Saturday, 28 February 2015

Li'l Bear or Where's Momma?

Some may think I gave this piece a rather heavy treatment. He could hardly remain floating in the sea of bits. The darker framing gives balance  to this scene. The cub weighs the branch down with his well-fed bulk.

Placing leaves into the framing draws the eye further into the picture.

This was a very simple applique, one piece, with minimal thread work. The snippets lent such a busy feeling to the background the cub needed to be calm. Had I done it as paper piecing, as the original, I think it would have been less soothing.

I could not stop thinking Koala while I worked on this guy. In fact my husband made the same comment. We've seen so many pictures of them lounging in trees, I wonder if the original paper piecing came from a Koala scene? Change him to Grey, make his ears bigger. Awwwww!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Using the Snippet Background

A few months ago I found on line, a paper pieced Bear cub. After redrawing and sizing it, I placed it on this background. It will take a few days to finish the details but I like this little guy.

original PP Bear cub

To make this more interesting I used a plush upholstery fabric. Makes you want to reach out and stroke the little guy.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Another Background

After I had commented on how my forest scenes had cut into my stash of green, a friend passed on her overrun and left overs. Her tastes had changed and these particular fabrics were either not on her menu anymore or too small to work with.

Yummy! (and one of her fabrics went into the quilt for my grandniece.)

I decide to play with these today. From 25 fabrics I cut wof one inch wide and stitched them in a progression. Not all the fabrics were 40+ so my piece ended up around 35 inches by 17.

Then I cut off about 8 inches and treated it as a bargello.
When I put this back into the larger piece and flipped a few inches I ended up with a very interesting piece of cloth about 25 x 17

Hmmmmmm. Background for a barely there Bear?
(or might make a nice tote bag!!)


Wednesday, 25 February 2015


I spent today finishing this background for a future piece.
I used 3 motifs to anchor all the bits under netting.
The lower portion was with the mono filament, but the center and upper areas were done with three different thread colours.
The sky was finished with a small clamshell in very pale blue, and the leaves, two colours, some with individual leaves and a center, darker portion with vines. This is rather mindless repetitive work, but it pays to do it and get it out of the way.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Back to work

I've been cooling my heels for a few days, bored; tired of this winter, and utterly devoid of ambition.
Mailed the baby quilt and the few items I assembled around working on the large pieces I'm holding for the show in May.

I'm rather loathe to begin something large right now, particularly when I don't feel I have any fresh ideas. So I kicked myself into action today and started, revisiting the snippets I enjoyed working on in the past.

I only have a vague idea what this is going to be so I worked on what I consider a rather generic background for ..... something.

First you start with a thousand little pieces. Well this is the way I do it.

A lot of instructions for snippets art instruct you to bond your material to a fusible web and then cut it. I find this expensive, but more importantly, you need to apply each piece individually so the web side is down.
Too slow for my use.
I use batiks almost exclusively for this because they are the same both sides, so no matter how they land on the background, they're right side up.
And I simply sprinkle them, this time, over a fusible interfacing.

After I had fused as many tiny pieces as I could stand (without screaming) I switched horses and used a fabric spray glue and applied the last, somewhat larger pieces, using tweezers to place about 100.

This is a long way from being secure yet, so the whole piece was covered with netting and I started stitching using a grey mono filament in the leaf pattern, to hold them in place. So far I've only worked on the green, because I haven't decided yet what motif to use on the "sky". Little "birds"?, tiny clouds? wind patterns or simply a micro stipple?

Until I'm really inspired I have to push past this lethargy and that hardly ends with my best work.!
Hurry Spring! (though they're predicting snow till way past my birthday........sigh)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Winter Road - Final

I have a friend who doesn't believe me when I say my work doesn't always turn out "perfect", and this one is definitely an example of that.
I did manage to get most of the "wow" out of the fabric but in doing so I managed to "melt" the road.
The organza overlay couldn't stand  up to heavy steaming. But then this piece really hasn't done what I expected at all.

I finished it.
I persevered and looking at it now, with is mismatched thread design, painting and tattered road, I still like it. There is something so familiar about the chewed roads, particularly in winter and here in Canada.
Does it portray the mysterious serenity of the original???? No.
But I'll put it out there and see what happens.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Winter Road - Day 5

This piece took on a life of its own.
The hills came from the folds that formed in the battering and materials. In the end, I was quilting much heavier than when I began so I went back over a few areas.
The sky was totally puckered from all the heavy stitching. I couldn't decide what colour, if any, I should stitch and in the end I went with mono filament.
I started with parallel lines but soon decided the impression of bigger hills would be more effective. That left me with a piece that has a very different technique and feel in the sky from the bottom.

