Monday, December 26, 2016

A Black & White Christmas

Modern quilt, from a Drunkard's Path base.

Love the pillow ticking fabric.

Modern Dresden Fan.

The turquoise really pumps up the black & white prints.

Labyrinth quilt.  So graphic!

You don't dare mix up your piecing with this quilt.

I knocked off work at 2:30 pm on the 24th.  Went directly upstairs and cracked open the Baileys. 😁
DH and I had very specific plans for Christmas Movies this year.

  • Dec 23rd - Diehard
  • Dec 24th - The Sound of Music
  • Dec 25th - The Grinch with Jim Carrey
I had never really thought of Diehard as a Christmas movie before.  But in fact, it takes place at a Christmas office party,  so I guess that qualifies it.  I was giggling at the 80's hair.  And startled to see people SMOKING IN THE AIRPORT. Wow, the good old days, eh?

DH has never (!) seen The Sound of Music.  He gave me a bit of stinkeye when he realized it was three hours long, ha ha ha.  But he was a trooper and sat through it. 💓

Today I started The Winter Project.  All three bedrooms need painting, so this afternoon I did the cutting in part on the first two, which are the same colour.  Tomorrow will be 'roller' day.  Room number three is the master bedroom, and it can't be started until a large hunk of drywall is replaced.  Bad windows were leaking for, like, 30 years.  That problem is finally fixed.  DH has torn out the bad drywall, but he had enough brains to stay away from the home improvement store today.  Also, it was pouring rain.  That is NOT a good day to bring home drywall in the back of a pickup truck.

When I'm working on a Project I am grateful for leftover turkey in the fridge.  We don't have to worry about cooking for DAYS.  When repeated turkey dinners get nauseating we can switch it up with either turkey pot pie, or shit-on-a-shingle (translation:  hot turkey sandwich).

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Decorating 101 for Longarm Quilters

Step 1:  Put a Christmas quilt and Christmas pillowcases on the bed.

Step 2:  Put a Christmas quilt on the other bed in the guest room.

Step 3:  Put a Christmas quilt on the couch.

Step 4:  Hang a Christmas panel in the workroom.  For sale.  $10.00 each. 23.5" x 42".  Call or email me if you want one. 🎄

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bear Paw Quilt and the First Cold of the Season

Isn't this a beautiful Bears Paw quilt?  I love the addition of trees in the border.

Stitch-in-the-ditch: the borders, the trees, setting triangles, sashing, perimeter of the bear paw block, and green ribbons.

Half inch straight lines in the background.  Motifs in all the pieced units.

With the colour variation between the brown border and the brown setting triangles, I treated them separately instead of quilting as all one unit.

Evergreens were added to the tree border, along with windy/cloud background fill.  In between the pieced trees there is a bit of grass quilted in to fill the spaces.

Beautiful back.

It is pretty traditional at all guilds (I think) to celebrate Christmas at the last meeting of the calendar year with some kind of food event .  Binbrook meets on the last Monday of the month, so our Christmas pot luck supper was on Monday, Nov. 28th.
Picture a line of banquet tables laden with food.  Platters, casseroles, crock pots, salad bowls, each with their own serving utensil.  Now... picture 20 or 30 ladies all lined up, filling their plates.

Are you with me so far?  Many women.  Each one touching every single serving utensil.  Is it any surprise that I woke up Friday morning with the beginnings of a cold?  😷
I've been drowning my poor body with lemon/ginger tea.  Onion soup.  Comb honey on toast.  On Sunday I slept until 10:15 am.  I know that humour is good for what ails you, so I spent last night watching and laughing through Bridget Jones' Baby. Today I was up at 3:00 am with a headache.  I will probably need a nap by 11 am.  However, SO FAR this has not progressed beyond the froggy/sore throat/slightly feverish stage.  I have another pot luck scheduled this week and a guild dinner next week.  I do not want to be sick!  I work in the basement.  Alone.  Generally feeling like a solitary cave-dweller.   I N.E.E.D. my social events.  Let's all send a rallying cry out to the Universe:  "Keep Helen Healthy!!!".  Thankyou. 💖

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Is Your Longarm Quilter A Drinker? Maybe This Is Why...

