Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, Dracula…ME!

Nope,  this is not a story about mass murderers or witches, or any other terrifying things.  Today,  my friends, I’m talking about the REALLY REALLY scary stuff.   I’m talking about picking up my rotary cutter and slicing into my new Kaffe Fassett fabric.   HA! I heard your gasp of horror!  Get ready to cringe and/or hide your eyes  (wait, please don’t do that, I want you to read the rest of the story first)…because this has the potential to be worse, way way worse,  than any grisly crime scene you can imagine.

Let me explain my dilemma.  Ever since the first time I ever saw Kaffe Fassett fabrics I’ve always hoped that someday I would have the necessary skills and patience to make a fabulously bright, beautiful, stunning quilt containing only fabrics by the awesome Kaffe Fassett. Now, many years later, I’ve come to realize that my skills are not going to get to the level needed to do justice to this designer, therefore I’ve decided to bite the bullet and just make it anyway!

I am not prone to dithering and second guessing myself too much; so immediately after I made my decision, I hopped on-line and ordered a bundle of forty-two 10″ squares of  Kaffe Fassett “Classics” and a FQ bundle of Kaffe Fassett “Spots” from Fabric.com.  They arrived about a week ago and are sitting in my sewing room right now.  As you can imagine, they are just gawjus in shades of fuchsia, lilac,  purple, tangeriney orange, covered with chartusey green chrysanthemums and other floral bits and bobs, or multicoloured swirls and dots and just so so perfect in every way.  AND HERE I AM GETTING READY TO CUT THEM INTO ITTY BITTY BITS. O my freaking goodness.  What is wrong with me?

Needless to say I need help and guidance from my many quilting buddies.  Most Kaffe Fassett quilts I’ve seen are made with quite large blocks because nobody wants to cut up the awesome designs into really tiny pieces.  Pinterest and I spent several hours together over the last few evenings and here are some of the block choices I am auditioning for my quilt.  

The first pattern below is called Shimmering Triangles and it is pretty much the same as the traditional corn and beans block. There are a couple ways to put this block together into a quilt and it’s a real contender I think. There are lots of examples of quilts on line like this one. Don’t you just love the way it makes your eyes get all wonky.

 

Here is another very similar block (without four patch centres)  showing the way it is put together.  Looks easy enough, but an awful lot of HSTs. I count 32 in each block. Yikes.  However they are in groups of 8, so I could put them together quick using the Magic 8 method.


But perhaps I should go in a completely different direction.  Am I courageous enough to cut curves to make this Clamshell beauty (this could be done with a drunkards path block template too) 


Scary as heck but OMG I love it. And I have a curve it up ruler that would make it easy(er).  Also I own the quick curve ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful and that would work to make the blocks too. Definitely would show off  the fabrics well I think. 

But then there is this absolutely awesome piece of patchwork calling out for consideration. This pattern is called Curlicue Crush and is basically a square with simple curved blocks surrounding it.  This is less pieces than the shimmering triangles, still has curves and large enough pieces to showcase the beautiful fabrics.

Maybe I should play it safe and fast and go with a large snowball block like this one.

This picture came from a blog about a Kaffe Fassett workshop, so I expect lots of folks have already made this version.  It’s beautiful, simple and perfect for showing off the fabrics.

So what should I do?  Does anyone out there have other ideas?  Perhaps I should just put everything away before I start something and get too freaked out to finish.  Seriously. I am terrified that I will start whacking away at this fabric and have a meltdown of some sort that will leave me and the fabric in a state of ruin.   What do you think?  

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I’ve got cabin fever

…and its not because its minus 4 gazillion degrees outside, or because of the wind whistling up my long johns at 90 km per hour, or even the freezing rain/ice pellets ricocheting out of the sky and into my face as I stand outside with our new puppy, crossing my mitten clad fingers that he will do his business before I freeze into an extremely unimpressed icicle. Nosirree Bob its not.

