Showing posts with label Scenic photos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scenic photos. Show all posts

Friday, July 28, 2017

High Summer Stitching

Doesn't look like a lake, does it? That's Lake Ontario, looking southwest down the length of the lake from Bluffer's Park in Toronto. We've had some wonderful high summer weather this week, and I took my camera out for a drive.

Here are the Scarborough Bluffs, with lovely puffy white clouds (aka source material):

And the marina, with puffy clouds and shiny boats:

A good day! Some memories to re-visit when it's below freezing this winter.

Inside, I finally finished edge stitching the fusible applique blocks that I last shared in June, here and here. They are for my quilt "El Camino SoCal," based on the cover quilt from Nancy Rink's book El Camino Real. And even though summer is still in full swing, you can see that my sunny patch on the wall is getting narrower:

After considerable thought, I decided to top stitch the flowers as if they had individual petals. It was a lot easier to run straight and pivot, rather than inching around all the inside curves.

I want this quilt to have a bright, casual feel, so I just stitched the petals by eye.

I did the same thing on the smaller "forget-me-nots."

The yellow (and citron) centres are reverse applique, which is why the top stitching is only on the purple.

Here's the whole block stitched:

And the last block of the five I've done so far:

They remind me of poppies.

I think this block benefited quite a lot from the top stitching. It really helped to separate and define all the light coloured leaves.

And I'm still happy with my choice of dark red thread for all the edge stitching. It shows up well on every colour.

These blocks have been lying flat on my sewing table for two months, because I didn't want to fold them until they were stitched. I've had to move them every time I sew. Now I can finally put them away!

I feel like I'm at a bit of a crossroads now, and I'm not sure which project I'll pick up next. It's been nothing but this project and Technicolor Turkey for two months, so maybe it's time to give some love to some of my other projects!

And the next Ad Hoc Improv Quilters challenge is to use words in a quilt, which is right up my alley. You can read about it here. I have at least three wordy ideas that I've been sitting on, and I thought it would be easy to just pick one. But...I'm feeling the need to be more spontaneous. So we'll see what happens!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy 150, Canada!

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers, and anyone else who feels like celebrating too! No quilts today, just a slice of summer vacation in the Canadian Shield. The photo above is an early morning shot of Lake of Two Rivers in Algonquin Park. You may hear a White-throated Sparrow...

...but you don't usually see them, they are high in the trees. And there is nothing eerier than hearing the loon echoing over the water:

There has been a lot of discussion in the media this week about what makes a typical Canadian experience, and the truth is that there isn't one thing that fits everyone across the board. Everyone has their own customs, and most people are ok with that.

For one version of the Canadian experience, you may, if you like, imagine relaxing in a Muskoka chair by the lake (they are extremely comfortable), breathing the crisp air, and drinking a nice hot cup of coffee. (We learned this week that Canadians are the third highest per capita consumers of coffee in the world, after The Netherlands and Finland, and before Norway and Sweden.)

I will almost certainly be sewing on Canada Day, and I'll be very glad that I am free to do it, too. And despite my earlier post, I don't think I'll take a blog break any time soon. I have lots of motivation these days. Maybe I'll slow down in August. But for now, enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Butterflies and Break

Butterflies, Bees
and Blogging Break

I have several photos today. It's time again for the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up, in support of awareness of butterfly and bee habitats. Earlier this month we made a visit to Hy-Hope Farm north of Pickering to stock up on butter tarts and take some photos. It is always photogenic there! Later in the summer they will have more local produce, but this time they had a great display of flower baskets.

They also have a working apple orchard:

So, that is plenty of work for the bees. The trees were just coming into bloom. Look at this one:

Isn't that cool? I've never really noticed that growth pattern before.

It is several years now since the City of Toronto, and a year later the rest of Ontario, banned chemical herbicides and pesticides. Now every spring the city is a sea of dandelions! But apparently, dandelions are good for bees:

So, in a few more years it may well be uncool to mow the lawn!

In quilting news, I managed to sew up another six Moth in the Window blocks, from the pattern in Addicted to Scraps by Bonnie Hunter:

That one on the top right there is very disappointing, given that both fabrics are very nice. But, I'm not going to redo it! This past week I think I have finally learned my lesson about contrast, as you will see in a bit.

The first time I shared this project in April, there was some discussion about whether my lucky white butterfly was a butterfly or a moth. I looked it up, and the answer is butterfly! But, it can still be a pest. :D  And the difference between butterflies and moths is interesting too.

For the past two years I've taken a 2+ month blogging break over the summer. This year I want to try some new things before it gets too hot, so I think I'll break earlier. I find it is easier to experiment with new techniques when I'm not worried about analyzing everything for my blog.

Yesterday I got this new book by Katie Pasquini Masopust, Artful Log Cabin Quilts, and this is going to be my first big distraction. The combination of improv-pieced log cabins and abstract art quilts is very appealing. I started a new project right away!

As you see, I did not make a strong start. There is not nearly enough contrast in here to make it worthwhile. I am amazed at how many fabrics I have in the exact same value of olive green!

But, the one smart thing I did was start with the corners of my project. So, I will keep them and improve the middle.

