Monthly Archives: June 2014

Details, Details

I’m wrapping up my Canada quilt series with shots of quilt details that caught my eye. The first set of photos are from the government sponsored art project.

Azra Momin detail

Irma Bull detail

Karen Sirianni detail 2

Karen Witteveen detail

Albert Cote

Photos in the next set were taken at Abstracted (FAN) and the invitational show for teachers, lecturers, organizers, etc. I was lax about getting all the makers’ names.


Barcelona Fruit Stand Abstract detail

Okanagan Landscape representational detail


The next photos show blocks from the group African-themed quilt created for the 2015 Mennonite relief sale in New Hamburg, Canada.





If the Quilt Canada 2014 organizers ever post photos of all 150 plus quilts in the show I’ll alert you about the link. In the meantime, here’s a link to photos Luana Rubin took at the show. This ends my Canadian journey. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me.






Filed under Quilt Shows

From Farm To Gallery

Let’s leave the chickens behind at the Morningstar Mill and go to another side of Quilt Canada – the Fibre (hey spell check, it’s how Canadians spell it) Art Network (FAN) Abstracted display. Members paired up to illustrate the same subjects in a representative and a non-representative/abstract way.

According to a participant I talked to, each pair decided how they wanted to work together.  Typically the representative piece was started first, but the point at which work began on the abstract piece varied widely.  Often ideas and fabrics were shared early in the creative process.

The degree of abstraction and the elements chosen for abstraction were all over the map, much to my delight. The photos below show details from the exhibit.  You can use the above link to see the pieces in their entirety.

Fifties Flare representational detailDetail from Fifties Flare with an iconic tail fin (Valerie Wilson.)

Fifties Flare abstract detailThe Fifties Flare abstraction (Brandy Lynn Masiowski) broke up that red, added a broken white line to represent a road, and machine quilted the names of songs popular in the day – This Magic Moment, etc.

Great Blue representational detailThe Great Blue Heron representational piece (Judy Weiss) uses lots of thread painting and free motion quilting to show the bird in its habitat.

Great Blue representational abstractThe abstract version (Sharon Rubuliak) picks out symbols of the bird’s habitat.

IMG_4365The iguana’s skin is beautifully rendered in the representational piece (Donna Bray-Zakreski.)

IMG_4366And the abstract piece (Marianne Parsons) is a close up of that skin.

A Forest Surprise representationalA Forest Surprise (Diane Duncan)  has lovely 3D effects.

A Forest Surprise abstractThe abstract version (Judi MacLeod) is quite faithful to its inspiration, but it’s like I took off my glasses.

Colours to Live By representationalColours To Live By (Marianne Parsons) presents a jumbled collection of houses on a slope.

Colours To Live By abstractThe abstract version (Karen Johnson) keeps the landscape and house colors but breaks up the houses into boxes. Stitching lines on the boxes outline house-related shapes.

My final set of photos shows a pair made by the same person – Marianne Parsons.

Milkweed representationalMilkweed captures the pods at the moment of splitting open.

Milkweed abstract detailIn this detail from the abstract version the white fluff is enlarged and the plant is shown in stacked panels.

You can learn more about FAN members, who are all from Western Canada, here.  Galleries of individual members are here.


Filed under Quilt Shows

Feed Sack Quilts At The Mill

If you’ve read this blog before you know I’m not a fan of cute in quilts.  Any novelty fabric I ever owned has been purged from my stash. No anthropomorphic animals adorn my quilts.  And thirties repro fabric leaves me cold.

However, the cheerfulness and downright chipperness of the feed bag quilts made by Nina Stahlschmidt I saw in Canada won me over. It seems that Canadians use the term feed bags, not feed sacks. Nina scours the Canadian countryside to collect vintage feed sacks/bags and then builds her hand quilted work around them.

The Quilt Canada 2014 folks had the brilliant idea of displaying Nina’s quilts in and around the mill owner’s house at Morningstar Mill.

feed sack quilts 1

The pig is outlined with thread

feed sack quilts 7

A hen quilting bee

feed sack quilts 5

Love the spaghetti legs

feed sack quilts 6

Check out the little feed sacks

feed sack quilts 4

Roast chicken?

feed sack quilts 2 detail

Last words

feed sack quilts hanging systemI thought this was a great way to display quilts outdoors – no drooping clotheslines.


