Sunday, November 26, 2006

Father Christmas

I had a chance to try out my newest Circle Lord long arm quilting templates today.

This Father Christmas quilt belongs to a customer. The template that I used was the "wave".

With the snow and cold outside and this quilt to work on, Christmas seems near!

Winter Snow Storm

These are pictures of today's weather. We experienced high winds and more snow all day. The news forecast says that we received 40 cm already and we are to expect another 10 to 20 cm through the night.
Today there were whiteout conditions on the Trans Canada highway and all kinds of accidents.
I just heard that the University College will be closed tomorrow. That means my son will not have to venture out onto that treacherous highway tomorrow.
I am so glad I have a short commute to work. I will not have to venture out on the highway either.
Many people are without power tonight in our province. I am grateful that we still have power. If we were to loose power, we would not only be in the dark, but we would be without water and heat.
Hopefully, the storm will be over tomorrow!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

First Snow

We awoke this morning to our first snow of the season. The sun broke through the clouds and made the ground sparkle! It wasn't long before the weather turned overcast and cloudy again. The temperature has dropped and we have more snow in the forecast. I am glad that I don't need to drive far for the next few days!

One of the Best Gifts

The following was e-mailed to me by my Aunt yesterday on my birthday. This was one of the best presents I received. We have all seen where we can find out what famous things happened in history the day we were born. How often do we hear first hand accounts of what was going on at the time of our birth in the lives of those closest to us. Thank you, Aunt Ardelle for taking the time to send this to me.

Hi Norma:

Just finished reading your most recent blogs.

I just had to write and say a little bit about the day you were born. I remember that day very well. I was attending Western Christian College at North Weyburn. Prior to you being born I was busy embroidering some 'Sunbonnet Girls' and then your Grandma put them all together and made a quilt out of them. That quilt likely isn't around anymore.

I remember your Grandmother, my Mother phoning to tell me that your Mother & Dad had a baby girl. They came to Weyburn to visit your Mom and you in the hospital. They also came out to the College to pick me up so I could go visit.I remember going into the Weyburn Hospital and the nurse asked me if I was old enough to go had to be 12 years old. I was then 17 years old. I wasn't very impressed. At that time people like me couldn't see your Mother but I got to see you. You were a real gem.

I started baby-sitting for your Mother on Saturdays while she went shopping,. She would come out to the College and get me for the day and then take me back before curfew at night. It helped your Mother and it sure was nice for me not having to stay at the College all day Saturday. We couldn't only go home once a month but we could go out on day passes.

I remember one of the days when I was babysitting you, you cried and cried. The only time you didn't cry was when I was holding you. I thought maybe you were a bit spoiled. It turned out that you had Colic.

As you got a little bit bigger and you would come to Carlyle to visit your grandparents (and at the time I was now living back at home). You loved to sit on my pillows and play with my clock radio in the book case at the head of the bed.

When Clark was born you came to Carlyle and I looked after you. You were talking then and I would feed you jelly which you really liked and I would tell you that it was jelly for your belly. I also tried to get you to say that your name was Norma Elizabeth and you would say to me I not lizabet.

Then there were the times at Grandpa and Grandma's cottage at the and I would go and pick strawberries along the path to the outside biffy.These are just a few things I can remember about you when you were born and as you grew up. There are likely a lot more but these things come to my mind right now.

Have a great day.

This is a picture of me on one of those visits to my Grandparent's house. If you look closely, you can see my Grandfather in the background.

These are two pictures of my aunt.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday! I have the day off from work so I am going to spend the day quilting and relaxing. We are going out for supper tonight, so I don't even have to worry about cooking! A great way to spend the day!

I opened presents this morning. A mixer, watch, and guardian angel from my parents. A clock that crows like a rooster from my son and a Jim Shore cat, Abraham from my daughter.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sucker Hole

Our weather for this month has consisted of rain and wind, rain and wind, and even more rain and wind. Occasionally we see a "sucker hole" like the one above. A sucker hole for those who are not familiar with that weather forecasting term is a patch of blue sky surrounded by dark clouds. That optimistic patch of sky "sucks" us into thinking the weather is getting better--hence a sucker hole! Every time I see one of these patches of sky lately, I am hopeful the weather is turning for the better. What a sucker I am!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tuesday Night Quilters - Hexagon Table Toppers

Seven of the Tuesday Night Quilters met at Dot's house last Tuesday (November 7) and made their versions of the hexagon table topper.

By the end of the session, all seven of the participants had finished their table toppers to the flimsy stage. One participant even had her topper sandwiched and basted, ready for quilting. This is a picture of 4 of the toppers that were completed.

This is a picture of the Christmas version that I made. I finished quilting it yesterday and finished the binding tonight. This will be another Christmas gift for someone on my list.

Hexagon Table Topper Tutorial - Part 2

Note: The fabrics have changed from Halloween themed fabrics in the first part of the tutorial in the previous post to Christmas themed fabrics in this part of the tutorial.

You should now have your two stratas -- 6 strips of fabric sewn together and seams pressed in the same direction.

The following instructions are for making a hexagon-shaped (6-sided) table topper. The angle for a hexagon shaped quilt is 60 degrees. If you would rather make an octagon-shaped table topper (8-sided), use a 45 degree angle.

