Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Trying to welcome Spring - the weather's not helping

We've been back in the deep freeze here this week............very cold and and extreme windchill warnings (-40C) at nite. I had to break down and plug the car back in as I figure I was lucky it started the past 2 days with -20C plus temps (without windchill). (-18C = 0F).

L - Taffy, R-Kelp

2 colours of Patons Stretch Sock Yarn I bought on sale at Michael's in January

I decided I should start knitting some "spring" socks in anticipation of the season...... so I started knitting a pair last nite while watching tv which lets you feel like your're getting something done even when you don't feel like doing much else.
http://http// is a free pattern on the Patons Yarns site. It is one using the new stretch sock yarn I bought on my trip to Michael's in January. It is basically a ribbed tube sock with no I've wanted to try to see if I like it.

you can see the spiral starting to appear
It's a very easy pattern, based on moving over one stitch every 5th row, so easy enough to keep track of. I love the colour, that's why I picked it to knit for spring. I want to get at least one sock knitted to try on before my next trip to Medicine Hat in the next week or so, in case I want to get some more of this yarn. It's a mix of cotton, wool and nylon with elastic in it. I have several kroy patterns I use for my light weight socks usually...... all with the regular patons heel in them. This will be the first pair without a turned heel. I tend to knit plain or ribbed socks with variegated yarns and lace type patterns with plainer yarns. The patterns get lost in the variegated socks so why do the work if it's not going to show. I've even adapted a pattern to give me the best fitting socks for shoes.
My other creative work today was tracking down information and techniques to use in my Fusible Fibre Art workshop at the end of March. It was a productive day and I found lots of interesting things. I even ordered Angelina hot fix fibre plus angelina film and some other fusible products from A Great Notion in BC........ they should be here next week. I was glad to see that they carried angelina. With the exchange rate over 25% there is no way I am ordering online from the US these days.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Squishy in the Mail today

a peek in my lovely envelope from England

Today's mail brought me a lovely brown envelope from England - the result of a blog giveaway by Sandy Snowden to celebrate her 100th Blog post. I just started reading Sandy's blog, but I have been familiar with her work for several years via the QuiltArt list.

The contents out of the envelope
Inside the envelope were a postcard of one of Sandy's pieces, a lovely piece of rusted fabric, some yummy bits of yarns, and something I'm not sure about (pink) which is intriguing me to no end until I find out what it is.

a better look at the rusted fabric

I love the rusted fabric. I think it will go in to the special fabric place in my stash until I think what I can do with it.

I called the art educator at the Gallery today to check on the status of how many students had signed up for my Fusible Fibre Art: Introduction to Fusibles workshop on March 28. We have 8 people signed up and one had paid. Laurie indicated that those who have signed up were very interested so she said to go ahead and make up my samples, etc.

While I was at the post office today, I also chatted with another arty aquaintance and told her what the workshop was about. She is going to talk with someone tonite and the last 2 spaces in the workshop may be filled.

This week my goal is to get the fabric samples made for the workshop, then I can concentrate on getting the handouts done.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I spent time today working on my swap piece (nameless as yet). This time I am writing down my steps as I do them so I don't have to rely on memory to create similar effects the next time I want to use them.

Thread painted details on petals using Madeira Rayon embroidery thread

Machine trapunto over 2 layers of Quilter's Dream Request batting

Needle felted stems and flower centres using merino roving

The next step will be to stitch the background with a variety of threads, both to achieve a flatter effect that will "pop" the flowers even more.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Project

I'm trying to create another fibre piece using some of the techniques I used in my fibre greetign card. I decided to use one of the prairie crocus photos I took out at the ranch about 3 yrs ago.........tons of long stem crocuses everywhere. I used my Pentax Spotmatic 35mm film SLR to take the photos. Since I didn't have a macro lens for close ups, I used my telephoto lens to take the closeup shots.

