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Archive for July 2008

What inspires you? Do you think about what inspires you? Or does it just sort of happen.

I was in the grocery store the other day picking up a few things, when of course I had to walk by the magazine rack. I looked, and saw one I was interested in, then saw a “bundle”. The Australian Quilting magazine back-issues are often bundled together for a savings on the magazines. You never know what they will be. This time I found a bundle which included Australian Patchwork Quilting Vol 14 No 11 and Australian Country Threads Annual Vol 7 No 6. I was thumbing through the Country Threads, and didn’t get past page 14.

Inspiration leads from one thing to another.

Australian Country Threads Annual Vol 7 No 6

This photograph invoked a childhood memory. Of something I made when I was 9 or 10 years old.
I stare at this image for quite sometime, wondering if I could do it? No…. I don’t want to make this quilt, although it is very cute, it is not something I would do, but… what if…
A quick dash into the house… oh, I forgot, I was perusing the magazine on my porch enjoying the late afternoon sun. I find the item… sorry, can’t tell you what it is yet, don’t you just love suspense? *grin* Where was I… oh yeah, okay dash into the house… after a quick search find the item. Hmm… I am thinking a quick sketch would be required… who knows how much longer this item will hold together, it is over 30 years old… *gasp* IT IS OVER 30 YEARS OLD! I grab some paper out of the printer… why is it when you need something you can’t find it… hmm… while searching for my pencil crayons, I found my Crayola Box of Crayons the 96 pack! Oh yeah… I have the big box! Oh… the pencil crayons (another big box), are not here, they are up in storage, that’s okay… I have my Crayolas *grin*. I noticed my sketchbook. I had asked DH a few weeks back to pick me one up, while he was in town. I found a greeting card that was mouth or foot painted, and I thought it would make a nice wall-hanging… some day, but I didn’t have a place for the card, and I didn’t want to lose it. So the sketchbook came in handy to sketch the design from the item.
Sorry… you will have to wait a little longer. After I took a photo of the quilt above, Tazzie jumped up onto the ironing board. Well, I had to take a photo of her too, as I hadn’t moved the magazine yet. Those of you who were wondering… yes, she is still very much a fixture in my quilt’n room.
Do you remember Artex? These were metal tubes which held paint that you could paint fabric and other surfaces with. When I was a child, my Mom was very big into Artex. Once in awhile, my sister and I were permitted to paint things. Even back then, I wasn’t always happy following some one else’s pattern *grin*. I created my own. I still have an item I made. My grandmother had embroidered/cross-stitched my name onto a pillow case. Without further ado, here is the item.
It is a picture of a house, with the light shining from the window. As a 10 year old (approximate), I didn’t know anything about perspective, so the end of the house and the side are full view. I think this was my “perfect” home when I was a child… the home I wanted as an adult. I just realized… I’m almost there… no my house isn’t a bright blue, and I don’t have a pond… but I do have a creek, and I can see mountains in the distance. We have conifer evergreens, as opposed to the trees depicted on the pillow case. *grin*
I have decided I would like to recreate this image using fabric, and I was inspired by that project in the magazine. It’s on my to do list. *grin*.
Yesterday I made some blackberry jam. I haven’t made jam in over 10 years, so this was quite the undertaking. My friend and I were out yesterday and picked a full ice cream bucket of blackberries. Roughly a gallon or four litres. I was able to make seven 500 ml (one pint) jars. I was so energized by the process… I told DH, last night I wanted to make more… not that night… but again soon. After getting the jam done, I started supper. While waiting for the barbecue to heat up, I noticed a visitor in the back yard. I grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos. As long as she stays in the backyard, I’m okay with her… but she better not head into the front and eat my roses… again.
Some of the other happenings in the last week or so… My youngest daughter wanted to finish up the quilt we started at our Guilds Wimpy-All-Nighter Mystery Quilt. We finished the top. Now to wait until Mom has some batting and a backing for it.
A friend gave my daughter the black with the neon colours and the green animal print. The remainder black and white fabrics and the border fabrics are from my stash.
Before we added the borders… all I could see was the black print. She chose well for the border colours. The design is much more obvious. She is following in her Mom’s footsteps, making changes to suit her. Instead of the typical small, medium, large border, she went with a medium small large. I think it works for this quilt.
At this guild workshop, I surprised my daughter with a little surprise birthday party. A number of the guild members put a basket together for her, of charm squares, fat quarters and a few other bits and pieces.
About a week after we completed the quilt top, she wanted to use her charm squares and fat quarters to make something. We had picked up a book for children at our Guild’s silent auction, and she found a project she wanted to make. A pencil case. She didn’t want to try her hand at hand-sewing, so we adapted the pattern to machine piece it. She used a piece of her fabric for the outside, and raided Mom’s stash for the inside. The next day, she was so pumped… another project had to be done.
Again, she’s following in her Mom’s footsteps. She looked at the book bag pattern, and wanted to use her 4½” charm squares. She read the pattern and realized she didn’t have any fabric that met the size requirements. With a little help from Mom… she designed her book bag.

