Monday, January 6, 2014


I was re-reading old posts today, when I came across this one (go read this now, I'll wait) which was about me worrying about snow when moving to a new city for school.  I never did fall, exactly, but I did have numerous slippy moments.  One of which was because I slipped on the ruts of frozen slush on the sidewalk on my way to a night class and did something to my knee (I have figured out since that I dislocated my patella).  I didn't hit my knee, my foot just twisted enough to pop things out.  Stuck halfway between class and home with a knee that felt locked in a weird place, I started to panic.  How do I move?  How do I get help? Why did I not bring my phone?  I eventually shook my leg enough that things went back into place and hobbled the rest of the way to class, where I arrived late to the glare of my prof.  I hobbled around for the rest of the week.

I dislocated my knee-cap thrice more over the next year.  Once while trying to catch the Baz, and my mom pulled on my ankle a bit and everything popped back into place.  And I mean popped!  It looked like the two bones for my lower leg separated a bit and then sproinged back together.  Seriously cool!!  The next time was my first week at a new job, I was putting my things away in my cupboard and turned without moving my feet.  My new co-worker held my ankle while I rolled back in my chair.  POP!

Then one day, I had a really bad time at work.  I had to take off for a walking "coffee break" before I hit someone or started crying.  I called my brother to see if I could talk it out with him at lunch and an hour later he was making me a sandwich while I cried.  One of his suggestions for getting rid of the punchy feeling was to "Go to the gym, do some kick-boxing class or something".

That night I decided to finally try out a Zumba class.  Things were good during the warm up, but then there were a lot of step turns.  In running shoes. On rubber floors.  My knee half-popped out, but went back in, so I continued, being careful to make sure my knee went with my feet.  Then I got into it again and was just trying to keep up with the steps and not get hit by flailing arms, and I forgot about my knee. CRUNCH.

This did not really feel the same as the last times.  I hobbled to the back and tried to figure out what to do.  This was only my third time at this gym, so I didn't know any of the people or the trainers.  A few people asked if I was ok, but only in passing.  I figured I was going to have to leave the building anyway, so I had to make my way back downstairs to the locker room.  Some lovely ladies finally helped me in the locker room, but my knee was not budging and would not straighten all the way.  They took me out into the weight room so that a big personal trainer with an expensive prosthetic leg could see if he could help.  Nothing doing, so he offered to accompany me to the hospital.  The other ladies assured me he was a good guy, and so did the guy at the front desk.

So, with a few twenties from petty cash, we were off to the hospital in a cab (well, I had forgotten my phone again, so we made a quick stop where I was living, told my landlady I was off to the hospital, and grabbed my phone!).  I was texting my friend and my brother on the way, the only friends I had in town.  My friend was away, and her husband would have come if it was a super emergency, but I told him I was ok enough he didn't need to come sit in emerg all night, so it was just me and the personal trainer.

Apparently, when someone arrives at the hospital with you, they no longer question if the person is related or not, because that personal trainer came with me everywhere  (I really hope they would have questioned his being there if I had had to take off any clothes). He came in with me to examination, where my months un-shaven legs were examined by a young male doctor, and then back out to the waiting room to wait for x-rays.

My brother had still not answered my texts, and I didn't want this poor nice guy to wait around all evening with me, so I called my brother.  We had a very confusing conversation where I told him five times what had happened.  I couldn't tell if he was doing his usual teasing thing or not.  He eventually told me he had already been asleep for two hours and wasn't awake yet (it was only 9pm at this point), but said that he was coming and that mother would kill him if he didn't come to help me.

He arrived when I was in x-ray, and later told my parents that he did not think it was at all a good omen that the man who said he had been taking care of his sister did not even possess the knee that she had busted.  The personal trainer waited until I got out of x-ray (prob to make sure it really was my brother), and then went home.  When I finally saw the doctors again, one of them was the doctor I had been seeing at a clinic downtown for a sinus infection.  They were immediately very disappointed that my knee was no longer dislocated, I think they were really excited about getting to pop it back in.

