Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Paper-Piecing Without Sewing Through Paper

Like how? Huh? I know. I first learned of this technique from Joanne at Canuck Quilter Designs.  It has made me quite like paper-piecing ever since!  **Note! This tutorial will be needed for my upcoming Freefall QAL which begins on the Spring Equinox.  When is that? Monday, March 20 at 6:28 am EST.  If you want to try this method with minimal fabric to make the leaf point or just to make some cool triangles in a square blocks, here is what you do to get a 3" finished block as shown.

The worst parts of pp, for me have always been cutting the pieces of fabric big enough to cover the section I'm working on, (read waste), and then not so much though, the tearing off of the paper, because that is kind of satisfying in a way, much like popping the bubbles on bubblewrap! However, picking out all the little bits trapped in the stitches? Not a fan.😣
This method gets rids of both of those issues, and allows you to reuse multiple times the paper template.  You can use freezer paper if you like, as Joanne does, because a touch of the iron will adhere it to your fabric.  Alternately, you can use graph paper as I did, and use a dab of a gluestick to hold the first piece of fabric to the back of the graph paper.  I've done both; the only difference is that with graph paper/gluestick, there is a wee bit of gluestick residue on your fabric, but less is more remember, and a spritz of water will remove anything if you ensure you use washable glue.

Draft the paper-piecing template.

1.  To get the paper-piecing template you see above, first draw a 3" square, leaving room to add seam allowances.  Put your pencil at the opposing corner to the one where my 'mmm! quilts' watermark is and draw a line that ends on the halfway point of the opposite side, so, in this case, at 1.5", of the bottom side of the square.  Put your pencil back on that starting corner point and draw a second line that ends at the 1.5" mark of the side of the square perpendicular to the one on which you first ended.  Label this inside centre triangle, '1'.  Label each side triangle as I have, 2a and 2b.
2.  Now add 1/4" seam allowances (I like to make a dotted line) around all four edges of the square.  Cut out on the dotted line.  Last step that will help for later:  fold along the straight lines you drew to form the inside triangles.

Update: Click here (affiliate link to my Craftsy store) for a free downloadable PDF of the leaf point made by Tish 😘 in EQ7.

Make templates for sections 1 and 2a/b

1.  I find this really cuts down on wasting fabric when paper-piecing.  Trace the leaf point shape #1 from the template you just made. Now add 1/4" seam allowances all around. Here is a tip I learned whilst taking a Kaleidoscopes class.
Because your pencil adds width by nature of its lead thickness, this gives an accurate 1/4" allowance. Place the 1/4" line, which in my 1x6" ruler's case is the solid yellow line as indicated by the top right arrow, just on the inside of the pencil-drawn line, as indicated by the top left arrow.  Draw your 1/4" seam allowance with a dotted line where I've indicated.  Repeat this on all 4 edges of this leaf point, and then the entire process for the side triangle.  You only need to do one side triangle, as you will simply flip it over if you need the mirror image side triangle. Label as shown below, labelling your side triangle 2b on the reverse side of 2a!
Here is your paper-piecing template, with the fabric templates both traced and cut out.

Cut your leaf point fabric and then see below for how to cut two pairs of side triangles! First you will need to cut two 2 3/4" x 3 3/4" rectangles and ensure they are stacked wrong sides together.  Now lie your fabric template 2a so the seam allowances rest on the raw edges. You will find the rectangle slightly big, which is fine as that way we can trim the unit to a perfect square later.  You will notice that you have an upside-down side triangle formed that, when you cut along the diagonal, and flip it around, matches exactly the 2a template. It's like a 2 for 1 deal!
No, wait--even better, because you've stacked 2 rectangles atop each other, you get 4 with that one slice, two of 2a and two of 2b, the mirror image!


1.  Place the leaf point fabric wrong side against the underside of the paper, ensuring 1/4" of fabric extends beyond the stitching lines.  Press lightly if using freezer paper, so the paper adheres to your fabric. If using graph paper, as I am, apply a very small swipe of a gluestick on the paper and then press the fabric against it.

Hold it up to a light source to double-check you're covered.
Now place one of the side triangles, doesn't matter which, right sides together on that leaf point fabric, aligning the 1/4" seam allowance beyond that stitching line.

