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Correction from a previous post in which I said that the finished postage stamp quilt would have 4,791 pieces.  In fact, it’s ‘only’ 4,761!  And, it’s all done!  This quilt has been in the works since last Christmas and has been a fun thing to pick up and work at in between other projects.

There are 16 blocks of 16 x 16, or 256 1″ squares.  The pieces were drawn randomly from a large bin.  If I grabbed two that were the same I swapped one out, but otherwise there is no pattern.  I joined the pieces in twos, then made those twos into fours.  Next, I took four of the fours and made them into a block.  These blocks were trimmed to 4 1/2″ square.  Usually I set out to make eight of these squares in one setting.  When I had 16 of them I made them into the 16 x 16 block.

The iron was busy throughout; there are so many seams!  It took some experimenting to find the best pressing pattern.  For instance, all of the four piece strips are pressed to one side and then they nest well when joined.  In places where there is a lot of bulk the seams are pressed open.  Here’s a photo of a section of the back of the quilt.  It looks crazy, but there was a method!img_2894

The sashing is more of the 1″ pieces, all cream with text.  Once the sashing was on I felt that it needed a border so added a narrow strip of Moda Grunge in grey.  This quilt has enough going on, on the feature side, that I felt the back should be pretty calm.  At The Red Barn in Courtenay I found an extra-wide black fabric that has the names of colours written in white.  As it was extra-wide I didn’t need to piece it and I thought the colour names fit perfectly.

I used Superior King Tut thread, in gold, red, orange and grey for the quilting and did a series of wavy lines that run from side to side over the small pieces.  The border is quilted separately with five narrow lines, using the same thread colours.  The binding is a black cotton with white dots of various sizes.  It was attached by machine and finished by hand.  The label went on and then the quilt went through the washer and dryer.  I’ve been using Forever New detergent for my quilts and love the way it makes them feel and smell.

This was a very fun project and I’m thrilled with the end result.  It’s just a riot of colour!  Here are front and back pictures of 4761.  Click on the picture to enlarge.

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Thanks, as always, for reading!

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Tech Nerd – Not

Or maybe…  While waiting to be inspired about my next quilting project I decided to spend some time tidying up and organizing my various devices.  I became a huge fan of all things Apple, after inheriting a used MacBook in 2008. I upgraded that laptop a couple of years ago to a MacBook Air and I love it.  My other toys are Apple and I’ve been ok with them, but frustrated that I’d not taken the time to learn about all of their capabilities.

I use the Photos app all the time and I still get excited when I take a picture with my phone and then find that, through iCloud, that photo ends up on my iPad and my laptop!  Simple pleasures, right?  This week I’ve also synced the iCalendar app and am considering doing away with a hard copy DayTimer for 2017. On a roll, I tackled the Mail app and can now send and receive email on all my devices.  I know, it really wasn’t hard, I just hadn’t taken the time to figure it out.

Photo below is of a painting that my Mom did recently.  Mom, 90 years young, has just purchased an iPhone and is having fun (???) figuring it out.  She loves the camera and the dictionary app.  However, I don’t think that Mom will ever abandon the old school reference materials.  Mom’s motto might be similar to that of The North Face outfitters – “Never Stop Exploring”.

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Finally, I’ve been wanting to make some minor changes to the blog. WordPress is great, but sometimes the seemingly limitless options scare me and I choose to leave well enough alone; not this time!  From the Home page, open “What’s the Buzz…” Some of the text has been changed.  Also,  towards  the end of that page I’ve added some navigation tips and descriptions of everything you’ll find on the Home page.  Please take a look around, I hope you like the changes.

Thanks for reading.

A Summer For The Books

Here we are, three days into September.  It’s cooler out and dark at 6 AM; almost like someone flipped a switch to turn summer off.  Fall officially starts on Thursday, September 22 at 7:21 AM PDT.  But, in so many ways, I’ve mentally made the jump and I’ll look back at summer 2016 with fond memories.

We hung out with family and friends.  We made short trips to Victoria, Penticton and Calgary   and enjoyed three wonderful months on Denman Island.  Old chores that have been put off for too long got tackled and I finished several projects that had been starting to weigh on my mind.

Our home on Denman Island is built on a piece of property that was once rented to a stained glass artist.  For some reason, and I honestly can’t think what it would be, he disposed of piles of leftover glass bits in the yard.  When it came time for us to build, we unearthed this glass and I gathered up a small box full.  I’ve saved it for 8+ years, wanting to use if for something.  I found the perfect table for my project at a garage sale in Victoria for $4.  I painted the table, using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. https://www.anniesloan.com  Then, using mosaic glue, I stuck the glass bits to the table top.  Blake took over with the grouting, making a nice flat surface.  It’s been sealed and is good to be used indoors or outdoors.  Here are before and after shots.

