wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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More Retreat Goodies

You would be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic setting for a quilting getaway than at a lodge situated above this view.

The truth is, most of us had little time to look up. We were so busy looking down at our sewing machines.

Here are some of the end results of the quilts made at the retreat. The challenge was to use only fabric from scraps of materials in our stash. Here is one flimsy in the works, laid out in front of the huge fireplace.

A closer look will show you the challenge that the quilter probably faced in trying to get squares and triangles into a heart shape.

Not satisfied to merely sew scraps together, this quilter found a more complicated design and used mainly blue scraps with a few other colours for highlights. The border of tiny triangles gives me a headache just thinking about the work involved in sewing it.

Strips sewn into squares, in a variation of log cabin style — lots of thought went into the design and placement of these colours and squares.

Only a little bit of material left over? Why not make a table runner?

Making up the layers of the quilt: The backing material is taped to the table. Then the batting is laid over top, always brushing it smooth to get out any wrinkles. At last the flimsy is laid over top and clamped down, starting at one end, smoothing it, and adding another clamp and another as the wrinkles are smoothed out. Then comes the job of pinning it through all three layers to keep it them in place. See the pins (like safety pins) already in place on the side of the quilt that is hanging down? Only then does the quilting begin.

Some half-finished quilts are hung up to inspire us.

More quilts, and an apron.

After four days of sewing, most of us got plenty of work done, with only a bit of finishing up to do at home. Great camaraderie among the quilters makes these trips a lot of fun.


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The Bag Lady’s Scrap Quilt

Just back from a four-day quilting retreat, I have to show off what I accomplished.

The challenge this year was to make a quilt from old scraps. I got the top (the flimsy) done except for a bit of border trim. Once I get that done, it will be time to put some batting and backing onto it and start quilting to hold the sandwich of flimsy, batting, and backing together.

I had pre-cut fabric for making bags last year, in case I ran out of things to sew. The first bag I made this weekend was the light green one with strips of dark green. It had been a while since I made a bag and I forgot to put pockets on the inside of the lining of the green bag. So I guess it can be a book bag or something like that.

The others all have pockets in them. The smallest bag has a Japanese design in the center; the other side has a different design on it.

Here it is again, turned the other way, so you can see the back. It’s also a Japanese theme but this time a floral design. The bag is a bit narrow, but one of the quilters suggested it would be practical for bringing a bottle of wine if invited out for dinner.

The next post will have some of the work done by other quilters at the retreat.

If you’re still in a Valentine’s Day mood, it’s not too late to check out my website for more about my books. They are all about love and drama, three on the west coast of British Columbia (The Wind Weeps, Reckoning Tide, Marlie), more love and drama on the Baja Peninsula (Orion’s Gift), and a love triangle in postwar Europe (Julia’s Violinist).

As Adam Sandler said in one of his movies, “Love, love, love.”

Find out more at http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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Scraps

Bits and pieces are always left over no matter what project you sew. This year, our quilt guild suggested that we all try to make something out of the many scraps we have accumulated. I thought it was a perfect idea since my sewing room was loaded in “useless” bits of fabric.
Enthusiastically, I started putting the bits together. Hours (or maybe days and weeks) later, I realized what a huge job it would be to make a big quilt out of all these tiny pieces. So I began to think small.

I came up with four placemats made of scraps. Don’t look for perfection. They are only scraps.


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Quilted Aquarium

At last, at last, at last! I’ve finished the fish placemats after working on them for weeks. After sewing strips together to represent the pebbly ocean floor and the sea, I had to cut out shapes for seaweed, rocks, various kinds of imaginary fish, and a few turtles thrown into the mix.

These all had to be ironed on with “Heat and Bond” and then sewn into place with a small blanket stitch.

Then the batting and backing were put on and the quilting began.

Today I finished the binding around the edges.

There is a set of four, with a darker ocean floor, and a set of six with a lighter floor.

Don’t look too closely. There are mistakes all over the place, but after the first blob of gravy drops on the placemats, that won’t matter anymore.


