WIP Wednesday

I think I’m managing a WIP Wednesday post about every second week. Not too shabby! As usual for Work in Progress Wednesday, I’m linking in with Freshly Pieced.

Lets see what I have to share with you today…

I’ve got Nora’s quilt in the lap frame and have started on the hand work! I’m really pleased with it. I’m using variegated thread, and quilting in a looped pattern to add movement to the stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the back – you can see the quilting better:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also made the May block for the Treasure Chest BOM. It’s called a “long 9-patch” and the name is appropriate because it took me a long time to make it! I’ve actually got the flying geese pieces in backwards (which I didn’t notice until it was all put together, lol!) – but decided to leave them that way. Now I have my own unique creation! “Nita’s backwards long 9-patch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, last but not least…June is my month for the We Be Learning On-line Bee that I’m part of. I’ve agonized with indecision, but finally decided on which block I am going to have the other ladies make for me: The Churn Dash. This is a very old traditional square, and I am going to request each quilter make it in a 1930s reproduction print. I can’t wait to start getting the blocks in the mail! This bee is made of 12 women from all over Canada & the USA. Each month one person tells the others what block she wants and gives them colour & fabric directions. Then we each make a square and mail it to her. June is my month! Here is the one I made for a trial:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course no post would be complete without one of my furry kids! Here is Spooky lounging on the “TV” quilt.

 

 

A bit of Fawn on a Friday

Here it is Sunday and I’ve been wanting to write about Friday since…well, since Friday!

Friday was a great day. I woke up feeling really good. I puttered around the house at my leisure, did a bit of housework, drank some tea, yada yada yada. Then I packed myself a lunch, grabbed my camera and went down to Lepage Park to see my dear friend Fawn Fritzen sing the noon-hour show with her band, the Swing Street Band.

 

 

 

 

I had to go because Fawn is my favourite singer, and this was 100% her gig… Star of the show…Title act…dynamite and classy all the way…and… wearing… my dress! Yup! That’s my ladybug dress she has on! See?

 

 

 

 

 

 

And added bonus… my Big Band friends Colleen McCarthy on trombone & Leith Hill on alto sax also play in Fawn’s Swing Street Band!

 

 

 

 

 

I was bopping around in my seat enjoying the afternoon and the music, seeing lots of people I know in the audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did I mention how much I love listening to Fawn sing?

Here’s a little taste of Friday’s Arts in the Park. Enjoy!

My Favourite Quilt: Michael’s “Sky at Night”

I have just discovered something very cool… The Blogger’s Quilt Festival! This is a huge linky party and there are prizes and everything – I am in heaven! I am going to join! It runs from May 18th to June 1st. Check it out!

Amy's Creative Side
The rules say that I have to tell the story of my favourite quilt, and you know me – that won’t be difficult at all!
My favourite quilt is not my best quilt by a long shot. In fact, my favourite quilt happens to be the first quilt I ever made.
033
It has crooked seams and the corners don’t match very well, and that’s just the way I like it. It’s perfect to me because of the story it tells.
045In 1995 when my son was 10 years old, he had a friend whose mother owned a quilt shop. In fact, the quilt shop was attached to her house, and when I would drop Michael off to play at Seb’s house I would go in and browse through the beautiful bolts of fabrics and quilting books. Seb’s mother, Dawn, urged me to sign up for a class and so I signed up to make my very first quilt ever: a fence rail quilt for Michael’s bed.
017I couldn’t believe how involved he got in the making of it. He insisted on going with me to choose the fabric. While I was busy looking for blues and greys and other “boy” fabrics, he was busy picking out his own colours.
007He chose dark navy blue with gold stars, red with black line-drawn jungle animals, gold with black jungle-like veins, a green leaf print, and a stripy black-on-black for the background. The other ladies in the shop that day were very amused and tried to persuade him that the colours would not work together. But he insisted, and so that’s what we purchased.
024When I got into the class with my fabric, I sure got a lot of ribbing from the ladies. However, as the quilt started coming together, everyone admitted that the colours actually DID work very well together. Michael’s quilt ended up being the class favourite with it’s striking and bold colours. Looking back, I don’t think the era of modern quilts had really gotten started the way it is now. I think Michael was ahead of his time. Pretty good for a 10-year-old!
037I remember also being ribbed about my sewing machine. While all the other machines were purring quietly away, my old workhorse sounded like a train clattering over the tracks! Actually, that’s still my sewing machine, and while it would be lovely to have a new one that hums instead of clanks, it has taken me a long way and I feel kind of faithful to it.
When the top was finished, I decided to hand quilt it. I bought a template and hand quilted every single night for months! I have also never wavered from that, either. All of my quilts since then have been either hand quilted or hand tied.
Michael was so impatient for me to finish! I remember him keeping tabs on my progress. I remember how excited he was when it was done.
I remember that he used to come out of his room in the mornings in his PJs with the quilt wrapped around his shoulders.
I remember him eating his cereal with the quilt over his shoulders.
I remember him laying on the quilt and then rolling himself up in it on the living room floor.
I remember him snuggling in it with a book.
I remember us snuggling up in it together.
It was on his bed every night. Sometimes top-side up and sometimes backing-side up.
Here’s an old picture I found of it and scanned. My, how bright it was when it was new!
And here is a picture I found of him in bed with it. It’s topside-down in this picture, so you can see the backing:
When the quilt was finished, Michael named it “Sky at Night” and I embroiderd it onto the corner.  That quilt has had a hard life. After many washings, the navy has faded to a pale denim colour and the stars are completely gone. I pulled it out of the closet and took some photos this morning.
When he grew up and moved away from home, I tried to send the quilt with him, but he asked me to keep it here for him instead. He was afraid it would get lost or ruined. But he’s grown now, so someday soon I’ll be packing it up and handing it over where it belongs. Meanwhile, it’s  here…holding our memories safe.