Original photo scanned

Cropped and altered photo using Photoshop Elements effects

Apparently 2 different versions of this photo printed onto
a Jacquard Cotton Inkjet sheet using my
Epson Printer with Durabrite Inks

I plan to colour the prints and thread paint and who knows what else to this piece. Still deciding what I will use to colour it with. I want to try using my box of 132 Prismacolour pencils that I got this summer. I've used the Caran d'Arche water soluble crayons before and love the effects I got using them on the silk inkjet sheets over an altered photo print.

Additional posting later on this evening - I finished colouring the 2 prints I made.

Prismacolour pencil crayons on cotton inkjet print

I wasn't totally thrilled with my results over the dark print I made. It still looks too "photo-like" . The background colouring wasn't dark enough to make the flowers stand out from it so I cut the flowers out, thinking I might use a commercial grass print I have in my stash as the background and go from there. The photo above was created by scanning the actual piece.

Caran d"Arche water soluble crayons

I was able to cover most of the shadows shown on the original print on cotton so that they gave an slight shadow. I am much happier with the background in this print. The flowers really seem to pop from this. I still think it is looking a bit too photo-like. I will wait until morning before I decide to continue with this print or do further altering to get a much less photo appearance. I miss the Kodak photo software that was on my old harddrive and would turn a photo into a line drawing with one or 2 clicks! this photo was also created by scanning the actual piece.

Busy Scanning Day

I am posting a couple of pics of my charm quilt top circa 200?ish. I keep adding pieces at the bottom and around the edges but I think this is pretty much the one that is currently being hand quilted on my Hinterberg Frame.

Charm Quilt top hanging at the Canning, NS Quilt Show in early 2000's

Charm Quilt Top hanging lengthwise
from my 2nd floor clothesline in Wolfville, NS

Today was a bit of trip down memory lane........... I spent time digging out my BOXES of photos stored in their envelopes. I knew I was gonna have a major project going through them, scanning suitable ones for my image library etc. I was actually looking for some photos I took in 2006 since I didn't seem to have a copy of the one I used previously on the computer (I did digital images with it, so I know I scanned it at some point) but that was a couple of computers ago.

In the process of looking for the photos I want, I did come across photos of a number of my quilted pieces........ I've scanned them and will put them up in a gallery at some point. I'm trying to stay on track for this swap piece I want to get out by tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mistyfuse Arrives!

It was a bit like Christmas today. My delivery of 2 bolts of Mistyfuse - 100 yds of white and 50 yds of black arrived. I was surprised by how light and small the box was. But since the Mistyfuse is so gossamer-like, I shouldn't have been. It's one the the things I like about it.

My 2 bolts of Mistyfuse in their travelling box with a corner of the white showing to show how fine it is

I bought my first package of Mistyfuse when it was originally mentioned on the QuiltArt list a few years ago. I used it sparingly, saving it for my most delicate fusing projects. I was delighted by how little it changes the hand of the fabric. For my Fractured Quilt Challenge #1 I used it to fuse silk organdy to bridal satin to create striped flower petals.

This past July I spent some time working in the Mistyfuse booth at the 1st Long Beach International Quilt Festival where I got to meet and work with Iris Karp, the manufacturer . It was so much fun showing folks the wonders of Mistyfuse. Even though I loved using it before I went, I am so much more enthused about its possiblilties since then. I contacted Iris about getting Mistyfuse for my Fusible Fibre Art workshop at the end of March. Now that I have 2 bolts of it, I will be using it almost exclusively in my work and exploring what else I can do with it. Explore the possibilities of Mistyfuse yourself at

I also sent in the withdrawal of my Intent to Enter for Flatland Fibre entry today. I debated on and off most of the day about entering it into Playing with Dimensions since the Intent to Enter deadline is tomorow. After much inner debate, I think I've decided to stick to my original intent to focus on creating a body of work and restricting my show entries. Dealing with Stanza's health issues and my own has shown me how easily I can be diverted from my goals and intentions.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Decision Making Time

The past week has been a difficult one for me on several fronts. Crunch time regarding my Flatland Fibre entry - push ahead and get it done (however) to make the March 4 deadline or not? Waiting for the vet to call me with results of Stanza's latest bloodwork taken on Feb 23 and decide which option to take at this point. Trying to pursue creative work/decisions while in the middle of making possbily life-altering (Stanza's) decisions is not really a winning scenario on either front.

