So do you ever find when you go away even for just 4 days it takes longer to catch up on everything? Here it is almost a week gone by and I am finally getting to writing another blog post and feeling like I can start to catch up on everything now.
I was catching up on my Facebook reading this morning and although I knew yesterday was the 9/11 anniversary it hadn’t occurred to me that 15 years had gone by! Yes, I know just do the simple math but it is something I just hadn’t thought of. I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. It was early here on the west coast so a lot of us hadn’t even woken up yet. The news came on the radio when the alarm clock (remember those I use my mobile phone now) went off and that is when I first heard it. At first I thought I heard wrong and my ex-husband thought the radio announcers (who were prone to make jokes) was kidding but something about the tone of their voices told me otherwise. I jumped out of bed and raced to the living room to turn on the TV and there it was. Nope not a joke! It was very real.
Not much work got done that day. The TV in the lunch room at work got moved into the board room so that everyone got a chance to keep abreast of what was going on. This was before internet streaming was allowed on people’s computers at work. That day the six degrees of separation theory was put into practice for me. At the time I had a very good friend whose brother worked at the pentagon for years and only had just retired months before the plane crashed into it. In fact at the time he lived only blocks away. Now 15 years has gone by, the world has changed, or has it! As with anything bad that happens a lot of great things and good will happened as well. It does seem though that is one date where you ask someone if they remember where they were when they heard the news and they will be able to tell you without any hesitation. Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?
Anyway enough of the melancholy, it wasn’t actually what I was going to write about, but somehow it seemed appropriate. So now onto some pictures of a cute baby quilt.
Isn’t that pig flying over the fence sashing the cutest! This was just a simple baby quilt I quilted a couple of weeks back for a client. She wanted white thread and a simple all-over heart design so I used Superior Threads King Tut 993 Temple and used a white Superior Threads Masterpiece in the bobbin. I really love how simple all-over quilt designs make these wonderful simple baby quilts come to life.
I am still struggling to find the perfect spot to take good photos of the finished quilts. I have a friend who is a photographer who is coming over to help me tomorrow with finding the perfect spot both indoors and outdoors and give me some pointers on lighting. Yeah! I can’t wait.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Well the quilt got finished and presented to it’s new owner. I am so thrilled with how this turned out that I am in the middle of writing a pattern for this one as I want to make this one again. I will post the pattern for free here once it has been completed.
The quilt design process started as I needed a quilt for someone who is facing surgery, not life threatening but never fun. The person happened to be a male and so you then have the question about what kinds of designs are good for men etc. I knew it would be scrappy as I have bins overflowing with scraps. I use Bonnie Hunter’s scrap system but have modified it to my space and the way I work. So one sunny afternoon I dragged a chair into the sunshine and sat down with a mountain of books and magazines to try and get some inspiration. I saw a few things but nothing that ‘spoke’ to me.Then I saw a pattern that used 2.5 inch strips but in bricks of 5 inches long. That intrigued me as I had a whole bin of 2.5 inch strips that were all different lengths. The pattern was quite random with colours all over the place, which didn’t really work for me so I decided to go with more of a central focus with bands of colour.
Here is what the quilt finally morphed into. Like I said, I really love how it turned out. Kinda like a trip around the world except using the 2.5 x 5 inch ‘brinks’ instead of the squares usually used. As mentioned in a previous post it is larger than I had anticipated, I was going for a lap quilt when I started however it turned into a twin size. It is not as large as I thought it would be when it was still laid out on the floor though so that is good.
The back of the quilt is so much fun there is Star Wars and owl fabric and no this quilt was not for a child but he is a huge Star Wars fan. A friend had a piece of Star Wars fabric that she donated for the cause.
For the quilting design I chose a simple leaf pattern. I know leaves again however I enjoy quilting leaves and do quilt many other designs but leaves are so organic and look especially lovely quilted as an overall design. Leaves are symbolic of nature as are the owls and the symbolism works for who the quilt was created for.
On this quilt I wanted the thread to be more in the background especially in the high contrast of the white and yellow areas. I debated about using ‘invisible’ thread but decided against it. I decided to go with Superior Threads So Fine 50 colour 448 Olive and I used Aurfil cotton 50 number 5016 in the bobbin. The thread blended beautifully with the darker colours and didn’t ‘scream’ on the contrasting fabrics so I think it worked well.
The person who received the quilt appeared to be thrilled so that is always a good sign. As for the scrap bin…. It is still overflowing so I guess I may need to make one of these quilts for me now.
When life gives you scraps make a quilt!
