Monday, 28 February 2011

Woot Woot!

Hey all - great news! I'm up to 503$ raised by selling raffle tickets for the Disaster Relieve Quilt for Doctors Without Borders! I started selling on February 16th, so I'm stunned that I reached my goal (500$) so quickly.

This photos was taken at my guild meeting the night I started selling - here you can finally see my unusual borders :)

You can read more about the story behind those borders here and more about the benefit raffle here!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Jen's Tree ready to quilt

Phew, top all done, added a leaf (burgundy) to the right side of the tree to balance it a bit more and one more that is tumbling down from the tree on the right - I'll add a "falling" line during quilting.

I used almost every last scrap of fabric on the back to come up with this random assortment of squares and stripes (not ironed in this picture).

I then had to buy more safety pins as I didn't have enough to baste this monstrosity - now it's ready for quilting, and I just need a bit of a stretch of time to get going on it, then I can chip away at it throughout March!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Circular Grid

UFO #2 and #3: How about using up two UFOs at once? (I got this idea from Crispy, who put orphan 9-patch block around orphan house blocks ;)

I didn't have anything good for a border to my convergence experiment. I also didn't want a whole quilt of circles with my drunkard's path blocks, but together, I quite enjoy the result:

I will piece some scrappy blocks for the spare places as I've used up all the fabric pieces for the drunkard's path block. I love how I managed to match some of the border blocks to the convergence fabrics, e.g. the yellow on the right, so that it looks continuous!
I guess the blocks are no longer used in the drunkard's path pattern, so this will be "Circular Grid". I'm going to have fun quilting this!!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011


Time to deal with some UFOs!

I put some very simple, yet perfectly matching borders around the sample I made for my beginner's quilt class two years ago.

This Hawaiian fabric matches wonderfully and loosens up the symmetry of the center disappearing 9-patch pattern. I highly suspect that the fabric isn't 100% cotton (I bought it at a liquidation sale for 2$/m), the weave looks weird. It also ran like crazy when I pre-washed it, but this might be a nice wall-hanging to spice up a dull room :) It makes me dream of going to Hawaii (there are island scenes printed in black lines on the red background), so I'm calling it Hawaiian Dream. It's about 30" x 40".

Jen's Tree quilt (see right panel for picture) is ready for quilting, yay! I had to buy extra pins to baste it... another biggy at 75" x 100".

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Disaster Relief Quilt

So, as mentioned in my last post, my plans for the Disaster Quilt have changed, from crumpling it into the garbage bin during the piecing process to loving it so much after the quilting was finished that I've decided to raffle it off with all benefits going to Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers/ So the Disaster Quilt is now a Disaster Relief Quilt!

I've always admired MSF's work, sending doctors and other medical staff to conflict zones around the world to bring medical aid to people in need. I love that this organization is independent and helps anyone in need. I donated to them last fall for the Pakistan Flood Appeal, so now I'm getting their newsletters, of course. One of the stories I read really pointed out how limited some places are regarding the available medical equipment.

In brief, a doctor from Ottawa, Canada, went to an African country with MSF, while her husband started a residency in pediatrics on Baffin Island, in Canada's north. She wrote about an emergency case of her husband's, a little kid that was helicoptered to Ottawa and put on a respirator to survive. Around the same time, the MSF doctor had a very chick child in her care, but couldn't even determine what the problem was since no x-ray or ultrasound machine was available, so they had to treat one of several possible afflictions, hoping that it was the right one. The child died not long after. So here we are, complaining about wait times at the doctor's office, while in some countries, there might not be a doctor, or you have to walk twice as long as we spend waiting here, just to get to the doctor's, plus some wait time on top of that.

Well, suffice it to say, while I can't work for MSF as a doctor (since I am not a Dr) and can't give all my money away to charity (not the type), I *can* and love to quilt and I'll gladly spend the time selling raffle tickets.

