Thursday, January 31, 2008

Two Hundred & Twenty Five to Go

As promised here is an update of my quilt. I have cut, matched and sewn two rows together.

Here at left is my quilt so far.

Sebrina called me this morning and told me how she was struggling with this same template to get the squares lined up in a perfect grid pattern. Wow, was she ever right ... this took me four tries to get the squares lined up and if you look really, really closely they are off by a few millimetres.

I'm sure there is a trick to getting squares and corners to line up perfectly.

I look at quilts by Kaffe Fasset (see the cover of his book left) and the squares and corners are perfect. Sebrina (lucky girl) got this book last week and I had a chance to peruse it ... it is stunning. If you want a visual feast, check out this book. Absolutely anything Kaffe Fassett designs and creates is simply gorgeous ... his knitting, his quilts, his fabrics .....

Exactly what is the secret to this perfection and precise matching?

Since this is my very first quilt, I am pleased so far and think it is turning out quite well. I'm trying very hard to turn off my perfectionist attitude towards everything I do and not be too anal about perfect corner matching.

After all quilting is a handmade project and the little idiosyncrasies are what give a quilt it's charm. If it was entirely perfect it might as well be mass produced.

Hope I make my quilting instructor proud!!!!

Love This Yarn

Here is what the Moda Dea Tweedle Dee is knitting up like.

This is a blowup of the left front, which has the cable running down the outside and the rest of the sweater is done in moss stitch.

I have to say I don't much like doing the moss stitch ... there is a lot of time spent taking the yarn around the needle either forward or back before you make the stitch, I find it doubles my knitting time. Oh well, the effect is worth it.

Back to knit one, purl one, CB10, CF10, etc.....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Forty Five Little Pieces

Well, as promised here is the update on the quilt I am making. There were forty-five pieces to be cut and sewn together for just this one row, so that means that there will be 315 pieces to complete the inner portion of the quilt and then the border which will go around the entire quilt. Of course then my work will only just be beginning ... for then I will start the hand quilting. I had thought I would machine quilt, but have decided (may change my mind once I start) that I will quilt this piece by hand. I just love the look of hand quilting.

As each piece went on, I got more excited. The white border, really makes the colours in these fabrics pop - don't you think?

I will require six to seven more rows like this before I can start the actual quilting.

As I have said in earlier entries, this isn't exactly what I had planned in my mind, but I am thrilled with the results. The combination of fabrics are beautiful (thanks to my daughter Sebrina for her donation of 3 gorgeous fabrics).

This quilt will be entirely 100% cotton, including the quilt batting. I purchased a 100% cotton batting which is needle punched with hundreds of needles into a strong, thin base material to prevent tearing, shifting or migration. The needling process holds the fibers together without glue or resins.

I wanted to use all cotton and once the quilt is completed will wash it to achieve an approximately 3% shrinkage which will cause puckering and give my quilt an older look.

Well, off to piecing ...............

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Just One Earth Hour

I'm in - are you?

On March 29th, 2008, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in an effort to raise awareness about the devastating effects of global warming is asking cities ... both residential and commercial around the world to turn off their lights starting at 8:00pm for one hour

On March 31, 2007 in Sydney, Australia, this entire city came together and turned off their lights for one hour.

Now WWF wants cities worldwide to unite in turning off their lights for one hour.

Go to their website to see a video, read about the difference you can make and to sign up for this one earth hour.

We get so much from Mother Earth, let's give something back to her!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let The Fun Begin

This morning I went to Sebrina's for coffee, homemade blueberry muffins and a lesson in quilting.

What fun we had, first the exciting greetings at the door from Ryan & Gabriella - hugs and kisses which hopefully will last me a few days until my next visit.

Then fresh brewed coffee and a muffin ... well actually two muffins, one for each hip!

