Monday, 28 November 2016

I Do Love a Good Binding

A lot of my fibre arts friends have switched over to a faced edge on most of their work--no more bound edges--too quilty for them. They want their work to look like art--not quilt-not craft.

I do use a faced edge once in a while but I usually choose to do a bound edge. I choose a bold, colourful binding. 

When I first started quilting, I sometimes had trouble binding the quilts I made. Some of them languished for year--yes years --before the finality of binding. I realize now that was a bit of a perfectionist tendency. If it wasn't finished-ie bound --there was still room for improvement and therefore not my best work. And then when it came time for me to give it up and bind the thing, a fabric that was either in the quilt or one that matched it , was no longer in the stash.

Fabrics change over the years. Colours come and go. If you don't save enough of the chosen fabric for the binding and wait too long, you might not be able to match up something for the binding.
That's where I started to get creative with my binding choices. I deliberately choose a very high contrast fabric for the binding.

Although it is very difficult to see this in the photo, the binding on this Pears Helene quilt is a bright vivid green. The quilt itself is black on white --very plain. The print frames the quilt, adds a huge pop of colour and is a surprise. I love surprises in my work--not so much in my life-but that's another blog post.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Birds in Flight

I just found this picture--forgot I had made this quilt.
It was one of those things that just took on a life of its own.  It is made of window screen rectangles  with small pieces of fabric stitched on and then the bird pieces appliqued. The squares are attached to each other just by threads.

I hung it outside on the patio for two years and the sun pretty much destroyed it.

It's gone but I miss it a lot--I think it's time to revisit the technique .

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Calendar Quilts Series

On January 1, 2014 I began a block a day project. I challenged myself to make one reverse applique block every day for a year. One of the general rules was that I would use fabric from my stash--not new purchases.
I did one block every day--no going ahead and no catching up!! just one block every day.

I stitched the blocks together as I went. I knew that I would have trouble finishing it if I just had a little box full of blocks at the end of the year.  Each block was added to the previous days block when it was finished and they were stitched together monthly .

I am not an organised person. The challenge of doing one thing every day was daunting.  I am a great starter but a little bit lax on the finish it up.  In fact I keep January as my finish it up month. I make myself finish up some projects from the previous year before I start something new.

And I did it--I finished my calendar quilt.  And guess what, when 2015 started I challenged myself to do it again.

And I did that, too.

 Same general rules--use what you have, do one block every day. This time I used black fabric and appliqued two triangles on opposite corners. I call it Stars.  Something happened in September and continued into October. I oriented the blocks a different way--and I didn't catch it until I was quilting it. November went back to the original orientation.

When 2016 started I decided not to continue with my daily block. I was tired of it. Always thinking about it--I decided to take a break. And guess what--I missed it so much that I decided to start another one in July. I am working on a daily block every day --this time from July to either July next year --or I might go until December next year and start again in the new year.
I changed the rules a little bit this time. I am still doing the daily block, but I am going to change the shape of the finished quilt so that I can use it as a bed quilt.  The two previous quilts measure 36 by 90--not exactly useful for beds or walls. I am making a group of thirty blocks at a time, then taking the thirty first day to join the blocks together by the month. When February comes I will have to double up a little bit but I think I can handle that.

This project is a cathedral windows adaptation. I chose this type because the quilt will be totally done at the end of the challenge--no quilting required.  It will be completely finished when the year is done.

Once again I am using only fabrics in my stash. When I run out of one I will use another--same as before. I want this one to be very colourful so I have been searching through my stash for prints with a lot of colour through them and also pieces that have gold or silver applied. I want it to look like a gypsy or morrocan kind of flavour. This block is a little more time heavy than the last two. It takes me twenty minutes to make one block and join it up. I think I can find twenty minutes every day.. maybe lose a few solitaire games.

I like to think that I will have a whole finished quilt by this time next year!!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Les mazots

A friend told me about a custom in France where a tiny house would be built on your property to house your treasures. The house would safeguard your irreplaceable family mementos. It would be protected from fire or flood in the big house. It could serve as  the family meeting place in the event of a disaster.

