Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Holiday Seasons End

The holidays are over, thank goodness.  I'm the type of person to get that tree packed up on Boxing Day and eat all leftover candy canes ASAP.  The kids got kittens for Christmas, which as you can image helped spur me into action to get those little cats out of the tree.  Anyhow it was a quiet Christmas since we don't have any family here in Saskatchewan   So I decided to teach the kids to sew.   Jordan is six and Payton is five.  I started with the kids on my lap just guiding the fabric through the machine, but soon realized that they were capable enough to use the foot petal.  I'm very proud of their quick progress but even more impressed with their eagerness to keep sewing. 
Sniping the squares apart. 

Arranging the strips. 

Payton said to me that when she grows up some more she will help me design and sew quilts so we could make lots of money.  Hahaha with luck Patyon, with luck.  It was a fun project to work on together.  Jordan wants me to make sure I have a space for a kids sewing area in my new studio, and I think I can fulfill that request.

I have also been working on a seeming endless stream of designs as I'm learning to use a drawing program on my computer.  I have also completed my first quilt pattern and it is being tested by a friend of mine.  Hopefully I'll have something to show someday soon.

For Christmas I received a gypsy 'Sit Upon'.  It's a purple pillow full of air to sit upon while you quilt.  I'll review it better in a couple weeks and let you know about my experience.   Happy New Year.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


So I decided to participate in a call for entry over at Sandra's Studio.  Basically we were to pick a mineral of Canada and adapt it into a quilted wall hanging.  I wasn't sure if I was allowed to post my submission to my blog, but I have been given the go ahead.  So here is what I created.

I was inspired by my new province of Saskatchewan, so the mineral I picked was Potash... Which I realized wasn't a proper mineral.  So during my research I realized that one type of Potash is Sylvite or K-Cl (potassium chloride).  Breaking down Sylivite we get Potassium (K).  Potassium is very important to the healthy growth and life cycle of plants.  Potassium helps plants by regulating gas exchange, helps grow stronger stalks and stems, assists plant metabolism, assists photosynthesis, and has been associated with resistance to disease.  So in tribute to the mineral Sylvite (Postash) I have incorporated the molecular structure of the mineral (top right of work) in tribute to the science behind our food.  Whew, alright enough with the chemistry/biology lesson.

 The technical points:

-raw edge applique
-wonder under stuff
-free motion quilted with simple micro stiple (I didn't want to obscure the background fabric)
-the word 'Sylvite' is stitched in the center of the piece (just through a normal piece of loose leaf paper)
-Approx. 28 inches square

So mystery revealed and onward to the next projects.  I have been working on some designs for a series of fun cute applique baby quilts (everyone loves cute animals).  I have an artist friend helping me with the basic sketches and I'm adapting them to fabric.    I have spent an appalling amount of time on the computer scanning/drawing my first design.  Ahahaha I feel a little like a mad scientist because 'It's ALIVE!'.  I've been constructing the first trial of my pattern and I must say I'm extremely happy with the results.  Obviously there are quite a few steps left in the pattern life cycle before I can reveal the outcome (I'm not entirely certain what they are... but it'll be fine).  I have one question to pose to the wonderful world of quilters who have read this far into my post; What is your favorite technique for applique?

I'm linking up to the Needle and Thread Network.  WhooHoo lets quilt the heck out of this winter!

Friday, November 16, 2012


I have been tagged to participate in a fun little blogging game.  Thanks to Christina over at Passion Quilting (angry face :P just kidding). If your here because you were tagged, don't feel the pressure to participate if your already rolling your eyes.

The rules are:
- Every tagged person has to tell 11 things about themselves.
- The person who tagged you asked 11 questions over at their blog, answer these questions in your post.
- Ask 11 questions of the people you tag (any quilting blogger with under 200 followers).
- Mention the person who tagged you (but don't for goodness sake tag them back!)

11 Things About Me

1. I'm into outdoor survival.
2. I have two daughters who are more like me than their father, and it's frightening.
3. I've been to Mt. Everest.
4. My quilting aspirations are extremely high and I hope I don't disappoint myself
5. I've moved my family 9 times in the past 6 years (new town almost every time)
6. I'm really tired of moving (I have half a truck load of boxes I haven't unpacked in 9 years).
7. I used to play rugby and I have numerous awards.
8. I used to love philosophy but now I find it kind of trivial compared to child psychology.
9. I think it would be unfair to get a puppy for my kids at Christmas, because I don't want a dog           and it will ultimately be my dog.  I don't want any more children so I will not be adopting a dog.
10. My esthetic is modern and artsy, without the fartsy.
11. My name Sam actually came from the acronym S. (short) A. (annoying) M. (midget), which I picked up in elementary somehow (it wasn't bulling because I was all of these things lol).

