Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just a little bit of History

Just in case you don't follow Karen's blog, here's s wonderful snippet (a small video) showing what the ladies of Canada, particularly Nova Scotia, did during the war for families suffering in Britain.

I love the fact that a lot of the quilts have survived. They have obviously been used, well cared for and well loved.

Now, here's a sneaky photo of something that I am working on. Actually, I finished the item but I am now in the process of enhancing it. Once it's all done, I will show you the finished item.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A few more

I really should have been working on a few other things but...

I just had to add a few more blocks to this quilt. I still don't know if I want to make it 7 blocks across or 8. The blocks will finish at 8 inches and I really don't want to add a border but I want it big enough for a single bed. I don't need anymore lap quilts.
My friend Marg has this book and I borrowed it to photocopy a pattern because two other people besides myself wanted a copy of this quilt.
I saw one at a quilt show and thought it was an interesting design - one that uses scraps.
This is a quilt that Marg made. She did curse the border but with a bit of fudging, she made it work. The only thing she regrets is that she should have made it bigger.
This is the name of the quilt.
There are some really nice quilts in the book. They all come with the patterns so you can dive right in and get to work on the quilt that has captured your attention.
I have always liked the Grandmother's Fan pattern.
Another setting for the fan. This one is paired with Jacob's Ladder blocks and some applique.
And one last fan quilt. I really want to make another fan quilt but I have so many other things to finish up first.
If you get a chance to look at this book, you may end up making a quilt or two from it. There are a lot of good ones in it - both pieced and appliqued and as I mentioned, the full sized patterns are there too. No need to find a photocopier to blow anything up.
Disclaimer: I have no connection whatsoever to the makers of this book. No one asked me to review it. It's just a good one that I thought you should know about.
I'm going to link up with The Needle and Thread Network. Hop on over, there's always something interesting to see.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Treat

Something a little different. Just photos of random things on Tuesdays. In this case, it's my little grandson, Luc.

Playing with Orange Cat. This cat loves Luc. Whenever we went for a walk last year, Orange Cat would follow behind.
Spring is around the corner. Mild temperatures means melting snow and muddy roads.
I love the expression on Luc's face.
A boy and a puddle. Need I say more?

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I tend to procrastinate when it comes to doing certain things. This past week, I finally bit the bullet and just decided to get it over and done with so I can then sew, knit and crochet what I wanted to do.

See the cushion on the bottom? I was asked to make covers for it and there are 4 in total. I purchased the fabric last month (black or gray was fine) and was able to get 8 covers. Just the right amount. There are just scraps left and I will probably pitch them. Not much left to do anything with. Now, it's my time.

Last week, the Champagne Quilters gained one more person. Hopefully, it will take less time to make a quilt. One of Marg's neighbours asked if she could join us and make quilts. The next one will be going to their church to be raffled off. The pattern is one that we have done already but Marg has always liked it so much, we decided to remake it instead of going with the fan quilt we were initially going to make. The pattern will be the crazy stars or wonky stars. If I have a photo, I will post it, otherwise, I guess I will take a photo of the photo that Marg has. We used two different sizes in our first one and it was scrappy. This one will be just blue and white. Marg went through some of the scraps that we have and it turns out that there aren't many fabrics with just blue and white. We did find some white on white that we will use for the background. While going through the fabrics, this old block turned up again.

I think it came with some of the fabric that was donated to us years and years ago. I always thought it would make a nice quilt. Neither Marg nor Ann really cared too much for it so I finally said I would take it off their hands. I may decide one day to make a whole quilt of it. There is just something appealing to me about this really simple block.
Have a great, safe weekend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Ok, this is it ...

the last, for now, of the little doll quilts. I really need to get my own stuff done.
This is as far as the little matinee jacket has gotten. The back and two sleeves. As you can see from the back, there is a lot of white in between the colours and since I wanted to make the sleeves both at the same time, I didn't want to waste (cut off) yarn to get them to the right colours. I don't think the little one will mind.
I'm linking up with the Needle and Thread Network. Drop in and check it out.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A few more...

doll quilts, that is. 
My friend Marg keeps going through the fabric that we have (mostly donated by various people) and comes up with more and more tops. The teddy bears were all on one piece of fabric. She either cut them out to size, or she cut out the bear and hand appliqued them onto a backing. Then she went and got suitable backings for them. The little pink one is all hand done. She appliqued it and then she hand quilted it. Ann put the binding on for her since Marg and the sewing machine don't always get along. I brought them home, sandwiched them and then machine quilted them. I also made the pillows. I need to get a few more pillows made though. There are a few more quilts too that need finishing so I guess I should go and sew.

Have a safe, relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wee baby stuff

I am busy working on a few things for the new little baby who is due at the end of next month. I did order some yarn from Mary Maxim but for some reason it is held up and so I went to the Len's Mills in Toronto - just to look around - and this is what I picked up.

