From Sunny Calgary ... on taking a breath
May 02, 2013
Finally, we have a break iin the weather. It's a sunny 18 degrees right now. Went out for lunch with some people from work and it was a huge effort to come back to work, when all we wanted to do was sit outside in the sun. It's been a long winter. Although I have to say that the mountains look gorgeous against the blue skies with all the snow still on them.
I have not been blogging, which seems to be a common theme with me, but I have not been idle. I've had a busy few first months of the year, and am finally able to take a break and do some work for me. I have been finishing a few pieces in the "Birds on a Wire" series. I still have bindings to sew onto two small ones: an orange one dyed with tangerine and a dash of bright orange, and a green one dyed in a new dye for me called Granny Apple Green to which I added a dash of bright green. It is very green and very lovely. I will post photos soon, once the bindings are on.
As some of you may know, I belong to a small group of art quilters. We call ourselves "At the Edge". And every year we give each other a challenge. Last year's challenge resulted in my work with neutral fabrics and once quilted, placing them in a vat of dye; that resulted in the Bird on a Wire series, the quilt called "On the Rooftops of the City where I Live" and "Just Before the Lights come on", the Paris rooftops scene.
This year's challenge is to work on a series. It can be anything. Each of us can work on our own ideas and work, as long as it is a seires of work on the same (general) idea. The challenge is to prepare 6 pieces each on our chosen subject matter, in some very precise sizes: the largest one being 36" x 36", 24" x 36", 12" x 12", 12" x 36" and 24" x 24" or something like that. You get the idea. So I've come up with a new idea for me ... quite different from anything else, and I've been playing. The first piece, the 12" x 12" is mostly finished, so I'll post some photos once it's done.
I have also been working on two more: the 12" x 36" piece. This one is coming along quite nicely. It still needs work; right now it's on my design wall waiting until I figure out the last details to be added to it. The second one is in the initial stages and, hopefully, will result in a 24" x 24" piece. I joined three pieces of hand-dyed fabric and am quilting it right now. It will look quite different once I'm done with it, if I can translate what's in my head to the actual fabric. I will post photos as I go along.
For some reason, it's not letting me post the photos right now, so I'll go explore and try to figure out what's going on. So look for photos later.
Bye for now ... and in the meantime, keep quilting.
March 31, 2013
Good morning everyone and a Happy Easter to you all.
I had a visit from the Easter Bunny last week. He sat by my front door for hours, quietly watching ...
I was in Cleveland last week, taping 5 segments for QA TV Series 1200. And despite the snow and the cooler weather, it was a great time. I shared taping time with Vanessa Christenson of V and Co. She had the most lovely yellow pillow. It would have looked great in my living room! If you haven't heard of her, check her out. She had some lovely techniques to show and an impressive new line of fabric coming out soon, which I am sure people will love, as the colors are vibrant. She has a book out called "Make it so Modern: Gather, Pleat, Twist, Texture".
Luana Rubin from eQuilter and her daugher Sophie were there too. It was nice to see them both again although we were all so busy we didn't have as much time to visit as we would have liked.
This is me with Pokey getting ready to tape a segment called Hand Embroidery with an Electric Needle, a technique I learned from my friend Doris Teixeira in Brazil a couple of years ago. Her work is stunning. If you have a chance, look her up in Facebook and see what she's up to.
Friday dawned sunny and with blue skies, so I decided to head out to Banff. I had an errand to run anyway, so at 8:00 am I headed West. It was early enough that I managed to avoid the traffic. It seemed that everyone else had decided to sleep in. I managed to keep the car at 120 km/h all the way. I think I touched the brakes twice. I run my errand and then decided to head home, but it was such a lovely day that it seemed a pity to cut it so short, so I went to Two Jack Lake and sat at a picnic table in the sun, listening to music and drinking my cup of coffee. I was by myself, well ... almost. I shared the morning with a gentleman from Parks Canada who was parked in the lot with his window down enjoying the morning. This is what it looked like ...
While there, I came up with some ideas for my next body of work. Stay tuned for more on that later. Well, time for me to go back to work. Enjoy your day and remember to make time in your day for a bit of creating.
QA TV Weekend
March 18, 2013
Good morning from a somewhat sunny Calgary,
We had a snowy weekend although I guess we shouldn't complain as we had a mild February. Luckily, it gave me the chance to use that as an excuse to stay home and prepare for taping for QA TV next Monday, March 25th. I am doing 6 segments or so, one still to be determined!
But ... among all the preparations, step outs and pieces of fabric, I had a thought for some exploration. so I took an hour or two to have some fun! I have a few pieces ready for appliques to be added and then placed in a dye bath to obtain results similar to the ones I showed you in my last post. I started thinking what would happen if I cut holes on the fully quilted top. I can see some of you thinking I must be crazy! :) It is just fabric, and a few hours of quilting, so if it doens't work out ... I'll do it again.
