Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Doubling the Triple F

What fun to have focused on my challenge, fiddled for what seemed like forever and then actually finished it! Now I have another set of Triple F's to introduce. Friends Flinging Fun!

Blogging certainly introduces one to wonderful new friends. Cheryl, the Naptime Quilter, who I've actually met, helped me start blogging and organizes the Workshop Project which has introduced me to lots of creative bloggers. Wednesday's we help one another with design dilemmas. Three Creative Studios combines the talent of 3 gals, Terri, Sue and Vicki who are super willing to share and encourage. Judi at Approachable Art plays with paper and fabric and encourages lots of experimentation. She suggested trying to rust fabric which was the basis for my challenge and a whole new way of being creative because she makes things approachable. Yvonne over at ink spillers attic invited me over for a peek as she's having a give away. She does mixed media but throws in some fun dolls and I am intrigued by dolls. Do I have time for that? I could find time if Trish over at More Notes From the Refrigerator Door gets me Flinging!

So if I fling some complexity and clutter out of my life then I'll have even more time to have fun with my friends! I'm off Thursday morning for some R & R. I'm going to spend some of my travel time thinking about all kinds of ways that I can Focus, Fiddle, Finish, Fling and have Fun with my Friends.



The Three Studios Quilt Challenge consisted of the word PUZZLE. I'm very glad I did this challenge. And a challenge it was.

Originally I thought of many different strip pieced blocks assembled with a large puzzle shape appliqued on. But it didn't seem to come together.

A friend had suggested I try rust printing on my old freezer. I did. I kept considering doing something with it. The dark shapes reminded me of a city scape. Another section reminded me of distant shrubbery. A day of fiddling and I had an intuitive piece on the wall. But was it too intuitive and could I do it? Enter major angst! As often happens with me I had committed and a deadline loomed. Just: Do it!

So I set aside my "what if's..." and just sewed things up with only a few tweaks. This is very different from anything I've ever done and I am not displeased with it.
I took photos of it on a light background and a dark background. I need a new monitor so I'm not sure which will show better. But I chose the colours based on the rusted fabric and stuck to more organic shaped fabrics that show various earthy grounds. Machine Quilting brings out the scene. My puzzle is all about why people choose to live where they live.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Last piece of the puzzle

Dare I admit to being almost one day ahead of schedule? But I have resisted the ripping out and going with the second thoughts. I did rip out some unacceptable MQing. I wasn't sure how to MQ it and I just kinda did some here, then some there and tried not to get ahead of myself. This is very much an improvisational piece and I guess I'll find out on Wednesday if it makes any sense or if it really is a puzzle. I need to square it up and bind it. That'll be for tomorrow and I shall post the finished piece sometime tomorrow. Whoa, I'll have something finished! yippee

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I think it is anyway. My Coop and Saucer Playroom is a creative mess. Coffee cup rings are all over my papers. The whiteboard is a maze of undecipherable squiggles.

Creative Cue is MORNING. Not sure why this was a brain stall. I am now a morning person thanks to my farmer. I am working on exuberant morning person. The roosters start crowing any time after midnight, the crazy mixed up fowl! Comes right in our window. No wonder there is no exuberant. I luv nice cups with hot, black java. I look out on the best prairie sunrises that come up thru the tops of a very large poplar bush. I think I over thanked!

So I started a zentangle. Then I felt remorse and put in the sun. Then I really felt bad and you will find the roosters in the rays- beaks, combs, beady eyes, feathers and feet. What can I say!

I found the off setting for flash on my camera. oh happy day. If a computer makes the brain hurt then I have serious cramps with the camera. Now I need to find the grey scale part.

Puzzle is putting me into shapes I'm not yet fitted for. I shoulda set my rusted fabric and every time I touch it with the iron (steam), surprises spread over the surface. No, not all good at all!

I did start on the kitchen deco. It is up for renovations this year, I hope! (fingers, toes, eyes- all crossed!) It will be yellow with lots of white. I have some placemats started with 4 patch, nine patch as the impetuous. I have dug out some coordinated FQ's that have some cranberry with the yellow. I really like making placemats, probably cause they are VERY like doll quilts!

