Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Baskets and Nine Patches, very old curios and more pictures of the Nostalgia quilt!

I’m making progress on Baskets and Nine Patches but it is slow. Quilting melon wedges on those nine patches is time consuming but worth the effort….well I think it is worth the effort! I like a flat quilt so this one will be very flat! In the first picture all of the nine patches are quilted and in the second the bottom nine patch is not yet quilted.

 I’ve looked at the baskets and the bases are going to need some quilting so I’ll have to think about what to do there.
I’ve always had an interest in fossils and rocks. My desk at work is covered with them! They are a great conversation starter because people always want to know what they are and more importantly, why I have them on my desk. I have them because I like them. And they are beautiful! This is a group of little bivalves that I found at Bridal Veil Falls in Kagawong on Manitoulin Island. If you sort through the clay you can find whole fossilized bivalves completely free of any rock. It is so exciting to find them!
This “fossil” is a frog, Latin name Rana. While the rock is from Manitoulin Island, the frog is not. It was a rainy day and there was going to be no rock hounding I got creative! I used acrylic paints to make my own fossil! I had a fossil identification book so the image is more or less accurate. I’ve fooled a lot of people with this one!

My brother really liked my fossil paintings so when he renovated his bathroom he asked me to paint tiles for him. He purchased tiles that looked like sandstone; I pulled out the tile paints and the fossil identification guides and got started! Once the tiles were painted they were baked in a warm oven so that the paint would bond to the tile. He has the tiles in the bathroom and the shower enclosure and many years later they still look like new! It is a man cave for sure!
And lastly, a few more pictures from Mom’s Nostalgia quilt!
Lady's Slipper (they'll be blooming soon!)



Blue butterfly
Until I post again, happy sewing!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Label your quilt, the importance of good customer service, more Nostalgia quilt close-ups and Hexagreens!

Do you label your quilts? I do but I’ve heard stories of quilts being stolen. A label can easily be removed and replaced (or not) so what to do to indentify your work? I’ve quilted initials and date in the corner of quilts for my Mom and I think I’m going to do it with all of my quilts. If I want it to be innocuous I’ll use a thread colour to match the fabric and if I want it to be a “trademark” I’ll do it with a contrasting colour. I'll continue to make lovely labels to stitch to the back but I'm also going to quilt my initials and the year. I’m going to add this to my “to do” list and go back and quilt my initials and date on all of my quilts. I did this sample very quickly on my machine to give you a visual - think it would be really nice in red!

If you don't want to do that, why not hide your initials or name and date in stippling? It can be your little secret! This is a test piece of initials and date that I did for a quilt for my Mom. When I did it on the quilt I completed the A and the O.

There is nothing better than good customer service and nothing worse than bad customer service. I was having problem with a thread from Superior Threads and my Janome machines. I wasn't sure whether it was the thread or the machine so I email Superior and Janome and I explained the issue and how I’ve tried to resolve it. I've heard not a peep from Janome – not even an acknowledgement of receipt of my email! Superior Threads on the other hand emailed AND phoned the very next business day. I spoke with Josh and he was more than helpful. He walked me through the problem and made suggestions. He also said Superior’s goal was to ensure that I am a happy customer. Josh was going to be unavailable for the rest of the week so he gave me some contact names at Superior so that if the problem wasn’t resolved I could speak with them. He then followed up with another email and sent me some articles about thread and tension. I was hooked on Superior Thread and its products before and now they just cemented that relationship. I will sing their praises henceforth! As far as Janome goes.....I'll let you know if I get a response but I'm not holding my breath!

And now for a few more pictures of the embroidery in my Mom’s quilt “Nostalgia”.

Floral Sampler 




I'll try to get the whole story of the Nostalgia quilt this week and post it for your reading enjoyment!

I'll end with a close-up of a pretty little hexagon from my quilt "Hexagreens"!

Until I post again, happy sewing!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Family Day at Faeries and Fibres!

I'm working away on my baskets and nine patches. It is bound. I'm quilting the nine patches and then it will time to figure out what will go inside the feathered wreaths in the solid squares. Come on inspiration....don't fail me now! I think I'm going to have to do some doodling tonight. All suggestions are welcomed!

I come from an artsy craftsy family. Dad was a painter and woodworker (and an inveterate fixer of all things even if they weren't broken)! My brother does fine woodwork including wood turning, instrument making and watercolour paintings. Mom quilts, embroiders and does assorted crafts. And she makes the BEST apple pie in the world! Daughter is a knitter and right now is hooked on knitting lace. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of her work but I do have some pictures of work by Mom, Dad and Brother.

One of Mom's favourite quilts that she has made is heavily embroidered on flour sack type cotton and it is called "Nostalgia". There is a lovely story that goes with this quilt and I plan to tell you that story in a future post but for now you'll just have to be happy with a few lovely little pictures!

 Bees are my Mom's trademark

My brother has started making musical nstruments. He has a long list of what he wants to make. Today I am sharing a picture of his dulcimer. I love the sound of this instrument...it reminds me of summer and the outdoors.