While I was out this morning I took note of how badly chewed the roads were, so I transferred some of that to my road to tame it and flatten it out.

Very interesting exercise.  50 Shades of White..and Grey!

You have no idea how difficult it is to photograph this so the colours are balanced. White is NOT white!
I still like the original photo graph and though this is a long way from that, I do like it. It IS dramatic and it needs a dramatic frame. too.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Winter Road - Day 4

With the baby quilt ready for quilting, I finally turned back to the road. How appropriate to work on winter while our outside temperatures sit around -10c to -26c plus the wind chill.
But when the sun shines...our country is simply spectacular.

I was unsure where I was going with this small piece. The original photo is ethereal with horizons barely there. I didn't think I could go anywhere near that, but I hadn't really planned on stitching every sq cm of this piece. But that's what I'm doing.
This is one time when " more is more" and as I keep adding thread, the scene has started to take on life.
That makes it much easier to work on. this is a very time consuming activity. But the foreground is all but finished and the distant hills are taking shape too.
2 days maybe?.. and this will be finished.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Baby Quilt - Day 5 - Done

This is definitely an UN-BABY quilt. But its done and I'm satisfied with it. As long as I thought of it as a small quilt for my very active and outgoing niece, who happens to be having a baby, it was good. Quilting is going to be nothing to write home about. Its too busy.

So here is the back. I was concerned about using the wonderful piece of fabric, the Big Horn Sheep provided by a very generous person on the Quilting Board, ,as a label, but it turned out well. Trying to incorporate different lines of materials is not always easy. 36x45

A few of my friends provided some great advice and even material. Thanks, Nellie, Dana, Elaine and Jo.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Baby Quilt - Day 4

I am/was well aware how unexciting and masculine this little quilt was/is, so I reworked it. After hearing from many, many people, I think this new version will make it easier for a lot of people to sleep, let alone, a baby. 

These two panels were the best of the paltry variety I could find in my locale. They certainly speak of Canada, though you could say the same for a lot of places.

Now for the back!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Jelly Bean Houses of St. John's, Newfoundland.

Well all the Houses created by 10 talented ladies are finished and today a couple of my friends helped me arrange and mount these. Unbelievable that assembling these beautiful pieces  took 4 hours.  Our montage is done and will be in our guild show in May.

This wonderful panel finished out at 36 x 53inches.  Here they are individually. All wonderful!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Baby Quilt - Day 3

I was very aware that this quilt was dark and masculine and the fabric prints really didn't do much to brighten the greens. In addition I was really disappointed how the white edging I spent hours on, turned out really messy and it disappeared completely with some of the blocks. All those print were of a slightly different dimension. AUGH!
Yes I considered taking them all apart, but the fabric of the camouflage print was not a tight weave and I had concerns the small pieces might shred too much.

So, there I had these little pictures, their edges already compromised with 5 layers of cloth folds and I proposed to add more.

I decided to satin stitch around each one to conceal the irregularities. AND if I used primary colours I could add some life!

Well easier said than done of course. I found the white showed through in spots as the material didn't want to feed smoothly because of the varying layers of cloth. So I hauled out my permanent colour pens, and coloured in the white. Simple!

 After colouring the flange I could stitch right over and not have any white peek through.

I broadened the range of colours to the colour wheel 6. This should make the piece much more interesting. It's also a little tactile under the fingers. Yes, I have wondered how this might impact of the final quilting. I've been thinking about that too. Already.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

"Baby Quilt" - Day 2

I put together 20 - 9 patch for now. I have 7 more centre blocks I could use. Unfortunately they are all Bear. So I'll wait and see how the front of the quilt works for size. All that fussy work I did putting a white border around all the centre blocks only works for a few. They are all slightly different in size. I'm debating whether to throw a white satin stitch around each one to even it up or do it in a colour to make each animal stand out a little more.

I photographed the two obvious layouts. Squared and offset. Again small size difference here 6 inches in the width.

I'm now waiting on a delivery from Michigan, my coveted Big Horn Sheep. I still have lots of time on this. I really don't have to ship it out until at least the first of next month. So I'll put it away for now.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Another Day and Another Project

Blessed be the coffee bean as it helps me open my eyes. HOWEVER, after sitting and enjoying several cups while looking out the window, the snow........I decided I would NOT work on the cold winter scene.

So I dove into a BABY QUILT for my , as yet, unborn grand niece. (due April)
Now her mother has very strong views on how this unknown personality is going to grow up. NO PINK, NO FRUFRU, NO LITTLE BABY CUTSEY STUFF.

(HA! Wait till she visits s friend who has a princess dress.................. it will be an epic struggle)!

