Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vacation Time!

Well, I've been out in the gardens fighting blackflies and mosquitoes trying to clear out weeds and grass that shouldn't be there or planting tomatoes and vegetable seeds, or packing or a trip.  I'm off today for a trip to see Mom, who will be 88 this year, and family.  It's always a busy time when I go "to the big city".  It's a bit of a shock to the system because I go from this island that normally has a little over 100,000 people and is mostly farming and fishing and very very quiet and go to southern Ontario where there are many millions of people within an hour of where I will be staying.  Driving is always a fun challenge!  LOL

Sorry but I am way to new at this to be prepared with a gazillion little things to post while I am away.

In the meantime, if you haven't visited Judy Cooper's site lately, you MUST see it!  She has all sorts of information on her blog about how to do almost anything.  She recently posted a few sites with interesting tutorials. 

Potato field freshly seeded with new potatoes

Lobster boats sitting idle on a Sunday because it is God's day and a day of rest.

Farm fields.  There is wheat just coming out of the ground way off in the distance, the faint green colour.

Hopefully when I get back, life will get back to normal quickly and the blogging can continue in earnest!  See you in a few weeks!

In the meantime, Happy Stitching or whatever!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Felt Project, Moy Mackay, Left Over Quilt Scraps

Absolutely PERFECT mid July weather the last few days!  Its quite warm/hot but we have a lovely strong wind to keep it from feeling too warm.  And yes, it is just barely past the middle of May so this weather is totally unusual for us but most welcome as long as it doesn't get any hotter. 

Anyways, I have very little in the way of stitching or quilting or felting news.  I did start a new felt project.  I'm sure I spent more time trying to photograph it and edit the photos than I actually spent making the darn thing!  It looks okay I guess in the photo, but the photo really makes it look horrible compared to seeing it in person.  Here is a photo.
I saw a sampler recently in a Sotheby's online auction site and it was done in brown and turquoise and I just loved the contrast in colours.  The brown and turquoise have been in the back of my mind for months now and I kept trying to decide what I was going to do to use those two colours.  Finally, a few days ago, I pulled out my merino wool and needle felter and the photo above is what came of it.  I really want to add stitches to it, but no turquoise perle cottons or similar types of thread.  I have only some DMC 6 stranded floss.  I am okay working with the floss, but with some stitches, the threads don't lay evenly and the stitch ends up looking messy and not properly done, so an online order is due.

But, before placing an order, I really need to do an inventory of what I have in perle cottons.  I ordered quite a bit since taking the Sumptuous Surfaces Embroidery and  Encrusted Crazy Quilting course from Sharon Boggon and really don't know what I have.

Recently, I came across a felting artist, Moy Mackay.  WOW!  I immediately fell in love with her art work.   On the link above, if you click on Moy's name, you will get her home page.  On it, you will also find her just released book, "Art in Felt and Stitch".  I am so glad I added it to my collection.  It appears that most of her work starts out being wet felted  and when dry, she adds needle felted and hand stitched details.  There are also 4 step by step projects that she works you through and I am eager to try them as I haven't really done any wet felting!   If you check out her home page, the blue bird with a golden mustard yellow background and the sheep art work are two of the step by step projects.

On another topic, quilting, some or all of us probably have scraps of fabric left over from our quilting projects. I've heard more than once where quilters, when they have completed a project, take the left over material and cut it up into common size squares with 1/4 inch seam allowance added, so 2 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inch squares, 3 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch squares, etc.  and then just store them by size.  Eventually they have enough to make something with what has been saved.  Here is a great web site that goes into detail about what to do with the left over fabric.  Don't forget to check out the photos at the bottom of what has been done with their scraps!

The rest of this blog is just me boasting about this lovely island!

If I haven't been stitching, what have I been doing?   I've had my hands in manure!  Manure and mulch and in the garden and flower beds.   Today, I am so incredibly sore, I'm surprised my fingers can actually type at this keyboard!   I can barely walk and muscles and ligaments and God only knows what else that have laid dormant all winter have been called into use and they are NOT happy at all!!!

In any case, the rhubarb is flourishing and the fourth batch of rhubarb crisp this season is cooling in the kitchen.  This is a photo of the garden, almost all planted.  I have a few seeds to put in and other than finding some zucchini seeds, all will be done for now.

