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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tired of Winter White!

Winter and White go together when you live in Canada. Snow is just a normal part of winter here, taken for granted. But even though we have gotten off relatively easy this year, as far as snowfall goes, I am still longing for spring and green!  We've had more snow in the past week than we've had all winter, I think... and it's starting to wear thin. I'm tired of winter, of snowfall, and ready to see the sprouting of tender green shoots of.. anything!!
I thought you might be feeling the same so here are some "summer white" photos for you, with a good dose of green.... Enjoy!


"White is not a mere absence of color: it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red and as definite as black. God paints in many colors, but He never paints as gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when he paints in white." ~ G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TAST Weeks 7 and 8 - Detached Chain and Chain Stitch

I fell behind on my TAST Challenge - (tsk tsk  bad girl!) but am all caught up again. Because these two stitches are so closely related I am posting them together. Week 7's stitch was the Detached Chain- often referred to as the Lazy Daisy. There really aren't a lot of ways to vary this stitch other than pulling it tight so it looks skinny, or leaving it a bit looser for a fuller "petal"; and you can vary the length of the catch stitch which anchors it. That's about it. So I just added it to some other stitches - Herringbone, Up and Down Buttonhole, Buttonhole and Chevron. Then I played around a bit with flower petals and "snowflakes"... and a few beads. I chose pinks to work with for Valentines week...

Last week, Week 8, was Chain Stitch week. Again, a pretty basic stitch, but easier to vary with lots of possibilities. So here's what I have done- from top to bottom: 1. Chain Stitch, 2. Chain stitch varying the size of stitch, 3. Zigzag Chain stitch, 4. Twisted Chain stitch, 5. Open Chain stitch, 6. "Spiked" Chain- my own name for it - just simply chain stitch with straight stitches added in another color, 7. Braided Chain or Heavy Chain stitch, 8. Cable Chain stitch, 9. Alternating Barred Chain and 10. Stacked Chain stitch. Whew! Now to get going on this week's challenge- couching.

Sharon's highlights for these two weeks can be viewed here and here.


"Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures." ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's a Good Day...

Today is a good day... I have an amaryllis about to bloom, I won a Blog giveaway last night, and I got a special delivery this morning.... how could one not be happy? First the amaryllis- I had brought it out of it's "resting phase" a while back, and it put on nothing but leaves. No buds. Well, I thought, it just needs a break. So the leaves grew, I watered and loved it anyway.. I guess one can't expect a stellar performance every time... Eventually the leaves started to die back and I was preparing to put it away again for a few months of rest, when I noticed what looked like the tiniest of green bud tips peeking up - I waited a few days, and sure enough- a bud was coming. That was about 3 weeks ago I think.. I now have two stalks, about 17" and 20" high; the first one will be in bloom in another two days or so, I'm thinkin'. I guess she is just a "late bloomer"... They are such fun to watch grow- it's amazing the speed with which they shoot up- some days it might gain two inches or more! If you have never had an amaryllis, treat yourself to one. I'm sure you'll enjoy it...
 The Blog giveaway...  Yippeee! I won't "give away" what I've won... I'll wait to share that once the package arrives, but I will tell you- it has something to do with two of my most favourite things.... and it's from one of my new Followers! How lucky is that?! Thanks Janet!
Finally- the delivery. I was excited when the doorbell rang as I knew it was going to be the FedEx man with a parcel for me. Back in November I purchased a coupon from TravelZoo for My Publisher. I decided it was time I tried printing a book of my photos. I just got around to doing it a few weeks ago, and I must say, it was FUN!! It wasn't without some frustrations though, as some photos which I really wanted to include, just wouldn't load. I finally figured out (after many tries and finally a chat with Laura) that when you crop a photo, the resolution is decreased and it would not accept many photos because the resolution was not high enough. I was frustrated and disappointed that some of my most favourites would be left out, but I guess that is better than being disappointed in the quality of  the photos. Now that the book is in my hands, I have to say I am VERY happy with it. The high gloss paper is top quality, the color is excellent, the linen finish cover is very nice indeed and my photos look great! I had decided the first one would be a learning experience and I now know I could do a better job next time around, but for my first effort, I'm extremely happy!

