Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Outburst of Energy

Either I had a lot of energy, or was still very inspired by the quilt-show, or both.  Whatever the cause, I spent several hours in the past 2 days just sewing (and crocheting, but that's another story) and making a lot of headway on several projects:
In no particular order,
 1. sewn together the circular "quilt", which now needs a center, and a idea of what to do with it.  Do I sew it into a quilt top? Just quilt and bind it to use as a small tablecloth? Hmm.
 2. Sewn and quilted and written a pattern! for this little baby quilt using some fussy cut forest animals.  I like how it turned out! 
just the top
 It is so amazing how it looks so different when it is quilted and washed from when it is just a top
quilted and washed
 3. I now have a stack of Six! quilts that have the bindings sewn on, just waiting to be hand-stitched. 
 4.  I decided to play with my "Skill-builder" panel.  I have had this for some time, and it is a fabric that has been printed with a number of designs to practice machine-quilting.  There are border ideas, and 8 blocks as well.  There are lines to follow for the quilting, with little numbers to show you where to get started and what direction to go. 
 I found that it is quite interesting to do.  I'm not able to hit the lines, exactly, but I think the idea is to get the feeling for the flow of the design, so that you are able to do it free-motion later.  I think it will be a useful sampler to refer to when I'm a bit stuck for an idea. 
 And finally, I finished the binding on a quilt that was started many years ago!  This Double Irish Chain uses just white and a green print.  The thing that makes it special is that it was hand-quilted by a dear lady who lives in Saskatoon.  She did a beautiful job on the quilting.  It is quite puffy now, since I washed it, and dried it in the dryer, and has a polyester batt in it.  I like the way the quilting shows up so nicely.  The back of the quilt is a solid white fabric. 

That's my show and tell for this morning! Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Circular quilt

 I got a new ruler a few days ago.  It is a 10 degree wedge ruler that can make circles up to 50 inches in diameter!   There is a pattern on the package so I decided to try it out.
First, you sew some strip sets in which the fabrics are a bit staggered, like ones you would make for a big star quilt made up of lots of diamonds.  then you use the ruler to cut out the wedges, 36 in all. 
 You use the 45 degree line placed right over the seam:
 Then you sew them together in pairs, then into 4's, then 8's and so on until it's all one big circle.  It has a hole in the center, so I will need to applique a shape over it.  The other option is to make it a Christmas tree skirt, but I don't want one of those at this time.  Hmm.  It's sort of fun, and I think I want to play with the ruler a bit more!
 When I downloaded the photos onto my computer, I found these ones of a little anole that wandered into the house in Savannah,
 Isn't he cute?  He likes fabric. 
I'm in Saskatoon for a while now, and anoles seem very far away.

 ( I can't quite figure out how to add the logo to click on to take you to the needle and thread Network site, so just use the purple link if you want to go there)

By the way, if you are wondering who won the draw at the store on the weekend, it is Sue in B.C.
We called her right after the quilt show ended, but she had already driven partway to Lloydminster so we mailed her prize to her-- the new book, Another bite of Schnibbles, 2 charm packs and a couple of fat quarters, since the book is on using 5 inch squares,  Hope you like them Sue!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Post-Quilt Show

This is the "morning after".  After the quilt show.  What a great weekend.  I must admit that I do love routine, and so the logistics of an event like this did cause me a bit of stress, but everything went as smoothly as possible, and I ended up enjoying the whole experience.
Monika, and Flo have some great photos on their blogs  my sweet prairie, and  butterfly quilting.
It was a great event.   I was mostly at the shop, and we had a constant stream of people that had either just been to the show, or were just on their way to it.  It was so nice to see so many familiar faces, and to just say hello or to have a short chat.
To me, I think the best effect of such an event is the inspirational aspect.  It is such a huge boost to see all the creativity and excitement that is displayed.  I woke up this morning excited about trying a couple of new techniques, (my new 10 degree wedge ruler, and a new book on thread painting).
I've already placed 2 notions orders as well, online, since we almost totally ran out of batting, and many people were inspired by Veronica's demonstrations of some other rulers.
So to all the people in the Guild who participated in creating such a great event: the quilters who shared their work, the volunteers who set up the physical display and manned the show, and organized the whole thing, and all the rest, a Big Thank You!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quilt Show!

