Sunday, March 22, 2009

International Quilting Weekend

Saturday, March 21, 2009 was National Quilting Day in the US. I noticed another Canadian blogger who referred to Saturday as INTERNATIONAL Quilting Day and I feel a little like her and think this should be more than an event limited just to the US. Given all the good that quilters do worldwide for their communities, we should be recognizing quilting world wide and the day should be changed to International Quilting Day!

I told my mother that it was International Quilting Day and she asked me what I was going to do. I told her that I was going to quilt of course! And quilt I did. I joined in a Move It Forward Challenge. We challenged one another to pick a UFO and move it forward from pieces of fabric sitting in a box on the shelf to at least the flimsy stage.

Friday night I had put the finishing stitches in a quilt that Linda and I had worked together on previously - on Super Bowl Sunday in 2008. As I quilted Linda's quilt I thought about the fun we had making our quilt tops together--Linda in the southern US and me in Canada, connected only through our computers and the Internet. What fun we had planning our quilts and working together through some of the challenges of the pattern. We ended up with a flimsy each. I quilted my Bargellobowl quilt last weekend and this weekend, I finished up Linda's Bargellobowl quilt. Linda's quilt is large--approx. 90 inches square. This quilt was so large that my daughter's arm span was not large enough for her to act as the official quilt hanger. So for the picture, we put the quilt on the floor. As you can see, Joey is walking the border, doing his customary quilt inspection.

Once the pictures were taken, I packaged up the quilt and headed off to the post office. Linda's quilt is now on its way back to her. It still seems surreal that the quilt that had only existed as pictures on the Internet up until now was actually in my hands, thousands of miles away from where it was pieced. Linda's quilt is full of memories--there are fabrics in there from the FAB stashes, her Mom's stash, and it now has my quilting stitches holding the sandwich together. So I started the Move It Forward Challenge by helping a fellow FAB move her flimsy one step closer to being a finished quilt.

The next project I tackled was taming the overflowing unruly box of string pieced rectangles that I have been working on over time. When I am looking for a mindless project to do where I don't have to match anything or concentrate much, I work on string piecing scraps to used Color Catcher sheets. Once I have a stack, I trim them up to 4" x 9" .

These are the stacks of blocks that I trimmed up on Saturday. Each stack is at least 3" high. Linda asked me what I had planned for these blocks. I was just going to sash and cornerstone them into a simple top. Linda asked if I had thought of making a Railroad Crossing quilt.

After searching the Internet for ideas and swapping pictures of quilts back and forth, I came across a quilt with pink and tan alternating squares that I fell in love with. It wasn't long and Linda sent me this EQ drawing of a quilt similar to the one that I fell in love with. With this drawing it is easy for me to figure out how many squares of what fabric I need and just how many of the string pieced bits that I need. It is obvious to me now that I have enough string pieced bits to make about three of these quilts!
This is very typical of what happens when Linda and I get together and start discussing quilts and quilting. We start with one idea and the next thing you know the pattern ideas are flying back and forth over the Internet and we both have a few more quilts added to our Quilting To Do list! It is great to have someone to bounce your ideas off of.

The UFOs that I decided to move forward were my Easter table toppers. This first topper is for me. It was previously just a flimsy and Saturday I managed to get it quilted. Sunday I machine stitched the binding to the front of the quilt. That pink strip around the perimeter of the topper is the binding ready to be hand stitched to the back of the quilt.

This second topper is for my Mother. The fabrics are those that my mom bought while we were on our recent trip to Arizona. I managed to piece and quilt this topper on Saturday. This topper is also ready for the hand stitching of the binding to the back of the quilt.

This is a picture of the cute fabric that is on the back of both toppers.
The members of my local Monday night quilt group have decided that they would like to make some quilts together. We have picked Bonnie's Scrappy Trips pattern. I have decided to make my quilt out of fabric in my stash. I have a huge collection of floral fat quarters that I am cutting 2 1/2" strips from for this project and 4 1/2" strips from for a future project - Terry Atkinson's
Daisy Chain. While putting together this first block on Sunday night, I remarked to Linda that maybe I should make the center squares on my blocks out of green fabrics in order to tame some of the chaos caused by all the florals that I am using. I was asking Linda what she thought of my idea.
Before I knew it, Linda had drawn up this diagram in EQ to give me some idea of what my idea might look like.
So, what started as National Quilting Day ended up as International Quilting Weekend! It is great to celebrate time to quilt together with friends - no matter where they live!

Guild Night

Wednesday, March 18 was our monthly guild meeting. Our guest speakers were some of our members who presented their pieces that they have created together as a group as they have worked together through some art quilting books.

Later, a couple of the members disclosed during show and tell that sometimes they incorporate some unusual elements into their quilted pieces--in this case it was Guinness beer cans. They have discovered that after being heated with a torch a Guinness can turns into a bronze/gold coloured medallion shape. Interesting for sure!