 My class from Saturday has been rescheduled for March 10 and I have enough students interested and available for it to be a "go" so that's another good thing.. sometimes rescheduling is difficult...
 Tonight is my Embroiderer's Guild meeting so I'd better go gather my things to get ready. Tomorrow I hope to show you my last two TAST challenge samplers. I have fallen behind, but am just about caught up again...


"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."  ~Abraham Lincoln

Friday, February 24, 2012

Snow Day Comin'

For the third Friday night in a row, we have a major storm moving in overnight. Consequently my class tomorrow has been cancelled. I am NOT happy... But you can't argue with Ma Nature, I guess. So I'll make the best of it and spend the day tidying my studio, then get back to some sewing. Tonight I'm working on getting caught up on TAST - I'm 1.5 weeks behind.. so I guess some "me" time is good. All I can say is - If I can't be teaching my class tomorrow, you'd better come through, Mother Nature.  30cm. of snow and gusting winds are forecast..... bring it on!! I'm all prepared for a Snow Day!


"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March." ~ Dr. J.R. Stockton

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This and That....

 Ahhhh, so much to do in so little time... I've been busy, but you knew that didn't you, by my absence here?! I haven't been in blogland much the last few days, but I have been busy. Laura is home on her spring break, and Mark is home from his big trip. (And for those of you who were doubtful, yes I did take my machine to Bangor and I quilted for 3+ hours while waiting at the hotel for Mark's flight to get in. The quilt is now done, and I promise a photo tomorrow if the weather co-operates for an outdoor photo shoot...) By the way, Mark has now finished his trip blog, if you were following and care to read the last few posts here.
I've also done another small "variation" piece (table center) for my new class this Saturday. Photo of it still to come, as well. I've been busy trying to get notes done, samples made, etc.etc. in preparation for this new class. Only a teacher would understand how much time and effort goes into putting a class together. 
Of course other "stuff" is happening too, it's always a busy week when Laura is home- haircuts, shopping, appointments, juggling 2 cars and 4 drivers, etc. etc. We had her birthday cake tonight at supper, as she will be back at school for her upcoming birthday. Looks like a trip to the Mall is on the agenda for this evening.. birthday shopping. She's trying to slowly build up a "work" wardrobe for her internship in May/June. We scored a sweet blazer this afternoon at  Changes, a local "thrift" type shop - brand new, from Le Chateau, for $10.00. And that's not the best part-it was on the 80% off rack- so we paid $2.00!! Can you believe it?!! It fits her perfectly and it's a nice neutral color so she'll get lots of mileage out of it. Woohooo!
FYI, I have added a "Subscribe by email" button to my sidebar- you will see it at the top on the right. I understand there are changes coming for Followers - well actually I don't understand it at all.. but I guess on March 1, the whole "followers" thing can disappear, depending on "who" your blog is with.. I think I am safe, but have been advised to add this option so others can "follow" in this way as well... So there it is!
Thought I'd leave you with this nice little "story".. I have received it several times now by email..and I don't often pass on jokes and stories here, but I do like this one, and it has a good message. So if it's new to you, enjoy. If you've heard it before, well, it's always good to be reminded of the message at the end...

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water..
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.' The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?'
'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.'

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all of my (cracked pot) friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!


'Tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes!" ~ William Wordsworth

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Place in the Sun...

No, I'm not talking about the Academy Award-winning 1951 movie starring Liz Taylor and Montgomery Clift...nor am I telling you I'm heading to a sunny beach on a tropical isle.... Well, I AM heading south tomorrow, but more about that later...
No, I'm talking about Ollie's place in the sun.. he follows the sun around the house all day and luxuriates in the pool of warmth wherever he can find it. No matter that I am trying to layer and pin a quilt on the kitchen floor - if the sunshine is there, he figures the spot is his! So here he is this afternoon, sunbathing on top of the quilt that I was trying to get pin-basted. He is SUCH a helper.... not! I now have the quilt half quilted, hoping to have it all finished and bound for Guild this coming week.... SO stay tuned for a pic in a few more days.
Just wanted to give a quick update to those of you who may have been following Mark's Blog about his trip across the USA - he has not posted for over a week now. No he did not fall into the Grand Canyon, or disappear forever into the back rooms of the Vegas casinos. He has just been having too much fun to take time to blog! The tour has now ended, and he has been in LA for a few days. If all goes well, he flies home tomorrow, so I'll be off to Bangor (that IS south, isn't it?) to meet his late night flight. I plan on taking my sewing machine with me, and doing some more on this quilt at the hotel while I wait for his flight... Hopefully he will finish off journaling his trip on his blog, but that may take a few days. I expect he's going to do nothing but sleep the first few days home.


