Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Spring is Teasing me.

I've stayed very busy but I think I've spent as much time looking out the window as being productive.
There is a lot to do but the weather is just not co-operating. Neither is my back.
I sent an email this morning to two lovely young ladies who used to be my paper girls until our local paper folded last fall. I had asked them if they might help me in the garden this spring.
Who should turn up at my door an hour later, but the girls, ready to go. That was a surprise but it was great to get out doors for a bit. They did a quick job on the cleanup and we laid a few of the soaker hoses. As they were short on time today they promised they'd be back on a suitable day to finish the job.
Now that was enough to bring a smile to my face.

I'd spent the last few days with my new obsession...quilting Jane. The urgency to start wore off in a couple of days and now I can approach it with a clearer and calmer mind. This WILL be a slow process. But I have started.

As there are no instructions or guideline on how to quilt this, I looked on line. Most of them are done with dense quilting. Sigh! So dense quilting it is. When I found myself wondering if I could get another line in a block........I went to bed.

As a break, I finished quilt a donation quilt. Not my colours. I found it hard to complete. but its done.

But as my last bit of " BIRTHDAY MONTH " self indulgence, (or necessity?), Hubby found and I bought a new laptop. Our old one was in the process of dying. It was old. It had been to China and to Spain several times as well as the Caribbean and BC. It owed us nothing BUT, it was the power for my projector.
And how did I amuse myself yesterday?
I made it a case. Note the fabric ( painted btw). I've been waiting to use this for a long time. The backside is French.

Now? Back to Jane. I DO intend to start another major? piece in a few days. But MY head is distracted by the workshop I'm giving on Friday. Lesson prep never stops for old teachers. And I have another small quilt to prep for the IPM.
Figure when all this distraction are out of the way, I can reveal and start my next LANDSCAPE.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

25 Shades of Grey - Guild Anniversary Challenge

There are a little over 2 weeks before the entries for this challenge need to be handed in to the guild.
Listening to my friends, it's evident there will be a lot of very interesting submissions. This challenge has pushed a lot of people out of their comfort zones.
I always think that's a good thing.

When I finished my piece, I added a band in the framing that showed the 25+ fabrics I had used. I had a piece of the band, leftover, about 4 inches wide and 8 inches long I offered to anyone in my small group.

My friend Ann took it and I think she used up every last bit. In addition to a couple of quirky pieces and a spectacular Portal piece of her own, she produced these two very different pieces. I love them both.

The Escher triangle was a brilliant adaptation, but the next is pure joie de vie that comes from her bubbly nature, ( and perhaps that we can all taste Spring).

Our Guild Banquet in May, promises to be a wonderful reveal of talent.


Friday, 25 March 2016

Well I'm Off To The Races


The first half hour was painful and awkward and almost had me tearing my hair.
And then everything clicked. I had purchased an open sided thimble and a Steady Betty.
It works. I CAN do this.

(I have this all encompassing urge to get past this first filler row of wedges to start on the actual blocks.)

Stitch length?
Right now it varies 8 -12, depending which direction I'm working in. I am SO GLAD I took that little class.
Moving right Along!
This could become very ADDICTIVE!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Well People DID let me Know

I received lots of sound information from people all over. I really don't know why I couldn't just think this one through.
So now it's ready to go, mounted in a manner that makes more sense to me.

BTW... don't hold your breath!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Putting JANE on the Frame

I can't believe it took me almost two days to do this.
I scoured the internet expecting to find pictures...very few.
So I went with what I do with my LA. I don't suppose it really matters but maybe it does?
The rods were loaded on my big work table and had to be carried up the basement stairs. Twice actually, because I decided I had them both rolled backwards!..?
It didn't help my mood that I had to rearrange the furniture to get this 7 ft frame set up in my living room.
And I won't talk about the dust bunnies.......................

So if anyone knows better than I?.......let me know!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Update on JANE

Phase two, the assembly of the Jane Stickle quilt, is over.
To date this has kept me busy, ( off and on ) for 3 1/2 years.
Tomorrow I'll load it onto the HAND Quilting frame. ( That takes up half my living room.)

My completion goal is the Guild show in 2018.
I'm sure, at the end,
I will have mastered hand quilting.
Wish me luck!

I intend to relax now and think once more about head is full...wait and see!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

How's My Quilt Coming?

