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Thursday, 22 December 2011


I'm between projects which always makes me uneasy. It means I have to begin something new and I always procrastinate. I've tried to figure out why I do that because there is no lack of ideas floating in my head or projects I need to get done. I've decided it is because I'm afraid I'll fail. Aren't we all afraid of that in one way or another? My Landscape Quilt is not finished but the major work is done which is the pieceing of the quilt top that took me 6 months to complete. As I observe it hanging from my design wall, I know it needs some life. What is a Spring garden without robins, butterflies and a toad? So I fashioned a couple of robins and a toad out of fabric scraps and will applique them onto the quilt top once I have decided where to place them. I am leaving the thread painting and quilting and applique until the new year when I can attack it with a clear mind.
Another project idea for the new year will be to finally produce some artwork for my daughter and her husband. It's going to be a piece that will remind them of God's faithfulness to them while they have lived and worked far from family and close friends. Because they have lived in BC, Ontario and now PEI, I want to bring images of all those places into it. I completed a sketch which will now give me a jumping off point. When I'm procrastinating, the best thing to do is just make some marks on paper knowing that this is just the beginning; not the final product and much can still change. The sketch below still needs a section with something from Marcel's hometown of Smithville, Ontario and I have commissioned Amy to get me some photos of places and structures that are meaningful to him.
In the meantime, during this in-between project stage, I will try to do some sketching which, when I am busy on projects, I don't take the time for. Sketches are the basis of much of my work and a good exercise to keep up observation and drawing skills. They also often are the inspiration for a new project.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Landscape Quilt 7

The pieceing is complete. Now the Spring Landscape Quilt will hang from my design wall while I determine how to enhance it with thread painting, applique, embellishments and quilting. As I look at the pieced top of the quilt, I can see areas that need more detail and perhaps I'll add butterflies and birds and bugs to make it come alive.
If this photo was right side up, you could better see how it compares to the original watercolour at the right. It is similar in design but more vibrant and interesting in colour and value. The next steps will be to add to the quilt top the details it needs and then add a quilt batting and backing fabric to the back. Then quilting the whole thing and finishing it off with binding the top and sides and sewing a sleeve to the back for hanging.

PS. If anyone knows how to flip photos in this blog, could you let me know?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Landscape Quilt 6

The pieceing for my Spring Landscape Quilt is almost done. In the meantime, I thought I'd post some of the other textile art that I've completed.

This gloriosa daisy was made with various fabric that was used in my niece's wedding along with some thread painting and embellished with glass beading. It was given to my niece.

This iris was made primarily with self-hand dyed fabrics and also embellished with glass beading.

This is the winter landscape quilt in the series of the seasons
that I am currently working on.

This is the fall landscape quilt in that series.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Georgian Bay Landscape Painting

Well, I dug out my acrylics and started painting again, by request. I have to admit, I quite like it. I am, however, working on several things at once and that can lead to small mishaps. Today I was working on both my Landscape Quilt and my painting at the same time. I started out painting and then when I hit a roadblock, I turned to my quilt. A totally different activity. As I worked on the quilt, I would observe the painting and try to work out some of the colours and values. Suddenly, I would feel that I needed to change something on the painting and with fabric in hand I picked up my paint brush and added the detail the painting needed and without even thinking cleaned the paint brush off on the quilt fabric I was holding. Not good. Other times, I've often dipped my paint brush into my coffee cup if it was standing too close to my water bucket. These are little things that make me chuckle at my passion for art.
Well, back to the painting. I chose to do a landscape from the Georgian Bay area with its colourful rocks, expressive skies, cool water and dark moody trees. First of all I had to decide if this painting was going to be about rocks, sky or trees. So I did a couple of sketches to determine that. In the end, I decided to make it about the rocks with a little of the other stuff to compliment them. Below are the sketches and a couple of detail photos. It's nearing completion but it's not quite there yet. I'll have to set it aside to observe for a while and eventually it will let me know what it needs.

The top left sketch is about the trees, the top right is
about the rocks, and the bottom is about the sky.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Landscape Quilt 5

I'm making headway on my Spring Landscape Quilt. It seems odd to be planning a Spring quilt in the Fall, however, the early planning will ensure that it will be ready to hang in the Spring. I have completed the bottom and one side and now am working on the top section. You will see more variety in colours and textures as I work on bringing bushes and other spring flowers to life. The top of the quilt is quite dark and I'm hoping it will set off the red and pink tulips I have placed there. Another thing I have to think of as I'm working is changing my thread colour with the changes in fabric colours. In piecing I use either white or black thread and so when I move from light coloured fabrics to dark fabrics I change my thread to black so the thread will not be evident in the finished product. If I am piecing a light fabric to a dark fabric, I'll use white thread and if it is visible in the finished quilt, I'll just use a dark marker and colour the offending parts.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Mini quilts

Sometimes I am inspired by wine.....ok, not really the wine but the wine labels. I have found some really interesting wine bottle labels that I have soaked off the bottles and used to create mini quilts. These quilts are 4 X 6 inches in size and I send them as greeting cards to friends and family. That way they can receive a piece of original art from me. Along with the wine label, I embellish the quilt with beads, found objects and something called thread painting which I do with my sewing machine. Below are some examples of these mini quilts.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Landscape Quilt 4

The bottom section of the Landscape Quilt has been pieced. It is the section with the irises and two poppies have also made it into this section. As I work on the quilt I am deciding how to quilt it when the time comes in order to enhance certain elements. I may decide to quilt around the irises so they "pop" out of the foliage surrounding them. I have also used machine embroidery on earlier quilts as well as sewn on embellishments such as beads, shells, small stones, sequins etc. to add a little interest or eye-catching "bling".