I’ve got a bad case of cabin fever because of the new quilting project I’m working on.  Its another quilt along, this time with Angie over at  Gnome Angel and Snips Snippits. This is not a quilt along for the faint-o-heart.  Holy OMG.  Here is a picture of the pattern book (please ignore the puppy chewed corners – Théo  wants to eat everything he sees).  Its 38 freaky pages long!

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Here is a picture of the actual finished quilt that may someday be mine!

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If you look closely you will see that there are 16 pineapple log cabin blocks spread over the quilt,  9 in one block on the right side about half way down, 4 on the bottom edge left of centre,  and another 3 closer to the top left.  Folks these are 5″ finished blocks. Yes, you read that correctly. The pieces are incredibly, amazingly, shockingly tiny.  There is a template on the back page of the pattern that I could scan and print (if I had a scanner, which naturally I don’t), so I decided to find a similar/same block on line, which I could save and simply print.

Lucky me, I found one.  Its a variation on the pineapple log cabin so I am happy as a pig in a puddle.  I wanted to share the blocks that I’ve finished so far with you.  Here are the 9 that will go together into one block that finishes at 15″.

I think they are adorable.  I admired them for about a day and a half before I broke down and started searching the internet again for blocks that I could modify for the 4 block piece.  Here is what I came up with so far.

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Its a wonky pineapple block.  Also 5″ finished and last but not least…so far

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A couple little birdhouses.  My plan is to make one more birdhouse for the section that has 3 log cabins in a row and 3 more wonky log cabins in other colorways.

Yikes,  I am afraid to even think about the other 4 log cabins, 9 courthouse steps or  21 churn dash blocks that I have to make after the pineapple log cabin variation blocks are done. And that my friends is only a small portion of the madness.

O and did I mention that this QAL kicks off officially in March and finishes in July which is only 4 months.  The schedule is crazy.  Check it out below or read the whole post at GnomeAngel

  1. Bow Tie – Make 2 –
  2. Square in a Square Stars – Make 1
  3. Crosses of the U.K. – Make 6
  4. Jacobs Ladder – Make 9
  5. Trip Around the World – Make 1
  6. Plus a Star – Make 1
  7. Churn Dash – Make 21
  8. Courthouse Steps – Make 9
  9. Log Cabin – Make 4
  10. Half Square Triangle 1 – Make 1
  11. Half Square Triangle 2 – Make 1
  12. Half Square Triangle 3 – Make 1
  13. Flying Geese – Make 64
  14. 60 Degree Triangle – Make 30
  15. Pineapple Log Cabin – Make 16
  16. Checkerboard

And just for a giggle I thought I’d share the scrap basket that I’m using to create this masterpiece – although my PEIMQG friends have kindly kicked in some strips of fabric for me to use.  Thanks again to Robin and Susan.

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Sigh…will I ever learn? I think not.

 

 

 

Announcing the arrival of Théo the Wonder Puppy and  other Things! 

Thank goodness babies are cute because otherwise I’d be tearing my eyebrows out already. Nope we do not have a new “actual” baby. We have a new puppy.  He is a brindle phantom inter-variety (AKA Moyen or Medium) poodle.  This variety is quite rare in Canada and not recognized by CKC or AKC. It’s kinda a cross between a miniature and a standard poodle.  We hope he will grow up to be about 30 lbs and be a little brother to our big 76 lb Standard Poodle. So far Tigg wants very little to do with the new addition.

Here is Théo.  As  can see, he is fully loaded in the looks department but I don’t want anyone to think he’s just a pretty face. Here he is reading the newspaper with my hubby, which is, I’m sure you’ll agree quite astonishing for a fella as young as he is (talking about Théo, not hubby).


Now on a different topic, I am expecting again….Nope, not expecting a baby….I’m expecting to accomplish lots in my  sewing room this year.  This is what’s already on the agenda.

  • Patchwork City Quilt Along.  This started back in September with members all across Canada and already its coming along nicely. I am in awe of the talents of my fellow quilters in this one. It’s simply shocking how very very talented my friends are.  Stay tuned for further pics from this project.  Here are my  blocks so far. I seem to be stuck on green and orange.
  • Bee Inspired.  This is an online Bee comprised of bloggers I met last year in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. My month is June. I’ve already sent one block off to the states. Only 11 more to go. 