My Answers to the Questions

What is your most favorite quilt you have ever done?
-My favorite quilt was an untitled heron quilt I completed a month ago.

What is your favorite quilting technique?
-Whichever one is going smoothest at the time.

Applique, yay or nay? 
YAY! You just can't argue with the results, practice makes perfect.

Which piece of fabric that you have, or had would you do almost anything to get more?
-I just haven't found the right fabric.

What do you listen to when your are quilting?
-Audiobooks, all the way.

Are you a Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter colour scheme lover? 
-I'm actually none of the above, I am definitely influenced by whatever colours are trending.  But I will also just do what is in my mind when I plan a quilt.  I plan a quilt before I find fabric for it, so I don't really go any which way.

You are stranded on a deserted island, you only have a book of needles, what your wearing, and whatever resources the island has to offer, what are you going to quilt? 
-Damn, I don't know.  I would probably find a way to make poison and use the needles as killer darts to find food.  I would use the tendons of said food and make thread where in I would sew myself some styling island threads to be rescued in.

Is there a project you have admired but never had the courage to attempt, what is it?
- I will make a whole cloth quilt, probably in the next year.  I scared but ready.

Where is your favorite place to be?
- A happy place... but sometimes it's fun to be in the righteous angry place just for a change.  Or to be more literal... on a river, any river, in a canoe, with a beer.

My 11 Questions For You

1. Did you have an artistic background leading up to quilting?
2. What would you change about your quilting studio/space?
3. If you could describe you quilting style in one would what would that word be?
4. Fess up, how many UFO's do you have? (LOL you don't have to answer that if it hurts)
5. What inspires you to quilt? (show and tell, daily objects, dreams, blogs etc...)
6. What kind of information quilt wise, have you had trouble finding on the internet?
7. What is your favorite organization technique? (quilt wise)
8. What colour would you like to paint in your quilting studio/space?
9. If you could visit any country or place where would you go?
10. What is your favorite meal right now?
11. Where do you buy your fabric?

Dun, dun, dun, the tag list is as follows... although I recommend not to feel pressured into doing this if it's not fun for you, it's just a game not everyone has to play.

Michelle @ From Head to Fabric
Heather @ I'm Here, Might As Well Win
Liz @ Liz's Quilt Adventures
Michelle @ Lovatt Quilting
Michelle @ Love Chinook Winds
Colleen @ Colleen Quilts Too! 
Trish @ Compulsive Quilting
Gloria @ Country Garden Quiltworks
? @ Grandmas - Bits and Pieces

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Winter Rant

I would like to express my gratitude to all the men and women of Canada who have fought for our country.  Lest we forget.

I believe that as of late I have been rather lazy in my writing.  I wonder if this is winter getting the best of me already?  Almost everyone in my quilting group is working on Christmas stuff right now, and to be frank it makes me want to hurl.  I LIKE Christmas, but I have such a hard time getting into this proverbial 'spirit' everyone talks about.  I'm genuinely not a fan of snowmen, I don't really see that many artistic merits, especially since my first grader can make a better one than I can.  Or perhaps I'm doing everything I possibly can to avoid the panic rising in my gut telling me that I need to go... dun, dun, dun, Shopping.  I feel this frenzie just under the surface of my conscious mind, when I smile at passers by, see an advertisement, or the blur of Christmas lights on the side of the road in November!  This general distaste for the upcoming festivity is not helped by my young children being bombarded with Christmas crap and in turn harassing the heck out of me! [deep breath]  Alright I think that considering its only half way through November perhaps I should just chill out with the Christmas rants (how ironic).  So needless to say I have not been working on a Christmas project of any sort, not a gift to be had.

 I have been working on a very special project.  There is a call for entry over at Sandra's Studio .  The idea is to pick a mineral of Canada and create a piece of quilt art representing said mineral for a show in Toronto this coming spring (see link for more details).  I'm uncertain if I'm allowed to blog about my project or if it is supposed to be an exclusive thing, so for safety's sake I'm going to keep the whole project under wraps for the moment.  But here is a little peak.

