January 08, 2014
A few weeks ago I purchased a new book called "Corvus - A life with birds" by Esther Woolfson. It sounded interesting as it talks about her life with birds after her daughter rescued a fledgeling rook. I don't know why I like crows and rooks and ravens so much, but I do. I find them interesting and love to see how they interact. The other day I was outside Home Depot heading for my car; right in front of it, there were two huge crows, eating some bits of dead animal. I was so sorry I didn't even have my phone to take a picture!
My work has featured crows lately, and this last piece I worked on over the weekend has one done with a photo transfer on ATP. I wanted to see what it would look like on that background color, as I have a larger piece in mind in those colors. My last post had photos of some of the fabrics and the threads. The piece is fully quilted now, all 15 x 62" of it.
But this small piece is 10" x 10" and ready to be mounted.
And a detail of the hand-embroidery at the top:
Don't have a name for it yet ... I'll have to come up with something soon. If you think of a good one, leave me a comment. If I pick yours, you'll get a surprise in the mail, so leave an email so I can contact you ...
In the meantime, keep quilting.
Happy New Year
January 02, 2014
Happy New Year. We bid good-bye to 2013 and are on the second day of 2014. The year stretches in front of us like a blank canvas, full of possibilities. I hope everyone's 2014 is a good one, with lots of inspiration, creative endeavours and happy moments.
I was quite busy over the holidays; the kids were home for a few days, and the house had once again that "lived-in" feeling: stuff everywhere, noise, laughter. But now things are back to normal; the kids are gone, the house is once again in order :) and I am back at work.
I had a good first day of the year yesterday ... I went into my studio and reorganized: got rid of an extra table that I had set up for a friend to sew on a looong while back. I never got rid of it, and of course, it gave me a good excuse to pile stuff on it. So now I have more "light", more space and less clutter. The fabric on top of the counter is in bins, the tools put away, and the sewing table cleared. We'll see how long it lasts!
But I did get some sewing in. Sabrina worked on a quilt and finished the top and backing before she left on the 30th, so now I need to take it to get it quilted.
And I worked on some of my challenge pieces. This is one that I had wanted to try for a while, now it is finished - at least the top, and has the batting and backing on it - ready for the quilting (which I haven't yet decided on). It is going to be 24" x 72", so quite long and skinny.
The photo is not the best, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like. This is one of the photos I took just outside Halifax, early in the morning and it was printed in the UK by Fingerprints, Laura Kemshall's company. The fabric handles beautifully as it is printed with dyes so it is very soft. The rest of the fabric in the quilt is hand-dyed by me. Yards and yards of fabric in different tones of greys.
Yesterday I also finished a smaller 12" x 12" piece, still unnamed. I will post photos of it later on in the week so you can see it.
I decided to start work on the 36" x 36" piece, it is goind to be all in greays, with some of the pebble photos in it. And finally, I continued work on the 24" x 24" piece that I had started a while ago and got stuck without quite knowing what direction it needed to take. Yesterday, I decided to leap and did something! :) I will post a photo once it is finished and mounted.
In the afternoon I went to get the boards from the garage to paint them, so as to have them ready when I need them to mount the pieces. And of course I couldn't resist painting a skinny 12" x 48" board. Last night on a whim I started working on this new piece; it is going to be a vertical 12" x 48", quite long and skinny. Here's a photo I took of one section, with the threads I will be using for quilting it. It pleases me when things fall into place. You know what I mean? This year in Houston I looked for threads I did not have, and ended up buying a couple of spools by Superior in golds, not knowing exactly what I was going to use them for. Yesterday afternoon I took the bag of threads I purchased (it was still exactly the way it was when I unpacked it), and looked at it and felt very pleased, as the threads were perfect! It was as if I had known I was going to need them. I even had the right needles! What do you think?
And here's a photo of the fabric I am using. I had ordered 100 yards of fabric for dyeing, and at a certain point when I unrolled it, I found this joint. I thought it would look interesting so I dyed it at the same time as the rest of the fabric, and figured I would use it some day. Well, the day has come. I love the way it looks.