Their disappointment made me feel like I had wasted their time and I was so embarrassed.  But then I remembered that my knee still hurt a lot, still wouldn't go straight, and still felt like it was in the wrong place.  They said that it had gone back, but I had probably hurt ligaments or something, so I at least left there with a tensor bandage wrapped around it and an appointment at the fracture clinic.

My brother got me home and I spent the next day, Friday, home from work trying to get comfortable and going up and down the stairs on my bum to get to the washroom or go lie down.  Saturday, my brother and his girlfriend drove home with me for family dinner and my mom got to baby me. I selected a cane with an antler handle from the family supply.  Sunday, my friends took me out for dim sum and then we went for a walk on the lakeshore.  I pushed the baby stroller so that I would have a walker.

The next time I saw my brother's girlfriend, she said that she had been down on the lakeshore one day and was watching people while waiting for the streetcar.  She saw a woman hobbling slowly while pushing a baby carriage and wondered what her story was.  Then she looked closer and realized she knew that lady and exactly what her story was!

I spent the next month trying to use public transit with a busted knee and a cane.  I did physio twice a week and did all my exercises every day and was pretty much back to normal by the end of the month. I used the cane for weeks after I actually needed it to walk so that people would have a visual clue that I needed a seat on transit.  There were still enough rides home where I ended up hanging from the bar in the middle on the train standing on one foot while perfectly able people sat with their eyes closed so they could be selfish on their way home.

I haven't had a dislocated knee since, knock on wood, but I do have good and bad knee days.  It was really just a matter of time before I hurt my knee badly, so I am glad I was in a place where I could at least get help safely.

The thing that still irks me though, is that I left my water bottle behind in the Zumba room.

I really liked that water bottle.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Evolution of a quilt

I thought I would show you the making of a quilt from start to finish now that the quilt in question had finally made it to its new home.  This is the most thoroughly documented quilt I have made so far because I was making it for my brother for Christmas and various people had opinions in the matter, plus I really couldn't remember the exact shade(s) of green of his furniture.  This was almost a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, but I made it work.

I had sent out an email at the beginning of November to ask what my family wanted for Christmas as I had not yet heard anything.  My brother said he wanted a quilt.  I replied that only people with weddings get bed-sized quilts, but I would consider replacing the awful baby blanket he was currently using as a couch throw.  This was acceptable, and I was given a vague colour scheme of "I don't know, red and gold?"

I decided on this pattern of quarter-square triangles from Quilty magazine because it looked fast and easy, and pulled fabric from my stash that I felt would work.  I had a bit of gold-ish fabric, but no red.  And the majority of the fabrics I pulled happened to be on the teal/blue/green side (i like to use fabric that reflects a persons interests, and there was no way i was going to leave out the vikings and their maps for a guy who reads fantasy novels!) I found one piece of red, but it just didn't look right, so I took it off to the first meeting of the Modern Quilting group from guild, and asked for some help from the ladies there.  They helped me narrow things down, and then my friend MC helped me by giving me a few pieces from her stash for the cause.  In the final cut, the red was gone, and MC had given me the crucial piece of fabric, blue and gold dots, that brought the very weird colour scheme together.
This is the initial pull of fabric after we narrowed it down at modern quilt group. The red sort of works, but MC and I decided that if I used it, that would be the only colour you would see.  I also left out the grey chevron because it wasn't the same scale as the other prints and would have drawn your eye as much as the red would.  

Once I picked the fabric, I dove right in, cutting two 11 1/2" squares from each coloured fabric (the pattern calls for 13 1/2", but i knew i wouldn't have enough fabric for that) and matched one square with a square of the solid white (Kona Snow) and the other with a printed white fabric.  This worked for awhile until it became evident that I really didn't have that much white.  It was left over from another project and in my head it was almost a meter.  It was more like 18 inches.  I got as many squares as possible cut, then started trying to cut half and quarter square triangles out of the rest to piece things together.  When I pieced things together, it became evident that my spacial reasoning is of the " believe it when I see it" variety, I really should have experimented beforehand with how to orient the directional prints.  Thank goodness I always tried to pair a directional print with an allover print, or I would have had bears and Vikings on their sides!  I am very pleased to say that everybody's head is the right way up!