If you are a longarm quilter yourself, you'll look at these photos and (probably) laugh.  Or at least snort a little.  If you have ever heard me refer to someone as "a sweet little old lady", this is the kind of customer I'm referring to.  And there is no need to "tsk tsk" me - this particular woman is in her 80's and does not have a computer, so she'll never see this.  Considering her failing vision I'm happy that she is still quilting at all.  But getting her tops quilted is still a bit of a challenge for me.

#1 is a very common problem.  Ruffly borders.  Easy to accomplish by taking a big hunk of fabric and just keep sewing until the pieced top runs out, then whack off the remaining length.  Sigh.  NO.  Measure the top through the middle and cut that border to that length (and remember that you have TWO of them that ARE supposed to be the same, one on each side).  Then quarter mark the top and border, match them up, and pin.  Then do the same for the other border.

#2 - the frequency of this is not as common.  Leave as many threads as possible sticking out the top side of the seams.  Aaargh.  Honest - you can clip these off yourself!  You won't wear out your scissors!  If I left these the way the quiltmaker did, this quilt would look pretty awful.  So I remove them while practicing DH's Garage Language.  Yeah - use your imagination.

#3 can be dangerous for your quilt.  Longarm machines have a presser foot that hops.  Your quilter is often NOT watching the foot.  She's probably watching the pattern that she is quilting from because she's following the design using a laser light. When the foot 'hops' into that hole in your seams, the machine is going to stitch itself right into your quilt.  The poor quilter may have to cut your quilt to extricate the machine - that is not a comforting thought.

This happened to be in a "good" spot.  I was able to flip the border up and stitch the seam closed with the longarm, but that is a rare bit of serendipity.  Yes, it was stitched right through the batting and backing, but the thread was a perfect match for the backing and that little seam does not show.

#4 on this particular quilt, as if there wasn't already enough going on, the backing was not long enough.  I had to cut some length off the end, then piece it, and attach it to the perpendicular end.  I changed it from a measurement of 40 x 70 to 45 x 60.  Or something like that.  My usual system is that customers bring their quilt here.  I measure everything, check the batting & backing sizes, price out the work with an estimate, and we're good to go.  For this "sweet little old lady" I pick up and deliver when I have a dinner date with my friends in her neck of the woods.  She's either throwing a bag of work at me and trying to get rid of me because she's going to be late for her 4:30 dining room booking, OR she's trying to pawn off a bunch more quilting stuff that she found in her spare room/storage locker/under the kitchen sink.  In any event, I don't check sizes of anything, and that occasionally bites me in the arse.

After finishing THREE of her quilts on Wednesday, I drank myself out of house and home that night.  It was a happy accident that I went to a quilting event the next evening, AT A WINERY.  HAH!  SCORE!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Batik Cross, Quilts of Valour, End-of-season gardening, and the Current Book

This is a beautiful quilt.  The arrangement of fabrics make it glow.

Inside the cross was simply quilted, with 1/2" straight lines.

Today I woke up, came down to the 'sweat shop' and loaded up a Quilt of Valour.  These are done as my charitable donation work, and I have THREE of them that have been sitting here since early summer.  Hopefully, I can knock off two of them today, and maybe the third one next Sunday.  Alison from Sew What Else is probably wondering if I lost them.

As for the end-of-season gardening, I coulda kissed DH when I came home on Friday and found that he was rototilling the garden! Yay!  Now I won't have to keep bitching repeatedly politely ask him to do that once spring comes.

This fall has been incredibly beautiful, as far as the weather goes.  But alas, the fairy tale has come to a tragic end, with snow last night.  When I heard that it was on it's way I went and dug up the rosemary plant and some of the oregano.  They are now potted up in the house to keep my food nicely seasoned all winter. Unless, of course, I kill them. :P

I'm currently reading Someone Else's Garden by Dipika Rai.  This is what DH refers to as "a Charla-book".  Charla is my Singapore niece who, when she was still living in Canada, had a diverse personal library filled with books that had very dark and disturbing themes.  This book? I almost put it down about a third of the way through because of the extent of abuse towards women.  I gave it one last chance by flipping to the back and checking if the character I was worried about was still around.  It's the kind of story where you REALLY want to know what happens but getting there is almost torturous. If I had the brains God gave me I would not read this at bedtime.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Conestoga Star and blah, blah, blah

This quilt was a beautiful monster.  If there is such a thing.  Conestoga Star by Fons & Porter.

