Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 New Years Goals - Part 1

Quilt Pixie's post on Sunday December 28th started me thinking about what my goals were going to be for the coming year in relation to my quilting projects. One goal that I do have for 2009 is to actually finish the quilting on my very first quilt that I started to make about 6 years ago. I took a series of classes to learn the basics and got it as far as making the quilt sandwich and then froze. I was afraid of ruining it and packed it away. So it's time to bring it out of hiding and finish it.

This morning I actually took the quilt out of the box and took this picture. I'm surprised I was able to find it so quickly so it really must be time to get it finished. The pale areas in the main body of the quilt (top centre square, left centre square and right centre long narrow strip) are going to have some embellishment work done once the quilting is done.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of my goals for the New Year. I starting thinking about them last night and I think it's going to be a busy year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodies in the Mail

Yesterday I went to the post office to pick up a package from Hancocks-Paducah, it was my Christmas present to myself. They were having a sale of Laurel Burch Christmas fabrics and I just had to get some. I normally don't buy seasonal fabrics but for some reason this year I wanted some Christmas fabrics. These are so lovely and cheerful and the price was right $3.98 US a yard on sale, so even with our exchange rate it was a great deal.

One thing that I want to try making is some fabric Origami star ornaments with this fabric for next Christmas. I came across this site and I'm planning on ordering the star pattern and giving it a try. this will likely be a project for later in the year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Prep Work for Workshop in January

I didn't get that much done over the holidays. I came down with a flu bug on Christmas eve day. Fortunately it was short lived and I was feeling better by Christmas day but still somewhat tired and not very creative. Yesterday I actually has some energy and got the sewing room cleaned up and decided to tackle cutting up 3" squares for an up and coming workshop called "Luminous Diamonds" that is being given by Cathy Tomm from Leduc, Alberta later in January.

Below is how far I got and as you can see I've got plenty of blue squares, OK on green, orange, some pink, not much red, purple or yellow. This was just going through my box of scraps and what I got from Angelcat ( ;-) Thanks) in a scrap swap we participated in this past fall. I now need to go through my boxes of fabric to try and expand the range of colours, but I suspect I will have to go shopping for some more yellows. The other colours that I still have to start cutting are the black and white blocks.

Below is a shot of Cathy Tomm's "Luminous Diamonds" Quilt and a detailed view. I really like how these squares eventually turn into these diamond shapes. I'm not to sure about the zig zag border, but then what else you would do? She calls her background a "scrappy" background, but in the instructions you could also make it all in tones of one colour.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sewing Machine is Back

My sewing machine is back. All it needed was a minor tune up. So far it seems to be running OK but I didn't have much time over the weekend to sew. We had friends over on Sunday for a Christmas dinner so I was busy getting shopping done and food cooked. It was a nice visit with friends and we had our traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. So now time to enjoy the left overs.

Linda at the shop where my machine was serviced did mention that there are some machines that seem to have issues with the thicker thread and if I encounter the problem again to try using a regular weight thread in the bobbin with the thicker thread on top. So there still is hope for the YLI machine quilting thread since it does give a nice finish to the quilting.

I've just got one more full day of work today and a half day tomorrow and then I'm off for the holidays and I'm looking forward to getting back to my projects from the Gloria Loughman workshops.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Charms for Charity

Michele Foster who runs the Quilting Bloggers and Quilting Gallery sites is running a contest called Charms for Charity. She and a group of friends are planning on making several quilts for Victorias Quilts Canada a volunteer organization who make quilts and distribute them to people diagnosed with cancer in Canada. Michele and her friends are donating their own fabric to this project but they thought that it would be extra special to have fabric donated from around the world. So here are the the rules for the contest:

Send in six 5-inch charms of 100% cotton fabric. Three of the charms will go directly to making quilts for charity and the other three will go into a pile for a contest. Once Michele has 36 charms in the contest pile, she’ll do a random draw and one lucky sender will win the entire pile of 36.
You’ll have a one in 12 chance to win. She’ll just keep making piles of 36 to randomly draw a winner. So, if 36 of you participate, there will be three winners. For more details and Michele's address here's the link:

I decided to contribute some charms cut from fabric that I got on my trip to Hawaii this past spring. I'm sure that they will brighten up one of their quilts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

International Fiber Collaborative - 2009 Project

I came across an interesting project from the International Fiber Collaborative for 2009 called Interdependence. To quote the web site:

" Participants will create a full-sized tree for display in April 2009 at Big Springs International Park in Huntsville, Alabama. Much like a live tree is interdependent on its leaves and roots for survival, societies are interdependent on the greater whole, family units, communities, and countries.

