Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sisters, Here I Come!

Woohooo!!! Three more days until we head to Sisters, Oregon for Quilter's Affair!!!! 

Sisters, Oregon. This was the view behind our motel last year.
Google says it is 2,082 km (1,295 miles) from here to there. We figure three good driving days will do it. 

OMyGoshOMyGoshOMyGosh...I'm sooo excited!!!

Yep. Almost 50, but you'd never tell from my behaviour as I bounce around, clapping and squealing like a little girl! Yay, yay, yay!

Part of my excitement has to do with the classes (of course!)

My friend, Marsha, was the catalyst for my return to Sisters this year. I had no intention of going back to Sisters so soon, but when Marsha said she was going, I checked the line up of classes.
When I saw "Promises and Possibilites: Design in Action" with Rosalie Dace, I knew I had to go!!! This class has been on my bucket list for a few years...sign me up!

Outside the plant nursery in Sisters, 2013
On Marsha's recommendation, I looked up the work of Hilde Morin. After I picked my jaw off the floor (check out her bowl gallery), I signed up for her Cityscape class, too!

Obviously her work attracted me before I even knew who she was. Last year I'd taken this photo in the "Teachers' Tent" on quilt show day, and a close up of the tag confirms that it's hers.

The third, and final, class I've signed up for is Printmaking, with Sherrill Kahn. I have one of her books already, and am always interested in surface design, so...perfect! My days are full, and my evening explorations await. Yay, yay, yay!
And, part of my excitement has to do with the town, itself.
For one thing, it is incredibly gorgeous with its Ponderosa Pines, high desert climate, and warm sunshine.

Evening in district. Yes, that is a business!

There is beauty around every corner and in every nook.

For another, the town is teeming with artists and artisans. Exploring their galleries, shops, and restaurants fills me with creative joy.

Horse made of horseshoes.
Sisters is a small community with just over 2,000 residents. For such a small town, their events calendar is astonishing. Much of the money generated by these events goes back into the community, so their library, town hall, schools, and other public facilities are absolutely top notch.
Throngs of people arriving for the show.

The one-day, outdoor quilt show attracts an astounding TWELVE THOUSAND viewers.

This community fascinates me. Its level of volunteerism is unequaled, and its leaders' business acumen and vision should be studied! I'm inclined to think, "If they can do it, we can do it!", but I know the locale has much to do with its success. After all, who wouldn't want to visit such a beautiful place?

Unique decor on someone's home!
I'm also looking forward to seeing Marsha again. We met last year in class and have kept in touch, but haven't visited in person since. So many reasons to be excited!

On a more personal note, nine days after my final reconstructive surgery I decided to see how I look in a bathing suit. I think the result is quite amazing, don't you?

Can't even tell I had a mastectomy!
I'm overjoyed!

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks so much for looking around!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Quilting Kool Kaleidoscope

Using page protectors and a wet-erase pen, I auditioned various quilting ideas directly on top of my piecing.

It would be smart to mark the edges of the page protectors with masking tape so you know exactly where it's safe to draw. 

At one point I had several pages overlapping and, for a brief moment, thought I'd drawn on the quilt...! 

After confirming that all was well (and restarting my heart!) I realized how lucky I was. Next time, I'll be more careful!

Once I had some ideas flowing, I loaded the quilt and got down to business.

Pins hold the top square prior to machine basting.

Since I planned to roll the quilt back and forth as I worked out from the center, I basted across the quilt in a few places as well as around the edges.

See how the top puckers when it's rolled?
Basting helps the fabric lay back where it belongs when it is unrolled again.

As usual, the more thread I add, the better things look. I thought the circles on the green fabric looked anemic until I went around them three times each. Now they look substantial and energized!

I managed to do quite a bit of quilting before I had to abandon ship and head to the city for surgery.

Since having surgery on Tuesday, I've been completely off the grid. This surgery was "stage two" of the reconstructive process after breast cancer. 

"Stage one" happened in November, five years after losing my breast. It was a long wait. Only two surgeons in Alberta perform this type of reconstruction, and it was the only kind I was eligible to have based on my treatment history, so I waited.

If you are interested, you can read about the first surgery here. Be warned: the pictures are graphic, and the post is intensely personal.

Chives in bloom.

I'm not sure what I will post about this part of the journey. I don't want to make people uncomfortable, but I think sharing information is so important. Throughout this whole cancer journey I've been coached and reassured by women who have gone before me, and I've done the same for women following me. 

When I went for the first reconstructive surgery in November, I didn't know anyone who had been through the same procedure. It was disconcerting not having someone to follow, so if I can hold out a hand to help the next woman, I will.

For now, rest and recuperation are in order. And more flower pictures!


Sweet pansy.

Linking up with:
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She
Anything Goes Mondays, at Stitch by Stitch
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say 
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks for looking around today!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Mom's Quilt

If you are here for my 2014 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop post, please click here

If you are here to see my latest project, please carry on!

This quilt turned out surprisingly well, considering its slow start. It hung over some furniture in my sewing room for days as I pondered how to quilt it.

