Finish It Up (two) Friday(s ago)

I’ve been a little negligent with my blog as of late, but I have a good reason. It’s berry picking time here in North Central Saskatchewan
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I have an absolutely amazing orchard on my property (thanks to the previous owners) and I can hardly keep up when berry time comes around. I have a huge raspberry patch, and 23 Saskatoon Berry bushes. I’ve been calling in friends and neighbours to come get berries, as there is no way I can use them all.
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Never in my life have I seen a berry that big! It can get overwhelming, but I remind myself that whatever I don’t freeze, bake with, or make into jam will go to feed the assorted critters we have in the yard.
I have been trying to fit in some sewing time when I can, but there hasn’t been time to write a blog post. Even though i’m a few weeks behind, late is better than not at all, so, here we go….
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This GLORIOUS Dresden Plate belongs to Opal. She got in touch with me last year, right before my honey broke both of his wrists. When she was younger a very special Aunt hand stitched these Dresden Plate blocks from her scraps. Opal has had them for years and finally decided it was time to get them made into a quilt. She chose a black background and the trusted me to put them together for her. It took me way too long to get working on it, but she was so patient and didn’t give me grief. I finally started on it in March, a full year after she had given me the blocks and background fabric.
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I had a blast stitching the plates down. The fabrics were absolutely amazing!! If you look closely you can see where the maker pieced scraps together to make a piece large enough to cut a wedge out, or where she used a different fabric for some of the wedges because she had run out of the original.
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There were 20 – 18 1/2″ plates on 20″ background blocks, so the finished quilt was queen size without the need for sashing or borders. I was thrilled because i wanted the Dresdens to be the star of the show, and they truly are! They pop so beautifully against the black background.
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I machine quilted it with charcoal thread using two layers of polyester batting to keep Opal extra warm as she battles some health issues. The quilt was FINALLY delivered a couple of weeks ago, and she loved it. She’s so happy to have a quilt she can use and love, especially after her Aunt spent so much time hand stitching each and every block.

Linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday and with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday

A Long Time Coming

Back in February. I had a lady contact me on Facebook about completing some quilting for her. We had a few false starts, but were finally able to connect in the middle of March. She told me that the quilt was for her young son, as she was expecting and he would need to move to a big boy bed soon. We discussed some ideas and went on our way.
When I got it home, I realised that I had really dropped the ball. I had neglected to go over all of the things that are standard when I take on a new client, specifically backing size. For those unfamiliar with longarm quilting, it can be a surprise to learn that backing and batting need to be about 4 inches larger than the top on all sides. I don’t know why I hadn’t mentioned it as it’s part of my spiel, but I hadn’t and the backing wasn’t large enough. I quickly contacted her and we talked over some options. She asked me to see if I had anything that would go and i said I’d get some pictures to her right away. I lied. hahaha! I ended up getting called in to work at the library and my boys were home for spring break, so I had the energy of a sloth. It took me a week before i got some pictures to her. Then I heard nothing for a couple of weeks. I sent her a message. No reply. I tried again the next week. No reply. I was worried that something might have happened. Turns out I was right! She had been in the hospital, having her new baby! There were a few complications so she was there for a few days, and then was busy at home settling in with a toddler and a new babe. She tried to order more of the flannel she already had, but the shop had only a metre in stock so she would have to wait for it to come in.
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Finally, in the middle of May, she got her fabric in. We made arrangements to meet, and I let her know that I wouldn’t be able to get it done until the following week as I had plans to go to Edmonton for the long weekend with my boys. That turned out to be the trip from hell. My van broke down at 10:30 at night in the middle of a rainstorm on a super busy highway. Thankfully, we were close enough to Edmonton that my Mom and Dad were able to come rescue us. My Dad and Uncle went out the next morning only to discover that a bolt had broken and it would need to go in somewhere to be repaired. As it was the long weekend, everything was closed until Tuesday. Sigh. We got an unexpected week long holiday, and made it home ok. I was able to get started on the quilt last week, and after a few hiccups, I got it off the frame yesterday. DSC02198
It turned out great! I love the denim and flannel patches, obviously made from worn out clothes. I love that something that most would throw away can be turned into a beautiful quilt that will give warmth and comfort to a sweet little boy for many, many years.
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I quilted it with grey Essential Pro thread from Connecting Threads, and used the Bumpity pantograph by Four Paws Quilting.
I also did the binding for her and she chose Line Dance from the CT Patriotic Minis line. It looks so nice with just that touch of red!
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It took ages to get this quilt done, but it turned out so well it was worth the extra time.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and Confession of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!!

