Thursday, 22 June 2017

When Artists Use Needle and Thread

I'm always impressed and interested in quilters who can just play around with their materials and let their feelings or inspiration take charge of what they are doing.  LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color comes to my mind when I think of that.

I also think of a fibre artist from my home province whose work I've followed for years, Judy Cooper.  A link to Judy's gallery of work is Here.

                     Detail from The Deep

 I've been a rather rule governed person and it shows in what I try to create in fabric as well.  By the book kind of thing.

I'm noticing more and more books and magazines moving away from what I think of as traditional quilting.
 These showcase more artsy types of quilted pieces that incorporate mixed media and techniques far beyond what a rotary cutter and a fat quarter could achieve, and of course, the results are completely different. For one thing traditional quilting usually involves making items of use; having to be able to put them through the washing machine comes to mind.  Or maybe, quilted wall hangings which become a little more of an art item.

 However, with this new trend and new ideas, quilters produce genuine pieces of art which is the objective. While many of these works reveal obvious skill and talent, I must admit, the beauty of others completely elude me.

I have checked out the book above several times from the library and each time find something new to interest me in its pages.  Patricia Bolton is the host of Quilting Arts, a t.v. show and has published several books on the subject of quilted art work.  Her book, The Quilting Arts Book is a compilation of the best projects from the Quilting Arts Magazine .  This is a magazine I always look at when I get a chance to go to Chapters.

                            Image result for quilting arts magazine 2017

  Anyone who has old copies of that magazine around probably won't want to own the book however.

This book below receives excellent reviews on where it is available for around $18.  Award winning quilter, Deborah Boschert,  provides step by step instructions on how to incorporate different artistic elements into a quilting piece.  Even the projects shown on the cover look great to me.


Not exactly quilting but I had to show you this as I really like it. This is a work from the talented hands of Gwen Klypak. Interesting and unique. I think those are yarn and silk threads.


I'm interested in the idea of what these fibre artists are trying to achieve.

  I love how they have the where with all to use different materials, even metallic foils, to enhance their work.  The embellishments are sometimes beautiful and you can see that just from the few projects photographed for the cover of Patricia's book.  Pearls, buttons, bits of ribbons, lace, netting, paper...all these things become part of the picture.  The various fabrics can be coloured with crayons, painted, dyed, marked, stenciled...anything you can think up to do with it basically.

It is a little like seeing quilting in not one but many new ways.  And those ways are endless, as unique and varied as the imagination can envision. Sadly as much as I would like to create, I think I'm rather lacking in that regard.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

An Embroidery Finish and Thrift Store Finds

I finished this piece long before I went away on my holiday.  Just never got around to pressing and taking a photo.  I loved stitching this fanciful bird from the clever mind and hand of Nicola Jarvis. I actually added extra embellishments just to make it feel more like mine.

 The kit was unique in that each of the stitches required was illustrated right on the upper and lower edges of the cloth.  All her work is so beautiful; take a peek for yourself.
Nicola Jarvis Studio and Shop

I love looking through second hand stores and it fits well with my idea of reusing and recycling.  I've found this is something you either love doing or just don't.
 I even have ideas in mind for certain things I'd love to find.  For instance, my winter dish set is the Friendly Village by Johnson Brothers.  I've been lucky to pick up extra pieces at thrift stores and am always on the look out for more.

                                     Image result for friendly village dishes

I always rummage the craft sections looking through patterns, books and fabrics.  This last visit someone had dropped off over 50 boxes of Lain Colbert tapestry wool.

Image result for boxes of laine colbert tapestry wool
 I have no use for it but I was sorely tempted to buy them.  Top notch stuff in all the beautiful colours.  But what could I do with it?  Can you crochet with them? Any suggestions?   I'll run right back and buy them.

This is a cushion cover just like one I handled at Ikea last month.  It was $2.99 but I know at the store it was $6.99 and it is striped on the other side.

