Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blog Giveaway

As promised, here is a picture of the finished Interlaced Hearts Token Quilt. As I am late in getting this posted I'll extend the blog giveaway to Wednesday February 3rd. All you have to do is leave a comment about "grey or gray"!

And again, Good Luck!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Artist Date

Several years ago I read the book "Simple Abundance" by Sarah ban Breathnach and it changed me. I have always thought of myself as a "present" person but what I have neglected to do is really take the time for the things that make ordinary days special.

One of her suggestions is a weekly Artist Date with yourself. You make a plan to do something special; it may have intrigued you for a long time, or it may be a new fascination... doesn't matter. The idea is you make a plan and take the time.

This Saturday will be my first Artist Date with myself. And I am going to play with papier mache. And I am very excited about it. Because I can make a mess!

But before that I have one thing to finish:

This is a runner I started for a special project that has been waylaid by many other special projects. As soon as I finish it I will post pictures that show all of it but for now this is a teaser. For those of you familiar with my work, this is another example of me determined to combine needlework and quilting!

And, in the vein of playing with look of the blog, I have returned to something resembling the normal layout - the grey was a little too grey...

By the way, do you say "grey" or "gray"? My husband swears I am crazy but I think "grey" is softer because it is said with a short vowel, whereas "gray" has a long vowel sound that makes it somehow stronger.

So, are you "grey" or "gray"? Leave a comment and tell which you are. On Monday February 1st I will put all the comments in a hat and draw for the Interlaced Token quilt shown a post or two back. It is now finished, complete with a bow and a tag (I'll post a picture of the finished quilt tomorrow night) and so you can have a chance to win it.

If you don't wish to sign up as a Follower, post your comment as Anonymous and put your name in the text of your comment - Tuesday I'll announce the winner and you can then send me the info so I can mail it to you.

So, grey or gray? (And no, only hairdresser's don't know for sure!)

Good Luck, Jill

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Playing Around

As you can see I have been playing around with the look of the blog - again!

I don't think it's an identity crisis; even though I really liked the photo of the quilt I used in the previous background it was too dark to see the blog title. And grey seems soothing to me now...

The new blog title photo is of a little felt flower I was working on this morning. I am trying to figure out different ways of embroidering on them and this is the first attempt. Well, not really. How about third version of the first attempt? Anyway, it's fun to finally have a chance to play.

The reason I have some free time right now is that I finished another sample for the store. Below is a detail shot of the quilting on the Scrappy Hearts runner from the last post. Yep that's right, quilted and bound and ready for delivery. I did a meandering stipple that every so often becomes a little heart and as there are only a few sprinkled across the surface it isn't nauseating. At least I don't think so...

And here's a shot of the whole thing, with the binding. I am really happy with this one. It actually turned out as I expected (probably should read "hoped"!) and it even fits the table perfectly.

I think I may have to try more red & white projects.

When I am finished with the felt that is...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quilted Valentines

Valentine's Day is not far away and I am seeing hearts!

I have been stirring around these ideas for some time and have finally had an excuse to play around with them. None are finished yet but the hard part is done - the piecing and applique I mean. Now the fun begins - embellishing!

I have just spent a happy half hour poring over my beads, ribbons and buttons to see if I have what I think will add just the right pizazz to the projects below. I can assure you it is a big pile so I just may have to exercise some restraint.

The first quilt is actually quite small; it's a token quilt which means it is "just a little something". It isn't even the size of an 8" x 10" and will not need a lot to finish it. But... it might be fun to go a little over the top... When it is finished it will reside in the entryway, propped on a little gold easel I have had for years.

Interlaced Token Quilt

This next one was so much fun to play with - and I'm not even done yet! The longer hearts made me think of flower petals so that was an easy design starting point. I have been itching to use the background fabric with the writing on it - the one behind the open hearts. The writing is in French so I will have to think up a French name for the quilt. Come to think of it, I still have some of the antique mother-of-pearl buttons from Paris. They might add a little cachet...

