Monday, October 24, 2016

Welcoming Fall

Buck at Omega Park
Buck at Omega Park
This post is dedicated to fall in all of its glories.

The leaves are turning and there's lots of red this year! The nights are getting colder and the bucks are checking out the ladies. This is one of the bucks my sister-in-law, niece and I saw at the Omega Park near Ottawa a couple of weeks ago. We didn't approach some of the bucks, but this big guy was more hungry than protective :-)

Fall door hanging
Fall door hanging

As you may know, I have hangings for my front door for every season - yes, the door is protected from the elements. Here's the fall one on the door now. It's got colourful leaves, flying geese and even a basket with fall goodies. It was great for practicing my free motion quilting (FMQ).

Here is Fall Tree, one of my landscape art quilts featuring a close-up of a tree with changing leaves. This project was a class taken with Elaine Quehl. I finished the quilt last fall after spending a month looking at the way leaves change colours.
Fall Tree wall hanging
Fall Tree by the burning bush
One of my first paper pieced project was Patches, the Pumpkin Patch Protector. He is one of my favourite wall quilts. This is a free project from Martingale, designed by Jaynette Huff. It's much larger than I expected and looks great in the front hallway. Patches comes out each fall, at the same time as my fall door hanging.

Patches the Pumpkin Patch Protector wall quilt
Patches the Pumpkin Patch Protector

This last quilt is a new one to my blog. Years ago I gave my friend Sonya all of my Halloween decorations. She sent me this picture while she was decorating her house last week. This is one of the first quilts I made - Halloween Night from the Sept/Oct 2005 magazine of Fran's & Porter's Love of Quilting. It's machine appliquéd and hand-quilted. It was made before I learned to FMQ.

Halloween Night wall quilt
Halloween Night
What I learned:

  • I was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of one of my earliest wall hangings. I didn't realise that I made this so long ago.
  • Although orange is not my colour, I do love fall colours - they are so rich.

I hope that you'll have a great fall. They're calling for wet snow (aka slush) tomorrow morning, but it usually doesn't stick around before Halloween. Once November begins though - anything is possible!

I am linking this post to the following linky parties. Please check out what's happening: MOP Monday, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Oh Scrap!, Fabric Tuesday, Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Free Motion Mavericks, Needle and Thread Thursday, and Off the Wall Friday

Monday, October 17, 2016

Whimsical Landscape - Oregon Mountain

Wold Quilting Travel Adventure
with JoJo Hall
I'm on a World Quilting Travel Adventure with  JoJo Hall. The fun started in September. We will be visiting a different place every month and then making a souvenir from that destination based on  JoJo's design.

Our first destination was Oregon, where  JoJo lives. She posted a whole bunch of interesting facts about Oregon. Then, if we registered for a passport, we received a pattern of Mount Hood with the lake in front of it. It's a really beauty.

Here's a picture of  JoJo's quilt.

Jojo Hall's quilt of Oregon.
 JoJo's original pattern was very large, so I made it my usual landscape art quilt size, about 8" x 12". This size was much more manageable since I was in the middle of working on my Art with Fabric blog hop quilt.

I really wanted to have fun with this project, so I started digging into my scrap bag for something to play with. I found the black fabric with yellow polka dots and knew that it would give the project a whimsical feel.
Picking fun fabrics from my scrap bag
Picking fun fabrics from my scrap bag
I didn't love the fabrics, but I knew that I wanted to do some serious embellishing, which meant that a lot of the fabric wouldn't really show that much.
Sparkling tulle over the mountain top
Sparkling tulle over the mountain top

I wanted to add something to make the snow cap stand out a little. I added sparkling tulle over the white fabric and then back stitched with white embroidery floss to attach it. The easiest way to do this is to use a larger piece of tulle, stitch it in place and then cut the excess. 

Next I added embellishment to the fields at the bottom of the mountain (no lake in my landscape). I really like adding embellishment, and since I was going for whimsical, I went all out. I embroidered using all types of chunky wool. When the wool was too heavy to embroider, I just couched it.

Adding embellishment
Adding embellishment 
I also covered some of the flower fabric that I really didn't like with tulle to mute it. Do you recognize the row of daisies? I've had that in my sewing supplies since I was probably 12 years old! My girlfriend had some when she was younger too!

