Monday, April 30, 2007

Oh.... A surprise!

I just love surprises! Even if I set them up myself! lol You know what one of the fun parts of Internet shopping is? Getting packages in the mail. Woooo, hoooo I love getting mail!

I placed this order last week at Joined at the Hip. I wanted the star hanger for my Welcome quilt. Of course, I just couldn't order one thing. So I started looking for patterns and found two (2) that I had to have. If you recall, I want to make wall hangings for the brick wall in my kitchen that would depict the different seasons and holidays. Well, I found Spring and an every day one "The Witch is in". I just love that one. I will have to hang my broom right next to it!

The top pattern was a gift from Joined at the Hip. I think that was so kind of them to include a free pattern with my order. It's a wool applique pattern.

This morning I went to the post office to put a surprise in the mail. I had noticed that my stash of dark chocolate was now non existent. That can't be, not in my sewing room! I need my energy, I need my motivation, I NEED MY CHOCOLATE! So I stopped at the drug store and purchase a little treat for myself. Gosh they are good! Of course I hear that across our huge pond is the worlds best chocolates. Until I get a chance to visit and relish in such pleasures, I will just have to settle for Lindt extra dark!

Off to get some quilting done! I'm presently working on a wall hanging and I can't wait to finish it! Oh, I feel weak, time for a chocolate!

Happy quilting!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What's up!

I remember saying to someone how we rarely get teachers to come way up north in Up State New York. Well, would you believe that Sharlene Jorgenson will be in Altona for two day to teach the double wedding ring and Storm at Sea?

Until QNN, I didn't know who Sharlene was. Heck, I had never seen any of the quilting shows that most people talked about. I think I've mentioned before that I do not watch TV, or rarely. Geez, I haven't seen Thomas the Tank Engine at 7:30 a.m. on PBS in months! lol I digress....

Thursday morning I went to Maw and Paw quilt shop, a shop I only frequent when I know she'll have what I'm looking for or when I'm an extremely patient and good mood. It is not the cleanest place to shop and if that wasn't enough, you should see the clutter. I'm being polite here. Anyway, Marie, the owner, who is really a sweet person, tells me that Sharlene Jorgenson will be teaching two classes at the Altona Town Hall. She shows me the set of template for the double wedding ring and lets me know that she has none in stock but should get some by the date of the course, which is May 1.

Anyway, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to learn how to make the double wedding ring. At $35.00 for a full day class, how can I go wrong! If I enjoy Sharlene, who knows I might even sign up for the Storm at Sea!

What I found attractive about this teacher is that it says on her supply list to bring a small amount of fabric scraps. She feels that the students need to concentrate on the technique and the best way to do this is to learn with scraps. Works with me! Although I would love to make a double wedding, I did not want to invest a huge amount of time and fabric at the moment. We all know that I have many projects waiting to be finished. The last thing I need is starting such a huge project.

Friday evening was spent at Loose Threads for a "Girls night in." I brought my hand work basket again and worked on an applique square from a pattern by Robyn Pandolph called My Favorite Things - Cabin Fever Designs. I'm happy to report that I have one block left to do and it's onward to the piecing of the quilt! That will be one more project off that UFO list. I really should get back to the Wildberry Vine quilt but I'm in a starting something new mood, which also entails using up some of my stash!

Saturday I went for some quilting therapy with a friend. She brought me to a shop in Williston, VT. We then went on to the Bernina Dealer to check things out. I really don't know what was wrong with me, but I didn't buy a thing. We made a stop at Joann's and guess what I found? The templates for the class I'll be taking. I even got to use my 40% off coupon! Bonus!

So that about covers my weekend end. I've been in one of those quiet moods.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's all the fuzz about? My thread of thought!

Kim's blog entries on goodies from her mom made me think about threads. I've been reading about all this hype regarding aging thread and how one must discard it or use it for basting a quilt, which I do not do! Why is it that all of a sudden, old thread is no longer good anymore? I guess everything has a expiry date, so why not thread! Well, I beg to differ.

If you think about this logically, which is something I tend to do too often, it really doesn't make sense! If thread aged and became brittle, wouldn't antique quilts be falling apart by now? What of the clothing? The quality of thread today is much better than what our fore mothers had. Have you noticed that antique quilts are still holding up despite the abuse some have been subjected too! You see, I too have inherited some old spools of threads from my grandmother, Coat and Clark's to be precise, on wooden spools.