Deciding to be difficult, the quilt made no suggestions. None.

I suddenly thought 'funky' and 'fern' feathers would look good in the odd-shaped blocks, so loaded the quilt and dove right in. I crossed my fingers and hoped ideas for the rest would come as I worked... Yeah. Crossed fingers don't work as birth control, either. Just sayin'!

My Mom owns this quilt, and gave her express permission to use it for practice.  
I hope she meant it! It took some trial and error to determine which quilting design to use in the floral blocks, but I am NOT picking anything out!!!

Armed with ideas from Angela Walters' book on modern quilting, I tried following the floral pattern on the front and filling around it with a chrysanthemum filler. Yuck! It looked like scribbling all over the flowers I'd tried to highlight, and the quilting density was not even.

Next I tried swirls and garlic cloves. Double yuck! I love those fillers, but not here!

Back of "Scribble" block

Eventually I decided the chrysanthemum filler would be great on its own. But you already knew it would! That design came up when I asked for suggestions, but I'd already begun scribbling away. Next time I'll just wait a while so you have time to get back to me before I begin! :-)

I tried it as a single bloom that filled a whole block. Not bad, but I thought the quilting was "loose" compared to the density of the feathers I was stitching elsewhere.

I'm showing the back so you can see the quilting.
Excuse the fuzz - black fabric picks up every bit of lint.

What about a multi-blooming chrysanthemum filler? (The more I type it, the easier it gets...chrysanthemum, chrysanthemum, chrysanthemum!).
Yes! Finally satisfied, I was able to move right along.

Happily, when seen as part of the whole quilt, the "scribble" block doesn't stand out too much. 

The checkerboard presented an interesting challenge as well. Even though each block was square, the print was not straight with the grain. Also, the fabric was not fussy cut to center the print, so using the checkerboard itself as a stitching guide wasn't advisable.

This back-and-forth design wasn't bad, but I wasn't wild about it, either. I thought it accentuated the off kilter nature of the print.

At that point I realized that swirls would be the best choice. They would make a nice foil to the checkerboard without drawing attention to anything negative.

Here is the "Before" shot of the top.

And here is the quilt, fresh off the frame.

Next time I'll know exactly how to handle wonky checkerboard prints and graphic florals with ease!

I'll also take the lint roller to black fabric before taking pictures. Maybe.

Thanks for being a good sport, Mom!

Linking up with:
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She

...and since this is my ONE finish for June, I'll link up with A Lovely Year of Finishes when that party opens!

Until next time, Try, Learn, Grow!
Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks for looking around today!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

2014 NEW QUILT BLOGGER Blog Hop - My Turn!

I'm excited to be part of the New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop hosted by Beth at Plum and June!

Plum and June

At the bottom of this post you'll find links to this week's fabulous bloggers.
If you need to see what the hop is about, click here.

Who is Carole @ Fresh off the Frame?

I'm a joyous, quirky, creative free spirit who quilts. And drinks, apparently! This photo represents happy memories of quilting in Sisters, Oregon at last year's Quilter's Affair. I'm going again this year, and can hardly wait!!! A design class with Rosalie Dace is on my bucket list, and I'm going for it!!!

I thought the enormity of this drink was hilarious...the glass was the size of my head!

When I was 7 years old my Mom taught me to embroider. One afternoon as I stitched, I was sooo in love with my beautiful handiwork. To my dismay, when I finally stood up to show my Mom I realized my project was securely stitched to my pant leg!!!

This story perfectly illustrates how I learn. Still. To this day. The good news is that I don't usually make the same mistake twice!

I'm a teacher by trade, so thrive on seeking and sharing ideas and information. My passion is the creative process. I relish seeing how others think as they work, and return the favour by showing my own messy process. Please join me! Together we will try, learn, and grow! 

These Are My Machines

My Pfaff is a dream machine for piecing and free motion quilting. This is the second sewing machine I've ever owned, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

"Piecing in Public" at our local library as part of Culture Days
My free motion skills were honed on this machine for about a year before I made the leap into longarm quilting. (I know! Crazy, hey?)

For almost three years I struggled with a longarm system that was uncooperative and difficult to use. I spent more time troubleshooting and seething with frustration than I did quilting. 

After stomping away from the frame for the 20th time on a single project, I'd reached my breaking point. It was either chuck everything and find a new interest...or upgrade. I decided to upgrade.

Best. Decision. Ever! I've had the pleasure of using my APQS Freedom for about a year and a half. I seriously LOVE this machine. It really has set me free!

If you did the math, you've figured out that I've been free motion quilting for a total of 5 1/2 years. Before learning to fmq, I quilted everything with straight lines using my walking foot.

Though I've been sewing and crafting most of my life, I've called myself a quilter for about 7 years.

Click here to see my sewing room.

Click here to see the "before" pictures of my sewing room...I double-dog dare ya! (Scary!)

Click here to tour my longarm studio.

