Friday, November 24, 2017

Ups and Downs, Starts and Stops

Gretchen Rubin once said, "The days are long, but the years are short."  As we move toward the Winter Soltice up here in the Northern Hemisphere,  it seems to me that both the years and the days are short right now!  November is slipping away -- albeit with lovelier-than-usual weather -- and according to All Things Consumerist, the Holiday Gift Giving Season is on our doorstep.

For those of us who make gifts -- whether to give to loved ones or for others to give to loved ones (or both!) have been gradually ramping up since late summer (or maybe earlier!)  Certainly, my days are full of fabric, fibre and floss at the moment, and I'm hard-pressed to want to go anywhere but the Sewdio.

I'm working on "birds" again and will soon have three pieces ready, one of which is a commission for Christmas.  All have been stitched and one has been beaded.  Next up: "snow" and a mat.  I'd not done any mono-printing for a few months when I got the request, so I wasn't entirely happy with my initial results:

See how 'smudgy' they look?

The good thing about them, though, is that the printing was visible through the fabric, so...I simply turned them over and stitched on that side!

The three white pieces have become "bird" pieces, but the long, narrow blue one (upper left corner, above) turned into this:

Autumn Skies (C) 2017
12" W x 4" L
hand-dyed and batik fabric, free-motion quilting
wrapped around stretched canvas

Autumn Skies - detail

It's being put in a floater frame, and I hope to pick it up tomorrow.  I love this 12" x 4" canvas, and made another one that's only paint and stitch, directly on the canvas:

November Evening (C) 2017
free-motion stitching on painted canvas

November Evening - detail

The painting is done with watercolour, and I found I had to do 4 coats -- 1 before stitching and 3 after -- to get it to really show up.  This piece, too, is at the framer's, but will be picked up soon.

Speaking of the framer...Andrea Hatch at Cabinet of Curiosities in Stettler, Alberta -- the gal who also cuts my mats -- is an award-winning framer and a real authority on preservation framing etc.  I always enjoy stopping by her shop.  She's put these into floaters for me now:

Highland Hills (C) 2017
5" x 7" framed to about 6" x 8"
Paint and needle-felting on stretched canvas

Fifty Shades of Green (C) 2017
5" x 7" framed to about 6" x 8"
Paint, quilted hand-dyed fabric, sari silk
 on stretched canvas

On the piecing front...About a month ago I posted about a pair of pillow shams I was making for a client to give as a gift (to match a quilt made a couple of years ago).  The post was about figuring out how to convert a quilt/block pattern into shams, and the math involved.


I got the first sham top pieced, and most of the second...

First sham top pieced
(Here's where the "down" in this post's title makes sense)

I had a limited amount of fabric from the earlier quilt project; I was careful to pre-cut all the pieces for each sham before I started.

Or, at least, I thought I had.  😡

BUT...I got to the outer 'Labyrinth' border...and was dismayed to find I'd not cut the four dark brown rectangles (each 3 1/2" x 6 1/2") for the flying geese therein.  What had I done with the last of that fabric?  Sliced it up for the narrow borders, that's what!!  AAAAAARGH!!

There followed almost 2 weeks of hunting...and a generous donation of two completely ineligible pieces of fabric by a sweet soul on the Quiltville community FB page.  But...blessedly...the fabric was found in a shop in Calgary, bought, shipped, received...and both tops were finished!

Side by each on my design wall

As of this afternoon, Sham #1 has been quilted -- but not without it's "downs"! 

What happened? machine -- taken in for its annual spa treatment in September while I was away -- spit an oily substance of some sort out the back (when the presser foot lever was raised) that landed on (you guessed it) the lighter fabric in the piece -- in four spots!!  Thanks to Grandma's Secret Spot Remover followed by the application of some mild detergent (Sunlight) with a soft old toothbrush...disaster averted -- only to be nearly thwarted by a thread with "just the right colour" that refused to play nicely with the bobbin thread...but that was taken care of replacing it with something that would! 

It also wouldn't be the latter part of November without the temptation of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt.  It comes at a time when I am ready for some cutting of fabric, clearing of stash, a new project to distract from all the other STUFF I have to do, and definitely from all the STUFF going on around the world.

If you tap into the link above, you'll see that though it's a pieced bed quilt, it's inspired by a landscape beloved by Bonnie...and not too far off the landscape around where I live.  I shopped my stash and discovered I have fabric in appropriate colours that would work.

HOWEVER (there's always a 'however', isn't there?!) before I could entertain the thought of a new mystery quilt project, I realized (to my chagrin) that...erm...the last one I'd attempted (in 2014) lay in pieces in trays under the ironing board in my Sewdio, where I could trip over them more often than not.


The good news was that when I sorted that out, I discovered I was only 2 clues shy of a finished mystery that would fit my twin bed (sorely in need of a new quilt) I got to work -- et voila!  The top is finished and will be taken to my friendly long-armer for quilting in the new year.

Not-so-Grand Illusion!

I may have trouble sleeping under it, but I sure love those cheery colours!!

And now for On Ringo Lake...with a lovely nature-inspired colour palate...and (so far) all from my stash!

Sunrise/sunset skies, the earth, water...
and for me, the neutrals signify the inevitable snow

I've saved and printed the Intro and Clue #1, and will turn to them over the course of the next few weeks, even as I finish the Annual Christmas Boxer Shorts, some Christmas knits, those pesky shams, the 'birds' in their bushes...and welcome in the holiday season.

Blessings, Gentle Readers...have a lovely rest of the weekend!

Linking up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, for which I too am very thankful!


Judy Warner said...

Love reading your posts, Margaret. You accomplish so much. And, it is great to see you moving in the direction of painting and canvas. It fits your style so well.
Enjoy your holiday prep!

Madalene Axford Murphy said...

I love what you did for Autumn Skies--such a bright and vibrant piece. And then there is the quiet beauty of your watercolor piece.

Mary Hertel said...

You do such lovely work. I am very interested in textile design.

Jo Vandermey said...

You have been busy and organized! I have just started my Christmas planning. My family knows I eventually get things done. Enjoy your making!

Kathie Briggs said...

Autumn Skies is stunning. I love it. So glad you are continuing the series. I am also amazed at how much you accomplish.