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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Awesome Appliqué

Warning: this post is photo heavy.....
Each time I go to "Maine Quilts" (which is the annual show of a statewide guild of over 2,000 members in 74 chapters) two of the things I most look forward to are the Guild Challenges and the Special Exhibits. This year there were two Special exhibits which blew our socks off. Okay, we weren't actually wearing socks, but if we had been, they'd have been gone, gone, gone!!
The first was called A Baker's Dozen App-Experts Interpret 14 Blocks. Now remember we're talkin' quilts here folks, so "App" refers to appliqué. Oh my!! Appliqué indeed!! This exhibit was beyond words! 15 quilters interpreted the designs from a new book titled App is for Appliqué by Dianne S. Hire. Dianne's designs are fun and funky (as is Dianne!) The participants were to keep the overall designs intact but to "do it their own way" and the results showed the use of many diverse techniques including hand and machine appliqué, whimsical fusions, both hand and machine embroidery, beaded embellishments and more. Every quilt was exceptional. What a fun challenge! Participants did not share their work while it was in progress but kept it all for a "grand reveal" at a champagne potluck (sounds like fun!) Shown here are a number of the pieces, which ranged in size from 18.5" square to 72" square.

The Quilt- A Life of Its Own and Mine by Patricia Burns, Stockton Springs, ME. This one was beautifully hand quilted.

Dancing with Dianne by Stephen L. Carr, Fairfax, VA.

Fantasy Flowers in the Forest by Arlaine Furcht, E. Meadow, NY.

Clamshell by Teresa M. Fusco,Valley Stream, NY.

Mainely Blue and Green by Gail Galloway-Nicholson, Camden, ME.

Audrey, Too by Susan Gerhardt, So. Thomaston, ME.  I loved the colors in this one...

KN-APP for Hire by Janet E. Knapp, Spruce Head, ME. What an interesting setting of the blocks...

Ebullience by Alice Hobbs Parsons, Belmont, ME. This was one of my favourites!

Flower Baskets by Glenna Graves Quigley, Frankfort, ME.

High Anxiety by Roxanne Wells, Thomaston, ME.

So....what do you think? Funky designs, great techniques, fabulous colour, creative settings.... it was an awesome exhibit. But- there is ONE MORE.....  I almost always go for colour over black and white, but this last quilt was incredible. It was getting lots of attention... You can see why....

Cirque Du Quilt by Ruth Ludwig Lind, Stockton Springs, ME.

Aren't they awesome? Can you choose a favourite in this amazing group?


"Never go backward. Attempt, and do it with all your might. Determination is power." ~ Charles Simmons

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More Favourites...

I hope you're not tiring of looking at some of the wonderful quilts we saw at Maine Quilts 2014, because I still have some incredible things to show you. Hang in there a bit longer! lol  Of course I won't show all my photos, lest you want to reach through your screen and slap me, but there are a few more you just need to see. This one was a fav with both Sandi and I. It was so soft and feminine, so beautifully stitched, such a gentle quilt.

 Gardener's Alphabet by Marge Jensen, The Villages, FL., measured 61.25" x 70" and drew many ooohs and ahhhs from the admiring crowds. "The blocks on this quilt were colored with pencils and then hand embroidered around each design. I machine embroidered between each block." Professionally longarm quilted by Barbara Meunier.

This quilt won a Third place ribbon.
The pattern is by Meg Hawkey for Crabapple Hill as a Block of the Month.

I love a quilt with humour and this one made everyone smile! For the Love of Bugs, 70" x 72" by Bonita Ware of Delaware OH. was just downright FUN! She says "This quilt was created purely for fun. Some of the bugs are real, some imagined. Adventures I've had with "Skylar", my blue bug, were the inspiration. Original design." Hand appliquéd, hand embroidered, machine pieced, embellished.

Obviously the judges liked it too as it won a Judges Choice ribbon...

I think I see a blue Bug Hug....

Lady Bug....

Maritime Bug...? or Lobster Bug?

Spider Bug?

Junkyard Bug?

What fun!! Fun Bugs!!

I loved this quilt!!  It was called Charlotte, and I am guessing it is of the child or grandchild of the maker, Kathy Daniels. I have no other info on this quilt as it was not included in the Show catalogue, a mistake I'm sure...... You'll just have to trust me when I say it was an awesome quilt!

