Saturday, 28 February 2015

Keeping Busy

What a beautiful, sunny (but chilly) day!! 
In hopes that spring will soon be here!!

This is the original Cathedral Windows that I was working on before switching to the Spring Green one. It will eventually become a single bed quilt (although I originally cut enough background blocks for a queen-size). No hurry.

Work in Progress: I'm liking the way the rocks turned out & the randomness of the Jack Pine branches but I'm not so sure about the trunks. I think they should have been darker. I may use some Inktense pencils and blend a darker brown to give the trunks and branches a bit more definition.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Cathedral Windows

Thursday Feb 26th.
Wow! What a busy past week .... little time to quilt as I held my first grandchild, Charlotte!
So, another flashback for quilting.
Five years ago, I learned how to quilt the "Cathedral Windows" pattern. Once the pockets (background material) were sewn and ironed into squares, I started to add the coloured centers, hand-sewing all the blocks. I had chosen beautiful fall colours but a third of the way through the project, I realized that those were no longer the colours that I had in my house, so I started over. This time with light, airy spring colours.

My bedroom had recently been painted light green, so I created a green diamond in the centre of the quilt and finished it with a green border.
 I can honestly say that I made my bed ... not only putting the sheets & covers in their proper place, but I made both the quilt and the wooden bed frame! The woodworking teacher at our high school offered an after-school class for teachers to learn woodworking skills. Many chose simple quick patterns; I chose a bed frame that took me most of the school year to complete. The bed is white ash and VERY heavy.
The quilt looks lovely ... but all those layers of fabric make it rather heavy and warm and it has now become the quilt for the spare bedroom.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Clarice Cliff

     Clarice Cliff was an English ceramic artist of the 1920s and 1930s who loved Art Deco designs and bright coloured landscapes. My Dad's partner, Jan, loves her work and has had Clarice Cliff mugs and plates. As a Christmas gift, I decided to make 4 place mats based on Cliff's designs ... and kind of got carried away with the fun project and made 6 mats.
 Cliff used a lot more reds and oranges than I did, but I decided to incorporate some of the greens & turquoises that were in the newly recovered sofa in Dad & Jan's family room.
The landscape pieces are fused material, ironed on to the background and then satin-stitched around the shapes. I wanted to make sure they were heavily quilted so plates or glasses that were sitting on the place mats would be level.

I tried a few of the decorative stitches on the sewing machine ... liked it enough that I went back and added some of the stitches to the other place mats as well.
In the beginning, I tried to capture Cliff's designs fairly closely (I had borrowed Jan's Cliff book & had checked on-line) but part way through, I realized that the fun was in the design, and the trees could be as wonky as they needed to be and if the houses did not sit quite level, that was OK too.
This one is my favourite .... it reminds me of the trees in the Dr. Seuss books.

I also decided to make clear place mats with matching fabric binding that could be placed over the mats so they would be used, especially if grandchildren or great-grandchildren were visiting.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Group of Seven: F. Carmichael

Work in progress ... a fabric interpretation of Franklin Carmichael's Georgian Bay Island
 Once I quilt the background (sky, water & some rocks), I will add the large pine trees (Jack pines?) on the rocks.
Finished picture before border & bindings will be approximately 43 cm X 35.5 cm (17" X 14")

Saturday Studio Cleaning

     What a bright, beautiful and cold day! The calm before the storm. I have spent the week transforming an upstairs bedroom into an office space which meant that my quilting studio could be rearranged and set up for one purpose ... creating (& sewing & quilting)! In the process of cleaning up, I found fabric that I was sure I owned (& ended up buying again because I couldn't find it) and a pair of scissors that had disappeared some time ago.

     The area where the bed now sits was the office area ... it is so nice to have more wall space now that the tall shelving units are gone! I probably should have taken the blanket off so I could properly show the bed quilt ... but the dog has been known to lie there, so her blanket is more important!
     I would have preferred white shelving units for the material and magazines, however these were on sale and available. They are also the perfect height to make a cutting table! I still need to tidy up the design wall and the bulletin boards, but I am sure with the storm coming tomorrow, I will have more than enough time indoors for such pursuits!
     The back wall has CD shelving ... a perfect size for fat quarters which are sitting on another set of the black cube shelving units.
     My next project will be to put in a better lighting system. It looks bright when the sun is shining and reflecting off the snow ... there is a window by the bed and one in the exterior door (just to the right in the 2nd picture) ... but on the frequent cloudy days or in the evening when working with tone on tone threads and fabric, it would be nice to be able to see clearly.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

40 Shades of Green

When visiting Ireland in the fall of 2013, the sun finally broke through the clouds at Newgrange. The fields and the trees around us glistened, and our guide said "Ireland is 40 shades of green". Personally, I think there are a lot more than 40 shades, but using that phrase, I created the following quilt using some of the photographs from the trip. My daughter, Liz, and I rented a car, travelled from Dublin, north to Belfast and continued to circle around the island, checking out castles and cliffs, amazing scenery and pubs .... and even a quilting store!

