Winter in the Yukon

Winter in the Yukon
Baby it's cold outside!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Friday Night Sew In Report

Have I mentioned that I hate paper piecing?  The reason I joined the paper piecing swap was to try to get better at it, but I think I’m getting worse! 

Last month I had to send the pieces for the blocks off to my swap partner to sew together as I just couldn’t get them to line up.  Fortunately Michell was able to sew them up.  (The photo is Michell’s from the Quilting Blocks Swaps Facebook page)  Oops, I just noticed that she put the second one together wrong.  I wonder if she has noticed.  Or maybe she did it on purpose.

paper piece blocks2

After my fiasco last weekend with the paper pieced block for this month, I decided to give the pattern another try.  After all it was my mistake, not the pattern’s.  My friend Dahn showed me a helpful tip of cutting templates for the pattern pieces.  That way you don’t cut your fabric pieces too small or the wrong shape, which is one of the mistakes I tend to do. 


I realized half way through cutting the pieces for one of the pieces of the block (6 pieces cut, 6 to go) that I was cutting them the wrong side up.  And no they weren’t symmetrical.  Fortunately for the fate of the block, and possibly for my participation in this swap, they could still be used.  I just made those pieces of the block wrong side up.  It means that the star spins the other way, but I bet you wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t told you. 


Kelly (no blog) asked for a bright star on a white on white background.  The white I used creates tons of movement in the block!  I hope not too much.  It was the only piece of white on white fabric I had in my stash!!

This block is called Carol’s Star and is from Quilter's Cache.  Lots of great blocks to choose from there. 

So another paper pieced block is accomplished and FNSI was a success.  How did it go for you? 


Friday, February 20, 2015

Last weekend

My buddy Dahn and I had a wonderful mini retreat last weekend, despite some frustrations….  First up I thought I would tackle the two blocks that I had to make for February.  I had all nine pieces of my paper pieced block done before I realized the pieces were different sizes and wouldn’t match up.  ARRGGH!  I blamed it on the pattern maker until the next day when I realized that I had made the copies with the photocopier set on different magnifications… oops…

On to the next project.  The Canadians Quilt bee recipient for the month had asked for a courthouse steps block in a specific colour range with a navy centre.  This block came together quickly and easily.


Next I pulled out the Valentine placemats that I started about five years ago.  Finished them up and gifted them to hubby for Valentine’s day when I got home. Smile I don’t love them but it’s the thought that counts they say and they are a finish.  Open-mouthed smile


Next I did the quilting on this table runner, also started quite a few years ago.  This was a class from Quilt University, an on-line quilting school that no longer exists.  I think the class was on Celtic knots, although I learned a lot about making bias tape, applique placement and applique inserts.  I quilted stitch in the ditch on all the seams, including the applique seams, and one round of echo quilting.  I like how this makes the applique and inserts pop.


Here is a close up of the quilting where you can see that the black fabric really picks up every bit of lint.  I haven’t brushed or washed it yet as I still have to put on a binding.


Dahn got to flit around and work on lots of pieces of different projects.  That’s the bonus of having the retreat at your own home. Winking smile  This is one of the pieces she worked on – she started this art quilt in a class with Velda Newman a number of years ago. 

melons_Velda_Newman_class (1)

Now she tells me she doesn’t like the pattern and she doesn’t plan to finish it – EVER…. I don’t know if I could make such a decision.  It is like once I start the thing I HAVE to finish it…

I was in the Whitehorse library the other day for a meeting and saw that they have a fun project on for February – Blind Date with a Book.  I had to pick one up.  This is what it looked like in the wrapper (and before I spilt my tea on it and had to open it up lickety split).


The book is called The Last Thing He Wanted and is by Joan Didion.  I\ve only just started it and don’t know if I am going to like it, but I’ll let you – and the library in their feedback form – know whether this was a happy date or not. 

It is Friday Night Sew In today and that paper pieced block is still waiting to be made.  It isn’t too late to sign up (it’s still Friday night for those of us in North and South America – for Australia and New Zealand it was yesterday).  Hope you’re joining in. Smile


Friday, February 13, 2015

Weekend fun!

I love the weekend!  I get to do whatever I want…. well I get to do some of the things I want at least….

Last weekend was my birthday.  The family came out for the day on Sunday.  I had gifts for them all from Hawaii and I told them they had to don their new Hawaiian duds and take a picture out in the Yukon snow – at – 28 C.  :) 

Isn’t this a fine looking group…


But see the sneaky smile on DSIL # 2’s face….  Ha ha, the fun is on me….