For my own amusement I counted.

  • Small circles:  674
  • Large circles:  142
  • s.i.d. and straight lines - I ran out of fingers and toes.

Even the back is gorgeous, what with the Jane Sassaman fabric and all. I seriously wanted to keep this one.

And now for the blah, blah, blah.  I guess I will start with the MOST shocking.

  • Donald Trump won the presidential election.  WTF?  How could they (the American Public) elect someone who continually demonstrates his disdain for everyone other than himself.  He considers women nothing but sex objects, which also clearly demonstrates a lack of respect for his wife & children. He suggested he would date his daughter if she wasn't his daughter.  Geez Louise!  He has mocked disabled people (and then denied it, even though it was recorded).  He wants Muslims banned from the country, and of course - there is THE WALL he wants to build at the Mexican border.  Abortion should be illegal and women obtaining abortions should be jailed.  He suggested the "second amendment people might do something about Hillary Clinton".  I suppose the idea is that those in favour of guns should, what... shoot her?  The man is such a creep on so many levels.  You wouldn't want him as your friend, but you might invite him to a party because you know he'd keep things lively with his bullshit.
  • I went on the Junior League Holiday House Tour.  I must say I loved the 6000+ square foot house we went to. :-) Their neighbours were clearly annoyed though.  As we were walking back to the car a lady was pulling into her driveway - shaking her head in disgust at us.
  • DH and I are going to come to blows over zip-lock bags.  I swear (and I actually DID swear at him the other day.  oops.) he uses 15 bags a week to save air.  So wasteful.  Grrr.  Use the Tupperware!
  • A friend was telling me about her new Bullet Journal system of planning & tracking.  It's a fascinating notion.  But as I was going through all the (admittedly beautiful) ideas and suggestions it looked like too much work.  And my own system of to-do lists works so well!  Hmm - I still need to make the Teresa CD.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pansy Park by Thimbleberries

This quilt has been around for a long time.

I'm sorry... did you say EIGHT borders???  OK!  Well then, we're just going to pretend the skinny ones aren't there, alright?

You know I love sampler quilts, though.

The old ruler got a good workout.

This past Sunday was the semi-annual SOLO meeting (Southern Ontario Longarm Operators).  There was an EXTRA prize for costume-wearers.  Sadly, I did not win - that went to Louise from Tillsonburg, the lucky duck.  I still had fun with my like-minded friends.  And I DID win a door prize - a $25.00 gift certificate from the Quilting Bee in Fonthill.  Now, to find an afternoon for a field trip.

Our guest speaker was Kathy Wylie, taking us through the judging process for juried quilt shows.  She did a great presentation and I think we all learned a lot.

Speaking of juried quilt shows, the IQA show in Houston opens today.  If you're there, please have some fun for me while I stay here, slaving over a hot needle. Thankyou.  If you are stuck at home too, HERE is a link to the winning quilts.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Post Retreat DWR and Christmas Idea

Hopefully the whole day doesn't go like this.

By 5 am it was apparent there was no more sleep in my immediate future, so I gave up and got up.  DH had thankfully prepped the coffee before bed so I turned it on, then went downstairs and lit a fire.  I went back up to pour myself a cup, only to discover coffee all over the counter.  sigh.  It seems the pot wasn't quite under the drip hole.

I take the Double Wedding Ring on retreat with me and spend O.N.E. day working on it.  It takes a whole day to complete one row.  I'm an idiot and decided to make this scrappy, but every ring is a single fabric.  This requires much organizing and laying out ahead of time.  At one row per year it will take me five more years to complete this quilt.

This is a very cute idea for Christmas gifts.  White placemats that have been quilted with a picture.  Include a box of wash-out markers.  While waiting for supper, the kid can colour instead of whine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuesday accomplishment (s)

Three quilt blocks took me most of the day. Although I did spend some time on the couch, moaning about eating too much. And then I forced myself to go for a walk.

