Friday, March 27, 2015

Fiction Friday-Stars of Comfort

"That's it.  I quit."  Beth turned off the sewing machine and gathered up the pile of squares that had fallen, unsewn, to the floor when the bobbin ran out of thread.  She had been fighting with this quilt for hours battling snarled thread, broken needle, and tension problems.  Now, just as everything was starting to work properly,  and she thought that she was finally accomplishing something, the bobbin had joined  the rebellion.
"You can just sit there.  I am going for a walk."  Talking to her machine probably was a symptom of something but she didn't care.  She hooked her little Scottie to his lead and, giving the door a firm slam to show she meant what she said,  she strode out into the winter sunshine.  It was beautiful outdoors with the temperature low enough to make the snow squeak as she walked.  The sun gave an illusion of warmth but she kept her hood pulled up and made sure Tuffy's boots stayed on his feet.  The dry cold of Alberta often took newcomers by surprise and, because  they didn't immediately feel cold, they left their skin exposed.  Dry cold or not, it was still cold and frostbite was still a danger.
As she walked, Beth started to relax and think about the quilt.  She realized that one of the reasons she was having problems was that she didn't want to finish it.   Unconsciously, she felt that as long as it was undone, her sister would not die.  She knew this was a silly as blaming her machine for her problems.  Her sister's health didn't depend on the completion of the quilt.  However, in her mind, they were related.
She had felt so helpless when Esther had told her the cancer had spread and the doctor had only given her six months more, at best, to live.  Her beloved older sister who had always protected her from the neighbourhood bullies, taught her how to use make up and helped her get her first job was dying and there was nothing she could do.
It was Esther who had suggested she make the quilt.  "I get so cold and it would be wonderful to have something I could wrap around myself", she said.  Beth knew the suggestion was Esther's way of giving her a project to do as she had more than enough blankets to pile on herself if needed. However, the idea had, at first, helped.  The choosing of fabric and pattern had made her feel as though she had some control.  But, as Esther got weaker, that feeling had left and she began to resent the colourful fabric as though it were mocking her.
She felt a tug on the leash and looked down to see Tuffy was sitting and realized she had walked further than she intended.  "I'm sorry, fella.  I wasn't paying attention.  We'll go back now."  As Esther retraced their steps led by her dog's stubby, wagging tail, her thoughts turned again to the quilt.  She needed to quit thinking of it as the enemy and start letting it do its job.  The purpose of a quilt is to provide comfort and if she let it, this one with its cheerful blue and white stars could do the same.  It could provide comfort to her as she spent time working on something, perhaps for the last time, for her sister.  It would also provide comfort for Esther as she would know the love and tears that went into each stitch.  That was a lot for a bit of fabric and thread to give but Beth knew it was possible. In fact, she now knew what she would name the quilt: Stars of Comfort

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cranberries. Yum.

Our snow banks are gradually lessening.  I don't realize there has been any change until I notice something that was previously hidden.  I have ordered some high bush cranberries to plant this year.  There is an area group which supports and promotes local plants and I am in full agreement with that.  They grow better, need less maintenance and don't introduce something that will have an adverse affect on anything else.
We have, what I believe, will be the perfect environment for the cranberries.  We have a wood area that is swampy; in fact a wetland so they should do well.  How nice to have our own cranberries for chutney and to eat with our own chickens and turkeys.
I also got a dogwood tree as the bark looks so nice in the winter.
I have almost finished the quilt I was making from a kit.  I just need to add the borders which consist of 2 1/2" squares of the fabric  that was used in the blocks.  I am glad I made this quilt as the look is quite different from anything else I've done.  Should have a photo to post tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Ever Works

The quilt lessons at the school are going well.  The students seem to be getting a grasp of the cutting and sewing of a quarter inch seam.  I keep forgetting how young they are in relationship to me and make references to something such as the Star Wars movie. They have no idea what I am talking about.  They have heard of the movies,  of course, but not of any of the characters or phrases such a going to the dark side.

I enjoy teaching this age group (grade 8) as they don't realize there are limitations to what they can do.  I once taught a young lady how to make a jean quilt. She put the fabric under the needle, grabbed the part furthest from her, stepped on the peddle (while standing up) and just guided the layers through like wood at a sawmill.  The seams weren't the straightest but she got the quilt made and then went on to learn how to do things 'properly'.
It has been raining today so it feels damp, cool and miserable.  However, the snow is going down.  I haven't done any quilting of my own as the studio does seem chilly.  Will finish the kit top tomorrow.
I am just waiting for some batting to be delivered and then I have some tops to get quilted.
Hopefully, it will be more cheerful in the morning,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Great Designer

Our virtual retreat was a huge success.  It was hard to remember that it was all pretend.  I found it difficult when the ladies had to 'leave' on Sunday afternoon to return to their homes.  We will be doing this again and the next time we are going to Amish country.
We had a mink prowling around this morning.  It was probably just checking out the squirrels and mice and, if this the case, it is  welcome.  However, if it is our chickens it's interested in, it had better mosey on somewhere else.
We are still inching our way toward spring.  It seems as though we take a few steps forward and then slide back again.  Each time the temperature dips back down to below 20, we hope it is the final one.  It will be one of these times.

