Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sensational Solids and Wonderful Winnings

This beauty went home yesterday.

The slightly paler yellow in the wide outer borders is linen.  Very soft, and makes for a beautiful quilt.  On the down side, I found it a bit 'shifty' - think flannel or homespuns.  I suspect it would have been more challenging to piece with too, because of the loose weave.

The maker is giving this to her brother, so she didn't want "girly" quilting, and since music is his hobby that's what went in the wide borders.

Because the cross-hatching was interrupted by the squares, I chose to mark the quilting lines.  And I'm a big scaredy-cat when it comes to worrying about permanent stains.  I used tailor's chalk.  No muss, no fuss, brush or vacuum away.

An added service I offer is binding.  See the "PRICING" page for options.


The Caledonia Guild finished out the season on Wednesday with a pot luck supper.  All year the members have been bringing fat quarters for the year-end draw.  Each f.q. = 1 ballot.  The collection totalled 100 f.q.'s, so the pile was split in half and two winners were chosen.  Guess who won a pile of 50 f.q.'s?


The asparagus is slowing down, but the strawberries are ready.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

9 Reasons Why Your Longarmer Might Be Late With Your Quilt In The Spring, and My Fave From St. Jacobs

I don't know where you live, but HERE we had a bit of nice spring weather and then we got blasted TWICE with more winter.  Now that the temperature is finally Helen-friendly, I check the Weather Network and see that the pollen counts are off the charts - which explains the sneezing and stuffy sinuses.  Nevertheless... I love spring!!! When the weather gets warm and I can strip off the jacket, scarf and mitts I have a difficult time staying indoors.


1.  The asparagus is up and needs to be cut every morning.  Harvesting (heh heh, I love that term) is best done before noon, when the plant is fresh after a good night's sleep and has sent all it's energy up into the world.

2.  Lettuce has reseeded itself from last year's crop.  This needs to be inspected every day and overcrowding dealt with by judicious harvesting.  Don't buy baby greens from the grocery store... take those thinned out babies into the house, rinse them off and store them in damp paper towels in the fridge.  Eat later with a light salad dressing.  Yum.

3.  That damned garlic is at it again, sprouting everywhere it shouldn't.  Large clumps need to be dug up, separated, and replanted where they belong.

4.  Oh, the lovely peas you planted during the nasty rainy and cold weather are up.  Yippee!  Now to weed... you can't do that until the peas are sprouted 'cause you would be courting disaster.

5.  The Raspberry patch needs to be corralled.  Raspberries spread by runners and they will end up taking over whatever space they feel entitled to.  Chop off the offenders and rip them out, or transplant them into pots, to share with a friend.  DH and I used to throw a plant swap every spring.  We'd barbecue burgers and hot dogs.  Guests would bring side dishes along with transplants from their gardens.  It was a big horticultural free-for-all. One of the guys brought a zillion garden gloves from Costco. He had only recently moved and had no plants to share, but he was able to take home enough to make a really good start.  One year our neighbours came on their lawn tractor, and contributed a huge landscape rock. This type of event is best done in the spring or early summer because that's when we're all dealing with the over-abundance.

6.  Strawberries.  See issues with 3. Garlic and 5. Raspberries.  These things are EVERYWHERE.  Again - dig 'em out and either transplant or share.  Your friends will love you.

7.  Oh, your quilter has discovered the CILANTRO seedlings and is perhaps rolling around in them.  Just like 2. Lettuce, this will reseed itself into beautiful large patches of spicy, lemony, goodness.  On the downside it also must be weeded, as you can clearly see.

8.  Johnny Jump-Ups. 😊😊😊😊😊  These little violas are completely edible.  Bake a cake!!  Decorate it with petals!!  Your friends will think you are completely off your rocker.

