Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Artist Date to Beacon Hill Park

There were many peacocks roaming free at Beacon Hill Park today and this one strolled right up to me and paused, almost as if he expected me to take his photo - smart bird :) I've signed my quilt and sewed on the last two strips of facing. Hopefully I'll get some hand stitching in later tonight.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This photo is a bit blurred, but it shows a bit of one faced edge of 'Expansion or Contraction?'. After re-squaring my quilt on the dining room table, I cut strips for facing it and sewed the long sides on, as well as hand stitched them down. The velvet is thick and takes more effort to steam in place and I had to resew one area where the facing slipped against it. I also made a sleeve ready to sew on. Almost there, now!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Expansion or Contraction?

I've couched the metallic yarn onto my quilt now, using a free motion zig zag stitch and invisable thread in a spiral. With the velvets and layers, the quilt is heavy and quite unwieldy to work with and coupled with maneuvering the yarn as I stitched, it's not surprising that the spirals are uneven. I feel a bit in over my head with visions of what I'd like to accomplish that are not quite within my technical reach. I found myself wishing for a 'Stitching Fairy Godmother' who would magically appear and show me how to do the quilting/couching so that it came out to my satisfaction. Some of the velvet pieces haven't remained fused and I will attempt to iron them down again, but if that doesn't work I may end up sewing around edges with invisable thread. I notice feeling discouraged and having catastrophic thoughts such as 'I'll NEVER be able to do this - I might as well give up making art quilts'. I also know that I've been here before and have gotten through to the other side, and even though I can't feel it yet, I imagine I will this time, too. Forging new territory takes courage and is challenging - and the payoff is growth. This realization is right in keeping with the name that I've chosen for this quilt: 'Expansion or Contraction?'. The choice is mine.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Stitch In Time

I was on Saltspring Island yesterday for an anniversary day trip and I dropped into 'Stitches' - an amazing store selling all kinds of fibre art related materials. I'm sure I spent 2 hours in there and I could have spent more! I had a few supplies to pick up in preparation for the on-line course that I will be taking soon - and I also got some books. I took photos throughout the day and was drawn to the marvelous texture of this rock at a new beach we discovered, as well as that of the sagging, abandoned structure. Perhaps I will represent these in fabric one day. I have chosen a pinkish metallic yarn for the spiral couching I want to use on my quilt-in-progress. Also, I have been thinking about pattern on cloth since creating the discharged heart card, how shapes can be printed in rows, randomly, like brick-work, mirror-imaged, etc. I'm intrigued to explore representing behavioural patterns with visual patterning. There are so many idea threads I'd like to follow...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Artist Date to Willows Beach Area

Today while out running errands, I had an urge to go to the dollar store even though it wasn't on my list. I read in a book yesterday that to stop your sewing machine pedal from slipping around, you can put that non-slip kind of rubbery stuff underneath it. I also had been thinking about getting a spray bottle so I can wet fabric prior to painting. Neither of these items was on my mind, but right outside the dollar store were two bins - one filled with spray bottles and the other with rolls of the rubbery stuff. I guess it was meant to be :) On my artist date I found this lovely Czech glass button and a bit of roving, as well as near-fluorescent orange thread. Later, while I was basking in the sun and the view of the completely calm ocean, crows kept flying overhead steadily in small groups where they gathered en masse at Cattle Point. I heard a sudden rush of waves and imagine the crows were waiting for the tide to turn and expose their dinner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ready to Stitch

I'm just back from hearing Charlotte Warr Anderson's hilarious presentation at the Victoria Quilt Guild about her quiltmaking and life. She makes prize winning detailed pictorial quilts and I enjoyed her 'pictorial' of her family life, as well. Earlier I added hearts with metallic thread and lace to this card, as well as replaced pieces in the quilt above, followed by ironing them down and squaring it. I am eager to add stitching!

Monday, February 9, 2009


I've got the counter cleared in my studio now - a temporary measure though - as I've stored my fabrics in boxes in several cupboards, and I prefer to have easier access to them for when I'm designing. I also did a quick discharge experiment, cutting two hearts from freezer paper and ironing the surrounding freezer paper to this fabric and painting the cut out inside with a bleach pen and the other with dishwasher soap with bleach. I purchased the bleach pen at a dollar store and it did absolutely nothing. The dishwasher liquid left this lovely pink heart that will form the base of a card.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Here's the brooch I made for a friend a few weeks ago, starting with a wet felted base and adding felt, curly wool, embroidered handstitches and machine stitching. The back is green satin with a pin attached. Earlier today I carried on sorting in the studio for a brief time, and came up with a solution of how and where to store my fabrics which will require another weekend, probably, to put into place. I also popped by to the community art show where my quilt is being shown and I learned that it's been receiving alot of interest - people are stopping to really take a look instead of perusing it briefly and moving on. So that was a pleasant surprise!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Clearing Space

