Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Year End Summary–quilts this time

At this time last year, I did a count of quilts completed and had a personal best of 26 done.  Not even close to that this year.  I could only scape up 6 pictures of quilts I had finished. And one of those I had to use picture of it before being quilted since I rushed out of the house with it to a baby shower as soon as it came out of the dryer.
finished quilts
Clockwise from top left; I Spy, Strip twist, Star is born, Celtic Solstice, Zoo Parade, Strip Twist 2
On the other hand, I have finished a lot more that are still just tops, waiting for an occasion to quilt them.
from the top left clockwise; disappearing nine-patch, framed 9 patch, Smokey mountains, pfefferneuse, ROTH, Jared takes a wife, streak of sunshine, construction stripe, cat sitting on film at 5
I’m really pleased to be able to count the Ring Around the Hexies (bottom right) as a finished top. That has been lingering, neglected, since coming back from North Carolina in 2013.
Instead of my head down, back to the world, mono-focused on quilts, attitude of 2013, I've been spending more time with family and working on other projects.
from the top left, clockwise; rebuilt stone pathway beside the driveway, raced on BIL’s boat, vacation with sister, Passover dinner, removed built-in bookcases from Den, visiting cousins, prepping our boat for the water
I think it has been a good mixture of quilts and family time, and will try and continue this. Although, we just got an invitation to our Boston cousin’s wedding in June so might have to put my head down and get to work on that quilt. I’ve picked Bonnie’s Smith Mountain Morning for it only in blue and yellow instead of blue and browns. Just need to finish the mystery first before I start cutting.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Year End Tally, but not of quilts

I don’t talk about my job, other than to refer to the fact of having to go to work. Some of the reason is due to the privacy, other reasons are it isn’t a very interesting job. Basically I do personal care on seniors in a nursing home. Nothing intellectual, fascinating or even of interest to most. My frequent description is that we “wash, dress, fed, repeat 26 times” .

But it is necessary and very important to the people I care for. And care is a very apt description. Because we do come to care for the patients and even though we know they are frail and near the end of their lives, it is sometimes a shock when the end is so soon.

The best part of my job is the people I meet.  They are all so different and so interesting, artists, fighter pilots, all sorts of fascinating lives they’ve led. The worst part isn’t the messy physical stuff or the heavy lifting that leaves me flat out exhausted some days. No, the worst part is losing them. Especially when I go in after a few days off and someone is gone, as I did today.

And this has been a hard year. I sat and counted them out today. 12 gone in 12 months.  Good bye Jean, Otto, Joe, Nicola, Mary, Donna, Ilsa, Ilene, Ruth, Kurt, Cy, Margaret, I’m glad I knew you.

Now I’m going to go sew something to lift my spirits. 100_2021

Monday, 29 December 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Link Up #5

Here it is Monday again, time for another Grand Illusion Mystery quilt link up
A wonderful treat of a clue this Friday, 4 patches to make.  With only 4 of one colour way and 25 of the other it seemed a cinch.  And wow it was.  I had to go look up those numbers in my print out to be sure. Somehow I had the number 40 written on my tally board. Always good to recheck the numbers from time to time.
With 40 written there, I thought I was only half done. Turns out I have 20 of that block which means 5 more and I will be finished. The 4 of unit B are already done and sitting the basket of completed components.

The other blocks were a little harder to find and required a fair bit of cleaning of the sewing area before they were unearthed.
The cluttered cutting area is a result of diving into the bin of 2 inch strips looking for neutrals. While doing that I decided I had too many and needed to sew up some 9 patches to thin out the bin.

An afternoon of QuiltCam was the perfect time to put pedal to the floor and I now have 30 nine patches done. More still in the partial assembly state.  I’m not sure yet if they will be made into Dancing Nines (free pattern on Bonnie’s blog)  or Rick-Rack Nines (from “Adventures with Leaders and Enders) Just having fun making them, with no thought to matching anything or even light/dark.

And speaking of light/dark, I think the lack of light is starting to take it’s toll on my geraniums. They are looking pretty bad, with just a few scraggly flowers left.
Now for the link-up and the fun of technology. Isn’t it amazing to be able to see what hundreds of other quilters are doing, across the globe. To all be sewing the same blocks, at the same time and be sharing our progress, totally fabulous. Thanks again, Bonnie, for this wonderful adventure.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Grand Illusion Update

Pretty sure this is week four but the time is just zipping by so it might even be week five, lol.
A lot more progress this week, due to a whole day dedicated to sewing. Friday I didn’t even dress, I went right from printing the new clue, to the sewing room with barely a stop for coffee. And right into the cutting.
And was I ever glad for my dash to the fabric store the day before. I felt my blacks weren’t scrappy enough so trekked over to my local quilting store. I was really looking for a particular batik I had found in my bin. I had only one strip of 2.5” left of it and no idea where I had found it originally. They didn’t have it but I picked up a couple of FQs of some others. I would insert a picture of them here but turns out I didn't take one before jumping in and cutting. 

