Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Which won out - the UFO or a new project

For those who visited with me last week, you might recall that I was pondering whether to start a new project or to continue with an existing, or UFO, project.  Well, it was kind of a tie.  I picked the most pressing UFO and set to work.  It's a tee shirt quilt for my neighbour and I had a lot of shirts sitting ready to trim and add.

 I spent days cutting, trimming and figuring out what to do with the left overs.  Not wanting to waste the unprinted bottoms of the shirts, I decided to turn them into yarn for knitting/crochet.  I watched a video showing an easy way to cut the shirt bottom into a long strip. It's much easier using a rotary cutter than the scissors shown.  After putting the cut strips through the spaghetification process, I now have yards and yards of t-shirt yarn for a future project.

With that project securely moved into 'active', I turned to the new project I mentioned last week, the Spring Quilt along with Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt.

The project calls for 40 half square triangle blocks. I figured it would be a good thing to have extras for a future project, so I found a site with free printable triangle paper, Quilting and Whatnot and downloaded the finished 2 inch square.  I test printed one page and the test square measured a prefect one inch.  I then printed 10 additional copies and started sewing.  For those who haven't used triangle paper, you stitch on the dashed lines and cut on the solid lines.  I find it best to layer your fabrics in the following order, dark print facing up, light print facing down, paper on top.  Once you cut your triangles apart, then press the open before ripping off the paper.

 It didn't take long to make almost 150 squares.  Unfortunately, at some point in the process I realized that I had printed the ten pages to the wrong size, I forgot to turn scaling off and the triangles would be slightly too small . oops.

I'll still be able to use them, but I am not impressed with myself at making this avoidable mistake.  Always a learning opportunity and this one was not to be distracted by competing conversations.    I'm looking forward to assembling the top so I can move on to the machine quilting, which is what this project is all about.

I hope that you are having success with which ever project you are working on this week.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan

 This is a well told story based on the true life of Kate Warne, the first woman detective of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  The character of Nell is fictional.

From the first chapter, I was sucked into the story and couldn't let it go.   I listened to the audio book almost non-stop.  Nell is very rough around the edges and in need of someone to take her in.  Her aunt Kate is a young working woman with no inkling of how to care for a child.  Together they make quite the pair.  The brash youngster and the refined lady.  How could I not love them and root for their success at forming a family.

I enjoyed learning some of the history of the Pinkerton's, the politics of 1860 and of the Underground Railroad.  It was thrilling each time my home town of St. Catharines, a northern terminus of the railroad, was mentioned.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by Christine Lakin.  She did a marvellous job of the very different characters especially when Nell and Kate were working undercover.  She captured the youthfulness of Nell and her brash nature.  I had no trouble believing her to be that rural farm girl.

Author Kate Hannigan brought the Pinkerton's to life and clearly showed both the excitement of being a detective as well as the great risks that those women and men take in that job.


To learn more about the history of the Kate Warne and the Pinkerton Detective Agency, visit the Pinkerton website. 

Cover image courtesy Hachette Book Group.

#IndigoEmployee

Saturday, 20 May 2017

I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937 by Lauren Tarshis

I had been hearing so many good things about this book series from my customers and their parents that I had to read one of them for myself.  I knew very little about the Hindenburg and thought this would be a good chance to learn a more of it's history.

Author Lauren Tarshis tells the story through the eyes of eleven year old Hugo Ballard.  This is an effective method to interest middle school readers who are the target audience.   The meticulous research and attention to detail, makes this series good for class room reading and follow-up activities.

This series appeals to both male and female readers in the middle grades.  It is also suitable for older readers who are not ready for teen novels and for reluctant readers who are attracted by the high drama level and shorter length.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by David de Vries. 1 hour 31 minutes.

At present there are 15 books in the I Survived Series.

To learn more about the Hindenburg and other airships, visit Airships.net


Cover image courtesy Scholastic Books.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Start Something New or Finish a UFO

My quilt guild is participating in a quilt show next week and yesterday I was rushing to get my entries ready.  The quilting was all complete and the bindings sewn down, all that remained was to make and attach labels and then deliver them to the organizer.  What a relief when that was complete.

Now I'm ready for something new.  Well, that is the question, do I start something totally new or do I select another UFO and work on it.  I am steadily working on my current pair of fittens.  The first pair in the variegated black and white turned out awesome and I am about half way through the second pair.  Love the spiral effect of the colours.   Once this pair is complete, I'll cast on the next so that I can keep the to the program of getting enough finished for gift giving at the end of the year.

