30 June, 2009

Grass

After last week I needed to start a new quilt like I need a hole in the head.  But staring out at the dirt one evening, and upon hearing that sod was ordered, I felt inspired.  I suddenly could picture an end to the mud, mess, and hassle.  Our planned patio stared back at me and a quilt was born.  Well, the concept of a quilt.  I'll keep you posted.

And on the grass front I am happy to report that we do indeed have grass!  Most of a fence too.  Hubby just has to put the boards up on a few sections, build the gates, and it's done.  Oh, then there are the two sandstone patios and front steps. Then it's done.  For now, there is no longer any mud and that's all I care about.  Now I can concentrate on quilting.

24 June, 2009

Water Argh

That make-do attitude so many of you commended me on is on its way out the door.  To be replaced with pissy attitude and cranky pants moods.  The fence is on its way!  Yay for the fence.  And while that is actually a good thing, it means I'm on full-time kid duty on top of work.  I thought that it would be perfect to head to the park and work on layouts while the girls played around me.  Such a dreamy fantasy.  Instead there was just enough of a breeze to keep the strips from staying in place.  Death Wish Arkison (a.k.a Smilosaurus) kept making a beeline for the road with a great big evil grin on her face.  And if she wasn't doing that she was attacking the fabric.  I finally gave up trying to do anything and give in to her own poopy bum.

Pardon my french, but fuck it.  I need to do something else for a while. 

19 June, 2009

Now What?

I have my Hubby to thank for getting some quilting done this week.  No, he didn't magically win the lottery so I could quit working, nor did he take the girls out every evening so I had no interruptions.  But he had a busy week at work, so he was too bagged at the end of the day to do much work on the fence.  That meant I didn't have to work on the fence.  As much as I would love a fence, I really appreciated the quilting time.

With The Monster's birthday behind us we had a bit of breathing room this week, beyond the yard work.  So I actually got to sew during naptime today (I don't work on Fridays).  I got all the strips sewn for the water quilt.  Well, I say that they are done, but I'm not sure of that yet. I've got all these strips, now what?

Just to get an idea of the potential size of the finished quilt I laid them out on the grass in the park across the street.  Eyeballing it I would call this a large lap size at this point.  Maybe 60 inches square, depending on layout, or even up to twin sized.  The layout above with very random and done without any thought.  But it does make me happier with the project overall. It has the general feel I wanted.  I think it will come together into something interesting.

My next few posts are going to be photos of potential layouts.  I would appreciate any opinions or input.  I'm sure I'll have more stuff to piece and bits to cut out along the way.  And I have a few ideas for how it could all come together, but we'll have to see.  In the meantime, the grass across the street will be decked out in fabric.  I've got no design wall currently so that is the only place I can spread things out to see.  Let's hope there is no wind or rain in the coming days. Oh wait, if there is no wind or rain I'm on fence duty.  Crap.  Quilt or finish my fence and get a yard again? Rock, meet the hard place.  

Isn't this a cool photo?  A grass-eyed view of the quilt.

14 June, 2009

I Used to Quilt

This about says it all.  A bunch of strips sewn together and just sitting there.  Just sitting there.

Phew, this was an exhausting week.  Work was hell.  The only thing getting me through the week was the promise of a drink with an old friend.   We haven't seen each other in over a year and in two short hours reconnected. Beyond work I had some heavy deadlines for Quilt Canada, I donated blood, and had to pull off a picnic for over 30 for The Monster's birthday this weekend.  Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of quilting done.

This water quilt is a work about process.  That is, I don't have a final design in mind.  A general idea of what it might look like, yes, but no final picture.  I've been sewing strips together in varying thicknesses and lengths.  At some point I'll lay them out and see how they look.  It could be complete crap for all I know.  So far, however, I do like the combination of fabrics.  It is soft at points and bold at others.  Serene, but a bit wild.  A bit like the ocean and only kind of like me.

Here's hoping that once I recover from the fact that my Monster is three (or rather, that I've been a mother for three years) and get the invitations out for my sister's baby shower and help Hubby build a fence and lay sod, then I can get more quilting done.  

08 June, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere

Did you know that today is United Nations World Oceans Day? While it is against the laws of nature to make a quilt of water and fish - and would be kind of gross even if you could - I am starting a quilt inspired by water.

This is the first pull for that quilt. To be honest, I got the idea when I did the pull for my Key Lime Pie quilt. I just loved the looks of the greens with blues that I used for the limes. Still on the high from the memories of Baja these fabrics jumped out of the stash and begged to be sewn together.

As I said, this was the first pull. I always have that initial rush of fabric delight and pull everything out that my conceivably work with the colourful notion in my head. When designing heads prevail I weed out about a third. Then, as I cut, more gets culled from the pile and maybe some other ones get added in. It would be different if I started out with a specific pattern in mind. Because for me quilting if often about process rather than final design, the fabric choices are dynamic and continually evolving.

I'm curious to see where this one takes me.

