Author Archives: anolddoglearnsnewtricks

Still Here!!


Anybody out there who missed me!!  LOL  I havn’t done a post since last summer…. I know I ‘m bad!

Its been a busy 6 or 7 months, with some quilting even being done! Our oldest son Andrew was home for about 6 months ( coincidence that i got no blogging in? I think not ) he was in town working for the Regional Health Authority on a 6 months contract. It was awesome having him here, he has been in Ontario for the last 5 years so we did not see him often (I am out in BC) while he was here he got me hooked on watching the West Wing (still working on that) and a few other shows as well as a few radio podcasts that i listen to regularly now.  He has re-located to Vancouver and is working on his 2nd Masters degree. Not so far away now!

We also took a 2 week vacation out to the maritimes in late aug early sept to see youngest son and his family, who live in New Brunswick. Patrick and his wife have 3 kids, 2 girls 6 and 3 and a little who just turned 2 this past December. we had an awesome time back there, my first trip further east than Ontario and man i just loved it. We took a 5 day drive around, had to take 2 cars as Pats isnt big enough for 7 people 🙂 we went to Halifax, Peggys Cove, among other places. Spent 2 days on PEI, Seriously i could move to PEI at the drop of a hat! Spent lots of quality time with the grandkids, I sure wish they werent so darn far away!

Spent Thanksgiving in Alberta at our middle son Jordans, DH was already up there ( about a 6 hour drive away) and myself and Andrew drove up on the friday after work, had a wonderful weekend with our son Jordan, his wife and their 2 kids. Had a great turkey dinner with some of their friends. did a little shopping, visited a corn maze and had lots of laughs and chatting!

Dh and i were alone this year for christmas, we enjoy playing board games so we do that and not having to cook on christmas day gave us lots of time .Had a wonderful dinner at some friends house, where we also spent New Years Eve playing board games LOL

That is kind of a recap of life in general but i have also been quilting/sewing along in there too.

the first thing i need to catch up on is the quilt i made for my oldest grandson Justin who turned 5 in Aug. I made his older sister and a cousin quilts when they turned 5 (6 weeks apart!) so i decided i would do that for all the grandkids.

I picked a design out of a quilt book of quilts for kids, i would give you the title bur seriously i am upstairs and its downstairs…… not happening this minute LOL  here is a picture of the design in the book. Image

Its basically a rail fence block and a plain block, pretty simple and well within my current skill level.

I chose fabrics similar to those in the book, with truck, diggers etc on them.

Here are all the blocks on my design wall.


a nice white with small black polka dots set off the busy prints nicely and the orange, green and yellow stripes are all either brick or paving stone type prints, which i though went well with trucks and stuff 🙂


This is the finished quilt on Justins bed at thanksgiving, I gave it to him in Aug when they were down for a weekend the week before we went back east. As you can see i used the polka dot fabric to bind it with and did a meandering free motion design on it.


not the best shot to showcase the FMQ, really just a close up


Backed it with some yellow fabric that has hard hats and other workman related things on it!

I have about a year and 3/4 till my grandaughter Ainsley turns 5, in Aug 2015.

I finished off one other project before we went on holiday in August. I had made a table runner out of asian inspired fabrics and finally got it quilted and bound. It now graces the cedar chest in my living room.

Here are some pictures of it:


I just did a cross hatch diagonal quilting design


I pieced the back with the same fabric as the border and some of the scraps from the other fabrics.


Well I hope to get caught up with my blogging and sharing what i have made over the last several months, I am still working away through volume one of Quilters Academy ( 2 years now LOL) and i have started a quilt along with Leah Day on Facebook which will help with my Free motion quilting skills!

I will leave you this evening with a couple of pics!

the first is my 2 grandchildren from Alberta ,. Daphne and Justin when they were here visiting!

Going for a train ride in the park!


the next pic is my youngest son Patrick holding his daughter Venessa 6, Me holding Darren 18 mos  and my DH Dan is holding Ainsley  3 , in the pool on PEI!


have a good day!


Triple Rail Fence quilt Finished!!


And another one bites the dust!!!

The third quilt in the book that i pieced last year was quilted and bound July 11 th, last thursday!


Here it is in all its glory, front on the left and back on the right!

I used a polyester batting on this one, very different from the cotten ones i have used before.

sort of a looser weave and a bit poofier than the cotten 🙂

I like how it turned out with its extra poofiness, no problems , no mistakes doing the borders!

I just did kind of a swirl kinda thing to quilt it. the free motion quilting gets a bit better as i go.


It’s a bit hard to see, ( got to work on my quilt picture taking too!) but you can see some of the quilting in this picture.


