Monday, July 30, 2007

Customer Quilt - African Coins Quilt

These are pictures of a customer quilt that I just finished. It is called African Coins. The fabrics in this quilt really make the quilt. This quilt was quilted with my Zig Zag template on the coloured fabrics and the Wave template on the black and white fabrics. There were lots of thread changes on this quilt with King Tut variegated thread called Pharaoh's Treasures on the coloured fabrics and So Fine Charcoal on the black and white fabrics. The back of this quilt was brown flannel which combined with the Hobbs Heirloom batting makes for a quilt high on the cuddle factor scale!
If you are interested in making your own version of this quilt, this is a link to an article on HGTV's web site which describes how to make a quilt similar to this one:,1789,HGTV_3302_3064861,00.html

Garage Sale Find

Saturday morning we headed out to check out a few garage sales. We don't really need anything in particular, but it is fun to do. You just never know when you come across that perfect something!

For a while we seemed to be on the same schedule as a truck with three men in it. They would arrive at a yard sale just before us or just after us. My husband thought they had probably left their wives at the mall and they were making their own entertainment--killing time while the wives shopped. We parted ways at a garage sale where they were looking and seemed very interested in a 6 ft high, 15 ft long Santa and reindeer Christmas yard display. When we left them I was chuckling--that will be the last time those wives leave those men alone garage sailing! I would love to have been there when they pulled up to the mall to pick up their wives with that huge yard display in the bed of that pickup!

I came across the garage sale of a quilter. Look at the fabric I found! All of the fabrics are brights--perfect for a kid's quilt--perfect for a donation quilt. I just need to find some time now to work on a quilt!

Customer Quilt - Uneven Nine Patch Quilt

This is a customer quilt that I recently finished. I am always on the lookout for quilt designs that can be converted quickly into interesting quilts. It seems these days that the time I have available to work on my own quilts is less and less. I don't have the time to devote to those heirloom quilts right now. There are many bloggers out there making donation quilts for one of the many needy organizations and so I thought you might enjoy looking at another idea.

This Uneven Nine Patch or Puss in the Corner block is very simple construction--5 1/2" square center, surrounded by 2" squares and 2" strips for a finished size of 9 1/2". (Please note that measurements are finished sizes, not cut sizes.)

This quilter set the blocks together with 2" sashing strips and cornerstones and finished the quilt off with a 2" inner border and a 5" outer border.

The fabrics in this quilt definitely add interest to an other wise simple quilt block, but the formula works.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

South American Challenge

My niece is the world traveller of the family. Before she headed to South America a couple of years ago we talked and I told her to bring back some fabric. I told her that if she brought back fabric, I would make her a quilt to commemorate her holiday. I guess I should have been a little more specific as to what would be suitable for a quilt, because this is what she brought back.

These fabrics are beautiful, but not your traditional quilting fabrics. They are natural fibres, although I am not sure just what. They are very loosely woven and and i am sure if i cut into the fabrics they will ravel.

The picture is not exactly true in colour--the piece on the left is bright yellow, not orange like in the picture and the piece on the right is royal blue, not black like in the picture.

Since the trip to South America, my niece has been to school in Denmark. While attending school in Denmark, she met her fiance who was from England. This May they were married in England. I asked my niece if she wanted me to make a quilt for her out of the fabric that she brought back from South America as my wedding gift to her. She jumped at the offer.

Now the pressure was on. What was I going to do with this fabric? I toyed with various patterns, all of which were discarded. I then got the bright idea to make a Trip Around the World Quilt--using the South American fabrics as the border to the quilt. I decided that if I treated these fabrics like I treat t-shirts and stabilize them in the same way as when I make a t-shirt quilt, I could arrest the ravel problem.

These are the fabrics that I chose for the center, Trip Around the World portion of the quilt. I lucked out and found a fabric line at Fabricland that featured all of the bright colours that were in the South American fabrics.
Today, I managed to get together 1/2 of the quilt body.

This is a closeup of the fabrics. Each fabric has the same navy blue flower outline. This outline ties the fabrics together nicely.
The newlyweds will be in Canada in August for a second wedding reception for those of us who could not make it to England in May. The pressure is on to finish this quilt quickly!

Special Trees

One of the things that we did this weekend was to document with photographs some trees that have very special meaning to our family.

This is a Golden Leaved Black Locust tree that was planted on the grounds of the Research Station that my FIL worked at for his entire career. This agriculture research facility is home to over 500 species of ornamental trees and shrubs.

