The Rebel

56994092_10216755980666428_831837540628561920_nLibs Elliott came to town, gave a talk and held a Rebel quilt workshop. More than a year later, my Rebel quilt has finally come under control. Well, almost.

59648083_10216755981026437_5141279271553073152_nNow, I have to tell you the Rebel caused me some angst, as rebels are wont to do. I was in a “sew my stash” period, which always adds to the challenge of fabric selection, particularly when you decide to use no solids except for the background. To make matters worse, I was exploring a palette outside my usual choices, inspired by the cover of Vintage Quilt Revival. I know, it isn’t really the same. Inspiration is fluid if you’re sewing your stash.

What did happen is that I second guessed my colours every step of the way. When fellow guild members brought their lovely, more monochromatic, solid Rebels to show and tell, I wondered even more if I had made a mistake. With the long arm out of commission, I could postpone the inevitable unsatisfactory finish until, finally, the machine seemed to be behaving and I needed to finish the quilt to gift it.

I added borders to contain the rebellion. No. I added borders so I wouldn’t lose my points when the quilt was bound. Besides, I wanted to explore a little free motion combined with straight line quilting. Each background section got a curvy motif and each coloured one got straight lines.

59392788_10216757787031586_6567174170050822144_nFinally, she was ready for her photo shoot. I really wanted some graffiti in the picture, as a tribute to Libs and her tattoos. You know how there seems to be graffiti everywhere? Not where I live, there isn’t,  and certainly not with a nice rail or fence on which to attach a quilt. One spot tempted me, but there were multiple police cars around and I really wasn’t sure I’d be welcome, so I headed home, via a quilt store. I pulled into the industrial centre parking lot to get thread and saw my backdrop. 60012351_10216755980266418_7470787657941909504_nThrilled with my success, I arrived home, but I felt a little sad for the beautiful quilt, so I took her to the pond for a moment on the bench. And yes, after all the agonizing, I find her beautiful.

She’s off to live happily ever after with some newlyweds. May they live happily ever after, too.

Linking up to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


Who is Amelia? This is Amelia. She’s the hedgehog in the holly.

58822262_10216709565986090_6432295450878935040_nHave you been watching Survivor? When the show first aired many moons ago, I was so hooked on it that I actually left a dinner party down the street, came home to “check on the children”(watch the show), and then returned for dessert. When I tried to explain such behaviour to myself, I realized I was (in my dreams) on the show, competing against the real contestants, and thought I might win. I no longer arrange my schedule around Survivor, but I do love a good quest, so when my local Guild challenged members to make something from scraps and bring it to the next meeting, I was on it.

I collected scraps from my cutting table and floor, put them in a baggie, brought them to retreat, and made some of them into a slab. But what does one do with a 23×28” slab? Bring it home and look at it on the design wall, of course. Think it could turn into borders of a baby quilt, but what to put in the centre? Then I remembered Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Forest. One of those creatures would be perfect! I even owned the pattern. The squirrel, in hedgehog disguise, the DrEAMi (drop everything and make it) project, was born. 58443593_10216709566426101_740899515170553856_n

In a flash, I was off to the cutting table, with a fistful of  scraps and the hedgehog instructions. Amelia was constructed and bordered in no time. That slab made a great border, even if I had to add a few bits to make it big enough. I hesitated slightly about the white border; the piece was too small without it, but it needed some livening up. I glanced across the room, saw an ugly orphan block, and turned it into 8 half square triangles. Somehow, those triangles didn’t look ugly at all- they were perfect to delineate a frame. On they went, and in several blinks of my eyes, the little framed hedgehog was quilted and bound. My longarm is finally behaving well; I had fun making curly hair and glasses. She was christened Amelia by my friend Lorraine, and will be donated, likely to our local Ronald McDonald house. I hope she goes to a good home and brings her new owner as much joy as making her brought me.

58430427_10216709566226096_4839908623347875840_nLinking up with the originator of the DrEAMi idea, Sandra at mmm!quilts. 

Hourglass runner

There once was a frustrated quilter,

Whose blocks were a bit out of kilter.

Her luck had run out,

So she cast all about,

To find something to sew that was better. 

And that is how this hourglass runner came to be.


Early this month, I attended the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild’s retreat at beautiful White Point Lodge in Nova Scotia. It was wonderful. The place was lovely, the food tasty, the ladies absolutely fabulously welcoming. The weather could have been better, but that didn’t really matter. What did matter is that the project I most wanted to finish was causing me endless grief. For whatever reason, the intersections weren’t perfect, the colour was questionable and I just needed a break from it.

I had won a pack of 6 inch squares of Rowan fabric, and had some trimmings from a cream wide backing with me. In frustration, near the end of the retreat, I decided to make hourglasses. Fabric combinations were random, except I eliminated most of the duplicates in the pack, and didn’t combine like fabric. I sewed with more enthusiasm than accuracy, brought them home, trimmed them and put them on my design wall. 57490380_10216661500184475_8548540590554349568_n

When I saw that the hourglasses formed chevrons if they were staggered, I started to like the project. When I realized I had the makings of a very nice runner, I proceeded with gusto, finding more of that backing to make borders and backing and binding. In retrospect, a little less gusto and a bit more care would have resulted in more precise points, but given my initial frame of mind, it’s amazing there are any points at all.

At the retreat, Gillian, aka @sewgolly on instagram, helped Andrea, aka @3rdstoryworkshop, style a new quilt for beach glamour shots. Of course, I had to join in the action, adding seaweed and wood and pine cones and all manner of junk to their carefully orchestrated photos. This weekend, I visited Gillian at her Newfoundland home in Old Perlican, and took the runner for its turn in the photo sun. But that sun didn’t shine. There was snow. There was wind. There were two warmly dressed women trying to keep a quilt under control. And these are the results.