Now, my grandmother took good care of her things. Like most people of her generation, she kept the spools in a little cardboard box, away from dust and light. Keeping in the frame of mind of my grandmother's generation, waste not want not, I began using it for hand sewing. I use these cute little spools of thread for the binding. For me, they work better than the 100% cotton I use for machine piecing. I can use a long strand of thread and don't have to worry about fraying from the friction of the continuous in and out that occurs with hand sewing the binding.

A while back I had the opportunity to visit a Gammil dealer to check those babies out! They are sweet but not what I needed at the moment. I also had the pleasure of talking about thread quality with the owner and the importance of sewing with a good quality thread, Egyptian cotton - long staple being the best. I was informed that the quality of thread can be measured by the amount of thread fuzz in your bobbin case. Thread fuzz is created by the unevenness of the cotton used, those little uneven spins that can be seen under a microscope.

Now, I have always considered fuzz a normal byproduct of sewing. On Carolyn's quilt I had used a Coats & Clark 100% cotton thread for machine quilting. When it came time to cleaning out the bobbing case for another project, I noticed there was a lot of fuzz. On the Welcome quilt, I used monofilament on top and Metler Silk finish thread in the bobbin. After machine quilting I cleaned out my bobbin case and found almost no fuzz. Grant it, there was not as much machine quilting on this quilt but still, I would have expected a bit of fuzz. I also remember doing larger projects using Metler and didn't have as much fuzz.

From this, I can safely say that "higher" quality thread give off less thread fuzz than "lower" quality thread. When I say lower, I do not mean those cheap 10 cent a spool threads. I consider Coat & Clarks to be a good quality thread. They've been around for a long time. What next?

If I choose to spend money on a "higher" quality thread, to whom or what am I doing the favour? Is it my machine, because it won't have to deal with so much fuzz. If I clean it often, which one should do, does it really matter? If I use the "higher" quality, am I doing the Bernina Service technician a favour because my machine won't be a fuzzy mess? What of my treadle machine? It's been around for ages and has had "lower" quality thread and amazingly it still works beautifully!

The point I'm trying to make is, does it really matter what thread you use if you're diligent about cleaning and maintaining your machine? Doesn't it all boil down to what you like and can afford? For some, Coat and Clark works not only because of quality but also because of affordability. I just bought a cone of Alex Anderson's new Master Piecing thread to test. I paid $26.00 for 3,000 yards. That's not cheap! We won't go into the "it never goes on sale and I can't use a Joann's coupon either!"

I'm curious to read what your thoughts are on thread. What do you use and are you concerned with aging thread!

Oh, just in case my sister is reading my blog, which I doubt, let it be known that I'm keeping a close eye on my mother's thread collection too!

Gosh, this is a long thread! Thanks for reading that far!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Welcome! A finish!

This morning I completed the hand sewing part of the binding. I still have a tad of machine quilting left to do on it. I just haven't figured out how or what I shall do on parts of this quilt.

I want to machine quilt a window outline on the door. I thought of a moon crescent, but Stephen said that it would be too "outhouse" looking. Perhaps a half circle would work with window panes.

There's also the roof that I feel begs to have some machine quilting. I thought of continuous up and down type lines. I'm open for suggestions and would welcome your input.

Although you cannot see the machine quilting, it does have a circle within a circle continuous pattern on the background. I tried getting a better picture but the lighting is not cooperating with me this morning! Perhaps I need more coffee!

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment that did not go well. I left overwhelmed. So, I did the best thing I know that helps make me feel better. I went for some quilting therapy!

I headed for Loose Thread, our local quilt store. I perused the store looking for things that would make me feel better, change my mood! The LQS had a small basket of discounted fabric. I saw this beautiful yellow goldish Andover Fabrics and I had to buy the bolt. There was six (6) yards left and at $4.00 a yard I could not let it pass me by. This will make a beautiful backing for a twin size quilt for my daughter.

Today, I have an appointment for a hot stone massage. I'm in need of some pampering. As I get older, I realize more and more that life is short. Sure we all have trials and tribulations that makes life challenging at times. I've come to an understanding that health is the most important and often taken for granted and I do speak from personal experience. I truly feel that one needs to take good care of oneself. You cannot take with you so you might as well enjoy it.

So, I recommend that you do something that helps make you feel good, whether it's a facial, a manicure, a walk, buy a surprise for someone, whatever..... Just do it and enjoy life!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tah Dah! a finish!

At last, I have finished Carolyn's quilt, Funky Horse Pasture. This is a good thing as my daughter has a horseback riding lesson this afternoon. There isn't much to say except that this quilt was plagued with cutting mistakes. Perhaps I'm being dramatic here, but from the borders on end, I just didn't have my act together with my ruler and rotary cutter.