I finished by adding a few beads and buttons to the project. I even found a small airplane to add in the sky!

Whimsical Landscape - Souvenir of Oregon
Whimsical Landscape - Souvenir of Oregon
I had a great time making this souvenir from Oregon. I didn't follow JoJo's pattern very much. One day when I have the time and energy, I'd like to make one more like her's. It really is beautiful.

What I learned:

  • I was so keen to get this blog up that I forgot about What I learned! That's the first time - I think it was also a result of being tired and (gasp!) too much quilting :-)
  • I really need to get more of these types of playful quilts done. It seems that when they are small and done for fun, then I not only have fun, but I learn and am not afraid of making mistakes because ultimately it doesn't matter. That is very liberating!
Join JoJo Hall on a World Quilting Travel Adventure. The destination for October is Hawaii, Our souvenir is very nice - check it out. Hopefully I'll be making something fairly soon. JoJo also featured my quilt on her post! How cool is that???!

I'll be linking this post to some linky parties. Check out what others are up to! Oh Scrap! MOP Monday, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Fabric Tuesday, Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle and Thread Thursday, and Off the Wall Friday

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Art with Fabric - Stained-glass window

Art with Fabric blog hop
Welcome to the Art with Fabric blog hop. My art quilt is based on the stained-glass windows of Gaudì's Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, Spain.

The windows within the Sagrada Familia are a beautiful progression of colours from blue, green and yellow, to orange, red and purple. My piece is a depiction of the colours found in these windows.

Stained-glass windows
of the Sagrada Familia

The stained-glass windows were created by Joan Vila-Grau based on architect Antoni Gaudi's plans. The shapes of the glass pieces are a mixture of curves and lines. Since Gaudi's designs were greatly influenced by elements in nature, I created my stained-glass to represent parts of nature based on the colours used.
Stained-glass of the Sagrada Familia
My interpretation of the stained-glass window of the Sagrada Familia
White depicting the clear
textured glass
The straight lines and green of trees
The straight lines and green of trees
The first row of the stained-glass represents the white light of the Creator. In the Sagrada Familia, the windows of the upper portion of the transept are made of clear textured glass that shimmer onto the vaults. In the art quilt, I used white-on-white fabric that I thread sketched based on their designs.

The second row begins with purple that links it to the last row of the window. The blue that follows represents the sky and rain. These shapes are more circular than the green shapes at the end of the row. These have straighter, more angular lines that depict the forests and majestic trees.
The yellow of the sun

I used all kinds of thread sketching designs, and tried to use the same design on all of the pieces of the same colour. This was sometimes difficult to do since some fabrics were only slightly different and I wasn't always able to match them.

Continuation of green
in the third row
The third row continues with blue flowing from the second row; goes to yellow in the middle; and then continues with the green from the second row. The shapes continue to represent elements such as curves and long vertical pieces of blue for rain; a sun and diamonds of yellow and more angular trees in green.

In the fourth row, the blue turns to green and then transitions to yellow and orange. In the yellow and orange section, I have tried to depict the setting sun - circular for the sun with rays streaming down. The bright orange and yellow of this section stand out in the window.
Yellow and orange of the setting sun
Brown, red and purple of the
earth and rocks

The fifth and last row represent the grasses in green, as well as the earth and rocks ranging from brown, red to purple. The purple also links the beginning of the window to the end.

What I learned:
  • This was by far the most ambitious and difficult piece I've worked on. Unfortunately, I don't think that I was quite ready for it.
  • As much as I love the picture of the stained-glass window, the real project was not a success. It's not easy to admit that I made a lot of mistakes - but after my initial disappointment I have to say that I learned a lot and will hopefully be wiser for it.
 What went wrong?
  • I used the freezer paper to cut each piece and then sewed them together using raw edge
    Raw edge applique and freezer paper
    Raw edge applique and freezer paper
    applique. This technique requires a level of sewing precision that I don't have, and am not particularly striving for. I had briefly considered adjusting the pattern to foundation paper piecing. I'm sorry that I didn't do this. It would have changed the pattern somewhat, but since it was mine to make up, I'm sure it would have been fine. It would have taken a lot longer to create but would have resulted in precise piecing, easily covered with "lead cane" or ribbon. It would also have eliminated the need for a bonding agent (see next point).
  • Using Heat and Bond light behind the glass pieces was necessary, as I discovered while piecing the first row. I also didn't cover the full piece with the bonding agent. If I had free motion quilted (FMQ) each piece instead of thread sketching them, they might have turned out better. But since I didn't, many of the pieces came out lumpy.
  • After completing the lead cane with ribbon, I made the sides based on the design around some of the windows in the Sagrada Familia. The fabric I used was too dark and took away from the focus of the window. If the stained-glass window had worked out, the background could have been fixed. But since there is no way to fix the window, it's not worth the effort to change the background.

