Sunday, November 29, 2009

Macro and Micro Expansion

Yesterday I made huge progress reorganizing my studio - moving shelves, design wall and removing a fridge. With space at a premium in the basement and shared with others, moving anything means moving everything and that's pretty much what I did. I now have a place to sit when I ponder a design issue or just need to give my feet a break and guess what's inside the seat...
these fabrics and more! I thought Christmas had come early this year when a member of my art quilt group generously gave me heaps of luscious fabric samples to add to my stash. Unfolding and discovering each one was a delightful surprise and I was flooded with possibilities of how I might use them and which combinations I might put together. I have several groupings out getting to know each other, but I never quite know what the muse has in store for me next and it turns out to be:

a wool sweater I shrunk into felt that is in the process of becoming a bag. I've cut the sleeves and collar off, sewn the bottom closed and turned the bag so the row of buttons is on one side and is also sewn shut. I'm working on hemming the handles and top edge now. There are two outside pockets on either side of the bag, which will be handy, and I might put more inside. I'll post another photo when it's complete.

One other small experiment I did prior to my studio expansion was stitching small to large - see the pinkish stitches on the bottom right corner and how they enlarge as they move left. Every tiny step adds to my learning, and I think of the quote by Lao-tzu which I like: 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step'. What step will you take today?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Double the Pleasure

In choosing a backing fabric for the tablerunner, I was challenged to find a coordinating fabric large enough amongst my stash, but I did. I considered piecing together a backing from a few chunks of various fabrics, but I decided that I wanted it to be reversible and a single fabric would be nice. I didn't put a middle layer in because I want the runner to be flat and not puffy. It's finished like a pillow case and top-stitched around the edge, which you can just make out in the close up photo.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Seasonal Shift

As the days get colder and darker, I find myself turning to simple sewing and a slower pace - a postcard is now complete and this table runner is in the making. I enjoyed arranging the squares of fabric, trying to vary the colours, values and prints while only having a limited amount of precut squares that I bought a few years ago at my quilt guild's garage sale. I've begun sewing them together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No 'Couch' Potato

I've nearly completed this gift - just part of the sleeve left to sew on. I added two border strips instead of four because four seemed to box the horses in and they want to be able to roam! It's quilted minimally, with stitch in the ditch, because I want to keep the focus on the fabric (and I do have more gifts to make:). I tried my couching foot out for the first time today and it worked very well. If you're a keen observer, you may have noticed that the yarn in the photo that's being couched down is not surrounding the horses as a highlight, but is sewn onto the wrong spot. Oops - I had a little unpicking to do!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


This is a gift I'm making that I will probably add dark borders to, sandwich and quilt. I've been wanting to play with stripes and this was my opportunity! At first I had planned to alternate directions of stripe consistently, but I found instead that varying the directions and size of the striped patches was more interesting. I also have deliberately not matched stripes while sewing or cut them so that they are perfectly straight. To me, this feels more alive and creates a bit of movement and unpredictability.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Navigating the Depths

I'm calling this 'Navigating the Depths' and this speaks to how the seas of life can be sometimes - chaotic on the surface but the still calm waters are there deep down, holding everything afloat. I've included meaningful symbols for me and the possibility of buttoning the two ends together speaks to how every ending brings a new beginning - life continues or arises in a new form.

One By One

The stitches and colours are adding up...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fun and Fungi

While on a walk in the woods today, I tried taking photographs while purposely moving my camera to see what kind of blurred effects I could get. I think the top photo looks like the painted page of a sketchbook. I saw many kinds of mushrooms and in the photo just above this text, I was drawn to how transparent the leaf is to allow some of the mushroom's colour to show through. I was thinking about how chiffon or organza might be used to show that effect. In the photo of the maple leaves, I saw how they created a line on the pavement and then I combined that photo with another blurred photo I took to add a rainbow of colour. Photo play is a quick way to capture an idea and a blog can be like a sketchbook that records experiences, techniques and photos.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Filling in the Rainbow

I'm just back from my quilt guild's annual 'garage sale' which was such fun to look at the multitudes of fabrics, books and other quilting related supplies. I found a Nancy Crow book and a few metres of solid coloured fabrics, among other things :) I will add snippets of the new colours to my developing chart which I made in a hurry and discovered just how tricky deciding what colour family fabrics are from, can be. I think I will learn alot just gathering the supplies for the Nancy Crow course!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Show Time Again!

My art quilt group show opened today at Satin Moon Quilt Shop and will continue through November. I enjoyed seeing everyone and their pieces! I've also started buying solid coloured fabrics for the Nancy Crow workshop I will attend next spring - these sample snippets against the folded fabrics remind me of crayons. I have alot more colours to snip and tape so that I can keep the sample on hand if I find more solids to potentially add to the stash, since I don't want to duplicate.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Show Time

The weather today seemed suitable for the theme of the opening of the 'Peace and Conflict' show at Coast Collective Gallery - back and forth from sunshine to pouring rain all day, as you can see in the photos that I took from inside the gallery, of the rainbow and rain running down the window pane. I met three local fibre artists as well as talked to friends, and also got out to the Sooke Harbour House gallery to see a fibre show there. I took the photo of the nest imagining representing it in stitch.


Here is the rainbow spiral bag I bought from Pam de Groot's Etsy shop - I just love it and her work! You can see what she creates here: I picked the bag up from the post office yesterday and transferred my personal items into it just in time to attend my quilt guild's Christmas sale, where I was amazed at all the fine work, the variety of items and styles, and sheer volume for sale. Very inspiring and I imagine making a tablecloth, tea cozy, throw for the couch.... I just need more time!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stitching Stars

The sky this morning was such a lovely moody contrast of values and made me think of a giant embroidery stitch of light combining two fabrics. I'm continuing to stitch on the piece shown above - it's nearly done and I'm working on the stars. I've also made some business cards and written an artist statement for the shows I'm in this weekend.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sketch Stitch

Today I cut a small piece from my painted 'clean-up' cloth and stitched it to one of my sketchbook pages, then added pencil crayon and text - a small experiment following my curiosity and marking the day. My rainbow ribbons and coins page, that I did yesterday, springs from a photo I took of the stripes of my paint smock/shirt that I wore during the Sketchbook workshop. I've finished stitching the waves around the ship in the handstitch piece I'm working on and am moving on to working below the surface, in the depths.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Book of The Rising Sun

These photos show some of what I did today in day two of Gail Harker's Sketchbook workshop. I've tried to get the proportions of the different colours from my sunrise photo represented in a collage of papers. In the next photo, I've positioned a ginko leaf on papers I painted and the bottom photo is my clean up rag, which reminds me of flowers, and I can imagine adding stitch to it. While I have many journals with text and others with drawings and photos as well, I haven't yet included stitch and paint and that feels like the direction I'd like to head for my 'personal library'.