Friday, January 30, 2009

Falling Splendor - Part 2

I've been busy making my leaf applique squares for my falling splendor walling hanging. Here's what I have so far. I think it's long enough for what I want. I may switch around a few of the blocks as I do the applique button hole stitching. Also in the process I may even may a new block or two and swap out existing blocks if I find that there is a square that just isn't doing much in the design of the piece. I've really enjoyed the process and it really came together fairly quickly so that is a bonus.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

International Fiber Collaborative - Tree Project

I've started work on my leaves for the tree project. I got 5 maple leaves and 2 oak leaves cut out. I decided to make a couple of green ones and the rest in vibrant fall colours. I now have to back them onto stabilizer and the back fabric which will be the same as the front. Then the fun starts with embellishments. I'll do some machine stitching, maybe some beading, I'll have to see where the creative muse takes me.

Anyone interested in learning more about this project can get details here:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Progress on First Quilt - Completed

My first quilt that I started 6 years ago is now finally finished. I got the embellishments on over the weekend.

I have added peacock feathers which are encased in Angelina fibres to make them easier to attach to the quilt and add some additional sparkle. Please note that for anyone who has never used Angelina fibres and has asthma please use them in a well ventilated place and you may even need a mask. When you heat the fibres they do release an odor and I found that it did affect my breathing.

I also added some decorative variegated yarn to a section on the middle right hand side. All embellishments were hand sewn and I used YLI's Wonder Invisible thread. It was interesting to use in that it is a very fine, and it was the only invisible thread that I had. It handled beautifully and never tangled, I was very amazed.

So now on to some current projects now that this 6 year old UFO is finished!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cathy Tomm Workshop - Tips for Making Half Square Triangles

Here are a few tips I learned this past week at a workshop given by Cathy Tomm for putting together half square triangles. If you have a lot of them to do this method certainly speeds up the process without sacrifice to quality. First you need to mark a 1/4" sewing line on the bed of your sewing machine with either painters tape or masking tape. I took my Omnigrip ruler and placed it under my presser foot and lined up the needle with the 1/4" line. To the right of the ruler I placed the painters tape. As you can see Jordie was supervising the operation.

For 2 1/2" finished half square triangles start with 3" squares. Take the Omnigrip ruler and just put a small mark at the top left hand corner where your 1/4" seam would be start. (Sorry for the glare but without the flash the picture was way too dark.) The central line from which you are measuring the placement of the mark is the diagonal line from corner to corner of the fabric. Cathy actually has made so many of these that she no longer even marks her triangles, she just knows where to place them. I guess when you've made thousands of them you have it figured out.

Take your two pieces of fabric (right sides together) and line up the needle with the mark that you made and line up the bottom point of the fabric with the edge of the painters tape and sew. Keep an eye on the bottom point to ensure it keeps following the edge of the painters tape. You can chain piece all your triangles this way. Once you have done one side, just repeat on the other side (mark starting point and line up with needle, line up bottom point with edge of painters tape and sew ensuring that bottom point follows edge of painters tape). Cut and press triangles as usual.

To trim triangles there is this handy little 2 1/2" Omnigrip ruler. Again sorry for the glare. It took a bit to getting the hang of using it, but once you got it, it does make the trimming process easier than with the bigger rulers. The ruler has a diagonal line marker and you place it along the diagonal of your half square triangle and line things up before cutting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cathy Tomm's Workshop - Falling Splendor

Today's workshop was called Falling Splendor and was an applique technique. The background squares are cut to 5". A fusible web was used for the leaves. I used one called Wonder Under which I find works very nicely for this kind of application.

We had several options for finishing the applique including satin stitching the edges, hand sewing with a buttonhole stitch using thicker decorative threads or ruff edge applique stitching. I liked the look of the satin stitched leaves so decided to give that a try but again my machine wasn't going to cooperate and gave me all kinds of tension problems. Cathy did some experimenting with some of my other stitches and the machine buttonhole stitch behaved and it actually looked quite good so I went it that. It's better to go with a stitch the my machine can actually produce instead of one that all I would be doing is cursing and have the square turn out like crap. You can see the results on the top 2 middle blocks and the bottom one on the left hand side if you click on the picture below.

So this is as far as I got in 1 day, not bad. So this workshop I can actually see getting something completed in the near future. I'm just planning on a wall hanging size one but still not sure what the final dimension will be.

Here are 2 of Cathy's wall hanging size versions of her Falling Splendor themed quilt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cathy Tomm's Workshop - Luminous Diamonds

It was a very busy workshop today and I wish I could say I have a finished project but that isn't the case. What was interesting was to see the process of how a bunch of half square triangles like these:

Can turn into a something like this.
I still need to get more variation in my colour ranges to get the real effect that you can see in Cathy's quilts. Below is a close up section of an orange diamond in her quilt and it starts out with light orange fabric at the top and goes to quite dark at the bottom. Mine aren't quite there yet. I still need to go through more of my stash to see if I have additional fabrics to give me more variation in a particular colour. I suspect that I will have to spend some more time collecting fabric, perhaps doing some trades with other quilters to expand the colour palettes of my fabric stash.

