October 28, 2009 9 comments

Zen Garden

My sewing machine and I were reunited and immediately commenced to work together on our latest project.  She ran satisfyingly smoothly and well, and Zen Garden was finished in no time!]

That gorgeous Japanese silk fabric used on the back and on the squaures made me think of all things Japaense,
October 25, 2009 4 comments

Curses! Foiled Again!

I was feeling better on Friday as I posted then.  We had dinner plans with friends that evening, and Saturday was BSP's and my anniversary:


(I wish you could see how adorable BSP was on our wedding day, but I have promised (upon pain of death!) to never never never put BPS on the internet. )

So, no quilting was done on Saturday.   But today, oh how lovely, today I finally got to go to my sewing room after such a long absence. 

I happily created my new top and began quilting it, when ... DISASTER.

My usual sewing machine, Jezebel (a Singer Ingenuity) went to the hospital about ten days ago.  She needed a part not on hand, so in her absence, I've been using my old sewing machine, a little Kemore I call Connie.  I made all of my first quilts on Connie as well as host of clothing and home decor items, so I had no qualms about putting her to use and felt that she would be well up to the task. 

Sadly, she gave up the ghost on me this afternoon.  I spent nearly two hours painstakingly taking her apart, cleaning her, oiling her and putting her back together again, but she is still recalcitrant; so I finally came to the sad conclusion that there will be no more quilting today.

The good news is, when Connie stopped working, after my initial attempts to help her ended in ashes, I called the shop and found out that Jezebel is ready to roll.  BSP has volunteered to pick her up tomorrow so she'll be ready to go when I get home.  Hurray!

This is the backing fabric as well - I had to fuse it to give is some stability - it's a Japanese silk, but is fine and sheer like Sari-veil fabric.  If you click that pic, you may be able to see a really cool detail - those grey ovals and the insides of the flowers are slightly raised and feel like caterpillar fur.  So neat.  I picked up several yards of this fabric at the most recent Textile Museum fabric sale and while I was standing in line with it, people kept coming up to me and touching it!   It's extremely tactile - soft and smooth - it really invites stroking.

Anyway - my next post should be the finished product.

Hope you all had great weekends - and perhaps ones more productive than mine! 
October 21, 2009 7 comments

I'm still sick...

So this is the only activity going on in my sewing room right now...
Thanks for all your well wishes...
October 19, 2009 9 comments

Creativ Festival

This past Friday and Saturday I was at the Creativ Festival  (yes, it drives me crazy too that they've taken the "e" off of "Creative").  Kitschy spellings aside, it was the first time I've been. I was pretty "meh" on going in the first place, even though I had booked two classes - one  with Kaffe Fasset and one with a well known American art quilter.

As it turned out, I couldn't get out of work on Friday and missed both classes, only doing the first part of the Festival in the evening on the Friday, which in my feverish state wasn't very enjoyable! I missed Kaffe altogether (he was already gone from the festival by the time I arrived), but the art quilter had an exhibition up.

She does beautiful pictorial quilts, but upon examining them close up, I was really disappointed with her quilting - on the perhaps 25 pieces she had up - she never varied , not for a single stitch, from stipple, stipple, stipple! Don't get me wrong, atlhough I do appreciate that on some quilts - stippling is likely the absolutely perfect thing, but why limit yourself to those little puzzle pieces on every single quilt? And on art quilts!?!  BSP said that perhaps, in Lenore's view, the quilting was just what "holds it together", and the "art" was in the top. I agreed that that must be the case, but I'm not disappointed that I missed the class.  A beautiful top is a beautiful top, but, in my opinion, it can be immeasurably enhanced with quilting.  I spoke to her at the exhibition however, and did learn a good trick for surface design which will show up in my quilts - probably sooner rather than later.  ;)

On Saturday, by late afternoon, I was feeling a bit better, so we went back and spent 2 or 3 hours, exploring the vendors.  I decided to try some (new to me) cotton flannel batting.  Incredibly soft - it has a beautiful drape, so I'm anxious to see how it quilts up.  I bought eight yards.

I also bought the threads picture above only more of them - 3 or 4 spools each, plus some huge cones of basic beige, black, white and grey.   I also bought a huge roll of fusible web for a great price - I can't imagine that I'll be able to finish the roll in ten years, but if I have it I may use it more, y'know? 

