First things first... happy holidays to one and all, no matter how you choose to celebrate them :)
Christmas card design by Edward Gorey
I have been working furiously the past many weeks, but maddeningly it is all things I can't share pictures of yet! I have finished the "Laying Down to Perish" quilt, as well as the other one destined for the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild showcase, but I can't post the finished pictures of them just yet. I can, however, share the advertisement put out by the gallery for our upcoming exhibition which uses (spoiler alert ;) one of my quilts as the background image!
I am super excited about the show... at our last meeting we all shared our completed quilts and everyone's looked fantastic! I'm so proud of the work everyone has put into it... it will be great to finally share it with the public, I hope it gets a positive response.
I have also found myself up to my eyeballs in charity projects lately... I have been knitting like mad to make tuques for the 25,000 Tuques project. I've got 8 done so far! I haven't even had to go out and buy yarn, I've just been using up stuff that either was leftover from another project or that I never decided what to do with, and it's made some incredibly lovely tuques. I hope they make someone happy. :)
I will also be doing the quilting on our guild charity project, which was a bit unexpected but will be an interesting challenge. I think it may be the largest quilt I will have quilted on my home machine so far! Fellow member Tamara did a fantastic job piecing the quilt top together, so hopefully my quilting will be up to snuff. I'll post some pictures of the progress. Also, Camelot Fabrics will be very kindly donating some fabric towards making a few extra quilts to donate with the charity project (the guild had to make one group quilt to submit to the QuiltCon challenge which will then be donated to a local Montreal women's shelter, so we thought it would be nice to donate a few extras as well), so will need to find some volunteers for those, too.
So yeah... lots on the go, most of it just isn't very blog-friendly, sorry! ;) Have yourselves a warm and wonderful holiday season!
Haven't posted much substance lately, but I've been keeping busy with projects. Today it's a blustery Sunday outside, and I'm inside with a coffee and a furry helper, listening to some Adele and basting a quilt so I can get it quilted. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon :)
While balance is something I consider important in an individual piece, I rarely consider it between multiple pieces. I mean, why should I, each piece stands on its own, right?
Clearly the universe (or my subconscious) thinks otherwise... in making two pieces for the upcoming exhibit, designed and constructed a year apart, I made one with dark colors and a pop of orange with only two seams, while the other is light colors with a pop of blue/green and about a zillion seams.
Balance in everything, whether you want it or not ;)
It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and yesterday was cold and rainy and a lovely day to stay inside with a cup of coffee and sew. So I did! I made some great progress on a project I'm working on right now to submit to QuiltCon (the deadline is approaching *fast*) and I was feeling really accomplished... until this morning.
Taking a step back and looking at the finished quilt top this morning I realized I wasn't at all happy with how it had come together. Me from a few years ago would have cursed a bit but left it as is because I was just too impatient to take it all apart and redo it. It's a holiday weekend, today's weather has been spectacular, and I was hoping to spend some good time relaxing! Unfortunately, the me from now just can't stand to turn in work that isn't up to snuff. I mulled over various solutions that didn't involve taking it all apart, but none of them really worked so I finally caved and spent my afternoon cuddling up to my seam ripper. *sigh* I spend way too much time with that thing.
It means ripping out and redoing 192 seams, but having tested it out on one I am much happier with the result, so at least I'll have a finished product I'm proud of. This new me does much nicer work than the old me, but she sure is a killjoy when it comes to slacking off and enjoying a long weekend :P
The guild I am part of, the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild, will be putting on a modern quilting exhibition in February of next year, and I will be submitting two quilts for it. The first one is done and ready (mostly), but the second one I've been wrestling with for months... I just couldn't decide on what to do! Well, the deadline is fast approaching and finally I just had to make a decision. I had been toying around with designs that were nods to artists like Rothko and Calder, and really overthinking both the design and color palette. All the while, I had in the back of my mind a story that I just couldn't get out of my head...
I adore the design and construction process of making a quilt, and I've come to really enjoy the quilting and binding process as well (now that I know how to do them properly ;)... but the part I still dread is making the 'quilt sandwich'. That basically means when the time comes to put the quilt backing, the batting and the quilt top together to get ready to do the quilting. I hate it with every fiber of my being.
My workspace is quite small and we don't really have any wide open floor or table space for me to spread out when trying to put the three layers together, so trying to stretch everything out and get them basted together is always a huge pain in my sciatic area...
