STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quilt Show Coming Up...

I know, I know, you're wondering where I've been and why I haven't been blogging. Well sometimes life just gets in the way. Our guild's quilt show, "Symphony of Spring" is this coming weekend, and I am (once again) on the Show Committee. So I've been kept pretty busy with that. We store all the "stuff" for shows- set-up stuff, the racks, etc. so the last few days I've been busy going through boxes, hauling out what we'll need and pitching some stuff that's no longer useful. Great fun. Ha.
We have two long days ahead, getting everything set up and ready for opening on Friday morning. If you are local, or nearby, I hope you'll attend. If you need driving directions to find our show, visit our guild blog here- clear directions are there to help you. You'll find us at the New Maryland Centre at 754 New Maryland Highway, from 10-6 on Friday and 10-4 on Saturday. I hope to see you there! I won't be back here until after Saturday night...

Piece!
Linda

Dream big, work hard, enjoy the reward.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ready for Another Book Review?

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning is the "rags to riches" story of Axie Muldoon, the daughter of poor Irish immigrants in 1860's New York City. At age 12, "saved" from the squalor of the streets by a pastor with the Children's Aid Society, she is sent west on an orphan train, and separated from her younger siblings. But she is determined to bring her family back together, and makes her way back to New York City where she is apprenticed to a doctor. She begins learning the skills of midwifery and the treatment of  "female problems."
This fictional tale, inspired by the true story of "Madame Restell", a female physician and midwife once called "the wickedest woman in New York", gives us a look at what options were available to the women of this era, when  faced with a pregnancy, wanted or unwanted, and its prevention.
If you watch Call The Midwife on PBS, it will no doubt come to mind as you read this book, although many of Manning's characters are on the... (ahem...) "seedier side". Although Axie's career path may have been controversial, she served the needs of many women, and rose to an "upper class" lifestyle in a Fifth Avenue mansion. Staying one step ahead of the law occupied too much of her time, but she was a fiesty character and would not go down without a fight!
It's a compelling story of a plucky heroine which I didn't want to end; well researched historical fiction which opens our eyes to the hardships faced by the women of that era.

Peace,
Linda

"A woman who walks in purpose doesn't have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her." ~ Unknown

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Bernina Owners....

I love my Bernina! I really do. It is a superior machine (in my humble opinion) and I would have no other. Their slogan is true - "Nothing sews like a Bernina. Nothing."
But this past weekend, I had a small problem. This is the second time it has happened, so I just want to make all my Bernina-owning friends aware, so hopefully you won't have to deal with the same issue... While teaching a class, and talking about keeping your machine clean and lint-free, I removed my bobbin case to show how to brush out the bobbin case and carefully clean under the tension clip. When I lifted the clip ever so slightly with my fingernail, the teeny tiny screw on the clip fell out. I'm not sure if it had worked it's way loose, or if I forced it when I lifted the clip slightly. Regardless, it was out. I did find it, luckily it fell on the cutting mat right in front of me. But when I tried to get it back into place (God bless the student who had a teeny tiny screwdriver with her!!) there was no way. Oh yes, I could get it back into place, but it was not going to screw in - I don't know if the screw was stripped or what, but it just kept turning and turning...
You can see how tiny the screw is. Here it is beside a straight pin and a safety pin.
The "shaft" on the screw is hardly 1/16" long...
Luckily when this happened a few years ago, I ordered two extra screws (but of course I didn't have them with me.. Note to self - always carry one of those extras with me from now on, plus the tiny little screwdriver.) So as soon as I got home on Saturday night, I had it replaced in no time and all is well again.

So, my Bernina peeps - just a suggestion for you. Check that little screw on your tension clip occasionally, make sure it's not loose, and next time you visit your dealer, perhaps order one or two to have on hand.. just in case... I think I might even look into a second bobbin case... As we learned in Girl Guides... "Always Be Prepared"...






