STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spring. Finally.

It seems that spring is finally here. It's been a loooong time comin'... Although we've had a few lovely days here and there, overall it seems to be a cool "slow" spring. We've had a lot of very breezy days... blustery as Winnie the Pooh would say! But it seems spring IS here to stay. Finally. Trees are leafing out, spring bulbs are blooming, perennials are growing quickly and the lawn is ready to be mowed... despite the cooler temps both day and night.

I love the return of green grass, and longer evenings. The hostas are growing so fast you can practically hear them stretching up... That bed of hostas across the front of the house also contains several bleeding hearts and in the evenings, they are backlit with the setting sun. I love sitting on the "front porch" behind this bed, with my long lens for some "ethereal" photos.

I love their graceful arching branches, the little hearts hanging like treasured charms on a bracelet...

I haven't been doing a lot of photography lately. Now that warmer weather is on its way, I can't wait to be back at it...

Our apple trees will be in bloom in another day or two, so apple blossoms will no doubt be my next subject.

Tomorrow is my Ladies Choir Spring Concert. If you are local, why not join us for some sweet music! There will be tickets at the door. Start time is 3pm at St. Dunstans church, corner of Regent and Brunswick. Doors open at 2:15. We'd love to see you there.


"Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Viewer' Choice Winners...

Last night was our last guild meeting until the fall. We always finish our year off with a potluck dinner- and what a fine dinner it was! Oh my.. I think we have some of the finest cooks in the city! The tables were loaded with salads, breads, hot dishes and desserts... I think I'm gaining weight just thinking back on the meal... lol.
Wonderful as the meal was, I think the highlight of the meeting was the announcement of the Viewers' Choice winners from our recent show Symphony of Spring. Rather than having judging, we opt to do Viewers' Choice and this time there were no categories - each viewer could choose any three pieces in the show, and the three which got the greatest number of votes were given ribbons. Everyone has been (impatiently) waiting for the results of the vote... So without further ado, here are the very deserving winners...

My Flower Garden by Barb Perry got the most votes. Barb hand pieced over 5,800 hexagons and then when she had the hexie "garden" all together, it was appliquéd to the borders. I. can't. even. imagine. I think I would have given up after the second flower was together! I was so pleased that this was the top winner, it is SO deserving.  Barb has done a number of hexagon quilts, including a very tiny one which was also in the show as a decor item with one of the bird houses. (You can see it on this post.)

Barb is a cat lover so most of her quilts include a cat somewhere; she incorporated a number of little kitty faces in the hexagons, so when things were "quiet" at the show, we would go over to this quilt and see how many more cats we could find... Being the top winner, Barb was given the prestigious CQA Rosette ribbon. Congratulations Barb! Such a deserving win!

Priceless by Mary Brown was the next winner, another wonderful choice! The Boston Commons design is simple, clean and lends itself beautifully to some awesome quilting in the negative space. And that's just what Mary did. She is an exceptional hand quilter, and obviously the viewing public recognized Mary's skill. I was thrilled to learn that Mary's Priceless was a winner. Congratulations Mary!

Robert's Garden by Alice Kirkpatrick is the final winner, again a very deserving selection. Alice is another wonderful hand quilter, and as well does awesome hand appliqué. This quilt features both, plus some three dimensional appliqué. I cannot imagine the hours of work that went into this quilt... Congratulations Alice! Such a beautiful quilt!

I had fun making the ribbons. The centres were cross-stitched with a little songbird, similar to the one that was on our show poster. This was my first effort at making show ribbons and I was pleased that the recipients liked them.


"Winning is only half of it. Having fun is the other half." ~ Bum Phillips

Monday, May 18, 2015

Last Call!

Last call for tickets! The Fredericton Ladies Choir Spring Concert is this coming Sunday afternoon, May 24th at 3pm. I still have tickets but must turn them in soon so if you're interested in tickets please contact me asap. It promises to be an enjoyable hour or so of varied music, both secular and sacred including some "old favourites."