I would like to introduce you to a great pattern designer.  Brandi designs applique patterns and they aren't like anything you will see anywhere else.
If you would like to take a look at her web site, it is:  She sells on Craftsy as well.

Friday, March 20, 2015


I have been on a virtual retreat today.  The members of the Hearts to Hands Yahoo Group are 'meeting' on line to share our quilting accomplishments.  The retreat will last until supper on Sunday.  Most of us will only be able to pop in when able as other responsibilities claim our time.  I have had all day today to quilt as hubby is out.  I finished this wall hanging and am now back working on a kit I started a couple of weeks ago and then had to put to one side while I finished more pressing projects.
It took me a bit to remember just what it was I had planned on doing but I think I got it back on track again.  I have had to remember to get up and stretch once in a while to keep out the kinks but I do need to take a break now as I am starting to make mistakes.  Almost time to get supper anyway as real food is more filling than virtual.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Sale

Craftsy is having a great sale which started today.  If you would like to add to your stash (and who wouldn't) or give yourself a reward for enduring a long hard winter, click the link below.


You know your stash needs some fresh new finds. Offer ends Monday - shop now!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Free block

In a Pinch

Start with a stack of 9 1/2" squares laid right sides up.  Use at least 3 pins to secure the stack.

First cut: Place cutting edge of the ruler  at the top of the square, 4 ½” from the left side and angled to 2 1/2” from the bottom left side.  Cut.

Second Cut: Move ruler to the right and place cutting side 1” from the top right corner  and angled to 5 ¾” from the bottom left side. Cut.

Repeat for remaining squares.


Place each of the 3 sections in a separate pile (3 piles in total). Number piles (1,2,3)  Take the top section of #2 and put at the bottom of its pile, take the top two of section 3 and put to the bottom of its pile.


Cut a strip of black (or desired colour) of fabric 1 inch wide by width of fabric.   Lightly press in half lengthwise.


Place  one # 1 section right side up on the table, align the folded black strip with raw edges to the long right side.  Place section 2 face down on section 1 and strip aligning edges.  Sew and press open.

Place block right side up on table and lay black strip along right long raw edge.  Place section 3 on top aligning edges.  Sew and press open.

  Completed block should look like the photo

Trim block to square. If you trim on left side and bottom of the block, you will retain the overall block design.

Full quilt instruction will be available on Craftsy.  I will let you know when it is published.
Please remember this block is for your personal use only.  It cannot be sold, nor can the quilt made from it be sold without permission from the designer.  Please contact me at;

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An Extra Trip.

I started my day by being very efficient.  I had to go into the village to pick up a prescription so made a list of all the other things I could do while there.  I arrange to meet a friend for lunch and started working my way through the list.  Two of the stores where we were going to window shop were closed so, after lunch, I headed home.  While unpacking my purchases, I doubled checked the list and realized I hadn't picked up the prescription.  Back into the village I went.  So annoying when that happens but my own fault.  What is the sense of making a list if you aren't going to look at it.
I took the dog with me on that journey.  She doesn't usually get to go in the car as she fusses when left in the vehicle and people tend to look at you as though she had been sitting there for hours.  She is getting a bit better so I will take her if I only have one thing to do.
I have come up with a small pattern that I will share with you tomorrow.  It is a simple idea but will result in a quick block and, therefore, a quick quilt.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Return of Fiction Friday

I am getting caught up with my quilting again.  I have been so busy the past couple of weeks that getting any sewing done at all was a chore.  Today, however, I got a lot of quilting done on the top that is in the frame as well as few other bits and pieces.
It was lovely going for our walk this afternoon.  The road is dry and if it wasn't for our driveway, I probably could have just worn my running shoes.  No mitts or hat needed.  Even little Heidi was able to go out without her coat and booties.  It is still early for spring but I will take these warmer temperatures.
We have to keep an eye on Heidi when she goes out now as the snow is getting softer and we don't want her disappearing through a snow bank.
I think that next week I will return to the Fiction Fridays if I can come up with anything to share.  My schedule will be fairly easy as I only have quilt day on my calendar.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Back Yard Appearances

It is hard to stay inside now that we are above freezing and the sun is warm enough to melt the snow.  Our banks have gone down over a foot and things are starting to appear that we haven't seen in months.  The backs of the lawn furniture that stays out year round are now visible as is the lid of the composter.  This morning, Heidi climbed onto the snow in the back yard to announce to her doggie friends that she was still around.  She hadn't been able to get up the sides of the trail that we had dug for her before as it was at least twice her height.
I did get out the next project I want to complete.  This is another wall hanging and I only have a bit more to do before getting it ready to be quilted.  After that, I will get back to my husband's quilt. Once that is done, I can get onto the commissions I have.  They don't need to be done until the summer but I know from experience how quickly time can pass if you aren't careful.
Hope you are experiencing some nicer weather in your area,