It’s a simple paper pieced Block called Split Hatchet. I love it and am eager to see Sharon’s finished quilt.

  • PEIMQG Round Robin challenge.  My centre  block is boxed up and ready to start its travels beginning at the January meeting on Thursday.  Here is a sneak peak of the box and it’s contents. This one has me very excited.
  • Long Time Gone Quilt-Along.  Holy Heck Hermione.  I did this.  It’s A crazy crazy quilt along that aims to complete this quilt in 4 months. The pattern arrived in the mail earlier this week (and Théo has already chewed the pattern book covers)  so I cannot back out now. Yikes this one may be a bridge too far!

  • Japanese Crosses. I’m not sure where this one is going, but I’ve already got about 24 blocks done on this one.  Here is a quick pic of blocks I’ve made since mid-December. 
  • Marie’s Granddaughter’s Graduation Quilt.  There is very little info on this one yet.  It’s going to be a traditional photo remembrance quilt, which is something way outside my wheelhouse, but it’s always good to try new things.   This one has to be done by June, so stay tuned for pics as we progress.

So that’s it for my projects (I think).  I didn’t include the blocks I’ll make monthly for my PEIMQG Bee block exchange or any special blocks I’ll be making for Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild; and I also didn’t include the “150 Women Quilt” that Selina and I are considering making to celebrate our Nation’s birthday. It’s got 150 six inch blocks and it’s a monthly QAL. We are still thinking about this, not sure how or if we’ll get it done. It’d be really cool and I’d do it in a heartbeat, if I was convinced there was a possibility I could make another 75 blocks.


Here is a picture. Here is a link to the site.  150 Women.  Check it out. It’s an important quilt and one any Canadian quilter should have a look at!

What’s on your plate?

I wish I’d said that….

There are at least twelve gazillion bloggers out there in the cyber-universe and a whole whack of them are amazingly gifted writers. Multiple multitudes of them have ginormous audiences who hang on their every word, but only occasionally do I read a blog that speaks to ME!

November is my month  to do “Blog, Book and Bundle” for our PEIMQG meeting and I don’t want to lead anyone astray.  FYI, this is a segment of the meeting where each month one of us takes a turn talking about a blog that inspires us; a book that changes the way we think about piecing or planning a quilt; and fabric that makes our eyes sparkle and our imaginations soar.

So I have been surfing, poking around, reading and then re-reading the blogs I follow on Bloglovin to find one to share with my fellow Guild members.  Because we are in eastern Canada, my first notion was to find a Maritime Canadian blogger to write about.  Yikes…there is a very small pond of bloggers in the Maritimes…we’d fit into a puddle probably.  Did I find anyone? Nope I did not.  But…while searching I did have a mini-epiphany.  Here goes…

“The blogosphere has no borders, no boundaries and no barriers.  We are free to love, hate or say “meh” about or to any blog, or its writer,  anywhere in the world.”

so having given myself permission to search wherever I wanted,  I gleefully set off to find a blog that was a bit out in left field, a smidge hardcore and above all else, WILDLY ENTERTAINING.

I am, if nothing else, persistent, which paid off big time when I found myself tee-heeing, snorting and sniggling away at  The Bitchy Stitcher.  This is a blog that’s laugh-out-loud funny, cynical, and edgy; and inside every snarky post Megan Doherty makes, there is a nugget of something very insightful, which is always a bonus for me…be warned though, this blog is NOT always ladylike…you will find the “f” word, along with other very creative and descriptive words.  You’ve been warned.

Here are a couple quick links to some of her posts, in no particular order.

This bit was taken from her recent post, A pep talk in case you need it.. And it sums up everything anybody who ever questioned his/her quilty ability must remember.

“…I have one last point. If you make ANYTHING, you are a magician. A quilt, a table runner, a placemat, a block, even just two pieces of fabric sewn together and dropped on the floor—hell, even one piece of fabric cut out of a larger one—none of these things existed in that form until you brought them into being. You are Minerva freaking McGonagall, transmogrifying fabric and thread until it becomes something new, something that, no matter what it looks like or how skillfully it was constructed, is greater than what its parts were before you brought them together. That’s magic. That’s art.”

