Thursday, August 31, 2006

Raffle Quilt - Tickets For Sale

Remember this quilt?

I quilted this quilt for our local quilt guild.

The quilt will be raffled at our quilt show on October 28, 2006.

If you are interested in purchasing a ticket to win this quilt, please contact me:

Tickets are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Fat Quarters

These two pictures are the fat quarters that I have been collecting to make a Yellow Brick Road quilt for my bed. I wanted a quilt that said, "Spring", so I have been saving florals and blenders for a few months now. I have machine quilted several quilts from this pattern for customers; I will now have one for myself.

For those who are unfamiliar with quilting language; a fat quarter is a yard of fabric which has been cut into 4 pieces, first down the fold and then in half width wise. Most quilting cottons are sold on the bolt with a single fold down the middle. When opened, the fabric is 44" wide. If you were to ask the shop to cut a quarter yard of fabric, they would cut the piece 9" wide. You would end up with a piece of fabric 9" x 44". Another way to get a quarter yard of fabric is to cut a half yard (or 18" x 44") and then subcut down down the fold to end up with two pieces of fabric 18" x 22" otherwise known as a fat quarter--the same amout of fabric, just a different shape.

So, in summary, a fat quarter is a quarter yard of fabric cut on the fold to produce a wider yield--approximately 18" x 22".

The following is a useful reference for what you can cut from a fat quarter.

99 - 2" squares
50 - 2 1/2" squares
42 - 3" squares
30 - 3 1/2" squares
20 - 4" squares
16 - 4 1/2" squares
12 - 5" squares
12 - 5 1/2" squares
9 - 6" squares
6 - 6 1/2" squares

In Canada we use the Metric System and fabric is sold by the meter. Because almost all quilting patterns are written for imperial measurements (inches and yards), we must convert from yards to meters when purchasing our fabric.

Some useful conversions are:

1 yard = .91440 meters

1 meter = 1.09360 yards

1 yard = 36 inches

1 meter = 39.37 inches

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Corn and Quilts

Our community holds the title of "Corn Capital". We have been enjoying local corn since the beginning of July. I take it for granted that we will have an endless supply of fresh corn, picked daily throughout the summer. We even have the convenience of a corn barn drive through. You don't even need to get out of your vehicle to purchase fresh corn for supper!

Believe it or not, I have a corn quilt. I made this table runner in 2002 for the Fall Fair and Corn Festival quilt challenge. We were supposed to make a quilt that featured the theme colours of the fair --yellow and green. My piece placed second. I love this table runner. It lives in my living room on top of the piano. When I look at it, I am reminded of corn in summer....yum-yum!

This is a rare quilt picture--it has me in it. Usually I am behind the camera with my helpers holding the quilts. The photographer this time was my daughter, Dana.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New Iron - Again!

My non-quilting friends and relatives think I am crazy when I write about the purchase of a new iron. However, a quilter without an iron is like a fisherman without a rod, a carpenter without a hammer, an accountant without a pencil, ... you get the picture. A good reliable iron is one of the most important tools a quilter can have.

Tuesday night, I was in the middle of piecing a large backing when my iron quit. The iron I had was not old--it was only purchased April 15, 2006. Many things don't last like they unused too--but to think that an iron's useful life is only 4 months is a little ridiculous!

I purchased my new iron at London Drugs. I would highly recommend this iron. It has a detachable water reservoir so you can fill it with water right at the sink--no more puddles on the floor. I have never seen an iron produce more steam than this one. This iron has the longest cord of any iron I have ever owned--I can plug it into a centrally located outlet and go all over the room with it--well almost. The best feature of all is that I can disable the auto shut off! I was so annoyed by my last iron turning itself off every few minutes. They call this the crafter's setting and it is perfect for piecing. If you are looking for a new iron purchase, have a look at this iron from Conair. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Creative Spirit in my Background

When I am asked if there were any other quilters in my family, I don't hesitate to answer, "yes". both my grandmothers were quilters to some extent. This is a picture of my maternal grandmother. If she was still alive, today would have been her 94th birthday.