Throwback Thursday – June Edition

It’s that time again! Well, actually, it’s a week late because the host was away the first Thursday of June. Since she was doing something quilty, I’ll let it slide. hahahaha!

When my sister’s kids were young, I was a career girl with no kids of my own. Needless to say, I was head over heels for my nieces and nephew. They were adorable and hilarious and I loved spending time with them. I desperately wanted children of my own, but since I had none, I focused my energies on them.

One day, I found the CUTEST knit fabric at the Fabricland down the road. I bought enough to make myself and my best girl (oldest niece) some jammies. I took it home, washed it up, and got to work. It was glorious! Thick, and soft and cute as a button! I whipped us up some jammies in time for her next sleepover. They were so cute!!! I ended up going back and getting more fabric, and made a couple pairs for all three of them. The youngest was only 2 at the time, so i was able to squeeze some tiny little nighties out of the leftovers from her sister’s.

For some unknown reason, I held on to the scraps for a few years. Maybe it was because the prints were so sweet, maybe it made me think of when the kids were wee, I dunno. Regardless, a few years into my quilting journey, I decided to make a quilt out of them. I thought I had much more than I actually did so the quilt turned out really, really small, but i stitched it together and hand quilted it, and gave it to my sister for her birthday.

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I don’t even recall what i backed it with, or how i bound it, but I know my sister loves it and still uses it. It reminds her of her wee lambs, when they still loved to snuggle on her lap in their cozy jammies that Auntie Chrissie made them. The kids are all grown up now. The youngest just turned 18 and graduates from high school this weekend. It’s overwhelming to think about how fast the time has gone. It won’t be long and I’ll be watching my boys graduate. I must remind myself to treasure each moment while they still need me so. Maybe i’ll hang on to some clothes and make a memory quilt for myself someday.

Linking up with Jenn @A Quarter Inch from the Edge for Throwback Thursday Vol. 11

Mountains on the Prairie?

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Just before the May long weekend here in Canada, I was lucky enough to quilt this beauty up for Diane S. She has 7 grandchildren  (3 girls, 4 boys) and is making each of them a quilt for graduation. Thankfully, they aren’t all graduating at once! hahahaha!

Diane and her husband are snowbirds, so she works on the quilt tops over the winter in Arizona and brings them back in the spring, ready to quilt. She made this gorgeous quilt for one of her grandsons and I’m sure that when he graduates he will LOVE it!

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Diane used  a combination of regular quilting cotton and Batiks in blues and greys, and a white with grey dots for the background and the effect is stunning. I quilted it in medium grey Essential Pro thread from Connecting Threads with the Jessie’s Swirls panto. She chose Angela Walters wide fabric in Paisley Feathers for the backing.

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The result is a beautiful quilt just perfect for a young man!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday! Hope you all have a great weekend!!

 

The Quilt That Almost Wasn’t

I have some dear friends who moved to the United States several years ago, so we don’t get to see each other very often. Thankfully, all these newfangled gadgets (like smartphones) help us to stay in touch. It can be so hard being apart from the people we care about, but it’s become so much easier to include them in our lives, and for that I am truly thankful.
I was very touched when I received an email from Stephen, asking if I would be interested in making a baby quilt for his lovely bride Claire’s new grandson. Of course I jumped all over it. The only thing they asked was that it was 48″ x 48″ and had his name ‘Keegan’ on it. I started plotting some ideas right away.
I wanted something simple, so my first layout was just simple squares with an area that I could appliqué the name to.
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Then I got fancy. Real fancy. That’s right, I pulled out the hourglass block.

