Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spring has sprung - the dandelions doth rise...

Our grass is growing and so are the dandelions right now- they are a bloody nuisance that I will be very happy to be rid of... Dandelions do have a pretty yellow flower - not as gorgeous as these yellow sunflowers that are currently residing on my table. My school children often like to bring in bundles of them from the school field. Perhaps I should bring them to my house as field trip and we can pick my backyard clean..

June is just around the corner and I am trying to keep up with things at home and school.. At present I feel just a little overwhelmed by it all..Good thing that I have some nice sunflowers to admire- they do make me smile...

Recently, I made a list of school things to do and then started to feel my blood pressure grow- I stopped to take a deep breath.... Does that ever happen to you- everything is happening at once and your not sure where to begin or what is the most important thing to get done first...
However, this weekend I tackled two kinds of reports that needed to be completed so that feels like progress...

This lovely collection of things come from a blogging friend's giveaway that I won last month. Terry of Aviya Glass sent me this gorgeous handmade pendant along with this collection of beading pieces ( two black hearts, a double glass heart pendant and some more toggles to bead with)It was a treasure trove of lovely things. Thank you ever so much Terry- you do beautiful work!

A couple of weekends ago I went to a quilt retreat and started working on this quilt. It is now a queen sized body (121 blocks worth) and I have the borders fabrics chosen. Ideally I would like to get it spray basted and quilted in the next couple of weeks but I am not too hopeful. I wish that I had magical powers to do it all, but right now the report cards have to come before my quilts.. The pattern of this quilt" Twisted Strips" is from Bonnie Hunter's website. She has a number of free patterns on her site. As well, she has published three books. Do check out quiltville if you are not familiar with her website- She has a great blog- hers was one of the first blogs I ever read. She spends a lot of her time these days traveling the United States, to share her talents and love of quilting with others.

You may remember me talking about making some baby wraps. Here are two that I have completed. The one above was given to one of my colleagues at work who had a beautiful little boy in late February. We had the baby shower last Thursday.

These two beauties are our niece Beth and her daughter Anni. They were here visiting a couple of weeks ago and I was able to see Anni all wrapped up in it.

There is lots going on in blogland these days -Quilters do have big hearts and are busy trying to help all those who find themselves affected by the natural disaster in Joplin.
Judy Laquidara of Patchwork times is raffling a quilt for donations to the Red Cross for the Joplin Tornado victims. Mary is also having her own raffle quilt to raise money for Joplin folk. Do check out these ladies sites and help out if you can.
In my home province of Alberta, there were some terrible wild fires at Slave Lake which decimated the area. Over 400 people lost their homes. The Red Cross is accepting donations to help these families. One of our local quilt stores Sew Divine accepted quilts as well, but I do not know if they are still accepting them or not.

Summer is coming and there will be time for other things. In the meantime, I best get back to the reports and the dandelions- not sure which are causing me the most stress right now.....
Warmest regards,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Amy's Blogger Festival May 2011

Bargello is one of my favorite techniques. This quilt is called the Long and Winding Road and the pattern was in a magazine called "The Quilter" around 2003. I love how the design moves across the face of the quilt. This quilt is a queen sized quilt that is machine pieced and machine quilted. I usually meander quilt my quilts and these bargello quilts are no exception. I have a very nice Babylock quilting machine that is one size bigger than the standard domestic sewing machine. The bigger aperture and extended table gives enough space to quilt even a large quilt.

Often when I am choosing the fabrics for a quilt I have a difficult time limiting my choice to one color variation. I liked this design so much that I made two versions- The pink version is owned by my sister in law and the blue was used to help in a fund raiser for my son's Boy Scouts group. So which do you like the better - pink or blue? I still can't decide- Pink???

Recently my husband Bruce, was writing an article for an astronomical journal- He used this Long and Winding road quilt to illustrate the slight variations of an Eclipse Saros cycle. The length of the 18 year cycle is slightly variable,stretching in some places and compressing in others.

There are so many beautiful bargello designs- Some designers you might want to check out include Chris Timmins of Australia who has some marvelous Twisted Bargello patterns and Derek Lockwood of the USA. Derek's patterns are gorgeous too- I have not made any of his yet but, I do own a couple of his wonderful creations.
Another designer is Heidi K. Farmer, who designed an absolutely stunning Bargello heart pattern that I made as a wedding gift for a dear friend a few years ago.