Participants from around the world are invited to create leaves to contribute to the creation of the tree. In total, up to 30,000 leaves may be used."

This sounds like a very interesting project. Criteria for the leaves are located here:

I've got some ideas for creating some fabric leaves and I think I just might create 1 or 2 for the project. The deadline for submission of your leaf is March 15, 2009 so there is plenty of time after the holidays are done.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cat Quilt for a Friend - Part 4

I got the Curious Kitties Cat quilt finished over the weekend despite my temperamental sewing machine. On Friday when I was quilting the cat silhouettes in the blocks, the tension problem became weirder. The tension started to flip flop between being a problem on the back of the quilt to the front of the quilt all within the same cat silhouette. I tried various adjustments of the tension, re-wound bobbins at different speeds, and nothing made a difference. So I persevered and got the quilt done since it had to be finished by the weekend so that I could get it in the mail for it to arrive in time for Christmas. Definitely frustrating but my friend isn't a quilter or a sewer so fortunately she won't understand these technical issues.

I got the machine quilting finished Friday evening so I took my machine to the shop on Saturday for a tuneup &/or repair. I should hear back by Tuesday whether it is a simple tuneup or something more major. I got the hand work done over the rest of the weekend and the quilt has been wrapped up and will be mailed off today after work. Below are some pictures of the finished quilt.

Here is the full quilt.

Cat silhouette facing right.

Cat silhouette facing left.

Sample of the border quilting.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cat Quilt for a Friend - Part 3

Well I've been experiencing frustration with the thread tension in my free motion quilting on the Curious Kitties quilt. I'm using a new thread for me which is a good quality one from YLI made for machine quilting.

It's a beautiful seamist colour but the thread is considerably thicker than the previous threads that I have used (King Tut, Sulky, Guterman, etc.). When I was doing the stitch in the ditch portion I had no problems with the thread tension. I use a walking foot when I'm doing that task and that seems to eliminate issues with tension and slippage.

With this thicker thread and free motion quilting, I had to increase my tension a fair bit but it seemed to be a very fine line between where the settings were right for the tension on the right side of the quilt vs. the back of the quilt. When I go around curves the tension isn't quite right on the back and there doesn't seem to be a right setting to resolve that problem. It's minor, in that the person who is getting the quilt won't even know there is a problem because she doesn't sew. But none the less, I find it frustrating that I'm using this wonderful thread but it just won't behave. Hey at least it's working for the front of the quilt.

I had the machine in for servicing back in the summer but I also have been doing a lot of quilting. So once I'm done my projects for December I might take it back for another servicing to see if that might clear up my tension issues. I've had a few others issues with the tension that got resolved but it seems to keep cropping up.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quilt Guild Challenge 2009

At the last Guild meeting they had their quilt challenge kit for 2009 with 3 fat quarters of Mark Lapinski fabric from Northcott. The theme for the challenge is "Like Day & Night". The quilt must be your own design, so you can't use an existing commercial pattern. The finished perimeter of the quilt must be between 60 - 140 inches and it is due April 21st and the 3 fabrics must be recognizable when the quilt is finished.

The kit was $10 and I figured this might be as good a time as ever to to try my hand at entering something into a competition. I'm not sure yet what my design is going to be but I've got some ideas mulling in my brain. Once something comes together I will post my design. Below are the three fabrics that were in the kit. the 2 black ones are from Mark's Califon collection currently available in shops and the blue one is from the Krakow collection to be released in January.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cat Quilt for a Friend - part 2

This weekend I finally got back to the cat quilt that I started back in September (see ). Back then I just finished the top, had the fabric cut out for the back and it was left at that stage. I got the back sewn, the quilt sandwich put together and all the stitching in the ditch done. I found a nice cat silhouette to quilt in the squares and will have the cat facing right in the top row, then the second row will be the reverse with the cat facing left, third row back to cat facing right, etc.

In the border I plan to outline quilt the cats that are on the black background. So my aim is to get this quilt finished by the end of this week. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tips & Tricks - Fusible Web

I had some interesting results with my fusible web experiment. As I mentioned in my previous couple of blogs I was having issues with the "Steam a Seam 2" product and was going to try using Misty Fuse along with freezer paper for the design part. For some reason I was wondering if by chance the Misty Fuse would penetrate the fabric and actually try to adhere to the freezer paper. Well my suspicions turned out to be correct. Below is a picture of the end result of my trying to take the freezer paper off the fabric after I cut out my tree. As you can see some of the fabric is stuck on the branches of the freezer paper.

