PHD mid year update

June 30 marks the halfway point of 2018. As one who enrolled in Quilting Gail’s PhD program, I’m choosing this as a time for a performance evaluation, and using this blog to keep myself accountable. Here’s hoping this works better than Weight Watchers weigh ins.

Back at the beginning of the year, these were the UFO’s that I documented. I’m not confessing to how many more I discovered after I took this picture; some things are best kept in the closet. Or the plastic tub. Or under a pile of fabric. You understand.IMG_E0621

There are 26 items here, and I committed to finishing 16 of them by year end.

From column one, I have finished the Santa Pillow, and turned the blue star into a wine gift bag.

From column two, the Hippo Addition, Valentine runner, and Christmas presents have all been finished.

From column three, Shimmer and Squares of Liberty are complete. The picture of Shimmer is a new one, and there’ll be more appearing soon on this blog.

From column four, Christmas Hanging GardensOrnament in the Woods, and Freefall Maple Leaves are finished.

That makes 10 of the promised 16 projects completed. On track so far.

Gail’s other caveat was that any new projects started must be completed during the year; no new UFOs could be generated. I have started and completed Mawwiage and Shoo Fly Rosie , as well as seven bow ties, two robes, and a few small projects. The two quilt alongs in which I’ve enrolled are on track to finish by year end.

Sounds good so far, right? Well… I had a flood. My basement, sewing room included,  was ankle deep in water a month ago, and that knitted cap that was to be my easiest finish is missing. That’s what I get for including it. It’s like when I was at Girl Guide camp and picked the easiest part of the after dinner clean up: the roasting pan, because it looked pretty clean already. But I had no hot water, and the leaders laughed to kill themselves as I struggled to remove grease without it. Should have learned my lesson about cheating then. Clearly didn’t. Now I’ll have to finish something harder to make it to 16 by year end.

On the plus side, the Row by Rows, with the Mountie, are together in a flimsy, and I’ve started piecing the back. Those two might even be out of the PHD pile by the end of this long weekend.

Here in Newfoundland, July 1 is a day of remembrance of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment that was decimated at Beaumont Hamel in WW1. For the most part, we are happy to celebrate having joined Canada in 1949, but here, more than in the rest of the country, we are poignantly aware of the sacrifices that went into building the nation we have today.

May the sun shine on you this weekend.



Shoo Fly Rosie

Meet Rosie, the Shoo Fly cow. 35357405_10214464518061295_8757808194832564224_n

This year’s Executive Challenge for the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild was to make a modern quilt from a classic block. Blocks were drawn at random and assigned to members. I got shoo fly. Hmm. Googled shoo fly. Walked into my sewing room and found fabric with flies on it, and realized I had to use it to make a play on the name. I would make a cow shooing flies.

First I made her eyes, and realized that if I kept going at their scale, a whole cow would be huge. Ok. Just make a head. Then I made some shoo fly flies in the green fabric. They don’t show up fabulously well in the photo, apart from the bits on Rosie, but they are there to plague her. There was a retreat when I desperately needed a break from curved piecing. Those of you who read about my Mawwiage quilt will understand. Rosie started to take shape. You can see that I always work in an impeccably neat space, and that I would never imbibe while sewing. Not. Clearly, the passion of creativity was heating up. I promise I was still dressed, even if both sweater and jacket were off. 35297840_10214464522701411_945572556709036032_n

And so Rosie grew. Her face was finished with the last of my lighter brown. The final scrap was found on the floor, and was just big enough if I added tiny bits of the green in a shoo fly style. I thought they were an improvement. I resisted suggestions to add eyelashes, but when Roxanne suggested an ear tag, I thought she was brilliant. The cow came home and started to eat a large pink flower, which was a shoo fly in a shoo fly in a shoofly, but the quilt was too dull. Then she roamed into a field of flowers, and finally acquired a bow, added asymmetrically after consultation with Bev. She started off as Daisy, then became Petunia when I remembered a cousin had named her daughter Daisy, but recently was renamed Rosie when her flower was quilted and resembled a rose more than a petunia.

