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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…?

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Quilted Art Postcards

Barb of ritewhileucan calls herself a paper junkie and stationary hoarder. She loves the act of letter writing and all the accessories that make this pleasurable. Barb’s blog is about her paper passion! She believes the act of letter writing allows us to connect to others in a more personal way. She hopes this act of writing will make us slow down and appreciate each moment in our busy lives.

Her recent post: A fabric postcard for a teacher talks about creating a special thank you note. Barb wrote a lovely piece describing the quilted postcards I’ve created for my son to give to his teacher. At the end of the school year, he gives this truly personal gift in appreciation of their year together.

Grade 3 classroom
Drawing of grade 3 classroom

This is a tradition I began when he was in junior kindergarten. He draws a picture reflecting what he loves about his teacher and classroom. I take that image and recreate it in a 4” x 6” fabric postcard. On the back, I record the name of the teacher, school, the year and a note with my son’s name, grade and description of the drawing.

Quilted postcard of grade 3 class
Quilted postcard of grade 3 class

This quilted postcard is made like a miniature quilt that is pieced and fused, layered with backing and batting then quilted. Once this ‘quilt’ top is completed, it is trimmed to size. A firm interfacing is fused to a piece of white fabric that is then stitched to form the back of the postcard.

blankbackpostcard
Back of postcard

 

The teachers treasure these miniature pieces of art. They are lovely mementos of your child and their year together.

Fabric fused postcard
Fabric fused postcard

If you are interested in creating a simpler version go to ritewhileucan and look at the step by step directions for making a fabric postcard on cardstock. This is a great way to send a personalized gift to someone you care!

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Sow’s Ear Challenge

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild Sow’s Ear Challenge May 2014

In our May meeting of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild, Andrea Vander Kooij issued the: Sow’s Ear Challenge! Participants were asked to make a quilted bag using thrift store textiles.

Andrea loves old quilts and vintage textiles, but she noticed “when looking at some old quilts was how much of the fabric was, well, kind of ugly.” Yet despite this the quilts have a sense of design and beauty all their own – the Gees’ Bend quilts are an example of this.

She goes on to say that we are very caught up in the newest fabric lines and buy pretty fabrics so of course we create pretty quilts. This challenge is to take fabric that isn’t so pretty and create something of beauty. By pulling fabric out of a bag sight unseen we are giving up some control of the process. Also, working around these “limitations” we as artists are challenged to stretch out of our comfort zone to create something we like. Lastly, using scraps harkens back to the origins of quilting when our ancestors used up all their precious bits of fabric to create functional and beautiful items.

The rules of the challenge are:

  • Bring three thrifted items like pillowcases, shirts, curtains, skirts – anything that is woven and has some cotton fibers in it.
  • The three items are put into a bag and each person could then pull out 3 items out (although not their own!). We were allowed one “do over” if we really didn’t like one of the fabrics we picked.
  • These three pieces along with a solid from our stash is to be pieced and quilted into a bag design of our choice.
Thrift Fabric
Thrift Store Fabric

These are the three pieces that I will be working with! Two of them are pillowcases from the 70’s – groovy! The small blue print is my third selection! I did my one “do over” twice! I was resigned to a burgundy floral scrap as my final selection when Emily asked if I was interested in trading it. YES! Thanks Emily.

Thrift floral fabric
Vintage Floral Pillowcase

OMG! As I was poking around I came across a new line of fabric by Jeni Baker for Art Gallery Fabrics called Dreamin’ Vintage. This collection includes the Lazy Daisy print that is similar to the vintage pillow case above. The adage is true – everything old is new again!

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Fibre Art Necklace

I found a beautiful mother of pearl thread keeper at The Workroom, a beautifully curated quilt shop in Toronto. I had seen these thread keepers and wanted one but I didn’t really need an embroidery thread holder! I finally caved in and bought one. It was after I attended the Creativ Festival and saw the gorgeous hand dyed threads from Nell’s Embroidery that the ideas coalesced into a fibre art necklace.

Nell's Hand Dyed Threads
Two Packages of Nell’s Hand Dyed Threads

The mother of pearl thread keeper that you can see here from The Workroom’s online shop along with a package of hand dyed embroidery threads from Nell’s Embroidery was incorporated into this piece. Each package contains five metre lengths of silk and rayon ribbons, perle cotton thread, boucle, chenille and perle cotton threaded with beads. They are hand dyed and luscious! I bought a couple of colour ways after much deliberation.

Fibre Art Necklace
Fibre Art Necklace

I incorporated these fibres along with a co-ordinating piece of fabric that was rolled into a tube and created this piece.

Detail of Fibre Art Necklace
Detail of Fibre Art Necklace

I love the way it turned out. So, I have a piece that holds thread just not in the way it was intended!
 

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Creativ Festival 2014 Toronto, Canada

How do you feel after you’ve attended a quilt show?
Tired! but also invigorated, excited and full of creative energy too!

I just attended the spring Creativ Festival and left with ideas swirling in my head as well as many purchases. Seeing the new gadgets, colours, and designs is inspiring. The creative energy, and seeing so many beautiful finished projects spurs me to actually finish up some of the many, many projects I’ve begun.

Are you the type of person that goes home from a venue such as this and immediately begins a new project from your purchase? Do you patiently put your purchases aside until you’ve finished the one you are working on? I’ll admit that I do a bit of both! It’s difficult to resist the lure of bright shiny new purchases. Ideas and possibilities spin through my head and I can envision the finished project. Sometimes, though, attending these shows gives me just the nudge I need to finish up a project or two that I’ve been procrastinating over.

One of the vendors at the show – Steam Trunk Craftworks from Surrey, BC, had a gorgeous selection of trinkets that gave me just what I need for an idea I’ve been mulling over. They sell a wondrous selection of notions from buttons, beads, charms to trims and ribbons. Their beautiful, vibrant sari silks drew my eye. They are lengths of silk repurposed from saris and are used to embellish, knit or crochet with. The colours were a feast for the eyes.

They also had hand dyed bags of yarns that I couldn’t leave behind. These items were from Nell’s Embroidery. I purchased a couple of packages of yarns that included 5 metres of each of these beautifully hand dyed fibres: rayon chenille, mercerized cotton, rayon ribbon, cotton boucle, perle cotton with coordinated beads and sequins. Check out her shop on Etsy. She has a gorgeous selection of yarns.

I can’t just put these gorgeous fibres away! I will certainly be working on them immediately. Check back to see what I create.