Saturday, 31 December 2016

Winter Brook - Day 1 continued

Though I'm not 100% sold on the whites and grey, I did fine a nice range of water in some batik FQ

This is really diddly stuff and I regret the waste but I decide to fuse the water.

After I retraced the water onto some "golden" paper, a brand of tracing paper, I transferred that, reversed, to a light fusible bond material.

I spent most of the afternoon cutting it out, then placing it on the batik. I started cutting this out, but though it should save that part for tomorrow.

Winter Brook

In my morning walks I cross over a stream that drains the runoff of our newly developed area. I'm sure it was much more important when there were no houses and streets. Birds and rabbits seem to be the only remaining wildlife here, but it still serves them well.
I remembered to take some photos last week and now I've been thinking about techniques for rendering this into cloth.

There is a lot going on here so I went looking for a simpler version and found this picture I had captured in 2015.

A lot of differences but enough similarities I decided to try it.
I spent the last few days thinking about techniques. It certainly didn't lend itself to crumbs and netting. Some of this would be easily done with fusing, the water in particular, while the trees could be done with larger snippets.
The snow, however is crying out for curved piecing. This would enable some trapunto type contouring in the assembly. In doing that, it is telling me minimal over stitching.

With all these decision half made, I transferred the image to light interfacing. This will be the base of the picture. Any patterned I may need I have to make first, before I begin and the surface and the lines will gradually obscure all my colouring.

Now I have to hunt through my stash...........
so I can't shop! oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooO?

Friday, 30 December 2016

Moon On the Water - Final

This was a fun little exercise, to ease me back into harness.
The amount of stitching is really only visible in person ( my camera is not that good ), hence the backside shot. In retrospect, I would do this again BUT I'd have a small amount of fusible material in the area of the cuts. This would ease the surface stitching and make it a little neater. Why didn't I do that? My brain isn't really working, YET.

After binding, I gave it all a quick once over with very dilute Pearl paint, just to up the shine factor.

What's next?

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Back To My Art - Finally!

Christmas is over. Most of the mess is cleaned up and NOW I can start thinking about creating once again.
I've pretty well got my new machine figured out, but the manual is handy in a drawer.
I've spent a long time trying to decide whether to try for an out door show in TO this June. Spending an afternoon with my daughter ( the graphic artist and master of sunsets over water) I've committed to her. That means She's going to hound me to do this.
I spent a few days "resting" in front of the computer going through all those photos I had squirrelled away in files and Pinterest and pulled out about 20.
I'll mentally work through the logistics of each piece before I even select any material.
But I needed to warm up today so I selected a small piece with an interesting technique.

A moon reflected in water sounds straightforward enough but this one uses an interesting approach.

This was my moon material. It also end up being the reflection materials as well.

The night background is reverse appliqued onto the lighter material.

Then little slits are cut out of the background and the yellow reflection shows through. Very straightforward.
Now it just all needs stitching.
Enough for today.
I like it. It's cute...not great but a clever and simple approach.
I'll finish the "water" with a few different coloured threads.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Countdown.

Without grandchildren my Christmas is calm but I look forward to our family, mine and his combined spending some relaxed and fun time. The "kids" work hard and play hard. Coming to our place is soooo tame.!

I spent this morning replenishing the breakfast oatmeal cookies.

And then I tackled the first round of shortbread cookies. The Scottish version is always made in this ceramic form.

Cut, and cooling. Ready to eat!

Now I can sew for the rest of the day!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Fabric - The Perfect Recyclable Gift Wrap!

After I used the morning to bake tarts, I wrapped presents in the afternoon.
Hate PAPER.. what a waste so for the last few years we've been using fabric.
I try to use my painted fabric but I'll go with commercial on the bigger pieces.

