Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Traditional Quilt

Tomorrow is the first day of December and the Christmas season will soon be in full swing. Here in Alberta, the snow has not yet arrived, but the spruce, fir and pine trees to be decorated are out in the tree lots. The weather has been mild and pleasant. Without the snow, it does not feel quite right that I should be thinking about Christmas. However, I am beginning to think about decorating my house for Christmas. ,Perhaps today I will ask my son to bring up the Christmas village and the Christmas stain glass for the dining room window. At school, we are busy preparing for the school Christmas concert and making decorations for this event. All these things tell me that Christmas is coming all too quickly- I need to start getting some more family Christmas shopping done.

This quilt was made around 2000 and is a double Irish chain. It is owned by inlaws who would have celebrated their wedding anniversary on the
8th of December. They would have been married 65 years this year. For some reason,this quilt does not photograph well- the colors are not quite right- The base is a beautiful burgandy color and the Irish Chain has bird fabric with gold and a lovely leaf green. I learned some interesting lessons trying to make the outside border continuous. It took a little finagling to get the corners ending up joined properly.

My parents have a ,design mate to this quilt. It is black and red, with a big rose print, and has a very different feel(more artsy somehow) even though it is the same traditional design as this quilt. My inlaws quilt looks more traditional than my parents. I am still working on a way to get my print photos into digital format-so it may be awhile before you see their quilt. I often have made more than one quilt of the same design- It appears, that I have a hard time creating only color palette so I often end up with two or three quilts of the same pattern.:D)

This week in the mail I was fortunate to receive a giveaway prize from Michelle at Tales from the Raspberry Rabbits. In the box, there were two lovely quilted tree decorations- a stocking, and tree, as well as a beautiful Christmas stocking. There was a nice cup of raspberry tea and piece of Ghiaradelli chocolate to eat. Thank you Michelle for your lovely gift. Do check out Michelle's blog- She is one talented lady.

My husband and some friends have gone looking for some meteorites- Last week, a large fireball was seen here on the prairies and some of the meteorites have been located. We think quilting takes us on interesting adventures.... but I can see that having a hobby may take one to many different places and introduces you to many wonderful people..
I hope you are having some good weather and fun times as you prepare for the Holiday season..

Happy Quilting,

Trying to post about a great giveaway

Robyn is a lovely Australian quilter who is celebrating her first bloganniversary - she posted a tutorial about how to do this hyperlink. Click on the image to see her wonderful giveaway.
Some things on the computer for me are quite mysterious...and quite simple when you know what you are doing..

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time Marches On and an Old Quilt

Yesterday was my birthday.. It was not a particularly special number although my mathematical husband said "that oh yes it was" - It is the same number as there are weeks in a year and there are that many cards in a deck- To me it is just a number-It was a particularly lovely birthday- you can see the lovely collection of gifts from family and friends- People seem to find me the things that I love- glass baubles to wear(there is a pendant that looks like a spiral galaxy from my dear husband) and fresh lavendar scent bags and earrings and a new teacher's Boyd's bear for my collection at school. There is a truly lovely Aboriginal angel that I will take to school to decorate my room and then put on our mantel during the Christmas season. She is wearing beautiful regalia and has a dream catcher to chase away bad dreams. There are gorgeous panda puppets to do stories with my school kids and a new sewing machine light that bends so my work area can be well lit. I felt truly treasured by one and all. The best gift of all was the time spent with good friends and family- those are the moments that are truly priceless.

In celebration my birthday I thought I would share one of my earliest quilts made in the Fall of 1997).I finally managed to take a picture of it. Here is my original lone star-(that I referred to in an earlier posting). As you can see it is quite long, as both my son and my husband are tall men. I remember making this first quilt with many of the same group of women with whom I still quilt. We have foraged great friendships and spent time creating many many quilts over the last dozen years.

One of the biggest challenges with the lone star is to find the right background - this quilt had two or three different fabrics auditioned for the cornerstone blocks. One needs quite a bit of fabric for the corners (about 4 yards)and I began my stash then and there. As an inexperienced quilter, I struggled with color and value. My quilts have gradually become more colorful with stronger contrasts and more vibrant focal fabrics. I enjoy creating the combinations that make the quilt my own creation. I am not much of a kit person preferring to use the pattern of my jumping off point.