It is soft and suitable for either a boy or a girl. There is just a little hint of yellow in it. I did have a turquoise blend in my hands but I put it back and picked this one instead. I may just go back to get some other yarn that they had - or perhaps some backing fabric for the quilt. I was a bit rushed so I didn't really look at the fabrics all that much. It's nice to have a Len's Mills in the area. Better than travelling to Guelph.

 I just had to start the sweater yesterday. It was searching for the correct size needles that held me back but I finally found the size 4mm that I was looking for. I thought it was nice that the bottom of the sweater started off in the green - totally unplanned. See the yellow?

I'm also cross stitching a card. Little Luc got a card when he was born and his mom framed it along with some of his baby pictures so I figured his sibling needed a card too. This one is a different design and I do believe it was a kit that I won in a giveaway.

Continuing on with the doll quilts, I came across a small baggie of these little one and a half inch squares of fabric. I think they were a freebie from some manufacturer. Anyway, I sewed them up in strips and will be adding some solid (or print) fabric to make a top for a little doll quilt. Talk about using stuff from my stash - this is a bit ridiculous but I just wanted to see how far these little squares would go.

I am linking up with the Needle and Thread Network so pop on over when you've got a minute to see what other Canadians are up to this week and go see what's on Esther's blog for WIP for Wednesday.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Something a little different

As a passenger, one gets the chance to view the surroundings at a more leisurely pace. I remember sitting in the backseat of the car when my parents went grocery shopping every Friday night. We had to go across the city to a plaza where the nearest big grocery store was. Sitting in the backseat, I would look out the window and, because I loved shoes, I always looked at what the ladies were wearing on their feet. These days I look at the changes in the stores. There are so many independent, and also chain, coffee shops. There are also a lot of restaurants and bars. The names of two such places have given me some amusement whenever we pass by. I finally have photos so you can see for yourself why I am amused.

Insomnia. And right across the street is...


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Changing patterns

I wonder if those people who design things and then make patterns feel slighted if their pattern were changed. I have a friend who is notorious for changing patterns and I don't think she has ever made something where she strictly adhered to the pattern as it was written.

I guess the same thing occurs in recipes. One of my daughters does not follow a recipe. I like to make things the way they are written the first time and then change it if I don't like it. That said, I have been known to leave out things from recipes (such as walnuts or chocolate chips) because I just don't like them.

There are some things that are improved by changing - or they can go completely askew, especially with food. Not too much can be harmed if you are changing a pattern using fabric - especially a quilt.

Recently, I started a quilt that was a block of the month. I had kept the pdf patterns because the subject matter was cute. Squirrels. The BOM was Bunny Hill's Henrietta Whiskers. I will change the name to something like Henrietta and Friends or George and Friends. This quilt has a lot of pumpkins in it - and stars. I want it to be more squirrels and less pumpkins. This idea came to me after I visited the Flikr site that had photos from those quilters that made the quilt when it first came out. There were a few quilters whose work impressed me because they didn't stick with the pattern.

Penny, of A Quiltmaker's Journal, decided to use a bird instead of a squirrel. I don't think the quilt was ever finished but she did manage the first block.

Marijke did finish her quilt and she changed it quite a bit. I particularly the fact that she got rid of the house at the bottom of the quilt and combined two blocks to add a pumpkin chariot being pushed by a squirrel and led by two black birds.

Kathie, who lives in Australia, made her quilt very distinctive. Her fabrics are totally different and she changed the original pattern quite a bit. She even made the house look like it sits in the Australian outback.

So, you see, even if you use a pattern as a jumping off point, you don't have to follow it exactly. Use your imagination, take out what you don't like and put in what you want. There is no one to tell you that you have to make it in the same dimensions or use the same colours.

This is the bear quilt that appeared in Quilter's Newsletter (I mentioned it here.) I remember showing this to someone and they really didn't like it - mainly  because of the colours. It is not quilted but tied. The pattern is quite nice but there are some people who just cannot visualize it looking like something else.
This quilt was made by my friend Marg. The pattern was used as a monthly block draw, in the early 1990s, at one of the guilds that I belong to. Marg won them and then, because she likes bigger quilts, added a few of her own bears as extras and then finished the quilt. She held onto it until she had a great grandchild and a year ago Christmas, it was delivered to the little boy.
Same pattern, different fabrics, different size and a different look to the quilt. So, go ahead and change it up. Make it your own. That's what makes things interesting.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Block one

I changed it up a bit but here's the first block of Bunny Hill's Pumpkinville. The original was a bit bare.

It has no cat and I'm not sure if I will add one or not.
I'm linking up with the Needle and Thread Network. Go over and take a look at what other Canadians are up to this week.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Carolyn, a very creative person, (check out her quilts AND her inchies) has presented me with the Liebster Award.

Here are 11 random things about me:
1. I really, really love milk. It's the greatest.

