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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blue vs. Green

Well the province went blue last night with a majority PC government. I'm not so sure it was an overwhelming vote FOR the PC's as much as a big vote against Graham's Liberals. Regardless, much as I love the color blue, I'm in love with green today. Here is the top for the tablerunner I told you of; I am very pleased with how it turned out.
The pattern/directions are from a magazine I picked up this summer. It's called More Fast and Fabulous Quilting Ideas , part of the Better Homes and Gardens Creative Collection. It had a few projects in it which interested me, but this table topper really caught my eye. I used 9 different green fabrics, most of them batiks or hand-dyeds. This first photo is what the pattern called for. As I was putting it together, I wondered how it would look without the center section so I basted it together just to see (below). I like them both! What do you think? Sorry these photos are both just a little crooked... And look at the color difference- one was taken indoors, one outside... The one below is truer color...

I hope to get it layered and quilted tomorrow. I'm going to use a variegated green King Tut thread, by Superior threads. The backing is a beautiful leafy print, with some gold, I think it suits very well although it's more of an Olive green tone. It will be bound with one of the darker greens.
I promise a (straight!) photo when it's all finished...


"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree..." ~ Joyce Kilmer

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm going Green

No I'm not talking about voting for the Green Party in the upcoming provincial election tomorrow. I've started a tablerunner for a friend and it's done with a number of greens... My friend Wendy, who I visited in Chilliwack last April has been in NB for the summer. She and her hubby are building a retirement home in the community where she grew up, about 45 minutes from here. Their beautiful home in BC has not sold so they will soon be returning there for the winter, putting the new home "on hold" for now.
When I visited her last spring, I promised her a couple of new tablerunners for her large dining table. Wendy is a cancer survivor; when she was having chemo treatments, she felt that she drew great strength from the view from her bed- many tall strong trees with the mountains behind. At their new place they also have many mature trees between them and the lake, and they will cut as few as possible. I knew that green and something that reminded her of her beloved trees was the order of the day. I was thrilled to find the design for this runner in a recent magazine. I've used Thangles to make the 72 half square triangles needed, and hope to be putting it all together tomorrow. Stay tuned...


"Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence. And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky. For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them..." ~ Kim Taplin

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Last day of summer...sigh!

How can it possibly be late September? Tomorrow is the first official day of autumn and another summer is gone... We cannot complain- we had a wonderful summer- lots of hot sunny days. I'd say it was the best summer we've had for quite a while, weatherwise. And today, the last official day of summer was beautiful - sunny and warm, a lovely day!
So I did a little walk around my gardens this afternoon... It's surprising what is still blooming, although most things are past their best and starting to look pretty bedraggled. Certainly my hanging pots and planters are beyond their best... But I still have sweet peas, snapdragons, and snakeroot, rudbeckia, zinnias, and coneflower, nasturtiums, osteospurmum, Japanese anemones and fall asters.... enough for one last bouquet. So, my dear readers, a bouquet to all of you! Thanks for following along with me...


"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

F8 Finished

Here it is, quilted and bound. I ended up just stitching in the ditch on the "swirl", and along the border.. More than that flattened it too much. And with Miniatures, simplest is best. Too much quilting tends to distort. Finished size is just a hair under 10" square.
My next two projects are finishing up my NYC wallhanging, and a green tablerunner for a friend.. Not sure which will be first... Stay tuned...


"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no bird sang there except those that sang best." ~ Henry VanDyke

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More Show photos

I have the greatest admiration for the KV Guild, putting on a large Quilt Show every year! As anyone who has ever been involved in mounting a Show knows, it is a lot of work! Yet this Guild commits to it each year. They are to be commended. And because most NB quilters know that it is always a high quality show, many make their way to Quispamsis to see it. It's like an annual fall pilgrimage! Once again this year, we were not disappointed.
Best of Show this year went to a whole cloth quilt by Judith LeClue. Photographing a white quilt is not easy, but this is not a bad shot, although I could not get the entire quilt in. St. George and the Dragon is machine quilted, on Judith's domestic machine, proof I would say, that she is a master quilter. I certainly hope she will enter this in the 2011 NJS. As well as Best of Show, this quilt also received first place in the Large Traditional category, the CQA Rosette and the Lorna Peacock Memorial Award. Congratulations Judith, you are one talented quilter!
Another well known KV quilter is Juliet Nowlan, and she is not without a ribbon either. Winning first place in the Modern category was Memories of Patagonia. This quilt was the result of a holiday in southern Argentina and Chile, and a visit to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. I thought Juliet did an amazing job on the mountains - they look SO real! I loved this quilt - it got my vote for Viewers Choice, small quilt.