"Music expresses that which cannot be said, and on which it is impossible to be silent." ~ Victor Hugo

Friday, May 15, 2015

Another Favourite Book.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a Christmas gift, has been on my "To Read" list for a while, and the anticipation was not wasted. I thoroughly enjoyed every page; it is another of the "hard to put down" types! (You know, midnight - "Finally, I'm heading to bed and can't wait to resume reading..." 1a.m. "Just one more quick chapter." 1:30 a.m. "Well maybe just one more"... You know the type...   :) Actually the chapters are very short so that made putting it down and turning off the light that much harder. Some nights I just wish I could convince myself I don't need to sleep at all, so I could read all night. Tell me I'm not alone in this... lol
It is a beautifully written WWII story, historical fiction, one of my favourite genres. Doerr skillfully transports us to France and Germany with the storyline shifting back and forth between Marie-Laure, the blind young daughter of a master locksmith who works in a Paris museum, and a German orphan, Werner, who has a fascination for radios. He becomes quite adept at building and repairing radios and his skill earns him  a place at one of Hitler's brutal training academies for youth; before long he is involved in tracking the resistance...
When the Nazis move into Paris, Marie-Laure and her father escape to Normandy to seek refuge with
her great-uncle, a recluse who lives in the old walled section of St. Malo. Marie-Laure has no idea her father is carrying with him a treasure from the museum, a priceless diamond which has a legend of immortality...
I don't want to give away any more of this fascinating story, but no doubt you have figured out that eventually the two protaganists meet; Doerr skilfully weaves the two story threads together near the end. I hope I have told you enough to pique your interest; you won't be disappointed if you buy, beg or borrow this book. Doerr's writing is masterful, his command of the English language is admirable, the character development is wonderful, the description vivid.
5 stars from this book lover. I won't be at all surprised if this ends up being my favourite read of the year...


"Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul."
~ Joanne Harris

Monday, May 11, 2015

Catching Up

The last few weeks have been crazy busy, and blogging has had to take a backseat, but hopefully now I'll get back on track. I do have more photos from our quilt show to share, but first I'll fill you in on what's been going on here. The day after our show, Ollie had an "episode." I knew right away something was wrong. His heart rate and breathing were very rapid, his pupils dilated and when he walked his hind end seemed to be dragging a bit. Long story short, a visit to the Vet and he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a heart condition common in Maine Coon cats. He stayed with the Vet for about 8 hours before we could bring him home. Poor Ollie was not impressed. He is now on 2 heart meds for life, and not one bit happy about swallowing pills every day. He is way too smart to be fooled with pills disguised in his food...
Mark has moved out and is now in his own place. He has it pretty well furnished, all he needs is a table and chairs for his kitchen. (any of my local readers have a kitchen set you want to get rid of??) He is happy to be on his own, and I now have a guest room!
Last Thursday, my father's homestead which was right next door to us, was torn down. The house was well over 100 years old, and was certainly well past its expiry date, but even so, it's a bit emotional to see it come down. I can just vaguely remember my paternal grandmother in her kitchen, when I was just a little tyke. The next day, a smaller home behind us, which used to belong to my aunt and uncle was also taken down. The debris from both has now been hauled away, but the gaping holes remain, waiting for fill and levelling. So things look a little different around here.. We're feeling a bit "exposed"... Lots of work to be done...
All of this, plus three trips out of town, a judging trip, an out of town show and then a two day teaching gig, and my annual canvassing for the Cancer Society, has kept me busy enough. I'm trying to get some work done outdoors too, but haven't made a lot of headway yet other than uncovering and cleaning off all my perennial beds. Things are growing quickly and the few days of rain we are currently getting are helping everything green up nicely.

So, back to our show. I will be adding a photo gallery on our guild blog so you can see all the photos, but I haven't yet finished editing. Here are some more favourites. We had so many wonderful quilts, I loved them all. I could have taken 10 ballots and voted for 30 different quilts (at least!)  lol

Log Cabin has always been my favourite design. I loved what Monica W. did with this one, "Cabin in the Loft."