But my motto is "It's all good!". So I'm back to making all these good morning things spread around the playroom. If crowing is good for Peter Pan, it'll help this chick.

And cock a doodle doo to all of you, too!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The P word!

I've been Procrastinating over a Puzzle. I have a challenge and it is quite a bit out of the box for me. But the deadline is looming and I Promised. So today I shall Push everything else aside since I can not stall any longer not to mention I've Piddled around with all the nonessentials long enough. Ready, seddy, Plunge!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What if I decided...

NOT to put a binding on the bargello?

It shrank from very horizontal to very vertical after I sewed all the strips. It is just about all solid seams. That'll influence the MQing. :( But as I was rounding up my sheep for fence jumping last night I wondered if I could just use the 'envelope' style of finish. Then I'd not have to worry about light on top, dark on bottom and all the colour nuances up the sides. ??? I'm trying to think out of the box!
But I am also in need of a boxful of ideas.
I see my house as a sampler quilt with each room a different block and the hallways the sashing. The winter quilt(decor) has cranberry as the unifying colour and the blocks (rooms) will be all composed of squares and rectangles. I have the room fabrics pretty much picked and sometimes the cranberry is the smallest accent. But I need some more ideas for blocks. I have rail fence and log cabin completed. Not all will be big quilts. I'm all for place mats and table toppers as well.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Before you run off...

... don't forget to fill the tool box!

Our Common Threads Art Group met again last night. Another group of 4 ladies who sell their art came for show and tell. Whoa! They raised the bar considerably.

A VERY new quilter expressed her feelings of inadequacy, and probably ours as well! But one lady made a comment that reminded me of my own focus. "But you have to fill your tool box."

So I dusted off my fanny, stood up and consulted my notes on the basics of design. You cannot do any job without the knowledge, the tools and then the experiences. As a group and as individuals we are new to the job. Some have experience in related fields: painters, sewers, embroiderers, etc. and a lot of us have read and drooled and accumulated the practical tools which are still in their original packaging. We need to put it all together and begin to begin. And we aren't going to look like any other group and while we may influence one another, we aren't going to be copies of one another.

So much as I wanted to yell to c'mon back next week and we'll really show you what we can do...

No; we'll continue with the basics. We'll fill our tool box with the basics of what will make what we envision achievable. And probably more importantly, we'll work on being comfortable enough to be ourselves as we take what we learn and make it our own.

So as I look down a week that is already running ahead of me I'll straighten my tool box, consult the work orders and build on what I already know and courageously confront, what if...

Monday, February 15, 2010

textured out!

Tonight is the last night for texture, I hope. We'll have another page sized challenge with tactile texture as the theme and as I forgot to take a photo of the visual challenge I'll post both when I have the second completed. I think I'll be revisiting the 3D aspect of texture when I pursue free motion embroidery.

I have been torn. I fuss over the lack of push and shove room when I MQ on my domestic machine. I figured if I sold my extra machine I could buy a sewing machine expressly for MQing. I gathered up all the accessories for my 1630 Bernina. It has 9 mm capabilities and some neat stitching features including some large motifs. As I reviewed the items I remembered why I had the machine. I also dug out my free motion embroidery books from the dusty ends of the library shelves. ooh, I'm not sure I can do this. Isn't there a proverb about moving in haste and repenting at leisure. I need to think about this some more. The trouble is: I want it all!

But here is my very tactile Victorian Crazy. It is maybe 15 years old. A wall hanging challenge with about 4 fabrics that required hand quilting. I don't do that very well. So I figured a crazy would solve my problem. Ha! I had no idea about the hand stitching, the cost of charms, silk ribbon, and beads! It amazes ME and ALL my family that I actually did this. I did try silk ribbon by machine and punctured my finger! I also used every stitch on my sewing machine.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Texture in the home

The first time I added a black accessory to my home I went WOW! It was so different from everything else but it also made everything else look better. I began to be an appreciator of contrast and not just in colour. The black metal so shone against all my wood and fibre. Now I look for those textures, metal, glass, stone or cement/plaster. Instead of pictures on every wall I look for different things to add to the walls. I found a wooden shape I think was meant to be one of a pair over a doorway. It had lost its mate, the price was right and standing on its end it so adds to the mix of everything I have. None know it was a slightly blemished cast away that had lost its mate. That is being creative! What if... I re purposed it?

