Sunday, 2 April 2017

March

March ... really not sorry to see you go.
     It's been a rough month: surgery, appointments, health scare, death, (not all the same person ... spread over several family members), additional responsibilities mixed in with a healthy dose of winter storms ...  enough stress and activities to take me away from two things I like to do the most: quilting and writing.

     A male friend of one of my daughters has requested a quilt for his bedroom in a mixture of grey/blues and oranges.  I gave him a few suggestions and then he found a picture on-line that he thought was a little more "manly": "Sedimentary" by Debbie Grifka. I modified what I saw and created a queen-sized quilt for him. 
     This is the top before I square it up & add a grey border and take if off to TLC quilters in Bedford, NS to have it machine quilted. 
     Certainly long enough to fit over a thick mattress.  The strips are a mixture of 2", 2.5" and 3".  I sewed it in 6 sections to help keep the strips from going wonky because no matter how much you try to sew a 1/4" seam on a long strip, it can (& will) shift!
   
     Time to get back to some art quilts. The next SAQA Atlantic show will be "Transitions" ... we already have the approval; I finished the corrections / editing on the paperwork (forms, eligibility, etc) yesterday and will send that off to headquarters. 3 galleries have agreed to host the show and I am still hoping a few more will offer some space soon .... but it does mean, that I can now start to work on a new creation!!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Little Things & Europe

     Sometimes life gets in the way, and the things you most like doing most are put on the back burner.  Both my writing and my quilting have been a little slow this month.
     I was cleaning up the quilting studio and came across a project from a few years ago that had pieces cut out but not sewn. A One Block Wonder hexie quilt had been the intention.
     Here is one sampling of laying the blocks out ... but I'm not liking it. As pretty as the colours are, they don't have enough contrast and the whole effect is busy and bland.  I found some Robert Kaufman plain fabric the exact shade of light blue and dark brown, cut out some triangles to put between the hexies and liked it even less.  The project is back in its container until a new wave of creative energy hits!

     So, something a little more exciting to work on.  I still have many wonderful pictures of my trip from almost a year ago. I had done an outline on my large Europe quilt of the dome of the Hotel (hospital) des Invalides  (hmmm ... don't know how to add the french accent to the "o" in hotel in Blogger). The final piece is 7 X 10 and will probably be used for the SAQA Atlantic Canada trunk show.
And the original






Wednesday, 25 January 2017

It's Been a Little While

One of the advantages of keeping a blog is to realize that when you think ... "what have I done for the past month?", there is actually work accomplished to be shown off and recorded!

     This year, for the first time, I decided to enter the Trend Tex Challenge for Quilt Canada. The topic is "Stitching a Canadian Memory" (lots of Canadian topics this year with our 150th birthday).

     The 5 fabrics arrived in November and after several puzzling days of how to use the multi-coloured fabric, I came up with a sailboat; a variation of the one I did for myself awhile ago in greys & yellows, as well as, a tribute to the first sailboat I see out in the Halifax Harbour in early spring which also is the last one to head to a winter berth for the fall.
     The five Trend Tex fat quarters ... they all work well together, but I am not crazy about the patterned block fabric. There are 2 categories to enter: the first in which you can only use their 5 fabrics and the 2nd where you can add fabrics of your own to complete your quilt.
     I stuck with the fabrics they sent. I made a mistake when quilting the water, creating lazy water flow then realized with the mainsail at such an angle, I would need to create waves to indicate there was a good wind blowing. After quilting the green in a random pattern, I ended up picking it all out and redoing it with outlines of trees and buildings suggesting the view I have across the harbour.

     New Year's Goals are a waste for me ... I never bother keeping them longer than a month, if that, so this year, I shall try to pick out a new goal each month and work on that. 

     January's goal was to use only scraps while quilting .... I am not sure that I even put a dent in the scrap pile, but I have created 3 single-sized tops that will eventually be quilted for a charitable cause.
     This one is a little busy ... but it is with random kid- patterned fabric. Each one has a green centre that matches the sashing; probably should have put a light or white centre to have it stand out a bit more.
     I had a little bin full of fabric left from sashings and bindings ... widths varying from 1 inch to 3 inches. Most of the narrower pieces went in to quilt-as-you-go place mats, which still need bindings done, and the rest went to a strippy quilt. The strippy quilt wasn't quite long enough for a single bed so I added extra sashing and borders.

     And since there were still days left in January, I decided to use up some scraps according to colour. Here are the turquoises, light blues & light greens. This still needs to be sewn together once I decide how much larger it should be. Again, fabric strip widths are random, leaving the white centres a little wonky.



Friday, 23 December 2016

Button Holes and other Christmas Items

     If I can, I avoid having to make button holes, adding zippers to outfits instead. Perhaps I come by it naturally as my mother also used to avoid making button holes ... even to the point of causing me one rather embarrassing moment in grade school. She opted not to put a button hole & button in a waistband of a skirt and instead used a couple snaps, which everyone knows hold quite well when there is no exertion. However, taking a deep breath in preparation to sing the national anthem one morning in school caused the snaps to let loose and the skirt to drop .... and the said owner of the skirt (12 year old me) to drop as well clutching the side of the skirt closed.

