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

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Fredericton Ladies Choir Spring Concert coming right up!

Our Fredericton Ladies Choir Spring Concert is just a few days away now. It proves to be an entertaining one, to say the least. Our first set is a medley of Mamma Mia tunes, be prepared to journey back to the 70's!! ♫♫
We have a lovely variety of pieces to sing for you - from show tunes to folk songs, sacred and inspirational pieces. Our guests, "Upbeat" from George Street Middle School are fantastic and we look forward to their group performance, solos and duets and their joining us on several pieces. You will NOT be disappointed. If you haven't heard us lately, or under our new director, Sally Dibblee, you are in for a treat!
A limited number of tickets will be available at the door, but picking them up at Westminster Books tomorrow will assure you have seats! Concert begins at 7:30, doors open at 6:45. I sure would like to see your smiling face in the audience!  ♫ ♫


Next to love, music is the best solution to any problem. Music feeds the heart with what it needs in the moment.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A New Runner for Spring

Do you ever buy a mini charm pack, bring it home and add it to your stash (and perhaps forget about it for awhile) then when you find it again, think "What am I going to do with this?!" Such was the case with this Prints Charming pack by Moda that I picked up (two of them, actually) a few years ago.  It's not really "my colours" but I guess a little variation is not a bad thing. "Step out of your box" and all that....

 I decided I would use it in a small runner. Mixed in with the prints were co-ordinating solids. Solids have never been my choice to work with (I know, never say "Never".. I actually have a solids project on my "Want to Make" list right now!!) but I do know I don't care for them mixed in with prints, co-ordinates or not! So I plucked those out and saved them for piecing the back.

As you can see, this is a very simple and quick runner to make up (great for a quick gift!) The pattern is from Connie Kresin Campbell's blog, Free Motion by the River which you can find here. She calls it the 6 Square Runner. Thanks Connie, for the great pattern!

I was just a bit short on fabric for the back, so by piecing
strips with the solid mini charms, I made it work. 

Because I pulled the solid squares, mine is a bit shorter than hers; Connie used all 42 mini charms on the front, I used just 36, so I have 6 "rows" whereas hers has 7. Both work! My runner's finished size is 14" x 31". 

I quilted it with an overall clamshell design with my walking foot in a matching soft beige Aurifil thread, and although I had purchased yardage of one of the dark greens to use for the binding, I really liked the background fabric better so ended up using it.

As you can see, I have a "supervisor" making sure I get that binding sewn on just so.
Scamp loves to see what I'm working on... you know the saying about curiosity and the cat!

Of course you could use a regular charm pack of 5" squares for this too, just slice each one into four 2.5" squares. I can see myself making another of these, probably with Christmas prints. I have part of a Christmas charm pack left from another project. I'll have to count the remaining squares to see if there would be enough. If not I'll just mix in a few other reds and greens... you wouldn't tell, would you?

I am linking to Wendy's Peacock Party here. Stop by to see what everyone has been working on this week.

Easter is everybunny at your house ready?


Fabriholic: n: One who can't control the urge to buy fabric they don't have a project for. Again.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Quick and Easy Baby Quilt

Are you ready for another baby quilt? No, we're not expecting another baby, this is just one I "have on hand." It's been done for a while, I just haven't shared it with you yet. This is actually the second one like this I have made, the first one went to a friend of Mark's for their first baby, Thomas, over a year ago.  Wow, time passes quickly...

You can't get much easier (or quicker) than a four patch with alternate plain blocks, and when it's done "from stash," all the better. I decided it was a good way to use up some odds and ends, bits and pieces of blues; gotta whittle down the blue stash, it's taking over!! I found the polka dot at my LQS, and couldn't resist. I do love anything "dotty."

I quilted both this and the first one with unevenly spaced straight lines, to resemble plaid. The first one was done with three shades of blue thread (for even more resemblance to plaid, or so I thought), but there wasn't enough differentiation in the three so they all looked pretty much the same. Lesson learned! This one was done with just one blue. I found a cute tone on tone blue print for the backing, with toy trains, planes, helicopters, scooters, diggers etc. Perfect for a little boy, I thought! The blocks are 5" square and the overall measurement is 35" x  45."

Here is baby Thomas snuggling under his quilt, "watching" football with his Daddy.