WIP Wednesday WoW!

Wow – look what we woke up to this morning! It started about 9:30 last night and is still falling. It’s pretty, but some green would be prettier on the May 16th!

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, since today is Work-in-Progress Wednesday, I’m linking in here: (check them out and see what other crafty folk are up to!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t given a progress report on my various sewing projects in a couple of weeks, so here goes!

The May block for the In Color Order block-of-the-month quilt-along was posted, and I made that one right away. I’m really enjoying this QAL (quilt along). Every block is made out of 1/2 triangle squares, so it is interesting to see how many combinations there are, and also they are very easy which is right up my alley these days. Cheers to stress-free quilting!  Here’s the May block:

And here it is with its buddies (Jan, Feb, Mar & Apr, plus one extra I wanted to make as an experiment). She’s going to be gorgeous when she’s finished, eh?!

And then after all my angst and anxiety over Nora’s quilt, it finally all came together.  You’ll remember that I had the 12 blocks but couldn’t decide on a sashing colour:

For some reason, the depression just magnified the indecision, which became stressful, which started keeping me awake at night and yada yada yada. Hard to believe one little quilt could cause so much panic in my mind. That’s being ill for you, I guess. I still have absolutely zero tolerance for stresses of any kind…any little stress just throws me right off of my balance beam and I can’t cope.  My solution was to put the quilt on the back burner and move on to something else for a while. I even told Nora’s mom that the quilt was going to take a bit longer than expected. I was still intrigued by stars, though, and made 12 of these little 6″ babies:

Hummm…..do you see what I see? (said the quilter to the drummer boy). Just to see what would happen, I laid out the original stars together with the new batch of 6″ minis, and Viola!  Nora’s quilt was born!

Now the big job begins…hand quilting this little sparkler!

Also this month I made the May We Be Learning Bee block for Barbara in Oregon. She requested a bow tie block in a theme of our choice. I found some cute country farm fabric, so that is my theme. The block is already in the mail – that is going to be a fun quilt! I’ll look forward to her photos of it when it’s finished. I wonder what themes the other quilters in the group will choose?

My month is June, and I wanted to have everyone make me a bear’s paw block. So I thought I better test the pattern out since I’ll have to post it in a couple of weeks. I tried three times, and just couldn’t make the block turn out the right size. So I guess it isn’t really a beginner block after all. I do love it, though, and will keep it in mind to make when I’m not a beginner anymore. There are so many little pieces in this block that the smallest error multiplies and throws the size right off, so not the best choice for a beginner quilter group if I want to receive 12 blocks that are the same size! I can use the ones I made in a little quilt of my own since my own blocks were consistant, just not the 12.5 inches that the pattern calls for. So I’ve chosen a different (easier) block, but I’ll keep it under my hat for now…you’ll have to wait until June to find out what it’s going to be!  Here are two of my three bear paw blocks:

Of course this post wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse of my menagerie! Here is Misty, who has decided that I have sewn enough for the day:

And Sammy has had a haircut – what a cutie pie!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, monday

I called in sick today and stayed home from work to fight off a cold that seems determined to settle in my ears. Don’t you just hate that? Ugh.

