Monday, 8 June 2020

Quilts, With A Side of Spring

Since my last post, spring has sprung and we're loving how green everything is. There's nothing quite like growing a bit of food and a few flowers to soothe the soul.

Apple blossoms on our little tree - yay!
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We began with a weedy mud pit three years ago, and have worked in stages to install structural elements, trees & shrubs, grass & mulch, planters & a perennial bed, and - this year - a sweet, little greenhouse!

The greenhouse came in a flat pack with absolutely nothing pre-assembled; not even the louvered ventilation window. Worse than Ikea, and that's saying something!

First, though, we needed to build a sturdy base to support the greenhouse. "We" being my capable husband, that is.

Okay, I helped a bit.

We used my 60° quilting ruler and a string to mark out the hexagon shape needed for the base.
(My idea, my ruler, and I held the string! ha!)

Quilting ruler to the rescue!
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Once we had the base moved into place, my husband decided to assemble the greenhouse while I carried on quilting. He deserves a medal for managing that without extra hands - trust me!

Now for the QUiLTinG!!!
  • A sweet bunny quilt, stitched with hearts (per its owner's request) and wonky, whimsical "lettuce leaves" (because I thought a rabbit would appreciate being surrounded by good eats!)

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I added a quilted carrot in the bunny's grasp, just for fun.

Client quilt - back view
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  • A crisp, modern table runner, quilted with "something swirly" (also a request, and I aim to please!).

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  • A gorgeous appliqued quilt, made cosy with a fireside backing and finished with a feathery pantograph.

Bountiful Feathers pantograph
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  • A "zigzag with heart" quilt that looks amazing with a swirly texture.

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  • A comfort quilt destined for Japan (shown with permission).

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  • A calming, bubbly, strip quilt.

Bubbles pantograph
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Some people ask if I'll piece their backing (I will) & binding (yes), and then apply their binding to the front of the quilt so they can relax and hand stitch it to the back (you bet!). Some folks like their binding 100% done (which I'm happy to do by machine) so they take home a finished quilt! An hourly fee applies, but if it gets a quilt over the finish line, it's well worth it!

Finished binding by machine
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  • A heart design looks great on this strippy quilt.

Amour pantograph
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Also bound and ready to go!

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  • A custom quilted beauty. I love the secondary designs created by the arcs and x's.

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  • A "splashy" wall hanging.

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To allow the snails' shells to puff up a bit, I simply stitched in the ditch around the "arms" of the pieced swirls. I also ditched around their little bodies.

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  • A super cute "Dogs in Sweaters" quilt with an equally fun label on the back!

Contempo pantograph
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The label's pieced into the back - you can see the printing on the right (just showing a sliver to preserve my client's privacy).

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Now, back to SpriNg!

This photo was taken three weeks ago. There were no leaves on our aspen trees at that point, and it was still below freezing at night. We used a little heater to keep our plants happy.

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We set a post into a pot of concrete to hold a header that feeds a drip system for the greenhouse planter (added after this photo was taken), and the hose with a hand nozzle (shown). The yellow hose along the fence feeds the system from the house. This is so much easier than dragging around a hundred foot hose every day!

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Our annuals have been planted out and the greenhouse planters are left with tomatoes, peppers and zucchinis - all of which are starting to flower!

We are thankful to be in our own little bubble right now, but it doesn't mean we aren't watching the world and considering our role in the bigger picture. There is much to consider.

As always,

Try, Learn, Grow!
Carole

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Virtual Studio Tour - Come on in!

As we collectively weather covid19, I'm thankful every day that my home studio is my shelter.

This is my commute.
That's a bathroom door on the right, and the stairway to our grandkid's Bunkie on the left.

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The old photos are of my maternal grandmother's maternal grandparents. My great greats.
I silently thank my ancestors every day for their hard work. It's on their backs that my family survived and thrived.

The china cabinet was my grandma's favourite. It lived in her kitchen for 30+ years. It holds memories.

As I enter, to my right is my longarm and a wonderful workspace with lots of storage. A french patio door provides extra light, ventilation, and passage into our back garden. A string of prayer flags adds colour and energy to that end of the room.

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My IKEA island holds longarm necessities, and my binder of work orders lives on top. Further along is an embellisher (needle felting machine) and an extra sewing machine that my grandchildren use. They love to sew and quilt!

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Pantographs are stored in the big drawers.

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Clients can flip through an alphabetized binder of panto designs, and I know where to dig for the ones they want to look at.

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Tucked in behind the hallway bathroom is a walk in closet! Lucky me!! Among other things, it holds my quilting library, batting scraps, some of my finished quilts, some of my tops that need quilting (an embarrassing number!), and client quilts waiting their turn.