We took a black & white to see the values.
We decided to add a gusset to the sides and bottom, to give the bag more flexibility in use. She stitched all the squares together. Mom did the cutting, pressing and quilting.
Here is the photo we took of the pencil case, book bag and the book which inspired the designs.
Have you considered what inspires you? Do you document it? Do you write down ideas to try and/or do at a later time. I was reading a photography magazine waiting in an office the other day, and one of the things it said, was you don’t have to travel to exotic locales to take great photos… just venture into your back yard, and take a different look at how you see things. The rain drops on a leaf, instead of the leaf. I would like to challenge you to look at things around your home, yard, neighbourhood, and see if it inspires you. Be sure to take a camera and a sketchbook. Write down everything that comes to mind. You’ll be surprised at where it leads you!
Good inspirations to you!

Have you ever wondered what was outside the box?  You know… when someone suggests to you, to leave your comfort zone, and step outside the box, or even think outside the box, to try something new.

According to Wikipedia:  Thinking outside the box is to think differently, unconventionally, from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking.  This is sometimes called a process of lateral thought.

Some of us are very adept at “thinking outside the box” in quilting, and some are not.   That’s okay.

Thinking outside the box.

Thinking outside the box.

What has this to do with me? with quilting?

I have ventured into another venue… well actually three.    Does that make any sense.   Maybe I’ll try this angle.   I have been working on a small project and I used three techniques I have not used before.

First a little background.   In 2007 our Quilt Guild held a Silent Auction – everyone brought something they didn’t want/need etc.   The committee bundled some items together, and laid them all out with “auction” slips.   The buyers (guild members) wandered around the tables looking at all the goodies, and placed bids on things they were interested in.  Some items were very hot, and the bidding quite intense.   At the end, all slips were gathered, items paid for, and the members oooohed and ahhhed over their new treasures.   One treasure I bought was a packet of various fabrics with a few panels.   One of these panels was of three perch.  What am I going to do with this Perch Panel?   A gift for my father-in-law.  And so it sat, while my quilt room went through its renovations.

I got in a rut working on a quilt, and needed something else to work on for awhile, and the fish panel let me know it was its turn.   I originally was just going to quilt around the fish, add some borders, and that would be it.  Well….. that is NOT what happened.    I looked at it, and looked at it.   Hmmm… I could do some close background quilting using the pebble/bubble motif.   Ooooh… I have some beads (not really ready to start beading embellishing, but I’ve been getting some beads for the day when I’m ready.)… hmmm… maybe I could use some beads to make a lure and hook, then have a fishing line.   Oooh…

So beading I went.  Note to self.   LESSON #1 – Square up the panel/block before beading… hard to lay down rulers on top of beads to get a square cut.    I asked Hubby if I could see a couple of his lures… he’d been fishing with his dad recently, I knew his tackle box would be handy.   Hmmm… okay the bead idea will work for the lures…  ooh… hooks… he doesn’t use the tri-hooks, so I asked if I could have one, and if he could cut the hooks off the shank.  Nope.  So he gave me three older hooks to use.

I poked the hook tip into the fabric, so it looked like the fish had been hooked.  Then beaded the lure on.  Then used some crystal seed beads to represent the fishing line.  Ohh… this looks cool.    Hmmm… maybe a LESSON #2 – Do all quilting before adding bead embellishments… hard to quilt close to the beads… Pop!  Oops… seed beads don’t like to be hit by the sewing machine needle.

Borders.   Hmmm… I decided to use a green, as all three fish had some green in them… but the piece I had was not enough.  What to do… .well there is some yellow… grabbed a scrap (or two), of some yellow/gold fabric, and made some cornerstones.   Put the borders on… hey… I think I’m onto something.

Quilting.  This was so much fun.  I decided to use a high loft polyester batting, I wanted puffy fish.  I stitched around each of the fish.  Then I used a variegated darkblue/blue/white thread for the bubbles/pebbles for the background.  Wow… those fish really popped out.   This is starting to look very cool, if I do say so myself.

Now how to quilt the borders.   “Ah-Ha” moment.  I’ll add some fishing rods, and Shauna suggested having words on it… so Gone Fishing was added to the bottom border.

Top, left and right borders had fishing rods added.   Now how am I going to do this.  I know… remember the “Ah-Ha” moment… I’ll thread paint them.  I used a variegated dark brown/brown/cream thread, this would represent wood… and old wooden fishing rod. I should point out… that I have never thread painted before.  It was soooo much FUN!!!!  LESSON #3 Do thread painting before sandwiching/quilting, otherwise everything gets sucked into the threadpainted area.  In my case the borders are now very very very wonky.  What to do about a reel?

BUTTONS…. I have jars of buttons.  I’ll use them.  After choosing between black and gray I chose to go with brown.  They fit better.

I then used Sharon Schamber’s Binding method (as seen through my Quilting Video page).  I decided I didn’t want to hand stitch the binding, after all, this is a wall-hanging.  So I chose a green/yellow/blue variegated thread to stitch down the binding, using one of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine.

And here is the finished project, with the three new things I tried:  beading embellishment, thread painting, and background quilting.

Thanks for sharing my leap into things unknown.   I challenge you to “think outside the box” on one of your next projects.  Or make a small project to try something new.   You could always give it away *grin*, or make it into a pot holder or something.

Try your hand at bead embellishing, or thread painting, or add some dimension to a quilt by using some close background quilting.  You’ll be amazed at the results.

It truly amazes me, how small our world is, and how we can find connections in the strangest of places.

Last month I ordered four books from an online bookstore.  One of the books was “The Quilter’s Catalog – A Comprehensive Resource Guide”, by Meg Cox.   I hadn’t heard of this book prior to my ordering it, but it seems it is everywhere now.    Mark Lipinksi mentioned it in one the editions of his magazine Quilter’s Home. Not sure if I missed the edition, or I didn’t read the article, but I missed his review.

I received an e-newsletter today, and there was a blurb about Meg Cox and the book.  It mentioned that she is beginning her research on a sequel, and is asking quilters to fill out a ten-question survey.  You don’t have to have read her book.   She wants to know how you feel about quilting.  Be as brief as you want, or as wordy.

Here is your opportunity to say how you feel about quilting, and perhaps it may end up in her book.

I was taken aback at one of her questions… how many quilts have you made.   I had to take some time to think about it… in fact, I made a list.   In two years I have made 30 quilted projects – from pot holders, to table runners, from wall-hangings to bed size quilts.    I don’t have a lot of UFO’s, but I’m glad she didn’t ask about those!    If I add the works started and in various stages of completion… I could easily add 10 more.

Hmmm… I need to get back to organizing my quilt’n room, and get to work on some of these projects.

Feel free to leave me a comment on how you feel about quilting… passions, memorable moments, frustrations, satisfaction… whatever.  And if you are visiting, and you are not a quilter, tell me what you like about the quilts you have seen.

Being a Canadian means a lot to me. I am proud of my heritage. Our country is relatively young compared to others. Young at 141 years.

I find today that I remember those who have past before me. And I reflect on our members of the Canadian Forces, those that are currently on deployment, and even those who remain on our soil. And I think of the families, friends, anyone associated with the fallen. I am proud of all of them. I am proud to be Canadian. I can only imagine, and I can’t even do that all that well, what they have gone through.

I will be attending our local ceremony to celebrate today.

While wandering about on the internet, I found one project by Canadian Quilters – The Canadian Comfort and Remembrance Project. I had heard of this through my guild, but I had not been to the website. This website is truly touching. The personal stories of the quilt recipients truly touched my heart. But what really moved me, was the list of the Canadian Forces members who have been killed in the line of duty. To hear the reports that a member is the 76th member killed… is one thing. But to see this list, with a photo of the quilt cannot be described accurately in words. It is finding things like this, that make me proud to be a Canadian. Canadian Quilters gather to make the blocks and put the blocks together to make these quilts. It makes me proud to be a quilter among them.

There are many ways to celebrate our Nation. There are many symbols that we see as being truly Canadian. I found a site… 101 Things Canadians Should Know About Canada It began as a survey, and then developed into something a little bit more. According to the organizers they were surprised at what items made the list, and what didn’t.

If you are a Canadian, I hope you enjoy today, in what ever manner you choose! And I hope that you take a moment to reflect on those members of the Canadian Forces who have been killed on duty, who are not able to share today with us!

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July 2008
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