Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blogger Festival May 2012

In the beginning, I had an idea that I would like to use two sets of layer cakes to create a quilt for a very special young lady fondly known as E. She is my god daughter and was celebrating a significant birthday. Unfortunately the quilt took a little longer than I planned, so for the day of her birthday she received only the top completed. The pattern is a ten minute block by Suzanne McNeill. The blocks do go together quite quickly. If you google the ten minute block, you will find an excellent set of instructions on You tube by the designer.
Mars the cat often likes to check out my quilts and this quilt was no different. She fits so cosily in one part of the circle shaped sections. The pattern looks more complex than it was to make. It is a very neat technique.
Here we are ( E and I) wrapped up in her completed quilt a few months later. I was very happy with the border fabric that I found in my stash. The border fabric was also part of the center of each of the blocks and was also a batik fabric. One of the biggest challenges was quilting it. Each block is around 20 inches in measurement so that meant there was large areas to be quilted. I have done a fair amount of free motion quilting but I had not done designs that were specific in shape.
The quilt measures about a large double sized quilt. Here it is laying on a queen sized bed so you can see it covers the top but does not have much drop around the ends of the bed. There is another quilt under E.'s quilt.
This close up shows the detailed flowers that I created in each of the quarter blocks. My original idea was to use a variegated thread but I had significant trouble with thread breakage. I tried different needles and adjusting my tension but I could not find a way to create the free motion flowers so I went back to using invisible thread. The machine and I then started to get along. I am quite pleased with my first attempt at a stylized free motion design. I did not stencil the design in- I just drew it with the machine needle and thread so the individual flowers are not exactly the same..
Amy's Creative Side Link to blog festival I have enjoyed participating in Amy's Blogging Festival in the past. If you click on the gadget on the right hand top of the page it will link you with the rest of the festival. I hope that you will get a chance to visit the many quilts in this virtual show. There are always spectacular quilts to be seen and enjoyed. I know that I come away feeling inspired by the many talented quilters from around the globe. Thanks for dropping by.. Warmest regards from Western Canada, Anna

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reflections about Mothers...

Spring has brought spring flowers and more...Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Bruce brought home these beautiful pink tulips earlier this week. We have enjoyed the two shades of pink flowers. The petals are dropping off the tulips, but now there are other fresh flowers gracing our table. They arrived this morning from our son and his girl. Mother's Day is special to me for it was on a Mother's Day weekend twenty five years ago that I knew for sure, I was going to have a child. It remained our secret for some weeks more, but I remember that first feeling of wonder at the prospect of becoming a mother.
This is my first big quilt- I completed this log cabin quilt( pattern sunshine and shadow layout of Eleanor Burns quilt in a day log cabin) when I was pregnant with Kevin. Ubnfortunately, the quilt is in sorry condition now- the victim of former pets and family wear. Here Kevin and our dog Tigger were together, when they were both bright and new.. He is about two months old in this photo- don't you love his running shoe booties??? Even then, he had lots of dark hair.. The first quilt I gave away was this black, red and white Double Irish chain quilt(made around 2000). It belongs to my parents and graces the bed in one of the guest bedrooms of their home. My mother called it my art nouveau quilt because of its vivid colors. It has a rich floral border.

My mother is a woman of great kindness- She is the most thoughtful person I know -always doing something for others. Like her mother, she can be counted on to help others, to listen and to support those in need. To her, it is not the big things in life that matter most- it is all those caring touches that she can do to make others feel important and loved. She has been a wonderful role model in my life. This picture of us together hangs over my desk at school- it always makes me smile. Sometimes, all I have to do is look at that photo to feel her love and her strength from afar. I know how fortunate I am to still have her in my life.I love you Mom- Happy Mother's Day!
Over the years, many of my quilts have had mates- this second double Irish chain quilt belonged to my mother in law- It has beautiful birds in the border fabric- My inlaws were great lovers of the natural world and often enjoyed watching the birds that are part of our local habitat. My mother in law enjoyed creating things- We have two of her paintings. She also enjoyed working with fabric and made quilts for her older grand children. She was a gifted lady who I feel fortunate to be able to have had as a treasured friend as well as my mother in law. To me she remains Mum...
Fast forward 25 years later - This photo was taken when Kevin and Roseanne visited in March. How did that beautiful little boy grow up into this handsome young man? We had such fun when they visited . We so miss his laughter and enthusiasm about life though we feel fortunate to talk to him on Skype frequently. Kevin has just completed his first year at technical college. Bruce and I are proud of him and love him very much. I knew that I always wanted to have children but he has brought more to our lives than I ever thought possible- mostly joy- sometimes aggravation(LOL) but never a dull moment. Each and every day, I recognize that I was given a great gift on the day that he was born.
Kevin and his fiancee Rose have recently bought a house. I am sure that they are going to be very happy in their new home. Kevin has always been fascinated with building and working with his hands. Rose loves to design interiors so their home will be lovely with many special touches.
Speaking of special touches - these beautiful flowers came today- They have many of my very favorite flowers- lilies, roses, carnations,and hyacinths. They came with a loving note from them both and are brightening our dining room table. Anyone want a cup of tea? They had sent the teapot to me earlier in the month- they know how much I love a cup of tea- especially Chai tea! Thank you dear children for your loving gift - it is as treasured as is your love and thoughtfulness...

