Friday, November 30, 2007

365 update

I finally got my 365 challenge quilt entries updated this is a photo of some of my blocks ready to sew together. I had started working on the November entries a while ago, then got distracted with the MIL crisis and never got back to it until the end of the month. However, it is right up to date now and I am so happy about that.
I also have some fabric for the sashing and borders which fits perfectly with the theme of the quilt. The fabric is called "Letters from abroad" by Woodrow Studio. I'm sure there is also enough fabric for the binding and backing too, so I am all set to make more progress on this quilt.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good things come in threes

They say that good things come in was true for me today!
In today's mail I received my registration confirmation for Quilt Canada 2008! I am very excited about this trip becoming a reality, although it isn't until June of next year.
They have signed me up for the following workshops:
Stitch a Garden (raw edge applique) with Anne C. Morrell Robinson (from Nova Scotia)
Make Your Mark (Setacolour painting) with Margie Davidson (from Alberta)
Skylight: Painted Skies for Landscape (transfer dyes) with Valerie Hearder (from Nova Scotia)
And also today I received my first Christmas gift from my most organized friend! Isn't the wrapping just so beautiful?!?! Too pretty to open! But I did open it and then wrapped it back up again to put under the tree...whenever I get one! Can you guess what it is?!?
And I got good news about my mother-in-law. They discharged her from hospital on Monday because they "needed the bed". We were panicking here and my sister-in-law saved the day! She used her connections to obtain a 3 week placement at a senior's facility in Owen Sound, where my mother-in-law could get a thorough assessment. In the last month in our city nothing was accomplished in terms of diagnosis. In one day there, they got her assessed by a neurologist who is 100% sure that she had medication toxicity, and not a stroke. One medication (which should not be prescribed for old people) was too high a dose, and was a lethal mix with two of her other medications! What a relief to find out that not only is this something that is fixable, but they found out just in time, as this would have been lethal for her. What a great day this turned out to be!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ready and Waiting

I finished the pin basting on my scrappy Christmas quilt and got some bobbins wound. This is the thread I had decided on...King Tut beige thread (called "Sands fo Time") for the bobbins and Sulky "Antique Christmas" thread for the quilting on the top. I had just started the machine quilting when my husband called to tell me that he found my mother-in-law passed out on her bathroom floor. Her first stroke was 3 weeks ago, and the second one on Thursday night.
At least this time we know she didn't lay there long, because I had just taken her to a DR. appointment in the afternoon. She had the Lifeline necklace on, but couldn't press the button due to her weakness. I guess that getting the Lifeline was a good idea in theory, but didn't work out the way we had hoped. So she is back in hospital, weaker than the last time. Now she will be forced to make some hard decisions about her future because we just can't provide the amount of care she will need to stay in her home anymore.
So I am off to the hospital, with my hand stitching bag, and dreams of getting back to working on my Christmas quilt. Of course the mystery quilt is not a possibility for me now, but maybe you'll have time. Check it out here. I also discovered that Planet Patchwork is hosting a mystery on Sunday, but I had already decided that I wasn't going to do that one, since I couldn't understand the instructions/suggestions for fabric selection.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Carpenters Wheel Minis

In this week's mini quilt class I was teaching how to strip paper piece easy blocks using scraps. I will post some photos of this another time, but I wanted to show the wonderful quilts the students brought back from October's class. They pieced Carpenters Wheel blocks that finish at 10 1/2". I challenged the students to only use FQ's from their stash. Didn't they do a great job?!?! That is one of the things I love most about quilt classes is seeing the finished projects, and how happy the women are with their efforts.
I have been resisting any thoughts of starting the new mystery, and keeping the deal I made with myself! I have pieced the backing, and here is the photographic evidence that I have everything ready to pin baste! Tomorrow I plan to baste and quilt. I usually like to do a combination of stitch in the ditch and free motion quilting, so I'll start with the walking foot to stabilize everything and then see what happens next!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Let's Make a Deal

Sometimes I play this game with myself when I want to start a new project but know that I have too many UFO's and I really should not begin a new quilt. I make a deal with myself...if I finish something then I can start something new. So on the weekend I bought the batting, backing and binding for my Christmas quilt and plan to quilt it this week. And if I do that, my reward is that I get to start a new mystery by Merete Veian (read about it here). I already have pulled out fabrics from my stash in anticipation of starting. I wonder if I have enough self discipline to actually quilt the Christmas quilt before I start cutting and piecing the mystery?!?!

