Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Mystery Monday Link-up

I had a great post written for this week's link-up. Unfortunately I can't seem to load posts from Live Writer anymore. I've struggled for a whole day with password changes and settings but can't seem to find where the problem lies. So back to writing directly in blogger, which after the ease of Live Writer seems clunky and sparse.

I did a lot of cutting on Sunday to try and get caught up with clue 4. It turned out I  didn't have as much black in my stash as I had thought. So Saturday I took advantage of a Boxing day sale at my local quilt store and picked up some more.  I did put together a few units for clue 5 to see what they'll look like but haven't devoted much time on them yet.

Instead of Clue 5, I sewed my Big Star blocks together Monday. Our weather called for a storm to hit so I decided to open up the treadle and get some practice. We never did lose power although we did get some nasty white stuff all over the place and I got the sashing on all 4 units.
And got some of clue 4 sewn as the leaders and enders while doing this.
Now that I've gotten this re-written, off to link up with  Bonnie  and see what all the other mystery quilters are doing.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Catching up with the gang

I feel like one of the smallest kids, running as fast as possible but still not able to catch up with the rest of the gang ahead of them.  Well, that's what I feel like most years of the Quiltville mystery. Not so much this year. I have been keeping up ,mostly, with the clues. I just haven't been writing about it. 

A minor setback on clue two when I cut the pieces in rectangles instead of the trapezoids with the specialty rulers. But I recovered from that and still managed to use the triangles I had cut. By cutting of the pointed end, I could line them up on the rectangles and get the right shaped unit. 
I only had to un-sew a few, like the one at the bottom left, which came out a little askew. 

Getting a really interesting assortment of units, can't wait to see what is next. And to see what everyone else has been up to over at Quiltville

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Challenge update, week ??

yes, I’ve totally lost track of the challenge.  I did get a little done last week. I thought I could just finish the webbing of the rows and have something to post about.
Nope. Somehow I got some of the blocks turned the wrong way. I realized it wasn’t going together right and stopped to try and figure it out. And there it sits waiting for me to figure out what’s wrong.
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It’s a very busy pattern and the blocks go together in alternating alignment so tracing the fault requires some effort. And a place to lay it out. Right now it is spread out on my daughter’s bed waiting some attention.
Because my attention has been fully focused on the Quartrefoil quilt. A week of assembly line sewing got all the sub-units done and then  all 30 blocks.
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My mission right now is webbing them with the added sashing strips and cornerstones. Have been so single-minded on this goal I didn’t even get dressed yesterday. Which really came back to bite me when I realized at 5 pm. that it was the third Wednesday and guild night.  I could have scrambled and made it across the city in time but we are down to one car and hubby also had a meeting. So I went back to sewing and got another row done.  The Big Black Star quilt is getting it’s snowball corners trimmed and then will be ready to assemble.
So now to link up with  Jo and admit my lack of progress, again.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Challenge Update

I wish I had more to show for my week of sewing. Unfortunately my Holy Toledo top has been totally side-tracked. So much so,it didn’t even get unpacked from our trip. I have been sewing, just not on it.
Instead I have been working on two commissioned quilts. One of which I received the request while I was travelling and came with a deadline, first week of December. Yikes. 
The first one is a black and grey based on the MSQC’s tutorial for Big Star.
2015-10-28 13.55.26Nice big blocks, going together fast. I just need to cut more of the black corner squares to finish the rest of the blocks.
For the second one I went to Missouri Star's Youtube videos again for another big block that would sew up quickly.  And came up with the Quatrefoil pattern.  Here are the two test blocks I did to show the client what it will look like. 2015-10-30 23.46.08
White sashing goes between the rows,with a green cornerstone that makes the purple into a nine-patch and really looks cool.
When she contacted me for this, I was in N.S. and figured I could pick up the fabric at Mardens on  my way home. However, she didn’t get back to me with the colours until after I had already left Maine. So I took a chance and picked up a couple of yards of things I thought would work. Nope, the colours she came back with were green and purple and not florals. 
Now what to do with all this fabric??
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Now to link up with Jo over at the Country Junction and share my lack of progress. Which is the best part of this adventure, because it has allowed me to connect up with some great people and reconnect with retreaters from the fantastic Iowa retreat. It was so great to hear from them after last week’s post.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

is it week 3 already?