My FIL passed away on Thanksgiving day in 1994 and this tree was planted in his memory shortly after.

My husband now works at the same research facility and so this farm continues to hold a special place in our hearts. When my daughter was in grade 2 and my son was in grade 4 they brought home small tree seedlings from school. We had no room to plant these seedlings at home and so we headed over to the Farm.

This is a picture of my husband standing behind one of the seedlings that was planted 11 years ago. The location that the kids chose to plant their trees was very sheltered and shaded. The seedlings have to compete for sunshine with the other trees nearby so I am sure that is why this tree is still so small.

A few years ago, my husband rescued some abandoned feral kittens and brought them home for my daughter to foster. Unfortunately, the kittens were very sick and way too young to be separated from their mother and so we lost them. They were been buried at the foot of this tree.

We continued to drive along the base of the mountain--for the most part on a path of sorts that had been recently mowed. We came to the end of the beaten path and the terrain changed a great deal. You can see from this picture that the grass suddenly got very tall. Yes, that grass is really the height of the hood of our truck. Finally, my husband decided that he could no longer see where we were driving and so he turned back. Thank goodness!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Favorite Quilt Pattern

This is my favorite quilt pattern. It is a pattern from Quiltmakermagazine called, Warm Wishes.

I have made this pattern enough times now that I know how the quilt goes together with very little reference to the pattern. It is a favorite because I know just how much fabric I will need to buy, just how many pieces of fabric to cut and what widths. I know how this quilt pattern is going to turn out and I can easily reduce or enlarge the size to fit the recipient--fewer number of blocks for a crib quilt, increase the number of blocks for an adult lap quilt. This pattern has become an old reliable when I need a quick gift--I just choose a novelty fabric as my focus or theme of the quilt based on what I know the recipient will like and then I pick three contrasting colours from the focus fabric as my rail fence blocks. The border can be more of the focus fabric if I have enough on hand or as in the case of this quilt top, a narrow strip of the print with one of
the contrasting fabrics as an outer border.

In this case, I have used up all of what was left of the butterfly fabric from a previous quilt--The Simple Life Quilt. The small trimmings that were left when I was cleaning up my sewing area have already been sewn into some colour catcher string blocks so there truly is no usable remnant of this fabric left.

I finished putting this top together on Saturday.

This is another Warm Wishes quilt--the one that featured the colourful frogs. Quilting this top was today's project. The quilting pattern is accomplished with Circle Lord's Swirls template. The quilt is shown in this picture while it is still on the long arm machine. The quilting is now finished and the quilt has moved on to the binding pile.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Have Been Tagged.......

I have been tagged by Chookyblue to mention seven things about me. I was tagged before and so I will try to come up with seven new things not previously mentioned.

1. I don't mind travelling, but I don't seem to get away very often. It is the decision part of where to go that keeps me from getting away!

2. I love animals--especially chickens, dogs, cats, and horses. Our current property is far too small for horses and chickens are out of the question due to DH's line of work so I will have to stick to dogs and cats for now.

3. I hate rain but I live in a part of the world where it rains a lot!

4. I love a challenge. If the guild sponsors a quilt challenge, I am right there.

5. and 6. I don't like mystery quilts. I like to see the finished quilt and then decide what fabrics I want to use to make my version and if I am going to make any changes to the pattern. In a mystery project you are following someone else's lead and I like to decide which direction I am going to go rather than have someone else determine that for me. I am going to say that this item counts as 2--first for the mystery quilt thing and second for deciding my own direction. *LOL*

7. I am no where near retirement, but I already have plans for when I am retired! I can hardly wait until I can quilt full time every day!

I will not name you specifically, but if you belong to the Stash Quilts ring and you have not yet participated in one of these Memes please consider yourself tagged and play along.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer Has Arrived!

Yes, it really was this hot today on our deck! This picture was taken this afternoon after I came home from work.

They are calling this the hottest day of the year. Weather records were broken all over the province.

The forecast is for more sun, sun, and more sun!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Simple Life Quilt

Last weekend, I was looking through my quilt patterns for a pattern that would be suitable for just three fabrics. I wanted to make a quilt that fit Judy's July Stash Challenge. I came across this pattern by Lissa Alexander called "The Simple Life Quilt". As it turns out this pattern is a 4 patch variation--referred to as a 4 by 4 by 4 patch by Lissa.

If you double click on the picture, the image should become larger and you should be able to read the writing. At the bottom of the pattern, there is a note that states, "Assemble quilt in a Trip Around the World design refer to photo for placement." All I have of this pattern is this single sheet. I do not have a photo to refer to as mentioned in the instructions. Since I am a visual person, I went to my quilt software, Quilt Pro, drafted the block and played with block placement variations.