The rule check once and cut twice can be applied here. I manage to cut the binding not as wide as my liking and only became aware of this as I was hand sewing saying, "Geez self, this is a short fold over!" I like cutting the strips three (3) inches wide, as it gives me more play in the back. This time I cut them two and a half (2 1/2) inches. It's not like I didn't have enough fabric. The binding came from the six (6) inches border strips that should have been cut six and one half (6 1/2). I have these one (1) inch strips left over. As I cut the binding I kept looking at my left overs as if they were some freakish objects. Even if it would have dawned on me after I had cut the first strip, I wouldn't have been able to correct it by then anyway. I barely had enough fabric for the binding. Perhaps it was a survival mechanism! lol

The machine quilting is nothing spectacular. I did an all over meandering. I find that it works well with this type of pattern. In my opinion, the fabric makes this pattern.

Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. Have a great day!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mistakes are not welcomed!

I cannot say that as of late I have been focused when it comes to quilting. Of the two (2) projects I started, two mistakes were made. I think it's confirmed, I have Quilter's Attention Deficit (QAD) ! I need my medicine, where's my chocolate!

Last Sunday I decided that I needed to start something new again. It's so much fun to plan a new quilt! I decided that I would work on the Welcome Home pattern by Joined at the Hip, that I bought on my last quilting therapy session. I began by making the house, that worked out great! I think as quilters we all have a favorite instruction layout. I cannot say that for this pattern the designer's choice is my ideal. Except for the borders, I like cutting all the pieces of one colour at the same time. The pattern instructs you to cut what is needed as per quilt sections. In other words, if you follow the instructions, you are constantly changing fabrics. What I did was look throughout the pattern for same colour pieces and cut accordingly.

On Thursday I worked on machine appliqueing the letters. I used freezer paper as templates and glued the edge of my fabric on the template. After completion, although I was using water soluble stabilizer, I thought I would trim the excess off anyway. BIG MISTAKE! Not using my usual sharp scissors, I managed to cut into the background fabric right at the 1/4 inch seam allowance on the last letter. So I now have a small cut right under the last letter E. Boy, was I pissed and let me tell you my extra curricular vocabulary education came in handy! All that work, down the drain!

Last night I worked on another set of letters to be machined appliqued this morning. I'd like to get this wall hanging done so that I can hang it on my brick wall. I do need to order the hanger, which I will do today. I may even order another pattern. They do have some nice primitive folk art patterns.

On this project I used the Avery Glue Pen and let me tell you, they are a charm to use. No more glue all over your hands and pieces. They are much more precise than your standard glue stick and well worth the cost. What a pleasure it was to use!

Aside from my QAD acting up, the weather in Upstate New York has been marvelous. We had a 68F degree spring day yesterday. I was able to sit outside, soaking up the sun while hand stitching the binding on Carolyn's quilt. A beautiful day indeed! Today should be another spring day. Time to put the pool up!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A beautiful spring day!

Yesterday I escaped and went to Montreal for an appointment with my Professor. Afterward I had a lunch date with my dear friend Judy.

Judy and I go back a long ways. We had lunch at Hurley's Irish Pub in downtown Montreal. It was wonderful to relax and just catch up on news. She looked so cheerful! She has a week left before she goes on maternity leave. Of course, you all know what that means, get quilting Carole!
I have been working with EQ6, designing a quilt for this little girl that will soon join our world. Perhaps I'm weird or nuts as Suzette would say (I'm teasing you) but I like to feel what colours the child would like. I'm not a pastel type of girl but I have made pastel baby quilts only because that's the vibe I received from the child. This little one strikes me as a bright and cheerful quilt kid! No Yellow Brick Road for her! She's a designer quilt kid! lol

Last night was my Sit and Sew with my friend Patty, who lives up the street from me. She'll either knits or work on a weaved rug while I do my quilting stuff. Patty and I have a lot in common, so conversation is never at a stand still. We usually make ourselves a latte or tea and enjoy a special treat. Last night she brought some pastries from Plattsburgh. Yum, yum they were delicious! She has a daughter that is a year younger than mine, and they always want to join us. The rule is firm, kids and husbands are not allowed! It's our play date! lol Besides, it starts past their bed time!

As for Carolyn's quilt, I did get the binding on last night. I managed to make my cutting mistakes work for binding strip, it was a close call. I didn't have too much excess. Phew! I still have some hand sewing to do on it and have made it a goal to have it done by next Tuesday. I will post photos when it's finished.

Off for some S.E.X! Gotta get that designer girl some fabric!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ditch Witch Proclamation!

It's that time again where I work some magic on you! lol

Fellow loyal subjects of the Land of Stashbusters, it is moi again, Ditch Witch and I am here to fulfill my duties.