The new clue didn’t get  all my attention, in fact I didn’t even get ten of them done
unit 4

Here they are, all nine of them. 
Instead I worked a little bit on every clue.
So now I have 65 of Unit One; 24 of Unit Two; and 40 of Unit Three.
And the Bargello is coming along nicely as my Leader and Ender, with one panel done and two ready to slice and dice.
Even more exciting to me, is the geraniums are still in bloom. Getting some yellowing in the leaves but the flowers just might last until the end of the mystery2014-12-22 006 
Now to link up with Bonnie at Quiltville and see how every one is coming along. Maybe I should get a coffee first, this could take a while, visiting over a hundred blogs.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Another Weekly Mystery Update

Here were are, another Monday update on the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt. Linking up with Bonnie and all the other mystery quilters over at Quiltville
This working for a living has really cutting into my sewing time this weekend, so much so that here is is Tuesday before I could get to the computer and post.
I got about six of Unit three clue
And I wasn’t too happy with the amount of green I had to use.  So Monday I stopped at my the local Value Village.  They had a 50% sale on and I found 4 light green shirts and a couple yards of green fabric to add in. 2014-12-16 005 Much happier with the strip sets now.

2014-12-16 006And speaking of strip sets, a second Bargello strip set got finished. More work on it since it is less intense to sew after a day of work. Definitely less thinking involved.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Mystery Quilt Sidelined

My progress on the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt became seriously sidelined.  Carrying the analogy further, if it was a train, it would be off the rails.
desk mess
Somewhere under all that fabric are the pieces for Clue 2.  A cutting frenzy has been taking place.
It happened so innocently. DH happened to mention the other night, that as much as he likes Celtic Solstice, it is too small for our bed. And while he likes the pattern very much, what he really craves is one of the “adult I Spys”.  Translation of that cryptic phrase he means the Scrappy Bargello.  That was the first pattern of Bonnies I attempted, trying in vain to tame the piles of fabric I had been gifted by my well meaning sister. Four years later, I have even more fabric, excessively more fabric, but no bargello quilt.  I did finish it, but then gifted it to my brother in law and his new wife.
So what he wants is a SB made with all the novelty fabrics he has encouraged me to buy.  As he was explaining this, my enthusiasm took over and I immediately attacked the piles of fabric with my Accuquilt Go and the 2.5” strip die. The mess on the desk is the result of that attack. The only fabric that was spared the cut was the basket for GIMQ.
bargello strip
  One strip done, 5 more to go.
Please excuse the quality of the photos, these were downloads from my phone. My camera is lost somewhere in all the fabric, I think. I know I had it here Monday.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt: Week 2

A working weekend meant less time for sewing but I did get a few cut and sewn of Clue 2. I tried a hybrid method, sort of a quick and dirty, slap together solution and am less than pleased with the result. So printed off the template and going to try it that way for a while.
Here’s what they look like so far:
Grand Illusion clue2 2014-12-08 004
Two unit 2s sewn, one unsewn and 50 of clue one done.

Grand Illusion clue2 2014-12-08 001
My inspiration for my pinks, still blooming. I’m hoping they will stay in bloom until the end of the mystery but it could be a bit of a long shot.

So now to link up with Bonnie and see every ones progress. It is so fascinating to see how different the pieces can look with a change in colour.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Challenge Update: Week 6

It is always surprising, all be it a pleasant suprise, when something takes less time than I anticipated, the quilt top I had started at the Collaboration Celebration class back in August 2013 for example.  This was the retreat/class I went to with classes by both Bonnie and her friend Mickey DePre, combining their techniques into a quilt. It has been languishing in a plastic drawer since last September.  Put away so I could focus on the sailboat wedding quilt and two scrappy trips quilts.  From time to time I would think about it but the thought was there was too much left to do for a quick project and that it would have to come out when I had time to focus on it alone.
Of course we all see where this is heading. I pulled it out  to be another challenge project and found there was very little left to do to get it all sewn together.
Here it is with all the setting triangles done and ready to assemble.
I held off posting yesterday hoping to have a finished top to show but my machine didn’t cooperate. And alas it is only half way together. But that is a lot farther than it was while stuck in a drawer so I’m pleased with the progress.
Now to link up with Jo