The book has a lot of information about what makes a good photo, particularly regarding the range of contrast. Sadly, I did not pay close attention. This was my starting photo:

These are the waterlilies that grow along the Spruce Bog Boardwalk in Algonquin Park. It seemed like a good plan, but now I realize there are too many flat areas of colour for this technique. Anyway, I think I can save it. And, I have quite a few more ideas after that...

So, I'm not going to post regularly this summer, but I may pop in once or twice. I have at least three projects that are very nearly done, including Picnic...

...which is quilted and just needs binding now. I'm sure I'll post them right away if they get finished!

In the meantime, check out all the other butterfly and bee photos, fabrics, projects and info at the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up, right here. Happy stitching!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Most Quiltiest Time...

Here's the sky outside at about 8:15 this morning. I'm sure that all over the northern hemisphere people are looking out at similar scenes these days. The clouds are so thick that the street lights come on in the middle of the afternoon, and inside we have the lights on all day. Nothing inspires me to quilt more than a day like this! To me it's the most, quiltiest time of the year.

Bonnie Hunter's first clue for En Provence came out this morning. You can read it here, for the next two months. We're making a whole bunch of all-white four patch blocks. "Woo hoo," I thought at first, "easy!" But...then I thought maybe this would be a fun place to do something silly with my flamingo fabric...

"Maybe I should wait and see how the squares are used before I make any commitments," I thought. (Although, on further reflection there's no way I'm going to fussy cut this fabric 200+ times. But, I decided to wait and see, so that's what I'll do.)

Outside, it is still perfect quilting weather:

Plus, I've been waiting all month to start a new project today. A new project. Today.

Allietare is the obvious substitution. It's so close to finished.

All the red blocks are done, and I just have seven of the black star blocks left.

So, I put this one together. Six left.

Then I remembered that it's AHIQ again this week! Thank goodness! The Allietare blocks are beautiful, but they are slow going with a lot of seams to match. 

Back in October I started a new improv-ish project. But I only made a couple of blocks before my back fell apart. Now I have like a "free week" to get that moving. This is it -- Liberated Stars!

These are Gwen Marston's style of liberated star block. I love the way they look, and they are fun to make, too. I should have had some in my Gwennie Medallion, but I wanted to re-purpose those bear claws instead.

Now I've decided to make a whole quilt of liberated stars. Liberated Stars for a New Day.

Yes! Remember this crazy thing?

That will be the centre. It's still a medallion, but Sue Garman's feathered star is the only thing left of her pattern. Last year I simplified it by enlarging all the pieces to suit my low-thread count fabric. This year I am going to liberate all the stars, large and small. 

I plan to make it much scrappier, too. I bought a lot of that Heirloom Manor collection from Connecting Threads (on sale now), which is very brown and tan. Now it will be primarily used for the backgrounds, and I'll use brighter scraps for the stars.

In fact, all those bright yellow star points are reclaimed fabric from Cardinal Stars. I had tons left over when I redesigned it, and I just couldn't bring myself to throw it all out.

I spent one evening watching tv with the seam ripper, and reduced the old hsts back into triangles. I know it seems crazy, and you may be relieved to know that the black triangles all went in the garbage!

But, I really think it was worth it, because you need triangles anyway to make the liberated stars, and everything was just the right size.

And this intense yellow does look sharp on the navy background:

There are some Brinton Hall leftovers in the centres, too. 

Scrappy and liberated seems way more interesting than my previous plans for this quilt. I've been thinking about and redesigning Stars for a New Day for years now. I guess it takes as long as it takes, because this is the plan that has traction and that I am 100% happy with. Another star quilt!

Let's hope I can do a little more before Bonnie's next clue for En Provence. :D

Friday, October 21, 2016

What's Up?

I know I've been MIA for a while, so I've been going through my camera this morning to see what I can share with you all. I've got some "progress" photos on the last round of the Gwennie Medallion, and my new guild challenge fabrics.

First, though, the autumn colours have been particularly good this year:

Outside, everything is looking beautiful. Inside, well...

The final clue for the Gwennie Medallion is "something fishy." My plan for the fishies has been the same since I read the clue. But, I still haven't started them, because I am wrestling with how to handle the corners.

I thought it would be good to carry the diagonal line of the light/dark log cabin layout into the final corners. I've saved this large triangle of background fabric from the basket block in Month 1. Maybe it could be the start of my corner blocks?

I made some strategic cuts.

The all-blue corner was not too bad. Don't ask me why it's so wide. I'm sure I had a reason.

I paired the blue triangles with some solid red to carry out that diagonal line, and built the block out log cabin style, as I did with the bear claws.

Since the project started my plan has been to have a wide solid red border after the final round. The idea with this corner was to transition the diagonal line out into the solid red.

"If I keep adding strips, eventually it will look right," I thought.

"I have to actually put it up on the wall and see how it all looks together," I thought.

Well, yes, those bloody red triangles were horrible, and no amount of building out would fix them.

Then I thought I would put my initials and the date in the corners instead. I unpicked all the blocks so I could re-use the strips for the letters.