Piece!
Linda

"To be prepared is half the victory." ~ Miguel de Cervantes

Sunday, April 12, 2015

This and That and a Finish.

It's time I got back here with an update lest you think I've flown the coop! Life has just been super busy the last few weeks so I've been rather low key in blogdom lately. Why does everything seem to happen at once? Life is that way sometimes, isn't it? I've been busy with classes and proposals for upcoming classes, our guild show is coming right up (April 24-25) so we're ramping up for that, the guild newsletter comes out this week so work to be done there too... a bit of sewing, etc.etc. Never a dull moment here....  :)
I can hardly believe we're approaching the middle of April. In the past few weeks we've had snow, freezing rain, rain, ice pellets and not near enough sunny warm days... But the snow is going down, albeit slowly... I guess that's a good thing in the long run, perhaps the flooding will not be too bad this year if we can continue with a slow melt... But looking out any window here, I still see a whole lot of white and very little brown/green. No lawn visible yet, except a very narrow strip along the driveway... I am so anxious for some spring color, I just had to add the bright and cheery "springy" header photo above even though it seems a bit premature. We're a long way from tulips, daffodils, violets or even dandelions yet, but at least I can enjoy them here!!
Front View
My latest small finish is an iPad case for my darling daughter. Now that she has received it, I can show it to you. She wanted it done in blues and purples and because I love batiks, they were my choice once again. I did the front a little differently this time and added a pocket on the inside to hold her earbuds and a few business cards. I was very pleased with the end result and Laura loved it so that's all that really matters...
Edit: You can see my other quilted iPad cases here and here.




Bac






Piece!
Linda

"There is great satisfaction in seeing a thing take shape and form under one's hands, especially if they are made from oddments into something worthwhile."
~ Nella Last. 1945

Thursday, April 9, 2015

MIA?

Yes I'm still here.. No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Just very busy right now, (as you can see, Ollie is no help at all!) and blogging has had to take a back seat for a bit. I'm off tomorrow to a teaching gig, home Saturday night, and hopefully will have something to post on Sunday. See you then!

Peace,
Linda

Happiness is being busy doing the things you love. (For Ollie I guess that would be napping...)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Oh Happy Day!!

It's been a happy day here at Casa Stitch Lines. Son Mark got great news in today's mail - he passed his big exam and is now officially a Registered Medical Lab Tech!! Yay! He is working at our local hospital and is very happy there for now...

And, not to be outdone, daughter Laura found out late last week that her former employer, The Casket Newspaper in Antigonish received several CCNA's - that's Canadian Community Newspaper Awards, and one of the awards was for one of her photos! These awards are for Canadian newspapers with smaller circulations. Her photo which was in the Spot News category, was taken at a Department of Transportation plow shed fire last January.
Photo credit: Laura Hubbard/ The Casket Newspaper
At the time, I told her I thought it was a great photo... I guess I'm not the only one who thought so...   :)

Congrats to The Casket for also winning Best Overall Newspaper (circulation 3,000-3,999) and also awards for Best Front Page and Best Editorial Page. I'd like to think that perhaps Laura played a small part in these as well...  :)

So we have a registered MLT and an award-winning Journalist... we couldn't be more proud!!



May today's success be the beginning of tomorrow's achievements...

Peace,
Linda

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Workshop Fun!



Yesterday's workshop was great, I really enjoyed it. It's been too long since I participated in a Guild workshop. Such fun to be a student instead of the teacher...

We were all making the same table topper, but because everyone was using different fabrics and colour combinations, they all looked different of course. That's one of the things I enjoy most about workshops, the variety of "results."

The pattern for this topper, called Crazy Eights Strip Teaser is by "The 3/4 Crazies" of Lake Havasu, AZ. You can find the pattern here at www.sewwhat-quilting.com The prep work before the class (cutting strips and sewing up the strip sets or "strata") took longer than it did to put the whole thing together! Don't get me wrong- the prep work was SO worth it! Everyone was glad they came with their "homework" done, and ready to proceed.