Then Sebrina and I got down to business and she showed me how to use the rotary cutter, cutting ruler & cutting matt, what size to make the pieces for the template I chose, how to stitch the pieces together, which way to press the seams, how to stitch corners nice & neat, etc...

As Robert Burns once said - "the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry".

Well as you can see from my picture, I didn't quite follow the idea I had in mind for the undulating waves of graduated blues, but I am very pleased with the way this looks so far. The white border down the centre will surround each square and look (I hope) like a matt around a picture.

Sebrina was a great teacher - patient, explained everything well and was very pleased with my work. After examing my work, she pronounced my grade to be an "A".

Well, as my quilt grows I'll post pictures.

Having never done a pieced quilt, I must say this was quite exciting as each piece was attached and the picture grew. I can see why Sebrina is hooked - this was fun!

Stay tuned ...........

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Miniature Earth

"If the World Were a Village" by David Smith is what this video is based upon. A very powerful video indeed.

Pennies for Orphans

This is a story about a young lady named Leah who at just 13 years old has decided to reach out to help orphans in Ethiopia. She undertook this project for her bat mitzvah.

This idea occurred to her as her family was in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia. When they went to Ethiopia to bring home their new daughter, Leah brought her money over and donated $2,084.00 to an orphanage. Here is Leah giving the cheque to Ms Geday, who is the orphanage director.

Imagine my surprise as I continued reading down through her story and discovered that the orphanage she donated her money to was "The Hope For The Abandoned Children and Orphan Care Association (HFTA)". This is the orphanage where Sebrina and I picked up our very special Gabriella.

Here are the pictures of Sebrina and me with Ms Geday and Gabriella.

We spent many enjoyable hours with this lady over the two days we spent at the orphanage.

I just love Leah's idea with pennies and think I may start the same thing. It will be interesting how many pennies I will accumulate in say ... one year.

How often do we see a penny on the ground and walk away from it?
How often do we just throw a penny in a drawer or the bottom of our purse and just forget about it?

If we all started saving our pennies - just how much could we accumulate for charity? The one great thing about pennies ... a penny is always worth a penny whether it is in Canadian or US dollars, so this is a win / win savings plan.

Leah's website addres is She has quite a lot of interesting information and will continue to post what her pennies are buying in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Feeling Rather Bloggy Today

I love "Winnie The Pooh" and my husband bought this Swarovski Pooh for me for Christmas to add to my Swarovski collection.

It doesn't seem to matter what mood you are in ... there is always an appropriate Pooh quote. He can lift you up, level you out or just make you stop and think.

If you regularly follow my blog you will see that the quotes change frequently and if you are a "Winnie The Pooh" lover like me you'll recognize the quotes.

He has such an uncomplicated and innocent way of looking at life. These were some of my favourite books as a child and today I still love Pooh & Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Piglet & Tigger.

Well, I think even though it's nearly 4:00 o'clock ... I'm feeling a little eleven o'clockish.

"When late morning rolls around and you're feeling a bit out of sorts, don't worry; you're probably just a little eleven o'clockish."

One Step Closer To My Quilt

These are some of the fabrics I found this morning in our local fabric store. They weren't quite the idea I went out looking for, but the turquoise and brown & white together just seemed so luscious that I dove right in and grabbed one yard of each.

As well I purchased a rotary cutter. Sebrina gave me a small cutting board which I will try to use for now, since I will be cutting fairly small pieces.

I am not sure whether I will follow my original idea for a layout or choose a different template. I still would like to have a turquoise solid and maybe one or two more patterns before I start the quilt.

But I have to say, that I'm really pleased with these fabrics and hope that when they are cut and stitched together into my quilt that they look as pretty as they do just sitting piled up on my craft table.


My daughter who has developed an interest in quilting, has inspired me to try one myself. When my grandsons were born, I made each of them a baby quilt from a piece of pre-printed fabric and then hand quilted the entire thing. However, I have never tried my hand at piecing and quilting, so here goes nothing!