I've been re-organizing in my studio today, trying to make more counter space available. My dyeing supplies, paints, glues, and stencils are now in a cupboard by the sink, and my felting supplies are near it, as well. I think this will be a much more efficient arrangement. To get an empty cupboard in the first place required assessing other areas of the house and brainstorming how to make room for what was already in the cupboard, which required moving other things, etc... Inevitably, once I get this process started, there's quite awhile where everything gets much messier and appears worse, before the tide turns and the overflow begins to recede again. It's in the receding stage now, but there's still more to do.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Opening Night

We were a little late getting to the opening of the community art show that I have a piece in and I was surprised to find it so full I couldn't even get into the door. After the awards were given out I managed to squeeze through slowly, but I'll go again on another day when I can really take in the variety and savour the pieces that resonate. This photo was taken when we went back much later when the crowd had thinned but there wasn't much time left to look before the exhibit closed for the evening. I felt a bit shocked and exposed to see my art quilt hanging amongst the other art, as this is new for me to be in an art show. It seemed as though my quilt was a renegade - on the wall with the others, but also 'off the wall'.


I've signed, dated and added a sleeve to 'Follow Your Heart' and it's done! I'm so glad to finish another of the 8 or so art quilts I have on the go in various stages. This one measures about 2 feet square.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I often make combination fabric and paper cards for special occasions like the one above for my son's birthday today. I also returned to 'Follow Your Heart', completing hand stitching the binding, doing stitch in the ditch, and then I noticed the central heart was a bit wrinkled and flat, so I decided to partially remove it and stuff it trapunto style, before re-sewing it back down. It looks so much more 'heart-full' now. I also noticed a few more areas in the quilted hearts that needed redoing - which I did - and I expermented on a sample with tiny multi-coloured heart stitches that my Pfaff can do, as I was considering putting them all along the binding. Somehow that seemed too stylized, so I chose to just do a single small heart which I will try to position above my signature for the dot of the letter 'i'. It probably would have been wise to write my name first and then do the heart dot over the 'i'. I seem to be one of those sewers who must do everything the hard way first!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Meeting The Wall

With the surface of the quilt I'm working on now fully covered, I feel impatient to get to heat setting everything down and sewing. But I know I can't rush things and there are areas of the quilt that tell me they need to be altered. I feel some resistance arise at the thought of redoing, looking further and working more. In fact, last night I had to leave it alone because I felt overwhelmed and the answers weren't forthcoming. However, today when I do look, I see shapes that don't point to the center focal point that need replacing and the upper right corner needs more variety of shape, while the left corner feels messy. Suddenly I can see that the tiny pieces near the center that I added to make it seem less 'wreath-like' are actually too dark a value. Since I assumed the center of the piece is 'done' I actually had fused it down already, because I don't want pieces falling off and then to not know where they were formerly placed. So this led me to something else I've been wondering about. I haven't made a fused quilt before, and I wonder if every piece actually needs to be sewn around it's edge in addition to quilting. How durable is fusing? Will it stand the test of years to come? I did some reading and found that different quilters have different approaches. Some do not sew edges and others do. I don't want to create alot of fragmented lines with sewing, but I could use invisable thread. If I just quilt, I'm sure lines of stitch will touch every piece at least once if not more, so they wouldn't fall off. I decided to test the center pieces since I want to remove them anyhow - and - with a little effort they came off nicely. So a fusible quilt would probably stay together, but can also come easily apart. Hmmm. I will continue to stay with this quilt as it's evolving and to do the best that I can to make it all it can be.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Today I attended the official opening of the Poet Laureate Legacy Artwork, created by my former husband and friend, Glenn Closson, in honour of the former poet laureate, Carla Funk. Carla's poem 'Hide and Seek' is engraved on the metal ribbons entwined in the branches of the tree sculpture. I felt inspired to see both of these artists recognized, as well as by the presence of a new piece of art in our city. Parts of the various speeches were interesting too - such as that when local poets have given readings at city council meetings, it has changed the tenor of the meeting. Carla said that in writing her poem, she thought of a person walking along the sidewalk and feeling particularly solitary and how she loves the idea of language being able to grab that person out of their lonliness. And that's the power of art - to move us and give us a gift in the doing of that.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I've added nearly all the pieces for the base of this quilt top. When I see the two blank spots, they lead my eye into the centre as though it was a spiral and although I had planned to fill these spots with dark valued fabric, I may also try a light value to see if I prefer that effect. I especially enjoy this unexpected aspect of creating - how a mistake can lead to a gift, or in this case, how stopping when I felt tired - even though my mind was urging me to just finish by placing the last pieces - allowed for me to see a different and possibly better design.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Show Entrance

Today I dropped off 'Making My Mark' to the upcoming Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria show, along with my entry form, labels, fees and artist statement. I imagine that most of the artwork will be paintings, but I did see two other fibre artists entering pieces while I was there. I'm continuing to hand stitch the binding on 'Follow Your Heart' and to add pieces to the current quilt in progress.