilt, either the Cows quilt or the one for Modern By The Yard e-zine. Yeah that didn't last long; the last ten quilts I just devoured.  You can really do some cool sh*t, er I mean create some cool patterns with a quarter log cabin!

Like the first book, this one starts off with quilt basics.  The log cabin designs are arranged alphabetically. Clear instructions and diagrams, with a closeup of each quilt are provided. No quilting suggestions are given, other than a suggestion to purchase one of Natalia's machine quilting books. However, you do get a closeup of what she did to quilt each quilt.
Believe it, (or not) but this is "a loose play on the traditional Log Cabin-style quilt block." p. 17

What I really like in this book is that there are sizes, with accompanying breakdown diagrams of the quilt, into that size for Baby, Throw and Coverlet sizes, 36", 60 X 72", and 96" respectively.


As for picking a favourite? No can do.  But I made myself choose just three, and the previous two and the one below would be them.  I find it fascinating (as I always do) how just one simple change in the same block creates an entirely new look.

The same block is used in both these quilts, with a slight change in the final round which, when one lays them out in this particular setting, creates the stars between blocks! Genius.

There are at least two more I'd love to show you, but you need to either get this out of your library or off Amazon, and look on pages 29 and 31 for two other fabulous ones.  Oh but there are several I could have a DrEAMi! over. 87, 93, 45, 39--!!  Might have to purchase this book.

Do you do that? Get a book or five, out of the library, find yourself renewing it (more than once), and then deciding to buy it?  I know I've done that with several books.

I checked Connecting Threads, because I got an email that they are having all their seasonal books on sale for 40% off, and I see that all books are on sale 20-40% off, but sadly neither of these two are in their stock. However, both of Natalia's machine quilting books are, and wow, each one is 32% off.  Just putting it out there. That is an affiliate link, just so you know, and it will take you to one of them.  Everything I learned, I learned from books, online blogs or YouTube, and Craftsy classes. Here's a sneak peek at the most recent one just off the frame, shhh:

Linking up
Free Motion by the River