I was thinking I’d put his name in huge letters up the left side, or maybe in smaller sized letters on the bottom right. I decided to do up one more layout, and have Stephen and Claire choose which they liked best.
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I just combined the first two layouts and came up with the winning design. Claire indicated that she wanted it very simple, just two fabrics, light blue and dark blue. I headed down to my stash to see what I could find.
I quickly came upon several options, and once again, I had Stephen and Claire choose their favourite. They went with a dark blue Mirage print from the Connecting Threads Basics line, and a light blue dot from the Morning Glory Farm line. I got to work right away, only to discover that I wouldn’t have enough of the light blue fabric. Poor, poor me. It looked like I’d have to order more. I went online to Connecting Threads to place an order, only to find that the fabric I needed was sold out! I was panicked, but thought I’d ask the Quilt With Us forum members if anyone had some they’d be willing to part with. No luck. I was thinking I’d have to start over with different fabric. Then I got a message from a friend who is ‘The Queen of the Internet’. No lie. She can find anything. She had contacted the lady who designed it and found some yardage. I was tickled! It was going to cost about $25 for the yard, but at that point I didn’t care. I sent off an email and waited for a reply.
Imagine my surprise when I came home the next day and there was a message on my answering machine from Kara at Connecting Threads. Someone in the warehouse had seen my plea on Quilt With Us and just so happened to come across a yard of the fabric I so desperately needed! They would sell it to me for the regular price and even give me FREE SHIPPING!!! I just about fell over! Talk about amazing customer service!!!
I only had to wait about a week for the fabric to arrive, and once it did I went right to work. It didn’t take long to get the quilt put together, and I was able to get it quilted and bound by Tuesday of this week. I had to work that afternoon, so I figured I’d get it washed up, take a few pictures, and pop it in the mail before the 3 pm mail pickup. HA! That didn’t happen! My washer has been giving me grief and keep stalling with 12 minutes left in the cycle. The only thing I can do is power it off and start again. I had to do that 3 times before it finally ran the whole cycle. By then I didn’t have enough time to dry it completely, but since it was a sunny and breezy day, I figured I’d just hang it outside the library and let it dry there. HA! I went out to take pictures and dropped it in the dirt, which turned to mud because it was still wet. *sigh* Back into the wash it went, and off to work I went.
The next morning, I took it down to the pasture to get some photos with the horses. I got a couple of good ones and headed back up to the house. That’s when I noticed that one of the little buggers had slobbered all over it with his grassy, dirty lips. Back into the wash it went. Then the machine had to stall twice. It was still quite wet when I had to leave for town. I knew it would never dry in time to make the mail. I texted a couple friends to see who was around, and Josephine came to the rescue!!!! She took it home, threw it in her dryer, and had it back in plenty of time to get it mailed. She even brought me packing tape for the box!
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The picture turned out so nicely I can almost forgive Nichief for goobering up the quilt. I hope that wee Keegan arrives safely in this world and that ‘the quilt that almost wasn’t’ keeps him warm and snug.

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and with Quilt Matters for TGIFF

The Saggy, Baggy Quilt

When I look back at the quilts I’ve done over the years, I feel a sense of pride at the improvement in my skills, and I’m also mortified that my terrible colour choices and questionable construction skills are still around to critique. I started quilting around 1994 when i was a young, firm, and lovely 22 year old. Fast forward 22 years, and I’m an ageing, sagging, and lovely mother of two sweet little boys. While I may have gone downhill physically, my quilting skills have gone nowhere but up!

When I first started quilting I had no one to guide me so I made some rather BOLD decisions, one of which was to make a few mini quilts before I tackled a big project. Of course I wasn’t afraid as I had been sewing for over half my life by then. I thought it would be easy. Ha! I have to say, they turned out all right for some one who had never tried to quilt before. Once I had made 3 mini quilts I decided I could take on a lap quilt.

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This beauty, my friends, is the fruits of my labour. It is 22 years old, and surprisingly intact. The fabrics are so worn and faded some bricks don’t even have the print on them anymore. It is soft as buttah and very snuggly. There are a few holes that need patching along with some that have already been patched. The batting is almost non-existant, more like a…..suggestion than an actual batting. It has snuggled babies, dried tears, and warmed cold feet. More than just a quilt, we’ve built forts with it, picnicked on it, and both of my boys have puked and/or pooped on it. We don’t use it very often anymore, but it’s still in the closet just waiting for someone to love it again.

Thank you so much to Jenn@AQuarterInchfromtheEdge for hosting Throwback Thursday on the first Thursday of every month, and giving me the chance to revisit some of my older projects. I’m enjoying it more than I expected to!

Walk of Hope

Most people have a cause or charity that they support, and for many, the reason they support that particular organization is because they have been touched on a personal level. The cause that is close to my heart is The Walk of Hope for Ovarian Cancer. Seven years ago, a very special lady lost her battle with ovarian cancer. Barbara Lepitzki was an incredible person. She was a wonderful daughter, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, cousin, and friend, who always gave freely of her time and wisdom, even when she was ill. For example, soon after she was diagnosed, she joined the Cancer Connection to help support newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families. This year marks the 11th year since Barbara and her friend Catterina brought the Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope to Saskatoon. Her beautiful sisters continue to co-chair the Walk in Barbara’s memory. I have been asked in the past to provide a quilt for the board to raffle off to raise funds, and I was honoured to be asked to do the same this year.

