Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 New Years Goals - Final Review

Another year is coming to an end. So it's time to take a look at what I had set out as my goals for this year, what was I able to accomplish, what didn't happen and what else came along. First is a list of my original goals and what happened with each one.

Jan: Baby quilt – animal party – completed
Feb: Art & Cold Cash collaborate quilt project – finish quilting on the black red and turquoise version so it can then be given to Bernice for beading – completed
Mar: Finish my Cats & Dogs quilt for our small quilt group – completed
Early Spring: Learn how to create paper piecing patterns from Hetty of Crafts and Stuff – completed
Spring: Finish Falling Splendor quilt – moved to 2011
Spring: Spend some time exploring some of the techniques from my thread painting workshop – moved to 2011
Christmas present: Flower garden lap quilt in purples – cancelled this project
Christmas present: Flower garden lap quilt in blues – cancelled this project
Christmas present: stack coin quilt in stone fabrics – cancelled this project
Christmas presents: Origami Stars and quilted birds (assorted) – cancelled this project
Christmas charity quilt: using blocks from the Friday Block Party 2009 – moved to 2011
Any time: Bird of Paradise Harmonic Convergence wall hanging (for me to hang in my office) – completed
Any time: One block wonder quilt ( I already have the fabric and am curious as to how this will turn out) – never started
BOM: Drunkard’s Path Variations – only 4 months completed

UFOs that are outstanding – all are still outstanding
Hawaiian orchid pillow – hand quilting
2 wall hangings from Gloria Loughman’s workshop – colour is magic and layer by layer
Kaffe Fassett – colour in design diamond quilt

So from this list I completed 5 projects, 1 is partially finished, 4 I decided not to go forward with, 3 I have moved to next year to be done and 1 just never got off the ground, but hopefully sometime in the future may get done.
In addition the following new projects happened in 2010:

May: second Bird of Paradise Harmonic Convergence wall hanging for our friends Joe & Kent in Kauai Hawaii to give to then as a thank you when we went to visit them on vacation last spring – completed
Jun: Hawaiian Sunshine - 9 patch lap quilt using Hawaiian fabrics done while on vacation in Hawaii – completed
Jun: Tranquil Moments - quilt top and back done while on vacation in Hawaii, quilting left to do
Sep: Batik Gems quilt for Jean's 75th birthday – completed
Sep: Attended Ricky Tims Super Quilt Seminar in Cape Cod MA
Dec: Cherish Nature quilt for Lyn's 75th birthday – completed

So in addition to the 5 completed projects from the original list I did another 4 projects in 2010. So over I have to say another successful year. So next I'm going to review what my goals are going to be for 2011 and then will post them hopefully on New Year's Day.
I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cherish Nature - Part 8

It's finially finished and it's a good thing since I meet up with Lyn for coffee tomorrow afternoon and I really wanted to get her this quilt to her in 2010 the year of her 75th birthday.  I'm only a few months off from the actual date (back in September) but life has a funny way about it and I'm just happy to get it done in the same year :-).  I know that Lyn will be thrilled to get it and will cherish it.

So this completes my quilting for 2010.  Tomorrow I will post a review of what I actually did in 2010, comparing it to my original goals that I set out at the beginning of the year. Then on New Years day it's time to post a new set of goals and the adventure begins again.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas & Cherish Nature - Part 7

Merry Christmas Everyone.  I hope everyone had enough time to get ready for the holidays and now there will be time to enjoy it with friends and family. 

Yes its been awhile since I have posted but in part that has been because the quilting on the Cherish Nature quilt has gone slowly.  It is mostly finished as of today, but I may have to do a little bit more around the inner border of the panel and I still have the binding to sew on.  A few weekends were taken up getting shopping and baking done for the holidays and then this past weekend I came down with the flu bug.  Thankfully I did take a couple of days off of work, rested, have recovered and all is good.

So here are some pictures of the quilting that has been done on the Cherish Nature quilt.  I'm not sure how well this shows here, but I quilted all around the eggs and in the pieced border there is a stylized symmetrical feather like pattern.  I have another shot from the back that will show the detail a bit better.