And I am one to talk!!! I taught a mini quilt class on the weekend and was encouraging the students to finish their monthly projects, even if they don't feel like they are loving the outcome. Even if the blocks are crooked or puckered or less than "perfect". Each finished quilt adds to and/or refines your skills. And mini quilts are the perfect excuses to practise your skills! Here are the adorable house quilts that were finished from the paper piecing class last month. Aren't they great ?!? The students had a choice of making 2" blocks or 1" blocks or to try both sizes. Most started with the 2" block and some brave souls made the 1" blocks too. And each finished project taught the quilter something new that they either will never do again, or that they want to do more of.
Anyway, I better practise what I preach and finish that Christmas quilt before I start a new repeat after me: "I will follow through on my deal with myself"!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

60 Degree Triangles

We have a light dusting of snow on the ground here, which always makes me feel like machine quilting a large quilt! So today I am going to buy a backing and batting for my Christmas quilt so that I can work on it that this week, and maybe even finish it in time for Christmas.
I have been slowly working away on a mini quilt series that was inspired by Libby on her blog called A Simple Girl. Her blog is not set up for me to link to the specific posts, but last summer (June 15, 2007) she posted about having fun with 60 degree triangles, and I really liked the little quilts she made using the triangles. I had been admiring my pretty "Reichard's Roll-Up" (2 1/2" strips of Batik fabrics) for a few months...I loved looking at it, but decided it was time to use it up. I cut the strips in half to 1 1/4" and sewed light strips to dark strips. Here is my pile of sewn strips waiting to be pressed. Then I cut the triangles and learned the "ins and outs" of working with the 60 degree angle. I tried all my various rulers and found that I preferred the 4" x 8" Omnigrid ruler for this job. Then I had a huge pile of triangles to play with. Here is one design that I might sew together. I am having so much fun with this step that I am not rushing myself to make any final decisions. It is truly a luxury for me right now to just relax with a cup of tea while I enjoy looking at my triangles, rearranging them and thinking of more ways to assemble them. When I stop enjoying this, I might actually start to sew something!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Girls Weekend Away

It was a difficult week taking care of my mother-in-law, who was discharged from hospital with no support services and no plan, other than to see her family doctor. The hospital staff told us they "waitlisted" her with home care and we would be called when they could assess her. So, we privately hired some staff from ParaMed, and we managed to cobble together a care plan that got her safely through the week. We also got her a Lifeline so hopefully she won't lie on the floor for more than 12 hours again if she has another stroke. Although my mother-in-law insists that staying in her own home is better for her (as opposed to moving to an assisted living facility), it sure is more nerve wracking for us. My husband and I remind ourselves constantly that "we can only do the best we can do".
On friday I taught a mini quilt class on working with fusible interfacing as a foundation. These are the finished minis that the students brought back from the last class (which was on paper piecing mini quilts). To give you an idea of size, each goose measures 1 1/2" x 3/4"! They did a great job!
After teaching, I "ran away from home" to enjoy a delightful visit with my sisters and my mom. We have had "girls weekend away" for several years, (click here for the blog about last year's trip) and this year we went to St. Jacobs, Ontario and stayed at the Jakobstettel Inn. The town was beautifully decorated for Christmas, and this quartet was singing Christmas Carols as we arrived at the inn. It was a little shocking to realize that it is already the middle of November and I had not yet given the Christmas season one minute of thought! It was a wonderful and relaxing time together...just what I needed.
I have been hand stitching block #5 of my "Journey of a Quilter". Earlier in the week I stitched the word "burdens" and was surely feeling the weight of that word. As I was stitching tonight, I came to the word "laughed" and was very thankful for all the laughter we had this weekend which will help me to survive the burdens of the weeks to come.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mystery Quilt Top

I had some wonderful quilting time on the weekend. My sister-in-law arrived from New Jersey to give us a much needed break from dealing with my mother-in-law. I got out my blocks from the "Ladies of the Evening" mystery class at Reichards that I attended two weeks ago (which turned out to be the night my MIL had her stroke). I had sewn half of the quilt top together in the class, and I got the rest finished on the weekend.
It is a large lap size and so I am not going to make it bigger with any borders. I love the scrappy look of this quilt and am looking forward to the machine quilting.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I survived Halloween

I was delighted to finish my son's costume in time for his class party. Here are the three musketeers! (My son is on the right).
He was happy with how the costume turned out so I was relieved! They each had the same big blue feather in their hats. I don't know where that sword came from that my son has in this photo...not from our house!
And here is my little Molly in her Santa costume...isn't she just the cutest?!?! She doesn't like dress up, so she quickly wiggled out of it.

My mother-in-law is making some progress in hospital. She has been transferred to the rehab floor, where she is driving the nurses (and me) crazy with demanding to go home. Visits are very trying. I have been taking my hand embroidery along, and because the room is dimly lit, I also take my Ott light. This is block #4 which is only partially finished. Instead of appliquing the hearts on the top block, I did a buttonhole stitch on the edges and like how it looks. I have a bit still to stitch on #4 and I have block #5 ready to stitch.
To see Darlene's Journey of a Quilter project click here. She did a wonderful job on her quilt and it is inspiring to see her quilt top already finished!