Having said that, my friend L, and I went west of the city yesterday to visit a couple of quilt shops. In the second shop I found a kit for a Lonestar that was half price- I so loved the fabrics that I bought the kit. I still will alter it in some way -I will probably change the last border as I find the one in the kit too busy. We went west because I thought I would be less tempted to add to the stash-LOL well let's just say that wasn't the most successful strategy... There are some beautiful new fabrics in my ever bulging stash...
My most successful stash busting is when I go upstairs in my sewing room and pat the stash - That is easier on my pocket book.... but not as much fun...

The lone star has two borders of mini lonestars on each end. It was my first venture into adding borders but certainly wasn't my last. I have continued to play with borders when I get the opportunity. I like frames on my quilt - to me its like framing a picture. The borders can be a design challenge but how long I play with the borders is determined by when I need to have the quilt finished. A quilt will often tell you when its finished- there is a certain feeling one gets when it is complete. Sometimes you have to leave a quilt for awhile to so you can figure out how to finish it. I find that is especially true when I am adding borders.

How do you make the quilt so it reflects you? Do you enjoy the creative challenge of design? Do you like playing with borders? When does an addition to the quilt end up being a distraction from the body of the quilt?

This quilt may be one of my older ones but it is well loved- Its the way I feel after yesterday's birthday celebrations. Thank you dear friends and loved ones for making this middle aged lady feel treasured.

Keep on playing and have a great week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blogging Award


My friend Pam at Pam's Pages
sent me a very nice Blogging award that I am still learning how to link to my blog. I had the good fortune to meet Pam in Person last summer. We had a grand time checking out a couple of quilt stores in the city that I grew up in. My home town, Red Deer, is a city 100 miles south of where I live now. When I was growing up it was a town of 25,000 people- 30 years later it is a city of 85,000 people. Pam and I found some great deals in the quilt stores: we shared an enjoyable lunch together.
Meeting Pam was a wonderful experience, and I encourage anyone who gets the opportunity to meet another blogger to try it out.

I was a lurker or as I preferred to be known AFWAB( a friend without a blog-This is Kim's acronym) long before I was a blogger. I have enjoyed reading other people's blogs - there are so many talented quilters out there who are sharing their love of this artful craft.

Some people that I want to pass on this blog award to are:

Micki lives in Ireland and is passionate about quilting and embroidery. Check out her lovely blocks and bags.

Kim lives in Northern California and is the person who coined the label AFAWB. She is a prolific quilter and has a wonderful blog that are truly full of her daily adventures.

Eileen is a lovely woman who takes care of her beloved husband and continues to hand quilt. I was very fortunate to win a piece of her hand quilting from a special giveaway. Thank you Eileen for your generosity and for sharing your love of quilting with us all.

Sharon is a beautiful quilter that lives in Southern California- Her and her Sistas share their love of quilting with a zest that is easy to enjoy... They have many wonderful adventures too.

There are many many other blogs that I continue to read when I can- Do check out the blogs that are listed on the right side of my blog.. They have given me many hours of reading enjoyment. Some of them offer wonderful patterns and share their expertise as well as being terrific writers. I could have given this award to everyone of you.

Whatever reason that you blog- you have made my life richer by sharing your thoughts and extending your hand in friendship out here in blogland.

Happy quilting,

( I don't think I did this in the correct way but I finally managed to get the picture of the award on this posting :D)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

When the lines converge

( Pictured here are my beloved inlaws enjoying a morning under the covers reading- December, 2006)
A few summers ago I discovered Ricky Tims and his book "Convergence Quilts." The book has some wonderful examples to spur ones creative juices. There are some more complicated designs that use curves and registration marks to join them together.If you get a chance, check out his website at and you can see the many wonderful Harmonic Convergences as well as his Caveman Quilts. His quilts are heavily quilted with beautiful detailing.

Now, I am a practical sort of girl and while I admire other people's wall hangings and art quilts, I usually don't make them( there are a couple of exceptions-one that I have played a little bit with is the Snippets Sensations by Cindy Walters). I wondered if it was possible to use the technique to make a large enough quilt for a couch. The first one I made is a wall size and remains unfinished. Perhaps one day I will use it to explore adding some embellishments and such..

Since that time I have made a half a dozen larger ones- It has been fun to explore how to put the colors together so that you don't get mush- I have an unfinished one that is mush - there was not enough contrast in the fabrics and just didn't work. It was destined for a special someone that deserved better than an ugly quilt so it sits in pile to remind me to get the values and contrast right..
I loved making these quilts- it was a little bit of a puzzle to see how it might come out.

