Friday, May 31, 2013

May OPAM

The month of May saw a few more projects done and anything that gets done is a good thing!

While I was sitting with my BIL (who suffered a stroke May 2) during the day, out came my knitting needles and these are what were made:  4 dishcloths, 4 kitchen hand towels, 1 heart needle case



 

You know, in all the years that I have been sewing, knitting, quilting, I never made a needle case.  The ladies of the Northern Lights Quilting Guild (night guild) gave everyone the materials at their May meeting (when my quilt show Viewer's Choice ribbon was presented to me) and I was determined that it would get finished asap.  All that was needed from me was embroidery thread, needle and scissors (my apologies to Catherine for dulling her scissors cutting out the navy blue felt heart) and snaps to close the case and viola .... done!

I'm happy with my May OPAM (One Project A Month) accomplishments.

Have a great day!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A different view

Since my BIL had his stroke 2 weeks ago, it has made me sit back and reflect on what is important in life.  My quilting in particular since it does consume so much of my time.

There is quite a pile of completed tops that have been waiting and waiting to be quilted and used.

There are also quite a few UFO's still sitting on a shelf.  Some just require outer borders to become completed tops.

Guess what my goals will be this summer?

In the meantime, I have brought out this quilt to work on again.  I did have a good routine in place, but it got abandoned at the half way point.  So, to help me with my goal, well, this is a good project to continue with.

During stressful times, hand quilting and hand piecing are my 'go to' projects to help keep me calm.  They help to give me peace and I can lose myself in the process and not think about what is going on around me. 

 For my UFO's, this top has been bought out again to work on replacing the white sashing with blue.
There are new projects that I'm itching to start, but older projects should be completed first.  Reality is the fact that we can be here for one day and gone the next (or lose the ability to function completely) and if my quilts are done, then they can be enjoyed by those who will love them.

It is so tempting to just hand over a few of my quilts to have them professionally machine quilted; but my love of hand quilting stops me.  A century from now, I would love my descendants to see what I did with hand quilting and treasure my quilts as much as I do today.

If you want to see more blogs that have hand quilting, there is a Blog Hop going on right now to visit.  Please go here and enjoy!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Second time around top

What a difference a few stars and circles make!  So, this is a top again. 


I didn't expect to get this top done so quickly because of all the renovations that are on the go in our home right now.  However, life made a roaring intrusion and everything came to a screeching halt.  My sister's husband suffered a stroke and my days quickly changed direction.  He is home now and my time is being spent with him during the day helping him while my sister is at work.  Quilting and knitting is back in full force and there are lots of projects to keep me busy.

Life is so precious and it is so cruel how quickly your life can change.  Things that we all take for granted .... like speech, vision, ability to connect people to the correct names, strength, walking, writing .... can be gone in an instant.  Please, give a hug and tell your loved ones how much they are loved.

Have a great day!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oh dear ....

I didn't mean for this to happen .... 5 Judge's choice and 1 Viewer's Choice ribbons.  My quilts won these ribbons at our recent Quilts by the Bay quilt show in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. 

The members of my guild (Near North Quilter's Guild) are very talented and very prolific and a number of my quilts were entered to be judged in the off chance that I might win at least one ribbon.  You can only imagine my surprise when I saw all these ribbons on my quilts.  Oh dear!  Excited, honoured, humbled and dismayed.  Those are my feelings regarding these ribbons.

The following is a run-down on the quilts that won as well as the judges' comments (which were very interesting and very welcome).
 
Hand quilted quilt, traditional piecing or applique techniques made entirely by one person, perimeter 304" or larger:
 
First place for Klosjes - My Little Spools.
Judges' comments:
- excellent use and balance of fabrics for a very pleasing overall design
- quilt would benefit from blocking so that the quilt edges are square and straight
- hand quilting is even and beautifully executed and supports the overall design of the quilt
Second Place - Old Tyme Plaid
Judges' comments:
- good use of colour and balance in this scrappy quilt
- the quilt would benefit from crisp corners in the edge finishing (binding)
- the hand quilting is evenly stitched in an attractive pattern which adds movement to the composition
 

Third Place - Just a Scrappy Quilt
Judges' comments:
- excellent balance of a rainbow colour scheme makes this a very appealing quilt
- edge finishing would benefit from crisp corners in the binding
- small evenly spaced stitching and quilting design adds great appeal to this quilt

 
One-of-a-kind/innovative quilt or wall hanging any size:
 