Two other quilts which really caught my eye were both "star" quilts. Star Bouquet (at right) by Eileen Warren was beautiful, taking second place in Large Traditional, as was Star Medallion by Darlene Pierce (left) which won second place in Group, Machine Quilted. It was quilted by well known long arm quilter Penny Bubar of Beaverdam Quiltery just outside Fredericton. I thought her quilting was exceptional - love those feathery plumes!! This was my other Viewers Choice. Click on these photos for a close-up view...

Of course there were many other quilts which had not won ribbons, but were still winners in my mind. Judging and picking out just a few is not an easy task- I know, I've done it. So many quilts in this show, year after year, are so beautifully done. Here are a few others which I really liked. California Nights by Janet Melanson of Woodstock was gorgeous- of course I'm always a sucker for jewel tones on black- love it!! This was large- 98" by 102", and made from a kit. Wow!!
Another large quilt, 85" square, was Operation Jane by Rosa Robichaud, below right. Although I have never been a committed fan of Dear Jane quilts I have to admire the work that goes into them, every block being a different design. I guess you wouldn't get bored, would you? I know I'll never do one, I'll leave that to my friend Gail in Sussex!!


"Don't bother to be better than the competition, try to be better than yourself." ~ William Faulkner

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ribbons, ribbons....

A visit to the KV Quilt Guild's annual show yesterday in Quispamsis was inspiring. SO many beautiful quilts, so much work represented in one room!! And we were so very excited and proud to see ribbons hanging on six different quilts from Fredericton, 4 of them by one FQG member! My good friend Sandi Mac cleaned up!! Way to go Sandi girl! Shown here are Sandi's four quilts. The first one is Celtic Sampler which won Best Hand Applique. Wow is all I can say! Look at the perfection of those "celtic knots"...

Next is Blooming Redwork which won first place in the "Small Traditional" category. What a lovely piece of work; many hours went into this one.

Her third ribbon was in the same category- third place in Small Traditional for Geisha Girls, a tablerunner resulting from a Guild workshop last fall taught by
Karen Henry. The class taught how to do the "woven " background.

Sandi's last ribbon, and perhaps the sweetest of all, was Judge's Choice for Dazzling Pineapple. This photo really does not do the piece justice as there is much beading on the pineapple, which does not show well.
Again, Congrats Sandi!!

The other two ribbons which will be coming home to Freddy Beach were won by a former FQG member, Davida S.
Davida won a Judge's Choice ribbon as well, for Friendship. The theme for the show this year was Asian Inspirations, and this quilt suited the theme so well as all the fabrics were Asian prints, and they were beautiful! This photo really does not do it justice. Davida also won Best Machine Applique with Victorian Poppies (below). Well done Davida!

Next time I'll show you more winners and a few other quilts which caught my eye...


"Success in any endeavor depends on the degree to which it is an expression of your true self." ~ Ralph Marston

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Fall Finish... Finally

I've finished another wallhanging this week. This one has been in the works for "quite a while". I finished the blocks and sections at our Guild retreat last fall, got the borders on in March and got it quilted this spring- my first time using a Long Arm quilter. I used Nancy Colpitts of Lansdown Studio in Oromocto and was very pleased with what she did. This week I got the binding done (finally!) and as you can see by the pegs on the clothesline, I still have to do the hanging sleeve. And think of a name.... Suggestions?
It's not one of my favourites, but it's done, and Done is Good! It will feel good to hang it as it is beginning to feel fall-ish here in my corner of the world.
Today I picked up a black batt from my good buddy Martha of The Covered Bridge Quiltery in Riverview, so now I can get f8 quilted; want to have it done before next Tuesday night- our first Guild meeting.
I'm hoping to get a Tablerunner done by then too.. we'll see. It may not happen, this being Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival weekend. Come back tomorrow to see some of the prizewinning quilts from the KVQG annual Quilt Show, "Asian Inspirations".


Have patience. All things change in due time. Wishing cannot bring autumn's glory or cause winter to cease.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Done! Well, almost done...