My goal when asked to do a fundraising quilt is to find a universally appealing design and fabrics. It can be extremely difficult, as everyone’s tastes are different. I had a gorgeous batik Gemstone from Cantik Batiks in the Great Lakes colourway, and some coordinating yardage, so I figured that would be a good place to start.

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I played around with several ideas on EQ5 before i found one that I liked.

In the end, I went with the last layout, but I changed the borders around a bit. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and I hope it brings in a good amount for the walk.

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I used silver grey thread, and the Bubbles pantograph to quilt it. A pop of colour for the binding really adds to the overall look. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m hopeful that it is pleasing enough to the majority of ticket buyers.

Keep an eye out for the Walk of Hope booth in and around Saskatoon this spring and summer. You’ll find them at farmer’s markets and trade shows. The Walk of Hope is usually held in September at Meewasin Park in Saskatoon. I will keep you updated as details are finalized so that you can participate in this very important cause.an find

Thanks to Jenn from A Quarter Inch From the Edge for suggesting that I put a link on here to the Ovarian Cancer Canada website. On it you can find information about ovarian cancer, support for those diagnosed with this terrible disease, and a link to the Walk of Hope site. Please take a few minutes and visit the site. It would mean the world to me!

My Very First Throwback Thursday

I’ve been dragging my heels with the whole blogging thing again, mostly because January and February were so busy for us. We had hockey 4-5 times a week for several weeks, a quick trip to Edmonton to visit my family, and I was filling in at the town library on occasion. Things are settled down a bit and I’ve been able to get some work done.

Even if i don’t make an “appearance” on social media, I am CONSTANTLY reading blogs, pinning ideas on Pinterest, eye balling fabric, and dreaming of the zillions of quilts I would love to make in this lifetime. One of the blogs I follow  A Quarter Inch From the Edge has a really neat feature the first Thursday of every month called “Throwback Thursday” where she features a past project and encourages her readers to link up and share one of theirs. I’ve been following along for a while now and decided it’s time to jump on that bandwagon before I miss it completely!

My throwback project is a baby quilt i made for my darling cousin’s little girl back in 2008. I was just learning how to free motion quilt on my domestic sewing machine. I’m so thankful i have a longarm now. My poor shoulders couldn’t take the strain! hahaha!

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I wanted to do something sweet and simple for a baby girl but I didn’t want it to be boring. I took me no time at all to whip this puppy up and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out, fmq’ing included! I bound it with a pretty purple to give it some zing and had it ready in time for the baby shower. I know. I was stunned too.

Miss Olivia is now 8 years old, and a such a bright, sweet girl. maybe someday I’ll get to make her a wedding quilt. I might even have it done in time.

 

 

Mojo, UFO’s, and a new start

Happy New Year!
I’d say I’m surprised that it’s already 2016, but that would be a big fat lie.  2015 started out so well, but after many unfortunate events, I lost my mojo in a big way. I mean a really big way. I forced myself to complete projects that I had promised to people, but I really had a difficult time getting through them. I would usually wait until the last minute and then push myself to complete it in the time promised. It was the first time in almost 13 years that I haven’t done something creative every day. I made sure to photograph the things I did complete, just in case I found the urge to blog, but it didn’t happen. My laptop is sitting in several pieces, awaiting a part to repair it, so I had no way to access the pictures I did take. I stayed away from all of the trade shows and craft fairs that I usually participate in, and avoided taking on new projects, any excuse I could find to justify my lack of desire to create. It really was a drab and boring several months. I did get my quilting area reorganized (that was a massive undertaking) thinking that it would help to inspire me, but it did no such thing. It wasn’t until December that found my spark again. In the end, there were three things that helped me find my mojo.

The first thing to happen was my beautiful cousin giving birth to a precious baby girl on December 5. I can’t pinpoint exactly why her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter resonated with me so, but as soon as heard the news I couldn’t wait to get to the machine. We had spoken earlier about a colour palette, and I had pulled a selection of fabrics a few days prior.

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It took me a few days to figure out what I wanted to do, but I’ve now rounded out my palette and gotten everything cut out. I have about 1/3 of it sewn, but I had to put it aside as things got really busy around here.

