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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve Project

What an exciting life I lead - sewing away my New Years Eve.  Truth be told, I would much rather do this than go to a party.

Tonight, my plan is to turn this:
into this:

This is this month's Freebie Fifteen from Traditional Pastimes.  The block finishes 12 inches - those are all 1 inch strips.  I've never done a log cabin before, so this is exciting!

One thing about this BOM - each block has such tiny pieces, my accuracy is bound to improve!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011


nysi by Scientific Quilter
nysi, a photo by Scientific Quilter on Flickr.

The Boxing Day Sew In was so much fun that they've decided to do it again. New Year Sew In takes place over New Years Eve and New Years Day. To join, go to #NYSI on Twitter.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Boxing Day Sew In (BDSI) Results

Well, it wasn't on Boxing Day, but I did finish all of the 64 blocks needed for my son's graduation quilt.

These are 16 of the blocks - I laid them out to see what the finished quilt would look like.  I'm pretty pleased.  This is a pattern from an old Fons and Porter magazine.

BDSI was a lot of fun.  We joined in via Twitter.  I had never used Twitter before, so that took some getting used to.  It's like being in a big room and listening in on various random conversations.  Then, you just jump in.  I can't see myself being a big Tweeter, but for something like this, with a limited group of people, I quite liked it.  I set up my laptop next to my sewing machine and checked it every time I got up to iron.  There were giveaways set up ahead of time, and timed giveaways during the day.  It felt very much like a retreat, except that I could leave and get myself a coffee or have a quick break whenever I wanted.  I would definitely joing in a Twitter quilting event again.  The group was talking about doing one on either New Years Eve or New Years Day.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Sew In (BDSI) Project

Sandy at Quilting for the Rest of Us is hosting the Boxing Day Sew In (#BDSI on Twitter - although I'm not sure how to navigate Twitter).

BDSI Blog Button by Pantsfreesia

The project I am working on is my son's graduation quilt.  Now, I have to admit that my son is 19 years old and graduated high school 18 months ago.  But, it's getting there, I promise!

These are the blocks that I have done.  There are 32 of the ones on the left - they are all completed.  There are 14 done of the ones on the right - 18 more to go.  I'm hoping to finish them all off, and maybe get some put together.

This will be much better than braving the Boxing Day sales.  There is nothing that I want to buy that badly!  (Now, if my LQS were open on Boxing Day, I may be singing a different tune!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Quilt Whisperer Course

Carla Barrett, over at Step on Pins is starting her next Quilt Whisperer course on January 9th.  I took the course last summer.  It is very professionally done, with videos, narrated powerpoints, and the ability to ask her questions on her forum.  The class materials stay available for 6 months afterwards.

The course covers how to decide on quilting designs for your quilt.  This is the hardest part of quilting to me, and she gives LOTS of ideas.  She even takes some students quilts and shows how she would quilt them - and why.

I highly recommend the course.  It is well worth the cost, in my opinion!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Boxing Day Sew In

BDSI Blog Button by Pantsfreesia
BDSI Blog Button, a photo by Pantsfreesia on Flickr.
Hop on over to Quilting for the Rest of Us  for more information about the Boxing Day Sew In. It sounds like fun!

Fixed the Templates

I picked up my next Freebie Fifteen packages from Traditional Pastimes on the 15th of this month, and found they had included the same templates.  The staff person said they would be using those templates throughout the program.

So, I decided to see if I could re-draw the templates so that they were easier ot piece by machine.  The way they were provided, the pattern maker had simply taken the finished shape, drawn a cutting line around and rounded the corners of the cutting line.  I worked with it a bit, and was able to come up with blunted corners that, when cut out, would line up perfectly with the side of the piece that they were being sewn to.  Success!

Here are the templates.  I just drew my lines over the existing pattern.
If anyone would like this as a PDF, e mail me and I can send it. 
I tried it out on some scrap fabric, just to make sure it worked, and it did.  Now, to go ahead and make up this month's blocks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beautiful Sunset Last Night

There is nothing prettier than the sky at sunset when a chinook is blowing in.  Here is the view from my upstairs window.
The heavy clouds create a chinook arch over the blue sky to the west.  Most of the sky was a brilliant orange.  Gorgeous!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday Sampler

This is the only Saturday Sampler I have actually completed.  It is the first one that I ever participated in - it was probably back in 2005.  I have participated in, I think, 4 others, but the blocks are still waiting to be put together.

It's a big quilt - I think it was 76 inches wide.  I have a midarm machine - a HQ16 and when I bought it, it could be set up on an 8 foot table or a 12 foot table.  At the time, I thought I would never need a 12 foot table, so I set it up at 8 feet.  What I didn't realize is that you can't quilt an 8 foot quilt on an 8 foot table.  Six feet tops.  This one was too big.  I went on a HQ forum and asked for tips. The only one I got was to cut it in half lengthwise.  Since I had already attached the borders, I didn't think I could do that.  I folded over one edge, but then when you roll it on the rollers, it ends up skewed.  I ended up shoving bits of batting in to minimize the skewing, then quilted one quarter of the quilt at a time.  It was very nerve-wracking.  Amazingly, there are no tucks in the back!