I was happy with that plan, but yesterday I realized that another week had passed, and I still hadn't started. Back to the drawing board!

What I've been doing instead is my new guild challenge project. These three fabrics, from the "Charlotte" collection by Deborah Edwards of Northcott, have to be 50% of the quilt top. It's a small project, with a maximum perimeter of 120", (e.g. 30" x 30" (76 x 76 cm)).

The soft, traditional style has felt like a relaxing contrast to all these Gwennie shenanigans, so I've been spending a lot of time on it. Plus, it's due at the end of February, so there isn't a lot of time for deep thought. Unfortunately, I cannot share any progress photos at all, because it will be blind judging.

So, that's what's up with me, Next week may be a busy one, with a little playing around for AHIQ, the Cardinal Stars finish, and maybe the fishies too!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer Projects

My big project this summer has been to get my 91 year old father to stop working, and more importantly, to stop driving before he killed someone. It has required heroic persistence and patience, but I am glad to say that we have succeeded! I think he has finally accepted that retirement is not that bad.

With all that going on, I have not done that much sewing this summer. Brinton Hall has made very good progress, and I'll show you that on Sunday. When I had machine time, I'd put together a block or two of Allietare. The bright Kaffe prints are really invigorating to work with:

I love the red blocks. I am less sure about the black star blocks:

I have been so tempted to sew a few together, just to see how the secondary pattern will come out. But I do want to lay out and balance the blocks properly when they're all done, so I've held off. I only have about 10 left, and then the fun will really start!

I am not sure now if I will do Bonnie Hunter's mystery again this year. I have a colour scheme in mind already, but I also have so many other projects that I really do want to finish, and some to start! So, we'll see.

My box of Kaffe fabrics has been getting a good work out with Brinton Hall. While the fabrics were out I also made one lonely butterfly for Down in the Garden:

This butterfly was going to be gold, and I had the wings fussy cut 18 months ago already. But, I lost one! The one thing that became crystal clear this summer is that I have too many things happening at the same time, and that is hurting my projects. I have made new resolutions --

  • Fewer current projects
  • No more BOMs
  • More original work

-- and we'll see how that pans out!

But in any case, this new pink butterfly matches the purple and pink/orange flowers in the block surprisingly well too:

And I still have all the wings for the second butterfly:

Then I can get back to some stitching and finish the block. I had a lot more stitching planned for this project, but I've changed my mind and decided to fill in with some extra pieced blocks instead. It's time to move on!

I bought a couple of those adult colouring books this summer, as part of my effort to get my Dad refocused on something positive. No luck! "Silly stuff," he said. He used to draw well, but maybe colour was never his strong suit. My Mom did this nice one, though:

It is totally different from how I would have done it, which is very interesting! And better, I think. I was very impressed with her turquoise and green roses. I have to see if I can use this colour scheme for a future project.

I coloured a couple too:


To me it seemed like a low-risk opportunity to try a more radical colour scheme. I've been obsessed with orange and green leaves lately. The one above is ok, but I like the second one better:

It seems like it could be a nice quilt, couldn't it? The round drawing is from Flower Mandalas by Thaneeya McArdle (New Design Originals, 2016), and the two square pages are from Magic of Flowers & Birds (Barron's).

There are two link ups on today. Please check out Ann and Cathy's Kaleidoscope of Butterflies right here. The brave Gwennie Medallion quilters are still at it too, right here. My medallion went to the basement at the end of June, and just came back up a couple of days ago. But, I've dealt with the road blocks on that one, and I hope to catch up over the next month. October 1 will be the final reveal, but I'll have updates before that.

Finally, for two days this summer we had a new lodger:

You can barely see the brown rabbit in the brown grass there. Hottest summer ever! This was right after a heavy rainfall, and the green comes back quickly. I was out checking the eavestroughs and foundations at the back of the house (still dry!). I turned around and he was right there, less than ten feet behind me. So still, he didn't even blink. Was he there the whole time? Hopefully he's moved somewhere safer now.

A week later I was taking the garbage out at dusk, and I noticed the neighbour had a new chimney. I looked again and there was not one, but two raccoons way up on the roof of the second level, with all four ears pointed straight at me! We are just grateful that they like the neighbours roof better than ours!

So, that is me mostly caught up now. As I said, Brinton Hall is well along and I'll post that on Sunday. I may need some advice...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March Butterflies

The Kaleidoscope of Butterflies continues this month, and I've been stitching all weekend to get my next butterfly block done.

I'm glad this link up came along! I've been feeling a paralyzing amount of angst about the fabric choices for this project. But, these stitched sections are all decided, so I can do them now, and worry about the rest later. And I have a feeling that once these are done, and I can put everything up on the wall together, it will be easy to see what's next. Or at least, easier.
This is Block 2 of Leanne Beasley's stitchery quilt, Down in the Garden:

There was a lot of stitching on this one! And most of it yellow and gold. I seem to be on a yellow theme right now. But, given that this is the scene outside today...

 ...I think it balances out. No real life butterflies here! A spring green needleturn butterfly will have to be enough for now:

For more kaleidoscopes and butterflies, check out the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up, right here.
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