Thursday, 30 June 2011

PhD Report

two more down!

I certainly will not be hitting my lofty idea of getting nine done by June 30th,
(see sidebar for more details)
but I have been able to get 7 completed and about 3/4s of the 8th one done (still working on binding!)
This is a strips & curves pattern that has been sitting in my stack needing to be finished for a long time.  So this was a great push to get ‘er done.
Not impressed with my machine quilting on this one except for when I got to the borders I tried this new little design I found.  Little snowflakey, star type creations that work great with the loopy meander.
This will more than likely end up as a cat blanket . . . not really proud of this one . . . but it is done.
Here is another one that I’m not proud of.  It was supposed to be a Christmas tree skirt but ended up looking more like a watermelon!!!
Also not really happy with the machine quilting I did on this one either – I think I better stick with what I know!
The binding is interesting though . . . learned how to machine stitch the binding down.  Still need some practice – I’m only showing you the part that actually worked.  Maybe if I had practiced on a straight edge quilt instead of a curved one might have made a difference.  Oh, well . . . have to learn these things somewhere, right?
Ugly quilt!!!
The 8th PhD has about half of the border sewn down (machine sewn again) and I’m not sure if I’ll get it done before midnight tonight or not.  Off to help serve supper to sandbaggers tonight so not sure how long I’ll be away doing that and how I’ll feel when I get back.
Either way I feel pretty darn good to get almost 8 PhDs done – that poor 9th one hasn’t gone any further than being pulled out so far.  It will be on top for the next go round . . .
Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

On Alert!

Should we start building the ark now?!?!?!

What an unnerving couple of weeks lay ahead of us here in Southern Manitoba.  Melita, Hartney, Souris and Wawanesa are all on flood alert with the Souris River hurtling mega volumes of water our way.  The destruction in Minot goes without saying and the ferocity and speed at which it is coming here sounds unprecedented.


I have been told that the blue tape on the pole represents the expected level that the water will crest at and the red tape shows where the dike needs to be built up to.  In my mind that is huge!  The river is already over it’s banks by a long way and in relation to where that blue tape is makes me shutter in my rubber boots.


This is the view from the driveway across the street from the river – in most years you would be hard pressed to see very much of the river except over at the very far edge.  The rest is usually grass and river bank.  You can see there on the right hand side of the photo where they have started to build a clay dike.  The view outside of these people’s front window will be reduced to nothing but a clay wall by the time all the construction is done.


We took a late night walk last night so that I could have a look at what has been going on.  My husband has taken the past two days off work to help in the sandbagging efforts and we are told that a mandatory evacuation for this whole block of town comes into effect sometime this afternoon.  Once that evacuation is in place I’m doubtful that they will be letting anyone past the road blocks so I figured that this was my only chance to get some photos.  As someone said to me – “This is history in the making.”  I hate being a lookie-lou, but luckily most everyone had shut down for the night and we weren’t impeding progress with our little tour.


At this particular house they have had to rip off the deck completely so that they could place sandbags around it.  It is rumoured that this house has had water spurting in the basement walls for the past couple of weeks – not just from seeping up from the floor but actually spurting randomly from all over the walls.  This house is one of the closest ones to the river and usually has concerns during regular years – this most definitely is not a regular year.

There are 17 houses and the personal care/hospital evacuated at this time and another whole section of river front homes has been put on alert.

Our house is four houses up from the evacuated area.

Everyone is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst – the crest is expected somewhere between July 7th to 11th.  Certainly nail-biting times around here.  Some meander quilting going on when I get a chance – calms the nerves you know!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Joan Statz Workshop


Last Friday and Saturday, June 10th and 11th, Sheila and I (cohorts in As the Crow Flies Quilting Workshops) were thrilled to host Joan Statz from Joan's Own Creations.

What an amazingly informative and fun teacher she is!  Everyone was intent on hearing her instructions and busily jotting down notes for future reference.  Joan was so relaxed and nothing, I mean NOTHING fizzed on her - see her arm thrown through the opening in the sewing machine - busy explaining the ins and outs of correct satin stitching.

Joan had everything kitted up and ready for us to start on Friday morning. Many of her patterns come kitted up or she will do them for you if she doesn't have one available. She went home with a list of kits to make up for some of the gals that attended over the two days.


A photo just doesn't do some of these creations justice!  The level of detail on each of these pieces is amazing.  The plants in this quilt are all individual leaves and there are little buttons and bobbles here and there throughout the piece that just keeps your eye moving.


I can't even imagine attempting this vase of flowers!  The details are amazing.

Here is a work in progress . . . pretty darn nice job.


It amazed me that the most appropriate fabrics were used for every part of the quilt . . . everything blended so perfectly.


This pattern was very detailed and you really had to study it to see every part of it.


Here is a close up of the sewing machine . . . amazing stitching goes into these finished quilts.


Here is an example of one her "easier" patterns . . . I also purchased a pattern for a gingerbread table center that I'll have to get a photo of.  Actually there are four different designs in the same pattern pack, but the one I got was a kit to make the gingerbread version.  It is very cute and now on my list of things to get done before Christmas.