Monday, 1 December 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt : Week1

I’m so excited to be starting a new Mystery Quilt.  This will be my fourth and I have already made myself firm resolutions to keep up with the clues and most of all get things cut. Also to have fun because that is the important part of quilting, it should be fun. It is definitely fun to link up on Monday and see the progress everyone has made, their fabrics and even unique colour choices. So check them all out over at Quiltville.
My progress was totally turtley this weekend. Yes, spell check doesn’t recognize that word either, guess it must be made up, but it describes what my sewing was like perfectly. Life got in the way.  Starting with a staff party Friday night, reached the heights on Saturday with hours spent at Costco negotiating a new cell phone, then ended Sunday with a gorgeous +16C day, perfect for being outside doing yard work.
Excuses out of the way, here is what I did get done in between all that.
2014-11-30 006
GIMQ bkndish

I’ve cut about 150 HST pairs and about 20 squares  of blacks and yellows. Plus put together two blocks to test the cutting and sewing. Everything is matching up the way it should.  And I did some more on  Ring Around the Hexies. It went together faster than I thought, turns out I didn’t have as much left to cut as I imagined.
That’s my progress, now to see what  all the other mystery quilters have been up to.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Done, done, done !

A big thank you to Jo for the kick in the butt. By that I mean her challenge to finish a Bonnie quilt before the next mystery.  Spurred on by wanting some progress to report on every week, I have buckled down and actually finished Celtic Solstice.

I just love looking at it spread out on our bed. It will never win an award but has won a place of honour.
Now to get the linky thing going with Jo.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Bonnie Challenge Week 5

Wow, week 5 is here already. Time to link up with Jo's Bonnie Challenge and see what everyone has done this week.
I’ve made great progress and can even imagine being finished Celtic Solstice by next week. Which would be a good segue,  the end of this mystery quilt and the start of a new one.
I marked a few swirls free had with chalk to start off the border quilting. Then once I had the pattern established in my mind, I did the rest with no marking.

That left just the trimming and binding. Done and half done.
binding tool

Since this is going to be “our” quilt, I took the opportunity to get familiar with the binding tool we bought when I first got this machine. I had been hesitant to experiment with someone else’s quilt so had held off other that a few test pieces. The big stumbling block for me was turning corners. The You Tube video that is recommended for learning this had a convoluted (to me) way of cornering. Fortunately while we were walking around the Quilt Canada Market, DH talked me into asking the Janome salesrep about the binding tool. She turned out to be an expert user of it and give me a quick lesson with a better way to do the corners. So today I am doing it her way, and it is working. Two corners done so far, just took a break to come post this.

Another success, still have the geraniums in bloom, despite the winter weather that has dumped on us. I’m loving sitting sewing looking at them.

In anticipation of finishing off Solstice, I’ve picked another UFO of Bonnie’s to work on next. Pfefferneuse (from String Fling) is ready for borders, so I dug out another 2013 project. Ring Around the Hexies from Bonnie and Mickey Dupree. I stuffed this in a box when I had some deadline quilts and never got back to it. RATH
Only three hexies left to finish that last block, and then the sashing HST. Time to “get’er done”. Not sure I can finish this in a week but at least it is back in active duty.

but first, back to the binding while the sun is still shinning in my bay window.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Week 4 Update

Here it is week four of Jo’s UFO Challenge and I am no further along than last week. Quilting totally halted this week while other activities took precedence.

One of which was my day job. No pictures of that to share. Although I was working on a unit where the patients have some beautiful quilts. A pineapple quilt that is just gorgeous with what I believe are 3/4 in pieces, all in 30’s prints. However, we are not permitted to have our phones with us while working or to take pictures of our patients and their stuff. So that’s the end of that story.

Next distraction was getting my geraniums out of the garden before the frost comes. I haven’t tried wintering them over before. Choosing instead to purchase new in the spring. However this year I really loved their colour and wanted to ensure I had the same next year. I’m trying three different methods, hoping that at least one will succeed. My ceramic pots I bought in Fancy Gap, Virginia, just came in as they were and are sitting in the living room bay window.
2014-11-13 002
These ones even popped out some new blooms after I carried them in. The Ones that were planted in the ground I dug up and am trying to dry them out to store wrapped in newspaper. Which is a method I read about but have never tried so have my doubts. And one of them I replanted from the ground into a pot.
Another project that had lots of time and attention was acquiring a car for my DD2. I think I mentioned last post how we were out looking at used cars for her. We almost lost the one that we liked best and had to race out  after work on Saturday to put a deposit down on it. Monday we went back and completed the paperwork.
2014-11-13 003
It’s a nice little Honda Civic which hopefully will last through the rest of her university years. We just have to get rid of the car in front of it now.