So, with much thought and consideration, I decided to withdraw my Intent to Enter the Flatland Fibre Exhibit by the SCC (Saskatchewan Craft Council). One of my stated goals for this year is to put out my best work. When I thought about the work already put into this piece, I couldn't justify rushing just to enter it. I have been much excited about this piece from it's conception and feel that I need to take the time it needs to complete it. I have not decided whether I may send in an intent to enter it in Dimensions......... that deadline is March 4, the same day the piece was supposed to be delivered. It's the old adage, when one door closes, a window opens somewhere else.

I ams more than a little hesitant to enter Dimensions this year as the quality of work must be exceptional. This year is supposed to be about me creating a body of work reflecting my newer style. That, and I need to prep my Fused Fibre Art workshop being held on March 28. I have discovered that the delivery in person deadline is April 14 and the shipped deadline is April 9. My piece also fits in with the theme of Dimensions this year and I feel the work is quite innovative as well. So.......... more decisions to make in the meantime.

What I did discover is that I really don't want to work non-stop meeting a deadline. It's not good for me or my work. so making this decision is a big step forward for me. In other times, I would have plunged headlong, working non-stop until I had SOMETHING I could submit. This is definitely not good for me, nor for my work. I am happy and relieved to discover this movement forward in how I value myself and my work.

After making the decision to withdraw my Intent to Enter, it freed me to make other decisons as well. In March, I will make studio time a priority in my daily routine.......doing it first before the other myriad of things that can eat up time so that the studio time gets neglected and often doesn't happen. I will be working on a series of "fronts" in my life now that this past month full of unexpected events has come and gone.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Beat the Winter Blues!

Today's mail brought a lovely cure for the Winter Blues. I received my part of a swap from a member of the The Thread Society, an online Yahoo group for thread junkies. My swappee is Michelle Goldsmith from NH. How can I not be cheered up by such a bright and colourful card on such a cold winter day!

Overall pic of the card approx 5x7

Come Spring - detail shot
looks like a thread painted detail attached over gold lame frayed

My part of the swap is still in progress due to ongoing deadlines and stanza drama. No hints until I get it in the mail early next week

Sunday, February 22, 2009

You never know what you'll see walking thru town

This morning after I finished my usual computer things, I opened the drapes in my room....... this is what I saw - I managed to get a photo before she disappeared but missed her mate as my camera isn't real speedy in coming back to take another pic.

Doe crossing the church parking lot behind our houses
I live near the downtown core of our city
Right after that I went to the W store to pick up some foil to cover my turkey with plus some fusible cotton fabric I saw yesterday and was intrigued by it. On the way home I took a slightly different route and who should I see resting in the cemetary at the top of the avenue. I realized I needed a new battery to take more pics. So I went home and got the charged battery and back up to the cemetary to take some more pics. I took a few from the fence, then realized I could drive in the cemetary so I did and got some lovely shots of the 2 of them. This is the best shot of the buck.

Mule deer buck just standing and watching me in the car. Both deer seem very used to vehicles

The deer wander in town apparently at will. I have previously encountered them between 6-7 am in the dark on a busy street while driving a co-worker home......that time is was a family of 3-4 deer. We have lots of open space and sheltered areas that apparently attract them. I think they may wander in up through the creek bed or rail track corridor.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stanza gets her own blog

I can't believe I'm saying this but today I spent time creating her own blog for Stanza. This blog is supposed to be MY creative efforts, but due to Stanza's recent health issues, there have been more posts about how she's doing to keep my online friends updated.

