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Posts Tagged ‘fabric’

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!

 

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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 …

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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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About six years ago, I was fortunate to discover a small group of women in my community whose interest and obsession with making textile art equals my own. Each year since then we’ve managed to find a place in the neighbourhood to mount a display of our creations.

A few times it was a room in a church, several times a funny little vacant space on the side of a building (called “Side Space Gallery”), once in a café, and this year, in a yoga studio. The expansive white wall that spans the length of the studio was just begging to be lit up with our colourful creations.

Grounded_300x400

Grounded

We negotiated with the studio owner to have specific hours (around her classes) where people could come and see the exhibit, each weekend throughout the month of November.

A_Patch_200x267

A Patch of Stillness

This Saturday, we’ll be holding the opening reception for our show at the Studio for Movement.

A week ago, we met to “hang” the show. None of us knew what each other had created, so it was a bit like Christmas morning when we spread everything out on the floor to get an idea of what the collection looked like. Amazingly, it all came together beautifully. It’s astonishing how some of us, working independently, used similar colour palettes and themes in our work. This made it fairly easy to create groupings that complemented each other.

I worked pretty hard to get two new pieces finished (each participating artist is invited to submit two pieces) and was still stitching on the labels the day we hung the show!

A third piece I had brought along (Open Arms, aka Driven to Abstraction) turned out to be just the right size for one of the walls, so that means I have three pieces in the show!

Getting together with my artist friends to plan and execute these exhibits, on a shoestring, has proven to be a great catalyst for all of us to learn, laugh, experiment and share our art with the community.E_invite_2013

If you’re in the Toronto area, I invite you to come by and be inspired!

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The impetus for this project was a small photo of a quilt on a bed that caught my eye in something I was reading (a newspaper, perhaps?). I cut it out and ruminated for sometime on the concept of a quilt make from large blocks. The quilt in the photo comprised a random arrangement of squares and rectangles that appeared to be about 20” across.

I started pulling out small-print florals from my stash and putting them aside for this quilt. The more I thought about it, it occurred to me that I could do something more interesting than simple squares and rectangles.

While leafing through Mary Ellen Hopkins’ The It’s Okay if You Sit on My Quilt Book (1989), which is brimming with block ideas made from different arrangements of strips, squares and triangles, I zeroed in on a block she calls “Amish Pinwheel”.

There are so many things you can do with half-square triangles, and this block is just one example. It’s made from 8 half-square triangle blocks, with a rectangle of the background colour added to each corner. Each finished block is 18” square. Image

The traditional Amish quilt always features solid fabrics, not florals. So I am hesitant to call these blocks Amish pinwheels. Yet it is not your typical pinwheel block.

I checked on Flickr and only found one example similar to this block, and the maker called it “Dancing Pinwheel”.

Because it is intended as a summer quilt, I opted to use flannelette for the batting to keep it light.

The quilt measures 67” x 90” and I did simple machine quilting in neutral colours. My intention was to have the quilting disappear, and just do its job (holding the layers together). The binding is made from an assortment of leftover fabric.

The result is a “vintage” look quilt. That sounds so much more sophisticated than “old-fashioned”, don’t you think?

Numerous people have asked me “Who it is for?”  It’s for me!

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With all the recent weather-related and other catastrophic events happening in Canada and around the world,  we are sometimes uncertain as to how we can help our neighbours.

Luckily, I came across the Just One Slab Quilts Recover Southern Alberta project – the brainchild of Cheryl Arkison. It was an easy way for me to contribute my skills to a worthwhile endeavour aimed at providing some comfort to the many people affected by the damaging floods.

The distance between us is more than 3,000 kilometres, but I felt I was part of one big community of quilters putting our hands, hearts and needles together in an effort to let others know that we care.

All Cheryl asked was for people to make a slab 15.5” square. “You can insert the white bit or not, that’s your choice. Just aim to make your block in a single colour. Make as many as you like,” she stated on her blog. The blocks were inspired by Cheryl’s “The Missing U” quilt from her book, Sunday Morning Quilts.

Cheryl has local volunteers all lined up to put the blocks together and produce the quilts. As of the middle of July, she already had 276 blocks. I contributed two blocks, and because I packed them in an unusual way (rolling them around a foam cylinder and then wrapping brown paper around it) I could easily  pick out my package out in the photo showing a pile of the latest arrivals in her blog post of July 29!

Quilters are Warm People

I am really looking forward to seeing the colourful results of this comfort project. A big thank-you goes out to Cheryl for her leadership. Quilters certainly are warm people!

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Isn’t it fun, once in a while, not to have everything planned out before you start a new project? That’s the way it was with the 3-part workshop I signed up for with Dwayne Wanner. He has developed a loosely structured set of guidelines to shepherd you through his “Abstract Expressionist Quilt Project”.

I was fortunate to be able to find a weekend course being held at the Etobicoke Quilters Guild, where my sister is a member. I am endlessly frustrated by my own guild’s insistence on scheduling workshops during the workweek.

Part one of the workshop consisted of exploring the styles of abstract expressionist painters such as Jackson Pollock, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul Klee and the Painters Eleven. Dwayne encouraged us to look at these paintings and visualize them made with fabric. Using both the Internet and library books, I studied the technique in the weeks leading up to the first session.

Then it was time to make our colour choices. Dwayne encouraged us to experiment the split-complementary scheme, which includes strong contrast that is toned down by using the colours that are adjacent the colour that is complementary to the main colour. Have I lost you yet?

For someone who usually relies on instinct for her colour choices, it was a challenge for me to consult the colour wheel and make selections based on that, but I went to my stash and tried my best. For this project, fabrics that read as solid are best – no large prints.

Our second task was to construct what Dwayne calls an “inventory” of blocks. What fun combining the fabrics into blocks and strips, knowing in advance that they would be sliced, diced and put together later, but not being able to envision the end result.

Floating squares, skinny strips, wonky strips, etc. all came together, as Dwayne exhorted us to imagine the artist splashing paint randomly on a large canvas.

Slicing a curved line in advance of sewing two sections together

Slicing a curved line in advance of sewing two sections together

One interesting trick I learned was how to match up two sections, by laying them on top of each other (both face up), just overlapping enough to cut through with the rotary cutter, in a slightly curved line. [photo]

Then, after discarding the cut pieces, you flip one piece over so that right sides are together, and sew them together. Sounds simple but I don’t think I would have thought of that myself.

Dwayne’s approach is best described, I think, as freestyle. “Pins are for sissies,” he says. I must say things move faster when you aren’t concerned with measuring and matching things precisely. And the resulting creation is truly one-of-a-kind.

Most of the quilts produced in this class, therefore, resulted in an irregular shape, and so the question was asked – how are we going to finish the edges? Dwayne explained various methods, one being the “pillow-case” method. But I chose the option to make “facing”. You make binding as per usual, but turn all of it to the back, rather than just half of it. Pretty simple and effective, when the edge of your piece is uneven.

While our sewing machines hummed, Dwayne supplied an eclectic assortment of background music, ranging from opera to the Gypsy Kings, to keep our creative juices flowing. And, I suspect, to cut down on the chitchat. He had us on a schedule, which contributed to the appeal of this workshop. All the students were confident that they would actually finish something at the end of the three sessions.

Driven to Abstraction -

Driven to Abstraction

A few months later, I am still processing some of the ideas and techniques that I practiced in Dwayne’s class. My piece, “Driven to Abstraction”, is certainly one of the most adventurous and unusual wall hangings I have made. And quite a contrast to the next quilt I will be writing about!

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