Setting up a show is always challenging. It's always good to have a calculator in case you need help figuring things out!!  "Calculations" was made by Sue R. as a gift for her son, an engineer.

Being a lover of blues, you can see why I loved Gwenda's "Cobblestone" quilt. Wow, it takes a lot of
"stones" for a king sized quilt....

"Lickety Split" by Deanna M. drew lots of attention. Everyone liked its pleasing colour scheme and contemporary feel.

I really liked "Scrappy Trails" by Margie Clouston. I appreciate quilts with lots of piecing- this one sure fits the bill!!  Look at all those tiny four patches!

"Intersections" by Doris M. was made for a special family friend. Batiks and blues - a winner in my books!

Diane R's "Hawaiian Wedding Rings" was another fav. with its interesting construction and stitching techniques.

Three quilt shows in three weeks...and another one coming up later this month. Can't wait!!


Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joys and sorrows, stitched with love.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Busy, busy...

When long distance friends start calling and friends are emailing to ask if everything is alright, you know you've been away from the blog for too long.... I am just fine, I'm just extremely busy, and my blog has been neglected. I just have not had time for blogging. Yes I will be posting more photos from our show; in the meantime you can see a few more on our guild blog here. I am off this afternoon on another teaching trip, and will be back Saturday night. After that I'll be back to more regular blogging, I hope, and I'll fill you in on what's been going on...


Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Symphony of Spring Guild Show

It's time I got back here and showed you a few photos from our quilt show this past weekend. The show went off without a hitch, which made all the hard work so worthwhile. It was a beautiful show, if I do say so myself. We were so pleased with the entries that came in, we really do have some very talented members! All comments from visitors were positive, with the most common ones being that we had such great variety of styles and techniques, and so many unique pieces of high quality. We worked hard to arrange and re-arrange the quilts until we were pleased with the traffic flow, the colours, the overall look. We always take two days to set up our shows, and that second day is for the "tweaking." It makes all the difference.

I have a few photos to share with you now, and more to come. I'm still editing... I'm going to start with a few of my favourites. First is The Corey Boys by Trudy Corey. This portrait is of  Trudy's two sons, her grandson and her husband (L. to R.) It was finished just a few days before the show. I thought it was an awesome piece and I was so glad to get a photo of Trudy beside it.

Another fav was also by Trudy- Bill's Peony. This piece is currently framed with glass, but because I couldn't get rid of the annoying reflections on the glass, I'm showing you an earlier photo I took of it. This piece was Trudy's first CQA National Juried Show entry (2012.) The petals are so realistic with their shading, and her thread painting and fine quilting stitches are exquisite. The only thing that could make it better would be if you could smell the peony's scent!!

Mary Brown's Storm at Sea quilt Will Your Anchor Hold? attracted much well deserved attention. Mary's perfect piecing, her expert hand quilting and the added "extras" of a mariner's compass and a ship and lighthouse in lower left blocks all caught the eye of many viewers.

Sew Much More by one of our newest members, Margie Clouston, was another awesome piece. You don't often see blue and brown used together and I thought it very attractive; her fabric choices and combinations were wonderful. The star blocks were so well pieced and the machine quilting enhanced the design beautifully.

Kathy Tidswell's  Day Ebbs drew many admirers. I love the mosaic tiling she used in the sky, a Gloria Loughman technique. I first saw this method at the world show in Florida last year, and am anxious to give it a try. Obviously fabric choices are the key element...

Susan Dobson's Red and White Nine Patch Star Variation came from a challenge a small group of friends did a "few" years ago. There were seven of us, and we each made 4 nine patches for each person in the group. The only rule was that every red you used had to be different- i.e. you needed 20 different reds to do the nine patches. Once we exchanged the nine patches, then we were to keep secret what we were doing with them. No one saw anyone else's project until the tops were done and we "revealed" them all at the same time. They were all quite different - amazing how something as simple as a nine patch can be so versatile. Susan added to her nine patches to get a larger block, and  hand quilted it, so has taken a bit longer to finish hers. Nothing like a show to get you motivated, eh Susan?

