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Thank you postcards

Thank You for Madame

This is the end of another school year and my child has a couple of people he wants to thank. So we’ve spent time drawing and quilting two personalized thank you cards.

He has always loved drawing. I thought it would be a great keepsake for the teacher to receive a small picture reflecting his time in their classroom. His first drawing in Junior Kindergarten was created on easel sized paper 27″ x 30″. This was way too large for a small remembrance gift! So I decided to shrink the picture to a 4″ x 6″ postcard. Just the right size.

Classroom Life 2014
Classroom Life 2014 postcard

This is the postcard I quilted from my son’s original drawing – Classroom Life.  Notice the yellow sequins? They are the girls in the class. The red beads are the boys. Madame is standing by her desk waiting for the students who have questions about the assigned work.

Classroom Life 2014 drawing
Classroom Life 2014 drawing

Thankfully, he now uses 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper so, it isn’t as difficult to shrink the drawing down to postcard size.

Thank you for taking care of me

The other person he wanted to thank was his caregiver. She has been an important person in his life since he was one and a half years old. They have shared many experiences. One of the fun things they do together is play badminton.

Badminton Game Postcard
Badminton Game Postcard

This is the two of them playing a game. The green colour in the drawing represents the large trees overhead where they play. These trees cause many faults – hence ‘Oh Boy’ when the birdie gets caught in the trees!

Badminton Game Picture
Badminton Game Picture

Give thanks to all those that enrich your life.

 

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Icterine Strata at Quilt Canada 2014

The Canadian Quilters’ Association held their annual Quilting Conference this past weekend in St. Catharines, Ontario. Quilters from all across Canada participated in lectures, workshops and shopping! Quilt Canada is the National Juried Show held during the annual conference. This year they introduced a Modern Quilt category. I submitted three of my modern quilts and all three were accepted into the show!

My mother, sister and I went to see the quilts at Quilt Canada on Saturday June 14th, the very last day of the show. The caliber of the quilts were outstanding! I was especially interested in the Modern Quilt category as I had three of my modern quilts accepted.

The winners in the Modern Wallhanging or Bed Quilt category are:

  1. First place: Leanne Chahley for Sunset.
  2. Second place: Terry Aske for Shades of Gray.
  3. Third place: Doris Lovadina-Lee for Icterine Strata. ME!

I am so happy and excited to be a part of such a talent group of quilters! Excellent company to be keeping! All the beautiful quilts from Quilt Canada can be viewed in the Gallery of the NJS 2014.

Icterine Strata Quilt
Icterine Strata Quilt

Unfortunately, no photography was allowed at the venue. These are the photos I used to submit my entry. The colours of the quilt are actually closer to the detail photo below rather than the full view above.

Icterine Strata detail
Icterine Strata detail

Icterine is a yellowish colour, the colour of the linen that I used for the background of this quilt. It is an unusual shade of yellow with a green undertone. This colour has also been described as  ‘jaundiced’! I loved the colour so much that I purchased the end of the bolt and knew I would use it all up.

Icterine Arcs Quilt
Icterine Arcs Quilt

Icterine Strata is the first in a series of three quilts using this linen. The second in the series Icterine Arcs is also complete. The third quilt is in the planning stages and I hope to begin it in the fall.

Icterine Arcs detail
Icterine Arcs detail

I wanted to make the quilts in this series all the same dimensions and using the same colour palette. The design of the quilts explores the themes of movement, structure and repetition. The quilts are machine pieced using hand dyed and commercial fabrics. Although mainly machine quilted, I hand quilted areas with a perle cotton thread to create layers of transparency.

 

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Circles for the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild

I was the facilitator for the May meeting of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild. One of our new members, Emily, was interested in how to piece curved seams. So, I demonstrated curved piecing – full circles, quarter circles and my favourite – wonky circles. I used Petal Pinwheels fabric from Michael Miller. These are the six fabrics that Michael Miller donated to the  4th annual MQG member’s fabric challenge. I added the Kona solid in green from my stash.