Morning Dory by Sarah Carpenter, 27" x 19.5", was inspired by a photograph. Inspired, indeed! It LOOKED like a photograph! It was so realistic, especially the highlight on the side of the dory and the reflection in the water...WOW!

That's all for now. Next I'll show you a few of our favs from the Special Exhibits.


"The starting point of all achievement is desire." ~ Napoleon Hill

More Beauties from Maine

It's time to share some more beauty from Maine Quilts 2014 with you. Are you ready? Yesterday you saw the top prize winner by Margaret Solomon Gunn. She had another quilt in the show, titled Meet Me at Giverny. It is 69" square and won an Exceptional Merit ribbon. Again I am in total agreement with the judges - everything about this quilt is exceptional. Margaret's workmanship is second to none and her quilting is exquisite. What more can I say?

 "Design and color are reminiscent of Monet's home, Giverny, France. Quilting motifs are hand guided. Original design. Machine pieced, painted, machine quilted."

Here are a few detail shots so you can really appreciate Margaret's amazing piecing and quilting....

Isn't it beautiful?  Looking at quilting like this makes me feel very humble... I've got a looonnngggg way to go, but I try to view this as inspiration, and not feel discouraged. You know what they say - Practice, practice, practice!! That really is the key! The more you do it the better you get.

I loved her designs in the background. The lattice and the sunflowers were just exquisite!

Margaret also worked her longarm quilting magic on Nantuckety Day by Wendy Coffin of Rye, NH. (94" x 94")

"Blue and white are quintessential Nantucket colors and in my quilt remind me of a perfect summer island day with gorgeous blue skies and water, blooming hydrangeas and blueberries, white caps and clouds."

Nantuckety Day not only won a first place ribbon, but also a special ribbon - an NQA Award of Merit for Outstanding Achievement in Quiltmaking. This ribbon can be awarded at the discretion of the judges, "to a deserving quilt, achieving recognized standards of quiltmaking excellence as an encouragement, and in addition to the Show ribbons."  Well done Wendy and Margaret!! A well deserved honour!

I'll stop there for now, but I'll be back this evening with another post of amazing quilts from Maine Quilts 2014. I hope all this quilting beauty is inspiring you. it sure has worked for me....


"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." ~ Vince Lombardi

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Are you ready for a Quilt Show?

I don't know where the time goes... it's flying by and I can't believe it's a whole week since I've posted! Shame on me! I've been busy, it seems each new day brings too many things that need to be done. Since I was going to be away for three days, I spent the first part of the week just "getting things done" - vegetable garden weeded, everything well watered, laundry, ironing, grocery shopping... you know what it's like when you're getting ready to go away (and I did get some sewing done too - more about that later). On Thursday morning bright and early (yes I can get up early and be ready to roll when I'm going on a trip, just FYI for those of you who know I'm not an early morning person), Sandi Mac and I were on our way stateside for the Maine Quilt Show in Augusta. We enjoyed some "retail therapy" on Thursday and were at the door ready and waiting when they opened the Show on Friday morning. Tonight I am showing you the top winner, "Best of Judged", tomorrow I will share more winners.  (As usual all winners were spectacular!!)

Springtime in the Geisha's Garden by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham Maine, 60" x 60".

You can see it bears the coveted green ribbon- Best of Judged, as well as the first place (blue) ribbon for its category, Wall Quilts more than 96" perimeter.

"Fabrics and original design are reminiscent of an Asian garden. Quilt has accents of silk fabric and silk embroidery. Quilting designs are original and free-handed. Original design. Hand appliqued, hand pieced, machine pieced, paper pieced, hand embroidered, embellished, machine quilted (long arm)."

These closer detail shots will help you really appreciate the work that is in this quilt. Her design, her colour sense, the quilting.... all were exceptional.

Sandi and I both commented on her fabric choices; both of us thought we might not have chosen the gold print you see at the right, or the stripe you see below, But they both worked beautifully - proof that what is most important is value.

Look at all the different quilting designs - I would love to know how many hours she spent, just on the quilting alone.... Her quilting truly was exceptional. And this was not the only quilt she had in the show!!

An even closer look.......

This is the back - you can really see the quilting....

It's late and I'm tired, so will leave you with that first peek. I'll be back soon with more photos from Maine Quilts 2014. Stay tuned.