Close-up of the rose he carved for dulcimer

He also likes to turn wood on his lathe. He makes beautiful pens and peppermills but he also likes to turn impossibly small things. The little pot with lid, cup and bowl are about 1/2" tall. He ground the turquoise and mixed it with epoxy. He then turned the entire piece on the lathe so that the cup has a ring of blue and the blow is lined with blue. Notice the tiny little knob on top of the pot!

Finally I would like to show you our pub sign made for us by our Dad a few years before he died. He was from Penzance, Cornwall and pubs are a key feature of life in that part of the world. We like to sit out on the patio in the jungle we call a garden and sup a pint of London Pride (wish we could get some St. Austell ales) or some other fine ale. So Dad made us this pub sign which we hung on the patio for several years. After Dad died we decided to bring in indoors to protect it from the elements. We cherish this pub sign!

I hope you've enjoyed this little mini show and tell.

Until I post again, happy sewing!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A great marking tool, quilting baskets & nine patches and chickadees!

Marking dark fabrics is challenging but this tool solves that problem! It is a mechanical chalk pencil made by a French company, Bohin. The pencil comes with a little package of six refill chalks. The chalk makes a lovely fine line. It was expensive (I think it was $15 Canadian) but it works so well that it was worth the investment. I especially like the fact that I use it with a stencil and the chalk does not come near the stencil because it is protected by the silver cap. When I use a chalk pencil I find that the edge of the stencil rubs the chalk and makes problems for me. The Bohin mechanical chalk pencil solves that problem!

I’m mking progress quilting my baskets and nine patches quilt.
The quilt is anchored vertically and horizontally with stitch in the ditch. I discussed this technique in my April 23 post, machine quilt a big quilt on a domestic machine my way. The solid squares have feathered wreaths quilted but haven’t decided what motif I will quilt in the centre. Maybe I’ll just stipple but I'm open to suggestions! I have some really pretty gold Bottom Line thread (made by Superior) which I think I will use.

I envy quilters who know exactly how they are going to quilt their piece in advance. I am more of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of quilter. I like to let the quilting evolve organically which generally means I don’t have a clue what I will do but just hope that I’ll know when I get to the point where I have to make a decision! And that is what happened with the baskets. I figured out what to do with the setting triangles and am quite pleased with the result.

BUT I still had no idea about the baskets. The solution for me is to set the quilt aside for a few days and do nothing. At some point I just start doodling on paper to see what happens and the answer eventuall comes to me.

The quilting design gradually evolved from the doodling. I am satisfied with the result. I think it has just the right flourish! I could have quilted more but the white fabric has a finish that makes it very difficult to quilt so I think that I will stick with this simple design.

Once I've finished quilting the baskets (I'm about a third of the way done) I'll bind the quilt and then I’ll go back and finish the centre and that includes quilting all of those nine patches. I did a few with a neutral colour Bottom Line thread. This is what they will all look like when quilted. I have my work cut out for me!
I leave you with a picture of a little embroidery done by my sweet little Mummsie!  You may recall that I appliqued four of them in my quilt Flora and Fauna, Parts of the Garden. Looks like Mom also loves these little birds! This little chickadee measures a tiny 2 ½”! My Mom does such lovely embroidery. I'll be showing you much more of her work in the coming weeks.
If you haven't visited Quilting Gallery's Show and Tell please do so. There are some really interesting wall hangings to see - there's loads of inspiration to be found. Mine is titled Flying Fish School. So pop on over and vote for your favourites before Monday at 6:00pm EDT.
Flying Fish School
Until I post again, happy sewing!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flying Fish School and a cute little pincushion!

I recently found this little pincushion in an antique shop. I hadn’t planned on buying anything but the minute I clapped my eyes on this one my resolve went out the window; the pincushion came home with me. There are no marks on the bottom so I have no idea where it was made (to me it looks Scandinavian) or how old it might be. But all this matters not – it is just so darned cute and I love it to bits!

It is Show and Tell at Quilting Gallery and once again I’ve submitted a photo of a quilt. The theme this week is wall hangings. I’ve entered Flying Fish School. The voting will open sometime Friday morning and it closes on Monday at 6:00pm EDT. You will be able to see all of the wall hangings and vote for your favourites here.

Flying Fish School, 28 ½” x 28 ½”

Flying Fish School was another challenge quilt. There were three Northcott fabrics and I was allowed to add five additional fabrics. The five I added were white for the waves, blue for the sky and three darker blues for the water in the centre. The Northcott challenge fabrics were On Golden Pond (buttery background with goldfish), a gradient Halloween orange and a small orange/coral/purple print. I used only the challenge fabrics to make the fish and the “birds”. Take a close look….the bodies of all of the birds are made of goldfish hence the name…flying fish! The little aquarium in the centre is loaded with fish fry that will one day grow up to dip and dive in the waves like the others! And now for a few close-ups!


Until I post again, happy sewing!