I'm also working on yet another commissioned baby quilt of my own design (which I hope to keep precise notes on and maybe work out a pattern (dreams of a quilter eh!).  I have met many talented quilters over the past year and my friend Suzanne said to me once that she could have written many books by now if she had kept track of what she was doing.  Suzanne creates awesome original quilts (that really do read more like art to me).  I am not proposing that I will write a book, but I will keep track of my projects 'just in case'.

My husband and I have been making progress in my studio, it's going to be a while and it's cutting into my quilting time like you would not believe.  If your interested in renovation blogs feel free to check it out.  Renovation 800

Of course I'm linking up with the lovely and talented people over at The Needle and Thread Network.

I apologize to all the wonderful Christmas people out there who really do make the season magical, I don't mean to rain on the parade, I was just expressing my panic that turns to terror at the thought of all the stuff that 'needs' to be done.

Monday, November 5, 2012

When 3 AM Strikes Again

This past week has found me in a couple of strange mental places that I wasn't expecting to be.  I have been over joyed with some of the ideas that have been beating on my brain at 3 am, and drug through a chaotic minefield of armature mistakes.  Some times I think  a person needs to be humbled by those "oh crap!" moments to help reorient themselves and move forward with confidence.  Anyhow I have been doing just that and moving forward, mostly with a simple finish that has been coming down the line for a while.  A cool disappearing nine patch.

I'm linking up with all the talent over at The Needle and Thread Network.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monkey Around

I finished a commissioned quilt.  With no further ado I present my finished Peek-a-Boo Monkey Quilt. 

The kids are still taking 'Quilt Display' classes.  Not too bad for kids who are hardly 4 feet tall. 

I just did a basic spine with a leaf or feather bump along and out... I have no idea what this design could be called but it worked awesome. 

I'm working on some designs for a series of baby quilts.  I think I'm going to draw up some patterns in the next coming months.  Everyone likes cartoon baby quilts.  Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network where inspiration happens.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Studio

I have been trying to quilt this past week but I have had some pressing matters to attend to... like buying a studio.  Last week we bought the house next door (600 square feet).  We are going to be renovating it into my new studio.  Obviously, I'm thrilled.  My plans need to be reined in before I outgrow it LOL.  We got the house for a more than reasonable price.  I was  slightly nervous since we hadn't even made a payment on the other house yet, but in the end everything went through without a hitch.  Like I said I haven't really had a chance to do much quilting this week.  If your interested in reading more I have a blog for our renovation projects  It's not too technical since I'm the author.  I thought I would link up to The Needle and Thread Network just so I could share my joy, or confess my absolute fear of the amount of work a head of me.

The Studio

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Peek-A-Boo Monkey

Well I have been working on the Peek-A-Boo monkey quilt.  Here is my progress.  You may notice the bottom left of the quilt in the background photo, yeah that's a inch or so indiscrepancy on the brown frame.  To fix or not to fix?  Since the quilt is commissioned of course I fixed it.  I remember thinking "Oh crap, I wonder if I should have taken one off one side and another off the other side instead of both from this side, yep should have done that".  Funny, I knew I had done it wrong, but I just kept going.  Then with great exasperation (mostly for my husbands benefit, lol) I pretend to be puzzled, like it's the quilts fault it didn't line up.

Well I fixed it and moved on to applique.  I used a combination of freezer paper, Wonder Under, and the remaining creativity left over from my earlier befuddled performance.

Anyhow it all came together for a rather pleasing result I think.  I put the applique on at a quilting group in my area (yay!).  These women are exactly what you would expect... awesome.
Waiting for final touches.
Most of my week has been spent on pile after pile of scraps.  I've been busting my scraps using a combination of  tea, wine, and swear words.  I see no end to the piles but every once in a while there is a moment of epiphany and I keep going.  I have some extremely exciting news but I have to wait for the paperwork so I don't jinx it.  I don't know how much I'll be getting done in the next week since I have the toothache from hell.  Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network (one of my favorite places). 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Trade

My parents came to Saskatchewan to visit me for Thanksgiving, I served Indian food, but they didn't complain.  We also had gifts to exchange.  Mom and Dad got their quilt and swapped me a new sewing machine :)

Dad found me a Husqvarna Viking Platinum 750.  Woe, it sews really fast.  I've been playing with tension and things making sure I know some basic settings for how I quilt (almost like I knew what I was doing).  There are some serious buttons on this thing.  My first machine (also a gift from my parents), was digital but once I fell into the quilting curve I wore that machine out in 8 months.  This machine however is made for quilting, or so I'm lead to believe.  It came with a 'quilting kit' which has all the fancy darning feet, a walking foot, and table attachment.  I didn't think I would ever need a machine of this caliber  but I  think I'm ready.  

