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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I am afraid you are going to be seeing a lot of chickens here for the next little while. They seem to be a bit addictive. Here are the prototypes so far. They are in the order that I made them so I think there has been some improvement. Once I get a handle on how to make them, I will try to get a bit more of a wonky look. Wonky is surprisingly quite a lot more difficult to do than straight. Next I need to make some looking the other way. The one I am in the middle of constructing is looking back over her shoulder. Hopefully, I will post her tomorrow. I also want to make at least one rooster and some eggs.

The gray sashing fabric doesn't work at all. It's the wrong gray and just deadens all the other colors. DH's idea is no sashing at all. I may give that a try unless I happen upon the perfect sashing fabric in the next few days. Then I would just put on some sort of border to make it larger or else make a few more blocks.

Yesterday I got a flier in the mail from Fabricland, saying that cutting mats, rotary blades and rulers were 40% off. I had all three in my hands, but I didn't read the fine print. The sale only starts tomorrow. So I put everything back and I will wait for a week. My mat is trashed and my blade is soooo dull. I have a blade sharpener for my smaller rotary cutters and it works quite well for at least three or four sharpenings but I haven't bought one for my 60mm cutter yet. Blades are quite expensive so even at $27 the sharpener is worth it. I have to order it from a catalogue or I would have it already.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Well, thanks for all the comments on the sashing. It seems that you are pretty well split down the middle on the checked sashing. I have decided that I want to keep the squares and not accent the cross shapes so much so the checks will have to go. I may keep some just at the intersections of the sashing. I also think it would be harder to quilt as you go with this type of sashing. So the next decision is what colour? I am thinking some sort of neutral gray. I have to go to town today so I may have a look for a nice gray or maybe even black, although I have a feeling that would be too dark. I don't have anything suitable in my stash. Too many bright colors!

Since I have no quilt pictures, here is another one of Simba enjoying the snow.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I had a suggestion from Nellie at Nellie's Needles that it might work to continue the black and white sqares for the sashing. I measured and I am pretty sure I have enough to do between the blocks if not around the outside edge. I did a few to see how it looks. I like the secondary pattern that forms but it does lose the block appearance somehow. Now I am not sure if I should continue this way or put a solid color in there. Any comments?

Meanwhile, you can see that Simba has no problem at all with the snow. He loves to be up to his neck in it. As he runs along, he swoops down and takes big mouthfuls of it. He must think it's ice cream or something.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Enough Already!

I think I have enough blocks to satisfy my colour cravings for the time being. I have to put it aside now until I go to town to get some fabric for sashing. I think it has to be dark navy and I don't have enough of that color. If anyone can see a different colour that might look good please say so.

I have decided that my next free form adventure might feature chickens. I saw a chicken quilt in one of my old magazines on which the chickens are all pieced. It may lend itself to wonkiness. I made one prototype but it's not quite what I want yet. I have included a picture of the magazine quilt but there is a bad glare on it and the magazine is out in the studio so this picture will have to do. Most of the chickens are quite dark and hidden so it's probably impossible to see all but the yellow one anyway. Some of them have their heads turned back and some have red wattles (if that is what they are called) and combs. Lots of scope for unusual fabric that is fussy cut here. I have a large pile of greens that cry out to be backgrounds for chickens. The quilt in the book also has some eggs which I think is a nice touch. It also has room for some interesting wonky words.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

More of the Same

Here are a few more blocks that I did today. I can't get enough of this combining colours to see what they look like. I'm not sure if I will stop here or do three more. I still have some fabric that would work very well in this quilt so...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Playing with Colour

I had a lack of energy this week so I thought I'd just play with colours from my scraps using a pattern by Judy Howarth that I saw in a magazine . I love seeing what different colors will look like together. Since it's all in small pieces, I can use up some of my scraps and strips. I'm not sure how large it will grow. The navy blue sashing will probably not stay there because I don't think I have enough of it. It also depends on the colours I use on any more blocks. Sorry that the picture seems a bit blurry on the upper right corner. It looked fine before I uploaded it. I will blame Blogger instead of my poor photography skills.

