Peace is...a world in which women are inspired to hope and imagine.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Next projects

I have to gather up the pictures from the Christmas presents that were made and given, so that will take a bit of time.

What did I get for Christmas? Amon other things, TWO gift certificates for local quilt shops: Creative Sisters in Kitchener and Triangle Sewing in Guelph!!! Yippee!! The first one was disposed on this morning at creative sisters in their monthly Full Moon Frenzy sale with bone pre inventory sale...good deals all over the place.

The picture below was the outcome if that trip- I LOVE these colours! The colour consultant (also know as husband) assisted. This selection is for Log Cabin quilt for a girlfriend, who asked for burnt orange, earthy greens and browns, and blue the colour of Lake Huron. Good description to work with!!

I worked on the Mandala all day yesterday, and almost have all the sections sewn up, and then I need to join them together. Picture below of the last set of 8 that I'm working on.

So off to a busy start for this year! 4 quilts already planned between now and August, not counting figuring out what to do with the mandala, and of course other mandalas...not to mention the backlog of 3 baby quilts...

What's your adventure for today?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blogathon Canada...and sneak peeks of future posts

Sew-Sisters of Toronto Ontario is hosting this great Canadian Quilt Blogathon.
Every day one or two bloggers representing different areas of Canada are posting about their work - and including links to quilt bloggers in that region!! Each guest blogger hosts a giveaway on their day. Have fun exploring!

Sunday, November 18ONMicheleQuilting Gallery – ME
Monday, November 19BCFelicityFelicity Quilts
Monday, November 19BCCathyBlueberry Patch
Tuesday, November 20NSJeanetteSTAMP * STITCH * CREATE
Tuesday, November 20NBHollyThrough My Window
Wednesday, November 21ABShenaApple Pie Patchwork
Wednesday, November 21SKPattiRetired to Quilt
Thursday, November 22QCMarikaLive, Laugh, Love… Sew
Thursday, November 22MBHeatherChurch Avenue Quilts
Friday, November 23YTVivianQuilting Under the Midnight Sun
Friday, November 23YTJanetCaribou Crossing Chronicles
Saturday, November 24ONCathiQuilt Obsession
Saturday, November 24ONCaraCara Quilts
Saturday, November 24ONKayeMiss Print
What's coming up on my blog in the next while?
1. Final post on my sampler quilt, that I started in 2006 - 3 houses ago. I finished it earlier this year, and planning a blog on it soon. It's a traditional 6 block sampler, hand quilted. The handquilting really stands out in the photo below.

2. Mandala Mania! I started playing with Spirals from RaNae Merrill's book - Spiralmania. This summer, I found out that she has a new twist on Spirals - creating mandala's! This fits right in with my own spiritual and Reiki journey. Turns out she was coming to Ontario for whirlwind guild tour - I had a pick of three different guilds / workshops in the area. I decided to go to the workshop hosted by the Oxford Quilter's Guild - a two day workshop!! The piece below is missing 2 sections per "wedge" - 8 wedges in the mandala.  A whole lotta fun. and very small pieces. love the paper piecing!

3. sneak peek at a gift I'm working on (more on it after I give it away). Carol at Creative Sisters in Kitchener gave me a big hand in matching a base colour to my prints, and figuring out the back. Right now I just have to bind it and wrap it!

What kind of adventures are you having?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger’s Quilt Festival - The Joy Quilt

I'm so excited to participate again in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival | Amy's Creative Side!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
entry #: 76  75!!
Finished quilt measures : 90ish" by 96ish"
Special techniques used : applique, pieced back, spiral paper piecingQuilted by : My mother and myselfBest Categories : Applique Quilt, Scrap Quilt, bed quilt, group quilt, home machine quilted, ROYGBIV (color wheel) quilt;hand quilted quilt

I had hoped to have this quilt done for the Spring festival, but it was not to be.
There is, of course, a story to this quilt. Which is why I saved it for the festival.