So much for holding the runner up! Full marks for effort, Gillian.

We tried laying it on the beach.

Please note that there are rocks on the runner. They were placed to keep it from going out to sea, not for artistic effect. And yes, that’s me, one mitten off, taking a picture. If you look really closely you can see white dots on my coat. Snow.

So we went a little further from the beach and tried laying it on things like winches and lobster pots.

Finally, we went to the gazebo, designed for lovely summer evenings. By then, the battery in my phone had run out, and Gillian took some pictures. They are definitely better than mine.

Photo shoot finished, we went inside to warm up. The next day dawned bright and sunny, and I drove home, via Dildo. And no, I’m not being rude. The name appeared on nautical charts from 1711 onwards, and the town is now known for excellent fish and chips (which I had for lunch) and craft beer (tasted that too). 57408120_10216658514789842_8586378054136233984_nThe runner is enjoying a calm day on the deck of the Dildo Dory restaurant.

May you all find peace and love and chocolate. Happy Easter.

Linking up with TGIFF at Quilting Gail

and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Polar Bear

Once upon a time, on the island of Newfoundland, by the pond of the Hogans, a young polar bear came off the melting ice and climbed a tree to get her picture taken. 55760010_10216511614277421_5379238339700326400_nAnd that is proof that you can’t believe everything you read. Thank goodness, because the last thing I need in my backyard is a real, live, polar bear. A moose was bad enough.

56191285_10216511615197444_5668980935182254080_nGood friends are expecting their first granddaughter in April and I wanted to make her a quilt. Her older brother has one of my creations already and we can’t have her starting life feeling unloved. It will be soon enough that she looks at the family photos and asks why there aren’t as many pictures of her as there are of her brother, and why he got more christening presents than she did. Mind you, that’ll be before he asks why she can have sleepovers at six when he had to wait until he was ten. Such is life with two children; I have two daughters. I would know.

This polar bear was adapted from Elizabeth Hartman’s   North Stars, which includes nine very cute arctic creatures. I was tempted by the seal, but worried her brother might start bopping it on the head; he is half Newfoundlander, after all. I wanted the quilt to reinforce those roots, so when I saw the Acadia line at Quiltcon in Nashville, I bought the lobster, whale, berry and tiny fish prints. The green background was an obvious choice. The colour was in the prints, I already had it in my stash, and the pink, white and green harken back to the independence flag of Newfoundland. It was just the thing for a child being brought into the world in the wild west of Calgary!

To bring the quilt up to about forty inches, I made four of the star blocks, two partial stars, and some flying geese. The backing is a beautifully soft minkie with unicorns, and the quilting is with  40 weight Glide thread. Finally, I added a little heart, so that she will know she is loved.

56340124_10216511615797459_7867687909342576640_nOne quilt, full of the best of wishes, is ready to wing its way west!

The Ugliest Quilt Ever

54361768_10216422478369079_3308245666945302528_nOnce upon a time, at least a decade ago, I ordered some 6″ squares of Hawaiian shirt fabric. Most likely, it was in winter and there was snow everywhere, and I was dreaming of sunshine. I can think of no other reason to have committed this folly.

More recently, perhaps four years ago, I read about leaders and enders that turn into wonderful quilts before you even realize they are under construction. In an effort to explore this idea, I cut the Hawaiian shirting to 5 1/2″, and found some really ugly mustard fabric and some white wideback trimmings, which I cut to the same size. I decided to make the squares into a modern split nine patch. Each block would have four or five light patches, arranged in any position. ‘

Well, a few blocks got sewn, but mostly the basket of ugly fabric sat beside my small sewing table, taking up space and jeering at me because I always forgot to use it. Two nights ago, I sat at my machine, spotted that basket and said, “Enough! You are leaving here, one way or the other.” I finished the half done blocks, sliced up the completed ones, and sewed them into a quilt top measuring 36×52. It was small. It was ugly. It was done. The rest of the fabric went into a plastic bag and will be given away/thrown out at the next guild meeting.

I found a piece of old fabric for a back, and put it on the longarm frame. I’d been wanting to try a prewound bobbin to see if my stitch quality would improve, so out it came. Stitching was much better. One of my quilting friends posted a shamrock motif by Lori Kennedy Quilts on facebook, so I tried it out, along with some general doodling, to get some texture for the quilt and some practice for me. It was actually starting to look decent.53336759_10216422479369104_7613033822279434240_n

Then I chose some binding. I wasn’t going to sew this one by hand, so I sewed it down to the back of the quilt and flipped it to the front. What better quilt to try a new technique? I glue basted it, and the next morning sewed it down with blanket stitch, trying to keep the line of stitching directly over the line left when the binding was attached to the back. I got my fingers covered with glue, and wasn’t sufficiently precise with my stitching, but the overall effect was good and worth repeating. This is the view from the back.53857889_10216422478569084_1586482763622514688_n

Since everything can benefit from glamour shots, I took it out in the wind this afternoon, ignoring the most basic instruction taught at my quilt photography workshop. It was by good luck, not good management, that I didn’t have to go quilt chasing in the water.


So what came out of this experience? I removed some ugly fabric from my stash. I learned that my longarm likes prewound bobbins better than the ones I wind. I tried a new binding technique that has promise for the future. I attempted a new quilting motif. And I made a small quilt that will go to an longterm care facility. Surely, there’ll be some old soul with failing eyesight sitting in a wheelchair who’ll be happy enough to have something to keep his legs warm. Perhaps I should put some apron strings on it.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Linking up with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts