Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lunch Box WIP

My WIP for today is a roomy lunch box; this was a "commission" that I've had for some time and today I got ready for some sewing time. 

Not much has been happening in the sewing room; we've been away visiting with my sisters and spending some time with my mother who is in a nursing home. I believe she recognized me and before long she said my name! Always heartwarming to hear her voice, see her in person, and listen to her chatter even though nothing makes much sense. Dementia is no laughing matter.

Wednesday evening we'll be at the Gordon Lightfoot concert. A long time ago, we had tickets to see him in Ottawa but one of the younger children was sick so I stayed home and DH took no1 son (who was perhaps 12) with him; needless to say our son was not impressed! It just wasn't his music. :)

I'm linking with the Needle and Thread Network and Let's Bee Social.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Holiday Stitching Progress

It was a quiet Easter holiday weekend here at the farm. We spent Sunday morning at a brunch with family then came home and walked the shore. Beautiful and sunny but cool day without wind! Always a great day when the winds don't knock you down.

I finished block no 2 of  Une Annee Dans Les Etoiles. I'm loving this embroidery. Check out Un Atelier de la Montagne to view the slide show of everyone's work.

Once the star was done, it was time to return to Yoko Saito's Quilt Mystere block no 6, the last block in the quilt but only my fourth. If you remember, I skipped 4 & 5 to work on 6 just to be different!

It took me three days to add the church with the house behind it and the lower level houses. Before leaving Los Angeles, I had the top two houses done. There's an error here... the steps leading to the middle level should be going towards the right; I didn't notice until the strip had been sewn to the top level and I left it there until I could decide what to do. I debated long and hard about reversing them but decided to leave it as it is and move on. There are 3 embroidered dogs left to add but I'll wait until all the pieces are applique'ed. I may just add them in the space created by the steps going the wrong way.

I also debated whether to embroider the leaves on the bottom tree or applique them. There are 3 trees with embroidered leaves: top left behind the church and the two at opposing corners. A fourth would have been too many and this one really needed the applique'ed leaves. These leaves are even smaller than on Block no 1.

They are small:

The process for my applique preparation is simple : liquid starch and my stencil burner tip. Since these are so small, I used three layers of freezer paper and added an extra line of permanent marker in order to see the marks for cutting.

Start by painting the liquid starch around the applique: here you can see the top leaf is wet.

The tips are the first to be folded over: this is the stencil burner tip and it's HOT! I use an applique pressing sheet which is great as it keeps my ironing board free of starch and glue. Be aware it too gets HOT which is a bonus as it helps dry the starch.

With both ends done, it's time to turn the edges. This is where the stencil burner tip comes in handy: by running its edge along the seam allowance of the piece, it automatically turns the edges along the freezer paper even on these small pieces. In the following sequence, you will see how the leaf is prepared. 

One good pressing over the whole leaf

Turn the leaf over and press from the right side.


That's 4 leaves per dime! Didn't I say they were small?

Our beach is devoid of ice cakes... 

The crows have the right idea... time to stop...

Have a great week! I am linking to The Needle And Thread Network and Let's Bee Social. Have a look at other Works In Progress (WIPs).



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gazing... at the stars...

I have been a follower of Un Atelier a la Montagne (France) for a long time although not registered as a follower until last month! Sylvie has a huge fan base and her BOMs are always popular. This year's BOM is even more so. Check it out... it's called Une Annee Dans Les Etoiles translated means A Year In The Stars.

It was such a popular design even with the first block that she had a hard time keeping up with the requests. I think she was pleased and shocked at the response. I'll be interested to see how everyone interprets these. They are quite cute and a fun project for me to stitch in the evenings; this is another one that I yearn to get the next block quickly. Best of all it's FREE to subscribers of her newsletter!

Here is block no 1: This will be a special quilt for an extra-special someone so I can only show you the blocks without divulging any information.

Block no 2 arrived in our mailbox yesterday and I got it ready for embroidery today. 

I've been too busy during the day to get some handwork ready for the evenings and it's been really hard for me to sit still. I have all the applique pieces ready for block no 6 in Yoko Saito's Quilt Mystere 2012 but haven't had the time to spend at the mini iron to turn the edges. Perhaps this afternoon will lend itself well for this activity. The sun is shining bright, there's very little wind but it's cool. Our new porch is the perfect place to sit with a glass of some refreshment while working on applique.