"If there is one spot of sun spilling onto the floor, a cat will find it and soak it up." ~ McIntosh

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Blog Award!

I've been awarded the Liebster Blog award by my friend Gail at Love to Stitch!!  It is given to bloggers who have under 200 followers. So now I must pass it on to five other bloggers. Here are my choices, in random order...

Wendy at It Is What It Is because she is always working on an interesting project or three, and I love
her humour.
Gwen at Desideratum - I love her art AND her jewellery and I covet her beautiful home (which is for sale....sigh! WHY can't I win the lotto??)
JoAnne at The Christmas Crab Quiltery who is doing a great job with a relatively new business - running a quilt shop in a small town can't be easy....
Jeannette at JennyPennyPoppy who I've just recently been reading, a fellow stitcher and TAST participant, she does wonderful needlework
and Terri at Bay of Fundy blog - I love our beautiful Bay of Fundy and love her updates on bay happenings.

So - I pass on the Liebster Award to you here's what you have to do....

1. Post about your win and
2. Post the Award pic- that's it above, with the heart
3. Link back to the one who awarded you
4. Pass the award on to 5 of your fav blogs with under 200 followers
5. Let them know by leaving a comment

Have fun!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day to all my family, friends, followers and readers. Sending you a little love today from my garden. (Can you tell I'm a "pink" gal rather than a "red" gal?) We're in the midst of a cold snap, and I'm wishing for warmer days so I hope these summer images warm you. Thank you all for enriching my life....

Peace and Love,

"In our life, there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art, It is the color of love." ~ Chagall

Monday, February 13, 2012

Spicy Spiral Fun...

As I promised you on Saturday, here is a sneak peek at a new  and rather "different" tablerunner (still to be layered and quilted). The pattern is called Spicy Spiral Table Runner, designed by School House Quilts. It is made with eight 1/4 yard cuts and a 9 or 10 degree wedge ruler. My friend Gail M. was supposed to teach this for our Guild in the fall, but we couldn't get enough people to sign up at that time. So a small group of us got together last week for a "mini class" with Gail. I chose colours which are out of my usual "comfort zone" and I'm really pleased with the results. However it doesn't really go with the colour scheme in my home so it will probably end up
being a gift for a friend. It was a fun project and much quicker (and easier) than I had anticipated. I
will have to set it aside for a bit as I have other things that must get done first, but I'll be anxious to get back to it and finish it off. I'll be sure to share a "finish photo" when it's done...Here is a pic of one which was completed that day - my buddy Sue is "sew smart".. and fast! Isn't it gorgeous?!! It looks great in her kitchen, but just as good in her snowy backyard...
I was making rolls on Saturday, trying a new recipe, and I promised to share it if they turned out.. Well they DID turn out just fine, and you can find the recipe here. They went well with the Mulligatawny Soup. I was a teeny bit disappointed as far as the flavour went, I'd only give them a 3.5 out of 5, but they WERE quick and easy, and made just one 9x9 pan full (perfect for the two of us).
Today is my 3rd Blogiversary! I can't believe I've now been blogging for three full years and am just a few posts short of the 500 mark! Think I'll break out the balloons and party hats! I hope you'll hang in there with me for another year!!


"What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable." ~ Joseph Addison

Sunday, February 12, 2012

TAST Week 6 - Chevron

The TAST challenge for this week is the Chevron stitch. Here is my Chevron sampler. I have stitched, stacked, layered, "tied" with fly stitch, laced with ribbonfloss, "married" chevron with cretan, and used it to couch down a length of velvet ribbon. I do like the chevron stitch, but I find it's a bit harder than some to "vary"because of how it is formed.