I did do some sewing on the Pfefferneuse blocks and am now sewing the hourglass units to the string units. And somehow I have miscounted again and am 9 hourglass units short.

2014-11-13 004

 Hopefully they are just lost on my cutting table.
Linking up with Jo's Country Junction to see what eveyone has gotten done this week.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Wednesday Update

Oops, yes I know it is Thursday. Things got busy here yesterday and I wound up doing a lot of running around instead of writing this. We are trying to find a new/used car for DD2 and had to go check some out with her. But this darn clock change, wound up trying to check out cars in people’s driveways after dark, not a great set up.
So here is my progress on Celtic Solstice this week: finished the free motion quilting on the body of the quilt, did two rows of walking foot around the first border. Next up is some curves in the last border.
2014-11-06 002
I love looking at all the fabrics in this quilt.  They range in age from my oldest, purchased to make the Storm at Sea back in 1989, to brand new oranges purchased on our trip last autumn. And everything in between. I can’t wait to get it done and curl up in it.
For the times I can’t be on the “quilting” sewing machine, I have been working on the Pfefferneuse blocks from Bonnie’s book String Fling.  Getting enough put together to see the pattern forming on the design wall.
2014-11-06 001
I don’t know who will get this one. My DD2 loved it when back when the book arrived but she is now in love with Easy Street.  The problem being she loves almost every quilt. Maybe the other two kids wouldn’t mind if she gets two, or I will just have to make two quilts for them.

Now to do the linky thing with Jo's Country Junction

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Progress on Celtic Solstice

I am very pleased to report in on my Celtic Solstice progress because I feel I actually have progress this week. It is down off the basting wall and under the quilting needle of my Janome. But wait there’s more….I have three rows of quilting done!
Here’s a shot of the quilting from the back. The line running through is a basting row I took . Well, actually I was going to do diagonal lines and this was the first one. Turns out I didn’t like where it was going and changed the quilting plan but left the two diagonal lines in for stability.  Once all the quilting is done I will  take these out.

frontof Celti
This is the front. The little flecks of white are bits of tissue left from the quilting pattern. I am using one of the long rolls of quilting patterns I bought on our visit to Keepsake Quilting in New Hampshire last fall. This is the last of it and I am making it go farther by tracing the pattern on tissue paper and sewing through that.

It takes a little longer to do this way. I have to tape the tissue in long strips and then transfer the pattern. I've  been using a Crayola Washable marker to do it as I like the way it marks and any transfer to the quilt will presumably wash out.   Last time I did this I put a layer of glass to protect the original pattern from bled through of the marker but not as worried this time as this will be the last use of this roll. When I get down to the last row I'll just use the paper pattern.  The first time I tried this tissue paper technique I used pins to hold it to the quilt top. Now I spray the back of the paper with basting spray to hold it in place. It is not a 100% adherence, you possible can see in the picture places where the paper has lifted when I moved the quilt. But it is working better than anything else I have tried so far.
Grand total of 3 rows quilted so far with the fourth under the needle. A cold snap this week has spurred my efforts to get this done as I have decided this will be our quilt.  The only thing preventing me from doing more will be my work schedule.

Now to do the link  up with  Jo's Country Junction  and see what everyone else has done this week.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A UFO Challenge

Always up for a challenge, and when it dovetails with what I was planning to do that is kismet. Jo Kramer  at Jo’s  Country Junction issued a UFO challenge to finish something while waiting for the Grand Illusion Mystery and that is what I have been trying to do this week.
Number one for me was to get last years mystery completed. Well, so far I have it up on the basting wall and have sprayed it with basting spray. Just need to get some safety pins in it before taking down to living room to quilt .
Second was the Pfefferneuse that has been languishing for months. The string blocks were done, I got stalled on the hourglass units. As it happens one of the fabrics I looked for during summer vacation was red. At the time I was thinking about the Double Wedding Ring I had planned to work on during vacation, needing a few more reds and yellows for ends. So I pulled out the new reds and some neutrals and started cutting and sewing. Finished the hourglass units last night while watching Quilt Cam and started putting them together with the string units today. Grand total of 5 done.
Above the Pfefferneuse blocks are the three other blocks I have been working on. Some Split 9-Patches, a few Scrappy Mountain Majesties and at the far left a single Holy Toledo block. Those three will be the third item. The Split 9-Patch is an actual UFO that has been hanging around for over a year, the other two have just been started. I came back from vacation with a couple bags of shirts and started cutting them up
And cutting and cutting, a lot of cutting.  Then it came time to find a place to put all the cut fabric, the bin I had for small bits of plaids had a stack of pieces already cut for the Scrappy Mountains. It seemed perfectly logical at the time to cut a piece from all the new fabric to add to the stack, and while cutting the 8.5” piece, to also cut a 6.5” piece for the Holy Toledo that has been on my Bucket List
It is such a slippery slope into starting a new project, I slide down it with very little effort.
Now to link up with Jo's Country Junction and see what UFOs everyone else is working on.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Done, Done, (almost) done

The two baby quilts are done, hooray. Only one picture as I had the opportunity to drop one off to it’s destination and jumped at the chance.
 Here is the I Spy in all it’s finished glory. I’m really happy with the border.

