Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Firsts....and the last

Can you believe the year is nearly over? I know I have a hard time believing it...but check the calendar...yep, almost over. It seems the years pass faster and faster with each passing year, and yet this one seemed to last how does THAT happen?

The last customer quilts of the year went out the door yesterday, and now's the time to sit, take a deep breath, relax, and look after stuff that gets left undone for the most part during the rest of the year. I've been playing with a few projects for me, and have cut out a few quilt bits and pieces to make it easier to sew when I have the time.

So the first quilt to show is a "first quilt"...wonderfully pieced plus appliqué....WOW... and lots of fun to quilt! Not exactly a beginner pattern, it's "Under the Stars" by The Rabbit Factory made in a class at a local quilt store. Certainly a quilt to be proud of, and hopefully to be encouraged by. So congratulations on your first quilt Kathy and I hope your daughter loves it, and thank you for letting me quilt it!
Kathy's Under The Stars

Close-up of the appliqué

Border detail

Back side

The next quilt is a second quilt, and again a pleasure to quilt; flat and square, plus a simple pantograph for a cozy finish to be proud of and a wonderful gift.

And the last 3 quilts of the year; pinwheels of French General by Moda with a simple Baptist Fan treatment with wool batting for a nice cozy feel.

And last but certainly not least these 2 memory quilts made with patches of from the clothing of a loved one...what a wonderful, thoughtful gift!
Memory quilt by Rose

Memory quilt by Rose

A bit of detail of the quilting

Baptist Fan for this one

 a wild and crazy back just for fun

a pretty back showing lots of detail
So the very last thing for me to do on this wet and warm Christmas Eve is to say thank you to all of my wonderful customers for entrusting your quilts to me for's been my pleasure, and I hope to see all of you again soon as you travel on your quilting journey.

I wish each and everyone of you a wonderful Christmas filled with family, friends and lots of good things, and a Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Busy Days

He who's not busy being born is busy dying.  (Bob Dylan)

People who are busy and happy don't write diaries; they are too busy living. (Robert Heinlein)


...wonder if they also don't write blogs...I have to wonder as it gets to be week after week before I find the time to sit down a write in spite of my promise back in the summer to keep at it. So what is it about being busy?


Partly it's the time of year when everybody gets caught up in the holiday season, partly it seems to be an age thing...could it be that as we age we actually get less efficient, or is it that we REALLY do have more to do in less time, because we don't have the luxury of looking ahead to an entire lifetime of tomorrows….don’t know the answers, but I sure wish I had the pattern for “TIME” the new and improved version – I’d make me some more!


Some of the things keeping me busy aside from the ‘working for a paycheck job’ are customer quilts,  guild projects, and doing some of my own piecing and hopefully over the holidays some quilting for ME…but we’ll see.


I finished this one up on the weekend, couldn't find the time to hang it and shoot some pictures; so here  goes.. the quilt is roughly 90" square. The schoolhouse blocks are 12" sampler blocks made into a traditional looking schoolhouse block, each about 21" x 19". Three more blocks on the back. The colours were hard to shoot as the blocks are a batiks in the mossy grey green family. The sashing and borders are a taupe-y mottle. It's a pretty quilt and as a bonus well pieced and flat...yay!

Sashing, and block detail
Roof detail and chimney "smoke"
Block, sashing, and bottom border detail
Full quilt


So, lots of stuff to keep me busy including guild projects, and more customer quilts to post, but more about all of that to come...



Sunday, November 2, 2014

A little late...and teaching old dogs new tricks...

Several weeks ago I posted pictures of a few quilts I have had the honour of quilting for my wonderful customers and finished with a little tease...

At the end of that post I posted a picture of my lone entry in the Hamilton Quilters' Guild show.

 Pink Baskets hanging at the show

I call it Pink Baskets and though I'm not much of a 'pink' person, I had bought several yards of the border fabric at a now long forgotten (and closed) quilt store in Owen Sound while I still lived in that pre 1994. It obviously spoke to me as I bought more than my usual 'on spec' it sat languishing in my stash for 20 or more years.  The print has a very traditional feel to it and I love basket blocks and on-point settings, so I got out my laptop and quickly devised a setting using a traditional basket block in my EQ7. My main interest was to create some nice open white space for some fancy quilting along with using stash, and paying attention to my piecing to make it worthy of the fancy stitching.

