Monday, 31 August 2015

Tidying up Some Loose Ends Before Going Off LIne

Tad of a crisis here.
It rained in my studio last night.
The dishwasher died a messy, wet death..

But I managed to finish up a donaton piece made by my friends on their yearly Algonguin retreat.

A simple quilt, one of three. ( I"ll see the other two in a few days.)

 This is part of the backing. Bears and more bears, Soooooooooo

I Quilted MORE Bears.
Fun stuff.

Not so fun was the water from the dishwasher raining in my studio.
Lost a lot of sleep last night, but we're on the road to drying. (It's so humid in here, my lips have never felt so good.)
Meet my NEW best Friend...the SHOP VAC.

Thirsty little devil.
But everything had to be picked up from the floor. Thankfully, most of my fabric and stuff is in plastic bins. That was a real life saver.

All the foam tiles had to be removed, cleaned and dried in the sun today. They'll stay in this stack probably until its time to turn the furnace on, just to make sure everything is DRY. Don't want any mold.
But for the near future, I can't DO anything here. Boxes and stuff on all my work surfaces.

There are other areas of the basement that need purging, and that will take up all my time in the next little while.
But my head keeps planning..........
I will be back!!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

My, I'm a Busy Girl - a Modified Kaffe Fassett

This is a modified Kaffe Fassett. No KF fabrics but the crosses were the basis of his pattern.
The edge border was simplified and the crosses allowed to fail at the edges.

As the sewer wanted a floral theme in the quilting to match the materials, I did not use the recommended quilting pattern suggest by the original. It was SITD. Very effective, but not what my friend wanted.

Friday, 28 August 2015

And while I was waiting for the pickles........ More Garden Pics

A lot of preserving is standing around waiting for things to boil, things to cool, things to seal in the water bath and rarely, waiting on the pressure cooker. ( my husband does that stuff! )

So I slipped outside and took some late August pictures;  the Black eyed Susans, the Echinacea fading as the fall Mums come on, and the Japanese Anemone or Moon flower.

Things are getting thin, but there is one most spectacular thing to come, Monk's Hood......but that could be another month yet!

Definitely NOT a Quilt.= Pickles

I knew there was a reason I made pickled beets infrequently.
We bought 10 kilos down in the Niagara region yesterday.
I guess I should have been mentally prepared but it took me 4 hours.
But they're done......
and we LOVE them.
All set for another few months LOL

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Just a Fun Little Quilt

My neighbour down the street is an exquisite sewer. Her seams are always straight and her corners match (well most). There are NEVER any issues with her flimsies.

This little piece stitched up quickly.
Love the colours! Love the pattern.
Should make a little someone very happy.

The piano key border and the stars were echo quilted . The remainder was a fun, irregular meander.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Trees - All the rest?

The final bits and pieces?...........
well you've seen all that before.

Either "snippets" or "confetti" or hooped free motion stitching........... they all "fit".

All YOU need to do is try it!

irregular cuts

                                                 stitching on netting



Confetti or snippets

                                                                     fussy cutting


                                                FM on netting

A Quilt of Flowers

Well I started this about 2 weeks ago and it's now finished.
This was harder than I expected but it was my own fault. I decided to do a tracery of the motifs on this and I quickly realized it was going to drive me crazy.
Twitch muscles can only twitch so many times.
I took a lot of breaks.
But I persevered...........because that's what I do.

One of the reasons I chose to give myself so much work was because I remember Bed Spreads from the 50's that were so pretty but then the stitching or the quilting had nothing to do with the pattern. It drove me nuts. I couldn't come up with an over all meander or large repeating pattern that I thought would look nice.
So I did it this way.

The backing was a leap of faith. SOOOOO pink. And "cloudy" !! LOL
But the gold and blue in both tie them together.

I inserted a gold flange on the front before I attached the "pink" backing/binding to transition the orange/gold of the tulips to the Pink. I think I got away with it!

The other reason I "uber-quilted" this was to tie the backing to the front, by repeating the pattern.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Trees - Cedar and Juniper

Though the construct of these two is very similar anyone who has handled these a lot knows the difference immediately. Cedar are soft while the Juniper are very "spiky"

If you're like me the Juniper gives a rash every time I weed around them.

These both are made from overlapping scales.
Stitching them is actually a matter of speed and smoothness.
The cedar are very round. A rapid stitching rate and slow rotational movements create a tight spiral.
Size difference indicates nodes or branching areas.

The juniper is made with a slower speed, resulting in an angular spiral.

A second pass adds scale definition.
Making a repeating U loop all the way down each section in a different colour, gives it more definition as well as establishes a bit of separation of the scales.

At the top, a sample of the final stitch.

To define the juniper the U loop is reversed, downward and angled slight outward.
This results in the Spikes that are so irritating.

At the top, a sample of the final stitch.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Trees - Conifer Needles

Forgetting all the exotics and the Nursery grown non native trees, ALL conifers fall into a few categories,
One needle attachments ie. One by One, and Two, Three or five needle bundles.
These include all spruce, pine, fir and larch varieties.

Cedars and Juniper are considered scales in structure. That's another page.

