Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Free motion stitching, majestic mountains and baby blocks

Last night we got about 8” of light snow blown around by winds. It’s still windy out so not a great day for walking even though the sun is out.

After moving my car out of the driveway for our plow and running an errand, I spent most of the afternoon in my studio. I free motion  stitched another section of the ferns and lace piece.

I really like the colors in this piece and I think it will look nice in my living room. I’m currently knitting this afghan in my favourite color right now.

After this, as my shoulders and upper back need a rest so I switch tasks.

I stitched 2 blocks for my next baby quilt with the turquoise outside strip that works as a sort of sashing just to see how it will work. Nice I think.

Meanwhile, I have only 5 blocks left on the majestic mountains quilt.  This is one section. It’s hard to get a good pic with the full sun shingling in today.

I thought I’d show a bit of the process. First step is to sew 2 different patterned 8 1/2”squares together on the diagonal, making half square triangles.

They get pressed open and trimmed to 8” square.

They’re put right sides together with the prints opposing and then cut into 2” strips.

I sew it together in sections.

If you want something more detailed, you will find several tutorials on line, particularly the one by Bonnie Hunter. This is a fun quilt block; one that I haven’t tired of which I often do by the end. It will be a bit picky to match all the seams as I sew the rows together. I will press opposing seams though, so it should help. The end result will be worth it, I think.

Because of my arthritis and my herniated discs in my back I need to exercise to keep moving and build strength. It must be gentle though. Today, since it was too gusty to walk, I went down to the rec room to do some rowing and my few exercises. I break the rowing into 2 - 7 minute rows and do a set of exercises after each. I do the ones I’ve circled, usually about 8 reps. I started with only about 5minutes of rowing and one set of 5 reps of each exercise and have slowly built up which is important with any health issues.

I’m scheduled for another spinal injection in a few weeks. I’ve had one which was very successful enabling me to walk, snowshoe and exercise as I am now. 
We’re supposed to go and babysit our 3 yr old grandson, Ollie at the end of March when my daughter goes for a c section to have her second little boy so I want to be in shape!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Thread lace, scrap blocks, binding, thread lace

This morning I made a small lunch with a thermos of hot chocolate to carry with us on a small snow shoe trip. In the end we didn’t find what we were looking for but it was a beautiful day and we were out for an hour and a half.
This is a winter tamarack. I always think the little cones look like small roses.

This week, I finished my commission chickadee piece and  I gave the client her choice out of the 2 that I’ve done.

Feeding the Chickadees, 11 1/2” by 13 1/2” each.

My favourite was the 2nd one and that’s the one she bought.

For the rest of the week I rested  some after retreat and did what I felt like doing. I haven’t finished the free motion work on this piece yet. 

I did experiment with some thread lace which I may (or not) use on it when it’s finished. 

The one on top was done with a Unique brand solvable stabilizer and did not rinse out well. The smaller one was a Sulky brand which all rinsed away. I’ll try making more of these.

I’ve been spending time in the rocker in my sunny studio every afternoon doing some handwork. The baby quilt is almost finished, stitched with a utility stitch using perle cotton. Yesterday, at my UFO day, I cut the binding for it.

I also cut about 30 scrappy rectangles that I’m going to use for another simple baby quilt.

I’ve done a rough little sketch of the plan. This week I’ll look for the outside strips which make a sort of self sashing.

I hope you’re creatively enjoying your Sunday in your own way. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Our guild retreat

Last Thursday night, I seemed to be getting a sore throat and didn’t feel great. I thought I would miss retreat; however, after a good nights sleep I felt fine and decided to go. Only problem was we were in the midst of a snow storm and my husband was away in Labrador. I packed as sparsely as I could. I needed the CPAPP, medications, overnight bag, my chair, projects and my machine. With a bad back and 6” or so of snow down it was difficult.  We were only a few km’s from my home though but still it was a feat. 

Once there, I didn’t have to leave until today (Sunday). Our retreats are held at the resource center behind the college which used to be a nun’s residence. The rooms are tiny and sparse - just big enough for a single bed, a small dresser, IKEA rocker and a sink.

We only go there to rest or at night and surprisingly I find its simplicity quite comfortable and cozy. Can’t say I’d like to live there as the nuns would have though.

All our meals and snacks are prepared for us; all we have to do is sew and rest and eat, lol. At night I would watch a downloaded movie on my IPad while knitting in my room or I read. I think there were about 38 of is making for lots of chatting and laughter.