I've been a busy little beaver lately as I have a number of projects on to go, a few of which really were overdue to be finished. I could probably make a lot more progress in a timely manner if I did only one thing at a time, but where's the fun in that? ;)
I had such grand plans for this weekend. Both B and I took the upcoming week off for a 'staycation', it was his birthday on Friday and we had plans for drinks and a fancy dinner out, there were a few of his family events planned over the weekend, and I had planned to dig into my pile of what feels like a zillion works in progress... and then gastro happened. I crawled home from work midday on Thursday, and except for pulling myself together to go out for B's birthday dinner (I've had those reservations since May, damnit!), I've been in bed with a book and fuzzy socks. Poor B didn't have much of a birthday, but I'm starting to feel more human today and we've got all week to make up for it.
Today I've been slowly puttering around (who knew that two days in bed would make sweeping the floor such a feat!) and finally got my work table cleaned off and hey look what I found!
I've had the pleasure over the past few months of working with Camelot Fabrics, a local Montreal company that produces printed fabrics. The work I have done for them is simply to construct a few of the projects they offer on their website using some of their new fabric collections, and I have to say I have greatly enjoyed it.
The fabric itself is 100% cotton and has a nice heft to it that makes the finished product really nice to the touch. And when I say 'heft', I mean it literally... I'm currently working on making a full size quilt for them and the fabric for it was so weighty that carrying it in a bag over my shoulder had put my arm to sleep by the time I got it home :) But it is so soft and thick and lovely to work with.
Their collections are widely varied and very much 'on trend', at least in the circles I sew in :) I quite like the Botanical and Paradise collections at the moment. The first two projects I did for them, pictured below, showcased their Mixology collection and their Solids, respectively.
On a recent trip to Ottawa, my uncle Terry introduced me to a shooter drink called a Duck Fart. Yeah, I know, not exactly an appealing name, but it is a surprisingly tasty layered drink made of Kahlúa, Bailey's Irish cream and Crown Royal whisky. Because it's a shooter, you down it in one go and while it certainly has an alcoholic kick to it, the combination of the three layers is really nice and surprisingly dessert-like.
In fact, it was so dessert-like, it got me thinking. Surely I could make something sweet and tasty using the same basic flavors... perhaps a layered chocolate cake with different icings? Or maybe a cupcake? Then I thought of chocolate mousse... it would lend itself well to the addition of booze and could easily be layered to mimic the drink. And thus, the Mousse Fart was born ;) Just like its drink counterpart, the name pretty much ensures it won't be served in swanky restaurants any time soon, but trust me, these things are damn tasty!
This weekend I'm buckling down and tackling a lot of little projects that have been cluttering up my work table. I think it is part inspiration and part procrastination, as I am leaving on vacation next weekend and should probably be doing other things ;)
Not really in the mood to listen to podcasts or put on a movie, I am instead listening to a new-ish local band called The Barr Brothers...
I find it impossible to listen to this song just once. If you are local to Montreal, you can catch them at the Jazz Fest coming up on Tuesday June 30th at 9:30pm on the Scène TD stage. If you're not local, well then you can check out their Facebook page for more info... they seem to be getting around quite a bit lately for shows in Canada and the States. Enjoy!
Summer is here (_finally!_) and that means a little bit of travel. This year we'll be sticking close to home during our vacation in August, but I do have a small family trip coming up in a few weeks, so I decided it was time for some new travel gear...
I've been working on fixing a store-bought quilt for my niece. The batting that was in it went all weird and lumpy, so we had to wrangle it from her (there was a fair amount of crying) so I could take it apart and put new batting in it. I foolishly said it wouldn't take me long to fix...
Getting it apart wasn't difficult, but getting it back together has been a phenomenal pain in the arse. It is very thin cotton with an odd bias stretch to it, so every time I get it most of the way back together, I find the fabric has gone wonky and the edges won't match up properly. I have partly sewn together and subsequently seam ripped it apart three times now, and I'm about to get stabby.
So I'm taking it apart yet again this evening and at this point instead of trying to put it back together the way it was*, I'm just going to securely quilt the top, batting and bottom into one layer and do a facing around the edge and be done with it... I don't want to keep her blanket from her any longer! Otherwise, I might be giving it back to her as a high school graduation gift :P
* it was previously put together by putting the right sides of the quilt top and quilt back together, sewing around three of the four sides, turning it right side out to capture the batting in the middle, then sewing closed the fourth side. It was then quilted using an extremely large and loose stab stitch, which would explain why the batting didn't hold up well when washed! Kind of a silly way to construct a child's bed quilt!