Even those salvage pieces are called into use!
To morrow?
More pillow cases. 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Working on Some Christmas Gifts

I had purchased one 10 min. pillow case kit for my grand niece, so I thought a would make a few more as stocking stuffers. Didn't I decide that and I received an email from my son ASKING for pillow cases.
So I made two pairs today. The one on the left will go nicely with my forest green bedding and the other one I decided I'd gift this evening, after the Messiah concert, to a woman who has taken me to a number of stellar events in the city.
 Tomorrow I'll play with some of the embroidery settings on my machine and see what they'll do!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Oh The Weather Outside Is ..........

So I stayed in and made RUM BALLS
A confection of my youth. Well young adulthood really. Young children hate these, between the rum and the bitter sweet taste. So it was considered an ADULT COOKIE. ( I think I seduced my hubby with these.)

Not really a family recipe. They were in the charity cookbook from the Windsor Art Gallery that was published back in the 50's.

Here's the recipe I use............

Approx 14 oz of chocolate cookie crumbs (roughly 2 7oz pkg of chocolate wafers)
1 C walnut crumbs
1 C icing sugar
1 C Cocoa powder ( baking cocoa )
1/2 C rum
1/2 C corn syrup

Mix well.
At some point its easiest to switch to using your hands to really blend the dry with the sticky wet.
Roll into firm balls ( 1 aim for 1 inch)
Roll in icing sugar
That's it!
They keep best in the frig, or cold cellar but they do freeze well also.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Morning After....Lots of Fun

Well who doesn't like to blab on and on about their work!

I had a great time and was so pleased with how my presentation was received. You just never know.
A delightful plus was some members of an on line Quilting Board drove in from Orangeville for the event.  It was nice to put faces to names.

At one moment I paused, a little concerned with the silence in the room, but everyone was fixed on the image on the screen......mesmerized! They still don't believe me when I say there is no magic here, just critical "seeing" and analytical deconstruction.

After my presentation, the members gathered to examine the pieces I had laid out. I answered a lot of very good questions. Questions about workshops, I fielded back to the guild executive. We'll see what happens there.

And when I got home, Hubby was still up and we chatted ( well he listened while I rambled on and on) until the unheard of hour of midnight!
(Men put up with so much.....HAHAHAHA)

What to do today!?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Big Night Tonight...!

I've been keeping myself busy these last few weeks leading up to this evening when I am scheduled to speak at our monthly guild meeting. I spent a long time preparing a slide show as well as picking out sample pieces from my work. The photos were particularly difficult as I have SO MANY. ( I could go on for days LOL ) I'll let you know how that went...... tomorrow.

Not being able to sew for 3 weeks was particularly trying so I made up for it these last four days by assembling this "throw". It was a deep discounted bargain I couldn't resist. The plus is I really like it. So it's a win win situation.
My 'new' Husqvarna works very well though there are some interesting things to get used to. I do have the option of turning features on and off but I thought I'd live with the factory setting for a while.

So this is what I was working on. Two of the five rows are fully assembled.

This was the first time I had tried the "flying geese" method of make 4 at the same time, cutting them apart at the end. I was certainly impressed with the accuracy. I wonder if one way over the other uses more material. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm..... something for research.

Friday, 9 December 2016

At Last.......................

I brought my new machine home today.
Husqvarna Sapphire 875, not the newest model and used, but much more than the Janome that I used and abused for 10 yrs.
So I WILL SEW today.
I cut out a lap quilt yesterday so I will get acquainted and amuse myself with assembling that.
(AND just MAYBE, I won't be the BEAR hubby says I've been, and I won't spend hours in front of the refrigerator...........close to 5 lbs worth, I think!)

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Holly Quilt ...... for Holly

A friend from my working past tracked me down to finish a quilt she had made for her daughter, Holly.
What to put on the quilt? Holly of course.
16 Squares about 12 inches in size, should be a straightforward job? But this is custom work and the planning takes time. So I spent today constructing a panto for the border and for the centre.