9.  We cannot forget the Useless Assistant.  She wants to go for a walk.  How can you refuse on such a gorgeous day???

I always have a good time with the Beach Girls, and St. Jacobs was no exception.  I was disappointed that my quilt was not hanging at the show, they had it laid over a small table, which does not show it to it's best effect.  However there was not one single inch of space left in the building for hanging quilts, so I understand why it was displayed that way.

My favorite was absolutely this Dresden Plate.

Appliqued and hand embroidered.

Hand quilted.  So often I'm disappointed with hand quilting because there just isn't enough quilting. (Not that anyone cares what I think.)  But this one?... gorgeous!

Oh, love.

Kudos to Dorothy Sittler, whoever she may be.  Beautiful.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

St. Jacobs Quilt & Fibre Art Festival, May 22 - 26

I will be in St. Jacobs tomorrow (Wednesday) with the Beach Girls.  We all have a quilt hanging at the Schoolhouse - one each by:

  • The Electric Quilter -Diane Carson
  • Quilting For You - Carol Anne Tolton
  • Quiltingleah Cole - Karen Cole
  • Winnspired Quilting - Debbie Winn
  • and me... Custom Linens by Helen, aka Caledonia Quilter

This is an in-progress, planning shot of the vintage tablecloth of mine that you can find at the Schoolhouse.  HERE is a link to the brochure.  Scroll down to the section "A SAMPLING, UFOs & TEA".

Here it is finished.  But really - it's so pretty in person, go see it live!

Saturday, May 5, 2018


The sun is shining, the Long Island Iced Tea has been poured, and the oven is preheating to bake the Brie.
Anne and I arrived late Thursday afternoon after I had a few disagreements with the Garmin.  Sewing, for me, didn't start until Friday when I completed blocks 76 and 77 of the 150 Canadian Women quilt.  I pulled the plug when the potentially disasterous winds picked up in the afternoon (around the time when we had to chase Margaret's barbeque across the deck and re-right it in a safer spot).  Today the neighbours on both sides of Margaret have some tree damage and the hydro is out along the main drag in Bridgenorth.
This morning was our trip to the quilt show, and on our return I completed block 78. 

I'm happy with three blocks finished and now I can move on to project #2.  These are all foursie-blocks that will get stitched into eightsies.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Quilt Basting, Spring Activities and A Bit Of Whinging

One of the jobs that a longarm quilter will do is baste a quilt for you so you can either hand quilt or machine quilt it yourself.  I charge a flat fee of $50.  Some quilters charge by the square foot which might save you money or cost you a bit more, depending on the size of the quilt.
When I baste a quilt I use a 4" grid and, generally speaking, will use up partially filled bobbins.  I don't do anything stupid like bright red bobbins on a white quilt though.  These jobs are slipped in, between quilts that are booked on my quilt schedule, so they're usually ready for you in a week or two.
Spring Activities
Whew... all the windows are washed, with the help of my WONDERFUL Karcher Window Vacuum.  That was the best $35 I ever spent.  I wish there was some excellent tool that would help me wash the screens, too.  But no - those require a scrub brush.  My normal routine has always been to wash the windows in the fall, get the screens done, and store them in a humongous plastic bag in the fruit cellar for the winter. When the spring comes all I need to do is the window washing and pop the clean screens back on.  That didn't happen last fall for some reason so I had to do the whole shebang now.

And if you're curious, as of yesterday we still had two clumps of snow, and there was a possiblity of flurries last night.  You can use your imagination as you ponder my thoughts on that.  It's not a pretty sight.  😝

The most important spring seeds have been started, and my plan is to transplant tomatoes this afternoon.  I also need to find the plastic cloches for the garden so I can put out a couple of cabbage babies and a couple lettuce babies for early eating.

What the Hell I'm Whinging About Now...
Family, and Finances.  Not religion, and not politics.  Although honestly, these days I could rail on about politics for hours.