I hope this link will work- a while back someone sent it to me - it is a wonderful slide show of women in art- 500 years of women's portraits shown to a beautiful piece of classical music- The link will also show you all the portraits and the artists who created them... And just a small new project to share... This photo is a little project that I completed this evening- it is a bit late- I should have completed it last week, as it was a birthday gift for a blogging friend. It is a signature block- we hope that Ms. D. will enjoy all the blocks that she received and be able to wrap herself in a beautiful quilt hug..
We had a Mother's Day Tea at school on Friday for all of our Mothers, grandmothers, aunties... It was a lovely afternoon where my students shared some songs, dances and a snack with the special women in their lives. My kids made paper flowers and drew pictures about their moms. We also did a drawing of Mom for a card. When I was helping at bus time, I saw some older students with vases, covered with tissue paper squares. Kevin made me one of those vases when he was in kindergarten. I still have it - It, too, is a treasured gift.. Wishing one and all a special Mother's Day.. May it be a day that you are reminded of the gifts of Motherhood. Long ago a dear aunt said to me" when you have a child it is like throwing a rock in the lake-- the ripples go on forever".. I think that is so true.. May you also know that your love continues to expand like the ripples in the lake.. With warmest regards, Anna

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Colors of Spring...

Don't you love color? I recently received this box of yarn that I had ordered from Herrschenner's in the post. I loved looking at all the beautiful color combinations.I plan to knit them all into scarves to give away as gifts. They are fun and quick to knit. It is astonishing to me that the lacy ribbon yarn turns into this twisted frilly looking scarves. I wonder how someone could figure out something so clever!
I have finally got the blocks of the two lattice quilts together. The one shown here has 12 blocks in it. The second one is larger and both of them will be gifts for someone special. The second one has 20 blocks and both need stop borders and larger borders.
Here are a couple of border possibilities. I like the lattice look of the plainer brown but can't decide if it is too flat looking. I am leaning to use the red as a stop border but I do have other choices: like this gold that is sparkly, or a bright yellow, or deep green. It is sometimes hard to balance the central body of the quilt with the borders. I want the borders to hold the body of the quilt without overpowering it. I am still pondering...
Last weekend I finished up these baby wraps. The top photo shows what it looks like when the clover leaf wrap is opened flat. The wrap works great in car seats and strollers.
I love the fun fabrics you can find these days to use to make baby things. The inside of the wraps is minkee, terry or stretch velour. Minkee is my first choice but I only buy it when its on sale as it costs about 25 dollars a meter.
Here is my current scarf- I am not sure that I am going to give this one away. I love the purple and blue combination of yarns- If you could create a yarn what colors would you like to put together- I find these ones so soothing....
From the vaults: To Celebrate Mothers It soon will be Mother's Day. My mother and father have a few of my quilts but I wanted to share a quilt that I made for my Mother in Law Betty. Betty (aka as Mum) has been part of my life since 1979, when my husband and I began our life together. She was always warm and loving, and a woman of many talents. She enjoyed baking bread and doing crossword puzzles. She could play a great game of scrabble. I remember one winter that she took an English class at university, because is was something that she always wanted to do, and achieved the highest mark possible. She built a loving home for her 5 children and was welcoming to all who passed through their door. We spent many happy weekends sharing meals, watching shows on television, going to the occasional movie and concert, and listening to classical music. After my father in law had a stroke, it was harder for him to get around and they retired to the West Coast. We missed their presence in our lives, as their new home was 1000 miles away from where we live. As she got older, Betty found it more difficult to remember things. As time passed, it became apparent that she was experiencing serious memory loss. It was later determined that she had developed Alzheimer's, and could no longer manage independently. I wanted to make her a quilt that would brighten her room and so I created this medallion quilt. My husband took it to her in the fall of 2007.She loved soft colors, and I thought that she would enjoy this butter yellow colored medallion quilt with the matching border.
This is a doll sized version made to match her quilt. Don't you love the prairie points on it? I know that the babies look sweet all wrapped up in the coverlet.
Spring has indeed arrived here in Alberta. Things are beginning to green up and my forget me nots are blooming. I will soon have daffodils and tulips showing their beautiful faces in the front flower beds. Until next time,be well. Warmest regards, Anna