Another bit of a close up.

Feeling proud of myself with this one, no bonehead mistakes!!!  LOL

so next up from Volume One of Quilters Academy will be the log cabin table topper! I have a design that i plan to quilt on it. I just need to figure out how i want to mark it on the quilt!

But first i have some other sewing to get done 2 pairs of kids jammies for grandkids. my oldest grandson turns 5 on Aug 12 and my youngest granddaugher turns 3 on the 17th of Aug.  both are cut out just waiting to be sewn!

I also have a table runner that i pieced earlier this year and have sandwiched ready to be machine quilted.

I also made my two oldest grandkids quilts for their 5th birthdays so now i have to make one for little Justins 5th birthday too!

I have a very simple one to do , squares are cut out, strip sets nearly done then i just have to sew it together , sandwich, quilt etc

but at least it has some progress underway!

I also finished a skirt for one of my 6 year old Granddaughters last week. It is called Adorable charm square skirt and is a tutorial from the Missouri Star quilt company.

I used a pack of Lucys Crab Shack charm squares, but didn’t have any of the line in yardage so i found a really cute little green and white plaid that went perfectly with it.

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Front is on the left, and back on the right, don’t you think the green plaid ( on the waist band and hem) goes well with the other fabrics!

Very quick to sew and it is just so cute!

hopefully i will have some progress on my other projects to show off soon!

Still here!!


I have sort of fallen down on my blogging recently so will try and do a little catch up here!

last post i did i was in the midst of being overun by forest tent caterpillars, they were EVERYWHERE!!!  now they have cocooned and are in the process of emerging as moths, trying to overun the place! but at least they only seem to be really active in the evening and at night around street lights, gas stations etc.   It is quite disgusting the amounts of them, but not surprising!

I have been sewing,  did a dress for one of my granddaughters and a matching dress for her dolly… What grandma can say no when she gets a call from a 6 year old requesting matching dresses!! Not this one thats for sure !!

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The picture on the left is a closeup of my granddaughters dress, and then a pic of dollies dress.


Of course i had to make my grandson something so he could get a parcel in the mail too! so i whipped him up a little pair of shorts.

These were express posted to them and everyone is happy!! including me because they are finally done!!

I have also been doing a bit of work on my third quilt in Volume one of Quilters Academy.

Triple Rail Fence quilt top finished! and more!

This is the triple rail fence quilt,  a bit of a fail in my fabric placement, i could have switched out a couple and the third rail would have been more apparant. But I think that is all part of the learning process and am not going to beat myself up over it, but i will remember and learn from it 🙂

As of today it is bordered and quilted, just needs binding!

but i had to make my other 6 year old granddaughter a skirt (just needs elastic), her little sister is getting a jumper that a friend made but was too small for whoever she made it for, and i just had to finish it off for youngest granddaughter. and a i made their little brother a pair of shorts from the same fabric as my other grandsons.

pictures to follow.

I also need to sew up some pillowcases for a friends birthday, those should get done tonight ( if i ever get off the darn computer LOL )

so i havn’t been too much of a slacker, but i have also discovered Candy Crush Saga …….. nuff said about that!

one game thats it and then downstairs to the sewing room!!

Number two all done


Yippeee!! finished number two of the Volume One (Quilters Academy Series) quilts that i have piecing over the last year or so.

Actually finished it saturday evening and got to work right away on a dress for one of my granddaughters yesterday so this is the first chance i have had to post some pics.

the first one is some of the quilting i did. I did 5 rows of the treble clef design. I had it traced on a long sheet of tracing paper which i pinned on to the quilt and then stitched right through it! worked really well for this as the placement didnt’ need to be exact. I used some of Superior Threads size 40 polyester in a variegated colour ( which if i had it to do over again i wouldn’t use variegated)  really like the thread, the only problem i had was at one point for some reason i had tightened up my top tension…. ?? and i had some shredding , but as soon as i loosed it off , no problems!


In between the 5 rows i did some totally freehand/freemotion musical notes. they turned out not to bad.


On the borders i did a swirly continuous line , that turned out not to bad, if i do say so myself!


the left shot shows the backing i used, I got that fabric at Fabricland many months ago when it was on sale . I used a plain black for the binding , which i machine sewed on.

The right hand pic is one of the corners after it was all washed and dried!  It didn’t get too scrunchy , just a bit!

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And here it is in all its musical glory laid out on the spare room bed!!


the weather has been good for out door pics but we are in the middle of a pretty severe

Forest Tent Caterpillar invasion! so not laying this outside at all!!

the little buggers are all over my house and have been for 2 weeks, apparantly they like stucco (vinyl siding is next i think.

