Getting back to Normal (whatever that is)

Wow the smoke from the BC Mainland fires is really making things look like fall around here although it is still really warm outside these days. It would be downright unbearable if we could actually see the sun. I had a text from a cousin that lives south of Seattle and he sent a picture of the skies above him and the smoke from all of the Mainland BC forest fires has even reached down in his area. I don’t think I have ever seen a fire season as bad as this one in my lifetime. I am hearing of a lot of homes being lost and that is so sad.

I myself have been feeling better although I did overdo things yesterday and am paying the price today. It’s fine though and I am finally back to quilting (OK maybe not today but I have been).

  

This was a fun quilt to do. It was a Dresden plate quilt design made up of all different types of fabrics. In keeping with the more traditional design of the quilt, the client decided on just simple stipple quilting in the background. I know some people don’t like stipple quilting however, for this application and design I think it worked well.

I used three shades of Superior threads So Fine 50. A Royal Blue, Soft Mint Green and a yellow. I can’t recall the numbers at this time though.

I just completed another quilt for the same client, she had made a quilt using old hankies and had hand quilted most of it however decided she didn’t want to hand quilt the sashing and borders so asked me to again just machine stipple quilt it. I don’t have a picture of this quilt but we used a soft yellow to tie the colours in the hankies together and it worked well.

I finally got a picture of Kevin wearing the hat I knitted for him. So here it is.

This was a simple hat to knit and it should keep him nice and warm this winter when he is working outside.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far now to go and see about maybe having an ice cream cone.

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Inspiration Journal

 

 

Life Update

OK it’s been way too long since I last posted. Life got in the way and not in a good way either. A few weeks ago I decided to move the blog to another site so I can start uploading videos. I was right in the middle of trying to figure it all out when I got sick!

Has anyone ever experienced vertigo before? Well, I wouldn’t recommend it. I had a few warning dizzy spells but nothing serious. I had another dizzy spell one morning but after a few minutes it went away so I went on with my day and hoped it wasn’t anything serious.

Next morning I woke up and the world was spinning and completely out of control. I had my Mom take me to the emergency room where I spent the next 8 hours going through numerous tests and scans to ensure I didn’t have a brain tumour, or suffered a stroke. The good news is that all these tests came back negative. The bad news is that I was still sick.

This lasted for over a week with me barely being able to get out of bed. Not fun. It finally started to get better and then the fatigue set in. You know get up and do a couple of things then go back to bed and sleep for two hours, get up and do a couple more things and repeat process.

It’s been over two weeks now since this all started and I am only now getting back on my feet. I am still not 100% either as I am still off balance and now suffering from bad headaches. Today was the first day I woke up actually feeling closer to my normal self so fingers crossed I am finally on the mend.

Luckily I didn’t have a lot of client quilts waiting. I have been busy and it’s summer so I had wanted to take a bit of time for me so I only had one client quilt on the frame and nothing waiting. That said I wasn’t able to work on that quilt for over 10 days as I couldn’t stand at all let alone make it down the stairs to my studio. As soon as I could stand though I was downstairs working on the quilt even if it was only for 30 minutes at a time.

Here are pictures of a client quilt I finished before I got sick.

The other thing I was working on before I got sick was a knitting project. I picked up some wool last August at the annual fiber arts festival here in Victoria called Fibrations to make Kevin a hat for working outdoors in the winter. Well, last winter has come and gone and we were cleaning up and I found the skein of wool I had purchased.

I have now finished the “beanie” it was a free pattern I found somewhere on the internet however I still have to photograph it so that will have to come next post.

The wool was 70% Alpaca and 30% merino hand spun and hand dyed locally. It was wonderful and soft to work with. It would make an awesome sweater but the cost would be insane as one skein was $35.00.

Ha, as I was writing the above, the price of fabric and how much it costs to make a quilt just flashed in my mind so I guess it is all relative as the sweater would be beautiful, soft, warm, fairly waterproof and one of a kind so …..

Well, that’s about it. I will have pictures of the finished client quilt quilted (so much for quilting my own quilts although that may still happen yet) and of the finished hat maybe I can even talk Kevin into modeling it for me.

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Inspiration Journal

 

 

 

 

Where does Inspiration Come From?

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration these days. What types of things inspires that creative spark in all of us. Is it a pattern or book, nature or a photograph that speaks to you. I love thumbing through my collection of quilting books (I have over 200). I do have some pattern books however mostly they are technique books and some I simply have just got for the inspiration, I will never actually make anything in the book. The majority of these books were purchased when I was just starting on my quilting journey and wasn’t too sure which path to take.I don’t buy very many books these days unless it is to do with machine quilting. My most recent purchase was Angela Walters new book Shape by Shape Collection 2 but this is the first book I have purchased in almost a year. The book is filled with wonderful ideas and inspiration for someone who enjoys actually doing the machine quilting.

Shape by Shape, Collection 2 by Angela Walters (Paperback)

Some people think that it’s just making quilts and gasp calling it a “blanket”. However I feel it is more than that. Even when you have a fast baby quilt that you need to make, you still put the time into thinking about colour and pattern and making the quilt with love. I mean really, you could just go and buy a baby gift and it would be a whole lot easier and way less expensive in some (most) cases. When you are a quilter though, it’s just not the same. When you are a quilter, you make that quilt because you want the gift to come from your hands and therefore you add your love and part of your spirit into the gift as well. Some people recognize this and realize that the gift is extra special. Of course you are also going to get the people who simply don’t understand and don’t appreciate what they are holding in their hands.