So, in order to have my efforts EMERGE as they come about, I've spent time moving all the posts about her over to her own blog. Those interested in her adventures can find her blog addy under Blog Links on the right side of my blog or click on here

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Another Sunday at the Gallery

I spent another stint as the featured artist doing a demo at the Art Gallery of Swift Current. This time I was at the traditional quilt event that took place at the library the day before and announced that I would be demonstrating Fusible Fibre Art. It was a "teaser" for the Fusible Fibre Art - Introduction to Fusibles workshop being offered through the Gallery on March 28.
I ended up with 4 - 6 women from Saturday's event who got chairs and set themselves down right in front, taking notes and everything. (grin). I quickly realized I needed to get them interested without giving them all the info I would be doing in class! This is basically a casual, artist doing what they do event, not a teaching moment. I had a whole variety of fusible products that we will be using in the workshop. More, if I get to Medicine Hat to pick them up before the workshop.
I spent time demonstrating using MistyFuse on sheers and angelina. It was fun to show the ladies how it bonds so nicely to the sheers and hardly changes the hand of the fabric.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Structures #104 by Lisa Call
6" x 6" mounted on a painted stretched canvas
photo from Lisa's Small Art for Sale page

I received my new textile painting, Structures #104, from Lisa Call this am. I just love this piece. I ended up having to pay duty on it before I could get the package from the parcel guy, but it sure is worth it. Lisa let her blog readers know that her prices were increasing on February 1, so it gave us a chance to buy before then. I previously purchased one of her Home series ACEO's so I could own a piece of her work. I have hung it in the wall space between the two bedrooms that is about 7" wide for now so I will get see it often. I can also see it from my studio (which most ppl would use for a dining room) and it will get NO direct sunlight from any direction.

A short time later the mail was delivered (earlier than usual) with my "thanks but you didn't get the job" letter from my interview last week. I have mixed emotions. I'm glad I did well in the interview by the sounds of it since it's the first one of that type I've had in years. But, it means it's back to the daily job search before I can work on my art. On the other hand, it does give me more time to work on that art which I will need to get my Flatland Fibre piece done on time and also work on my workshop samples etc for March.

My plans for today include working through some of the exercises in the Learn to Make a Pop up Book to learn how to make pop ups.

Results may be posted later. First though, I need to design a postcard size info sheet for the gallery to put out (I offered) and that we can distribute to the traditional quilters who may be attending an event at the Library on Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I spent time this morning "playing" with peltex to get the dimensions figured out for my Flatland Fibre - Off the Wall Intent to Enter Work form so I could get it sent in before the deadline at 5 pm today. Here is the link for the exhibit I spoke to my "muse" - Laurie Wagner, Art Educator at the Art Gallery of Swift Current on the phone prior to playing to discuss options and sizes. She always seems to suggest things I would have never have thought of in my own process. I don't always use them but they are good to consider. It was interesting to start with one idea of the size I wanted then see how it worked in actuality. Lots of folding and measuring later, I finally got a size that I feel will work well and show the work well.

Then I was off to the Library/Art Gallery building to show Laurie what I came up with. We discussed a few more options that might happen with the piece and I finally had to make notes so I wouldn't forget them.

I will say that I am very excited about working on this piece, more excited than I have been for anything in quite some time. The inspiration came about when I was making a New Year's Day phone call to a friend in Nova Scotia and describing the fibre greeting card I'd made in December for an online exchange. His comment "oh, like a pop up book" resonated with me and made me try to get it figured out as my entry for this exhibit.

I got the entry faxed off before noon using the Library fax machine, a full 5 hrs before the deadline. Apparently old habits die hard although I am working on getting things done earlier these days.

I will try and give you glimpses of the project in process as I go along, but will not put completed pics on the blog because I have realized that I can enter it in other shows that may have a clause about not it not being shown online before the show. Sorry. I am also working through a lot of techniques that I may use to teach later on. I new the fibre card was going to send me off in some new directions but had no idea where it would be taking me.

After getting the fax off and picking up some books and dvds at the library, I headed out to do some errands and wander around Walmart craft section to see what other fusible items I could find to use in my Fusible Fibre Art - Intro to fusibles workshop at the Gallery the end of March.

I found a cute little package of 5 trial size bottles of Aleene's fabric glues that will be fun to experiment with. The package was $3.96.