This picture is one of three trees out by our back fence that have been totally stripped of ALL their leaves.


the two pictures below are the same trees , showing how bare they are.You can see some of the green new growth, but there is NO Leaves at all!


we saved a small tree at the side of our yard when we sprayed with “Sevin” last week.

I wanted to spray the 4th tree in the back this evening but it is too windy.

I hope there are some leaves left tomorrow for me to try and save.

the whole tree is like this! I hope i can get the spray up high enough to get them all!


They are just gross and disgusting!! I don’t mind a caterpillar or three but our whole city is infested this year.  there are great  patches of trees all over the city with no vegetation at all on them.  the caterpillars are all over the roads in some spots and can get quite slippery!

I  hope i didnt gross you out with the caterpillars but misery does love company LOL!

right now i am making a matching dress for my oldest granddaughter Daphne and her dolly! hopefully will have pics later in the week!

cheers and thanks for dropping in!

Quilting in Progress!


I have been down in the sewing room a fair amount in the last week. Still getting over being sick back near the beginning of the month with a vertigo thing…. gone 6 days without any of the symptoms!! Yay!  Hubby and I did get out of town on the long weekend here in Canada , last weekend. We actually took off the thursday and friday before the weekend as well and went down south to Penticton B.C. where I went to my very first National quilt show! which i enjoyed immensely, met my niece, her mom, 3 friends from here and 2 friends from my old home town there!  We combined the trip with a visit to my MIL as well and then home last sunday , monday was a rest day!! and i needed it LOL

so this week i have been down in the sewing room working on the second quilt that i made from vol. 1 of Quilters Academy.  I got the first narrow border sewn on before going on our little trip and had the wide border cut ready to sew after i got home.


the first thing i did was square up the corners and trim the border to the exact finished width + 1/4″  for the seam! Then i got the wide border sewn and cut to the proper length.

DSC_0312Pinning the border on!


checking to make sure the narrow border finished to the correct width!  Success!

and i remembered this time not to square up and trim the quilt top until after the quilting is done!


All ready to sandwich!

I have always had a design in mind for this quilt since i picked out the fabric…. and that was to somehow quilt musical notes or something along that line on it.  It took me awhile to find the right one, which of course was in a book i had already and not on the internet somewhere, where of course i had spent countless hours looking.. LOL


The design is from Hari Walners book “Continuous-line Quilting Designs” and here it is enlarged to the size i needed and traced onto a piece of quilt and tear ( I thought, more on that in a bit) I think i favour the no marking system for quilting larger designs that don’t need to be precisely placed.

I planned to do 5 rows of this design across the middle (blocks) part of the quilt, with something else on the border.  I used a size 40 polyester variegated thread (black,gold, yellow)and black polyester thread in the bobbin and although not perfect i was quite happy with the results after getting rid of the paper.

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You can see a bit of the design on the quilt top in the left pic, the right pic is the backing fabric and it doesnt show so well there.

Some things i discovered after the first row

1)  I was’t using Quilt and Tear as i had thought. I was using Stitch and Tear which is quite a bit heavier and meant for applique, or machine embroidery where the stitches would be quite dense and easier to rip out. It took me along time to get the paper ( more like a pellon interfacing) off and the bits out of the stitches.

2) the variegated thread was not the best choice- it shows up well in some spots but not in others.  But that is part of the learning process

3) My machine loves to FMQ with the feeddogs up and stitch length set to 0 !!


I decided to try tracing paper for the next rows.  Found an art supply place that sold tracing paper by the roll and set out to trace the design again.

then i placed three more sheets under that one and ran through the machine (with and old unthreaded needle) and presto 4 sheets ready to go.

I thought about laying out the holey design and using a pounce, but i have read how the markings don’t stay visible , as they wear away quite quickly.

This method worked well for this design, the only problem i had was not being able to see the holes sometimes, especially on the light yellow fabric.

so I did wander off in the wrong direction , twice I think LOL  and of course that meant stopping, cutting the thread , resewing and fiddling with all the thread ends after unpicking the wandering stitches!

Well i have  done 4 of the 5 rows so far and i like this method quite a lot and will use it again on darker coloured fabrics. If there are lighter fabrics i will use the tracing paper but with the lines drawn on the paper and not the holes.

I will try the chalk pounce method at some point as well .

Following the lines is hard! I need to relax my hands more as i found a few times i was pushing my hands flat down on the quilt top and it doesn’t move very freely when you do that.  🙂

the nice thing is once the paper is gone, you cant really tell how badly off you were and the design looks all right!

