Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm Still Standing

I just finished this little wall-hanging last night.  It's about 25 x 35".

I am a survivor (tho I wonder about that part sometimes) of spousal abuse.  Abuse comes in many forms ... physical, verbal, emotional, mental, sexual ... I've seen them all over a span of 13 years.  I'm currently (finally) getting some help ... I go to weekly group meetings at BWSS - Battered Women's Support Services, and counseling for PTSD at the outpatient psychiatry clinic at VGH.  I've had jaw surgery to fix a problem he caused, and now I'm on anti-depressants and sleep meds to try to get the nightmares under control ... I'm really looking forward to the day they stop.  
My local quilt guild has asked me a few times to teach a class on hand-quilting ... this is why I've had to say no so far, I'm just not ready.

This quilt is my self-portrait.  It's a funky looking tree with one single leaf showing, and it's holding on for dear life.  The other leaves are there, just quilted in the background waiting to come out when they're ready. 
I named it "I'm Still Standing" and it'll hang in my sewing room to remind me to keep pushing onward.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Been a busy little beaver ...

I've been a busy little beaver this fall and got a few things done recently.  I had sold the table runner shown here called "Gung Hay Fat Choy" (Happy New Year in Chinese) so I made this one to replace it, hoping to sell this one as well.

Then I put together this wallhanging with multi-colored circles with black outlining around them and the black line in the back, like they're strung up on it.  I quilted circles in the background with variegated thread.  Once I got it finished I thought it kinda looks like an abacus, but not quite.  So I named it "Not Quite an Abacus".  I'll make a real abacus quilt one of these days.

I then sold this quilt, called "30 Degrees of Separation".  It's named this because:
- the colors are sorted into warm on the left, cool on the right, representing temperature.
- they are circles, like degrees
- they are separated by an X quilted between each block
- there are 30 of them
So this is the replacement for the one I sold, similar to the table runner above, we'll see if this one sells too.  This is the fifth one I've made of this pattern ... every time I make one it sells, so that's a good sign of a winner!

Finally is a wall-hanging I made to go in my bedroom.  My bed quilt is a broken star in blues and greens with teal between them, so this should match nicely.  It's paper-pieced 6" pineapple blocks.  I hate paper-piecing, but I love the results it gives and this turned out great.  I hand quilted feathers randomly all over it in dark blue thread.  It's called "Chillin' with the Pineapples".

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two new quilts finished!

I love working with contrasting warm or cool colors, sometimes in the same quilt, sometimes in two that go together.  Like with "30 Degrees of Separation" I have the warm colors on one side and the cool on the other.  

I've had it in my head that I wanted to do a similar theme, only in two co-ordinating quilts this time.  So I chose an isosceles trapezoid shape (like a triangle with the top cut off, kinda thimble shaped) for both of them.  

I used a variety of neutrals ranging from white on white to some dark tans and beige and everything in between.  

One quilt has warm colors randomly mixed in: yellow, pink, orange, and red.  The other has cool colors: blue, green, and purple.  The quilts are both 18 x 22" with a one inch border all around each.  They are both quilted with the same kind of background design, kind of a wavy pattern throughout, red quilting thread in the warm one, blue in the cool.  They are aptly named: "Warm me up" and "Cool me down".

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sold some quilts!

This summer ebay has had a great deal on listings .... free to list unless the item sells, then you pay for the listing cost.  I love this kind of deal, then I'm not wasting my money if the item doesn't sell.  It runs for all of August and the beginning of September so I've been listing steadily and so far I've sold two table runners.  I sold the red and the 30's reproduction version of "Gung Hay Fat Choy".  Now I've been busy sewing replacements so I can list them again, they seem quite popular.  I'm thinking I might make a blue and yellow version as well.

I had an email a while ago from the Hoffman Challenge saying that they had finished judging the entries for this summer's challenge and they'd be posting them on the website soon.  Finally I checked yesterday and saw that once again I didn't win anything (not surprising when I see the entries that did win -- amazing!) but once again I did get into the traveling trunk show.  That's 6 years in a row, so I'm very proud of that.  Maybe one of these days I'll cough up the extra $15 when I enter and get the judges' comments, then I'll have a better idea of what they look for.  I've considered that, but then I figure if I do that, then I'm making the quilt for them.  I prefer to make it for myself ... after all, I'm the one that has to live with it.

Anyhow, that's about all that's been going on this summer.  Just waiting for hockey season to start, won't be long now!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Organized at last!

I've always been extremely neat and organized, almost neurotically so, except when it came to my sewing room.  In there it seems that I've just never had the right kind of storage or enough of it, but I didn't really know what I needed or wanted.  Things would pile up, I'd set things aside to sort "later" but we all know that later never gets here.  Finally I got a new Billy bookcase from Ikea this week.  Should have gotten it long ago, I'm so pleased with it!  