I have a sister. Well, I have a few sisters (and a brother). Of all my sisters, the one next up from me, was 2 years ago the only one of us still living on her own. She seemed to enjoy it, mind you. Great was our surprise when she called us in October 2 years ago saying she had met someone. Greater yet was our surprise when she called in January 2011 to say they were getting June 2011! The event called for a quilt.

Several years back, when visiting the youngest sister down in North Carolina, I visited a LQS in Sanford, North Carolina, and found a fabulous selection of Kaffe Fassett material. I had never seen material like this up in the Toronto area (in Ontario, Canada). I grabbed a bunch of it, with no project in mind. When my sister announced her wedding, this was immediately the material that came to mind. She's an artist, and loves colour. I immediately called it the Joy Quilt, even though I had no idea what the design was.

I found the base design in Jane Brocket's "The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking" - Swimming Pool. Doesn't look much like it, does it...Of course there was not enough of the Kaffe Fassett material to make the quilt, and that quilt shop had closed. I wasn't comfortable ordering additional material online, in case it didn't match. Off I went to Creative Sisters, an LQS that has a great selection of batiks. And didn't they happen to have a great set of batiks that beautifully fit with my Fassett prints. Gorgeous. The DH and Toby the Wonder Dog helped me lay out the blocks.

I also wanted to get my family involved in the quilt in some way. Initially I thought I would take the quilt with me to her wedding (in Victoria B.C. - I'm in Ontario), and have everyone quilt on it with me. Crazy idea. There was no time for it! However, what I did do is send my mother (who was visiting the youngest sister in North Carolina at the time) the left over batik material (after cutting the squares) - and asked her to do something with them. And she did! She made around 35 hearts of different sizes. When I got them back from her, the next trick was to figure out what to do with them. I finally realized that they were not going on the front of the quilt. So they had to go on the back. And with all these colours, what would I do with the back, anyways? Did I need a border? How was I going to quilt all this?

The border went through many iterations of ideas. I initially had thought a small green border, with a larger border of Fassett's Blue Chrysanthemum. I asked the DH what he thought of that, AFTER i bought and cut the fabric for the border and back. Big no. So we selected a Kona Red instead, which just popped the quilt. He has such a good eye for colour. The back - well, while visiting another LQS - Greenwood Quiltery - I put my quilt top against all the Kona solids there, and the Chartreuse just yelled at me. So home it came with me.

Now what do to with all the hearts? Again, many idea. This is when I started trying to understand how I was going to quilt the darn thing, with the bright back and the colourful front. Arghh. and then my sister (the bride to be...well, by that time she was the bride already) saw my post on my peace bag, and asked - could I have those on my quilt? (those being a spiral, from Ranae Merrill's Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts and a Mariner's Compass block). She thought the Mariner's Compass block would be a representation of her husband's love for sailing, and a spiral for her art. So the back was rethought yet again. Since I had done a 3 sided spiral already, I wanted to branch out - thus the 5 sided spiral.

By this time, it was well, almost a year after the wedding. I was pretty sure I was going to have to mail it out. Wow, didn't want to trust the Joy quilt to the mail!! There were good parts of the year that I was making this that I just couldn't work on it. After naming it the Joy Quilt, I found I had to be in a certain mind/body frame in order to work on it.

The hearts found their way on to the back, with fusible interface and a lovely Amy Butler thread for the applique work. Hearts. Everywhere. and even more problematic, how to make sure the back fit the front, and no hearts were cut off. My facebook math buddies helped me out here, as they do from time to time on my projects. Unfortunately, I was not aware at that time of Elizabeth Hartmann's great free Craftsy class on Pieced Backs. That would have been useful.