Lay one of your stratas on your cutting board and using a ruler with a 60 degree marking, lay the ruler on your strata so that the 60 degree line runs along one of the seams of your strata.

This photo shows the two ruler method. The shorter ruler is marking the 60 degree angle in the middle of the strata and the longer ruler is butted up against it so that a continuous cut can be made across the strata.

Alternatively, a special ruler made for cutting 60 degree angles can be used. I found this ruler to be more accurate than using the two straight rulers.

Once you are sure of where your 60 degree angle is, make your first cut--as close to the end of your strata strip as possible to maximize the use of your fabric.

Reposition your ruler so that you can make the second cut and complete the triangle.
Continue cutting triangles for the length of your strata. You should get three triangles out of one strata.

In the next step you will be sewing two triangles together. Because you have pressed all seams in the same direction, the seams should nest together effortlessly.

Pin at the seam intersections and sew from the large end of the triangle to the small end of the triangle.

Press your seams open.
Once you have sewn two triangles together, sew one more triangle to this pair. Three triangles sewn together are half the project.

Cut the second strata as you did the first strata. The most important thing to note here is that what ever fabric was at the top of your cutting board in the first strata should now be at the bottom when you cut the second strata. Fabric #1 in the first strata becomes fabric #6 in the second strata.

You want two sets of three triangles with the same fabric in the "point" position. If this seems a little confusing, study the photo of the finished table topper in the next post.

Tuesday Night Quilters - Hexagon Table Quilt Tutorial

Update: This post was originally posted in October. The date on this post was changed to November 13 to allow it to post with part 2 of the Hexagon Table Topper Tutorial.

This post is specifically for those 9 ladies that plan on taking the Hexagon Table Topper Quilt "class" at Dot's on Tuesday, November 7.

In order to maximize our evening and to allow you to go home with a completed flimsy, please bring your two stratas to class that evening. You will also need your sewing machines.

You will need to purchase:

6 different fabrics for the strips on the front or top- Many of the ladies are making this a Christmas project so if that is your plan, choose 6 Christmas fabrics. You will need sufficient yardage to get two 3 inch strips from each fabric. Please do not purchase fat quarters. This is not a fat quarter friendly project.

1 fabric for the backing - this can be one of the fabrics from the front of the project or choose something different. This project is reversible when complete so consider something nice for the back that you may want to display before or after Christmas like a winter-like fabric that is not necessarily Christmas. This way when Christmas is over, you can flip your table topper over and get use out of it for the rest of the winter.

Step #1 - Cut your 6 fabrics for the top of the quilt 3" wide (these strips will finish 2 1/2" wide) by the WOF (width of the fabric). Your strips should be 40+ inches long by 3" wide. You will have 12 strips on your table when you are done cutting.

Step #2 - Arrange your strips in the order that pleases you.

Step #3 - Sew your strips together in pairs in the order that they will appear in the strata.

Step #4 - Press your strips as you sew. Remember to press, do not iron. Pressing is an up and down motion. You do not want to stretch or distort your strips. You want nice straight strips.

Step #5 - Sew two pairs of strips together. Then sew the 4 strip unit to the last pair of strips.

Step #6 - Remember to press all strips in the same direction--either all towards strip #1 or all towards strip #6. It doesn't matter which direction you press as long as all strips are pressed to the same direction. Be sure to press the second strata exactly as you have pressed this strata.

Step #7 - You should now have two stratas - each 6 strips wide, all pressed to the same direction.

We will cut our stratas into our triangles in class together. If you bring your two stratas on November 7 we should be able to get your table topper completed to the flimsy stage.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

JOY Wall Hanging

Yesterday was a day to have fun in the studio. With Christmas fast approaching, I was tempted to dip into my stash of Christmas fabrics. I was looking for a quick project that would not add to my never ending UFO list.

This was the perfect project. It measures just 12 1/2" x 24 1/2" and can be finished to the binding stage within a day. (The white in the picture is not a border, but is the batting before it has been trimmed away.)

The letters are fused to the background and then attached with a machine blanket stitch. Quilting is simple--an X across each square in the border and then outline stitching around each letter. After binding and the addition of a sleeve, this project is ready to give away as a gift.

Remembrance Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
- John McCrae

Friday, November 10, 2006

BQ Pumpkin Quilt #1 - Quilting Complete

I have finished quilting BQ Pumpkin Quilt #1! I ordered some new Circle Lord templates for my long arm and used two of them on this quilt.

This quilt will eventually belong to my parents so I chose to do a lot of straight line quilting on this one. My dad is always impressed with the perfectly straight lines that my machine can accomplish so that is what is on this quilt. I used the square spiral template in the large pumpkin squares and in the small pumpkin squares on the border. I used the cross hatch template to do the 45 degree angles and my channel locks to do the horizontal lines.

I will save putting the binding on this quilt for another day. I am anxious to load the next quilt and try some different templates!

The next two pictures are taken at an angle to show the quilting design more. Ideally, I would take pictures of this quilt outside but the heavy rains we are currently experiencing means that outside pictures are out of the question.

This is a picture of the back--sometimes quilting is easier to see from the back.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Japanese Maple Trees

These are the Japanese Maple Trees in our yard. I just love these trees at this time of year! These pictures were taken yesterday during a break in the rain showers. We are currently in the middle of a "pineapple express" storm and it seems like the rain will never stop!

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