The quilt is made of large and colourful log cabin blocks  The quilting really won't show on the front. However the back is a different story. So I've really designed it with that in mind.

Using this one simple motif I found on line I constructed the border and the centre medallion.

The medallion is composed of four repeats of three of the units, 12 in all, about 16 inches in diameter. I'll stitch this work tomorrow.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Hmmm - Thinking about Buying a NEW Sewing Machine.

My Janome is getting tired and unfortunately too untrustworthy to take away. Regular maintenance trips are getting costly, so I think it's time to look for that "ice flow". (trade in)

Hubby and I have talked and we went out today "JUST LOOKING" and I'm glad to report I came home with...nothing, BUT..........................

Triangle has this one on hold for me. Last year's model and used, but really intriguing.
I said we'd decide by Friday.

Who else but a sewer would spend two hours on line READING THE MANUAL.

Friday...........SHE'S MINE..ALL MINE........................................(.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$)
Guess that's my Christmas present taken care of..................😌

Monday, 21 November 2016

Picking up pieces

Transitioning between projects is sometimes difficult. I don't realize how tired I am until it's over. You realize you've been riding on adrenaline...and then you crash for a few days.
I used that brain dead time to finish tidying the garage and we got the car snugged away just before the snow.
And the mess in the basement ( I drop everything on the floor) is swept, AND I did a quick job on a comfort quilt.

Between yesterday and today I made some Meyer Lemon marmalade, 4 pints. Now it can snow.
Christmas cake, marmalade, what says Winter better.

Here's the recipe if anyone wants to try. This took 8 lemons.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Birch Trees - Final

This is yet unbound.
I opted to put no additional stitches in the trunks of the trees in order to keep the dimension. When this is illuminated from an angle they stand out very nicely.
I did add some ink to the trunks, I may add a little more but for today? it's finished.
( and I really don't care that I cut the birch fabric the wrong way!....)

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Birch Trees - Day 8

Today was leaf day.
I tried one idea and didn't like it so I dismantled it.
I was trying to avoid stitching each leaf. I thought if I sandwiched them between two layers of netting I could apply them en masse. I didn't like it, they were too flat. So I took it all apart to salvage the leaves.

Then I went back to stitching one by one.
This is actually better in that I can monitor what needs more or less.

So now I'm having a cookie and coffee break (Today was make more oatmeal cookies for hubby morning).
I've started the leaves so I can see the end of this one.

Hummmmmmm time to think of the next? HA!
Not yet.

4:00 PM Sometimes you just can't leave things alone! Few more leaves in the afternoon.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Birch Trees - Day 7

It took a week to decide how I wanted the leaves to look.
Though I WANT to do a piece with chiffon leaves as a feature, this was not the one.
I needed the yellow leaves to carry weight with light so I opted for my own material.

This FQ is heavy with paint. Deciding how to mount the leaves now that I joined the two halves was the second issue.  Manipulating the whole piece in order to stitch a single leaf is what I was trying to avoid.

So I've decided to sew them into a mat or layer and apply them as a applique.
But first the trees.
I padded the cloth with a thin layer of batting to ensure some dimension after everything is stitched down. There are also a series of branches that need to go in.
But I'm ready to go on now and finish this.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Monday, 7 November 2016

Birch Trees - Day 6 - Background Complete

So here are the two pieces, stitched and joined together. Right now, the dimensions are 28x40.

I will leave this sit for a few days as there are still some important decisions to be made.

One is how many trees boles will be placed?
The ascetics of numbers plays a big role: does the weight of two small ones equal a large one? and though the original photo has the right side completely clean, save for the branch I may change that.

Second is the composition of the leaves?
I have several options here. I can go with raw applique, 3D-dimensional leaves, Chiffon leaves, a combination of both chiffon and cloth, Thread painted.... the list goes on. It's beginning to rob me of sleep so at this point I'll walk away.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Birch Trees - Day 5

Though the clock says its still early in the day, my Daylight Savings shift has me ready to quit. I guess I put in about 6 hours on this today, so that not too shabby.