L to R: Fabric Fusion, Flexible Stretchable fabric glue,OK to Wash IT fabric glue, Jewel-It Embellishing Glue, and No-Sew fabric glue
There was also a Fabric Fusion fabric glue pen which is permanent and dry cleanable. It
was $2.97 for 10 ml/.34 oz
The other interesting glue product I found was a tube/bottle of Adhesive Tech A Fine Line..... the glue you can write with. I think this glue would be good to use to do delicate foiling or writing on quilts and then foiling it. It says it's great for design work on paper and fabric. It was all of #1.36 for 42 ml/1.42 oz.
I may try some of these glues while doing my Fusible Fibre Art artist demo on Sundays at the Gallery this Sunday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Today I finally got the workshop write up done for the Saturday No Sew Fibre Art workshop I will be doing at the Art Gallery of Swift Current at the end of March. We will be learning how to use the variety of fusibles on the market plus fusible embellishments, making some type of sample book for them and then spending time using the materials and techniques to create some small (8x10) or smaller fibre art works. There will be NO sewing involved so my challenge will be to find finishing techniques so a finished project(s) can be taken home at the end of the day.

It also means checking out some of the fusible embellishments I haven't yet bought or used to see if they are suitable for inclusion in the workshop. Most of that will happen after I get my Flatland Fibre Intent to Enter Work application off by fax in the next day. I will be playing with peltex today to decide on the dimensions of my piece. I'm quite excited about working on it but it seems many things are conspiring to keep me from it.

I was feeling fairly under the weather over the weekend so all this was supposed to be done then but didn't happen. Instead I spent time resting and watching movies on the puter. Obviously things were germinating in my brain since the writeup practically wrote itself this am. Amazing what enough sleep and echinachea can do for a person. That and the sun is shining away today which always helps me this time of year.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Some hand quilting comments

Steadfast and Faithful c2000
approx 50" x 57" overall shot

Steadfast and Faithful is one of two pieces - the other being "Lying Fallow" - that were made to be part of "Celebrate Millenium" - a travelling quilt exhibit sponsored by the Presbyterian Church of Canada from May 2000 - July 2002 to Celebrate the Jubilee Year. It is a portrait of Covenanter Church in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia. Investigating it's history also gave me more information about my own personal past during the process. Covenanter was built between 1804 and 1811. There is lots more information about it but I won't expand on it in this post. It is a National Historic Monument and a NS Provincial Heritage Site. It is a companion piece for Lying Fallow, also part of the Celebrate Millenium exhibit. It was also selected as part of the 2004 Grand National - Constructions at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery and the 2004 Tactile Architecture Exhibit in Houston, TX and travelled for a year before returning home.

Steadfast and Faithful was completely hand done except for machine stitching the binding to the front of the quilt. It was enlarged from a smaller photo and was the first time iit was enlarged via computer. Previously I did my enlarging using a photocopier and the cut and paste method. This meant I would often have several sizes of the same "pattern" which has come in handy on more than one occasion.

The reason I am posting about this piece is that I was chatting in QuiltChat about tiger tape and mentioned that I used to to create larger stitches in my work. It is also a method of helping quilters achieve even stitching in their work. In this piece I specificially used it to create the clapboard on the church. Had I known how long it was going to take when I decided to do this, I don't know that I would have started it! The additional stitching was done AFTER it returned back from it's 2 year plus journeys (at least 4 times) back and forth across Canada. I also requilted the trees, did the cross-hatching in the border, and added more quilting in several other areas. In all I figure I added between 60 - 100 hrs of quilting on this piece. It sure made all the difference!

clapboard detail handquilted using 12 stitches/inch Tiger Tape

close up of clapboard detail

detail of border quilting

The lower left hand corner shows some of the original motif quilting - the cross hatching was added about 3 yrs later. In the interim, I had fallen and torn the ligaments (or whatever) on the saddle joint between my thumb and index finger...........I was unable to do any hand stitching for about a year. This shows that I was able to return to my former quality of hand quilting as there is no difference in the hand stitching.