The green side triangle fabric should be right below that paper folded-back side triangle 2b.
Ensure you have a little dog ear sticking up that disappears exactly at the 1/4" stitching line.
Years ago one of my friends showed me this trick to ensure proper placement.  All these weirdo angles and potential slippage of fabric/paper can lead to uncovered seam allowances, so simply very carefully, trying not to shift the fabrics as they are aligned, fold back over the paper template onto the about-to-be-pieced-in side triangle.  Does it cover those seam allowances? Shift it slightly if need be. Bring the unit carefully over to your machine.  Now let's stitch.
Fold that paper back on itself as you first had done when aligning raw edges.  You are now going to sew right up against that folded edge, not through any paper.  Sew slowly.  You can chain piece these babies if you have a few to do (which we will in the QAL), so you might like to make a couple of copies of the pp template.  Repeat for both 2a and 2b side triangles.  Open out and check once more for coverage.  If it's good, then carefully remove the paper, and then press the seams to the background or open, whatever you prefer.

Squaring up

Some important registration marks to aim for when squaring this unit to its required 3.5".  Be sure to have the 1 3/4" dots on the seam line as indicated by my arrows.  Then, at the leaf point, line up the 3 1/4" dot as shown by the third arrow. You may need to wiggle your ruler a bit to hit these three marks.  Why is this important? Well, you will get a nice crisp leaf point for one, and hopefully align the 1 3/4" marks with the adjacent section leaf point.   Once you've squared two sides, repeat with the other two, looking once again for the same 1 3/4" dots but this time the 1/4" dot at that leaf point!

The rest of the leaves are regular piecing.  Of course, you really can avoid the paper totally if you want to simply use the templates you make as I showed you here.
Paper.  vs Templates.

Press to the dark side. vs Press open.

All methods/beliefs are welcome in this QAL. 😍💙🌈

Linking up with
Quilting Jet Girl

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Stretch For Sewists #17 - Dragonfly

Yin Yoga names the poses with a lot of animal and insect names, this one no exception. It is also known as Straddle and as Upavistha Konasana which means wide-leg forward bend.  Begin by sitting on the floor.  This pose can aggravate sciatica, so be sure to elevate your hips by sitting on a folded up quilt or even a cushion. This helps tilt your pelvis forward, so if you have tight hamstrings, you may find raising your hips in this way helps.  Open your legs as far apart as you can, optimally until the point where you feel that tugging sensation we always look for in Yin.  Lean forward, feeling your pelvis lean towards the floor, and letting your back round, if that is okay for your back.
These are Capsules, Letters and Low Volume
Wait a second.... That is not a yoga pose!  Ooh, but it is sure some pretty eye candy, right?!  I was so happy to get my second installment of my Christmas gift from MacGyver, a fat eighth club of Art Gallery Fabrics from Pink Castle Fabrics.  We are supposed to get 20, but I guess because there was only 19, I got extra (like half a yard!) of the one. I'm thinking I may have to order some more of a couple of these, the one floral in the bottom row, third from the left, in particular.

Okay Dragonfly.  You know, just being able to get down and back up off the floor is something.  Do not think, 'forget it, ain't happenin'; take your time and you can do this! I've said it before here and I say it pretty much every class I teach: you will be amazed at how this simple act of getting down onto and back up off of the floor can help increase your mobility.  My friend Pat sent me the July issue of Prevention, with a cute bookmark marking the article she knew I'd be interested in.  You will be hearing more in my Sunday Stretch posts about personal trainer Katy's theories of maximizing movement, one of her main ones being live on the floor.  In other words, get off the chair as often as you can, and onto the floor, put your computer or iPad on a stool and use a nice big pillow to sit on or lean against while you read or work, put your coffee cups in the cupboard above your head so you have to reach up on tiptoes to get one every morning, and so on.

I have a yoga student who is in her late 60s, doing her best to avoid knee surgery, overweight, and who wouldn't come to yoga for several months because of embarrassment at how awkward she may have looked while trying to do this very thing.  I encouraged her not to stay away, telling her Yin is in a low light room, go in the back row, no one cares because our eyes are closed or heads are down the majority of the time.  So she tried again, and now has been coming regularly, and is so amazed and happy at her improvement! We modify stuff where her knees can't handle it, and she is able to go through the class just fine!

This pose will work your hips, low back and those knees.  Before we go any further, I must also interject a quick thank you to Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl, for doing a feature on my Yoga Poses monthly post on her Tuesday Tips and Tutorials.  Gee whiz! I was tickled that she'd do that. 🙏
If you have low back issues where you should not round, then keep your tummy pulled in to protect your low back and lean from the hips.