"Nothing can subtract hard work from success, only add to it." ~ Manjunath Harlapur

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tiny Treasures - Miniature Quilts class

On Saturday October 18th I'll be teaching a class on Miniature Quilts at the 2014 Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival in Amherst, N.S. The class runs from 9a.m. to 4p.m. with a short lunch break, and we are fortunate to have a wonderful bright spacious venue at the Adult Bridge Services building located on Station Street in downtown Amherst, just steps from central Victoria Street.

This class is a "combo deal" - it's a skills/techniques class as much as it is a project class. Students will pick up many tips and techniques to improve the accuracy of their work. When working in miniature, piecing accuracy is very important, but who wouldn't like to improve their piecing skills and precision for quilting projects of all sizes? There will be many demos and extensive notes given, as well as time to sew, beginning a Miniature of your own. This class is geared to the Intermediate level quilter and beyond, it is not a class for Beginners. I am assuming you already have knowledge of and experience with the basic quiltmaking process. ie. I will not be teaching how to add borders, do binding, etc.
Students will choose their own pattern or design, with guidance. Like beginning quilters who are encouraged to start with blocks that have few seams, I will be suggesting you consider fairly simple blocks for your first miniature, such as Nine Patch or Four Patch, Shoofly, Anvil, Churn Dash, etc. Students will also choose the size of block they wish to make; I am not going to put pressure on anyone by telling them they must make 1" blocks! If you wish to work very very small, and already know how to paper-piece, that is an option as well. (Please don't feel intimidated by my tiniest works- most are foundation pieced.) Everyone will receive a sheet of paper-piecing patterns for a number of very small designs, extra sheets will be available.  Like any new skill, working in miniature improves with practice; one cannot expect to jump right in and work in the smallest size. Everyone's skill level is different and you know better than I how accurate and consistent your own work is. I will encourage you to take that into consideration when choosing the design and size of your blocks.

Topics covered in class include: choice of the best tools and equipment for working in miniature, choice of fabrics, threads and needles, tips and techniques for improving accuracy in cutting and stitching, the use of Thangles for making very small Half Square Triangles, how to make very narrow flat pipings, how to stitch a 1/8" wide border, and more.

Above all, I want the day to be an enjoyable one - lots of FUN and stress-free. There will be many demos given, I bring all my Miniature quilts as well as a number of books and magazines on Miniature quilts (no shortage of inspiration) and there will be door prizes too- all miniature related, of course!

My Miniature quilts can be viewed under "Galleries" on my blog sidebar. Watch for new additions. The size of each quilt is given.

Lastly I feel it only fair to warn you: working in miniature can be addictive. I cannot be held responsible if you begin hoarding all fabric scraps larger than 1/4", or going through others' garbage to retrieve their fabric scraps. (Both behaviours are commonly seen in those bitten by the Miniatures bug. There is no known treatment or cure...I suffer from this affliction myself.)

Registration for the class is done through me, not the Fibre Arts Festival. (Each teacher handles their own registrations.) If you have any questions or would like to register for the class, you can contact me at hubbard2(at)nbnet(dot)nb(dot)ca or leave a comment on this post. Fee for the class is $60.00; your spot is secured upon receipt of payment and I will then forward  to you the supply list for the class.

EDIT, Sept.21 - The class is now 3/4 full. If you are thinking of registering, don't wait too long, you may be disappointed.


"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Number One Book Pick

Once you start to read 419 by Will Ferguson, you will find it almost impossible to put down. It is so well written and the characters so very believable, it's difficult to  believe it is fiction. It is a story of intrigue and suspense, fraud and deception, and human relationships. A Giller Prize winner, it certainly is very deserving.
There are a number of seemingly unrelated story threads - a family in Calgary who have lost their father/husband in mysterious circumstances, a skilled 419 scammer in Nigeria, a young African woman who is walking from the north and a young man from the Nigerian Delta, both desperately trying to survive and find a better life. It is hard to imagine, at first, how they will all interconnect, but Ferguson skillfully weaves the parallel stories together. I could not turn the last 100 pages fast enough...
419 refers to the section of Nigeria's Criminal Code which deals with fraudulently obtaining money or goods.
Any kind of fraud, actually any sort of ruse or swindle..  Although you may not be familiar with the term "419", I bet you have seen more than one of these scams in your inbox. You know, the email that promises incredible wealth if you will just help the person claim the money, or get it out of the country, or whatever. The moral of the story is never, Never, NEVER reply to one of these emails. The scammer on the other end is slick and cunning, and before you know it you can be innocently sucked into this vortex of no return, scammed out of thousands of dollars. I was amazed at how they can "trawl" the internet to easily find out so much information on you or I or your Aunt Jean. Scary!
Of course Nigeria is not the only source of  these Internet scams, but the Nigerian 419 scams are big business, and are heavily linked with more violent crimes: narcotics, kidnapping, and human trafficking, all of which  are tied to the oil industry. The Nigerian Delta is home to one of the richest oil fields in the world, where militants and local warlords have declared war on the oil companies. "Oil, kidnappings and 419 fraud are Nigeria's three biggest growth industries, and they often overlap. The Niger Delta fuels Nigeria's economy."
419 is a fascinating story. A page turner. If you like rich and complex stories with unexpected plot twists and wonderful descriptive imagery, this book is for you. If you belong to a Book Club, suggest it to the group. I thank my friend Carole for suggesting it to me.  419 may well be my number one favourite book this year. Seriously. Read it!