Aww shit, I wish I’d said that…

and here for my fellow guild members are a pic or two of the book and bundle that I shared with you last night.

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A big bundle of ahhhhsome!

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love love love those zombie couples!

In my humble opinion….

Our PEIMQG is attempting to build a library for members use and part of the responsibility that goes along with that, is to offer insight into the books available for loan.  Naturally this is a huge job and we are a very new Guild, so the other night our blog author, *Cathy* asked for volunteers to write a book review on one of the books in our library.  Since I have no personal self control at all, I took the plunge and agreed to give a report/review on one book on the list.

So here goes.

It was long long ago, and far far away in my Grade 12 literature class, when I last wrote a book review so it goes without saying that I completely forgot how to do it and a reminder was in order.   It turns out I am not the first to wonder about writing interesting and informative book reviews.  There are approximately 1.2 gazillion sites that will tell you how to go about it.  But for the most part, all agree with step one.

Introduce the Book… so with no further ado, please meet

ModBlock – Missouri Star Quilt Co.  – The Color Issue.  

Click here to go to the Missouri Star Quilt Co. (MSQC) website to get all details such as: place, publisher, publication date, edition, pages, special features, price etc.

I have to say right here at the get-go, this is not an old-fashioned beginning to end book written by one author, explaining the one technique that made him/her famous and then giving examples of his/her work; this is the first edition in a series of books by MSQC to feature some really well known and respected quilters/bloggers, talking about what they do best.

Are you a “new-ish” quilter? or perhaps you are new to the whole idea of “modern” quilting. Then, you, my friend, are the person who this book is written for.  Let me quote what ModBlock has to say,

“There is a new found freedom that you feel when making a modern quilt.  You can follow the pattern or break free and choose you own design path.  There are no rules, just great ideas to help you get started….”

So, there are no quilt police, no rigid rules to follow, no right or wrong, no matchy-match match monkey business.  Anything goes.  Sounds like a great place to start doesn’t it? (or alternatively, absolutely terrifying and the stuff of your worst nightmares…. but that’s a subject for another day and another book review)

The contributors in this edition are Molli Sparkles, Shea Henderson, Amy Ellis, Natalie Earnheart, Lisa Hirsch, Alexia Abegg, Vanessa Vargas Wilson and of course, Jennny Doan, founder of MSQC.  Each of them tackles a part of the quilt making process and explains what they think about and how they approach building a cohesive, modern block/quilt.

Themes discussed are tone/color play, colour placement,  improv piecing, twists on old-fashioned/traditional blocks, use of negative space and new and exciting tools of the trade.  There is even a section for someone who wants to really break out of their box and make a tote bag! Holy Heck Hermione!

Each chapter is presented by a contributor in his/her own words so you can get a really clear picture of how they interpret a particular aspect of quilt making and IMHO should make sense to even the newest newbie who ever picked up a rotary cutter. And bonus, there are tons of photos in every section.  Naturally each presenter provides great examples of projects and provides a pattern for you, should you be inclined to try out the technique.  All told, there are 10 great projects included in this book.

In terms of which author provided content that was most meaningful to me AND which project I want to try, there was absolutely no contest,  my favourite contributor was Natalie Earnheart.  I absolutely fell in love with her “Dapper Dan” quilt.  The section discusses “negative space” and how to make it interesting (which is something that I always struggle with).  It also touches on composition and making opportunities for interesting movement in quilt design (another thing which I grapple with every times I pick up my rotary cutter).  O yeah,  there are also templates involved in this pattern….Yikes.  So am I going to make this quilt…You betcha, but I’m gonna need help from my friends at PEIMQG to make it happen.

If you are a somewhat cautious or new “modern” quilt artisan, you will enjoy this book because it is simply written, with tons of great features such as supply lists for projects and tips to help guide you through construction 0f each project while making it as easy peasy as it naturally should be. The frosting on the cake are the great pictures (sorry folks, there no cake pics).