Imperial Blooms by Ann VanWart was a wool piece, embellished with a great deal of wonderful embroidery stitches. Photos do not do it justice AT ALL! Ann does such wonderful handwork, and clearly has a great deal of patience. The machine quilting (by Gwenda Quilts) certainly added to the piece.

As you can see, we did have lots of variety at our show. I am humbled and proud to be part of such a talented guild. I have lots more show photos to share with you, but you're going to have to be patient. I have to leave this afternoon  to be out of town for almost two days, and not sure I'll have time to work on editing photos and blogging while away. I promise I'll be back as soon as I can.


"Like everything else, some people will be better at it than others. However, doing something creative is a most rewarding activity, and will result in a great sense of satisfaction, no matter how good or bad the artist may be." ~ Tony Hart

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quilt Show Coming Up...

I know, I know, you're wondering where I've been and why I haven't been blogging. Well sometimes life just gets in the way. Our guild's quilt show, "Symphony of Spring" is this coming weekend, and I am (once again) on the Show Committee. So I've been kept pretty busy with that. We store all the "stuff" for shows- set-up stuff, the racks, etc. so the last few days I've been busy going through boxes, hauling out what we'll need and pitching some stuff that's no longer useful. Great fun. Ha.
We have two long days ahead, getting everything set up and ready for opening on Friday morning. If you are local, or nearby, I hope you'll attend. If you need driving directions to find our show, visit our guild blog here- clear directions are there to help you. You'll find us at the New Maryland Centre at 754 New Maryland Highway, from 10-6 on Friday and 10-4 on Saturday. I hope to see you there! I won't be back here until after Saturday night...


Dream big, work hard, enjoy the reward.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ready for Another Book Review?

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning is the "rags to riches" story of Axie Muldoon, the daughter of poor Irish immigrants in 1860's New York City. At age 12, "saved" from the squalor of the streets by a pastor with the Children's Aid Society, she is sent west on an orphan train, and separated from her younger siblings. But she is determined to bring her family back together, and makes her way back to New York City where she is apprenticed to a doctor. She begins learning the skills of midwifery and the treatment of  "female problems."
This fictional tale, inspired by the true story of "Madame Restell", a female physician and midwife once called "the wickedest woman in New York", gives us a look at what options were available to the women of this era, when  faced with a pregnancy, wanted or unwanted, and its prevention.
If you watch Call The Midwife on PBS, it will no doubt come to mind as you read this book, although many of Manning's characters are on the... (ahem...) "seedier side". Although Axie's career path may have been controversial, she served the needs of many women, and rose to an "upper class" lifestyle in a Fifth Avenue mansion. Staying one step ahead of the law occupied too much of her time, but she was a fiesty character and would not go down without a fight!
It's a compelling story of a plucky heroine which I didn't want to end; well researched historical fiction which opens our eyes to the hardships faced by the women of that era.


"A woman who walks in purpose doesn't have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her." ~ Unknown

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Bernina Owners....

I love my Bernina! I really do. It is a superior machine (in my humble opinion) and I would have no other. Their slogan is true - "Nothing sews like a Bernina. Nothing."
But this past weekend, I had a small problem. This is the second time it has happened, so I just want to make all my Bernina-owning friends aware, so hopefully you won't have to deal with the same issue... While teaching a class, and talking about keeping your machine clean and lint-free, I removed my bobbin case to show how to brush out the bobbin case and carefully clean under the tension clip. When I lifted the clip ever so slightly with my fingernail, the teeny tiny screw on the clip fell out. I'm not sure if it had worked it's way loose, or if I forced it when I lifted the clip slightly. Regardless, it was out. I did find it, luckily it fell on the cutting mat right in front of me. But when I tried to get it back into place (God bless the student who had a teeny tiny screwdriver with her!!) there was no way. Oh yes, I could get it back into place, but it was not going to screw in - I don't know if the screw was stripped or what, but it just kept turning and turning...
You can see how tiny the screw is. Here it is beside a straight pin and a safety pin.
The "shaft" on the screw is hardly 1/16" long...
Luckily when this happened a few years ago, I ordered two extra screws (but of course I didn't have them with me.. Note to self - always carry one of those extras with me from now on, plus the tiny little screwdriver.) So as soon as I got home on Saturday night, I had it replaced in no time and all is well again.

