Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Whimsical Leaves

Dreaming up quilting to complement this quilt's whimsical features (without creating visual chaos) was a challenge! (so was that sentence! Ha!)

Fresh off the frame!

I strove for balance rather than symmetry when placing designs. Repeating filler and vein motifs kept things from getting too crazy.

In my last post I'd considered using brighter thread for the veins. When asked, my client expressed a preference for the quieter thread I'd already stitched. It was probably a good call on her part...it might have been too easy to go overboard!

Wind fills the background around the frames...wild and blustery!!!

Stylized leaves complete the outer border. The leaf motif was inspired by Lori Kennedy's "open leaf with spiral" design. (I only used the right half, stretching it to fill the space.)

I'd left the frames for last. I'd toyed with the idea of leaving them un-quilted, but they just looked unfinished. In fact, before they were stitched the quilting felt a bit disappointing.

Still not feelin' the love.
As soon as the frames were filled with organic vertical and horizontal lines, KaPOW....L-O-V-E!!!

KaPOW!!! Lines bring the whole quilt to life!
As usual, the more stitching, the better!!!

Here is a "before" shot of the quilt:

And here is the "after" shot:


Hopefully its owner will love it, too!

Linking up with:
Anything Goes Mondays, at Stitch by Stitch
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River
Fabric Tuesday, at Quilt Story 
WIP Wednesday, at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts
I Quilt Thursdays, at Pretty Bobbins 
Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation 
Fresh Sewing Day, at Lily's Quilts
Finish it up Friday, at Crazy Mom Quilts

Try, Learn, Grow!

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

Thursday, 25 September 2014

A Lovely Year of Finishes - September Finish

Finishing the flimsy for my guild River Project Challenge was my September goal.
(see my goal setting post here)

One Inukshuk and forty five (million) tiny rocks later...ta-da!!!

This will be 18" x 36" when it's finished.

To my relief, all the bits and pieces look somewhat like rocks. *whew*

Wanna see how I work? It's a bit messy!

The lights are thrown onto my desk, and the mediums are thrown over the dark pile on my chair. I needed to move between tracing and ironing, so my chair wasn't missed.

Bright spots and shadows form each rock. My inspiration photo helped keep me on track, even though I wasn't directly copying it.

Now...how will I quilt it??? 
Yep. My brain will now keep me awake, night after night, imagining possibilities until something feels right.

Meanwhile, I've started working on this whimsical customer quilt. 

This already has the binding stitched onto the front. It is not tacked to the back, so I was able to flip it out and use it to load the quilt. 

Stitching in the ditch around the frames will help prevent puckers on the back.

I'm using a variety of fillers and lines behind the leaves. 

I may do the veins in a thicker, brighter thread so they can be seen. I think this is too timid for such a fun piece.

Speaking of pretty flowers...(ha! graceful transition, hey?)

Zephyr lily
I throw my pot of zephyr lilies outside in summer to cook in the heat on the south deck. When fall comes, I bring it back in and blooms appear like magic. The flowers are gorgeous! 

The bulbs came from my grandmother, and they only bloom once a year. It is always sweet (and a little sentimental) to see them unfold.

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes, at BitterSweet Designs
I Quilt Thursday, at Pretty Bobbins (this link takes you directly to a guest host)
Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation
Free Motion Mavericks, at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing 

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

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

River Project Challenge

This week I've focused on my guild challenge, though I did slip out for a fantastic quad ride with my husband. Fall colour disappears quickly, and I wanted to soak it all in!

Half way to the top of the world!

View from the top, overlooking the river valley
I've just realized my phone has a setting that would have improved these shots...!
Even so, the beauty of these hills can't be denied. *happy sigh*

Okay, back to the guild challenge.

Each of us will make an 18-inch panel. A river will flow through the entire installment, undulating from panel to panel. 

It would be boring for the river to flow straight through every piece, so part of the challenge is to use pre-marked entry and exit points. Mine is higher on the left than on the right. Hmm.

Abstract it is!

I decided to add some colour to the river, so things are a bit wet here.

We are all using the same river fabric. It can be altered, but must remain recognizable. To better reflect the sky, I added colour using water soluble pastels. In my eagerness to move along, I also added colour to my cutting mat. Doh!

