Saturday 20 April 2019

Spring ... maybe.

     My daughter wanted a bulky knit sweater with bears on it for her birthday. Short notice but I finished the sweater in 2 weeks.  She wanted the sleeves longer, but the heaviness of the wool stretched the sleeve and made them longer than she wanted. I ended up ripping out the cuff and shortening the sleeves by 2 inches. This is the before picture.

     The art quilt that had been on show with SAQA returned home in January ... the partner quilt that I intended on making to go along with it has sat for a couple years with a partially completed top.  The original intention was to have both quilts with the same border but I forgot and used some of the border fabric in another quilt.
     Both quilts are from photos I took at Peggy's Cove, NS.

Wednesday 9 January 2019

January 2019

Yep, I'm still here ...
     I took a trip way back in May 2018 to the British Isles with my youngest daughter. We travelled through the Cotswolds, Wales, England's Lakefield district and into Scotland, finally taking a train from Edinburgh to London, where my daughter flew back home for work and I headed to York / Yorkshire Dales for a few days,  I took tons of pictures and worked out a memory art quilt design in the shape of the large window of Yorkminster using photos of many of the places I visited in order to create mini-art quilts for all the stained glass windows.
     It would have been beautiful, but I didn't make it. I have a lot of art quilts and bed quilts around my house; I sell a few and some go in shows at art galleries, but mostly they are here at my house.  And I thought of my sister-in-law in Amsterdam who still rents the studio space that my brother had because there is still so much of his artwork left after his death in 1994.  And of my uncle, whose paintings have such detail they look like photographs, with every wall in his house covered in artwork. What happens to all of our work after we die?  Is it fair to expect my two daughters to decide what is worth keeping or not?
     So ... I have been on Quilt Art Hiatus.

Doesn't mean I have stopped working though.
Lots of the leftover samples from classes I taught years ago made it into charity quilts.

     I redid the studio area; painted the walls a shiny ice blue; reorganized everything and got rid of books and fabric and pieces I started and know I will never finish. The sofa and my sewing machine are now facing the window ... where I can see ships passing by into Bedford Basin. Its a bright and cheery space even on a super grey snowy - rainy day like today.

     And I took a class on bookbinding through NSCAD ... gave away several books as Christmas gifts. I'd like to do more of this!!

     This beige book, the most complicated one, was my favourite to make. 
     Years ago, when the girls and I travelled west through the US and returned through Canada, I found an old ink stamp block with music shaped in the metal -- a page that had been used in printing music books.  I got the chance to run off several sheets at the bookbinders to use as book covers.

     In the process of cleaning up and out, there were containers of leftover wool and yarn. Some went to friends and some made it into hats and mitts which I delivered yesterday to a soup kitchen, they like to have extras on hand to give out to people who come in to eat. Winter is long so I think I will be able to knit a few more for them before the warmer weather comes.
     Trips have been made back and forth for the SAQA Transitions art quilt show -- to Yarmouth and Inverness, NS and this week I'm off to Saint John, NB for the opening of our final show.  These two are still travelling about.

     Life throws in a few rocky patches along the way: my daughter's surgery during the summer took a lot more out of her than expected, so I spent a fair bit of time helping out there, and my Dad passed away this fall; that has left a big empty space in my life.  I was lucky enough to be able to be with him several days a week for the past few years. 

Saturday 15 September 2018

Sept 2018

     Like many, a busy summer but not necessarily a creative one.

     I decided to use up a batch of samples I had made for classes that I taught several years ago and made them into charity quilts. I needed something relatively small that I could hand-sew while waiting at the many appointments my daughter had after her surgery.  Binding small Preemie quilts for our local hospital as well as some baby quilts for the women's shelter was a start.

     I finished up 5 small quilts, sent another off to a family member who had a baby in June and am currently on the second one for the local women's shelter.
     There are also several partially finished art pieces that need a decision. I will not finish them and they are taking up space .... one solution is to cut them up into postcard size quilt art.
     Apologies to Lauren Harris, Ontario Group of 7 artist ... this started out as a cover for my tablet but wasn't going the way I planned. Cutting it into 4 X 6 inch sections made more sense.

Saturday 28 April 2018

Is it Blue?

     On occasion I take the ferry to Halifax, walk along the board walk and waterfront, up the hill towards the citadel and along the streets of old and new architecture. Although it could be a warm or cold day, it is invariably sunny. Why pay for a ferry ride to walk in the rain?
     And so, on one of those cold sunny days, I snapped pictures of a city in transition. Two of the art quilt pieces I completed were juried into a show and are currently hanging in a gallery. Another piece I had started (but not finished in time to be considered for the SAQA Atlantic Transitions show), is of a building on George Street.
     My father asked recently what was I working on ... and I told him "the beautiful tall TD steel-blue building in Halifax along with the old bank" (possibly originally a Bank of Montreal, I must look that up). My father had no idea what building I was talking about.
     It has a tricky perspective ... I am standing on a slope downhill of the building, and there is no easy way to encompass both the new and old building. 
     Another difficulty is trying to show the different details of the building with fabric colours that have the same intensity. It will eventually be up to some thread painting to highlight the ornate work on the old bank.
     Midway through this, I realized that my photo did not show the detail of the buildings very clearly ... on a grey day, just before a coming rain, I took the ferry to Halifax and walked up the hill. ..... my blue building was NOT THERE!!!  Instead a large ominous grey building stood in its place.
     It turns out the glass and steel building is not blue (nor dark grey) but rather, it reflects the sky colour, to the point where the edges of the building often blend right in with the sky.
No wonder my Dad had no idea what I was talking about!! 

