Tuesday, May 28, 2013

stitch by stitch...

little by little, stitch by stitch

slowly moving forward

a few days ago i thought i was at the point where i could finally start joining sections together

everything all nicely laid out, a few small pieces to make to fill in some gaps... nothing serious

until i got out my measuring tape


i had registered this quilt as being approx. 35" square - way back when all i had done was just a few sections, with others still in the planning and dreaming stage

seems my expected measurement was a dream as well

knowing how much thought and planning the organizers are putting into the placement and hanging of the quilts for our show, i really wanted to be closer to my expected size than this... and even though time is rapidly winding down, i am adding on

this part is 5' deep by 35" long

and i have added in more colour

the pink in this photograph is much, much brighter than the fabric actually is

having said that though, it's still pinker than i wanted it to be

so two petals have been covered with lace - and i am just delighted with how that turned out

since this picture was taken i have added more embroidery, also in creamy white, to tone it down, and also to help integrate the flower into the cloth

as if it grew from it

and other poinsettias in creamy linen, waiting patiently for more stitching detail

 a lacy vine, holly leaves, berries still to come

the list goes on...

Monday, May 20, 2013

the sum of the parts....

i've been working away on my vintage linen quilt, section by section, block by block, adding snippets of linen and lace here and there, along with delicate embroidery

a labour of love

up until now i've been moving along at a relaxed and somewhat gentle pace

entirely suitable for what this piece has come to mean for me

but with the quilt show in just two week's time, i do need to get serious about finishing it

so i have gathered together all the sections, finding a layout i like

skeins of embroidery thread pinned to the places where i need to go back and finish stitching already begun

 thinking in terms of the whole now... the sum of the parts

i don't want it to be a disjointed collection of motifs and embellishments, rather, a quilt with an identity

it's kind of a backwards way of going about things, but i can tell you truthfully, when i cobbled together the first section, i had no idea it would become part of a quilt, no less a christmas quilt

 sometimes creative pursuits find their own path

i've done all i can think of up to now, while treating them as independent parts of an intended whole

so the next task at hand is to join them all together 

in order for what happens next

 and what is that you ask?

well, i'm not quite sure yet

stay tuned...

Sunday, May 12, 2013


first love, first kiss, first smile, first words, first steps

mothers seem to be at the heart of them all

 i'm lucky today, we're going to my mom's for supper
and i'm bringing it with me so she can rest and relax

 i really wanted to make her a macaroni picture... the kind we used to make in grade school

seems every year we made something for mother's day

my kids did the same.... precious gifts

except when Doug was four and the plate he made for me was just a little bit too special

he had tears rolling down his face as he sobbingly told me he had made me something special that he was supposed to give me but he really wanted to keep if i wouldn't mind too much, please?

all the while holding it behind his back

i did what any of us would have done, asked to see it, admired it greatly, and told him the best present would be for him to keep it - he has it to this day

but back to the macaroni picture... didn't work out too well

so today i played around with a new technique we're doing in karen's lace class

my first attempt...

a little fiddly, but i love the results

and now i have something special to take to my mom that i made all by myself

happy mother's day mom!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

a time out

and an out of time...

my time out involved putting aside my class and quilt show projects and getting my samples done for my upcoming "adding embroidery to your quilts class"

i first started combining the two about 15 years ago

crazy quilting was where i began, using beautiful and richly coloured velvets, satins, brocades and such

and then i moved on to crazy quilting with only ivory/cream cottons and pale, pale embroidery thread

next came traditional piecework with embroidered seams

now it's free-style embroidery, taking motifs and designs from your fabric

playing with line and filling combinations

diligent as i tried to be, working away on stitch samples, my eye kept straying to the table, where my lace project lay.... it was only half-tacked when i showed it to you

a glance or two, and then i was playing with it.... folding a piece this way, tucking a strip that way

coaxing open spaces, and overlapping for added texture

 getting more distracted by the minute, i finally gave in and played on my machine for a while

i can't remember the last time i learned something new and loved it this much

the merest bit of lace can add the most amazing detail

 the only trouble with this is that i like it so much i am really afraid of messing it up with the needlework embellishment

it's making me think i really should make another one - you know, a not as nice one, that i won't be afraid to mess up - something not even remotely pretty.... 

do you think that's even possible with lace????