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Landscape Quilt 3

I work on my Spring Landscape Quilt as often as I can, however, completing a section is a slow process. Often pieces have to be taken apart and redone because sections do not match properly. If you have a blade of grass that is made up of different pieces of fabric they have to line up or it doesn't resemble a blade of grass anymore. I have completed the lower left section of the quilt which is the section with purple irises. It is pictured below. I get a real thrill when the colours change and I can piece together a new flower. In the photo you can see part of a poppy that I completed in this section.

Here are some fabric pieces that have been cut in various
shapes and colours. You can see that some are miniscule.

One of the problems I run into is that as I am cutting fabric I wonder if there will be enough of that fabric to finish the quilt with. If I find that I am running out of a certain colour of fabric, I will run to the fabric store with a swatch and try to match it to something else that I can use to finish the quilt. 

Here you can see all those small pieces sewn together.

This is the lower left section of the quilt. You can already see
what appear to be irises and lots of foliage. At the top is part
of what will be a poppy which are also dispersed around the
quilt design.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Inspired by Prince Edward Island, Canada

 Travelling is another thing that inspires me. To see the variety and uniqueness of God's world is something that makes me want to put pencil or brush to paper. On my recent trip to PEI, I completed a few sketches that I'll share with you.

Brackley Beach Lighthouse

Sometimes just a lawn chair inspires me. This accompanies an entry in my travel journal.

Watercolour sketch of PEI fields

The Landscape Quilt 2 - The Piecing has begun!

"Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the East, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed."  Genesis 2:8

Matthew Henry states: "The place appointed for Adam's residence was a garden; not an ivory house nor a palace overlaid with gold, but a garden, furnished and adorned by nature, not by art. The heaven was the roof of Adam's house, and never was any roof so curiously ceiled and painted. The earth was his floor, and never was any floor so richly inlaid. The shadow of the trees was his retirement; under them were his dining-rooms, his lodging-rooms, and never were any rooms so finely hung as these. The contrivance and furniture of this garden were the immediate work of God's wisdom and power. The Lord God planted this garden. No delights can be agreeable nor satisfying to a soul but those that God Himself has provided and appointed for it; not true paradise, but of God's planting."

The Spring garden is a long awaited delight for those of us living in Canada. Our senses are gladdened by the fresh greens of new growth, the rich darkness of the wet soil and the bounteous array of yellows, purples and reds of the Spring flowers. This is what inspired my Spring garden quilt. The passage above tells us that God planted the first garden and He planted it for man's sustenance and enjoyment. Awesome!

The planning stage of my landscape quilt is done and today I began to piece the materials together with my sewing machine. The freezer paper which I laid over my enlarged drawing and on which I plotted by design will now be cut according to shape and colour. Once a section of freezer paper has been cut, I select a piece of fabric according to the code written on the pattern. The freezer paper is ironed on to the fabric and then I carefully cut out the shape again adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance. When I have repeated that action for all the pieces in the section I begin to sew the pieces together following a numbering system so that I sew them in the correct order. This is where my love of puzzles comes in. I have just taken apart a section and now am sewing it back together again. Not until I have finished sewing and start to take off the freezer paper can I see the result. And then I still don't know if the quilt will work until the very end so I have to be very careful during the planning stages to make sure the colours are balanced. At the sewing stage, I have to trust my pattern and not make changes even if I feel I should because that could throw the whole thing off.

A section of plotted pattern on freezer paper

The same section sewn together.

Same section with the freezer paper removed.
 Often people ask me how long it takes to do one of these quilts and I have to admit that I don't know because I don't log my hours. While I was working on this section (pictured here), I kept track of my time and it took me 3 1/2 hours to complete.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Landscape Quilt

A few years ago, I combined my love of sewing with my love of puzzles and landscapes and created a Landscape Quilt. This is a quilt in the sense that it is created out of fabric where many small pieces are sewn together, backed with quilt batting and backing cloth and quilted. It is a landscape in the sense that it depicts a landscape just as if it was painted. My first Landscape Quilt was a Fall scene. The second became a Winter scene and now I have begun a Spring scene.

Original watercolour of Spring Garden

The process I go through to get to the end result is most gratifying to me, however, others may find it tedious and far too much work. I usually begin with a photograph I have taken and do a watercolour painting of it to determine the composition, values and colour of the finished piece. The finished Landscape Quilt will have a similar composition, however, the colours will be more intense.
From the painting, I do a tracing of the main shapes and values and then I enlarge that tracing to the size I want the quilt to be. In this case, it will be 40" x 60.5".  I then lay freezer paper over the enlarged design and start plotting how I will cut my fabric and writing colour codes on the pattern. Once the plotting is done, I can begin to cut fabric and sew it together. In my next blog, I'll describe that part of the process.

Fabric choices for the Spring Landscape Quilt

Plotted Pattern on freezer paper for Spring Landscape Quilt