Thursday, 31 December 2015

GCQ - Background complete

I kept wanting to place trees and shrubs but I decided I needed to pin down and finish the background.
Here is the assembled set. Glued and anchored only with a layer of netting.
I will stitch it as I progress. Slight fabric movement won't be an issue.

The deep gash of the ravine is severely reduced and the movement into a darker area suggests shadow and a change in elevation. I can work with this now!

(What a long and tortuous journey getting this far.)

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Guild Challenge Quilt

After a great start yesterday, a good night's sleep and a find in a second hand store I was energized this afternoon.
Remember that all of this is still BACKGROUND.

Some of the cutoffs from the "moon" were placed at the top edge, along with some silver material, where these areas are receiving the max moonlight.

I've also stuck in some thin angelina, clear netting and loose silver threads. There is a ravine cutting diag across. This is marked by the dark grey.

After sampling a few different methods of piecing the background including tearing the fabric, I went with crazy quilt blocks. More of the moon scraps were incorporated as well. More trees, more thread, and a big wad of angelina give the moonlight heft. 

Merry Christmas to MEEEEEEEEEEEE

Not having sashing fabric for my DJ has been bother me for weeks now, so I made a journey to Lens this morning. Hubby came with on a different mission. I gave him the final choice on the fabric for that project ( he has a marvelous colour sense, as a photographer and when I get fuddled, I always trust his interpretation)  and them we decided to wander over to Bibles For Missions (He's looking for a glass lid).

AND WHAT TO MY WONDERING EYES DID APPEAR.....................................

A QUILTING FRAME , an honest, no nonsense, early style, knock down frame. ( I KNEW that I was meant to get that loom out of my living room for a reason!)

This is how it assembles...  (see people actually still do this.)  Ta Daaa!

Right now it looks sad, disassembled.
I have to rearrange the furniture AGAIN.........happily!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Today is a Diddly Detail Day

I'm just about finished with this level, the very back. Some will disappear but what does show thru needs to be right. (Just my thing.)

Leaves Leaves and more leaves.......somewhere along the way I made the decision this one was not winter..! Perhaps a summer's eve.............

There are 3 colours here plus the light grey thread silhouettes.

And I decided I would have some evergreens.

And the trees on the far right have deep shadow as well as partial backgrounds in several shades.
( Remember this is all greys)

Complete? background. The weight on the right will be balanced as I move forward.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Life is Back To Normal

As I sit here typing this I can see out my front window at the snow/rain/ice storm that was promised.
I'm inside, I have on my new Christmas slippers from my son and warm tights from the $ store.
Dinner is leftovers. What could be easier?

I did manage to work on my quilt projects over the last week. I now only have 35 blocks left to complete the DJ quilt. (All wedge blocks and the 4 corner blocks).
I have started hand quilting my small piece. As daunting as the process seemed at the beginning, a friend reminded me that Sashiko quilting (which I HAVE done) is a version of standard? quilting. With that in mind it was less terrifying. I am TRYING to master thimble use but that's another story altogether.

I quickly abandoned stitching in the sashing and had much better success and speed with the tree motifs. Stitches were very irregular at first but they're coming together.

And to make my life even more hectic, on the 21st, (while I was Christmas shopping in the sacred halls of Costco), I received a call to see if I could rush quilt a Christmas gift. It was out the door at noon on the 23rd. (So quickly I didn't get a photo of it but here's the pattern from the internet.)

This was the "Oh Canada" quilt done in Northcott fabric.

In all it went pretty quick but it was still a solid 12 hours of quilting.
Now I was tired. I still had the house to clean and Christmas dinner the next day.
We had company for 3 days. 3 days of minimal quilting ( oh the helped )

When everyone left yesterday I went around in circles for several hours, ( I DID SIT long enough to hands sew a few DJ Blocks)
But TODAY I dove into the Guild Challenge ( 25 shades of grey).

This is where we left off. A moon of fractured and varied materials.

After stitching on the obvious contour lines, I lightly quilted the background with wind swirls.
Then I started adding....... what else .........TREES.

Various shades, some in front of the moon looking darker than those to the least that's the idea.
How big is this going to finish?......

Probably like this!
But it feels good to be started.
I have so much to finish here and pieces to replace at the gallery, I've been spinning.
So it nice to move forward on something today.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Time to Bite The Bullet

.......................and learn to hand quilt.
You can only look at U tube videos for so long and then you have to DO IT.