For what ever reason, I'm not happy with the photos colours from my Power Shot today. Things seem too orange. When I finish this, I'll take some photos with out door exposure.

In the meantime........I did leaves, and more leaves. As these are mid-ground I wanted "perfect" leaves as opposed to colour blocks so they are smaller and for the most part individually placed
I added more shades of orange to the lower foreground and them decided I needed kick, a splash of red. I used a shade, probably a magenta. reflecting dogwood, or viburnum.

These "leaves" went right over the "wood."  Just enough to relieve the dull green/grey. I sprinkled a bit into the crown as well.
Then I started to pin the netting. I had been thinking of using a white Tulle to keep things light but it wasn't playing well with all the colours. So I changed to grey, pinning about every inch.

By the time I finished I used the whole box of pins. I knew I would stitch only one side today.

Then after I had it all pinned and it lay on the table beside the other side... one without any netting, I decided the netting had to go.
It was dulling the colours. But in order to stitch these millions of pieces it had to stay as a stabilizer.

I started at one edge and unpinned one inch and stitched across, removing pins as I went, until I reached the other side. Yes, some of the leaves moved and bounced but for the most part slow stitching kept everything under control. And then another inch. Where there were no additional leaves the "wood" was tacked down.

So here is the Background, left side, finished.
And here is the right side, finished but un-stitched. That will be for tomorrow.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Birch Trees - Day 4

Another two hours finished the stitching on the second side. My plans are I will only need to do this once more. Then the piece will be joined and given batting.

I added 10+ yds of twine and 2 full skeins of embroidery thread. these were cut into branches of varying sizes. Some were separated into single ply. This is the jumble of branch work under the trees.

Three different fabrics, shades of orange were added. I can't say these were applied in a totally random manner. They were sprinkled, but clumped to give the impression of individual trees or branches.
The photo order reflects each side, the first with the thread/branch work and then the overlay of "leaves".
First the left side..
And the right side.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Birch Trees - Day 3 - Sort of

I didn't accomplish much today. I spent most of it running around. Hubby decided today he would make my PERMANENT Rabbit fences. (PERMANENT meaning winter use) After we argued about the "how", I decided the easiest thing was to go with him. The lumber store turned out to be the last "official" stop on the trip.
After visiting two far eastern meat markets for chicken feet ( I kid you not.... but he does make the best chicken stock) we then hit the nearby thrift stores to scope out material etc. We came home with ANOTHER clay baker, virgin I think. (He uses them for bread) and $4 Gollum mask (for his daughter ( 35) who does ALL the high profile Toronto Halloween parties), a felted wool blanket, (for me) and last stop was along the side of the road where the builders had a "free" sign next to some brick sized cut stone. (think foundation for the rabbit gate)...................... plus a stop at the grocery store and the mail box.

I had to lie down.

But I stitched for a few hours this afternoon and got one panel done.
Tomorrow?...........( I'll probably have a lot of time as that will be chicken stock day.)

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Birch Trees - Day 2

I started today by cutting away all the excess netting.
3 different "branch" materials were place as a random as possible.

I played with un-ravelling ( and ironing) to half the ply and then to single ply.

The black is not my favourite here but I know it will disappear into the background.

Deep rust and a multiple orange batik were the first addition.

More rust and batik with a splash of green and bright orange.

While the colour seems more intense in these last two photos, the background has been broken up and is fading into just that, the back ground colour.
At this point I over laud the whole with netting. I will stitch it tomorrow. In the meantime I need a trip to the "store" I used up the last of my grey netting. Both black netting and white dull the colours too much whereas the grey allows the vibrancy to show through even after several layers.

And as the final act of today, the paper is re positioned. There is no point in trying to avoid the areas that will be covered with white. Gaps are left. The amount of material lost behind is negligible.