Actually it's coming along very well!
I needed that extra time to get over my cold, so waiting for a delivery of Scarlet thread was no hardship.
And I used the time to transfer the design to the quilt.

 I transferred the pictures to the cloth using a ceramic pen. There are several on the market. I did try to use my air erasable pen but the purple line was gone before I finished the drawing. It certainly did not like this fabric. I had never used the ceramic pen before and was concerned about being able to remove it ( Easily done ) and whether it would stay and still be visible after I had mounted the quilt on the frame. ( It was.) But I still didn't trust it.

For insurance I went over the design with thread, a simple running stitch. I FELT better, but in retrospect I think it really wasn't necessary.

And scattered over the remaining surface were 25 paper circles of varying sizes where small and large chrysanthemums were going to go.
The main filler was chrysanthemum leaves. They are irregular, 5 lobed leaves. Rather than a continuous meander I placed linked "clumps" or groupings.
My client asked for a loose and open fill. I haven't had that request for a while but it certainly makes the work go faster.
I'm about half done. Another couple of days should do it.

March 20 - I finished this today but I can't photograph either the Phoenix or the Dragon. Photoshop failed me. Red on Red. Who knew I wouldn't be able to find the right contrast to show the results.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

New Project - Chinese Themed

I was recently approached by a friend to design for her, a few oriental motifs to compliment the quilt she had assembled for her nephew and his wife. The kicker was she was asked to use some oriental fabrics they had purchased while teaching abroad for a year. (Rayon)

She did a wonderful job, using large pieces and making a modern quilt top using very traditional Chinese fabric. The quilt is full of Chrysanthemums, Dragons and Phoenix.

Could I help her?
Yummy I thought.

It's great when I have a customer who knows what they want and in this case she wanted the quilt to remain with a light feel, so loose themed meandering was her initial request.
But she had a center block that featured a large Mum and a lot of unbalanced negative space.
Perfect spot for a Dragon and a rising Phoenix. ( Ying / Yang )

A lot of illustrations of dragons come complete with fire. I needed to start with something simpler. I hauled up the classic 9 Dragon wall in the Forbidden City.

This was a great starting point, but I wanted to look at simpler still. A lot of neat features though.

I found a picture of the Welsh Dragon, but it was more of a Griffin than a Chinese dragon.

This next guy was more like it but not standing in the pose I wanted.

So I was forced to start drawing.

This elegant Phoenix easily flipped and turned into this handsome girl.

The wings are understated in all this but would be fleshed out in the stitching.......
The tail could go on forever!!

The dragon needed a more ferocious head and stretching out so the two illustrations together, would wrap the Mum, a fixed feature of the fabric.

Like this.....
Using my projector I could size and place them in position on this plastic sheet.
I have since changed the dragon, bringing his head further down well beneath the corner of the Mum panel.
So I sent these off to my friend for her approval.

I've ordered thread. All of my red is blue/red, not the orange flame red this fabric features. So we need to wait for that.
I guess the biggest question is how simplistic does the feature have to remain.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Winter/Spring Colds

I ALMOST made it this year. But alas, no.
I've been laid really low and slowed right down by simple "cold" since Thursday, last.
And I'm still not back. When you can't get any sleep, you really don't function during the day.

But I did manage to sit, under several blankets and sweaters and finish assembling my "Jane".
But I had put off the decisions about the colour for the alternate wedge blocks, so I looked at a few alternatives today.

One of the issues is I doubt that I own a big enough variety of suitable fabrics, those with a civil war feeling or at least not batik or gay motifs to use as inserts. A friend had suggested I choose two or three colours and do a variety of tones.

But I really lack the energy to root through my stash and find 56 pieces of at least 5"x7" material.
So I auditioned using my sashing material.  I had thought that this might be a possible choice when I bought it and purchased enough accordingly. Whether this is an "informed" choice or just my lethargy speaking I don't know, but this was all I had the energy to do today.

( hate being this sick and weak )

This is only half, but this still reads as a light coloured quilt.

My friend's argument had been the wedges were such a heavy shot of colour they needed the weight of a solid to hold them.

Here the wedges are laid on the sashing material.
I think it makes them lighter as well.?

So I still don't know what choice to make.
Maybe I'll sleep on it.
Maybe I'll GET some sleep tonight!