Friday, 22 September 2017

A Knitting Gem in Perth Ontario

I slipped over to Eastern Ontario this week to give my Niece, Alison Manning, a hardy congratulations on the purchase and reopening of Unravelled, her yarn shop, in Perth Ontario.

She left an IT job in Ottawa to follow her dream (and reclaim her life and family). Thanks to an awesomely supportive husband and wonderful teen age son, her commute to "work" now takes......15 minutes??!! .......instead of 2 hours.
I had to inspect and touch all the wonderful products on display. I ended up bringing home a luscious box of Merino wool roving samples.

These will end up in my future felted offerings.
Here's a quick look at the rainbow of awesome wool. Check out her website and plan a trip!

proud mother Judy Manning

Now the pressure is on for me to FINISH my current knitting project and hurry back. New stock is coming in all the time and a lot of it is from local sources.

Visit when you can. Perth, Ontario is charming and so representative of an early Canadian town.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Snow Days - Centre Block

This went together rather slick. I did change out some single 3 inch blocks ( lighter or darker ) but I left the rest as they happened.
Random and scrappy is always interesting.

Monday, 11 September 2017

First Prize Surprise

I received a call last night from a member of our Quilt guild. We had collaborated on a piece. This was over a year ago, so I was surprised when she told me she'd entered it in a local fair.. and WON. This was the Tandem class, HER quilt and my quilting and leaf embellishment.

The photo is not the best, but I remember it was a lot of fun.

Snow Days - All the Blocks Complete

Lots of cutting and lots of breaks. The instructions were very clear as long as you remembered they were for one block. It was easy to overlook just how many of each piece or each size you needed, so I organized a system and only messed up once.

The three sizes made for a nice break and encouraged some thoughtful use of the limited materials I had selected. I found it was most efficient and relaxing to cut and assemble each size separately.
The only solid fabric I used was my walnut stained material. I used 3 different shades.

I only have a few small pieces left to embroider. The centre of the quilt is surrounded by the embroidered pieces so I can start assembling that tomorrow.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Snow Days Quilt - Starting the Blocks

The embroidery is almost complete so I started on the blocks yesterday. Unlike most quilt patterns this one is composed of many different blocks in 3 different sizes. You really can't assembly line either the cutting or sewing.
The choice of fabrics was also left open, fat quarters and some yardage in lights, mediums and darks.
I had my choices made, but hubby nixed the blue I had included with the browns and other neutrals. So this is turning out to be a rather subtle quilt.

That's attractive too!

So here's what I have finished as of today.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

BEARS ...... For BC....( well my sister, really,,,)

I've had an urgent request for " bears ".
Well .......okay.....

For what ever reasons (summer craziness?) my files seem to be in a mess. It took me awhile to find a usable picture.  Even my computer files are a bit spread out or redundant. ( I think I need a good purge here. )
I decided to go with these two today.

Trying a different method this time ( all my appropriate hoops are busy ), I layered a traced copy on washable stabilizer over a brown, over a piece of medium stabilizer. Once an outline stitch was in place. I removed the light, traced picture.

Here is the initial choice of threads, I may add more....

And away we go.
There is some drawup but not enough to worry about.

The thread colours don't really look their best until the fellow is cut out and placed on a green background.

5:30 PM

Bear #2

Monday, 4 September 2017

Labour Day 2017

Woke up a few days ago and knew that it was time to quilt the four donation quilts my friends had dropped off. I HAD been thinking about them. Yes I could just quickly meander over them but I like to put a little of myself into them, particularly this time as I had no part of assembling them at the retreat.
So each one did receive some serious though, some more than others of course...the ones I REALLY liked.

Summer is over. I guess I'm back to work.
Making Art.
Someone's got to do it!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Embroidered Blocks

I found working on these quilt blocks, one of a series of nostalgic quilts from Meg Hawkey, very relaxing. Maybe that's because I stitched them on the couch, in front of the TV every evening.

This quilt is called Snow Days.
I've most of the embroidery done and I can soon start on the blocks that they are embedded in. Some of the embroidery will climb off the light material into the pieced blocks. That was one of the charming things I liked about this pattern.

