October 31, 2012 9 comments

Giveaway Day!

The Elm Creek Quilters are at it again!

This time, the story revolves around "Quiltsgiving": a week-long retreat in which  20 quilters gather at Elm Creek Manor to make quilts for Project Linus.

The book opens with a brief introduction of the main characters you'll be familiar with from the other novels, a quick peek at each of the quilters attending the retreat and an introduction to Elm Creek Manor.  Each of the chapters focus is on a particular quilter - giving their background story and why they're there.  At the end of the retreat, the quilters we've been introduced to go home, and we learn the resolution of their story.

Along the way, we get a glimpse of the quilt that's been designed for Quiltsgiving - the pattern is not yet available on Ms. Chiaverini's site, but I'm sure it will be soon if you'd like to try making it.

This is the first book in the Elm Creek Quilts series I've read (although I did read Sonoma Rose and really enjoyed it). If you're an Elm Creek Quilts reader, you're really going to like it - and if you're a first time reader of the series like I am, you'll be able to follow along with no problem whatsoever.

If you'd like to win a copy of this book, just leave a comment saying so today or tomorrow, and I'll announce the winner on Friday (when I'll be revealing a new finish, as well).

I'll forward your information to the publisher and they'll send you the book. Easey peasey!

See you on Friday!

Kit 120
October 29, 2012 15 comments

Fibre Content

No, no - that isn't a spelling error - that's the way we spell "fiber" here in Canada. ;)

In Search of the Bright Spots (c) Sharon Collins

And the reason I'm talking about how we spell "fiber" here in Canada, is because this weekend I went to fiber arts show called "Fibre Content" in the nearby city of Burlington.

I thought I'd show you some of my favourite pieces from the show. So in no particular order, here they are (starting with the one above, of course.)

Also, note to Pinners - I have saved each photo with the name of the original artist and the name of their work - if you pin these (which I prefer you don't) please include that information on your pin. Do NOT pin it as being my work.

Bedolina Threads (c) Maggie Vanderweit

This piece was quite large - approximately 50 x 35 -  a wholecloth piece.  The stitching was a copy of/inspired by a  petroglyph in Northern Italy but as I never read the catalogue until after the show (BSP is the opposite so we compare notes later); it reminded me somehow of a poem whispered into the palm of your hand - meaningful, incomprehensible in its entirety, mysterious, a bit magical.

 To Snowdonia (c) Jennie Wood

This piece was one of three entered by Jennie Wood, one of the women in my own  yet-to-be-named fiber art group, (the fiber arts group I'm part of);  however, she was exhibiting as a member of Connections Fibre Artists.  I particularly love this piece as it was quite a departure from her usual, more structured oeuvre: a meditation on the colours of Snowdonia in the UK.  I think it's very successful!

Ferrero Cameo (c) Leah Hughes

The show itself was juried by Joanne Greenberg, Iga Janik and Elizabeth King , and  was drawn from artists  in the following groups or associations:  SAQA Central Canada, Burlington Fibre Arts Guild, Grand Guild of Fibre Artists , Group Of Eight Fibre Artists and Connections Fibre Artists.

The majority of artists in the show seemed to be from SAQA Central Canada.

Harvest - Fields of Wheat (c) Catherine Timm

There were two things that were very apparent in this show. 

The first was - photography matters!  

For some time I have been thinking about getting professional photos done of (at least some) of my work - particularly around Written On The Body  - as even with my new, super duper fancy camera, I have still been unable to get a photo of it that shows it as it really is.

Homeless Love (c) Mary Pal

And when comparing the work in the high quality catalogue of the show that was provided with the work itself - there were some startling differences.  Some work looked far better in person than it did in the photos, some work looked far better in photos than it did in person, and in at least two cases, the photograph was SO unlike that original work that we failed to find the piece in the show. In one case, we actually did (finally) manage to find the piece but it was completely unrecognizable.

