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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Start to Finish

One of my new upcoming classes is geared to the confident beginner. It was Jo's idea (shop owner), and we're anxious to see how it works. We're calling it "Start to Finish" and the idea is that students will get experience and help with all the basic skills, and complete a project too! (We'll see how that goes!) They will learn proper cutting techniques, stitching a 1/4" seam, how to follow a pattern to assemble a "top," matching seams, pressing, sandwiching and some basic machine quilting, and how to make and apply binding. We have decided to use the Take Four placemats pattern, so our plan is that they will get one placemat entirely finished and bound, and they'll have a start on the other three by the end of the day. Personally I don't put binding on placemats, but they will have the choice to bind the mats, or to bring something else to bind, so they get to learn how it's done. If I have time, I'll show them the slick technique I usually use for finishing placemats. You can see my tutorial on that here.
You never know, the first time you teach a skills class, just how far everyone will get... there are so many variables. I'm hoping we will accomplish our goal. So here are two of my mats. The other two will be completed as demos during the class next Saturday. I'll show you the full set of four after that.
I love this pattern and there are five variations given in the one pattern - how great is that! It is relatively quick and easy and the tops are done with just four fat quarters. If you can't find the Take Four pattern at your local quilt shop, you can purchase and download it here.


"The thing I loved the most - and still love the most - about teaching is that you can connect with an individual or group, and see that individual or group exceed their limits." ~ Mike Krzyzewski

Thursday, October 30, 2014

In the Doghouse...

It seems I am in the doghouse today. Ollie is not happy with me - yesterday was "National Cat Day" and I missed it. He is pouting....see his little pouty lip? Guess I'll have to bribe him with extra treats to get back in his good graces.... spoiled kitty that he is....
I had hoped to have a project to show you today, but it's not quite done so you'll have to wait till tomorrow. I have some hand stitching to do to finish up, and a bit of machine quilting. That will be done tonight before I hit the sack. Photos to follow tomorrow...

I had to leave the sewing machine this afternoon and get outside for some work in the gardens. It seems we have a forecast for some snow this weekend, so I am hurrying to get my perennial beds cut down. I now have 2.5 of 5 beds done, so I'm getting there. Tomorrow afternoon I'll finish the side bed, and hopefully get the back bed done. That will leave just one for next week; hopefully we'll have a few days yet that are somewhat "comfortable" for outdoor work...
If you are a quilter, you are no doubt familiar with Missouri Star Quilt Co. They have a very popular website and blog. Yesterday I came across this blog post that I thought I'd share with you. You've probably seen similar "quizzes" - Which Disney character are you? or Which Downton Abbey character are you? or Which  whatever are you?  Well here's a fun one for quilters - Which Quilt Block are you? Go here to take the quiz. Funny- I did it and got  my all time favourite block - Log Cabin!!


"Being busy is better than being bored. Bored left a long time ago. Busy is always around for me."
~ Tabitha Robin

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Students' Mini's...

Just a quick post tonight with a few more pics of students' work. Two of the gals who took my
Miniatures class at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival have completed their first miniatures! Way to go girls! First up is Bev who has been working hard to complete "Shoofly at the Festival." Her shoofly blocks are 3" and the full piece measures 18" square. She chose Christmas prints, and used several of the techniques she learned in class - the use of Thangles™ for the half square triangles, and she's added a 1/8" flat piping between her first and second borders. Bev was sewing on a Singer Featherweight and tried several different fabrics for sashing choices with six blocks each, then took them all apart and managed to squeeze out just enough sashing strips from her leftover "background" fabric (which we both agreed was the best choice.) I think she has done an awesome job on her first miniature quilt. (Bev admitted to me she's already feeling addicted to miniatures!  Another convert!!  lol)
Second is Donna who has also finished her first mini. It is only 6.5" square! Wow!! Her half square triangles, also made with Thangles™ are 1" finished, and she has also added the very narrow flat piping (in pink.) Again, an awesome job for a first effort! I am so proud of you both.
There was a wide range of skill levels in this class, some considering themselves not too far beyond "beginners" so I think they all found the many tips for more precise cutting and stitching very helpful.
I hope a few more of the gals from our class will send me photos of what they've done. I'll be sure to share them, if they do... (Consider that a challenge, if any of you are reading... lol  You know who you are!!)


The "four P's" of miniatures: patience, persistence, precision and practice....

