Sunday 19 May 2013

See you later Roxbury

I have been missing in action. Well, I mean I know where I have been, but maybe you didn't. I have been spending my very last week in beautifull Roxbury, New York before I move my butt home to Nova Scotia. My husband has lived here for 17 years, and when we hooked up again (after a 15 year absence) I started monthly journeys from Ontario to the Catskills to live our married life. Now it is time for us to make a move and live together (who knew!).

My husband and I take a walk through the spring Catskills forest behind our house
I am pretty darned sad this week. I have loved coming here. The Catskills mountains are beautiful and I have met some amazing people, some who have become very close friends. I am very grateful for all that I have seen and done in this quaint part of the world.

I had some lovely birthday celebrations with my husband and our Friends this week, but underneath all the fun, I know that I likely won't be back here for at least a year and even then it will only be for a visit. Six months ago I had planned on living in Roxbury, I was excited about it. But life, like it often does, threw us a curve ball and a change of mind was needed. So back to Nova Scotia we go.

Our House, humble but it's home
Trillium - proof that spring does exist
Going to miss waking up to this view from our bed
Himself making a picnic table for the birthday party
In the end, I am a firm believer in "everything happens for a reason" and as a good friend said to me, this is the end of one chapter, but the beginning of another. So, Roxbury, this is not "Goodbye", it is "See You Later".
The Orange Cat was the first to use the table,
he is waiting for the move so he can be a Nova Scotia Cat
And just so you know that quilting is never far from my mind...I took the opportunity to stock up on some fabric while I can still take advantage of cheap shipping in the US. Thank goodness for Fat Quarter Shops super fast shipping.
I have finally bought myself some Aurifil, cannot wait to try it! And, I bought many meters of staples: Quilters Linen in Steel, Kona Nightfall and Ash. Buying new fabric dulls the pain. You know it's true.
Hope all is well in your little part of the world.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Melanie's Quilt Story

It’s Saturday night! Yes, usually you would see my sewing machine, in a dimly lit room, fabric slipping through the feed dogs and a beer at the ready. Well tonight I am visiting my hubby in New York, and I have left my machine behind (the husband and I are both wondering how I will make it through the week). Instead of drunken seams I would like to tell you a great story. A story about Melanie and her quilt.

I first met Melanie in 1995 (dear god I was only 20!). I was fresh out of university and together we turned a shell of a building into a home for some of Nova Scotia’s seniors. That job was a turning point in my career, and it would have never happened without Melanie’s leadership, support and faith.

Over the years we have kept in touch, Facebook has made it fun and easy! I was so pleased recently when Melanie told me that seeing my quilt pictures on FB and reading my blog inspired her to get a treasured quilt out of the closet. In her words “I mean, what was I saving it away for? It means more to me than it ever will to anyone else so I better get using it. LoL”

 The quilt was made by her grandmother Agnes Livingston Waye sometime in the mid to late '50s in Sydney Mines Nova Scotia. Some fifty years later I was amazed at the brightness of the fabric in the Dresden plates, and the sashing, which now looks faded, Melanie remembers being bright pink as a kid. Agnes would make all of the children’s dresses and when they outgrew them they became quilts!

A little more of the story from Melanie “She organized many quilting bees for the Anglican church in Sydney Mines. The frame was set up in our parlour which was never used except for special occasions so they could leave their work between meetings. As each quilt was finished, the Ladies Auxiliary would then sell tickets on each quilt at their spring or Christmas fairs. Great money maker for the church:-) If there wasn't a church quilt on the frame, there was one of her own.

Gramma taught many of those ladies how to quilt. She learned from her mother, Sarah Livingston who quilted out of necessity. There was no money for wool blankets because she had 9 children and was widowed early. Can you imagine that-with no way to earn a living! I think about her situation when I start to complain about some insignificant "first world" problem.”

Look at that quilting! Love the design
A couple of things came to mind as Melanie and I virtually chatted about her Gram’s quilt. Firstly, I am glad I use and encourage others to use quilts that I make. I think they take on even more meaning when they are lovingly used. Secondly, I love that traditional patterns, like dresdens, can still find their way into modern design. I think I would be really sad if we lost all of the tradition of those ladies who had frames set up in their parlours and supported their families and communities through their sewing.

A great example of a traditional dresden reinterpreted
Lastly, I am so proud to be part (if not a very new part, relatively speaking) of Maritime quilting. If you ever have a chance to check out the book Old Nova Scotia Quilts, or the travelling quilt show that goes with it, just do it! The history is amazing and the quilts are amazing, whether you want to make a traditional design, or get some inspiration for a modern pattern.

Thank you Melanie for sharing your quilt story. I hope you are enjoying the quilt on your bed, and thanks to your Gram for making something beautiful!