I have been quilting for the better part of over 40 years at this point and though I have taken classes, read many books and blogs on quilting, watched lots of internet resources, and learned as I went, I feel we can get a bit sloppy over time....we can always learn more while we sharpen our skills even if it's 'only' for ourselves.

I finished the top last summer and all of the pink prints were obtained by 'shopping' my stash. The basket blocks were quick and easy to make while still making sure all points matched and were nice and pointy. Most of them were made evenings at the table in our trailer while camping at Rock Point Provincial Park. Putting it together had to wait until we were home as a bigger space was required to lay it out than is available in the trailer....and then it sat...for a the line-up of personal quilts...not quilted. S to try to rid myself of some of my own UFO's I figured the only way was to enter the guild show, but the 'working for a paycheck'  jobs, summer, family and assorted other stuff all conspired against me and it was completed 'just in time'....

 A few detail shots and a few of the back....

A fun challenge and an exercise in teaching this 'old dog' some new tricks which in the end should benefit me and my lovely customers who entrust their beautiful creations to me for quilting.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Show Time!

Last Friday and Saturday the Hamilton Quilters' Guild held their show at the Ancaster Fairgrounds. The last show was 2 years ago in June and this was the first time for a fall show (I think) for this guild and I think the change was a good thing as there are lots of shows in the spring in Ontario.

The show was nicely hung, and quilt intake went quickly and smoothly; and unfortunately I was not able to be there on the Saturday to volunteer nor take down the show, but my bet is that it went quickly and smoothly.

I made arrangements to be there for the day Friday between the working for a paycheck job shifts and had a lovely time. Lunch in the tearoom with friends was exceptional with excellent and fresh sandwiches and lovely baked treats for dessert....and then a bit of shopping at the vendor booths, and a door prize, and I'd call it a successful day!

The weather was not inspiring on Friday, so what better way is there to spend some time indoors than looking at quilts? So a small sampling today of quilts I have had the pleasure of quilting, and a thank you to Lynda, Jeanne, and Lynn for letting me quilt your quilts. My apology to Jeanne though for somehow missing her black and white quilt...and at the very own lone entry in the show.

Lynda's Golden Labyrinth


Lynda's Geese Over The Orient

Jeanne's Sampler

Lynn's Jungle Walk

Lynn's doggie

My 'Pink Baskets'


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Summer is over....isn't it?....The weatherman says not this week!

Back in June I wrote about having to take the boat to Manitoulin Island, and for the most part things went well...except the boat went into the water after DH arrived at camp, but it didn't last...there were "issues" and when I finally arrived at camp...sadly, there was still no boat in the water. Ah well, there's always the canoe...2 hours later and 8 lovely Bass, one of them caught within a minute of casting we had our first fresh fish dinner of the season. The boat was fixed in due course and we had several lovely afternoons catching dinner. We had 1 particularly yummy dinner of Yellow Perch and 2 more of Bass before it was sadly time for me to head home to the reality of customer work and the 'regular paycheck job'.

So that left DH on the island to pack-up and haul home the detritus of a month-long camping expedition.....and that with an intermediate stop in Craigleith for an annual family get together over the Labour Day weekend. The trailer is now unpacked, cleaned, everything laundered and replaced, repairs made, and back at the storage facility.....oh  but there's that pesky boat thing again!

This time due to schedule changes after Labour Day we had to rise at 0300 and on the road at 0330 to make the Chi-Cheemaun .  3 1/2 hours of driving in the dark, but we made it on time to keep our reservation. But what a trip...raining, cool temperatures and one fierce wind....As passengers with dogs we are restricted to the outside decks...which in this case proved to be the better place to be as the boat was rockin' and rollin' in the wind. The up side of that is that the line-up for breakfast in the cafeteria was quite short, and being outside and keeping our eyes on the horizon kept us safe from the ravages of sea-sickness, unlike many others on board.
The 'puppies' enjoying the boat ride on the 'Cheech'

After slogging around in ankle-deep water hitching the boat and loading the canoe, it was off to say good-bye to one of our 'camp' neighbours and let the puppies have a romp in the wet with her puppy Biz (180 lb Newfoundland).

Zeus (on right) with his special friend Bismarck

The view from the side

The wind had picked up considerably in the 3-4 hours we were on the island and the trip back was even wilder...dinner was very quickly obtained as the line-up was even shorter than in the morning...and the, generous! So damp and tired we returned home at 10 pm. DH had church in the morning but I was not scheduled for the 'working for a paycheck' job on Sunday which gave me the perfect opportunity to finish MY quilt for the Hamilton Quilters' Guild show October 3 & 4. More about my quilt...soon!

