Archive for February, 2010

The Best Medicine…

What does one do while recovering from surgery? Think positive, keep up with PT, and remember…”ice is your friend!” Have been watching as many of the Olympic events as possible and will be sad to see them end tonight. By the way, Canada – congratulations on winning the Gold in Hockey this afternoon.  It was a great game!

Yesterday, I finally felt like picking up some handwork and managed to work on Block #4 of my Liberty Ladies project. Not quite finished, but getting there…it will be a block that I will always call a little wonky or “appliqueing while under the influence of Vicodin.” I am trying the back basting method of applique on this one…

My Mom’s Birthday is in mid-March and she loves frilly, vintage look accents around the house. This stitchery is from a Crabapple Hill pattern – Breath of Spring. When it is finished I will include a photo. Before you start embroidering, you must “tint” the areas with Crayola Crayons. Kind of fun and will add a nice touch of color to the finished pillow. Any time I open a box of crayons, I am back in elementary school – crayons have such a familiar, comforting fragrance, don’t they? Just sitting at a table with sheets of paper or a coloring book can be so calming…such a simple task but very satisfying.

And the best medicine of all? Friendships – people who take time to send a card, a message or a phone call…just to let you know they are thinking about you. And when those friends are quilters – they know fabric is far better than any pill!

So tonight, I feel good. Today I turned 66 and my life is richly blessed with my family and special friends…wishing everyone a great week and…

And that you always take time to stitch


A sweet little (circa 1940's-50's) deer pincushion - thank you Lois!


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Fabric Arrival!

Do you order a lot of fabric online? Sometimes it is the only option and when I have done so in the past, the results have always been positive.  A number of weeks ago, I discovered a new line of fabric by Robyn Pandolph & immediately connected with it. It is called Canadian Cottage and oh, how I coveted some!!! With a birthday approaching at the end of February, it seemed timely to seek out DH about an early present. Could I, oh please, could I order some?? The answer was “yes.” I knew it would never be found around my neck of the woods and probably hard to locate in the US in reality.  All my Google hits came up with Canadian references only. The Quilted Garden in Surrey, B.C. had gotten in the entire collection & Catherine Hanna, the owner, took such good care of my order. The package was mailed on Monday, February 8th, the same day the Olympic Torch traveled the Fraser Highway in the Surrey area.  It arrived on Wednesday, February 17th – the day after my knee replacement surgery. Was I ever motivated to get home quickly! This is what I arrived home to…the photos don’t begin to do it justice and the feel or hand of this fabric is like a cloud – a high thread count.

This first piece will be used for blocks

This piece will be used for the border which will be scalloped.

The pale turquoise dot will also be used for blocks & binding and the wonderful white with the Canadian National Anthem “O, Canada” will be the backing.

What will the quilt pattern be?

Using this pattern and fabric above to create a totally different look…and adding that scalloped border…

We have spent so many memorable times visiting throughout the Canadian Provinces and Territories over the years.  The welcoming people we have met in Toronto, Vermilion Bay, Red Lake, Thunder Bay…Whiteshell Park, Manitoba…breathtaking Banff, Vancouver Island & Bushart Gardens (ah…all those roses!) just all of beautiful B.C. &  The Yukon – pale, milky blue waters and snowcapped mountains…this quilt featuring the Delectable Mountains block just says – make me! It will be a while before I can start – other projects need to take priority but what a treat this will be when it begins to take shape.

Be sure to visit Becca over at Turtle Trax Too for her lovely 2nd Bloggaversary Celebration!!!

For now, my brain is still foggy from meds and weeks of rehab lay ahead. I would like to thank everyone who sent such kind thoughts, prayers and best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery. That has meant so much to me.

All for the time being…hope to be back more alert later in the week. Take care and…

Always take time to stitch…


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Do You Like Curves?

Way too much nervous energy tonight – tomorrow I get my new knee…trying to keep my mind and hands occupied.

In our house, we watch the Olympics every moment when possible. Whether it be the Winter Games or the Summer, I always begin a new quilt during the Opening Ceremonies with the goal of having the top finished by the Closing Ceremonies. This year is no exception but I may need to carry my personal goal into the next scheduled Olympics. I have chosen “Borealis” by Design Studios Series, and when completed will go to our son who lives in Alaska. This seems like an appropriate piece for him.

I started piecing the 1st block Friday night while watching the Ceremonies from Vancouver…it took 2 days, working on and off, to get it done.  I like paper piecing for the accuracy, but had forgotten how putzy piecing curves can be. Lots of pinning and adjustments…how about you? Do you like working with curves? Do you have any special tips or tricks that help the process? Would very much enjoy hearing about how you approach this particular piecing technique.

So here is the first block – I do like the way the colors work together – batiks are just magical! And…it actually lays flat!!!

It will no doubt be a number of weeks before I can return to the sewing room and sit at the machine to do more blocks. I will keep you posted as this project grows…

Will be back later…


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A Gathering of Hearts…

Not having an “official” Valentine’s Day quilt to share with you I started to look for objects with a heart theme…chances are you have hidden hearts around your home too…more than you can imagine.

Some of my hearts go back to my quilt shop days…the shop was called Heart and Hand – a favorite old design & my logo. I am wondering if the dear lady that made this for the entry of the shop will remember?