If you are a well established modern quilter, you will identify with the ideas presented and enjoy the opportunity to get a better perspective of what some of your favourite quilt designers/bloggers are doing and how they go about doing it. In my opinion thats a win/win. 

All told this is a very good book, with information that both new and more experienced modern quilters will appreciate.   It’s well worth a read! 

 

My Rising Star…

This amazingly easy star patterned quilt block was inspired by the Rising Star block.  Here is a link to the  Missouri Star Quilt Co. website, where you can watch a video on how to make the original block, or you could also go directly to YouTube and watch it there.

I love this block.  I mean it…I really do love this block.  Its so simple and looks so fabulous in modern fabrics and colorways.  One of my PEIMQG friends (Helen)  chose this block when she was Queen Bee in July.  Here is a picture of the block segments I made for her. They are not sewn together as per her wishes.

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Essentially the block is made up of four 8.5″ squares of background fabric.  Each 8.5″ square looks like this after the wedges are sewn on and before it is joined to the others.

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This is a lovely big 16.5″ block when its sewn; with lots of negative space to show off your awesome quilting skills (if you are lucky enough to have quilting skills).

The minute I saw the block, I knew I wanted to make the same one when my turn came around to be Queen Bee in October, but I thought I’d tweak it a bit.  So here is what I did.

I cut:

  • four 5.5″ blocks of grey background fabric
  • one 2″ x 5″ rectangle of white-on-black fabric
  • one 2″ x 5″ rectangle of bright small print fabric
  • one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of black-on-white fabric
  • one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of bright small print fabric

Step 1

Right sides together, place one 2″x5″ rectangle of white-on-black fabric on the background square approx 1.50 to 1.75 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric;  and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left side of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim the star overhang to the size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

Step 2

Turn the block one quarter turn, so the blade you added lays across the top of the background fabric square.  Then, with right sides together, place one 2″x5″ rectangle of colourful fabric on the background square approx 1.50 to 1.75 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric (same as you did before); and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

Congratulations, you are half done.

Turn your fabric background square two quarter turns, so that the blades of the star are on the right side and across the bottom of the background square.

Step 3

Right sides together, place one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of black-on-white fabric on the background square approx. 1.25 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric; and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.   Sew using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

Step 4

Turn the block one quarter turn, so the blade you just added is across the top of the background fabric square.  Then, right sides together, place one 1.5″x 4″ rectangle of colourful fabric on the background square approx. 1.25″ from the top left corner of the background fabric and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

Woo Hoo, you have finished one quarter of the block.  Now follow the above instructions and do everything all over again 3 more times.

Sew the four segments together with the larger star in the centre.  When you are finished the block should like like this.

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The block should measure 10 1/2″ square.  PLEASE DO NOT TRIM THE BLOCK AFTER YOU SEW IT.

For all you PEIMQG members who are sewing these blocks with me in October/November each of you received a baggy with

  • 4 – 5.5 inch background squares
  • 2 – 2 x 5″ rectangles of white on black fabric
  • 2 – 1.5 x 4″ rectangles of black on white fabric

Please raid your stash and use:

  • two 2×5″ rectangles of bright coloured, small print or tone-on-tone fabric
  • two 1.5×4″ rectangles of contrasting bright coloured small print, or tone-on-tone fabric (use whatever you have in your stash, please stay away from fabrics with a lot of white in them if possible)

I will trim the blocks when I get them after the November PEIMQG meeting. If you have any questions, please email me at grannycanquilt@gmail.com, or leave a comment below.

Thanks for participating. I’m so excited to see how this quilt will look when its finished!

 

 

My quilty pleasure place

Today I’m going to a linky party hosted by one of the 2016 new quilt bloggers named Melva who blogs at Melvalovesscraps.blogspot.ca .  Its all about sharing the space where we quilt.  Needless to say I’m excited (and a tiny bit nervous) to share my quilty play place with you.

First let me say, that I tidied it up quite a bit before I invited you over. And I caution you not to look in the corners, because some of the dust bunnies hiding there are bigger than my sewing machine.

Here goes.