I had a Billy bookcase from a few years ago and had all of my fabric stuffed into it, but it was just barely 24" wide and things didn't quite fold nicely without having to specially make room.  Hard to explain, but it just didn't fit well.  This new one is supposedly the same bookcase, but they're making them a tad wider now, and it's PERFECT!  
So now I have Big Billy (new one), Little Billy (old one), and this little guy in the middle.  The little one isn't an actual Billy Bookcase but I call him Baby Billy (he's adopted, don't tell him .. shhhhh!).  I have some patterns in binders standing down at the bottom of Big Billy, and all of my fabric fits just right without having to fiddle with folding!

On Baby I have miscellaneous things, like pre-bought Christmas stuff on the bottom shelf there (I buy ahead when I see a good sale, never pass up a good deal!), business cards, brochures for #quiltchat and Quilts of Valour, notions, etc.  

Little Billy holds my quilting magazines, books, and patterns, folders for QoV, Canucks stuff, freezer paper, wonder under, everything that was set aside to put away "later".  Later came!

I have quite a few Ikea things in here actually, I could do an ad for them!  Besides the Billies I have both of my tables, trash can, and wire drawers, all Ikea.  The table in front of the window there is called Big Redlegs, because it has red legs and it's bigger than the other table.  It's for doing all my cutting and designing patterns on.  The smaller table against the wall is of course Little Redlegs, for obvious reasons.  It has my sewing machine and thread storage.  The ribbons I've won in various quilting competitions are displayed there next to the window.  In the wire drawer unit under Big Redlegs I keep PHD's (Projects Half Done, aka UFO's), templates, freezer paper and cardboard for making templates.  My scrap bin is under there too, just to the left of the basket thing.

I'm very pleased with my sewing room now.  I can go in there and not feel overwhelmed with the clutter, there's a place for everything and everything is in its place.  It will be very easy to keep it tidy from now on.  Now I'm working on a wall-hanging to put up on the wall above my sewing machine. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hoffman Challenge 2010

This is the focus fabric for the Hoffman Challenge 2010.  As soon as I saw it I LOVED it, which is rare for challenge fabric.  They tend to pick something that's a little off-beat, quirky colours, stuff that is hard to work with.  These are colours I have all over my house so I had no problem at all using it.

Here's the design I came up with.  I used the focus fabric, plus various prints in chartreuse, yellow, teal, turquoise and other blues.  I made a heart template for the large flowers and cut out four identical hearts from the focus print, put them together to create each flower.  There are no two alike.  All of the half-flowers and buds are different too.  The hummingbird has some focus fabric on its belly.  I used the challenge thread (sulky) for the quilting and to embroider the detail on the bird, butterflies and the little curlicues on the vines.   The quilt is named "Of a Feather" because there are feathers appliqued around the center medallion, feathers in the bird, and feathers in the quilting among the cross-hatch grid.

Here are close-ups of the four corners of the quilt, showing the detail in the hummingbird and the quilting.

This is the back of the quilt, I love looking at them once they're all quilted and seeing the detail it shows.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Finished the Birds quilt ...

For the past 3 weeks or so I've been working on another quilt for a customer, one that has given me lots to do in the past few years.  She makes lovely quilts, they're always so much fun to quilt.  

This one is from a book called Birds of a Feather.  It's a sampler quilt with some blocks in applique with birds and flowers, leaves, pears, all kinds of neat stuff, and every here and there is a traditional pieced block like 4-patch or flying geese.  She liked the way they had done the quilting on many of the blocks as shown in the book and had very conveniently loaned me the book with sticky notes posted here and there.   

While I was quilting, I'd get to a particular block, look it up in the book to see if she'd left any notes, then quilt it.   Easy schmeezy!  I didn't have good light to get a picture of the whole quilt but I did get some pics of a few areas here and there on it to show the quilting.

The top picture shown here is typical of the appliqued blocks with a few of the traditional ones around it.  I quilted random leaf shapes in the background of the blocks, in the ditch around the applique, then feathers in the birds' wings, outlines in the leaves and vases.  The half-square-triangles have a feathered design quilted in them, then there's a diagonal cross-hatch in the 4-patch blocks above.
The middle picture shows another applique block with the leaves and feathers, then just a 1/4" outline in the hourglass blocks on the left.  The border was all quilted with diagonal lines, all 4 corners look like this.

In order to get the corners to all match, so I wouldn't end up with two opposite funky corners (if you draw it out in your mind you'll see what I mean), I had to reverse directions halfway around the border on each side so the diagonal lines would go on the right angle and point towards the corner.  More birds with feathered wings and leaves behind them.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Poppy quilt is finished

So last fall one day, I got an email from Pam Bono, a well-known U.S. quilter, asking if she could donate a poppy pattern to Quilts of Valour to use.  Of course we were pleased to get the pattern and decided to use it in our legion halls across Canada to honour our veterans. It's called Poppy Remembrance and can be found on her website.