After completing this piece, I realized I had 39 shades of green (thread, fabric, small beads locating the pictures) so the 40th shade is actually on the back, (part of the sheep label).
I made a template of each county based on one of our maps, and cut the shape from green fabric backed with fusible webbing. Once ironed, each piece was satin-stitched.  The border, Celtic-knot style, is hand-stitched. The pictures are copied on my printer on fusible fabric sheets that I purchased at the local business store. (I have since found out how to transfer pictures & labels directly on to my own fabric).
The background (water area) is machine-quilted in the same style as the Neolithic patterns found on the stones at Bru na Boinne (Newgrange) in County Meath.

Art Hits the Wall

I received an email this week from Linda A, coordinator of Art Hits The Wall. My art quilt has been accepted and along with 20 other works (quilted or rug-hooked) will be displayed in several art galleries in NS during the coming year. This year's topic was "Presenting Myself". My first attempt was large intertwining curved fabric sections depicting a piano keyboard, words flowing from a typewriter / computer, family trees ..... and then I stopped! It was getting really complicated and I realized, as busy as I am, my life is not as complicated as it was while I worked. My life is relatively organized and so I created "On The Shelf"

Books show my love of reading, writing and music. The photos are the most important people in my life, a typewriter to depict writing (although I do use a computer, but that looks boring in a quilt) a tea pot and mug for my regular tea & coffee breaks, the sewing machine (of course) and a small red apple, a reminder of my teaching without making it a prominent part of my daily life.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Cold, Crisp and now Sunny!

     I woke early this morning ... a writing idea had occurred to me during the night, and I was at my computer shortly before 6 a.m. ready to type. As well as quilting groups, I belong to the Darkside Writers' Bloc(k) ... (Darkside , I am told, is how many people from Halifax refer to Dartmouth.) We meet once a month, have random topics and go off and write. After accomplishing the NaNoWriMo challenge of November (writing 50,000 words in one month), my writing brain went on a hiatus. With "Crossing the HRM" at its end stage (I need to sew the label on), I can now work on other tasks.
     The extra quilting and adding the backing has helped to flatten the wall-hanging. I will need my daughter to show me how to take a better picture. The next quandary in this project is how to price it. Although I didn't watch the time carefully, I think each bridge, from start to finish took approximately 12 - 13 hours, plus the time to put the panels together and quilting the negative spaces (areas without bridges) and then to add the amount of fabric and thread.  Someone must have a formula or criteria that helps in evaluating one's work! (?)
     When I was writing earlier, a large bank of sea smoke (fog) crossed the harbour ... slowly enveloping the basin, the bridge, the ship docked at Pier 9, and then spreading across the field below my place. I am on the cusp of the fog spread ... on one side, my view becomes grey; the other side of the house is bathed in sunshine.  The sunshine has won this battle; the temperature has risen a few degrees, and it is time to venture outside.

Today's quilt addition is a crib quilt, "Sweet Dreams" that I made for my Granddaughter-to-be (due in a few weeks). The first feather quilted in the background was a bit of a problem. I drew it on tissue paper and then proceeded to follow the lines with the sewing machine. The feather turned out great .... getting all the bits of tissue paper out of the stitches took ages!! So the remaining feathers were freehand ... no two alike, whichever direction the sewing machine & I decided to go. :-)

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Throwback Thursday

On Facebook, there are a number of people who post pictures of years ago ... an event called "Throwback Thursdays". I was thinking I could do that too ... but using quilts (both bed quilts & art quilts from previous months and years.) So here is the first one:
I joined SAQA-Atlantic Canada in 2011. The first Art Quilt Show they had at the Mary E Black Gallery in Halifax was in 2012. The topic: Rooted. I created an art quilt called "Uprooted" depicting a tree with its roots wrapped around the British Isles and its branches spreading across Canada; a reflection of my family's and many other immigrants travels in the 1700s & 1800s.  On the first day of the show, 'Uprooted" sold to a family whose immigrant history was similar to mine.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Crossing the HRM: almost done!

The finished piece is 28" X 47.5" (71 X 120.5 cm). It still needs some added touches ... I have found a couple areas that could do with a little more thread painting. Hard to tell when enough is enough!
I am also hoping that once I have a proper backing on it & a hanging rod, that it will lie a little straighter. There is a ton of little threads all over it ... I will be picking those off for ages!! :-)
[I could also do with some good camera lessons!! My photos appear a little wonky.]

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Crossing the HRM: those 5 bridges needed to be put into one wall hanging with a maximum length of 48 inches. I have played around with the pieces, sewing and un-sewing. Each block measures 9 1/2 X 13. Five bridges X 9.5 = 47.5 .... not much room for error. But today, they came together!! With the half inch to spare even with binding. Another couple hours of machine sewing and it'll be ready for showing. Thought I would finish today, but sore shoulders and arms from shoveling snow and chipping ice have taken their toll.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Crossing the HRM

A work in progress, this is a series of 5 bridges in and around Halifax & Dartmouth Nova Scotia.

Young Avenue, Halifax

MacKay Bridge over the Narrows in Halifax Harbour

Shubie Park walking trail

Hwy 111 & pedestrian bridge at Lake Banook

Portland Lakes Trail near Woodlawn Library, Dartmouth