I put together this PowerPoint presentation (shown above) to develop my idea for how I want the quilt to look, the colours are not exact and I most likely will use print fabrics, but it demonstrates my idea. I would like to graduate the colours in a wave pattern starting with dark blues moving towards light blues and then into white.

I'm rather excited to get at this and think I may take a trip down to my local fabric store to get some ideas and as well to pick up a rotary cutter, cutting board and all the other bits and pieces I will need to make this quilt. I will check out their fabrics while I am there, but Sebrina has turned me on to fabulous designer fabrics she has discovered for her quilts ... but we'll see what I can discover there.

Thank goodness Sebrina has done this, so I can borrow her experience and knowledge of quilt making to ensure that my quilt turns out as beautifully as have.

Here are some pictures of her work along with my beautiful grandchildren and me cuddling under Mommy's nice warm quilts.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Knee ....

Well I have finally achieved what the physio therapists expect from their knee replacement patients at 3 months.

0 degrees on my extension. (With my leg straight out and pushing the back of my knee down onto the table). Have to say this is still a big ouch but I can do it.

120 degrees on my bend.

I am also on good days able to climb the stairs leg over leg ... sometimes even without holding onto the railing for support.

I have put away all of my after surgery aids ... canes, walkers, raised toilet seat etc.. No more acting disabled for this girl.

Time to break out the bubbly!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shall We Dance?

Don't you just love the the "talk when you walk" sound that taffeta makes when you wear it?

Taffeta reminds me of a time when glamour reined supreme and girls loved to dress up and not be afraid to be "girly girls". I still love to dress up and in fact designed the sapphire blue taffeta dress that I recently wore to my brother-in-laws wedding.

It only made sense when I redecorated my dining room that I should make taffeta draperies to get that glamous look that I love.

I have made most of the draperies in our home and taught myself how to do triple pinch pleats, but recently saw inverted box pleats in a decorating magazine and just loved them.

So using the picture as my guide I decided to take a stab at them.

To cover my window I required 3 times the width of the window so I had nearly 12 metres of fabric to work with ... wow are my shoulders and back ever sore after this project. I decided I wanted them to puddle on the floor so made them 8 inches longer than the floor to ceiling measurement. As well, I lined them, so each drape was really heavy and kept sliding off my table when I was trying to sew them. Consequently I ended up doing most of the work by hand stitching ... it was easier than fighting to keep the fabric on the table.

I am thrilled with the results. They are just what I wanted in the dining room, the milk chocolate colour blends very nicely with the Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue that I painted the dining room and the inverted box pleat really hangs beautifully.

They look like ballgowns hanging in my window.

From now on only inverted box pleats ... no more pinch pleats for this girly girl.

Want To Take a Peek

Well, here is a peek at the baby blanket which I just completed in time for the baby shower this afternoon.

I have made well over one dozen of these blankets, and know that they wash beautifully and stay lovely and soft for baby.

The cardigan which I am knitting is about halfway complete. Here is how the yarn blends together. I just the subtle variations in colour and how slowly it blends from one colour to the next one. This is a pretty simple pattern and when completed will have a ruffle crocheted around the neck, down either side of the two fronts and the bottom of the sleeves.

A friend of my daughter and I are sharing a pattern to make from a new yarn called Berroco Peruvia. It is 100% Peruvian Highland Wool. A terrific South American import, "Peruvia" is truly an outstanding yarn coming in 29 heather and 3 solid colour choices.

As well when I was looking at the available yarn colours, I found this coat pattern which I also may order and take a stab at.

Well, wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Knit One .... Purl Two

I love crafting, especially knitting, crocheting. I love the feel of beautiful yarns ... wool, cashmere, mohair, cottons and only bamboo needles. I grew up with a mom who knit only using metal or plastic needles. There is a great deal of static with these needles, but never a problem with bamboo. Not to mention how beautiful and organic they feel in your hands as they weave the yarn into a new creation. Knitting is a way to lose myself and de-stress. Even a complicated pattern is relaxing for me. I don't mind counting stitches, rows, etc...