I still treasure this, Marilyn – it hangs in my sewing room…and I think of you everytime I see it.

My friends could always find cookie cutters to give me –

And a very clever “heart and hand” vintage white cotton glove pedestal…made by Chris

A patriotic heart and hand pincushion done in cross stitch – from Laura, who owned the needlework shop next to my store.

It didn’t take long before more hearts started showing up around the house too…collected, made, found in antique shops…from friends…

A tiny redwork heart pin; an ivory pincushion done in candlewicking, & one done out of vintage fabrics. The sweet little hardanger piece from Kathy – such tiny thread work!

And more cookie cutters and molds…

I peeked in my secretary and behind the glass doors – guess what?

A reproduction card that Hallmark came out with a few years back…love the fan design…

An 2 antique Valentine cards – the first is dated 1904.

This is a a very large antique Valentine which stands upright…

I would like to share the inked inscription written on the back…wonder who wrote it so many Valentine Day’s ago? I love the little circled message at the bottom…”May every Joy attend my darling…”

And a card I kept from my Mom and Dad – don’t recall the year but it must have been in the early 50’s – a sweet memory.

My baby locket (and sweater & dress!)

One of my favorite little books…Mary Emmerling’s “Hearts”

Even found a heart in the guest bathroom…This is the little box that holds guest towels…

Well…I did manage to find a little quilt with hearts on it, afterall…made a long time ago…a close up of some of the little blocks…

So many little hearts…that serve a purpose, hold memories or are sentimental…so dear to my own heart…especially this well loved bear which was a constant companion to our son when he was little. The fur is worn off the chest and one day I sewed a little red heart over a hole that appeared. I can’t believe he now photographs Alaskan Brown Bears in the wild now…maybe there is something to the theory of “early childhood influences!”

On this Sweet Day – I wish you a gathering of hearts...family, friends, a special loved one – we never have to look too far for a special Heart.

Always take time to stitch…


Two vintage silk and crochet pincushions

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Why do you quilt? What got you started? How long have you been at it? For whatever reason – most of us probably feel that there is so much comfort in touching soft fabrics, staring at quilt shop shelves loaded with choices – our eyes glazed over and heart rate up. I feel as comfortable entering a quilt shop as I do in my own kitchen…familiar surroundings with all the basics on hand and discovering new combinations that say Try Me! May I have 2 yards of that please – or 3 or 4…

Over the years, we have all probably pieced a great number of quilts intended as gifts for a loved one or participated in a group project for a friend – perhaps a cozy quilt to give comfort. Have you made your own “comfort quilt?” One that you pick up on a cold, winter’s night or grab for an afternoon nap? Usually easily pieced…not fussy.  The last one I made was entirely from flannels and the finished size was determined by what was on hand…it is a nice over the knee size, but square and a touch short for providing adequate coverage when the sofa is beckoning.

Last Fall while at our guild Retreat, I pieced a top from a kit – the colors were “smushy” – soft, warm little vintage prints. This past week,  I decided to machine quilt it with just an overall lazy, loopy free motion design (YLI’s Sticks and Stones.)  Found some flannel yardage in my stash and used a Hobbs 80/20 Cotton batting.  The binding is now done and I like the finished weight & feel of the whole thing…I will be getting a brand new knee on February 16 and when I come home it will be nice to cover up with this comfort quilt…if you have ever had knee replacement you know how much time you spend with bags of ice on the joint area. A person gets chilled very quickly! This will be my 2nd knee – I feel like a veteran….

And ta da!! Another applique block is now completed…the confidence level is slowly increasing as I get a feel for working with the colors.

The first 3 blocks were appliqued using the red dot interfacing method which seems to work okay for me. But block #4 will be trying the method of marking the pattern pieces on the back of the background fabric.  Will see how it goes.

This week’s pincushion is another antique piece which I have had for about 12 years. It provided a very interesting discovery when I was getting ready to photograph it. The pincushion may look somewhat bizarre to you as it did to me initially.

(And, no, I absolutely did not place those stick pins directly into the knee area!! 😮 Though acupuncture might be an interesting alternative to knee surgery??? The hat pins were there when I bought it.)

My friend, Dee, recently unearthed some information about Victorian Mourning Pins. These pins were entirely black and were used to secure mourning veils to bonnets in the late 1800’s – completely black garments, even underclothing, were dictated by Queen Victoria, following the death of her Prince Albert.

On closer examination of my pincushion,  found were over a dozen straight pins – the shafts are blackened and the pin heads are black glass. The pins hold the points of the lace in place. The lace is very old, black with an edging of what appears to be gold threads. The leg shape must have come from a doll – perhaps one no longer selvegable? It is stuffed quite firmly and covered in a mustard colored cotton chintz.

This photo is showing the reproduction mourning pins that Dee was able to locate for our tiny pin case – the 3 blackened pins below it are from my antique pincushion.

That is it for this week…the next few days will be busy with Pre-Op stuff and getting the house somewhat organized before surgery. Looks like a snowy week coming up – nothing like the folks on the East Coast though – our mild winter continues.

Have a good time watching the Super Bowl – should be a very good game to watch! Two good teams going at it…

Always take time to stitch.


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