All of them are attached to the branch with a tiny "foot" or stalk. Some are micro and some like the larch have "bumps" several mm. in size.
Is it necessary to include all these details?
Of course not...unless you are trying to represent something specific or easily recognizable.

There are many possibilities represented on this page; the length of the stitching, whether the "needle" is straight or twisted, number in the bundle. Then throw colour into that one as well.

Except for the first two examples, I have done most of this sample with embroidery thread. Is it necessary?
In fact I've moved away from that pricey item for most of my large works, primarily as it's fragile when worked over many times. As a piece becomes thicker with more applications, I fine most embroidery thread frays. My "go to" now is actually quilting cotton.
Why use it embroidery thread?
The colours are brighter and there are more of them!

The first example here presents any single "round" needle.  ( They're not all round. )

The second sample shows 2 needles. As we cross the page, these represent, primarily, all the pines. They vary in straightness, length and number in the bundle. That is an identifying feature.

 I separated the bundles here a bit, to show a little more detail.
The last sample is our flat needles friend the Taxus sp. the Yew. I included this as they often turn up in winter scenes because of their bright red berry. The lower half is stitched but the upper is done with ribbon. (Be prepared to need pliers to pull it through anything with a tight weave.)

Tomorrow? Cedars and Junipers.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Trees - Textured or 3 Dimensional Trunks

Adding dimension is only a matter of folding material...........and crooked stitching!

Tree trunks come in many colours and that is multipled by whether they are in sun or shade, wet or dry, summer or winter.

I chose 6 fabrics.

The width of the swatch is the original width sewn to the white backing. Folds and pleats are stitched with straight lines, zigzags and meandering lines.

The first brown fabric is wood grained, a natural.
The second is a stone wall.
Third is left overs from my favorite dress!

The last 3 are meant to be rock.

These were all stitched with the same grey thread. By changing the thread colour you can make the stitching disappear or add additional contrast.

These were all done with no batting or stabilizer. Batting slipped under the material can add even more dimension.
Using a piece of material cut on the bias can be distorted for even more interesting results.

OH.....The Sacrifice.

The sacrifices we make for the ones we love. Sigh!
Though I make and enjoy Fruit Cake in the season, I try to avoid cooking pies and cakes and other sweets unless I'm having company.

Smart Heart menu lists OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES  as  breakfast alternative (so I was told)
IT guy asked for oatmeal cookies....................
I made cookies today.
I ate cookies today.
I will probably eat cookies tomorrow.

I'll have to get used to cookies.........and walking another km. every day.

Ain't love grand!

I think I ate 3...before they were cool...only the broken ones...and the bits and pieces left in the bowl.....and licked the beaters........and then ate a good one, a cool one, just to test them.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Trees - 2 Dimensional Branches and Trunks

Before we start foliage I thought we should look at how to construct branches and some of the materials that work very well.

The top row is material, cut straight from fabric.
I finished one side with a zigzag and the other side with a blind hem stitch. That's my favourite stitch finish.

This second is braided wool, anchored with a straight stitch and unraveled towards the end to make finer branches.
Next is skinny ribbon with a straight stitch.

Next, couched wool.
Then, bias cut cloth stitched close to the edge and then rolled and stitch to hold, close to the edge.

The last is a wider, folded piece of material. Both edges are stitched to the backing and the remainder rolled over, similar to an edge binding. This is anchored with a blind stitch. It allows more dimension than stitching it flat.

The next example was to cut from one piece of material the basic shapes of a lot of deciduous trees. Branching patterns vary with specie, of course, and a lot of it can be added with thread.

But I wanted to show how using the same colour thread on three different background materials change the look of the trunk/bark.

The first "tree" is black, the sceond grey and the third dirty white. These three cover most of the N.AM.  deciduous species.
The black and grey have black, lighter grey and brown stitched in a jaged motion up the trunk.
Most trees have this pattern of bark, some rougher and some smoother. A few like Cherry and other fruit trees have "patches" of bark. It's one of their identifying characteristics.
The third tree represent the coloration of beeches, birch and poplar. The birch and poplar have their bark markings primarily horizontal instead of vertical. Beech are more evenly mottled, with little variation throughout main branches.
This sample is stitched with grey, cream, white and pale green.
(The fine branches for all, are different again, usually done with greys, black or red.)

The stark grey and black on the left side, works well in winter scenes when you want minimal addition of other colour.

The simple addition of brown on the right, brings the bark to life.

The lighter grey base colour make the tone of this tree less hard. Bleeding the thread colour, either the brown or the black (shadow, or darker side) gives texture to the edges of the tree.

This dirty grey is stitched horizontally as these trees, poplar, birch and beech, have horizontal cracks or lenticles in the bark as part of their air exchange systems.
( Fruit trees have them as well but they are not very noticeable as the tree grows. In fact most deciduous trees have them for a few years. They are still there, but buried under the rough bark and no long noticeable.)

Grey on the dark side (left) and creams on white on the sunny side give shape to this type. In the case of poplar, green is more predominant than cream/white.

And the last style represents all those old orchard trees. Again greys, browns and black.

The placement of only 3 colours goes a long way towards making it real.
Don't rely on the material, no matter how clever the pattern. Use the colour but, add life with
thread definition.