I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anything Goes

This past weekend saw us on the road to Halifax, NS where we attended the 33rd annual "For The Health Of It", a fundraiser of the 8 Health Science facilities of Dalhousie University. My daughter is presently completing her Masters in Physiotherapy and her PT class was one of the schools participating. The show was hilarious and it felt good to laugh and be entertained. Each school had 15 minutes to preform a play and it had to include a dance number. At the 13 minute mark, a woman with a very large gong appeared on stage and if your play went to 15 minutes, she was to make that gong ring! A few of the groups eventually shared the stage with the gong lady though all managed to finish their performances before she could make some noise. We were all kind of disappointed....in sad little way....haha

Each school submitted the name of a cause and they voted to see who, or what charity or non-profit organization would receive this years funds. Then the schools competed to raise the most funds for the chosen cause. The PT class was very, very excited to have their cause chosen, especially since it was a program very near and dear to the heart of one of their own PT faculty! When we learned this woman was also the founder of the fundraiser when she was a student of the same PT program, it seemed serendipitous that her group finally received the monies raised.

Although the plays were all fun and well rehearsed, and all the dance numbers were excellent, we were of course thrilled for the PT class when they won Crowd Favorite as well as the coveted trophy! Add to that glory that they raised over 9000.00 of the almost 30,000.00 for Halifax’s Community Living program and it was an exciting night for the students involved!

Simone is no stranger to the stage, but it had been quite a few years since she had last stood under the spotlights in costume. So, it was indeed fun to see her in her Drama glory again and know how much she was enjoying it! We have a lot of stage history and I reminded of it when I spotted these photos from her high school drama days in some of my Mom’s things. 

These are from a production of “Anything Goes” and I can’t even remember how many costume pieces I built for that musical though I know it was well over 30. There was a vision for this production (as there was for them all) and I think I just ran out of steam and time because I know those 4 suits were supposed to have fur collars on the jackets. 

I especially liked the polka dot middy tops and twirly shorts! I think they were for a tap number.....

To be honest, I don’t think I made these halter tops, but I do remember something to do with those pants....slinky, stretchy and generally difficult fabric stays with you. And most stage costumes are made to shine and move and flow. So there was usually a lot of glitter and feathers and sequins and such involved. Every once in a while I spot yet another bit of colored boa that has been trapped under one of our heating vents for quite a few years, remnants of a life past....lol 

I miss the excitement of behind the stage. I met some great people, had lots of laughs, learned a lot!, and really enjoyed the time spent with my daughter and assorted family members who travelled from far and wide to help out. Our family is like that; not only did they come to see the finished show, they came to help build the sets and costumes. Good times. Good memories.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Will it go round in circles....

So, right now this is making me happy. It is not what I had “loosely" planned for the quilting design when I first loaded the quilt, but this appears to be where I am. I am really enjoying practising those little circles - which require me to be very patient. At this point, making them is very slow going.

I did take a break to get out of my jammies and go see Life of Pi in 3D and if you are considering seeing it, I recommend going. We really enjoyed it. As well as having a very compelling storyline, it is a visual feast! If you are still in the theatre when the credits start rolling, you will see just how many people were involved in creating the movie in the 3 locations of India, Taiwan and Montreal. Simply amazing. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Barbados sunshine

This quilt has almost felt like cheating, but I have to admit, this speedy quilting design is effective and I like it! I have loved this quilt top since I pieced it - quite a while ago - and I have wanted to quilt it for just as long. I made several tops in this design, a simple rail fence block with lots of opportunity for play and layout possibilities. I used to keep a basket of these blocks near my sewing and my children would spend hours laying them on the floor in different patterns. 

The majority of the fabric used in this top is from Barbados. My parents had a  second home there for approximately 30 years and when they were there, it was guaranteed that Mom would check out the many fabric stores for beautiful screen printed panels to bring back home. Mom was always excited to find sea island cotton to sew with and for good reason! This beautiful, luxurious fabric drapes amazingly and just feels so darn good. It has a sheen to it that most polished cottons nowadays cannot even come close to. And sewing with it is a dream! I remember Mom making me blouses and dresses from sea island cotton that I loved to wear because they felt so comfy yet were so crisp and fresh all the time. Some of these panels I used in this top were printed on this wonderful fabric and I even integrated a full panel as part of the backing. 

I didn’t want to quilt anything too dense so this ribbon design seemed a good choice. It was such a quick and fun design to quilt, I am thinking I may just have to use it again soon....as in on the next quilt to go on the machine! Quilt tops seem to be showing up in unexpected corners and this simple yet effective quilting pattern could work for a couple of them. I used this gorgeous marigold Glide thread by Fil-Tec and am loving how it works so well with the fabric!

I also find I am starting to relax a bit more too as I quilt - yesterday I caught myself driving one handed! Which is good except I had a snack firmly gripped in the other hand.....hmmm.....maybe I should follow the rules of the road and maintain the recommended 10 and 2 and keep the kitchen in the kitchen. Wish me luck!