As you can see from this layout of the blocks on my design-floor (ahem), I found a lovely grey-blue solid leftover from another project to make up the difference.  I really like the result, I think I like it better than my original plan for all white.  But there was still a lot of creative cutting, and I had to make sure in my final layout that there were no pieces with biased edges on the perimeter of the quilt or there may have been some stretching out of square. 

Sewing the blocks together was another challenge because of all the points that needed to match up!  I used a lot of pins and made sure I matched seems as much as possible.  They are all matched well enough that you would have to get right up-close and personal with the quilt in order to tell if they are off, which is good enough for me!

I took the finished top with me to the Fabricland and found this great argyle flannel on sale for the backing.  Even with  a colour-catcher in the wash with it, it still dyed the agitator blue!  

I quilted it in white thread a quarter inch in either side of each seam line.  There were a few catches in the front where perpendicular quilting lines met, but they evened out with the diagonal quilting lines, and you can't even tell that there might have been an issued at all now that it is all washed and crinkled!  This was the most quilting I have ever done on a quilt before, so it was nice to see it work out so well in the end.

And here it is, installed in its new home!  The hand-printed pillow my mom got him goes really well with all the animal faces in Sarah Watts Menagerie fabric.  I am so happy the colours in the quilt go so well with his furniture and his posters!  I am glad I left out the red, it would not have been the right shade with that deep orange in the poster.  

It is really obvious in this picture that I did not leave out red entirely.  There is one little piece of white fabric with a red design on it in the quilt (in person it looks red, not pink).  When I ran really low on bits of grey and white, I found this little scrap in my scrap box already cut in a triangle!  It was fate!  So I snuck in one little tiny piece!  It goes really well with the sails on the Viking ships.

He really liked his quilt and the fabric choices I had made.  He even remembered that I had made him some boxers out of the gecko fabric back in high school!  ( yes I hang onto good fabric scraps for a long time!).   So nice to have your work loved!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Tis the Season

The thing about the TBay is that we are rather isolated.  It is more than an eight hour drive east or west to get the the next big city, and the one to the west is in a different province.  We're it.  No passenger trains come through here, and it is actually cheaper to take a plane down to southern Ontario than it is to take the bus.  That means we are often the final stop for people in need of more services than they can get in outlying areas.  This is most obvious at Christmastime.

My department at work collects toys, clothes and food, basically a family's entire Christmas, each year for a family assigned by CAS or another local family organization.  Last year we had a family of eleven, this year we had a family of six.   We also collect toys and food for the local women's shelter.  

At the quilt guild, we contribute to the local Christmas toy drive by making quilts for teddy bears.  At one of the hockey games in November, spectators throw stuffed animals on the ice for the toy drive.  The guild gets the toys, and we each take home a few and make them a little quilt
This year I made two quilts, one for a moose and one for a teddy.  It is a fun way to test out a technique or use up quilt blocks you have lying around.  
Mr. Moose's quilt was an original design inspired by this quilt and using fabric that a friend had given me from her mother's stash as well as some bits from my own.
Teddy's quilt was made from some blocks my friend received in an exchange but did not use in the final quilt she made.  And I could tell why, I had to restitch so many seams and make sure that I caught any potential weak spots with my quilting.  Be forewarned when joining any kind of bee or quilting exchange, the skill and technique of some people is not what you might desire!  In the end, I was able to make it a sturdy, sparkly pink, quilt.  The sashing and borders are made from Mirror Ball Dot fabric from Michael Miller, and they add just a bit of shiny sparkle.  I showed it to my mom's little neighbour on Skype one night, and the quilt was heartily approved of by a very Fancy Nancy little girl!

Here is the news article about our teddy bear quilt donation.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Summer in the North

So, while I wait for the slowest doctor in town, I thought I would give y'all an update on the world up here in North Ontario.  

