Sunday, 31 January 2016


I'm avoiding,..... today.
I did a bit of cleaning. Went for a power walk.
That says how much I'm avoiding decision.

I have a wonderful quilt to finish for a friend and I'm still working up my nerve to get started. Once I do, there's never a problem, but until then?

I finished the small customer quilt a few days ago.

It took me longer than I expected. Part of the problem was that it was difficult to see my stitching on the busy fabrics. The results are much clearer on the backside. But then people don't often choose fabrics according to what the eventual quilting will be. This one will be picked up in a few weeks when the owner comes back to town.

But THIS ONE........

Here's the flimsy on my friends bed. This was several years in completing. Simply gorgeous. Every Star block is a different shade or colour all in scrappy materials..... with oodles of white.

And here it is on my frame........ and here it sits!!! Pristine and perfect waiting for me to paint it.
Its been a while since I've done a major feather quilt ( her request ) so yesterday, I got out a practice piece and played with feathers for a while.

Nothing too daunting here but.......... it's an intricate pattern to work around. So I drew.....

 Some I like, others I don't. When it gets too regimented it just looks messy. The more casual, varied sized feathers are nicer.
So then I made a full size sketch.

These are for the outer edges, There is no border per se, but these large white spaces surround the whole Queen size quilt.

The corners present a slightly different issue as they open into the main design. Where does the corner quilting end and the inner design begin?

A friend tells me I over think things, but when it comes to these kind of decisions, I don't want to be making then as I go. All these particular areas need to be identical. I have to like it... NOW, before I start.

And those inner stars whose cores are all different?.............. I could make them all different or I could do something like this. The only relief from the feathers would be the dividing lines from the Irish chain that winds through it. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

So I won't start until I'm happy. Even though there is no time set for this, I don't want to leave it too long.

( I can always stitch my Jane blocks...I sashed 13 yesterday, row.)
( I could bake? )

Friday, 29 January 2016

Now for Something Completely Different.........Really!

Historically, the end of my January always demanded a little retail therapy to get pass the long dull days.
Sewing something quirky has the same appeal.

This is my favourite ? piece of furniture. Yes it's just a hassock, but it's all that remains from the set my father had. The chair was tossed. ( If I knew then what I know now, it would have been reupholstered to match this guy.)

I re covered this about 10 years ago, when I first moved to my present home. And I never throw out left over upholstery material. It has a myriad of uses.

So yesterday the leftovers went from this.....

to THIS.

It has two sides of course so they CAN be different.

This is a pattern from one of Yoko Saito's wonderful books. While her patterns use patchwork and applique in wonderful shades of taupe and browns, I thought my fabric was in keeping with the spirit of the project.

I actually ran out of material when it came to finishing/binding the edges but deep in my stash I had some material from which I had made a Halloween cape for my husband.
(After he scared the bejesus out of a few toddlers, he never wore it again!)
So while the edgings is a different material and not the twill tape the instructions "suggested", I finished it with a well matched French fold binding !

The inside has a simple lining. I considered a pocket but decided it wasn't really that big that I would lose a lot of things in the bottom.
(This lining is not the one in the first picture. I thought it deserved something better than an old discarded shirt!...........I told you I keep everything..almost!)

So here's the happy? family? LOL

Hmmmmmmm what will I do today!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

GCQ - Tease

Worked on the customer quilt this morning. It should be finished tomorrow.

Spent an hour or so on the challenge piece. The midsection was my focus.
As there are areas that go from having light to being in shadow, I have to work each section to completion. I can't just do all the light areas etc.

One edge of the ravine now has vegetation leaning over the gap. I still need to place darker, more solid limbs.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Back to Work on a Monday

After finishing Jane, I came to realize just how much I had pushed. I'm tired.
I went to the hand quilting class and I was glad I did.

I had a great time. I forced myself to attempt to stitch in all directions, rather than turning the piece. I can walk to either side of my big frame, but maybe I shouldn't have to. It was also gratifying to see I wasn't a complete failure at this. I had some great feedback and I was able to pass out Business cards to the ladies who were interested in having me BASTE their quilts beforehand. We'll see if that amounts to anything.

