Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Seed of an Idea.....

Is it possible spring is coming... The sunshine broke through late this afternoon- Bruce and I noticed some blue sky while we were having an early dinner. You cannot imagine how nice it was, to see some blue sky after weeks of gray. Could it possibly mean that Springtime is beginning... oh please we do so hope so.. In the meantime, here are some lovely tulips that are gracing my table just now...We will be delighted when our own daffodils and tulips poke their heads up through the ground outside.
Perhaps you remember Bruce and I going to a small quilt show in Wetaskwin last summer. One of the quilt kits there was a panel quilt that caught my eye. I looked at the price and decided that I wouldn't buy the kit. Over the summer and into the fall, I kept remembering the panel quilt and sometimes regretted not buying it.

You see my father is having a birthday- a special birthday as he is turning 80 years old in April. He has always been a man of the outdoors- a hunter and a fisherman and I thought he would enjoy being wrapped up with nature on a cool day.

I started to collect panels from various places. I collected ideas from quilt magazines and catalogues for possible lay out designs. And I collected fabrics. Then I got stuck...
Until I saw this pattern kit in a catalogue a couple of weeks ago which gave me an idea for a possible layout of the panels. After some reflection, I decided against making a pieced border. I cut out some of the panels into squares after I pressed them all. What do you think that I would do next- leave them for a couple of weeks to age (of course- don't you know that all fabric has an aging time LOL)

This is where I am now- I have a great piece of background fabric of mountains that I want to lay the blocks on- I am not quite sure which way to cut it. I have pinned the blocks onto the whole fabric and can't decide whether to cut it across horizontally or should I cut it vertically ....

I have not designed my own quilt before - at least not with out having a central design. Do I make a map and measure each block?? I am not sure that is going to work because some of the panels are not straight and that is especially true of the central bear panel.

Mars, the cat came out to help me a little while ago- she stirred up the blocks with her paws and checked out whether the carpet could help her sharpen her claws. She wandered away when she knew she had my attention. I am not sure what it is about quilts and cats but Mars certainly comes to make her presence known when I am making a quilt...

Dusty the dog figured she could help me out too... LOL...
I am not sure about the tan/ blue piece of batik- I still have more of the background picture that I can cut into parts to fill in the spaces where the carpet is currently showing through..

At present I think, I will border it with a smaller strip of the brown (it has imprints of bears on it) and then frame it with the green to make is look like a forest. There is a large piece of green so I am going to use it on the back of the quilt. I expect it will end up about a twin sized throw quilt but we shall see...
There has been some interest in blogland to show one's process- here is my convoluted journey...If anyone has any suggestions about which way to cut it or do I just cut strips - I do know I want to have some parts of the background where the panel squares are currently pinned. Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated..

This week is spring break so I am on vacation. I am on a bit of time crunch with this quilt so I would like to get the quilt done in the next two weeks but we shall see... First I need to get it into a top - the quilting will not be elaborate- probably free motion with some outlining around some of the animals.

Hope that all is well with you and yours. Happy creating...
Warmest regards,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some quilting influences., inspiration ... and Life...

Its the middle of March and today is Pi day- so I thought you might want to enjoy a yummy piece of pie while you stopped by to visit. Mathematical equations and patterns are a particular interest of my husband's- So here is to a little PI today!

The middle of March always makes me stop and remember some loved ones who have passed from this life. Today would have been my grandfather's 101 birthday(it is also our nephew's birthday). My grandfather was born to Swedish immigrants in 1910. He saw many changes over his lifetime. I miss my grandfather's dry sense of humor, his deep voice that I am reminded of when I hear the character,Eeyore speak in the stories of Winnie the Pooh, and his love of farm, music and family. Most of all, I miss his stories..

Tomorrow is the Ides of March and a day of remembrance for my husband and his siblings. Their beloved brother David was taken from them in 1975 in a car accident. He was just 22 years old. I made this photo quilt for my in laws around 2003 to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary and wanted to include David as part of the photo grouping. He is in the middle at the top of the wall hanging. I know that my in- laws loved that quilt and were glad that all their children were in it, including David. ( Mars the cat is sitting on our pictures).