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Coming...

How the days fly by! I don't know where October has gone. Hallowe'en is almost here, and Ollie is watching for ghosts and goblins already!
And guess what else is coming soon? Blogathon Canada! Canadian quilters will be able to connect the week of November 17-22. It's such fun to see what quilting bloggers all across the country are up to! And there'll be Giveaways too! I can't wait! Stay tuned for more info soon.

I have two new classes coming up in early November so I'm busily preparing... samples, notes, etc. I hope to spend most of this week in my studio, and I'll be sharing a few photos soon...


"Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se. " ~ Charles Eames

Saturday, October 25, 2014

More Student Work...

Several weeks ago I held a small "private" class to help two gals I know with a project/class I taught earlier in the year. They each had signed up and paid for the class, but then could not attend when the class was re-scheduled due to a storm day. I knew they both really wanted to do the project so we finally got together and made it happen. (I don't normally do private classes as I just don't have the time or space but I knew I had to make these two gals happy.) The project was the Twister totebag, designed by my friend Sue Robertson, made using the Twister™ template and the Leaves Galore™ template designed by Sue Pelland. We had a fun day and both gals left with their totebags about 95% finished.

Shown here is Lucy's bag, front and back. Didn't she do a great job? She was a little unsure about her color/fabric choices at first, but I think she is pleased with it now. I've been waiting for pics from the other gal, but haven't received any. C'mon Trish, show us your bag!
Be sure to leave a comment below and tell Lucy what a fine job she did!


"I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." ~ Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Good Day for a Good Book...

It's been a cool wet grey dreary sad day. Our nation is mourning the senseless murder of two servicemen this week. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo gunned down yesterday while standing guard, unarmed, at our national memorial to our war dead. A young man, a reservist, who wished to serve his country, a single father,  a guy with a winning smile. Gone. For what? So senseless. Journalist Rex Murphy sums it up so well- I couldn't express it any better... I'm sure all Canadians are sharing the same feelings today, and praying for peace.

Perhaps it's a good day to curl up with a good book. I've fallen a bit behind on book reviews so that's what I'm sharing with you today - another good read. Daughter Laura is a Jodi Picoult fan, and I "borrowed" this #1 NY Times Bestseller from her bookshelf: House Rules. It's the story of an eighteen year old with Asperger's. I don't know a lot about autism but after reading several novels on the subject lately I thought this one would be a good addition to my reading list. Emma Hunt, a single mother, is raising two boys, eighteen year old Jacob who has Asperger's, a disorder on the autism spectrum,  and fifteen year old Theo. Jacob's Asperger's seems to be the focus of Emma's life as she struggles daily to help her son cope and learn to communicate with those around him. Jacob is obsessed with routine and order in his life, and has great difficulty reading "social cues" and relating to others. He is hypersensitive to things like human touch and bright light, he takes comments very literally, he finds direct eye contact very difficult and lacks empathy. But he is brilliant in many ways, and has a keen interest in forensic analysis.
When their small town is shocked by a terrible murder, the police come to Jacob. He has appeared at crime scenes before, giving suggestions to the investigators... and now his strange behaviors look a lot like guilt... Emma struggles with the misunderstanding that always plagues her son, and Theo resents the time and attention his mother spends on Jacob; nothing about their family is "normal" and Theo blames that all on his older brother.
Could Jacob have committed this murder? Picoult does a masterful job of keeping the reader wondering until the very end... You don't want to believe it, but then.. well.. maybe.. could he have? The book is just over 500 pages, but they turn quickly... I found the book very hard to put down. (USA Today calls Picoult "Master of the Page-Turner.") Each chapter is "told" from the different characters' points of view, which I found a successful technique as the story unfolded. There is suspense, humour, a touch of romance, and you'll run the gamut of emotions as you turn the pages. Picoult has done an exceptional job of building the story and portraying the emotional struggles this family is going through as they prepare and go to trial.