A skein of yarn with a pair of needles through it at the side of a chair looks beautiful and adds such a homey and lived in look to a room.

Recently I discovered a lovely yarn by Moda Dea. It is called Tweedle Dee Shaded Effect. My daughter was given a shawl made of this yarn for Christmas and I fell in love.

I have never liked variegated yarns and remember many sweaters made in this style when I was a child. Variegated yarn knits up into a rather harsh look. The colour changes are very drastic and sudden. This shaded effect yarn blends from one colour to another with no obvious change, it just quietly moves from each colour and is absolutely beautiful.

I purchased enough to made a ruffled edge cardigan. I've just completed the back, but have to work this in between a baby blanket which I started on Sunday and must finish by this coming Sunday for a baby shower.

Stay tuned, when I'm done I'll post pictures of both.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Soooooooo Cold

It is sooooo cold today ... -12 Celsius but with the wind child -24 Celsius ... a very good day to stay inside.

I filled the bird feeder a week ago, but so far no birds. Where are our feathered friends in this weather? Are they in their nests trying to stay warm?

I know the little creatures do venture out occasionally ... we had a bunny in our garden last week. She got in and then could not find her way out. I watched her for at least an hour, as she ran back and forth making small deposits every few inches, but she could not find the spot in the fence to get out. I was concerned, as she sat looking through the chain link to the ravine, that she would freeze to death if she could not get back to her nest. So finally I opened the door to try to guide her towards the spot in the fence where she could escape, but she was so frightened by my presence that she wiggled her way between our fence and the neighbours. I have thought about her since ... did she get home, did she get stuck somewhere else and freeze? I like to think that she made it back to her warm nest.

Her visit to our garden certainly made it very interesting for our dog Chelsea ever since. She goes out to do her business and then spends the next little while "bunny sniffing". We cleaned up the deposits she left, but Chelsea can still smell her along the back fence in the bushes and loves to spend time back there "bunny sniffing". It's really quite funny to see her looking for what made this delicious scent.

These are what I can see, but what about what I can't. Under the snow, under the ice ... is there living things.?

Come and take an imaginary walk through the ravine with me.

I stop by the creek and peer in ... are the fish sleeping, or are they swimming deep down where the water still flows under the ice. As I continue walking deeper into the forest, I see a break in the snow and look down. Who lives down there? Maybe a raccoon and her family, or a red fox with her family? If I stand still long enough, will you come out to visit?

Let's keep walking. The evergreen tree boughs are hanging so low & dripping with great puffs of snow ..... I hear them groaning under their burden ... how long can you hold on to this snow before you break from the strain? The small branches of the Swamp Willow have had the wintry breath of Jack Frost blow over them and are coated with a cacophony of frosty fingers all over each branch. Amidst all this frosty splendour I can see the odd bunch of red Dogwood which shimmers from within its icy prison. Such beauty takes my breath away.

Although all the plants have lost their foliage, the starkness of each twig, wild grass & tree against the purity of the white snow is breathtaking. The Queen Ann's Lace looks stately as it stands tall and shivers with the breeze, it beautiful gold colour stands out against the white snow.

A little further along, I see some disturbance in the snow .... I walk a little closer, it is deer prints and more than one deer has been here. Could they still be close .... maybe I am not the one who is visiting but am under close scrutiny by all the unseen creatures. They are ensuring I do not disturb their home. I hear a rustling above me and look up to see a red tailed hawk gracefully landing in the upper branches of a large chestnut tree.

Well, my toes and fingers are getting chilly, I think my imaginary journey this morning is over. Let's have a lovely fresh brewed cup of coffee with a dash of cream. Can you smell it brewing? I can. My taste buds are tantalized as I wait for the last drop to fall before I pour my cup.



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