This middle quilt was made for a dear quilt friend - How often do we make quilts for loved ones but not for our quilt friends because we know that we can make beautiful quilts themselves? My friend loves purple and green and I was really happy how the fabrics worked together- (My profile has another view of this quilt).

This last one was made for my friend K's 50th birthday - I called it Black and White and Red all over- I am the person on the right... It was a surprise for her and I know she is quite fond of her cuddle quilt.

I have also made the same quilt for my sister, and two friends as wedding presents. I often find the most challenging thing to do is to figure out how to border it. Often I have extended the square so that it has a small stop border and then used the same fabric from the body of quilt and used in each of the four quandrants. It can be a challenge to find a good border fabric.

Ricky Tims has so many wonderful designs ( Kaleidoscope, Chantelle Flower, and Rhapsody come to mind)- I was given his Rhapsody Quilts book and I would like to make that pattern too. I have a Kaleidoscope quilt made that just needs to be quilted- Hopefully during Christmas vacation....

Life sometimes gets in the way of quilting time- not just because of the demands from other parts of my life but I don't always have any energy left when I do have time to quilt. There are so many quilts that I would like to make... I have the technology and the materials but sometimes find it hard to find the time and the motivation for creating.. perhaps you do too..

Time to go and do a little work for school next week and then have the rest of the weekend for family and quilting... Have a great week...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quilted Memories

When I first thought about creating a photo quilt, I was intimidated by the whole process- What would make a good design? what pictures should I use- should I turn them all into sepia or black and white or should I use the color pictures? On and on went the questions and there didn't seem to be any clear cut answers. After awhile,and with the time ticking away, I decided to just take the plunge. My in-laws quilt was the result- Mars the cat certainly approved of it - She would make us laugh, because, when I would lay it out on our loveseat, she would lay on our families' corner( and only on our corner) of the quilt.

The blue photo quilt is the second design that I came up with for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. The original quilt design was one where we were all in coffee mugs. I thought it could hang in my parents new redesigned kitchen. A friend of my parents had even sent me a palette of colors so that it would fit with the new decor. I decided that I wanted to see the flimsie in their kitchen, before I finished it. It was a good decision- I hated it, when I saw it in their house. It was too large, and too cutsy, and when I think about it now, I realize that a wallhanging in the kitchen would have needed frequent washing. I am not sure how the photos would have withstood regular washing.

Have you ever got a quilt top together and decided that you hated it? What did you do? Did you finish it? Does it still sit abandoned because your idea didn't live up to the corresponding result?

Do you ever get stymied by a design and just can't get the rhythm of that quilt? I have a tumbling blocks quilt that is in a bag waiting for me to finish. The fabrics are beautiful batiks but I just haven't figured out the pattern so there it sits...hopefully one day because I think it would be really beautiful- right now it is just a bunch of triangles and flags....

In my parent's photo quilt,I really liked the original quilt fabrics that I chose, but the colors didn't work and the design didn't work, and I knew that everytime I looked at that quilt I would want to rip it off the wall. I didn't want anyone to see that I had created something that was that ugly!!!

I wanted to use the pictures so I took out the pictures and started all over again. My immediate family is in the top left hand side of the quilt. My son is the top left picture and my husband is the left center. I am between the two of them. My parents photo that was taken around their 50th wedding anniversary. The other pictures are of my nieces nephews and in laws. The four inner photos are of me, my two brothers and my sister. We are in the central square around our parents.

The photos were printed in a tight weave white cotton meant for photos. The lady who printed them knew lots about printing photos on fabric (much more than I) and did a fantastic job with the photos. The second version is much better. The quilt was based on a pattern(I think it was called Come Paris) from the Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. It needed some adaptation, but was the perfect number of boxes for photos of all the members of the family. It looks very handsome with the bed quilt hanging on that beautiful quilt rack over the bed.

I am not sure when I will try my hand at photo quilts again. I have seen people use them for graduation gifts and memory quilts.. Perhaps there will be another occasion that warrants photo memories..but then again perhaps not...

Happy Quilting,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

To Honor Dad

Today is a day of Remembrance for our family- it is the anniversary of my father in law's passing. It does not seem possible that it is a year ago today. My father in law, Sherburne, was a wonderful man- a loving husband to my mother in law Betty for 63 years, a devoted father to five children, four in law children and 9 grandchildren and a passionate educator. He loved music,sports and politics and would have been glued to the television waiting with baited breath for the results, of the American election. He was like a second father to me for nearly 30 years of my life and I miss his zest for life. Only a few days before he died, he went to a Halloween party and dressed up in a grass skirt so that my mother in law would wear a Halloween Hat..