We went for a drive yesterday and the trees are either flowering or almost in full leaf.  This is a photo down by Cavendish National Park.

The next photo is Orby Head.  The "Head", or point, is what is pictured.   When I first came to the island 13 years ago, this point was not as steep a slope as it is now.  It was much much wider and people, including me, were able to carefully walk down from the top of the cliff to the lowest plateau. As you can see, the many severe winter winds and storms and wave action have eroded the sandstone and slowly The Head is disappearing.  If you look carefully, you will see a lobster boat in the upper right corner!

Each winter, we have the most amazing winter storms with driving winds from the North.  They wreak havoc on our beaches and cliffs.  They take sand and/or rocks away, they put sand and/or rocks where previously there was none and slowly the cliffs are bombarded until sections fall into the sea.  The sand has been brought back to the beach at the North Rustico end of Cavendish National Park.
One last photo now.  There used to be only one way to get on or off this island.  A ferry.  The island is crescent shaped and is 139 miles or 224 km from tip to tip.  It is  4 to 40 miles or 6 to 64 km wide.  In the 1990's, a bridge was made to connect the island to the mainland, the Province of New Brunswick.  The bridge is amazing!  The bridge is 8 miles or 12.9 km long.   Its has quite the amazing story!

I was going to go out and plant those seeds, but just a few moments ago, I heard something outside that we usually only hear once or twice during the summer, and only at night.  We've never figured out if it was foxes or raccoons but it lets out the most terrible screeches as if it is being tortured. I can't go outside with the dog because if she sees anything, she will be off like a shot in the dark and we'll never find.  So, its housework for me! Yuck!  Maybe I'll stitch!

Enjoy your day and happy stitching!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Trying to Dye Cheesecloth

I recently saw on Judy Cooper's site that she was trying to dye some fabric and cheesecloth a gray colour to use as rocks in her fabric art quilts.  Immediately, it came to mind that I could try the same thing, but in a red iron oxide colour to match our cliffs. (Cape Turner in the Cavendish National Park)

I do not have fabric dye but have acrylic paints in the red iron oxide colour needed to match the cliff colour.  So I just added a bit of water to the paint and threw in my cheesecloth.

This is what the cheesecloth looked like wet.
It looked a tiny bit different dry!  I hate to admit to leaving the cheesecloth in the wet paint mixture for 2 days but I did and as you can see the colour did not take well.  A friend told me to heat set it and add back to the paint and it will darken but I wasn't so sure of this. 
I think perhaps it's time to get some fabric dye.  From what I have read in most blogs, Procion MX Dyes seem to be the dye of choice.   What I am not thrilled about though, is the reference to needing a mask during the process and rubber gloves.  If  the mask and gloves are because the paint is toxic, well, maybe I won't be able to dye.  I live out in the country and we use our clean well water for drinking and every day use. I hate the thought of using something that might poison my environment.  So, as I said, I will have to do some research.  As I type this, I wonder how safe the acrylic paint was that I had to dump outside?  

In any case, though you may not have learned what you thought you were going to learn from reading this post,  you certainly learned what NOT to do.

Judy Cooper mentioned a book that she referenced each time she dyed and I think perhaps its a good idea for me to pick it. 

Spring is definitely here and the farmers are in their fields planting grains.  A few fields of freshly planted potatoes have been seen as well.  Its looking lovely out there!
This next photo is an old fishing barn on the wharf of the French River Harbour.  I can't imagine how old it might be but I'm sure its feeling every year of its existence as it's spine is well worn and bent.

Hope you find time to enjoy your art and what is around you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pebble Finished!

Hi again!

Well, spring is most definitely here and I am finding it harder to sit down and stitch when there is spring cleaning to do inside the house and so much yard work that needs doing outside!  I spent some time in the flower bed under the kitchen window at the front of the house friday!  OMG!!   The back of my legs didn't know what hit them!  I was paralyzed with pain for days!!!  LOL...   That'll learn me for not exercising more, though I admit I thought the swimming and exercise in the community pool was helping.

