I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sunday in November along PEI’s South Shore

This past weekend, we made a little trip to visit my Dad and family on Prince Edward Island. It was windy and cold and I am so glad I wasn’t driving when we crossed the Confederation Bridge. I am not fond of bridges and when the wind is strong, I like them even less. I counted my knitting stitches very loudly, outloud all the way across. 

We took Dad’s dog, Jake for a walk and raced at high speed in an effort to keep from freezing completely. It was so chilly, my husband wasn’t interested in jumping on the frozen furrows with me although I did convince him to stomp on some ice covered puddles along the road! So much fun!

Here are some glimpses of my island, the south shore of beautiful PEI on a crisp, sunny Sunday in November.....

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Longarm Design

I have learned that the most comfortable way for me to quilt on my longarm is best represented in the photo below. I have my design nearby where I can refer to it as needed and I use one of a selection of chalk pencils to mark my design onto the top. I find chalk wipes away fairly easily with a cloth (or the corner of your sweater..) and I am still not completely won over by the idea of using a marker on my quilts, even if they do disappear with water or heat, depending on the brand and style of marker. 
Generally if I am stitching the same design repeatedly across the surface of the quilt, I might sketch in the first few and after that, I eyeball the balance. This gives me control of the surface design, yet freedom to use the space as I quilt. I can alter the size, the direction and extend my design to fill in the odd spaces that might occur and be awkward if I left them unstitched. And I have to admit, I love using what I call my “cabbage rose" design. I have quilted several quilts using variations of my pattern and all have been well received. 
I also keep a whiteboard near by so I can play with directions and thread paths.  If I happen to create a design I think I would use again, or that I might want to develop further, I take a photo or two of it for future reference. No wonder I have almost 20,000 photos on my hard drive. I take soooo many photos..

I do enjoy the ease and speed of using pantographs, and I also enjoy ruler work. Feathers are the bane of my existence right now, but some upcoming amazing classes with some incredible teachers will hopefully cure me of my hesitation. I quilt feathers. I just don’t love my feathers. I plan to fix that for good!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lament for Summer

It’s getting cold here in the Atlantic. Yesterday there were clumps of white flakes scattered around the ground cover of dry, wilted leaves. This can be a bitterly cold time on the east coast and these temperatures will flit in and out until the snow starts to fall steadily and accumulate. Once that happens, the temperature evens out and it becomes more comfortable. For now, winds off the water eat away at your resolve to embrace the outdoors. When you come inside again, your cheeks are red, your limbs are cold, and your body has to work hard to compensate and warm up again. If the sun is shining, it is all so much easier because a beautiful blue sky can make everything better! But, it is still cold and I for one miss beach weather.

So this is the time of year when I start cruisin’ through my collection of summer photos..and sighing wistfully...I wonder where the summer has gone..again...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sew Sisters Blogathon Canada

Welcome to all everyone visiting via the Sew Sisters Blogathon Canada! This is a great opportunity to find new-to-you Canadian bloggers and re-visit old blogging friends.

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is a great quilt shop based out of Toronto, Ontario. Living in the Atlantic region means searching for those special fabric needs online as well as on foot and I have found Sew Sisters has a great selection, great sales, their shipping prices are reasonable, and their service is speedy! I have just finished piecing and quilting a quilt for a friend of my daughter’s and a selection of fat quarters from Sew Sisters rounded out my very small collection of purples quite nicely!

My daughter and I had a lot of fun choosing fabrics and her friend gave us an idea of the sort of pattern she wanted. I cut 4.5 inch strips, sewed them in pairs, and then cut lengths 8.5 inches long making finished blocks of 8 inches. I used a solid purple backing, with purple Bottom Line thread on the back and black Omni thread on the top. This pantograph pattern quilted up very quickly and the quilt is surprisingly cheerful and yummy! The binding will be made of leftover scraps of prints.

Log Cabin

This lovely log cabin measures 110 x 110 and took up pretty much the entire bed of my 12 foot machine table. I tried to take a photo of it on a bed, but the combination of gray skies today and poor lighting made it pretty difficult. So, I resorted to one taken of it draped over my machine with every light on in the living room..

