Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Saturday 25 June 2011

Many Hands Make Light Work

We've added four more "hands" to the workforce. Polly has had an exhausting few days. She has taken on the responsibility of overseeing every single thing that takes place in the household. If it moves, Polly is on it. Here she is checking out my quilting, making sure the stippling around the feathers is even.
She tested the strength of the batting to ensure it did not pull apart easily by tugging on the edges with those sharp teeth. She likes this batting very much; youngest says it is because it's Polly-ester...
Yesterday she helped eldest son and I stain the deck rails. Shortly afterwards, she had her first bath.
At the end of the day, Polly is more than ready for a cat nap. I am sure she wonders how we managed all of these years without her. And we do too.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Stealth Quilting

I am working on a surprise quilt for a member of this household, so all work has to be done on the Q.T. Shhhhh...
I've found that if I mix the starch in the kitchen at dinnertime, everyone assumes I am making something extra special for our meal. I like to starch the back and the top of the quilt before basting. This backing fabric is a Maywood Studio print purchased at Dayle's last week. It was an already reasonable price per metre, plus they had a store-wide 15% off and no tax; you can't beat Dayle's for great prices on quality lines.With hubby's help, the quilt got pin basted in the wee small hours of Sunday morning while others slept. This was the first time hubby has been conscripted to baste; I don't think he was impressed. (Pay back time for some of those early morning bee capers he takes me on, I'd say *-)
I am free motion quilting the logs in the ditch. Well...mostly in the ditch. I'm AIMING for the ditch, put it that way; sometimes I get knocked off-track...
Like Cato in the Pink Panther movies, Polly appears at lightning speed out of nowhere to zoom across the end of the quilt. (Would this make it a "cat"-0 attack? *-).
(Please note: No animals were harmed in the making of this quilt! No need for horrified gasps that Polly's little paws may get caught under the sewing machine needle. Polly is NOT allowed in the room while the machine is running. Her inspections of the quilt are done only when the machine is turned off!)

Tuesday 21 June 2011

We Have A New Baby!

My blogging has been a bit sparse lately, mostly due to ongoing computer issues with the new machine (we should be fixed soon, as about the only thing left to replace is the motherboard...). I have begged and borrowed computer usage, currently doing the latter (Lynn to the rescue again *-). Truth to tell, there has also been another distraction in our household. Meet Polly, the newest addition to our family.I arrived back from a weekend out of town in May to find a food dish and litter box...and a huge grin on my youngest son's face. The kitten followed him home late one night as he was walking from a friend's. She was in the middle of the street when he first saw her, shivering, scared, and crying - imagine this little baby out in the dark alone. We've had her a month now and she's grown considerably, both in physical size and in our hearts. We canvassed the neighbourhood and ran ads on the radio but no one claimed the kitten, so...she's ours. Youngest named her Polly as she has the annoying habit of climbing up your back (with needle sharp claws)to sit on your shoulder, like a parrot. We're working to break her of that. Polly is full of kitten silliness and energy and runs and tears until she drops. She is very happy in her new home.She has a keen interest in quilting so I know she will be a valuable addition to the sewing room.

Sunday 19 June 2011

The Long Arm of the Longarmer

Friday I had the pleasure of meeting someone with whom I have been "friends" for many years. Award-winning longarm quilter Jacqueline Pohl of The Vintage Quiltery in Gladstone, Manitoba made a trip east and we finally met. I enjoyed the day a great deal. She brought this funky-patterned bag which will be terrific for carrying quilts. It's got lots of pockets inside and out -I love it!
I'm not sure exactly when I first connected with Jacquie, but it was long ago enough that she was one of the very first - and very best - long arm quilters around, and worth it to courier quilts half-way across the country to her. Over the years she has quilted many quilts on her Gammil for me which appeared in numerous books and magazines. The Log Canada quilt which is pictured in the heading of this blog was quilted by Jacqueline Pohl; it toured the Houston quilt shows in the O Canada exhibit 2 years' ago and also appeared in the book Canadian Heritage Quilting. Jacquie also quilted the cover quilt for this book, Gram's Baptist Fans. We spent a wonderful day together. I showed her a top I am about to start quilting and she offered suggestions on how she would quilt it - then offered to take it home and do it! I turned her down as I didn't think it fair to send her home with work, but it was tempting. She is heading back with some very interesting souvenirs of her trip to the Maritimes, though...including lots of pictures of the tin ceilings of Dayle's Department Store.

Sunday 12 June 2011

A Busy Bee Weekend

We have been out checking on the blossoms and the bees. The blueberries are still in flower so the bees will enjoy their nectar for a bit longer. With hives spread over four different fields, it takes awhile to visit them all.
In some areas, it is necessary to protect the hives with electric fencing which needs to be deactivated before we can get in to check the bees. It always makes me nervous but it's better than having the colonies ransacked and destroyed by hungry bears. Most bears don't get that gentle "rumbly in my tummy" like Winnie The Pooh...I love the colour of blueberry fields; the red is Sheep Sorrel.
We've had a few glorious days of sunshine and the bees are taking full advantage of the weather.

Monday 6 June 2011

Off Topic

I don't often post family news on this blog, trying to keep it mostly to quilting (with a bit of beekeeping thrown in for good measure.) However, the closing concert band performances at ARHS yesterday were superb and deserve mention. The graduating members of the band are shown above; one of them just happens to belong to us :)

Sunday 5 June 2011

Does It Come In Red?

I've been stitching out sample motifs for the N.S. Fibre Arts free motion workshop in a variety of colours. Green, white and cream all came out very pretty so I decided it was time to try it in red. I found a lovely bright red Kona solid in my stash which was perfect. For the pastel shades, I was able to simply place the fabric on the design and trace the lines with a water soluble marker. It did not show through the red however, so I had to transfer the markings in an alternate way. As with everything else, there are a myriad of ways I could have done this, but I chose to make a stencil of the design as I will be stitching this several more times. To make the stencil, I traced my design onto plain white bond paper using a Sharpie marker.
I fitted an old, dull 100/16 needle in the unthreaded machine and stitched through the lines.

I pinned the stencil in the centre of my fabric and rubbed a "pounce" filled with white powder across the stencil. The powder goes through the holes and marks the fabric.
It's fast and easy and the stencil may be used over and over. The powder is an iron-off type so it is easy to remove, and yet stays in place during quilting.
With the fabric now layered and basted, it was time to choose a thread colour. These are some of the Wonderfil Konfetti 50 wt. cotton threads which I received last week. I am tempted to use the off-white as I like a lot of contrast in my work, but decided that the red shade was different enough from the fabric that it would show nicely.
I like it.
Just a bit more filler quilting in the background and this will be finished.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Going Postal

Or not..? With the impending mail strike in Canada, that seems to be the million dollar question: do we mail our letters and packages, or wait until things are settled? Postal strikes are particularly hard on small mail-order business owners such as myself who depend on Canada Post for their delivery service. If you are considering ordering patterns, you may be in for a bit of a wait. (or not...)
I have resisted "going postal" on this new computer, which has been one problem after another since its arrival here a couple of months' back. Oddly, I am resigning myself to accept the daily crashes and refusals to boot. I have come to expect that it won't work properly. The installation of a new graphics card on Thursday was greeted with much anticipation as the solution to the problems but the euphoria was short-lived as it started again after two days of good behavior. My household back-up choices for online work include an iPod Touch, a tiny netbook, a wii and a Nintendo DS. Thank heavens for all of them...and for glasses which allow me to see the tiny keys on these devices! If I am slow responding to email, please be patient.