What if this pulls too intensely on the backs of your legs (hamstrings) or you have an aching, healing knee? No problem! Use a cushion to support that healing knee:
This will take the pressure right off it!  If this still pulls too intensely, then either engage your quads which will, in turn, lift or engage your kneecaps to protect the joint, or plant your foot soles on the yoga mat.  Yin is quite different than the Yang, active, warm, use-your-muscles style of yoga.  I have a group of marathon runners who come regularly, and several of them do this pose in the following fashion:
Say what? Legs bent up that much? You bet!
Even if you are flexible and not bothered in the hamstrings, you might like to try this.  You will see how it still gets right into the groin and inner thigh area.  Notice I am doing it with my back flat but that is just to show you that you do not have to round.  Perhaps you slowly start to let your legs straighten, either over the 3-5 minutes hold, or over several weeks of doing this pose


The key to Yin is to relax your muscles.  We get into the connective tissues, that white stringy stuff, aka gristle, you see in a package of meat.  If you are a meat-eater, it's a pain to cut through, right?  That, my friends, is the connective tissue of the animal, and we have that webbing throughout our entire bodies, into the very cells themselves.  This webbing tightens up with stress, with repetitive stress (think sewing many hours at a time), with aging, with injury, and with surgery.  Scar tissue? That's connective tissues, which are mostly elongated fibres, a few criss-crossing, but in injuries or surgeries, they criss-cross big-time and mass around the injured area, protecting it, immobilizing it.  This is scar tissue.  It's great while we are healing, not so great when it's time to mobilize.  Yin can help to break that down and give you more mobility!


In any style of yoga, the breath is paramount.  So it is with Yin.  Breathe in and out slowly and steadily to a count of maybe 3 or 4, even 6 or 8, as long as it is not forced.  Kino MacGregor, Ashtangi extraordinaire, says something so beautiful at the closing of the Ashtanga Primary Series, on Cody, something to the effect of "Let every inhale carry with it the memory of the exhale, and let every exhale carry with it the memory of the inhale."  So beautiful, and so flowing and so in the moment.

Hold here for 3 minutes.  Use a timer; close your eyes and go within. Notice where you may be holding onto something: is it your shoulders?  your jaw? your tummy?  Let go... feet are floppy...
If you have a yoga block, you may find you can set it on its end and your forehead may come to rest on it, or maybe you rest your forearms on it as I am on the cushion here.  If you don't have a yoga block, use a cushion as I am.  DO NOT PULL.  Relax.  Have patience here; you can hurt yourself seriously if you pull.  Let gravity do the work; your work is to breathe, to relax and to surrender.  Listen to your heart beat.  Listen to your breath.

To come out, rise back up slowly on an inhale, letting your head come up last if it was dangling.  Take in a couple more breaths and then lean back on your hands without moving your legs. Take a couple more breaths.  Fold in your legs, one at a time to a loose cross-legged seat, and arch your back, looking up, for another couple of breaths.  Ahh! Enjoy the release as the blood rushes through the constricted areas.  This works much like massage therapy to remove blockages, release toxins, and give you more space, more ease of movement.  Be sure to have a drink of water once you head back to your sewing machine.


Yoga is for everyone. Truly. All body types, all ages.  It can do amazing things, on a physical level, yes, but on a mental and spiritual level as you quieten your mind and go within.  If your head and/or chest comes to your mat, you may like to turn it to one side (be sure to do both sides), spread your arms apart so your hands come by your feet.  This feels incredibly good in the shoulders.
Remember to take your glasses off...

It took me years to get to this point, and I've put it here to show you there is always somewhere to go, and there is hope for everyone to see change, for the better.  I think I was about 50, maybe a bit more, when I got my chest to the floor.  Although I'd been practising Ashtanga Yoga for years, I thank the long holds of Yin that allowed my connective tissues, the ligaments, tendons, etc., to slowly give, and allow me to do this with no pulling.  Every time I start to think, meh, I'm (choke) getting too old to ever be able to do that, something happens and I see the possibility.  Be open, I guess, and I admit I am not always, to that growth, that change...those possibilities!


Yin combines Chinese theories of acupressure and acupuncture with the East Indian yoga theories.  We tug on areas and therefore stimulate acupressure points.  The Chinese, like the East Indians, treat the body as a whole.  I tell my students to think in this way: every cell has a Liver component (detoxification), or a Urinary Bladder (elimination) component to it.  This helps us Westerners to understand.