I was just remembering that I sent the intent to enter form in and a day or so later found out I was going to be moving in 6 weeks as a suitable apt had become available. It was quite the journey to get these pieces done and off to the co-ordinator. In fact, I almost didn't finish Steadfast and Faithful but decided that it's historic value to the exhibit as the oldest extant Presbyterian Church in Canada (meaning it's still being used as a church) was important enough to ask for an extension. I remember sitting in a cleared space amongst the boxes in my house and spending hours stitching to get it done. I think I even slept on the sofa cushions as I didn't want to take the time to makes a larger space to open up the sofa bed. It was an interesting two weeks to say the least. I did manage to get it to her in time for it to be shown with all the others at the World Ecumenical Conference being held in Montreal in May 2000.

Flo, thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Time to Get a Move On!

Since I seem to have about a week's respite until I find out about the job I interviewed for yesterday, I am taking it as a sign that this time meant for me to get my entry for Flatland Fibre figured out so I can send my intent to enter by next Wednesday. I didn't plan to enter very many shows this year, wanting instead to spend my time creating a body of work. The 3D requirements for this show have intigued me, however, and seem to follow along on the work I did to develop my fibre card in December. I am a bit reluctant to share details of that at the moment as they are looking for innovative work - which this SURE is for me and I don't want someone else to "scoop" my idea. Once the intent to enter deadline has passed, I will share some pics and info with you folks as I go along.

An eagle-eyed online friend noticed that a thimble was missing from the handquilting tools shown in a previous post, so this pic is for her!

Maps, can you spot the thimble here?

A closeup pic of the type of thimble I use

I have also spent time today catching up on my "missing" blog posts. Having my laptop away for over 2 weeks plus coming back without most of the programs has meant that it's more difficult to get the pics onto the puter and uploaded. I finally decided just to use the HP program on the laptop as a temporary measure in order to get caught up.

As well, I've been thinking a bit about the class/workshop I will be offering through the Art Gallery at the end of March. I need to ruminate about these things before I write them up. I plan to do my "required" hand quilting for the day while the Thursday evening crime shows are on tv tonight.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First turn of the wheel(quilt)

close up of quilting on charm quilt
charm quilt showing length of quilt and first section

I've gotten the first row of quilting done on my charm quilt and got to roll it to start on th next. One row of how many? But it is progress and I am happy to see it. I finished quilting the row as a means of de-stressing from my job interview in the am.

The job interview went ok, but it was the first sit-down interview with several people I've had in over 12 years. (I got that job) so I was a bit stressed both before and after it. I will know in 5-7 days whether or not it will be offered to me. It sounds interesting and the salary will cover my expenses. It's also a Monday-Friday job with regular hours so that should allow me time for my art and teaching workshops at the Art Gallery (which could be another source of income).

I also spoke with Laurie at the Art Gallery about the workshop(s) I might teach in March. For her publicity purposes, the class description, etc needs to be written up soonest so she can get the word out. We've decided on a title - No Sew Intro to Fibre Art. This workshop will be an introduction to the various types of fusibles, students will make samples of each plus spend time creating their own art work(s). With the gallery classes, all supplies are included in the cost of the the class. We also decided on a Saturday 10-4 class time in late March so they can explore possibilities and take home a finished project or two at the end of the day. We plan to build on this by offering other classes that use the information acquired in this one. the only skills necessary are being able to use scissors and an iron!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday at the Gallery

Today I was the featured artist demonstrating at the Art Gallery of Swift Current from 2-4 pm. It was a fun thing to do....... Sit there and work on your art while folks come and go. I didn't get much actual work done as I spent time talking to folks about what I was doing. One couple spent about half an hour asking me questions and me showing them some things I was doing. I apologize that I forgot to take pics until I was packing up. I may be doing another one of Feb 8 so I promise to take pics then.
Here are some of my photos showing some of the pieces I took to show a variety of techniques.
My summer show entries on display at the Art Gallery during the opening

A Time to Gather overall shot

A Time to Gather - detail shot showing some of the mixed media used in this piece

A Time to Gather was a challenge piece created to enter in local quilt show. We had a packet of fabrics to use and were allowed to add 3 others. I did a "Blomidon" piece without Blomidon - using one of my previous patterns and adapting it from that. This piece was my first "mixed media" piece and uses quite the variety of item on it including silk leaves, a real raffia basket, artificial fruit and veggies, fruit/veggie buttons and a REAL wooden picket fence (from a scrapbooking supply store). It was very fun to do. I also used some machien trupunto on the tree trunk and appliqued it on as a separate item. It was my usual hurry up and make the deadline style I used back then. I pulled into the yard of the person receiving the entries just as they were about to head out to the Guild meeting (in the nick of time!!!). That's about the closest call I've had.