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Sun is Warm on My Tum

I got a top finished today.  I haven't been able to get much quilting done for over a week so am feeling quite pleased to have accomplished something.  I also got my new phone operational so, all in all, a good day.
These photos were taken the past couple of days.  Heidi loves laying on her back in the sun.  I thought the trees stood out nicely in this morning shot and the last one is of one of the many birds that take advantage of our feeders.  A downy woodpecker was at another one but he wouldn't stay still long enough to be photographed.
Heidi Enjoying the Sun

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Soft, Slippery Snow.

I got my new cell phone today and am charging the battery.  Then I will have to learn how to operate it.  Life consists of one change after another, doesn't it.  Sometimes I feel as though I would like to go back to before all these rapid technological advances but it is a temporary thought.  I do like gadgets and upgrading the ones I have is always fun-eventually.
Our weather has warmed up so rapidly that there is water dripping everywhere.  Our driveway has a good half foot of soft, slippery snow and my car sitting about half way along.  We need to go out this evening so we should be able to back out to the road and then will park the car there until we get everything plowed.  Hopefully, next year, the tractor will be working and all these problems will be overcome.
Hubby got the trees tapped yesterday.  The sap won't start just yet but he is ready for it.  You can tell when it starts running because the snow around the trees moves away from the trunks.  This is an indication that the tree is warming up and the sap is moving.  We are on our last bottle so it will be nice to replenish the supply.

Friday, March 6, 2015


How do you keep track of all the projects you plan to do?  Do you have them listed in your mind or on a piece of paper? I do both those things plus using the computer's Post It note option.  The latter is more for things that need to be done right away such as get this month's magazine column done.
A lady on the Hearts to Hands on line group has a white board on her wall.  She is also going to paint a board with some blackboard paint so she can use a chalk to make notes or quilting designs.
I have been wanting to get some of that paint since I saw it on a home decorating show.  There is also, if I remember correctly, one that is magnetized.
I need to get a list made of my current projects as I have a couple of commissions plus a wedding gift to make.  My husband's quilt also needs to be on the list so it doesn't get shoved to the back of my memory.
Making visible lists gets more important the older I get.  I used to be able to remember a weeks worth of appointments that consisted of at least three a day.  I wrote them in my day book but only checked it for addresses or phone numbers.  Now I have to check my calendar to see what day of the week it is.  Hubby and I are always saying we need a clock that gives the days of the week rather than time!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Good News and Bad

A day of ups and downs.  A friends dog has been having some problems so she made an appointment at the vet.  It is quite a big dog and she isn't so we offered to stop on our way to shopping and give her a hand getting him in her vehicle.  As it turned out, he made it up the ramp she provided by himself and later she told us that there didn't seem to be any additional concerns.  He is elderly and has age related issues but there wasn't anything else that showed up.  That was good news.
I bought a new cell phone while shopping as we had been getting buy with just one and had begun to realize that we needed a second one.  I got a phone with a few more features including a good camera.  When we got back home, I unpacked the phone and discovered the face was cracked.  It must have happened before packing because everything else was fine. 
I called the store and, of course, it was the last one in stock.  Another may be in on Monday.  Even if it is, it means an hour plus round trip drive.  Irritating but no ones fault.
I have almost finished the top of my cross wall hanging.  Just one more section and then I can sew it together and decide how I want to quilt it.  I think a simple shadow stitch around the cross and maybe stippling in the open area.  It won't need a lot as it will be hanging in our church and not getting much wear and tear.  It is fairly large so will have to decide where to put it that won't get in the way of anything else.
The sun is definitely getting warmer and the snow is decreasing millimetre by millimetre.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Virtual Food

Have you ever wanted to be able to enjoy all manner of wonderful food without having to worry about calories,  cooking or cleaning up.  Not  possible, you say.  Well, you are partially right. Virtual food fits all the requirements.  It is true you won't get any nourishment but you also don't have the drawbacks.  The best place to enjoy virtual food is at a virtual retreat and the best virtual retreat is, of course, focused on quilting.
My on line group Hearts 2 Hands has a VR almost every month.  Each time we add a bit more fun and this time it is going to be a virtual menu as well as a virtual show and tell and demo's.  The show and tell will consist of photos and the demo's will be posted YouTube videos or written instructions. We will also post photos of our progress and completed tops.  It should be a lot of fun.

We are going to hold this one on the Mar. 21st weekend as it is National Quilter's Day.

I am getting a lot of work done on a quilt with a cross pattern.  I cut the fabric on Monday at quilt group and, although I carefully worked from one fabric to the next, I still managed to make mistakes.  Nothing that created any real problems but irritating nonetheless.