Trumpets please:

By Proclamation of your Royal Hinny Listmom, as Witch Ditch of the land of the Stashbusters, my duty is to assist you in unshackling … blah, blah ... so on and so forth………..

This weeks Ditch Item – The Rejects!

What rejects are lingering your sewing studio? What do I mean by reject you might ask, all those little items that you’re afraid to get rid of due to ingrained thoughts that it might come in handy on a rainy day.

If it’s not an umbrella, you have no use for it in your quilting life!

Although it may not look like Spring in parts of the Land of Stashbuster’s, do not be fooled by Mother Nature. Spring is here!

Un-clutter your sewing area. Give your reject fabrics, kits, blocks, book, in-laws*, threads etc…. to a charitable organization. As the saying goes, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!

Clean out your scrap bins, you’d be amazed at how dusty it gets! The drawers of your sewing cabinet! Un-clutter your cutting table – it’s time to Ditch and make room for the new!

And while you’re at it, clean out your computer; get rid of that stash of cookies that's cluttering your hard drive. Delete those web sites that you no longer frequent!

I declare Wednesday April 18, 2007 to be the day of Ditching the rejects! Out with the old and in with the new!

Our motto: Ditch it before it Ditches you!

Our symbol: The broom

End of proclamation

Please dispose of sharp object appropriately. For those who wish to recycle rotary blades, you may check out LP Sharps's Rotary Cutter site.

*Disclaimer: Ditch Witch and/or the Governing bodies of the Land of Stashbusters are not responsible for those items that you have chosen to dispose that may come back and haunt you!

Ditch Witch
Land of Stashbusters

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A whole lot of nothing!

Today was one of those days where I just did mindless stuff in front of the computer. I cannot say that it was a productive day. Okay, I did do a bit of reading for a paper I'm writing but really nothing significant. Mainly, I wasted a good day!

I went through my morning ritual of reading blogs, posted a few comments, checked Google mail, yahoo mail and played a bit on Club Penguin. Yet, I'm exhausted! I think it's due to my "burning the mid night oil" for the past few days. Frankly, I'm realizing that my health is still not up to doing late nights.

Perhaps I should fill you in a bit, last spring I went in for the possibility of ovarian cancer. Thankfully, and I am thankful, it was an awful case of endometriosis. Due to complications, I had a total of four (4) major unexpected surgeries. This ordeal put a huge amount of stress on my body, which lead to the development of Sweet Syndrome. I have been battling this since January of this year. I'll spare you the medical details and testing. I am happy to report that I'm on the mend, however not physically ready for marathon sessions.

I've come to the conclusion that I have a difficult time, and still do, accepting the fact that for the time being I must take care of myself. Take it easy Carole! It is difficult when you're the type of personality that's on the go. I've never been sick in my whole life until now. What's not helping the situation is that instead of resting when I felt the need, I ate to get a boost of energy. Not a good thing for many obvious reasons.

Tonight while my daughter was doing her horseback riding lesson, I went to the gym and registered for a yoga class. That will help get me back gently in physical shape. Tonight, I'm going to bed early! Of course I would like to put the binding on Carolyn's quilt! Do I dare?

Off to think about my Ditch Witch declaration for tomorrow!

Monday, April 16, 2007

What I did on Sunday all day and most of the night!

Talk about a non productive day! Well, it is if your unit of measurement is tangible items. Sunday I worked all day on creating labels. I think I may have a keeper! It is such a complicated software to use. There's so much to learn and most of it is by trial and error.

I will admit that I had a phobia regarding embroidery mainly due to the plethora of stabilizers, which explains why I've barely explored my machine's capabilities. There's so much out there and how do you know what you should be using. So I decided to use explosive therapy on myself and get into it. I tested three types of stabilizers: easy tear, water soluble (that I bought for machine applique, they don't give that stuff away!) and sticky stabilizer. I will say that sticky stabilizer changed my life! I have conquered my fears and I may be looking to embellish my life with embroidery!

In the first label, I played with various designs. I thought it would be nice to add a border to embellish the label. It took me quite a while to actually design this label. So many tools and so little knowledge! Although a tad dense for what I wanted, I will say that it is cute. Did you notice that I even copied and pasted a Gecko in the writing portion? (gleaming with pride) The font used is called Quilting Text. I need to bring the letters closer together. They are too spaced out! The spacing is automatically set by the software, therefore I need to make manual adjustments and test things out. The label measures 6" x 6", which is acceptable for a lap size quilt onward. Oh I did come up with a name for Carolyn's quilt "Funky Horse Pasture".

