Saturday, October 30, 2010

Amy's Blogger Festival _ Fall 2010

This week is Amy's Blogger Festival that coincides with the big Houston Quilt Festival and Market. The quilt that I have chosen to share is a quilt that I made for our niece and nephew as a Wedding Quilt. The pattern is called Paperweight from Aardvark Patterns, Kansas.

I loved making this quilt- there are so many fabric scraps that brought back wonderful memories of other quilts that I have made, as I made the wheel like hexagons. I knew that Beth loved blue but I prefer to make quilts with many colors. It is always a dilemma when you are making a gift for someone- what colors to choose - a few or many. My hope is that the owners will use their quilt and feel the warmth and love that is sewn in with every stitch. I know that the couple loved their quilt. The quilt owners will have their first baby in the spring so it will be time for another kind of quilt.

On the technical side,I learned an easier way after I finished making the quilt so if I were to make it again it would have been less difficult to join the hexagons together. I pinned each edge of the hexagon with the joining blocks. It would have worked much better if I had sewn them in half wheels and sewed them in strips.

It is a queen sized quilt and unlike almost all of my other quilts has no additional borders. The outer edge has half hexagon wheels to square it. I am not sure how many pieces there are in it but there are a few hundred pieces.

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Thank you Amy for hosting this wonderful quilt festival. This is the third time that I have participated and I am looking forward to seeing all the different quilts. There are many beauties already hanging there on the main link. To see them just click on the icon and it will take you to the quilts. Amy has added a photo of each quilt which makes it look even more like a show. I know I am going to enjoy visiting the posts and reading their stories - I am sure you will too..

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will stop by again.
Regards from a Western Canadian quilter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some early quilts from the vaults....

Quilting is a bit of a cyclical thing for me- Sometimes I manage to get a fair amount of quilting done and other times I seem to get nothing done short of adding some beautiful fabric to my ever growing stash or drooling over magazine/ book quilts and new gadgets like the "Go"... I am not sure why I quilt like that- part of it is certainly because my work life takes over and there doesn't seem to be enough time or energy to go around. Yet,I know if I begin working on a quilt project, I feel better. Before I know it, I will have worked for a couple of hours and feel re- energized too. Sometimes, I stop to look at some photos of the quilts I have created over the last 15 years. Mars the cat can often be found testing out my quilts- She appears to think that I make them for her pleasure. She even has some favorite quilts- The leaf one on the left, is one that she is keen on- it matches her coat beautifully..

My quilt journey began quite a long time ago now - I have always loved quilts and my first experiences with quilting came when I met a friend whose grandmother showed her how to make the dresden plate pattern. We used cardboard templates and scissors ( yes I was one of those people that quilted in a time where there was no rotary cutter.. I completed one block and later turned it into a quillow quilt ( a quilt that folds up and forms a pillow.)

After that, my journey hit a few pot holes and I got side tracked by life- I married my husband and a few years later we had our son. He was born in the winter of 1987. The summer I was pregnant with him I quilted a " Quilt in a Day" Log cabin. It was a bit of challenge as I knew nothing about machine quilting. I thought that all quilts needed to be like downy duvets- I put a double layer of polyester batt in it, so it would be poofy.. It was a bit like wrestling a bear... I don't think I would want you to see the back of it either... The front doesn't look very good these days as it has suffered a few adventures with the pets that are an important part of our home and hearth. Life took over again - and it would be another 10 years before I would quilt again..
However, that is when my quilting journey changes- In the summer of 1996, I met a teacher, Linda and a small group of quilters with whom I connected, and we became quilting friends. I have quilted steadily ( sometimes slightly unsteadily) since that time. I have made over 50 large bed sized quilts for friends and family and numerous baby wraps in the intervening years.

This lone star was made in the fall of 1997-it still lives in our house- I made it larger to cover up my 6 foot husband and son. The colors are now dated but it remains in pretty good shape and still keeps us warm too...

What size quilts do you make? I like to make quilts that will be ones that fit a bed- I have made a few baby quilts and lots of baby wraps but, mostly I make big quilts that fit queen sized and occasionally king sized beds. I also like to make couch sized quilts.

My blog friend Rosa from New Brunswick ( a province in Eastern Canada) posted about the Magic Tiles pattern not long ago. It really is a pretty pattern. Here was my version of this beautiful design. I think I made it about 2002. It is made all out of batiks and I know that our friends loved it.