"Books keep you company when you're alone. They're your friends through a rainy day." ~ A.A. Milne

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To Ottawa with love

Many of my readers who are quilters, are familiar with Bonnie Hunter, quilter, teacher and blogger extraordinaire. I have had the link to her blog Quiltville, on my sidebar for quite a while now. I actually met Bonnie last spring when I was lucky enough to take a class from her in Maine. Imagine my surprise tonight when I looked at her most recent post called Hearts Breaking for Canada, and saw one of my quilts!! Bonnie had searched Google Images for "Canadian quilts" and among those she chose was one of mine! Sadly the link did not give her any identifying info, but I assure you it is mine! (Edit: she has since corrected that and cited credit. Thanks Bonnie!) I made it back in 2009, you can read about it here.  Many of the red squares came in a little pack I purchased in Ottawa, and it also includes a square of CQA's 25th anniversary fabric. Our national conference, Quilt Canada, was held in Ottawa in 2006 to celebrate the 25th anniversary year. I was there.... So tonight I'm sending love to Ottawa, and to Hamilton to the family of the young reservist soldier who was shot today. So very sad. Such a senseless death. Let's all pray a little harder for Peace... I can't help but wonder if everyone in the world was a quilter, wouldn't it be a kinder and more peaceful place?
May God bless us all...  and God Bless Kevin Vickers, a New Brunswick hero! 


O Canada, We stand on guard for thee!

NSFAF 2014, Part 2

It's been a dark and dreary day (in more ways than one) - we are supposed to get heavy rains and wind in the next few days and indeed, the rain has begun. I have been tuned to the tv all day watching the events unfold in Ottawa. How very sad, a young reservist has lost his life while standing guard at the national War Memorial. Nothing much is yet known about the shooter and what is behind this... such a senseless loss of a young life. As I get older (and perhaps a bit wiser?) I often hear my Mother's voice saying "What is this world coming to?"  I too am shaking my head and wondering what is ahead...

So we had best head back to Amherst and view some more quilt beauty, don't you think? The Cumberland Quilt Guild always have a wonderful display of quilts in First Baptist Church, and once again they filled the sanctuary with much quilty goodness. Although the church was a bit dark, I did my best to get some decent photos.

In Christ Church nearby were more beautiful quilts, and if I remember correctly, every one was hand quilted. So nice to see as it seems more and more these days are done by machine.

The fourth show was a display of  New York Beauty quilts by Karen Neary, at the local quilt shop, Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium. Karen's work is exceptional and each one of her pieces was beautiful, but many were hung in the windows, which made them just about impossible to photograph. You can see Karen's beautiful work on her blog here and of course she has many patterns for her New York Beauties which you can order. Karen made a gorgeous NYB quilt and donated it to the festival for the Pin It and Win It draw- some very lucky person won it.. sadly, it wasn't me...   :(  That quilt, "New York, New York" graces the cover of the current issue of Quilters Connection, and the pattern is included in the magazine, so be sure to pick up a copy..
Karen's latest book, QUILTING Beauties will be released very shortly, be sure to watch for it, or you can order it directly from Karen.

You can view more photos of the NSFAF by two other Maritime quilter/bloggers by checking out  Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World and Leslie the Cuddle Quilter. Sheila took my Miniatures class last spring and stopped by on Saturday to say Hello- it was great to see you again Sheila -  thanks for dropping by! I haven't met Leslie yet but I know her sister. I'm sure we'll cross paths one of these days.. no doubt at a quilt show...


"Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears."
~ Edgar Allan Poe

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival 2014..

This past weekend it was an honour and a privilege to teach a class at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival in Amherst N.S. I think I was as excited as my students were, perhaps even moreso. I do love teaching my Miniatures class, you know!   :)  We had a great day together, in a wonderful venue - nice and bright, spacious with lots of tables and electrical plugs - a perfect classroom! There was only one thing wrong with the day - I forgot to take some pictures during the class. You would think that as I watched my students taking photos of my miniature quilts, it would have jogged my memory to get out my own camera... Nope. Totally did not occur to me to take some "class in progress" photos until the day was over and students were packing up... I rarely do take photos during a class; I know some people are not comfortable being photographed... but I must make a conscious effort "next time" to take some class photos- Bonnie Hunter style! lol So you'll just have to believe me when I tell you we all had great fun, and I think they all enjoyed the class and found the info and tips very helpful. I will share photos in the future of students work, if  I receive any...  :)

This is the third year I have attended the NS Fibre Fest - naturally I go on the Friday when the quilt shows are on - this year there were four shows to see! My first stop was at Town Hall to see the newly formed Maritime Modern Quilt Guild's display, and to meet fellow blogger Linda Smith of  Scrapmaster. Their display of modern quilts was very impressive, especially since this is a relatively new Guild. There was a wonderful variety of pieces, from full size quilts to pillows,  and Linda did a great job of talking to visitors and explaining what the "modern" movement is all about.
Here's a quick look at the MMQG's display....