Now, with the big pellet stove I need to be careful with the black. I will be looking for painted furniture now to add more colour in the wood surfaces and of course, quilts and fibre art.

This scrap quilt is another older lap quilt. I picked a scrap pallet from the plaid and large floral border. I was more into country and I wanted to practice feathers in the border. The rail fence was strips in light to dark progressions but the blocks were just randomly placed and straight line quilted on the diagonal.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Texture two

The smooth surface of the solids and the hills and shadows from the quilting on the whole cloth quilts. The light bouncing of the smooth shiny satin keeps us bemused and enchanted as we reach out to stroke the surface. Texture doesn't stand alone.

There has to be the interplay of design elements. I am particularly thinking about contrast. I tend towards a preference for low contrast but puffy quilted feathers on florals is texture on texture that is so low contrast as to be negligible as far as impact goes. But I'm also not quite ready for Sashiko! It is a learning curve.

This Magic Tiles quilt, made a good number of years ago, is all about texture. It is also about MQing. I controlled the fabrics with a colour palette of browns and greys. I relied on texture to make the fabrics stand out but still be relatively low in contrast. Then to push my machine quilting skills I determined to do each little patch with a different free motion design. My skills were developing so I wanted them to hide in all the texture as I practiced.

Now I am experimenting with a new medium. The Technique of the Month TOM over at Three Creative Studios is about painting quilt batting. I have 3 examples. The first and second is too smooth; just done with wide foam brush strokes. I want more texture. The third is a dabbed surface and I like it much better. Now to finish them up I am thinking contrast. I'll add texture to the relatively smooth surface with some Shapes. Then the 3rd is already textured so I'm thinking I'll add some of the first design element Line. This is starting to get kinda exciting as I place parameters around my projects so I can focus and have the freedom to fiddle within the boundaries.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I'm kind of an all in or all out person. When I began to think about journals, altered books, fibre art, and embellishing with beads I leaped high in the air and came down a little more spinney than usual. I folded up my sewing cabinet and shoved it into a corner. I flapped open my big tall craft table and bought all kinds of supplies and books. My ladies craft night never really got going and then I began to wonder if I could really do all this. So I turned to the yard and began to harass poor plants and defenseless trees. Winter has covered the dead bodies but there is a finger that crooks in my direction from the playroom. Come!!! I still want to do it all. I try to keep 2 square feet clear on the table and just stack stuff higher. I am piecing. MQing: not so easy. Focus also means reality. Craft table is nice but not usable because of the piles. MQing doesn't work for anything bigger than a place mat. I gave away my ironing board and the cabinet top is too small. What can I give up? Actually, it turns out, very little; a few cubbyholes for 'stuff'.
Back from the basement comes my counter. It replaces the the 2 square feet and hopefully more. I put the old ironing cabinet under it. well it actually holds up the counter. I flapped out the sewing cabinet, a little crowded getting up from the chair but not unduly so. Actually it even works better with my big cutting mat on one end although it requires a bit more bending. The small bookshelf gives more support to the end where I lean to cut. It stores magazines. The small table will fit under the edge. I really like piecing on that end. The craft table is all folded small but is a perfect ironing station and right behind where I piece. It could open some but I could also roll it into the hall. I have a white microwave cabinet in the basement so I brought it up by the counter. I can roll it about and it could even move over beside the sewing cabinet to hold up bigger quilt sandwiches as I machine quilt. I'd need to shift things a foot or so for that but when I MQ I don't usually do anything else. The U-shaped walk area, maybe more H shaped because of the 2 doorways, makes the best use of the room. Crafting is great but the reality is I sew more than I craft at this point. I also think the counter is a bit further away from my sewing stuff and I am messy. I'll need to move my art supplies closer to the counter though. Anyway, I'm quite pleased. I need 2 machines up. That just works SO well. The curtains over the stash bookcases are quite handy for little design projects and the big design sheet in the hall is as handy as it can be. I have also found that too efficient is detrimental to my physical well being. I need to move about.
So it took some pondering but I did get a creative solution. Now I need dear hubby to support this counter better; I just fixed the darn computer tower and it is resting on a bread pan on a plastic rolling shelving unit. The shelf above the counter needs leveling. The power bars would be better affixed to the walls. Dare I press for a new plug for the iron??? But I think I have a Triple F happening. YAY!!!
I did get the water running up and down hill. This isn't exactly bargello as I didn't want green up in the 'sky' so that had me considering my options. 3/4 inch cut strips. What was I thinking??? I must have been fixating on the water! LOL

