Sunday, September 27, 2015


In May of 2012 the Tuesday quilting group went on a "shop hop."  I vowed I WAS NOT going to buy any material!!!  The first place we went was Country Creations, the great little shop Lorraine Stangness had some kilometres south of Strathmore.  She had one of these "Cascades" quilts displayed.  I COULDN'T resist!  But there was no kit for a queen or king size.  I like our quilts to reach all the way to the floor.  So I bought two single bed sized kits.  That added up to the largest amount any one of us spent there!  Ahhh--but I was so happy with my purchase.  

First I had to "rechart" the quilt so that it would be large enough.  Then I started making blocks.  You know how it is with a new project--the most enticing thing in the world!  Then I got busy with other projects and progress on Cascades slowed WAY WAY Down.

I bought the kits because I was so attracted to the quilt, but I really had no "destination" in mind.  It obviously would not suit this bedroom.  Some time later Jim suggested it would be nice in our AZ condo.  I agree.

The bedroom in AZ needs painting and new flooring (which we're hoping to have installed this winter.)  This quilt will look wonderful there!  And I think I should paint the bedroom a nice, warm, golden beige to match the little squares "cascading" down the quilt on point.

I machine quilted this in the ditch on either side of the sashing.  This weekend I finished sewing on the border and the binding. 

What's left?  I intend to handquilt a large feather design in the 7" border.  Then probably feather circles in the plain blocks and also in the larger plain squares in various blocks.  That will be enough of a project for at least one winter, I'm thinking.

So this was #2 of the three projects I hoped to finish before we leave for the south.  #3 (the Picket Fence quilt) has been put away in a "To Do" projects drawer.  That will be a nice project to tackle later this winter.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


On Thursday afternoon I was at the library well on time, all set up with sewing machines, etc. with Kristen's help, ready for the 3:00 p.m. beginner quilting class.  Alas! Neither of the two women who had signed up actually came.  I settled down to read the latest "Threads" magazine.

Then G. who was in the library as an aide to an old gentlemen asked, Would you be willing to teach me, even if I'm the only one there?  Well, OF COURSE!  Glad to.  So she escorted the gentleman home and then G. and I formed the afternoon class and she made her first quilt block.  There was an unfortunate mistake in cutting the double block apart--she accidentally cut on the 1 1/4" line rather than the 1 1/2" line of the ruler.  That meant the block's points didn't meet.  But G. was undeterred, as she felt she had learned the basic method, and went home happy with her completed block.

The evening class had full participation, which amounted to four students, just right for the space we had.

I started with explaining grain lines on fabric and how to find the straight cross grain line.  Then we examined how to cut with a quilting ruler and a rotary cutter and all had a chance to practice.  They all cut very carefully, which was really encouraging!

Sewing a quarter inch seam was next up, and we used several different methods: a quarter inch foot, the edge of the regular presser foot (on a very old, but good Singer portable), and using a strip of cardboard taped down 1/4" from the needle.

After that we followed the instructions published in this blog on August 21.  The library had reprinted a copy for each student.  Here I am showing how to press the finished block so that all the seams are pressed to the dark fabric.
In the background on the right you can see the Disappearing Four Patch block quilt that I made to inspire them.  Now I'm not sure that whether it was inspiring or dispiriting: they admired the quilt and then counted the blocks.  When it takes an hour to make your first block, it's pretty intimidating to think you need to make 30(!) for a moderate sized lap quilt!

They did extremely well and before long one of the students had a beautiful finished block:

Everyone stayed until they had their block completed and pressed.  Each had chosen different fabrics, and each went home with a lovely completed block.  If they want to take this "adventure" further, they will be welcomed by Shirley at Shirl's Girls quilting group which meets at Bethel Fellowship Church every Thursday during the fall, winter and spring.

Thanks to Kristen, Program Director for the library, for organizing this event and also for taking these pictures! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


This morning was one of those early, early ones--for me that is, not for the sun.  But I used the extra hours well, finishing the hand stitching of the binding on the Disappearing Four Patch.  I made this quilt from my stash, except for the white background fabric (which I had bought a few months ago because it's lovely and was priced at $7.49 a meter), the backing (I didn't want to spend time piecing a flannel backing), and the batting--a piece cut from my big roll of Hobbs Batting that I bought this spring at a special price.

So here's the finished quilt, measuring 46" x 54"--lap sized.  I made it for a sample to inspire the beginner quilting classes I'll be teaching at the library this Thursday.  There are (of course) things I'd like to change about it, things that happened because of using just stash fabrics, but on the whole I like it!