 I have used it before- at right is a close-up shot of it along a seam on a WIP (Work In Progress). Click here to see "Sharon's Picks" - the "highlights" of the week. Or click here and click on comments at the top of the post to view all the participant's links to their stitching. There's some great stuff happening in this Challenge!!


"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snowy Saturday Finish

Here it is...done. It's been snowing lightly here since early morning, I think it's supposed to get rather nasty later on, but for now, it's a beautiful soft gentle snow. I could not resist heading into the backyard for a few outdoor shots. I was hoping a friendly little chickadee would come and pose beside my table topper, but I guess they must be all tucked up for the storm... As I've already told you, this is a small sample for my new scrap quilt class- a slight variation of the basic block. I hope to get another variation done this week using all batiks. Who can resist those gorgeous batiks... not me! I've completed another top for a table runner this week...several of us got together for a mini class a few days ago... perhaps I'll show you it tomorrow. It IS done with batiks, in colors that are not my usual choice, but I must say I rather like it.... Come back tomorrow for a look!

  I must run now. I have rolls in the oven - trying a new recipe. If they are successful I'll share the recipe- they're a "savory" roll - made with some oatmeal and multigrain flour. When they're almost done you brush the tops with a mixture of melted butter, basil, oregano, garlic and parmesan cheese then pop back in the oven for a few more minutes.. They sure do smell good. I'm making Mulligatawny Soup for supper so I think they'll go well with that... Mmmmm... I love baking on a snowy day...


Snowflakes fall from Heaven's land
Softly and tenderly out of God's hand,
Covering the earth with color so white
Creating beauty so pretty and bright.

~ Linda LaTourelle

Friday, February 10, 2012

Almost a Friday Finish...

I thought I would have a "finish" to show you tonight, but I'm not quite there. Oh it WILL be done before I go to bed, but there is not much sense in trying to get a good photo at midnight.. I much prefer natural (outdoor) light... So this is just a "tease" and I'll post a "finish" photo later tomorrow as I have a busy day lined up. This is a variation of the scrap quilt for my class later this month. It is a 20" square table centre. Although I'm not much of a "red" person (sorry Shelley D!!) I do like red and white quilts and figured something new to put on the table for Valentines might be nice... I have finished the quilting so all that remains to be done now is the binding... Stay tuned...


Every step of the journey IS the journey.  ~ Zen saying

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hari-Kuyo, Festival of Broken Needles

Image from Google Images
For hundreds of years, February 8 has been celebrated as Hari-Koyu - Festival of Broken Needles - in Japan. (Hari means needle and Koyu means memorial service). Seamstresses, tailors, kimono-makers, and embroiderers bring their broken and worn needles and pins to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to honour them and "lay them to rest". Prayers of thanks and respect are offered to thank the tools for their service. They are then plunged into a slab of tofu to soothe them after their hard work, and to protect their sharp points, preventing them doing any harm before they are laid to rest. By offering prayers and showing respect, it is hoped that the needle will pass it's energy to the owner and make them a better stitcher in the coming year. Priests will bless the needles and thank them for work well done. No sewing is done on this day.
There is an old Shinto belief that inanimate objects, as well as living things,  have a soul and spirit, and to simply discard a tool which has been useful and served you well, would be disrespectful. The Japanese have great respect for objects in their everyday life, and believe they should be treated with care and not lost or wasted. (Perhaps there is a good lesson here for today's modern "throw-away" generation?)
I have long been fascinated with Japanese culture. I'm sure much of that comes from the fact that as a child, I had a Japanese penpal. We wrote back and forth for about 5 years I think, and I still have every one of her letters. Shizue plastered the envelopes with beautiful commemorative stamps as I collected stamps then; you can read my previous post about that here.
Through the years, my Japanese fascination has continued; I had a Japanese roommate while teaching in British Columbia, love doing Kumihimo, have tried Sashiko, and I am always amazed by the skills of Japanese quilters and the beauty of their quilts. I have long wanted to travel to Japan, but in light of last year's earthquake and tsunami damage, I don't know if that will ever happen now...
But I do love the idea of this festival, honouring needles and other sewing tools. We would all do well to spend a few minutes today thinking about how lucky we are to have such wonderful sewing and quilting tools and equipment at our disposal. And yes - perhaps we should thank our needles for their service! What better way to honour them than to give them a wonderful home? My friend Susan over at Plays With Needles has designed a beautiful needlebook and is offering an E-course. Details were revealed today. You can read all about it and sign up for the class here. Even if you do not wish to make the needlebook, have a look at Susan's other posts about Hari-Kuyo and her needlebook herehere, and here. The eye candy alone is worth the look!!  :)


"Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? " ~ Confucius

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jimmy Rankin and The Eagles in the same weekend...woohooo!