I'm getting pretty excited for the quilt show that will be happening here in Saskatoon this weekend, on Friday and Saturday!
I've heard that there will be almost 500 items to see! 
We'll be there as a vendor in the merchant mall, so be sure to stop by our booth to say hello and chat. 
also, we will be open at the store for extended hours on both days -- until 8 p.m, each evening.  I hope this will make it easier for a lot of the volunteers and the out-of-town visitors to get to both places.  You'll need to come to the shop in order to use your "40% off one item of your choice" coupon.  We did this last time and had good feedback with it, so will do it again.  (The stuff at the show will not be the same as what's at the shop)
Hope that you are able to attend the Show!  For more information on it, click here to go to their web-site!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Block 3, Saturday Surprise Round 10

Already we are on the third pieced block (it comes out twice a month) and the second applique block (it comes out once a month)
This block is called Windy City.  I think that's appropriate for a windy autumn morning in October!

and the applique,

Have a great Saturday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don't let Fear hold you back!

Two days ago, something came up in regard to our sewing retreat that is planned for November.  This will be the sixth time we've had a retreat, and each time it's been held at a beautiful retreat center just north of Saskatoon.  Each time, we've enjoyed the stunning setting, the comfortable timber-frame building, the delicious meals, fabulous company of friends and fellow quilters, and uninterrupted, prolonged sewing time!!

Well, we've started collecting the fees, and then we had some people come in and cancel their booking.  They had heard that the facility had found some bed-bugs.. Oh no! my heart sank at hearing this.
We were instantly on the phone to find out what was going on. Basically, there had been a function in August where some people had been traveling, and some of these little critters had hitched a ride on their luggage.  The people at the retreat facility discovered this a couple weeks later, when the room was used again.  Immediately they had Poulin pest control experts in to address the problem, and they did so, (removed mattresses, treated everything, inspected, did a follow-up visit later, etc). 
I still felt un-easy, after all, how could I ask people to go some place where there had been these pests?  Would I even feel comfortable going there?
After sleeping on this last night, I can see that I have irrational fears.  Objectively, the hotel industry must encounter this problem on an on-going basis, it's just that I never hear about a specific place that I might be planning to visit.  Last month, during our trip we stayed in 10 different hotels and the thought of bed-bugs never even entered my mind.  However, it seems that in recent years, they have made a come-back after being very rare --"after the pests' virtual eradication in the USA by the 1960s, globalization and a curtailed use of pesticides have sparked a resurgence of bedbugs in everything from college dorms to nursing homes." (usa today)
"Daily inspections notwithstanding, the fact that bedbugs are resilient hitchhikers means a room could be bug-free one day but not the next, says Laura Krueger of the California Department of Health Services. And, she adds, there's no room for complacency: 'When it comes to bedbugs, we're at orange alert'."(ibid)
So what's a hotel (or retreat facility!) to do?  Just what they did-- call an exterminator and keep vigilant.  After all, they can be pest-free one day, and then someone might just stay there who brings in a new bug.  They can't just close their building forever, nor do they need to.

So why the ongoing "ick" factor?   Maybe  we automatically associate bugs with negligence or dirt or disease, even as in this case,  bugs can easily land in a hospital or a five-star hotel.  After reading more about them, I found that they don't carry diseases, but do have a bite similar to a mosquito bite.  Many people don't even react to them, while others may have more of an allergic reaction.  Maybe because they were so rare in the past that we haven't encountered this before, and have no set response for how to react.

As for me, it became clear that I don't need to have a panic response.  Yes, I had a few queasy moments.  Do I trust the experts who assure me that all is fine now?  Why not? They know what they're doing.   If my fears are groundless, they why let an irrational fear keep me from doing something that can bring me a lot of pleasure?