My grandmother was born at home in the Dalesboro District of southeastern Saskatchewan on August 22, 1912. She died June 30, 1985.

She was a teacher for 29 years. This photo was taken while she was attending Normal School - before she married my grandfather. Her first teaching assignment was at Clearfield, Saskatchewan in March 1932. It was a one room schoolhouse teaching 14 pupils ranging from grades 1 to 8. Her annual salary that first year was $450. The school board presented her with two choices for room and board, the first with the Jensons and the second with the Blackwells. "Mr. Jenson got a good saddle horse if you prefer to ride. They also have an organ and radio while Blackwells do not." "There is a janitor to build the fire in the mornings, dust and sweep so it should be warm when you get there in the morning." What different times they were in 1932!

My grandmother could be described as artistic and musical. These are traits have been passed through the generations to my children. My grandmother loved to share her love of music with others including her pupils. My mother, my son, my daughter, and myself all can play the piano to some extend.

My grandmother was also very artistic and encouraged her grandchildren to develop their artistic side in what ever craft that interested them. My grandmother taught me to knit, to sew, and encouraged me to draw. When I decided that I wanted to make an "art gallery" of all my drawings, she was the one who helped me fasten the pictures to the wall in the stairwell of her house. When I spent time with her in the summer, we went shopping to craft stores where she introduced me to cross stitch and needlepoint. I had free reign of her fabric scraps and learned to sew on her Singer sewing machine--the one that I own to this day.

My grandmother put her family first and seemed to know when we needed her close. When I was older and left home to attend college some 1,000 miles from home, she and my grandfather came to the same town as the college to stay in a motel room to be near me for a month in the winter.

Although, my grandmother did not quilt much when I was around, there is one remaining quilt that demonstrate her talent. She was not an intricate piecer, but a thrifty quilter, using up bits of what was left after making clothes. This is the type of quilter that I like to refer to as a traditional quilter. The quilt below is a quilt that presently lives with my brother--in his private collection. It is made from squares of Fortrel (100% polyester) and is tied. This is not a quilt that you will see displayed at any of the big quilt shows, but is a demonstration of grass roots quilting - making do with what you have.

I have been going to garage sales in the last few years looking for bits of Fortrel that might still be around in other sewers' collections. When I have enough variety, I will duplicate this quilt in the same manner that my grandmother made this original one.
This is a picture of my grandparents--taken in the early eighties. It is the last formal photo of my grandparents that was taken before my grandmother died. My aunt and I have estimated this photo to be taken in between 1981 and 1984. Update: My cousin Darrin has just seen this post and confirms that the picture was taken in 1984. Great memory, Darrin!

I often credit my grandmother with me developing into the person that I am today. She may have passed away over two decades ago, but her influence on me is as strong today as it was 21 years ago. I will never forget the life lessons learned by just being around my grandmother and listening to what she had to say. My grandmother was a Christian, knew what she wanted, had a strong opinion, was fair and honest. She was a promoter of women's lib before it was fashionable to do so. My grandmother believed in me and encouraged me to do anything I wanted to do. My grandmother was the strongest role model in my life to date.

Gone yet not forgotten,
although we are apart,
your spirit lives within me,
forever in my heart.
Update: Thanks to the detective work of my aunt, we now know that my grandmother ended up boarding with the Jensons.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shopping Day for the Quilters

Today was a quilt-related shopping day. I guess I should invoke the "I am on a holiday" or "fabric emergency" excuses so the fabric purchases made are guilt free.

Four of us headed south to Bellingham and Lyden for the day. The only fabric purchases I made were 3 yards of a yellow-green fabric that matches some pumpkin fabric I bought last year after the shop put it on sale after Halloween. This qualifies as an "emergency" purchase because without this fabric, I could never complete a quilt from that pumpkin fabric. I also bought some 120" wide muslin and a brown/green leaf print to be used as backings. These could also be emergency purchases as without them, my flimsies will never become finished quilts.