Once again I feel so fortunate to live where I do. Where else could you enjoy shows by Jimmy Rankin and the Eagles on the same weekend? I spent three wonderful days with my darlin' daughter, and we had a full agenda lined up...The bus strike in her city is really making life difficult (not to mention expensive) for students to get around... so she had "a list" of things to get accomplished while she had access to a vehicle. First up was a Thursday night concert by Jimmy Rankin at MSVU. He had just returned from a tour in western Canada with the The Rankins. (For those of you who are not from
around these parts, this is a "local" Maritime family group who incorporate many musical styles into their work, including celtic, traditional, folk, pop, country and rock. A variety of instruments, including fiddle, mandolin, guitar
and a number of percussion instruments make their sound unique - it is difficult to label - it is simply Rankin.) Jimmy has long been the group's primary songwriter and his recent 8 ECMA nominations proves he "still has it". Jimmy's solo career is going well and we caught him at his third Halifax performance, a lively evening featuring many songs from his newer albums. (Rankin images courtesy of Google Images)
Later on Friday, after grocery shopping and a few necessary errands, we headed up to the Annapolis Valley to get ready for our "Eagles encounter". (Now I know you're thinking "WHAT? The Eagles were here? I didn't hear anything about it....") No, I'm not talking about the singing Eagles. No Don Henley, Hotel California, Desperado, New Kid in Town for us... No, I mean the soaring eagles.... the bald eagle - that magnificent bird of prey ....
This year was the 20th annual Eagle Watch at Sheffield Mills, near Kentville. Hundreds of eagles frequent this area in the winter as local poultry farmers put out piles of dead chickens which would otherwise have to be disposed of. In this way, they are helping the eagle make a comeback from the endangered species list. The birds relish these free chicken dinners and return year after year. These "free meals" have had an amazing effect on mortality rates, raising chick survival rates dramatically. Young eagles which