The second thing that happened was that we said goodbye to a wonderful, kind man. My uncle Walter passed away on December 12. He was the sweetest, most patient man I’ve ever known. Uncle Walter was a tailor by trade, and I always felt a connection with him. When I was in high school I wanted to take tailoring, move to Saskatoon, and open a shop with Uncle Walter called “Walter Alters”. My cousin, his daughter, just reminded me of that at Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t help but giggle. I have so many wonderful memories of holidays, and summer vacations, and family events, and Uncle Walter was a part of them all. I recall as a teen being annoyed by Uncle Walter’s attention, and the questions he asked when we would see each other after months of no contact. It wasn’t until I was older that I began to appreciate the fact that he was genuinely interested in me, and what I had been doing. He had a way of making me feel special just by spending a few minutes talking with me. I thought about Uncle Walter often in the weeks after his passing, and such beautiful memories helped to heal my soul. It is so fitting that I thought of him most often when I was downstairs, choosing, pressing, cutting, and folding fabrics for the baby quilt. I will miss him so very much.

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The last thing that triggered a spark in my soul was project that I have been putting off for 18 months. Yes, you read that right. My neighbour had asked me ages ago if I could make a memory quilt out of her daughter’s baby clothes. I said I could, took delivery of the tote of clothing, and filed it away under my sewing table. It was always there in the back of mind, but I was not eager to tackle it because of the sheer volume of work it required. I kept putting it off until she finally got tired of waiting and asked if could complete it in time for Christmas. This was a few months ago, so I assured her I would have it done. And then I left it. And left it. And left it. Finally, at the beginning of December, I pulled the tote out and started to think about what I was going to do. I had an idea of what she wanted, but I had no clue how I was going to execute it, or even where to begin. It wasn’t until the last week before Christmas that I finally got to it. I used simple squares in 2.5″ , 4.5″,  and 6.5″ and just let it come together how it may. I missed the deadline by a few days ( I cleared it with her before I did) and almost wrecked myself getting it done, but she loved it so it was worth it in the end. It surprised me how much fun I had working on it. I am thrilled that it is done, and I am even more thrilled that I enjoyed myself!!

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I’ve even been back downstairs every day since, sometimes sewing, sometimes just puttering, but at least I’m down there again. I’m excited to see what 2016 brings!

hockey rocks!!

As a hockey mom (but not one of THOSE hockey moms), it’s a given that my house is overflowing with hockey paraphernalia. Sticks, pucks, banners, posters, nets, goalie equipment, you name it, I’m tripping on it! Like so many young boys, my wee dudes are obsessed with the game of hockey. Our season ended a couple of months ago, but some of the kids in town are playing spring hockey. One of those kids is a young man named Kale. As much as my kids love the game. Kale is on another level. His mom tells me that Kale literally has hockey on the brain 24 hours a day. If he’s not on the ice, he is downstairs practising his shot, or outside having a game of road hockey. It came as no surprise when his mom asked me to make him a quilt featuring his favourite NHL team, The Pittsburgh Penguins.

Now, like most sports teams, the Penguins colour scheme is a little on the loud side. I wasn’t exactly sure I would be able to come up with something that wouldn’t pop the eyes out of a snake, but i figured the kid wasn’t going to be too concerned about the quilt being garish, as long as it had the Penguins on it. turns out i was right. ha!

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i was able to find some Penguins cotton fabric at joann.com. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t ship it to Canada. (no idea why not). Superquilter to the rescue!!! A quilting friend lives right at the border and has a U.S. address, so she very kindly agreed to pick up the parcel, pay the taxes, and ship it to me. I was very grateful as i could not find the fabric anywhere else. It cost a fortune, but it was worth it!

I wanted something simple, yet not boring. I played with several ideas, but decided a basket weave look would play nice with the fabrics. i decided to split the block borders with the black and yellow because I was worried that if I used all black it would be too dark, and if i used all yellow it would be too bright. In hindsight, plain black probably would have been the better choice.

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I was also asked to incorporate a tshirt and two jerseys into the quilt. I figured out my block sizes based on how large i was able to cut the shirt panels. They were all a little different, so I used the largest as my base and added borders to the other blocks to bring them up to size.

DSC02083The fabric is directional (meaning there is an obvious up and down, so i used one fabric for the horizontal, and one for the vertical. I used the plaid Penguin flannel for the backing, and polydown batting so it wouldn’t be so heavy. I quilted it with an all over meander, and outlined the Penguins logo on the jersey block as it was much to thick to quilt through. It is a very busy quilt, but I know that the recipient is thrilled with it.

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