With these two crossed off the must-do list, the next items were borders on the two mystery quilts that are still hanging around. I’m determined to get them done before starting another mystery. 009
They now have borders and backs are in the works. Celtic Solstice has it’s back, that is the blue plaid hanging behind it. And Easy Street has fabric hanging beside it that will have to be seamed. That quilt is huge, 96” last time I measured. If I don’t get it off the banister soon it probably will stretch another inch.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A New Year, A New Beginning


Today we start a new year in the Jewish calendar, a time for a fresh start and meaningful renewal.  So my resolution, at least one of my resolutions, is to make a fresh start at my blog.

One of the others, is to finish more quilts. I have been unfocused and flitting from project to project. Maybe if I post a list on here it will keep be on track.  As a start, today I am going to tackle the two quilts that have been sitting for at least two weeks waiting for thread clipping and washing. Time to get’er done.

This one is the second Strip Twist I did, better picture will come after washing
This one is another I Spy for my girlfriend’s newest grandchild

So now that I’ve said it, I have to go do it.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Did you ever have to write one of those essays? And try to sum up weeks of sunshine and fun in a page of words? Well, here I go.
Firstly, I didn’t mean to be away so long. But the days just rolled on, without writing a post, and then I saw on Claire’s blog the line under my blog said 5 weeks. Yikes ! had it really been, well yes it had.
Our vacation started with a mad dash out of St. Catharines to get to Portland for the Friday night sailing of the new ferry between Maine and Nova Scotia.
vacay2014 005
It was a lovely boat, the cleanest ferry I’ve ever been on. And nicest smelling. We splurged and took a cabin, so we had a good sleep and were ready to visit friends and family in Yarmouth when we rolled off in the morning.
Not too many banner headline moments, mostly just  being with people we love. A lot of sitting around talking, some swimming in clear cold lake water, a walk around town to see what’s new. And a trip to an antique store we hadn’t checked out last trip.
vacay2014 002
Tuesday we packed up and hit the road to Cape Breton. With a side detour in Avonport to a fabric store I have been following on Facebook and want to see. It lived up to expectations, and the service was above and beyond. When the clerks discovered I hadn’t found just the fabric I wanted, one of them went to her stash in the basement, found the colours I was lacking and cut it for me. Can't say enough about such wonderful people.
Once we got to Cape Breton there was more traveling. My husband and his brother left almost immediately to sail his boat from St. Peter’s to Sydney. This took two days. The second day my sister in law and I packed up and drove to Sydney to meet them. We timed it perfectly, driving into the yacht club just as they rounded the breakwater. The whole point of this exercise was to be ready to start a 6 day sailing race.
And for the next week that is what we did. Everyday was the start of a new race. Well, there was one day of rest, the third day. It is called Race the Cape and is only the second year they have done this.  It was a whole lot of fun.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Holiday Weekend

It is the first day of a holiday weekend here. Our Canada Day lands on Tuesday so everyone who can has booked off the Monday and is having a long, long weekend.  Due to our schedules, DH and I are not getting the full effect of this. He is on-call and has to keep his work phone on and actually answer it. I get the Sat & Sun but have to work Mon & Tues. What we did have on the agenda for today was the launch of our boat. Which happened bright and early this morning.100_3484
Bright being very appropriate, it was very sunny and we are both sorry we didn’t apply sunscreen. Here DH is getting everything set up. 100_3488

To get to us, the yard workers had to move trailers around first.

Then they pushed us on our trailer over to the big machine that lowers the boat into the water.
And before you know it, we are afloat. Motor on and over to the dock.

The rest of the day was spent on the fiddly bits of stuff that consume so much of boating. The sail isn’t even on yet! But just being there, on the water, was wonderful. 100_3521
Canada Goose pretending to be a Flamingo ( we weren’t fooled for a minute)

And now that feeling you get after a full day in the fresh air and sun is creeping in and some one, some where is having a really good fireworks. I’m too tired to even wonder where.