My hardest decision was trying to decide what I would take to work on. When I can't make up my mind, I end up taking much more than I need. I thought I would take along some more altered photographs printed on the cotton inkjet sheets by Jacquard to try using the NeoColour II water soluble crayons and also take my yummy 132 box of Prismacolour artist quality pencil crayons to try on some of the extra silk prints I made in December to compare how I liked the results. With all the chatting I didn't get much done there. I will post more about the results of these trials in another post.
I took a number of the books I bought myself for Christmas so people could see the variety of fibre art techniques and methods.
The 2 hours flew by fast and I managed to get it packed up and ready to go by the time the library closed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Beginnings

Today is a big day for my US friends and for the world as well. Barack Obama is being inaugurated today. I plan to spend that time quilting on my charm quilt and listening to/watching coverage. I have been an event "junkie" since I was young - one of the boomers who has lived the important events on radio and tv. Since I am home, there is no way I was going to miss this one. There was a lot of coverage on both tv and computer, so I brought the laptop into the living room so I could see different coverage of the event. I have only 1 channel I can get right now since I don't have cable or satellite tv - just my rabbit ears.
I also decided that I could probably get a decent amount of handquilting in as well. My new mantra is that "if the tv is on, I will be handquilting". At least in the living room. I started quilting on the charm quilt yesterday but did not post photos.

Charm quilt in the Hinterberg Floor Frame, tilted to show the intial starting area

It's been quite awhile since I've quilted on a floor frame, and it took a few tripsto the studio to accumulate the things you use while you are hand quilting. I started out learning to quilt as a traditional quilter and have spent lots of time quilting with others around a quilt frame. I don't do a lot of bed quilts, I never have. I have always been able to do fine stitching and was known for it. I plan to quilt this quilt (mine) plus one each for my daughter and one for my son - full size quilts.

L to R: beeswax to use on quilting thread, non-sharp pointed scissors, 1/4 " tape, quilting thread (from my past) and size 12 betweens - my choice of quilting needles

After a lot of thought, I decided to quilt my charm quilt with white quilting thread since that's what we mostly used when I was beginning quilting. I also have several spools of the white quilting thread I used to use back then. My quilt back is a blue and white print, so the white quilting design will let me reverse the quilt from the charm quilt front ot a quilted design blue and white comforter type one - in theory anyway.

You will also notice the uneven edges.......the bottom and top are nicer diamond edges....... I have figured out that I need to fill in the pointier edges along this side and it's opposite. I plan to turn the edges under and bind or just stitch them shut to keep the integrity of the diamond shape template and be "true" to having the one template. Trimming the edges to make a square edge would mean that there is more than one shape in the quilt.

showing the individual block with 1/4" tape marking and beginning to stitch

One of my other major decisions I thought about on and off through the years was how I was going to quilt the charm quilt. Due to the random assembly of the blocks dark medium and light elements, there is no distinct pattern that emerges. Instead, a variety of patterns emerge as you look at different spots on the quilt. I like this aspect of my quilt and didn't want to hinder it. So I finally decided just to quilt 1/4" inside each piece. I will be interested to see what the design looks like on the back. The quilting will be more visible on the dark and more brightly coloured blocks.

Stanza thinks the new quiltframe makes a great perch for looking out the window

Since I am a big meanie and don't want tufts of cat fur on my quilt, I make stanza get off the quilt when I'm working on it. She soon decides that there are other places a kitty can nap. I keep the quilt covered with a flannel sheet when I'm not working on it for two reasons:

1) the window faces east and I dont' want the fabrics to fade - I like to quilt in the natural light in the afternoon

2) it keeps kitty "stuff" off my quilt.

