Monday, March 26, 2012

Quilting quietly

IMG_5723Quilting because, well, I feel like it.  Quietly because, well, I lost my voice.  Coughing for a solid week will do that.  The throat’s not sore at all, it just won’t work.   This sure wreaks havoc with the urge to sing along to music while I sew!

At least today my powers of concentration are back.  On Friday I thought I was feeling much better and ready to do anything, but somehow I managed to sew the same seam wrong the same way not one, not two, but three times in a row. On the same block.  Picking out the stitching then sewing again in the same place. Sewing the unit on backwards again.  This quilt is really not that complicated, so I blame the cold/cough/whatever is ailing me.

IMG_5718By Saturday evening I had made more progress and waffled between two options – stars or no stars in my sashing.  Above, you see the sashing stars.  At right, no stars.  I was sure about the stars and sewed all the points to the sashing strips, but then wasn’t sure anymore after putting them up on the design wall.  Hmmmm.  I think I will put in the sashing stars. 

Isn’t digital photography great? I love being able to compare both options side by side right away.  EQ would be even better to compare before I cut and sew, but since that’s not going to happen I’ll continue appreciate the digital camera as a tool.

I’m off to attach the sashing to the blocks before tackling the next design dilemma:  what, oh what, to do for the borders?

PS:  There is nesting material appearing in the birdhouses, so I am assuming we have tenants!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Something new

I haven’t felt very quilty the past month or so.  It’s odd that Monday, the day I came down with a nasty cold, was the day I had the urge to sew again.   I pulled out all those 800+ pieces I had cut for a blue version of Kyoto Gardens by Judy Martin but it’s a bit fussy and my virus-addled self couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm to work on it.

Still, I really had the urge to sew.  I thought perhaps a pattern with no points to match, and nice big pieces would be just the thing.  I spent quite a bit of time with graph paper and coloured pencils and came up with nothing interesting.  I should have leafed through my idea sketchbook from the start, because an idea was just waiting there on the page when I finally got around to it.  I tweaked it a bit then spent the evening cutting 96 large squares of fabric.


Tuesday I coughed and sewed.


It’s still a work in progress.  I’m tweaking as a I go, pestering my husband for opinions along the way.  Nothing except the star points and string blocks are sewn yet.  I’m really liking where it’s headed though!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Better late than never…

Almost eight years ago, my children built birdhouses with my dad.

Laura birdhouse 2004Matthew birdhouse 2004

We never could figure out where to put them in the yard (pathetic, I know) but the kids kept them safely in the garage because they were made with Grandpapa and therefore the kids will never ever let them go.

Eight years ago, the kids made really good use of the sandbox.  Now, not so much.  We’ve spent the last couple of summers trying to figure out how to dispose of all that sand (it was quite a large sandbox, and deep too) so that we could make that corner of the yard prettier.

Last week the kids helped me clean out the garage during spring break.  There were the houses.  Inspiration struck and both problems were solved at once.  Perhaps my brain was just desperately trying to find some garden-related task to do in that lovely un-March-like weather we’ve had,  This required a trip to the store for a few sample size cans of paint and some lumber. Notice that painting is a much tidier job now than it was 8 years ago!


I shoveled sand out of the sandbox, my husband obligingly dug a couple of holes between the tree roots and planted some posts, and the kids shoveled the sand back into the box again.


It like it!  It will look even better when the hostas sprout to hide the neighbour’s compost pile and the honeysuckle leafs out.  That could be any day now, with this warm weather.  A touch of sunshine wouldn’t hurt the picture but we had such beautiful sunny weather last week that I can’t complain just because it’s raining on the day I remember I need a picture!

We might even get some birds nesting in there.  Prospective tenants popped in this morning. We’ll see if they come back and stick around.

Monday, March 5, 2012


That isn’t me at the sewing machine.  That is my daughter, who avoided the idea of sewing like the plague until a teacher at school started a 5th grade after-school quilting club.  After several sessions there she started eyeing my machine with a gleam in her eye.  I tried not to ask “Really???” too often!

On the weekend we used a gift certificate to buy a jelly roll of her choice.  Today was a day off school and she started working on a Jelly Roll 1600 quilt.  I’ve been itching to get into that fabric since Saturday, but I exercised some self-control and let her open up the roll of strips when she was good and ready to.  I even refrained from helping move things along faster.  I limited myself to giving instructions at each new step of the process, and straightening a very few too-wonky seams. (I went and cleaned bathrooms between steps, and if that doesn’t tell you how determined I was not to hover and interfere, nothing will!)

So far she has sewn a white square of fabric to each strip (that isn’t in the pattern but we thought that would be an easier way to add interest than to have her piece strips on the diagonal just yet), pressed, then sewn all the strips end to end.  She now has one long strip 2.5 inches wide by 50+ yards.  I’m being very good and not touching it while she’s in bed.  I’ll let her do the rest too, probably later this week.  I can wait. Really. I can.  I think.

In the meantime I’ll dabble in these fabrics.  The colours didn’t photograph well.  They are more vibrant than this but you get the idea.