So what to do now. I had a look at the Misty Fuse package and it mentioned that you can draw your design on the parchment paper. Then when you place Misty Fuse over it and the fabric on top and go to iron the sandwich the Misty Fuse with pick up the image off the parchment. Well it was worth a try. for dark fabrics they recommended a white marker pencil, but I only had a yellow one. Below is the end result and it worked. Now the lines weren't nice and smooth but they were OK to work with for this size of piece. I would want a better quality of line for large pieces. I think I will experiment with different types of markers later when I have some free time to see if there are some that work better than others.

This was very easy to cut out since you just have a layer of fabric with a thin coating of Misty Fuse.

Here is my landscape with the fixed tree in place.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gloria Loughman - Colour is Magic

The Saturday class was Colour is Magic and as the title kind of implies, it's working with colour. We spent the first hour reviewing colour theory which actually was very good since I haven't done that since high school art classes back in the "dark ages" :-). We also studied the pictures that we brought in to determine what colour scheme they represented. Mine was analogous. Then based on our colour scheme we were to take one of two patterns that Gloria had and create our small wall hanging.

Below is the result of my efforts. It's not quite the full analogous colour scheme of the picture I selected since as I mentioned I was kind of short on the pinky purple coloured fabrics.

I had problems with the small tree to the left with the fusible web product and it got kind of munched. Tomorrow after work I have some time so I'm going to try an experiment with Misty Fuse and freezer paper to see if that will give me better control over the process. I will let you know how that turns out.
Here are a few samples of some of the other gals work and as you can see how different colour schemes can give the same design a completely different look.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gloria Loughman - Layer by Layer

I have been cat sitting for a friend and last Friday as I left her place early Friday morning to go back to my place to gather all my stuff for the Gloria Loughman class Layer by Layer I ended up with car trouble. So instead of heading home I headed off to the car dealership and got there just before they opened at 7:30. I explained that I was suppose to be going up north for a class and if there was anything they could do to get me out of there as soon as possible I would really appreciate it. fortunately they found the problem and I was out of there by 9:30. I still had to get home, get packed and was on the road by 10 which would get me up to Cookstown by 11, but the class started at 10. I called up the shop and left a message and explained that I had car trouble, but the problem was fixed and am on my way but will be late.

So even though it was a very frustrating start to the day, I still have a very enjoyable time once I got there. For this class you had the option of working on your own design or pick one of 4 designs that Gloria had created. Given my time constraint I picked one of her designs. Gloria has an interesting way of working on her quilts where she breaks apart her design into sections, works on each one separately then at the end sews the sections back together. Working in these sections it certainly makes it easier to manipulate the pieces, work on the embellishments and then in the end merge the pieces together.

I do have a question for anyone who has experience with fusible web products. What do you use and do you like the product or do you experience and challenges with it. The one that the shop Country Connections had for sale was called "Steam a Seam 2" and it proved to be a bit problematic and several of us has challenges using it. When you peeled the one side off and placed it on the fabric and ironed it on things appeared to be OK. Later when you were ready to place that fabric on your design and you went to peel the second backing off, often the glue layer didn't stay on the fabric but was still stuck on the paper.

Below is a picture of my sections of design. It's actually the tree design that I posted on Tuesday November 25th. Angela does the seaweed fabric in the bottom section look familiar? So for the time this will be a UFO since I have to get the Christmas quilts finished. Once they are done then I will come back and work on this.

Here are a couple of pictures of what two of the ladies who sat in front of me did. I didn't get to see much more of any one's else work because by the end of the day for what ever reason the other ladies were very quick to pack their work away.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I found my images

I found my images for the Gloria Loughman "Colour is Magic" workshop. I'm going with the two images below which have similar colour schemes of turquoise, green, and pinky/purple tones.

The other images that I was considering were these 2 of the forest with the purple ground cover. So I figured I'd use this colour scheme for the abstract workshop "Layer by Layer".

So I booked a vacation day today to go through my stash and pick out fabric and get things packed and ready to go for tomorrow. I have to leave early for the class since it will take between 1 - 1 1/2 hours to get to the town where the workshops are being held provided the weather behaves. If it decides to snow, I could be in for a longer trip. It's interesting that even with all the boxes of fabric, I still feel like I don't quite have the right combination of fabrics. I'm a bit short on the pinky/purple tones. I guess this could be an excuse to go fabric shopping at the shop.

