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WIP Wednesday

I’m posting this image for WIP Wednesday! It’s a small piece (20″ x 30″) that I am calling “Fifty Shades of Purple”. The 5.5″ block is string-pieced from scraps. Inspiration and instructions came from a book borrowed from the public library: “A Modern Twist” by Natalie Barnes.

purple quilt top

50 Shades of Purple

I am on a perpetual mission, as I am sure many quilters are, to use up fabric scraps. Unfortunately, this project barely made a dent in my scrap stash. But a girl can try, right?

As I was putting this together, I realized that I may finally be overcoming my obsession with the colour purple. The modern or contemporary quilt aesthetic has infiltrated my consciousness, and there are so many fresh colours to play with. Just wait till you see the next piece I am working on – no purple at all!

 

Sesquicentennial

red and white cotton fabrics

Ever since June, when I learned about the 2017 Challenge for next summer’s Quilts at the Creek, I’ve been pondering what to make. The theme for the show is Canada’s 150th birthday, and Northcott has generously donated a whack of red and white fabric to get things started off.

There’s no question – I want to create a special quilt, but making a decision on the design approach is holding me back!

My head is swimming with ideas! How will I be able to settle on just one … the right one? It has to be a design that I will a) enjoy working on for many months, b) allow me to use coordinating fabrics from my stash, and c) be symbolic in its own way to represent my Canadian experience (having lived in Canada all my life).

Shall I go modern or traditional? Or somewhere in between?

Lots of ideas here:

http://quiltinspiration.blogspot.ca/2011/10/free-pattern-day-red-and-white-quilts.html

And of course on Pinterest (e.g., https://www.pinterest.com/cjshanny/red-and-white-quilts/).

logo for Canada's 150th birthday

And check out the winning sesquicentennial logo design. Could be adapted to quilt piecing, don’t you think?

Stay tuned …

From photo to fabric

photo of ruins in Greece

The original photo

I wanted to make something special for my son and his wife as a wedding present, even though knew I wouldn’t actually get it done in time for the wedding. Since they already had a bed quilt made by me, I set my sights on a wall hanging.

Now this was going to be a surprise, so I had to be a little sneaky! Knowing how much they had enjoyed their trip to Greece the year before, I set out to find a photo from that trip that might be appropriate to interpret in fabric. That’s where some stealth was required. I couldn’t ask my son for a photo without explaining why I wanted it, so I snooped on his Facebook page and chose a photo that was fairly representative of their trip, and that might “translate” well.

I downloaded the image and had paper copies made (enlarged to 11 x 17) – one in colour and one in black & white. The colour copy was used as a guide to select fabrics, and the black & white one helped me sketch the outline onto the base fabric (unbleached cotton).

It’s so much fun hunting for just the right fabric scraps, and I am forever grateful to the quilter who first planted the idea in my brain that sorting my scraps by colour into clear plastic shoebox-size containers would significantly streamline the process.

Arches and Blue Sky

Arches and Blue Sky

I had the perfect fat quarter of hand-dyed blue fabric for the sky on hand, from Dye-Version, and loads of scraps, from florals to plaids and everything in between, for the stonework. I used a collage technique, based loosely on what I have learned from Susan Carlson.

I took a bit of artistic licence with some areas of the piece, but I think it fairly interprets the original photo. I hope it evokes fond memories of their Greek adventure. It was made with love.

Coming up fast – the York Heritage Quilters Guid show and sale for two days only: Friday, Nov. 14 (10 – 6) and Saturday, Nov. 15 (10 – 5). A Celebration of Quilts only comes around every three years, so you will have to wait until 2017 if you miss this one! I can guarantee that it will be a dazzling display of all sorts of textile creativity.

The location is Toronto Botanical Garden (Edwards Gardens). A Celebration of Quilts event postcardIn addition to the 200 quilts made by some talented people,  there will be a marketplace featuring 16 vendors (fabrics, books, patterns, etc.), two café locations to grab some lunch, plus a boutique filled with unique one-of-a-kind handmade items just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.  In addition, for a very reasonable price of $24, you can purchase a 12”x12” mini-quilt made by one of the Guild members.

See you there!

Natural inspiration

The natural world has it all: colours, patterns, designs, shapes, repeats. I am convinced that even if something doesn’t enter your consciousness the moment you encounter it, your psyche still has a chance to tuck it away for later reference. I often use my camera (rather than my mind’s eye) to capture a pattern or colour combination that attracts my attention.

water currents - light and shadow patterns

water currents – light and shadow patterns

pattern in tree bark

subtle colour and pattern of tree bark

an intricate design on the underside of the butterfly wing

an intricate design on the underside of the butterfly’s wing

circular pattern - a spiral in the centre of the flower

a spiral pattern in the centre of a sunflower

 

IMG_7161

It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth, and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.

~ Rachel Carson

Do you find it difficult to settle down to just one project? Even when I have launched myself into a project, I sometimes find it hard to make decisions. If you’ve ever delved into the world of half-square triangles, you might have an inkling of what I mean.

There are countless ways of arranging them! Check out this flickr group .

I rarely buy charm packs, but fell in love with the Simple Marks line by Malka Dubrowsky (for Moda) when I discovered it. Half-square triangles seemed to be the perfect way to use the 42 five-inch squares in the pack. In my stash, I found that I had a sizable piece of a neutral fabric (Countertop Texture –  Michael Miller Fabrics) that coordinated perfectly as the light half of the triangles.IMG_5083

Making the HSTs was easy, and playing with the infinite possibilities of the arrangements on my design wall was so much fun!

Instead of trying to decide which pattern was “the best” I finally ended up, after a few weeks of play, just deciding which appealed to my sense of having a little extra “oomph”. Then I settled down to sewing them together.IMG_8456

Here’s the WIP (work in progress). I am still contemplating whether to add a border (comments welcome!)

Over the same few months, I have also been distracted by this year’s guild challenge “Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. The entries aren’t due until May, but I would rather avoid entering “panic mode” so I spent some time figuring out a way of using all six of the required ugly fabrics in an original design, and it’s partially done.

Next I was lead astray by a casual conversation with a bunch of quilting friends, reminiscing about corking when we were kids. Corking, you say? It’s also known as spool knitting or French knitting. I had purchased a wooden corking “device” a while back at a craft fair, so I hauled it out and, after a brief consultation on the Internet on how to get started, I was off and running! It’s quite addictive.

Other distractions have included jaunts in local ravines and fields hunting for snowy owls (they’ve been sighted quite often this winter), a lengthy search for a new yoga studio (which was finally successful) and the black hole that is Pinterest. It sucks you in and the next thing you know, several hours have passed!

My conclusion is: distractions can be fun AND frustrating. They’re part of being human.

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