Thursday, 21 December 2017

A Christmas Stocking Story

As an organized hoarder - no, no, I mean collector of miscellany (aka "things I love") - there was no need to shop outside my stash for this entire project!

Loved making this special commission so much!
Ribbons, twine, special thread, flannel, vintage button, wool from a sweater I no longer wear, zipper that's never been used, home d├ęcor samples sorted by colour?
Check, check, checkity-check!

What about a specialty fabric for the lining? But, of course!

Plush lining as a special treat for little hands!

The Osnaburg? Yup, had that too.
As a quilter, did I need it?
Nope. I bought it because it called to me.
I know.
It's a thing.
Once in a blue moon I get a feeling about something. I've learned to trust that feeling, and just go with it when I can. It hasn't failed me yet.

The Process, in pictures:

Begin with something FUN!

Cut the shape

Prepare the "crazy" patches for the heel and toe (and sew them on)

Stitch the lining so it will last

Use that zipper!

LOVE this!

Time for the flower

Add a cuff, and put it all together

Send it off for a little girl's very first Christmas!

This may look delicate, but it's actually fairly bullet proof.
It's meant to be a functional stocking, so everything has been permanently glued, stitched and double stitched. Even the frayed fabric has been lightly coated with a sealer to prevent further disintegration. With reasonable care, this stocking should last for many years!

Linking up with:
Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

A Kaffe Adventure!

"Be Creative", she said . . . and my heart skipped a beat when I saw the quilt top.

"You got it!", said I . . . and off I skipped into Kaffe-land, with visions of fun times ahead!

The "before" shot!

My client is creatively fearless herself, so she'd appliqued black sashing strips between the blocks after the top was pieced, "to give it some POP". (Mission accomplished!)

Because the sashing strips vary in width in the most charming way (suits the playfulness of the quilt!), I quilted them with randomly sized pebbles for extra security, and to give a nod to the spotty theme of the prints.

Pebbles secured the sashing and extended the spotty theme of the prints into the quilting.

After ditching around the vases and bowls, and pebbling the sashing, I used black thread horizontally on the "tables" to help define them as such.

Quilted right through the shadows on the tables - shadows don't have substance in real life,
so I treated them the same way in the quilt.

Backgrounds were all stitched with vertical, wavy lines that wouldn't visually interfere with the prints, but would provide a directional change from the horizontal table-stitching.

"Before" quilting the background

If the vase (or bowl) was a "hot" colour, I quilted the background with "cool" coloured thread, and vice versa, in an attempt to help the pottery stand out a bit more.

"After" quilting the background

And, finally, the pottery!

I knew the quilting wouldn't show much on the front of the quilt, but it sure would on the solid coloured back, so I went with feathers!

Feathers fill the vases

Feathers gracefully fill awkward shapes in short order, too - which was definitely a consideration when deciding how to quilt the pottery. Some of the vases have fancy lids!

Feathers fit in practically any space!

See what I mean about the back? Gotta love all that quilt-y texture!

Sure can see the quilting from here!

On the table for trimming - sometimes it takes a few rulers to get things right!

Trimming the finished quilt.

And then it went home and my Kaffe adventure came to a close.

Bowl block

Being in a new space has disrupted my photo habits - I haven't quite figured out where the best light is - so I haven't been sharing as many client quilts as usual. Apologies to those who have been hoping to see their beautiful quilts posted here. Time to pull up my socks and do better! :-)

Linking up with:
Show Off Saturday @ SewCanShe where Caroline shares a super-cute idea for a quick quilt!

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Friday, 10 November 2017

From Reindeer to Picasso!

The Festival of Trees 2017 theme is "Sparkle of Hope". I thought I'd keep things light by featuring Rudolph and his nose - a sparkle of hope for children awaiting a visit from Santa!

Modified from a design by Linda Sullivan, published in McCall's Quick Quilts, January 2006
This is an adaptation of a table runner pattern I'd torn from a magazine some time ago. The original design featured three reindeer, but I wanted to make something smaller and more affordable for families to bid on in the silent auction, so pared it down to one. (The best one, of course!)

Also, I didn't actually have the pullout part of the pattern, so drew my Rudolph to look similar to the one in the magazine. Wingin' it, as usual!

I decided to add a bit more sparkle with foiled stars, but they looked a bit . . . unfinished . . . to my eye.

Foiled stars look a bit underwhelming at this point
Since I'd "sketchy stitched" the applique, I thought I'd take a risk and outline the foil in the same manner. I think it improved things. (Whew!)

Outlined and improved (in my opinion!)

Hope this little guy goes to a good home (and raises a few bucks - haha, bucks - for a good cause!)

"Waiting for Rudolph" is ready to donate.

I was home for a week, and then off to Saskatoon to help judge their biennial quilt show. With this judging experience, I now have enough credits to be eligible to take the final judge certification exam in June. Yay!

Because I was busy, I didn't take many pictures, but - oh man - just look at this crazy quilt!
It wasn't in my judging area so I didn't see it until the next day, but it sure caught my eye as I buzzed through the show. I HAD to go in for a closer look!

Modern Crazy Quilt, by Maxine South

Here's a picture of the tag, along with a glimpse of the type of hand work that covers the quilt's surface!

Loads of detailed hand work covers the surface of this quilt.

Its maker decided to tie the layers together - but you wouldn't know it unless you looked at the back.