When I was young, I was enrolled in figure skating.  I liked the idea of swooping around the ice on blades, and leaping through the air, accompanied by that music that blared through the cavernous space.  In reality, I clung to the boards that surrounded the ice, timidly watching others.  I still regret that my fears of letting go or my inhibitions or whatever, kept me from taking full advantage of the opportunity. I resolved that I would not let other opportunities go to waste.

In the early 90's I was much impressed by this quote,

Our deepest fear is not that we are
inadequate, our deepest fear is that we
are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that
most frightens us. We ask ourselves,

“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?” Actually, who
are you NOT to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing
small does NOT serve the world. There
is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure
around you.

We were born to manifest the glory
that is within us. And as we let our
light shine we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own
fear, our presence automatically
liberates others.

Written by Marianne Williamson

It was then that I began to notice how fear can hold us back from what we would really like to do.  And in decision-making,  when fear is given a seat at the table, it makes for very poor decisions.  I resolved to not operate from a position of fear. Fear is irrational, and pointless.  If the facts point to a logical decision, then take fear out of the equation and make the choice.

So I have decided to not be afraid of the bogeyman or monsters hiding under the bed.  I will go ahead with the retreat without letting any worries ruin my fun.
And, I really hope that you feel the same!!

(This is a message I just got from Shekinah this morning, -- "let me assure you that the bed bug problem has been dealt with. We had bed bugs in one room and have since brought in professional exterminators (Poulins from Saskatoon). They sprayed not only the infected room but the rooms beside it and the hall as well. This was done twice to make sure the situation was taken care of. We have been monitoring these rooms for the past month and there is NO evidence of any bed bugs anywhere. We have had the Timber Lodge rented out many times since, and no one has had any concerns. Please advise your clients that we have taken this very seriously and that it is a safe and very clean facility.")

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


For the last while, I had been dreaming about working on my "own" projects. Most of my time is spent on sewing items that are intended for use at the shop.  I sew samples to highlight certain fabrics or patterns, and I often write the patterns as well.  This is good, but not for every thing that I make.  So, I had envisioned a window of time when I could just be "creative", and use fabrics from my stash in a non-planned way just for my own interest.  Well, that didn't go so well.  I seemed to just be non-directed and un-focused. I did make a few new "orphan" blocks that don't really excite me.

However, I did sew up a simple table runner based on a simple block that I glimpsed on a blog some months ago.  The image really stuck in my mind, and I wanted to try it out.  So, I did, using some muted tones along with a pale gray solid.  I've basted it and even started quilting on it, but quickly realized that I seem to be missing the walking foot for this sewing machine.  Hmm.
Then, I decided that what I really wanted to do is to finish some projects that I started. 

 I pulled out a log cabin that I started back in May, set in a "Streak of Lightning", again in those "Japanese" fabrics in shades of brown, taupe and ivory.  I really like borders, and so I figured out the sizes for this one that has no name.  Basically it is a on point square alternating with a little square in between.  I used this on another quilt some time ago, but don't remember from where I initially got the idea.  
So this is what the quilt looks like now.  I need to mull it over and decide if it needs more borders.   I'm sort of leaning toward another pieced border, but I'm not sure what size.  The complicating factor is that I seem to have used up most of my darks, and am left with a lot of medium colors.  I suppose I could just quilt it and bind it, but that doesn't seem quite right to me.  Any opinions?????
 I hope that you get in some good sewing time today!!
As for me, I'll be working on some Saturday Surprise Blocks for the shop program!! 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Some Applique Blogs

I've recently become more interested in applique as a result of adding the applique option to the Saturday Surprise blocks.  As in most areas of quilting, the more one reads about it and looks at examples, the more intriguing it becomes.
This is a blog that is "All About Applique".  It has a nice side-bar of topics where you can look up specific techniques.
A designer who's work I love is Sue Spargo.  This is an image from her blog of a quilt she did with a friend of hers,Tonya Philips, and you can read about how the quilt evolved on her blog.

I seem to have gotten sidetracked into general blog reading, but in the process, have added many links to the blog list on the left side-bar.

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