Beautiful French Name, Not Yet Thought Of

The next photo is of a red and white table runner. I am a big fan of red and white and there is so much choice out there now so it's easy to pull together a beautiful variety. I designed this so the two end blocks are the same, just rotated and the centre section has been fragmented differently. By not doing a mirror image in the centre it makes the entire piece have a random look.

The other reason I really like this runner is that since I didn't get too carried away with the hearts, I can use it at Christmas too. I am really liking things that do double duty!

Scrappy Hearts Table Runner

I have many more ideas and Valentine's Day is still three weeks away...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti by Hand

I must admit I spend a bit of time roaming around the internet looking at all things creative; websites and blogs of other quilters as well as artists of mixed media are some of my favourite haunts. One in particular is Rebecca Sower's. She creates beautiful, thoughtful artwork using fabric, paper, buttons, ribbon, strings, test-tubes... well, you get the idea.

Her blog of late has not been about her art, but that of the people of Haiti. Rebecca returned from there just a few short days before the earthquake, having been there to help to build a house for someone special with funds she had raised. She has been posting stories of the people and their art, and setting up an online Etsy Shop to sell their work, with all the proceeds going directly to the artists.

Rebecca has now set up a separate blog for Haiti By Hand so she can continue to tell the stories of the people she met and became friends with and to provide a voice for them during this very difficult time.

If you are interested in a more personal look at some of the people and artists of Haiti than the one we are seeing on the television, I encourage you to follow both her blog (the link to Rebecca's own blog is under my "Blogs I Like" heading) and the new Haiti By Hand blog.

Know, Care, Do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quilted Journal

I am so thankful I have only one class sample to make for this schedule. And I am even more thankful that the ideas flowed fast and furious and everything has come together so well. It isn't finished yet, but the front and back covers are ready to be glued to the book-board.

Below you can see both covers, as well as the DMC linen thread skeins I blogged about last fall - I finally got to use them!

And do I like stitching with linen thread...

The buttons on the card above are made of bone and they are very old - I found them in the specialty button store in Vancouver when I was last there. It is so much fun to finally have the time and reason to play with my little treasures. They are usually tucked away, out of sight and often out of mind.

But not now...

Above is the back cover and below is the front.

This is another project where I have been able to combine piecing with embroidery and it is still my favourite technique. Somehow seams look incomplete to me if they do not have pretty stitching along their length!

The fabric signatures are all sewn and the paper ones are folded - next is getting the covers glued and sewing the signatures together. I do believe I will make Friday's deadline after all...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Setting the Scene

I already love this year! Five days in and I am as happy as I have ever been ... the holidays were fun and relaxing, both kids were home, the wine rack was full and there was plenty to eat, do and watch.

Now the decorations are all away, several closets have been cleaned, some walls have been washed and I am almost ready for Friday - the first Demo of the year. In keeping with the secretive nature of the Demos (you have to attend to see what they are about!) I won't post photos of anything until next week. In the meanwhile I have put up a photo of what I will begin with this year for myself. Or at least, it's the inspiration for what I will begin with.

You see, I love handwork. The quilt in the photo, which is also my new blog header, is a Rail Fence lap quilt I pieced many years ago and decided since I liked it so much I would hand quilt it. I haven't got a lot done yet; the photo-taking was quite strategic! So that is first on my hand-quilting To Do List.

The little bag sitting on top is also several years old and represents my foray into simple, subtle crazy quilting. It is a small bag, intended to hold some bits of greenery and then tied with a pretty cord and hung, somewhere. It hasn't yet fulfilled that function and won't for a while as I am using it as my inspiration for Christmas projects for the Fall.

If you click on the photo you will get an enlarged version and the stitching detail will be much easier to see!

This is easily one of my favourite all time pieces - wonderful textures in the fabrics and then all that handwork in lovely pale colours. I am seeing cards, ornaments, stockings, angels, mittens, placemats - the ideas seem to be running rampant. I really wish my hands could work as fast as my brain...

So stay tuned!