I saw this striped white and pink blouse and liked it right away.  Banana Republic with the tags still attached saying $60.  It is one of those non-wrinkle kind and will go well with a pair of white capris I have.  I paid $12.98 for it.

This vintage tablecloth doesn't have a mark on it and cost $1.99.  I love the weather vane motifs and the pretty country scenes.

This has jiggled a memory for me.  It seems familiar and I think one of my grandmothers used to cover her washing machine with one similar.  It is now on the table in my sewing room.

I got a couple more things, but Hubby (my editor, LOL) says my posts are too long so I'll save those for another day.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Stressful and Controversial Quilting...Who Knew!

With my Tuesday's Flowers a flimsy now, I thought my quilting time could be used for my Kathy Schmitz 12 month project, A Patchwork Year.

I had prepped two of the patterns to take on my trip and was pleased to actually finish one while away.  This one is for May and embroidered with back, stem and daisy stitches using my favourite Aurifil red.

Read and reread Kathy's directions for the patchwork bits surrounding the embroidered centres.  All the numbers- oh dear.  Finally realized there are Flying Geese, 4 to each block so I will need 48 of them.  Somewhere to begin.  I used this very good video from McCalls to get me started and followed it closely.

Before long I had 6 little Flying Geese made and was feeling pretty good about it.  Sure this is easy, I told myself.  Pride goeth before a fall, my father used to say.  So the very next set, I do this.  Sew them on backwards.

I don't get angry when I make a mistake; I get disappointed in myself.

Then I had a fresh panic when I thought I'd cut the seam allowance too close on the side points.  But luckily it occurred to me when they were sewn on, I could adjust the triangle part and they would be fine. Whew!
Another little blip when I realized the patchwork around each monthly panel is slightly different...may not need 48 of the Flying Geese after all.  I halted that production and took a closer look at the other blocks.  Yes, it seems each is surrounded by Flying Geese.

Perhaps I will just work on each block as I finish the centers.  I'll show you how this one works out because my goal today, after some garden weeding, is to get May block finished.

Who Knew?!

Who knew this would be controversial. I certainly didn't.

I'm a member of a Facebook group that celebrates hand quilting.  A member who is new to quilting posed a very innocent question about the validity of using cheater cloth, those pre -designed panels in her projects.

Well, I couldn't believe the comments that ensued!  I had no idea we would feel so strongly about a topic. And the debate over what is the difference in piecing, patchwork or quilting, a quilt or a blanket, the validity of hand stitching versus machine, etc.

  I hate snobbishness in any of its forms so I finally felt obliged to comment as well.  I said something like it is the pleasure in the doing that is important and surely that's entirely up to the individual.  (But then I know I will never ever have a juried quilt so maybe that is slanting my thoughts.)

Someone finally said hey Quilting Police, cool it down and thankfully then it shifted to more positive remarks.
But this made me think how blessed at this moment that the only drama in my life is in the sewing room!
And I hope that is the only drama in your life too!

Happy to link up with Busy Hands QuiltsNina Marie's Creative blog , The Needle and Thread Network and Em's Scrap Bag .

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Can There Be Too Much to Love

Something in the air when I was gardening has given me mild sinus congestion. This is something I seem to be a little more subsceptible to since moving to Ontario.  I know the spring culprit is the fluffy white bits that float so prettily through the air.  But what a nuisance it is to not be able to breathe as well as one should.  But you know I am not complaining- not really; I am so thankful to be upright, still breathing (however stuffily) and going about my business as usual.

I like this article called  One Woman's Trash is Another Woman's Quilts from Upworthy.  Amazing the talent to use up tiny fabric crumbs and also how wonderful to empower women to help themselves while doing so.


My lilac tree is finally in bloom.  This is a pretty version called Sensation and has a unique feature -the edge of the bloom being a different colour from the rest of the petal. This is called a picotee flower.  How do I know this?  I'm fortunate that the tag is still attached to the base of the tree.  The smell around it is heavenly according to hubby; well he didn't say heavenly, he said nice.

