Sunday, December 24, 2017

Mis-using my quilting tools again - To Make a Pie

It's the day before our big Christmas dinner.   The turkey will be in the oven early to be ready for our mid-afternoon feast.   So that means my pie has to go in the oven 1 hour before the turkey.   To save time in the morning, today I've made Gesine's famous lattice top pie.  I will freeze the crust until tomorrow. In the morning, peeling the apples and assembling the pie will take about 10 minutes to do.   My little race will be to get it all assembled before the oven heats to 425.    We'll see about that.

You've seen me make these Gesine pies before, but what makes it easier now is using time saving tools.   The most important tool is my see-through quilters ruler.   It's actually a broken 18" quilting ruler that I couldn't bear to part with.   It snapped off years ago and is only 10 inches long now.    But turns out it's perfect for cutting strips for my Gesine pie.   I'm also using a pizza cutter like a rotary cutter to glide along the edge of the ruler.   All this makes the pie crust strip cutting so easy.   Gesine eyeballs her strips and cuts with a big knife.  I tried that with less success than she... the master of evenly cut lattice strips.

My old quilting ruler has a brand new importance and has a special place in my kitchen drawer now.    If you ever need to borrow, you know where I am.   

It's weird to see my quilting ruler
in with all my pie making dirty dishes.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Slightly Modern Baby Quilt

Again, my friend Margie made a baby quilt just like this one over a year ago.  It's a slightly modern pink/grey/black colors with a traditional chevron design using half square triangles.  I just loved it when I saw Margie's and thought the next baby girl quilt I  make is going to be like this one. 

I finished up this baby quilt this week.  It's for a colleague of my daughter.  She's having a baby girl in early April. There will be a staff baby shower in March and since I won't be here in March, I thought I'd better make it now.  Isn't it cute.  I have a little leftover bit of flannel from the back, so I thought I'd make a tag blankie or two to go with it. 

Do you see my little label?   I have been using them lately, but in the past, I have felt kind of shy to put them on my projects.  In the last year, I seem to have gotten over my shyness and have used them a lot this year on small gifts.       I'll be ordering more labels soon.  Maybe I'll try a different color this time.   

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Start of a Trail Mix Scrap Quilt

I first saw this quilt at our very own quilt show some 4 or 5 years ago.   It's called Trail Mix and it was done by my friend Margie.    She had just retired and moved here from Ontario.   I wish I had a photo to show you because it was marvelous.       It was made from a pattern published in an American Patchwork Magazine, and is now a freebee on their website.    Click here if you'd like to download it. 

It's a large quilt and it will need lots of scraps.   There will be more than 100 six inch blocks and there are 5 block types in this quilt.   I will do one block type at a time.   I'm excited to start this quilt because the pattern has been printed and has been sitting on my worktable for a whole year.   

Yesterday I finally got at it.  With my laundry basket of scraps, I pressed, cut, stitched, and pressed again the first set of 4 patch blocks.   It was the easiest block set to start out with.   There were about 35 blocks.     This week, I hope to get another set of blocks done.   It's the the triple patch block.  It's a lot more involved.    A multi-day effort for the 42 blocks that I need.   I hope to show you the completed blocks next Wednesday.     Stay tuned..

Here's my first set of blocks...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Presenting my Kitchen Sink Quilt

This quilt has been pieced and hanging in my closet for some time.   I  did a check on my blog to see if I mentioned it anywhere and found a reference to piecing it in 2010.   So it's about time it was finished.   Andrea Rennick from quilted this for me.  She did a fun freehand flower motif with fun curls and leaves in the borders.   This is the third quilt she has done for me this fall.   I just love the freehand style of quilting.

Well, everyone loves this quilt.  It's from the book Scrap Basket Surprises.  My sister loves it, and my daughter loves it.    But this Kitchen Sink quilt is staying in our newly revamped spare bedroom.  The kids are loving the new quilt, the new TV, and the new headboard.   It's a very cozy (non-crafty) room. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Little Finishes

I have an embroidery function on my two of my Pfaff sewing machines.  I have been holding off doing quilt labels for some time now.   What got me moving on them was a request from the quilters at St. Anthony's for a label or two.  It's good timing since I have had 3 quilt finishes lately and they should have labels too.   For me, machine embroidery not my favorite thing, so when I set up, I do all that I can.  I decided I would trudge through and get them done no matter what.    

After having troubles with my newer Pfaff, I set up my older Pfaff.  It worked like a charm.   Mind you it took me most of the day to do the embroidery because I don't like to leave the machine stitching stitching by itself.   You never know what can go wrong..  

So here they are, three for me and three for the church.  One of them is for a quilt they will finish in 2018 (I hope).     Tick - that little chore is off of my to-do list...

While doing all this embroidery, and in an effort to keep the thread bits down throughout my house, I finished off a little thread catcher that was a UFO.   It didn't take very long to finish.  I didn't use a pattern.   It was a made-up-as-you go project.  I did use a 3 x 6 inexpensive tile from the hardware store as an anchor.    And I used strapping from a large box for the heavy stuff used to keep the bag open.  Works like a charm...

Now I have two the same.  Both started a year or so ago, but only one was finished back then.  


Monday, November 20, 2017

Presenting my Winter Wonderland Quilt

And it's done just in time for this cold day a month before our official winter starts.  It's now hanging in my foyer.   Guests who drop by for a visit will be wowed by this quilt.  The pattern is by Crabapple Hill Designs.     Many thanks to Andrea Renick of for quilting it for me....     She took on my blue WW and freehand quilted swirls, snowy hills, snow people, snowballs and of course music notes.   I'm just delighted with all this totally custom freehand work she did. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cobbled Streets Shawl

This Cobbled Streets Shawl is a great exercise in making different knit/purl patterns in a single project.    I'm already on the 7th pattern of 14 stitch patterns, and row 100 of 200 rows.   I bought this single skein of local wool in Estonia this summer.   I've been itching to use it.   I know it's not enough for the whole shawl, and to finish my project, I intend to use a ball of fine alpaca from my stash.  But darn, I wished I had bought two skeins of this Estonia yarn.   My big dilemma now is  ...  do I use the alpaca in the center of the shawl like it was intentional, or on the end.   Hmm... I'll have to give it some thought.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My New Quilt Ladder

It's taken me a whole week to make.   After shopping for wood, my hubby cut the wood to the exact sizes that I needed.   It took days to paint a couple of coats, then varnish a couple of coats, then to let dry.    Hubby put it together for me yesterday.   I'm so pleased.   For now, I've just put all the projects that were hanging on hangers, banisters etc, on the ladder to test it out.  It's perfect. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Simply Stitched Table Runner

By the first photo, I'll bet you can tell what I'm doing this morning.   Binding.     I taught a class to the Oromocto Quilters Guild on Saturday.   The class was about free motion quilting on your home sewing machine..   Its a very satisfying class to teach.   It wasn't very long before the participants were all just stitching away at various designs.    

It was a lovely day with these girls, and while I did a bit of stitching for demonstrations, it wasn't very much.   Well, that night, mind kind of stitched all through the night, if you know what I mean.  

Yesterday morning, I woke with a plan to scratch my stitching itch, I whipped up an easy and simple table runner out of 4.5 inch batik blocks.   It wasn't long before I was doing some simple stitching.  After finishing up all the stitching, and squaring up, I prepared the binding.   The binding would wait until today.   It's one of my favorite parts of doing a project.

I'll use this runner as a sample when I teach my next free motion class.    Next Saturday!
I'm adding my binding to the back. 
Then I'll stitch down with my Pfaff Bi-level foot.
  I love binding with that foot.    . 

I love the gentle curved effect.  This is the orange peel design.
Not much marking is needed.
Just a dot to note the middle of the square.

This is the overall look of the runner.I chose medium fabrics.
 I tried to do a random placement of the squares. 
It is sort of random, but there is a non-obvious pattern.
Do you see it?

