Posted in Art, creativity, embellishment, journaling, productivity, quilting, stash, surface design

Making art every day

I subscribed to Lesley Riley’s 52 pick-up, which is a year of weekly creativity prompts to encourage more regular art and creativity.  Feeling accountable to a supportive group of other people is helping me to form better habits.

And every day I succeed in spending time creating, I get a star!

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In real life the stars look better than they do in the photo, which often happens with glitter and metallics.  They’re foiled, a technique I’ve had a lot of fun with for years.  You can get the foils and special glue from Jones Tones.

But, breaking news!  and not good, although definitely a first world problem, Dharma Trading, the go-to source for all things fibre arty, posted that the foil is being discontinued and they (Dharma) are looking for a replacement.  In the month since they posted, the more conventional colours have been snapped up but they still have purple, green and blue.

I fused the square fabric onto the Disco Dots to have a little more body to stand up to the writing and foiling and free motion quilted along the lines.

Posted in productivity, quilting

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Of course this is what some sites pick up every single day, but I’m not trying to document every single thing that happens in my life, just keep notes on my creative endeavours without letting the blogging take over at the expense of said creative endeavours.

Think my word for this year will be BALANCE

since it’s something I always pray for – balance between work/creative activities/service to family & community

And my resolution is NOT TO MAKE ANY RESOLUTIONS!  Because we know where they go ….

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in baraka, productivity, quilting, stash

Use What You Have – Got Stash??

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well, this is embarrassing!  I knew I had a lot of scraps — defined below — because I had a large tote bag stuffed full, plus some that overflowed onto the floor, plus an open medium size moving box that the tote bag sat in also containing scraps.

Making slabs to recover southern Alberta  inspired me to tidy and organize them.   I emptied the bin in the photo above by consolidating some dyeing fabric and blank white garments which easily fit into a single bin, then started folding and laying scraps in.  Now the tote bag is empty and the box is nearly but not quite empty.

What an eyeopener!  This is the wake up call.  I could make a slab a day for the rest of my life just out of this bin.

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and the slabs would be colour coordinated too!

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NOT in the bin:

  • batiks for the prairie points on the dino quilt that coordinates with this pillowcase.
  • solid fabrics except for very small scraps
  • green and pink prints for baby quilts

The bin is on a shelf at waist height where I will see it and be able to reach it easily.

Of course, tidying one thing led to another and I have plenty of batting too, now consolidated into a Rubbermaid roughneck tote bin and a moving box.  And there is a little more floor space free than before.

Does anyone else have this problem?  What are you doing about it?

The bin there bin really is just that.  It seems that there are very few fabrics which I’ve completely used up.

This represents 15 years of quilting but I can see the next 15 years are already right here!  And in the very first class the teachers warned us about this, but who listened, LOL?

DEFINITION OF A SCRAP

Minimum:

  • at least two inches square OR
  • one and half inches by six inches long

Maximum:

  • fat quarter with a chunk cut out of it, because of the number of times when I’ve been preparing for a workshop that calls for fat quarters only to discover the dreaded missing corners!
  • quarter yard or just over and NOT width of fabric
Posted in baraka, creativity, Islam, journaling, productivity, Writing

Virtuous Living 2012

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Click here to view the Wordle
I made using the Virtues Project cards I randomly selected throughout 2012.  
The size of the writing reflects which cards I pulled most frequently.  
No surprises there I would say.  Or if you just click on the image you can
embiggen it.  (Hmmm, I wonder when embiggen will make it either into the
dictionary or the list of words to be banished such as "world-class" and 
"spoiler alert"?)














Lifelong learning is a theme which kept coming up over and over again 
through the year so I added it as an "extra" virtue although it's not 
in the original hundred virtues in the project.  
For this year I've also added Sisterhood, Self-Care, and 
Consolidation (in the sense of keeping one's affairs in order 
and generally being organized)

What's special about the Virtues Project is that it's part of a global
initiative "to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life by helping
people of all cultures to discover the transformative power of these
universal gifts of character."
As such the quotations are drawn from every faith tradition.
The virtues are all positive and the cards themselves stress the
importance of balance and common sense, i.e. truthfulness does not
mean being hurtfully blunt, generosity does not mean giving away
the grocery money.  
I've been continually amazed at how often the virtue I randomly
choose for the day is exactly on point!

