Celebrating National Quilt Day
March 24, 2012
Last Saturday, Bev, Lisa and I went out for the day fabric buying to the sari store in NE Calgary, or at least one of them. We met in the morning at Bev's, and spent some time downstairs in her studio looking at some of ther "in progress", "about to be finished" and "on hold" projects!
We Then went to Bhatia to buy silk, and although they didn't have exactly what we wanted because they had a very low supply of Dupioni silk, we managed to spend a chunk of money in the store. We purchased a lovely very fine open weave cotton, silks, some trim, etc.
After the purchasing trip, we were hungry so we went to Notable for lunch. While we were sitting at the restaurant, Lisa noticed the front of the desk, and mentioned what a lovely quilting motif it would make, so we took photos. The manager was very nice and even gave me some free lessons on taking photos on my new iPhone. Here's a photo of the front of the desk. What do you think? I believe I will play with this for a while, see what I can come up with.
And then we came back home and got ready to do some fabric dyeing. First we cut the fabric off the roll:
then we divided some of it into fat quarters, and threw it into the wash to scour the fabric. While that was going on upstairs, we chose the dyes,
mixed them, always keeping safety in mind first, as the dye particles are dangerous if inhaled, so we used dust masks. Don't we look great? :)
Then, we separated the fabric, folded fat quarters,
and then we dyed. Lots of fabric, lots of colors:
The sequins that you see in Bev's pail are from a pillow cover we purchased that was white, and we thought it would be fun to see what happened if we dyed it. I'll post a photo of mine later on.
And here are some of Lisa's fabrics. Don't they look great?
And now, I'm off to play some and maybe do some shopping. I need chocolate!
Keep quilting. And remember ... practice does make perfect!
Quilting Arts TV - Series 1000
March 12, 2012
Good morning, A couple of days ago I got back from my trip to Cleveland where I taped 6 segments for Quilting Arts TV, and 1 segment for InStitches. It was a very short trip, basically less than 24 hours, but packed with activities and good times. Here are some photos:
I need to find out when and how to watch it here in Calgary, as somebody told me that KSPS doesn't show it anymore. Otherwise, we'll have to wait for the DVD to come out.
Off to do some work now. I am making a small present for an 8-year old girl whose birthday is tomorrow, based on a Barbie drawing from a coloring book. I'll post some photos of the finished product.
In the meantime, keep quilting.
David Taylor in Canmore
February 06, 2012
Good morning from snowy Calgary,
We woke up to flurries today, although we can't complain because we had a gorgeous weekend. So much so that I spent part of both afternoons sitting outside in the sun! Incredible for the middle of February.
On Friday after work, Bev and I drove to Canmore for David Taylor's lecture. He's in town for a 2 and a 3-day workshop. David resides in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. His talk was light and had us all laughing when he talked about his love of fabric, and his shopping sprees. He also talked about how he loves to fondle the fabric, and just look at it on the shelves. The photo of one of his shelving units was incredible, as all the pieces of fabric were folded exactly in the same manner, and were all stacked in precise order. I am not sure I would ever show a photo of my fabric closet, where fabric is all over, with little bits and pieces stuck here and there.
David's quilt Sally at the Window won him an award at IQA in Houston, and pretty much launched his career as an art quilter.
Here are a few photos of three of the four quilts he brought to show. The first ones are from "Marmalade's first snow":
This piece is stunning. You need to see it up close and personal to really get the full impact of it. It is not a large piece, it's 47" x 35" but the detail on it is stunning. Enjoy the photos:
See the latch just above Marmalade's left ear? It is made up of 8 different pieces of fabric!
He quilts with variegated thread; he uses both King Tut and Sulky Blendables, and uses the same thread in the bobbin. Below is a photo of the back of the quilt, so you can see the detail of the quilting. He uses a dark backing, so the back of his quilts look like a separate work of art!
And a detail of the wood:
This is another detail of one of his pieces, called Hidden Treasures:
And a detail:
And another one called "The Sentinel of Santorini":
And a detail of the cat:
And here's a photo of David, after the lecture, while he was talking to some of the people admiring his quilts:
All in all, a very enjoyable evening. The first time I came across David's name was in Houston, when he won a major prize at IQA for his quilt Sally at the Window. I stood in front of that quilt for a long time, trying to figure out how it was constructed. When I heard the story on Friday, I understood then why the quilt won: it's all fabric, no paint, no embellishments of any kind. Every window pane has been constructed individually, and every frame has mitered corners. Each frame is constructed of three separate pieces of fabric, about 1/8" wide, and all needle turned. That gives you an idea of the complexity of his quilts.
In hindsight, I regret not signing up for his workshop. Although I don't really hand applique, it would have been nice to see how he works and how he makes up the patterns, starting from a photograph. He's going to be travelling quite a bit over the next couple of years, so maybe I'll catch up with him somewhere else at some point in time. You can visit his website at: www.davidtaylorquilts.com
I hope you've enjoyed the photos. And yes, as you can see, practice does make perfect. So ... keep quilting.
February 2012 FMQ Challenge Tutorial with Diane Gaudynski
February 02, 2012
The new February tutorial with Diane Gaudynski is out as of yesterday, and it's fabulous. If you still haven't joined the challenge, I urge you to do so. It's fun. And the best part is that it gets you quilting and practicing. And yes, you will get better at it.