"To encounter a fine book and have time to read it is a wonderful thing." ~ Natalie Goldberg

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Backyard Beauty....

A good friend was away this past week so I was looking after her home, bringing in the mail, watering the windowboxes and planters, etc. I got to enjoy her beautiful pink poppies which bloomed all week, and now that she is back, they are almost finished. Too bad that she missed them at their best, but I sure am lucky that I got to appreciate their delicate beauty each day. I missed photographing my own poppies this year- the first few days they were in bloom  my camera was acting up, then several days of rain pretty much beat them to pieces... Ah well, there's always next year...

Aren't they beautiful?


"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~ Anais Nin

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Winter photos

Lest you think I'm no longer doing any quilting (yes, I know, it has been a while...sigh...) here are some photos I promised you a while back... just before I had the issues with my camera- the photos weren't saving to the memory card, if you remember.... My trusty camera tech retrieved them for me. Yay!!
Here are a few shots of the blue string quilt ("Winter Blues") I did for the Veterans Unit, one of the projects our Guild took on this year. I had been trying to come up with a good spot to take some outdoor photos, when I suddenly remembered this lovely old snake fence that my neighbour just up the street has on her front lawn. (I called her to "ask permission" but she wasn't home... so I just helped myself! Thanks Mary!!) This was such a fun quilt to make (and SO easy), I can certainly see me doing another one someday (to keep for myself - yes I need another blue quilt...ha!).


"In every job that must be done there is an element of fun..."  ~Mary Poppins

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Reading

I've been on a reading jag lately. Each summer I always read a few "light" books that I consider "summer reads"... you know - nothing too heavy or "strenuous" on the brain. I would put Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh in this category. It's the story of three women who have all been seduced by and marry the same man, Ken Kimble. First is Birdie who has a problem with alcohol; she is deserted by Ken when their two children are still quite young and Birdie struggles to support the family. Ken moves on (sorry- no pun intended, but yes he IS a "mover") to marry Joan, a wealthy heiress, who is dealing with her own personal problems. Lastly he marries Dinah, a woman half his age, who also has some serious issues of her own. Woven throughout this string of relationships is Ken's son Charlie, and to a lesser extent his daughter, who struggle to deal with their alcoholic mother and a father who has deserted them. Kimble is charismatic, yes. But a wonderful husband and father? No. Yet you keep reading because you just can't figure out what he will do next. Fine literature? No. An entertaining light summer read? Absolutely.


"Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent..." ~ Stephen King

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bailing by Candlelight....

View out the front door Sat.a.m.
"Arthur" has never been one of my favourite names... and it is even less so now. What was called "post-tropical storm" Arthur ripped through my city last Friday night and all day Saturday with torrential rains and winds with speeds up to 98 km/hr. I have experienced some pretty wicked winter storms in my lifetime, but never a summer storm like this. It was scary. Our biggest fear was one or more trees coming down on the house which was a good possibility, as we have a number of very large trees in very close proximity to the house.. Not. Good. Two maples, a black walnut, a horse chestnut, a poplar and two apple trees are all close enough and big enough to do serious damage. We did lose one large tree and will have to take down another, but more on that later. Really, we got off lucky, compared to many. We also lost a number of large limbs and branches off various trees but none did any damage.
The wind and rain overnight on Friday/Saturday was unreal, I got very little sleep. In the morning the exterior of the house was plastered with debris, mostly leaves, and the entire property was littered with branches, limbs, and leaves. My gardens were battered and beaten, with many plants broken. There won't be as many garden photos this summer, I'm thinkin'.
Looking out the driveway Sat.a.m.