Today I am connecting with The Needle and Thread Network.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

From November 18 to the 24th, Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is sponsoring Blogathon Canada

If you found my blog via this network, welcome! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Crayola Kid is back!

It wasn’t until I had hung up the phone (how else do you say ended a phone conversation these days, even if you are on a cell phone?) that I realized the colors I had chosen to piece with today were reflected in the colors of the sock I had started knitting. I know I am feeling the need for brights especially yellow these days, and was aware I was choosing a variety including them, but otherwise the recurring scheme wasn’t obvious until I laid the sock down near the fabric. 

I am going to start paying more attention to my color choices, to see just what they are reflected in from my day, or from my experiences.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Keeley Claire’s Quilt

I spent this past weekend with my Dad and brother doing some sorting and organizing and in the evenings managed to get the binding completed on this single bed quilt. This one is designated for my adorable little grand niece who at the ripe age of under 2 years had proven to be a girl child like the rest in this family - she has a mind of her own! I highly suspect she will let me know rather quickly that this quilt is not to her tastes and I will be making another. I remember collecting 20’s and 30’s prints to build a quilt for my own daughter and she told me very emphatically not to waste my time because those prints were just “too indecisive”.....she was about 7 at the time and already an old hand at making the rounds of quilt shows with me, demonstrating surface design techniques. I just hadn’t realized till then that she had been developing her own taste in fabric designs. She quickly set me straight when she told me I really didn’t have much “nice” fabric....lol

For the time being however, I hope Keeley, or Princess Keeley Claire, as her Grammie JoJo calls her in a song she created and sings just for her, will enjoy this one. I quilted butterflies and ladybugs along with swirls and such with that lovely cotton candy pink thread and think it will be nice and cuddly. Now whether it stays on her bed or stays on the floor...just as long as it is used. 

I used a polyester batt since I like the puffiness and I am thinking that when I next quilt one for a child, I will either use the heavier loft polyester, or even layer two batts. I felt that if I used cotton for this one, my designs wouldn’t puff up and I wanted that soft effect - so much easier for a toddler to trace the images with a finger or palm of hand.

That ripple on the bottom edge bothered me, but once off the clothes line and after a little round on delicate in the dryer, it disappeared nicely.

I am joining all the creative and talented folks at The Needle and Thread Network - there are lots of things happening all across Canada!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Trying to get back in the saddle

I have been working on projects. I finished a pair of socks I had been knitting for my son. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to having to create two reasonably identical items. I make notes - which make complete sense to me at the time - and then months and months later, I try to decipher just what it is that I am meant to do on the second sock/mitt/block.....Unfortunately, I pick up these types of projects when I need busy work and for me, thinking about what I am doing really shouldn’t be part of the process. 

I had placed several orders for large batts and thread for my longarm. I have just tried Glide thread and I am loving it! I have a supply of tops to quilt and in this Karen McTavish bundle was a lovely soft pink (Cotton Candy #70182) that I decided would be perfect for this single size top. It was! The thread is trilobal polyester; high sheen, twisted multi filament, colorfast and is one long continuous fiber so it is perfect for stitching at high speeds. I used it in the bobbin as well, and found my tension was easy to control. Now I am excited to try some of that red or orange from the other bundle in the photo.

I know my mind really wasn’t functioning when I loaded this quilt and started it. I used to be a weaver and when you set up your loom, you roll your warp onto your back beam, tie it to the front and then started weaving, sending shots of weft thread as you work from the front of your loom and then winding the finished yardage onto the front beam. Well, with a longarm, first you wind your top and backing onto the two beams close to your belly and then you wind them forward onto the back beam, sandwiching your batting in-between. Then as you quilt, you wind the finished quilt onto your back beam.

I must have been confused by the extra step of winding forward and also slipped through the cracks into some other time zone because I started quilting on the wrong end and was then mystified as to how I would wind this forward.....

So, I did some unpinning, flipped the ends and continued quilting where I had started, this time winding it correctly. Not exactly how I wanted this project to play out, but at least it is off, with a minimal amount of ripples.

At the advice of others I have purchased a selection of marking tools, but I keep going back to my chalk pencil for transferring designs to the tops. I just don’t trust water based transferable markers, but am quite willing to listen to anyone who can convince me I won’t be sorry to use them. I also bought a Frixion Pen (pens can be bought online, at your local quilt shop or at Wal-mart) to try and maybe it will be the answer. The marks are removed with heat and will come back in freezing temps (Hello! Canada.....) but once the fabric is washed, apparently the marks are gone for good. But, for the time being I have been either freehand drawing shapes, or as I show here, tracing some general shapes I cut out of bristol board. I know you can’t see this on my photos but I have quilted butterflies and lady bugs scattered across this with freehand scrolls and such as filler. The recipient is just a toddler and I thought these might be fun to find on the quilt as she plays. 

Check out what other Canadian fibre folk are up to at The Needle and Thread Network as winter started providing us with an excuse to stay indoors.