Also, this morning I feel like I’m just starting to emerge from a solid week of broken days. I hung on during the week, but on Friday, Saturday & Sunday I could barely get out of the house. I know that it’s important to get out and connect with people, so I didn’t cancel a dinner date that I had with two girlfriends on Friday night, and was really glad I went because I had a very nice time and came home feeling better. Saturday, though, I cancelled a walking date with another friend because I just couldn’t find the energy to organize myself for the excursion.  Sunday was similar energy-wise. But then flowers arrived from my beautiful son & daughter-in-law, and in the evening we all went out for supper. Again, I had a very nice time and felt better for having gone out and celebrated mother’s day with the kids.

Today, even though I don’t feel well because of the head cold, I feel the depression fog lifting a bit. Enough to take a good look in my fridge and think about meals for the coming week. Enough to actually do something about it, which was to drag myself up the street to the grocery store, buy vegetables and make a pot of broccoli soup that I can portion into containers for lunches. Enough to make a huge pot of brown rice and chop several days worth of vegetables that can go into the fridge to be used during the week. Enough to make a doctor appointment for tomorrow to see about investigating other reasons for feeling the way I do. Ask to get my hormones tested, get another thyroid test, talk about the medication & dosage I’m taking.

And for the rest of today? I see pots of herbal tea, a box of kleenex and a nap on the couch in my immediate future. Monday, monday, sometimes just turns out that way.

 

Spring!

I didn’t have to go to work today! It was such a beautiful morning that I decided to take a walk and get my errands done early. Samson and I walked the river loop at about 9:30 in the morning. It was about 0 degrees, so everything was crisp and frosty. I love it when the sun is warm on your shoulders and the air is chilly on your skin at the same time. I love it when the ground is slightly crunchy before it’s warmed up enough to soften. Spring is definitely here! The seagulls are back on the river, screeching and squawking. Walking along, I heard an especially loud ruckus start up in the gull population. I turned around just in time to see a bald eagle fly about 20 feet over my head, chased by a half-dozen of the afore-mentioned squawking flock. Further on, I found my first crocus flowers blooming on the river edge, and Sammy and I had to stop and smell the air when we got our first whiff of warm dirt and sap. Robins are singing, leaf buds are swelling and the snow is melting. Oh, happy day!

I didn’t have my camera with me, so I took some pictures of the yard when I got home instead. Here is what spring looks like at my house today:

 

Here is the rhubarb just starting to peek out of the ground. And brave early poppies sprouting, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Spring to you!

 

Wednesday…again?

Well, I don’t have much to report on the quilting front. I made a couple of more stars for Nora’s quilt, and then I laid them all out and chose the 12 I like best.

I’ve actually made 24 blocks between experimenting with this and that. Enough already! I have enough star blocks for 2 very different quilts now. Anyway…I still can’t decide how to put them together…with sashing or not, and if with sashing, I can’t decide between white or blue. And then I thought maybe I’d add little pinwheels on the sashing strips at the corners between each block… Sigh…

Actually, there’s a lot going on between me and that quilt, and I may decide to set it aside and make something else for Nora while I sort it out. It is starting to represent my frustration and unhappiness with being unwell, and those aren’t the kind of feelings I want to wrap her up in.

So…what other work in progress? How about me?I’m definitely a work in progress here, although lately its starting to feel like progress in the wrong direction as I’m finding it harder and harder to maintain my equilibrium, especially at work.

This morning I attended the second of those courses I talked about a couple of weeks ago (a broken day and a pretty dress). I don’t know…they call it a course, but it’s starting to feel an awful lot like group therapy to me. And I DIDN’T sign up for group therapy. I feel like a fish out of water. I feel irritable and impatient and I don’t like feeling that way. When I am sitting in that classroom, I don’t know who I am. And I REALLY don’t like THAT! Anyway, I am going, and I am trying to do the exercises because I am one stubborn lady who is determined to try everything she can to get better and be well again.

I don’t know what being well is going to look like. I don’t want to be an overachiever like I was before. That wasn’t healthy and look where it got me. But I do want my sense of joy back. I don’t like being a prickly pear. Somewhere inside is that joyful woman you see on the banner of this website. I want her back.

After class I went to the office. My balance beam was pretty narrow, but I was doing okay. I was smiling. I worked on an important project that took all afternoon to complete, and I was feeling good about myself – competent and capable. and kind of the way I used to feel in my job a couple of years ago.

…and then everything went to hell, and anxiety & depression are having a party in my body, making my head hurt and my stomach roll.

So I am going to go to my regularly scheduled Pilates class and see if I can work some of my stress out of me and into the mat where it belongs. And if that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll take the dog out for a walk.

Here is your photo for the day: me in my former life, dancing in front of The Big Band. Wow, that seems like a long time ago, but was actually only last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since it is WIP Wednesday, I’m linking up: