Friday, July 29, 2011

A Tip

Yesterday, I had a great idea for the subject of today's post but today (you guessed it) I can't remember what it was.  I usually make a note to myself when those rare bouts of inspiration hit but this time I didn't.  Perhaps I was relying on the mangoes I've been eating lately to actually improve my memory.  I am not sure if they are supposed to be fresh or dried or if it matters but I read somewhere that mangoes are supposed to help the memory and stave off illnesses like Alzheimer's.
So far, it hasn't worked.
Ah, it just hit me so maybe the mango is doing its job.
A few weeks ago, I came across a pattern in a quilt book that I really liked.  It was a combination of two patterns which resulted in a third. Yesterday evening, I decided I would like to make it.  Of course, now I can't remember what book it was.  I've looked through all the ones an my shelf without success.  I am reasonably sure it was a book and it was a table runner but that is about it.  I don't even remember if I lent it to one of our quilt group members.
So, here is the tip.  When you see a pattern you think you may, someday, perhaps, make.  Photocopy it and write on the copy the name of book/magazine. If it was from a magazine, include the issue number as you will probably, if you are like me, have more than one of a particular publication.
I am going to start doing this and put the pages in a folder as this has happened to me on more than one occasion.
Hope everyone has a nice long weekend.  Stay safe if you are on the road, near water etc.  There are many people who would be devastated were anything to happen to you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A List is Needed

I finished the top for the table runner last night and am now picking out the fabric for a lap quilt. This is another project for our fall fair.  I found a pattern in a book that I want to try.  Looks fairly simple but it all depends on the fabric so am going to have to start pulling things from the shelves to take a good look.
I feel rather blah today. The weather, I suppose.  It is rather overcast and it feels like rain.  It is one of those days when I really feel like curling  up with a book but, I won't. Once I start reading, I don't stop until the book is finished which means that, in my eyes, I have lost a day.
I am not sure why that is important.  I guess, retired or not, it is hard to get out of the habit of being occupied or accomplishing something with your time.
A lady on one of the groups who is newly retired asks how people motivate themselves.  I am a list maker.  If I have some things that need to be done, I make a list of the things on which I need to focus. Lists, to me, mean a deadline and deadlines keep me on track.
Perhaps I should have made one for today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Table Runner

This the center block of the table runner I am working one.  As you can see, it is a stained glass pattern.  I haven't done one of those before and it is a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Of course, doing it as a foundation piece helps. 
Just got back from my monthly grocery trip.  Came back with a car load and then, once everything is put away, you try and think if there is anything for supper.
Also bought a new mini blind for the quilt room.  We put the one from there into the living room after the dog broke that one.  She was trying to catch a fly or something and got tangled in the cord.  Down it came with a crash sending Heidi scrambling into the master bedroom.
She has just left with my husband for a ride into town to get the mail.  She likes going in the truck because Roger puts a pillow on the seat for her to sit on so she can see out the window. Spoiled? Nah.
Huntsville was packed with traffic and people.  It is a tourism area and, even on a weekday, it takes extra patience driving down the main street.  I try not to fuss as the merchants do depend on the tourists to keep them going for the rest of the year.  It is always nice to be back home though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yahoo Groups

I have mentioned in previous posts that I belong to a number of Yahoo groups and how much I enjoy them.  I recently joined two more.  Both are quilt related, of course.  One is for hand applique and the other focus' on  quilt pattern designers.
The write up on the design group said that the occupation was a lonely one and one of her goals was to give the designers a place to share.  Isolation is a part of nearly all artistic endeavours, I believe.  If you think of writers, painters, wood carvers, sculptures etc. , they all work by themselves in a studio. The fact is that you really can't do these things while carrying on a conversation.  It is possible that you could work in a group of like minded individuals but I don't think you would accomplish as much as you would if you were on your own.
When I am at my quilt group, a lot of the time is spent looking at others work, receiving or giving help and visiting.  The latter is why we all enjoy our Mondays.  There are only a couple of us who spend most of the day in our studios but we all look forward to getting together and sharing our passion.  If we miss a week, it feels as though we have been away for ages.
On line groups are especially important for those who live in rural areas.  They are a means of sharing problems and triumphs; a way of reaching out and connecting.  They will never replace actual face to face interaction but they are a pleasant extension.
It is a lot cooler today so I am making bread.  I have just taken Heidi for a walk and now will get to the sewing machine to finish a table runner top.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Four Months till Christmas

