Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Free motion quilting

I have been struggling with free-motion quilting the borders around a cq piece I made. I am not happy with the results and have already ripped out stitches twice. Thankfully, the fabric is forgiving and doesn't show needle marks.

I have been trying to do the fmq free-hand and it just doesn't work for me. I'm finally at a point where the top and bottom stitches are OK and stitch length OK but the pattern isn't.

I will give it one more try, using a pattern I print onto tissue paper which I will attach to the fabric. Either it works or it doesn't. I will not rip out stitches again (on this piece...)

Note to self: take a course in fmq and stop complaining.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Visuals from my last post

These are the two projects I finished from my UFO's which I wrote about in my previous post.

This morning I finished the hanging sleeve on Sari's Auf Simchas and I will give it to Alissa when we visit there later today.

Yesterday afternoon we had a call from Mintzy. Steven (Stephen?) was supposed to come into town yesterday but couldn't. She had made too much food -- would we like to come for dinner? Never being one to turn down a free meal, we said yes and had a lovely evening. Mintzy's cousins, Silka and Al, were there and we laughed a lot. This is a good thing. We didn't get home until 10:30. Not terribly late by general standards, but I'm usually in bed by 8... And this was my third late night in a row.
Busy day today. I am off to my studio to decide which project to pick up next.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Time flies

So, I finished the four brothers. I did simple straight quilting in lines around the perimeter of the centre piece. I did the felt applique several years ago. Since then, I have changed the way I do things. If I had done it more recently, it would have had a different background, been more creatively embellished. However, it turned out quite nicely.

I also finished off a crazy quilt block. This block is one which I should have abandonned after piecing. I wasn't happy with the colour combination. Then I wasn't overly happy with the embellishments because the colour combination limited the colours I could use to get a good contrast. I chose for the border a very colourful print which instead of setting off the centre makes the piece look like one big busy mess. But did I know when I had had enough and quit? No, I soldiered on to the bitter end. I free-motion quilted the borders and as much as I adjusted, the bottom stitches are not even and look awful, but they'll face the wall, right? I sewed on a binding from a fabric which was too thick. And I haven't quite got the binding business under control so there are place where the binding is wider than others.
I shall hang this piece in my studio as a reminder how not to do stuff and as incentive to do better!! BUT I did finish it.

Then I picked up my stalled challah cover. I strip-pieced it ages ago because I thought I would use it for my Pomegranate Guild project. I have had it sandwiched and ready to quilt for quite a while. I wanted to free motion quilt it but chickened out after the first row of stitches which I promptly ripped out. This week, I decided to try out my sewing machine's double needle. The top stitches looked great, the bottom, chalushes, so again I ripped. I think I will try again this weekend. Not sure yet how but I do want to finish it.

Is it obvious that I'm trying to finish my UFO's? Another few weeks and I'll be able to start in on new projects.

I was at the Toronto Art Show at the Metro Convention Centre last night. I saw some interesting fabric related work and other work which inspired me. I took home lots of cards but am not sure I remember which is which... I am writing down their info so that if I ever want to refer to it, I don't have to pull out a gazillion cards.

One artist does landscape painting with fabric snippets. From afar, it actually looks like an oil painting. Only when you get up close do you see the details of tiny pieces of fabric. I think it was Diane Stewart

Adrianna Steele-Card uses a combination of fabric, fibres and home-made recycled papers to create whimsical collages. And she lives not far from Perth so I said I may drop in on her this summer.

Alice Vander Vennen does interesting collages with fabric, metal, found objects, etc.

Nahid Mrandi does sculpted figures of silk on painted backgrounds.

Stephanie Ford Forrester does all hand sewn applique. I was impressed by her even stitches but I don't think they were the size "required" by hand quilters. Still, lots of colour and interesting design.

Of course, most of the art wasn't fabric art but afforded lots of ideas about colour and design. In fact, I saw a work in mosaic glass tiles that I am thinking about adapting into a quilted wall hanging.

And stuff which there's no way (I think) I could adapt into my work but still unusual and inspiring such as aluminum bas-relief , paper collage , painting with wonderful colour and imagery and this one which I'm not sure her media but I liked the colours, shapes and forms

So that's what I did this week. This evening, we are going to dinner at Boujadi, our favourite Moroccan restaurant, with Joanne. Tomorrow, I'm not sure. I'd like to get over to Yunkie and Mindy's to give Jeremy his birthday present and speak to Alanna about a tallit if she still wants one. Sunday, we have an engagement open house for my friend, Nira's daughter and then we're meeting Alissa and Mel for coffee, either at their place or out somewhere if Mel is feeling up to it. And Sunday night there's classic Israeli folk dancing and I may just join Menachem.
And of course, a little stitching over the weekend never hurts.