Dear Family:  You have taken a person who is ALWAYS so happy to be in your company (me), and you've done her wrong.  Maybe you ignored the email, or the phone call.  Maybe you never responded to the package or the card you got in the mail.  Maybe you never bothered to say "yes" or "no" to the dinner invitation.  These are all things that happen quite easily to every person on the planet.  But YOU,... you manage to accomplish these things on a regular basis. Which means they are no accident. So... ok.  Message received.  Hmmph.  In hindsight, writing this was probably a waste of my time.

Finances:  This situation has come up several times over the last few months so I guess it needs to be addressed.  I do not accept post dated cheques.  I let you know your quilt was ready.  You decided on the pickup date.  End of story.  You put me in an awkward position that is very uncomfortable.  That's like asking me if I think your butt looks fat.  Please, have some consideration!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dresden Plate and Mother Nature and Books

Have you been around me long enough to know that I love Dresden Plate quilts?  If not, well, I do.  I also love wine and martinis, not necessarily in that order.

This is kind of a modern take on the Dresden Plate, because of the choice of modern fabrics.

The quilting shows better in pics from the back side.  The center of the plates all have a bird quilted in them, as requested by the maker.  Love.

Yes, now on to MOTHER NATURE.  I'm tempted to start referring to her as "she who must not be named".

I gave up with the pics on the 16th - it was mostly rain all day.  Today it started as a drizzle then stopped.  DH and I went to Costco this afternoon and... the SUN came out.  We got home in time for Sadie and I to take a 20 minute walk.  As I donned my sunglasses (!) I commented to DH that I had just put the kiss of death on the weather.  Sure enough, 5 minutes later the sun was gone and the wind turned bitter.  In a normal year, by now the lettuce, dill and cilantro have sprouted in the garden.  The garlic greens might be peeking up from the ground.  This year?  Um, no.  Buried under snow.

Two very good books I've read during all this shitty weather I mean the past couple weeks:

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Tales from the Lancaster AQS Show

I finally have my head back above water after my not-quite-a-week away in Lancaster.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have seen the weather we were (ahem) blessed with.  This is a nor'easter.  None of us had a winter coat.  One gal on the trip was wearing sandals. Our bus driver was such a patient man, what with the bus sliding up the hills and getting stuck in the hotel parking lot, and all.

This is 100+ yards of wide backing that was preordered and waiting for me at the hotel.  You have no idea how heavy this is.  The neutrals are mine (for you, actually, at $17/m, a selection of whites and creams, all tone-on-tone) and the batiks are Diane's.

The AQS show itself was blissfully empty on our first day there, thanks to the weather.  People just didn't attend.  We had plenty of room to roam around, see the quilts, and shop the vendors.  However, the restaurants and malls were ALSO closed because employees could not get to work.  Yeah, so it was interesting for Diane (our tour organizer) to get us fed that night.


Very timely, considering that it was one week away from Easter, don't you think?

I attended a couple of lectures.  The more interesting one was by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsessions.  This quilt of hers made me laugh - it's a portrait of her husband.

You can poke around the web to see the quilts that won awards.

Below I am showing you why I will never waste my time entering any of these shows.

This quilt is by Claudia Pfeil of Germany.  She's a very well known quilter - you can check out her facebook page.

Do you see the identification tag on the right?  There is NO RIBBON.  Honest to God.  How could a pipsqueek like me ever compete with a quilt like this?  Yeah - no - not happening!!

Mind you, this quilt DID win $10,000.00 at the Road 2 California show in February. It's not like she wasted her money by sending it to the States to compete.

Here's another one by Carolyn Rider of Ohio.

Hokey smokey.

Again, NO RIBBON.  Now, I understand that the caliber of quilts at these AQS shows is crazy-high and they can't all be winners.  But this is a magnificent piece of work, between the applique, the quilting, the scalloped inner border and the piped accent along both the scalloped border and the outer binding.  My gawd.  I am definitely out of the running.

You can't come back to Ontario without going through Hershey, PAWell, MAYBE you could, buy why would you? And what the hell, you might as well pick up a date while you're there.  (ha ha ha, note to self:  don't complain about your job - you could have his!)