Here Are My Recent Projects

This is the first in a series of old UFOs that I'll be quilting in a fun, new way. What better way to practice than on actual quilts? I think there are 7 or 8 more tops hanging around, so stay tuned!

Day & Night Table Runner

This one scared the pants off me, but I jumped in over my head, and came up smiling! I learned a TON doing this quilt.

Irish Lass in progress, a Judi Madsen design

After taking an Angela Walters Craftsy course, I gave feathers and swirls a whirl! 

This quilt was due to hang in our Guild show at the local gallery, so why not try something I'd NEVER TRIED BEFORE??? 

Yup, that's how I roll!

I Also Make Quilted Art

Making Torii, my first piece of quilted art, inspired me to start learning more about composition and design. 

Torii, 2010
I also take classes to learn a variety of techniques so I can create without fear of getting "stuck" because I can't execute my ideas.

Sculpting with Cheesecloth class with Mary Pal, 2013

To see more of my art work, click here.

...and I Like to Have Fun With Fabric!

Using bits of fabric I've altered makes my work unique to me, and I like that.

Fabric Dyeing

Screen Printing

Fabric Painting

On to the HOP Topics!

Bloggers in the hop will offer blogging and quilting tips at the end of their posts. 
Here are my suggestions:

Blogging Tips

  • Edit your posts
    Let your personality shine, but cut unnecessary words.
  • Make commenting easy
    Spam gets filtered without activating the "prove you are not a robot" feature, so turn that bad boy off.
  • Ask friends for feedback
    I've made a number of improvements to my blog (and have more to do) because I've asked for help. You can, too.
  • Reply to comments by email
    People don't come back to see if you've replied, but they will appreciate a friendly email. 
  • Replies build friendships
    Some comments are excellent conversation starters. Reply sincerely and maybe you'll make a new friend! I like to answer even the briefest comment with a full sentence, if I can.
  • Be a joiner!
    Show your stuff at linky parties! Be sure to hop around and appreciate (comment on) other people's blogs, too. Besides the fun, being active reaps the reward of reciprocal visits.

My BIGGEST Quilting Tip: 

Whenever possible, attend classes that challenge your abilities! 

Online classes are fantastic, but learning can sometimes be deeper and more personalized in a classroom situation. Not only do you learn from the instructor, but other students are wonderful sources of spontaneous sharing and learning as well! Conversation and connections are enriching and energizing!

Choose classes you think are a bit scary or intimidating. If your heart urges you in a certain direction, take a deep breath and say yes!

Do you have a class with a particular teacher on your bucket list? 

My latest finish - cuddly, but not a quilt!

What do you think?
Is there something you might suggest to help me improve my blog?
How's my font size? What about the size of my side bar? Do you think I need a header? What would YOU do to make things better?

Thanks so much for your visit today. 

Please hop along and meet these lovely New Quilt Bloggers on their home turf! They'd love to hear from you, so be sure to comment and say hello!

Jill @ Pie Lady Quilts

Chelsea @ Patch The Giraffe

Daisy @ Ants To Sugar

Rachael @ The Floral Suitcase

Elizabeth @ And Pins

Jennifer @ Never Just Jennifer

Alice @ Blossom Quilts

Megan @ Sew Stitching Cute

Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter

Kelsey @ Lovely And Enough

As always, Try, Learn, Grow!

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River

Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts

Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Please chime in and tell me what you think!

Friday, 6 June 2014

June Goals

Only a day left before the goal setting party for ALYoF closes. Is it the last minute yet??? June is whipping by so quickly.

My ONE goal is to finish this quilt made by my Mom:

I draped it over some furniture and waited for it to tell me what to do. 

It gave no hints. Nuttin. Nada.

Since I was stuck, I decided to file ideas I'd pulled from magazines. (See my organizational system here.) Maybe inspiration would strike.

The distraction worked! An idea came to me for one little piece of the puzzle, so I loaded up and got started.

I chalked a binding line so my feather tips won't get sewn away later.
Funky feathers suit this whimsical quilt!

The black and white prints are the hardest to figure out. I still have no clue.

 Any suggestions???

Barring a light bulb moment, I plan to scribble different things and see what works best. I hope my Mom is in a forgiving mood when she sees it, 'cause I'm not ripping anything out!

Sub Goals

1. Quilt this guy:

2. Work on my Guild challenge

Today I pulled fabric from my stash, including one I painted last summer that will make a striking sky.

3. Have surgery (and recover!)

In 2008 I had a mastectomy, and finally made it to the top of the waiting list for reconstruction in November, 2013. (I blogged about the first surgery here. WARNING...the photos are explicit, so only click if you can handle the straight goods.)

This surgery will finish the process, and represents the end of a long journey.

4. Prepare for another trip to Sisters, Oregon! 

Woo Hoo!!! I'm so excited, I can't stand it! Five days of classes with international teachers await! 

This was my suitcase last year. I still had to squeeze in some clothes, but the class supplies were the important thing!

I think that's it for now! 

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes, at Sew BitterSweet Designs, and Fiber of All Sorts
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks for looking around!