I know that it has been awhile since I posted - Life at home has been busy. Our son, Kevin, his girlfriend Rose and their cats have been getting set up in our basement. They have made some wonderful changes to the space and everyone is getting used to our new arrangement. The main floor of the house still needs some work to find spaces for some things and the tossing of other things. I was remarking to a friend that my life has been full of de-junking spaces both at home and at school( last year with our school renovation). This is not without stress for me, as,I am by nature, a collector of things. However,one lesson that I have learned is to stop and think before I add more stuff to my spaces( except for fabric and childrens' books LOL) Now if I could only be more organized- I am working on it but it does not come naturally..

March is also the time of year when I complete the second term report cards and updating of my at risk kids programming. So now you know why I have disappeared from my blog writing for a short time...

I don't have much new quilty to show you. I did give away the other BQ quilt to a special lady - she has had some health issues and I wanted her to have a quilt to wrap herself in -just like a warm hug on the days she was feeling under the weather.

I also made some cafe type curtains for the basement windows. I have one more of them to make to complete the ones for the downstair's space, but I may make one for the laundry area and my husband's little office area too.

Did I tell you that we went to the art gallery to the opening of the Emily Carr and Haida show? The opening was so packed (there must have been over 1000 people)that we did not try to get into her exhibit but we are going back this week to hear a lecture about Haida art. We will go and look at her exhibit then as well. My dear friend Val and I went to see Carr's work in Calgary a few Christmases ago. It was fantastic and I am thrilled to get an opportunity to see some her works again.

A friend from work brought me a gift from a quilt store she had been in Jasper. It was a lovely bag with one of Ricky Tims Rhapsody quilts on it. I am a big fan of his work and did a week course one summer a few years ago that used his designs.
I have really enjoyed exploring his Convergence patterns and have made a number of them as throw quilts. The beginning convergence quilt I made was just a small wall hanging and I wondered why I couldn't turn it into a throw size quilt. As you can see from the photos below, that is exactly what I did.
I do like the way the colors meshed in this convergence- the owner is a big fan of green and purple and the fabrics are all batiks....

This " Kool Kaleidoscope pattern is now a book by Ricky. It is fairly large wall hanging or table topper and easier than some other Kaleidoscope designs. His book is well done and has some good visuals should you want to make one of your own Kaleidoscope quilts.

This Chantelle flower is a free form flower that was easy to do. We played with the borders to make it asymmetrical. I am not an art quilter - that is, I like making functional pieces for using in day to day life. Sometimes its fun just to play with the fabric- perhaps one day I will do something with some of the crazy quilting strips I have created. Or another snippet? or another Kaleidoscope?

Two other convergences for you - one that is red and white and black all over..

This one is more subtle- I don't think that the photo does this quilt justice- I loved the soothing color combination - Did you know that red can be soothing???

So who are your influences- do you like particular designers ? Kaffe Fassett? Valori Wells? Ricky Tims? Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston? The women of Gee Bend? These are a few of mine.. I am inspired by their use of color and lines...What inspires you???

And now for some blogging friends who are having giveaways:

Sherri of'A quilting Life" has a great book called Art Quilt Collection by Linda Seward. It is a very nice book and great to look at for inspiration..
the material girls are giving away some great fabric- go quickly they will draw on the 16th.
Liz of Quilterie is giving away a Kaffe Fassett book called Quilt Romance- Its a very nice book indeed.

Carolyn of Veggie Hunter- she's a local quilter that I am looking forward to meeting sometime soon) has a few more giveaways for you to check out as well as one of her own.

in Texas is having a wonderful fabric giveaway for her 3rd blog anniversary. She has a very nice blog that I am going to add to my blog list. So many blogs not enough time...

Thanks for staying with me ... I hope you will go and check out Tanya of Taniwa blog. She is a terrific lady(a fantastic quilter too) who lives in Nikko Japan. Her story is reflective and she shares what it is like living in Japan just now.. My heart goes out to all those areas who are struggling with the after effects of floods and earthquakes.

We have had a couple of beautiful days here in Alberta- Do I dare say that maybe we might have spring....

Thanks for stopping by- I promise to come back sooner. I hope you will too.