Then this picture is part of the Cherish Nature panel and I quilted around the lettering and the eggs.  Below that where you see the small green squares is the inner border of the panel and that is where I'm going to need to do a bit more quilting.  I think though I will first go and get the binding attached and then come back and see if I have any ideas of what to do in that inner border area.

So for those who celebrate Christmas I wish you a very merry and safe Christmas.  Happy holidays to all and please drive safely and keep well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

York Heritage Quilters Guild Meeting - Hilary Rice

Last night at our guild meeting the guest speaker was Hilary Rice from Nova Scotia:  As her web site claims she really is more a textile and mixed media artist than a quilter. As a child she loved both music and art but in high school had to make a choice and went into music. She married had a family, then her husband decided to change careers, and went from the corporate world and became an Anglican minister.

Being a minister, you and your family end up travelling a lot across the country to different postings. Hillary transitioned out of music and into art and took up weaving and spinning. In BC she was involved in various weavers and spinners guilds, but then her husband got posted to a town where there wasn't a weavers and spinners guild. One of the ladies from that church invited her to their quilt guild and she got introduced to quilting. That was in 2000. So she hasn't been doing it long. Also she really didn't start out in the traditional piecing type quilting, she did more landscape and art quilts almost from the beginning. She quickly experimented with embellishments, different fabrics and techniques. She then moved into using metal, glass, wood, etc, and burning things, melting things, etc. So it really evolved beyond quilting. I got some pictures of her work that she brought which is the art and landscape quilts that she has done. On her web site you can see more of her more current abstract work.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cherish Nature - Part 6

This week was busy finishing up the trapunto work and then getting my quilt sandwich put together.  Here is a picture of all the little egg shaped pieces of quilt batting attached to the back of my quilt top.  I first fused Misty Fuse to one side of some scraps of quilt batting.  Then I cut out my egg shapes using an egg template that I made from a firm plastic that is used to make templates.  Yes I did count how many eggs I have on the quilt, and there are 260.  Once they were all cut out, the side with the Misty Fuse was ironed on to the back of the quilt. 

I also decided to make a couple of the birds and bees as well a the larger eggs from the appliqué work into traputo as well.  here is a close up of one of the bird quilt bats attached to the back of the quilt.  I will have to say all this extra batting has made this quilt more heavy than normal.

I also came across a new method of pinning quilt sandwiches this summer and I'm finally giving it a try.  Here is what the Pinmoor system looks like.  They are just these little foam tubes that you use with straight pins to pin the quilt sandwich together.  It's suppose to be easier than safety pins and not leave as large of a hole as does a safety pin.  I have noticed on several occasions that safety pins can leave rather large holes in a quilt top that you then have to try and smooth out.

Here is what they look like on the quilt sandwich.  Now I don't know about them actually being easier to use than safety pins.  I think because they are something new it will take a bit of getting use to.

These are the type of safety pin system that I use which makes it easier to install the pins in the the quilt.  I discover years ago the little plastic covers for the safety pins that makes it easier to grab a hold of them to pin them to the quilts.  I ended up using both systems on this quilt since I didn't have enough of the Pinmoors.  So I will let you know what I think of the new system as I work with them on this quilt.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cherish Nature - Part 5

I got the back pieced for the Cherish Nature quilt.  I wanted to use up the rest of the blocks from the panel so this is what I came up with.  The mottled fabric is the same one that went around the main birds nest on the front of the quilt.  The brown fabric is Kaufman's fusion in espresso.  So my next step is to work on getting all the extra layers of batting on the eggs done for the trapunto that I will be doing on them.  Hopefully I will be able to get that finished during the week so that I can then make up the quilt sandwich and start quilting next weekend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cherish Nature - Part 4

I have finished piecing the Cherish Nature quilt top.  I now have to prep the egg borders for the trapunto work, and I'm also thinking that I might enhance some of the blocks that were appliquéd with trapunto. For example the 3 small blocks below the large bird nest, I'm thinking of doing some trapunto work on the birds and the bumble bees. I also still have to figure out the back for this quilt.  I have some left over pieces from the panel that I think I would like to use up so I will have to play around with that idea.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cherish Nature - Part 3

Here is the progress I have made so far on the Cherish Nature quilt. Blocking the panel section only made a partial improvement to the bird nest section so I decided to cut the inner border strips wider. Then after I sewed the inner border to the bird nest centre I squared up that section back to the 17 1/2 inch square it was suppose to be with the inner border. When you look at the middle section you can see that the width of the inner border varies all the way around but I'm going to have to live with that since there is no other way around this mess with panels that are being printed off grain.

