Thursday, 11 February 2016

Utility Stitching aka Big Stitch.

I was introduced to Utility Stitching by my friend Ethel Snow.  She taught me to use Perle 8 cotton and a large Tapestry needle to do the stitching.  In 2000 I had surgery on my ankle and was non weight bearing for 12 weeks, so I line up various projects such as English Paper Piecing, needlework and Utility Quilting this friendship block exchange quilt.  5 friends got together and we each made the equivalent of on 12 inch block, which could be subdivided or whole and four 4 inch blocks.  Settings were determined by the maker.  I made several extra blocks and decided to do no sashing on mine.  I've seen a bit of a discussion of this style of quilting on a couple of blogs and my Instagram feed so I thought I'd share my process.
 Shona personalized a scarecrow block for each of us.  I used a variegated yellow Perle cotton and made a continuous circle design that was not marked on the sun.
 Here is a bit closer look at the block.  I would often load 2-4 stitches on my needle.  Pretty even wouldn't you say?  A bit wonky, but it is Utility Stitching not Blue Ribbon quality.
 I drafted this block from a picture I saw on a magazine of a crow with three sunflowers and a larger scale.  I tried to match threads to whatever I was stitching.
 I used a flannel for backing and you can see the crow stitched in black with the ecru thread for the background.
 This gourd was my design and I stitched it similar to the sun.
 A closer look.
 And the back.
 For the four inch blocks I didn't always quilt them as heavily.  The moon was part of my fractured 12 inch block.
 For the 12 inch block I made one turkey...
 Two corn blocks that I designed, notice the silk tassels made with ecru Perle cotton and the crescent moon.
 One of Debbie's four patches with a star, this was free hand, no marking.
 I used a stencil for the acorns and then filled them in a bit.
 One of Tricia's trees.
 For the border I used a large oak leaf and acorn stencil.  I used corn starch to make that marks that just brushed away later.
What do you call it?  Utility Stitching or Big stitch?

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Happy Day!

Today I started out my day with a lovely presentation at our guild by Susan Teece.  I'm taking a workshop with her this weekend called Playing in the trees.
Many of her quilts depict life on the West Coast she lives on Vancouver Island and enjoys photography.
 She has joined the Modern Guild in Victoria along with the traditional one.

This quilt was based on a photo of a chicken coop at the family farm in Saskatchewan for a class with Gail Hunt a former FVQG member.

 Another photo based quilt.
 This one was featured in the local newspaper and 1,000 people showed up to the quilt show the next day!
 This one depicts the Wild West (Coast) fora a challenge for CQA when it was held in Calgary.  Depicts life above and below the ocean.
She likes painting her backgrounds and sometimes quilts them before adding her trees.
A different perspective for viewing trees.


 Look what I got for my birthday today from my mom!
 Nestled in it's own protective sleeve.
 A lovely big are to use fro tracing and very slim, less than an inch thick!

It will be great to use to trace the next set of birds.  This guy needs an eye.
 This guy needs an eye and some more applique.

This one is ready for his embellishing stitches.
Tonight I'm having dinner with mom, after a day of shopping for fabrics for the workshop.  How was your day?

Friday, 5 February 2016

Eggplant Trio Bird Dance

I've had a cold for the past week, so on and off I've been stitching on my Eggplant trio.  Last night I finally finished them off and took some pictures.  Here is the first guy in all his glory.
A closer look as I was stitching him.  I back stitched Purple Dazzle around the purple wool and them whipped stitched a variegated purple Valdani thread, so it almost looks like bead work.
Silken Pearl was used to make the Drizzle stitches on his neck band.  Bullion knots around his wing applique.
Palestrina Knot in Lavender along the pink breast accent. I love the linen rickrack with the bullion knots and closed fly stitch flowers.  I also love how the variegated grey/black thread works up in the Bullion knots for the legs and feet.
Last touch is to add the woven Picot beak.  A nice finish rather than just the wool.
Number two all done, there are almost 170 French Knots in the background square!
He also has the wrapped Purple Dazzle with Valdani variegated purple, notice his plain wool beak. Wrapped Bullion loops on the top of his neck band with very long legged closed Lavender Razzle Fly Knots couched down with an orange variegated Valdani thread.
Wing accents of double cast on stitches done in Silken Pearl.
Flower detail.
And to finish him off his woven Picot stitched beak in Sue Spargo Eleganza thread.

Next up this whimsical guy with his dreads...
A closer look at his neck band with Bullion Loops top and bottom.  Three rows of Palestrina knots in the middle.
Here he is with the first of two 80 wrap Drizzle Stitches.
Then number 2 along with the whipped woven circle to the right.
And now with his Woven Picot beak made with two different variegated threads.  His dreads have been couched down so they don't blow in the breezes.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Creativity with Mary Lou Weidman!

Today is Mary Lou Weidman's birthday and a few days ago she announced that she will be having a retreat in Spokane in June this year.  The last retreat was in June 2013.  I'm so excited to be able to join her along with other creative ladies that like to explore their abilities.  I put this group of birds together at the retreat from one of our swaps.
 But in October last year I decided to change up the layout at our guild retreat.
At the Mary Lou retreat I worked on these flowers for a then upcoming retreat that was going to use the same colours we used in the watering can swap we had done earlier.
 I finally got my fish swap blocks together and have an idea for that hole.  I think I'll take this along to the next retreat in June.
 At the retreat Mary Lou chose these fabrics for a basket swap.
 Mari had brought along her watering can blocks from the swap, mine hadn't arrived by the time I left to attend.
 I finished off my story quilt about the many road trips mom and I did in the past.
 When I got home I borrowed a friend's design wall and put up my watering cans and flowers to see how they looked.  I'm bringing them along in June to get them together with some other ideas.
These birds were a second bird swap that we did and I added the whimsical tree, they are almost ready for quilting.
 Extra hearts from the last heart swap made into a Valentine's Day wall hanging.
Mary Lou, have a Very Happy Birthday! For more information check out Mary Lou's website.  Or check out her blog Mary Lou and Whimsy Too!