Wednesday, 27 April 2016


Have you ever taken just ONE project to a guild retreat? NO?
Me neither...but there's a first time for everything.
There was a two hour drive between me and my sewing room.
If I'd forgotten anything crucial, I would've been dead in the water.

"Cheeky" by Carole Gold

I needed to get my squirrel finished, but wasn't feeling terribly motivated. Eliminating options seemed like a good way to force my hand.

After frittering away my Friday evening visiting, lounging, playing on my phone, and testing threads on a practice sandwich, I realized it was indeed a good strategy. Saturday morning I finally settled in and got to work.

A free motion zigzag secured the applique and quilted the project at the same time.

It was fun controlling zigs and zags to create expressive "fur".
Cheeky came home almost finished...all he needed were his whiskers and some facing, so I carried on and finished up on Monday morning. Yay!

On the following weekend, I facilitated Part Two of a Fab Art workshop in Fairview. Each project started with a pattern, but people weren't restricted to the layouts provided by the designer.

Fab Art Workshop in Fairview
Sponsored by the Fairview Agricultural Society

It was exciting to see how ideas developed (and projects changed) to suit the needs of their makers. Can you spot the pieces that will be table runners instead of wall art?

I'm always impressed by the "can do!" attitudes of these wonderful ladies. There is nothing they can't do - and do well! Thanks so much for inviting me!

Studio time has been disrupted lately with one thing and another, but as things are smoothing out again, I'm getting back to work in a serious way! This client quilt was Fresh off the Frame today.

Client quilt

A few little critters add whimsy to this garden path . . .

. . . and a floral filler in the borders continues the theme.

The floral design also captures fabric and brings it back under control.

Borders tend to get puffier and wrinklier as quilting is added to the body of the quilt, so the border quilting can be extremely important, structurally speaking.

To illustrate - here is the BEFORE shot of the borders.


And here is the AFTER shot. Much better!


River walk today - reflections on the water were absolutely captivating, and the water was alive with birds of all sorts. Beautiful to watch, and lovely to hear after a winter of silence. Spring is in full swing, and I'm thankful!

Peace River, Alberta

Have a wonderful week(end)!

Try, Learn, & Grow!
 P.S. I'm also on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame - see you there!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Goin' Squirrelly!

2016 Challenge Project
Our guild is making boreal forest themed art to hang in the children's area of our town library. I decided to portray the cheeky squirrel that scolded me last year when hubby and I were camping.

Cheeky boreal forest inhabitant!

I thought I'd attempt the collage technique Susan Carlson describes in her book, Serendipity Quilts. She does the exact opposite of most artists by starting with elements closest to the viewer and working toward the background.

To make my pattern, I projected my photo onto a large piece of paper and "traced" the important lines.
The idea is to freehand cut bits of fabric, filling each space with tons of scraps that blend together and look quite painterly. Fabrics are held in place with tiny dots of glue as the picture is built.

Auditioning fabrics - the challenge fabric is the folded rectangle in the center, front.

I didn't have tons of scraps to collage, so instead I filled spaces with larger pieces. With no quilt shop nearby, I do my best with what I've got.

Having said that, nothing in my stash would do for my background.


Frustrated, I asked my Mom if I could raid her stash (again).

Luckily, she has a wide range of - well - everything!!! (And she knows where to dig when I make silly requests like, "Do you have any red-violet in light-ish values?") Thanks, Mom!!!

Now to bend my brain and make a quilting plan that will give this fella's tail some fluff without requiring a ton of thread painting! (I'd like to finish it sometime this century. Ha!)

Speaking of finishing in this century . . .
. . . I have finally finished stitching around all the bits on this piece!

To be fair, it hasn't been a priority. I've really only worked on it during a couple of sewing days with my guild, but the other day I felt a need to move it forward.

Cropped into a rectangle

This was a design I came up with, years ago, in a class based on exercises from Katie Pasquini Masopust's book, Design Explorations. It is an awkward shape, so I will be cropping it (as shown above) to make it more pleasing. (Augh! I will be cutting off some of the work I just finished!)

I'd considered REALLY chopping it - into a square - but think it will be fine as a rectangle.

Possible square crop

Uh oh. Now I think I like the square better.

I don't think there is a wrong answer, really. It feels more "garden-y" as a rectangle, and more abstract as a square. Annnnd - I continue to flip and flop! Help!

What do you think? Rectangle, or square?

Fresh off the Frame
I'm behind with client show and tell these days, so let's catch up a bit!

This block of the month looks fantastic finished with large, flowing feathers!

Minky on the back makes this pretty quilt perfectly cozy!


This gorgeous desert scene required many starts and stops. Rather than cutting my thread each time I ran into an obstacle, I secured my stitches and "jumped" to the next starting point.


Before quilting the cacti, I snipped away the jump threads.

The illusion of perspective and distance guided my quilting decisions. I wanted to keep things simple since Arizona skies are often devoid of clouds, so I used slightly wavy lines spaced progressively further apart as they ascend. This supports my intent, plus wavy lines remind me of heat waves!
The cacti are quilted with vertical lines that imply ribs. The distant ground under the setting sun is straight line quilted, and the foreground is contour quilted.

Please remember to chime in about the cropping issue - and have yourself a very happy day!

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Monday, 11 April 2016

It's a Beautiful Day

There is a palpable spirit of love surrounding this quilt.

Its maker lost her precious grandson, Bishop, to cancer when he was only five years old. She had previously made memory quilts for his siblings. This quilt is for his momma.

All three of the quilts for this family have been stitched with dragonflies, and all feature the proclamation, "It's a beautiful day" in a bottom border. Bishop's words every single day, no matter what.

It's a beautiful day.

The warm light pouring into the room as I stitched matched the sunny nature of the child in my thoughts.

Bishop's signature was replicated from a photograph supplied by his grandma.

Bishop's family granted permission for me to share details of this project. Many thanks to them for their willingness to share Bishop's message of happiness and delight in life. (Keep spreading the love, little man.)

Always remembered. Always loved. Love, always.  

It's a beautiful day!

Try, Learn, & Grow