I thought some of you might be interested in the stretchers I use for silk painting, batik or any other dyeing that needs the fabric to be stretched on a frame. The pieces slide along the grooves to adjust the size of the frame. I have some 6 ft long ones and some that are about 4 ft. They can be mixed and matched with these shorter ones to make a long rectangle. I learned about these stretchers from a silk painting class I took. They are pretty easy to make if you have someone with a router to make the grooves. The hardware on the end is a wing nut with the other end that is a wood screw that is put into the end of the piece. If anyone wants more detailed instructions I can send you measurements etc.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dyeing Adventure

I read about dyeing with potato dexetrin as a resist. The results were beautiful but I have no dexetrin so I wondered if potato starch, which I do have, would work. This is the result. It is not at all like the illustrations I saw. It should have dried into wonderful organic looking patterns. I don't mind this piece of fabric though. It sort of matches my mood today. Lol.
I may try again with thicker starch. This time I will put it on cloth that is wet and then let it dry overnight to see what happens. For this one, I pre-soaked the cloth in soda ash solution and dried it before stretching it on a frame and painting it with the starch. I let it dry overnight and then painted it with Procion MX dye thickened with alginate.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lots of Stuff

We have been away for a couple of days so there has been no quilitng done.

I found this neat thing on Kim's blog. You type your name and the word needs with no quotes, into Google and see what you need. Here is my list. I am not at all pleased with number 4 but that is what came up. The second one is great and the last one is probably true. Lol.
Joyce needs:
1. a belt
2. a little support here!
3. your family updates to the PRESENT
4. more guns, not fewer
5. a talented producer

Here is what I did this morning. We had a nice lunch just out of the oven.

Here is a photo of a book that was in with the magazines from the thrift shop. It was printed in 1962. You can tell it was made before computers were available. Or rotary cutters. Still, some of the patterns are still interesting. I haven't had a chance to read the articles yet but they could prove to be interesting too. You will notice that I paid a whopping 50 cents for this one.

And a couple of the pages.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Jungle Quilting

Yesterday at the thrift shop, I found a whole stack of quilting magazines. They are a bit old, mid 90s but still a lot of fun to look through. I thought it was a good deal for 10 cents each.

Here are a couple of close-ups of the quilting on the jungle. It is as wonky as the piecing, which I suppose is all right. I am looking at it as a practise piece.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Final Cityscape

Here is the final edition of Hot City Nights. I have it all bound and hanging on the wall. It should probably be blocked and I want to get a flat board instead of dowling so that it wall lie flat to the wall. There are things I would change if I were starting over, but all in all, I am pretty happy with it.

Monday, February 12, 2007


This isn't a very good picutre but here is my city all ready to hand stitch down the binding. I couched black yarn around the colored border and stitched in the ditch around the buildings and windows.
Meanwhile, I am nearly done quilting the jungle. I stopped for a break when I noticed that the last round had not sewn properly. The problem was that the pressure on the foot had vibrated to a very low number. Easy to fix once I realized what the problem was. That used to happen quite often on my Husqvarna so it is one of the things I check after the bobin, threading and changing the needle.
With these two quilts nearing completion, I have to start thinking of what to do next. I have really enjoyed doing this last one so it may be the same type of create as you go wall hanging. I am also wanting to experiment with fusing. And I need something spring-like to counteract all this snow and -30 weather we have been experiencing. I'm sure something will call out to me soon.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hand Dyes

Yesterday I took a bit of a break from FMQ and made some hand dyes. I like the red one the best, especially the top area. I think the blue, yellow and red one would be better if I had used a lighter red . Still, it will come in useful for something. The blue is more subdued but has a nice mottled pattern on it. Part of the success comes from the fabric I used. It is a ready-to-dye cotton that I got when we stopped at Dharma Trading on our trip last spring. Unfortunately, I only got a few yards. Next time we go through that area, if there is a next time, I hope I can afford a whole bolt. Cotton is much cheaper in USA than up here in Canada.
Today I finished the trees on the jungle quilt and for a bit of a break did some quilting on the cityscape. I am just quilting in the ditch on that one. I'm not sure what I will do about the sky though. It is a fairly large area so I will have to do some quilting on it. If it were a clear night I'd do some stars but that wouldn't go with the stormy skies. I may try to outline a cloud pattern if I can see one in the mottle of the fabric. If not it may be back to my old standby of meandering.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Jungle Village