Here is the start of my Inukshuk.

No legs yet.
I knew this guy would need rocks around his feet to keep him grounded. I'd hoped a small cluster would do the trick. Nope. Five rocks just didn't cut it. (drat!)

Well, I asked myself, why make five rocks when FORTY-five would be better??? 
(They're coming to take me away, haha hoho heehee, to the funny farm where life is happy all the time...!)

A serious amount of work

I only hope it will look as good in real life as it does in my mind's eye.

To see my inspiration photo for this project, click here.

In the meantime, I've used snippets of time to coordinate a guild display for Culture Days. We managed to pull together on short notice, gathering a nice mix of projects to fill our space.

Isn't this a cool picture??? I'd intended to take a picture of our quilts, but when I saw the gorgeous reflection my intention changed!


Library Project Quilt Along update: 

Even though I'm not actively working on my current library project, ideas are percolating. My goal was to complete a library project every quarter - but, I'm the one who made that schedule, so I can change it! This project will take some time, but I haven't given up!

Linking up with:
The Library Project Quilt Along, at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Anything Goes Mondays, at Stitch by Stitch
Design Wall Monday, at Patchwork Times
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River
Fabric Tuesday, at Quilt Story
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts

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

Friday, 19 September 2014

"The Dog Ate My Homework", and Other Excuses

On day two of picking, the vacuum ate my seam ripper. 
Slurped it right off the quilt top along with the threads I wanted gone! 

I just shook my head and hoped it wasn't an indication of how my whole day would go.

Customer quilt on the frame

I had a spare ripper so couldn't really exercise the "dog/homework" excuse, but it did cross my mind. It would have been sweet relief to play hooky from my ripping marathon.

Many hours later the roses were gone and I was able to replace them with a swirlier design, better able to handle areas of excess fabric.

I finished the quilt (yay!!!) before heading to the city for another appointment. This time a micropigmentation specialist tattooed an areola on my new breast. One more session and my reconstruction will be 100% complete! Closure, at last.

Read about the first surgery here.
See the result of the second surgery at the end of this post.

"But I've Been Working So Hard, I Deserve It" (a fabulous spending excuse!)

The Edmonton Creative Stitches show was on while I was there, so of course I HAD to go. 
And then I HAD to shop!

My haul.
I bought TWO new seam rippers, just in case...

Thanks to this excuse, my fabric fast is officially shattered! 

Four metres of gorgeous South Korean fabric came home with my son this summer, but nothing in my stash would do it justice. So. Even though I didn't have the Korean fabric with me, I decided to purchase something to put with it. What could possibly go wrong?? Ha!

Luckily, I like what I chose. It was terribly difficult to get a good picture (the Korean fabric is super shiny), but this gives a sense of things, I suppose. I found several dark blues and neutrals to work in, too, but they are not in the photo. Gotta keep something for later, right?

The two blue fabrics are from South Korea.

I've been eyeing the Quick Curve Ruler and patterns by Sew Kind of Wonderful for a year. They were easy to resist when they were just an idea, but once I had them in hand, I was a gonner! 

Quilts of Valour sold block kits. I brought one home and made it up right away so it wouldn't be neglected or forgotten. Now that it's made, I am to write the name of my community on it and mail it in. Blocks will be gathered and made into quilts, providing "hugs from across Canada" for wounded soldiers.

And finally, "I Lost Track of Time" (the perfect dawdling excuse!)

Who wouldn't lose track of time at a fibre arts show??? Just LOOK at these pieces from the "Prairie 2014" show put on by the Focus on Fibre Art Association!

Detail of a piece called, "Prairie City", by Monika Kinner-Whalen
"Mosquito Country", by Judy Weiss
Detail of "Prairie Dreamscape", by Charis Ng

Linking up with:
My pillow and quilt! I will think about this tomorrow. ;-)

Try, Learn, Grow!

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

Monday, 8 September 2014

Monday Moments

Harmony quilt aka Crazy Impulse Quilt = Two rows pieced, and 3 to go. 
Each diamond edge will fold back and become a curve. Stitching the curves will be done during quilting, and I'm anxious to see if I can manage it on the longarm!