Initially, it was going to back with my mother, who was to visit in August 2012 from Victoria B.C. This started to put a rush on finishing the quilt. One day, I got a call / email from eldest sister - my mother was hospitalized with an infection and needed surgery. A very long story made very short - instead of my mother coming to visit me, I went out to help her out when she got out of the hospital after two weeks. She was on an antibiotic feed for a month, with an ankle in a walking cast, and homebound for a while. The Joy Quilt took up a good part of my suitcase, with my cutting mat, sewing supplies...etc. I hastily "basted" it (good old 505) and off we went.

I thought that my mother would be able to help me finish this baby. By this time, my quilt and I were feeling pretty close to each other. When I asked my mother for help, we ended up figuring out how to do the quilting, and what to do with the hearts. I had thought we would do a primitive hand quilting around the hearts from the back, and that it would look like hearts on the front. I think we did about 10 of the hearts, and realized it just wasn't going to work. Out that came. Luckily, my mother has a janome and a walking foot, and I had brought quilting thread along (King Tut - Joseph's Coat -  a beautiful rich variegated thread). And there I went - ditchstitchng from border to border. And oh, the things I forgot about machine quilting already. And realized well after the quilt was done.  I didn't quilt through the hearts, so that gives an interesting feel on the back. The gap doesn't show on the front, unless you go looking. I also did not quilt through the pieced blocks. I left them alone.

And so it goes. We ended up quilting hearts in the borders. And some embroidery for the label work. My mother did most of the hearts while sitting out in her garden patio. Mind you, there was some serious napping going on. Good thing we only had a little deadline going on.

and on the last day of my vacation, I finished the binding. Washed it. and pictures. and gave the baby away.

 If you want to see the pieced blocks in detail, let me know and I'll add them to the blog.

This is a Queen size quilt, about 90 X 95". Trust me, I don't recall the measurements exactly. They kept changing. The blocks are 5X5", 14 blocks wide by 16 blocks long. The border is 6". I love the way that some hearts crept into border area on the back. Really. That was on purpose. This is used as a bed quilt.

I hope you enJOYed the story of the Joy Quilt!!

What joyous adventure are you having today?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Singer touch and sew

I picked up this sewing machine about 10 years ago at an auction sale near our cottage. $20 bucks. All it needed was a spool holder, and I ordered one of those online from a lady in Washington state. When we had the cottage, this was the cottage sewing machine and my Janome was for home. We sold the cottage in 2006, and I haven't looked at this machine since at least then.

I just opened her up today. I'm planning on teaching my step daughter to see. She's a very creative woman, and I know that adding sewing to her skill set will open up new avenues of creativity for her. I also opened the machine up because my Janome is in for it's first servicing ever (after about 8 years) and I feel lonely without it.

I took the top off, dusted the machine a bit, rethreaded it...and out came this beautiful line of stitching. I played with the stitch length a bit-that's all I touched.

This baby is circa 1970. I don't think I service it when I got it, and I have only use it for straight stitching. It has all of the stitch plates and throat plates and feet. It even has a no-remove bobbin wonder! Which means you wind the bobbin in the bobbin case.

So I'm excited to be using this machine to teach JB how to sew. It will be nice to see it going to a good home!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spiral Wall Hanging

I find myself strangely drawn to spirals and Mariner's Compass patterns. So as a result, I am learning paper piecing. I am also doing one spiral or compass at a time, rather than a whole quilt - i'm working my way up to it. today's spiral is a 6 sided nested spiral, from Ranae Merrill's fabulous book about spirals. I was quite surprised by how this turned out. I also realize that a beauty feature of doing smaller quilts like this (apprx 20" by 18") means I get more practice with machine quilting, design, and of course, binding. I tried a new way to close off the binding this time (from Joanie's Quilting Elements). There is a picture below. it worked quite fabulously.

I made the piece for a friend who turned 50 this month, and is a big crafter herself. It went in the mail a few days ago, and she should have it by now...Happy Birthday, Maureen!

Stories and lessons on this piece.

Well, I wanted to make it from my stash of fabric and not buy new material. Cost cutting. Dear Husband of course was a huge help as always on fabric selection. I wanted a pretty traditional look.