This is my block.

This is the version of the block placement that I liked the best. I like this version better than the Trip Around the World placement. This is 16 4 by 4 by 4 blocks.

I added a 2 1/2" border to the outside of the quilt. After quilting, I am planning to put a "flap" of pink on the edge of the border, tucked under a green binding. This will bring the pink and green colours back into the quilt on the outside edge, framing the quilt.

A top of sixteen blocks with a narrow 2" border finishes at 36 1/2" square--perfect for a table topper.
This quilt takes 5 - 1 1/2" wide strips of fabrics C and D (pink and green) and 5 - 2 1/2" wide strips of fabric for the B squares and 4 - 4 1/2" wide strips of fabric for the A squares. The border takes 4 - 2 1/2" wide strips of the print used for the A and B blocks.
I have an idea for a three fabric version that I hope to have time to work on in the near future.

April Snowman BOM

This is my April Snowman blue work block of the month. As you can see I am behind--this is April's block and I should be working on July. I have some catching up to do.

Yes, this snowman is blind. I am adding beads for eyes after the blocks are finished, assembled into the quilt top and quilted.

Family Reunion and Birthdays - July 8, 2007

Yesterday was my DH's birthday and my SIL's birthday. My husband and his sister were born on the same date six years apart. While growing up, my SIL told everyone that my husband was more her brother than anyone else's (there were 4 other siblings around at that time) because my husband was born on her birthday!

We were together as a family yesterday to celebrate the reunion of the families of my FIL and his sister. Both my FIL and his sister are now deceased. It has been at least 30 years since this branch of the family has gotten together.
This is a picture of my FIL and his sister taken many years ago before they were both married.

These are the first cousins.

First cousins again arranged in order of age. Yes, my husband is really the youngest in this photo!

First cousins again.........this time arranged in order of height. There was quite a bit of laughter and joking around while we were organizing these photos. Arranging the cousins in order of age and height for photos was a family tradition--"Just like we used to when we were little!" could be heard above the laughter.

These are the children of the first cousins--or at least the ones that were at the reunion. Unfortunately, not all of the kids could make it.

And finally, the grandchildren of the first cousins.

These two stole the show as far as I was concerned. These two boys are sons of my husband's niece.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Canada Day Quilt

I am starting to see the July 4th Independence Day quilts show up on American bloggers' pages. I decided to make my own Canadian patriotic quilt to commemorate Canada Day. Our flag is red and white and so Mary's Easy Double 4 Patch pattern seemed to fit the bill. I started this quilt last night and finished it off today.
I cut Mary's pattern down to 48 1/2" square.
If you want to make Mary's quilt in the same size as mine (5 blocks x 5 blocks), the following are the number and size of each strip to cut.
For 12 four patch units: Cut 3 strips - 4 1/2" wide from colour A and 3 strips - 4 1/2" wide from colour B.
For 13 sixteen patch units: Cut 7 strips - 2 1/2" wide from colour A and 7 strips - 2 1/2" wide from colour B. (You will need to cut one strip of each colour in half.)
For the border: Cut 5 strips 4 1/2" wide.
For the binding: Cut 5 strips 2 1/2" wide.
Also, tonight on our news cast there was a story about some Canadian grandmothers who made a quilt that has been signed by some very famous Canadians. This quilt was made to raise awareness and funds to support African grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren who were orphaned by Aids in Africa. It is a great story and worth a look:
Building a Better World... One Square at a Time.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Customer Quilt

This was today's finish--a quilt for a customer. This quilt is quilted with 105 concentric circles and 56 part circles with the wave on the border. This quilt has taken me a little longer than the average customer quilt as each circle has a start and stop. It took a day and a half just to tie off the threads and then bury and clip the ends.

Some quilters like to back stitch and then just clip. I prefer the look of no back stitching, tying off by hand and burying the threads in the batting like the hand quilters do. It takes me longer, but I prefer the look.

Happy Canada Day!

Today marks the 140th celebration of Canada Day, which commemorates the day that Canada became a nation.

Because July 1 falls on a Sunday this year, we all get tomorrow off making this a long weekend.

I am behind in meeting my monthly goals -- finishing one of the BOM snowmen blue work blocks and finishing off one of the listed UFOs on my side bar each month. I hope to get back on track this month--starting with the extra time I have this weekend.

To those blog readers in Canada--enjoy your long weekend!