In any case, I found time to do a few things.  I am just about finished my "Pebble".  Previously mentioned here.  Also, it was taken from this original posting with Stitch magazine website.

I have the front of the Pebble all stitched up and I enjoyed the stitching so much I went much higher on the 'pebble' than I planned to.

The Stitch website suggests using a Ladder Stitch to stitch the front and back together but it just doesn't seem right to me.  Having never done the Ladder Stitch before, I am probably out to lunch and should probably just do it, but I will need to try it out on something else first before proceeding.   This is the back piece, ontop of the rear of the front piece.  I have to stitch the two together along the sides.   (that sounds so confusing!  lol)

I will have to let you know how that turned out!  There are a few great resources that I have come across to help me learn stitches.  One is Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary.  There is also her Take A Stitch Tuesday, which is now incorporated into her Pintangle Blog. And since I'm here, I might as well mention her Stitchin' Fingers site.  I wish I could spend more time in there as it is the most amazing place!  And finally, there is Pretty Impressive Stuff.  I also refer almost constantly to my Embroidery Stitch Bible

I do have to tell you about my machine quilting day workshop that I took with Kathy Tidswell last week.  WOW!   (OH DEAR!   I do wish I could attach the songs from some birds that are singing outside my window right now!  How Glorious!)    In any case, the drive into Charlottetown is about 70 to 80 km for me from where I live.  I had to be in Charlottetown for 9 this past Wednesday morning (to get a good seat) and it was an all day workshop so I wasn't planning on going to her Trunk Show, also in Charlottetown, the night before.  But, I couldn't resist!   What a treat!   Some of the quilts on her web sites where shown and Kathy was ever so kind as to provide some explanation as to how she came up with the design and some of her processes in creating.  I am so glad I went but boy was I tired for about 3 days afterward! (160 km of driving Tuesday evening and again Wednesday!)   

The course was beyond expectations, though I will admit that I was in a bit of a kurfuffle and actually thought the course was something else, but it didn't matter.   It was more than I could have imagined.  Kathy is an excellent instructor and quite obviously very learned in her art.  We covered machine quilting with both the walking foot, and free motion.  All aspects of machine quilting were covered, such as needle types, thread types, how to start, finish and everything in between.  We made up a sampler of our sewing.

Kathy was quite thorough though and because of her instruction, I feel more than capable of proceeding along in this learning process!  Thank you Kathy!

Well, the sun is actually out and we may not see it for a few days.   My husband is out cutting the grass for the second time this season, so I might see how those back leg muscles are doing and weed a flower bed or at least a part of one.  I have close to 80 to 100 or more feet of flower beds, in 4 different gardens.  As you can see, the grass has really taken over because  you can't see where the flower bed is and when the lawn starts.
In the meantime, for some practice at free motion quilting, you might be inspired by visiting this site for some helpful tips.   I can't leave though without mentioning Judy Cooper.  Her blog holds not only photos of her most lovely quilts and artwork, but also a whole slew of links to other blogs and sources of information that teach everything about art quilting.  I get a gazillion more bookmarks every time I go into her blog! 

Don't forget to check out The Sunshine Deli!  It always brings a smile!


Liebster Award

I was recently tagged for the Liebster Award by Judy Cooper from Judy Cooper Textile Images.  Thank you Judy!

"The Liebster award (German for Favorite) is usually presented to smaller blogs as a form of recognition and support. 'Smaller blog' is one with 200 followers or less. As a recipient you are to:"

  • Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them
  • Post the award to your blog
  • Present the award to 5 other blogs
  • Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award
There are lots of great blogs out there to choose from. Here are the five that I've selected for the Liebster (in no particular order):
  1. London-Wul Fibre Arts
  2. BSL Art Quilts
  3. The Sunshine Deli
  4. Embroiderland
  5. Stitching Lady 
I couldn't find a link anywhere in Google or BING that lead me back to the origins of this award.  I was totally tickled pink at having received this Award but was a little hesitant at sending it on.  I decided that it is a way to promote other small blogs and that is a good thing.   So, the blogs I have chosen and listed above and they are  free to continue the Award or not, at their discretion.  I do think the blogs I have listed are a great source of inspiration and I might add that Judy Cooper would have been on my list if I hadn't received the Award from her!