Friday 21 October 2016

Sing It Fatboy

Every good quilty story starts with a trip to the fabric store, right?

The Fatboy sang to me this day, begging for a ride on a sunny fall day. How could I resist? Country road, sunny mild-ish day, blue sky, and a rumour that Cotton & Steel skull fabric was in stock at Avonport Discount Fabrics. 

The C&S skull fabric was there...oh yes, indeed...but there was also this oh-so-incredible collection of skull laden Halloween bolts that demanded my attention. The quilty world needs more skulls. And if you should find yourself wrapped in black leather looking all bad-ass in the middle of a fabric store then skulls are exactly what you should buy. 

So, as I'm piling up 8 bolts of the Halloween collection on my cart I hear a woman come in the front door and demand of the clerk, "Who owns that big motorcycle?"  Of course my first thought was, "Oh Jeezus, please tell me you didn't hit it!?" followed by a chuckle when I realize that the ole gal was just shocked to see it there.  Soon, I'm piling my bolts on the cutting table and she comes over for a closer inspection. She didn't show me her badge or any identification but I suspect she was an undercover agent of the Quilt Police. With furrowed brow she looked at my fabric pull, gave me a head-to-toe once over and the interrogation went as follows:

  What are you doing with all that?
  You're a quilter?
  How old are you?
  How many quilts have you made?
  Do you hand quilt?
  Do you belong to a guild?
  Do you know so & so?
    What about so & so?
    You must know so & so! 
  Don't you own a car?
  How in the world are you going to transport fabric on a motorcycle? 
  Where do you live? 
  Would you like me to take your fabric back to Sackville for you?
  Do you have many scraps?
  What do you do with your scraps? 
  Would you like to give your scraps to my guild?

You can imagine I'm dying inside answering her questions with certain but limited information...just enough to satisfy her but not enough to blow her mind. Don't tell the Police anything...that's what Poppa always said. 

It never gets old this reaction to a biker chic in a quilt shoppe. 

My favourite place to ride? 
A countryside fabric store...clearly.

Anyway...this is the quilt that happened:
A sinister Giant Vintage Star (a la Jeni Baker in blogland @ In Color Order) with Kona Stone in the background all quilted up with "Haunted Web" edge to edge from Apricot Moon using purple variegated Coates thread up top and orange variegated Aurifil on the back. 

It needs to be noted that The Robot loved that Aurifil thread...virtually no lint to clog his belly button. The purple Coates? Holy linty hell. Even worse than the typical linty hell of the solid colour Coates. I recently won a dozen spools of Aurifil thread (1st place!!!)  from the MMQG through that Paint Chip Challenge and so I'm looking forward to quilting with it! Even though it's 50wt cotton like all my other threads it's finer...which translates to more thread on a bobbin which translates to fewer bobbin changes for The Robot which translates to a much happier lil ole me.

After I got this quilt all bound I noticed a teeny weeny tear in the backing fabric...I was somewhat gutted but not defeated. I must have snagged a pin in the mountain of quilt off to the left side of the machine as I  was stitching down the binding. What odds? I just hand appliqued a bitty skull to patch it up. If only I could've found an itsy bitsy spider...

I should've waited to snap photos of this finish til this week...the leaves here right now are stunning. Last week? Not so much. Adrienne over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts waited and got amazing shots of Mr. Chillingsworth in a old graveyard somewhere on the back road between Windsor and Avonport. I toyed with bringing this quilt along that sunny day but alas, her Mister had to go it alone. We were on a fabric & cheese bun run in the Jeep, because:


Monday 12 September 2016

Inspiration...Or A Lack Thereof

Back in the Spring my guild set forth a challenge, a paint chip challenge to be exact. Willing participants drew 3 random paint chips from a brown paper bag and agreed to make a quilt using only the colours drawn along with black and/or white.

To say the least, my colours did nothing to excite me. They did however give me an excuse to do a little fabric shopping. My first stab at the colours was done by memory because I had forgotten the paint chips the day I went to the fabric store. My minds eye served me well: I nailed the yellow with Kona Cheddar and played it safe by taking home two blues and two pinks. Remember this picture? These Konas have been kicking around in my stash for quite a while.

