December 31, 2012 14 comments

Year in Review - 2012

December 31 and you know what that means, right? My annual year in review post!

This is always an exciting post for me and I start looking forward to it in late November: for me it's a way to reflect on the year's learning and a way to help decide where I want to go.

For you though, if you're not interested in all that - you can just scroll through the pretty pictures. ;)

So, starting in January 2012, we had:

Winter Is Coming


December 28, 2012 11 comments

Pectoral Sandpiper

PectoralSanPectoral Sandpiper (c) 2012 Kit Langdpiperc2012KitLang-1

December 26, 2012 4 comments

This post is for the birds!


You knew eventually I was going to make that joke, right? :D
December 24, 2012 5 comments

Holiday wishes...

To all my readers - whatever your personal tradition: may you find yourself in the warm embrace of family and friends, may you be filled with love, and may you find peace and joy in the year to come.

Kit 120
December 21, 2012 18 comments

Christmas In The Snow

December 19, 2012 24 comments

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to bead I go!

December 17, 2012 3 comments

Remaking Christmas...

December 13, 2012 14 comments

European Goldfinch

whateverGoldfinch (c) 2012 Kit Langthenameofthisbirdis

December 12, 2012 16 comments

Wordless Wednesday

goldfiGoldfinch, Kit Lang (c) 2012nch-Copy-Copy

December 10, 2012 3 comments

Background check

Goldfinch background - branch with flowers - Kit Lang 

December 7, 2012 13 comments

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole (c) 2012 Kit Langlec2012KitLang-Copy2

December 5, 2012 9 comments

Wordless Wednesday


  Kit 120
December 3, 2012 9 comments

Birds do it...

November 30, 2012 10 comments

Greenheaded Tanager



I'm finished the first bird - and for a trial run, it's pretty cute. :)

But there are a lot of things I'm going to change on the next one.

Greenheaded Tanager, close up, Kit Lang

November 28, 2012 9 comments

Wordless Wednesday or WIP Wednesday?

wednesday pic 4

wednesday pic 3

November 26, 2012 2 comments

For the birds...

Monday post - pic one

November 23, 2012 4 comments


Earth (c) 2012 Kit Lang 

I can actually see this being part of a tryptch - "Earth", "Sky" and "Sea" - but I'll have to pick up some velvet in a appropriate colours.

But to get back to this one. This piece was originally conceived as a way to work on improving my quilting skills - and choosing high-pile silk velvet was a really smart way to do it!

Each individual circle or line or swoop had to be gone over a minimum of 3 times, in some cases, five times in order for it to show up in the pile.  I must confess that by the time I got to the last 1/4 of the piece, I wasn't being so careful anymore, I just wanted to get it done!

Earth (c) 2012 Kit Lang  - close up, top

I initially chose the coppery brown velvet for no other reason than that it went well with my hand dyes (one of which was from my very first adventure in marbling fabric); but as I quilted I thought about our earth, and what we have done to it (Sandy's ferocity and breadth being the most recent, dramatic evidence); and the blood-mixed-with earth colour seemed entirely appropriate. 

Earth (c) 2012 Kit Lang  - close up, top

It's Thanksgiving weekend for my American friends, so I say, I am thankful for all of you:  Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Australians, Asians and the two of you who come from South America on a regular basis. :)

Thank you -  all of you, for spending time throughout the year with me.

See you on Monday with something new!

Kit 120
November 21, 2012 10 comments

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum*..

on the coat

So I went to my studio, raring to go and ready to continue with the quilting on my "improve your quilting project"; and my brand spankin' new, just-bought-on-Monday fushia winter coat was all "Excuse me, but I need a scarf!"

Which meant the roving had to come out...

the roving

along with a "didn't turn out so well hand dye"  (peeking at the bottom there) for the something that the roving needed to be needle felted to.

roving placed and then I laid the roving on the fabric, and went to town!

doing a little beading

And then after it was felted, I decided it needed a little bling...

back and beading

and having done an envelope closing with midnight blue satin, I called it "done".