would normally not survive a difficult winter are now reaching adulthood and returning to this area of the Annapolis Valley. This program has resulted in the largest winter population of  Bald Eagles in Eastern North America, now over 500.
Laura and I rose early (a rare thing for me, I know! wink) and checked out of our motel, picked up Egg McMuffins and coffee at Mickey D's, stopped to buy batteries for Laura's camera as the overnight charging in her brand new battery charger had not worked, and headed out to Sheffield Mills. We were at the viewing site by 8a.m. The farmer arrived shortly thereafter and dumped the fresh pile of "chicken dinners" in mid-field. At that point, there were perhaps 15 eagles,
tops, waiting in the surrounding trees. Okay, I thought..... let the fun begin. (At this point I should tell you, on our way to this "official" viewing site, we passed a field that had probably 30 eagles, already on the ground feeding, and at least 25-30 more in the trees... but did we stay there to get some pics?? Noooo... we hurried on to the "real" site, to secure a good spot. So here we are - Laura and I with our 200mm. and 300 mm. telephotos, among serious photographers with lenses the size of cannons, mounted on tripods. I thought I was well dressed for the cold... )
"Okay", I'm thinking..."c'mon birdies".... Well... we waited and we waited.. and we waited and we waited some more... and those darn eagles just sat there. At first I thought, "It's not so cold.... and there's no wind" (something to truly be grateful for) and people were quietly chatting while patiently awaiting the action. But as the minutes and then hours slowly passed, I was beginning to have doubts. (WHY did we not stop longer at that first field with 50+ eagles??? And were they still there NOW????  Should we go back there?) When standing still, it doesn't take long before the toes start to feel the cold. By 10a.m. I could barely feel my toes and my fingers were starting to tingle
and go numb. Finally, after several brave seagulls "moved in" on the free lunch, the eagles decided it was time to make their grand entrance. One started soaring and when he finally landed, I could sense everyone wanted to break into applause. (I was just waiting for someone to shout "The Eagle has landed!"). It wasn't long until there were 8-10 on the  ground picking at the chicken, and the clicking of shutters was constant. Others continued to gather in the trees. They swooped, they soared, they landed, they fought over lunch...I quickly forgot about my somewhat frozen extremities and did my best to get some good photos. I have to say I'm a little disappointed. Brown bird against grey sky = not that exciting... My fingers were so cold, I sometimes could not seem to depress the shutter release button. Other times, I did not get Mr. Eagle in sharp focus. But I guess for my first attempt at this type of thing, I didn't do too badly.
Wildlife photography is very different from capturing a quilt or a blossom  in the garden, after all. After half an hour or so, we decided staying longer was putting ourselves at risk for hypothermia or frostbite or loss of digits. I have never loved and appreciated my car's heater as much as I did that morning! We continued on, stopping several more times for a few more shots. All in all, I think we probably saw upwards of 100 eagles, both mature and juveniles... pretty amazing! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! It was an awesome experience, shared with my daughter- what's not to love? Would I
do anything differently? Yes - better footwear and warming packets for both hands and feet - the kind I buy my brothers at Christmas for snowmobiling... (WHY did I not think to get some for this cold day??? Duh!) The only other factor is the weather, and of course you have no control there, but a sunny clear blue sky day would have made for much better photos. It was totally clouded over and grey.. lighting was even, but flat and not real bright... Some sun for highlights on those amazing white heads, and wing edges would have been nice. But when you have
travelled a distance, and cannot hang around waiting for a better have to deal with what you've got.
We passed on the nearby Pancake Breakfast as the parking lot was full and overflowing, but did stop for a Chowder or Chili lunch at a local church. They were raising funds for a Youth Mission trip to Bolivia so we were happy to help them out by warming our tummies. (Actually as I ate I was fantasizing about plunging my frozen feet and hands into a large warm bowl of .. anything.. water.. chowder.. at that point I would  not have cared....) As we gradually warmed up, we toured around Wolfville and Acadia U. (my Alma Mater) and then Grand Pré (more eagles there). We headed back to Halifax and finished thawing out
in a nice warm shower. Later, we topped off the day with the movie Big Miracle. As I drove home on Sunday, a gorgeous sunny blue sky day of course, I constantly was scanning the treetops for eagles - didn't see a one.. Guess they were all out for lunch in the Valley! Hope you have enjoyed my images, and I hope I'm lucky enough to return next year for better ones! Hmmmmm, maybe next Christmas I'll ask Santa for a 1000 mm. telephoto....


“Bird of the broad and sweeping wing,
Thy home is high in heaven,
Where wide the storms their banners fling,
And the tempest clouds are driven.”
~ James Gates Percival

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TAST Week 5 - Herringbone

I'm late posting my week's stitching as I have been away for 4 days (more about that tomorrow). But here it is - better late than not at all! Again, I am familiar with this week's challenge stitch - the Herringbone. I have previously done several samplers and I must admit, I struggled a little, trying to come up with something new to do this time around... First, here are my three samplers which I had completed before. The first shows just basic Herringbone, varying the spacing, the size of the stitch, tieing the stitch, stacking the stitch and breaking it.

The second sampler shows a number of Stitch Combinations with a Herringbone "base". 1st row - layered with straight stitch and french knots added. 2nd row - tied with detached chain stitch added. 3rd row - straight stitch and french knots added. 4th row - layered and vertically tied with detached chain stitch. 5th row - Herringbone (top) "married" to Chevron (bottom) , straight stitch and detached chain added. 6th row - Herringbone base with chevron layered on top, beading and detached chain added. 7th row - Tied Herringbone with straight stitch, detached chain and french knots. 8th row - Tied Herringbone and detached chain. Threads used on this sampler include perle cottons, silk Buttonhole Twist, Pearl Crown Rayon, Stef Francis fine perle and Judith Montano hand dyed silk Buttonhole Twist.