Guild Challenge = couldn't sleep in the middle of the night, so drew my pattern and narrowed my fabric selection. I am ready to make the first cut!

Customer quilt on the frame = ripping out a whole row of stitches. :-(
The client requested wild roses, if possible. I drew up a panto, but it didn't work out. There is a considerable amount of fullness to "work in" on this quilt, and this panto did not capture the fabric the way I'd hoped. 
Five hours of ripping, and I'm almost half way there. Rippit. Rippit. 

Once the roses are gone I will use a panto that will swirl and encompass excess fabric much better. You know...the one I shoulda used in the first place! I was rootin' for the roses, but the quilt has other ideas. Dammit.

Please send good wishes my way tomorrow. I'll be hunched over the frame, seam ripper in hand, wishing I'd listened to my gut in the first place...

Linking up with:
Anything Goes Monday, at Stitch by Stitch
Design Wall Monday, at Patchwork Times

Try, Learn, Grow!

P.S. Please visit my friends Hannele and Margaret for their Around the World blog hop posts!

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

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

September ALYOF Goal

Thanks to this post, you know that I typically juggle several projects at a time, working on them in short, focused bursts. It works for me, but sometimes I just. need. to finish something.

Thank goodness for A Lovely Year of Finishes!

My ALYOF goal for this month is to finish the flimsy for my Guild challenge. (Bonus points for quilting it!)

Here's where I left things in June. (Can you tell what it is yet? Ha!)

If you are thinking "landscape", you are so right! (Smartie pants!)

I painted the dramatic sky, thinking of the vibrant blue sky in my inspiration photo.

We made this last summer.
With so much raw material, who could resist?

Last summer my husband and I spent a day exploring Pipestone Creek. It was one of those gorgeous summer days we wished would never end. We made funny rock sculptures, took pictures, had a picnic, waved at the only boat that passed by on the creek, and soaked up the sun.

The place was deserted until mid-afternoon. As we were leaving, a family of three arrived. We could hear the young boy (maybe 8 years old) exclaim his delight at finding our handiwork. When I turned back to look, he was posing with our Inukshuk, ever-so-carefully, for his parents to take pictures! This memory makes my heart happy. :-)

We haven't returned, but I often wonder if our little bit of guerrilla art still stands. Or, maybe ours has inspired others to make a whole army of sculptures!

Here's what I've been up to the last couple of days:

My "crazy impulse quilt" is cut, stitched, pressed, and ready to assemble.

The edges of the triangles will eventually fold back and become curves.

I also managed to zip through a couple more customer quilts.

Time management is a big part of my juggling act. I can sit down and piece when I need a break from quilting. When I'm tired of piecing, I can turn my attention to dreaming up ideas for an art piece. Each project is pushed forward in its turn, and I feel like my quilting time is well used.

I think this has carried over from when my kids were small and I was working full time, parenting, homemaking, volunteering, and sustaining relationships with family and friends. (I'm exhausted just thinking about it!)

Mmm, I can smell the ribs roasting in the oven. It's time to push forward with supper preparations, so see you next time!

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes September Goals, at BitterSweet Designs
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts

Try, Learn, Grow!

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

Monday, 1 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was tagged for this hop by Kris at Sew Sunshine. If you've hopped over from her blog, welcome! If you haven't met Kris before, please click on the link and enjoy her story. Check out her 2014 quilts. She has had a productive year! And, don'tcha just l-o-v-e her sunny header?

The "Around the World" hop is like a giant chain winding through the blogosphere. Follow links backward to see who came before me in the chain, and then follow links forward to the people I tag and see what they write next week. It's a fun way to meet a whole thread of bloggers!

There are four questions to answer, so here goes! 

1. What am I working on?
Somehow I went from preparing teaching samples using scraps, to making a whole, dang quilt using the technique I'll be teaching! What can I say? The perfect combination of fabric beckoned, and I am weak...

I needed another project like I need another hole in my head, ya know? 

BUT, it feels so...thrifty...to use this fabric. It's been in my cupboard for years. I've already made one full-sized quilt from it, and have enough fabric left for at least two more. Apparently two meters of fabric goes a long way. If you buy ten different fabrics, that is!