This morning I removed Jane from the wall and packaged her for future handling. That will start in a few days......weeks?

First, I needed to address a customer quilt I've been sitting on for a few weeks. I still have lots of time but starting it has been a problem.

There were a number of issues to address. Mounting it was tricky as the owner hadn't given me any extra length, so I had to first mound false leaders and pin the backing to it. But it's now half done. So I left it this afternoon and turned to my Guild project.

The water needed texture and direction. Even though it will not be very visible, it has to be right. The heavy addition of  pale grey and then a light touch of sky blue was enough.

The rocks were stitched for a granite like texture and then I turned to the back edge of all the mounds. They have the full force of the moonlight on them so the vegetation needs to be washed out.
I'll leaf what needs it in the same manner.

The REAL hold up now is I still haven't decided whether to thread paint directly on the rest of the canvas or to go back to the hooped netting. I'm getting to the point where I have to decide; shrubs or grass. 

This has got to the point where I have to finish it to get it out of my head so that I can move on.

(Have a family WEDDING coming up in July so I need to make a quilt.........fancy that!)

Friday, 22 January 2016

AWOL with Jane

I did it.
It's done.
All 225 blocks of the Jane Stickle quilt.
(In actuality I made 230, duplicates. I will use those somehow later.)

I finished the last of the wedge blocks today. As I got closer to the end, these last weeks, the blocks took on a life of their own. And they owned me. They invaded my sleep and took up almost all my waking hours. I lost sleep because my hands were sore and I mis-cut because my eyes were tired.

I LOVE Geometry, but I'm glad the days of rotation, sliding, reversals and tessellation are done........for now. LOL

It will take awhile to stitch them together. I'm NOT starting tomorrow, because, believe it our not, I'm taking a class in Hand Quilting. I've come this far, so I want to be able to finish this quilt with some degree of expertise.

I'll post the quilt again when I put it on the frame but for now here are ALL the blocks (bless their little souls.)
( Can I have my life back?)
Main body
Top row
Right Side
Bottom Row
Left Side
Corner Stones

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

GCQ - Niggly Little Problem Resolved.

That center ravine was not working. When my best critic ( hubby ) referred to it as a crevasse, I knew it had to go.
So I converted it to a bubbling stream.
The foam is roughed in in silver. I placed it first for two reasons: it's only meant to sparkle, not SPARKLE, in the moon light, and second, if I waited till all the other stitching was in place, the thread would probably not stand up to it.  Only a little bit left to do to the major trees.

( did I mention there are only 9 blocks left? )

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Quilting Break

Is that an oxymoron?

I have a couple of commissions coming up and I like to give my LA a workout before I start those. I usually do donation quilts from the guild. I gives me a chance to trouble shoot ( and though I do ensure my quilting is sound and "perfect" for those quilts), I don't fret about problems the way I do for customers.

This was a very simple quilt. I used a double quilted meander or ribbon stitch on this one. I think its an under-rated look. Its fast, easy and very forgiving. And it looks great both a dense pattern and an open one.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Late Posting yesterday GCQ

I fiddled around with this most of yesterday and finally just decided to stitch down the main players, the rest of the trees. From here on is Thread painting .

The left side needs heavy work to match the shadowed floor but the right a light touch, to reflect the extra light it is receiving.
5:00 PM
Today was disrupted by a surprise breakfast with friends. Then I spent several hours on Block 214, the last of the corner stones.
Next I mounted a quilt on the LA frame.
Then I turned my thoughts back to this guy. I was going to start stitching the trunks but I decoded the foremost one wasn't important enough. I patched some extra width up the length. I knew I wanted something a little more tactile than stitching in grey and black. So I turned to fibre.

