Sunday, March 25, 2007

Parrot Building Blocks

It has been a busy weekend. Yesterday was the annual Sewing & Crafts Show.

This Sewing & Craft Show kicks off the quilt show season.

April 20 to 22, 2007 - Fraser Valley Quilters' Guild

Quilts from the Heart - Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church - Parish Community Centre17475 - 59th Avenue, Surrey (Cloverdale Area), BC

The FVQG's raffle quilt was at the Sewing & Craft Show. This is a picture of it:

April 27 to 29, 2007 - Orchard Valley Quilters' Guild
Silver Threads - Celebrating 25 Years of Quilting - Kelowna, BC.

May 2 - 5, 2007 - The Canadian Quilters' Association
Quilt BC 2007 Alternate Year Event - Forester's Convention Centre at Kamloops, BC

Our guild is planning a bus trip to this show for the Saturday.

After getting home from the Sewing & Craft Show yesterday, I started a new quilt. This afternoon, I finished it to the flimsy stage.

The quilt is from Debbie Mumm's website and is called, Building Blocks. Debbie's pattern was crib size and I wanted something larger so I added blocks and a row of sashing across the top of the quilt and down the side. My quilt measures 52 1/2 " x 77" before quilting. If you would like to have a look at the pattern, follow the link here:

Double clicking on the picture should allow you to see the parrots on the border fabric.

An Evening With Judy Farrow

Last Wednesday evening our quilt guild was treated to a guest speaker: Judy Farrow. Because this was a special evening for the guild, we were invited to include our friends and members of other guilds in the night's activities. We had been told that Judy's presentation would appeal to the quilter and non quilter alike. I invited my mother along and as a non-quilter, she enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

Judy lived in the Northwest Territories in what is now Nunavut, for 30 years. During this time she travelled extensively with her husband, by dog team in the winter and freighter canoe in the summer. In 1980 she received a Canada Council Grant to conduct ethno botanic research on Baffin Island. In 1986, Judy and her husband moved to Yellowknife and in 1990 Judy began quilting. Judy received a Northwest Territories Arts Council Grant to make quilted fabric wall hangings. In 2001 the Farrows moved to Parksville on Vancouver Island.

Judy's list of accomplishments is long, but noteworthy is the Grand Prize awarded to her at Grand National Show in Kitchener-Waterloo 2005. This prize was awarded to her for her marvelous entry "Snowy Owl Meets West Coast Totems".

The owl is raw edge appliqued. The totems are part of the background and are constructed from various black fabrics including velvet. Because of the black colour, photographing the totems is difficult.

This photo shows the lower corner of the quilt as it was draped across the table. You can see the totems a little easier from this angle.

Judy's presentation was titled, "Baffin Island to Vancouver Island" and included both a slide presentation and a trunk show of some of her pieces.

This picture is the top of the quilt titled Aurora.

This is the bottom half of Aurora.
This is beluga whales.

This piece depicts the tall trees in the famous, Cathedral Grove Forest on Vancouver Island.

My mom loved these frogs.

Judy dressed in clothing from the north to help her "get into character". Judy talked about how she started quilting--quite by accident and by how her quilting journey has been influenced by 30 years of living in Canada's North. Judy's stories included travelling by dog sled across the ice and snow and her setting unrealistically short deadlines because of her naivety regarding just how long it takes to construct a quilt. Her lecture spanned traditional block construction to more contemporary techniques including batik, curved piecing, and embellishment. Judy inserted just the right amount of humor and true stories to make her presentation both interesting and entertaining.

Finally, this is a picture that my mom took of Judy Farrow (on the left) and I. Judy is wearing her traditional parka that she wore while living in the north.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Today is National Quilting Day and St. Patrick's Day.

I have some errands to run this morning and then I will be in the studio this afternoon--quilting of course!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy 65th Birthday Mom!

March 14 was my mother's 65th birthday. We sent flowers......

Dad gave her flowers.....

While we were at Mom and Dad's house for cake and coffee, Mom showed me how prepared she is for spring / Easter. These are just some of the decorations.........

Did you take note of the quilts?

This is my favorite rabbit..............
This rabbit has appeared every Easter for many, many years--since my brother and I were living at home!

My parents now have enough quilts that the "extras" needed storage space.

And, last but not least, the birthday girl ..........

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Perfect Group Quilting Project

This is a quilt that I just finished quilting today. This quilt belongs to a quilt group that is planning to raffle it later this year. Proceeds from the raffle are to benefit cancer research.

Sometimes it is difficult to find a quilt pattern that can be accomplished successfully by a group of quilters because each individual's piecing skills and measurements can be their own. A group of blocks made by different individuals can be challenging to put together into a nice flat quilt top.