So, my Bernina peeps - just a suggestion for you. Check that little screw on your tension clip occasionally, make sure it's not loose, and next time you visit your dealer, perhaps order one or two to have on hand.. just in case... I think I might even look into a second bobbin case... As we learned in Girl Guides... "Always Be Prepared"...


"To be prepared is half the victory." ~ Miguel de Cervantes

Sunday, April 12, 2015

This and That and a Finish.

It's time I got back here with an update lest you think I've flown the coop! Life has just been super busy the last few weeks so I've been rather low key in blogdom lately. Why does everything seem to happen at once? Life is that way sometimes, isn't it? I've been busy with classes and proposals for upcoming classes, our guild show is coming right up (April 24-25) so we're ramping up for that, the guild newsletter comes out this week so work to be done there too... a bit of sewing, etc.etc. Never a dull moment here....  :)
I can hardly believe we're approaching the middle of April. In the past few weeks we've had snow, freezing rain, rain, ice pellets and not near enough sunny warm days... But the snow is going down, albeit slowly... I guess that's a good thing in the long run, perhaps the flooding will not be too bad this year if we can continue with a slow melt... But looking out any window here, I still see a whole lot of white and very little brown/green. No lawn visible yet, except a very narrow strip along the driveway... I am so anxious for some spring color, I just had to add the bright and cheery "springy" header photo above even though it seems a bit premature. We're a long way from tulips, daffodils, violets or even dandelions yet, but at least I can enjoy them here!!
Front View
My latest small finish is an iPad case for my darling daughter. Now that she has received it, I can show it to you. She wanted it done in blues and purples and because I love batiks, they were my choice once again. I did the front a little differently this time and added a pocket on the inside to hold her earbuds and a few business cards. I was very pleased with the end result and Laura loved it so that's all that really matters...
Edit: You can see my other quilted iPad cases here and here.



"There is great satisfaction in seeing a thing take shape and form under one's hands, especially if they are made from oddments into something worthwhile."
~ Nella Last. 1945

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Yes I'm still here.. No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Just very busy right now, (as you can see, Ollie is no help at all!) and blogging has had to take a back seat for a bit. I'm off tomorrow to a teaching gig, home Saturday night, and hopefully will have something to post on Sunday. See you then!


Happiness is being busy doing the things you love. (For Ollie I guess that would be napping...)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Oh Happy Day!!

It's been a happy day here at Casa Stitch Lines. Son Mark got great news in today's mail - he passed his big exam and is now officially a Registered Medical Lab Tech!! Yay! He is working at our local hospital and is very happy there for now...

And, not to be outdone, daughter Laura found out late last week that her former employer, The Casket Newspaper in Antigonish received several CCNA's - that's Canadian Community Newspaper Awards, and one of the awards was for one of her photos! These awards are for Canadian newspapers with smaller circulations. Her photo which was in the Spot News category, was taken at a Department of Transportation plow shed fire last January.
Photo credit: Laura Hubbard/ The Casket Newspaper
At the time, I told her I thought it was a great photo... I guess I'm not the only one who thought so...   :)

Congrats to The Casket for also winning Best Overall Newspaper (circulation 3,000-3,999) and also awards for Best Front Page and Best Editorial Page. I'd like to think that perhaps Laura played a small part in these as well...  :)

So we have a registered MLT and an award-winning Journalist... we couldn't be more proud!!

May today's success be the beginning of tomorrow's achievements...


"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
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