With that in mind then, this pose affects the Liver Meridian as it flows up the inner legs and into the groin.  You may feel some frustration or even anger surface while holding this pose; just try to breathe through it, knowing that something is being released.  Issues in our tissues, remember?  It also affects the Urinary Bladder Meridian as it flows down either side of the spine, and down the backs of the legs.  Maybe fears arise...  The Kidney Meridian is affected also along the inner legs and groin, and the Spleen Meridian if you feel tugging on the insides of your knees.  All this means is that you are stimulating these organs and energy highways and quite possibly removing blockages, if there are any, so energy will flow better.  You, in turn, will feel better, by having better energy flow and better range of movement!

Next month we'll take a look at a couple Dragonfly variations you can do that will help release tension in your back, and in your shoulders while still working the legs

Design Challenge News

The third bi-weekly draw for the #30quiltdesignschallenge2017 happened Friday night, (144 designs in the hashtag pool!!) and Abigail at Cut and Alter was the winner! She won a gift certificate to The Red Hen Shop.

I hope you'll take a moment to visit Melody's shop and give her some support. She has some lovely fabrics, at reasonable prices, and has been so very generous in supporting the design challenge.  The final draw is on March 15, a gift certificate for $50!  Here is Abigail's design.  Along with shadow quilts that I've been playing a lot with since Windfall, I love transparency quilts.
Isn't that cool?!

If you suddenly find yourself dropping the projects, the commitments, ignoring the emails mounting, refusing to cook - 'you're on your own!' words coming out of your mouth to your family, because you just have to make Abigail's design (with credit to her of course, right, and not selling it, right) then you've been hit by a DrEAMi!  February's link-up was yesterday, but it runs through the end of the month, so, until Wednesday morning. 😉  If you already had a DrEAMi! moment or episode, then you can link it up there!

I'm off to sit on a floor and lean forward for a bit here; although I wrote some of this while sitting on the floor, I still spent too much time sitting in a chair writing this post! You can join me if you've been reading blogs for too long!  Don't forget to check out Craftsy (affiliate link) sometime today though: along with another great supplies and kits sale, they also have a ton of free stuff, classes and patterns, yep, free!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

DrEAMi! Linky #2

Welcome to the second linky party for those quilt projects that just reach out and GRAB you, and what do you do? You go on and let 'em because oh! it's SUCH a knock-your-socks-off design, or oh-so-pretty, or you know just the person for whom this quilty project could be, and you have to make it for that person right now.
I have had not one, but two DrEAMi! episodes this month. 😬  The first I wrote about was my mug rug I made from the HSTs cut when I joined various strips of rainbow-coloured fabric for the binding for Whirling Stars.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Quilt Kisses

Yesterday I mentioned all the secret sewing that has been going on over here, and today I can show you one of the projects because it arrived at its new owner's house!  It is one of two DrEAMi! projects that took my focus away from what I should have been doing this month.
This is Quilt Kisses.  You might think, hey, wait a minute, isn't there a blog in QBL by that name?  Yup.  And that is exactly where this mug rug went, to Jasmine, of Quilt Kisses.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Caw-mon Ground and Musings