I'm looking forward to the next two days and I should have some interesting things to post for Monday. Stay tuned and have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Upcoming Workshops with Gloria Loughman

I have finished the work on the back of the Oriental Mosaic quilt. My next project will be the quilting of the Curious Kitties quilt but that won't be until next week. This week I'm actually living out at a friend's place looking after her cat Niki while she is on vacation in Los Vegas. Not my first pic for a vacation, but at least the weather is warm compared to the rain and snow mix that we have been having here.

This coming Fri and Sat I'm taking 2 workshops with Gloria Loughman From Australia who wrote Luminous Landscapes .

One is called "Colour is Magic" and for this class I need to find a picture, card or image that I love for the colours that are used in it. the design isn't important, only the colours, since we won't be making the actual picture. the colour scheme will be used and we are to bring an assortment of fabric in the colours of our picture. Well this has proved to be a tough challenge. I keep changing my mind as to what picture I like because after I pick a picture I go to my stash to see what I have in that range. I have some of the fabric but I seem to be short on one of the major colours in the scheme since we have to bring a range of lights, mediums and darks of the colours selected. Here are the samples for this class:

The other class is called Layer by Layer and this is more of an abstract design project. for this one I just have to bring 2 or 3 colours of fabric that work well together. here are here samples for this class:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oriental Mosaic Part 7

I have finished the border quilting on the Oriental Mosaic quilt. It took longer than anticipated since I came down with a cold bug and wasn't very motivated to do much. But last night decided to finished off the last bits and I'm pleased with the results. I still have to take all the threads on the back and thread them into the back and trim them so that the quilting doesn't unravel.

Below is a picture of part of the border quilting but it's a bit hard to see it since it's red thread on red and black fabric (click on the picture for a larger version). I also took a picture of the back where the border is black so there you can really see what it looks like.

Here is a picture of the finished quilt.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oriental Mosaic Part 6

I finished quilting the friendship character in all the blocks and last night was working on mapping out the pattern for the border. After I sized the Chrysanthemums for the width of the border I layed out the pattern and it was close. I had some space left on each of the sides, but not enough to add 1 more flower so I was trying to figure out what I could do in the space. At first I was toying with the idea of stretching the lines between the Chrysanthemums but when I drew out a few it started to look a bit strange. I then noticed that the corner transition used a loop and there was my answer. The loops provide continuity in the design and solve my problem with what to do with the extra space. So I'm now ready to work on my border.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oriental Mosaic Part 5

I'm still working on the individual blocks and I should have them done by the weekend. I have picked my design for what I'm going to quilt in the border and it is a modified chrysanthemum design. So once I'm finished with the blocks I will have to start measuring this design to determine the size and spacing. Hopefully I won't have to do too much modification to make it work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bamboo Yarn

At the quilt show this past weekend there was a small "merchant's mall" and among the usual fabrics, notions, books and patterns there was one booth Dye-Version which sold hand dyed fabrics and yarns. They had bamboo yarn which was soft as silk and the colours were amazing. I'm not a knitter, I couldn't knit my way out of a paper bag, but I couldn't resist and ended up buying 4 skiens. They gave away a free pattern for a lovely scarf that only took one skein so I'm going to ask my friend if she will knit up the purple and turquoise coloured yarn for me as my Christmas present. She's already asked me what I want for Christmas and this would fit the bill perfectly. The other 3 skeins I will keep and eventually use as embellishment yarn on some future quilts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Celebration of Quilts X

In yesterday's blog Quilt Pixie asked "How do you nurture your muse?" One thing that I like to do to nurture my muse is to get out to some quilt shows to see what other folks have created with fabric. It's a great opportunity to see first hand some great finished projects. One day I'd love to attend one of the big shows like the Houston International Quilt Festival that was just on. This past weekend the York Heritage Quilters Guild had their show and everyone who attended was asked to pick their top 5 favorites. They have yet to announce the winners. There was lots to choose from and below were my picks.

Stepping Stones by Joanne Shaw

Lily Pond by Joan Robertson

close up of the 3 dimensional lilies

Round Robin Quilt by Joan Shaw

Rose Window by Kirstin Johnston

Rain Drops by Laurissa Werhun

Monday, November 10, 2008

Oriental Mosaic Part 4

Even though it was a busy weekend I did manage to get some work done on the Oriental Mosaic quilt. I'm pleased with the way the Chinese character for friendship translated into quilting and below are some images of the blocks. The quilting I'm doing is with red thread so it really stands out on the black and white blocks. The least effective is the block with the black Chinese characters on the red background. My thread matches the background pretty closely so the quilting blends in on that block.

I've got a busy week this week so I'm not sure if I will get all the blocks done, time will tell.