Those other projects are what the girls are still working on.  Me? It's 9 pm and I'm done for the night.  I'm going to put on my jammies and settle in on my friendly couch with a good book.

Monday, October 17, 2016

If It's Monday I Must Be In Tobermory

It's my annual week in Tobermory with the Beach Girls.  Always mid-October, which means I have to call my DB from here to sing Happy Birthday to him. 

When we arrived yesterday it was 18 c. and sunny.  Cocktails on the deck.  Smoked pork chops for supper.  You cannot ask for anything better.

Project #1 - the Challenge Fabrics, being made into a Drunkards Path table runner.
Work job #1 - sort out the SOLO attendees (southern Ontario Longarm Operators) for the October 30th meeting, and show "Debbie-the-label-maker" how to access EVITE.
KP job #1 - Salmon tonight with roasted potatoes & butternut squash, maybe cauliflower and/or salad.

Keeping the "assistant" off my lap will be a daily job. ☺

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday Morning with Saturday Night Live

Do you need a giggle-break?  I had trouble eating my breakfast this morning because I had to keep wiping away the tears.

Watch the Presidential Debate as re-enacted on Saturday Night Live.  Link HERE.

If you need more, here are a few others...

SNL: Alec Baldwin Roasts Donald Trump’s Grab The P*ssy Audio Leak 

SNL Kate McKinnon Plays Trump Mgr. Kellyanne Conway

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Christmas Trees Anyone??? and the Border Challenge

I wish I could be as prepared as some of my customers.

I will still be trying to choose Christmas gifts on December 22nd.  And cursing myself.
This is beautifully pieced and will make a great gift for someone.

This backing is a lovely cozy green flannel.

These stupid tomatoes are no longer allowed in the house.  There are so many fruit flies zipping around the kitchen that I have to keep a SECOND coaster for my wine and put it on the top of the glass to keep the bugs out.  I've now become very adept at picking up the glass and gently sandwiching the top coaster between two fingers and sliding it off while I take a slug dainty sip.  So far I've done 15 jars of salsa and 37 (?) quarts of diced tomatoes.  Many many people think I'm a bit insane to can my own tomatoes.  If they ever googled the 'allowable contaminants in canned goods' they might change their minds.

THE BORDER CHALLENGE and a bit of whining
Back in June I showed you some pics of this quilt, which I made for two different challenges at two different guilds.  At the first guild (the Paint Chip challenge) I won zippo. Nothin.  There were, I think, at LEAST 15 entries.  The winners did great jobs on their projects and their wins were well deserved.

At the second guild (the Border Challenge) I won first prize - a charm pack of red & whites that I can use for the same two guilds' current challenges to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday next year.  Yay me!
Now for the whining part...
At the second guild, which is the same size as the first guild, there were FIVE entries.  Compared to at least FIFTEEN entries at the first guild.  With only five entries there was obviously not a lot to choose from when the ladies voted.
When I walked into the 'challenge room' to look at the entries and fill out my ballot, there was a conversation in progress, in front of MY quilt, that went something like this (I have paraphrased because I was trying to NOT eavesdrop, but they were kinda loud):
Lady A:  "Well, the quilting is beautiful but did she quilt it herself, or did she pay a longarm quilter?"
Lady B: "She might have her own longarm."
Lady A:  "If she paid a professional then she didn't do the quilting and I would vote for a different quilt."
Lady B: "Even if it she did the quilting herself, that still makes it done by a professional."

I have to tell you, firstly - for courtesy's sake I think the conversation should have stopped when the ladies saw me enter the room, because they know I am a professional longarm quilter, and I think the three of us were the only ones in the room at the time.  Secondly, this kind of chatter makes me wonder why I go to guild meetings.  It's hurtful and makes me feel like ... like ... dirty somehow.
Am I not supposed to participate?  There were FIVE damned entries!  Obviously there are a lot of guild members who could not be bothered to appreciate the organizers of the Challenge enough to play along.  How do you think they felt after doing all the hard work of putting instructions together every month?

And lastly:  the reason the quilting is beautiful?  Because I WORKED HARD to make it beautiful.

Rant over.