So two weeks ago, as this plan was taking shape, I started power quilting the quilt to get it done. Then last week, I contacted MSF with a proposal, set up a blog ( to promote the raffle and went all around town setting up sale dates. I'm also now the proud owner of a lottery license :) My goal is to raise 500$, which means I have to sell 250-300 tickets.

I know that none of this applies to any of my readers, since you're all far away and won't be here to buy tickets, plus you all have tons of your own beautiful quilts :)

I guess I just wanted to share, since that's what a blog is for, and also because this raffle is taking up most of my time these days! :)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Tables Have Turned!

I am SO glad I didn't stipple my Disaster Quilt! It's actually growing on me again and I now have a very special plan for it - I've been working on that plan for the past 2 weeks and will let you know soon what it is!

Here are some progress shots from the quilting progress. I started by quilting a straight line down the center of each diagonal purple chain in the triple Irish chain (sorry, I don't have any new whole quilt shots), just to hold everything together. That was hard work, because of my small machine and the long straight lines (done with a walking foot of course).

Then I started doodling to come up with a fantastic design for the white spaces, something a little less intense but along the lines of what Joan does (e.g here and here) and the awesome doodles by Jill (e.g. here and here). Well, I got pretty frustrated, because my own doodles didn't look awesome like Joan's and Jill's on the first try (go figure, haha!). I thought, there must be a better way, so I went to my little quilt stop around the corner and found a stencil, which likely was the right size - I found that out at home as I hadn't thought to measure my space *grins*. Sound familiar???

I started marking the circle with my water soluble purple Singer pen. I was scared to used it at first, and couldn't find the exact fabric I used for piecing to test it, so at first, I used a chalk pencil, but I don't like using those, they are slow for marking as the colour grey I have is so light, I have to draw a line several times before it's visible.

To add a little bit of an improv and personal touch, I added some plumes to each corner of the white space, free-hand:

Then it was off to my little Singer and the free-motion foot. I have to admit, that I found the quilting of the feather circles very easy. The shapes just flowed, good size for free-motion quilting shapes! This video tutorial by Green Fairy Quilt really helped, I think it made the big difference between success and frustration, because the order in which I quilted the feathers before wasn't working for me).

I started getting pretty confident with my stitch length too, yay!
As before, when I sprayed the finished design with my water bottle, the purple pen just jumped right out, scary moments, and they were still scary 12 blocks later! :)

The result is well worth the scare though!

I varied the center fill in every block - almost ran out of ideas in the end. I only quilted this design in every second block as I wanted to have the quilt a bit less uniform.

For the second block, I did design my own stencil, just using cardboard. I quilted a 3/4" grid behind it, and now wish I hadn't, but because it was easier to quilt the grid in one motion with the design, and I did a few blocks before I decided it may have been a bad move, there's no way I'm going back to opening all the grids up again... But who knows, this might grow on me too, and the grid runs in the same direction as the Irish chain, so that might work. I did the quilting in about 4 intense days, "power-quilted" you might say! In fact, my marking pen is nearly empty, yikes!

The back, especially the purple, shows the quilting really well:

I'll leave you with wintery pictures from earlier this week in PEI:
Is snow removal done like this where you live too? Here on PEI, the snow is pushed to the center of the road, then a snowblower comes along (you can see the snow shoot out in the photo above) and a truck slowly drives along next to it, getting filled up (the one above is full, so the snow-chute is turned back to the center). Then the full trucks (about one ever 2 min) car the snow out of town (to a field??? Not the harbour anymore, I think, because of pollution concerns) and comes back empty.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Pitch for a Benefit Auction

Amy over at Diary of a Quilter posted about a good cause the other day: an auction to help her friend Jenny pay for medical bills of her leukemia treatment.

I read the post and thought, well, that sucks, but I don't know the person, have no connection to her and many people need help in the world, where does it stop? I also do quite a bit of charity work already, foster children in Africa and South America, Global Parent with UNICEF, fundraising for Doctor's Without Borders and occasional donations to WWF - it adds up.