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My longarm thread racks hang behind the longarm, immediately beside the closet door. We came in the glass door shown in the photo.

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Here's a shot facing the french doors. You can see the closet door just beyond the thread rack.

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Starting at the glass door again, to the left is my personal workspace and the studio's client entrance. That door opens toward our driveway. Park and enter!

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Our 80's china cabinet holds my fabric stash and studio television. I actually still love that cabinet! The artwork leaning against the cabinet is my granddaughter's creation. It's on hold while we isolate.

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Our matching 80's dining table makes an excellent cutting table. My husband added a riser to make it the perfect height.

Plastic drawers tucked under the table hold scraps sorted by colour. I don't sort by size - just chuck everything in. It's surprising how many times I can find just what I need in those bins!



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The pieces of blue styrofoam tucked beside the cabinet become my design wall when I need one. I simply stand them side by side against a cabinet for as long as I need, and tuck them out of the way when I'm done.

Here's an overview shot of this end of the room.

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The lights in the birdcage are plugged into the same power bar as my iron. If the lights are on, the iron is on. I can't count how many times that's reminded me to shut the darn thing off!

How have I spent my studio time recently?

I've been mentoring grandchildren for the annual CQA Youth Challenge.

This is temporarily on hold as we self isolate. They are so close to the finish line...it's agonizing to have to wait!

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I've also been working on challenge projects of my own. Thanks to several event cancellations, I've actually completed THREE challenges this year!

✔I mailed the postcards I showed in my last post for the Postcard Challenge
     (These I can show! Click on the link ↑↑↑ if you'd like to see them.)

✔My Try a Triad challenge piece has been completed and mailed 
      (I can't show you my project, but here's the fabric I used.)


✔My Trend Tex challenge has also been completed and is at its destination - yay!
      (Which must also be kept under wraps until it's judged. Oh, the suspense!!!)


As well, I'm still working behind the scenes on the National Juried Show
There's a lot more to the role of Jury Coordinator than meets the eye. Happily my tasks are nearing completion so I can soon focus on other things.

What about client quilts? Yes. Well. 
Until I learn how to be in two places at once, production will suffer from time to time. 

Client quilt, Jessie's Swirls panto
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Now. I have a stack of promises to keep and nowhere else to be, so it's time to sign off and hit the frame! 

If you're also in isolation, how have you been spending your time?
Stay well, and as always,

Try, Learn, & Grow!
Carole

Friday, 21 February 2020

Gathering Threads

It's been so long I'm not even sure where to begin, so I'll just start!

CQA Postcard Challenge
Please click here for challenge information

It seems like these small artworks should take no time at all, but let me disabuse you of that idea...one minute it's ten a.m. and the next it's time to start supper!

They're also irresistible, which makes them dangerous. Can't stop with just one!

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Because I'm the Alberta North CQA Rep, I received a pink, hand-dyed fabric from the CQA's Executive Director, along with an invitation to make a postcard that represents my area. Of course I made an Alberta Rose!

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And then I commented on a Facebook post made by the challenge sponsor, Cindy's Threadworks, and Cindy sent me two screen printed hand-dyes to make into postcards for the challenge!

The dragonfly only needed a bit of additional fabric and some stitch to enhance the print.

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The hummingbird print received some stitch, green paint, and an eye dot to bring it to life.
Then it needed a snack, of course!

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I'm not sure I dare start another! Must. Resist. (and get back to work!)

Speaking of work, isn't my 2020 social media badge pretty? We've been busy behind the scenes, and things are on track for National Juried Show entrants to receive notification letters in March, as planned. I can't wait to see lots of green badges on Facebook and Instagram when excited finalists start posting!

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Client quilts, Fresh off the Frame:
I had a notion this gorgeous bargello should be feathered, and I soon learned that the quilt agreed!

It soundly rejected swirls in the background, and also despised diagonal lines through the piecing. Once I surrendered to feathers EVERYWHERE, we were off and running!

Feathery client quilt!
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The feather spines echo the direction of the piecing, and the texture turned out better than I could have hoped. WHEW!!

Don'tcha love the back of a quilt!
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The following quilts were delighted with edge-to-edge designs!

Fantasy Flame pantograph finishes this show stopper with pizzazz
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Modern Twist pantograph works well on this cozy quilt.
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Ripples pantograph adds movement to this fun quilt!
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Kandinsky pantograph on a stunning Gypsy Wife.
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January also meant plenty of time with my grandchildren, so there was a lot of food to prepare, a lot of time in the car together, and not nearly as much quilting time. But, what a trade off!

Granny's tired, but someone else is still full of beans...haha!
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Happy times!

Until next time,

Try, Learn, & Grow!
Carole