I was on an annual leave today from work so I was technically on holiday. If I am on a holiday I am allowed to purchase fabric as a souvenir, right? Either way, fabric emergency or on a holiday, these purchases were "calorie free".

After lunch at the Olive Garden, we headed north to three quilt shops in Lynden. At Tangled Threads, I found the BQ pattern that I had been looking for and an interesting log cabin / pumpkin table runner pattern.

Today was a wonderful day spent shopping with fellow quilters. Although I technically slipped and purchase fabric, I did not purchase any fabrics on speculation. No fabrics came home with me to merely join the existing stash in the studio. All fabric purchases have a specific and intended purpose. Once in a while, everyone on a diet slips and indulges themselves, right? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Chickens in the Kitchen

This is a picture of my chicken collection--or at least the part located in the kitchen. I have been collecting chickens for years. They used to all live in the kitchen, but now because of over crowding, they have spread their wings to other parts of the house!

I spent a few hours last night washing, dusting and rearranging them. You can see where there is a coffee mug missing--that one was not in the picture because it was already in use--for my morning coffee.

These are some closeups.

So how does this post connect to quilts? Below is a picture of a quilt hanger featuring a chicken (of course) that hangs in the kitchen. The quilt on the hanger was part of my Certo Jam entry to our local fall fair in 2004.

This is a closeup of the fabric--pears and blue fabric with dark spots that I like to think are blueberries. The jams that I entered into the contest were pear jam and blueberry jam.

You might ask why put a quilt with a jam entry. The story starts some years prior when I decided I wanted to enter some of my jam in the fair. There was a special category for the best Jam that was sponsored by Certo. I also wanted to enter the category sponsored by Kellogg that was for the best decorated Rice Krispie squares.

I decided that I would cut my Rice Krispie squares in the shape of rectangles and I would wind licorice ropes around them to make them look like bales of hay. Well you can't display bales of hay on a plate, so my husband came up with the idea of putting my Rice Krispie hay bales on a hay wagon. My husband made the cutest little hay wagon from leftover pieces of wood and used my son's mechano set for the wheels .

When it was time to take the entries to the fair, I discovered that I had forgotten to actually enter the Rice Krispie category. However, I did remember to enter the Certo jam class. I didn't want my husband to be offended because I didn't use the wagon he made, so my mother suggested that I display my jam on the back of the wagon.

Our parade each year usually includes local organizations using hay wagons as the base to their floats so I decided that I would make the hay wagon into a Certo jam float like you might see in the parade. Every other entry was rather plain in that they just entered their two jars of jam. I won that year - I am sure only because my entry was the only one that was decorated.

Little did I know that a fellow quilting friend of mine had been entering the Certo jam contest each year and she was accustomed to winning. Needless to say, the jam wagon set the bar for future years and future entries. The friendly rivalry was on.

The following year--2003, we both tied for first place. In 2004, I was short on ideas--there are only so many ways you can display jam. I came up with the idea of making a quilt featuring the fruits that would end up being in my jam. I chose pear and blueberry because there is a strong contrast in the colours--essential for a quilt. The following photos show the quilt lined basket with the jam--another winning entry.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Do You Recognize This Quilt Pattern?

Does anyone recognize this quilt pattern? My mother and I thought this would be a great table topper quilt done in seasonal fabrics. This quilt was also at the fair, but unfortunately, the pattern was not identified.

UPDATE: The mystery is solved. Thanks to Kim @ A Peach in Stitches, the name of this pattern is BQ from Maple Island Quilts. Several sent me the name, but Kim provided a copy of the pattern jacket so I know exactly what I am looking for in the quilt shop. Thanks, Kim!

Northwest Washington Fair & Quilts

Of course a fair is not complete without quilts.

This quilt was my favorite quilt--I loved the drama created by the bright colours on a black background.