2. My first pet was a canary. Dickie was a wonderful bird and I was very sad when he died.

3. I love flamingos.

4. It bothers me when I read a book and there is an error in either spelling or grammar. It stops the flow of reading.

5. I'm not really fond of the colour red so I don't wear it.

6. I only have one brother and he's a year and a half older.

7. I just got a hula hoop.

8. I like shovelling snow.

9. I got my ears pierced at the age of 33. I wanted to wear earrings like the little Italian girls in my kindergarten class. It just took me a long time to do it.

10. I love cheese and Finnish black bread (dark rye.)

11. I really don't like strong coffee.

Now, I have to answer 11 questions:
1. If I could live somewhere else, where would I live?
Just about anywhere in Canada that has trees.
2. What is my favourite memory?
The days my children were born. Holding them for the very first time.
3. What do I collect?
Fabric, yarn, books, magazines and patterns.

4. Which musician did I discover last year?
Marco Antonio Solis (perhaps it was a year or two ago)
5. Is there something I would do differently? What? Why?
6. Who is my favourite author?
Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Lee Child, David Baldacci, and a few others I can't remember.

7. Which country do I want to visit again?
How about visit for the first time? Finland.

8. What is my weakness?
Food? Cappucino yogurt at the moment. Mocha cake.

9. What do I detest?
Incorrect spelling, the use of the word axe when they mean ask, the use of the word "I" when someone means "me."
A simple tip to understand which one to use, remove "you and" in the sentence, and see if the sentence is still correct (apart from the verbs that need to be changed from plural to singular).
10. What is my favourite art tool?
Pencil crayons.

11. What is my favourite pet?
I have two cats at the moment.

I am now supposed to pass this award to 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers. If you want it, take it and pass it along. I received this award once before so I have already nominated bloggers.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Using fabric

I have been wanting to use up the fabric that I have accumulated over the years. I don't buy "so and so's" line of fabric and I don't buy pre-cuts (even though I do have some charms and jelly rolls I picked up on sale.) I buy what I like, when I like it and as much, or as little, as I like. Fabricland's remnant bin has been a favourite place to look around for various pieces. I sew clothing too and, when my children were small, the sales at Fabricland were wonderful to keep me stocked up on all kinds of fabrics and in all sizes too since little skirts or shirts didn't take much fabric to complete. I still sew items of clothing but I really want to use up my quilting stash.

I, like a lot of you, have my favourite colour(s) so there are lots of fabrics in various shades for me to use up. Also, there are some colours that I am not fond of or don't use much of so they aren't plentiful in the stash. I am determined, though, to use what I have and because the quilt police are busy elsewhere, I can do what I want, when I want. I can alter patterns to suit myself and I can use alternative fabrics in whatever colours my heart desires. Have you ever thought how liberating that is? Making a purple cow perhaps or leaves on a vine that are multicoloured when you are making a Baltimore Album quilt? A stem for a vine or flower made out of that really ugly fabric that is a big print and you wonder now why on earth it's in your stash? Think of the possibilities.

I like using fabrics that are solids or that read as solid. I always have and my eye always go to those quilts that are made of solid fabrics - as opposed to printed fabrics. Years ago, cotton solids didn't come in a whole lot of colours (and were very expensive) so I used poly-cotton broadcloth. I have several yardage pieces to use up in many different colours. I also have cottons now in all different colours to use up but what I don't have a lot of is the colour brown. I had to buy some to make my daugher a quilt (still unfinished) and it got used up because what I bought was fat quarters.

Recently, I went looking through my stash to see exactly what browns I did have - or even caramels, since I wanted to applique some bears. The brown couldn't be too dark. I nixed several pieces for various reasons - usually because they were too dark, not really brown or they had a pattern that just didn't look right for a little bear.

See? Even though the colours are not true, one is too red, the middle one isn't really brown and it does have some issues (I didn't want my little bears to be pock marked) and the fabric on the right is clealy patterned wrong for what I wanted to use it for. I can't find the other rejects but if they were too dark, then the embroidery on the face would not show up.
Here's my little bear. The pattern is from Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, issues 223 and 224 (June and July/August of 1990) and it's called Fun Time Bears by Theresa Eisinger.
 (I believe in giving credit where credit is due.)
This is the fabric I found in my stash that I just knew was the right brown. I really, really didn't want to go out and buy anything. The colour, of course, is not true in this picture. The first photo of the bear shows the colours better.
I just had to flip it over to know that I would be using this.
See, most of the bear's body is the reverse and I used the right side of the fabric for the feet.
This is the caramel coloured fabric that I used for the bear's muzzle. I plan on using the reverse for another bear.
So, you see, doesn't matter what fabrics you have, improvise, and take a look at the reverse side. It may hold the key to what you are looking for. If not, then use up what you have and improvise. Make a purple sky with white polka dots and blue flowered grass.