I have a new pin for the coat too, so all together, it's going to look very pretty! And we'll be back to our regularly scheduled program on Friday.

Kit 120
*I loved that musical!

P.S. - I ran out of space today on my blog (and just two posts away from 500 posts!) so I need to decide whether to buy some more storage or move my blog elsewhere.  I'm using Flickr for photos in the meantime which isn't a great option because I know from personal experience that a lot of work places won't allow you to see Flickr photos. If that's a problem you're having, my apologies, and I hope you'll come and enjoy the blog later in your day. :)
November 19, 2012 4 comments

Word of the Year, 2012

Oh gosh you guys, I had such a hard time focussing these past couple of days.  I was feeling better - well enough to take Tyler for a walk and well enough to spend some time in the studio - but not well enough to work on the shirt piece - which is so massive that it takes quite a lot of physical wrestling to work with it. 

So I pulled some of my favourite green scraps, and started putting them together in fused layers of vaguely floral origin - I had an ephemeral idea that I would do a green on green floral fantasy kind of thing, accented with white hand drawings (inspired by Alisa Burke's sugar skulls) but after I'd fused two or three flowers together, this "Uh... what are you doing" vibe started happening, so I put all that stuff away. 

And then, I guess because I had florals on my mind and because I came across my disperse dye papers the other day when I was looking for something else, I decided that I'd make a disperse dye flora piece. Cuz that's, you know, really different that the other thing, and much more like what I usually do! *insert eye roll here*

I got this far and then that same "Girl, what are you doing?" feeling started creeping up on me. 

Pause. Reset.

What was my word of the year again? Oh yeah. INTENTION.  And what was I supposed to do this year? NOT make stuff just to make it, or to produce stuff just for the blog, or to join in 'cuz I like community. 

I'm supposed to be making stuff that furthers my goals as a would-be artist.  

After seeing the recent fiber art show and picking up a copy of International Quilt Festival Magazine, I realized that being accepted into fine art shows is one thing (and it's an amazingly great thing!); but to be accepted into fiber art shows, I need to brush up on the craft of the work, and not only focus on the art.  I have been practicing my finishing techniques as a result; but I realized my quilting could use some brushing up too. 

When I look at my older work, I see my stitches were a uneven, and though I love the modern look of a piece with an envelope closing which is why I use them - I realized that an envelope closing could make me a bit lazy, and some of my backs were starting to look decidedly gnarly. 

And with that in mind, I decided to work on a piece whose purpose was to improve my quilting.  

Maybe deciding to do that with a high pile plush silk velvet background wasn't the easiest way to do that, but having to go over each individual element two and three times in order for it to show up in the pile means I just have to be that much more precise with my quilting. 

And that can't be a bad thing, right? :)

More on Wednesday....

Kit 120
November 17, 2012 7 comments

Feeling better, I took Tyler for a walk on the beach today.

He LOVEs the beach - he loves to run along and bark at the waves, he loves to dig for treasure, he loves to chase the kids balls, and sniff the other dogs and get pets from their people - he thinks the beach is his birthday party.

We live really close to the beach  - a ten minute bike ride - but we usually do the parks and dog runs instead.  It was such a beautiful day today though - 57 and sunny! - that I decided to take him to the beach.

This what it looked like as I walked up - un-touched photo taken on my camera phone - the sky really was that that colour and the lake really was that blue!

After two hours, I told Tyler it was time go home - and this was the look I got.  lol

And another look at that incredible shade of blue...

Kit 120
November 14, 2012 19 comments

Taking a mini-vacation

I'm going to tell you my little secret: I usually have my posts set up to automatically post weeks in advance - in fact, I generally have a month's worth of posts all ready to go!

But what with being too stressed out in the late summer and early fall to work for more than a few hours a week, then being away and then having been sick for the last seven days (although I was finally allowed out of bed this morning for a short walk, yay!) - I have finally run out of pre-done posts, and even run out of "emergency" posts. 