Here's SewCalGal's website: http://sewcalgal.blogspot.com/
Diane's tutorial focuses on simple feathers.
Doesn't it look fabulous? Also, look at the piece of fabric she used to make her sample on. It's probably a piece of purple silk dupioni.
I always tell people to practice on pretty fabric. There's something to be said for the feeling it gives you to have a piece of pretty fabric under the needle. And it doesn't matter if you don't have much practice. Your sample does not have to be perfect. Practice and repetition will make you perfect. So don't just make one feather sample, make a few. And then modify the pattern or change the curve and make a few more. Don't forget to practice on paper before you switch to fabric. It helps you get a better idea of what you need to focus on and the path to take when you go to do it on the sewing machine. And when you practice on paper, don't lift the pen or pencil off the paper. Keep it moving as if you were actually using the sewing machine. That gets your hands, eyes and brain trained for doing a continuous line without breaks. If you need to break somewhere in your drawing, you'll need to do the same when you are actually sewing the design.
And if you do join the challenge, send me a photo of your finished sample. I'd love to see it. In the meantime, enjoy the day and above all, keep quilting.
Quilting Challenge for January
January 31, 2012
As you may know, I joined the Quilting Challenge organized by SewCalGal, so as per instructions and directions, I'm posting the photos of my practice piece for this month, Frances Moore's leaf pattern and variation:
I hope you can see enough detail. The other photo I had to upload is too heavy and it won't let me do it. But I believe you can see that it has the original leaf and the one with the swirl. It was a fun design to try. It is quilted on a tan colored silk dupioni and I used a cherry red rayon thread from Superior on top and a similar color Deco-Bob by Wonderfil thread in the bobbin. The only thing I need to do is bind the 12" x 12" sample. One down ... eleven more to go! And if you still haven't, I encourage you to join the challenge. There is still time to do it.
Once I sit down at the sewing machine, especially when it is prepared for quilting, I take the opportunity to try new designs or make a few more samples. I am teaching a machine quilting class in a couple of weeks, and we are going to be focusing on more advanced designs. The afternoon will be devoted to feathers. And because feathers are one of my favorite designs to quilt, I made a new small sample. Again, it finished at approximately 12" x 12" (it started larger, but with all the close quilting, it shrunk).
It is once again quilted on tan silk dupioni with the cherry colored thread by Superior. You can see that it adds a pinker tone to the quilt which goes to show that the thread color that you choose is important. If I had chosen a similar tan color to quilt it with, the design would be harder to see. You will be able to see texture still, but it wouldn't be as noticeable. So that's something to consider when you are thinking about quilting a quilt. Do you use similar color thread, a contrasting, variegated? When you are trying to decide, the best thing to do is make small samples with different threads, and see which one gives you the effect that you are looking for. Consider quilting part or the whole of the same design you'll use on the quilt, so you'll get the advantage of practicing the design before using it in the final project, and seeing exactly what the thread will do to the design. Consider also, when thinking about thread, that for patterns that need to be double-stitched (like feathers), if you use a variegated thread, the double-stitching will show more, as chances are that the double stitching won't be with the same area of color than the original stitching (hope you understand what I am trying to say).
Another consideration when choosing thread: for tighter designs like the one above, choose a thinner thread and use smaller stitches. For larger and more spread out designs, choose a thicker thread and a larger stitch.
Back to my piece. The only thing I marked was the spine, and that was quilted first, double stitching to get back to the beginning. The spine gives you the basis for where the feathers will be placed. Then I quilted the feathers, one side first; because you need to get back to the beginning again to quilt the other side of the feather, I echoed along the feathers down to get back to the starting point. You can see the echo line really close to the feathers. The echo line is about 1/8" apart. Then I quilted the other side of the first spine, and continued until the entire feather was quilted before working on the background.
The background consists of three different stitches: a very tiny and tight stipple stitch, bouncing bananas in one corner, and a small sample of scallops on the right hand side, along an extension of a feather. See the detail below:
In this detailed photo you can see the a close-up of the feathers, and the tight stippling and bouncing bananas on the left-hand corner.
To give you an idea, because people always ask "how long did it take you to quilt that?" being so tiny, this piece took me close to four hours to quilt. The background is a bit tedious because it was just the one design. That is why I chose to vary the designs in small areas, to break the monotony.
As I mentioned above, I used Deco-Bob thread in the bobbin. Deco-Bob is a thread by Wonderfil. It is 80-weight, which means that it is very fine, so when you wind it on the bobbin, a lot of it fits in. I was able to quilt both samples without having to change the bobbin, and I still had more than half a bobbin left.
That same weekend, I started working on another sample from a DVD by Sharon Schamber. I still have to quilt the outer border, so that's the plan for Saturday this weekend. I'll post photos of it when I'm done. But what I wanted to tell you is that I managed to do all the quilting on the inside of that small sample (about 14" square for the center part) with that one bobbin of thread. Which to me, is priceless!
And with that, I'm going to leave you to practice, practice, practice. I hope you'll join the challenge. Let me know if you do. I will work on February this coming weekend hopefully.
Thanks for reading. Keep quilting. Remember that your work will get better with practice.