This is one of the blocks from the table runner pattern I am doing.  I thought I might have some of it finished to post today but the heat has slowed me down-as I imagine it has everyone. I am doing it in Christmas colours and hope to have it done in time to enter in our fall fair.
It is a bit cooler this morning.  We have gone out and watered the garden, picked some beans and I have a load of laundry to hang.
I am hoping to be able to spend a bit more time in the quilt room today as I have so much to do.  Christmas is not far away in terms of making things so I had better decide on those projects.  It will be nicer with the new tracks on my machine frame. I've done a few practice runs. No bumps.  Wonderful.
Now I am looking at all my fabric and thinking that I would like to make a few charity quilts and give them to Habitat for Humanity.  I think I have enough fabric to cover the beds for a few houses!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oh, The Heat

A weather advisory warning just popped up on my screen and when I checked it, it was for the heat.  It is 27o feels like 38 with the humidity and it isn't 10 a.m. yet.  On the bright side, I don't have to go out, I'm not working and we have an air conditioner.
After I finish this, I am going to get a book, lay down near a fan and read.
I have started working through a paper pieced pattern for a Christmas table runner.  It will be on my blog but I will show you what it looks like when I have the top pieced.
I don't know how the sale went yesterday but am hoping my friend at Sisters Quilting Expo sold lots of fabric, patterns and kits.  There is so much work in preparing for something like that and there is always a risk that nothing will sell.  She will be there for a few weeks so I am sure as soon as people get to know her she will do well.
And that, my friends, is it for today.  Stay cool.  Stay safe.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grunt Work

Ivy Leaves
I took the old track off my machine frame this morning and installed new ones.  Didn't that sound easy.  It wasn't.  The one track came out without a lot of work but the other side had to be gently hammered along the track before it could be slid the rest of the way.  I say 'gently' because any nicks  on the track bad could result in a wiggle when quilting.
I thought the new tracks would just slide in place but, nope, they had to be gently tapped into place.  A thick cloth over the track helped.
Then I replaced the end of the frame, put the machine and carriage back in place and presto, I'm finished. Only took me two hours!
It will be worth it though as the old tracks each had a crack and everytime the machine carriage got to that place it needed a tug which, of course, showed up in the stitches.
This photo is the back of the quilt  I mentioned yesterday.  This is the ivy leaf pattern.  I reversed the direction every other row and am pleased with the result.  Now I am anxous to get another quilt on the frame and try out those tracks.  But first, I have to do a little re organizing.
It is going to be hot again today and worse tomorrow.  I think we are going to go to the beach on Thursday and find a shady place to sit and read in between going for swims.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Too Hot for Man or Beast

Bathing Beauty
This heat has been hard on everyone here in the backwoods.  There are only a few birds around as it is cooler for them in the bush. Even the squirrels seem lethargic.
Little Heidi is still her frisky self but you can tell she is hot.  I decided a nice bath and hair trim would help.  My husband filled the tote with water and we let the sun warm it up for a couple of days-our well water is really cold.
She isn't a big fan of baths or water in general but, as you can see in the photo she puts up with it.  I guess she feels it is better than going into the shower and having all the water pour down on her.
I finished the patterns for Sisters Qilting Expo on Friday.  She has a booth at a mall on Wednesday where she will be selling kits and other items.  She should do quite well as there aren't any other quilt stores for miles..  This is a real test for both of us to see if our respective businesses-her store, my pattern designs, will be successful.
I finished top stitching a small wall hanging last night.  I did it in an all over ivy leaves pattern.  I'll take a photo of the back later and post it tomorrow.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Home on the Rock

Our Peaceful Home
This photo is looking west from our back driveway.  Doesn't it look peaceful?  These are the chairs were my husband loves to sit with our wee dog.  Together the two of them look out over the property and chat.  Well, my husband chats and Heidi listens.
Whenever I have been to town and I turn into our driveway, I am sure my blood pressure drops a few nothches.
I had to go to Huntsville today to pick up a couple of things and it just seemed to be an irritating day. The cashier put my eggs in the cooler bag first and put the bags of milk, fruit etc on top.  I had to unload and redo. 
Then when I was parked on the main street, someone left their car with the front end in my space a few inches from my rear bumper.  Fortunately, I had stayed back a bit (driving instructor habit) so I was able to manouver my way out but it left me wondering why people are not more aware of what they are doing.
I am now back in my sanctuary, enjoying a cup of tea, listening to some wonderful music and ready to get back to work.
When I lived in the city and I had that type of shopping experience, it could leave me feeling fussy for the rest of the day.  Thankfully, that is no longer the case.  Age and having a peaceful place to live has taken care of that.
I hope you also have somewhere to get away from all the stresses of this world.  It is necessary for good health.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another Lovely Day in Paradise