This label uses a different font and as you can see, the letter are much larger. The label measures 8" X 5.24", which is a tab big for my Old Friends wall hanging. This size wouldn't be so bad for a queen size quilt but not a small wall hanging. The flower embellishment could be brought down or placed on the top. By the way, I took a crooked picture! One of the problems with the fonts are the minimum size that can be used. You can only reduce them so much before they become unreadable.

This label measures 6" x 6". The font is Comic Sans MS at .17 with a spacing adjustment. I didn't cut the connecting threads as it's quite tedious and since I haven't decided if I shall use the label, I want to wait and devote my time to doing more testing. The label size isn't bad for the lap size quilt. This is one of my favorites for the time being. I may experiment with a longer flower and see how it comes out.

This last one measures 4" x 4 3/4". I used water soluble stabilizer and did cut the connecting threads. What I like about the water soluble stabilizer is that it has no stiffness. This would work best for baby and lap quilts. The label actually looks better in real life than in imaginary cyber life. It is the same font as the first label but with a spacing adjustment and less dense embellishment. This size would work for a wall hanging label.

As you can see, I've been quite productive but not in a tangible way. I did learn quite a bit about the software. I have barely explored the numerous possibilities! I'm figuring a little bit at a time.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this rather long label process. I'm off to experiment a bit more. I want to perfect this label project. Tips, suggestions and opinions are most welcomed!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My thread & notion cabinet!

Stephen has finally finished my custom cabinet. Please excuse my messy sewing area. I'm in the middle of re-arranging my closets and didn't want to take the time to clean the room before taking a picture. I know you quilters understand!

What is neat about this cabinet is that it's built out of old barn wood. When our friend down the street tore down an old dilapidated horse and carriage barn, my husband had the opportunity to salvage some of the wood. The majority of the houses on my street were built more than 150 years ago. Of course with time the street did acquire more modern houses but none the less, there are quite a few older homes, mine being one of them. Perhaps one day I will take a picture of my dream home. It would be marvelous for quilt retreats!

There are four (4) drawers built specifically for my spools of thread. Although I only have two (2) and 2/9th of the thread drawers filled, with time I can expand my thread collection. For the moment, the top drawer is used for bobbin thread and notions related to embroidery. I have two 45 mm rotary cutters and I never seem to remember which one has a "bad" blade, without scrutinizing the blade despite a sticker on one cutter, for cutting non fabric items. I decided that I would now place it in the notion drawer and keep my other ones in my tool basket.

The three (3) larger drawers will be used for miscellaneous items such as my hoops etc. One drawer will house my embroidery unit. It will be nice to have everything organized in one place. Another bonus is that it's on wheels so that I can bring the cabinet close to my work area.

One thing that is left to do is insert the dowels for holding the spools of thread. Until the inserts are done I will use a cardboard divider. No sense not using the cabinet until he gets it done!

Off to embroider my label! Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday Morning plans!

Today I have decided that I *MUST* figure out how to work with my Bernina Designer Plus software. It has been sitting idle on my desktop for longer than I would like to admit. I originally bought this to facilitate quilt label making. I figured I would design and embroider a label for my quilts and it would certainly last longer than a Pigma pen one. Talk about fading!

Well, I did spend two (2) hours one Sunday morning and gave up. I'm one of these individuals that likes to just get in there and play. Reading instructions are a last resort! But alas, it is something I will have to do. Not that it's a bad thing, imagine the possibilities once I've figured this baby out!

What doesn't help the situation is that the manual is 600 and some odd pages. I had my husband print it as paper manuals seem to be going out the way side. You'd think with the price of the software ....... Oh well. PDF files are the way to go I guess. I'm old fashion and like paper. It's easier for me to mark pages for quick reference. The Bernina dealer does offer mastery classes but they are far and few in between.

I shall leave you to get my morning started.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Snow Day! Who ordered this?

Is this for real? Snow in the middle of April? Who is responsible for this? Have you checked out the size of the snowflakes? They appear to be clumps of snow, something right out of a Charlie Brown episode. I will admit it is quite beautiful!

Hum..... I was going to make a trip to Montreal this afternoon for an award ceremony at university, and a dinner date with a school friend, but no thanks I'll pass. The weather forecast predicts more snow and sleet. This is not the type of weather that you want to find yourself driving at night on autoroute 15 - white out territory! Have you ever been in a situation where you cannot see two (2) feet in front of you and the only thing you can do is take your foot off the gaz peddle and pray that you will come out of this soon and that no one has stopped in the middle of the highway? That's the 15 for you. In these conditions, it's an accident waiting to happen.