I bought some beads to experiment with embellishing quilts,

and I bought this neat bobbin saver thing, which as advertised, will keep them from rolling around and keep them neat and tidy -some basic jewellery making supplies (I've been on the hunt for the pefect-for-Kit earrings for about 3 years now with no luck, and I've decided to make them  - I'll  post those when they're done. )

I also bought five things which shall not be seen because they're for my advent swapee, and I bought two amazingly beautiful waxed cloth panels made by artisans in Tanzania which will also not be shown here, because they'll be part of future art quilts.

It was a great, if exhausting day, and by the time we got to the car, I was burning up again.  I've been in bed all weekend, and am typing this on BSP's laptop from my bed, so I have nothing substantive to show you today.

I hope to be feeling better soon and have something fun to show you later.  I just have to put binding on one thing to be able to show it to you!  :)

Stay tuned...
October 16, 2009 6 comments

What I'm working on...

For those here for the quilt festival - please see my entry  HERE

(clicky clicky as per usual)

For a change, not much talky-talky today - I've had a recurrence of my illness from a couple of weeks ago, and I'm feverish, fretful and cranky. (Who, me?)  I'm a terrible patient.  (But an excellent nurse when it's your turn to be sick.)

More of that coral silk tulle, laid over a silk panel and flowers cut from coloured cotton.

That RED quilt I was working on last week which I hope to finish this weekend.  It would have been done by now, except I was distracted by Paths to My Bliss, No.1  and then my sewing machine went to the hospital.  It's supposed to be back today, though. 

And guess what?  I'm a winner, winner, chicken dinner!  I won this batch of loveliness:

from a giveaway at Green Fairy Quilts! Go check her out. :)  A pack of of charm squares, a layer cake, a honeybun, some already made up hourglass blocks and pattern to put them together! These are not colours I'd normally use, and as you know by now, I never use a pattern, so whatever I make with this little package will be sure to stretch me.  In order to continue to pay it forward (a concept I've become thoroughly committed to); the finished product - whatever it will turn out to be - and the pattern will be a giveaway.  Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I hope you all have a lovely weekend.  See you on Monday!
October 14, 2009 16 comments

The Paths to My Bliss, No.1

ETA:  For those here for the quilt festival - please see my festival entry, found HERE

As you know, on Thursday night, I was all  "ZOUNDS! I must complete my Bloggers Quilt Festival entry!"  But at about 10:00 p.m. on Friday night, BSP and I were both in PJ's, bedside lamps on and I said "Babe, I'm just going to go downstairs and get the Ikea catalouge and a quilting magazine - be right back!."

And so I toddled downstairs, pajama clad, got the Ikea catalogue, and then went into my sewing room for the quilting magazine.  But, instead of reaching for a magazine, for no particular reason, my muse told me to pull out this fabric:

 Yup.  That's a coral pink silk tulle.  I bought it on a whim a couple of years ago.  I had no idea what I would ever use it for, but, when it comes to fabric, I just buy it and worry about what I'll do with it later.

So, coral pink tulle in hand, I unerringly pulled from my scraps stash two lengths of fabric that were part of a  a scrap bag of batiks I purchased for $5.00.   I thought I would just quickly run a seam up them to make a fat quarter sized piece of fabric 

(I know!  Dusty rose and gold  - I never thought I'd use that!) But, I draped a piece of the tulle over it and liked what I saw.

And then I wondered what it might look like if I sort of drizzled some of the same yarn I used for Coneflowers in Leslieville over the dusty rose batik, and under the tulle.

And then I wondered what it would look like if I added some of this patterned burgundy silk:

An hour later, BSP came downstairs to find me, and there I was, in my pj's, tacking things down with clear filament thread.

I looked up rather guiltily and said "I'm sorry honey - I was minding my own business and this fabric just kidnapped me right out of the living room!"  BSP (long-suffering and endlessly patient) said "I was only reading anyway.  Carry on."

And so I quilted into the night:

 (All pics are clickable.  The entirety of the quilt is quilted with gold emboridery thread)
I had to stop eventually, and get some sleep, but luckily, the next day was a Saturday, so I got up early and got right back to it.  And when I was done, I had a new quilt that I called:
The Paths to My Bliss. No. 1

(the quilt is not quite so pink as this picture would have you believe - more like the one above)

I brought it upstairs and showed it to BSP who said "You're not giving that away! We're going to keep it!" And grabbed it out of my hand and started walking around the house to decide where to hang it.  I said "Hold on, before you decide, I think there's two more where that came from. "

And just think.  About this time last year, I was proclaiming to anyone who cared enough to listen that "I don't like art quilts.  I don't get them."  I think it may still be true that I don't "get" them, but apparently, I'm compelled to make them anyway.