Not long ago my guild had a workday to make small quilts for our hospital's neo-natal unit. I was unable to attend, so made one up at home to use more blues and the rest of the polka dot and backing. Same design idea, but more "plain" blocks with just a few four patches. Blocks are 3.5" and overall size is about 24" square.

I pieced the backing to use up the rest of the blue tone on tone and polka dot. I was just a little short, so added in another blue which has "family" words all over it- mommy, daddy, baby, sister, brother etc.

This one is quilted with a 1.25" cross hatch with white Aurifil thread. Love the Aurifil 50 wt. when I just want the quilting to sink into the quilt. I hope it will bring a smile to the faces of anxious new parents with a NICU baby.

For baby quilts, often "simple" is best. Simple sure makes it quick and easy.

Up next, a runner finish. Have you finished any small projects lately?


Planes, trains, trucks and toys,
There's nothing quite like little boys.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

In the Bag...

Continuing on with the gift bag for baby Layelah...
Her quilt was finished just in time.. but her Raggedy Anne doll was finished early as I worked on it through the summer. When I was much younger, and all my friends were having babies, I made many Raggedy Annes and Andys, always in the traditional red; the last two I made were for my own two children (so we know that's a few years ago!) But I knew red just wouldn't work for Miss Layelah- not with a purple room!! So I set about making her a funky purple Raggedy Anne. What fun I had searching for the right fabrics for the dress, striped socks and look at the perfect gingham rickrack!!

Her face and I Love You heart are hand embroidered. She is 14" tall. I calculated that my pattern is about 40 years old.. so no wonder the embroidery transfers for the facial features were all dried up... I just traced them onto the fabric with pencil. All in all I was pleased with how she turned out.

Making the doll itself, the hair in particular, takes more time than the clothing. Every loop of the hair (and there are many) is secured with another stitch so little fingers can not pull the loops out. The hair probably takes longer than anything else. She is well dressed with pantaloons, dress and pinafore. Somewhat "dated" perhaps, in today's world, but still a classic in my mind.

In the gift bag as well were a lilac soft flannel receiving blanket and a copy of Sheree Fitch's Mabel Murple along with these two darling bunnies, knit by my friend Gail M. begged, pleadedcoerced convinced Gail to make them for me, a boy bunny for big brother Noah and a girl bunny for baby Layelah. Aren't they just sweet? Gail does such a wonderful job on these, I would love to have a whole collection... errr.. litter? just for myself! Soooo cute! I "named" them Benny Bunny and Bitsy Bunny...

I guess you can see I had such great fun getting ready for this little girl's arrival... 

I am linking up with Wendy's Peacock Party. Pop over to see what others have been working on here.

Love and Peace,
Grammie Linda

A granddaughter is a treasure whose worth you cannot measure except by the love in your heart.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Baby Quilt

Miss Layelah is almost 6 month old and I haven't yet shown you the quilt I made for her, or her special doll. Shame on me! The nursery walls are painted a soft grey and most things are neutral- white crib, white chest of drawers, black curtains... but the accent colour is purple, so purple was going to be the main quilt colour.

I eventually found a nice soft lilac batik for the background, and set about going through all my batiks for fabrics that would work. I used 28 different fabrics, with a couple of donations from friends (thanks Lucy and Sandi!) Just pinks and purples seemed dull to me so I added a few corals as well as a couple of peachy-yellows. I cannot tell you the pattern name or source, I just found a picture on Pinterest I liked and made up my own version. I cut the "bricks" 2.5" x 5" so their finished size is 2" x 4.5" with 21 bricks in each vertical row (total of 84 bricks.) The inner sashing rows finish at 2" wide with the outer two on the sides wider at 4." The overall size is 40" x 42." (With no real pattern to follow, I just determined the sizes by what looked right/in proportion to my eye.) It was pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. thread, and was quick and easy to put together.

(Edit: My friend Carole tells me this is a Missouri Star Quilt Co. pattern. She thought it was called a Zipper quilt, but I haven't been able to find it when I searched their site. If anyone can shed light on this, please let me know.)

I quilted it with rows of serpentine stitch with a soft pink and purple 40 wt. variegated King Tut thread (#940 "Cotton Candy") by Superior Threads. (Ginger was such a great help with the pinning of the quilt sandwich! Thank you Ginger!!   ^..^   )

I was "down to the wire" getting this done, in fact I think it was finished just two days before she was born. She was overdue, so we joked that she was waiting for Grammy to finish her quilt!