Stanza napping on the Ottoman - she adopted this as her own after we moved into apt

The ottoman was left in the apt when we moved in - it makes a good coffee table with a shelf on it for a hard surface; is a great foot rest when sitting on the couch but it's primary purpose seems to be to serve as Stanza's own private comfort zone!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Off to Maple Creek, SK - a trip to our vet

Stanza and headed late this am for her trip to the vet in Maple Creek. We still use the vet in Maple Creek as they were recommended when we used to live in Gull Lake. They've treated us well and know Stanza so we've kept going there even though we moved to a place with several vets. I like to visit Maple Creek every now and then, it's a nice little day trip. We haven't had a road trip together since we came back from BC in October. The weather was great......warmer than it has been in ages. Should be above freezing before we head home, She settled in once we were on the highway and snoozed most of the way. Once I turned off the Trans Canada, though, she was up looking out the window and checking things it. It always makes me chuckle when she does this.

Stanza checking out what's up in Maple Creek

I spotted this over the street metal silouette which I hadn't remembered seeing on previous trips to Maple Creek. I took a number of photos of it on the way out.........wanted to make sure I got my lunch in at the local lunch spot. Because it was Monday, Currah's Bakery was closed - they make the most awesome cinnamon buns so i didn't get one of them.

Maple Creek street silouette sign

Maple Creek is nestled close to the Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial park and the rolling landscape is great ranching country. It is not unusual to see cowboy hats and boots on "real" cowboys. The first time I drove into Maple Creek I thought it was a place I'd like to live in. It is about a 10 min drive from the Trans Canada highway. I have been known to head into Curragh's for cinnamon bun(s) if I'm going by and have the time. There are folks here with the same last name as me. I ran into some of them at a local rodeo and we are not related' Too bad, they are nice folks and well known ranchers in the area.

Stanza going for a little stroll before heading into the vet office. She is looking quite thin for her

Stanza was her usual trooper self during the exam which was very thorough and included bloodwork to check on a variety of conditions. She was not impressed when they shaved her front paw to take the blood. The blood goes off to Saskatoon on the bus to be tested. Results won't be back until Tuesday or Wednesday. The vet said she had a nodule on the side of her thyroid and had me feel it. Stanza has also lost about 1.5 lbs which is a lot for an approx 8 lb cat. Her thinness at this time of year was one of the things that concerned me. She's usually putting on a bit of weight due to what I call the "fur doily" syndrome (sleeping everywhere) in the winter.

Stanza back at home with her "bandage" just before it was removed

After all the travel and news from the vet we were both a bit tuckered. I got home in time to see an Oprah show I didn't want to miss from Washington DC and stanza went off to catch up on her missing naps and rest up from the indigities she had to endure with her vet visit (they took her temp).

The first piece quilted on the quilt!

I spent several hours quilting on the charm quilt. It's a great de-stressor.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

I have been somewhat missing in action from blogging for most of 2008 due to a combination of factors. I am hoping to load some posts from my various travels (backdated) so you can see what I was up to. Since it's January 1, it seems like a good time to get back to posting about my creative activities.

Like many others, I have been encouraged by Christine Kane's blog, to choose a word to guide me throughout the year. After much thought and deliberation I have chosen EMERGE as my word for 2009. Later blog posts will describe how I intend to use this word to meet my goals for 2009. I think it's a word that best describes what I have so far been able to set down on paper regarding my intentions for this year. I have also been much inspired by Lisa Call's blog Lisa is very generous in sharing her thoughts and processes about her work and decision making.

For Christmas this year, I gave myself the gift of books. Books to assist me on my own journey as an artist. I may share some of those along the way. I look forward to reading them and absorbing them. I used a daytimer for years and haven't the past couple of years while my life has been in flux. To keep better track of my time, goals and work towards them, I bought a 2 page/day one so I could track where I am spending my time and where I might rather spend it. I am counting on this tool as an important one to help the organized Louise EMERGE once again.
When I write down what I want to get done the next day it means I already know where to start in the morning instead of wondering what needs to be done first.

Stanza has a more open attitude to her day however -