The third sampler shows more stitch combo's: Herringbone bases with additions of french knots, straight stitches, detached chain, stacking, layering, and on the last row, lacing with silk ribbon. Again I've used a variety of cotton threads, silk buttonhole twist, Pearl Crown Rayon and 4mm. silk ribbon. Sorry the lighting on this one is not great- the whole thing has a bluish cast...

The sampler I did this week reflects my limited time. I started with a "four row stack" in a variegated fine thread. I had planned to add beading in the middle of each row but ran out of time- maybe it will be added later...  In the second row I played with the height of the stitch... not so sure I like that row, but not taking it out now! The third row shows five rows stacked/layered very closely together- in hind sight, I wish I had spaced them a bit more, as they have "pulled in" the fabric a bit. I added a bit of sparkle with some turquoise "Candlelight" thread (by YLI). The fourth row is two layered rows with ties at all the "intersections". And the last row is done in a Sassa Lynne perle 5 (called Blue Lagoon) with straight and detached chain stitches added in an 80 tatting thread.

That's it for Week 5! Can't wait to have  a look at what everyone else has done. It's been a busy week, and with being away, I have not had time to look yet at all. Sharon has already posted the Highlights of the Week, you can see them here.


"My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success." ~ Helen Hayes

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday...

It's another snowstorm-y day here in Freddy Beach! The third day in the last six school days for schools to be closed. The white stuff has been falling steadily all morning and it's adding up! I was out this morning for an appointment, and am glad I can just stay in (and sew) the rest of the day! The driving is NOT good at all...
I am working on a table centre, a variation for the scrap quilt class I'm teaching later this month. I'm trying to get several "variations" done for the class so students have a choice of project design and size. This piece is small so it won't take long to complete, in fact I hope to have it  all together, layered and ready to quilt by tonight. I'm heading out of province tomorrow for a few days so I want this "ready to roll" when I return. The class I'm preparing is based on a simple unit called a shaded four patch, or Mary's Triangles. This term was coined by Sally Schneider of Albuquerque NM in her book ScrapMania ~ More Quick Pieced Scrap Quilts.
Teaching a method or project that someone else has designed or created brings up the whole issue of copyright. My friend Karen Neary of  Sew Karen-ly Created (quilt and pattern designer, award-winning quiltmaker, author and teacher) has recently written a number of excellent posts on copyright issues. I urge you to read them all. There are ten posts, and yes, some are lengthy. But they are well written, excellent reading and contain very good info that all quilters and teachers should be aware of. Heck, any quilter who uses a pattern, magazine or book should read them!!  Karen has put a huge amount of time and effort into writing up this info to "educate" us all. I strongly urge you to read it all by clicking here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Many people think it is difficult to contact a pattern designer or company to seek permission to teach a design, or a method, or whatever. My recent experience will show you just how easy it is... As I mentioned earlier, Sally Schneider, author of a number of scrap quilt books and patterns, came up with an easy method for making this block unit. A quick Google search gave me the info I needed to contact her. (I simply type in "Quilter Mary Jones", or whatever the name - works every time!) I emailed her telling her what I wanted to teach in a class, and asked her permission to use her method. I asked if she would require my students to purchase her patterns. She promptly replied, within a day or so, and gave me her written permission to teach her method in my class, as long as I made up my own
notes and illustrations (which I would do anyway). She was very gracious and helpful and did not require a bulk pattern purchase. I did order a ruler and another gadget from her and sent off a Money Order. Upon discovering she had been "misquoted" for the postal shipping rate, she contacted me and offered to send me one of her patterns to make up the difference that she had "overcharged" me. She also offered a generous discount on her ruler if we made an order after the class. Now how great is that? She was most pleasant and helpful, and responded quickly. Not difficult at all. SO- don't be afraid to contact a pattern designer to seek permission. After reading Karen's posts- you will know it IS the right thing to do... FAR too many quilters and teachers are breaking copyright laws these days...
On a final note, Sally's Magic Triangle Ruler arrived in today's mail. (God bless those mail carriers, out in this storm today!!) So now I'm off to try it out while I finish up my blocks. Stay tuned ....


Success is a journey - not a destination...
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