Filed under Quilt Shows

Another Way To Face A Quilt

A side benefit of attending a big quilt show is “meeting” new quilters through their work on display.  This is how I met Terry Aske, a Canadian art quilter, who was juried into Quilt Canada 2014.  Of course I checked out her blog when I got home, and found a post that offered a refinement of a quilt facing technique. I do love it when quilting bloggers share helpful tips. It’s the sharing that helps make the quilting community so special.

More and more of my quilts lend themselves to a facing rather than a binding, so I plan to try Terry’s method on the next quilt I need to face.  If it works, I’ll add it to my tutorials page.

Here’s her Shades of Gray, that won second place in the modern quilt category at Quilt Canada. Ironically, it’s bound, not faced.

Terry Aske Quilt Canada 2014If you’re reading this post and you don’t quilt, I understand why you might think that it’s best to face a quilt looking forward, and wonder why you’d need a tutorial to do that.


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Filed under Quilt Shows, Techniques

Oh My, Canada!

Canada? Really.

Do give serious consideration to attending a Canadian quilt show.  I just got back from Quilt Canada 2014 where I was amazed at the quality and variety of quilts shown at that juried show.  And the organizers (the Canadian Quilters’ Association) included other shows at the same location so you could take in art quilts (Fibre Arts Network), modern quilts, feed sack quilts, and a local guild show as well.  Oh, I forgot the exhibit of quilts made by the show’s judges, organizers, workshop teachers, and lecturers.

I can’t show you photos from the juried show as photography wasn’t allowed.  I did find a site that lists show winners with photos.  Even with the closeups you can’t really get a sense of the attention to detail in the quilts. However, I’ll be showing quilts from some of the other shows in upcoming posts. Here’s a photo of the garden at the B & B we stayed at. The rest of the garden covered over an acre.

Morningstar B&B front fence

The icing on the cake was a last minute trip to a local government office building to view a specially commissioned set of art quilts that highlight the natural wonders of the Niagara region.  My friend and I would never have known about it if Nina Stahlschmidt, a feed sack quilt expert we chanced upon, hadn’t clued us in.

Niagara textile art projectI’m both energized and humbled by all the work I saw.


Filed under Quilt Shows

Stamping Out New Fabric

I began trying out techniques from Intentional Printing with stamping.  Instead of carving erasers or linoleum blocks, Lynn shows how to cut up sheets of self adhesive foam to create a stamp. This is great for knife challenged folks like myself.

Armed with the flaps from a cardboard box and a packet of multicolored 8 by 11 inch foam sheets I created a stamp, slathered it with fabric paint, and stamped away.

stamp makingstamping set upI used two pieces of my mother-in-law’s old tea service cloth that I had dyed a light purple, and a piece from a damask tablecloth that got the bright orange treatment.  My other supplies were a foam brush, a container that once held mushrooms, and some Folk Art fabric paint in a color called Asphaltum. The folks who made my car called the same color Urban Titanium.  Just think grungy half paved road and you’ll get the idea.

stamping on lavenderstamping on orange damaskI plan to add more to these pieces, possibly more stamping (on the diagonal?) or some other surface adornment.  I was amazed at how easy this was. Cheap, too.


Filed under Techniques

How Should I Quilt My Eggs?

One of the quilting projects draped over my second floor balcony has me stumped for a quilting design.  It’s for a small group 1:3 ratio challenge.  I had little trouble designing the piece, but I’m dithering about how to quilt it.

Easter egg rollOriginally I thought about concentric circles or ovals radiating from each egg that would overlap each other. Then, I considered a spiky design with lots of lines quilted at angles to suggest nests for the eggs.

quilting idea Easter egg rollHere’s the design I developed using Paint software.  I like this effect, but now have to figure out how to quilt the eggs themselves. One possibility would be to do more lines inside the eggs, bouncing off the edges. I drew them in very lightly below.  I’d use thread color that corresponded to the dominant color in each egg.

quilting idea 2 Easter egg roll

Help! Your thoughts and ideas are welcome.