I'm also attempting a free form quilt using some of my newly created hand dyes. It's one of my Library Project goals. I've sewn three strips together, so far. Yup. Moving right along. *eye roll*

To make myself feel better, I'll show you what I've just completed.

Kool Kaleidoscope (a Ricky Tims technique)

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
A quilt isn't finished unless I've used at least ten miles of thread!

Gorgeous texture!
If a project involves fabric made by my own hand, it's even better!
My own screen-printed fabric combined beautifully with commercial batiks and white broadcloth in Irish Lass.
My year-long fabric diet has challenged me to solve problems creatively.

Improv piecing a quilt back to "stretch" the brown fabric and make it fit!
My work reflects my personality and aesthetic sensibility. It is not about jumping on (any) bandwagon and following the crowd. Often, it is a vehicle for learning new skills. My "what if" attitude keeps me engaged! 

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 
I must. There is no question that I must create. Creation of beauty and comfort is part of my DNA, I think!

I understand fabric. The way it behaves, the way it feels in my fingers, its need for a delicate touch or a firm grip. Fabric is glorious in its acceptance of colour and texture, and its ease of manipulation is unsurpassed.

Quilting combines these elements into a delightful whole that allows for personal expression. 

Geese designed for a commissioned quilt

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
Does this sound familiar?
My goal this morning was to bind the butterfly quilt I just finished quilting. That's it. Sounds simple enough.
Downstairs I go.
Search out the fabrics I need for the binding. One is already washed, but the other isn't. It would be wasteful to wash one meter of fabric on its own. Throw in the "darks" I will use in another project.
Hmm, I only need to stitch a few more colours onto the poppy piece to finish the flowers. I might as well do something productive while the fabric is in the washer. Start stitching.
The phone rings. Leave the poppy piece under the needle. Walk by the design wall where a baby quilt is in progress. Rearrange the pieces as I chat with my Mom. Just need to cut a few more blocks to fill in the gaps I made by removing some fabric choices. Cut the blocks and put them on the wall.
Throw the fabric from the washer into the dryer. Might as well throw the light fabrics for the upcoming project into the washer, too.
Hang up the phone and go back to the poppies. Stitch the remaining flowers.
Fabric is dry enough to iron. Iron the meter of fabric I will use for the binding (my original goal). Iron the 8 meters of dark fabrics I threw in.
Cut the binding strips I need. Make the binding.
The light fabrics I've washed are now ready to iron. Iron another 6 or 8 meters of fabric

Stop to help with supper preparations.
FINALLY stitch the binding onto the quilt. Two rounds of stitching (all done by machine) and my original goal has been met.
It took me ALL DAY to get the binding on to the quilt!

It's a true story!!!  
This describes an actual day in my life. Now, imagine it on repeat. 
That's my creative process!

I always have several projects on the go, all at different stages of completion. Ideas for more projects are listed in a journal. The list is never-ending. As things are completed, more ideas are added. I am never, ever bored!

At the top of this page there are tabs you can click to see more of my work. Please click around using the Labels or Archive in my side bar, too! 

If you've stuck with me this far, thanks a million! 

Gratuitous flower shot!

On Monday, September 8th you will see Around the World posts by:

Hannele at Patchwork Heaven in Finland. Hannele does beautiful quilting on both her domestic machine, and her new Avante longarm. Her posts are bilingual, with English second. There is also a translate option in her side bar if you'd like to read her blog archive.

Margaret at Pieces of My Heart in Canada. Margaret mixes quilting, knitting, and life. It's always interesting to see what she is up to! Look for the "Hexie-Aholic" post in her July 2014 archive. Her hexies are gorgeous and unique!

My third tag is YOU! If you haven't been tagged, consider this an invitation!

If you decide to play along, link back to me as the person who tagged you, answer the four questions, and then tag three others to play along the next week. If you can't pass it on, do your post anyway and let it drop. It's okay. This is supposed to be fun!

Linking up with:
Anything Goes Monday, at Stitch by Stitch
Fresh Sewing Day, at Lily's Quilts

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