04 June, 2009

Heritage Park Quilt Show

As promised, here is a report about the Heritage Park quilt show.  I managed to get a very fast tour in last Saturday.  Hubby graciously let me escape the backyard mess and the girls for a couple of hours alone, surrounded by history and quilts.  Peace.

Heritage Park is a historical village that demonstrates life on the Prairies and in the Calgary area. For the quilt show they display the quilts throughout the park - in tents on the grass, in the different homes and buildings, and even on the buildings and fences.  Wandering through the park you can see the park entertainment, visit the buildings, and enjoy the quilts.

To be honest, I didn't find much of inspiration in the show. In fact, the day confirmed that I really don't have a traditional bent for quilting, not at all. I can appreciate craftsmanship and good use of colour, but earth tones and traditional piecing kind of bore me.  Sorry to those who love it.  I'm sure my stuff is too much for some people as well. To each their own.

Here is the biggest building on site - the Wainwright Hotel.  I love how they hang the quilts from the verandas.  If you look closely, you can see my Tuesday Night Quilt hanging on the lower veranda.  The next picture shows it better.

See, there it is, hung randomly by that crane.  It doesn't seem like there is much thought put in to the relation of quilts from one to the next.  They do have 500 quilts to show after all.

Here is my black and white quilt.  Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the display of this one.  I didn't mind that it was inside a building, but folded in half and hanging over a counter? You certainly lose the impact.  Oh well.

Other than the fact that they hung this one the wrong way (see the original here), I thought it kind of looked neat on the washing line.  This building is actually the Chinese Laundry.  My black and white quilt was at the front of the building, and this was in one of the back display rooms.
Is it just me, or does this quilt look out of place in a replica turn of the century hospital?

This is a pretty traditional quilt.  Despite what I said above, I liked this one, especially the quilting.  Mostly the quilting.

My picture doesn't do this quilt justice.  The use of fabric and colour was amazing - the quilt was luminous.

I'm showing a close-up of this one.  These are actually square blocks, can you tell?  If anyone has seen something like this elsewhere, please let me know.  Otherwise I'll be studying the photo to figure it out, a lot.

The front of this quilt was nice, but I loved the back!  Those are gorgeous fabrics, but there was no note as to what they were.  They were ridiculously vivid.  The front had fabric with elephants and hindu gods, so I'm almost wondering if it was an Indian cotton?

Under the category of "why didn't I think of that?" comes this monster quilt.  So, so cool.  And the detailed quilting was phenomenal.

Here it is on the line behind the school, with some other kids quilts.

Heritage Park also has a number of vintage quilts in the Park's collection.  Isn't this one gorgeous?  I can't go anywhere without finding circles!

By far, this was my favourite of the day.  It is too bad the shade is dappled because it takes away from the luminosity of the quilt.  Interestingly, this quilt is made up of the same block, repeated.  At first glance it looks improv, but it isn't.  Unfortunately, there was no detail on the construction.  I can tell you that it is a lot of small pieces!  Don't you love the colour gradation?

I just love this image this display the best out of any in the park.

This is a Bento Box, but the entire thing is done with Denyse Schmidt.  I'm sure there are some of you out there who will love this, I took the photo just for you.

Oh, and in case you are wondering why I didn't share the artists or names of the quilts it's because the program has already been recycled.  Oops, sorry.

02 June, 2009

Luck Be a Pink Hat

This one has been a long time coming.  I had the top finished, and the back too, over a year and a half ago.  I managed to get it to the long armers shortly before or after Smilosaurus was born, I can't remember.  And it sat for nearly a year once I picked it up.  I simply had no motivation to get the binding on.  It's not like I dislike the quilt, I quite love the boldness of it all, I was simply lazy and didn't want to sew on a binding.

The motivation to finish it came because I entered it in the show over the weekend.  Nothing like a deadline to get your butt in gear!  So I found the perfect fabric, braved the bias cut, and got it done.

The center portion of the quilt is from a book called Strip Pieced Quilts by Maikke Baker.  I was at a retreat with some quilting friends in my Red Hat group, The Garnet Gals.  Yes, I know I am way too young for a red hat, but these great ladies welcomed me in and still share lots of life and quilt experience with me.  We decided to sew one afternoon and put this together from stash.  And we all liked it too much to donate it - bad us! - so we drew straws to see who got it. I won!

The borders were pieced from scraps, yet another black and white fabric, and more circles.  If you look closely in the bottom photo you will see that the purple we used had coloured circles scattered across the purple.  That's where the colour of my circles came from.

This is one of my favourite backs ever.  So simple, yet really bold.  My initial plan was to put the label in a circle in the green, but I couldn't print a small enough, yet still legible label for any kind of border on it. It still works.

It now seems that the girls can't keep their hands off any aspect of my hobby, er... obsession.  It was impossible to get a shot of this quilt without them in it.

I had this one professionally quilted by a local lady, Berny Sproule.  She used a purple thread in a swooping meander pattern to bring it all together.  

Now, don't get too googly-eyes staring at the photo!