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Quilty Woodworking Project

My quilting projects have taken me to the garage.   Wood, paint, sanding, varathane.  Got a couple of coats of paint on before the rain started.  It's now raining.  Coats of paint are taking longer than usual to dry.   Check back in a couple of days to see what I've made.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

An Alligator Wallet and a Teacher Gift

I'm tidying up my sewing room.   Like many of you, I have partly made projects.    This week I finished up two small projects that have been taking up valuable space on my ironing board. 

Aurora mentioned to me that she would like to give her teacher a pencil case gift for Christmas.   I asked her to write a note and put it on my sewing machine, so that I wouldn't forget.    So I stitched the pencil case and it's all ready to bring to her next time we visit.   I love it when a kid enjoys giving a gift.

 I'm playing with different wallet fabrics again.   I couldn't resist this red alligator plastic leather... pleather.  It was quite thin so I figured why not.   Sure enough, one of my kiddos, has claimed it...   I'll give it to her in her Christmas package.   

Friday, October 20, 2017

Crossroads Table Runner

I just love this 3-block table runner.   It's called Crossroads from the book Town Square.  I made one for my sister last year and I just loved making it.   It looks like a complicated block, but it's not.    This runner was made for a friend who has a new cottage by a river in a small community not far from here.   She has a large dining room table, and I knew this would be perfect.    It's quilted simply with my walking foot.   Simple is good. Done is better!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Presenting my ABC Quilt

I'd like to present to you, my ABC quilt.   The pattern is by Janet Stone.   It was a block of the month program by the Quilt Show a couple of years ago.  It was quilted by Andrea Renick.

It's been hanging in my closet waiting for the quilting to be done.   I saw Andrea Rennick's freehand quilted quilts at the Keswick Quilt Show a couple of weeks ago, and I knew that's what I wanted for this quilt.    Andrea finished it in record time, and left me some little surprises in the quilting.   So far, I've found the spider, the kite, and the dragonfly.  I love my curly little sheep.   Last evening at the guild meeting, she said "Did you find the Cat?"  It shocked me.  There's a cat in my Quilt?   I thought I had all the little "Easter Eggs" so I was surprised to know that there is still a cat hidden in my quilt.  Today, I'm looking for the little cat and it has still not revealed itself.  If you spot the cat, don't tell me where it is.  I want to find it myself.   

Thanks Andrea, for the fantastic job on my ABC quilt.      Here are some closeups for you to see the fun details..

See the Dragonfly

Curly Sheep

Spider and webs

Woodgrain and Happy Trees

The quilting around the Q look like little q's.
Happy Sunshine and Sheep

The Kite with a looooong string. 
 I also love the plaid quilting in the block.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Mini Boston Bag

This little bag is a Mini Boston Bag.   I found the pattern pieces on a Pinterest link the other day.   I loved the shape.    After printing off the pattern, it was time to give it a try.   It's a Japanese pattern.  I figured out measurements and made up what I didn't know.   There's not much in the way of instructions, but work at it, and you'll figure it out..  So, this is a scrappy prototype you might say.  I love little bags and will find some some sewing and quilting notions to store in it.  I really like it.  I may try to find a larger Boston Bag pattern to give it a try.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Four Strong Winds

That song has been in my head all weekend.  If you want a super fast, but showy fall runner, this might just be the project for you.  This was made last minute for Thanksgiving.   Now while I was in a hurry to make it, and finished it before our big turkey dinner, it never was actually put on the dinner table.  Because it was very light cream/white, and thinking of gravy, cranberry jelly, etc, it actually just hung it on the wall.   


As I was making it and quilting those curvy lines, I was humming/singing the song, "Four Strong Winds" in my head.   Our walking trails are exactly like this.  Leaves of every shape and color lie on the ground, especially after a windy rainfall.     

This design is by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft.   Her tutorial uses designs for your Silhouette fabric cutter.   I just loved making this very easy project, and it was so quick, I just might make another.   