So, pencil and ruler in hand, I grabbed one of the smaller pieces I had and marked 2 rectangles and a square and then, using small pointy scissors, I cut them out. I put the zigzag foot on the machine and zigzaged the edges using a narrow (width set at 2) zigzag stitch and then I went over it again with a wider zigzag stitch (width set at 3.5).
Now that this part was done, I wasn't sure what to do with it. My exploration had gone as far as whether I could cut the openings on the top!. I decided to tackle the center square first, so I used some crochet thread to weave some threads back and forth and then I looped the thead around and around over and under to create the circular part. I held it together by stitching the ends on the machine, so it won't fall apart.
For the rectangular cut outs, I used a piece of what I hope is silk organza and appliqued silk velvet bird heads on it, and sewed them to the openings from the back, as if the birds were peeping out of their bird houses. Here's the result, still in whites and creams with a touch of orange (not sure what that fabric dyes like, so it'll be interesting).
I am hoping to place the piece in a dye bath in the next few days, but not sure what color to dye it. Ideas? Send me a comment or two and I'll post later on in the week with the results of the finished experiment.
In the meantime, keep quilting.
March 15, 2013
Good and snowy early morning in Calgary,
Once again, I find myself in the need to apologize because I haven't blogged in a long time. I cannot believe that it's mid-March already! Where have the first two months of the year gone? But, just because I have not blogged, doesn't mean I haven't been doing any work. On the contrary, I have been quite productive, creating new pieces of work for samples for classes, or just because I like the technique. Here's the latest one in a new technique I started working with last year, and haven't so far shared with you. It is as yet unnamed, as you can see from the photo (which I took with my iPad yesterday morning around 5:20 a.m.! - hence the shadow on the bottom left-hand corner) there is still a needle in the work, as I need to finish the beading. You know how it is with beading, once you start ... it's difficult to know when to stop.
And here is a detail of the beading:
All that done with beads I already had at home. Didn't have to go out and buy any more! And they were all green! Go figure! :) These are still left over from a previous small project called "I see trees of green ... dragonflies too". I'll post a photo of it later so you can see it. By the time I stopped counting, I had over 9,000 beads on this small 18" x 18" piece. Needless to say, it weighs a few pounds.
The interesting thing about this technique, is that it starts with all white, off-white and neutral fabrics in cotton, linen, silk, viscose, etc. And some poly-cotton thrown in there for good measure. It is pieced, fully quilted using cotton thread, and then, before it is squared off and bound, it is placed in a dye bath. This one was Celadon with a bit of bright green and a teaspoonful or two of sage.
The different colors on the quilt are given by the different fabric contents and textures. It's a very interesting technique, as you never know exactly what the finished piece is going to look like.
Here is another one, called "Birds on a Wire". The first photo was taken before it was dyed, and the second one is after it was placed in a vat of Pomegranate dye:
This next one, is called "On the Rooftops of the City where I Live" and is my version of a wonkly Log Cabin block, dyed in a mix of Tangerine, Bright Orange and a bit of Golden Yellow.
I will have some news to share with you on this technique in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I'm off to teach a fabric painting workshop.
Thanks for reading, Drop me a comment or two and keep quilting.
Merry Christmas to you all
December 24, 2012
From snowy and white Calgary! I just came back from the last of the supermarket runs in preparation for tonight. It's starting to snow outside, and it's very cold. The roads are very very icy and slippery, not a very good day for driving.
But ... it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! It actually looks lovely, and I'm feeling the excitement of the season. The gifts are all wrapped and waiting for Santa to place under the tree. I have Sabrina sleeping in the guest bedroom upstairs and Ale sleeping on the couch in the living room downstairs; he came home yesterday to cook for today, so the house smells wonderfully of what promises to be a great dinner: he's cooking duck. Sebastian will come mid-afternoon and join the festivities.
So as my kitchen has been taken over by the cooking monster - and there's a pile of pots waiting to be cleaned in the sink with a note that reads "Mom, I'll do the cleaning" - I took myself off to the supermarket where I sat at a small table in the restaurant to enjoy a steaming cup of americano and 3 lovely french macarons while reading my new book "Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire" written by Mireille Guiliano.
See? it is all about making new traditions and new memories and making our days work. Mine is going to be a great one today. I have all I could ever want: my children, good food, a nice bottle of wine, a fire in the fireplace, and the Christmas tree! And tomorrow, we'll open presents, have brunch, orange juice with champagne, coffee and great memories for the days to come.
May you find some time in the next few days to pursue your passions. I have some new projects to try, new books to read and quite a bit of new fabric to use.
So, from my home to yours, I wish you all the best this holiday season. May yours be filled with those you love and those who love you back.
Merry Christmas to you all.