Passing by Cove Island

So the summer is for the most part done, and sadly, we won't see the island again until next year; I'm back driving the big yellow bus, and there are still a couple more shifts to work on the Trolley at the Hamilton waterfront, and some customer quilts have now been delivered.

Some folks have complained bitterly about the 'summer that never was', but for my part it's been great...the Trolley Conductor job has been a blast with a nearly daily dose of  'outside' and all that the Hamilton waterfront has to offer...I learned lots and hope that the folks I came into contact with over the summer felt they did too. What's not to like about watching baby swans (cygnets) grow from tiny grey balls of fluff to rapidly maturing graceful young adult swans, or the amazing multicultural events and festivals unfold, and, of course the never ending, and amazing variety of human activity all around us on a daily basis?


Monday, August 4, 2014


Thoughts on community on this Civic Holiday weekend

Several years ago I got involved with Quilts of Valour, and DH and I held a Quilt Dedication at his parish, and that event got a bit of local media attention. From that event and the news coverage I met a wonderful lady Joan, who came to the church and dropped off several quilts for QoV. I found out then that she is totally immersed in making quilts (approx. 1600 quilts at last count ) for the local Ronald McDonald house. She does this at her own expense and with a dedication and determination few of us will ever be able to manage, because it’s an important outreach for her.

About the same time I met Claire who is a busy wife, mom of 2, career woman, and graduate student who still manages to squeeze time to be creative into her very busy days. She has brought several quilts my way for quilting, and is a very talented maker and designer of smocked garments and specialty children’s clothing. She even helped her son David’s class make a Quilt of Valour. Her quilts are a pleasure to quilt and give me something to get my teeth into!

Some time ago Claire’s mom Judy M started to make aprons for Natural Abilities a store run by Community Living of Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln.
Judy has made over 200 aprons, and I suspect she does it because it’s a cause that’s important to her, and makes her community a better place to be.

As a rep for QoV I get lots of odds and sods given to me...boxes of fabric, thread, etc. Claire and some others know that much of what I do for QoV is done with little to no money; I do what I do because I feel it’s an important outreach. Claire brings boxes of scraps from her mom’s apron making and her own quilt making. Last year Pamela (another quilting customer) had to downsize and a substantial quantity of her stash arrived in my living room to sort and I did my best to pass it along to folks who are willing to be creative and make do.

Joan is one such person; what she does with scraps from Judy’s aprons, Claire’s quilts, and Pamela’s stash is quite amazing. I had a chat with Joan last week when she brought 3 new quilts for QoV and a quilt destined for ‘The House’ for me to see….

What little girl undergoing treatment for a serious illness would not want that quilt?

What wonderful outreach from folks like Joan, Judy, Pamela, and others like them with time, energy, a need to be creative, and a desire to assist their community...get involved in your matters!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Holiday Time again!

Sometimes I wonder if it's worth the time and effort, and this year is a prime example. Case in point; DH has a date in mind to go, and that's all good, however it doesn't mesh with my schedule...which is fine, except he doesn't want to be without his boat until I can get there.

So a special trip to Manitoulin Island to drop the boat was in order. Up at 5, on the road by 5:45 with peanut butter sandwiches and fruit in hand for breakfast. Arrive at ferry dock in Tobermory with 10 minutes to spare before 10:30 check-in for the 11:30 sailing. Lunch on boat and off at South Baymouth at the appointed time. 1 hour to camp, talk to Steve, drop boat and then a quick stop for frozen treats for the puppies and us and back on the road to South Baymouth for the return ferry trip. Off the ferry in Tobermory at 7:30 and on the road again. Quick stop for dinner at a local fast food joint and a stop for gas and home by 12:30 am, bed at 1:04...zzzzzz

The day was beautiful, the puppies behaved, and traffic wasn't too bad, so it was a good day all in all, just very long.

 DH will have a month on Manitoulin, and hopefully will catch lots of fish. I will get to stay home and hear about the fish...and hopefully get a fish dinner or 2 when I am able to be up there when I get some time off...

For now though I get to keep things humming here at home finishing off some customer quilts and possibly one or 2 of mine for a change. They say change is as good as a rest so maybe that will have to be my holiday...but I can still hope for some time away...can't I?