I am still quilting away on the jungle village. Today I worked more on the trees. I am echo quilting around them very loosely. Because they are so uneven on each side I have to kind of wing it. It's a good thing the quilt is wonky because the quilting is VERY wonky. I have the trees that have yellow or pink backgrounds to do yet and one or two with dark backgrounds. I am not sure how I will go about quilitng the pink border. It would look nice with fans but I'm not sure about doing them with FMQ. I may also echo the colored triangles. I am pretty sure I will do echo quilting on the snakes, which leaves the narrow orange border to think about. The fun thing about quilitng this one is that every block is different so there is no chance of getting bored. I do end up with a sore neck and back if I get so focused that I lose track of time and stay at it too long.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I have made some progress on quilting the jungle. I am finished (I think, I hope) the houses. I sewed tiles on the roofs, meandered the skies, outlined the houses, doors, windows and animals. I also did some sewing on the grass and driveways. I tried lots of different things there. Now I am wondering what to do with the tree borders. I am thinking I will meander behind the trees and outline them. I'm not sure if I will have to do some quilting on the round part of the bigger trees or not.

I also sandwiched and pinned the cityscape. I fixed the "Y" in city. It seemed a bit too high up. It still makes a bit of a curve but not as much. I am now debating how I will quilt it. One option is to couch yarn around the buildings but I don't want to separate them too much from each other. They should look clustered or huddled together. The other option is to couch around the borders. I don't have any dark yarn yet so that will wait until I get to town again, maybe this afternoon.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Polar Fleece

Before I started quilting I sewed a lot of sweaters from polar fleece. Everyone in my family has many of them. The little kids used to get them with their initial in big letters on the front. The twins' teachers used to really appreciate theirs because they could then tell them apart. This is one I made for daughter Cherie about ten years ago. It was her design and she still gets compliments on it. The thing about polar fleece is that it never fades or wears out. The pants are also polar fleece. It is supposed to go to -37 tonight so she may need her layers of polar fleece.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Cityscape, Is It Finished?

I finished the letters on the cityscape this morning. I may have to take the Y apart and move it down a bit. It looked fine until I saw it in the photo and then it seemed to curve up too much. The border is not sewn down yet so that won't be too much trouble.

I got the jungle all pinned down this morning so I thought I'd give a try at FMQ. I tried to folllow the fern pattern in the fabric. I found out that it isn't all that easy. I tried for pebbles on the driveway. I have seen that design on lots of quilts but usually it looks quite a bit better than mine. I am looking on this whole quilt as a practise piece so if it isn't perfect, maybe it will be on the next driveway. I like the shingles but on the next one I will do the first row with chalk and then draw a line as a guide for the next rows. That way I won't end up with some huge shingles in the last corner. I also outlined the house, the window, the door and the hippo. I don't think I'll do any work on the walls of the house . They are pretty colorful already and I don't think the space is large enough that it needs to be quilted down.

Friday, February 02, 2007

City Words

First I want to thank everyone for all the helpful comments. You have given me a lot of good ideas and tons of encouragement. It means a lot to me.

Yesterday I put in the extra buildings to bring the city out to the border. I think it looks larger and less isolated. Then I sewed on the first border so that I would not be tempted to change the city again. Enough already!

Today I made some words. So far I am thinking of Hot City Night or maybe I'll add an S to make it nights.

I also tried different borders around the letters. I'll probably go with the dark brown that is the background for the letters, maybe not quite as wide as in the picture.

Then I may call it a day and start the quilting of this one. I still have to layer, pin and quilt the jungle which is much bigger than this one. I don't like to get too much quilting piled up ahead of me. It's very hard work doing FMQ and I can only handle an hour at a time, max.