She went to Ontario to have her photoshoot by some farm buildings. 35356753_10214464518821314_1437955858154651648_n

The sun was too much for a cow born this spring in Newfoundland, so she hid under a tree.35358679_10214464519021319_5816129602824699904_n

Finally, she embraced the Beamsville sunshine and went sunbathing on the grass of a lovely vineyard, dreaming of the delicious wine she might get a lick of when those vines bore fruit, and the wine maker worked his magic.35415441_10214464518901316_1581451179370479616_nAnd then she revealed herself to the MMQG in Halifax, and was displayed with all the fabulous modern quilts made by its members in response to the Executive challenge.

Linking up with Connie at Freemotion by the River and Susan at Midweek Makers


Mawwiage. That bwessed awwaingement. That dweam wivvin a dweam. And Wuv, twue wuv, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah.

These words are from the movie, The Princess Bride, and were read at my daughter’s wedding last month. What could be a better name for the wedding quilt?


I’ve made a few wedding quilts for Margaret to give her close friends, so when she and James announced their engagement last year, I started thinking about what theirs should be like.

While passing time in Heathrow airport, I bought a quilting magazine, saw an ad for the Bumblebee collection by Tilda, and ordered a half meter bundle of it. Luckily, my other daughter, Maura, was studying in London, so I could use her address for cheaper shipping. It was an expensive flight delay nonetheless,  but when the fabric arrived, I realized it was perfect for Margaret. It stood firmly on the line between my bright colours, and her much more muted preferred palette; we both loved it. Here are some of the scraps.

29595132_10213953999338646_1360192055470109829_nWhat pattern to use? Her only request was that it should include scallops, and fit her king size bed. After months of indecision, I realized the rather romantic fabric called for a classic pattern, and decided on a double wedding ring variation, Metro Rings by Sew Kind of Wonderful. I headed off to my LQS to find some solids. The choice of cream background was easy, as was the turquoise. I originally chose yellow for the second contrast colour but it didn’t do it’s job of contrasting with the background, and lost it’s place to green, after the trial blocks were made.

And then the curved piecing started. And went on. And on. Through two retreats and many early mornings, those blocks took shape. All 100 of them. In order to have a scalloped edge,  I added a border of background, but also used stitch and flip triangles to finish each diamond of contrasting colours on the outside edges. Would it fit on my 10 foot longarm rails? The flimsy measured 106 inches and I needed a few inches extra for the backing. My leaders weren’t the full length of my rails, and the machine mount took up space too. I was scared to find out.

For the back, I used the widest muslin I could find, and still had to piece it. Just as well. I added a panel to personalize it with the bride and groom’s initials made from left over wedding bow tie fabric, and a heart from SparkleStash, enlarged to 10 inches.35401131_10215062739155507_1452923213590822912_n-e1529106281984.jpg

As you can guess from the above picture, it did fit. Just. When I extended one end of the backing past the leader end, the other finished with room to thread my machine, which was all I needed. I marked the scallops with a water soluble pen, using the quick curve quilting ruler to define the curves. The highest point of each curve was directly above the seam joining the blocks, and the corners were the same curves intersecting, with just a little bit of freehand rounding. Hopefully, you can see what I’m trying to say when you study the picture. And that I’m trying to get a decent picture. 35391575_10215062739035504_5928211726511112192_n.jpg

What you don’t see is the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. There was too much fog on the only day the quilt had a chance to visit them, during her short honeymoon in the Niagara region, where I hand sewed the bias binding and visited Maura. The good news is that the dull lighting showed off the quilting better than bright sunlight might have done. And that we had a huge breakfast at the Flying Saucer restaurant while we waited for the drizzle to stop. Next time we’ll share an order. 35345210_10214463783362928_8057948002708357120_n

Last night I delivered her to her new owners, Margaret and James Hanley, my daughter and son-in-law. My hope is that they will feel wrapped in love when they use it.

And here is a picture of the happy couple, taken by Candace Berry, wedding photographer extraordinaire, in Polly’s Cove, Nova Scotia.35331276_10214464300455855_7175518397327736832_oLinking up with Myra of Busy Hands Quilts at Finished or not Friday