Category Archives: quiltmaking

Underwater Quilting

No, I didn’t quilt these placemats underwater, but I felt like I was drowning in my work at times. Here are two finished and six not finished placemats I worked on while at the quilting retreat.

I wanted to make up the scenes as I went along, so no two placemats are the same. (The one below is finished except for the binding.)

However, you may notice a reappearance of the dark invader, my Darth Vader fish, in several of the placemats. His job is to see that you don’t eat too much at one sitting.

Miss Prissy Fishy below lets the others know that she has special protection from Darky. Who knows what favours she supplies?

So Darky concentrates on other unearthly looking fish for his supper.

And yet, he must wonder why he has no friends. Look at them scramble to get away.

“Miss Prissy Fishy,” says Pretty Boy, “why are you ignoring me?  See how talented I am. I can touch my toes. And anyway, don’t you know that good things come in small packages?”

“I heard that, Pretty Boy,” bubbles Darky, “but in the case of eat or be eaten, just remember that size matters. Oh dear, now look what I’ve done. I’ve upset Little Blue Wonderfish.”

Disclaimer via Darky: Not responsible for any fish swimming upside down.

Snowy Quilting Retreat

It was to be four days of quilting without the worry of cooking or cleaning. We would be served all meals and not have to wash dishes or clean house. All we had to do was sew and take breaks to enjoy the beauty of the lodge and its surroundings.

The view from the lodge is breathtaking.

About a two-minute walk from the lodge was the guest house where I had a room. The stairs were cleared, salted, and sanded. Everything was well looked after on the grounds. We congratulated ourselves on braving the snowy driving conditions to arrive at this gorgeous retreat. Only a bit of snow was left.

But on the second night it snowed heavily before warming up in the morning. The snow was perfect for making a snowman — or for someone to take a dive down the stairs.

I stepped out to go to the main lodge for breakfast, and took ten of the twelve steps on my bum. My camera flew over the railing and I bump-bump-bumped all the way down the stairs. Humiliated, I got up and crept around the bottom of the steps to retrieve my camera, luckily in its case. I shook off the shock and took a step to continue on my way. (Imagine this picture with about six inches of fresh snow covering everything.)

Wham! I was on my back again, this time wrenching my shoulder in an effort to catch my fall.

 

For the next two days I sewed and watched others sew beautiful things. My project remains unfinished, although I worked on it steadily. I’ll post it another time. But I can show you a few of the things other quilters made.

Placemats.

More placemats (this one is a work still in progress).

A table runner.

Some unfinished quilts.

 

And a beautiful tote bag with unique side pockets.

In spite of my side trip down the stairs, I had a great time. It was fun and a great learning experience to work with so many talented quilters.

 

More Placemats

About a year ago I was going to make a big cushion. I had strips sewn together. The pattern called for a paper-pieced design on top of those strips, but somehow I could never find the enthusiasm to get going on it.

One day I got brazen and cut the cushion square into four pieces. These would be the center of my replacement project, a set of placemats. I wanted a minimum of six placemats though, so I sewed a few more strips together and cut them in half to make two more center parts.

I added some filler strips on the sides to make a longer rectangle, and then decided on a border. Triangles in two bands, top and bottom, should add some interest. I hadn’t made triangles in squares for a while, and had to think about it.

Here they are below, right sides together. I drew a line from corner to corner and sewed  a quarter inch from each side of the line, then cut along the line.

Open up and press. That gives you the squares with two triangles shown above.

I sewed the squares together in rows of eight and then sewed the triangle strips to the top and bottom of each placemat.

After putting batting and a backing on the flimsy (top), I did a bit of quilting in the center parts. Then I put binding around it, and voilà, a placemat made of a recycled cushion.

Don’t look too closely. It’s not perfect, but I feel good about having salvaged the remnants of one project, and used up many scraps at the same time.

Place mats

Recently, my nephew got married and I had no idea what to do for a wedding gift. He had been living with his partner (now wife) for several years so they really didn’t need more gifts.