I have long been a big fan of  Bill Cosby, so loved this quilt with his wonderful portrait. I laughed when Linda told us someone else had come in and commented about it too- how much they loved Reggie Jackson!! Too funny!


You can't buy happiness... but you can buy fabric and that's pretty close...

Monday, October 20, 2014

October Pinks

Although most of the "October colour" we're seeing is the typical fall reds, oranges and yellows of the maples, the yellows and  golds of the birches and copper browns of the oaks, when I look in my yard, I'm seeing pink! Yes PINK! My large hanging basket of geraniums on the deck is still blooming like crazy and in the back perennial bed there are loads of blooms on the cleome, Japanese anemones and Japanese toad lily. The fall asters, which are getting lots of love from the bees, are adding lots of pink to the side bed, and out front the two hanging pots of rieger begonias continue to bloom profusely. Maybe this is Mother Nature's way of reminding us that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month...  Lovin' all the pink!! (Don't forget to get your mammies grammed, ladies!)
I'm linking to Mosaic Monday, now hosted by Judith at Lavender Cottage. Be sure to stop by.


"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie-burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." ~ Audrey Hepburn

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thankful on Thanksgiving

This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I have SO much to be thankful for! I am thankful for the beautiful day we are enjoying - the sun is shining, the leaves are glorious in their autumn colours, the birds and squirrels are feeding in the backyard (keeping Oliver well entertained) and we are smelling the turkey roasting for dinner this evening. Yummm... I am blessed with a wonderful family and I'm so thankful for them every day (even though I don't tell them that often enough!) We'll certainly be missing Laura at the dinner table tonight, but she is cooking her first turkey dinner ever (not without a few phone calls and emails to Mum), and they have invited company for dinner; I'm so thankful for the wonderful young woman she has become, and she loves to cook - bonus!
My blogging has been sporadic lately and for that I apologize to my regular readers, but I've been so busy with other things that blogging has had to take a bit of a backseat. I am thankful to be busy with hobbies that I love, harvesting the garden and preserving, and teaching commitments, because in my mind, being busy is SO much better than being bored with nothing to do. I feel so sorry for people who do not have hobbies, or activities they enjoy.
I am so very grateful for my good health. Other than a cold for the past week, which really is very minor in the grand scheme of things, I have no ailments or complaints. I am not on any meds. If you have your health, you have it made in the shade, as the saying goes.
I am thankful for my many friends. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful friends and I love each and every one. Yesterday we helped friends close up their cottage for the winter (actually it was hubby who worked very hard all day, I didn't do much other than help with supper.)
Then we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings and three choices for dessert! (Yes we ARE spoiled...) And yes, most of us chose to sample all three! What a wonderful way to end a beautiful fall day - a fire crackling in the fireplace, sitting around the table sharing food and wine in such good company, discussing books and travel, sharing stories and laughter.. it just doesn't get any better!
Finally I am thankful for the many new friends I have made through blogging! And what's better than having blogging friends? MEETING them! In the past few weeks I have been lucky to meet TWO friends I've made as a result of this blog. A follower who lives in British Columbia contacted me last spring to tell me she had been reading my blog for a while and enjoyed it because she grew up here and it was nice to see photos of "home." She suggested perhaps we could meet while she was home this summer/fall. It turns out we are about the same age and attended the same high school and church; once we met face to face I vaguely remembered her - a quick check in the high school yearbook for her photo confirmed the memory I was questioning. (Yearbooks are such a valuable resource as we get older! lol) It was so nice to meet Cynthia and her family and chat about quilting, photography and other interests. So, waving Hi to you Cynthia! Let's stay in touch!
More recently I met Kathy of Gratitude... Attitude... at Forty-Four Latitude (formerly My Maine Blog). After a failed attempt this summer, we "connected" and enjoyed a tasty lunch together. It was so nice to meet this sweet sweet lady in person and chat about blogging and other common interests. Kathy is a
wonderful photographer and shares so many beautiful photos of  Maine - be sure to visit her blog often and leave her some bloggy love in her comment box! She blew me away with the gift of this wonderful basket which she had put together- full of yummy apples, mini pumpkins, candy, mulling spices and Pumpkin Spice tea, fall potpourri and some wonderful examples of her photography- postcards, bookmarks and her book "Old Barns of Maine." How lucky am I?!! Bloggy friends are THE BEST!!
I have much more in my life that I am thankful for, but that's it for today.. it's time to go check on Mr. Turkey's progress... can you smell him?  No? Well, he sure smells yummy... and he'll soon be in my tummy... Happy Thanksgiving!