I have far too many unfinished projects, but i am sorely tempted by Lori Kennedy's current quilt along.  It's a free motion sampler titled: The Spring Sampler Quilt Along. Since one of my goals this year it to improve my machine quilting, this could prove helpful.  Would it be procrastinating to interrupt other items to make this sampler, or would it provide some fresh air to my brain and rev me back up to work on the existing backlog.  Which ever I choose, I always keep in mind that stitching is fun and when it stops being fun I am in trouble.  Honestly, it's always more fun to start a project but at the same time, it is exhilarating to totally finish a project.  Oh darn, that wee bit of enlightenment didn't help me at all.

Come back next week and find out what I decide to do, behind curtain #1 is a UFO, behind curtain #2 is the Spring Sampler Quilt Along.


 Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

Wonderful adventure story packed with scientific facts.  Parents will enjoy reading along with their kids while they learn together about Antarctica, the most southern continent.

Jack, Matthew and Ava are three orphans who have formed their own family unit.  While Matt and Ava are the brains, it's up to Jack to keep everyone on track and moving forward.  When an opportunity presents itself for the three to work with a top notch scientist, they jump at it.  When their association leads them to Antarctica, the children find that they may have met their match.

 I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  Coming from Bill Nye, I expected it to be filled with science and I wasn't disappointed.  The remote location of the story and the interesting plot should be enough to peak the curiosity of young readers.
Antarctica, Whaler's Bay
In a classroom setting, the book could form the basis for a unit on inventions as well as one on exploration.  I was fascinated when visiting the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand that featured a replica of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic hut.  What I saw there is far removed from the amenities the children had on their trip, though the weather and isolation were the same.

My god father, Jim Ellis, twice travelled to Antarctica.  It is not a luxury cruise ship that you travel on, but a working scientific research vessel.  Unlike the children in the book, before he left, he was given an list with an extensive wardrobe and items that he would need for the trip.  A standard winter coat isn't going to cut it.

Neko Harbour
 The landscape there is unlike anything I have experienced, it is beautiful in its starkness, but dangerous for those not prepared.
Admirante Station, Argentina

Half Moon Island

The second book in the series,  In the Deep Blue Sea, is due out September 2017.

Photo credits to Jim Ellis.  Thanks to my aunt, Mary Ellis for sharing with me these photos.  Jim was an avid traveller and visited well over 200 countries.  He enjoyed seeing the natural and man made sites as well as visiting with the people who made their homes at those locations.

Cover image courtesy Abrams Books.

#IndigoEmployee 

Friday, 12 May 2017

Supernormal Sleuthing Service: The Lost Legacy by Gwenda Bond & Christopher Rowe

 A wonderfully creative story that is sure to catch the imagination of any young reader.  With a pinch of magic, a dash of insecurity and a heavy serving of whimsy, authors Gwenda Bond and Christopher Rowe have created a hotel in the heart of New York city at which most children would love to stay.

Stephen's first visit to The New Harmonia Hotel is on the day of his dear grandmother's funeral.  That is the same day that he learns that there are indeed monsters, or supernormals as they prefer, in this world and that is is one of them.

I loved this book.  It is funny and then suspenseful in the next moment.  With all the different creatures in the hotel, Stephen must quickly learn to be sensitive to their different appearances and manners so as not to offend.  At the same time, he is grieving the lose of his grandmother, moving to a new state and learning huge secrets about himself. Wow.

The story is brimming with amazing characters, two of my favourites being Cindermass and the elevator.  Nope, not going to tell about that one other than to say that Stephen shows the strength of his character by his treatment of elevator.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to your middle schoolchild.  This is the first of a new series.

I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books and Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review. 
 
Cover image courtesy HarperCollins Canada.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Raggy, Shaggy and Looking Great

 It's here, the post you have all been waiting for. I have two quilt finishes to share.  Yes, quilt show time is quickly approaching and I offered to lend 3 of my newly finished quilts (well, one is still in the process of being bound) and that lovely pink cable afghan I knit for daughter.