The problems were mostly colours - some VERY dramatic differences! - but in some cases, the artist either purposely or mistakenly photographed the piece in such a way as to highlight a specific feature, which made the work look completely different when you saw it in person.

Some of the big shows will suggest that you have your work professionally photographed as work that doesn't look like the photographs may not be accepted - and my gosh - there were at least ten pieces in the show that were in danger of that distinction!

Musing (c) Mary Pal
Speaking of photography - in the Mary Pal piece (Homeless Love) just above this one; the original piece had a beautiful cream border, which I cut off because a woman was studying it so intently and so long I finally took a picture with her standing in front of it.  The little bit of auburn on the lower right hand side is actually not part of Mary's work but rather, a bit of the woman's hair. :)

I Walk Alone (c) Michaela Fitzwilliams

The other thing that was really apparent, was the differing skill levels in finishing the pieces. (And I don't mean the one above.) There weren't many pieces that had binding, but of those that did, the skill level was quite obvious when you had them hanging side by side; similarly with facings and envelope closings (though there weren't many of those), and even more so in those that used commercial canvases around which the pieces had been wrapped.

detail - I Walk Alone (c) Michaela Fitzwilliams

This is a technique that I'm starting to use, and where the skill level or lack thereof was most apparent, was in the corners - and I must confess that mine looked very much like the ones that looked rather poor in comparison to the more professionally finished ones!

It made me realize that I really need to find someone from whom to take a class in how to do that - I'd hate for people to walk away from my piece saying "lovely work, too bad about the framing/binding/facing/corners"!

Incidentally, when BSP and I went to a fine art show recently, we noticed the same issue! 

Some work was framed and/or mounted so badly that it was really disconcerting, or a particular kind of frame was used throughout the body of work that didn't suit all of the work, or the worst sin of all as far as we were concerned: really cheap framing that sadly distracted and detracted from the work itself. Often, even if we really loved the work and would otherwise consider purchasing it - if the framing was cheaply done we wouldn't consider buying it if it wasn't something that could be easily dismantled. Invest in good framing and include it in the purchase price!

This stuff really matters - even in our world.

Poppy Cock (c) Leah Hughes

BSP and I both really liked this piece - despite the fact that such a profusion of colour and pattern is not to our usual taste either jointly or singly, we found this piece really charming and well balanced, and we loved it for its colour and pattern not despite it.

Rock, Paper, Scissors (c) Linda Kittmer

This was one of three pieces by a frequent commenter here on my blog, Linda Kittmer, who is part of Group of Eight Fibre Artists. I love all the bits in it, the colour palette, and the wonderful tactile look of the piece. I just wanted to pet it! (But I didn't. ;) )

When Will They Ever Learn (c) Dianne Gibson

In my opinion, this was the most interesting piece at the exhibit - although it was hidden away in a corner on the upper floor.  That may have been because of it's size (it's massive).   

It's a polemic against war - I guess it's unsurprising that I found the political piece the most interesting. *w*

detail When Will They Ever Learn (c) Dianne Gibson

And then my favourite piece of the day....

Childhood's End (c) Pat Hertzberg

Loved, loved, loved this piece - although I parsed it for meaning and was clueless it turned out (I thought it was about toxic waste/environmental pollution or drifts of red algae on the Yangtze River in China [which has become so polluted that the river dolphins have gone extinct and other creatures that live in it are on their way to being so.])

However, I was way off. lol  From the artist - "This piece addresses torn, faded and sometimes lost childhood dreams and nightmares. They are magnified and exposed with the convoluted trepidation we feel when faced with the mantel of adulthood."

The Remains of The Day (c) Judy Gingrich

And then just down the street, another fibre art show was happening at the Burlington Art Centre, called the Literary Arts Exhibition, put on by the Burlington Fibre Arts Guild - each piece was inspired by a work of literature.  My friend Judy Gingrich (also a member of our group   ) had the above piece juried into that - and took second place!

