Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Runner ready to machine quilt

I've been very slow to get going in the mornings because of the after effects from the medications I'm taking at night to help my itching and burning. Yes, it's still terrible at night and I don't have any answers yet. I do have a blood test next week to check a few things. Patience is key. It wears pretty thin in the evenings though.
I sat with my knitting for a while this morning-- a good quiet activity.
After lunch feeling slightly more perky,  I decided to get my runner sandwiched and ready for the machine quilting.
I quite like the colors and think it will be fun to quilt.
Even though I've been in such a fog, a funny thing happened while I was cutting out the batting and the backing for the runner. A piece of shibori printed fabric that was hanging on my side wall happened to catch my eye. It's been there for a while, but today something about it beckoned and I decided to go with it.
Right now it's just an idea. In my head I pictured a larger tree with lots of shadows, colors and textures in the foreground, so I started cutting pieces of fabric which have been fused to webbing. At this point they're just laying there unfused while I consider it and add more pieces.
I'm connecting to The Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cutting and piecing gentle curves

Some of you may have noticed that I have not been blogging as much of late as I usually do. So I thought I'd write a short post today about one of my favourite methods for cutting and piecing gentle curves.
I'm using the second piece of my fabric sprayed fern and Queen Anne's Lace for another table runner. The plan is to add gently curved strips to each side of the central print to the desired length
This is a method I learned many years ago at a workshop and one which I've since seen in books and on the net.
The first step is to overlap the two pieces of fabric about an inch. As you can see below I've already cut a gentle curve using my straight ruler to hold the fabric down as I go. You can simply turn a bit as you go along. This keeps the fabric from bunching up.

Next remove the left underneath piece and the right narrow top piece.
I make matching marks every inch and a half or so on both pieces.

I then pin the two fabrics together matching the marks. Don't worry about the bits in between that seem to bulge and not quite fit together; as you sew, slowly, you can gently pull and ease the fabrics together. Occasionally I'll get a small pucker that can most easily be eased out if you unpick a small area and resew stretching a bit.

If you haven't tried it yet, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is! Just keep the curves gentle, not too steep and clip the seams every 1/2 to 3/4" before pressing.
I think it's much more interesting for some projects rather than simply adding rectangular pieces. It gives a softer more organic look.
Here it is all stitched, clipped and pressed. It's nice and flat.

As for my blogging, I may be doing a little less in the near future but I'll write when I can. I've got a couple of family things going on and a health issue. While it's not at all serious, it's totally sapping my energy and threatening my sanity! Just so you won't worry, I'm suffering from an all over itchiness which seems uncontrollable by any anti-histamines, creams or soaks. So far the only thing that helps are relaxants. They help me get more comfortable in the evening when it's worse and help me sleep but then I seem to stay perpetually drowsy the next day.
I've had similar things in the past for which we never found the cause but this time it's far worse.
I'm hoping to see the doctor this week, ( another storm is forecast for that day) for some further suggestions. Perhaps I've got some kind of in balance or vitamin lack. Time will tell.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Velvet bag

I really have no idea what got into me making this little bag. It just came to me while I was playing around with the diamond stamp. It seemed that a little bag of blue velvet would go very nicely with the diamond trim.

I had a free afternoon after my tutoring was cancelled so I sat down at my machine and finished it up.
It didn't turn out too badly even though I didn't use a pattern for the construction. I'm great at free form arty things but not so great at figuring out how things go together.
The next photo gives you an idea of the size, perfect for a night out or a special dinner when you might only want your phone and some small items. Not likely something I'd be doing but I'm sure I'll find someone to pass it onto.

I used a magnetic closure for the first time. I really love them on a bag but don't really love adding them. As they say, one learns by doing and next time I would use a larger magnet. With the layers of velvet and the lining in between, it's not as strong as I'd like it to be.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Home making, another Gelli print

It seemed like my cold was going to pass without getting too serious but a commenter did warn me about how it hangs on. The sore throat has finally abated, only to be replaced by sinus pain. I've been prone to infections so I could have one. My prescription to myself is to drink lots, rest some and get outside in the wonderful sun for a small bit of exercise and fresh air. I'm a big believer in getting outdoors and it's a wonderfully mild sunny day today. I plan to shave a little more off our huge snow banks at the front and on my deck. Spring is in the air despite us being still buried under a mountain of snow and I'm looking forward to getting more lines of clothes hung out.
Often, in the mornings, I'm slow to get going due to my Addison's I think and this morning was one of those when it was so. Having sinus through the night didn't help. It usually takes me an hour or two to get going , clear the fog, and shake off some mild depression. As I get doing my chores and into my day it goes away. This morning, a documentary about a health care and a paraplegics story really kicked me in the pants. I resolved to be thankful for all that I have.
I got moving and mixed up a batch of oat bran banana muffins, adding coconut, sunflower seeds, ground cranberries and a handful of dark chocolate chips.

I'm drinking green tea as I write this but I'm holding off until lunch time for the muffin. Oh, the battle of the bulge!
Yesterday, I went to our guild UFO taking some hand work and my lunch. A roomful of happy, chatty stitchers never fails to cheer me up and give me peace.
My friend Carmel brought another one of the Gelli prints that I helped her with which she had stitched up. I am really enjoying her enthusiasm and her creativity.