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Yesterday I glanced out the window and saw something on the peak of the #1 greenhouse.  I grabbed the binoculars and saw this:

At first I thought it might be a cat, but the binoculars revealed: AN OWL, a Great Horned Owl.  How wonderful!

I took that picture with the telephoto lens all the way deployed.  This next photo is just a blowup of the first one:

An owl is a very welcome visitor as they are good predators of mice.  If you live rural, you do battle mice!  We're glad Alberta is rat-free, so we don't have that problem.  But especially at this time of year when the temperatures start to fall, mice try to get into the house and are looking for a cosy place to spend the winter.  An owl is a real boon in terms of keeping down the mouse population!

WELCOME, OWL!  Make yourself at home here.

Friday, September 11, 2015


 Since the Dear One came home from the hospital today at noon, I'm now free to get back to some quilting/sewing.  This afternoon I spray basted the three-layer "sandwich" of top, batting and backing of the Disappearing Four Patch quilt.  I plan to do a simple "quilt in the ditch" with this one.  And I'm looking forward to spending some time at the sewing machine after a whole week away from it.

But I don't like seeing the design board bare, so I got out some blocks for the Tradewinds that I started way back when and put them up to give some colour and movement there.

Projects on the way: the 54" x 46" Disappearing Four Patch, a sample quilt to inspire the classes at the library (beginning quilters) next Thursday; the 67" x 60" Picket Fence, a sample to inspire the Pieceful Stitchers on Tuesday the 22nd, when I demo that design; and the 105" x 105" Cascades (a long-term project) quilt for our bed in AZ.  Those three I definitely want to finish before the end of the month.  I think the Tradewinds will rest for some months before I get back to it.  I'll put that on the calendar for next February.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Sunday Jim was scheduled to preach in High River.  That's a little more than two hour drive for us, but because their services start at 11 a.m. we have plenty of time in the morning.

I was just about to start making breakfast when I heard a big crash from the bathroom.  Jim had passed out and was lying crumpled up in the corner. It was the beginning of several losses of consciousness, interspersed with attempts to rise and shave himself.  I called 911 and the paramedics came.  They were wonderful!  And was I happy to have them here!  They got him on a stretcher and took him to the hospital.  We are fortunate to have a very good, small hospital with an Emergency Room right here in town, just five minutes away.

His blood pressure was extremely low, just 66 over something in the 30's.  We spent the morning there, while they did some tests and discovered he has pneumonia.  He'd had a deep, phlegmy cough for over a week, but we never thought of pneumonia.  I was GLAD to hear that diagnosis, as we were worried that it was a heart issue.

By Sunday afternoon he was taken to a nice, private room, hooked up to saline IV, IV antibiotics, along with blood pressure readings, oxygen saturation, and heart monitor.  Yesterday, on Tuesday, they released him at 10:30 in the morning for him to keep his pacemaker clinic appointment in Red Deer.  I drove him there and back.  He had a very good report on his progress there.

When we returned to TH he went back to the hospital and the Dr. kept him there overnight.  I figured he would, because I could feel that he was still running a fever.

Last night we had the first (organizational) meeting of the local quilt club.  I'm secretary this year, so I had lots to prepare: membership list, sign up sheets for new members and for the snack list, etc.  It was a good meeting, and I'm really looking forward to our regular meetings twice a month on Tuesdays, from 1 p.m. to around 8 p.m. when we get together and work on projects, either our own or ones that a member demonstrates.  It's always a time of good camaraderie.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


This unexpected beauty showed up yesterday afternoon.  It's the Picket Fence quilt hanging over the ironing board, backlit by a strong afternoon sun.  What a treat!  The seams look just like leading on a stained glass window.  It's probably the vibrant colours of the batiks that created this moment of beauty.
The overnight temperature fell far enough to rime the sales building roof with white frost.  A sign of things to come!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


The first of September and the leaves have begun to fall.  The wind has swirled them around to a quiet corner where the garage and house meet.  This is just the beginning.
Yesterday our neighbour across the road was able to harvest the field of barley growing there.  A tractor followed the combine around the field and picked up the (still semi-green) barley straw and baled it.  I love the look of the bales scattered across the field.

Ordinarily the straw would be left behind, to become part of the field again, but a customer was looking for some barley straw bales.

In July DD#2 gave me this plant.  It was not in bloom so we didn't know what colour it would be.  I put it in a northeast window where it was very happy and showed it by putting up all these lovely, fringed purple blooms.  Such a cheering sight!