Looks like today is a perfect day to finish Carolyn's quilt. I did manage to use my original border choice, despite errors in cutting. The machine quilting is finished on it, it's a matter of putting the binding on and hand sewing. I will have to make an effort to get my Bernina Designer Plus V software to work for me. I need a label!

Off to get some quilting done before I get sucked into cyberspace blog reading. Being a stalker is hard work! ;o)

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Thinking blogger award! Tag, you're it!

I have been officially tagged by three wonderful ladies, Darlene, Leigh and Wendy as well as mentioned by others for the The Thinking Blogger Award. I am truly honored! As I read their comment regarding my blog, I was touched. As I perused the nominees from these individuals, which lead me to other wonderful blogs to add to my already long list of "must read", it dawned on me how astounding this cyberspace world is. I have connected and made friends with some truly talented and inspirational individuals. As Leigh's husband would call them, "imaginary friends."

As imaginary as these friends may be, for me they are real, as I do think of them often. On my last quilting therapy at Candlelite Quilts I couldn't help but think of Darlene when I came upon a section of "charm squares". My first thought was, Darlene would know what to do with these. She is an individual that can do so much with so little. Oh, and we won't talk about the speed in which she puts out quilts! Her creations are magnificent. I then proceeded to look for the pattern of an exquisite embroidered quilt I had seen on Wendy's blog. When I entered The Quilted Crow I thought of Connie Lu and how she would enjoy taking pictures of the shop and reporting on it's content and atmosphere. As I continued to peruse the shop, Pam came to mind and her desire to pursuit wool applique. I have never met these individuals in person, yet feel a connection.

Having to provide five (5) blogs for The Thinking Blogger Award is no easy task. Many that I would have nominated have been mentioned in prior blogs. Perhaps that is due in part to our connectedness and our similarities as women who create. I will say that this is a great way to make connections with blogs that, under different circumstances, you would not have discovered. I have added quite a few sites to my already long list of must read as part of my morning ritual.

So I will leave you as I ponder in my sleep on the wonderful individuals that I would like to add to the already long list of The Thinking Blogger Award.

Keep well and happy quilting!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Quilt Therapy Weekend!

I am back from my quilt therapy. What a wonderful time I had. On Friday after our arrival I headed to The Quilted Crow for the beginning of my therapy. I just love that store. Someone had asked me to take pictures of the store, something I did not do. However if you scroll down the link, you will see some amazing pictures of the shop. It is a small and quaint quilt shop. I always seem to find what I'm looking for. Their specialty is more of a Folk Art theme.

While perusing The Quilted Crow I couldn't help but think of Pam and how much she would enjoy this shop. Pam is interested in wool applique. What a wonderful selection of wool they have and the kits...! I saw this wool table runner that I couldn't resist. The sample was so cute that I had to acquiring it for myself. I am looking to have a table runner for each season and holiday and what better pattern to add to my small collection. This will be the first time I attempt to wool applique. The border is the only cotton fabric in this project. I will say that this shop has a way of presenting their kits. Everything is so neatly folded and displayed in the bag. Even their BOM are sent well organized and displayed. Each kit or BOM comes with a fabric guide sheet, pictures and all. I did look at the Feathered Star kit, but felt I had enough projects going. The colours were sweet in the kit and it was difficult to resist!

On Saturday I headed to Candlelite quilt shop. This is where I purchased a twin size wool batting. My first wool batting quilt is Yule Time Garden and what a wonderful cozy quilt it is for those cold winter nights. I decided to make a wool batting quilt for my daughter. The fabrics pictured were purchased between the two stores. As you can see, I didn't go overboard with my purchases. I just have so many projects waiting to be started that I couldn't see myself buying yet another kit.

I did purchased a Folk Art Welcome pattern (on the right side of the batting) for my brick wall in my kitchen. The quilt will look sweet on a forged iron holder, which is available at the quilt shop. I'm looking to make a wall hanging for each seasons and holiday. So far I have the Sheltering Tree completed (pictured along with the wall!). This was my first kit from the Quilted Crow. I have a few UFO seasonal wall hanging that are patiently waiting for me to pay attention to them. So many projects so little time!

Thanks for taking the time to read about my quilting therapy. Tomorrow I am going for a long over due massage. Marlene, the massage therapist that I have been going too for the past six (6) years, just works magic with her hands. This will be a hot stone massage and I am so looking forward to it. An hour and a half of pure bliss! I had a stressful day today and am so looking forward to this treat. Okay, I'm ready to open that bottle of wine.

Happy quilting everyone! Cheers!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Off for some quilting therapy!