Of course there are various other sets of cards out there, so I'm curious, 
do you use cards and if so which ones?  What have you learned?  do
share, please!

Wordle takes a bit of patience to get started but once you do it's
great fun!  I've used it in the past to create text on fabric
through Spoonflower.
Posted in productivity, quilting

Baby quilt FINALLY FINISHED!

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Here’s a close up showing the quilting on this one, which is technically the best quilting I feel I’ve done, just meandering lines in a grid, using Valdani Withered Blue on top and their Brick (I think it is) in the bobbin.

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And to the right, the whole quilt.

What was fun with this was that I didn’t buy any fabric, just found stuff in my existing stash that played together nicely.

Following Joan Ford’s advice in Cut the Scraps! was a big help as all the squares were cut to five inches.  The paisley and the pale blue feathers were yardage which I cut, the others were from scraps I’d already cut down.  It was fast and fun to pore through the clamshell I keep them in and pull out the dark blue, red, peacock feathers and the deep red paisley and then just sit and sew.

The Missouri Star Quilt Company YouTube tutorial on disappearing nine-patch 

was a terrific quick  primer that saved me from making any design mistakes.  You put the focus fabrics in the four corners of the nine-patch, the middle fabric will be sliced into four little squares, and the fabrics in the middle of each outside appear like sashing, which is why I stuck to the blue feathers so there would be some consistency to the design.

When the quilt was started, no one knew whether the baby would be a boy or a girl.  Here in British Columbia you can only find out by paying extra for a special test.  Anyway the not knowing meant I needed to choose colours that were not gender specific, which I think I achieved.  In the end it was a boy, but this would also be suitable for a girl too.

Posted in baraka, productivity, quilting

Local Quilt Store comes through where it matters

pear batik005Of course there’s never a good time for a sewing machine to be temperamental, but in the middle of sewing the binding onto a quilt that has to be delivered this weekend because the recipient is about to move overseas is one of the worst times.  What a blessing that the awesome ladies at  Satin Moon Quilted Garden agreed to clear off a table so I could use one of their machines.  This despite having the store full of the Christmas Bazaar handcrafts at the front, and the classroom/sewing area temporarily well filled with notions.  They even spoiled me with fresh coffee, which really hit the spot!  Thank you Linda, Susan, and Maureen!

So:  Mission accomplished, now I just have to sew the back down and do the label.

This is something no one can compete with online.  Local independent retailers bring so much to our communities in service, support and character.  Mindful of the need to show support, and aware of the excellent specials that were on, I indulged did my bit for the local economy:  isn’t this pear batik drool-worthy?

Posted in productivity, quilting, stash, surface design

New Quilt Unveiled

Nothing was posted about this earlier because I wanted to surprise the recipient.  If she totally hates it, she can always pretend that the back is the top:

All my life I’ve struggled with completely finishing things, so bingo might be a better hobby than quilting, I sometimes feel.

Anyhoo, this has been bound, labeled, and provided with its coordinating tote bag.  And after going back and forth on it for a few times, I put handles on the tote bag.

This photo shows the bag.  Almost every piece of fabric has a story, either where it came from or how it was made.

See the blue and red swirly fabric towards the bottom of the bag?  That was a serendipitous piece created when I was using a hatband that had turned out too tight as a wiping rag when I was dyeing fabric.  For years this was a piece that was waaaay to beautiful to cut.  see here for a close up photo. The pink and green paisley to the right of it comes from either Susan Purney Mark or Daphne Greig.  Many small squares of it have been floating around Victoria, and I’ve collected pieces from both of them.

The fun thing about making this is that it grows itself and is a fast stash buster.  I’ve tried designs that purport to bust stash but require a lot of time and patience to work with smaller pieces that can’t be strip pieced.  After the twin bed topper was done I had no less scraps than before I started.  If my scraps continue to grow it’s because I keep an eye open for small pieces that other people have given up on!

When making this fabric I set a few parameters:

The same fabrics can be touching because I want to fool the eye and not be too obvious about where one piece starts and the other leaves off.  See how I did it with marbled fabric:

No, no set in seams here, thank you very much!