I finally came up with the idea of place mats, because that  you can always use extras or switch them around for a different look.

These are from a pattern called Take Four, probably because it uses four different fabrics and makes four different place mats. I made eight altogether so there are two of each pattern.

For the back of the place mats I used a solid piece of each of the fabrics used on the front, so the place mats are reversible. If you spill something on one side, you can quickly flip it over to use the other side.

It’s not a difficult pattern, but you have to pay attention to the different colour sequences so you will end up with the intended look.

It was a fun project and I thought of the newlyweds a lot as I sewed.

I hope they will always have enough food to serve on these place mats.

Sawing Logs

Two years ago at a quilting retreat, I had finished my planned small projects and had time left over to mess around a bit.  I sewed a few left over odds and ends together, making a square in the log cabin pattern.

The strips of fabric are like logs of all different lengths,  stacked into a “log cabin” of sorts. I made 14 of these squares with the shortest “log” being 1 inch and the longest, 9 inches. I thought it was a good way to use up scraps of fabric that would otherwise not be good for much.

Then I had a brainwave: I could put the squares together and make a quilt!

Okay. How many squares would I need? I had a quilt at home with a different design of squares. It was  10 squares across and 11 down, but was a tiny bit small for the bed.

I could do the same thing and add a border.

Great idea. So how many squares would I need to make? 10 times 11 = 110.

I had 14 done (and it had taken me some time).

Only 96 more to go. Eeeeeeee!!! What was I thinking?

But I had already made 14 and I had the “logs” cut out for many more. Too late to abandon the plan.

…. Last night, almost two years later,  I finished the monstrosity. Now, if I snore, I can say I’m sawing logs.

Snowy Quilting Retreat

As I left home to drive to the quilting retreat last week, it happened to be a rare sunny day and the Comox Glacier on Vancouver Island was looking fine after many  fresh coatings of snow during the past weeks. At sea level we were all complaining about the constant rain this winter, but up high, it was building up the snow on the glacier.

My friend and I arrived at the lodge on Quadra Island and unloaded our sewing machines and all the many boxes of fabric and sewing supplies we would need for the next four days.

We unloaded our bedding and personal items in our assigned rooms and then got busy setting up the machines to sew. After that it was a marathon of sewing.

Here is the project my friend was working on. She designed it herself and has done a beautiful job of it. I’m only sorry that my photo doesn’t do it justice.

I worked on small projects like bags,

and a table runner (the one hanging at an odd angle on the end).

Another quilter who sat nearby, had some gorgeous fabric that she was using to build a quilt. Here is the first phase of it.

It drizzled a bit the first two days but then it cleared enough for us to take a short walk. The next day it was like Christmas. Snow!

Even from inside the lodge, you could tell it was snowing heavily outside.

The next day it was all gone again and we were ready to drive home. What a surprise we had when we arrived home to find more snow.

And to think that ten days ago I was having thoughts about gardening. I think this year I might be planting snowballs.

 

Retreat – Stepping Back

In mid-October I took a step back – a retreat from the usual day-to-day living – to a beautiful location on Quadra Island, a short ferry ride from Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The occasion was the semi-annual quilting retreat for the local quilting guild.

Four days of sewing and camaraderie, in which we had no cooking or cleaning to do. Just sew and go for a walk now and then between rain showers.

The buildings are old, but the natural scenery is older and for the most part, unchanged. It was a very quiet and beautiful spot.

The quilters each bring their sewing machines and fabrics, and all their tools and supplies needed to complete their planned projects. I had several unfinished projects, and by the end of the four days, I felt I had accomplished a lot.

One of the things I did was to take the ill-fitting squares I had made a couple of years ago and try to use them in some other way. The quilt I had intended them for was not working out but I had already done so much work on the tiny red and white squares, and on the appliqued birds and flowers.

I decided on place mats and pieced them together in whatever way the squares would fit, patching places that were odd sizes.

The result was four place mats and one table center, good enough for my own table for everyday meals.

It felt good to use up the unfinished project pieces and I was happy with the results. Now all they need is a meal to be served on them.