Sunday, 28 June 2015

Rain & Sunshine

     It is rainy, grey and foggy today ... and yet in the studio the sun is shining; the new lights make such a difference.  I have spent a good part of the day cutting, piecing and sewing. I really should have changed the ceiling lights years ago ... who knows how much I would have accomplished!!

     I was able to find a close match for the binding for the peach-star quilt. The binding has been attached and needs to be hand-sewn; this may take a little while since I sprained my index finger on my right hand and I am finding it impossible to pull the needle through the material.

     The top for the Disappearing Hourglass quilt has been completed; I think I'll call it Blue Stars (& I was careful to make sure all the blocks were heading in the same direction!) I added the borders today so the quilt has a 8-inch drop on all sides; final size is 78" x 93". As soon as I decide on an appropriate backing, I will take it over to TLC Studio in Bedford to be machine-quilted.

     My 3rd project this weekend was a play mat for Charlotte ... a great way to use up scraps. The final project is 32" X 32"; the backing is flannelette. This is where I discovered that hand-sewing the binding doesn't work  ... I almost finished one side and realized that I would need to stop and 'ice' my index finger to get the swelling back down. The sewing machine is much quicker & easier; the mat will probably be washed a lot (baby drool, dog hair) so machine-stitching the binding is best.

     Now that these projects are almost out of the way, I can return to working on some art quilts: SAQA My Corner of the World!!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sleep Sacks

     Charlotte is 4 months old this week and growing fast. She has more than doubled her birth weight and has added almost 5 inches to her length! ( I guess we will call it height when she is standing up and walking?) And her little feet are pushing out at the ends of her sleep sacks.
   Kate prefers the sleep sacks that have a zipper on the side instead of the middle ... easier to place a sleeping Charlotte on the sack and zip her in rather than trying to tuck her feet and arms into the ones with the zipper in the middle and with sewn shoulder seams and possibly waking her up.
     I saw some cute material at Atlantic Fabrics yesterday, used a shortened duvet zipper and created a new sleep sack with room for little feet to move. Didn't add the buttons to the shoulders yet ... Kate has decided that she would prefer snaps. The inside is thin flannelette.
     I added an extra little flap that can be snapped shut over the top of the zipper. It is reversible but I expect that Charlotte would prefer the soft flannelette next to her skin especially on some of the cool summer evenings that Nova Scotia experiences. Also added a bit of 'quilting' to keep the flannelette and the cotton outside sections together.
     [I created my own pattern based on a newborn sleep sack Charlotte had been given as a baby gift.]

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Bright Lights!

     The lights in my studio came with the house .. builder standard for the basement. The smokey glass did not help in completing tone-on-tone sewing or working in the evening or on rainy days. Because of the 10 foot ceilings, pendant lights over my work spaces would be great. Ikea has such lights ,,, but the nearest Ikea is in Montreal (roughly a 14 hour drive from here) ... I went on a search. I got side-tracked at a local lighting store that had kitchen cabinets too (a lovely grey wood-grain set wanted to come home with me, but no, I was looking for lights.)

     Home Depot had Industrial-looking pendant lights ... I purchased 4 of them and excitedly waited for my daughter's friend to come and put them up for me.  Thank you, Adam. With Eco-friendly Daylight bulbs my basement studio was transformed ... it is bright in my studio!!! So bright, that I didn't even realize the time while working last night. I am not known to be a night owl!!

  I finished off the 80 squares needed for the next bed quilt ... hope I don't need more since I have run out of the main colours. Off-white borders with some of the scraps should work to give the quilt a little more size if needed.
      The first two layout choices are done in diagonal stripes -- one with alternating lighter corners and darker corners facing together to make up another box design in the pattern and the second in which I placed all the darker corners going the same direction. I think I might like the 2nd layout better.
(oops ... I forgot to turn one of the darker blocks ... )

     Just for fun, I kept the layout the same but flipped some of the blocks so they alternated with light corners and dark corners together (similar to the first layout)

And now a new problem ... which of the 4 layouts to choose ... patterns # 2 and #3, I prefer, but ...?? 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Ready for Binding

     I am currently sketching out ideas for a SAQA call for entry: "My Corner of the World" ... this is taking a little longer than I thought because there are so many things that could fit into this category!
     At first, I thought of continuing on the Group of Seven theme ... the corner of the world where I grew up, and then I thought of something sea-worthy since I now live in Nova Scotia, and I did enjoy doing the bridges (currently in a SAQA Atlantic Canada show) to possibly continue with that theme but with some different bridges ... and then ....  this needs more thinking. :-)

     I was originally hand-quilting the quilt below, but it had not progressed very far in the past year, so I took out quilting, and sent the quilt top & backing off to TLC Quilt Studio in Bedford ... my peach - star quilt is now covered with dragonflies dancing across the flowers! Awesome job, Bruce!
     The quilt is 96 X 79 1/2 ... before the binding.
     I don't have enough of the olive green for the binding ... well, I did at one point but I ended up using it in something else before I remembered why I was saving it. Hopefully I can find something else suitable without having to purchase more fabric. One of the hardest parts of trying to use up one's stash is NOT going out and buying more fabric to coordinate with what you already own!!

Thursday, 11 June 2015


     I have no idea who actually stops to look at this blog but keeps tabs of random information ... like how many people access the site from different search engines (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Explorer) or even from Operating Systems (Windows, Macintosh, iPads, Androids).  Those numbers don't interest me ... but what I do find fascinating is from which country the readers come (maybe that is the Geography teacher in me??)
     Anyway, countries that have checked this site out are: Canada, United States, United Kingdom (wish that could be broken down into specific countries), New Zealand, Australia, France, Russia, Romania, India, & Sweden.
Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers The darker the country, the more active the readers are, I guess.  Pretty neat stuff if you are into statistics!!

     This past weekend was a non-quilting weekend. I had the opportunity to attend a writing workshop with Donna Morrissey, author of Kit's Law, Sylvanus Now, Downhill Chance & several other books.   Donna is a bundle of energy and information; the workshop focused on Structure and Characters, and I love that her approach is different than mine ... always a chance to learn something new to incorporate into my own writing.
     The workshop was held on Brier's Island, the last island at the end of Digby Neck on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy.
The tide was out ... this is the view from the window of the hostel I stayed in ... a rather wet, misty, grey evening when I arrived. I had hoped that I might get better pictures in the morning but the rain continued. I had originally thought I might get a chance to hike some of the area, but the morning came with rain and more mist & fog.
The lighthouse at the northern end of the island. There are reports of basalt rock columns similar to those at Giant's Causeway in Ireland, however they are located on private property and there is no access. Most of the village of Westport has large piles of basalt all along the waterfront to protect the shoreline.
To get to Brier's Island, it is necessary to take two ferries, very short rides; you pay to get on the island but you are 'free' to leave anytime. The island is best known for whale watching; I saw pictures of whales in the cove of the fishing village but did not observe any while I was there. A very remote place; it is not a place I would want to live in during the winter.