Got up just ahead of the sun this morning despite some odd sleeping patterns yet again (enter menopause fun and games once more--it's bad enough that oddball things plague me during the day, well not plague maybe, but bug from time to time, but now nighttime is messed up too? Like what's with this...) where was I, oh yeah, got up, and felt compelled to do my meditation (wish I did this every morning, as it is truly a magnificent in a profoundly quiet way, to start my day) and after meditating, felt strongly compelled to draw/design.  This happened:
"Caw-mon" Ground for #30quiltdesignschallenge2017
As I said on Instagram, maybe it was my love of the number 3, triangles, pyramids, birds, meditation, sitting cross-legged, a dream last night of a Canada goose in the corner of our yard here in Florida, wow, I could see it, a still sentinel in black, grey and white, the feeling of a benevolent higher power, and of spring in the air, thoughts of heading north, seeing Abigail's rainbow stars, having done and so enjoyed Ruth's Rainbow Rose QAL, playing weekly with rainbow colours, in particular the migrating geese project #2, but I felt/saw so strongly a triangle image and a need to somehow translate this triangle image into a quilt.  After I posted the image to Instagram, I realized the (duh) significance of designing in rainbow colours today, one day after Pink Shirt Day.  Thank you to my sister Linda for reminding me; now that I am out of teaching, some of these significant days we always celebrated. escape me.  It originated in Canada, where a young teen was bullied because he wore a pink shirt to school.  I am so glad that a group of this young gay man's friends not only stood up for him, and against homophobic bullying, but did it LOUD.  And LOOK where a small group's actions can go!  How I wish we could show FREELY show, our tolerance of all peoples, (and all pibbles).
Sitting cross-legged on the floor for a 12-minute meditation.  Bella loves it as much as I do; without fail coming gently onto my lap, kissing my fingertips, which elicits a bit of a scratch of her chin, followed by a gentle pad/knead of my thigh and then a settling, purring contentedly almost the entire time.  Of course, she needs to strike a pose when the bell/gong sounds to end the meditation and I start to move a bit.
Speaking of quilt alongs, I myself have one that is going to start on the Spring Equinox, Monday, March 20, called Free Fall.  It's the wallhanging size of Windfall, and I have lined up some pretty terrific prizes for those who wish to join me and finish their wallhanging.  More details to come, but I am excited!  For now Bella is reposing on the stack of lush fabrics from Paintbrush Studio that I am using.  They are my main sponsor. 😀
There has been a LOT of sewing going on this month, some of which you see here, a total of four, no five projects, some big, some medium, some small, that I can't talk about.  Yet.  Some has involved February's colour, sea green, teal, aqua, aquamarine, known by many names and hues:
Ah aquamarine!  And Kaffe Fassett...
I've committed to another leader/ender project since the migrating geese strip for February is complete, and my Scrap Vortex is uh, in a vortex still...
Aqua corner triangles in...
or purple corner triangles in....
This quilt, "'X' Marks the Block" (I love witty quilt names) was designed by Teresa at Fabric Therapy. I saw it on Pinterest, and tracked it down to the original designer.  Originally I was going to do it totally scrappy, as she does, but after my like/love/hate/dislike/meh feelings on my Scrap Vortex, I realize that I like and need more order with my scrap quilting.  Could I do the opposing corners in one colour family?  I could!

And thus RSC2017 Project #3 is born.  I am leaving a few blocks each month with a blank corner section, ready for the next month's colour strips to be added.  Not sure how this will all play out, but that is the fun and the liberation of working with one's scraps!  Patience, a bit of a 'what if' attitude of experimentation, and beautiful things happen.
Patience, focus, intensity, Naala has it all.  Yet happily all the geckos are still alive and well despite her attempts to catch one!
Much more of those three qualities are apparent in this week's amazing, not taking no for an answer, 150 Canadian Women project.  Pat Sloan interviewed Kat on her podcast on Monday! Here is the link in case you missed it.  Here are this week's blocks:
Oops.  Ha, not really.  Here is the result of some more patience and hard work done by my intrepid MacGyver who has really beautified our house front this year.  One of his Bird of Paradise plants bloomed yesterday! It is unbelievable.  I've seen several over the years of coming to Florida, but to have one right here and gaze at its wondrous intense colours, is so surreal for me.  As is having my very own jasmine plants whose scent floats in in the early mornings.  Okay closer look at those three blocks:
43 - Alexandrine Gibb: an athlete and an advocate for women's sports organizations, helped to establish the Women's Amateur Athletic Federation of Canada; 44 - Marilyn Grace Bell di Lascio: still alive today, she was the first woman to swim the width of Lake Ontario, a distance of 51.5 km/ 32 miles, and the next year she was the youngest person ever to swim The English Channel; 45 - Eliza Maria Jones (née Harvey): "earned international acclaim for her herd of cattle and bestselling butter" now you see why I put the cow 2.5" square in the centre, although her cows were not Holsteins but Jersey. She was nationally known and respected for her cattle and horse-breeding expertise.
I was tickled pink (ha!) when I found that just about 2.5" square in my tiny-scraps basket.  I love that I've randomly thrown in little pnemonic devices like this to help me remember a block's significance. (Remember the checkered fabric for the racer? The deep red/purple for Viola?) Eliza regularly entertained Sir John A. MacDonald at her farm table! He was Canada's first Prime Minister, elected in...? you got it, 1867! 150 years ago this year.

All right off to work.  Yep, on the Free Fall Quilt Along. 

Linking up with
Sew Fresh Quilts
My Quilt Infatuation

Oh! Remember my own linky is this Saturday, for any DrEAMi! projects you may have made during February. If you missed the last one in January, here is the link.  Have you ever been a victim of one of those Drop Everything And Make it 'gotta-make-it-and-right-now' experiences? This is the party for you!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Migrating Geese in Aqua

Pieced mainly as a leader/ender project, here is row 2 for the RSC2017 Migrating Geese quilt, my project #2.