I pinned this Challenge piece with all the pins I own. I had a couple of different thimbles and heaven knows how many type of needles and dove it.
I tried hooping the piece first but couldn't find a comfortable way to hold the hoop and stitch. I see why they have a frame attachment. And I want to stitch IN MY FAVOURITE CHAIR. so resting it on a table was out....for now.
I had just come off assembling DJ blocks, using running stitches whenever possible so I felt most comfortable manipulating the fabric. The results...?

I don't think it's TOO bad.........?
Yes it is a large stitch, but I'm concentrating right now on getting them even and ALWAYS catching the backing.
Fingers sore? Yes.
I'm thinking on how to prevent that. People talk about using a spoon on the underside. Can't quite visualize that yet! ( Going to have to wrap some fingers though. I'm getting a lot of irritation on the cuticle line.)
But it's something I can pick up and put down. That's important in the coming week with company  interrupting  my stitching. LOL

Friday, 18 December 2015

A Family of Stockings.

Assembling these two stockings took another day. I made them the same size as the knit ones and it wasn't until I was turning them right-side I realized there is a lot more give in a knitted stock as opposed to a quilted one.   LOL
( Good things these are meant as ornament. Nobody is under 30 now and what Santa leaves anymore won't fit in a sock! )

Arwynn's sock was a little more troublesome. Her name is long and at full size it wrapped right around the top. That meant I couldn't assemble the stocking as two complete halves. The name went on at the end as a band onto the sock tube.

I finished them with quilting of course. The red was done in tiny shells, the green in MacTavishing and the white toe and heel in a stitch to mimic the stitches in the turned heel and toe of the knit ones.

So now the Family Hearth reflects the present day, a blended family.  (We're still short two persons, two more stockings, overseas in Switzerland.)

Yesterday, when I was first typing this, I was really struck by the knowledge that my precious stocking, preserved in a box now, was knit 60 years ago by my mother.
I wonder if any of my creations will be around after I am long gone?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Getting Ready For Christmas

Well Christmas is a week away and it occurred to me my DSD daughter and her husband do not have Christmas Stockings.
I have a Christmas Stocking, my children have stockings and even my husband has a stocking
My mother knit the originals about 60 years ago. She made one for each of us in our family, 6.
Then she made some for her sister's family of 6. The first ones were made from wool. But they didn't age well. The white wool yellowed and started looking nasty. So she remade them all in acrylic.

But with 1 week left  I didn't think I had the time to knit two stockings. My  neice has the pattern now. (She's knitting one for my Grand nephew.)
So I decided this morning to sew a couple. What could be easier.

Ran off the name banners on the embroidery machine and then drew a Santa template to work from.

These stockings have two Santa's each, one front and back. (They also have our birth years.) So I drew up enough pieces to applique four Santa s. ( I decided the belt and boots should be black)

I spent most of the day assembling the first.
 Diddly diddly work!!!!

Then I decided, rather than applique this guy into place I would REVERSE applique him with the green background. I reasoned there were areas that might be a little thick to needle turn.

I used the original cartoon to position and trim out the excess material from the centre. Then I put them together.

Well Santa is a bit skewed but its not bad. The second one in a straight applique went a little smoother and he is a little fatter LOL

But I don't think they can be mistaken for anything but Santa!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Finally Commited to a Project

Much as I like playing, it's a little frustrating when I have minimal direction.
I been falling back on my DJ blocks to consume my time rather than decide. Well today I decided.

Teeny tiny? The moon!

Stay tuned!
(meanwhile back at the DJ ranch..........39 blocks to go)

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

More Christmas Baking

Sort of....................
Yummy Oatmeal Cookies with a cheery holiday twist.

Leftover Halloween Smarties
(I don't know why hubby buys them as neither if us eat them)

Cheery Christmas cookies ( Pastel shades of Smarties just don't sing like the old reds and blues and greens and yellows.)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Didn't Sleep Well

I monkey mind half the night away when I haven't worked out every last detail in my head.
And this is all before I start. I don't usually do mock ups or trials but today I did this.

I worked on this ALL DAY. It's only 5 different fabrics, grey and silver.
Why did it take all day?...........

Because it's only this big. Each square started at 3/4 inch to finish at 1/4 inch. I was thinking of doing the whole thing, all 25 colours this way...................... really................!
Diddly, diddly...........................................