I saw this quilt online and thought it would make a perfect quilt for one of the baby quilts I've been commissioned to make.  I think the pattern is called "Peek-A-Boo Monkey" (apparently found in a book called 'Quilting for Baby')  I don't have the pattern but I thought I would build off the idea, or make it literally... I'm undecided, but one way or another it's going to be cute.  I'm completely undecided on the the other three I have to make but I'm sure something will come to me.  I love not knowing the sex of a baby, until I look at it from a quilters perspective, and I have to walk past all the awesome gender specific adorable fabric.  Oh well, I'm seeing a lot of gender neutral colours in my future.

I joined the Prairie Crocus Quilt Guild in Kindersley Saskatchewan and our first sewing meeting for this season was last night.  We made these pillows.  I started sewing them at the guild and finished them up at home.  They match a quilt I made earlier this summer, so I will most likely be sending them off to that lucky little girl.  Unless my kids smuggle them into their little cave of a bedroom (nothing is ever recovered, just ask the DVD remote).  This was my first time following a proper pattern, and I must say it was simple and had great results, obviously ;)
Straight & Narrow by Jean and Valori Wells

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Keeping Pace

Well, since I started this blog just over 6 months ago, I have moved 3 times... I'm really tired of it.  Anyhow, our move into our new home went as smooth as 60 grit sandpaper.  I could go into that, but since renovation/restoration and quilting are very different subjects, I decided to just start another blog, so along with my husband (who proof reads here for me too) I've started a new blog on our descent into renovation hell, you can find that here.

My new sewing area... in the living room, my husband is so happy. 

Somehow during our whirlwind decisions moving us to and fro, I somehow seem to start and finish projects.  I have finished my huge heron quilt, right in the nick of time too.  My mother and father arrive tomorrow to pick it up.  I was going to post a photo today, but I think I'll wait and get a photo of her and Dad with the quilt.  In the meantime, I have started to quilt a disappearing nine-patch I put together a month or so ago.

I love variegated thread.  Mostly because I didn't even know it existed before I started quilting, and ever since then I have been quilting almost everything with it.  For this project, I chose to use a rainbow variegated thread!  I think the obsession has finally worn off.  Originally, I had planned to quilt this quilt using Leah Day's cucumber vine design, but I couldn't do that much travel stitching with the variegated thread (I just don't like the way it looks). So instead I decided to go with a simple leaf design... but I think it would have been better with the cucumber vine.

Fuzzy super softy minky backin

I started another project since I like to have a couple going at once.  I'm absolutely taken with black/white/lime green.  I know that it's a common colour scheme, but I just can't shake the thought from my brain.  So I decided to go with a modern wonky square block (also inspired by Leah Day).  I hacked the heck out of some fat quarters, slashed some white cotton and went to work. seriously I didn't measure or square anything.  I just went to town.  I chain pieced some white strips onto my fat quarter "squares" then finally broke out a ruler and wonkafied my fabric chunks.

I only had 5 black and white fat quarters.  Notice anything missing from this colour scheme, yep no lime green.  I plan to make this quilt in only black and white then quilt it in the brightest lime green thread I can find.   I have no idea how I'm going to put it all together yet since the blocks are between 5" and 13" squared.  I need to get my design wall up before I can make anymore progress on this project.  Should I find some more black and white fabrics?  Well, I seem to have another baby boom on my hands... I have to make 4 more baby blankets before spring.  Baby blankets and I have a bittersweet relationship.  This next baby boom in my life will end up with funkier blankets I think.  That is all in the quilting curve has for me now. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another New Begining

It's been a while since I last posted, mostly due to the massive amount of work it has taken me to complete my hugely awesome wicked 'didn't think I could do it' current project.  Also it would appear that we are here in Saskatchewan to stay since these past two weeks I have been packing yet again to move into my new house... well new to us.  We bought a house in a little town called Eatonia outside Kindersley, or as my aunt said "So instead of a one horse town you picked the half horse town?".  Well let me explain, we bought the house for $28,500 dollars.  No that is not a typo I did not miss a zero.  It's small, it's old, it's ours.  I will most likely be blogging on another topic, the restoration of... a diamond in the rough, boy I hope so.  Anyhow so I'm surrounded in boxes again (3 moves in 4 months, I'm tired).  So tomorrow is possession, I may be offline for another couple weeks while I get set up.  