Here is a close up of some of the better quilted parts.

I used a wool batting, which was very nice.  It quilted up much puffier than cotton.  You have to wash it in cold water and can't use the dryer, but it is very light and warm.  A good choice, in my opinion, for a larger quilt.

This was my daughter's graduation quilt.  She graduated high school in 2005.  She got it in 2008.  I named it "Patience is a Virtue".

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holy Templates Batman!

So, I'm working on the Traditional Pastimes Freebie Fifteen blocks.  This is the second month, and there are templates again!
These were just drawn out on the sheet of paper, and I glued them on to cardboard and cut them out.  I have never done that before.  I have used TriRecs tools and the Angle Play templates, but both of those have the corners cut at a proper angle so that you know how to put them together.  I think the templates provided with these work OK for hand piecing, but I had no idea how to line up the pieces to machine stitch them together.

But, I managed to do it.  Here are the completed blocks.  Some of the points are cut off, but is passes the man on a galloping horse test.

Despite my grumbling, I'm really liking how this is coming together.  And, it's good to challenge myself.

If I get templates in my next package, I'm going to sit down with graph paper and a ruler and try and figure out the corners myself.  How hard can that be?   (Famous last words.)

Friday, December 09, 2011


Working in the family law biz is especially stressful before Christmas.  People have lots of urgent concerns - things that they either never thought of before or that they thought their ex would agree to.  Turns out they can't agree who will have Junior this Christmas.  Or, they need to get a passport to travel, and can't find their ex to sign.  Or, they want to increase their child support and have extra money to pay the Christmas bills.  And, everyone is more emotional this time of year.  Including us - those that are supposed to be calm and professional as we help.
This is how our office front counter area felt all week.  Minus the cross.  I had strong language and tears - from the clients and from the staff.  This should be the worst of it, though.   By next week, it is getting too late to make court applications if they have to serve the other party.  So, we can coast through to Christmas - then be ready for the first workday after Christmas, when we get the inevitable post Christmas rush.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Got the Cord Back!

I finally cornered my son when he was home, and recovered the cord to download pictures to my computer.   I did try to find it in his room, without success.  Now, to keep it hidden so he doesn't borrow it again.

I've been baking for Christmas.  I've made my Christmas pudding, Christmas cakes, and last Saturday, when it was snowing like crazy, it seemed like a great day to make Grandma Irvine's shortbread.  I'll share the recipe.

1 lb. (2 cups) butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
4 cups flour, more or less.

You have to mix this by hand to get it right.  Cream the butter with a wooden spoon.  Add the sugar, and mix well.  Stir in 3 cups of flour, then add more until it is "right".  This happens when you pat it together in a ball, flatten the ball, and notice the edges begin to crack.  If you're not up to checking for rightness, just put in the fourth cup of flour and be done with it.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
I use a cookie cutter that actually belonged to my grandmother, and measure the thickness by where the serrated part of the cutter ends.  It makes for a nice thick cookie.

Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes, until golden.  It makes about 4 dozen - if you use my grandmother's cookie cutter.

And enjoy!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

We take a break from our regularly scheduled broadcasting

My son has "borrowed" the cord that I use to download pictures from my camera. 
Three days ago.
Do I dare venture into the chaos that is his room to try and find it?

Friday, December 02, 2011

Quilting History, Day Five

Mystery Quilts!

I've done three mystery quilts.  I have to admit - they are not my favourite.

The thing with a mystery quilt is that you have to pick fabric with no idea, really, how it is going to go together.  If I can see the pattern, I have a better idea if my fabric is going to work or not.

Here is my first mystery quilt.

I learned a valuable lesson with this quilt.  I bought the three fabrics from one line.  Each, by itself, was quite lovely.  Together - boring!  All mediums.  No sparkle.  Oh, well.  It's a good couch quilt!

Undaunted by my first mystery quilt - I signed up for another.  Here it is.
This one came out better in terms of contrast.  The photo is a little more purple than the actual quilt.  The solids are more of a rust.  Tell you the truth - I don't like rust all that much.  I did like the border fabric, and chose the other fabrics to match.   But again, I didn't really like the combination.

I used a little thicker batting in this quilt, (Quilters Dream "Select") and my husband loves it.  I have to admit - it is really cozy.  Both of these quilts are not quite twin size.

So, it was awhile till I tried another Mystery Quilt.  This spring, though, Vicki at Peacebrook Quilting announced she was doing a mystery, and I thought, "Why Not?"  Then her instructions came thick and fast.   Even though I'm not normally that quick, I did manage to keep up.  Here is the result.

I quite like this one.  I free motioned it with a baby bonnet design, as it's crib size.  I donated it to the Slave Lake fire victims.

So who knows.  I may try a mystery again.  But first, I have to get all of my UFO's completed!