A little off topic but have you ever had that happen to you? Thankfully I have only had this happen once, suffice it to say I’m a little more discerning in where my ‘art’ and ‘soul’ goes to now.

So where does the inspiration come from? I find it can come from many different sources. Old doors, leaves, trees or even grates. I took the following photo of a grate in a park in downtown Nanaimo BC. I loved the circle design on it.

Inspiration-1

In one case I was asked to make a baby quilt for a friend, she gave me the two thoughts circles and indigo. What do you do with that? Well the indigo was pretty easy, blues but what of circles. I sat down with all of my quilting books that had circle patterns and designs and finally chose a drunkards path variation pulling all of my blues from my stash making sure I included some indigo. Here is the result.

Baby Quilt-1

Since the top reminded me of a night sky and moon, that gave me the inspiration to quilt the moon and stars across the quilt. I found a quilt design that I turned into a pantograph.

Baby Quilt-2

I love the man in the moon theme, I felt it was perfect for this baby quilt.

A quilt is a blanket of love

What inspires you?

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Saying Goodbye

Last night we had a sad event. The Victoria Quilting community said good bye to Linda Refuse who was the owner of Satin Moon Quilted Garden Shop here in Victoria BC. Linda passed away unexpectedly on June 7, 2016. She was originally from Alberta her brothers held a small memorial for her there last week. Linda’s friend Jennifer decided we quilters should also celebrate Linda’s life as a friend, quilter and as a larger part of the Victoria quilters scene. In honour of  Linda she decided to organize a tea party with everything decorated in Linda’s favourite colour PINK!

I had the pleasure of working with Linda at the Satin Moon shop three years ago. I had been laid off from my Telecom Analyst position of 15 years and decided to take the summer off (I had been working steady since I was barely 18 years old). Since I was given 18 months severance and I had savings it was a good opportunity for me to regroup. I had two friends who already worked for the shop and I was asked if I wanted to work one day a week there. I was delighted, it got me out of the house and able to play with fabric… my favourite thing.  I discovered I really enjoyed working at the shop and helping the customers choose their fabrics for a project or just check out the projects in progress. I was still working there part time when I received the news I had cancer. Linda was incredibly sweet and since I was unable to continue to look for full time work during that time I remained working part-time at Satin Moon until I was too sick to do so. (I am all better now).

The tea party to honour Linda was a great idea. It was well attended and I’m sure Linda would have loved it. Jennifer even set up a table just for Linda so I’m sure she was there in spirit.

I have included two pictures of the room getting set up in preparation for the event. It always amazes me how you can take a plain room and make it festive my adding tablecloths, flowers and food. One of the pictures has a very badly lit Susan McGregor setting out the cupcakes she brought. Susan also worked with Linda at Satin Moon.

It was a great idea thanks so much Jennifer for organizing this.

Friends are like fabric-you can never have enough!

 

 

Coming Up with Quilting Designs

I have a client quilt on the frame and although I know what design I will be quilting on this one as it is just an all over design it got me thinking about how I come up with different quilting designs. My fall back design for all over is a leaf pattern, leaves are easy to do and if they are not perfect that’s OK because nature doesn’t make perfect leaves either. It’s also the first quilting design I learned how to do.

When it comes to all over designs I try to take hints from the quilt itself, for instance one of my client’s quilts was green and red and had nature and leaves in a lot of the fabrics. The quilt design was simple so the meandering leaf design I came up with seemed to fit the bill.

In another quilt I did, a Bonnie Hunter mystery there was so much going on with the design and the many different fabrics I just kept with a simple all over echoed flower design. With that quilt I used a thinner thread (Superior Threads So Fine 50) as I just wanted the texture to show as the quilt was so busy as it was. When I was quilting that design I was thinking oh no not sure I like this but when I got that quilt off of the frame I really, really liked it. The quilt is now on the bed in the spare room.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I don’t do much pantograph quilting as I prefer to quilt from the front of the machine but I did piece and quilt a quilt for a client that was a cat quilt. This quilt called out for paws and I did do that as a pantograph as it would have been to hard to do this totally free hand.

Cat Quilt-1

There are other quilts though that just call out for more custom designs like a design in the blocks and another in the sashing and border. I find deciding on what to quilt in these particular quilts more difficult as the choices are so vast. I try to take some clues from the fabrics used but I will admit sometimes I have to drape those types of quilts over my stairwell and stare at them for awhile well I go looking for inspiration.

The next quilt on my list to quilt is a Judy Niemeyer Bali Wedding Quilt. I started the top a few years ago and worked on it while going through cancer treatment. I finished the top two years ago and it has been sitting in my “to be quilted” pile ever since. Time to get this one finished I think so I have been sketching out ideas on what to quilt where. I will post pictures of that process in a future post. Meanwhile here is a picture of the pattern. I bought the extra papers for this one and made my top queen size.

My latest favourite quilting quote

I’d rather be stitchin’ than in the kitchen!