Teasing grey and black yarn back into fibres, I lightly anchored it with a glue stick. Then I captured it with black netting sewn loosely up either side. Additional stitching will now have something to aid more definition.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

GCQ - My Path is Clear

I had a lot of doubts with this piece, stemming from the fact it was thrust upon me. Grey is not my ideal and evening/dusk/night comes with a lot of restrictions.
The break I took was needed until I thought my way through to the conclusion of this piece.

Today was a FULL day.
It will probably take another two days to complete the background.

So here is where I am. The dark detail in these pictures is not great, and there is still a lot of vegetation to come.

The only area that has not been touched is the right bottom section of ground but the rest.......

The mid ground had nothing to anchor all those bits of material.
Now there are half a dozen "ghost" shrubs, very pale in the moonlight in the lightest yellow and green I own.
Two trees on the left were added, "dressed" and highlighted, two grey and black, with the light behind them.

           Some of the rocks in this section were given a coating of moss, using netting and muddy green organza. only the upper third was thread painted in two colours. In a few spots I totally changed the colour with netting and organza.

The ravine is defined. Using slate or flint as my sedimentary style rock, the edges were stitched with grey, first, to define them and then black to give the horizontal, and crumbled style. There are two areas in the center, that were given a custom cut over lay of black organza, folded several times to make it opaque, suggesting the darkest spots.

Tomorrow is another day. It's good to have direction again.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Taking a Step Back

I have great friends.
One nudged me enough last night to get me thinking about what my GOALS were with the DJ Stickle quilt.
The only important goal was to have it ready to hang in our next Guild Show.
And when is that?
I think I can take a day off. LOL

So I did.
I cleared all the conflicting stuff on my viewing wall and took a long hard look at my moon lit forest scene. Slowly, over the time I've not been working with it, I decided how to finish it.
So I began this morning ( After clearing the snow ).

I removed all the temporary netting. It was making everything dull. I stitched down all the gauze at the front in the folds and shapes that are the underpinning for the rocky and rolling forest floor. Though it doesn't yet show, I divided the ravine into rocks and outcrops.

The evergreen tree at the right and the lone grey tree trunk beside, are the only two particulars that I thread painted to their conclusion.
And then I took a break.
Tomorrow comes soon enough.
The Stickle quilt? That last block was such a bother.......... I'll get back at them, and will probably have them completed this month. Hmmm 15 blocks 19 days. I think that's doable.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Busy Day

I was out all morning and I didn't get started till around noon.
BUT....I spent ALL DAY on this one comner stone block. And its still not finished. I have yet to add the bars at the bottom edges to secure the HS triangles and trim it to its final shape.

The good news is, this is block 211. I powered through four blocks yesterday.

I'd finish but I have a guild meeting tonight.
More tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Minutiae........... and BLock 205

Since I decided to ad birds and animals to my 25 shade of grey Trees, I made a group of small draeings to work with.

These are all from the internet and all excess lines removed. I'm quite pleased with how they look.

The birds are a no-brainer, but this guy came to me last night around 2:00 AM.

Yea the apples are now too big but Hey! the pictures is foreshortened.

And block 205. The orange are finished.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Today is a " meh " Day

When I know I have appointments and things to do that will interrupt my day it's hard to really get into much.
I finished DJ block 24, ( yea me ) and I started "tarting up" my 25 trees.
Yesterday I took the plunge and bound the edge with black and a silver flange. It's not perfect. I always have trouble matching that flange edge when I join the two ends.

My intentions are to cover this piece with small small birds and animals. I stitched a couple of blue birds........they're ok but I lost interest. Maybe it has something to do with the idea that I was planning on around 100. Well I have time for that.

Then I had the brain wave to add some apple trees.

And them I thought some acorns or oak trees...with a few squirrels. Okayyyyy ...

Now I just want to eat.
Time to go out! 

6:00 PM ( Hubby's cooking ) I just finished this green wedge.  (23)

It occurred to me, during my philosophical musings, ( you spend a lot of time in your head working on these blocks ), the concept of women's education being lesser than men's. The maths? It was subtle. The centuries and decades women sewed clothing, and quilts they dealt with sums, fractions, geometry, tessellation, rotation and drafting. 

Think about it.