For some reason, I clicked on the link to Jenny's blog and started reading the recent posts. Then I went to the archive and looked at the first posts. I discovered that this blog is not an "illness only" blog - Jenny started it years before she was diagnosed with leukemia. That was the first thing stopping me in my tracks (in addition to her being a young woman like me) - cancer can happen to anyone, anytime. Reading Jenny's regular posts about her plans, travel dreams, sluggish progress with her PhD thesis and having fun with friends made me think that it's not much different from my personal blog for friends and family. What if starting tomorrow, there'll be a 5 month posting break on my blog and the next blog talks about visitation rules at the hospital and how the first round of chemo is going? That is a scary and sobering thought. One thing that really struck me was Jenny's attitude: she's always smiling, no matter how tired and sick she looks - I know, I know, blogs are edited to keep the negative stuff out, but something shines through, a tough spirit that is fighting to the last. Gosh, I don't even know this person... I guess I'm trusting my gut feeling.

I browsed/read through almost all of Jenny's blog and by the end of it felt compelled to contribute. So I'm donating my pink zigzag baby quilt to the auction which will be held on Feb 14-15 (very soon!). People can still donate items until Feb 12th (Saturday!) and it can be anything as long as you're willing to ship it to the winner (you can restrict the destinations).

There are very interesting prizes up on the auction blog (no pun intended, though it's a neat one - auction block/blog) already, including photo sessions, quilts, food, jewelry, knitted hats and a cool 4 person trip to a hot destination...

If this cause interests you/moves you, hop on over to the auction blog, donate an item or bid or not, whatever you feel like! Hopefully, should I ever be in such a situation, I will have friends to help me out, as well...

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

And the winner is... picked Free Indeed, who commented
As a child, I thought I was going to be a scientist and be one of the first to colonize the moon...when I dreamed, I dreamed BIG!!!! Now, I don't think so....:)
I have a nephew that worked in Alaska for a year with sled dog teams. He loved his time there...this fabric would make a great keepsake quilt for him.
Couldn't be more fitting, eh? There were a few entries with connections to Alaska - which is great - I love when fabric goes to such good use :)

Thanks everyone for entering! Without you, I'd never have reached 10,000 page views (though I'm aware that many of you probably only stopped by for the give-away and will never come again - no harm done :) I appreciate the visit, and who knows, maybe some of you will be back another day...).

Interestingly, only 21% of you would want to go to the moon! I wouldn't have expected that...

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Try Leslie's Fudge Balls!

Did any of you see Leslie's recipe for Fudge Balls the other day? I copied it down and finally had time to make them - they turned out perfectly! I didn't believe they'd stay round while baking, but they did! Awesome! I made sure they turned out okay by tasting 3, ehm, 5 balls. And one more before bed, in case they changed since coming out of the oven. Oh, and a couple this morning, cause you never know...

Make these, they're awesome!

Oh, and this is a quilting blog, so I'll include a quilt, too :) I was actually super productive on Saturday, doing something with quilts that have been waiting forever to be... well, made into quilts. I'll just show you one today, since you're probably already drooling allover your keyboard from the Fudge Balls.

When I made the brown Chicks and Elephants quilt,
I had planned to make a copy with off-white sashing. I ended up not doing that but had some pieces cut, which I turned into this on Saturday:

I had thought about adding another white border, but was happy with the current look, and the size is my usual baby quilt size (30"x40").

Oh, gotta go, I see some fudge balls in front of me :)

Saturday, 5 February 2011

10,000 visitors, wow!

***Thanks for your comments! I already have a couple of entries without email addresses (noreply-comment) - if you're not sure whether your email is activated in your blog account, view your profile page, you should have a "Contact: Email" link somewhere on your page - if not, please follow Anne's great instructions on how to fix that (see menu on the right)!***

As promised, here's my give-away to celebrate my 10,000th visitor since June 3, 2009!