So that was the excitement this weekend.

How was YOUR weekend?
Kit 120
October 26, 2012 34 comments

Lake of Dreams

Why make one, when you can make four?  None of this "less is more" stuff for me! 

Of course, I'm kidding about the less is more thing, I'm actually most definitely of that ilk - but after I made the first one of these, I thought a set of four would be just the thing for a wall. 

Lake of Dreams #1

So each of these is fused and mounted on an 8 x 10 canvas - perfect for hanging just as is, or for framing.  They're destined for the space above BSP's desk at the moment, although that's a revolving art space. :)

(At the moment, Erosion is hanging there, although Puzzle was hanging there for a loooonnng time.)

Lake of Dreams #2

So this little set was composed, as you know of paper towels that in a former life were mop up towels from my painting projects.

And after the backgrounds had been pieced and quilted, I added fused elements on top. Usually this is where I'd add painted lutradur, but in this case, I had lots more paper towelling that would do the trick!

Lake of Dreams #3

After they'd been fused on to my quilted background, I did some top stitching - just some simple outlines of the birch trees and the rocks, and then hand stitched lines in the "bark". 

I'm really quite pleased with them.  None of them are an exact copy of the inspiration piece, but they're all a bit like it, and really remind me of the lake I grew up on in Northern Ontario - which is probably why I loved the inspiration piece so much to begin with. 

Lake of Dreams #4

I've been sick all week - so sick in fact that I've had to take three days of work off this week (!) so I haven't done any work at all on the shirt piece.  But that's what the weekend is for, right?  :) 

I hope you have a great one, and I'll see you on Monday!

Kit 120

Joining in at What A Hoot for Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday and with Nina-Marie Sayre for Off The Wall Fridays.  Go check 'em out!
October 23, 2012 5 comments

Building blocks...

As I was putting these pieces together, something occurred to me. 

I know you'll laugh - but I seriously didn't think of it until just last night...

but I could TOTALLY do this with fabric!

I know it's silly I never thought of it, but I was sort of entrenched in my thinking - "This particular method is for paper only!"

But there's no reason I couldn't use the same method for cloth - maybe just add some stitched in invisible thread in the corners and centre bottom and top to account for the extra weight.


See you on Friday with the finished pieces!

Kit 120
October 22, 2012 7 comments


Happy Monday!

I'm still working on the shirt piece, but it's just more quilting, so I haven't got much to show you on that end. However, I have been working on something else concurrently, so I thought I'd share that with you.

I've always loved the (iconic?) Marimekko "Kaiku" fabric pictured above - which runs about $150/yard with shipping here in Canada, or about $45 for a tea towel printed with this image, which to me, no matter how much I love it, is just TOO much money.  (Although I suppose you could buy the tea towel and frame it which would be an inexpensive art piece, actually.) But, it's always been one of those purchases that just seems too extravagant to me.

But I was ironing some of my painted papers over the weekend, and as I was doing so, I came across this group.  


Kit 120

October 19, 2012 13 comments

A little stinker!


I had this idea - I was going to make a totally fantastic, super dark and moody raven (Poe-worthy, even). It was going to be the centrepiece of our superfantastico Halloweenie decorations, and it's frightening demeanour was going to blow. you. away.

And while I was making it, I was watching Knotting Hill (my favourite movie); and, instead of a scary raven, I made this.

A nice, friendly looking bird.

In my defence, it's impossible to make something scary when Julia Roberts is smiling at you.

Kit 120

(Back to the drawing board...)

P.S. - linking up with Echinops and Aster for Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday.

October 17, 2012 10 comments

Don't be skeered!

I know that is one HECK of a quilt top - but I'm sure you'll be relieved to know, I'm painting over it.

Are you okay now?  ;)

So there it is - the "shirt" is starting to come to life. And  yes, I was right - it's 90" wide by 65" long.

Holy cow, right? But that's because I've used a real men's shirt - and proportionately, it had to be that big.

