Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thread Painting, book review

The sun has been scarce this month in our part of the world, today included, but at least its not snowing so I won't complain.  But I sure am looking forward to the spring sun!

I spend two days this week driving to Charlottetown to take a needle painting course from Kathy Tidswell.  She is a lovely woman and a great teacher!  She has obviously perfected her skills over  many years and it shows.  She passed along her knowledge of sewing machines, thread, needles, fabric, fabric dyeing and everything in between.   When Kathy thread paints, she makes it look so easy and simple and creates amazing pieces of art.  Learning to control the hand movements and the fabric takes alot of practice.  You can see from Kathy's web page what is achievable; just click on her name above.  

On a different note, I received a fair number of books recently.  One set of purchases was made through Texere Yarns in the U.K..  I will admit that the only thing with Texere is that there are shipping fees and they aren't cheap if mailing from the U.K. to Canada but I found at the time of ordering, they were the only place that I could order some very hard to get books by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn.  I could not find them anywhere in North America.

And I guess the second note is, the books do not appear to be originals but reprints. This is the link to Jan and Jean's website, Double Trouble, which I found recently and you can check out their descriptions of each book and the cost of the books.  In their book descriptions, they note that the books have 28 pages so perhaps they are originals?  I might order one to see what I get.

I was very much pleased with the reprint though.  I bought a book from Amazon about a year ago that was a reprint and it was a bit too saturated and the photographs were not very clear or well copied.  These books from Texere were excellent!   

Jan Beaney and/or Jean Littlejohn, printed a series of books a number of years ago on fibre art. I purchased 7 of their books.  Book #1, "Vanishing Act", by Jan Beaney, is about Machine Embroidery on soluble Fabrics and various ways it can be used in your fabric art.

Book #3, "Bonding and Beyond", by Jan and Jean discusses what can be achieved using various bonding techniques.

#4, "Transfer to Transform", by Jan and Jean using transfer paints and other methods of 'painting' fabrics.

#7, "Trees as a Theme", by Jan and Jean, which is basically all about trees.  How to make the bark, the trunk, the leaves, the lichens, etc. using fabrics, threads and similar items.  And I sure love trees!

#16, "Over the Line", is 'couching rediscovered', by Jan and Jean.  The cover of this book is wonderful with its photograph of texture, but the cover is so quiet compared to the inside which is full of colour and drama and movement.

#20, "Embellish & Enrich" by Jan and Jean.  The photographs in this book took my breath away in their beauty and how clearly they captured the textures and colours of nature.  My favorite photograph of all the books is in this book, of bright yellow gold lichens created out of threads and machine embroidered tiny little circles. 

And finally, #23, "Fragile Fabrics" by Jan and Jean, covers the use of fabrics that are "dainty, delicate, fine or flimsy but can also suggest weakness and frailty". 

The books aren't very big, usually about 24 pages but contain alot of information.  They are NOT  a step by step procedural book, but show how through the manipulation of fabric, threads, and a multitude of various aids and methods, the most magnificent art can be created.  There is just enough information to get you motivated, inspired and want to try them out on your own.  They may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I will count these books as my most treasured and will certainly be ordering more in this series of books.

Well, to end I will add two photos I took last September of a spiders web after a rain. 

 Happy creating!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quilted Symphony finished, bookmarks, store hopping

The blog people changed the format for blogs a short while ago and I just can't seem to find a format I am comfortable with, or that doesn't take forever to open up.  Hence, the different look whenever you drop by for a visit.

Quilted Symphony is now complete.

I enjoyed this project very much.  It is from the book "Quilted Symphony" by Gloria Loughman.  

The book was well laid out and had many photographs of inspirational quilts.  The book teaches various steps in making wall hangings or quilts using paper piecing, invisible thread applique by sewing machine, using tear away stabilizer, by demonstrating all those things, and more, and then providing exercises to enforce what you have learned.  With what you learned, you should be able to come up with your OWN wallhanging designs and patterns and I do believe I can make my own patterns now! I admit I had to refer to the early parts of the book many times during the process of putting this quilt together, only because there was so much that was new to me.  I considered myself not too much better than a beginner quilter when I started this little wallhanging but feel like I have learned much.  I enjoyed this book so much, I had to get her new book, "Radiant Landscapes"

The new book takes you beyond just having one colour and one piece of fabric for your background, but adding depth and movement and a touch of abstractness to the background and the quilt.  You can see it in the photo on the books from cover.  It also has some exercises to help you along.  It has really spurred on my imagination. I sure do love my books!!  (Did I mention I got about 6 or 7 or 8 more books that I haven't mentioned yet?)

So, what have I been up to besides working on Quilted Symphony?  Two small things first.  Our "needle arts" guild decided to make bookmarks for the local library's children's summer reading program.  I am way behind, so have worked to get two done.  The stitching is almost finished.  I just have to apply "steam-a-seam" to some cotton and then iron it to the back of the bookmarks to finish them off.  This is what they look like so far.