I did some quilting last night, while listening to some music. I am hoping to finish the quilting today. It is quilted every 1/8" in straight lines, and I am actually using a regular foot, instead of the free motion quilting foot. Quite interesting. As the piece is not too wide - about 15" - it works well. It will eventually get all trimmed to 12" x 48" and will befinished with a non-mitered facing; this works just fine as it gets glued to the wooden board. I felt quite productive ... .New Year ... new energy ...
Well, this is all for me for this installment. I wish everyone a successful year. And above all, keep quilting!
December 18, 2013
There is snow falling once again in Calgary, and the temperature has dropped to -12 from -4 in the past few hours. It is supposed to be -18 by the time we leave work today with a wind chill factor of -27. That's to get us in the spirit!
Most of the presents are bought, still to be wrapped, the tree is up, the lights are twinkling ... and I am trying to be productive and finish some of my pieces for the challenge, as the due date is fast approaching - February!
So below is a photo of a piece I finally finished. If you have been following my blog (and apologies for not blogging as much as I should), you would recognize it, as this piece - still unnamed - sat pinned on my design wall for a while. But ... finally I decided what I wanted to do with it and here it is, in all its glory!
This was an odd piece that I made; thus, I never paid too much attention when I was putting it together. As a result, it's an odd measurement; I am not sure if I will be able to have it mounted. But regardless, I am quite happy with it. Below is a detail showing the vintage Chinese sequins that I sewed on.
The next piece is done - still unnamed - but finished finally. Long hours putting all those french knots in. And then I added some silver beads to make it sparkle a bit. What do you think? The footsteps were done with screen printing using a metallic fabric paint.
You can't really tell that there's writing on the top right corner unless you get close to it. It was achieved by adding a few layers of printed organza. I like the effect it gives, very subtle.
Well, this is it for today. I didn't want you to think I had forgotten you ... it's just been a busy season. I have a few more projects on my mind and I still have one or two more pieces to do for the challenge. The biggest one being a 36" x 36" (although I think I will start on the one I want to make which is 24" x 48"). I will keep you posted on the progress of those two, plus a smaller one I started on Sunday at 14" x 14" (to be trimmed to 12" x 12" possibly).
I will blog before Christmas, but in the meantime, I wish you all a few good days leading into it. Enjoy!
And keep quilting!
Back from Houston
November 10, 2013
I've been back from Houston for a week now and it is amazing how busy it is at the office after a week away, despite the fact that I did check email ... good thing for Internet and an iPad.
Market was good once again I did two demos for Wonderfil Threads and it was very interesting. My friend Julie, of La Todera, had a good market too. Below is a photo of her booth. She had a very colorful backdrop to her patterns and samples.
We started a "tradition" last year, of getting together with friends, new acquantainces, some old ones; people we see once a year. We then go to the Phoenicians, a supermarket a few blocks from the convention center, buy dinner and goodies to share and go and sit at the rooftop of the Hilton Americas. Below is one of the photos I took the first night we went. The one on the left is Julie from La Todera, and no, she doesn't always hold a bottle of wine ... :) and the people on the right need no introduction: Kaffe Fasset and Liza Prior-Lucy.
Here are a few photos of the booths at Market, some of the things I enjoyed the most. The first is a new line of fabrics by Tim Holtz, the king of steampumk:
I want them all ... the lettering caught my attention. Of course, I would also like to have that beautiful armchair in my living room ... but they wouldn't part with it!
Another one, from Contempa. Once again ... the couch caught my attention. And yes, it would look right at home in my living room. But ... no success ...