"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you'll never ever have enough." ~ Oprah Winfrey

Monday, October 6, 2014

Another Good Read

I've been laying low the last few days trying to shake off a cold. Hubby was sick with it all last week and I was hoping I could dodge it... but no such luck. So I'm trying to get some extra rest and "be good" so it will leave quickly. I don't have time right now to be sick!!
All I have the energy for today is a short book review. I am "a few" books behind here, so this takes another one off the list... Faith by New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Haigh is a powerful and thought-provoking "family drama."
From the book jacket: "It is the spring of 2002 and a perfect storm has hit Boston. Across the city's archdiocese, trusted priests have been accused of the worst possible betrayal of the souls in their care.  In Faith, Jennifer Haigh explores the fallout for one devout family, the McGanns.
 Estranged for years from her difficult and demanding relatives, Sheila McGann has remained close to her older brother Art, the popular, dynamic pastor of a large suburban parish. When Art finds himself at the center of the maelstrom, Sheila returns to Boston, ready to fight for him and his reputation. What she discovers is more complicated than what she imagined. Her strict, lace-curtain-Irish mother is living in a state of angry denial. Sheila's younger brother Mike, to her horror, has already convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who persistently dodges Sheila's questions and refuses to defend himself.
 As the scandal forces long-buried secrets to surface, Faith explores the corrosive consequences of one family's history of silence - and the resilience its members ultimately find through forgiveness. Throughout, Haigh demonstrates how the truth can shatter our deepest beliefs - and restore them. A gripping, suspenseful tale of one woman's quest for the truth, Faith is an anguished meditation on loyalty and family, doubt and belief. Elegantly crafted, sharply observed, this is Jennifer Haigh's most ambitious novel to date."

It seems with each of her novels I read, I enjoy Haigh's writing more and more. She is indeed a gifted writer. She gives attention to detail, uncovering info about each character bit by bit as the plotline is slowly woven together. There is an element of suspense as the reader, along with the family members, tries to decide whether Father Art could possibly have done the unthinkable act that he is accused of. Her writing is well phrased, she has mastered the use of simile and metaphor, and her characters are real- complex but totally believable. Haigh masterfully develops the characters and the plot as she unravels the dynamics of a family with secrets long hidden.
If you belong to a book club, this would be a great choice. Well worth the read, this is possibly my favourite Haigh novel.


"Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice ." ~ Paul Auster

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Random Thoughts and a RAK

How can it be October already, and a week since I last posted??!! My days continue to be busy busy... Two days of teaching last week plus a day trip out of town, several appointments, a batch of jelly done, a wedding celebration, yada yada... It doesn't take long and another week has flown by.  I really don't have a lot to tell you about today and just have some random photos to share with you.... Back in June I told you my (first ever) orchid was blooming again- and guess what- it's STILL blooming! I wish all plants could have such long-lived blossoms. Here it is October and it still has the same 11 blooms!

Speaking of blooms, a while back I complained that my morning glories had grown like crazy- I have them on an obelisk and it looks rather like jungle growth- but not one single blossom! Well, now that the cooler weather is here and a killing frost is likely not far off, it's now loaded with buds! Go figure! It has had the odd flower here and there, so figured I'd better share a photo before Mr Jack Frost claims it one of these nights..  Look at that  beautiful blue! This is yesterday's bloom so it's starting to wilt, but the only other bloom today is so high I can't reach it... Even the waning one is beautiful...

I'm working away on another miniature... many many little's a sneak peek... can you guess what I'm doing? I'll share with you soon... This little quilt was inspired by the backing fabric! Yep, you could say I'm doing things backwards! Stay tuned....

Yesterday I was the recipient of a random act of kindness. A dear friend sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Just because! Isn't that sweet? They are gorgeous fall colours and I love them!! Thank you Linda!

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall day, wherever you are!


Life is the greatest journey you will ever be on....
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