Laura also made a quilt for Layelah during the summer. For her first effort, we chose something quick and simple - four patches and plain blocks, in whites, purples and greys. I helped with the cutting but she did all the sewing and quilting by herself, and I finished it off with the binding. Well done, my dear! (I may make a quilter of her yet!)

Up next, you'll see what else was in that purple gift bag...


Today's "quote" is a poem.. I have no idea who penned it, but I've always loved it...

This quilt is made of cloth and thread     
To place upon your little bed.
It's not an heirloom just to keep,
But to lay upon, as you count sheep.
Or perhaps the floor's the perfect place
For a doll or teddy picnic space.
This quilt can be anything you dream,
From Superman's cape to the robe of a queen.
Pretend it's a raft adrift at sea
Or just cuddle up and watch TV.
So use it up and wear it out
I promise I won't yell or pout.
Just tell me when its days are through,
And I'll make another, just for you!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Grand Update

As they say.. time flies! Claire is in school, Noah is almost 3 (!!) and Layelah is already 5 months! I must be getting old! Indeed, I will become a senior citizen in another week. How can that be?! I'm trying to look on the bright side.. I am still vertical.. and healthy (no meds at all- yay!) and now I'll be getting a regular cheque each month! AND I'll qualify for seniors discount!! Gotta love it! And the BEST part of getting older....??  Grandchildren!!

So, it's high time for a little update on "the grands."
Claire, age 5, is now in kindergarten, or "Primary" as they call it in Nova Scotia. She is in French Immersion and doing well with picking up a second language. Here she is on the first morning of school.. so excited!

I love this photo of her, taken last fall obviously. She is tall for her age, takes after Daddy I guess!

She takes swimming lessons each week through the winter, and plays soccer in the summer.  Of course, winter also means lots of time to play in the snow...

What a little monkey, playing on the bed...
Photo Credit: James West Photography

Noah has passed 2 1/2 and is heading towards 3. He's growing like a bad weed! He is developing quite a personality, and keeps us laughing with his antics.

Photo Credit: James West Photography

He is such a good big brother to his little sister. Right from the start, he has been gentle with her, and shows her his love. I'm sure they will be good buddies as they grow up.

Now that she is showing interest in things, he likes to show her a book or bring her a toy, or make her laugh. Sooo precious! Such wonderful times!

He just melts my heart, every time I get to spend time with him. This grandparent gig is THE BEST!!

Photo Credit: Mummy Laura

And speaking of little Miss Layelah... look how SHE has grown! She has just passed the five month marker...

She is such a happy little girl! Wakes up smiling, goes to bed smiling, and smiles most of the time in between!

Look at that sparkle in her eye!

Photo Credit: Mummy Laura

Yep, another little bundle of joy to love!
I am smitten once again....

Feeling Very Blessed,
Grammie Linda

Your children are your rainbows. Your grandchildren are your pot of gold.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Quilting with the Walking Foot class

For those readers who are local or reasonably close by, I recently offered an "open" Walking Foot class, i.e. open to any quilter who has basic machine quilting knowledge. It is scheduled for May 25. It filled within a couple of days and there is a growing waiting list. So although that one is full, I am still taking names of interested quilters, and I will schedule another open class for the fall. So if you would like to add your name, please get in touch. Once I have enough for a class (15) I will set a date and get in touch with you. Don't wait too long, we are already halfway there. Having your name on the list is not a commitment, just an indication of interest.
EDIT Mar. 19: The fall date has been set, Saturday October 5 and the class is now almost full. If you are interested, get in touch ASAP. I will continue to add names to a waiting list if need be,  and if I collect enough names, I'll schedule another class.

Here are a few stitched samples of some of the things you will learn...

 Straight line designs, twin needle work, radiating designs, matchstick quilting....

.. and curved line designs.. some freehand, some marked, some using pattern stitches on your machine, circles and spirals.... and of course, you'll learn lots about needles, threads, etc.

Quilt On!

She who hesitates is lost...

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." ~ Henry Ford

Sunday, March 3, 2019

A Few Small Projects. Done.