During the week I whipped up the hexie flowers for my February swap partner and they are off in today’s mail…


And since it is already Valentine’s Day in Austratlia, I think I can show you the Valentine’s postcard that I received from my lovely swap partner Maria of Life on the Block.  Maria walks on the beach and swims in the ocean with her pals regularly.  Lucky girl!  Thanks for the pretty card Maria!


You may be saying “what is she talking about?  It isn’t the weekend yet!”  Well I took Friday off work so I could sew. :)  My sewing buddy Dahn and I were going to go to a retreat in Haines, Alaska but decided against the 392 km drive in blowing snow, icy roads and probably rain on the other end.  So we’re having a mini retreat at her house.  Lucky us!! 

I’m off to sew.  I hope you have some fun lined up for your weekend.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Friday Night with Friends for February

I had a productive evening – yay! 
I prepped the hexies for the flowers I have to make for my February partner in the Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap
And I finished putting second rounds on two flowers for my own garden.  There is a story about these flowers.  Penny was my partner in December and she sent me two sets of second round hexies.  But there was a problem.  When I tried to sew the hexies on to their chosen flowers they were just too small.  I was in touch with Penny and she explained that she had downloaded the hexie templates and had hit "fit to page" instead of "actual size" and never realized the templates weren't the right size.  Of course, she felt very badly about her mistake. 
But never fear Penny!!  I was determined to use the lovely hexies she had sent.  One set is a directional print in orange, pink, green and white.  The other is hot pink with neon yellow dots.  I love bright colours.  So I took the hexies apart to rebaste them on to new papers.  The directional print ones worked fine and here is the exciting flower they created.
When I went to resew the hot pink hexies I realized there was another problem.  Penny had used a narrow hem on the hexies and there were a few that just wouldn't fit on the slightly bigger hexie papers.  But I was determined to use the fabric because I love it!!  So I decided to play with the techniques I had seen on Karen's blog.  edited to add... ( I had put the wrong name here in the link.  What a clutz!!)
And this is what I came up with.
Isn't she a beauty?!!  She is definitely going to be a diva in my garden.
I  don't usually baste through the hexie papers but I had to with these ones due to the extra bulk in the seams.
This isn't the first time that I have had to resew items from my swap partners because they are the wrong size.  I have had to take apart and put back together a few hexie flowers because they were too small.  And I have one waiting to be redone because it is too large.  Fabric has a lot of give and if there are very small discrepancies in size the hexies can be stretched or scrunched together to make them fit.  But sometimes they just have to be redone. 

That’s the way it goes in swaps.  It took me a long time to learn that.  The very first block swap I joined, my very first swap partner didn’t send me anything.  And I made her a beautiful block, using fabric that I loved.  Ah…  I’m glad I didn’t give up right then and there because I have had a lot of pleasure from making things for my partners which often stretch my creativity because they use fabrics and techniques which I haven’t tried or wouldn’t choose.  And of course receiving packages in the mail with pretty pieces in them is always fun.
And then there are the prizes.  I received two prizes recently which I haven’t shown yet.  One of the three swaps I am involved with this year is through Quilting Swap Blocks Australia which is organized by Sue Belleli.  This girl has a lot of energy.  She runs at least four different swaps (there may be more),  seems to take on multiple partners in each of the swaps for herself each month and she is a real estate agent on the side. Smile with tongue out  I participate in a paper piecing swap with the group.  I hate paper piecing but I want to get better at it so I thought I would join this group.  At Christmas Sue had a few giveaways for her swap members and I was one of the winners!  Seven pretty fat quarters and a charm pack arrived from Australia.  Thanks Sue! 
And then in December I was the prize winner in Friday Night Sew In which is hosted by Wendy of Sugar Lane Quilts.  Another package from Australia.  Smile  She sent me a really cute and very “friendly” panel. Thanks Wendy!
I hope your week in sewing has been as much fun as mine!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Home again

We had our last morning in Hawaii on Monday and an exciting morning it was.  There were a group of whales – Humpbacks go there in January to March to breed and calve – in closer to shore than any we had seen previously.  We did see them everyday we were in Hawaii.  This day we had a fantastic view of them and we were convinced that there was a female giving birth. 


My camera only has 6x zoom… We figured they were about 400 yards out and we had a very good look at them through the binoculars.

Then there were about 50 turtles feeding and we again got to look at them up close – like a couple of feet away. 


And I know I said I wasn’t going to show the dead fish, but this is too intriguing… Two days out and the fish is shrinking as the crabs feast on it…


I had a day off work when we got home.  I planned it that way as I knew I had to sew a block for the 2015 Canadians bee swap.  This is a Bonnie Hunter block and the original tutorial for it is found here

Our bee bunny of the month wanted bright modern fabrics paired with low volume.  Hopefully I did it right. She asked that we not sew the four pieces together as she wanted to play with layout.   I love how it looks.