Circles from Petal Pinwheel
Petal Pinwheel Circles

Five tips for successful curved piecing:

  1. Cut your pieces out exactly!
  2. Stitch a precise quarter in seam (a 1/4 inch pressure foot helps!)
  3. Focus only on stitching the half inch or so of the seam in front of your pressure foot
  4. Reduce the length of your stitches
  5. Match the edges accurately at the beginning of the block

When sewing curves, you will need to stitch slowly, sew a few stitches, stop, pivot to readjust the curve, continue sewing a few stitches, stop, and pivot and so on. You are only looking at about 1/2 an inch in front of the pressure foot and in smaller circles, this might only be 1/4 inch or so in front of the foot. Sewing curved seams is not like sewing straight seams where you can quickly sew through piles of blocks in an assembly line. Stitching curves requires focus and time.

Quarter Circles
Quarter Circles

The circles below were the pieces cut out of the background or square fabric. I took these circles, split them and inserted a wedge of the Petal Pinwheels fabric. I then trimmed the block into a circle. I had wanted to make the insert off centre – a little wonky but I didn’t make the cut enough off the centre line. Nevertheless, I am happy with the way they look and will use them in another project.

 

Circles with Petal Pinwheel wedges
Circles with Petal Pinwheel wedges

As for the Modern quilt challenge blocks, I need to think about them a little longer before I decide what I want to do. Should I combine the circles with the wedges? The deadline and my fabric stash will factor into the process!

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Modern Quilt Guild Challenges

The Modern Quilt Guild announced the 4th annual MQG member’s fabric challenge. This year Michael Miller Fabrics is the sponsor. The fabric is from their new collection called Petal Pinwheels.

The rules are super easy: use all or some of the line, add a solid or another Michael Miller fabric and make something quilted. That’s it! So, why is so difficult to make decisions? I’ve participated in 3 other Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenges and they were challenging! Not in the piecing and quilting necessarily, but narrowing my focus in order to decide what I wanted to do.

I determined that I would try something different with each challenge – a new technique, a new block, or a new free motion quilting design. I also decided to use only the amount of challenge fabric provided and to ‘shop’ for additional fabric from my stash. This adds another layer of complexity to the process!

Riley Blake sponsored the 3rd annual MQG members fabric challenge . 6 fat eighths from the Basic category were sent out. The rules: make anything quilted, use any solid or other Riley Blake print. With this challenge I set out to try two new things.

Riley Blake quilt
Riley Blake challenge quilt

I had just seen a demonstration on making half-square triangles and decided to make the biggest half-square triangles I could with the fabric I had! I also tried different free-motion quilting designs in each of the sections. I am happy with the results. I could see improvement in my quilting from the first block I quilted to the last.

With the Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge I chose a solid from my stash that I loved. I had purchased the end of the bolt of this particular yellow/green fabric and had a limited quantity. That plus the challenge fabric resulted in this: Urban Habitat.

Urban Habitat
Urban Habitat quilt

I like the Habitat fabric pieced with the solid. I used a light pink to bind it. The top was long arm quilted by Sandy Lindal in an allover design. The angular shape of the quilting with the occasional spiral gives it a modern look.

The MQG challenge in 2011 was sponsored by Robert Kaufman. You can see many of the quilts from the challenge here. My quilt, Sunday Morning was created with the Robert Kaufman Kona Solids 5” charm packs. I added a creamy white solid to act as the sashing. This was the first time I sewed an entire quilt top using fabrics from the same manufacturer and I noticed a difference in the piecing. Since all the fabrics were the same, it sewed together beautifully – no fudging required!

Sunday Morning Quilt
Sunday Morning quilt

My husband suggested the name – he said that the quilt looked like stained glass windows. I machine quilted this one and am not entirely happy with the look of the quilting. I would quilt the top differently if I were to remake this quilt.

How many of you use fabric challenges to try new techniques? In many ways it is liberating to work on a challenge quilt. There is less of an emotional attachment. This could be because the fabrics are donated and the quilt is not being created for a specific person. Fabric Challenge Quilts allow me the opportunity to stretch my technical and design skills without pressure. Some of my most interesting pieces of work come from answering the question: What if…?