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Spring Cleaning

     Without all the SAQA art quilts now hanging at the gallery and no longer filling up my studio space, it was time to tidy up ... what started as a small 'tidy' ended up being a massive spring cleaning of the studio space and all the bits and pieces of colour-coordinated fabric that have been collecting in  plastic bins over 9 years.
     Twelve plastic bins are now at the goodwill shop (along with 6 bags of other miscellaneous stuff); scraps, strips, and blocks of fabric are bundled to either go to the quilting bee on Wednesday or the Mayflower quilting meeting in two weeks (We have a table for leftover fabric from which many people make charity quilts).  Fabric that I want to use for art quilts, including backings, has been re-organized and shelved. I could probably use with another CD shelving unit for fat quarters but empty shoe boxes turned on their sides work well for now.

And then I figured, why stop now. If I really have no desire to make bed quilts, then get rid of the magazines and books that promote bed quilts ... and so I did (about 30+ books and 40+ magazines are on their way out the door!)

     And I ended up with some empty shelving space! Not only empty spots, but one whole shelving unit is empty and waiting at the bottom of the stairs ready to be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

     Next I attacked the cutting table area and the various bags of quilting items stuffed around the room that I had used for samples in quilt classes that I taught a few years ago. Each class requires a small sample, as well as blocks in various stages to show the progression of sewing.  The IWK Hospital Natal unit takes Premie quilts that can be 24 - 30 inches square ... I decided to put the class samples to good use and created 8 premie quilt tops.  These won't take long to quilt and will likely be done in between art quilt ideas that have been percolating in my mind over the last 6 months.

The first two are based on a 9 patch with diagonal cuts ... love the shell pattern fabric; the white fabric also has shells on it

The next two are also part of the disappearing 9 patch theme, this time with sashing & using up random bright coloured fabrics for kids.

And then the disappearing 9 patch & sashing with a little more sedate look:

And the 9 patch again, without sashing, using up leftovers for the border to make it a 30 inch square

And finally using up some long strip pieces, which might have originally been intended for a kaleidoscope quilt, but I wasn't going that route any more, so they were cut into 6 inch blocks. This quilt will work as a crib quilt or a lap quilt ... and will probably go to the women's shelter.

And then, I found some leftover squares from an earlier quilt that I sold a few years ago ... not enough squares to make anything worthwhile, but after digging through the scrap bins, I found similar fabric to make this. It will need a border to finish it off.

     A clean space, no clutter ... a studio waiting for some creative work to begin!!

Two special projects

     I have been busy making a double sized bed quilt for a friend's son ... and I have decided that I really don't want to make any more bed quilts for a very long time.  I'd much rather do art quilts, postcard quilts, and writing.  There are threads and finishing touches left to do, but the plan is to have it ready by the end of the week ... and then it can either be mailed or wait until my friend visits Dartmouth / Halifax again.

     The opening at the Craig Gallery went well ... we have 29 art quilt pieces from 19 quilt artists showing for a month. Now that the first gallery is in motion, I need to get the information out to the 2nd gallery in Yarmouth for the August & Sept exhibition. One of our members, Kate M created the poster for the show (& I am pleased to see that my piece made the picture ... 3rd picture slice).

     And then, just for fun, another friend posted a picture that her daughter in elementary school created ... and it looked so "quilt-like" in a folksy way, I had to make a postcard of it ... and mailed it off to the young artist.  If the mail service is on-time, she should receive her card tomorrow.

The original:

The postcard:

Friday 2 March 2018

One Dead Fish

     Charlotte loves her birthday Sea Creatures quilt. I machine-quilted the panels separately and then hand-sewed the panels together ... it was while hand sewing I realized that one puffer fish had his fin on the wrong side of his body, and the poor guy was floating upside down.  Perhaps he is not dead, but rather swimming to his own desires.  No matter, it is not too obvious and he actually faces the wall side of the bed.
     The picture shows it on a queen-sized bed; C's new bed is a double.  She wasn't too keen on the bed when she first got it, but I think she has discovered that the bed holds a lot more of her stuffed animals than her crib did.  I babysat overnight a couple weeks ago and found it a bit difficult to snuggle in and read her bedtime stories with her whole menagerie!

     The SAQA Transitions quilt show is coming along; I forgot to mention that both of my pieces will be in the show. The art quilts are all in and I have remeasured them so we can have the proper length of hanging slats ... turns out some people gave me W X H measurements instead of H X W ... although I had measured and marked the boards before some of the quilts arrived, I am glad that they weren't cut before I confirmed the sizes.  I've also created a 'catalogue' of quilts ... easy enough to do until you run off the first draft and realize that several of the photos sent to me show up very dark ... they are now redone using the 'lighting' feature in my photo program. Less than a month now for the first gallery opening. And one year from now I will be able to say "I am done!!"

     I've started a commissioned quilt -- double bed, for a young man graduating in June. His original colours were orange, black, grey and purple ... that wasn't working for me. The purple had to go and has been replaced with a complementary colour --> blue!  Thank goodness he wants a relatively simple design; I should be able to have this done sometime in April before I take a holiday with my daughter.
     The panels are 24.5" X 24.5" unfinished with a light grey background. I may machine quilt this myself in small sections. Although much of the coloured fabric came from leftovers of two earlier quilts, the background grey, the batting and the backing cost a bit more than I originally estimated.  If I send the quilt out to be machine quilted, I will be lucky to have $75 in my pocket after many weeks of work.  Making bed quilts is just not worth it.