Thursday, March 29, 2012

Progress, workshop, timmies

Here is a shot of progress.  After I finish with the pukey green thread (which sounds awful but looks very good on many, many quilts) I will move on to the cream thread.

The large corner pieces of the centre medallion.

I was in a workshop on Tuesday with Deborah Beirnes.  She taught a class on scrap quilts and gave us a handout with cutting & piecing instructions for 33 blocks.  Some of the sewing sequences are pretty slick.  She has a very quick method for piecing 9-patch units, and that snail's trail block (bottom right) was made with two squares of fabric.  Deborah is from the St. Jacobs, On. area and can be reached at .  She put on an EXCELLENT workshop.
I took my little stack of blocks to show mom yesterday.  It makes my visits easier if I have something to show her and to talk about.  Last spring I had a wonderful garden catalogue with lots of colourful pictures that we went through over and over again.  Sometimes I bring a quilt, sometimes photos.  I had to go to the home yesterday to sign an authorization for them to put a seatbelt on her when she's in her wheelchair, because on Monday she got up out of the wheelchair and promptly fell down.  (insert many swear words...)  Apparently seatbelts are a RESTRAINT and not permitted without authorization.  I guess that is technically correct, but c'mon - she's recovering from a broken hip.  Don't you think she should stay sitting unless someone is hanging on to her???  Sheesh.

Anyhow, as per usual I took Tim Hortons tea & timbits, and I got one of the teas FREE from my winning Roll up the Rim.  If you'd like to read a really fun post on an embroiderers blog about Tim Hortons, check out that link.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stitch in the Ditch and Steel Cut Oats for Breakfast

If you compare the two blocks below you will see a clear difference as far as definition of the piecing.

My first process for a quilt which is getting 'custom' work is to do the stitch in the ditch and get all the parts stabilized, then do the decorative work inside the borders, sashing, and blocks.  If you want the piecing to be enhanced, s.i.d. is a necessary evil.  I say evil because it is backbreaking work which requires a high degree of accuracy, and it is certainly not glamorous.  So, for Longarm quilters:  put on your big girl panties, um, I mean your big BASE, and go for it.
Stay tuned and you'll see a finished pic of this quilt in a few days.

Steel Cut Oats are a staple in  my pantry now.  I make a large pot and heat up a daily portion every morning.  Poor dh learned how to cook these while I was dealing with my broken arm (which is recovering just fine, thank you for asking!).
My recipe is 3 cups water, 1 cup oats, 1 cup raisins.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

Just like rice, after the 20 minutes of cooking time, give it a stir then let it sit for another 10 minutes.  I add liberal quantities of cinnamon and scoop a serving into my bowl.  I find the raisins add enough sweetness to the mix that I don't need sugar.  The remainder goes into the fridge for the rest of the week.  This gives me 5 servings total, leaving one day for zucchini loaf with almond butter and one day for pancakes.

First bouquet of the year. 
I'm a little worried about myself.  I've gotten into on-line shopping.  In the past couple of weeks I've bought a bunch of wheelchair clothes for Mom, a stack of patterns for the IQ, underwear from Jockey, and this morning I spent $100 on WagJag vouchers from a garden centre.  (wagjag is like Groupon, for those of you outside of the southern Ontario area)  It's too darned easy to whip that VISA card out, sitting in the comfort of your own home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stack 'n Whack

This quilt is all ready for the Easter Bunny.

Lots of stitch-n-the-ditch, and straight line quilting through the background of the blocks.

Pinwheels, sashing and border all done with the IQ.

The backs are always so pretty.

This week the Universe loves me and let me finish the quilt without running out of thread.  Usually I run out when I have six inches left to quilt, and lemme tell you - that REALLY pisses a gal off.

In my last post I was bitching about my massage appointment being changed.  Aaahh, no more bitching - I got in on Monday and I felt so much better.  If you are looking for a woman RMT located on the Hamilton mountain, give Susan a try at To Your Health Massage Therapy

If you like ghost stories, I just finished reading The Haunting of Maddy Clare, by Simone St. James.  It's a very, very good book about three people investigating a reported haunting.  Besides the good story, I liked that the chapters are fairly short and gave me easy spots to quit.  It takes me weeks to finish a book so I appreciate good stopping points.  Tonight I'm doing some applique which is due at the Binbrook Guild on Monday, then I'll get into another book for a half hour before beddy-bye.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Floral Quilt and Red Hat Fascinator Day

Here's the floral beauty all finished.  This was a combination of piecing and pre-printed panels.  Don't try and say that when you're eating crackers.

Closeup of the top.

Love the back.

I had the Red Hat girls over for a pot luck lunch and craft afternoon.  We made fascinators - they were very simple to make and SO MUCH FUN.  I picked up skinny headbands from Zellers - they were in sets of 6, so I only needed to buy 2 sets.  Lots of tulle, satin, feathers, and a few fingers glued together with hot glue.
We were a group of 10, so I sent out a list and assigned each gal the type of food they were required to provide.  I had 2 with appetizers, 2 for salad, 2 for entrees, 2 for dessert,  1 for punch, and 1 for afternoon snack.  Apparently we NEEDED ice cream & banana sundaes in the afternoon.
They are the best bunch of friends, even washing up the china.  Here are the cleaning ladies.
An actual quote from an email I received the following day:  AWESOME..........THANKS so much..............I love my hat ========== I love that my friends made me laugh so hard I ...........stop it silly bunch of red hatters or mad hatters as my husband calls us...
This is usually my favorite day of the month.  I love the 'girl time'.  We have so much fun, with no judgement, it's good for the soul.  Aaahh...