Firstly, although I have not been blogging for long, I have met some kindred spirits. Thank you for your support. You certainly make blogging fun! It's now become a morning ritual for me to go around the Stashbuster ring and onward to my favorites. I am blessed to have such wonderful cyber friends.

Tonight I couldn't sleep so I watched the first two (2) episodes of "The Quilt Show", gotta love wireless in bed! The first episode was with Joe Cunningham. I never laughed so much watching a quilt show! Aside from the fact that he's an amazing impromptu hand quilter, he is hilarious! What a comedian! He does not mark his quilts and off he goes with the needle making various intricate patterns. The first episode is free so please check it out if you haven't already done so. You wont regret it!

The second episode was with Vikki Pignatelly, the author of Quilting Curves - Improvisational Quilts. What an amazing artist she is. I just love her quilts. They speak to the soul. She mentions that regardless of the "type" of quilts that you make, whether traditional, contemporary etc... passion is what makes the quilt. Without passion , a quilt has no meaning. I have to agree with her. What makes quilting special to quilters is that passionate part of us that goes into our work. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the other shows they have lined up.

On the quilting front, not much has been happening. I haven't touched Carolyn's quilt for fear that I may not have enough fabric due to the cutting errors. I wouldn't want to croak on top of everything else. So the side borders are still pinned on! My daughter's horseback riding lesson is cancelled for next Tuesday so that should give me more time to try to work something out. Sometimes I get into this "cut twice measure once" mood and it drives me nuts. Can I blame it on my new Olfa ruler that 8.5 inches by 24 inches long? I had it upside down! argh!

I'll be thinking of you while I peruse The Quilted Crow on Friday. I can't wait to see what fabrics and books they received since the last time I was there, which was at the end of December. They always manage to have unique folk art colours (well that's what I call them). Oh and I wont forget you on Saturday morning when I visit the Candlelite quilt shop.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Broom's out of the Closet!

It's official now, it is I, the Witch Ditch of the land of Stashbusters. Pictured is the Official Royal Broom. I will no longer be able to live incognito. My life will be plagued with stardom..... But rest assure that I will not succumb to the evils of fame.

For those of you who are not privy to the Royal proclamation by moi, allow me to re-state my Wednesday proclamation.

I proclaim: trumpets please!

As Witch Ditch of the land of the Stashbusters, my duty is to assist you in unshackling any quilt related items, and that would include your spouse, that are no longer necessary for your creative endeavors. If you haven’t used it in a while, time to Ditch it!

What do I mean by Ditching?

Give it to someone who could make better use of it, and that would include the recycling community and/or the municipal dump!

This weeks Ditch Item – UFOs and that would include patterns, templates etc…..

As Nadine Ruggles once said in podcast episode 7,“UFOs are by-products or our creativity”.

A by-product you will recall is “a secondary and sometimes unexpected or unintended result of an action or process”. Thank you Mr. Webster and for those who like quotes to reinforce the meaning of a word, if Agnes Repplier was a quilter her quote would read,“pleasure is a very important by-product of quilting”.

Therefore, I declare Wednesday April 4, 2007 the official day of Ditching the by-products of your creativity that DO NOT give you pleasure.

What do I mean by pleasure, Mr. Webster please: “the excitement, relish, or happiness produced by expectation or enjoyment of something good, delightful or satisfying". And if H.J. Fuller was a quilter, his quote would read “the pleasures which one derive from the quilting experience” –

PLEASURE is our unit of measurement!

Pleasure less = ditch it

Should you not abide by my commands, a spell will be cast over the Stashbusters land whereby a UFO invasion will occur. Quilters across the land will be paralyzed from the by-products of their creativity.

Our motto: Ditch it before it Ditches you!

End of Proclamation!
No sooner did I take my broom out for a picture, there appeared Midnight! He just loves broom rides!

So there you have it, I've come out of the closet, Broom and all!

Salt and Sea,
Of ill stay free,
Fire and air,
Draw all that is fair.
Around and around,
The circle is bound!*

Be well and abide by the proclamation and be warned of the consequences!

* Starhawk "The Sprial Dance - A rebirth of the Ancient Religions of the Great Goddess" Harper: San Francisco 1979, 1989 p. 88

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Something to write about!

What a week this is turning out to be! I really don't feel I have much to say at the moment. Monday morning my dad calls and says "I'm about 40 miles away from Albany, what are you doing for lunch?", which means that he's four (4) hours away and I have a to cook lunch. He was driving home from his three (3) month vacation in Florida. A golf vacation is what it is! Given that he had been driving all night, I didn't want him to drive another two (2) hours home so I had him spend the night. We had a great time catching up on news. He left Tuesday morning around 8:30 a.m. Today was busy with appointments in Plattsburgh. I did not make time to visit the LQS as I'm trying to be good for this weekend's quilting therapy, but I digress.