I thought of building colourful little row houses. I pondered making a pig setting sail in a yellow dory. I toyed with a block of cheese. I contemplated free pieced fishes, free pieced letters and even a funky free pieced springy thing. But nothing struck me. I bought piece after piece of fabric in these colours. I lugged home more blue chunks of fabric than I'll ever use. But still, nothing set my brain on fire.

That is until I realized that "it" was in my hand the whole time. The piece of notebook paper I had carted around for all those months was exactly what I needed to make. A big piece of white Kona, a strip of each of the matching Konas and some pink & blue thread was all it took. It happened suddenly: a lit match sets forth a fire in my brain that cannot be extinguished til the last stitch is made.

I appliqued the paint chips in the manner they were placed on the original note paper and quilted the lines to look like scribbler paper. I even used a fancy long triple stitch to make the pink line appear bolder than the blue. As the quilting took shape I became more and more giddy about this cheeky response to my uninspiring, ugly colours. I couldn't wait to finish it but the punching of holes down the left side became a bit of a stumbling block; they put a lump in my throat that was somehow tough to swallow.

It seemed to me that the cutting of holes in a finished quilt might be in direct violation of the Quilters Code of Ethics and I feared the wrath of the Quilt Police. I put a panicked call in to Linda over at Scrapmaster to ask about my guilty quilty ideas, dropped by to pick her brain and she cheered me on. Between us and some spare change we decided the holes should be somewhere between the size of a dime and a nickel and given that it was a wall hanging and not a quilt that would be washed often it didn't really matter too much about the holes fraying out.

I made a few test holes when I got home and decided that a very tiny straight stitch around the traced coin line would both define the hole and secure the fabric layers so that I could trim out the centers. I finished the inside of the holes with a bead of fray check just to stay the stray threads. I even took a scoop out of the hanging sleeve so it wouldn't show through the hole.

Challenge accepted. Mission accomplished.

The response I received from the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild gals at reveal night last week was great! So. Much. Laughter. There is a Viewers Choice online vote happening on the MMQG blog if you care to take a gander at all the paint chip challenge creations...who knows, maybe you'll take the time to vote for your favourite...wink, wink...there are some great sets of Aurifil thread up for prizes and I sure would love to win some of it!

Thursday 1 September 2016


How can this be?

Where did all my summer go?

Not-So-Little PurpleBoots cannot possibly be turning 15 tomorrow!?!


Time surely flies. So cliche to say it,  but it is oh-so true. And, catching up is oh-so hard to do. Let me at least try to get ya'll up to speed with some pictures....

We had a little (big) quilt show in July. Myself and 3 of my quilty peeps organized and pulled off what was the first of its kind around here and it was awesome, if I do say so myself! The 2 day show exceeded my every expectation: it was well attended, we awed the folks who came out to see this huge body of work, we sold lots of stuff, and we're able to donate about 1100$ to the church!

We took a family trip to Newfoundland...spent a lot of our time relaxing and exploring Fogo Island. There was a boat tour on the Ketanja out to Little Fogo, cod jigging (and then cod eating) and some fabulous hiking...we found The Great Auk on what turned out to be a race against the setting sun one evening and stood on Brimstone Head, which is known to the Flat Earth Society as one of the four corners of the earth. On the boat tour Not-So-Little PurpleBoots caught the biggest cod of the lot...a 3 footer!

I got some time in the Fatboy's saddle but mostly concentrated my vehicular fun on jeepin' with Daisy and the Nova Scotia Jeep Club. I've been picking away at getting her toughened up so she could run with the pack; though we're not finshed her transformation yet, she isn't exactly a mall crawler any more.

Turns out Not-So-Little PurpleBoots is all set & ready to wrench for me...bonus! And, I still remember  how to pitch my tent and work a naptha gas Coleman stove that hasn't been out of the garage for MANY years. 

Along with half the country we watched the last Tragically Hip concert. But we watched it Jeepers style: in the woods, projected live on the side of a Jeep with a campfire blazing and drinks in hand. I honestly can't think of a better or truer "Canadian way" to watch what has become a part of our history!  

Oh've truly been a blast! 
And you will you ever measure up? 

