Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Last night we held our season finale: a display of quilts we've made in the last 12 months.  Many of our quilts have already been given away, and weren't available, but we had a good display with plenty of quilts on show.

We invite friends and those interested in quilts (or those we're trying to interest in quilting) for a fun evening.

The quilts in this picture are mine.  There were seven, including the unfinished "raggy quilt" from pink and green flannels.

After an hour of viewing, we settle down around the tables for some snack time and visiting.

The club members have all brought some door prizes to share, and during snack time we draw for them.  Everyone who is there has had an opportunity to put their name in the draw, so everyone gets a door prize.

I had brought five, as I knew we might be short a few.  My prize was a very nice tin and a rotary cutter with a small blade, for close work.

We meet at the Seniors' Drop in Center and
our final show is held there also.  Twenty five people attended for all or part of the time.  As the line goes, "A good time was had by all."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Busy time of year!  The farmers are out in the fields seeding, for all the daylight hours and then some into the night.  They get very little sleep during this season.  Pray for safety for those hard workers!

The robins and blackbirds are noisily settling their territorial claims.  The magpies are always noisy.  The doves are mostly peaceful, but flutter away if you scare them.  The frogs in the dugout have been boasting loudly for the past week, doing their best to impress the females.  Even the bees and flies have resurrected and are buzzing around.

I haven't posted lately, but been very busy.  I was trying to finish up some quilts for tonight's "Show and Tell," the last get together of the town club for this season.  Two didn't make it: the raggy quilt and the pinwheels quilt.  I just finished sewing on the binding for the Disappearing Four Patch. For a "give away quilt" I like to do a machine applied binding, sewn first on the back and then topstitched to the front.  That wasn't possible with this quilt, as I had trouble with the backing.  There was plenty, but when I measured it roughly against the top and then ripped it to that measurement, I discovered the grain was severely off, and ended up too short.  In the end, I attached a very small piece of backing to cover the shortfall.  That meant I had to sew the binding to the front by machine and hand stitch it to the back.  I'd forgotten how awfully long that takes!

I'll take pictures tonight at the "party" and post them tomorrow.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Years ago I saw a Hunter's Star block in a quilting magazine and found it very attractive. On Saturday, March 4 at the Red Deer Quilting Show there was an extremely attractive Hunter's Star quilt.  It was in "Kansas Troubles" fabric by Moda.  Quite a few years ago I bought two large fat quarter stacks of Moda's "Aunt Purdy's Parlor" and "Kansas Troubles."  The quilt at the Red Deer show was just the inspiration I needed to begin using that large bag of fabric.  Here's the first block:

The red is not so orange as this appears, but a deep, rusty red.  I won't sew any blocks together yet, because maybe scrappy blocks would like better than blocks of just two fabrics.

These blocks with finish at 12" so the quilt won't take too long. I'm using a combination of cutting strips and paper piecing.

I'm hoping to make a few big quilts by next October, for use in our Arizona condo, so one that goes together quickly will be a bonus.

In the meantime, I'm working on my project of producing 13 quilts by summer.  These five rows of a raggy quilt are the beginning of #9.  Number 7 still needs to be machine quilted and number 8 (the pinwheels) is only half sewn together.  All the raggy blocks are made; they just need to be sewn together.

I may run short of time for completing 13 quilts, as the Garden Centre work is taking up more of my time these days.
We live in hope!

Friday, April 10, 2015


Today's job was cleaning up the sales building.  Here I am standing on the wood stove, cutting in around the stove pipe.  S and I worked from 10 to 1 and then again from 2 till 5.  We did lots of cleaning, sweeping, sorting and vacuuming.  Then I got out the paint bucket and started cutting in the edges of the ceiling.  That had not been repainted since the spring of 2000 when we opened the garden centre.  Lots of fly specks all over the place!

I got it all cut in, but just one big swatch the length of the room painted.  It's pretty much a square building, approximately 24' x 24'.  The paint, left over from previous projects, is close to running out.  Tomorrow I'll have to go get some more in order to finish.

I'm hoping the paint the cement floor also, with some cement paint we've had for years.  Hope that works out well!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Yesterday morning as I drank my first cup of coffee I thought, What would happen to a Disappearing Four Patch if you started with a really big four patch and you just kept on cutting and sewing.

I went to the sewing room and cut two 13" beige and two 13" red squares and made a HUGE four patch.  I made the four cuts 1 1/2" from the center, did the switch of the center sections and sewed it back together.  Then I did it again, but this time I made the cut at 2", and again at 2 1/2".  Then I thought, Maybe there should be some diagonals, so I cut the four corners on a diagonal.

That's when I ran into some trouble: it was no longer possible to keep the colours separate; beige ended up with beige and red with red, here and there.  So I discarded the center sections and then was able to keep the pattern going.

Hmmmm, that's still kind of big.  I made some more cuts and switched sections around.

By this time an hour and 45 minutes had slid by.  OK, that's enough.

I wouldn't be able to duplicate this block, but that's not much of a loss.  It will go into the "Orphan Block" bag and form part of a quilt sometime in the dim future.

Re: the stained block from the Disappearing Four Patch: I soaked it over night in cold water with a "colour catcher" sheet.  The stain migrated from the block to the sheet, and the block is just fine now.  However, the replacement is already in the quilt, so that block also goes into the "Orphan Block" bag.  Just now I had an idea: if I soak the offending cerise batik overnight, that block could also go into the bag.  Pretty soon I'll be able to make two or more quilts from these discarded blocks!