Next I'm planning on working on the appliqué that goes on the quilt.  I've just put up the various pieces.  I still have to cut some leaves that will be going on the teal sections on the left and right hand sides.  I figure it will be easier to do the appliqué at this point than when the whole quilt top is finished and then I have a lot more fabric to manipulate.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

York Heritage Quilters Guild Meeting - Melinda Bula

This evening was the monthly meeting for the York Heritage Quilters Guild and tonight's guest was Melinda Bula from El Dorado Hills, California.

She gave an interesting talk and presentation. She is an artist by training but also loved to sew from a young age and eventually took up quilting. She primarily does machine quilted raw edge appliqué. One thing that Melinda stressed yet again is, do not be afraid to make mistakes because from those mistakes we learn and it is also where we develop our creativity. Perfection is not creativity. Kind of similar philosophy to Ricky Tims.

She did bring 3 quilts to show her actual work and they were spectacular. We saw Splendor in the Grass and below are a couple of close ups of it. All her work is made strictly from various fabrics and she doesn't do any fabric painting, marking or shading with other media.

Next is Monterey at Dusk with some detailed shots below.

And the last one that she brought is called Romance.  This one looked like a tapestry, it was amazing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cherish Nature - Part 2

Well I finally started on the Cherish Nature quilt, but I have to tell you this quilt is going to be a challenge.  First the panel wasn't printed on grain.  I had this problem when I did the baby quilt back at the beginning of the year.  I'm beginning to wonder if this is a problem with most panels.  The large bird's nest picture is approx. 15 inches square but it is almost 1 inch out from top to bottom and even the small bird and bumblebee squares are out.  So what I decided to try is blocked these pieces to see if that will fix the problem otherwise I'm going to have some serious issues.  The small squares aren't as bad of a problem since they are only being appliquéd onto the quilt, but the large bird nest piece is the centre of the quilt and if it's out then the whole quilt is out.

Then I had to make half rectangle triangles instead of half square triangles.  Well I found out that you simply cannot cut 2 rectangles and put them right sides together sew down the middle, cut and expect to have 2 half rectangle triangles like you can with half square triangles.  In the picture below the top block is what you get from doing it that way.  As you can see the final shape isn't a rectangle.  It comes out this weird dimension and I'm not sure why it does this, but it does.  So it definitely needs to be paper pieced, and the example below it is the paper pieced method.  So I have to make 7 more paper pieced half rectangle triangles.

Finally the egg fabric also wasn't printed quite on grain but at least it was only slightly off and since my egg borders are only 2 1/4" wide I don't think that if they are slightly off grain that it will affect the outcome of the quilt that much.

Given all the issues that I came across today I think I now know why it has taken me several weeks to get into the mood to do this quilt.  I must have suspected that there were going to be issues with it and I didn't want to deal with then.  Hey at least I got these ones figured out and I hope the blocking of the centre piece will fix it and I will have a square centre.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and the colours here in Toronto are really starting to pop.  As you can see by the pictures this week from my balcony the reds and oranges are really vibrant and there is more trees that have turned as compared to last week.  The weather here is gorgeous with blue skies and the temperature is suppose to reach a high of 18C which is 65F for my American friends.

I'm actually heading up north about an hours drive to the Horsehose Valley area just north of Barrie Ont. for the weekend for some nice R & R.  I won't be doing much quilting because I had to get a cortisone shot for a trigger finger in my left hand yesterday so I have to rest it for the next several days, no lifting heavy things and no excessive pressure like using a rotary cutter.

Fergie and Jordie will have fun with their favorite live in cat sitter Lynie.  Yes we spoil our kitties and don't leave them with just a quick visit from the pet sitter.

So I hope for those who are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, you all will have a happy and safe time with family and friends. For those who aren't please still have a happy and safe weekend as well.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Organizing & Fall Colours

Well this weekend didn't see much sewing but the sewing room got a much needed sorting, tidying and organizing.  It really was past due and I realized that when I went to get the fabric for the Cherish Nature quilt project and initially couldn't find it.  It turned out that it was buried under a pile of scraps, other fabric and papers.  So it was time to get the sewing room organized for the coming fall and winter months.  It's done now. 