Amy of Amy's Creative side is hosting her Spring Blogger's Festival. There are many stunning quilts to view and interesting quilt stories to read.
I hope you enjoyed reading about bargello quilts and will return again.
Enjoy the Festival

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day - Life is busy these day.....

Happy Mother's Day to all who are the caregivers in a family- some of you might be both mother and father, others might be grandmothers or aunties, that provide hearth and home to your loved ones. Whatever name you go by, I honor and celebrate the things that you do for the children around the world to provide them safe loving homes.

Here is a picture of my mother and me taken last fall. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will know that my life has been rich with the love of some very special women. I do not know if I can describe my mother in words. She is the most kind and thoughtful person I know - generous with her time, and giving to all that come within her sphere. One could not wish for a better role model or a more loving Mom.
I'm sorry I have been away so long from my blog- I don't know where April went- well I do sort of (quilting, working visiting friends,catching up on some reading and family), April just seemed to have melted away like the snow on my front lawn. I am happy to say that the spring flowers are beginning to bloom and the snow has finally disappeared. Bruce brought home these beautiful little tea roses(I think that is what they are called). In the background, you can see my father's quilt- I have made more progress on it.
I laid the quilt on our bed to check and make sure that it will fit my folks bed- Wahoo its a fit(even Dusty the dog approves). Now to get the quilt pressed and spray basted so that I can quilt it!

Here is a close up of the borders that I added- I did not have enough of the original green so I added a different green and brown border to the outside but I am quite happy with the way it looks. One of my blog commenters, Needlewings suggested that I quilt some trees in the border. This fabric would be a good background for such a quilting design. I hope to finish it for Father's Day, but we shall see- I have a few projects going on right now- One thing is for sure is that before summer's end, I plan to have it completed.
In this photo you can see a better view of the additional borders- the light brown one has bears all over it, so it is very fun, and works so nicely with the central motif. I am not sure how I am going to bind it, as I do not have any of the green left- but I do have more brown bears or I may make a combined binding of the different fabrics in the quilt. I try to have the binding made ahead a time.

I have been busy quilting this past month and I did get 6 baby wraps made(5 of the 6 are actually quilted too) One of our nieces had a baby a couple of weeks ago, and so did a friend at work - Now they need to be bound. I want to get them off to the babies before the babies are too large and the blanket no longer useful.

These bindings are all bias bindings because of the curves on the baby wraps-It sometimes is a bit tricky to get enough binding out of the meter of fabric that matches the fabric in the quilt. I have made lots of these baby wraps over the past 25 years. When I first made them, I tied them and they had lace or eyelet around the outside. Now I use minkee on the inside of the quilt, so it is hard to quilt without puckers if you envelop sew them together(you sew them with the right sides together and then pull them through the space left before you quilt). I think they stay better by being meander quilted together. I like how soft they feel with the minkee. The shape works great in a baby's car seat.

Above you see a collection of 2.5 inch strips. I am taking a workshop next weekend and the quilt requires 2.5 inch strips.(84 DARK AND 84 LIGHT for a queen size quilt) I made all these strips just out of the scrap box- no new yardage. It feels like a found quilt when you do that.
I may cut one large piece of yardage of lights because I always have more color in my collection than I have neutrals.
Today I need to get some of these strips put together into the strip unit. I am not able to go to the workshop on Friday as some former staff members and I, are off to help a colleague celebrate her retirement.
For the last few weeks, I have had a few social things going on- A colleague had a Pampered Chef party (fancy cooking tools). It was fun- the food was delicious and there were lots of interesting tools for making cooking easier- a pineapple corer, apple wedger, a mango peeler, shredders, cutters etc. My sister in law gave us some Pampered chef stoneware pieces a few years ago now. They are quite lovely to use though I find them heavy now. I am not really into cooking but I can see how having the right tools makes it easier- just like quilting. Do you have a favorite quilting tool?
I have been reading other blogs and commenting this month- I won a very nice giveaway from Terry of Aviya Glass. She is a beautiful bead maker and I got to choose which piece I might want. Making such a decision was not easy I can tell you. When it arrives I will post a photo.
A picture of Mom and me taken recently(not long after I had a haircut_ LOL)

Happy Mother's Day Mom- I love you!

This spring has been a busy one- hopefully I will return next weekend after the workshop to show you how I progressed with the strips. We are off to the art gallery this afternoon and then I plan to quilt. Plans sometimes get changed though. I hope that you get a chance to spend some time with loved ones. Happy Mother's Day one and all!
Warmest regards,