The secret to the success of this quilt block is the "floating" star. The white pieces around the star are deliberately pieced larger than required. After the star block is finished it is squared to 9 1/2". This squaring after piecing ensures that all blocks are exactly the same size. The sashing rectangles that surround the stars finish at 2 3/4" wide and are either 7 1/4" long for the top of the block or 9" long for the sides of the block. Because these blocks are all pieced from scraps in each quilter's existing stash, the only cost outlay for the group is the batting, backing and long arm quilting.

I have added the finished dimensions to the parts of the block onto the photo in case some of you want to make your own version of this star quilt.

UPDATE: This pattern is an Atkinson Designs quilt called "Lucky Stars".

Spring Forward

Last night we moved our clocks forward one hour.

I am not usually too impacted by the time change but today it seems to have hit me harder than usual. The graphic above definitely does not reflect how I am feeling about the loss of an hour of sleep!

Even Joey seems to have been caught a little off guard!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Machine Quilting

Last Saturday at our guild workshop, I offered to help Kathy with her machine quilting. I brought along some of my smaller quilts to demonstrate that there is a lot you can do to machine quilt your quilts with your domestic sewing machine (DSM) and your walking foot.

Kathy commented that she should be writing down the ideas. No need to make notes, these pictures are posted for you, Kathy.

This first quilt is a rail fence miniature. As long as the curves or arcs are gentle, they can be accomplished quite nicely with a walking foot and there is no need to drop the feed dogs and wrestle with controlling the stitch length and moving the quilt at a steady speed while stitching in free motion.

This quilt was marked with a blue marking pen using the edge of a glass to make the arcs across two strips.

This picture shows the closeup of the stitching on the blocks.

This is the back of the same quilt. The scallop design on the border was accomplished with a stencil. Again the curve is gentle and easily accomplished with the walking foot.

The secondary design was not intentional and has the appearance of the apple core block.

The alternate squares in this miniature nine patch were stitched to look like the nine patch blocks--simple straight lines.

I love it when a secondary design that wasn't part of the original quilt plan emerges in my quilts. When I finished this log cabin quilt and showed it to my husband he declared that he could find the surprise in my quilt--the birds. This quilt was a simple two colour log cabin and there was no intention on my part to arrange the blocks to form four birds in the four corners of the quilt. Further to that, without realizing it, my quilting accentuated the bird image.

Simple parallel lines at an consistent angle finish off the border.

I believe they call the block in this quilt, Sister's Choice.

This is my favorite technique for a narrow sashing or border--a serpentine stitch. This stitch is a modified zig zag type stitch on my Bernina.

The border quilting on this quilt is straight lines at a consistent angle spaced in alternating narrow and wide widths.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

"In case you missed it: Your cat is in charge"

The following article appeared in Sunday's newspaper. I read it and had a chuckle--it is so close to the truth! Click on the article and it should appear large enough for you to read it. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Banana Bread and the Wicked Easy Quilt

My sewing machine quit part way through yesterday's workshop. There was a short in the power cord. I have ordered a replacement cord but it hasn't arrived yet. Since piecing was out of the question today, I had to amuse myself with other activities--after the laundry and vacuuming of course.
I was chatting with Linda J. this morning and we were talking about baking. The discussion ended up with us agreeing that a recipe that included chocolate would be a great idea today. I had bananas to use and I added chocolate chips to the banana loaves I made to be sure and make this a "chocolate Sunday"! I believe Linda J. was making chocolate cake. We wanted to meet for coffee but the distance between us only allows for chats over the Internet and each of us in our own houses with our own cup of coffee. Maybe one day the virtual coffee break will become a reality!

Banana bread has been a favorite in my household for many years. My kids deliberately stop eating bananas when there gets to be only three left in the bowl. They know if they leave them so that they over ripen mom will turn them into banana bread!

I also finished the hand sewing on my Wicked Easy quilt. This project was started in February and finished in March--I don't think it even made it to the UFO stage because I didn't leave it to "season" on the shelf!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

We Care Workshop

Today was our quilt guild's We Care Workshop. We had 29 guild members in attendance and a total of 35 quilts were worked on. These quilts will go a long way to filling the need in our communities' hospitals, long term care homes, and women's shelters.

The We Care Committee did an excellent job in securing an excellent facility. We each had our own table to set up our machines. We worked in pairs to share irons and cutting boards. Everyone had plenty of room. The committee prepared kits for several different quilt patterns. All strips, backing, and batting had been pre-cut for you. Some kits even included pre-made binding! There were also samples of the quilts made up and attached to the wall so if you got stuck, you could quickly re-orient yourself by looking at one of the samples.
Almost everyone left with their quilt top basted and ready to quilt when they get got home. It will be wonderful to the see the "train" of quilts at the next guild meeting later this month!
When a large group gets together to work towards a common goal, it is amazing what can be accomplished! Many hands make light work!