This quilt was machine quilted with bright green thread. The contrast of the thread against the black background really showcased the excellent quilting skills of the long arm quilter.

I liked this quilt for the picket fence border treatment. It was an effective way to frame the "garden".

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I thought this quilt would be an excellent stash buster. The alternate blocks were random strips of fabric in various widths. I thought the striped blocks went well with the stars.

I definitely seem to be attracted to bright quilts!

Northwest Washington Fair & Terri Clark

I have not been doing much quilting, but I have been busy. Yesterday we headed south to Lynden, Washington to attend the Northwest Washington Fair. We stayed for the evening concert--Terri Clark.

This was one of the best concerts I have seen in a very, very long time. Terri is a proud Canadian artist who has recorded three platinum albums and who holds 13 Canadian Country Music Awards. Terri is reigning Female Vocalist of the Year and has won the Fans’ Choice Award five years in a row. Terri is the only Canadian female member of the Grand Ole Opry. Terri definitely plays for the fans--her enthusiasm for her music and impromptu comments between songs makes you feel as though you have known her for a long time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pacific Northwest Quiltfest - August 12, 2006 - Old and New Friends

While at the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest on Saturday, Dot and I were on the lookout for two friends that we had shared a room with in Sisters, Oregon the year before. These ladies were part of a quilt guild in the interior of British Columbia. We had joined their guild members on a bus trip to the famous outdoors quilt show in Sisters, Oregon in July 2005. We have been sending the odd e-mail message, but we have not seen each other in person since. We knew from a quilting newsletter distributed to the province that this group would be attending the Seattle quilt show. It was not until the very end of our day that we stumbled upon each other.

Pictured from left to right: Lucy, Laurie, Dot, and myself.

Lucy and Laurie: Look for Dot and I next spring at your guild's 25th Anniversary Quilt Show--Silver Threads! We picked up a flyer advertising the date and location and are putting this one on our calendars.

Pictured from left to right: Dot, Patti, and myself.

While waiting to pay for my quilt show pin, there was a lady ahead of me paying for her purchases. Because I was standing parallel to her, I could get a good look at her profile. I had been looking for her all day--her picture was imprinted in my brain. All of a sudden it occurred to me that the woman I had been looking at was the person I had been looking for all day--Patti!

Patti: Although we only spoke briefly, your smile and enthusiasm are infectious and reflect a warm personality. I look forward to meeting up with you again at future quilting events. I am sure our paths will cross again!

Now you might be asking who Dot is. Dot is my quilting travel buddy. We have been to several quilt shows together, including Sisters, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.

Meeting up with old friends and meeting new a new friend was the perfect ending to a perfect day. This is proof positive that quilt shows bring together great people!

Pacific Northwest Quiltfest - August 12, 2006

As I mentioned in my last post, yesterday was the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest. Our guild organized a bus trip to this event two years ago and again this year. We filled a small bus with 20 quilters and headed south. (We had one extra seat at the back of the bus. One of the quilters joked that we should try to find someone to bring back with us to fill that seat. She mentioned something about him being good looking.)

If I had to sum up what I thought of the quilts at this show in one word, it would be WOW! We were told by one of the show's Board of Directors that 556 quilts were submitted for possible inclusion in the show, but only 223 quilts were juried into this show.

The outside of the Seattle Center was lined with bus after bus and everywhere you looked there were people! The show organizers were expecting at least 7,000 people to visit this show over the three days. Each person entering the exhibit was being presented with a donated quilt book--they ran out after 10,000 so I am confident that the 7,000 visitor mark was surpassed!

The Seattle Times ran a nice article showcasing this event and quilting in the Pacific Northwest in general. Take a look at it here: The Seattle Times: Northwest Quiltfest: nostalgia, technology fuel hobby's popularity

We started by looking at the special exhibit of antique quilts from 1850-1950. These quilts were housed in the same area as the collection of Boxes and Bowls and the "Wish You Were Here..." exhibit. The quilts in the "Wish You Were Here..." exhibit have been traveling for the last couple of years so many of you have likely seen them. They were to be auctioned off last night at the Gala dinner.