First place - Winters of My Life
Judges' comments:
- a wonderfully whimsical composition that reflects many aspects of the northern winter season
- take care in the use of dramatically contrasting colour (i.e. red house and snowman's hat) as they can become a focal point that keeps the eye from moving throughout the piece
- hand and machine quilting are well done and effective in this quilt

Blooming Flowers
Judges' Comments:
- excellent hand embroidery provides a focus to this piece
- take care when applying binding to make sure corners are crisp and square
- hand quilting is even and supports the design of the piece

Wearable quilted item:

Second place - flannel jacket
Judges' comments:
- nice choice of autumn palette fabrics
- take care with button holes - perhaps light interfacing would help keep their shape
- the small piecing in collar and cuffs add a nice finishing detail
  
Miniature quilt - Viewer's Choice
As I was going through my quilts and deciding which ones to enter, I knew beforehand what some of the judges' comments would be.  Especially my bindings.  They have always given me grief and this is something that I struggle with each time they get applied to my quilts.  Darn those corners!  If any of my quilts are entered into future quilt shows, well, at least I know what has to be concentrated on.
 
It was a wonderful experience to have a number of my quilts judged.  It was something that I have always wanted to have done and now that item can be crossed off my bucket list!
 
Lastly, many thanks to Deanna of our guild for giving a fabulous tip for increasing the size of sleeves to meet the requirements for a quilt show.  She said to just add another strip of fabric to the existing sleeve to make it bigger.  This tip saved me a lot of grief and got my quilts ready for showing quicker than expected.
 
Have a great day!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

That star again!

Remember this plain and simple top?  Well, it was just begging me to do something with it to jazz it up a tad. 

Enter, my favourite star.  Yep .... you knew I would be using that star again in another quilt, didn't you?  What a difference it makes with the addition of red circles and stars!  I liked the top before, but just love it more now.
A number of you had asked how I do my stars.  I have become quite fond of the English Paper Piecing (EPP) method for my applique.  After trying needle turn, freezer paper, etc., this is my method of choice these days.  It is more time consuming, but for me, there is no rush.  There is a lot of scrap paper hanging around our home and this is a good way to use it up. 

This is the back.  Do you see that arrow that is at the top?  The spokes of the stars are different sizes and the arrow is there to tell me which way to align all my stars onto the top so that they are all consistent.
This is the front.  If you look closely, you can just barely see the circle outline where the navy blue circle will be sewn.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Carpenter rant-no more

Yesterday, we had our staircase railings finished and I would like to show you the workmanship that was done.  The newel posts and railings need to be stained and the wrought iron to be painted white; but you can see the workmanship.

Look at that curve!  Beautiful!






Overall, we are very happy with the work above.  But ....

Stop!  Can you see what is not right here?  The railing that was joined onto the newel post should have been centered.  I am not happy ..... at all.  When Blake (the carpenter) dry fitted this section, he had to cut and cut and cut to get a good fit at the wedge section and in the end the fit adjoining the newel post was off .... completely.  So, what did he do?  He glued and screwed in that section.  He showed my husband what he was not happy with.   I was not at home at the time; otherwise all of this would have been removed.  He could have fixed this problem; but he didn't want to.
 

I asked Blake to fix that join as I never could be happy with it.  He said he would and then on the final work day he asked me if I still wanted it fixed.  Well, yes!  We discussed the work and Blake put up such a song and dance that my husband and I felt that whatever he did would not come even close to the quality that was there now.  I did say to him that he talks about precision in all his company ads and then he still went into a song and dance routine about how difficult it would be to remove all the wood and ... and ... and ....

In the end, we paid him off and are now stuck with this.  We really do need to get the 'S' letter off our foreheads.

What will we do?  I will drape a quilt over the banister and hope that no one notices the awful workmanship.  But, really, we shouldn't have to do anything.  He does such beautiful work, that it is confusing to us to see this section that is just so totally off.

Up until then, we would have gladly recommended Blake to others and bring him back to do more work for us.  Not anymore.

To those of you who are going to have fine carpenter work done ... ask to see everything dry fitted before anything is nailed, screwed or glued down.  You will be glad that you did and stop any errors before work goes too far.

To those of you living in the North Bay, Ontario, Canada area .... beware.  This carpenter does beautiful work, up to a point.  I'm not going to give a direct link to his website, but there are clues for you to find him if you really want to.

May 29, 2013 Edit:  Our railing has been fixed and I'm happy now with the result.  After sending him a mean email (his words), he called and said that he would be back to repair the bad section on the next rainy day (he is doing decks currently and can't work in the rain).  He came back and repaired the section.  So, onwards we continue with other renovations .... with a much lighter heart.

Have a great day!