I’m working with strips and with pieces that are smaller than a fat quarter.  If you click on this photo Andrea Hamilton’s mid-arm quilting shows to much better advantage on the light fabric.  We chose Valdani Gem Symphony.

Nothing representational really, although I do have one butterfly on my cushion.

The fabrics are mostly solids, tone on tone, neutrals, batiks and surface design pieces. However in the spirit of nothing representational, I’m not using batiks with really in your face pictures on them, like flip-flops.

I’m not allowed to get too precious and agonize over whether adjacent fabrics look good together.  Some do, some don’t.

Some of the fabric is too beautiful to cut and some was what I couldn’t sell at the Guild garage sale!  And some came from fellow surface design folks who were cleaning out their studios and desperate to see the back of their own stash.

Since the fabric is used to make larger items there is not a set block size.  I sew pieces to each other and build long strips about 7 to 10 inches wide and as long as the width of a twin bed quilt.  Then when I’m going to make something I play around with these strips and figure out the final design.

And although some oriental carpet makers and Amish quilters put deliberate errors into their pieces because perfection belongs to God alone, I doubt I’ll ever come close to needing to do that!  There’s a non deliberate error in the tote (one handle is twisted, aaaarrrgggghhhh!

and another (really galling) one in the quilt itself. 

Posted in Art, creativity, productivity, quilting, surface design

Something I gotta try … and a confession

I’ve been studying Pat Langford’s Embroidery from Sketch to Stitch, Quilters’ Resource, Inc, 1996, ISBN 0-9629056-7-4

This lady is first and foremost an embroiderer, which I’m really not, although various little things are nudging me in that direction.

Sketching is obviously a huge part of what she does.  Maybe this will be the impetus that will get me sketching on a more regular basis instead of wringing my hands and being a sniveling wannabe.

I’m intrigued by the way she pushes the envelope, using puff paint on a baby blanket (although you would never know from looking at the finished work), and crayoning onto microfibre.

Specific things I want to try:

Polychromos coloured pencils on microfibre, ironed to heat set

Transfer dyeing with Crayola fabric crayons on paper, ironed onto the microfibre fabric.

Pentel crayons directly onto linen in several layers.  Langford actually covered the fabric in places.  Hmmm, thrift store hunt for old linen coming up maybe?   Too bad I no longer have the orange linen tablecloth that was in my wedding registry, that would have been so dramatic!

Langford has many platters, which are round or oval art quilts.  That’s a possible direction.

CONFESSION

After the busyness and frenzy of preparing for and being in the Artists In Motion @ The Empress show, I vowed to take things easy/take the summer off.  Of course THAT’S not gonna happen, but as I recuperated I challenged myself to write down all the different outstanding projects and tasks of every description that I have on my plate.  It’s four pages long, so I’m forcing myself to look at this list every day, cross things off it as and when possible, and not undertake any more new projects.

So in order to stay focused artistically, I’m starting a new page on the blog for things I want to try, so that I can have a handy reference.  Of course I have a sketchbook on the go too but this will be a good handy way to preserve links electronically.

Before the show I did find that restricting myself to working in a series was helpful.  I am continuing with that series in order to have more to show at the Moss Street Paint-In, where we will be exhibiting on Thurlow Street next to the Moss Street market.

 

Posted in productivity, quilting

Looking backwards and forwards

Autism Home Rescue has challenged her readers to respond to the prompt:  What was your greatest achievement of 2010 and how do you plan to top it in 2011?

My comment is posted here because it’s more to do with fibre art than with homeschooling.  However reading her blog I’m humbled by what others have to take in stride day after day after day.

“”I completed an art quilt, Geode, I had started in 2003, involving hours of hand beading. It was shown at one of the exhibitions at the Canadian National Quilt Show in Calgary and I got to meet other quilt artists and had a very encouraging message from the author of the fantasy novel that inspired it.

My plans for 2011 don’t include one giant piece like this one, but I plan to be more consistently productive in my quilting and art endeavours, and more diligent in promoting myself through networking.”

People, please, whatever you did last year, surely you can do better in 2011?  Tell us about it and let’s spread the energy!