Saturday, 31 January 2015

By the Skin of My Teeth!

Please click here for my Grow Your Blog post.
Be sure to say Hi and enter the giveaway! Draw will be made on Feb 15.

I'm sneaking in just under the wire with my January project for A Lovely Year of Finishes! At the beginning of the month I'd decided to finish my "Ugly Fabric Challenge" piece. 
(To see the terms of the challenge, and my goal setting post, please click here.)

I'd decided the best course of action was to try some free-form piecing. This how things looked once the piecing was finished.
Free-form panel, heavily influenced by Rayna Gillman and Jean Wells.

Today I realized it might make a decent throw pillow. That meant the quilting could be loose and quick - a bonus since I did leave things to the last minute! I threw it on the longarm for some large swirls.

I then quilted some yardage to use for the back of the pillow. I thought it might be fun to use a squarish motif to contrast the swirls on the front.

Here it is, all stitched up!

I used the wrong side of the same fabric to bind the overlapped edges. It made a great bit of contrast.

Of course, I don't have a pillow form. Since there's no time to make one, an old feather pillow was unceremoniously shoved into service.

Now I remember reading a tutorial on how to avoid super-pointy corners on a pillow. Drat. 

I may go back and revise things, BUT...I'm counting this as FINISHED in case I never bother! Once it goes on my couch, it may never come off!!! Feather pillows are soooo comfy.

Better done than perfect!

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes @ Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts
Fresh Sewing Day @ Lily's Quilts
Show off Saturday @ Sew Can She 
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River

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

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Drawing Exercises for Quilters

Please click here for my Grow Your Blog post. 
Be sure to say Hi and enter the giveaway! Draw will be made on Feb 15.

It seems that learning to become a certified quilt judge starts with . . . FRUIT.
Who knew I'd have to raid the fridge for this endeavor!

Okay, fruit is not the point, but it makes a handy drawing subject. It will sit for long periods without complaint, plus it makes a tasty snack in the end.

The point is to work through a series of exercises to show that I'm serious about the judging program, and to prove that I understand basic artistic principles.

First up: Blind Contour Drawing.

Eyes on the fruit, pencil on the paper, shield the page so there is no peeking, and DRAW! 

Follow the edges of the fruit, and theoretically the pencil moves with your eyes to capture what you see. Theoretically. ;-)
Blind contour drawing.
The timer was set for 25 minutes, and the instructions were to repeat the exercise until it rang. I could tell the repetition was worthwhile. The more I drew, the more relaxed I became, and the drawings reflected that.

Next, Semi-Blind Contour Drawing.
Semi-Blind Contour Drawing.

Set the timer again.
Same rules as for blind contour, except that I could peek and reposition the pencil on the page when I changed fruits. After that, each fruit was drawn blind.

At first I treated the grapes as a single piece of fruit, but on my fifth (and final) attempt I started peeking for each grape. They each count as a piece of fruit, right? Ha!

And, finally, a simple Contour Drawing where you glance at the paper as needed (no shield), but are encouraged to look at the fruit most of the time.
Contour Drawing.
Not an exact replica, but I'm not a camera, so that's okay! If I took the fruit away and just showed the drawing, it would be recognizable.

I'm looking forward to moving along. I've done exercises like these before, which makes them less intimidating, but also less exciting. I recognize their value, but am glad to have these ones checked off the list!

All work and no play? NO WAY!!! 

Amy and her friend, Adrienne, decided they'd like to learn how to make a circle quilt. They brought fabric and wine, and we dove right in.

All the pieces are cut and ready to sew into blocks, but we are saving that for another day.

Cutting circles leaves weird scraps . . . and, did I mention the wine???


No post would be complete without a bit of

Quilty Goodness, Fresh off the Frame
Client quilt - Wrought Iron pantograph
Quilt of Valour that came to me as a stack of blocks gathered from across Canada.
Feels great to be almost finished!

Linking up with:
Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Free Motion Mavericks @ Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing

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

Sunday, 25 January 2015


Welcome (or welcome back!) to Fresh off the Frame. It's time to meet and greet at the Grow Your Blog party hosted by Vicki @ 2 Bags Full!  This is an international event open to anyone with a it should be interesting!!!

Most of my posts involve quilting, but you might also see photos I've taken in art galleries, in my studio, kitchen, or garden, or in faraway places if I'm traveling. Where I go, you go!
Icelandic poppies blooming in my garden.
A brilliant installation at the Art Gallery of Alberta.
I've been blogging for just over a year. One of these days I will tidy up around here, but in the meantime just pretend you've dropped in for tea and spotted a few dust bunnies. Nothing to get worked up about!

Dust bunnies...aahhhhh!

One thing I do take seriously is the quality of my work. I strive for excellence, always. 