Til the next time.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

More stuff done

So, I put the pieces of my second robe quilt together. I haven't done the borders. I am going to take out Terry's instructions and follow them to the letter. If they work (and they should), then I will concede defeat, rip out the borders of the first quilt and redo them.

In the meantime, I sandwiched and free-motion quilted another cq block. Now I just have to sew on the binding. Free-motion and I are not friends. I think I need to take a course. I've practiced but it just doesn't come out right. Oh it's OK because the stitch colour is mostly hidden in the background fabric. But I'm still not totally happy.

I also am making progress on the four brothers from the Hagaddah. I sewed borders around the felt piece. I printed from the Hagaddah onto fabric (well, I actually typed in Hebrew into word, enlarged to the desired size and printed onto fabric attached to freezer papter). I am not debating how to attach the printed fabric onto the top and bottom borders and whether to quilt the piece before or after I attach the printed fabric. I tend to think quilt first, attach second.

So I'm on a roll with finishing off stuff. I still have to sew a sleeve onto Sari and David's wedding cq.
I have to sandwich and quilt the piece I made for Heschel. And I have several cq embellishing projects in holding pattern.

And since Pesach is approaching, I am trying to do my spring cleaning and re-organizing/re-arranging.

I had a birthday last week and all three of my children phoned which was very nice. I didn't do anything special to celebrate. DH was all ready to take me out to dinner but I was pooped so we ordered pizza and stayed home. I had bought myself a tooth bonding procedure earlier in the week so that's my birthday present to myself...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I wanted to make something for the Pomegranate Guild's 25th anniversary. The theme is "Threads of Identity". I also wanted to finish some UFOs. So I multi-tasked. I took an unfinished embellished felt applique piece I had made fixed a problem or two, and finished it with a quilted border.

The piece is based on a photo of my maternal grandfather and my brother at our family Pesach seder many years ago. I tried to make it even more "Pesachdik" by adding several Jewish elements: the "ke'ara" (Passover plate), a matza cover based on the one I use, which was made by my paternal grandmother, and a hagaddah with the passage "avadim hayinu" in Hebrew printed onto fabric. I also considered putting a wine stain on the tablecloth...

There is a very slight resemblance between my grandfather and my brother in the photo and the appliqued figures but I think it is more warm fuzzy memories at play.

What do you think?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Winter storm

Yesterday we had a winter storm. Well, actually it started Thursday afternoon. The drive home which usually takes 15-20 minutes took close to two hours. I get a lift to and from work from my sister and brother-in-law who live near me. We were about 2 minutes drive from my house, stopped at the lights and the traffic wasn't moving. In the end, I told them to drop me off there and turn back to their house. It took me less time to walk the rest of the way than it would have to be driven.

Friday morning at about 2 a.m., the power went off. Many trees fell in the storm and took the power lines with them. When I woke up, there was no power and it was snowing/sleeting/freezing raining/raining so we decided not to go into work. Which might have been great if the power had been on. Because when the power is off: a) no electrical appliances (kettle, microwave, toaster, tv, radio, I'm sure you get the picture) and b) the furnace doesn't work i.e. no heat and c) no sewing machine!!

Fortunately, we have a gas range so at least we could boil water for coffee and later made soup.

I do have a hand-cranked sewing machine but haven't used it for at least 30 years and was too lazy to open it, set it up, etc. So I decided to do hand sewing work. I used to do felt applique and had a piece based on a family photograph I had started but never knew how to finish it. Yesterday it came to me. I finished the hand detailing and when the power came back on at 2 p.m., I finished assembling and quilting the piece. Now I just have to sew on the binding. I will submit this piece for the Pomegranate Guild's 25th anniversary but I really haven't been keeping up so I don't know if they have all the pieces they need or are still open for more submissions.

And now off to ponder what my next project will be.

About Me

I am in my mid 50's, have been married (happily) for 38 years, have 3 adult children who live an ocean away... By day I am a legal secretary. The rest of the time I play with fabric but I still won't run with scissors...