The Universe.  S/he's a tricksy one, isn't she?  Likes her jokes, s/he does...
October 12, 2009 23 comments

Berkeley Square

ETA:  For those here for the quilt festival, please see my festival entry found HERE

Although it's rained for most of the weekend, I did manage to pop out and get some pictures between showers.  So, here is the quilt I orirginally intended to show in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.
October 9, 2009 57 comments


It’s very exciting to be part of the Park City Girl: Quilt Festival - Fall 2009 once more.  My sincere thanks to Amy at Park City Girl and all of the wonderful sponsors for putting this together!

My entry – well – entries, will be a surprise to my regular readers. 

You see, I’ve been working feverishly on a quilt for the Festival and finished it last night at about 11:30 (talk about coming in under the wire!) but sadly – I have not been able to get any pictures that do it justice. I have tried any number of locales and lighting in our house and it just. wasn’t. happening. Not being a great photographer, I think I needed to move “the shoot” outdoors but it’s a rainy fall day here today - so even The Universe is not cooperating.  But maybe the Universe wanted me to move in a different direction.  ;)

So, I’m submitting two quilts that I’ve already posted here in my blog, both of which are examples of what I see as my “jumping off” point as a quilter.

What I mean by that is, when I made my first quilt about a year and ½ ago, I knew, while sewing away, that this was it. I mean, “It” with a capital “I”.  My heart was singing,  my brain was racing: I had fallen in love!  And I knew at a cellular level that this was going to be my passion for the rest of my life.


The sad part was that I was in no way prepared for this passion! As I was quilting that first quilt, I was dreaming of the next one and the next one and the next one, but I didn’t have the knowledge or the skills necessary to construct the tops I saw in my head. And I sure as heck wasn’t able to do the quilting!

So these two quilts, called Mans’ Fans (the chocolate one) and Baby-Go-Round (the graphic white and black) gave me hope. I’d made a lot of quilts before that, but even as I made them, I knew they were only practice runs. Because I knew I had to put in the time, learn the skills, practice, practice, practice (!) – and though I was moderately or sometimes very pleased with the results, they weren’t what I really wanted to make.


"Man’s Fans" on the other hand, was.  It was the second time that I made one of the quilts I saw in my head ( the first was the one I entered in the first Bloggers Quilt Festival ).  The construction of Man's Fans wasn’t what it should have been (in fact, the top was the third or fourth top I made, and that’s when I knew I really wasn’t ready to make those fantasy quilts!); but the quilting - oh the quilting!  was done fairly recently, and it was the first time I ventured into what I think of as “artistic” quilting territory.  When it was done, I was STOKED. *happy dance*


Again, I could see where I went wrong and what needed to be improved, but there it was! A whole quilt top and quilting, that I only ever saw in my head – right there in front of me!!! Could there be a better feeling in the world? (Okay, loving and living with my Beloved Spouse and children aside. :) ) 

Man's Fans excited me personally, because after completing it, I was sure that some day (maybe some day soon!), I would finally be able to make the quilts I want to make.


And the next one that I found amazing was “Baby-Go-Round”.

It’s a simple quilt, but  it was exciting to me because it was the first time in my quilting career that a quilt I conceived in my head came to fruition – exactly as I had envisioned it. Pretty exciting stuff if you’re a quilt nerd like me!

So, I thought I’d share these two quilts with you.  I know I have a long way to go - even as I write this, you should know, there is a quilt in my head that is dying to be made (I've had the fabrics purchased for it for almost a year ) and I think I'm going to be ready to make it soon.  My fingers are itching to cut and sew! 

I hope you like these two offerings to the quilting world.  I'm not where I want to be yet - but I'm on my way.  "Stay tuned" as they say. :)

And in the meantime, enjoy the Festival. I know I will!
October 8, 2009 0 comments

I am quilting feverishly....

For some reason, I thought the Blogger's Quilt Festival started on Monday.  I know, I know, it says right there in my sidebar "October 9" but, I somehow thought, up until yesterday, actually, that somehow that meant I magically had four whole days to finish quilting my Festival entry.

 I was wrong.

So, er, what am I doing here again, talking to you?