The Disappearing Four Patch top is complete, and the first purple border is on.  The purple was in my stash, and there was just enough to cut a narrow inner border and enough binding.

I wanted to white on white for the second border.  Although I bought 20 Fat Quarters of white on white at the Red Deer Quilt Show on Saturday, I didn't want to use them because the borders would have to be pieced.  So when I was in town I went to The Fabric Nook to look for white on white.  What I found: some nice white on white on the 40% off table, making it just $8.49 a meter.  I had planned to buy .35 of a meter, but since it was such a good deal, I bought 3 whole meters.  I'm really set for white on white backgrounds for a long time to come!  I should plan a few more quilts, yes?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


I was sewing the Disappearing Four Patch together today when this happened: the batik cerise ran!  I like to spritz a seam with some water before pressing with a dry iron.  This poor stained block is now out of the quilt, along with the block to the left which created the stain.  Two new blocks are up on the board for replacement.

Just a few more seams and the center of the quilt is finished.  The plan is to use a very narrow band of purple as the first border, about 2" of a white on white for the second border, and then a binding of the same purple. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015


When I had time to return to sewing on the "Disappearing Four Patch" this afternoon I made a happy discovery.  The way to make all seams nest when sewing these blocks together is simple.  Every other block has its seams pressed to the outside, and the blocks in between have their seams pressed to the inside.  Everything will nest beautifully.

When sewing the original four patch, press the seams toward the dark fabric.

After cutting the four patch apart, sew only the two vertical seams, but do not press them.  Arrange and rearrange the blocks on your design wall until you are happy with the colour placement.

Now start with the top left block, and press the vertical seams on the top row and bottom row to the outside of the block.  The center seam will, of course, be pressed to the inside, so as to nest these three parts together.  Now sew the horizontal seams and press both of them toward the outside of the block.

The second photo shows the seams of the first block pressed to the outside of the block.

On the second block in the row, press the vertical seams to the inside of the block.  Sew the horizontal seams and press them toward the inside of the block.  When you sew the blocks together, your seams will nest nicely, as seen in the third photo below.

I make a habit of pressing the seams between blocks of row 1 to the left, between blocks of row 2 to the right, etc. alternating direction with each row.  That way the rows will also nest when sewn together.

Here is the first row, all sewn together.  The second row will be pressed in the opposite direction, that is, the first block will be pressed toward the inside, the second toward the
outside, etc.

This will be a lap quilt.  It will need about a two inch border on all sides, around a five block wide by six block long setting.  Perhaps a very narrow border of one of the bright colours, then a medium white border, and then a binding of one of the brights would look good.  We'll have to see what's available in the stash.

Tomorrow I'll show you how to cut up the original four patch to create this more complicated block.

Friday, April 3, 2015


The scrap quilt of 2" squares, set 8 by 8, is completely finished.  At the meeting of the country quilters on Thursday I sewed on the binding.  That was a really close call.

When I cut the binding, I wanted to use 3" width, sewn on the back, turned over to the front and machine stitched down on the front.  I had just enough material to cut that out.  When the binding was cut, there was a wisp of fabric left.

After I sewed the binding to the quilt, I cut it on the 45 degree angle to make a bias seam closing on it.  OOOOPS!!! I cut the bottom strip the wrong way.  Now it was too short to sew together.  But I had about 2 inches of binding left.  I trimmed the edges straight and sewed the small piece onto one side.  It didn't overlap the other side!  I took out the seam and made it a scant 1/4" inch.  Now there was room to join the two ends of binding with another scant 1/4" inch.

It worked, and the fact that the binding has a small insert about 1 1/2" really doesn't show because the material is so dark.  ALL DONE!

The Pinwheel quilt is coming along.  All 127 blocks are finished, and two horizontal rows have been sewed together.  That's going well.

But the next project was knocking on the door: a Disappearing 4 Patch.  I had made about eight blocks when I saw this pattern on a blog.  I thought it would make a good lap quilt.  I got out some whites and brights and started. Then I encountered the first, big problem.  If you press all the seams to the dark fabric you will have several seams that won't "nest."

One of the women at the country quilters had just finished a lap quilt in this pattern.  She pressed all the seams open.  So today I was trying that.  That's a "no go" for me.  It's just too hard to make the points meet properly.  Monica had said she made it work by doing lots and lots of pinning.  That just didn't want to work for me.  So I fiddled around with different ways of pressing the seams.  Here are a few examples, including the block with the seams pressed open.

None of these produced a solution for sewing the blocks together.  There would always be seams pressed in the same direction, so you'd end up with six layers of fabric in one place.  NO GOOD!

So here's what I'm trying now.  The top two rows have gaps in the blocks where the seams are going to be.  These blocks do not have the final two vertical seams and the final two horizontal seams sewn.  The plan is to press the first lefthand block one way, then press the second block in that row to nest into the first block.  Sew them together.  Press the third block to nest with the second, etc.  

It's a little too late for me to start on that now.  I need to be brighter than I am right now. It will have to wait until Monday.  OOOH THE SUSPENSE!

Tomorrow the town quilters are going together to the Red Deer Quilt Show.  That's always a good large show, nothing like the one at Heritage Park in Calgary, but plenty to look at for one day.  There are lots of vendors with all sorts of enticing patterns, fabrics and accessories.  Dangerous territory for the bunch of us!  But always interesting to see who goes home with what.