I believe it is heading to one of the Prairie provinces once it is bound and packed.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

House of Yards

Talk about irons in the fire. I have a quilt on my longarm. I have a top waiting for the borders to be added. And this is a simple quilt so the borders will be simple, yet I still haven’t managed to get them sewn on. Then I have to quilt it. And bind it. And I have a bunch of other projects that I want to do/need to do/ would rather be working on that will just have to wait until I find more time.

I know I will get everything done. I work best when I have a lot on my plate. But, I also realize that I am taking over the house once again. 

My longarm takes up part of the back end of our living room, sitting nestled close to my spin bike and our treadmill. Somewhere in my craziness, I brought up my ironing board and iron and they are still next to my machine. This weekend I didn’t want to hide away from my husband so I moved one of my domestics upstairs to the dining room (yes, our house layout is unusual - our kitchen and dining room are on the second floor). The machine is there still and  is kept company by a growing pile of fabric and tools. I have batts lying on the stairs heading to the third floor. I have a pile of Kroy yarn I just ordered also in the dining room. I have a wicker purse of my Mom’s filled with socks needing mates knit and half socks I need to finish that I carry from room to room. I have stacks of quilting books in our bedroom. I have taken over a closet upstairs for batts (I know my hubby reads my blog occasionally so now he knows where I have tucked them!). And of course, I have an entire room downstairs devoted to fabric, machines, materials and tools..

I don’t think there is anything quilt or fabric related in either bathroom. Or in the garage.

Sometimes I feel kind of bad about claiming so much space for my passions. I try not to do this because sometimes it overwhelms me, too. But, when who you are is so intertwined with creating, this happens. I am fortunate that I share my living space with a man who appreciates what I do and can be counted on for subjective advice just when I need it. Of course, he has no idea that “must be creative” was part of my criteria for finding my soul mate!

All this fibre action means I should connect to The Needle and Thread Network this week.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mug rugs

Everyone attending the SAQA Atlantic retreat brought gifts and goodies to give as a thank you gift to our two retreat organizers. There were lots of yummy threads, ice dyed fabrics, hand dyed fabrics, bits and pieces of personalities tied up in luscious yarns and ribbons. 

I couldn’t get the image of a magic carpet out of my head. And a mug of something hot (warm..) is always beside me, so I opted to make each a mug rug in what I perceived to be a flying carpet shape using some of my hand dyed fabrics. I added a mug that could hold a reasonable portion of a soothing beverage and my favorite, a piece of maple cream from our local Farmer’s Market.

I have to be honest so full disclosure here - I didn’t even know what a mug rug was until a few months ago. But, now the idea of a perky little pad to protect my surface from spills and drops and one that is big enough to hold a mug and a snack makes a lot of sense to me. 

Today I am connecting to The Needle and Thread Network.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Covering journals

I like my journals covered, and it turns out there was a simple way to achieve that without taking a huge chunk of time. These days it takes a while for the lightbulb to pop on inside my head and I would like to think it is simply because I am so busy that the obvious just isn’t obvious. But, really I believe that little voice of reason and sensible solutions has been silenced and left me to figure this stuff out on my own.

While working on something else and pondering how I could make some covers, I glanced at a stack of discharged and batiked fabric on my shelf and suddenly was struck by the idea that perhaps the fabric in itself was enough.

Turns out I was right.

The small journal is covered in a piece of black cotton discharged with bleach which I squirted out of a repurposed mustard bottle. The other was covered with fabric made with a black cotton base on which I freehanded leaves with soy wax and then painted with multiple colors of opaque fabric paint. Once dried I removed the wax to reveal the black outline. This requires a fair amount of elbow grease as the wax is well covered in paint. This results in a fabric with a fair amount of weight which is exactly what I wanted - a fabric with the substance of a suede or leather. I also used some red had dyed fabric for the inner pockets.

Done and done!

Weekend away

After a full work week, I packed and headed to the first ever SAQA Atlantic Retreat.

The weekend was an action packed exchange of information and meeting of minds. Things have certainly been altered forever in my little universe.