I was prepared to show you pictures of my favorite quilts, however, I was reading the show brochure last night and came across this:

Photography Policy
The public is allowed to take photographs of the exhibit. ... Photos taken at Quiltfest are for your personal enjoyment only. Copyright for the displayed quilts belongs to the quiltmakers. Photos are not to be used for any commercial purpose, and are not to be posted on websites without written permission from the copyright holders. Please be responsible in your use of the quilt photographs--help us to protect the rights of the quiltmakers.

So it would seem that my photos will remain in my private collection for viewing by me when I am in need of inspiration. I can tell you that my vote for Viewer's Choice was a quilt by Janet M. Fogg of Lake Oswego, Oregon called, "Kitty Corner". This quilt was also the favorite of the judging panel as it received Best of Show. This quilt was a large cat coming over the corner of the quilt and was a play on the traditional Puss in the Corner block. I also enjoyed the quilt by Shelia Finzer of Terrebonne, Oregon that featured the Kodiak brown bears, called "Welcome to Kodiak!" This quilt was also the favorite of my husband. (No, he didn't go, but he did watch some of my slides when I got home.) The near lifesize bears on this quilt were heavily threadpainted and looked like they were ready to walk off the quilt canvas.

As I walked around the vendor mall, I remembered my fabric diet and I did not weaken and purchase a single piece of fabric. I was on the lookout for a fabric that featured tulips for use in my quilt guild's challenge project, but alas, that piece of fabric was not to be found. I did purchase a pattern for Chicken Potholders and a show pin. That was it. The pattern was one I had seen on the internet a couple of years ago. I have never seen it in a quilt shop here in Canada and so I bought it at the show as I am not likely to come across it again. I collect quilt show / quilt guild pins so this pin will be added to my collection.

As we got off the bus at home, we were presented with packages of goodies that had been donated by our local quilt shop, Hamels Fabrics. Thank you Pauline for your generosity! The two fat quarters and packet of squares for Moda's "Cats that Cook" line are "calorie free" as they were a gift and I did not purchase them. We also received a cute Minkee Bear kit, pattern to make RJR Fabric's, Vineyard quilt and a Super Stitcher Card for Hamel's.

I am tired from a long day of traveling and walking, but at the same time I am energized! I can hardly wait to use some of the ideas gleaned from this show in some of my own projects!
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Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Pacific Northwest Quiltfest - Bus Trip

I am headed to Seattle on Saturday for the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest. Our guild organizes a bus tour to travel to this quilt show every two years.

There are going to be 50 vendors at this show. I remember one of the exceptions for fabric purchases was fabric purchased at a quilt show--lucky me! Can you see me smile!

Monday, August 7, 2006

Nine Patch Path - Progress

Today was a statutory holiday here in B.C. so I spent another 6 hours in my quilt studio--quilting bliss!

Look what I found....................another box of 9-patches.
Remember what I said in my last post about my quilts not being finished until they feel like they are done? Well, finding these extra blocks makes me think that I will have to add some more blocks to the Nine Patch Path quilt. Right now, it is 12 blocks in total and is the size of a large lap quilt--60" x 78". I am planning to utilize these additional nine patches to make the quilt 20 blocks in size--4 blocks by 5 blocks. The extra blocks will make this quilt "bed size". I need 49 nine patch units to make 8 blocks--the exact number of nine patch blocks in the box I just found. This is the Nine Patch Patch as it stands right now - 12 blocks in size. I added a piano key border to the Left Over quilt. I guess it can't be considered finished until the Nine Patch Path is complete. When I make the rail fence pieces to join the nine patches I will end up with more left overs. I am not sure if I will start another Left Over project or if I will add to this one. The Left Over quilt is now 41" square.
I will be going back to work tomorrow and 6 hour sessions in the quilt studio will come to an end--how sad.