My grandfather is a veteran, he lives in Ottawa, so I asked him what his legion would think of having a quilt to hang in their hall.  He spoke to their legion "boss" (I don't know what she's called) and she said she'd love to have one so I got busy making the quilt.  I had it all pieced by mid-January but with the Cayman Island quilts to get finished it had to go on the back burner until those were done (customer quilts always come first!).  Once I got them in the mail I got busy quilting this one and put the finishing touches on it on Friday.  Yesterday it was mailed off to Ottawa to my grandfather.  I took a couple of pictures of it before I popped it in the mail, I've asked him to get some of it once it's received and hung up.  I don't have a lot of space for photographing large quilts, as you can see in the picture ... the couch and table are kind of in the way, but you get the idea. 

I used red quilting thread inside the poppies, green in the leaves and around the stems, then I quilted red maple leaves into the background.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

And the runners are complete!

Just finished the last of the table runners to go with the Compass quilts I've posted below.  My customers left it up to me as to the design of them and said they could be the same or different, whatever I chose.  I chose to do one pair matching, the other pair not.  

The matching pair is in different colours, but the same design.  The non-matching pair is in the same colour-theme to match the quilt they go with, and the same style of stars that are on the quilt with the same feathered quilting in the background, but the designs of the runners are each different from the other. 

Just sent a note off to them to show the pictures and get info to mail them off, I hope they're as pleased with them as I am.
Now it's back to work on the poppy quilt for my grandfather's legion hall.  I'm about a third done quilting it and working on it every chance I get.  I'm doing a trunk show at my local guild next Wednesday and planning to take it along, finished or not, to show when I talk about Quilts of Valour.  Of course, no pictures here until it's done ... I'm not a big fan of showing my PHD's (projects half done ... got the term from a lady in #quiltchat and thought it was pretty clever).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nifty new thing from Amazon

Amazon has this nifty new thing out to put related ads on my site.  I've tried google adsense before, which got me nowhere ... as soon as I started really using it they canceled my account for no reason.  Gotta say I was not impressed. 

But this new thing from Amazon Associates is really neat.  They supply ads for my page that best suit the things I talk about, so the more I talk about  quilts (duh) they'll post ads for quilt related things, like books and such.  Very handy indeed, particularly if I'm talking about a certain pattern or quilt book author that I like, then I don't have to go through the hassle of looking them up myself ... amazon will do it for me.

Thanks dudes!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another Caribbean quilt done, on to the table runners!

Well, the title pretty much says it all. I finished the other Caribbean quilt, this one is titled simply "Compass Medallion". It's got a huge main compass in the centre, with 3-d prairie points around it and some appliqué in the corners. I used a bright jungley print for the centre of the compass, some of the prairie points, and the inside border.

I quilted in the ditch around the compass points and the appliqué, then a 1½" grid in the background.

I have one of the table runners to match the C-Cubed quilt almost finished, and the others are in the works.

Once these are all finished I'll be back to working on the Remembrance Poppy quilt for my grandfather's legion hall in Ottawa. This is a pattern that Pam Bono so generously donated to Quilts of Valour-Canada to use as we saw fit for the soldiers and we've decided to use it to hang in legion halls around the country to honour them. I have the top of mine pieced, just have to appliqué the stems on and then I can start quilting it. I'm doing a little talk at my local guild in April and planning to take it with me to show them when I talk about QoV so that's a little extra incentive to get cracking on things and get stuff done.

Friday, February 5, 2010

One Compass Quilt down, a few more to go ...

Here it is ... the first of the Mariner's Compass quilts that I had given a peek of in the previous post. This one is entitled "C-Cubed, Caribbean Colored Compasses".
It's 42 x 48". All the compasses are made using various coloured batiks on a cream tone-on-tone background. The dark green mottled background really makes the bright colours pop out.
Now I'm working on the other wallhanging, which has one main compass in the centre and a bit of applique around it. This compass itself is huge, about 32" all by itself. It's done in purple, green, blue, pink, a little bit of yellow. I'll probably put it on the background today. Then there'll be 4 matching table runners, 2 to match each wallhanging.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here's a peek at my current project

Since shortly before Christmas I've been communicating back and forth with a couple who recently bought a condo and wanted to know if I could make them some wall-hangings and matching table runners. The condo is in the Cayman Islands so they wanted them done in Caribbean colours. We finally settled on a Mariner's Compass theme for all of them, which is really cool because it's one of my favourite patterns to work with.

One quilt has multiple compasses on it, the other has one big compass with some applique in the corners of the quilt. We had found pictures online of compass designs that they liked, but no patterns for either so I drafted up my own variations of each. This way we don't have to worry about copyright issues and I know that it's a pattern that I can make, since I designed it.

I've got the multiple compass quilt top pieced (did it by paper piecing, not my preferred method but it does give excellent results when it comes to pointy points) and have just started the quilting. I'm using a variegated thread for them all and it really looks great, if I do say so myself. Here's a picture of some of the quilting I've done on it so far. I'm quilting the compasses in the ditch, and filling in the background areas with feathers. I figure I should be done this one in a week or so and then get started on the others.