So it has indeed been a bear to quilt - I've been doing my old trick of quilting with two threads, both heavy white cotton which will show up the best under the paint - but phew! Jezebel doesn't like it much and she's been complaining!

My poor old arthritic hands have been complaining too. *le wah*

In the home stretch now - just over 1/2 quilted - so by the weekend I think, I can start to paint!

See you on Friday with something crafty!

Kit 120
October 15, 2012 10 comments

Eco dyeing - Part Two

"Part two?" (I'm sure  you're saying,) "When was there a part one?"

Well, "part  one" was about a year and half ago.  Which is why you *may* not remember it.

And I'll forgive you if  you have. ;)

Last time I was doing bundles of cloth wrapped in vegetable matter which I had variously boiled, steamed, stewed and let rot for a month. Yummy!

Well this time, I did compost dyeing.  

Which is pretty much what it sounds like. You takes your cloth, you takes your vegetation, you throw it in a plastic bag, and you bury it in the garden. 

I used rayon fabric as my carrier (I find that rayon takes up dye BEAUTIFULLY (even in some cases better than cotton and silk), I added my vegetation, and I also added scraps of coloured fabric.  Just for the hell of it, 'cuz I wanted to see if the coloured commercial fabrics would pick up any of the vegetation, and if so, how.

^ This one is particularly cool, isn't it? I think it looks like old, diseased skin - perfect if it I ever make a zombie, or someone really, really ill. :D

But back to our story, so the really interesting thing that happened with the coloured commercial fabrics, is that they didn't pick up any vegetation (although there were some "spine" resists) but they *did* end up transfering colour to the rayon - which is why I have those beautiful brilliant pinks and purples and teal as well as the lovely browns and beiges.

Some of the fabrics actually rotted as can be seen above - and my yucky skin one is so fragile from said rotting I don't think I'll actually be able to use it.

And another reason I won't be able to use it?  The SMELL. ERHMAGAWD THE SMELL.  lol

When I opened up the bags, the bags themselves had torn and eroded, so dirt had gotten in, as well as insects and worms (ugh)  - and the fabric was so slimy and putrid looking, I didn't even know if it could be rescued.  After a lot (like, a LOT) of rinsing, I realized they could be washed and used - so I washed them.  Four times. Because the smell of rotting vegetation wouldn't come out.

And then I soaked them in a bucket of detergent and Febreeze for another week because the smell still wouldn't come out.

And it still hasn't.  So the fabric isn't actually usable - I figure eventually, I'll use these photos and make the fabric on Spoonflower or some other site like it, and I'll be able to use it that way.

But I don't think I'll be doing much more eco dyeing in the future.

Back to the procions and disperse dyeing for me!

And back to the shirt piece on Wednesday!

Kit 120
October 12, 2012 7 comments

The shirt - second incarnation

Here we go, take two.

1.   Yay! Writing will be seen now! But take off the last three lines - was better without it.

2.   Still not liking the quilting on the right -I'm being lazy! Maybe more foliage-y type leaves (grass with seed heads and stuff), something more angular? Maybe the opposite? A section with big curves? With the shirt on the left side and taking up so much space, the right side needs to be more focussed on her.  Bears thinking on.

3.  colour palette's good now - I like that the colours a blurring into each other - appropriate for the dreamscape background - needs a little less yellow in that top right corner though - maybe some more teal in the very right hand side bleeding into the yellow-that-meets-the-wine

4. doll should be broken, but not decapitated! lol |Re-attach the doll's head at a broken-neck-angle, and re-position the doll's body - on it's side or kind of drooping towards the shirt.

5. speaking of the doll, I think it needs to be a red dress rather than a blouse/skirt combo.  With a lace collar. Brown oxford shoes rather black mary janes.

I'm ready to start piecing now!

Kit 120

Linking up with Nina-Marie Sayer for Off The Wall Fridays!