Friday, 29 April 2016

New Quilt ...New Inspriations

I was brought a delicate flimsy the other day. Lovely was the only word that came to mind even thought the predominate colour is grey. But this was softened nicely with yellow and lilac.
It was such a feminine piece in spite of the grey.
My usual, first approach with something like this is to rough it out with my EQ6. It helps me see beyond the fabric and pick up any hidden secondary patterns.

This is 96in sq. and the fabrics are simple lovely. Some  Kaffe, and oh so soft.

At the top you can see my method for transferring the Flowers. Paper!

The design I decided on for this was a variation of Baltimore blocks using Jacobean flowers and native foliage. The grey dotted square/diamond gets the leaf treatment and the large star gets the flowers.
Sound complicated but not really.

I'm about half way through stitching the flower heads. I'm doing the foliage separately after I see how much room is left in the star and surround.

Jane Stickle - Row 1

5 weeks off and on, mostly in the late afternoon while I unwind from the heavy duty quilting that goes on in the workshop! I can't believe how busy I've been.

Photographing the individual blocks without the flash helps show the stitching. Am I getting any better?  It still depends on the thickness of the material (that translates into how well I trimmed them), and the direction I'm stitching.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Juggling Quilting and SPRING

Oh my....... has it been over 2 weeks since my last communique?

I been quilting a bed quilt for a friend and about a third of the way through it I decided I didn't like how it was coming I tore part of it out.

That is SOOOOOOOOO soul destroying. To combat that I gave myself many liberal doses of SPRING and garden work. That, of course, played havoc with my back, so I hired a couple of young girls to do the bending and twisting.

Too bad I couldn't teach them to rip out stitches.

But I'm pleased to say, (and glad to inform my friend) the quilt is complete.

It's a very pretty and cheerful WHITE quilt with splashes of orange, blue brown and green.

Our original idea had been to use a loose meander over the quilt and place a design in each of the balloons. I decided last minute to change the whole quilt stitching to bubbles to compliment the balloons.
Stitching in the balloons came with issues of their own.
These were assembled by stitching a fusible interfacing to a circle and inverting the piece. This gave a perfect circle of any size with a fusible surface to mount the individual balloons to the quilt. I had advised my friend to further anchor the edges, which she did.
What I hadn't anticipated was the edge of the circle now contained 4 layers of material, and as you may know the material doesn't lie flat even if it is well clipped. In effect I was sewing through a total of 7 layers at the edges of the balloons, whether big or small.
Oh yes!
My original plan was to stitch a circle around, close to the edge. All that material made it next to impossible to get an even line. When a design was stitched inside the circle, some required traveling again on that line. The result was akin to a child scribbling in different colours. This was not an issue on the top balloon side but on the white backing? it looked awful. So it had to go.

In addition, the bubbling around the design made it look as though the scribbling was an attempt to fill the empty space.
My solution was to remove all the balloons and fill the space with more bubbles.
This way the quilt is completely quilted. This removed the necessity of having to quilt the balloons on the top side. They only needed to be anchored. To do that I used a small, cm sized scallop.
This scallop motion allowed me to control the scooting movement of the unanchored material.

The result is much more subtle and still uniform. Touches of colour are there, and are distributed around the back of the white quilt. The piece is thoroughly quilted so washing will not be an issue.

I'm much happier and I know my friend will be as well.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Long Distance Acquaintances

A few months ago I was contacted in a convoluted manner by a woman in Fort McMurray. She is a long Arm operator/owner with a HQ but her "elderly" friend had purchased a used bastardized Juki known as a B - Line 18, the machine I own and operate.  She had bought it second hand. As the company folded about 5+ years ago, we've been left to fend for ourselves.

Could I assist her?
Wait a minute....She lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta and I live in Guelph, Ontario.
She has two friends WHO QUILT, albeit on a different machine.

Now just in case you didn't know, Ft McMurrary is the center of all the oil sands exploration/exploitation, controversy in the west, in CANADA. Ft McMurray is the little dot on the map just above the last A in Alberta. Never been there.. never will. ( The End of The World?  sorry my Albertan friends )

Now Guelph, isn't on this map of a Canada, but it's an hour west of Toronto, which is.

So here I have a plea for help, from a elderly lady ( gotta watch that's a little too close to home any more! ) who lives 3807 mi. from me. 39 hours buy car or 4+ hours by air ($500+).

What's wrong with this picture.
I spent an hour on the phone with her last night. She is SOOOO frustrated. I remember the learning curve and it's brutal.
We talked about a number of her issues. So I think I helped her with some. I recommended she purchase the best book I know for rank beginners. But the rest is up to her.

Still available and still relevant, I won't part with my copy.

Yes, I have a lot of cheap and dirty solutions up my sleeves that I'm happy to pass on to her. I spent part of the morning photographing some of the cheats I use in place of the pricey aids her friends were recommending. ( My McGyver gene)

But like ANY new skill, whether it be quilting, Free Motion Quilting, Thread Painting.......


Post Scrip - 4/13 - I'm happy to report my new quilting friend in Alberta has the McGyver gene as well. All is well in the western province.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Jane - 13 Days Later

I AM moving on!
First border, 29 blocks
NOW I can leave it and get back to all the things piling up, Art, custom work,

I can quilt, and I now know this will not take forever.
I will post each each row as I finish it. 13 blocks each row. MAYBE one a day. Maybe not.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Thread Painting Workshop - Birds

We'll we did it again.
The ladies who participated in the Tree workshop of last October ( Post Workshop Reflections, October) expressed an interest in learning how to Thread Paint Birds. I had given each a chickadee for their panel. Now they made their own.

I decided to start with a chickadee because it's simple and the divisions are clear with minimal blending required.
After starting with a small exercise in how to blend two contrasting colours together, I had the ladies do another small exercise, filling a circle with thread to show the contour lines of a sphere.
After looking at the problems and pitfalls, they were ready to start.

I'm a great believer in keeping it really simple, so after tracing and coloring a Chickadee from a photo copy onto some lightweight stabilizer they were ready to sew. There were limitations, of course. Other than Black and White everyone brought a different range of thread colours.

But you can see they did a great job. As the stabilizer is lightweight it is liable to tear. I like this as a learning exercise not only for the value of learning to correct errors and mistakes but also it is very quick to tell you when there is too much thread in one place or your stitches are too large or you are moving the material too fast.

In spite of all that they still had very well finished, usable birds. All those small faults can be corrected when the cartoon is sew to a background.

After lunch they all dove into another bird, of their choice and colours. Some got further than others and my camera will capture their finished "homework" the next time we get together in May.

Some really ambitious work here. They did a stellar job.
My friends make me proud.
Well Done!