If I had a mazot on my property, this little dress would be hanging on the door.

maybe I would put some shelves inside to house my fabric collection.
and maybe this dress in the window.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Anonymous Quilter

I am an anonymous quilter. I don't often show my work to anyone--especially anyone outside of my small circle of friends who like the stuff I make. When my husband asks what I am working on, my usual reply is " Oh just fooling around with an idea--hope it works!" I have a few quilts that I have never shown my daughters--the one I made to conjure a little girl from China--I have never shown them.
More precious than gold, worth more than all the tea in China

I like it that way. It's too personal to show to just anyone.
I also don't tell anyone that I write a blog. It's for me--if you happen to stumble upon it--that's good but otherwise it's just for me. If you enjoy it when you read it, that's good, but not really necessary to me.

The other night, I was watching Madam Secretary. She is the Secretary of Something Big in the US government. Her life is full with trying to raise a family and fight fires for the President. She was invited to make a graduation speech for a big university, but sent her speech writer in her place. She was too busy. Her speech writer, I can't remember his name, apologized for being her substitute but then went on to tell the graduates that there are a lot of very important jobs that go virtually unknown and that maybe that's where many of them should focus their attention. For every Big Wheel there are a lot of little wheels that keep things moving along.

Maybe that speech was for me. Maybe I will never be Nancy Crow or Elizabeth Barton or Lisa Call or any of the other world famous quilters who get invited to put on show, who are paid thousands of dollars to give a trunk show and whose work sells in the thousands of dollars range. That's really OK with me. I don't want to be them. I just want to look at their work, and admire it and them go home and make more quilts.

I think that I am happy just with what I have. I am still going to make quilts--and I am still going to apply to be included in shows--and I am still going to get the rejection letters. My quilts might not be included in a lot of shows but they are still good. They tell stories about me and mine, they cheer people up, they brighten my life. My friends often look at someone's work or a piece of fabric and say "Oh that's one for Karen. She'd like this" That means that they recognize my style. Sometimes, I wonder why they pick a certain thing that they think I would like but that's OK , too.
Bloom where you are planted@2009

I think I have reached an age when I know that a lot of things that I maybe wanted to do at some time are just not going to happen. I am never going to live in a little cabin in the woods.(but I might soon have a little trailer on my daughters property--even better)my house is not going to be in House Beautiful, I am never going to learn how to fly an airplane. I am not going to get a PHD in anything. But I can still make a lot of quilts. I know that I won't need to buy any fabric!!
So, if you stumbled into my little corner, thanks for stopping by. I hope you liked it.


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

hmmm !!!maybe i'll alter it

I made this quilt a year or two ago. I used the narrow strip piecing method that Kathleen Loomis has used for many years. I love her work and have seen one piece in person at the Susquehanna museum in Harrisburg Pennsylvania.
I made it to honour my mother. It's the slow descent into Alzheimer's disease that my mother took.

I have been looking at it for a while, contemplating doing something drastic to it. It might involve acrylic paints,  threads, scraps of fabric,,hmmm

I don't know if I have the nerve. I don't know what I have to lose.

thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A Revelation

Do you remember the guy who invented the nasal strips who said that he woke up one morning and realized "outside the nose!!" was the way to go. And then there was the man who designed the needle for the sewing machine. He too dreamed about putting the eye of the needle at the other end.
Well I woke up this morning with a solution to something that I have been pondering for a long time--and it was so simple that I am mad at myself for trying to make it so difficult.

I was trying to figure out a way to incorporate some printed paper into my work. I want to add newspaper to small areas of my quilts. I want to stitch them on with black thread and lots of circles. I want a reverse applique look but I really wasn't eager to cutting small bits of fabric away. too tedious even for me.

So the solution I woke up with--not reverse applique-just plain applique!!!! DUH!!
Really, I didn't think of it until now.  I don't know what  I was thinking.

I tried it out on a little postcard this morning.  Really, I was contemplating doing reverse applique and cutting out those little circle.
I am so glad I didn't do it that way.

I can see so many possibilities with this idea. I can just do this, or I can paint a little bit on the surface of the paper before I stitch it on, or I can paint over the paper after it is stitched, and I can tear a few circles out of the paper so that the background show through more.

I am going to use this lots. Look for it in some of my next projects.

Just for the record, I am not afraid of doing a lot of stitching. Right now I am working on a log cabin series. I have made two tops and am working on the quilting. The blocks are  4 inches with lots of logs in each one. I am now quilting in the ditch around each log. Lots of stitching going on!!

Thanks for stopping by.