Scraps of the size required, 5 7/8" squares, are not easy to come by when you do not have a lot of aqua scraps, period.  Therefore, three of the triangles were cut as half triangles of that size square.  There's a bit of the Meadow Mystery in this strip, a bit of a fabric my sister Wendy gave me from her first cruise to the Caribbean, a bit of Tula, a bit of the quilt that occupied the first 12 days of February, about which I have only hinted, and a very old marbled piece from a Magic Tiles quilt, etc...
Honestly, she has new quilt on the floor radar!
I am going to have to organize these strips a bit because I was thinking it would be fun to have one row of geese migrating north and the other south because, well, obviously, that is what geese do.  However, I do not want the triangles lining up, so I have to make sure to start adjacent rows with a triangle on the opposing side.  One row will begin with a triangle on the right, the other row with a triangle on the left.  Confused?  I know what I mean and that is all that counts, right?!

Feeling pretty blue...

I listened, twice, to "Canada's Storyteller:  A Tribute to Stuart McLean" on my CBC app while I pieced this row amongst my other projects over the past couple of days.  I am still choked up about Suart's death; how could he go in two months after announcing he was taking a little break to pursue a second, different treatment for his melanoma after the first one wasn't successful?  And only 68.  I used his stories with my grade 7 English Language Arts (ELA--English teachers, like quilters, love their acronyms) and my grade 9 Honours ELA classes.  The listening tests I made up for "Toilet Training the Cat" and "Christmas Presents" are still used at the junior high where I taught.  It was a wonderful connection with students who were familiar with the Dave and Morley stories and whose families listened regularly to "The Vinyl Cafe" on CBC Radio 2 at 9 am on Saturdays, repeated on Sundays at noon on CBC Radio 1.  I enjoyed the musician guests, many up and coming ones that Stuart would highlight; I loved the Arthur Awards, and lamented with my mum that there will be no more, and my eyes brim with tears as I type this.  For those who don't know, the Arthur Awards were given to people who did random acts of kindness, nominated by a recipient or observer of that kindness.  Those shows, usually featuring 3 recipients, made my rose-coloured glasses view of the world glow hot flamingo-pinky-orange.  Such wonderful persons from coast to coast in Canada.  Stuart LOVED his country and illuminated, but in a quiet non-boastful way, through humour and poignancy, what it means to be Canadian.  I am saddened that within a little over three months we have lost two icons of Canadian culture, Leonard Cohen and Stuart McLean.  Yet I am grateful, so grateful, for such a wealth of a legacy that they leave behind, and so very very thankful that I was able to see both of these talented creative souls in concert.

A little aqua crept in to my Honey Pot Bee blocks for the month of February.  Here we have Star Kisses and Quilter's Pantry Block.

And here are all the blocks so far.  Not really a fan yet, to be honest, but time will tell.  I keep wanting to add a print, but the challenge (to myself) is to do this entirely of solids.

We are beginning week 8 of the #30quiltdesignschallenge.  As of the writing of this post, there are 122 designs in the hashtag pool!  This challenge, to create 30 quilt designs, ends on March 15, so we still have nearly another month.  Here are my latest two, which, I realize, incorporate their fair share of aqua!
Trunk Road was sketched on the way to yoga (don't worry; I wasn't driving), just an image I had in my head of the Canadian Rockies.  I'd finished Merle's Door the previous day, and because so much of the book takes place in Wyoming and the US Rockies, and I was still living in the book in my head, specifically in the Rockies.  I wondered vaguely if I could create a landscape scene using only squares and HSTs...not bad!  This comes from travelling the Forestry Trunk Road in Alberta, basically from the Alberta/Montana border to just north of Hinton, Alberta.  We spent many a happy camping trip over many years of trips here.  This scene is from my mental image of a spot in the southern Alberta end of the Trunk Road, wheatfield or perhaps hay stubble in the foreground, foothills rising beyond and the Rockies towering beneath a blue Alberta sky, Ian Tyson's "This Is My Sky" playing in my head.

Two Point Five, a reference to the 2.5" strips I would use to make this block, is playing around with the Quilter's Pantry block I created for my jar.  Note that I put the lime green strips I thought to make version B easier to piece, on the wrong sides of the block!  I've been intrigued with playing with plaid, so I think the woven look to this stems from that.  So far both attempts to create an overall plaid design quilt have been epic fails, ha!
Linking up with

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mug Rug

My love-affair with scraps is well-known.  I showed you the flimsy of the 6" square I made with scraps from the rainbow scrappy binding for Whirling Stars.  Here is the mug rug I just had to finish up this past week.
I honestly do not believe I have ever bound a quilt with a yellow binding, especially one this vibrant. It's another sneak peek at one of the fabrics responsible for my 10-day posting hiatus.  I did an X through the two main diagonal lines of the mug rug and then...couldn't stop. 😬

Here is the back:
I still have a little bit of this beloved Laurel Burch rainbow angel kitties fabric called "Holiday Collection" which she designed for Clothworks, just perfect for the back of my mug rug! I remembered before stitching on the binding to apply my label from Ikaprint. 😉 On minis, I cut my binding at 1.25" and do a single-fold application, which I first stitch to the quilt back, and then topstitch the front down.  It makes for a pretty neat finish.