I have a plan for the space in between the rows of design but will wait and show you instead of babbling on about it now.

so i am heading back down to the sewing room to work on this quilt some more today! Hopefully I will get it finished this week.



  wow did it ever take along time to get this one done… between redoing my sewing room, oldest son home for a week and being sick….
.this little quilt really was on the table for a long time!
I actally finished it this past monday evening, what day was that? the 6th i guess. anyways its done done done. I optimisticaly put the next top awaiting finishing up on my design wall about 2 weeks ago LOL

Here are a couple pictures of the finished quilt, yesterday morning before leaving for work.  the backing is the same as the binding and i didnt think to take a picture of the back….. maybe tonight?


I took a few more pics after work yesterday when the late afternoon sun was streaming into the living room, and I got some nice dark shadows around the edge of the picture.

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…..and here is a closer shot of the quilting.


I am glad this one is done, and am ready to move onto the next quilt top and get it done too.  Hopefully the weekend will see the borders on at least.

thanks for dropping by, must run and get my butt to work 🙂

Back on Track!! and some pics of my new sewing table!


I had a pretty productive weekend ( for a change ) after being stalled since the Easter weekend!  So I learned a couple of things over the last few days, the main one being “put the dam pins where you are going to be sewing) LOL  Seriously , putting them in the center of each block was a pretty big bone head move on my part.  That was the main reason i had puckers when i stitched across a line of stitching at  a right angle to the way i was going!

So i spent a few evenings last week picking out all the rows that had any puckering, there were a few that didn’t , but it was worth it!  Then i pinned the h**l out of of each line i was going to stitch and presto!! no puckers!  I have only 8 lines to sew on the center part of the quilt and then the borders before i can bind it…. but nearly there!

I did have an issue with my walking foot, i was using an open toe style foot and using the same area on each side of it to guide how far away my stitching was from the seam line… Well I could not figure out why one side was always narrower, you know a bit closer to the seam, than the other?? then i had a closer look at the foot and discovered the edge that i was using was a different width on each side! Really, seriously ??? they couldn’t make them both the same?   but at least i figured it out and from then on could compensate and have a more evenly space design. Sheesh!


a picture of the quilt top while doing the borders so you can see it while i describe the quilting i am doing on it. Anyways , what i did to quilt this was stitch about 1/4 inch away from each seam line, on both sides of the seam. and then just where the blue squares line up diagonaly i did a row of stitching diagaonaly through them too. It looks pretty nice, (if i do say so myself) LOL

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Here’s a couple of closeups of the quilting in progress. I am using Aurofil size 50 thread and a 3.5 stitch length to do the quilting.

So here are some pics of my revamped sewing space.


this is the new sewing table dh built for me, there are drawers on the left side as you can see and behind them there is open shelf storage  facing to the left (as you are looking at it), you can see my tv up on the wall, much easier to actually see now that i am back further from the wall.

We still need to tweek the height of the machine, the bed of it is a scant 1/8th of an inch higher that the table, but it also slants down a slight bit towards the end ( the end on the left as you would sit at it ) and it is even with the table there , so that complicates things a bit. It hasn’t been an issue with this quilt, but i think it could for Free motion quilting.  I also have a little table , see it up against the wall on the left? that i can use on my left side at the front to hold some of the quilt too.


Looking the other way, you can see the floor isnt done yet. Walmart is out of the black and white foam tiles …  and i have a large piece of smooth plywood for my chair to roll around on. and where the blue bag is hanging is a rod on the wall with plastic hooks that i hang rulers …. and well bags too.  The yellow ribbon is one my Granddaughter Venessa and I tied and put in our tree while her daddy ( my youngest son) was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-12.  You can see the flourescent light fixture above the table, there is also one over the cutting table, got them at home depot a couple of years ago , fairly inexpensive and very good lighting.


My cutting table and some storage shelves, (which used to be in a closet before we tore down the wall) there are also shelves perpendicular to the white ones, the black end supports are just visible on the left , they have some sewing and quilting stuff on them ,but not much …. other stuff though. I also have a tall plastic storage drawer unit , just to the left of the shorter one on the left of the picture, yes down near the bottem!anyways i keep , fat quarters , charm squares, jelly rolls etc in the tall drawers.  My ironing board is set up pretty much behind where i am standing to take the picture. I thought about setting up something beside my machine to iron on , but i kind of like the idea of getting up to stretch the legs now and then so i just left it where it was.One of my favorite things in here is my new design wall, the white sheet right behind my cutting table, so now i can layout blocks and see them and re-arrange without having to go to another room!

so that’s all the news for now!  well except the snow is actually melting here! yaaaaaaay!  i can see some grass in our backyard and the front is about half  melted!  could spring actually be almost here?