Happy Canada Day! We have had such beautiful weather here in Victoria and today it decided to try to rain. Wouldn’t you know it! The day that everyone is supposed to be outside picnicking and celebrating. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.
I just finished quilting a really cute and playful I Spy baby quilt for a client. When the client made the quilt she didn’t have a recipient in mind but as it so happens life has now provided a home for the quilt and I’m sure that whomever gets this quilt will be overjoyed.
Isn’t this just too cute. I love the fun fabrics used in this one.
Here is a better look at some of the fabrics. For a quilting design I chose a loop-de-loop with a star as some of the fabrics had stars in it and other fabrics, like the honey bee fabric, had loops so it seemed a good choice. Beside it’s fun and I thought in keeping with the nature of the quilt itself.
I find I always question the thread colour on quilts like this though do you? You don’t want to use an invisible thread on a baby quilt or I should say I don’t want to use one yet you have a very strong contrast in values playing out that you have to work with. In this case that wonderful medium green playing along side all of those different playful fabrics some darker than the green and some a lot lighter.
I tried a lot of different choices and now as I am writing this I realize I should have photographed those choices to show you the different ones I tried so I will have to remember to do this next time. I’m still learning with this blogging thing. Anyhow, I tried lots of different choices, I tried a thread that would blend with 80% of the different prints but was WAY too light for the green borders etc. In the end I decided that I would stick with a variegated King Tut thread from Superior Threads. The King Tut is thicker than some of the choices I tried but I love it for baby quilts as it is a fun thread that keeps with the playful theme of some of these types of quilts. I found that 923 Fahl Green was the best match and I decided the thread should really blend with the borders and sashing because the whole idea (at least in my mind, hopefully the client will agree with me) the blocks should be the ones that stood out. The Fahl Green is a nice medium green and I found that it did in fact blend nicely with the majority of the different fabrics and seemed to play nice with the fabrics it contrasted with without taking over the show too much. I used Superior Threads Bottom Line 645 Bright Green in the bobbin. You can’t really see the stitching in the back as the print is so busy. You can’t tell from this photo but the print is a really fun cat print.
I mentioned on a previous post how neat and precise the seams are on the back of this particular clients quilt. I have included a picture here. The back of the quilt top is almost as beautiful as the front!!
Well back to sewing my strips onto the brink quilt I have in progress. Only 8 more strips to sew on before I can show you the finished quilt top.
Quilting is sharing yourself with other. Don’t you just love this quote.
Well haven’t got up to too much this past weekend. The weather has turned sunny and warm here in Victoria but other than working and sewing not much else is going on. My partner and I were invited to a pot luck by a neighbour on Saturday night. At the townhouse complex where I live there is a clubhouse that can be rented for a very reasonable rate. My neighbour is a member in a band that plays songs from the 50’s and 60’s. I helped make the banner for the band called Trilogy. It was a lot of fun singing along to all of the old songs I remembered as a child. Of course I remembered afterward that I didn’t take any pictures. There were people there who took some videos so I will see if I can’t get hold of some pictures and video to post here.
I am currently making a quilt for someone who has to undergo an operation due to cancer. It started out as a lap quilt but it kinda grew. Now I think it will be almost a bed quilt when it is done. I got my inspiration from a quilt in a book that was scrappy and used 2.5 inch strips cut into 5 inch logs. I have so many scraps so I thought this was a good idea. I didn’t totally like the design of the quilt in the book just the “brink” idea so I changed it up and started designing on my design wall.
Not sure why I didn’t stop there but I wanted more colour so I continued. Before I knew it I had to move the quilt from the design wall to the design floor. I am happy with the way the quilt is progressing but it is now pretty much queen sized. Oh well. To top it all off, even though I used many scraps I still have a ton of 2.5 inch strips left!!
I worked on it until late last night (that is about 10:00 pm for me these days) and was up early this morning trying to get things to a place where I could get the top and strips up off the floor but at the same time not lose all of the hard work I did with the colour placement.
Here is a shot of the quilt top with the brinks sewn into rows which I completed last night. As you can see there is not a lot of room to walk around this sucker so I needed it up off the floor so I could walk in my studio. As mentioned it kinda grew but I am liking how this is turning out. Not sure if the person I was making this for could use a bed quilt or if I should make another quilt that is more of a lap size. We’ll see how this turns out and how time permits. I wanted a project that was fast and easy and used up my scraps. Well, this was fairly easy, used up my scraps but fast…not so much. It takes awhile to see 33 2.5 inch rows that are 82 inches long together even with all of the seams being offset. Thank goodness they are!!