Here it is in action the other morning.
I am a simple girl: give me a good book, one cup of coffee in the morning, a meaningful mug (this one a gift from my mum many years ago, Mozart, much-loved composer of ours), some graph paper and crayons and pretty fabric, and I'm a happy camper.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  original design
Size: 5 3/4" square
Fabric:  leftover binding HSTs
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton scrap
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann; quilted with Aurifil variegated 3817
I noted on Instagram that I had just finished a terrific book, one I think all doglovers must read, so I want to mention it here for those not on Instagram.  It's called Merle's Door: Lessons From a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote.  Just excellent.  He's got another one out, actually two, about Pukka (rhymes with hockey puck) and I got the mainly photos book about Pukka as a puppy and have ordered the novel, Pukka's Promise.

Did you know? That you can look at any public account on Instagram and see the person's photos?  I am mmmquilts, so if you want to check up on me, I am there every day or two!

I got some very happy mail yesterday:
This is from my friend Pat, who is on Flickr here.  She sent me a terrific article about the importance of moving and stretching mindfully, to keep your hips and knees and back in good health.  It is written by a personal trainer with many years of experience, both hers and her clients'.  It amazed Pat, and now me, with how similar her insights are to Yin poses and reasoning.  I will be incorporating some of this knowledge into future Sunday Stretches!  I just love the saying on the card she included and that BAG--!  I've admired these, especially the ones Anja has made, for some time and have wanted to make one but still haven't.  Love that fabric, right?

Linking up with
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Crazy Mom Quilts
TGIFF at A Quarter Inch From the Edge

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ten Days

Interesting title, no? This is thanks to my friend Preeti, who inquired as to my well-being (so did Pat), and I thank you sweet friends who notice a gap in posting from time to time.  This one was 10 days, as Preeti let me know.  A lot can happen in 10 days.  To be honest, and not totally transparent (yet) a lot happened in the first 12 days of February.
On the left you see 2" finished 4-patches destined for two projects and on the right trimmings from a big project that I can't talk about just yet.

I can talk about those 4-patches. A bunch went into this house block.
Along with a floral piece by Riley Blake and some batik, grass and sky scraps that I brought with me for Cindy's Canada blocks, those 4-patches became a 6" finished heart block for the side of the house.  A house filled with love and sunshine and bedecked with flowers.  My wish for the recipient of the quilt of which this one becomes a part.  Time hopefully can heal, lessen the pain and horror and anguish.
These two blocks have been mailed to the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild.  (That link will take you to the explanation and details as to how you can help.)  They are collecting house blocks to be made into quilts for the families of the victims of the massacre at a Québec City mosque.  Such senseless violence in the sanctity of a holy place, not that anywhere else would be less of a horror, but in a place of such peace and reverence...innocent people, families bereft of a dad, or a grandpa, a husband, a son...I still get so emotional thinking about it.  I immediately knew I'd make my 16" house block I designed.  I resized it to 12" and yes there will be a tutorial for this size too.  The 16" size is available here on the blog or in PDF form free in my Craftsy Pattern Store.  The maple leaf is only 5" so I added two borders.  Scraps for the maple leaf are from Windfall, the backing of Whirling Stars, and grass/sky/batik as mentioned.  The chimney pieces were a perfect find in the bottom of my scraps bin, leftover Kaffe Fassett from the Three-Quarter Patch Tote I made for Craftsy (affiliate link) last year.  Love it when serendipity strikes.

Love it when Bella strikes, a pose, that is!
Decided the scrap bin was a purr-fect spot for a nest; playing peek-a-boo in a drawer
Ahh, she brings me so many smiles.  And lots of material for the blog and Instagram.

