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.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

It's Hard to Keep Up

     My daughter set up my blog for me to help keep track of all the projects I make ... it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I was quite active in keeping up for a couple years ... but ... sometimes the whole think of keeping up with so many other commitments can be quite overwhelming.

     What I really want to do is plan my trip to Britain, (which I've had to shift around to fit gallery dates), instead of checking on galleries & sending emails back and forth, setting up times for set-up, show openings & closings, take-downs and getting information & pictures needed for advertising. All the art quilts for the upcoming show are coming in and another set of issues need to be addressed. Hangers need to be made; hopefully I can get my 89 year old father to help out with drilling the holes in the wooden slats; I need new containers for transporting them to the different galleries since they are different sizes than our last show & I guess it also means I am responsible for driving the work to the galleries in time for set-up, staying overnight in each place so I can be there for the opening show ... and then of course, driving back to pick them up.  Way more expense and time than I thought this was going to be.  This should have been a two person job .. a little late now.  Lesson learned. Don't volunteer! OK, there's my rant ... done.
  So ... on to crafty things that are the only things keeping me sane at the moment.
     The wind has been strong and cold this winter and my ears get cold when walking the dog.  I had my daughter help me since I found the band instructions a little difficult to follow & she had made the hat for her husband (to keep his ears warm when walking the dog!) ... but I have made a hat with a double thick headband with earflaps .... and it is wonderfully warm.

Charlotte's quilt for her 3rd birthday is coming along ... all 72 sea creatures and seaweed are done and put into 8 panels. 

The pattern calls for manatees to be made ... but I changed the pattern to sea otters.

Working on placement ... the pattern calls for all similar colours to be in the same panel -- Elizabeth Hartman used 8 different colours for the 8 panels. Since I only used 4 (yellow, orange, blue, green) I decided to mix the colours in the panels ... but it is hard not to have too many similar colours next to each other!

My friend Dorothyanne creates felted animals.  For my Dad's birthday, I had her make a 'muskox'.  Years ago, one of the final papers Dad wrote when working on one of his degrees was about 'muskox' ... when you asked "why write a paper about muskox?", his response was "Why not?"  This little guy is about 9 inches long.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Good Start to January 2018

     My entries for the SAQA Transitions show have been 'sent in' ... that's a bit of a weird thing, since I am the one to whom things are being sent.  My hope is that one or both pieces will be accepted; it would seem kind of odd, I would think, if the person (me) who is curating the whole show didn't get a piece in the exhibition.  Our juror has all the photos and expects to get the results to me for next week ... fingers crossed.
     The two pieces I've entered are:

     Halifax in Transition I: View from Citadel Hill; original photo taken January 2017; the building on the right under construction had its opening debut this weekend!

     Halifax in Transition II: Citadel Hill Clock; original photo taken January 2017 by a CBC newsperson (the CBC communications dept gave me permission to use their photo ... I had gone to the same spot as the original picture hoping to take my own photo, but the crane angle had been shifted). 

     I like the idea of postcard art quilts ... presumably something quick and easy to produce, but I don't really choose ideas that are quick and easy. This is the Dennis Nicholas lobster boat out of Pubnico Harbour, NS, that a friend of mine works on for the month prior to Christmas when the lobster fishing on the south shore is the busiest. Finished size is 4" X 6".  Hopefully I'll find some time to make a few more, after Charlotte's quilt and a commissioned graduation quilt due in June.

     Charlotte will be 3 next month (hard to believe!) ... the side of her crib has been removed as a first step and she will be receiving her big girl bed for her birthday.  The baby quilt and the crib quilt I made her will not fit.  I saw the Elizabeth Hartman "Fancy Forest" pattern at a shop and thought I might do that for her, and then I saw the "Awesome Ocean" pattern. Well, Charlotte's daddy works for BIO (Bedford Institute of Oceanography) ... and it only makes sense that her quilt have an ocean theme. 

     There are 8 sections containing 9 sea creatures and seaweed. (that's 72 pieces that need to be created!)

     I've modified the colour scheme that Ms Hartman has suggested, only using greens, blues, yellows and oranges (no pinks, purples, browns or reds).

     And, I have been lucky enough to not buy any extra fabric for the colours, although I did need the grey background fabric ... which is the same background fabric that I used on Ari's Christmas Cat quilt / duvet cover.

     I have found it easier to work on all 8 of the sea creatures at once ... invariably I have made mistakes in putting it together and seem to be ripping out or remaking some part in every grouping, (eg. putting the fins on backwards, forgetting to move the needle to 1/4 inch, messing up a size when sewing ... some pieces are only a 1/4 inch different in size ... you name it, I've done it!)  
     There is a manatee in the pattern which looks a little like a sea otter. It is unlikely that Charlotte will ever see a manatee & more likely she is aware of sea otters, so I need to modify that creature when I get to it. The goal is to have all the creatures done before the end of the month and that will give me three weeks to put it together and have it quilted.