Monday, March 12, 2012

This winter...

This winter has been very mild and will likely lead to an early spring.  I should be happy, right?  Huh.
This winter I broke my arm.  Then two weeks after I got the cast off I started thinking I could get my life back on track.  Nooo, the Universe has a different plan.  Mom fell and broke her hip.  While she was in the hospital I got a cold (which thankfully only lasted a week - I'm grateful for lemons and honey!!).  Now we're on a new round of appointments with the fracture clinic.  I get to push a wheelchair with my healed but sore wrist, and I get to take more time off work since none of my siblings can help.  So, I am officially declaring a little pity party for me and labeling this The Winter That Sucked Canal Water.

This past weekend was the Binbrook Guild annual retreat at Creiff Hills.  Normally I look forward to this with unbridled excitement, but if you read the previous paragraph you might figure out that I just wanted to stay home and cover my head.  I went anyways and had a good time, although I came home tired as hell.  Two weeks ago I was VERY SMART.  I planned ahead and booked a massage appointment for today because I am always twisted right up after sewing for three days straight.  Hah - the massage gal called me this morning and had to cancel because of a child-related emergency.  See previous paragraph and description of this winter.  sheesh.

My tumbler top is together and can officially go on the TFUQ list.

After I finished the tumblers I put together the Block of the Month which will be due at the end of March.  I used a new-to-me method of applique.  This is really soft since there is no fusible web involved.

  • invisible thread in the top
  • fusible thread in the bobbin
  • mark the outlines on the selected fabrics with a sharp pencil, or whatever you can see
  • stitch just a wee bit inside the lines using the above listed thread combination
  • trim with sharp scissors ON the marked lines
  • place the pieces on the background fabric
  • fuse with a hot iron & steam
  • applique in place with a blanket stitch and decorative thread (note - I have not done that yet in the photo... or in real life... maybe tomorrow)

Now, I am going to do that 'cover-my-head' thing.  Good night.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday's WIP and Stash Report

This is what I'm working on today. Very pretty.

This is the purchased stash ytd.  Well crumb - I've missed a hunk and I'm not retaking the photo.  Maybe I'll add it to a pic later...
February's purchases were from the new quilt shop in Caledonia - My Sewing Room on Argyle St. N.  The March purchases were from the new shop in Hamilton - Needlework, on James St. N.  There was nothing used in January because I was all plastered up with a cast.  There should be some (!) kind of number for the 'used' in March because I'm heading on retreat this weekend.  My plan is to work on the tumblers that were on the design wall last month.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dragon Baby finished & everybody's health update

Here we go - edges all scalloped.

Using up some of the leftovers on the back.

My favorite way to bind a quilt - stripes or plaids cut on the bias. I know many quilters shudder at the thought of bias strips.  On a curvy edge like this a bias binding is necessary but that is my normal method on all quilts. I seem to get a better result, a flatter finish and no saggy/pulling that I'm prone to with straight cut binding.
Health update.  Let's see:  my arm is coming along, um, well, I guess.  The spots where it was broken hurt just like a bruise would hurt, but everything works.  First thing in the morning my hand is like THE CLAW.  It takes a little while to get things moving.  My thumb still feels like it was sprained during the fall and has not recovered.  sigh.  Patience.  Yesterday I managed to cook supper all by myself!!!  I cleaned and trimmed broccoli (steamed it) and I cleaned and sliced a sweet potato (cooked as oiled and seasoned wedges in the oven) along with baked salmon.  Yum, yum, yum.  Then leftover chocolate cake for dessert.  This past Monday was my birthday which I celebrated with a crummy cold.  I stayed home instead of going to a guild meeting because I was feeling so knocked out.  But I felt the need to celebrate somehow, so I rummaged in the pantry for a box cake mix and started making a bit of noise in the kitchen.  Apparently this made DH feel guilty.  There was an audible sigh from the living room, then he came in the kitchen and finished making the cake for me.  What a sweetie, eh? He even delivered a piece to me (along with a glass of wine) on my sick bed/couch where I was parked watching tv.  My head is starting to clear up now and I am looking forward to lunch with a friend tomorrow and company for supper on Saturday.

Mom had a screw put in her fractured hip on Sunday.  The hospital is sending her back to the home today.  Since I came down with a cold I have mostly stayed away from the hospital but I did go for a short visit at suppertime on Tuesday.  Mom ate three bites of her pureed supper and then got a little testy about eating any more.

Normally she has a very sweet temperament, but she has dementia, she's in a strange place, she's injured, has recently had surgery, and she's trapped in bed.  I think I would be a bit testy too.  Actually I would be a pitiful, sobby mess, but we won't go there.  :-)