Nine Patch Path - Leftovers

I spent most of yesterday in my quilt studio. I didn't time myself, but I would estimate that I was piecing for at least 6 hours. I am to the point of adding the borders to the Nine Patch Path - it is now 12 blocks in size.

I was going to post that I had finished the Leftover quilt to the flimsy stage. However, after looking at it again this morning, I think it needs something else, so I am taking it back into the studio for another border treatment. This black border was intended to "coral" all those little 1 1/2" squares and be the outer border. Now I am thinking that it should be an inner border with another outside border treatment. This piece is now approximately 32" square.

My quilts are "done" or complete when they feel like they are done or complete. This is why sometimes my quilts end up so large. I just keep working on them until they feel right. I am not big on planning my quilts. The rest of my life is pretty structured so I find it quite liberating to be so free with my quilting. I prefer to follow only the most basic quilting rules and let the rest "just happen".

Today is the B.C. Day holiday so no one is going to work today. Another day to spend in the quilt studio!

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Nine Patch Path - Progress

I spent 2 hours this morning and another 2 1/2 hours this evening piecing. I managed to get 9 of the Nine Patch Path blocks pieced, sashed and joined together. I was going to stop at this point, but I like the pattern so well that I think I will add another three blocks to this piece and make it rectangular rather than square.

I also started piecing together the leftover sashing bits. I am not sure what size this will end up. It is fun to think that every last little bit is being put to good use.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Nine Patch Path - Progress

This is the progress so far on the Nine Patch Path. I finished three more blocks tonight.

I spent two hours in my studio piecing tonight. I don't usually keep track of the amount of time I spend piecing or quilting in a particular session. However, because Judy L. was asking how much time we spend quilting in a day, I thought I would pay attention. Of course the time went by very quickly and if I hadn't paid attention to the time when I started, I would never have guessed that it was two hours that had gone by.

Sockeye Season Opened Today

Here is my very happy and proud husband with his catch of the day -- 2 very nice Sockeye Salmon!

Sockeye Season opened today. My DH headed to the river right after work tonight and had his limit by 7:30 pm. He headed home, cleaned them, and then loaded the canner. Home canned salmon is such a treat in the winter!

This is my favorite salmon so I am hoping that he does well this season.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Nine Patch Path

Look what I found--62 little quilt seeds; they were just waiting to be planted into a quilt.

These nine patches are made from 2" squares with the block finishing at 4 1/2" square. These nine patches were made quite a few years ago as leader / enders. They have been sitting idle in this box ever since.

I picked up the latest Quilter's Newsletter Magazine's Quilt It~More Nine Patch Favorites and the cover quilt, Nine Patch Path seemed to be the perfect pattern to give these homeless nine patches a purpose. I only have 62 nine patch blocks in my box - not enough to make my version bed size. This is a perfect scrap / stash quilt pattern.

I will wait until I have used up my nine patches and then decide if the quilt will remain that size or if I will add an outer border to make it larger. I like an outer border not only to add size to a quilt, but because it also stabilizes the quilt for machine quilting and it gives a visual frame to the piece. The pattern in the magazine is borderless, so I will wait to make that decision.

These are the blocks that I have put together so far. Please disregard the distortion in the picture--it was taken while my blocks were hanging on my design wall (aka the floor).

Linda J: I think this project must be the perfect combination to address my outstanding UFO list and to "reward my brain" with creativity. This is technically a new project--I certainly did not have it in mind when I made these little nine patch blocks. However, these nine patches were also technically an ignored UFO. Eureka! A project that address the creative need while getting another box off the UFO shelf!

To Everyone Else: When you start a new project with UFOs still on the shelf, just remember Linda J's quote, "I am not ignoring UFOs, just rewarding my brain!" This erases all UFO guilt! (quote used with permission of Linda J -- which still makes me chuckle when I read it!)