Results From the Walnut Bath

I was initially disappointed with the first two efforts of the other day, but I probably have myself to blame. I have always used the cloth straight from the bolt because......

a) I'm lazy and don't preplan enough to prewash.
b) I've convinced my self over the years that I like the mottled appearance I get from unwashed material with the manufactures sizing still present.
c) I tend to rush things.


So this last batch, I used fresh walnuts ( from my Walnut Lady... no more fighting the squirrels! LOL) and I added the material to the simmering mix and left on the heat for half an hour and then in the garage a full 24 hours.
Was there much improvement?
Not that much, but I do have an interesting range of brown. Whether things would be much different with wool or linen, I have no idea.

I don't know whether it's me, but I see a touch of pink in the light pieces.................

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Summer is Winding Down

Anyone who lives in southern Ontario knows summer is over when the CNE begins. This late summer fair has been running in the Toronto area since 1879. Impressions from visits even 50 years ago are vivid; the classic fair with the midway rides, the noise, the smell of cotton candy and fried sugar.

Once that began I knew it was time to finish those summer vacation activities, and check off things on my to-do list.

The "Jane" quilt is almost bound.
In addition, I now have 4 new donation quilts sitting on the work table to finish for our guild. Though I didn't go on our annual retreat this year, the girls carried on without me. I think they were actually more productive!

I'm almost finished knitting my sweater and am ready to start using my walnut dyed wool.

I spent a few hours today making more dye stuff from some donation walnuts and from the ones my TALL husband could pluck from the nearby trees.

I dyed two large pieces, a meter+ each. I immersed them sequentially (and I will do at least one more...tomorrow) because I wanted the tone difference in a large amount of fabric. I'm planning to use these tone on tone fabrics in the future.
I still plan to do some painting!

AND I spent 2 days ( unbelievable), hand sewing a stuffed toy. A Rabbit.

This is one of Ann Wood's Forest folk. Seems like a long time given the size of the thing. (Just big enough for baby hands. LOL) SOOOOOOOooooooo CUTE!

It's almost time to go back into the studio and back to serious work......
After I got over the guilt.......I enjoyed my lazy summer!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Binding the Quilt

For what ever reason I developed a mental block regarding the binding of this quilt. I was dismayed that I had to assemble the material for cutting the binding by hand as well as stitch it all on, by hand.
Funny little road block, seeing how much hand work had already gone into it.
So I ignored the quilt for week, (showed it off to some friends) and today I dove in.

Sometimes you just have to wait.

After refreshing my mind re the method of making continuous bias binding, I discovered I had just enough material to do this. That had been one of those unconscious worries.
The math was pretty simple so knowing I could make well over 400 inches of binding, I started stitching, cutting, marking and assembling.

After cutting large square diagonally, it was resewn to create a diamond shape. This was then sewn into a lop-sided tube and cut into a 2.5 in. strip. (There are many examples of this method on line.)

After reading a trick to control slippage with bias materials, I heavily starched and ironed the strip into binding a French binding. The quilt was marked with a cutting line. I will use this to follow with the binding a a placement guide. 

Now...... all I have to do is stitch, for a few days!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

She's Off the Frame

The Jane Stickle quilt is .....quilted.

There will be a scalloped binding but I'll take a break now and focus on some of the other things I have on the go. Binding is evening TV work.

I have a lot to say about this experience but I think I'll save it until the quilt is complete. In the mean time here it is....on the lawn. (with a few bugs)

Friday, 4 August 2017

It's August..... REALLY?

I took a break this summer.
After all the flurry in June .. .... I was exhausted, and brain dead. So I've spent the last 6 weeks or so WORKING AROUND THE HOUSE ( yes really) and re visiting a number of very different UFOs.
Both knitting and sewing.. as well as working on "JANE".

We've had a very wet summer here in Ontario, but I managed last week to strip and re-stain the deck and paint hubby's deck chair. I think it was the only warm and dry spell this summer to date.

However this is DEFINITELY the summer of MY GARDEN.

So much rain has done wonders. (Actually it's showed me how much I've been under watering.)

Here's the current view of my jungle from my dining room.

Voila... the newly "spiffed" deck

But the Crowned Queen this year is my bed of  'Chicago Apache' day lilies. They have never looked so good.

And the supporting cast is also lush and full. Enjoy.