I have a bag of what I would now call "ugly" fabric that I will be giving to my guild's community quilters group who make quilts for charities, seniors homes and shut ins.  It actually is fabric that no longer is my taste.  There are more muted colours and small florals that I really don't have an interest in working with at this time.  I also now have 2 bags of scraps to go to a quilter friend who can use then in her scrapy projects and if she can't use them, her daughter can put them to good use at her school.  Finally I have some additional fabric that were like duplicates of stuff or bought for projects that no longer are going to be projects that I'm going to pass on to another quilter friend for her to use.  By clearing out all of that, I was able to get all the piles of stuff put away and the sewing room is nice and tidy once again.  I also cleaned my machine, a new needle installed and threaded waiting to start the new project.

The trees are starting to show some nice colour in my neighbourhood but they are not quite at their peak.  Below are a few shots from my balcony of the trees and as you can see there are some lovely shades of red, orange and yellow against the green.  Enjoy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Batik Gems - Part 8

The orange quilt is now finished and I even had a proper name for it - Garden in the Sun.  Here it is all finished.

Here is what I quilted in the border. It is a picture from the back, the picture from the front didn't show the quilting very well.

Below I've attached pictures of what the butterfly quilting looks like which was done down the middle column.  If you remember these were outlines that I created from images of butterfly tatoos.

So now onto the next 75th birthday quilt, Cherish Nature.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ricky Tims Quilt Seminar - Part 2

A couple of folks have asked me if I could give a few more details on the Ricky Tims Quilt Seminar and what I learned from it. So here goes. First of all we got a history of how Ricky got into quilting and his story of the process of how he went from your basic pieced block sampler (which I think most of us is where we likely started our quilting experience) to where he is now.

One of the main themes along the way was Ricky was willing to take a chance, take a risk and try something new. So what if it didn't work out the way he hoped it would, he still learned from the experience. Too many of us are afraid of taking that risk because it might not work. As Ricky said, you still learn from the experience, you improve your skills and in taking that risk you may also figure out a way of doing what it was that you wanted to do. As Ricky would say "Whoo Hoo!!! Below is a picture of Ricky's first landscape quilt that was done not knowing the so called "rules" of needing to add a seam allowance to the pieces that he cut. He experimented with different shapes and methods and when two pieces were giving him extra trouble he just steam ironed them to death LOL. After a good steaming the fabric fell into place. (sorry about the photo it's a bit crooked, but it was hanging crooked)

One other key philosophy that Ricky has is that time is your most important resource and you only have a finite amount of time so use it wisely. From this philosophy emerged the concept of when you have to be precise then you be precise, but where you don't have to be precise why worry about that 1/4" seam. Ricky is a master of figuring out ways of doing things that give amazing results yet you don't have to fret over every little detail. His "Caveman" quilting emerged from this and the use of paper piecing to get precision without the headaches. Oh did I just say an evil word to some of you, paper piecing. Don't fret, Ricky shows an easy method for paper piecing as well. Below is one of Ricky's Caveman quilts.

In addition Ricky shows you how to make his Convergence quilts, Kaleidoscope quilts and Rhapsody quilts (see samples of these quilts below). He also goes over design elements, as well as shows tips and tricks including how to piece curves without pins, setting in corners to make great looking borders, machine appliqué, machine quilting, piped bindings that save you time and look great, and some bobbin work. In  case you are wondering you get a wonderful workbook that has all the key information and instructions that are taught in the seminar so you are not taking a pile of notes.

Libby Lehman teaches two sessions.  She is a master quilter and one of the sessions she shows how she developed her Sheer Ribbon Illusion quilts.  It looks amazing even complex, but once you know the secrets you are going to want to try it for yourself.

Alex Anderson is a renowned hand quilter and teacher and she demonstrates hand quilting techniques and she talks about quilting design.  Here is one of Alex's hand quilted quilts.

I hope this gives everyone a better sense of what the 2 1/2 days are all about.  They are packed full of great information, learnings and wonderful stories.  I really hope that you all can get a chance to attend one of Ricky's seminars in the future.  It is time and money well worth spent.