Last Thursday when I was in Vermont for an appointment, became in one of my "I need to run away mood!" So I went to the Bernina dealer in Williston to check out the new store. I always find quilt stores to be a good place to run away too! I picked up my thread tray that I had ordered back in late January and browsed around for quite a bit. She had a new collection of fabrics that reminded me of Darlene. For some reason the colors just said, "Darlene would like that". So of course I had to buy them. I bought half a yard of the blue and the flower fabric and one (1) yard of the off white/beige fabric. The blue is quite unique. I had never seen that blue before. I really have no plans for the fabric. I'm hoping to get inspired and perhaps make a table topper or something. Now that I fondled them some more, I really should have bought a larger amount of each!

As for Carolyn's quilt, I didn't get a chance to work on it. Monday night I did make an attempt to cut the borders and pin them on. However, I really shouldn't have touched the quilt that night, as I made the mistake of cutting three (3), yes THREE, borders 6 inches as opposed to 6 and 1/2 inch. I was really too tired to scream or pull my hair out. My head just fell on the cutting table! I should have just left it alone! Now, I'm trying to make it work, which doesn't look good so far. I was hoping to use the wrong size borders for the binding. So given that my daughter had a riding lesson, to relieve the guilt, I shared some of my Koala Bear caramel chocolates that came all the way from Oz with Carolyn. Only two (2) Koala bears, not more! I mean, I had to also have two (2) for therapeutic reasons! Those little Koalas are precious!

What I do have to look forward too is that on Friday we are leaving for Littleton, MA for the weekend. You know what that means? Yes, I'll be visiting my favorite quilt shop The Quilted Crow. Oh, how I am so looking forward to quilting therapy. Hence why I did not want to go to the LQS today. I'm saving for the big day! We are leaving Friday morning so by mid afternoon I'll be thinking of you all while I therapy at the quilt store! I do want to check out their Feathered Star Kit as well as The Festival of Tree kit - there's something about that quilt that attracts me to it. Not that I need another project, but ....... Saturday I'll be heading to the Candlelite quilt shop for more therapy.

Well, for someone who didn't think she had much to write about..........

Happy quilting!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

It's been a while!

I'm here! Life has just been busy as of late. My DH was on vacation for the week and it somehow always throws off my routine. He's been working on the barn frame most of the week. He amazes me with his detailed work. I get to see the "old fashion way" of shaping the joints etc for the framing. I will at some point have to do some research on "How to Host a Barn Raising". I am looking forward to the event. It should be fun!

Stephen is away this weekend in Landenburg, PA on a "boy's weekend". Another hobby of his, a side from wood working, is recording music. He still gets together with two (2) members, who also happen to be his best friends, of his high school band called - Interview. The photograph above are the "boys" together (my husband is the middle one). I call it the GQ shot! (Photo taken by Philip Carpenter)
I think it's wonderful that they still enjoy creating music after all these years. Although no one would quit their day job to make a living off music, it's still a serious hobby for them. This weekend they have a Cello player for the recording. They also have a Violin player, Xian Gao who happens to be a professor of music at a University of Delaware, that likes to join in every now and again. My husband plays the bass. Aside from music, their weekend always include fine food and wine. The "boys" all enjoy gourmet cooking. It's fun to watch them in the kitchen, advising each other on how something should be done. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it due to our daughter's prior commitment. Of course, I go for the food, the wine and the S.E.X. (Stash Enhancing eXperience).

Friday, I went to a "Girls Night In" at my LQS. We were eight (8) and we had a blast. They supply the pizza and you bring your project and drink. I brought my hand applique basket along. They have a small class room so it worked out great. I finished the last of part 1 of Wildberry Vines and managed to get a bit done on the Baltimore Cousins. Nudge, nudge, Darlene did you read that part! ;o)

Saturday, I received a wonderful package full of delicious surprises from a dear friend, Cheryl, in Oz. She is such a sweetheart! Some of the goodies were a wombat and two (2) bilby(s), chocolate of course! A pattern, some fabric and a beautiful kitty cat hook bar. I just love surprises!

On the quilting front, I haven't worked on Carolyn's quilt much. I did sew the blocks and rows together. I have the border to sew on and onward it is to sandwich and machine quilting. I may do the bulk of it today. It is a beautiful sunny spring day so I may go out and enjoy the fresh air as opposed to quilting all day.

Happy Spring everyone!
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