I'm loving my new tablecloth from Ikea.  The flowers mimic cross stitch and are a rosy red colour.

I couldn't resist buying this copy of Simply Vintage magazine. This edition has 21 projects with all the full scale pull out patterns.  At the Quiltmania site you will find how to videos that support some of the projects.  I found that feature wonderful for the Tuesday's Flowers hanging.

 I especially love two of the patterns that caught my eye. And the log cabin is certainly a vintage pattern.

Recently I got caught up on Jennys' posts at Jenny of Elefantz.  I was delighted to see she has made her version of this quilt and isn't it the prettiest thing.  I like it so much.
The link to her post about this hanging and all her other lovely stitching is HERE.

And the other project?  This one and isn't it sweet.  What is it about leaping hares against a night sky that I like.

And the message Follow Your Heart.  And tiny hexies- love them too.

And love to link up with Not Afraid of Color too.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

I Just Want to Watch Longmire and Knit

Our weather has been ridiculous.  We went from one of the coldest springs on record to setting a new record for heat a couple of days ago. And it has stayed high ever 35 C with heat warnings.

And here I am to talk about woolly things. But our basement t.v. room is very cool so knitting down there while watching one of my shows is perfect. Last week I kind of binge watched House of Cards.

And don't you find there are times when that is exactly what you want to do...just slip into comfy clothes and knit or stitch in front of whatever t.v. is sort of mindless but amusing.
 A mild antidote to the horrible news we are forced to absorb on a daily basis.

  My knitted scarves bed blanket is moving along.  Here is where it was last weekend.

I have three more scarves ready to stitch to it.

My goal is that it be big enough for our queen sized bed.  No doubt next winter it will be much appreciated though that is hard to conceive of at the moment.

Are you familiar with swing knitting?  Sometimes called short row knitting?  Of course this is new to me but then I'm a novice in the knitting world too. I'm seeing this called tapestry knitting as well.  It is a technique that creates hills and valleys in the knitting and makes it quite decorative.

                                       Image result for tapestry knitting

Ravelry: Knitting the Swing - Swing-Knitting:
Here is a great video that explains the technique rather well. Very creative.

Always something new to learn in the stitching world.

Knitting while walking, now that's clever too.  Love the pretty colours in this painting.

                                             Audrey the Shepherd Lass by Gari Melchers:

I'm linking this post to Sew Can Do where there is quite a show of fantastic crafty happenings.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

A Finish, A WIP and Two Straw Things

Up at my usual time...early, but not quite up to par.  Had a horrid night with very little sleep.  First it was too hot.  Our little bit of heat has caught me off guard and I still had the winter duvet on the bed.  That will get remedied today.

As well, younger daughter was away on a business trip to California and was arriving home at 2 am due to flight delays.  That meant she was doing the Park and Ride in the wee hours which had me worried. Son in law texted at 3 am that she was using the airport valet service so that was a little better but I was so happy when I got the text an hour later that she was home.  I may as well have gone to the airport myself to collect her.

 Even though she is a grown woman, I still worry and I guess that just doesn't stop.

The Finish

It is a real pleasure to have my Tulips project completed and hanging on the wall. I didn't do as much hand quilting as I thought I would-just in each pink part, surprise, surprise but my time babysitting and away kind of took precedence. I wound up doing some echo quilting by machine around each leaf which worked out well.  No hitches with this little project so how good is that.

Thought I'd try one of those artsy type photos of it out on the lawn but the too bright sunshine and the poor quality of our grass at this stage kinda didn't really work.  (Hubby won't like that I'm showcasing this grass...what is it about men and grass!)


I have my Tuesday's Flowers blocks on the wall together and have started cutting the strips and corner stones.  So far, so good. I was a bit nervous when I began this stage.

 About that, I followed the advice that so many of you give...put a new blade in my rotary cutter and measured twice or three times.  This fabric is expensive; I really don't want to mess up.