I have now lived up here through two very different summers.  The first year was so hot I came home and stripped to my underwear and sat in front of the fan as soon as I got home.  It was over 30C every day from June into September and I had no a/c.  I was so grateful that I had a cousin with a camp on Lake Superior only an hour and a half away, I was there every weekend.  The best was getting to have a four legged friend to explore with and getting to know my cousins better.  The worst was that I discovered that blackflies and I are not friends and suffered through a week-long swollen ankle.  

This summer was cold and wet, raining almost every day.  I think I only wore shorts about three times.  It also was really bad for bugs because it never got hot enough.  The garden was really slow too, hard to grow with hardly any sun and 5C temps.

It warmed up by the end of the summer and we got about two weeks of hot weather, so a few things grew.  The nice thing was that the blueberry season was extended into September.
I had the camp to myself a few times, so The Baz got to come out with me and take advantage of the screened in gazebo to have a lovely large area outside to run around in.

I gotta say, the North Shore of Lake Superior is a beautiful place the spend the summer.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Quilt Show 2013

This past April my local quilt guild held their quilt show, which they hold every other year.  It is not a juried show, so if you want to submit a quilt, you can.  There were prizes for the "best" of each category as judged by those attending the show.

I imagine most of the women take their time over the two years between shows to create their masterpieces.

I submitted my form saying that I was going to make three quilts in February.  I hadn't made any of these proposed quilts yet.

I didn't think this was a problem until I told people and they all looked at me with their mouths open.  This should have been a good indication to me that I had a few frazzled months ahead of me!

The first quilt I made was "Herd of Turtles in a Mudstorm"which is my Dad's favourite saying.  I had designed the quilt myself because I wanted to make a patchwork block that looked like a turtle, and I found this variation on the traditional quilt block "Drunkard's Path", but couldn't find a pattern for it.  I designed the quilt after only ever having made one other quilt in a beginner class.  I bought the fabric bac when I was living in Victoria and started cutting out the pieces and sewing them together when I worked as a nanny for my cousin's son.  So i really just had half of the turtles left to make when I got back to it five years later!

I had planned on getting it quilted professionally, but then the girl who was going to quilt it ended up having knee surgery.  So with two weeks left before the show, I basted and quilted it at work one weekend because I don't have enough floor space at my apartment.  It was only the second thing I had ever quilted.

This is the best picture I could get, but you get the idea.  Its twin bed sized, and just perfect for my Dad's nap blanket.  He loves it, even if it is six years late!

The second quilt I made was one that I had been wanting to try for awhile, Anna Maria Horner's pattern, Feather Bed Quilt.  I am glad I kept to the baby quilt size to try it out, because it was pretty fiddly, but I still want to make it in a bed quilt size some day.  I still have a few feather pieces to give me a head start on the next quilt.  It was a good thing I had extras, because those two half feathers were not in the pattern, but it just looked weird and lopsided without them.  I used all my pretty fabrics that had birds on them, so called it "Birds of a Feather".

The background fabric is a really bright blue, that apparently doesn't photograph very well, but really makes the feathers pop.  At the show, it was hung right under a spot light, so all you could really see of the quilt were the quilting lines.  Oh well!  This is now finally winging its way across the country to a sweet wee girl, and will hopefully get there before her first birthday!  I am so late with these things!

The final quilt I made for the show was a little wall hanging made using Elizabeth Hartman's Barn Bats Block Tutorial.  I thought it made such a cute Halloween decoration that wasn't too country kitchen looking like most seasonal wall hangings, and I even remembered to hang it this year!  I got to use up lots of little pieces of black, orange and yellow fabrics left over from other projects, but I did order one little piece of fabric, a test swatch, with the Batman symbol on it from Spoonflower.  It was just big enough to cut my pieces from.  I called the quilt "Black Night".

It was a lot of fun to be a part of the show, and I got a lot of complements on my quilts, especially my turtle quilt, some of the ladies still talk about it.  It was also nice to be able to help out with the show as a volunteer, it was a great way to get to know some of the ladies in the guild better.  

Hello, hello again!

Heya!  C and The Baz here again!  Did you miss us?