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Not The Ducks Ass

Metastatic. Colon. Cancer.

3 little words.

So. Much. Weight.

Aside from dealing with the grief that comes from losing ones parent to such an aggressive and horrible disease one has to deal with the possibility that the disease swims in their gene pool. After my father died I talked to my family doctor about my own health and how his battle might impact my life in a physical sense...we all know how that played out in the emotional sense. She told me it would be in my best interest to start regular CT scans of the colon. 
Yay me.

The worst part is the prep work for such a scan. Ugh. The oh-so frequent potty trips were actually not quite as horrible as the medicines one needs to ingest to make those potty trips possible.
Oh. My. Dog.

(Can you hear me in my best 1980 something Valley Girl voice: "Like, gag me with a spoon, ya know?")

Some of the liquids stayed down, some didn't. Double Ugh. Have I ever told you how much of a gag reflex I have? Or how much I HATE throwing up?

To take my mind off the whole process and to help pass the day I set myself up at the dining room table (same level and closer proximity to the bathroom) with my wee Kenmore, some sewing tools, a box of Popsicles, my favourite Johnny Cash playlist and The Lunenburg Makery's Row By Row kit...a paper pieced pattern packet full of happy-making Maritime scenery.

I sliced and diced my way thru all the bits & pieces...and ended up with a lovely patchwork row, a giant mess to sweep up and a squeaky clean colon.

Anybody wanna sing Ring of Fire with me?

Tuesday 5 July 2016

The Ducks Ass

I've long loved using the saying, "That's the cats ass!", when something is particularly pleasing. My recent adventures with Voodoo Duck have now changed my wording ever so slightly...the addition of this button to his butt just makes me giggle. The button was part of the MMQG swag bag goodies and it needed to live somewhere. Appropriate, no?

Quilting never ranks high on my list of summertime priorities but there has been some action in my sewing corner over the last month or so. I made a couple Gallery Tunics for myself, finished up the skull quilt flimsy and whipped up a second Star Bright baby flimsy for our upcoming quilt show raffle prize. The Skull quilt is from a book by Boo Davis but I chose to alter/round out the corners of the skull & jaw and I used random width strips in the background piecing. Close inspection of the skull quilt reveals a couple carefully placed fabrics in the mouth...seemed fitting to have crowns on my teeth.  The ducks ass, right?

The biggest excitement was the smallest finish: a mini-mini that was made to swap with the MMQG peeps...super cute, I hated to part with it. A little bit of free piecing together with some applique and a wee pieced binding...also the ducks ass.

Remember when I took my mental health road trip with Daisy and tagged along with the Jeepers? I wanted so badly to go to parts unknown with them but couldn't because Daisy is a city Jeep. Well...not anymore. She's on her way to the darkside. I had her lifted and am currently working toward making the big $$ decision on new wheels and tires. I've been creeping the Facebook wall of the Nova Scotia Jeep Club for some time now and finally got brave enough to go out and meet some of them in person. (Great folks by the way!) We participated in our first Jeep run with the club on Canada Day. We crawled through mud, over rocks and crept our way through trails so tight that the branches tickled her sides and tree trunks barely passed by her mirrors without kissing. The happy trails took us back to the shoreline at the Bay of Fundy. Remember when I showed you Halls Harbour? Well, were pretty close to there. So. Much. Fun. It was the ducks ass.

Oh. And there's been big progress on that damn tee shirt quilt I was commissioned to do. My avoidance was shelved yesterday and I forced myself to get the top together. I lugged all my stuff to Adriennes over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts to spend the day stitching and bitching with her...and can you believe that I forgot to pack my Pfaffs foot pedal? Stunned-as-me-arse, I tell ya! So I commandeered her ole faithful Kenmore into service and with a little help from Voodoo Duck and Charlie Dog, I managed to come home with a completed flimsy...well, it may get a border. And though I'm not a huge tee shirt quilt fan, I must say this one guessed it...the ducks ass.

Tonight we're partying with The Stanfields right around the corner from cool is that? One of my favourite bands in my neighbour's garage! And, to make a good thing even better, I found a great new addition to the Jack lineup last week that'll be certain to make my evening full of good-duck-assery.