Although it was a tough piece to work on, I am very happy with my design of the colours and shapes of the stained-glass window. I'm not sure that I will ever come back to this piece, but I might be able to pull it off if I used foundation paper piecing. That could be an interesting challenge, especially if it didn't involve a deadline! Thanks for taking this learning journey with me. You can read the whole adventure in the following posts:
On the very bright side, I now have an amazing collection of solids and silk thread. There's got to be a few wonderful projects resulting from these!

Don't forget to see the creations of the other participating art quilters. See the entire schedule here.

Thank you Alida for organizing this wonderful blog hop. Next time I'm going to try to be a little less ambitious!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Blog hop almost here

Art with Fabric blog hop button
Art with Fabric blog hop
It's almost that time already! Fibre artists from around the globe will show their creations based on art, architecture, books or music. If last spring was an indicator, it's going to be awesome. What a treat to see everyone's creations.

The Art with Fabric bog hop is almost here - and I'm sort of, almost ready. I will definitely have something to post, it just might not be the absolute final version. There are ways of creating an art piece that will be presentable but that will then have a second section added to it shortly after. At least that's my working theory. We'll see if I can pull it off :-)

I have been working as hard as I can on this, and if I had a super power, I would still choose the ability to stop and restart time. Imagine what I could do in that pause! But, since I haven't acquired that particular power yet, here's what I've been doing without adding pauses.

When I left that wonderful quilting retreat where I worked between 8 and 10 hours a day, except for Sunday, the picture below shows what I had accomplished. I had finished rows one to four of the stained glass window. I'm very happy to say that, to date, it's come out better than I expected.

Rows 1 to 4 of the window

Getting the pattern ready for row 5

I resumed work on the window a few days after my retreat. This was the first (and last time I hope), that I've had to rest after a retreat. I followed the same process at home and it went well.
Final row has been attached and is ready to be sewn

After finishing the final row, it was time for the free motion quilting, which technically was more paint sketching, since there was no batting and therefor no quilting involved.

That's what I did last weekend. I wanted each piece with the same colour to have the same pattern. This was the most challenging part because some of the colours are almost, but not quite, identical. I really enjoyed the thread sketching and finding different patterns to stitch.

I took the picture below to see what my window would look like if it wasn't quilted and had light coming through it. It just might be worth making something like this in the future.
Light coming through the thread sketched window
The window is now pieced. Here's what's next:

  • Add panels to the sides and top of the window;
  • Quilt; and
  • Add the lead cane (ribbon) between each piece of glass!!! 

For the side panels, I've consulted my photos, countless images on the web as well as the book below, The Colours of Light, that I bought at the Sagrada Familia the last time I was there. Although Gaudi designed the church and left specific instructions for the work to take place after his death, the master behind creating the stained glass windows is Joan Vila Grau. If you want to learn more, this link will take you to an interview with Joan Vila Grau about his work.

The Colours of Light
Now you know my plans for this weekend (which is Thanksgiving in Canada).

Finishing these tasks should result in the first part of my project. I'm afraid that you'll have to come back to see the results of both Part 1 and 2.

What I've learned:

  • Sometimes there are not enough hours in a day to get everything done. That's when we have to be flexible and come up with plan B (or C, or D, etc.)
  • I went shopping last night for the lead cane (aka ribbon) for my window. I am hoping that I found the perfect ribbon, that I will be able to machine stitch it onto the quilt and that it will look great. This is my favourite outcome!
  • I'll be sending poor, frazzled Alida, who is organising this blog hop, a picture as soon as I can.

My post within the Art with Fabric blog hop will be next Friday, October 14, 2016.

Please join all of the artists who will be participating in this blog hop next week. I know that they have worked hard on their creation. Let's encourage them.

I am linking this post to the following linky parties: Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Fabric Tuesday, Let's Bee Social,