It was a busy time. Between the demos in the morning, and trying to see everything in the afternoon ... plus trying to look at the quilts and all the exhibits - I know I did not cover them all. But I did the best with the time I had. Here are a two photos of Margaret Jessop's quilts: Dream Tree and The Four Elements:
I taught a few classes. The first one was my "Simple Landscapes with Stitch and Paint". I had almost a full class, and everybody enjoyed it and did quite well. We were working on Janome sewing machines, and it is difficult to free-motion quilt on a sewing machine that you've never used before. But we had a person from Janome available when needed, and that was a great advantage. Thank you Janome! Here are a few photos:
The second class was my Introduction to Fabric Painting and I had 24 people in the class. Long story short ... when I got to Houston, the day before the class when I was preparing for it, I realized that I did not have any white fabric paint. So I have to thank Julie for going to the Texas Art Supply store a few minutes before the store opened and getting 4 bottles of white paint in time for the class. I also want to thank Judy Coates Perez who sent her daughter Indigo with a glass with some white paint. Below is a group photo at the end of the day:
The last day for me consisted of a 3-hour class for Inktense pencils, a demo for Mixed Media Miscellaney on Inktense pencils again, and then from there I had to rush to Open Studios for a 2-hour demo on Inktense Pencils. :) They went very well ... a couple of photos from the class:
Don't you love the way those leaves match her sweater? She did a really good job with them. What she's holding in her hand is Fabric Medium, which is used instead of water so once the work dries and cures for a couple of days, it can be ironed and heat set for colourfastness. I use Golden GAC 900 - available at most art stores. Liquitex also carries a fabric medium as well as Jo Sonya and other brands.
I have received a lot of emails on this class and from people who were at the demos with different enquiries. I love the fact that I could give people something to get excited about. I hope they give it a try and love it as much as I do.
And this is it for now. I am off to do some work. More on that later. For now ... keep quilting.
Beaches and Rocks
October 17, 2013
A happy belated Thanksgiving to all of you. I had a very wonderful deconstructed turkey meal that my son Ale cooked for us on Saturday. I had a house full of guests, lovely turkey smells throughout the house ... and although it ended up being a very expensive meal ... it was well worth the money spent to see Ale cooking again and taste some of his foods. Although I do have to say that I spent two days washing dishes after him! That's our deal: he cooks, I clean ... every pot, every pan, every spoon ... used and re-used and used again! :-) I realized afterwards that I forgot to take pictures, so no photos of the meal this time around. You'll have to trust me when I say it was delicious!
But after all that food and all that cooking and washing, I needed to do something different, so while he slept, I started a new piece of work on Sunday with some of the ideas I had been playing with, and some of the pieces I had been working on. This was all going to be about 24" x 48", but decided to start small and see if I liked the way it was shaping, so here it is so far. This will end up being 20" x 20". You will recognize some of the images from previous postings.
I have all those rocks made, and made about 12 more on Monday, so they will get added around the ones you see on the bottom left-hand side. The printed image is part of the ones I asked Laura Kemshall of Fingerprints to print for me. I have to say I love the way they look. Stunning images, well worth the price paid. This is the image that I had printed on fabric:
My idea is to applique the fabric rocks over the rocks that were cut off (at the edges) to blur the hard edges a bit and incorporate the print into the rest of the quilt. I know I will applique at least 3 or 4 to the print and then all around the ones I already have.
I thought that quilting around the rocks was going to be difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised and it was not. I was able to get quite close to them. Now I know for future pieces that I can actually make more rocks by placing the shape between the two layers of fabric - and then applique the rest once the piece is fully quilted. In this piece, I have only three done in this manner, although it will be interesting to see if there is a marked difference between the two methods once the piece is finished and all the embroidery has been added around it (see previous blog).
I have quilted it with vertical and horizontal lines every 1/8" or so, quite tight, and have echo quilted around the rocks at the bottom, to give the idea of ripples in the sand and the marks left behind by the ocean receding. I still have aobut 1/3 of the top to quilt. You can see more detail in the close-up above.
I am not sure what's going to happen at the top right hand corner of the work, in the big expanse of grey fabric. As it is the case with most of my work recently, part of it is planned, and part of it is well, serendipity? Left to what pops in my mind at the time? Who knows? There's an element of angst in working this way, because the work sits on the table or design wall for a while until it becomes clear in my mind the direction it needs to take, but ... it keeps me on my toes! And I get to make all those smallish pieces of work to try the techniques I'm thinking of using before I go ahead and do it on the actual piece of work.
This is how far I got on Sunday and Monday. Stay tuned. I'll post more with updates.
Now that I used some precious time to play, I need to go back and finish preparing for Houston which is in a couple of weeks. I will arrive for Market on Saturday October 26th and will be doing a couple of demos on the 27th and 28th in the morning at Wonderfil Threads. So if you are planning on attending Market this year, stop by and say hi. Otherwise, I'll see you around walking the floors and looking at quilts during Festival.
And if you have been, keep quilting.