I always have a long list of PTD's - that's Projects To Do... usually it includes some UFO's (UnFinished Objects) as well as new projects  that have been percolating a while. I'm sure I'm not the only quilter with such a list, whether it's actually written down, or just in the head. Knocking a few items off that list always feels good.
I've crossed off four items in the last few weeks. Since Laura, Noah and Layelah were coming the weekend before Valentines for a visit, I decided it was time to get a pillowcase made for Noah with a jungle animal print I've had since last summer, and a pink taggie blanket for Layelah. ❤️❤️  I also got a totebag made for one of my "choir sisters" and a runner finished.

The pillowcase was quick and easy. If you've never made a "magic pillowcase" (aka "sausage" or "burrito" pillowcase or "roll up" pillowcase) you're in for a treat. I followed this Youtube video with Alanda Craft but there are others out there too which are likely just as good. It is fast and pretty much foolproof, and all seams are enclosed ( French seams) for a professional finish. To make this you need 27" of your "focus" fabric, 9" for the cuff and 3" of a contrasting fabric for trim. This is easy to remember with 3x9=27.

I enjoy making these and can see I'll be keeping an eye out for fun fabrics to make more for the kids as you can easily have one done in an hour or less. Of course they are wonderful for an adult as well- a pair would make a nice little gift. There's no need for me to explain the process here, watch the video for a step by step illustrated guide. Noah decided he should be  a puppydog "model" for you... gotta love a two year old's humour...   :)

It was time for Layelah to have her own taggie blanket. She was enjoying Noah's and we just can't have our little girl using a blue taggie blanket, now can we? You can read a previous post here  for directions.

Her little fingers and toes are of the utmost interest these days; much of the time they are in her mouth, but when they're not, they are exploring, and babies love to feel different textures. (Update on Miss Layelah coming soon...) Don't you just love those little pink toes!?

A fellow alto in choir asked me if I would make her a totebag, with a keyboard around the bottom of the bag. She provided the fabric and I used a pattern I have used before with great success - the Fiji tote by Pink Sand Beach designs. The dimensions of the bag are slightly different (a bit narrower and taller) as I was limited by the length of fabric she provided, but otherwise I followed the pattern as given. The keyboard was fun to do, even though it took considerably longer than I expected. I doubled the white fabric so the black print would not show through, with a seam along the top and bottom of the strip so there would be no raw edges for wear and tear. This was fused on to the bag front and back, then blind hem-stitched with monofilament ("invisible") thread. I was concerned about the keys being in the right proportion, so I measured the keys on my piano - the white keys are 6" long and the black keys are almost 4" long. I knew 6" would just look too big on the bag, so I went with a 5" wide white strip and made the black keys in proportion.

The white keys were stitched with 12 wt. black thread with all thread ends pulled to the inside and knotted so there was no backstitching to show. The black keys were fused on and stitched around with black thread. I am pleased with how it turned out. In hindsight, if I was doing this again, I think I would piece the keyboard.. hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it...?

I'll save the runner for a future post.
What have you been working on lately?


Sewing is not a hobby. It's an obsession, an occupation, a fascination, an addiction, self-expression and a way of life.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Log Cabin Miniature

I have another small project finish to share with you today. The blocks for this miniature quilt have been made for .. ahem.. "a while" now. They are foundation pieced, on paper. The finished block size is 2 1/4” and each log is 1/4" wide. Finished quilt size is 10 1/4” x 12 1/2”. Have I told you before that Log Cabin is my all time favourite quilt pattern? Sure I have, but I think it bears repeating. I used Aurifil thread for the piecing of the blocks. Because it is a 2 ply thread, it takes up less space in the seams, a good thing when you're working tiny like this! I work on a number of blocks at a time, and switch back and forth between a light coloured thread with the light logs and a darker thread (usually grey) with the dark logs. I find this works well when foundation piecing, as thread sometimes shows here and there after the paper is removed and a stitch or two has "pulled."  I don't want light thread showing between dark logs, or vice versa!

This miniature top is done totally from scraps and leftovers, and the backing is a Buttermilk Print fabric by RJR that I've had for likely twenty years. It was purchased at a wonderful little shop (that no longer exists) in St. Agatha, west of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. I remember well my visit there (and considerable “stash enhancement”.)
I added a very narrow flat piping between the two borders.

The quilting is simple, as best suits a miniature, with straight lines done with my walking foot. I had several spools of lovely Aurifil fall colours, any of which I thought would work well, but it turns out I liked the soft yellow (#2130) best for the light areas and I didn’t like any of these colours on the darks so I ended up using a soft medium brown. Black Aurifil thread was used on the black border for several concentric rows.  I’m not 100% sure this is totally finished. I’m thinking of adding a bit of appliqué in two corners of the outer border.... what do you think?  Still pondering...