But I did listen and I will assemble something I know will please her. Mom grew up and played in Western Canada. She wanted something to typify the animals found there. No cartoons but REAL pictures of REAL bears and deer and fish and..........the list goes on.
But finding these pictures was not easy. I had to hunt.
I persevered and with some help from my friends I gathered material that will work. (I think I'll have to replenish my green vegetation after this.

Cut for 9 patch
I found a line that is actually sold as camouflage stuff. I'm sure its not real as it was a light cotton, so camouflage for little boys? and men who are still little boys???? LOL
I fussy cut all the animals I could salvage from a half yard cut.
Working towards a 9 inch 9 patch, I had to enlarge each of the pictures. I added a thin white edge to all.

And then started assembling the 9 patch.

They look pretty good and I have enough to assemble a baby sized quilt.
BUT WAIT.......this is just the back.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Winter Road 3

This goes very slowly.
After the gym this morning I went back to my local supplier and brought home 5 spools of thread. 2 white (I now have 5) 1 very pale blue and 2 more grey. Rather expensive stuff this thread.

As I really have no set plan I'm just trying to feel my way through this. Though it takes a while and a lot of thread, the front portion, the "white" snow is quite straight forward. Not sure yet about the background.
To soften the pavement, I put two layers of netting over the black, one white and one black. It looks more like tarmac now than fresh asphalt.
Part of me is crying "stick something with colour in there". It's rather insistent. We'll see where that goes.

I think, too, every time I put this piece through photo shop it's going to come out different. The white is really rather tricky!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Winter Road

I've stared at this on my wall for several days. I've also come to the conclusion I don't have enough whites or greys in my thread collection. I will fix that tomorrow.

But I started this anyway. The sections are tacked and I used the lines in my dyed material to dictate land formation (well snow really). When you're thinking that this may end up being completely quilted, its hard to know where to start. This piece is not going to go quickly as its one of those I can't really see up close. I need to put it back on the wall and stand back. That's the only way I can "see" the whole.

Spring - Final

This little guy just called for a nice white frame. I haven't used this finish in a while but it looks great here. And I am delighted how my own painted cloth looks with this design.

I have plans for this little fellow. I tell you in a little while.

I went back and covered that leaf outline in the very center. I had thread painted it and I didn't like it, so I simply slapped a leaf over top.
I also hadn't really thought about finishing the edges of all the strips. I ended up doing so. It wasn't that difficult but it had to be done piece meal. I would have been much easier before I started putting leaves and birds all over. LOL

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Spring - Day 3

This little guy is almost finished.

I have to think about how I placed a few thread leaves in the center.
I'm not sure they are right.
I'm not sure I can remove them.
I may cover them.
But that's tomorrow.

Friday, 6 February 2015


Girl can't think spring too soon, (even thought its snowing outside my window right now!)

Went to work on the Chickadee hanging in these branches. I liked the presentation of the bird in the photo, but I wanted it a tad bigger. It's always fun to haul out the pencils. I don't do it enough.

 I had to go back to the internet to check on the colours. They really come in a great variety.

 This picture was drawn on a stabilizer and then hooped. The first pass was with pure black.

 Then the darkest Grey followed by a lighter grey.

 Beige for the feathers, but under the colour at the rump is a section of ruddy brown. And finish with the white.

Finally positioned on the background. Legs and a beak will be added when I anchor it. But first, this needs a lot more leaves.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Blown Away - Show Ready

That means I found the Pearl Paint. I found it about 2 weeks ago but its taken me all this time to get the nerve to put paint on the cloth.

I'm glad I did. Such a small amount, but it lifts this scene with that bit of pure white brightness.

It's due in CQA hands the first week of April. I could send it any time.
I've sold pieces, I given pieces away.
Somehow this is different. It goes into the hands of strangers who will judge it on many levels and then sell to the highest bidder.

I will never see it again.
I'll be lucky if I know where it goes.
I'm not ready to left this guy go.....yet.

It's packaged and gone.................... Just do it!
Feb 10 - received an email today saying my parcel was received. Done!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

From the Sublime......

If the last thread was  bleak and depressing for some then this new project should lift your spirits. (Yes, 2 at once). The winter scene requires a lot of thought whereas this new one is pure bliss.

This little sweetie popped up on Pinterest. No credits or source listed.
My favourite bird, the Chickadee is front and center once more.

This is again a woven background as I had just done for the Guild Challenge, Nightscapes, but this time I choose my own material.

This piece of cloth was one of the first I had painted last summer. What better to forget winter than using material with such a lovely memory.

This is a much different flavour with the blue. Think Sky and fresh new leaves of Spring. The leaves are fussy cut from the same material.
This one will be pure joy and very straightforward.