Friday, October 6, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's fun to prepare for a big family Thanksgiving dinner.   On Sunday, we will be 10 for supper.   There will be a big turkey with all the fixings.    I've been working off a to-do-in-advance list.  The groceries are bought; the day-old bread has been cut up to dry for stuffing.   I'll be making two pies for desert so I've made the pie crusts and froze them ahead of time.  On Sunday, they'll be filled and put into the oven early. before the Turkey has to go in.    So, now we just have to wait for Sunday.  I'm so looking forward.

And you've seen my fabulous lattice pies recently.  I did prepare one of those for Sunday, but I've also made this simple single pie crust for the pumpkin pie.  It will have oak leaves and acorns all around the pie crust edge.   I've never done one like this before, so I'm experimenting a bit and excited to see how it cooks.  

Well, we have a lot to give Thanks for this weekend.  
Good Health,  A Loving Family, Wonderful Friends and Neighbours and A Great Harvest.

Let me be the first to wish you all 
a Wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Chow Chow - Hildred Mitchell's Recipe


1/2 pot  or more (big blue boiler) of sliced tomatoes and green onions.
2 handfuls of salt.  

mix in salt.  Put a dinner plate on top, and let sit over night.

In the morning, drain.
3 cups sugar
1/2 quart of vinegar, or tip until you can see the vinegar.
3 bags of pickling spice.

Taste and cook all morning.   Bottle.

It's October 1st.   Same day last year, we were doing the same thing.  Making Chow Chow.  We've been planning to make these for a couple of weeks now.   We dropped into the community gardens veggie stand yesterday and bought 11 pounds of green tomatoes.  We were lucky because normally they don't sell that many tomatoes to just one person, but we helped take out a row of frost bitten tomato plants and harvested about 20 pounds of green.   Since they should be used right away, she let me buy 11 lbs.    We were glad to get them...

Now using my husbands mother's recipe that we were able to get from our niece Brenda, we cut up our big pot full of green tomatoes and onions to make the chow.    We put a plate on top of the salted sliced veggies to weight them down overnight. 

Today is the day we cook.     After draining, rinsing and adding vinegar, spices and sugar, we are simply instructed to cook all morning and bottle.   If you think of cooking in the '50's, and 60's, more than likely, the recipes were cooked on a wood stove.   My husband said this was the case in his childhood home.   This would have simmered all morning on the wood stove.

I wonder who in the Mitchell family has the "Big Blue Boiler" pot. It must have been a big pot.  I am using my large Paderno stock pot, and it's pretty big.     I think of how busy she must have been in the fall.  Preparing pickles and other preserves from the fall harvest in her garden.   Of the 13 kids, she would have had at least 6 or 7 at home.  My husband was the youngest.  I expect she might have made several batches of chow.   All the family talk fondly of eating this with potatoes..

Today's yield.  8.5 pints.
I would add this note to the recipe.  

Stir often to prevent scorching! 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Don't Do this!

I've had a really nice spool of Invisafil fine thread for some time now.   I've been wanting to try to use it on a small project to see how it works.    After last weekends guild autumn themed strip swap, I thought I'd use Lee's square in a square block design to make a quick 24 x 24 table runner. Then I would quilt it and try out the fine thread.   

Turns out it was a bit of a disaster.   I couldn't figure out why.   The thread broke over at least dozen times.  No matter how slow I stitched, it broke.  After it broke for the third time, I decided I have too much time invested to rip out.  I continued on.     I tried giving the thread more space, by moving the spool away and give it a long guide... like 5 feet....  Still not better.   

I persevered.   It's done.     I looked at the end of the spool.    No wonder I had trouble.   It's 100 weight.   Darn.   I knew it was thin, but I thought it was 60 or 80 wt.    No wonder I had troubles.  Gesh. 

After all that, I do like it.  I wanted the quilting to just be subtle.   It's quilted in an apple core although it's hard to tell because of the fine thread.