Dad made many contributions to make this world a better place. Among them, he helped develop a wonderful music program at a local college and spearheaded a festival for Bach's 300 anniversary called TriBach.

I love the photo of my inlaws together in front of the photo quilt that I made for them for their 60th anniversary. I used a pattern called "Delectable Log Cabin" from one of Evelyn Sloppy's books "Log Cabin Fever". In the center is a photo of my in laws at the time of their marriage and their four children with their families in each of the triangles. In the center block at the top, is a photo of their son David who died in a car accident in 1975. I had the quilt embroidered by another quilter, as I do not have an embroider machine. This quilt now hangs in my mother in laws room. I like to think it helps her remember her loved ones.

The second quilt was made for my inlaws for their 63rd anniversary. It is a Convergence quilt(a Ricky Timms technique) and has my father in laws favorite birds- Cardinals. He was a dedicated St.Louis Cardinal Fan since the early '40s when he watch Stan Musial play ball. The convergence quilt was intended to be a large cuddle quilt for an afternoon nap but they used it to cover the top of the double bed. I really like making the convergence designs and have used this pattern for a half a dozen cuddle quilts. One of them is in the picture on my profile.

One day I would like to make some of Ricky's more complicated designs- I love his medallion designs and have his Rhapsody Quilt book that I enjoy looking through from time to time. I have pieced a Kaleidoscope quilt using his technique - I just need to quilt it. It is a wall hanging size but somehow keeps getting put on the back burner- hopefully soon.

Today I celebrate the life of a man who contributed much to all who knew him. We miss you Dad.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lone Star Baby

I love Lone Star quilts and this one belongs to my parents. The baby is a lovely little girl who happens to be my folks second great granddaughter. J. is now 14 months old and has begun to walk around. She is too cute for words but here she was a wee one- only a few weeks old.

I made this quilt for my parents to honor their 50th wedding anniversary, which was three years ago last July. My mother is of Swedish descent so the blue and yellow combination was in tribute to her Swedish heritage. It is a soft looking quilt that has a small diamond border with the main star floating on a sea of flowers. My parents have other quilts that I have made but this was the first large one I created just for them. My Folk's quilt was my second Lonestar.

The original Lonestar quilt is a pink and green one- that we happen to own.It has small stars at each end of the quilt as I wanted it to be extra long. I will try and take a picture of it some day soon- the only pictures I have of the original lonestar(made in 1997) are on film and I have no idea how to transfer them to digital format.(My guess is that it involves a scanner and we don't own one). There are so many beautiful Lonestar variations now but I think I am a traditionist- I like the simplicity of the big star and I love them with graduated shading of colors.

Here is another view of it with its mate- a photo quilt that has pictures of all my family at the time of my parent's 50th anniversary. The photo quilt is truly a snapshot in time -since its creation, my parents have added two new grandson inlaws and a baby to their brood. Making photo quilts often pose some interesting dilemmas about who is included and the arrangement of the pictures. That is a topic for another day...

Isn't the quilt rack that the photo quilt hangs on beautiful? My parents are good friends of a couple who are talented artists. S. is a fabulous painter who paints wonderful pictures on almost any surface you can imagine. Her husband B. is a fantastic carpenter who designed and built the quilt rack to display the photo quilts. I love how the two quilts look together..

I have been busy trying to keep up with my schoolwork -lots of paperwork related to November report card writing. I can not believe that we are already at the beginning of November. Where has the fall flown?

Yesterday, my school students were dressed so cute for Halloween- there was a crocodile, giraffe,fairies, princesses and Hulks,Spiderman, knights and Batman. Halloween is always so exciting for my little ones. They were so ready to get to go out trick or treating.

This week I will introduce some new concepts about Peace to prepare for our Remembrance Day Assembly ( November 10). We will honor our veterans and service men who help us live in a more peaceful world. Peace is such a difficult concept to make meaningful for them- maybe that is true for us all...

I plan to get a little quilting done this week too. I had my sewing machine into the shop last week - it had stopped working but fortunately it only needed a tune up. I am getting behind on my Winding Ways Quilt and need to get moving on it. It is hard for me to find the balance between work and play.. Everyone needs to play to relax and rest so that you can be productive and efficient at work ...yet it is a struggle for me- Perhaps for you too?

Hope you are having a nice weekend and get a chance to enjoy time with your family.
Happy quilting!