That is my spot on the left.

This is my quilt. It may end up as 5 blocks by 8 or bigger depending on if I decide on a border or not. Also, I finished a couple small things, my chickadee for one, which I’ll take pic of this week.

Here are a few other quilts in progress.

I came home around 1:30 on today.  Hubby came over to help me load the car. This was the scene at home.

I unpacked some, took a walk, showered and now I’m resting.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Snow day sewing

I’m not averse to a cozy snow day  spent inside cooking and sewing. The timing of this one isn’t great though. I’m all packed for a retreat -it’s piled at the door - starting tomorrow morning and I’m not sure how bad it’ll be to get out. It’s not far from home though, but the second problem is that I could be coming down with the sore throat again. It’s quite like the one I just had that didn’t seem bad at first and then soon developed into a nasty chest cold. Not only do I want to look after myself, but also, I wouldn’t want to pass anything on to others.

For now I’m doing a bit of free motion stitching on this piece that I’ve had out together for some time. The colours will really suit my living room right now.


I’m using a solid green on the foliage as I’m not sure I like the effect of the variegated pink/purple on the flower head. That often happens with variegated depending on the length of the colours.

I could switch to a solid plum for the rest.

I particularly like this block.

I also did the little bit of meander quilting on this small piece that is going to be used for a needle case. 

I’m heading out shortly to pick up some oregano oil. Have you heard of it or tried it? I’m told it’s an effective natural antibiotic so I’m willing to give it a try.
Then I have a CT scan around 4:30. I’m hoping the snow doesn’t add up much while I’m in the hospital. After that I’ll hunker down at home and see what the morning brings, health and weather wise.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Winter days and chickadees

It’s been a while. Sometimes the mundane things I do and the rhythm of my days seem to be not so interesting and I put off writing. I’m sure your days develop in much the same way if you’re at home as I am. I take my time getting up and getting breakfast before starting the wash, maybe starting supper, and sometimes running a quick errand (which I did this morning) or heading to the studio a quick errand. 

Chilli is simmering for supper and at lunch I threw together a small blueberry rhubarb crumble. I use a Becel, whole wheat flour, a little coconut palm sugar, cinnamon, oats and a dash of maple syrup, all done ad lib.

It’s partly sunny although a bit cold and blustery today.  I’m opting to work inside and perhaps do a little rowing downstairs later.

After lunch I headed back to the studio and  I finished a few little free motion details on the chickadees and cut one away from the background cotton. Before it gets stitched onto the piece, I will paint the edge to match the feather colours.

I’m going to use the 2 different sizes of my snowflake screens (my own design) to print on Some snowflakes. I did the first layer in a turquoise color.

Next I’ll do some larger white ones. Also, I have this stamp made with glue and cardboard that I’ll use to print winter branches.

When I’m finished my painting and stitching, I’ll row and then I can return to the studio where I’ll sip some tea while doing some hand work. I’m enjoying having my rocker there in the corner.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Stitching chickadees

Hubby and I both saw a doctor yesterday and were prescribed prednisone and antibiotics. We contracted a nasty respiratory virus at about the same time and suffered the exact same symptoms which have dragged on and on. Talk about togetherness!
Today, although coughing lots which is a good thing, our energy is up and we’re feeling better. Thank goodness!

It’s a damp day, a prelude to the snow coming in later tonight and tomorrow. Definitely a good time for the studio. 

Finally, I finished all the stitching on the birches. The blue berries actually belong to a wildflower found in our wooded areas called the Blue Bead Lily.

It needs only the backing and binding which are ready to go. Yippee!

I was happy to move onto the chickadees that I so love, beginning by using coloured pencils to add some base colour. It gives me something to follow when I’m stitching as well as providing a background colour that could show behind my stitching rather than white. I brush on a thin coat of fabric medium.

I back it with a layer of stiff interfacing and once it’s dry and ironed, it’s ready to stitch.

I’m not concerned about any of the background wrinkles as these will be trimmed away and the chickadees will be applied to another piece of work. These are only a few inches in size and require a little more  attention and slower free motion movement than most of my pieces. It’s important for me to adhere to my time limits also for my back. I feel happy at this point; I’ve gotten a good start.

When it’s time to rest, I put my feet up and pull out my knitting.  The latest is one of my favourite hat patterns with Noro yarn.