We lost power on Saturday morning about 8:30 a.m. Our immediate concern when this happens is the sump pump in our basement, not to mention the freezer which is full. We kept a close eye on the sump pump hole all day long, because once the water starts to rise, it's just a matter of minutes before we'd have water over the floor... We played Scrabble and Monopoly in the afternoon as Arthur raged. Lineups at fast food restaurants got longer and longer as the day progressed and more people were without power, as did those at gas stations (people wanting gas for generators.) Shortly after supper, the bailing began in earnest. It wasn't long before I realized I'm too old (or my knees are, at least) for kneeling on the concrete floor to bail water for 30 minutes at a time. We spelled each other off every half hour, one bailing, the other carrying and emptying the bucket. This went on for 15 hours straight. At around 3a.m. we decided to count to see how many buckets we were doing per hour.... can you believe 40!! And this was all done by candlelight, of course.. our basement is dark at the best of times as we have no basement windows. Yep, bailing by candlelight... Romantic, you say? Not really... It was a long night. If we weren't so tired it might have been funny... but we were too pooped to see any humour in it. At around 10 the next morning, my brother stopped by to see if we were okay, and when he heard about us bailing, he said - "Well I have a small generator I'm not using, you can have it!!" Arrggghhhh! Why hadn't we checked out that possibility the night before?? On Sunday it was hard to find hot food as most restaurants and fast food joints had closed (no power) - I was determined we were NOT going to open the freezer or the fridge as we didn't know how much longer we might be without power and I really did not want to lose all the contents... (I was craving cold milk.. there was no milk to be found in the city...) Also by Sunday gas stations were running out of gas, and people with generators were starting to panic...
Broken tree on neighbouring street

We were so very grateful when our power came back on Sunday evening about 8:30 p.m. We were lucky to only be without it for 36 hours; now, nine days later there are still thousands without power. We did lose power two more times, but for much shorter periods, and only had to bail again for 8 hours (the generator had gone to someone else at that point.) Of the over 140,000 homes in our area without power, over 90% have now been restored, thanks to over 310 power crews working. Crews have come in from Maine, as well as Quebec, PEI and Nova Scotia to help NB Power. Those remaining are mostly properties where access is difficult. I hope they will all be back on the grid soon. (We now have our own generator. Let's hope we never have to use it....)
Our fallen tree, seen out my studio window
Back to the trees... Current estimates are that our city lost around 4,000 trees- about 15%. That's just within the city limits. We lost one large tree; it came down on a car. Not our car, but that of a co-worker of Hubby's. They are from out of town and were driving to Ontario for a wedding last weekend so left a second car here. They were so very lucky as there was not a scratch on the car. The limbs just formed a perfect arch over the vehicle. (If it had fallen in a different direction it would have come right through my studio roof.) Others in the city were not so lucky as trees crushed cars, came through roofs, etc. I wasn't sad to lose the tree that fell as it was a messy tree anyway, but I'm very sad that we will lose the beautiful large maple on our front lawn. It has three splits in it and will have to be taken down.

Only a few miles from here, at a popular campground, a large sinkhole opened up and within a very short time, it "swallowed" three 30' travel trailers and a car! The car actually was washed down river!
My brothers are exhausted as they have been working long hours to clear fallen trees, limbs and debris in our court. I'm so glad they're pretty well done now, with no serious injuries or mishaps...

Fallen tree which took down power lines on neighbouring street

So, overall, we have a lot to be thankful for. No one was injured or killed. Trees can be re-planted. We did not lose our freezer contents and what was lost from the fridge was minor. Being without phone, tv and internet for nine days was annoying but really just an inconvenience. Others are much worse off. There were many acts of kindness and generosity as people shared generators and  power lines, grocery stores gave away food before it melted or spoiled, etc. etc. Disasters can bring out the good in people. As we were bailing in the middle of the night, I said to Hubby, in 23 years in this house, this is the first time we've ever had to do this, as we've never lost power for more than a few hours before. So we are indeed lucky! Goodbye Good riddance Arthur.
I did not leave our property for three days, by the time I ventured out to take some photos elsewhere, most of the large trees had been cleared, but hopefully these few photos will give you some small idea of Arthur's fury.
With being offline for nine days I am certainly way behind in visiting my blogging friends. I hope to catch up although likely won't be leaving too many comments. I'm sure you'll understand.


"Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy - your work becomes a dance with light and the weather..."  ~ Annie Leibovitz

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