Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Coldwater is hot stuff!

A bit of a cheesy title, I'll admit.....but also v. true!  Needless to say, I had a wonderful couple of days in teaching at the Purple Sock in Coldwater, and everyone was very warm and welcoming.  And, I am sure you will agree that their projects are pretty awesome, too.

I was so excited to see everyone using my basic methods, but coming up with finished pieces that didn't look like I made them.  They were uniquely theirs – and that is a great thing!   Nothing pleases me more than people making things their very own....from choosing their own colours, to freely modifying techniques and putting their own spin on ideas to suit, and ending up with a finished product that reflects themselves.

On Monday, people started with a fairly simple first project, creating a smaller 'gem' and turning it into a pin or necklace.  The ladies made spectacular progress and most everyone left with their jewellery finished.  I think almost everyone come to class on the second day wearing their necklace or pin they made the day before.

On Tuesday, people worked on a more complex piece....and pretty much just ran with their own ideas for filling in their frames.  It was great!  Of course there was the familiar chatter and sharing of ideas all day long.  Some of us were a bit better at focusing on the project at hand than others....but as long as everyone has fun, it's really all that matters.  Plus those with a little left do finish can accomplish that quite quickly at home. 

Watching everyone's projects come to life over the last couple of days in Coldwater has just made me more excited about the workshops to come where I can share more of my ideas on making hooked jewellery....
October 31 to November 3rd   • Hooked in the Mountains held this year in Stowe, Vermont
November 15 to 17  •  Deanne Fitzpatrick Rug Hooking Studio in Amherst, Nova Scotia

I really must recommend Lynn's shop, The Purple Sock, to anyone within easy driving distance - she has a great selection of wool, lots of project ideas, delicious teas, unique products, and such a cosy atmosphere in her shop, that you will want to stay all day.  She also blogs here about upcoming events, new products, etc.  I know that both Wendie and I enjoyed shopping there this week... ;-) Just don't arrive on a Monday or Tuesday...she's usually closed at the beginning of the week. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

new + fun things

I've been scurrying to get ready for some upcoming workshops* - first up is at the Purple Sock early next week.  So it is crunch time.  I was relieve to receive my shipment of hand-dyed pearl cotton threads today....and took more than a couple of minutes to gorge on the yummy colours.  I was beyond thrilled to discover that the little balls I bought in Vermont a couple of years ago are actually from a Canadian company, Valdani!

Also exciting was the receipt of a second parcel in today's mail - double the goodness!  I ordered some more Washi tape and other fun stuff from another Canadian company, Omiyage.  Super speedy service (ordered Saturday afternoon and it arrived today!)

It's great to have a large selection again - I used up quite a few ends of rolls in bundling yarn for my class kits.

Better get back to work – there is always more to do when it's a new class....

* here is a quick list of dates + links for classes I am teaching this Fall....

September 16+17  •  The Purple Sock in Coldwater, Ontario (possibly one opening?  there was a last-minute cancellation)
October 31 to November 3rd   • Hooked in the Mountains held this year in Stowe, Vermont
November 15 to 17  •  Deanne Fitzpatrick Rug Hooking Studio in Amherst, Nova Scotia
November 25  •  The Purple Sock in Coldwater, Ontario

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Quilt: 8 Days in May

So it's taken me a few days to get the photos snapped...but if I am being honest, I will blame it all on Mother Nature.  We've been having such damp and humid weather lately...and it seems like we finally saw the sun late this afternoon for the first time in ages – or at least since Sunday. 

As soon as I got home from work tonight, I quickly grabbed the quilt and the camera, went back outside and snapped away....carefully laying it in the grass, running up and down the stairs to snap and adjust.  Of course things are rarely so simple.   Imagine my surprise when I came inside and tried to download all of my carefully snapped photos.....and there were none!  Now I will admit that I noticed the "no memory card" flashing on the screen, but I also kept hearing the camera 'snapping' the images...and assumed that the photos were being stored on some internal memory.  Note to self (and anyone else who is a foolish as me): no memory card = no memory card.   Even if the camera sound effects are identical to when it is actually taking photos.  Even if you think it might should be working.  Even if you are just too much in a hurry to take 20 seconds to come inside and grab one.   Get. The. Card.

So what to do?  After I had inserted a SD card, I headed back out....and not wanting to repeat everything a second time, I changed locations and layouts, and here are some of the actual snaps.  I have no idea if they are better or worse than the first lot...but they are okay.  And the whole episode has had zero effect on how much I love my quilt.  Nor has it managed to put a halt to all of the fantasy quilt planning and piecing I've been indulging in for the last week...