She's added bits of trim, stitching, buttons and beads.

It encourages me to work up the energy to give a workshop. Creative energy is so contagious and inspiring. Teaching is very rewarding.
So, bear with me as I take some time to get my health back. When my daughter comes back from her little trip, we will be busy with apartment hunting and the stress of all that. My creative time may suffer a bit but that is life isn't it?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lest you might think that I've deserted my blog, I popped in for a quick visit with not much to show. Since my last post, I've unpacked and re packed boxes with my daughter and come down with a cold. She had planned to leave yesterday for a trip to the states but had to rebook until this morning due to the huge storm we got.
I've just plopped down on the sofa with tea, the I Pad and my book. Just look at that snowdrift on my back deck!

We got about 40 cm with wind. There is nowhere left to shovel it.

At least the sun is shining today. I managed a frustrating half hour getting my machine set up with the variegated rayon thread. Satisfied that it's going to work for the stippling on my little bag, I left it on the machine for another day.

As for the rest of this afternoon, I'm going to sip tea, read and nurse my cold. I'm thinking about looking for my tomato seeds to get them started next week. Surely winter will be over soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Visiting with my daughter

I haven't been doing too much sewing with my daughter here. On Sunday, we cooked a dinner and took it out to her grandparents to enjoy with them. The rest of the weekend was so beautiful that I spent quite a bit of it outside.
Yesterday, I started working on a little shoulder bag incorporating the stamped Bali fabric with some blue velvet with added screen printing. These are screens I had made from my own designs.

That's as far as I got. Today Caley and I were going through boxes which have been stored here for the  3 1/2 years while she's been in Korea. We repacked for her upcoming year at university, left some things to keep here, and then we took some things to the second hand store.
Tomorrow she is packing for a two week trip to North Carolina, Georgia and Washington where she is going to a wedding for a couple who she met and was friends with in Seoul. Of course we've a big storm scheduled for the morning of her flight,so I have a feeling she'll be delayed by a day or so. At least the wedding is at the end.
My friend Carmelle, who did some Gelli printing with me last week came over to show me her finished piece and I took some pictures. She's a beginner at this but you sure wouldn't think so!
Even though the lighting is not great, I'll include a detail. She did both machine stitching and hand stitching.
I've recently been reading about photographing one's work and I"m going to look into ordering the proper light bulbs. As you can see, mine seems to cause a yellowness even though it is supposed to be a daylight bulb.
I'm linking to The Needle and Thread Network.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Treats from Japan

My daughter arrived home safely last night from Korea. I sure feel for the people and families of the Malaysian flight that was lost yesterday.
She brought me a little treat from her stopover in Tokyo. Green tea and green tea Kit Kats. They are delicious! Why can't we get those here? Apparently they come in other interesting favours too like dark chocolate, chilli and rum raisin.

Friday, March 7, 2014


I have a little project in mind and I carved a simple diamond pattern into rubber stamp block. It was a very quick 5 minute carve. In between groceries, errands and lunch today, I took the time to test it out on a scrap of Bali fabric.

I will probably brush on a little more paint to deepen the color. The plan eventually is to incorporate the pieces into a little shoulder bag but first I must draw up a pattern and finish up my latest project.
My daughter, who has been in S Korea for 3 1/2, years is currently in flight on her way home. One more stop and one more flight later tonight. We're looking forward to a short visit before she heads out to North Carolina for a wedding and then home once again in two weeks. We'll then be looking for lodging in PEI where she's going for a year to attend university.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Shanties finished!

I've just finished the hand stitching on the binding of the Shanties II and I'm happy to say that it is sold.
I have really enjoyed doing these and would like to do more. I need to get out for more photos before they're taken away for another year.
While it was frigidly and unseasonably cold early this morning, it is sunny and quite nice this afternoon. I was out for my lap swim this morning, met a friend for lunch, and after a couple of errands, I came home to my sewing studio.
It won't be too long before the lilacs will be blooming outside my window. Even now, the dried blooms from last year are quite beautiful with the sun on them. As we head into spring, it reminds me of what is soon to come.
I know I have to be patient! This is the view of my yard that I look at while I'm sewing. iIis going to take a while before it's all melted. Last year we had a family of chickadees in the larger birdhouse.
And currently still on my sewing table is a little Christmas project that I'm doing for a submission.
When it is done, I will have once again reached the point where I must think about what I would like to do next.
I'm linking to The Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Winter will not loosen her grip; when I awoke this morning, the radio announcer said that it was -23C up here in northern NB! It's just as well that I don't have a car today. I'm staying inside! I did my housework and even opted out of my usual walk as it is also windy.
The upside is that I got to spend a bit more time in the sewing studio. I got the Shanties done, all but stitching the binding on which I hope to do tomorrow.

At the same time I'm working on a little Christmas project. It's a weird time of year, I know, but it'll give me a head start on some gifts for next year.
I used Inktense pencils and Paintsticks. I'm quilting with Sulky Holloshimmers.
I'm looking forward to Friday this week. My daughter is coming home from S Korea to go to university for her BEd. She got into a new 1 year compressed program at the University of PEI and will start in May. This is good for us since most of my family is there. We've already had some generous offers of help with furniture for her apartment. My mother has a cottage there too so I foresee a bit more visiting this summer.
Happy Monday!