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Two years ago our neighbours sold their home on Denman Island.  The new owner inherited three metal fish and was going to send them to the trash.  I asked if we could rescue them and she was thrilled.  Again, using the Annie Sloan paint, I fixed them up and have attached them to a retaining wall.  They don’t all fit into one picture, but here’s an idea.

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Other victories include finishing a pair of socks, a scarf and a rag rug, (6 years later!).  The postage stamp quilt that I’ve been working on since January has been quilted and I’ve just started to hand sew the binding.

Yesterday I competed in a sprint distance triathlon as part of the Americas Masters Games.  A sprint triathlon comprises a 750 metre swim (ocean), a 20 km bike and a 5 km run.  It’s been more than four years since I’ve raced and I was both nervous and excited.   The night before, the weather was terrible with torrential rain and high wind.  Swimming and running in bad weather don’t bother me at all, but cycling is another story.  Thankfully, conditions during the race were ok and I was pretty happy with my finishing time.  (I missed the podium by 10 seconds and have replayed that many times as it was firmly in my grasp.  I’ll have to work on my killer instinct!!)  I realized how much I enjoy triathlon and the challenge and variety of training for three sports.  Such fun and a perfect way to cap off the summer.

Today I’m feeling a bit lost.  We’ve settled back into city life, my projects are all done, the big Modern Quilt Showcase is over and I’ve completed the race that I’ve been training for all summer.  It’s a good time to sit back and take stock of what I’d like to work on and achieve in the next few months.

I hope your summer memories are special and I wish you a pleasant Labour Day Weekend, wherever you are!

Until next time, thanks for reading.

 

VMQG Quilt Showcase 2016

I was shocked to see that the last post was written 19 days ago.  Company visiting, end of season activities, finishing projects and packing up summer toys; time got away from me.  Also, there hasn’t been much blog-worthy news to report until this past weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday I participated in the first ever Showcase of Modern Quilts, put on by the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild – VMQG.  The showcase took place in The Pipe Shop at the Shipyards in North Vancouver and it was a huge success. There were 146 quilts on display, including the wall of mini quilts shown in the picture above.  The venue was perfect as it had high ceilings, lots of natural light and old posts and beams – a great backdrop for the modern style of the quilts.

Over 750 people came through the show and they were blown away by the overall beauty of the room and the quality and diversity of the quilts.  What a pleasure it was to be volunteering while listening to comments and answering questions.  There were so many interesting observations by quilters and non-quilters.

I can’t say enough about the show’s organizing committee.  As participants we were kept informed about what we needed to do and when we needed to do it.  Clear, concise directions made it easy.  As volunteers we had our schedules well in advance, we knew what our jobs would be and we were well taken care of while working.

As a new member of the VMQG I was hesitant about entering the showcase.  But this is such a welcoming and talented group I decided to take the plunge, and I’m so glad that I did.  It was an honour to be a part of this show and to be made to feel that my work was worthy of hanging alongside these amazing quilts.

Thanks and kudos to the amazing organizing committee and everyone else who had a role in putting on this show.  You’ve set a very high bar!

Here are a few photos from the show.  Click on any to enlarge and scroll through.

Thanks for reading and I’ll look forward to seeing you at the next showcase; rumours say 2018.

Successful Weekend

In the previous post I talked about getting ready for the Denman Island Artists’ Studio Tour.  Now, four days later I’ve unpacked my bags and put away all my display things and can reflect on the weekend.

The weather cooperated – sort of.  Compared to last year’s torrential rain and cold temperatures this was lovely.  Compared to how a summer weekend should be, it wasn’t great.  There were showers, winds, sun and clouds.  Mostly it was grey and iffy.  We had arranged several quilts on fences and in the trees, where they really look awesome.  But then they had to be brought under cover, where they don’t show well.

I sold several pieces on Saturday and nothing on Sunday.  In fact, by Saturday lunch, I had made almost all of my sales.  The comments and feedback all weekend were really positive.  I handed out many business cards and, who knows, perhaps one of those people will be looking for something one day.

Overall, I’m satisfied with how the weekend went.  I cleared out some older pieces and brought in some cash, which I’ll probably use for more fabric!  Will I do it again next year?  That’s a tough question and it’s way too early to know the answer.  For now I’m happy to enjoy the remainder of the summer and think about new projects.