This past week I've also drawn a pattern for another bag, sewn a prototype and then made the finished one which I will share with you after I deliver this commissioned work. It's a pretty one. I have one more bag to make for a gift before I start producing some for sale. I'm eagerly awaiting arrival of supplies I ordered. So much color is involved and I can hardly wait! Seems all I do while working at projects is wait for the next big delivery!

What are you waiting for?? Easter is in a few days... That means there'll be licorice in my snack bowl again!!! BLACK of course!! Happy dancing!! and of course HAPPY EASTER!



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

De Deauville A Cape Cod

Roxane of Scrap Quilt and Stitch provided us with block no 8 last week. This was a fun and quick block to make!

First we had to connect blocks 4 and 7 which I had already done then add block 8th's background fabric to span the width of the two blocks. Simple! Again I used some sky fabric painted in Mickey Lawler's class at Road to California Quilt show in January. We were to use previous fabrics for the flags.

Cheerful isn't it?? Block 9 will go between blocks 1 & 2 and will be above this group and together they will form a little more than half the length of the quilt. I'm getting impatient waiting the rest of the month before the next block is reveled!



Friday, April 11, 2014

No-reply blogger!

I am trying hard to fix this situation... many of you have commented that I am a no-reply-blogger thanks to Google +! I hoped the last time I dealt with this issue was the last but I see more people are commenting that it wasn't cleared.

I appreciate your patience!! I will do my best to correct it!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Crazy for embroidery!

In late summer of 1998, I registered for Costume Studies at Dalhousie University as a means to keep me busy and to learn new techniques in dressmaking. Since it was too late to start in September, they allowed me to take 2 courses in January 1999 with the intention of being a full-time student that fall. Our oldest daughter was on a 1 yr hiatus from full-time university attendance; she was working but living at home. Our oldest son was still in school in Ontario & due to graduate in 1999. Our 2 youngest (who are 10 yrs younger than the older two) were settled in their new school, taking the bus every morning. This was quite a change for me as I had been chauffeur for quite some time. 

Fast forward to the academic year 1999-2000... We were paired with a buddy to learn how to measure, draft patterns and create a costume for each other. At the same time, we were researching people who lived in Halifax during the 1870s and we were asked to create a costume that person would have worn to a matinee according to their age, stature in life, and the community. We were also required to write a paper on that research. 

I wish my photos of the end of the year projects were available; they're still packed I'm afraid. Perhaps I'll share them when that box surfaces! While we were creating those costumes, I gathered up some remnants of the dress fabrics and some trims in order to make this crazy quilt. 

Its construction didn't follow the usual rules; it was just one block dictated by the amount of fabric collected. That long strand of off-white pleats deserved to stretch the width of the quilt. This girl worked long and hard at making miles and miles of these pleats for her dress. Not all trims and decorations were part of the dresses; this is my interpretation only. I used the fabric for the cape that was part of the costume I created and the taffeta of the under-dress for the border and the binding respectively.

 I started photographing the lower left and went across then up in 3 rows of three segments... 

My partner will recognize some of her trim here...

We left Halifax at the end of April that year and found ourselves in the Middle East for a 6 month stay that fall during which time I acquired a lot of embroidery threads. I must say it was that detoured-path in our lives that really defined my quilting. I had no sewing machine although one was offered; this was a big sacrifice for me as I had never gone that long without a sewing machine. I sewed everything by hand and came to LOVE applique and embroidery. 

I joined a group of ladies every Wednesday morning across the street from our condo and we shared our knowledge, our experiences, our fabrics, threads and cooking. I loved working with these wonderfully talented ladies and looked forward to every meeting.  

However, I must give credit where its due! I've been sewing since I was a young girl; my grandmother sewed and so did my mother but my love of sewing comes from Aunt Velma! Her love of sewing and attention to detail were reflected in all her finished pieces and her ease of instruction led me to enjoy the processes. Merci matante!!

My WIP today is finding the fabric with the signatures of all the students and teachers of that wonderful year at Dal in order to make a label. I will link to The Needle and Thread Network and Let's Bee Social.