First up is the rag/denim quilt I made for hubby.  It measures 45 x 55 inches, the perfect size when sitting in a lawn chair.  This is the back view.
 Close up of the orange peel quilting
 Front view.  have yet to clip the edges
 Full front view.  I decided I liked the scalloped edge instead of turning those to the front and stitching down.
 I have clipped the edges every centimetre or so.  Doesn't have much effect at this point.
After washing and machine drying, with tons of lint.  i had to clean the lint trap at least every five minutes.  Looking much fluffier.

And finally, the complete project.

Not to rest on my laurels too long, I needed to get the binding done of two quilts. Both I finished the quilting on over a year ago and then they sat waiting, always pushed to the back of the to do stack.  But remember the quilt show...

 This quilt is the result of a swap of ugly fabrics.  I know, you are looking at the quilt thinking how beautiful it is, right.  yep, it started with four fabrics that another quilter thought were ugly.  The rules said I could add as much other fabric as I wanted, but that I had to use 90% of what I had been sent.  I selected a pattern from a book by Judy Martin . Sorry, can't locate that book at the moment, though it is out of print.  Measures about 47 x 47 inches.
 I'm really pleased with the binding fabric. It fits well with the snail fabric.
 To ensure I used the 90%, I have a pieced back.
And the four fabrics I was originally sent, they are showcased in the block to the right including that cute snail.

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.  If a fabric, thread, yarn doesn't work for you, then perhaps one of your friends or fellow stitchers will fall in love with it.  Don't hold onto what you don't love, pass it along to another who will cherish it.

I hate to leave you here when I am on  a finishing roll, but the binding on that next quilt is calling to me.  I'd love to see what you are working on this week.

 Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

SYNC AudioBooks for Teens is back again for another wonderful summer of listening


SYNC is back with another summer of wonderful listening.  Each week presents a pairing of books to appeal to the teen listener, though you don't have to be under twenty to enjoy these titles.

This weeks titles:
Feed by  MT Anderson
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - I'm struggling with this quilt

 Arg, those layers of denim are a b.... to stitch through.  And the top stitching at the intersections of the blocks is driving me batty.

Let me back up a bit.  This is the back of the lap quilt I am making for hubby.  It is two layers, one pieces of denim from old jeans and the second, cotton from his old shirts.  Looks great from this side.  Simple barn raising layout for best use of the pieces I had.
 You can just make out the orange peel quilting that I am attempting to do.  It wasn't so bad doing the vertical top stitching as that was done after adding each row.  Not much fabric to the right of the needle. It's the horizontal rows that are difficult. 
I thought that using the free motion foot would make it easier to navigate the curves when I get to the middle of the quilt, but it was almost impossible to deal with the intersection where the four squares come together.  all those loose edges pushing up and making a real challenge. Not only were the corners a mess, but I was having a hard time staying on the previous lines of stitching. 

Just before writing this post, I thought I had better give it a try using the regular foot and engaging the feed dogs.  One row done and it went my much easier at the block corners.  I'll still have my work cut out for me manoeuvring the quilt around for the curves, but it will be worth it.   Once the stitching is complete, then I have to clip the raw edges and wash and dry to do the 'rag quilt' thing to it.  Final photos will be ready next week.  (happy dance time soon).

Enough of that stress and on to the fun that was had at my local quilt guild meeting last week.  I was thrilled that we had Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts as our guest.  She brought oodles of quilts to show.  Following are a sampling of some of her delights.

 Lorna's quilts are all designed using regular piecing not paper piecing.  Much of the time she uses solid colour fabrics, but she has been delving into prints lately.  She likes to use her walking foot and wavy lines for quilting, mostly running horizontally across the quilt.  If you are not familiar with her work, visit her website for a treat. Sew Fresh Quilts.  She has many for purchase patterns as well as some free ones available.  Currently she is offering a free Christmas themed quilt along.
Chicken Ranch

Forest Friends - crib size

Forest Friends - large size

Zany Zebraz

 Little Blooms - Gorgeous use of colours

Farm Friends

 Christmas Collection - there are 15 blocks in this pattern and Lorna shares many ways to put together the arrangement.  That is one feature that I really like about her patterns.  She doesn't just show you one quilt, but includes at least several possibilities of arranging the top.  So if you don't like one block you don't have to include it.
Monkey See Monkey Do


I've bought several patterns from Lorna, both online downloads and printed patterns.  While I haven't sewn them yet, her instructions and diagrams are very clear and she has been wonderful about answering emails I have sent her in the past.

 Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.