Saturday, 12 December 2015

25 Shades of Grey OR...... a Canadian Winter HA!

My head has been going around in circles and I don't enjoy that. The way to fix it was to break the chain. I finished the Paper pieced trees to stand alone.
It's small but I thought it charming when I first saw it......and still do. But I added a couple of twists. One was the silver tree.
I knew I was going to embellish this piece and still am. BUT it needed a kick. In a number of pieces I've viewed on line a punch comes from an unexpected colour.
So I added one evergreen. I actually had the whole piece assembled and took it apart to add this guy.

And as the others were paper pieced I though it should be the same so I sketched out a pattern and Voila!

  Isn't he cute? I'm still deciding whether to deck it out as a Christmas Trees......hummmmmmmm.

So here's the whole. Its sweet but not exciting........yet. I can see a few tiny cardinals and squirrels etc.
Maybe a lot!

This will be finished with a black border but I haven't decided the width. My head was toying with the idea of quilting a lot of scroll work, in silver. I have to think about that one for a while.

Catching Up!

I didn't realize a whole week had passed. I have been busy but it's not like me to not have SOMETHING to offer! ( But my Christmas shopping is done!)

Two get togethers this week, first the monthly Guild meeting, our Christmas meeting. It was fun. All the splinter groups presented an idea of what we were doing. I didn't have to speak. That was perfect.
We've had quite a few new members join this fall so it was a way to introduce and invite them to join in and get to know some of us better. I remember feeling on the outside. I almost stopped attending. This group didn't have anything to offer me. Then, on a whim I joined a small group. What a difference. I discovered another member lived just down the street, and I've gained a lot of good friends and a zillion acquaintances.

My second get together, at my home (I love not having to go out in the evening), was my Landscape group. As per instructions last month, we each brought 10 fat eights in a range in one colour. We divided this and everyone took home a colour chart. Our goal is to better our ability to depict light and it's tones, whether it be in daylight or shadow. We all want to move past the "grey day" depictions we feel stuck in. Quite a challenge, believe me. Its easy with paint but hard with cloth. We all see our shortcomings but haven't yet found a comfortable path past this road block.

So here is my chart. Everyone has the same selection but some mounted them differently.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Surprise! Winning Block!

Remember this? A block for the Plowing Match, next August?

Last weekend, I heard from the head of the organization assembling the raffle quilts....And I won first prize! 80 were submitted.

(And I wasn't really sure this piece was even in the ball park!)

(Up date - April 7 - Both my blocks, this map and the "Iris" are featured in the finished quilt being offered as 1st prize at the IPM quilt raffle in September.)

One Cannot live on Fabric Alone!

I had to take a few days off this week, one day to clean (yuck) and one day to bake (yum).
To bad we can't get through the Christmas holiday with just Fruit cake. Do you know there are people who don't like Fruit Cake? (Not from my loins I tell you.)

So today was Short bread day.
I have several recipes, some from my Aunt and mother. both long gone, and some from my sisters. I seem to make a different one each year. I really have no preference whether it's light and flaky
and "melting your mouth" or dark and firm. But then I think I eat more on the day I make them than for the rest of the holiday.....usually in the form of dough.'s the best.

(I had a girl friend from my preteen days who I used to bake with, under the supervision of her mother and less frequently, mine. One time we did actually eat the whole bowl of raw dough. It was good........we were sick.)

So here is this years efforts. Hopefully they will last till the big day. Did I say I was dieting? the pre-Christmas last ditch effort to shed the Thanksgiving deposits?

This tray was an easy  one.
2C butter, 1C white sugar, vanilla and the 4 C flour.

(I only ate the broken ones)

And then for hubby the Scots shortbread from a mold. (Lee Valley)

I have to say it is easier. Mix the dough (this one used icing sugar) pack it in the mold and bake.
It still took all morning.
But the house smells great.
(Guess I need to brush my teeth.)

Friday, 4 December 2015

Fibre Arts Group Challenge

Well, we are a CREATIVE group.
The 10 of us exchanged a designated amount of materials and "stuff" to use as embellishments etc.
We had no idea whose material we had; a mystery!
We had a month.
Last night we returned them to their owner.
The results were delightful The materials ranged from cotton, corduroy, tulle, screening, zippers, elastic, buttons, sequins and beads, yarn, aluminum yogurt tops, beer went on.

We tried to guess who had donated each bundle and did poorly at that, but OH MY, what wonderful results. We laughted and took snaps, we ate, drank cider and had a lovely pre-christmas christmas party..........complete with presents.

And here they are. (opps I'm missing a couple)