My greens look a bit washed out here,
the colour in the photo above is more true.




The topper could be done in two sizes- the larger one is about 44" across and uses 8 different fabrics, (the pattern gives instructions for this larger size only, our workshop leader worked out the smaller version) and the smaller one, which I did, is about 33" across, using 6 different fabrics. It was not difficult as long as you were careful with accurate seams, and very careful cutting.
I had second thoughts about a couple of my fabrics when I was putting the strata together, but was happy with it once it all went together. It is however, very green! (I guess I'm really anxious for spring, consciously and subconsciously...lol) If I was doing another, which I no doubt will, I'd like to find that perfect "bridge" fabric which so successfully ties two colours together. I really liked the ones which had more than one colour.
Here are some photos from the workshop... many are finished tops. These all of course still have to be layered with batting and backing, and quilted. I'll share a photo of mine once it's all quilted and bound. However, it may very well get set aside for a few weeks. Our Guild has a Show coming up in April and I have things which must be done for it first.

Teacher's sample piece
Teacher's samples showing segments and how they go together






Piece!
Linda

A clean house is a sign of a broken sewing machine....

Friday, March 27, 2015

Another Quilted iPad Case...

Front view
I seem to be the Queen of Small Projects lately.... I guess small projects are better than no projects, right?   :)   Last weekend I finished up an iPad case for Nan of Nanmade in Ontario. I put it in the mail on Monday afternoon and it arrived at her door today! Wow, Canada Post, you ARE impressing me lately!!
I am so glad she is pleased with it. I enjoyed choosing the colours/fabrics she asked for as they are the colours I love best, and therefore had "a few" choices in my stash.... wink wink.... I enjoy small projects that use up some stash (so I can buy fresh and new), and also that make use of several
Back view
of my machine feet. As I was working on this case, I was thinking  "isn't this great.. I've used five different feet".... (You spend a fortune on all these feet for your machine, and how often do you use them? Some are rarely used, so it's nice to have a chance to get them out and dust them off....)
So Nan, I hope you enjoy using your new quilted iPad case! Now I have to get busy on one for my daughter in blues and purples.. Girl after my own heart, she is - she knows my stash, so she knows what colours to ask for...  Haha!
Edit: You can see my other quilted iPad cases here and here
Tomorrow I'm off to a Guild workshop. I'm really looking forward to it as I don't often get the chance to take one as I'm often off teaching somewhere. I have two more seams to do to finish my strip sets in preparation, so I'd better get back to my machine. If I'm lucky maybe I'll have workshop pics to share tomorrow night...


Piece!
Linda

Great satisfaction comes from sharing with others.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Giveaway Win!

I believe in giving praise where praise is due, and today I'm patting Canada Post on the back! I won a Giveaway at Holly's blog Through my Window on Monday, she mailed the package on Tuesday afternoon and I received it this morning! Wow! That's good service. My recent Giveaway which went to Dasha in Australia was there in less than two weeks... also impressive.  (We won't talk about the fact that my daughter's birthday card took almost three weeks to reach her, just two provinces away...)  I mailed a small package off this week to Ontario, I sure hope it arrives in good time as these others have.
Back to my Giveaway winnings. Holly has sent me a copy of Quilting Arts, Issue 71, in which she has an article published (how exciting!) along with a pack of Swatch Buddies (and refills), a beautiful bookmark that she made and one of her Fiber Art cards. How lucky am I?! Thanks so much Holly! Can't wait to read your article when I climb into bed tonight!

We have another mystery on our hands. Last night hubby left a large rolled tarp on our deck - not "out in the open" but rolled up in the sheltered corner, right by our "back door" hidden behind the barbecue.  No one could see it there, it was totally out of sight, not to mention hidden by the snow banks... This morning it was gone. There was no wind, so we're quite sure it didn't blow away. It is nowhere to be seen, not in our backyard or the neighbour's.. And it's too big/heavy to blame on Stumpy... lol   Could there still be leprechauns around?