When I come into the room, on the left is my cutting table. Many years ago, when I was really into my “contemporary country quilting” stage (is there even such a thing?) I pieced and hand quilted these blocks and hubby had them framed for me as a gift.  (There’s another one on the other wall which you’ll see it in a few minutes).  It was a really amazingly thoughtful gift and it still makes me smile when I see how well those churn dashes are quilted.  They were and still are, one of my all time favourite blocks to make.

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That cylinder rolled up on the table is my 2016 Teal Mini-Quilt which I’m getting ready to send to my partner Tony Jean Dickerson in the USA.

My hubby has a silly sense of humour.  He decided to surprise me one day with this wooden portrait of me in “sewing mode”.  Seriously folks, this is what I have to deal with every day.  Below it are several of my fabric bins.  I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t opened these bins except to add more fabrics for a loooooong time.

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Next up is more of hubby’s creative art work for my walls (its a button and a needle with thread), another log cabin framed quilt and a glimpse of one of my bins of larger cuts of fabric.  Once upon a time those drawers were colour coordinated, starting at the top with green, red, neutral, blue and yellow.  I rarely buy solid colored fabric and often cannot decide what colour is dominant in a fabric, so things hIMG_2430ave gotten a bit muddy over the years.  But it is still one of my best go to spots in the room.  On top of the cabinet is the first mini-quilt I ever made.  I made it for our PEIMQG Tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright, but I didn’t’ like the way it turned out, so now it sits on the top of the cupboard.

Here is another stash bin.  I’ve opened the “black” drawer at the bottom.  For some reason this is my cats favourite spot to nap and he often comes in and cries for me to open it, so he can curl up in it.  Thank goodness he is not in there now.  That would be mighty embarrassing.

Next to the bins is a small open cabinet that I use to store backing fabrics and batting.  Sitting on top is another of hubby’s DIY projects. Its a small portable ironing board.

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A portable pressing surface is a godsend.  Just Saying.  Get one, or make one if you can.

I also have a ruler storage space here and a spool rack (another hubby project….what would I do without him?)

Above my sewing space is a large open shelving area, where I am currently using the top shelf to store some WIPs.  My most recent finished quilts look lovely stacked on the bottom.  I enjoy having these close by, where I can look at them every day and know that there will be another finished one there someday soon.

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Next stop on the tour is the open shelving area on both sides of my sewing area.  This is a very flexible space and currently I am using it to store FQs, books, magazines and albums containing pictures of the quilts I made back in the day before I started storing pics on my computer and Instagram.  As you can see, my “little scraps basket” is getting mighty full so I’ve recently added another one to the top shelf beside my water jug. Yikes I need to get a grip and do something with these.

The lower shelves provide a perfect spot for me to showcase the beautiful fat quarters I’ve been collecting recently and the ones I’ve pulled for the projects I’m working on now.  It appears that quite without my being actively aware of it, I’ve become a modern quilt enthusiast. Check out all my modern low volume FQs on the middle shelf and large print pretties and stacks of jewel toned FQs.

Last thing on the list is my design wall.  I know its small, its behind the door, and its usually covered with bits of thread or orphan blocks.  I would be absolutely lost without it (do I need to say that Hubby put that there for me?)

So there you have it.  This is  where I spend many happy and creative hours every day. The picture is of our granddaughter Jessica when she was a little girl.  I cannot believe that she’s 21 years old already and I’ve been quilting since before she was born.  Time flies scary fast.

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I know I am extremely lucky to have a dedicated sewing room in our home here on PEI after years of sewing in the basement laundry room in Sherwood Park, Alberta.  This one has a window that looks out over our front yard.  Hubby is the gardener and I take no credit for the beauty that I see whenever I look out any of the windows in our house.  Oh yeah in case you missed it, there is usually at least one big poodle dog sitting on the couch looking out that window or looking at me while I work.

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He has a very keen eye and often offers constructive criticism of whatever it is I’m working on, unless of course he is trying to catch the cat…

I hope you enjoyed the visit.  I’m glad you popped in.  Please come back anytime (but don’t be surprised if my sewing room looks like it was hit by a tornado — which is the way it usually looks).