We also got few good tips and tricks that I will post later. They will likely come in handy for the Friday Block Party.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Progress on first Quilt - Part 3

I have finished the quilting on my first quilt and got the binding on last night. The last thing now is the embellishments in the light blue areas on the quilt - 1 square in the top middle, 1 square on the left hand side in the middle and 1 long rectangle on the right hand side in the middle. I won't get a chance to get this done until later next week because this evening I'm over at the Friday Block Party working on this week's block and the weekend I have to get the rest of my stuff prepared for the workshops with Cathy Tomm this coming Tue & Wed. So it's going to be a busy few days.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Progress on First Quilt - Part 2

I made considerable progress on my first quilt this weekend. I got the inner and outer boarders done. In the inner border I did free motion stippling where I tried to mimic the seaweed looking pattern of the batik fabric. In the outer border I did 3 radiating loops from the middle of each triangle of the square which ends up looking like a flower. It's amazing how much thread you go through doing this. I was winding bobbins like crazy.

I did a row of echo quilting on the two stars and I'm debating whether to do another row or will it be too much. In the two checkered blocks on the upper left hand corner I ran diagonal stitching. the first one I tried free motion with the stippling foot and it was hard to keep the stitching straight even though I had drawing in the lines but it was easy to manipulate the fabric. On the second one I went back to the walking foot so the lines are nice and straight but much more work manipulating the fabric. In the section to the right and below the checkered blocks I just ran 3 diagonal lines in each triangle from the centre of the 4 blocks. If you click on the picture below it will give you the full image and you will be able to see some of the details.

So I just have the block in the bottom left hand corner to do and some simple quilting in the light coloured blocks because those will be embellished once I have the binding on.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Progress on First Quilt

It's was a busy week at work so I didn't get much time to work on my projects this past week. Today I finally was able to get back to working on my first quilt. Last weekend I got all the stitching in the ditch done. Today I started on some of the free motion quilting. I'm pleased with how it turned out but I must say after while of doing those circles it can get mesmerizing and if you aren't paying attention the circles can start to look a but wonky.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Whirl into Winter Quilt Blog Giveaway

Check out for some amazing winter giveaways. Looks like the timing is Jan 1 - 15 so there is plenty of time to check out all the different blogs (60). Not only are there the standard scraps of fabrics and fat quarters, but quilt kits, books, patterns and hand made products. Have fun!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bamboo Yarn - Scarf is Finished

My friend finished knitting up the scarf from the bamboo yarn I purchased back in the fall. It turned out lovely and is it ever soft and silky to the touch.

Some advice from my friend, if anyone ever plans to work with these skeins of yarn please note that you have to wind it up into a ball before you start to knit with it. Also if you can get someone to hold the skein while you wind it, it will go much faster. My friend was cursing the skein initially because she tried to knit from it and not take the time to wind it into a ball. It doesn't work very well.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 New Years Goals - Part 2

Happy New Year Everyone!

I've been thinking about what my goals are for this coming year and the list has grown. First on the list are those infamous UFOs that everyone seems to collect. Obviously my main UFO is my first quilt that I showed you in my previous post. I'm actually looking forward to getting it finished. the other UFOs that I have are as follows:

Hawaiian appliqué pillow – do the hand quilting
Gloria Loughman workshop – Layer by Layer piece
Gloria Loughman workshop – Colour is Magic piece

I'm not sure when I will get these 4 items done nor in what order, but the goal will be to get them completed sometime in 2009. The reason why I haven't put concrete deadlines to these projects is that I have some new projects that have some real deadlines that I will have to meet. So here are my new projects for 2009:

Jan – workshop Luminous Diamonds quilt
Jan – workshop Falling splendor quilt
March – Dragon quilt wall hanging for a birthday if possible otherwise it becomes a Christmas present
March – 2 maple leaves for International Fiber Collaborative project "Interdependence"
April – Quilt Guild challenge
May – Baby quilt
June – Leaf lap quilt for Anna at work
Christmas present – Turquoise and brown lap quilt
Christmas present – Flower garden lap quilt in purples
Christmas present – Flower garden lap quilt in blues
Christmas presents – Origami Stars and quilted birds (assorted)
any time – Bird of Paradise Harmonic Convergence wall hanging (for me to hang in my office)
any time – One block wonder quilt ( I already have the fabric and am curious as to how this will turn out)

So as you can see it looks like it's going to be a busy year and who knows what I'm going to see during the year that I'm going to want to try.

Finally as a review this is what I have accomplished this past year:

May – Hawaiian table runner and place mats (completed)
May – Hawaiian appliqué pillow (appliqué completed, quilting to be done)
Sep – started blog
Oct – Leaf lap quilt (completed)
Dec – Curious Kitties lap quilt (completed)
Dec – Oriental Mosaic lap quilt (completed)
Dec – Oriental Harmony lap quilt (completed – similar in design to Oriental Mosaic)
Dec – Gloria Loughman workshop – Layer by Layer piece (started)
Dec – Gloria Loughman workshop – Colour is Magic piece (started)

When I look at this list I'm very pleased with what I've been able to accomplish considering that a year ago today I was waiting to go for carpal tunnel surgery on the 10th of January. Then I was in for a good 6 months of serious physiotherapy and rehab because the surgery did not go well. I'm please to say that I have about 95% use of my right hand which is amazing considering I probably only had about 30% use after the surgery. So I'm looking forward to a creative and productive 2009.