A friend is away for a few weeks and the day before leaving, she brought me her budded amaryllis to "babysit"  while they're gone. Lucky me - the very next day it started to bloom. I've been enjoying it all week, and feeling a little "guilty" that she's missing its beauty while I get to gaze at it every day... I guess this is my lucky week...   :)

Peace,
Linda

"Winning is only half of it. Having fun is the other half." ~ Bum Phillips

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time for Another Book Review...

New York Times and # 1 Canadian bestseller A House in the Sky, a 2013 memoir by Amanda Lindhout co-authored by Sara Corbett, is one of the most rivetting books you will read this year. I'm not the only one who thinks so: it won the 2014 CBC Bookie Award for Best Canadian Nonfiction, was nominated for the 2014 Libris Award for best nonfiction book of 2013 and Author of the Year, and was an Amazon Editor's Pick for Top 20 books of 2013. It's been called "a stunning story of strength and survival" (Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle.) The Globe and Mail said "A House in the Sky  should be mandatory reading for anybody who feels compelled to work in the toughest parts of the world." Have I convinced you yet, that you need to read this book?
Lindhout grew up in a broken home near Calgary, Alberta, and dreamed of travelling to exotic destinations as she "escaped" her difficult home situation by reading old National Geographic magazines. Once she finished high school she moved to Calgary and began working as a waitress, saving her tips to fund her dreams of world travel. It wasn't long before she slipped into a routine of work, travel, work, travel, work, travel.  But she didn't travel to the "usual" destinations. No "twenty-something carefree backpacking jaunt around continental Europe" for her. She was truly into more "exotic" locales, like Venezuela, most of Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, India, Ethiopia.... then on to more unconventional and remote destinations, on her own: Sudan, Syria, Pakistan. Each trip gave her confidence and fueled her curiosity to continue seeing the world. By the time she traveled to war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq she had decided to try her hand at journalism. With no formal training, she began as a freelance journalist in Kabul, then moved on to Baghdad to report for Iran's Press TV. From there she decided to go to Mogadishu, Somalia, one of the most dangerous places on earth, and an area under-represented by journalists. She asked a former boyfriend and fellow traveler, Aussie photographer Nigel Brennan, to join her and he accepted. Several days after their arrival in Somalia they were kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalist insurgents, and held prisoner for 15 months.
What followed for the remaining 2/3 of the book was not an easy read. Lindhout was beaten, starved, chained in a dark room, sexually abused and tortured. It is difficult to read, but impossible to put down. To call it a compelling read, a page-turner, is putting it mildly. This story is a testament to courage and hope, and the human spirit. Amanda is clearly a woman of great strength, remaining positive in her outlook despite the captivity and brutal treatment they both endured. She refused to be broken.
I won't give away any more of the story, but obviously they both escaped. Today Amanda is an award-winning humanitarian, social activist, public speaker and the founder of the Global Enrichment Foundation. She has chosen forgiveness over anger and bitterness, starting this organization to empower and educate women in Somalia, the very country where she was held captive for 460 days. You can read more about Amanda Lindhout here. And... you must read her book. Trust me, you will be a changed person after.. if nothing else, you will appreciate your freedom.

Peace,
Linda

"Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul." ~ Joyce Carol Oates

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mystery SOLVED!!!!





Thank you for all the kind birthday wishes! I had a great day and hope you did too, doing something you love, quilty or otherwise!  :)  
I am grateful for another trip around the sun....



One of the best gifts was a "mystery solved"... If you haven't read Chapter 1 of the "Stumpy" story, read it here before proceeding.. we'll wait for you...











Stumpy IS the thief!! I watched him with my own little eyes.. yes I'm older and so are my eyes, but they're still pretty sharp. Ollie and Hubby were here to witness it too - we watched our "darling little Stumpy" (ha!) shimmy down the one remaining hook, and  feast on the suet ball.