Moving on as of 5 minutes ago I finished that Heron Quilt of mine.  If it wasn't almost midnight I would be rocking a jig and cheering triumphantly.  I actually burst into my bedroom with the thing bundled in my arms to show my husband (a lost cause I know), and then turned off his TV since he had obviously been out cold for a while.  When I say finished I actually mean finished quilting it.  If you would like to see a photo of the whole quilt click here.   I went all out making this quilt top, pushing boundaries I didn't even know existed so I decided that I may as well go for broke and quilt it a level higher than I was used to.  Here are a couple close up shots... My camera is not very good for these type of shots but it is water and freeze proof.
Hero's eye


Sunset sky

Most of the designs were either inspirations from Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project or directly from the project.  All around the landscape is a black boarder where I quilted free form feathers.  I'm not sure how smart this was as I quilted the feathers in black on black.  So unless you get close to it the extent of the quilting is not really that obvious.  Although I was going for a subtle vibe so I suppose this endeavor was a success.  This quilt is bought and paid for by my lovely mother who has no idea what it looks like but will be arriving here to pick it up October 5th.  I have been asked to display the quilt at the Quilt Gallery that will be set up for the Goose Festival this coming weekend, also the quilt shop here has offered to hang it up.  Unfortunately I have to decline both offers as the binding will hardly be complete, and I don't think mom will leave back to British Columbia without it.

I took a couple of photos of my quilting corner while quilting this behemoth I thought I would share with you.

I'm linking up with the Needle and Thread Network for WIP Wendnesday. That is all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Project Week

The week has been a rather uneventful one, which I can't decide is a blessing or a curse.  I sat up Saturday night and watched all three of "The Mummy" movies and basted my monstrous heron quilt.  Wow were my fingers sore... I may have over basted (can you do that?).  I used every pin I had (approx 550-600).  I then brought the whole based unwieldy mess to the quilt shop because I forgot to pick out thread for the damn thing... It was kind of funny walking in buried under a mound of fabric stating my need for thread, I could see the crazy reflected in their eyes... my sleeveless skull shirt was perhaps a poor wardrobe choice, but honestly I haven't gotten to laundry for a while.  Once they figured out I didn't have a rocket launcher folded into the quilt I was carrying, we were friends, and hunting for thread together.  I found almost everything I was looking for and headed out to complete other errands (like getting laundry soap).  Now the 'heron from hell' quilt I have hanging on my banister is using it proverbial eyes to dare me to try and quilt it... I'm scared.

I have conveniently switched my attention to some other projects for a while.  I'm not big on UFO's in so far as I don't really have any.  I have one quilt that is waiting to be basted, but otherwise I have no UFO's.  So I know that it will take me a couple days (or a week) to get my courage up again and I'm sure I will get back to the heron.  A friend of mine from Dawson Creek gave me some fabric a couple months ago and I have been uncertain what to do with it for the past while, but with a heron haunting my dreams I decided to give tote bags a try.  I made one for each of my daughters and boy was it fun.  I think I will make a couple more for some gifts for later in the year.

The town I live in has about 5000 people, and boasts the smallest town in Canada with a Wal-Mart.  Well, due to the small population, I'm sure that everyone in town knows that I'm painting my house all the colours of the rainbow... mostly because I have been appropriating paint chips... lots of them.  Now I can't remember where I got the idea but it is not my original idea, to use paint chips as a colour wheel.  Sounds like a good idea until you look like a thief.  Anyhow I have almost all the chips from a single line of paint, and one day soon I will put them together in a way that makes some sort of sense.

And the last thing I'm working on is coming up with an idea for these fabrics, I'm not really into buying any more fabric.  So it's being a bit of a challenge.  Well that was my week.  I'm linking up to The Needle And  Thread Network.