If you read the previous post on my Winter Blossom miniature here, you might like to see the “final touch” I've added. Since it was somewhat of a joint project with my friend Karen Neary, and since she is an apiarist (beekeeper) I knew I just had to add a little bee. Thanks to my friend Sandi for finding me the perfect little honeybee, and thanks to Sheila for bringing her home from Florida.
Up next, several more small project finishes.
I am linking to Wendy's Peacock Party link up. Check it out here.


Quilters are not greedy, they are just “materialistic.”

Sunday, February 10, 2019

On My Bookshelf

I guess there's one good thing this bitterly cold weather is good for... reading! We're into February now, so that's progress. However winter could hurry along and I wouldn't be one bit sad. I'm trying to ignore the cold weather and snowstorms and just immerse myself in good books, quilting projects, comfort foods and Netflix! That's my solution to a long cold winter...   :)
So what have you been reading lately? I am waaaay behind on book reviews, don't know if I'll ever catch up! Today I'll share with you four recent reads by the same author- Gilly Macmillan. After several "bookworm friends" told me I had to read What She Knew, I took their advice and wasn't disappointed. I read her next three as soon as I could get my hands on them: The Perfect Girl, Odd Child Out, and I Know You Know, and I'm sure I'll be reading The Nanny when it comes out this year.
What She Knew, set in Bristol England, tells the story of an eight year old boy's disappearance and the ensuing search for him. His mother Rachel tries desperately to not fall apart as hours and days pass with no signs of her son Ben. Everyone surrounding Ben becomes suspect, from Rachel's newly married ex and his wife, to Rachel's "perfect" sister, to eventually Rachel herself. Macmillan does a fine job of convincing you the reader that you know "who did it," as each character comes under the harsh glare of suspicion. The story is told by Rachel and by lead detective Jim Clemo. I felt like I was in the middle of the police investigation, complete with the use of social media posts concerning the case. The characters are solid, and one cannot help but feel sympathy for what Ben's family are going through, understanding their angst. What parent could not relate? I know this is an over used line but I truly found it hard to put this book down. The chapters are short, which made it so easy to keep telling myself "just one more chapter..." An impressive debut novel. Of the four, I enjoyed it the most.

 From the book jacket of The Perfect Girl: "Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past from even her new husband, and demanding Zoe do the same.Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.
In the aftermath, everyone - police, family, Zoe's former solicitor, and Zoe herself - tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see." A good read as well but it just didn't seem to hold my attention like the first one did.

 Odd Child Out, Macmillan's third novel is the second to feature Detective Jim Clemo, back from a compulsory leave after the Ben Finch case. From the book jacket: "Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable. But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol's Feeder Canal, Abdi can't- or won't- tell anyone what happened.
Just back from mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident. But tragedy strikes, and what looked like a simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle. Noah is British. Abdi is a Somali refugee. And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol. Against this background of fear and fury, two families fight for their sons and the truth. Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer. Because the truth hurts."
I found this novel more engaging, more suspenseful. Macmillan has again developed her characters well and family dynamics and secrets play a role in the tension between the two families. Racial tensions and prejudice stirred up by a reporter, and Abdi's subsequent disappearance make the case more difficult. Just what did happen that night at the canal?  Another novel very difficult to put down...

I Know You Know, the story of two Bristol murder cases twenty years apart, is truly a "whodunnit" with lots of twists and unexpected turns to keep you guessing until the end. Cody Swift returns to Bristol to launch his own investigation into the murder of his two childhood best friends, eleven- year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby whose bodies were dumped near a dog racing rack. Although someone had been convicted of the crime, Swift was not convinced the case was truly solved. Lingering questions and doubts compel him to take matters into his own hands, hoping to find answers and uncover missed evidence. When another body is found in the same location, old files must be opened to see if the two cases are connected. The clock is ticking...
Another suspenseful story, it held my attention to the very end. If you haven't read any of Gilly Macmillan's novels, do give them a try, but if you read at night in bed as I do, and you have to get up early, maybe you should wait until the weekend, as I'm sure you'll find it hard to put the book(s) down and turn off the light.. don't say I didn't warn you...

What have you read recently that you found hard to put down?


My favourite game is called "How many chapters can I read in one night?"
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