I have to make two Valentine’s postcards this weekend so I’m lined up to sew…  What do you have planned for your weekend?


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday Night Sew In Report

My friend Linda P and I had a lovely FNSI – although it took place mostly in the late afternoon.  Most mornings when we first get up we sit out on the lanai and sew, but yesterday in the morning it was so windy that we had to retreat inside to do our morning sewing.  There were lots of interesting things on the beach … (I won’t show you my dead fish pictures :))


And the wind surfers were out in force…


By late afternoon the strong wind from earlier in the day had lessened and the sun wasn’t too hot for us to sit out on the lanai.


Linda stitching away on her cross stitch.


And me stitching on my Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  added these two new flowers.


I need one more flower to complete this row.  I hope to get it added in today.

How did your FNSI go?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Crabby Day

Literally…. I got some great looks at crabs today.  Two large ones.  The surf is high and was coming in and these boys just didn’t seem to know what to do…  They were both good at taking an aggressive stance though…



The one above was trying to climb a retaining wall.  he certainly blended in with it.

I bought a piece of Shashiko cloth and thread in one of the local quilt shops and have whipped it up over the last two days.


This is intended to make a small pillow.  Aren’t the colours lovely?!  I think I will pick up another one so I can have a pair of them.

Today was for beach walking, ocean dipping, reading and an afternoon trip to the aquarium, which is a ten minute walk away.  It is so interesting and we have a week pass.  I think we’ll be back there a few times.



Monday, January 19, 2015

A holiday post

Is it okay that my first post of 2015 comes to you from Hawaii where I am on holiday?  We are in Maalaea, Maui staying in a condo with our friends Linda P. and Judy.  We are right on the beach – the surf pounds outside the screened door, humpback whales provide constant delight as they cavort in the waters.  We have walked the beach, gone swimming and snorkelling, identified birds and fish, all right outside the door.  A fantastic holiday.  I am posting from my new tablet, so learning the ropes for a new adventure in computers… And I have even found some time for sewing. 

My January hexies, made for Anne-Lise in Denmark, went in the mail the other day.


One of our birding conquests – the Hawaiian Black Necked Stilt, or Ae’o, a rare bird – yet we have seen hundreds at the wildlife refuge which is a short walk up our beach.


And an early morning beach shot…




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday Night Sew In Report

I know I have been absent again for the last few weeks…  but for the first time in a couple of months I have actually got to participate in Friday Night Sew In.  It’s a good thing too because, as you’ll see I have sewing that needs to be done.

These are the two things I accomplished for FNSI.  They are both swap blocks for the Canadians Quilt Bee that I am involved with.  One is the November block (yes indeed I am late); the other is the December block.


Sewing machine block for Dominique.


Improv tree block for M-R.

What am I doing all the time that is keeping me so busy?  Well for instance today was Christmas bird count day.  My friend and I were sent out to walk down the tracks to Tin Cup Creek to try and see grouse or ptarmigan.  We saw two ravens.  Then we walked around downtown and saw two more ravens and two magpies.  Lots of birds at my feeder though.  We are almost at the December solstice.  It is tomorrow (the 21st) at 23:03.  Then the daylight starts to come back a few minutes a day.  Dusk was starting to fall at 3:40 in the afternoon.  Of course the grey skies didn’t help.


I hope you are having a wonderful “day before the winter solstice”.  Smile


Monday, December 8, 2014

A fun mail day

I have been away visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Seattle and a quick stop to see a friend on Salt Spring Island.  More about the trip in another post.  Today I want to tell you about the fabulous mail waiting for me on my return. Smile 

First up this lovely postcard received from Lin in the Christmas postcard swap organized by Sheila.  I think it is done with Shiva paintsticks but it may be some kind of foil… I’m waiting for Lin to let me know the details.


Then I received my paper piecing blocks for November/December from Michell.  She is also in the Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap that I participate in.  Despite a big move, Michell is further ahead than me as I don’t have her blocks for this swap made yet.


A couple of weeks ago there was a blog tour for the 10th edition of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks and I WON!! My copy from Rochelle has arrived.  This is so exciting as I love this magazine, I have always entered the giveaways on the blog tours and this is the first time I have one a copy. Open-mouthed smile


And then to top it all off, icing on the cake if you will… Carol at Sew Sisters Quilt Shop sent me a lovely thank-you gift for participating in their Canadian blog hop.  These fabrics are from Moonshine by Tula Pink for Free Spirit, which is the line that I chose from the Sew Sisters Shop as a give away on the blog hop. 


And included was a gift from Aurifil which was a sponsor in the blog hop.  I love these threads!


So I have reasons to like Canada Post today.  Smile  How about you?  Have you received anything fun lately?