One lucky winner will receive 2 yards (4 half-yards) of coordinated fabrics purchased in Alaska! Quite the travelled fabric, eh? The turquoise fabric was hand-dyed in the store.

To enter, leave a comment telling me whether you would travel to the moon in a space shuttle if you had the opportunity! If you want to, go ahead and spread the word to your blog friends :)

I will draw a winner on Wednesday, February 9th!


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Pant-skirt and Horrid Dress

Right-ee-o - here are the pants. 50% linen, 50% cotton. I bought them when I lived in Italy 8 years ago and in Italy, red pants are great. (Also, for my body-shape 8 yrs ago, these were great). On PEI, Canada, not so much the right style - they just weren't working for me here.

So I put them in the charity bin. Then I started thinking that I really liked the look of the belt (three strings with the wooden loop, you just pull them through and knot them). And that I always thought of my fun time in Italy (I was an Au Pair there, the equivalent of a short-term nanny).

So I decided to keep them and turn them into a skirt!

Out came the seam ripper! They were serged, so it was quite a lot of work opening up the inside leg seams. I had an audiobook running in the background and that made it more fun.

No turning back now :) I cut of the pants below the knees, opened up the side seams on those pieces and cut triangles, which I then sewed back into the front and back opening of the pants. I used two more triangles and sewed them into the outside side seams of the upper pant part (more seam-ripping!). And because I like my skirts swirly, I then used those pieces left over from cutting triangles out of the bottom of the pant legs and pasted them in the front left and right and the back left and right. Then it was time to hem the skirt (with all the folds, I didn't have to worry much about everything being straight, phew) and to zigzag along the seams, tada!

It's so nice not to have to worry about the waistline and a zipper, those are my least favourite part of making skirts, generally.

The day I started was a beautiful sunny day here, and I must have felt like summer ;) (in fact, the sun beating into my living/sewing room was so warm that I kept having to take of layers!). Now that it's -28C with the windchill and my skirt is ready, I'm really *REALLY* craving summer :) Soon. Only about 5 more months in this part of the world... sigh.

Now for the dress: you'll probably all say it looks fine etc, but trust me, I have photos of me wearing it, and it's aweful. It makes me look like Miss Frumpy and soooo plump, which I like to think I'm not. It's about the most unflattering thing I've put on my body in a while! And there's no way I'll put those photos of me in the dress on the web - they might be used against me at some point in the future, hahaha!

Here's the big problem: the ruffles in the skirt didn't quite work out, they're not spread out evenly, so I have very unflattering bulk over my hips (which I'm generally NOT trying to emphasize) and over my butt, which also doesn't need *any* more bulk, believe you me!

So let's just forget about that little failed experiment (unfortunately -or fortunately?- it's polyester, so I won't be making a quilt out of this despite Nanci's great suggestion that every failed dress is a quilt waiting to happen :), and instead, I'll enjoy my cheerful red skirt....

How come a red skirt is okay but red pants are weird??? I must have a strange view of clothing ;)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Give-away for the big 10,000

Well, fewer then 50 more visitors and I will have had 10,000 visitors since I put the counter on in June 2009 (I think???). Pretty darn exciting! So I'm going to have a give-away this week. As always, it'll be a simple one, comment and that's it. I'll post pictures of the goodies right after I get those skirt/dress pics up! Stay tuned :)

Thanks to all of you for visiting and the many of you who comment! I generally reply to all comments, especially first timers, so if you never had a reply from me, it's because of the no-reply blogger thing. [Please fix it (see right menu), because I'd love to get back to you!!!] Blogging has been such a fun experience since I started in late 2008. What a way to connect with global quilters... I sure appreciate sharing ideas with all of you, getting feedback and positive vibes! Happy quilting and blog-browsing/blogging to all of you!

Random pic of PEI last summer to make this post more enjoyable :)