Ties were only visible on the back of the quilt.

The Guild provided disposable gloves to every viewer as they entered the show. Mine came in handy (haha - hand-y! ~ Okay, it's official. I'm a goofball...~) a number of times, and I saw many others using theirs, too. What a clever way to encourage viewers to respect the quilts!

In addition to everything else, the Guild Market was quite impressive. Naturally there were a few things I simply couldn't resist! (OF COURSE I need three more pincushions...who wouldn't when they are this gorgeous!)

Treasures made by skilled hands

My fellow judge and travel companion, Elinor, presented a trunk show on Saturday morning. Here she is, mingling with some of the quilters who crowded in to admire her work.

Elinor Burwash and some of her quilts.

Always time for ART, of course!
Saskatoon has a spankin' new modern art gallery (Remai Modern), which happened to have a Picasso lino cut exhibit in one of its galleries. What luck!

Picasso at Remai

This newbie, wanna-be lino-printer smiled all the way through this exhibit!

Picasso - I wish there had been tags with the prints. I dubbed this row of prints, "descent into hell". Each print was more and more altered, down the line, until the final print looked like it could be the devil. Intriguing.

In fact, this exhibit sparked an idea for an upcoming challenge in my art quilting group. Woohoo!

I enjoyed seeing the change in Picasso's work over time (the exhibit was hung in chronological order). Here is a print from 1959:

Picasso, 17.10.59

And one from 1965:

Picasso, 12.9.65

Quite a change over time!

As always,

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Friday, 20 October 2017

Firefly Dance - An Epic Story!

One year ago, a client commissioned a sizeable art piece as a surprise for his wife.

Their space was under construction so there was no particular deadline, which was a very good thing from my perspective. The piece is eight feet tall, which would have been a problem in my previous studio - not enough ceiling height to accommodate a design wall that large!

Luckily my new studio has a bit more head room. :-)

Firefly Dance ©2017 Carole Gold

After our initial consultation, I knew the desired size of the piece, and that it should definitely feature a tree and some fireflies.

As part of our discussion, my client shared ideas and artwork that appealed to him (and his beloved) so I could get a feel for their aesthetic and design sensibility. This insight helped guide my decisions as the piece developed.

I didn't get much sleep for about a month after that, as my brain exploded with possibilities!

Discharge experiment - can I retain the edges of shapes that overlap?

I drew thumbnail sketches, took pictures of trees, and considered techniques for accomplishing my mission. My notebook filled up, and I decided to work with discharge spray to produce the texture and glow I wanted.

This decision called for an experiment on a small scale before starting the large piece. Once I was satisfied that things would work the way I'd hoped, I started piecing the background for the big guy.

Starting with strips

About two months ago, I did a full sized charcoal sketch of my idea. The dancers were on a separate paper so I could move them around, as were the dogs. (I scratched out dogs of all sizes, moving things around until I landed on a composition I liked.)

Charcoal sketch on design wall

At this point, my client had a look and gave the go-ahead on the design . . . excitement took over and we finally set a tentative deadline! (Almost made it, too! Ha!)

From the charcoal drawing, I made a "pattern" by tracing the scene onto a plastic overlay. At that point, I made sure the dogs looked like the couple's actual pets.

Making the pattern

Once the background was together, I used the plastic pattern to make a giant freezer paper template for the tree.

Positioning the template so it could be ironed in place

The freezer paper was ironed to the front of the piece and then a discharge product was used to remove colour, creating the image of the tree on the background.

The same process was used for the dancers and dogs.

More freezer paper templates

Mountain ash leaves became "ferns" in the foreground, and real maple leaves were "stamped" into the tree's canopy.

Leaves as a mask

Fireflies were next. Colour coded pins helped with their placement, and then it was a matter of adding the foil for sparkle.

Making fireflies - glue, foil, heat!


Standing back to ponder was a big part of the process.

Pondering my next move

Shortly before the quilt was due, my client's family grew by one! I figured their new baby also needed representation in this piece, so I added her Virgo constellation in the stars.

Virgo constellation

In glow in the dark thread!

Semi-darkness and you can already see the glow!

If you've lasted this long, congratulations! I'm starting to fade, but want to finish, so...

On to the quilting!

Basting every six inches was step one.

"Sketchy stitching" the branches and leaves with black thread gave them definition while retaining an organic feel.

The dancers were defined using the same "sketchy stitching" technique, but with more precision.

Stitching the figures

I filled the sky with wavy lines that roughly echoed the direction of the piecing, and stitched in the ditch in the tree, dogs, and dancers (with monofilament thread) to secure the layers.

The visual texture of the discharged fabric was so wonderful on its own that I feared additional stitching would detract from its beauty.

Yes. Every ditch. Totally worth the effort!

A jagged stipple seemed appropriate for the shrubbery, and simple straight lines that recede toward the horizon secured the foreground.

Expressive quilting

The piece is faced for a clean finish.

A hidden hanging rod will hold the weight of the piece, and laced grommets will appear to be the hanging system when the piece is installed - a cool idea floated by my client!

(Sure . . . why wouldn't I want to cut holes in the finished quilt? Ha!)

Cuttin' holes in the quilt!

With the lacing idea in mind, I placed the grommets in pairs along the top edge of the quilt.

The final touch.

Just imagine - this is the condensed version of the story! (Told ya it was epic!)

As always,

Try, Learn, & Grow!