     Enough said ... a few months ago my daughter saw a cute pattern to make for her daughter; it was called a "grandfather sweater" and I randomly said .. "Oh, isn't that cute; she could match her great-grandfather".  Well, it wasn't long before my daughter sent me a link to a similar pattern for an adult ... a buttonholed sweater.

     Here's C's sweater that my daughter made from knitted-looking fleece before adding buttons. I'll see if I can get both recipients in the same picture when they open their Christmas gifts on the weekend.



     And the sweater I made for Dad ... (unfortunately, I only have a female mannequin, so it didn't fit quite right.) The sweaters don't quite match, but since this one is called the "Newcastle" sweater and my dad lives on Newcastle Street, it seemed appropriate. The three practice button holes I did were perfect; kind of messed up the first one on the actual sweater and had to rip it out. Big buttons can cover any other irregularities - ha ha.

     A neighbour (who I made the 'weather' baby quilt for 9 months ago) needed some teething covers for her son's crib as the top rails were becoming a little chewed. 
     They look better on the crib than on the floor when I first took the picture!  It is unlikely he will attack the back rail since it is difficult to lean his head into the wall to get his mouth on the top railing.


     And then, I needed another small Christmas present for my son-in-law's parents who will be coming  to stay at my house for a couple days ... and Englishman and a Nova Scotian lady who both like tea. I wasn't sure how big their teapot is, but a Nova Scotian themed tea cozy seemed like the best bet.
     I had a beautiful piece of fabric left from the background of my Europe quilt that gives the misty - foggy look of Peggy's Cove. I sketched the outline lightly on the fabric and then machine stitched over every line 4 - 6 times to get the outline to stand out.  Please note, don't get too far ahead in sketching with a fabric pencil that fades as you are sewing it!!

     Last but not least, my father is creating a doll crib for his great-granddaughter and it looks like it might be done in time for Christmas. He gave me the base measurements and I have created a small covered foam pad mattress (with left over material from the crib railing covers) as well as finishing up a small quilt for Charlotte to wrap her dolls

     Busy with small projects ... and done in time for Christmas.









Friday, 18 November 2016

Venice Complete (Europe 12)

     The canal in Venice has a finished measurement of 54 cm X 75.5 cm (21" X 29 3/4") ... even as I say that it is finished, I can see an area with the gondola that I may add a few stitches.
      I decided I wanted the buildings in the foreground to have more dimension & to look like they were rounded stone pieces, so I tightened up the stitch length while quilting; the pieces further back have a looser stitch so they would lie flatter.  I considered using angelina fibres to give a bit of sheen to the water, but a white coloured pencil did the trick. The dark edges at the base of the buildings are a combination of dark thread stitching and blended Inktense pencils.

    At the end of my Europe trip in May, the guide had mentioned that we send in some photos of our trip to Rick Steves Tours and we could win a trip or maybe get a discount on a trip .... unfortunately, they changed from a 'winning picture' to a 'winning scrapbook website'.  I checked the RS site and blogs are not admissible, so .... it is unlikely they will ever have an art quilt as a challenge and I am not sure that I can or want to create a separate scrapbook website using my quilts.  





Saturday, 12 November 2016

A winter quilt

     Charlotte no longer wears sleep sacks to bed and with the approaching winter, it was time to make her a flannel-backed quilt to snuggle up in during the cold winter months.  I already had the quilt top which  I made some time ago .... 2 1/2 inch strips from a jelly roll in ascending colour darkness (or light).  I cut off a 6 inch strip from one side and flipped it, giving it a 2 1/2 inch white border; I made another cut length-wise off-centre in the body of the quilt top and sewed the flipped section in, adding a 3 inch white binding to the quilt.
     Because C's Mom and Dad wanted a 'fluffier' quilt, I did minimal quilting parallel to the flipped section in the quilt.  The back is flannel, using a panel with a coordinating fabric around it to make it large enough.

     Instead of washing the flannel before using it, I waited until the quilt was done to help give a more puffy look when the flannel shrunk a wee bit in the washing / drying. Charlotte snuggled in, stayed warm and slept through the night!!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Venice continued (Europe 12)

     Great plans often don't get completed within the timeline.
     I had some unexpected company for a week (my daughter from Ontario flew in as a surprise) and Venice got put the side.

     So ... topstitching and appliqueing are done.  The batting and backing were added and today, the  machine quilting will begin (depending on new interruptions)
     More shadows need to be added; I will see what I can do with thread and if that doesn't quite meet my needs, I will add a bit more with Inktense Pencils.
   
    Last weekend, we had a SAQA - Atlantic Canada retreat and I got a chance to work with several mediums, playing around with colour.  The Inktense Blocks were much easier to work with and to blend colours than the pencils, so that is next on my wish list. I should be able to get a set of 24 for under $70 at Curry's.