Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quilting during blackouts

Last week, a big storm blew through and our lights (and everything else) went out on Monday afternoon and stayed out until Wednesday evening.  I had a one-burner propane camping stove, lots of flashlights and candles but with no heat it got very cold inside.  Whereas friends and family had fireplaces to keep them warm, I had to resort to sweaters, gloves and hats.  It got very boring by the second evening but I did hand-sew a block when I got tired of reading.  Had to sew in the daytime when I had natural light since sewing while holding a flashlight... or by candlelight... would have been tough.

Appliqué techniques continue to challenge me and the handles on these baskets look like a beginner did them.... but I'm still a beginner.... at least I feel like one.  My points are always a little too close to the 1/4 inch.  My stitching isn't the greatest.  But they look good when they're done and I'm not entering my quilts in any contests.  lol

So, after the lights came back on after 48 hours, I couldn't wait to cut out and finish up another block with my machine.

I paper-pieced the blue and yellow star points and the rest of the block was pretty simple cutting, measuring and seaming.

Jaik was sweet enough to help me.  haha!

 This doesn't look like a lot of snow but it turned into 4-6 inches over a three day period.  Because I don't put winter tires on my car (because we seldom get much snow in this area) I couldn't drive my car.  We have lots of hills on this island and I didn't want to go slipping and sliding down one of them or into other cars.
Because I couldn't cook, I cancelled my Thanksgiving dinner and invited myself over to my son and DIL's to spend the day with their guests and my grandsons.  The outage didn't seem to affect their house much at all.  Dinner was delicious.... Seafood Cassoulet with clams, shrimp and scallops.   Mmm, good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Call for Healing Hearts

Twenty-nine miners are trapped and feared dead in a New Zealand mine tragedy.  A quilter is requesting 6 1/2 inch heart blocks to be made into Healing Heart quilts by her for the families of those miners.

The instructions to make the blocks and where to send them is here.  Please help if you can.  I'm going to do as many heart blocks as I can today - Thanksgiving.   I'm staying in today because of icy roads.  This sounds like a project for a day on which we give thanks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Challenging blocks

If anyone wants a challenge, Sylvia's Bridal Sampler is the quilt that will challenge you.  There are things about the book that I would write differently eg: cutting instructions but the quilt is so pretty that it's worth the trouble to get used to how they're written.

And I've started on the next row.....
 This is the way it should turn out if I can get all those little basket handles sewn on by hand...
I should have been able to complete those four tiny blocks and got them sewn together today, but I became so tired that I could barely concentrate.  Well, a lot has been going on lately and I didn't push myself; I sat down with a New Yorker magazine and read and napped for a while.   I entertained my two daughters last night... not late, but I find hosting dinner a little stressful now for some reason.

Our weather has been getting down into the 30's at night, 40's in the daytime so it's been chilly and the forecasters are predicting snow on the weekend.  That would be the earliest we've had snow; it usually waits until December or January.  I'm prepared... winter clothing at the ready but if it's not raining outside, I prefer to wear a sweater until it gets colder in the daytime.

So, tomorrow the baskets block should be done and up on the wall.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here I Am...

Thought I would let you know that my brother's service was very comforting.  He loved the outdoors and spent a number of years fishing in Alaska during which he developed some strong friendships with the men he worked with.  Each of them had a story to tell about Doug.... some scary, like when he fell off the ship and the swells were huge.  But one of the guys grabbed his arm and held on until they could winch him back onboard.  Some of the stories were funny but every single one of those men had the deepest respect for my brother and his work ethic as well as what a great friend he was to everyone he met.  Very comforting stories for his family.

Even though it's been traumatic over the past couple of weeks, I still got some blocks done which I want ot share with you.  As you know I started a Sylvia's Bridal Quilt.... and I now have the full first row completed.

And I'm making the entire quilt with my 1950 Singer Featherweight machine, which I've finally decided is going to be a working machine, not just a collectible.  I love the beautiful stitches it makes.

I started soaking the fruit for my Christmas cakes on November 1st, a little late.... and they sat in that brandy for almost a week before I managed to add the other ingredients.  So it should be interesting to taste the cakes, which are in a cool place wrapped in brandy-soaked cheesecloth until I decide to gift one to someone.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and waiting until I got back.  And thank you, each and everyone, for the condolences...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Brother died

My brother didn't feel well Monday, November 1st and called for an ambulance.  He had a seizure after losing consciousness on the way to hospital and his heart stopped.  They brought him back and put him on life support - respirator etc.  I drove from WA to Canada to see him and his two daughters.

On Wednesday night, a nurse told us that he was brain dead.... in a vegetative state.  I don't know whether to be glad that I got to spend a couple of days with him while I thought he was still alive or be angry that they kept him alive for me to hold the hand of a dead man.  So, the respirator was removed and he passed away early the following day... the 5th at 3:34am.

He was the baby of the family and was much to young to die.  The service is on Friday so I'll leave here at 5am to get on the 8:20am ferry, then drive 2+ hours up island to the small town where he lived.  Sad.

I have been quilting off and on and will post pictures of the blocks when I get over this.