Filed under In Process, Techniques

One More Pillow

Maybe I should call 2014 my Year of the Pillow.  While I procrastinated on a “serious” project I turned out yet another pillow using a tutorial from Crazy Old Ladies on machine appliqueing the orange peel design.

I scaled my block down to 3 inches and designed a peel to fit that size. This method has you sew lightweight fusible interfacing to your fabric right sides together, then make a slit in the interfacing and turn the peel right side out. You need to finger press only at this stage.

orange peels in processorange peels turnedHere are my peels turned and ready to arrange on the background fabric.  One glitch with this method is that it was hard for me to get the end points sharp without tearing the interfacing.  Perhaps a different interfacing might hold up better. Or the problem may have been that I scaled down the peel size too far.

At this point I decided to not bother cutting up the background fabric but just position the peels on a whole piece of fabric.  This was a real time saver.  Once I had everything positioned I ironed the peels down and machine quilted the edges.  Then I added more stitching around the outside of the peels and stitched a grid.

orange peel pillow 2I went with a button closure (finally used those buttons I bought at NQA in 2007) and a machine sewn edge binding.  Yes, a corded edge is lovely, but I didn’t have any cording and wasn’t likely to find any at 10:30 at night.

orange peel pillow back detailThe fabrics used are a mix from a Cloud 9 organic fat quarter bundle, Migratory Lace (one of my targets to use in 2014,) hand dyed solids, and a quarter yard cut no one else in my guild would touch. The yellow fabric I bought online, and was surprised it was so bright.

orange peel pillow detail


Filed under Completed Projects

What Kind Of Quilter Are You?

cover Intentional Printing

Lynn Krawczyk’s new book Intentional Printing has a great introduction to help you get the most of her fabric printing techniques. She recommends that before you even start you need to be aware of the way you approach fabric art.

Lynn sets out three types of artistic personalities – the Ph.D. artist, the flower child artist, and the worrier artist – and the characteristics that can make creating art more difficult than it needs to be.

The Ph.D. artist researches everything to a fare-thee-well before starting to work.  Such research can cover how the chemical composition of the paint affects the life expectancy of a print, the optimal angle for holding a tool, and, in the case of quilters, the exact correct needle for a weight of thread. Lynn points out that this urge to know everything before starting to work can become a procrastination tool.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the flower child artist who is all play all the time, and who believes instructions are for sissies.  The danger of this approach is that lack of focus and constant experimentation can hinder developing mastery of a manageable number of techniques. You may recognize this personality in quilters who have drawers full of class samples made in every conceivable quilting technique.

Lynn’s last artistic personality, the worrier, is especially pervasive among quilters I’ve known.  This person believes if it isn’t perfect it isn’t worth doing, and worries about what others will think of her work. Criticism can undo her and inhibit her ability to work. Too often this person takes the quilt police’s commandments as gospel. You know, thou shalt not machine sew down thy binding. Sheesh!

In reality I suspect most of us are a blend of these personalities. I know I’m inclined to the flower child artistic personality with a pinch of the worrier. I’ll leave it to you to figure out your artistic personality.


Filed under Books, Commentary

Silk Screening, Part 2

Earlier this year I experimented with silk screening on the budget plan.  The results were so-so and I was eager to cover my tracks, so to speak, with more layers.

As always, my difficulties come in the technical aspects.  In the case of silk screening I plop down either too much or too little paint. This causes either incomplete shapes or paint blobs outside the lines of the shapes.

One good thing about imperfect samples is you’re not worried about ruining earlier work.

star silk screen on dyed clothHere I overprinted Pond Scum (that’s the name of the color) over purple.

frond and ginkyo silk screen on dyed clothSome ginkyo leaves in Blue Hawaii over purple fronds.

ginkyo silk screen 2 layersMore ginkyo leaves in Blue Hawaii over leaves in Pond Scum.

leaf silk screen 2 colorsAnd, finally, Pond Scum over Recycle.

I like the two color effect which would have been even better if I had always started with the lightest color. And I’d be interested to know if there’s a special art school class in naming paint colors.


Filed under In Process, Techniques