It is, once again, another gorgeous day here in the backwoods.  This morning I went outside and removed some shrubs so I could plant my weigela (really must find out how to spell that). It is in a a smallish area of soil surrounded by a huge rock that looks as though we have a stone floor.  Which, in a sense we do as this whole area is part of the Cambrian shield so rock is more common than dirt.
This particular spot is where we have a couple of chairs and it is a nice cool place to sit and overlook the lower front part of the property.
The shrub is supposed to grow to five feet so it will add a nice bit of colour to the area as well as food for the butterflies and hummingbirds.
We went out to pick blueberries after supper.  They are nice and plump this year and we got enough to add to our breakfast cereal for a few days.
My husband is outside chopping wood while it is still cool and later we are going out to visit a friend. I have a few more patterns to write up so must get at those.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Stuff

I have just had a couple more freebie's put onto my web page.  There is a simple pattern for a tote bag as well as a tutorial.  Please check them out and let me know what you think.
We have been having wonderful growing weather with lots of sun interspersed with rain.  This photo shows my husbands 'three sisters' crop.  It consists of beans, squash and corn all planted together in a mound.  This was a method used by the Inca's and it does seem to work. the wild blueberries are already plentiful and it looks as thought the raspberries are going to do well.
We were able to cut, what is now our lawn, for the first time this weekend.  We were given a lawnmower and husband cut down some of the clover in the front yard area.  How nice to look out the window and be able to see the vegtable planter!
We had another reminder this week that we are living in a rural area.  The township is redoing the road that goes into the village and so we have to detour.  In a city, this would mean a few blocks out of your way.  Here it is about 10 miles. However, it is a scenic ten miles so it isn't as bad as fighting through traffic and having nothing to look at but more vehicles.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another Tutorial

I have sent another tutorial off to my webmaster.  It should be on my web site this weekend.  She is up to her neck in busyness as she tries to get her fabric ready for sale, complete a quilt order and be a Mom and wife.  I am sure many of you can identify with the problem if not the details.
This tutorial is for joined triangles.  I have called it/them Half Triangle Triangles.  The method shows you how to make the block without sewing any bias edges.  Hope you find it helpful.
If there is something you would like to see in a tutorial, please let me know.  I can often find an easier way of doing something.
I spent some time pulling weeds from one of the gardens this morning.  This is our rock garden although it could just as easily be called a wildflower garden as that is what it contains.  We made the mistake of throwing clover seeds in amongst the plants and now it is taking over.  I have been pulling them out but not sure how much progress I have made.
I can't believe that it is Friday again.  And, here we are in the middle of July already. Time never passed by this quickly when I was working.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Patterns Galore

Yesterday was another one of those that got away from me.  I went to Huntsville (our nearest town) early in the morning to shop, met my friend for lunch and finally got home mid afternoon with a vehicle stuffed with groceries and plants.  I usually buy my shrubs and perennials this time of year as they are on sale.  I had been wanting to get a wegilia (I am sure that isn't spelt right) for the butterflies and hummingbirds and found one that was almost half price.
I also went to the fabric store, of course.  I needed thread and bought some fabric that I didn't need just because it was on sale.  Don't you hate doing that?  I will use it for backing but I could just as easily have just bought more thread. 
As I have mentioned before, I am in the midst of designing some patterns for Sisters Quilt Expo.  She is starting to get all her fabric in stock and would like to patterns to make up some kits.  I have an order for ten that need to be done and received by the end of next week. I have two done, almost finished a third and have ideas for another four.
I enjoy being able to work from home but would really like to have a day to myself when I can make better progress.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New Gadget

My sister has returned to England.  We had a nice visit while she was here including a shopping trip.  We, naturally, went to a quilt store.  Helen bought some fabric and a few other odds and ends.  I got the add a quarter ruler. 
This little gadget is great for paper piecing. I previously used a 12 X 1 inch ruler for trimming the excess fabric but it sometime slipped.  The Add a Quarter ruler has a lip or ledge that butts up against the folded paper edge which prevents it from moving around.
Quilt stores are full of notions that you can buy to enhance your quilting experience.  Most of them are, in my opinion, not necessary.  However, I have a few tools that I use continually.  I have a 12 inch square mat that rotates, numerous seam rippers and thread cutters, Olfa ruler in various sizes with the 12 X 6 and 12 X 12 being my favourite.  I prefer Olfa as I find I can see the fabric easier.  I also really like my new True Cut ruler for the same reason. I have a few purpose specific rulers such as my well used Square in a Square. In addition to my large rotary cutters, I also have a couple of smaller ones which are great for little trimming jobs.
My large rotary mat sits on the cutting desk which was specially made for my height.  It makes cutting a pleasure.  I also had the drawers made to specific depths so they hold patterns, WIP, UFO's as well as other necessities.
These are just a few of my favourite things.  I have a room full of others and a wish list that would probably fill another room.  I am sure you have your 'can't do without' tools as well. The days are well past which a quilter practised her craft with a few needles, some thread and a pair of scissors.
I mentioned previously that I am starting to put tutorials on my web page.  I am going to be adding another later today.