However, I didn't spend too much time thinking about the design beyond the actual spiral. Once I had the spiral done, and was thinking about what next to do - I came up with the idea of squaring the spiral with the red corners. I only had one type of fabric that would do for that, the red already in the piece. Since, as some of you already know, I am mathematically and geometrically challenged (which makes it interesting to be a quilter), it soon became clear I did not have enough material to create the shape, whatever that was, for the corners. Couldn't get the shape of the corner piece in my head, and couldn't figure out the material requirement. So i started sewing pieces of the red into squares. Well, it was all different sizes, and the next difficulty was figuring out how to sew the small pieces together in an efficient manner to come up with a standard size piece of material. Let's just the end, some of the pieces sewn into the blocks on the corner are just one seam beside each other.  luckily, the seams kind of fit into the concept of the spiral, so they don't look out of place. and since it is a wall hanging, it won't be washed too often, so there won't be too much pressure on those small seams.

For the spiral itself - when doing these, it's wise (as Ranae lays out in her book) to build a template first, determine what colours are going where, number the pieces and letter the spirals (or vice versa - i always get these mixed up), and then make a chart to calculate the size of the pieces - because the triangles used grow in increments up the spiral. and if you cut every piece the same length, there is fabric waste. And if you are, like i was, working with a small amount of fabric to begin with, rather than calculating the actual amount and then buying the fabric, you need every small piece of fabric available. So you lay out the chart - which requires measurement of the triangles in a certain way to get their height and width, and then add on extra for seam allowance, and a little bit extra for Liz's geometry challenges. and then cut the fabric. The learning here is...if i don't calculate the chart properly AND i don't calculate ALL the triangles (ie, skip a few here and there and just say they will be the same length as say D5), well, when the fabric is cut, there's no going back. that's why i ended up with the 2 brown spirals of different colours. ran out of fabric from inaccurate calculations. oh the lessons keep coming.

What else have I learned...well, i wasn't sure about the material at first. it looked dowdy and dark. i was pleasantly surprised; nay, shocked! at the outcome of the spiral. the colours and the design worked together beautifully. So i learned i need to trust my instincts, and my husband's instincts, on fabric choice.

Once i had the spiral done, i needed to figure out what next - i did end up buying material for the borders and the binding. I ended up wanting some consistency in the fabric, so I got dark green and cream in the main print (from the 2 browns). this is a Robert Kaufman print, which is available in many different shades. I like it because each colour carries variances in it, which are not easy to see from a distance, but ensure that the fabric does not look like a solid colour. Creative Sisters in Kitchener carries this print. They also carry the print that I was using in corners - they just happened to be out of the red. They had lots of other shades, but they just didn't work the same.

The quilting is in the ditch around the edges of each spiral and the borders. I would make the stitch longer next time. I've been looking at some other quilts at Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph, in their gallery, and note that typically these stitches are much longer. I guess I'm used to hand quilting, where we try to make the stitches as small as possible.

What else. I'm experimenting with the label - embroidering my name on the back and the date. Worked OK for me. Also...back on the theme on not getting too much additional material...I didn't have quite enough of the dark green left for the back, so I put in some of the other colours I had in the same fabric line - creams and browns for a different touch. I am very fond of pieced backs. As you will see when I post the blog for the Joy Quilt!

OK, that's the summary. Here are the pix.

what the back looked like before i removed the paper foundation. note the  codes written on each triangle used to indicate order, size and colour 

showing the binding ends joined together

What creative adventures are you having?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Finishing the Joy Quilt (almost)