October 6, 2009 3 comments

So, about those fabrics...

I posted yesterday.  Though you will see them again, it turns out, my muse went elsewhere, so I've made something else. 

I started out with a Waverly upholstery weight ultra-suede called "Wind".  It comes in three different colourways and I have them all, so I suppose you'll see this fabric again in another incarnation in the future.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd use this version to make a perfect-for-autumn bag.  I really love this fabric - it's soft and luxurious feeling and I was tickled to finally find a use for it. 

I constructed the bag using the same principles as my round tote bag, although of course, the shape is different this time. First I cut the cello shape out of the fabric, attached batting and backing, and then I quilted it -using a simple diamond grid using gold metallic thread for the top (did you really think I wouldn't add something shiny to this project?) and a varigated thread in red, two shades of green, gold and blue for the lining.

Speaking of, the lining was a lovely moss green satin - a remnant that I picked up at at the Textile Museum fabric sale a couple of years back.  It  was just the thing for this little bag and I was delighted to re-discover it in my stash.

I used some of the remnants of the orange silk taffetta that I used in "Transitions - Last Fall in Spring" for the trim and I did an inner pocket again - this one divided - big enough to put my cell phone or a couple of lipsticks on one side and my IPod Touch/Crackberry on the other.

And when I was all done, I had this cute autumn bag, about 16 inches long, 14 inches at it's widest point and about 10 inches at the top.  It's kind of a narrow top, but it's still wide enough that I can slip a 12 inch coffee table book in it if I angle it, so I think it'll be practical despite its seemingly limiting mouth.

My new tote bag.  Yay!  :)

My Friday post will be another small project (involving lots and lots of RED, because the sneak peek I gave you last week of the quilt I'm working on is labour intensive and will be saved for posting next week during the Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted once more by Amy at Park City Girl.

Are you particpating?  I hope so!

See you Friday.  :)
October 5, 2009 6 comments

Quiet around here lately....

ETA: For those of you who here for the link up - this is my "before" sewing room.  After is here

I haven't  been in this room since Wednesday night.

I wasn't feeling well (and to not quilt, you know I'm not feeling well!), and by the time I recovered, it was time to go. 

Beloved Spouse and I went away for the weekend - some much needed R&R time in the country.

So I have nothing to show you for my usual Monday post.  However, I'll make my "Monday" post, on Tuesday.

Perhaps it'll feature these lovely fabrics.  Who knows?

And how was your weekend?

October 2, 2009 5 comments

Cecil DeMille and I made a movie for you

It only took us seven takes (neither one of us being familiar with Mr. Right Now [i.e. the camera that isn't (mine, that is)]). Wow. If I really tried, I wonder how many parentetical references I could fit within a single paranthetical reference!

Anyway! Our little masterpiece is about the "stopping" issue I asked about a couple of weeks ago. Some of you sent me links and detailed explanations, and I thank you, so very much for them - but as I tried to parse out the different techniques I remembered that when I first started quilting, I asked a young man named Adam, of Real Men Quilt (who does beautiful long arm quilting) how to stop. And he said "The same way you start". (The "duh" was implied.) :)

That didn't make sense to me at the time (not knowing how to properly start was part of the issue *laughs*) but as I read all of your answers, his came back to me. So I tried it. And it worked!

When making the video, we were worried about time constraints (for some reason, the screen of Mr. Right Now consistently went black at 1:50 seconds), so I wasn't as fullsome in my explanation as I would have liked to be. I double knot those threads when I tie them off so they're nice and secure, for instance. And I make the thread tails so long because I have arthritic fingers and have difficulty tying them off if they're shorter, so you may not need to pull the fabric forward so far or make your bobbin thread so long. And depending on the quilting motif, I try to start and stop in the same place. Stuff like that. :)

But the basics are there, and if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer from the small store of knowledge I have. So feel free to ask.

Hope that helps those of you weren't as knowledgable as some of my readers! :)

And also, I've decided to join in another WIP challenge - this time I'm doing Finn's UFO Challenge . You simply pledge to finish whatever number of projects you want by New Year's Eve. I've decided to finish Love Drops, Spring Forward, my as yet unnamed Boy Blankie and one I haven't blogged about here yet called Bento Blues. Those are all queen sized quilts, so I'm going to be very busy if I want to keep up with making some new ones I have in my head.

It's going to be a productive fall, I think. :) Yay!