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

it seems i have a problem....

a teeny, tiny, little bit of a problem...

today was the start of another class with karen

seems i have an addiction...

i am a karen class junkie

i can't help it though - just look what we're doing

with all sorts of bits of pieces and snippets

karen is the queen of white... my version is greyish-taupe

with a hint of goldish brown - warm colours

i have been waiting a while for this class 

i love lace, love silk, love tissue

love, love, love snippety-bits

 one of the latest discussions in our class group is about what we'll make with what we make

this class is a technique class, not a project one

my favourite kind

i have positively no idea what mine will be

it might not be anything

 it might never "be" anything

other than a beautiful thing i learned how to make

 and made me smile

Sunday, May 5, 2013

where i'm at...

thank you all so very much for the most amazing comments ever

my last post was probably the most personal i have ever written, and i am truly humbled by your responses... you brought tears to my eyes with them....

i thought since i had got away with a post about the winter festive season (i am simply not using the proper word in may!), i would test your patience with another... i want to update all of you who so kindly sent me cards to swap around and make into little books for each of you

i got held up a bit trying to find a thinner book board than the one i have but have had no luck - thicker board works just fine, i'm just picky,  and would have liked the thinner one...

anyhow, i gave in and it's now all cut to size

fun fact, only four books will be the same size, all the rest are different sizes and let me tell you, that kept me on my toes

next i gathered up all manner of buttons, beads and charms for the button chains that will decorate the spines - i like to make those when watching television... i need to make 28 i think and so i spent an hour or so digging around to see what i could see...

i could play in my button boxes and jars for hours

(i'm only showing you half.... some things will just have to be a surprise!)

another afternoon was spent gathering papers and card-stock

first i pulled out everything i thought might work

than i edited the pile, going back and finding more, trying different combinations

and then the cutting began....

all different sizes.... then to the folding

next up is messing around with some water-colour paper and paint

then i made the decisions about the covers... choosing the fabrics for the outside covers and papers for the inside - as in the pairing below

still, not all the same

 then tissue paper fused to the cover fabrics for added stability when gluing

and all the extras to add to your cards are sorted

almost all the design decisions are made and with only the water-colour pages to finish up this week, the assembling begins

it's taking me a little longer than i thought, and will be a bit longer still as i have to get my quilts for the show finished - it's less than 30 days away now....

but then we have a few months until that certain holly-day rolls around again!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


memories of names forever entwined

my three brothers and i.... when we were children, we were a unit

we played together, laughed, experimented, fought, protected and were fiercely loyal
we kept our mother hopping with our crazy, hare-brained ideas

and oh, we did we have fun

we were: michael, robert, jillayne and scott

when i was thirteen, our family came undone and we four never lived together under one roof after that

 over the years, time and distance and circumstance have kept us very separate still

i often think of us as only children, born of the same mother....

and even though we rarely see each other, nor write or phone, they, and the mostly happy memories of those early years, are still held tightly in my heart

so many special memories, especially the christmas ones

when i showed this heart-shape pocket for my dreams a few posts back,

 someone suggested it could also hold special memories - as i read those words i knew instantly that i would store those memories in a different way, in this way

 four christmas stockings, one for each of us

when i was very little my mom made us each a brown felt stocking, each with our own name, and felt cut-outs of different shapes to decorate them, the edges sewn and pinked

i still have mine, and put it out every year...

when we were children, we always laid them out in order: michael, robert, jillayne and scott...

at one time she had ordered beautiful gold seals, a tiny holly wreath encircling the outer edge, and printed inside:

merry christmas, from michael, robert, jillayne and scott

she used them to seal the backs of the christmas cards sent each year to family and friends

always the four of us, and always in that order

it was the rhythm of my childhood

these, along with many others, are the memories i will keep safe in these stocking-pockets

one for each of us, with our names stitched inside:


tiny squares of linen and lace tacked down with a simple cross-stitch


woven strips of linen and lace with tiny stitched stars


hand stitched honey-comb smocking
& scott

crazy quilted with bits of lace and linen
 lots of stitching detail

 too pretty for the boys, i suppose, but perfect for my memories of them~

i didn't add the little knots at the heel of the stocking below - just carefully placed the scrap of a doily

below is the panel i am working on, where they will each be stitched, all in a row

 keeping it fairly simple, so as to be the perfect backdrop; not competing, just enhancing

playing with positioning... and who gets which one.... i never usually got first choice of anything, (although they would vehemently disagree!); 

it's kind of fun to finally be the boss of them

the final arrangement....

the smocked one is for me (i like it the best!)

so here we'll be, all together again

memories of each and all, the laughter, and the joy of those childhood christmases

so tell me, do you have brothers and/or sisters?

who were you?