The nature of my work often means that I'm sitting still, focusing on something for long periods of time, so I like to have something on in the background to listen to. YouTube can be good for this, I can watch old episodes of QI, or catch up on some of the channels I follow (Vsauce, Vlogbrothers or WheezyWaiter, for example).
Slowly, though, I am moving more towards podcasts... on the top of my list is, of course, the QI podcast, No Such Thing as a Fish and Adam Savage's podcast Still Untitled. I love listening to people who are enthusiastic talk about their passions, and if it's one thing Mr. Savage isn't lacking on, its enthusiasm. As a fellow maker and autodidact, I thoroughly enjoy listening to him discuss his passion for making and crafting, but their topics of discussion range far and wide.
I keep the Nerdist podcast, and Alton Brown's podcast bookmarked as well, although I find them a little more hit-and-miss... I don't listen to them as often. I've also recently added a few craft-based podcasts to my list, but am still testing them out to see if I like them.
So, do you like to have something playing in the background when you're working, and if so, what sort of things do you prefer? Have any suggestions for me to check out? I'm all ears!
I am a strange combination of impatience and perfectionism... I'm often in a hurry to get things done, but then having hurried through, I am unhappy with the results and dwell on all the little things I should have taken the time to do differently. So when I _do_ slow down and do something right, it makes me so happy ;) These are two handles for a bag I will post about soon... they are nothing special, just two handles, but oh that top stitching! That lovely, even, so close to the edge top stitching! Every now and then I do good work! ;)
I do not quilt alone. While my boyfriend usually leaves me to my own devices while I'm working, our two cats Harley and Tigger are my Quality Assurance team, and they take their jobs quite seriously. While they stay out of the way when I'm working (I think they dislike the sound of the sewing machine), as soon as I leave some project unattended, I usually come back to one, or both, of them having made themselves comfortable on top of it.
This one is, quite possibly, my finest accomplishment to date. I didn't have any current projects but wanted something to work on, and a friend asked if I could make her a Doctor Who quilt. We discussed it at length and she showed me some examples of what she'd like and I set to work on drafting a pattern.
A couple of years ago I joined the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild, and while it is just generally an awesome group of people to spend an evening at our meetings, it has also raised the standards to which I hold my work and has really helped me sharpen my skills. I don't have any pictures of the first few quilts I did as gifts (and frankly, that's a good thing ;) but here is a little round up of some of my older quilts to get us up to the present.
(I think I will eventually need to work on a better set up for photographing my work... most of these are taken late at night after I have giddily finished a project and ask my boyfriend to hold them up while I snap a few pictures of them. You can usually spot his fingers in the upper corners and his pants at the bottom ;) )
I may talk a good game about learning patience and taking time to do things properly... but sometimes I just want to get through the boring stuff so I can get the damn thing put together already! Oh mah gaaaaaawd, hurry up!!!
I wanted to take a moment and round up a few past projects that fall under the "miscellaneous" heading. I tend to go off on tangents often and am easily distracted, especially with little 'quickie' projects like these, so I'm sure I will be posting round ups like these fairly often ;)
Sometimes a big, complicated project is just too daunting and you need a sort of 'quick fix' project to feel productive and get the creative juices flowing. I usually opt for a zippered pouch or a throw pillow. After all, one can never have too many pillows...
I am a maker and an autodidact. (If you're not familiar with that term, you can listen to Adam Savage discuss it here, or, you know, Google it ;) I'm one of those people who always has to be doing something, working on something... my boyfriend can attest to this, and my best friend from high school has many stories of the times I would frustratedly proclaim "Let's DO something!". If I'm not doing something, I need to be planning something or learning something... I like to keep busy, and I like to have something to show for my efforts.
When I was little, I really enjoyed building, creating, drawing... anything creative. So when I got to university, it took me about 30 seconds to realize I needed to major in art. It probably wouldn't get me a job, but it was what I needed to do, so I did. I took the usual drawing and painting classes and realized... eh, I wasn't that great at it. Then I discovered photography and mixed media and the lightbulb went on.