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Quilted Tote Bag

Last February at the quilting retreat, one of the ladies had made this beautiful tote bag which my friend and I admired a lot. It had two big side pockets, one on each side of the bag.

After the retreat, my friend got right to work and made a bag from the same pattern. The one pictured below is the second one she has made. I admire her for making a second one after I learned how much work it was to make the first.

She encouraged me to make one too, offering her help (which I would definitely need). We had two sewing days at her house and I was still slow-poking along, but with her help through the hard parts, I managed to finish the bag (below).

For buttons I used the ones the Captain made for me about 43 years ago from deer antlers he had found. Since they are purely decorative, it doesn’t matter that they are not uniform in size or shape.

The bag is reinforced with “Soft and Stable” and this batting lives up to its name.

I struggled with sewing this bag and swore I would not make a second one, but now that it’s done and I have more of an idea what I’m doing, I may reconsider this.

Like anything in life, “It’s easy once you know how.”


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Quilts at the Fair

Today I volunteered to “hover” over the quilt exhibits at the local fall fair exhibition.

Many of the quilts required a high degree of quilting skill, and all of them took a lot of hours to complete. The quilt below is called Tantal”Eye”Zing. It has many tiny points that meet other lines and all connections have to be accurate.

A real challenge to sew, but what a rewarding finished product. You may just be able to see the beading and extra ornamentation sewn onto the quilt.

Smaller projects such as table runners are practical as well as beautiful.

 

These owls told me they would like to come to my house and stand guard by the front door.

The 3-D boxes below are really a flat quilt sewn with black, white, and gray fabric, cut and sewn to give a 3-D effect. But believe me, the quilt is flat. Really, it is!

 

The quilt below is noted for its interesting use of colour combinations. Also, the tiny squares are not easy to line up so all the corners meet exactly, but they do.

 

There are many more quilts in the exhibition, but there is not room to show them all here.

The man in the photo below did a super job of filling the hall with beautiful, soothing music. He gave me permission to take his picture but I didn’t tell him I wanted to put him in my blog post so I have blurred his face in case he didn’t want the publicity he is unaware he is getting.

The music was great but I just loved his outfit.

Those pants!!!!!!

 



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Something Fishy

There’s something fishy going on in my house these days. After making a set of eight “fishy” placemats, I felt encouraged by what I learned from the many mistakes I had made.  I decided to try two more, and fix the problems I had before.

I made two major changes.

One:

I cut out the all the pieces and had them ready to place. I ironed “Heat and Bond” on all of them and had them ready to iron onto the background, building the scene with all the characters present at once. In my trial runs, I had done the pieces of fish, rocks, and seaweed, one  at a time. It was so much easier to have all the pieces ready to put into the scene at once.

Two:

I set my stitch smaller for the applique part where I sewed around the edges of each piece, and matched the thread to the individual pieces rather than using one colour for everything. It’s hard to see the scales on the light blue fish (or any of the others) but if you can enlarge the photo you can see them.


The backing is the same on both.


Take care when using placemats

That have a fishy scene,

The big black grinner prowls around

But tries to look serene.

*

Beware the Dark Invader

Who lurks by every meal,

He has a constant hunger

Yet nothing does appeal.

*

The blue fish is too pretty,

The salmon are too fast,

The tiny little tropicals

Don’t make a meal to last.

*

The starfish are too crunchy,

Their skin is rough and tough,

And all the meat inside them

Is made of gooey stuff.

*

So Darky’s on the lookout 

For tourists diving here

He’d gladly nibble on their toes

Or on their scuba gear.

*

Their underwater camera 

Would fall right from their hands

And Darky could then pick it up

And make his own demands.

*

He’d slip along the hotel pool

Straight to the swim up bar

He’d swap that camera for a drink

And watch them from afar.

*

The fun he’d have inside this place,

The shocking looks he’d get,

He’d frighten daylights out of them

Although he’s just a pet.

*

So when you use the Darky mats

And eat your fancy food,

Be sure to drop some crumbs for him

To maintain his good mood.

***


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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.


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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.

 


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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.