I think it is.  Apologies for accepting the challenge and then disappearing. We did a fall trip and for some reason that escapes me now (trying to pack light?) I neglected to bring my computer. The first Wednesday I tried to write a blog post on my phone. Why not, I thought, Bonnie does it all the time. Well, it was a lot harder than I thought to type in all that I wanted to say. Thus my silence. But I was working. Even though I ditched the computer, I packed my 301 and fabric. And I did pull it out and work.
The first part of our trip we went to a wedding in New Jersey. This involved staying in a hotel in Philadelphia. A very nice hotel with a very nice table for me to use.
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I got everything set up and organized and even got some sewing done. Then cousins descended upon us and we went off to socialize.
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Here we are all dressed up ready to leave. After all this time with a cell phone,   I still take terrible selfies

After the wedding ( which was so big almost all my pictures are the backs of the people in front of me) we hit the road for Nova Scotia to see our oldest daughter. She and her fiancĂ© had moved back to NS at the end of the summer and I wanted to see where they were living and be all motherly on them. The machine didn’t come out for the two days on the road but I did do some fabric acquisition at Mardens, one of our favourite stores to check out in Maine. More later on the fabric, this is supposed to be about the challenge UFO.
When we got to my husband’s brother’s house and settled into the guest room my wonderful sister-in-law pulled out a card table and chair for me to use and I was able to get a lot done.
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So much sew, that by the last night of our stay I had the top laid out and ready to web.  I had a little help with determining the correct block placement. 2015-10-19 15.42.51

I did manage a little more machine time after this picture before I had to pack  up and got the first three colums webbed together.
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Now to link up with Jo over at the Country Junction and report in.Come see what every one has done

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Drawn out of hibernation

Well, I wasn’t really hibernating, I was just busy with stuff like working  that didn’t seem too interesting and not worth writing about. But now Jo over at Jo’s Country Junction has toss out a challenge and I couldn’t resist joining in. For the third year, she has challenged us to finish a UFO before Bonnie releases the winter mystery on Black Friday.  The past two years I have participated by finishing up the mystery from the year before. However this year, I already have the mystery done. See it here.
So off to the bins stacked up around my sewing room to look for unfinished projects. It wasn’t hard to find some. I turned up 15 without even  bringing down the stacks of project boxes on the top shelves. 
Now how to pick just one.
I could just give them each a number and draw (or have hubby draw the lucky winner). Or work in order of most complete and so on down the line and hopefully finish more than one. That's probably what I'll choose to do.
Without further ado, here are the contenders:






I really wasn’t going to post all 15 pictures. These are the top contenders.  A wrinkle in this challenge is that for the next two weeks I will be on a road trip to the East Coast and back. We are off to a wedding in New Jersey this weekend and then hitting the road to Nova Scotia to see our daughter. So whatever I choose has to be portable. Hmm, decisions , decisions.  While I’m thinking it over, I’ll be linking up with Jo and see what everyone else is making.

P.S. The one labeled Star Splinter is actually called Star Splitter from Quiltmaker Mar/Apr2013

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Class Time

Now to the whole reason for the travelling, classes with Bonnie and  Jo. There were two retreat centres. One in West Union and another in Oelwein. I was with the West Union group and we got Jo and her daughter Kelli as teachers first. They were fabulous instructors and great fun to be with.


 You can catch a glimpse behind them of the kitchen area of the retreat with all the comforts of home, plus a generous size table for eating right behind them. And another table with the checked cloth to the right. Lots of room to spread out.

Of course I had to get a photo with both of them.jokelli2

Boy, do I ever feel short. This is from day two when they taught us.

The first night was the trunk show down in Oelwein at the high school auditorium.








First Jo and Kelli told us how they became quilt designers and teachers. Then Bonnie explained her food chain of fabric, a rollicking talk that I highly recommend.


 I didn’t try to take pictures of every quilt she showed. Instead I focused on listening and enjoying being there.

Even if you never get to have a class with her, listening to her explain how to use every bit of  fabric you have paid so much for is fascinating.

It hit home today as I picked up a FQ while shopping for licence plates, thinking it would be 3-4 dollars like I’ve been seeing all trip. Unfortunately I’m back in Canada and it was really $7 !!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

West Union, Iowa


This picture perfect little town was our home base for 5 nights and 4 days.  And was it every picture perfect, starting with the courthouse almost directly across the street from the retreat studio. Continuing down the street to buildings that looked like they’d just stepped out of the 1880’s










 I just loved the brickwork on this one, and the next one, and the next.


Down the side streets was even more cuteness. Like this Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam swing.


Hubby and I weren’t staying at the sewing studio so I have no pictures of the upstairs although the girls said it was very nice. We were several blocks away in a hotel. Which I have no pictures of either. Instead I took pictures of the drive-in next door. And some of the customers. We liked it there so much we went twice.









And finally Bonnie and I in front of the studio/retreat centre on the very last day.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Trip to Iowa part 2

On day two of our trip we didn’t get very far from Kalamazoo ( Coloma to be precise)  before seeing a sign for an antique mall. We pulled in and spent some time looking around.
 I found these two machines,a Kenmore and a Singer,  very reasonably priced but not something I was willing to lug around while we were traveling. 
And lots of quilts to look at but once again they stayed behind.


This was a nice, embroidered state birds that only had 9 blocks. Maybe after nine she had  had enough of either birds or embroidery?

These triangles really intrigued me. The fabrics look vintage but
almost too nice to be that old, maybe a reproduction? And the skinny binding really looked modern to me.

 This was one of only a few portable machines we saw.  I have no idea of the make or model. It reminded me of a Singer #20 chain stitcher but once again, we chose to leave it behind.
Then,wandering an aisle, a card table caught my eye. It was loaded up with a cloth and nick-knacks, but I pulled back the cloth to take a peek. And bingo! it was there.
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The distinctive cut-out of a sewing machine inset. And the price? Holey Cow a whooping $192015-07-28 13.26.30 ! But wait, there was a sign on the booth stating everything was 75% off. That makes it less than $5. OMG
Start the car! We’ve got a steal here.

We contacted the checkout lady and completed the purchase, loaded it up and soon were back on the highway. Being the honest people we are, we did tell the lady what it was. (after paying for it). It wasn’t her booth so she wasn’t the one losing out but she was a quilter and now she’ll know what to look for. For some reason I thought this table was for a 301, mostly because it didn’t have the distinctive black edge that my Featherweight table has. It was in pretty bad shape, the top was warped and will need a fair bit of work. We spent the next couple of days telling everyone at the retreat that we had found a 301 table, ‘till Saturday night when we actually tried to fit my 301 into the opening. No go. It is a Featherweight table. 

Great, I already have one and mine is in better shape. I know hubby will not be keen to spend the time and effort refinishing this one just so I can have two tables for the same machine. Luckily, we tried this experiment in the retreat studio after class and one of my classmates has a multitude of Featherweights. She was more than happy to take it off my hands. for $5. Which I was more than happy to do. And promptly spent the money on fabric.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Trip to Iowa, part 1

I took my laptop with me on our trip with good intentions of blogging but then life happened. So I just focused on enjoying the experience and what an experience it was.

For starters, this was the first time I had been west through Michigan, Illinois, Iowa. So everywhere I looked were new sights to see. We even took a different route out of Canada which meant a new border crossing and a new bridge.
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Picture taking from car windows is chancy,(as you can see by the big girder  that got in the way)  so I didn’t do a lot of it but here we are crossing from Sarnia Ontario, into Port Huron Michigan.

We stopped the first night in Kalamazoo, MI. Mostly so I could say I’d been to Kalamazoo, isn’t that a wonderful name
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This looks like we’re at the airport, but actually we’re in the parking lot of a fabric store. Where Hubby found out about the Row by Row experience and the licence plates. I hadn’t mentioned it because I was ambivalent about doing a Row by Row project.  But I did want a licence plate. Bummer, they were all sold out. 

The clerk said they were taking addresses and would mail me one if I bought it. So I did. And when we arrived home last night, it was waiting for me. Great service, Fields Fabrics.
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Hubby then became an enthusiastic plate collector and even tracked some down on his own. More late when I get pictures of the haul.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Challenge finished

Well here we are in the motel in West Union , ready for the retreat to start tomorrow and TaDa. Sewed the last of the pieced border on Grand Illusion tonight.

Hubby and I took a walk to see the retreat centre before supper. Standing in front of the building checking it out and some people started unloading a car. All of a sudden I heard a familiar voice. It was Bonnie ! Bringing supplies for the classes and meeting with her was Kellie, Jo's daughter.  
A happy meet and great. But even better, walked back to the motel and there checking in was ... Bonnie ! Such fun in small towns, everyone is right around the corner. 
And now to link up with JoJo

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Week One of Challenge

The first week of the challenge is over and I succeeded in assembling the body of the quilt. Wasn’t sure I would make it, but powered through and finished the last row on the 20th. While I was busy patting myself on the back, it dawned on me that the pieced outer border wasn’t pieced. Oh, all the blocks were made, they just weren’t assembled. And where in all the chaos of my sewing mess was the inner border fabric?
2015-07-21 20.17.022015-07-20 11.55.55 Finishing last row

                 My first attempt at doing the border was a fail. I didn’t bring the directions down from the sewing room to the living room where I was set up. Instead relied on my memory. Not completely my memory’s fault,  given the poor quality of the print out it’s a wonder I even figured it out at all.2015-07-21 20.17.43
How can you even tell what colours those are supposed to be? Well, I did figure it out and I ripped apart all of the wrong seams and re-sewed them.

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And I found the missing fabric in a bin pulled to make another Celtic Solstice. Luckily I  hadn’t started cutting that.  Not sure if I’ll be able to get any more than the borders on. We have company coming tomorrow. They aren’t staying here, my MIL is putting them up at her house but we did agree to chauffer them around for the three days they’ll be here because they are travelling by bus and won’t have their own car with them. So sewing will be hit and miss depending on the activities of the day. Plus I have a work day Thursday.
Oh and somewhere in all this, we have to get packed to leave Monday morning to drive to Iowa. I should be pulling my hair out. Instead I have been pulling weeds in an effort to get the outside of the house looking presentable. Turns out they are much more satisfactory to pull, you get to feel virtuous about it instead of like a 3 year old having a tantrum.
But now to see what everyone else has been doing over at Jo's