Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Pictou Retreat

     At the end of September, I (along with 63 other quilters) spent several days at the Pictou Lodge overlooking the Northumberland Straight. I was lucky enough to be in Laurie Swim's class at the front of the main building where we had large windows ... we could see PEI and the ferry travelling back and forth, as well as watching the waves crash onto the shore, the birds flying overhead ....
     Funny thing ... even though the view was awesome, I actually spent more time working at my sewing machine than looking out the window!
     Laurie taught us several techniques that I hadn't used before ... once her mini-lesson was over, we'd all head back to our machines and practice; another mini-lesson and more machine work, repeat and try again.
     During an early morning walk before class, I picked up several weeds, grasses and flowers.  Our first class had us doing a light sketch on Solvy (water soluble), adding 2 layers of fine mesh behind it, and with an embroidery hoop and free motion thread-painting, creating one of our 'finds'.  After dissolving the Solvy and trimming the mesh, I placed my 'flower weed' on a small piece of fabric and batting and machine-quilted my sample.
     We tried this technique on a couple different backings .... I decided to make trees and compare their structures when done on mesh, tulle, water-soluble interfacing ... deciding that I liked the Solvy & tulle combination the best.

My first tree drying on a styrofoam meat tray after washing out the Solvy.

     Dry and keeping it's shape ... still have some trimming of the mesh to do.  I found the tulle easier to trim than the mesh.  The trees shrunk a wee bit when washing the Solvy out; something to remember when making an item for a landscape quilt.
     I added my tree to a 7in X 7in  background to make a 'sample piece'. The sky is a piece of satin with a bit of transfer paint.
     We also practiced making random leaves cut with a rotary pinking blade, placing them between 2 sheets of cling-wrap and free-motion sewing over them. After ironing them (between papers) to melt the plastic, a spider web of leaves was created which could be trimmed  .... I left my first sample as is, trimming some of the loose threads and adding it to my 7X7 sample blocks.

     Then I decided to get a little creative with the random leaves and cut the threads to produce a vine of leaves ... creating a "C" for my granddaughter.  The red bits are felt pieces. Kind of looks Christmasy.
     Back to my trees ... I really enjoyed making them. On this sample, I have used knobby wool strands as part of the ground along with felt as the ground cover.  The reds and blacks in the sky are angelina fibers.
     We also worked with freezer paper for outlines and shapes, transfer paint, using real leaves, resists and discharges, applique methods, and framing.  Some techniques I already use, a couple I am not likely to use, and several ... like my trees will find their way into future landscape quilts!!
     At the end of the class, we were to create a final piece using the different techniques. The sky and the water are done with transfer paints; the leaves are part of discharged lace.  I didn't finish this piece ... we were using a different type of backing and my sewing machine decided it didn't like it. I have ordered a spring-loaded quilting foot that should make it a bit easier ... when it comes in, I will try to finish up my final sample.

First Place

     Last spring I created a 'Challenge' piece for the IWK hospital - Mayflower Quilt Guild show & sale that was held this past week. We were given 4 pieces of fabric and could add whatever fabric we wanted as long as the original 4 pieces were prominent in the finished work.  The 4 colours were the multi-print in the border, the blue in the water, and the orange & purple in the sunset.
     My 'Sailboat at Sunset' won Viewers' Choice!!
     The prize: a gift certificate to TLC -Bedford to have free machine quilting done for a queen-sized top!