The class was limited to 20 people because of the detailed level of instruction.  This class filled up in less than 24 hours when we advertised and only one person had to drop out . . . which still left some disappointed people on the waiting list.


It didn't seem to matter what make or model of sewing machine that she sat down at to demonstrate a technique . . . Joan made the machine do exactly what she wanted and made a few of us stop and think about why we are so timid with our machine settings - just dive in and make it work for yourself - you can't break it!
Thank you Joan for travelling all the way to Manitoba from Alberta - we have you pencilled in for a 2013 workshop and will certainly be back in touch.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Ghost Towns, Shopping and Graduation

I decided I’d show you the shopping first.  That’s always the most interesting part – right?


From Country Quilting & More in Delburne, AB I bought the two books and five fat quarters of wonderful Whimsical fabric.  There’s nothing better than being on  a road trip and having some good quilting books to read.


This is my niece who graduated on June 4th in Olds, Alberta.  They had a wonderful grad . . . it’s always fun to see all those glowing young faces ready to face the world head on.  Kaylene loved her quilt and will be taking it with her when she heads off to school this Fall.  She is currently thinking she would be interested in Child Care but who knows . . . minds have been known to change!


Now back to our ghost town tour . . .

I love seeing these old buildings preserved . . . it is so much better than the alternative.  The small town that I grew up in has almost completely disappeared – I believe there is an old church and a school bell monument and that’s about it.  I much prefer seeing the old buildings maintained as a reminder of the past.


I know some people might not enjoy these type of blog posts, but in a way these posts are a diary of sorts and it has been wonderful when I can go back and see the pictures of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing – both travelling and quilting.

My Dad was with us on this trip and was one of the reasons that we decided on the ghost town tour.  He loves toodling around the countryside and seeing whatever is out there and he quite enjoyed this trip.


This window cracked me up . . . do you think we could get by with only holding Court on Fridays for four hours now-a-days?   I guess there weren’t as many people in the world back then – or maybe not as many bad people.


This building also made me smile . . . “We Repair Anything” . . . wonder about that foundation there at the back.  Sure could use some TLC I think.


Old barns and out buildings that are still standing straight are wonderful to see.  They are so haggard and worn but stand tall on their piece of earth.


It was the boards running on the angle on this building that intrigued me . . . puzzled me as to why . . . but interesting.


This is a photo of the entire street in this little ghost town.  Whoever maintains this is doing a wonderful job and my hat goes off to them – we enjoyed our visit.


On the way out of town was the train station.  I’ve seen some of these falling down in other towns and I’ve also seen some that have been converted into museums.  In Manitoba we even have an artist that paints all of the different train stations that were in the area – probably mostly from photos now-a-days.

Back with the workshop photos in a day or so . . . 

Monday, 13 June 2011

Dinosaurs and Quilt Shows

We got home from Alberta last Monday and immediately got sucked into work and other ongoing life happenings.  Over this past weekend we held a fantastic quilt workshop and I’ll have more details of that in a couple of days.


Of course going to the part of Alberta that we went to just happened to be close to Drumheller which is home to dinosaurs and very interesting rock formations.


They have some hoo doos also that were just a tad bit disappointing after seeing the ones out in the BC mountains.  Interesting just the same.


Then we decided that it would be a good idea to look up old ghost towns in the area and therein our tour of the area began.


This little town was on the list as a ghost town but there was still a saloon open and a few houses.


The whole area was comprised of these desolate, craggy mountains/hills jutting out of the ground.  Just a bit different scenery than we have here in Manitoba!


I can’t remember which little town we found this blue church but I thought it was quite unique in it’s color – pretty much the first thing you saw when you drove into the town.  As you can see the day was quite overcast and I did get some interesting sky shots.


I did find a little quilt shop in Delburne, Alberta called Country Quilting & More.

And while I was in visiting these great gals I found out that there was a quilt show over in Stettler.  It just so happened that we were able to stop in Stettler for lunch and the guys dropped me off for a half hour tour of all of these gorgeous quilts.

I believe the quilt above is a Whimsicals pattern and was done up beautifully – I love Whimsical fabric and patterns!


I’m almost sure that this gorgeous quilt is made from a 3 Sisters line of fabric called Aster Manor or Park Avenue . . . whichever line it is doesn’t matter – it was delicious!


This area was set up with little vignettes and was very nice.  The little quilt in the middle at the front was a little doll blanket made with 2 1/2” squares that were stitched directly onto the background.  The stitching was about 1/2” away from all edges of the block and once it was washed a few times it would get nice and raggy and yummy.  Loved that idea.


And how could I pass by the cat quilt.  This was the one that I chose for Viewer’s Choice just because it made me smile.  I did not hear which quilt won the award but I thought they were all very nice and they should all get Viewer’s Choice.

It was great fun to find a fabulous little quilt shop in such a small town and then to attend a quilt show as well.  Totally unplanned -sometimes that is more fun anyway isn’t it?!?!

Back in a day or so . . .