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RE: Texture

The intro for texture was in January. It comes up again next week, with the emphasis on the more tactileness of texture. I must be a slow learner because I'm still on the visual concept. I have been thinking about Amish Quilts. So rich in their simplicity. None of their fabrics have visual texture. ??? Ah, smooth, solid, saturated with colour; is that not a texture? The bold solid colouring often found in the larger geometric shapes offer a smooth surface (2D) on which to juxtaposition intricate quilt patterns that draw us into that 3rd dimension. Stunning!
This is an early sampler I made for Machine Quilting. It is a baby quilt. Everything is done with the walking foot and a variegated thread. I've been also thinking lots about MQing. I haven't done too much these last couple of years. Part of that was a change in my set up. To my dismay I've discovered 'use it or lose it' and I feel a bit like a beginner as I bring myself back up to speed. But this time I will make sure to keep it by frequently using it!
I used to sew with a portable and put things away when the flurry of projects was done. Sewing was then a necessity, not the joy it has become. Now I want to have things out, ready to go for those creative moments.
I am going to think about texture. I'm also going to change the course of the water in the bargello because it doesn't pass the galloping horse test. I am bothered by the defying of gravity that I can see from the saddle! I am also going to think about the set up for my sewing so I can add that third dimension to my creations.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sew much fun!

I got the backing, binding and quilt batting all organized for the table runners. If the fronts are more traditional the backs are all about improvisational. I can't believe I used to just put solid backings on at one time. Those were lost opportunities for personal expression.

Another page by page is in the works. I'm still working with almost no colour. I'm exploring texture thru fabrics but I'll be adding some quilting texture with some straight lines.
I decided the bargello would be a good project to end the day on. I wish it could be wider but that is all the gradated fabric I had. I didn't waste a sliver. I think I'll start sewing them together with the skinnies and see if I can get some wider strips included. The darn blue is wrongly oriented so I need to sleep on, 'what if I changed them to a horizontal flow?'.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some Sunday

Well, I do feel like I have a fire under me. No projects finished and 3 started but I still feel the Triple F plan of Focus, Fiddle and Finish is working for me. The 3 runners fit into the deco plan and certainly were part of the piecing focus for the week. I am working on the backings and bindings tonight. This week I am going to Focus on the texture class with the local quilters. This will also involve my puzzle challenge. During pauses I may get the runners MQed. I am kinda feeling very creative with the piecing aspect of quilting. I have thoughts for the next few rooms that aren't too involved and would be nice warm ups for MQing.

I also got the Creative Cue which was ODD away on time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

So far so good!

First the black strip on top of Wind and Water. Sometimes just seeing it in the blog myself helps make a decision.

Rechecking the focus for the dining room caused me to see that the first runner with the bali sashing will be perfect. The square runner would not be as usable as another rectangle so the 9 +1 blocks with no sashing will be for the bottom shelf of the hutch. That'll be great but the middle shelf looked very bare so I quick whipped up 5 more blocks from odds and ends which I did the same but only different. lol I added a vibrant bali. I'm not sure if it needs a strip around the whole outside before binding. The shelf has a plate slot so I can't go too wide.

The floor is fir and the red in it and the camera flash has tinged the blocks way too much. It has also dawned on me I haven't made the backs. I was going to use those leftovers. So top of the list next week is backings and the MQing. But I am thinking I may need to focus on the texture workshop and the TOM. Tonight I have to post my Creative Cue. I upped things a notch by doing watered down acrylics instead of watercolour crayons. I am such a chicken! I could have used a mad scientist or two in my family tree. 8^)

Friday, February 5, 2010

I've got it!