  I am liking the French General Pondcherry fabric and the grey of it is not overwhelming the flowers.  Seeing these blocks altogether does give me a bit of a surprise.  I didn't realize I had used so much red in them but I like it.  I'm using the order the original Tuesday's Flowers used to line up the rows.

I think this tells something about my nature.  I don't seem to be as cognizant of the ending of things as I should be and get lost in the process.  It even happens in baking with me.  Once I put something in the oven, I can feel finished and only setting a timer will remind me that it's not over yet.  The making of things seems to be where I find the most pleasure.   Does that even make sense?

Two Straw Things

At the second hand store that used to be a church, we found a number of items that suited this house. When I saw this chair, I knew I wanted it for the front veranda.  Finally got it outside and I do like it.

I love bags. I think that is a trait I share with many of you!  It is just about the only accessory that I have to reign myself in when it comes to purchases.  I didn't need another bag, but I liked this one.  Summery and colourful with lots of pinks, blues and greens as well that this overbright photo isn't showing.

Hope there is something colourful to brighten your day!

Linking this post to the amazing stitchers at
Crazy Mom Quilts
Freemotion By the River
Thread and Needle Network
Sugarlane Designs

Thursday, 8 June 2017

I Could Live In Sweden Part 2

A while back I wrote this post called I Could Live in Sweden.  In it I told about just being to Ikea and  chatted about the influence Swedish designers have on everything.  Though I don't care for the sleek, bare modern look in a house, there are so many Swedish/Scandinavian kind of things that I do love.

The Scandinavian influence in fabrics and quilting turned up about a decade ago and shows no sign of fading.  Fabrics featuring nordic themes are still very popular. The nordic fox, and Dala horse come to mind.
                                         Image result for the swedish fox in designs

Are you familiar with Lynette Anderson's Scandinavian Christmas wall hanging?  It and a fabric line were inspired by her working holiday in Sweden.  Isn't it pretty?
 This is in my book mark file and is actually moving up the queue.  Homespun Hearth sells the kit and has substituted more greens for the greys which give it a brighter look if the neutral doesn't appeal to you.

Scandinavian quilt watermark

 The Scandinavian Design Center, which ships worldwide, has everything from children's toys to jewelry to home decor if you want to see what Swedish dishes or rugs look like. They also have a wide ranging fabric selection that makes interesting looking.
Love the colour palette in this one.

                              Jakten fabric - brown - Almedahls

I really like this snowy houses panel.

                      Lyckeby fabric - multi - Arvidssons Textil

A few years back a friend gave me this book for my birthday. She knew of my love of cross stitch and also that the traditional Swedish style in particular appealed to me. (It is interesting to me that by visiting your blogs I have broadened my interest to include more primitive styles now.)  But I just love that beautiful red basket right there on the cover.

The Danes gave us Hygge, the concept of warmth, home and family and what's not to love about that. It's a concept we Canadians, in particular, with our long cold winters certainly embrace. Even though it is just a trend, I hope the feeling it implies will linger.  I love coziness and all that means- woolly sweaters, wood fires, pretty lighting. But it's not just that winter is the most hygge time of the year, the idea also means consolation, gratitude and finding pleasure in small things.  Which are all big things really.

I'd finished this post when coincidentally I spied this book on the Bargain shelf at Chapter's and couldn't resist buying it.  The pages would make wonderful templates for applique or designs for embroidery.

I had to share this very Scandinavian design with you. Below is a link to this free cross stitch pattern in pdf form by Jan Eaton for Tom Pudding designs.

The Scandinavian Red and White

Image result for scandinavian red and

I like how modest this nation is even though they have so much to be proud of.  #1 in the world for its sustainability and also ranked #1 in the world by the UN for its care of the elderly. Canada ranks 5th and I would have to say that our care of the elderly is somewhat fragmented as well.

Thanks for staying with me to the much to like and be inspired by.

I will be linking up with all the likes and thankfulness to be found at Not Afraid of Color and It's a Small Town Life.