I have also been working on a quilt that I hate to admit I started about 4 years ago.  The quilt is from the Summer 2009 Issue of this magazine:

 And this is a photo of the quilt I am making from the magazine and NOT my completed quilt.  I chose it because it looked super easy to make, and it is.

 This is my pile of blocks.

 You take large square blocks, and I think they were about 8 inches square, and then sew two blocks together following these stepsFirst, you draw a diagonal line through the centre of the block from one corner to the other, then sew 1/4 inch on both sides of this line. Cut between the two sewing lines and you have two, two colour blocks.  You can find photos at Delaware Quilt Supports on this process.  Now, put two block together again, doing the same thing, butting the seams together from the two blocks, running a line diagonally across one block, sewing a quarter inch seam on either side of this line and then cut along the line, and you end up with what I have above, one block with 4 triangles, all different colours.   

That triangular pile along the bottom of the above photo still has to be ironed open and then I am ready to start sewing all the blocks together to make my quilt.  It has taken many hours to get to this point.  But it is another UFO I am taking off my list of things to do.

Not related to the quilt I am making, but I'm sure you've all seen the following site, but just in case you haven't, "The Quilter's Cache" is one of the best places for block patterns.  It is totally awesome!!

Going in a different direction now, a week or so ago, some friends and I made a trip off the Island to go to Moncton, New Brunswick to visit some of our favourite shops.  

First stop had to be London Wul for me.  If you have never been, you have to stop by.  It is every bit as wonderful inside as it looks on its web site and you can check out their website by clicking on their name above.  Heidi, from London Wul is so incredibly talented and knowledgeable and inspirational and a lovely person to talk to.  These are some of the treasures that I came home with from her store.

 Included above, is all sorts of wool for felting, a Kaffe Fasset bundle of fabric, and this lovely little bundle (pictured below) that fascinated me to no end.  I have no idea where and how I am going to use it, but I get all excited each time I look at it.  There is a lovely hand dyed strip of autumn coloured wool and with a dyed "wool lock" on top

Our next stop, after a coffee and a treat, was a lovely little needlework shop, Because You Count.  All I can do is give you the yellow pages link as they don't have a web page.  They have all kinds of patterns, fabric, floss and silksThey have tons of inspiring completed framed stitching on the wall which is wonderful as many times, the picture on the outside of a pattern just doesn't do justice to the real stitching piece so it really does help to see the finished pieces.  A really great shop!  And my treasures from there:
 I need more stitching patterns like I need ANOTHER hole in the head but I couldn't resist these two.  One is The Serenity Prayer by My Big Toe and the other, With the Needle by Lila's Studio.  It is found almost near the bottom of the link if you click on the pattern name.  "With the Needle" asks for Belfast Linen, Smokey White and the shop didn't have that colour but had Vintage Belfast, Stormy Clouds that looks wonderful!  You can see in the photo above the bit of grey sprinkled through the fabric.  The floss colours look so bright against it and I can't wait to get it started!

 Next it was "The Fabric Cupboard" for our quilt thrills!   Drats!!  I see on their web site they have thermal thimbles for close up ironing and I must have missed them when we were there!  The thermal thimbles are way down at the bottom of their website and sure would come in handy when ironing quilt borders or bindings!
And what treats did I get there?
 I am a batikaholic so always adding to my stash.  I am not sure how I feel about red work, but there was the cutest little wallhanging with some redwork in it that I decided to try.  Also, I bought a pattern to do some placemats, "Take Four", the blue and beige ones you see above.  It is a really neat pattern because you take 4 different fat quarters, pile them up on top of each other, and then cut all the pieces you see above, through all 4 fabrics AT ONCE.  You then switch up the fabrics to give you the 4 different designs.  I confess I haven't taken it out of the package yet, but I am sure that is what it is.  

A lovely leisurely early supper at Montana's, some shopping at Costco (neither of which can be found on our Island), and then we went home with the trunk of the car full, and we were tired but happy.  It was a wonderful day with some lovely friends, with lots of laughs and conversation.

Totally off topic but I was looking in my fat quarter cupboard and came across this piece of fabric.  WOW!  I don't remember buying it but I am dying to use it somehow!  I folded it up a bit to take the photo.

 My imagination is working overtime on this one!

I will finish this off with some photos taken from the Confederation Bridge.  In the winter, the Bridge is the only way to get onto, or off of the Island (other than by plane).  In the summer, there is a ferry you can take at the eastern part of the Island. The Bridge is 12.9 km or 8 miles long and at its highest point, it is about 180 feet above the water, the Northumberland Strait.  Each time we LEAVE the Island, it costs us $44.50 Cdn for a regular car or truck to cross the bridge. Getting on the Island is free.   
The Bridge goes across to the Province of New Brunswick.
 This next photo is of ice accumulating along the shore near the bridge.
 I know the ice above looks like nothing, but if you look at the right sunny edge of that centre piece of ice, it looks to be perhaps a foot or two thick but it is at least 6 feet thick and that is only the part sticking out of the water!
Some sunset photos, with the bridge overhead:
 And finally, the end...