Saturday, 1 July 2017

July 1st

A big celebration today with Canada's 150th birthday ... can't see a darn thing with all the fog!! I took Kate's dog out for a walk at noon ... when the noon cannon from Citadel Hill goes off, it makes the dog nervous ... today, being a birthday celebration, the cannon went off a number of times (although thankfully not 150 times!!). I had a rather jumpy dog by the time we got back to the car.

Quilt-wise: I am in the process of adding the border to my first Transitions piece of downtown Halifax. (border picture to follow later)
I think I may also quilt a bit more around the building outlines to help with a bit of a 3-D effect.

In mid-June I found out I won the Trend-Tex challenge for Quilt Canada held in Toronto.

My biggest surprise was the cheque I received a week after the show!! I thought with a fabric company sponsoring the challenge,  I would probably get a bundle of fat quarters or something. 

And our fibre arts group has a show in a Dartmouth gallery ... the 2 centre pieces in the 2nd photo (the bridges & ferry) are mine. 

Usually in our monthly meetings with our fibre arts group (now officially called Textiles Artists Collective)  we experiment and work on new techniques that one of the members has tried out and is willing to share ... I like the experimentation and the chance to try new ideas, but only some of them may actually be incorporated back in my work.

 One member likes book-making ... and for our June meeting, she taught us how to make tunnel books.

I've chosen "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr Seuss ... my 2 year old granddaughter was visiting last week and was totally fascinated with the preliminary stages, peering through the openings and spotting different things.
So ... I cut out the words for the title ... and by the time I was ready to finish the front, I lost part of it.  I will get that done after the holiday ... I am unable to shrink the size of the words on my home printer & will need a Staples printer to do that. I added a couple of leftover characters I cut out to some of the accordion pleats.
I also need to (should I make another book) use a lighter colour for the accordion pieces on the sides ... although the orange matches, it makes it too dark to see the pages towards the back. I wonder if I could make the accordion pleats with something lacy ... hmmm.
I also need to check with Linda: are the accordion pleats supposed to stick out when the book is closed or fold inward???

Sunday, 30 April 2017

April 2017

Still slow going, but definitely some improvement in getting some quilting done.

     I helped a neighbour last month and as a repayment she gave me a lovely gift ... I have already started to use the grey ... and it won't be long before the other colours are cut into bits!

     Joey's quilt is done and is waiting to find a way to Ontario.  It was quilted by TLC in Bedford (I had won a 'quilting' prize from them a couple years ago, so it was good to use that up). I've had a number of people say they really like it, but it really isn't my style. The use of complementary colours really makes it stand out (blue / orange with added grey).

    So with that done, I can now concentrate a bit on what I would rather be doing .... a possibility for a "Transitions" piece. The next SAQA Atlantic Canada show is running from April 2018 to spring 2019 and so far I have 4 galleries booked.  Our topic is "Transitions" and for awhile I was really stuck with what I would do with that. Every day, I watch the horizon of Halifax change  .. the whole city is in "transition". An "Aaha" moment.
I can continue my enjoyment of creating buildings and working on a variety of architectural styles.
     This photo is taken while standing on citadel hill, looking across Brunswick Street towards the construction of the new Trade Centre.
     Here's the start, laying out pieces ... I would rather not have the "For Lease" sign on the front of the building (mostly because I don't like doing print / letters) but I think that having it would show an additional transition stage. I should do a bit of background research ... I don't know the original purpose of the older building nor how old the building is.
     I will probably leave the cars out and the traffic lights in the foreground, but will add the light standards and the traffic lights directly in front of the building. ... And of course, the crane in the background is a must!

Sunday, 2 April 2017


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.