Who knows how long I'll last this time with the posting, but I will make an attempt to keep this going!

So, a bit of an update:

Moved to the TBay, started my job, have awesome co-workers, like my job, all is well!

In an effort to meet people and get involved in stuff, I joined the local quilt guild.  At the first meeting, the past president grabbed me at coffee time and told me I was going to meet the other young people!  So, I met M and T and had instant friends!  We do a lot of quilting, we actually get together sometimes and sew all weekend at M's place.  My kitchen table is almost never used for food because it is always covered in a project I am sewing.  

Since I have made so many things in the last year, I thought it was time to share them with somebody!

Warning: since creative crafty stuff has become a big part of what I do again, this blog is gonna turn pretty crafty, as you can see, even The Baz is in on the action!  

Hang onto your hats!  It's about to get all warm and cozy in here with a whole bunch of quilt rundowns!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gassy Matters

So, I am sure that the best way to start driving a new car is to start off on a 1,500 km trip three days after you've bought it.  I would recommend it to anyone!  Just a few pointers though...

1. You should probably read your manual and be sure you know how to do all the things you will need to do, like turn on the windshield wipers, or the high beams, before you are trying to figure this out while going 110k/h on windy roads.

2. Figure out if everything works properly.  Finding out how to work the windshield washer fluid sprayers at 100k/h is exciting, but it would be more of a triumph if the fluid actually hit the driver's side of the windshield.  And even better if you had tried this when the first or second bug hit, and not after the 300th when you really can't see much.

3. Remember that you are now the sole owner/driver for the car and are therefore responsible for all its fueling needs.  This is the most important point.  A 1,500 km trip through Northern Ontario is not the time to play free and easy with the gas gauge =cough, cough=

So, here are a few fueling related stories from my trip to the TBay (which I made it to safely yesterday evening):

- The Fuel Door:
First time I stop for gas, press the fuel door opener and walk around the car to discover the door still closed.  Repeat 4 times. Try to stick fingers in to pry it open. Try to stick keys in to pry it open.  Nothing.  Figure, well I should have enough to make it to my cousin's house, I was just stopping to fill up at a good price.  Keep driving.  Make it to cousin's house and then have a good look at the problem.  The fuel door was wedged up under the opening in the side panel.  I pushed it down until there was room for a key to go in then pried it open the rest of the way and bent the hinge so it would open again.  Has been working fine since!  You can stop cringing now!

- Parry Sound to Wawa:
Now, I had been planning on stopping for the night in Sault Ste Marie, but when I got there, it was only 3pm, and I knew it was only about 3 more hours to Wawa, so why stop now?  On my way out the other side of town, I vaguely thought, maybe I should get gas?  But I had just one tick less than half a tank, and that had gotten me this far, and I didn't have the same distance to go, so I should be fine.  Let it be known, ALWAYS GET GAS IN SAULT STE MARIE!!!!  There is a Provincial Park between the Sault and Wawa, and therefore no gas stations.  While discovering how your car warns you about low fuel is kind of neat, it is not so cool when you are passing a sign that says "Wawa 40 kms".  So, do you want to know how far my new car can go on 1 tank of gas at approx 100k/h?  Googlemaps tells me it was 686kms, the last 15-10kms I am sure was just on fumes.

-Husky Gas Stations:
Today, I headed out to another cousin's camp about an hour away and realized I would need gas in order to get back home again (see, I am learning fuel forethought!).  So I stopped in the village near their camp for gas at the Husky station.  Forgive my ignorance, for we have no Husky stations in my part of Ontario, but apparently, they are sneaky buggers and I will not go there again unless absolutely forced.  There was one price for "Regular" gas on the sign, but when I got to the pump, I discovered there was actually only one choice for gas, "Premium".  They didn't even have buttons for the other grades on their pumps!  So when I thought I was going to pay "140.1", I was actually paying "149.9!!!!!!"  I only got $35 worth which brought me back up to half a tank.

So, see?  I am learning my fuel savvy!  Slowly but surely.  Nothing like jumping in at the deep end of car ownership!