Behind every quilter there is a huge pile of fabric!
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.
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!
Well things have been busy around here this week. I have now completed making the Inspiration Journals for the upcoming Art Quest Show and Sale at my church. Here is a picture of more of the journals I have made.
They have all turned out very nicely and I have actually sold 3 of the journals before the sale has even started. These are really fun to make. The only downside is you can’t really sell them for the time involved to make them. My plan is to create a written pattern and also to post some how to videos so people can start to make their own if they want to. I will hopefully have that posted in the next month.
I have another finished quilt (yeah), one that has been sitting in my “to be quilted pile”.
This one I have simply called Asian Sampler for lack of inspiration at this moment. A few years ago I had made a Border Creek Mystery quilt and it called for making all of these small 6 inch sampler blocks. The mystery had two sizes queen and a bed runner. Well I turned the bed runner into a lap quilt but I only needed about half of these little 6 inch blocks which meant I had all of these blocks left over. What to do with these blocks? Design and make another quilt! So that is what I did, I love blocks on point so I used mostly fabrics from my stash however I did end up buying fabric for the border.
I had fun quilting this quilt although I have to be honest and am not totally happy with my choices for the border. I used a matching metallic thread and you can’t see it at all. I used the same metallic thread in the green plan squares with a stenciled quilting design and I am very happy how that turned out.
The quilt is Cocoa approved too!
I was sewing on the binding and had to get up to get something so I placed the quilt on the floor for less than 3 minutes. When I came back look who had crawled on it and made himself comfortable. What is it about quilts on the floor that dogs and cats like so much?
This afternoon I am off with my Mom to pick up my Aunt and Uncle from the airport as they are flying in from Kamloops to visit my Mom for a week. It will be good to see them. Tomorrow is helping set up the church for Art Quest and Saturday will be volunteering all day at the show.
Hope to see you at the show on Saturday June 4, 2016, 1600 Cook St, corner of Cook and Mason enter by the garden gate off Mason St. It is from 10 am until 5 pm.
Well life has a way of sneaking up on one when you are least expecting it. I had to go into the hospital on the Friday April 15 re a routine (for me) checkup as I had been diagnosed with anal cancer and had treatment two years ago. The procedure was horrible but the good news is they didn’t find any cancer left!!! Yeah!!
The bad news is that the whole thing put my system out of whack and I ended up back in hospital again and spent part of last week trying to get over the ordeal. Sigh! Cancer the gift that keeps on giving. Oh well, hopefully that part of my life is over now.
The rest of last week was kept busy quilting a quilt for a customer that will be hanging in Bib n Tucker’s booth at the Victoria Quilt Show. I can’t show pictures of it until next week after the show but the quilt is a beauty. Gail of Bib n Tucker will have some patterns available for the quilt. The quilt turned out so beautiful I am thinking I need to make one for myself.
I did manage to get the binding on my Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion quilt.
This is a large quilt 88 x 88. You can see half of it draped over the fence. I just quilted a freehand all over flower design on the quilt as for me the quilt is so busy with so many seams I just wanted something that would give the quilt some texture.
I did come across one example of someone who had custom quilted their Grand Illusion the other day. It looked lovely but wow the amount of work that would have taken!
On other news I met a friend for lunch downtown last Friday and I walked through Bastion Square here in Victoria BC. They have a public market Thursday to Sunday at this time of year. I came across a booth that had the most amazing leather journals and one is now on my wish list. You can have a look at the journals at SpellBinding Journals.
The Victoria Quilt Guild show is this weekend and I can’t wait to see all of the quilts displayed and see what goodies the vendors have for sale. Hope to see you there.
Well things are progressing on the blog front. I am learning something new every day. I am trying to limit things to two or three things a day which is why things are taking so long to set up. I find if I try to do more than that I simply get too overwhelmed and frustrated.
On the quilting front I recently made two Rock Candy Table Toppers as gifts for two very special people The pattern is from Jaybird Quilts . I love this pattern and they were fast and easy to make and look great. If you want a quick and easy project to practice your machine quilting on I would highly recommend this pattern. On other quilting news I am finally getting around to quilting my Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion quilt it is on the frame right now and I am about half way through quilting it. I will show pictures once I have completed it.
It is interesting not having to get up and go to work (as in a JOB) every day. I am finding my stress levels have gone way down. I am working just as hard or even harder researching what kind of part time jobs there are out there, how to set up a business to work for oneself, and also what other types of opportunities are out there for making an income these days. The nice thing is that it is all valuable information and I am enjoying doing the work especially as it is on my timetable.