I have nothing to show you!

I hope to be back in the studio by the weekend, so in the meantime; enjoy your week, and I'll see you bright and early on Monday with some "real-time" work!

'Til then!

Kit 120
November 12, 2012 21 comments

n q r - or Non Quilting Related

Isn't that what they say on the "big quilting blogs" when they talk about something outside of quilts (or in my case, art?).  "Look ma, I'm just like the cool kids!" ;)

Anyway, I just wanted to show you this little winter jacket I made for Tyler 'cuz I think it's super cute - and as it's the first dog coat I've made I'm pretty chuffed with it!

Have you ever bought a winter coat for a dog?  Me neither! lol  But Tyler gets really cold, so when we first got him early last spring, we bought him a couple of sweaters and a rain coat.  Thinking ahead, at the end of season sales, I bought Tyler a coat for this winter at slightly more than half off, and paid $25 for it.  We got Tyler at the pound, and they told us he was two - four years old, so full grown, right?

Well no. This fall, one of his sweaters, his rain coat and his brand new, never worn winter coat, were all too small.  By a LOT.  We thought Tyler had a lot of "puppy behaviour" but didn't realize he was actually still a puppy.  (We think now he's probably about 18 months old.)

Anyway -  the new coats are out now,  but cute as they are, at $50 - $100 there was just NO way I was spending that much money on a coat for a dog when there are so many families who can't afford coats for their children - and $100 would buy coats for two children. I decided I would donate the money for the dog coat to Sandy efforts and make my little prince a fine coat instead. 

The red sweater pictured above  which always a little too big for him, now fit him quite well, so I very carefully took it apart, and used it to make a pattern.

I had lots of wool scraps and had originally intended to use either a royal blue plaid or an emerald green plaid that I had, but when I saw this bright orange and turquoise plaid, I couldn't resist. (Who could resist an orange and turquoise plaid? [Likely, many people, but I'm not one of them!]) ;)

For the lining, I decided that fur would be just the thing for our boy - most of the winter coats we had seen had silky or were reversible with plastic-y waterproof linings and I thought those would be pretty cold at first.  However, I had a lot of fur scraps which would prove just the thing.  However, this "bear" fur was little too scratchy feeling...

And though these "chinchilla" and "ocelot" bits were beautifully soft, I didn't think they they went well with the plaid. However, I had almost enough black "fur" to do the trick, and I thought with some well considered additions, I could make it work. 
A special consideration was the harness that Tyler wears - unlike a collar around the neck, his coat had to accommodate a harness whose leash attachment was halfway down his back.  To do that, rather than "cut one on fold", I had to cut two pieces.

But I didn't like the resulting seam up the middle, so I had to make this little "placket" to cover it.  And then, 'cause it seemed to need something more, I added the little pockets  - one for a treat, one for a little baggie, and the little orange and yellow buttons for no reason other than cuteness.

I figured I wouldn't be able to make the sleeves the right size to accommodate the fur, so I made the sleeves with the same fabric as I made the front and back plackets and pockets out of - a  scrap of cashmere/wool blend  (this is one luxe coat!), but lined the sleeves with the same wool plaid and some cotton batting for warmth.  But when you turn back the sleeves, the super cute lining shows!

What I hadn't considered was how much space the fur would take up, so when I tried it on Tyler, it was a bit tight. I alleviated that with a front placket,  made out of that same wool/cashmere blend, and rather than use velcro as a closure like the original (which sometimes got caught on his fur); I used three sets of hooks and eyes. 

The collar flips up and covers 3/4s of his head - wool on the inside of the collar...

And here it is flipped up on the outside - a nice fur trim. 

Yesterday, it was 70 degrees and sunny*, so it's a little warm for Tyler to be wearing his coat just yet. 

But I'm sure he'll look adorable when we finally get some snow!

Kit 120

*Yes, that IS unseasonably warm for Toronto in November - we broke a record with that temperature! Global warming is here...