So i've put a big push on the Joy Quilt. I ended up going out to Victoria to help my mom out after some surgery. Victoria, B.C. also happens to be the home of the sister that got married last year, for whom the Joy Quilt is intended. So the quilt came out with me, and it ain't going home. i've changed the quilting approach a few times, and various attempts have come out. the trick is the block design on the front (5 inch squares) and random appliqued hearts on the back...and 2 pieced blocks on the back. How best to quilt it? so i enlisted my recovering mother to help me work through the quilting design and approach...and also to help me do the work!  we're coming along - but i'm not sure i'll get the binding on before i leave. it's all ready to go (cut and joined and measured), but the days are running out....and i need some good pictures!! stay tuned...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Joy quilt....getting a push on it

Finally, the Joy quilt is ready for sandwiching, basting and quilting. The only space large enough to lay it out is our living room floor, with furniture pushed aside and the front door blocked. That means I have to finish up the basting tonight so our room is back to normal. I'm saving the final post of this quilt, complete with process, lessons learned, etc for Amy's Quilt Blogger festival in the fall!! And lots of stories with it, too.

And here it is sandwiched, and 505 basted (fabric glue). Toby has to put his stamp of approval on it and have a nap while I go have dinner.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Peace Bag

Well, it's been the craziest time since my last post. Life keeps moving and changing. Since my last post in June, I believe, we've downsized and moved, and i've made a transition from working contract to working full time (salary). These were fairly significant changes in our lives, and we are still working through the transition, and it looks like we're still not through to where we want to be yet (whatever that looks like). So the adventure has been focused on things outside of quilting. We moved into our new house at the end of November, and outside of the hot tub going up in flames at the end of January, all seems to be going well. Routines are being made. Long walks with the dog are happening. Friends are coming to visit. Toby (the Best Dog) wanders freely around the house. David (the Dear Husband) wanders all over the house too. It's our little sanctuary.

More to come on all of that. The big surprise is that I have been quilting. I have been working to make my creative work my default work, when I'm not at the office job. That is a lot harder than it sounds. So there are 2 posts here, maybe 3...after all, one should be devoted to my new sewing room.

Anyways, we'll start back with my Peace bag. This is a bag i created using a free template i found on line. Caveat Emptor, of course - the free template did have very unclear directions and the measurements didn't exactly add up. However. I did make do. It was my first bag ever, and I am surely proud of it. The two squares are paper pieced. The triangle is spiral based, and comes from a design out of RaNae Merrill's book: Simply Amazing Quilts. This was my first attempt at a spiral and i loved it. The second block is Mariner's Compass , another free design that I am happy to advertise.

Why these 2 blocks? The 2 blocks are test blocks for a quilt i am designing (my first design ever) - my Peace Quilt. That will take up several blogs at a later date. The Mariner's Compass is for direction, for starting to learn and trust my own true north and true self. My higher self already knows all the answers i need to live my life - i just need to access them and understand them. The triangle is symbolic of many things that i have learned over the last few years - the move from victim/fixer/aggressor to creator/coach/challenger paradigms, the move to a self love paradigm of nurture/custody/letting go...and there are a few other triangle paradigms in there too. The spiral reflects a couple of symbols of well - spiral of life, and also the spiral of conflict. For me, the spiral helped me learn to understand where conflicts in my life exist, and what level of healing they require.

Anyways, the bag was a fun exercise. the pictures will start with the making of the blocks, to the design of the circle for the triangle (which my facebook friends know was quite the mathematical challenge for me!), through to the end product.

Mariner's Compass  - Block

Nested Triangle Spiral - Design
Triangle - working out the math to do the circle....

Nested Triangle Spiral - Block

Thread SNAFU

The majority of the material came from my stash, although i did go out and pick up some lovely batik fat quarters to assist with the Triangle Spiral. And all i will say to end it off is that i will always remind myself to wash all material before using, especially dark blue flannel that I may use for lining...let's just say the bag has lots of "character" after it's first washing...

And quilting plans for the next year? finishing up the Joy Quilt - my sister Lenore's wedding quilt; 2 baby quilts (for Eadie and Norah), and my peace quilt. Maybe more bags...Another blog at a later date...finally finishing my sampler quilt that I started in 2006.

What adventure are you having today? this week?