Wednesday 8 May 2013

ModQImprovB the Canadian Edition!

You have all heard me talk about my experience with Stash Bee over the last year. It is the first on-line quilt bee (any quilt bee for that matter) that I joined and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. You get to use your own stash and each month you really learn a lot. Here are a few of my contributions

Soooo, I met Carolyn through Stash Bee, she is one of my hive mates. She has been keen to start a modern / improv on line bee. While she was gauging interest on Facebook, some of the responders asked about international participation, and Carolyn suggested maybe I would like to start a Canadian Chapter (look at us - chapters!).

You know me (or at least you are starting to), I am always up for something new, and if it means I get to organize something even better!  Fact - I am a Project Manager in my day job - this shit is right up my alley!

So I am so happy to announce the birth of ModQImprovB Canada. If you are interested in joining, we still have spots open - come on over to Facebook that will be the base of our operations and sharing.

Here are the details about the Bee

ModQImprovB is a modern improv on line quilt bee.
Our bee will last 10-12 months depending on the number of participant

Each month we will take turns being the host "queen bee". The queen bee will design or gives direction for the type of block he or she would like including fabric color preferences; then the other members make a block and send to the month leader. The next month another member gets a turn, and so on, until all of the quilt bee members have hosted a month. At the end, each member should receive enough blocks to make a quilt.

You use the fabric from your stash to make your block for the queen bee. Block sizes are usually 12-14” so that we have large enough blocks to get a decent finished quilt.

In addition to sharing on Facebook, Carolyn has also started a Flickr group for both the US and Canada Chapters so that we can all get inspired. You can find the group here

So, want to try something new? Why don't you join us? 

I have to be completely honest, I know little to nothing about improv, but have been wanting to learn. I think this is going to be the perfect opportunity. 

Bee on!

WiP Wednesday: the one with triangles


It's Wednesday! Last week I told you about my new project, the triangles revisited quilt. I was wishing for a dedicated sewing room so that I could have a design wall.... dreamer that I am. So, of course I threw one up again, I am sure my roommate will be glad to see the tail end of my sewing madness...

It was so awesome to see the fabric up on the wall, I am loving all of them together.
While I was "pasting" on the wall, I left some blank spaces to see what some more solids would look like in the design. I liked it, so cut some neutral triangles and put them in the "holes". Kind of like making sure all the holidays are colored in - at least that's what my elementary school teachers said "make sure you color all your holidays in". What the heck does that mean anyway? Does holiday translate to lazy? I am just not sure. Anyway, I digress, back to the quilt (focus Adrienne!), 

I am still not sure about how big I am going make this puppy. But I am starting with 22 triangles across and I have layed out 16 rows. We shall see how that goes, and I will likely add to it, since I have a stack of triangles left over (or maybe I might do something on the back...hmmmmm).

I think I told you that I am in the middle of getting ready for a move to my home Province, Nova Scotia. Pretty excited about this, but it does mean I am having some downtime in the sewing area since moving "stuff" is keeping my pretty busy. My biggest worry though is that for a whole month my things will be in a storage locker. Oh no! Of course, there is no way that I am going to be separated from my sewing machine, and maybe a few key tools, but I will be separated from my fabric stash (insert sad music here). So I am prepping projects in advance. My husband thinks this is a tad crazy, but then understands that I will not be in my happy place if I am not quilting. Good husband.
All of that being said, as I took the triangles off the wall, I have labelled them for sewing by row and now they are packed and ready for sewing. I am prepping another project as well so that I will have lots to keep me occupied for that month of stash absence. I hope my fabric won't miss me too much.

So, that's my story for today. What are you working on?
I am linking up at Freshly Pieced.

Friday 3 May 2013

triangles, the second coming

One of the first quilts that I ever made was a triangle quilt. It's about 10 years old now, and it is still my favorite. It is used nearly everyday, and while it is starting to show some wear, it still makes me smile. Here it is just last month (I am under there)...

Well, when I got this sweet bundle of Carnaby Street, I knew it was time for a triangle comeback! 

I also thought that this color splash called for some lovely script and maybe a touch of solids

So, it's Friday night and I am looking to shake off the work-week. Break out the ruler bitches! That first triangle quilt, I made a template out of cereal box cardboard. Now I am so fancy with a new triangle ruler

I cut some 5 1/2 " strips and they started rolling out

Now that I have lot's cut I would like to throw them on a wall, but alas, no room for a design wall. I will have to figure something else out, because I suspect I will want to add more neutral solids before I start sewing together.

In just 3 weeks I will be moving home to Nova Scotia, and just 5 weeks after that into my new to me home. I have never had a dedicated sewing room, and now I will! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. First order of business will be a design wall. Do you have a favorite design wall tutorial? I would love to hear about it.

Happy Friday!