Saturday, August 23, 2014

Machine Quilting

 This week I've been doing some machine quilting.  The quilt on the ironing board is the Delectable Mountains quilt that I need in September to introduce the demo on how to construct that block.  So that was the first quilt I worked on.  That took a lot of time because it was all stitch, stop, turn the quilt, stitch, stop, repeat.  The border has a similar pattern to the blocks, just reduced a bit in size.  I like the way it turned out.

This second quilt is one destined for the Extended Care facility here.  In the second picture you can see how that was quilted: each of the triangles was quilted separately.  So that was, again, stitch, stop, turn, repeat quilting.  When I considered what pattern to stitch in the border, I very much did not want to choose something that was also stop and go quilting, so the border is being quilted in a fairly small meander.  I always enjoy that as it's possible to just keep on going for quite a length.  Of course, you have to move your hands frequently, but it's a much more relaxed method and much faster.  I just had to take a break at the halfway point to give my hands and shoulders a rest.  I plan to finish that this afternoon and apply the binding by machine and then stitch it down by hand.

Future work: four more lap quilts, a single bed sized quilt all ready to be machine quilted.  And then the Split 9 Patch lap quilt to be sewed together and machine quilted.  I just need to find the right border and binding for the Split 9 Patch.  I probably have some batting and backing in my stash that will look good with it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Black Currant Jam

On Monday, with S. picking and me processing, we put up seven quarts of cherry juice.  One quart didn't seal, so that one went into the fridge, to be used soon.

Tuesday S. picked an ice cream bucket full of black currants.  There's a really good crop this year.

I treated them the same as the red currants from early this month, washing them and boiling them with a little bit of water and then processing them through a food mill, the way you would make applesauce.  That produced about 9 cups of very thick "gloop".

Because it was so thick I added the quart of cherry juice from the fridge.  Added to that was a mixture of 15 cups of sugar and 2 packages of "No Sugar Added" jelling powder.  After heating it to a good, fast boil and boiling well for over a minute, I ladled the jam into sterilized jars and put on the sealing lids.  Here's the harvest: 10 pint jars and 3 cup sized jars of jam.  It's a little on the runny side, but will be great on toast or pancakes, or even as a topping on ice cream.

I always set the hot, filled jars out on the counter on a pad of towels, separated well from each other, to cool and seal.  These were very slow to seal, perhaps because they were slow to cool.  I finished filling the jars around 4:30 p.m.  The last jar sealed at 10 p.m.  Was I ever happy to hear that snap shut!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to Delectable Mountains Tutorial, Third Session

I ran into Brenda at IGA this morning and she mentioned that she would like to have the rest of the tutorial for making the Delectable Mountains quilt.  She's the second quilter in town who is taking up this challenge.  Sharon plunged right ahead into making Delectable Mountains and then emailed me to come and give her some pointers.  Her quilt is already finished!  Mine just needs two sides of the border quilted and then it's complete.

I need to get these instructions printed up for the first meeting of our local group in September, as I will demo the whole thing at the second meeting.  I realized that I needed a photo of an intermediate step and have finally taken apart a block to illustrate what was unclear.  This photo shows the layout of your strips before being sewed together and after.  The two sets of strips make two separate blocks.

You will take the second strip from the left and place it on top of the first.  Sew a quarter inch seam on the right hand side of the two strips. Take the fourth strip and place it on top of the third. Again, sew a quarter inch seam on the right hand side.

Now place strips 3/4 on top of strips 1/2, as in this photo.  Again, sew a quarter inch seam on the right hand side.

Lay the set face side down on your pressing pad.  Give it a little spritz of water.  Press the seams, moving your iron from right to left.

Turn the block over and press again, on the right side, sliding your iron from right to left to get a nice, flat block.

Your block is finished!

You will have actually made two blocks of the same colour, but with opposite orientations.  You can see that in the first picture on this entry.

When all your blocks are sewn, lay them out on a design wall or on the floor.  Switch them around until you are pleased with the arrangement.  Sew the blocks into rows and then sew the rows together to make the quilt top.

If I haven't been clear at some point and you'd like further explanation, contact me at  Hope this has been helpful!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Split 9 patch

I had the happy privilege of spending this past week in Niagara Falls, visiting our Dear Daughter #1.  That visit came up rather suddenly, and the plans worked out perfectly for the past week.  It was a real treat!

At the last minute I grabbed a package project I had put together this past year.  It had a pattern for a split 9 patch block, lots of light and dark 2 1/2" squares.  As an after thought I added a bag of 3" squares, just in case I needed them. Well, that was a good thing because I DID need them to make the 1/2 square triangles.

Dear Grandaughter #1 had moved out last February, so I set up a sewing room in her former bedroom and spent many happy hours sewing these blocks.

This lap quilt needs just one more row of six squares added to the right.  I think it's really attractive and enjoyed making it, as a time filler while DD#1 was at work.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pitiful Corn

Our corn patch has had a sad life this year.  It was started early in the greenhouse in pots and looked fantastic when it was planted out in the garden bed.  But that night there was a heavy frost and every corn plant succumbed, or so we thought for a while as we observed the plants lying bleached and limp on the ground.

Lo and behold, new growth sprang up from the centre of most plants and after a bit the patch looked not so very bad.

Then we had a cold, rainy June and the plants went into hibernation.  So did the bees, so the corn was not pollinated as it should have been.

Here's today's harvest.  Six ears, except that I picked two more ears in order for both of us to have a decent serving.

On the other hand, the onions must have been very, very happy.  They are getting to be oversized!  They are actually taller than the corn plants.  We will pick them all tomorrow, put them on screens to dry and then store them.  It looks like there are more onions than we can eat in a year, even though we like onions and use a lot of them.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rosebud Chamber Music Festival

I went to a fantastic concert here in town last night.  It was part of the Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, the second year this series has happened.  Last year the quartet also played a concert here, also on the first Friday in August.

Here's the program:
String Quartet No. 14 in G major, Mozart; String Quartet No. 3, Bela Bartok; (intermission); Violin Sonata No. 3 in E-flat major, op. 12, Beethoven; Piano Quintet in G minor, op. 57, Shostakovich.  A really nice variety of music that worked very well together, in spite of the radically different styles of music.

The members of the quartet: Violin: Aaron Schwebel and Sheila JaffĂ© (they took turns playing first and second violin parts), viola: Keith Hamm (the organizer, whom I have known and played in string groups with since he was an early teen), cello: Arnold Choi, and piano: Peter Longworth.  Each one of these is a superb musician, and they are totally "in sync" with each other, playing as an organic unit.

Their playing covered the range from delicate, nuanced pianissimos to vigorous, muscular fortissimos.  Their interpretations of the music were eloquent.  And they were obviously enjoying themselves deeply.  I had never heard any of these pieces of music before, but was able to understand and enjoy them thoroughly.

The audience was disappointingly small, but absolutely delighted to experience such a marvellous concert.  The quartet (plus pianist) do say they will come back next year as part of next year's Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, and I will do everything I can to make sure the audience is at least double the size it was last night.  It's a great privilege to have a live concert of such incredible quality here in our little rural town.