Building a Home

Last month I had the good fortune to visit Poland.  I had a marvellous time seeing the sights, visiting museums, listening to Chopin’s music, eating local delicacies and walking. Always walking. As I walked, I invariably passed churches. They were everywhere and they were beautiful; they had to be seen to be appreciated. This is the interior of St. Anne’s Church in Warsaw, for which I had a particular affinity, even if there is an unnecessary “e” in the name.



Built in the 1800’s, it is airy and light, compared to many of the much older churches, and has absolutely beautiful art work in delicate, pastel, colours. I thought they would make a great palette for a quilt.

The first weekend after I came home, I attended a workshop with Krista Hennebury of Poppyprints, called Round Peg, Square Hole. Have you found there is nothing like a workshop to generate UFOs? I have. After last year’s push to finish my PhD with Quilting Gail, I am determined not to create any more projects half done that make demands on my psyche. My daughter had requested a wedding quilt for friends whose decor is neutral and uncluttered, the opposite of my usual aesthetic. I decided to make a few workshop blocks using the colours of St. Anne’s, set them in Essex linen and call it a quilt. I used blue/green Essex, dusty rose Liberty quilting cotton, and an aged Carolyn Friedlander light tan to go with the Art Gallery mist. I felt like I was back in the 80’s, wanted another colour, and after auditioning, added the brown with white polka dot Dear Stella.



After some consultation with my friend Gillian, the blocks were arranged. I sewed two pieces of the linen onto the strip and hated it. Tried the mist. It was even worse. Sorry for the quality of these pictures. I couldn’t stand the combinations long enough to take decent ones.



What if I added stripes, like a Hudson’s Bay blanket? They would carry the logs into the background.

62409012_10216990894419125_7381132822683058176_nOh my goodness, no. What to do? I was not going to make a whole quilt of those labour intensive log cabins. Then I remembered Gillian had made some 2×4 blocks recently. Come to think about it, I made baby quilts this spring with them. I made a few blocks.

62050542_10216990894659131_7052694517484355584_nThank you, Film in the Fridge, publisher of the 2×4 tutorial. You saved the day.



I had a few log cabins left, trimmed them to size, and added them to the 2×4’s for interest (and to keep them out of my orphan block pile), and had a finished top. 62021059_10216990895819160_5661599316624539648_nIf you look closely, you’ll see the odd block. I thought I’d put a little love in the quilt because it is, after all, a wedding quilt. There’ll be more pictures when it’s quilted, but I was so happy with it, I had to share it.62101034_10216990895739158_7915241508071014400_nHere’s it is, Building a Home, hanging peacefully, contentedly, on the line.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

and Myra at Busy Hands Quilts.

Bear in the Woods

61662991_10216915826342470_8164940993875935232_nBack in the dark ages, shortly after man first walked on the moon, when high school girls were still sent to the bathroom to wash their faces if they came to school wearing makeup, I met my friend Roseanne. We shared a love of fun and adventure, but especially a joy in the ridiculous, that has lasted for almost fifty years. We were camping the night that Nixon left office, taking a hammer into our tent when the guys in the next tent offered us a toke; there was no legal marijuana in those days. We drove a new, standard transmission, car 1500 miles home from the Montreal Olympics when neither of us could drive stick. One policeman eventually waved us through a red light somewhere in New England after we had stalled trying to start on the previous six greens, but with one of us on handbrake, and the other on clutch, we managed. Later, we had children much the same ages and our families went camping for many summers; activities involved beaches and fireworks and jellyfish and tents and campfires and all manner of fun. Now our children are grown, but we still enjoy the great outdoors, and she and her husband have just finished renovating their cabin (cottage) in the woods. It is beautiful. It needed a quilt.

61367338_10216915825862458_104664135345635328_nLorna McMahon of Sew Fresh Quilts had a quilt along a few years ago for Mod Bear Paw that I admired but didn’t join. Given that we had seen bears while camping, I thought it was the pattern for the cabin. Because I used multiple colours instead of the suggested two, I was able to add bear paws under the bear’s belly that were not in the original. I simplified the borders, giving me a place to quilt reminders of past exploits, and good wishes for the future.

61631395_10216915825582451_6759875054676213760_nI had planned to put lots of quilting in the bear paw blocks, but found that after I had stippled all the navy background, the bright batiks popped up beautifully, so I left them undone. The bear himself was fun to stitch. I found myself googling images of bears to see which way their fur grew. When the quilt was trimmed, I added a scrappy, gold, binding and delivered it, with my good wishes, to Roseanne for her recent, significant, birthday.


Linking up to Dionne at Clever Chameleon and Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs.

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.