I put away the fabric for the Puzzle Challenge. It works better in another idea/project. The rust dyed fabric has began to 'speak' to me. What if... Now that produced MUCH angst as I worked out what I was seeing and feeling! I hope it'll work.

Then I laid out a new setting for Wind and Water. But I omitted the top strips.

During an eye to eye contact conversation last night my eye strayed (oops) to the wip and I thought, "definitely needs more up top". Back to serious conversation. 8^)

But this morning as I swivel about and survey my domain I thought, ALL the strips!

hmm, maybe the black on top?

Cranberry blocks- 25 of them. Should I make more? ( fiddle) What is their purpose? (focus) Back to the original vision. okay, cease and desist. (finish) 15 for a runner 9 for a place mat 1 for the back of one

TGIF So great to have a week that shows Triple F can work! I'm impressed!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

focus, fiddle, FINISH

Not the whole project, but I did finish right up to the current block. This mayn't seem like much but I am very prone to doing all but the last step so doing all the blocks while I had everything out was so good.

Block two leaves some of my drafting skills suspect but I'll leave it stand for now and review it when I put them together. I redid enough of the pieces to start a good pile for my 'parts department'!

Block five is so cool. I really liked some of the examples that were posted. I considered red and navy instead of the green. It would have been great but I needed to have some more green happening.

Now to continue with the piecing plan. I'm thinking the Puzzle challenge with breaks for cranberry blocks when the brain stalls!
I'll also be rearranging the Wind and Water wip as I got a few what if's to consider.
hum, hum, hummmm

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I think I've found the real ME. Jane Sassaman fabric and then vibrant colour but with subtle patterning. These blocks are for the BOM at Three Creative Studios. I joined late. These are BOM 1 and 3. Two is cut out and 5 is due.
The fussy cutting is a pain. One green was too light so I used my handy dandy green water colour crayon to darken it. The dark green is dark but not as bad as this photo shows. I'm not sure I'd be up to bleaching.

These blocks are exciting to me. I'm sure I'm going to need help to come up with something special for a setting. I started this with what if... I did something out of my comfort zone, so I can't wimp out on the setting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pieces of ...

This what if has been languishing.
I kinda think of it as Wind and Water. I want to add some 3-D leaves that should feel like leaves floating down and coming to rest on the water's surface. I'd also like to add some beads to the stepped bottom.

In my search for better I did find some more fabric for 3-d leaves for this wall hanging so I can have more than 3. I also found a strip of turquoise that might work better than the green. I have been dragging my heels because I didn't like the satin stitch to join the little quilt sandwiches. But I can join them with a less obtrusive stitch. So here they are in a bit of a different layout, one green, one turquoise. If you take a chunk out of one corner how do you balance or compensate for the missing part? Once I get this together I'll consider more embellishing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Summing up and starting off!

I really felt like I stuck to the plan last week. I seldom do that so yahoo, hi 5, YES, and yippee, ETC. Good thing I'm not counting stash as I added 2 more metres, oops forgot the FQ bundle. 8^) I took in a Bernina Club class and for goodness sakes, they have an attachment that cuts out applique shapes. It is for cutwork but it works for applique.
I didn't actually finish anything and I am working on the new cranberry blocks which grew like Topsy!
The Focus for this week is piece work and I found some more fabric for Wind and Water, my WIP project. My daughter also has me making curtains. 8>[ But I do have the walking foot and they are sheers. vbsigh So this precipitated my forward thinking plan for next week'sfocus for machine quilting as a large work area helps to sew the sheers. I really like the set up here in the playroom, but I can't have MQing set up and my high/large craft table. So in a burst of energySunday evening I once again shoved and tugged. The reality was also that the large work table surface just collected clutter. So I'm back to my high counter and the large but low sewing cabinet. The gateleg craft table is now my ironing surface but I could easily downsize some of the sewing cabinet and stretch out the craft table. So I'm now good to go. And I didn't have to get rid of anything which was a very pleasant surprise.
Now all I need is some piece/peace and quiet!