Then the little glutton decided he should haul it off to his lair where I can only assume the other hook and suet ball now reside... He flexed his little rodent muscles and yanked and pulled, trying to get the mesh bag off the hook.




When that didn't work, he thought "Well I'll just have to take the whole thing, just like last time" (yes, I could pretty much read his thoughts) so he continued tugging until he had freed the hook and all from the crook of the tree.


















I had been snapping photos up 'til this point, enjoying his acrobatics and gymnastic prowess, but as soon as he actually got it free (I could hardly believe my eyes!) I set down the camera and ran, hollering, out the deck door -"drop that hook you little thief!" He only took a few more steps in the snow before he gave it up and scurried up the next closest tree, and I'm fairly sure he was swearing at me in "Squirrel-speak". Don't kid yourself, I had a few choice words for him too... Soooo, I'm feeling pretty confident that my earlier accusation was correct, Stumpy is the thief. Now I just have to find his lair and retrieve the booty... the hunt is on!

Peace,
Linda

"Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years."
~  Ausonius

Saturday, March 21, 2015

First Day of Spring, eh?

How much longer before we'll see tulips?
So spring officially arrived last evening. Supposedly. But we all know there is often a fair bit of difference between the "first day of spring" and the first day of spring weather. I don't think we're going to see spring anytime soon. We still have four feet of snow on the ground....
But the days are lengthening  and the sun is strengthening, so there's hope! It will come, I know it will...   eventually.
Thank you to all who inquired about Ollie. He is much better, back to normal I'd say. We're not sure what it was, a Gastro-Intestinal bug of some sort was the Vet's best guess. Anyway he's home after a one night sleepover at the Vet's office (he was NOT impressed), fluids by injection, anti-nausea meds and bloodwork, and a whopping bill!! He's been ravenous today, making up for the four days he didn't eat, I guess..
And thank you to those who answered my Bloglovin question. Not sure what's going on, but it appears I haven't lost any Followers, so that's all that matters. Maybe the leprechauns have been messing with things...

Yes, I'm using GREENS this time!!
If you are a quilter, you likely know that March is National Quilting Month, and Saturday March 21 is National Quilting Day! It also happens to be my birthday. So in celebration (of either, or both) I hope you will spend some time doing whatever quilty activity makes you happy! (Leave me a comment and let me know what you're sewing on today!) I'm going to a Guild workshop next Saturday so I have some prepping to do, cutting strips and making up some strata (strip sets). That and finishing up an iPad case for a reader who "ordered" one will be on my To Do list this weekend. (Yes, Nan it will soon be on its way to you. I got sidetracked with other things this week!) There are lots of deals and yummy things going on this weekend all over the web for National Quilting Day (although I'd love to think they're all actually celebrating my birthday! haha) One of the best deals is the "free weekend" at The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. All their videos are free for you to watch, all weekend long so be sure to check it out here. There are lots of prizes too, including a Bernina 550QE!! Who wouldn't love a beautiful new Bernina??
I want to end with Birthday Wishes to my friend Lucy B. and neighbour Janice O. - we all share the same birthdate.  :)


Peace,
Linda

Birthdays are good for your health. Studies show those who have more birthdays live longer.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bloglovin Followers, I need your Help!

I need your help! If you have been following me with Bloglovin, could you please leave me a comment and let me know if Stitch Lines is still showing up in your feed? When I check my Profile it shows I only have 2 followers !?? Where have the other hundred plus gone? I'm not sure if this is just a temporary glitch or what... But recently, someone who had been following with Bloglovin let me know that I had disappeared off her radar for quite a while (THANKS for letting me know, Linda) so I'm wondering if this has happened to all my previous Followers...????  Arrgghhhhhh............

Peace,
Linda

"Success is buried on the other side of frustration." ~ Tony Robbins
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