The highlight of the evening was after show and tell when all the We Care quilts that had been handed in that night were held up for display. We had 32 quilts turned in at this meeting and once we had them all held up, they circled the hall.

You will recognize some of the quilts from the workshop we had earlier this month.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Last night I took the last of the machine quilting stitches in my Scrappy Bargello quilt. This quit was started during Superbowl Sunday on Feb, 3, 2008 as part of Bargellobowl.
Bargellobowl was an group of quilters organized through the Internet who would rather quilt than watch the Superbowl. The pattern is Scrappy Bargello and is from Bonnie Hunter's website. My version of this quilt is made from scraps of Christmas fabrics. This quilt was quilted with the Circle Lord Baptist Fan template.
It is rare lately for me to take the time to quilt one of my own flimsies. I have a stack of customer quilts to work on, but I thought I would warm up the machine on one of my own quilts first. Today, will be spent working on quilts for others.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Yesterday was my Mom's birthday.

My brother was here for a short visit with his family before they headed out for a family vacation so we took advantage of the photo opportunity.

Here is Mom with her daughter (me) and her son. We took another shot adding Dad to the mix.

Annual Guild We Care Workshop

Last Saturday (March 7), our quilt guild hosted their annual We Care Workshop. Every year our guild rents a hall and members bring their sewing machines, irons, and other supplies for a day of fun sewing together with the objective of making as many charity quilts for our We Care Program as possible.

This year's quilt was inspired by Julie Higgins' Square Deal quilt pattern which appeared in the October / November 2008 issue of Quick Quilts magazine. The We Care Committee modified the size and number of the blocks to suit our needs.
You can see the sample quilt in the background of this picture.

As always, the committee had kits all prepared for the workshop participants. All the pieces we needed to start sewing our quilt tops were pre-cut and labeled for us in zip lock bags. The efficiency and organization of our committee members enables us to be more productive, finishing our quilt tops before the end of the day.
I took pictures of the members working on their quilts.

This was one of the first finished flimsies of the day. I missed getting pictures of the rest of the quilt tops.
I finished putting the last stitches in the binding on my quilt early this morning. This is my DD playing the role of quilt hanger so I can snap this picture of my finished quilt. I will be able to turn my quilt in at the next guild meeting on Wednesday night.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vacation - Part 10

The morning of Day 6 we headed out for a guided city tour of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. One of the stops along our guided tour was at Echo Canyon Park on Cambelback Mountain. I don't have any distance shots of this mountain, but Camelback Mountain was named because it looks the the 2 humps and head of a bactrian camel.

This is our step-aboard guide for the city tour. He is standing next to the skeleton of a Saguaro (pronounced sah-wah-ro) cactus. The main stems of the Saguaro are supported by these woody ribs. The Saguaro has a huge capacity to store water which allows it to flower every year in May and June, regardless of rainfall. The Saguaro has a very shallow root system.

The Saguaro is protected in the state of Arizona so you can not just go out into the desert, find one, dig it up and plant it in your yard. Saguaros can only be purchased from someone who has a permit to sell and transport them. When transplanting a Saguaro, the original orientation of the plant to the sun must be respected in its new location. The side of the cactus that was facing east in its original location must also be the side of the cactus that faces east in its new location.
The Saguaro provides habitat for many animals. The Gila woodpecker creates many of the nest holes that you see in the mature cacti. East year the woodpecker creates a new hole and either insects or lizards take over the old hole.
Although slow growing--about an inch a year--the Saguaro cactus can reach heights of 15 to 50 feet. The larger plants with more than 5 arms are estimated to be at least 200 years old. At 50 to 65 years of age and 6 meters in height, the Saguaro develops its first arm.
The Saguaro can be the dominant feature of the landscape. However, it almost always is accompanied by a high concentration of desert trees. These trees are supported by a high rainfall twice a year in the spring and autumn. These trees act as "nurse plants" to the young Saguaro seedlings by protecting them from being eaten by animals and also by providing shade and humus rich moisture retentive soil in which the seedlings can develop.

This is another of the many cacti species that we saw in the park.

The red rocks of Camelback Mountain give the landscape a moon-like appearance.

After the remainder of the city tour of Tempe and Phoenix, we stopped at Old Towne Scottsdale.

We enjoyed walking up and down the streets and browsing in many of the shops and galleries.

Many of the boulevards and street corners are landscaped with the most interesting varieties of cacti.

This is a cactus called, Organ Pipe.

An interesting bloom on a cactus next to a bistro.

Our evening meal was at Organ Stop Pizza.

Basically, this is a pizza parlour inside of an organ. Organ Stop Pizza is the home of the world's largest Wurlitzer pipe organ. As the performance starts, the pedestal that the organ player is sitting on rotates and rises up from the well. This was a fabulous show as the organist played requests and finished with both the Canadian and American national anthems.

As Canadians, we felt both welcomed and appreciated. The Organ Stop Pizza is an experience not to be missed if you are ever in the Mesa area.