Mail Concerns
I do not love it when I have to mail stuff, especially to another country from here.  We had to send some stuff (happenings in those 12 days of the unquilty kind) via UPS and so I took my blocks in a reused 6.5X8.5" padded envelope to see what they would charge me, as they have regular postal services there too.  Choke!! $16 First Class mail.  According to her, that was the cheapest I'd get.  I spluttered, "Thanks, but I'll see what the post office says.  I took the exact same envelope to my local post office here in Florida.  I got one of the two 'good' workers (there is one that will never try to help you find a cheaper way to send stuff) and she said, "Well, as it is right now, these two quilt blocks that weigh next to nothing will cost you either $9-11 to send.  However..."  as my eyes popped.  This was almost half what the other girl had said postage would cost, but still exorbitant.  She suggested I take them out of the reused padded envelope, which, btw, Preeti had used to send me a super-hilarious book written by various dogs, observations on human behaviour.  It cost her $3.78 to send it to me. I know that is the media rate, and within the US, but still--!  If I put these two blocks into a regular envelope, it could probably go for around $2.50, much better.
I made my own envelope using regular paper.  Gift card is there so you see the size, about 5.5X8.5"
I took it back there the next day, and it went as a letter because it was so flat and so light and in a regular envelope.  Cost?  $1.15!  Now, this kind of variance makes me incensed!  Of interest to note: the mysterious first 12 days of February project which weighed 50 or more times cost me a flat rate of $13.60 to send from Florida to Michigan a week later!

Despite these mysterious goings-on, both of which were simultaneously exhilarating and positive but somewhat stressful as well, I still did daily walking and noticing and marvelling.
There were two of these pretty butterflies flitting around by the side of the road. One posed for a split second...maybe it's a moth?  The moon in broad daylight always fills me with wonder.  I project myself there, look back at our blue/green planet, and think, yes, your life is pretty insignificant, really.  Or not.  One person can make a difference, whether by appreciating the beauty around her, or by adding to the beauty, as my wise friend Jasmine said to me a couple of years ago, with quilts.

The 150 Canadian Women Project has me, and plenty of others, anticipating Tuesdays like never before!
Block 37: Mary Meager Southcott - because of parents' disdain for the nursing profession, she waited until they died before going to nursing school. She was 37.  Two years of training and two years of experience later, she became a superintendent of nurses, and then set about raising the standard of nursing to professional level. When she stood up to the establishment, she was forced to resign, which was reversed, but 15 years later. Still, after her forced resignation, she set up a private hospital, continuing to fight for women. Perseverance or what.  38: Roberta Catharine MacAdams Price - she was a domestic sciences instructor, a dietician in England during WWI, first woman to successfully move an Act that brought legal recognition to a veterans' organization, and worked to establish an Edmonton teacher training college.  39: Dr. Maud Menten - brilliant biochemist that co-developed with Leonor Michaelis the famous Michael-Menten equation for measuring the rate of a biological reaction catalyzed by enzymes. "Although this equation is internationally recognized and is necessary for the production of most modern drugs, Maud is unknown."
These are this week's:
Block 40: Margaret Newton - internationally renowned agricultural scientist, she did ground-breaking (ha no pun intended) work in cereal crops rust protection; 41: Agnes Deans Cameron - first white woman to reach the Arctic Ocean. The winter birches fabric reminds me of the cold wintry Arctic. Prior to that she was a teacher, then the first woman principal, fired for allowing her students the same 'cheating' privileges as her male colleagues, who of course, were not fired; 42: Joan Bamford Fletcher - she completed a mechanics course during WWII, drove vehicles for the Polish Army, and at the end of the war was assigned to assist in the evacuation of Allied troops from Sumatra.
Just so much joy in rifling through the pinks, reds and whites/creams scraps!  So much awe and inspiration in reading about these kickass, "I'm not taking no for an answer" women.  Will update later today with a note about each one.  Amazing women.

I cannot get over having made 42 6.5" unfinished blocks with those three baggies of scraps I brought with me.  They don't feel much flatter; what's with that?!  Blocks 41 and 42 made me so gratified that I save scraps as small as 1-1.5".  Block 42 had four 4-patches made with 1.5" squares!  I used 4 different lights for them, 2 different lights for the corner triangles and yet another different one for the centre.  Didn't even have to cut that puppy out because I brought my drawer organizer of 2.5" squares with me!  Can you spot the one rogue red 1.5" square in the bottom block?!  Rather than cut into the dwindling piece of Debbie Mumm red check for the 8th square for the 4-patches, I cut one from the Windfall scraps, already a 1.5" little strip!  That made me grin.  I'm a simple girl; doesn't take much to make me happy.

Linking up with
Sew Fresh Quilts

and finally,
Quilt Fabrication for