Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spring Cleaning

It's that time of year again...spring cleaning. The class is later this year because the spring season just arrived this week!

Make this fun and easy zig zag quilt top using scraps!!

I am offering my annual Spring Cleaning quilt class where students use their scrap fabric and clear out their fabric bins.

I am renting a new space this year - Artscape Young Place, http://artscapeyoungplace.ca/flex-studios/

The studio is gorgeous and conducive to great creating. Lots of natural light and cork boards to pin up your work in progress.

Save the date.. Sunday, JUNE 1 @10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Please join me for a fun day of sewing and more sewing and chatting with friends. A light lunch is included.

For more info click here. Sign up soon.

zig zags found on a walk in Montreal

Past students say:

I had a very good day at the workshop on Sunday. As always your teaching was excellent and I learned a lot. You make everyone feel comfortable and encourage everyone to develop in their own way. () Thank you again for what you put into your classes. MDF

Your class was (as always) incredible.  You are truly an inspirational
teacher and I love the fact that you outline the design and we are then
encouraged to put our own stamp on things.() The day was so relaxing despite my hurrying to get something done and making mistakes that I then had to fix. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. Haven't finished a block on this one yet and I can't wait for your next class! Tempted to (ahem) call in sick tomorrow to work on the quilt! MM

I love your insights about colour and arrangement especially because your aesthetic appeals to me so much. I'd never have stuck with quilting at all if I'd have taken classes with a very traditionally minded quilter. You support people's efforts but also get us to think more creatively and critically about what we're doing and the choices we're making. And you give such helpful tips as well as explaining clearly the reasons for doing things in a particular way--it makes so much sense to follow directions when you understand why a method works. MDF

Happy Spring (finally).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Go for a Walk

It's always the same thing.

 Sila makes my front lawn blue.

I'm almost finished an art piece and suddenly I don't like it.

So I turned the whole thing over on my cutting table...

Two turtles sunning themselves...even though it is only 8 degrees out!

..and went for a 20 minute walk in my neighbourhood.

I saw some friends on the way. Bumped into my neighbour who says she has some men's shirts for my quilt making. (great!)

A mother robin made a nest on Easter Sunday and today she sits in it.
We have a perfect view from our family room.
I can't wait to see her babies hatch.

Getting some air is a good way to clear your head and reenergize.

Love those tiny yellow birds.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Family Support

My boys took care of the Easter feast and I had time to work on an art piece that has to be in Germany by May 1. It's crunch time!

in the background, detail of Marie Josée Danzon's textile art

While I was waiting for things to dry, I did some hand quilting and I am happy to say that I have overcome my fear of it thanks to your emails and encouraging tips and techniques.

I actually enjoyed quilting this mini quilt
which I pieced ages ago but lost in my studio.
(yes I am reorganizing the studio..it's spring clean up time!)

I think it was the frame that was a problem for me. Without it I can sew freely. Since I am quilting a mini quilt I think it works fine.

It really helps when you use a new needle that is super sharp!
The coloured fabric is 30's reproduction. Each piece of the 9-patch
measures half an inch square.

Got to get back to the art piece....

This is the hand-dyed
thread I am using
in my art piece.
 I bought it in Umbria at a market.

Unfortunately, I can not show you any part of the piece I am finishing up before it hangs at the exhibit. I will post about it in mid-June.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quilting with Teenagers

I finished my 8-class contract teaching grade 8 students about quilting. It is the third year the art department of Branksome Hall hires me.

I taught the students how to make a simple 4 patch
and some half square triangles

I talked about fabric and design. I showed the students how to be accurate in their sewing.

The inside of your block can be crooked but the
outside should have 90 degree angles.
This makes it easier to sew all blocks together.
(mostly made with men's shirt fabric I bought in Verona)

Using the sewing machine in a safe way will be a skill the students will be able to tap into in their future, I am sure, even if they don't ever make another quilt.

Half square triangles can be used in a border.

Each student will be creating and designing their own block that relates to an art principle: Balance,  Contrast, Emphasis, Movement, Pattern and Unity. The blocks of the same principle will be made into a quilt. The 6 crib-size quilts will most likely be donated. To see quilts from past students click here.

Using simple squares one can create an interesting pattern.
(This quilt is mainly made with men's shirts.)

The art teacher liked some of my teaching aids, like my coloured photograph of a quilt and the exact same photograph in black and white. This explained the element of value very well.

Both photos were taken of a group quilt made at a Toronto Public Library
when I ran quilt program several years ago.

What was so gratifying was the interest of the students.

The values is what gives this quilt its movement.

Best moment... when the bell rang and no one moved, just kept sewing!

(the quilts in these pictures are the samples I brought in to show the students)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Empty Bowls

I returned to teach quilting at Branksome Hall and noticed there were some bowls leftover from their fund drive, Empty Bowls.

It is such a good cause, I couldn't resist buying three more.

I think they would make great one-of-a-kind hostess gifts filled with a home-made appetizer.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Empty Bowls

I was at a Toronto high school, Branksome Hall, this week teaching in their art department.

The art teacher reminded the students about their fundraiser, Empty Bowls, with all moneys going to support The Daily Bread Food Bank.

The idea is to buy a bowl made by the students and get it filled with soup. What a great idea!

I liked this size and the colours and the carved-in textures on the bottom.

I couldn't stay for the soup but I was glad to buy a one-of-a-kind bowl made by one of the art students.

The bottom of the bowl is stamped with the date and
the school and the event's initials.

I will use it at my home when I entertain on the weekend.

I will be back at that school next week to teach Part 2 of my workshop.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Birthday Presents

My niece turned 11 yesterday.

I made her two pillows for her room using a pineapple quilt block as the front.

I used old shirts for the backs, therefore forgoing the time consuming step of button-hole making.
(Clever idea from teacher Johanna Masko)

Men's shirts used for the backs of pillows.

The pineapple block centre is perfect for fussy cutting a special design.

I made a pineapple block quilt about 20 years ago. I used the traditional foundation piecing method. But the method I learned at the Workroom was shorter and one could square-up the block after each addition. It was great! I had a fun time and did learn some things even though I have been quilting for about 25 years.

Fun centre cut.
If you don't have enough of the same fabric to make 4 strips
you can use two different fabrics and place them facing each other
in the round. Your eye tends not to notice the differences that way.

For the first pillow I made, I started with the shirt colour.

I picked up this shirt at Goodwill for cheap and
resewed the buttons using embroidery floss in a nice colour.

Then I chose the corner piece from my stash, which went well with the shirt.

From there, I went through my 1 1/2 inch strips and selected the blues and whites.

I'd like to make a full-size quilt using darks with brown and orange strips. The design that appears when each block is put together is very effective.

Photo from the book Quilts by Judy Wentworth,
published by Crescent Books
This quilt is from the 19th century, thought to be
made by a plantation slave in the southern United States.