Sometimes I think it might be fun to make a few smaller projects just to get my juices going- but then I think of all the bed quilts I still want to make for one reason or another... I see the beautiful bags people create - I even have a couple of quilt books with bag patterns - still I make bed quilts ---- I guess I hope to make a dent in my stash and bed quilts is the way to do that LOL

Earlier I was mentioning about the Go -- Well Micki of The Irish Muse blog is hosting a Go giveaway... Now I have been admiring those fine machines- just think how much easier it is to cut things out.. What about all the different die- so many choices.. Maybe you will be the lucky winner or may be it will be my turn- do check it out...

There is a new Talk about Fabric button on the right side of my blog- for those of you who like giveaways or are interested in talking about fabric and fabric lines. You can add the button to your blog too if you wish..

This week is the big Houston Quilt Market- I am mind boggled thinking about all the choices one would find there- It is too large for me but it is fun to see what others have to say about the Houston Quilt festival...

The fall is flying by- this weekend is Halloween and my kindergarten students love to dress up in their costumes and go trick or treating. The first assessment part of my job is done so now the report writing begins... The first snowfall came on Monday and so did the snow pants and the snowmen.... Each day brings new things...

Wishing everyone some time to reflect and create...
Warmest regards,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time to Contemplate....

Some days I am struck by how much can happen in one day- sometimes it is a series of a little things and other times there are major events.

The world has been watching the miracle that has happened in Chili- What a wonderful thing that they were able to keep those miners alive and have brought them back to the earth's surface. I wondered how did those men hang onto hope and the belief that they would some day feel the sunlight and the hugs of loved ones.

Today I am feeling a bit reflective about the fragility of life. I have some friends and family who are dealing with loss and serious illness. I wish that I could find words of comfort that could ease their grief and loss- life can be cruel.

When we were in the mountains of Jasper in the summer, my spouse took this photo of me. We were awestruck by the beauty of Mount Edith Cavell. The Canadian Rockies are truly majestic. You can drive up the mountain of hairpin turns and stop to view the vistas. The mountains are a wonderful place to pause and reflect.. It was very soothing to stop and contemplate the beauty of the surroundings. Do you have a place where you can go and enjoy a reflective pause?

For six weeks this fall, I am participating in a book study group that is reading a book about using philosophy to help children develop critical thinking skills. It is an interesting study and asks questions like "are children philosophers?"
How do we help children continue to ponder questions that do not have right or wrong answers?
How do we help fuel childrens' natural curiosity?

I can tell my life has been busy because I have not been able to spend time writing or reading in blogland. There has been a wonderful blog festival fall into fall that is over tomorrow. If you hurry, you might be able to check out some of the wonderful blogs and sign up for some terrific giveaways.

Here in Canada, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend.

My husband was away visiting his elderly mother. I made this texture quilt for her a couple of years ago. She has Alzheimer's and is well cared for in a seniors home. She recently had her 88th birthday. Ami Simms is the founder of the Alzheimer Art Quilts Initiative that has raised money for Alzheimer's Research. There is a powerful book and show called "Forgetting by the Piece". Do check out her website.

Last weekend, our son Kevin, his girlfriend Roseanne, and I went to visit my parents and enjoyed a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner and all the trimmings with 15 family members. Nearly two weeks ago, one of our nieces, had a new baby girl,W. who is beautiful.
New babies need quilts don't you think? I made a quilted baby wrap for her, which I unfortunately, neglected to photograph- Perhaps one of my family members will send me a photo to post.

While Bruce was away visiting his mother I did attend the Kaffe Fassett evening. This link takes you to his home page.

I loved seeing some of Kaffe quilts and needlework and enjoyed hearing him talk about his process. There was certainly lots of beautiful forms of needlework and patchwork to enjoy. I asked him if there ever could be too much color and his reply was a succinct "No". He graciously signed my books and I went home inspired by all those rich colors.

I also had the opportunity to meet with good friends for dinner a couple of times last week. We enjoyed some delicious meals and delightful conversation.

The week passed very quickly- it was the first week that I had lived in our house by myself, as our son has been living away from home since last spring( well we still have our cat and dog).

In the meantime, I have been very busy at school gathering information for fall assessments and reports. I sometimes forget how busy fall can be.

A lovely lady named Marc sent me some wonderful Aunt Martha embroidery transfers. She was cleaning out her sewing area and wanted to give them away. I was the fortunate recipient of them. My mom did many beautiful embroidery pieces so the transfers bring back many wonderful memories. Thank you so much Marcia. They are really lovely.

Thanks to all of you who left such nice comments last time. My lost tooth did not cause me any grief- I am really fortunate-

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks - Today I am particularly grateful for all that I have... and taking a bit of time to contemplate life's rich gifts. I will return when I can- perhaps with a little more quilt content..
Warmest regards,