Random Details....
  • The front was based on this tutorial (with modifications, since I didn't really have pieces fabric wide enough to begin with complete squares).  Blocks were 10" finished, so dimensions are 100" by 80" wide.
  • I made all of the wonky cross blocks and pieced the front first, before starting work on the back.  The back is totally a improv, fly-by-the-seat of my pants creation.  But it worked!  :-)
  • I had purchased 3-4 fabric bundles and three .5m pieces and a larger 2m piece (the dark grey floral paisley) of Tana Lawn right at Liberty, on my trip to London in Fall 2011.  Of all of the random pieces in the bundles I only avoided using one (waaay too white - and even though I am learning lights are my friend, this piece was 'lit from within'). 
  • Most of the bundle leftovers were used up in the gradation on the quilt back.  I have still some larger pieces of the cut yardage remaining and a few scraps of the dark grey remain (I also used it for binding the edge).  
  • When I decided that I wanted to use all Liberty, I did some research online and discovered that the most practical (and cost-effective) source was the Workroom in Toronto.  I called to inquire about their current inventory (in May - there are some truly gorgeous prints that arrived recently) and picked the cream/grey/sage Pepper for the light half of the back (which ended up being about as perfect as thought I had planned it IMHO).  Very pleasant to deal with, speedy service, and a very fair price (£22 = $36.08 at current exchange rates (UK price at Liberty store) vs. $32 (Cdn price at the Workroom).

Sunday, September 01, 2013

binding my first bed quilt

For 8 days in May, I immersed myself in the bliss of cutting, pinning, stitching, and pressing, of my lovely Liberty Tana Lawn...and when then marathon was over, I was left with a finished quilt top and a pieced back.  Granted it was a bit of an impulsive beginning (I just decided on Victoria Day weekend* that that I was going to get started, and five minutes later I had my rotary cutter in hand), but I came to the realization that I was probably never going to love those fabrics any more than I did right then and there.  I'd been crushing on them for as long as I'd been back from my trip to England (2 years ago this month).  And while I didn't see that love fading any time soon, I realized that I didn't want to risk waiting until it had before I started using them.  Because sometime that happens - you use up all of your love for something in the imagining, the dreaming, the playing in your mind.....and when it's all said and done, nothing can live up to all of that imagined potential.   And that is never good!  Especially when you really $plurge -- and I think few would argue that making an entire quilt out of Liberty Tana Lawn is anything short of insanity a major $plurge.

For the last three months, my quilt has been sitting and waiting at the long-arm lady's to be quilted (machine quilting is not in my repertoire), and I was excited to finally go and pick it up a few days ago.  My first reaction was "I can't believe how light and airy it is....", which is because of the fabric itself and also the silk batting I chose (why stop $plurging at that point!?!?). 

I still had the binding left to finish, and I carefully pinned it in place and sewed it onto the front with my machine, yesterday.  Now, I am a novice quilter....and while I have sewn lots of binding onto hotpads, etc., recently, I have never had to bind something so large as a bed quilt, so I was more than a little nervous to begin. 

When I picked up my quilt, Sue had trimmed away the excess batting and backing about 1/4" from the edge of the quilt top.  I was curious about whether or not I should do further trimming before I attached my binding, and she recommended that I did not - the excess will help fill and firm the edge.  I was a bit skeptical at first, but decided to heed her advice.  I lined up the edge of my binding (2 1/2", folded in half) with the edge of the quilt top and pinned in place.  When I started sewing, I initially used a 1/4" seam allowance.  After I sewed several inches, I removed the pins and wrapped the binding around to the backside.  What I discovered was that the edge wasn't quite as full as I was expecting – or desiring.  So I quickly switched feet on my machine and changed the seam allowance to be a bit more generous, and re-sewed the same section over again.  A quick flip later, I was much happier with the results. 

Because I know that this is something I will be doing infrequently (and thus easily forgetting), I took a quick picture to remind myself of what I did – and which foot I used for the job.  And, posting it here on the blog just means that I will be able to find it more easily in the future!  :-)

I've hand-sewn about 2/3 of the binding onto the backside of the quilt so far.....and when I am finished, I will take some proper snaps to share.   I can already say that the promises of silk being as warm as down appear to be true – having the quilt on my lap while I was stitching quickly had me turning on the A/C!  ;-)

*I don't know what it is about Victoria Day weekend, but just realized that this is also the weekend I started working on Jumbo three years ago.....!?!?!