Here are some pictures from the weekend.  Click on a photo to enlarge it.

Studio Tour 2016

The Denman Island Artist Studio Tour is coming up on Saturday and Sunday and I’ll be participating with a few of the other local quilters.  This will be my second year and I’m way more relaxed this time around.

Why is that?  Well, a couple of things come to mind.  Last year I knocked myself out getting new pieces made.  It was kind of frantic.  In the end, sales were slow and most of the things came home with me.  This year I’ve got a couple of new things, but I’m also going to try to sell some quilts that I made a while back and am now ready to part with.

It’s really hard, maybe impossible, to know what’s going to sell, and that can be frustrating.  There are always lots of kind comments, ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and people saying that they’ll stop in at the end of the tour – they never do because they’re heading to catch a ferry.  The trick is to hook them early, and we’re in a good place for that.  We will set up in Downtown Denman, between the Art Centre and the General Store.  This is where people will pick up their tour maps and plan their route; pretty much the start line.

I’m more comfortable accepting that not everything will sell.  Maybe nothing will sell.  My style and colour/size choices won’t appeal to everybody. Some may not like my prices.  That’s all OK, as I’m still enjoying the process of imagining and creating.

As a group, we’re more organized this year.  We’ve talked about how to display our quilts, how the traffic should flow and how to engage the ‘tourists’.  We’ll have a small demo table, where we’ll show the different steps involved in making a quilt.  In addition to cash and cheque, we’re going to accept VISA.

This is all great and I feel confident that we’ve taken steps to make a better experience for those who take the time to stop by.  The one thing that has me concerned is something that I have no control over – the weather.  Last year was awful.  The rain was torrential and the temperature was cold.   We had to cram our quilts under tents and then take many home to dry after the first day.  To top it off, on the Sunday there was a propane leak at the General Store and traffic was shut down for over an hour, keeping everyone away.

I put this post away for two days, while we had company.  Now it’s the day before The Big Tour and it’s pouring rain.  Thunder and lightning are overhead.  I’ve checked the weekend forecast and it looks promising.  Something like the photo below, from a couple of years ago, would be a good start.  Right now I’m going outside to do a sun dance.  If you read this post in the next 18 hours, perhaps you could do the same.  Thanks in advance!

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Christmas in July

It’s not really Christmas, although the summer weather has been a bit chilly this month.  We’ve seen single digits, lots of rain and some high winds.  Today is a perfect day for the 5th annual ‘Ewe da Best’ golf tournament, which is held on a local sheep pasture.

Last summer I participated in my first webinar, called ‘Wedge Quilts Go Modern’.  It was put on by the Modern Quilt Guild and the instructor was Christina Cameli.  Christina showed us how to use a wedge-shaped ruler to cut strips of fabric.  Yes, it could be done without this tool, but it would be more difficult and I don’t think the results would be as accurate.  We learned how to join the strips and ways to work with the hole created in the centre of the strips.  (In my quilt the white circles fill in that hole.)The webinar also covered making pieced strips, fractured strips and negative space strips.  Webinars are a terrific way to learn a new skill, without having to leave home.  You could even be in pj’s having a glass of wine!  Here are some wedge rulers.
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Without an end in mind, I made the three circles last fall.  Then they sat.  After a couple of months I added them to a white background.  They are appliquéd on using the blanket stitch on my machine.  At the same time, I made the backing, using bits and pieces of reds, greens and whites.  I squared up the top and the backing and then put them away until May.  This is the second quilt that I’ve done this way and it seems that taking a break from them makes them exciting again.

I made a quilt sandwich with the top, the backing and bamboo for the batting, but wasn’t sure how to quilt it.  In the end, I started with the three circles and did a pebble pattern in each of the coloured spokes using Superior King Tut thread in White Linen.  The white spokes are not quilted so they puff out a bit.  The grid pattern is random and I used the same thread in Limestone, White Linen, Cheery Red and Holly and Ivy.  The binding is a great fabric that I stumbled on in Fabricland.  It doesn’t show well in the photos, but it’s Christmas candies in all of the colours that are in the quilt.  The finished quilt is approximately 60″ x 60″, perfect to curl up with on Christmas morning.  While I love it, I am going to put it up for sale in the Denman Island Studio Tour August 6 and 7.  Here are some photos; you can click on them to enlarge and see captions.

HO! HO! HO! and thanks for reading.