Most recent client quilt, Fresh off the Frame.
The large star is on the BACK of Tracy's quilt (I flipped a front corner up for the photo). This quilt could easily be reversible!
My own project using Ricky Tims' "Kool Kaleidoscope" technique.
Margaret gave me free reign on her Buggy Barn, so of course there are funky feathers and swirls!
Quilting in progress on a commissioned piece.

I set challenges for myself that force me to try new things. Once I dive in, nerve, determination and resourcefulness get me through. It's not always pretty or graceful, but I always learn a ton!
My most recent art quilt.
The challenge here? Stitching applique down using the long arm instead of using my domestic machine!
It went better than I'd hoped, and no blood was shed, so this goes in the WIN column!!!

My APQS Freedom gives me wings (sorry Red Bull!), and all of my quilting is hand guided.
No computer for me!

Click here to see where I work

Even with my dream machine I have plenty of UFOs (UnFinished Objects). Of course, I don't let that get in the way of starting new projects!
Postcard detail.
When the urge strikes, I stir up some colour and splash it around!

I've been known to splash bleach around, too. Sometimes a bit too liberally, as my new, black (not anymore) pants can attest.

I guess I'm a bit eclectic (a polite way of saying All Over the Map), but I sure have fun!

Click here and get to know me better, if you dare!

Click here to see more of my work.

Click here for my "Flange Binding By Machine" tutorial!
My granddaughter. I love that she accidentally made a heart with the edge of her quilt!


If you've stayed with me this far, you deserve a chance to win a prize!!!

The prize?
The winner will commission a small piece (4 x 6 inches) of original art designed and stitched especially for them!!! Winner will suggest a theme, and I will do the rest. Fun for both of us!
Wildlife themed work in progress. Poor coyote doesn't have eyes yet!

Simply leave a comment to enter. No need to follow my blog in order to win. :-)

However, if you DO follow, I truly appreciate it. Thank you.
If you leave a SECOND comment saying HOW you follow, your name will go into the draw a second time!

You can find email and Bloglovin gadgets at the top of my sidebar if you'd like to sign up today.

The winner of this contest will be drawn on February 15, 2015.
I'm happy to mail the postcard anywhere in the world, so don't be shy!

Psst!!! If you are a no-reply blogger you must include your email address in your comment. What if you win??? I will need to notify you somehow! 

I will post the winner on the day of the draw. If there is no way to contact you, and you don't contact me within a week after your name is posted, I will discard your entry and draw again.

Linking up with:
Grow Your Blog @ 2 Bags Full
Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times 
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River
Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story 
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts 
Work in Progress Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced

Try, Learn, Grow!

The draw has been made, so this competition has closed. Updated February 15, 2015.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Dare Ya!

"Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you."
~ David McCullough Jr. (emphasis is mine)

This quote sums up my foray into the CQA Quilt Judge Certification Programme. It's not that I want to be 'important', or that I think I'm anyone special. It's not about me at all, really. It's about learning, and seeing a different view of the quilting world.

Detail, "Parrot's Island", by Claudia Pfeil

I want to understand why a particular quilt rises to the top in a competition. What attributes must it have? How do judges determine the best of the best? What is the process? What are the challenges, and how are they handled? 

The best way to answer these questions (and more) is to enter the world of judging. Even if I were to decide it's not the place for me (or if I don't make the cut - eek!), I will learn a ton by doing the preliminary work and taking the first workshop.

Detail, "Parrot's Island", by Claudia Pfeil
Coincidentally, FIVE of Claudia Pfeil's AWARD WINNING quilts are hanging at Sparrow Studioz. Of course they are A-MAY-ZING. They are HUGE, loaded with stitches and assorted bling, and bursting with colour and imagination!

"Parrot's Island", by Claudia Pfeil

Detail, "Parrot's Island"
Looking UP at the quilt - the colour is not accurate, but look at that quilting!!!

"Magical Mermaid's Castle", by Claudia Pfeil

Detail, "Magical Mermaid's Castle"

Detail, "Magical Mermaid's Castle"
"Cordoba", by Claudia Pfeil

Back of "Cordoba"

Detail, "Cordoba"

"Time to Catch a Dream", by Claudia Pfeil

Detail, "Time to Catch a Dream"

Detail, "Time to Catch a Dream"

Detail, "Time to Catch a Dream"

"Fire and Ice", by Claudia Pfeil

Detail, "Fire and Ice"

Detail, "Fire and Ice"

Detail, "Fire and Ice"
I feel very lucky to have been "up close and personal" with these beauties. So inspiring!!!

There's much to be done before Part I of the certification programme, but I'm excited to be starting this journey!

Is there a mountain in your life begging to be climbed? 

I double-dog dare ya to take the first steps!

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."
~ Earl Nightingale (again, emphasis is mine)

Linking up with:
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict  
(speaking of never giving about bringing Nathanael home. Sarah's family is MOVING mountains, not climbing them!) 
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!