Here it is! It's not quilted or bound, but I'm anxious to show it to you. So here's the top. I'll continue working on it tonight maybe, although I'm still not decided on how to quilt it. Any suggestions are welcomed...
This piece is from a pattern by George Siciliano, whom I took a class from this summer in Maine (you can read about that here). I liked this design better than the one we did in class, so decided I wanted to do it soon! George calls this Interstellar Suite, but I think I'll call mine f 8. Anyone who is familiar with an SLR camera and knows what f stops are, will "get it"... It is 10" square and has 182 pieces. I'll post another photo when it is complete, with a ruler or something for a scale reference.


Hope your days are filled with rainbows....

Teeny Tiny Tease...

Well it's 1:40 pm and I'm still working on teeny tiny borders... Forgot last night when I posted that I hadn't done the borders yet...Duh! So I thought I'd give you a tease with just a tiny peek. Lots of teeny tiny tips..
And look who my "helper" is... Ollie is missing Mark and Laura and wants to be by my side all day. In fact he wants my seat at the machine!! Now if I could just teach him to stitch a straight line...
Stay tuned!


It's a small world after all...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dragon Boat Races

This morning hubby and I went down to the Small Craft Aquatic Center to watch some of the Dragon Boat Races. I had never seen Dragon Boats, and since I have a good friend who has been a paddler for a while now, I figured it was time! My buddy Marilyn is a breast cancer survivor, and paddles with the Breasts Ahoy team from Saint John, comprised largely of breast cancer survivors. They did well today, finishing in fourth place overall! Way to go Marilyn! I knew some other paddlers too, in particular some of the Red Dragons Team - Principal and several teachers from Garden Creek School - our local Elementary. Their team has been the top fundraiser for several years now, and they did it again this year,with a very healthy lead on the team in second place. Yeah Red Dragons!! Yeah Greg, Dawn and Jackie!
I know very little about paddling, but in just the short time we watched, I could see that this is not an easy thing to do- it obviously requires great upper body and arm strength and certainly a good amount of practice and team work. For 20 paddlers to work in unison and keep their strokes in time with the drummer can not be easy. It was great fun to watch the races and one could sure pick out the teams which practice regularly!
The medals are very impressive, made by local business Aitken's Pewter. Look at this dragon - who wouldn't be proud to take him home ? Before we left I noticed another small group wanting to get in on the racing. Notice the one on the far left- I think he's a little mixed up on the command "Paddles Up"!!Come back later tomorrow to see my Teeny Tiny project. I have finished the top, and plan to quilt and bind it tomorrow. Then I'll share it with you...


When you think you can, you will.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Teeny Tiny Taste

Here's a teeny tiny hint of what I'm working on... It's something teeny tiny- I'm cutting strips 3/4" wide.... Can you guess what it is???
It sure feels good to be back at the machine. With a poor weather forecast for the next few days, I just might sew all weekend.. Oh Bliss!


A child reminds us that playtime is an essential part of our daily routine.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

School's back in! Woohooo!

I'm home! Both kiddos are settled in their apartments, and classes started this morning. I am happily getting back into MY routine which is going to include lots of sewing time. Life is certainly different with just two of us.. food stays in the fridge more than a few hours, grocery shopping is no longer a daily chore, laundry hamper is not overflowing, etc. For me, September is just as much as a "new beginning" as January 1st. I guess that's the teacher in me...

I have just finished another wonderful book which I've been wanting to read for quite a while: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follettt - what an awesome book! I thoroughly enjoyed it - one of my all-time favourites for sure. I never really liked studying History in school, but I now love historical fiction. This epic saga of nearly 1000 pages is set in twelfth century England and Follett weaves a rich tapestry of people and events surrounding the building of a cathedral in the medieval town of Kingsbridge. The many characters are well developed and their lives intersect many times throughout the novel. Spanning almost 50 years, this is a riveting tale of love and hate, faith and betrayal, revenge and triumph. I know I will read this book again. And you know what's next on my Must Read list: the sequel World Without End.

Look at my Mandevilla! It has fluorished in the heat we've had this summer and now, in September(!!) is loaded with buds. I am trying to give it lots of TLC, bringing it into the garage on cooler nights, in hopes that all the buds will develop and bloom.

Well I must get back to my studio. Yippeee! I have several projects that I want to finish before our first Guild meeting which is only 2 weeks away. So I'm going to be working hard, and I will share pics as soon as each is finished.... Can you smell the smoke coming from my machine?


Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

One down, one to go

Earl has come and gone, and all is well. We were lucky, as he decided to follow the south shore of Nova Scotia rather than the Bay of Fundy, so we only got rain, very little wind. Actually we could have used more rain, but I guess we have more coming later in the week so I won't complain. Our house looks somewhat like a bomb went off - not from Earl, but from "Hurricane Mark". Stuff has been piled everywhere, but at least there is a visible path through now, as hubby and Mark left this morning in the well loaded truck, looking a little like the Clampetts.... Laura and I are now packed up and ready to head out tomorrow.
Poor Mark is not very mobile which isn't terribly convenient when one is moving... When he woke yesterday his left foot was very swollen and he could hardly walk. We eventually came to the conclusion it was related to a sting he had received on his leg while mowing on Wednesday. It had been itchy and he had done some vigorous rubbing, and now it is infected. To make a long story short we spent a good part of yesterday trying to get him in to see a Doctor. Why aren't all Walk-In clinics open on the weekend? Are people supposed to get sick only Monday to Friday??? Anyway he now has a 10 day course of antibiotics, and instructions to stay off his foot as much as possible. Not very convenient for moving and getting back to classes... What is it with our family and feet this summer???
On a happy note, Laura won first place on her Sontag in the KL Agricultural Fair yesterday and a third place on a piece of needlepoint. Yeah!! Way to go daughter!!
So, I'll be gone from here for a few days.... I'll be back midweek.


Sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is watching, live like there is no tomorrow...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Waiting for Earl....

We are all ready for Hurricane Earl, but hoping he weakens somewhat before hitting the Maritimes. We are far enough inland from the Bay of Fundy (70 miles or so) that we're hoping we will be lucky and only get some much needed rain. We can do without the winds. But just in case, we have brought all hanging pots, planters and such into the garage. I cut down my Chinese Lanterns, tried to secure the tomato plants as best I could, and hubby has cleaned out the eavestrough so the rain will not flood over the edges. Not much else we can do but wait and see, and hope we don't blow away.
Laura finished her Sontag today and is quite pleased with it. It is sort of a shawl/vest combination. It is knit all in one piece, except for the band around the edge. The fronts cross and wrap around to button onto buttons at the bottom back edge, so it is "held in place". In the 1800's, this item was also known as a "bosom friend" or "bosom buddy". The ladies at Kings Landing wear these in the fall for warmth when the days are cooler, or in the mornings before they get their fires going. If you visit KL this autumn, watch for someone wearing this one...


All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baa Baa Black Sheep....

...Have you any wool? Here is the knitting needle roll I finished for Laura for her double pointed needles. I'll make another later for the single points. I just love the sheep fabric don't you? Their little faces are so cute!! I just used up a few scrap pieces of black, cross-hatched the base, and chose the black and white stripe for the binding to give it a little zip! I'm pleased with the results- not bad for a first effort. I didn't use a pattern, just winged it!! I'm glad someone suggested a flap to come down and cover the points, so needles would not fall out one end of the roll- I probably would not have thought of that. It will roll up and tie with two black ties. Done. Done is good! I hope Laura likes it.
Someone asked me about my Ratatouille recipe. I don't really have a "recipe" - it's something I just came up with a few years back when I had an abundance of tomatoes and zucchini in the garden. I don't measure amounts of anything, but here's what I do: I stew up some fresh garden tomatoes, having removed the skins first. Amount? Probably 6 cups or so, once they are stewed. Then I add the following: a good dash of worchestershire sauce, chopped onions, celery, red and green pepper, and sliced mushrooms. I season it with salt, pepper, several tablespoons of white sugar to cut the acidity a bit, garlic, basil, oregano, celery salt and if you want a little heat- cayenne pepper or chili powder or both. I let that all simmer while I slice zucchini in slices that are about 3/4" thick, then chop into "chunks", and steam until just barely fork tender. Add to the tomato mixture, simmer for a few more minutes and then let cool. I freeze it in about 2 cup amounts. I use it either as a quick casserole base on a night when I don't know what to have for supper (don't you hate those nights?) - just add some cooked macaroni and maybe some hamburger, top with cheese. Quick and easy! Or, I serve it as a veggie dish- thaw, put into a small casserole and top with cheddar or parmesan, or both. Heat and serve! Yummmm


The Things That Count

Count your garden by the flowers,
never by the leaves that fall.
Count your days by garden hours
Don't remember clouds at all.

Count your nights by stars, not shadows.
Count your years with smiles, not tears.
Count your blessings, not your troubles.
Count your age by friends, not years.
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