Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Quilting, sketching, doodling

Have you noticed any posts on facebook about minimalism? I'm connecting with the concept  because for the last several years, i've been feeling stressed by the things around me. Gradually, I've been cleaning closets, dressers and storage rooms when I can. Every week this year, i've taken a box and/or bags to the second hand store. My daughter would scoff at my attempts; she's becoming quite serious about it. As a quilter, and a fiber and mixed media artist with very few local sources for supplies, it's difficult to really clean out. Still, im getting there with the clutter. I'm noticing i do feel calmer in my rooms with less. I'm trying to do the same thing in my studio-- to a degree. I need my stash! However, I seem to have a few unfinished projects and they do add stress. I haven't posted much lately of new giber art work because I've put a bit of a mratorium on new pieces.  As an example of the need for having supplies on hand, while browsing fb this morning, I came across this beautiful video about combining chalk pastels with water on Alicia Burke's blog. I went down to my art clisetvand pulled out my pastels. I've experimented a little in my sketchbook. At lunch, i started anither page .
The book you may notice above is one I picked up in the bargain section of the bookstore.
Here is one of the spreads. The sample doodles are on the left and my start on the right with an under layer of chalk pastel and water to soften it. I like to kerp it on my table for tea time doodling.
In recent years my drawings with colored pencils and watercolor have been quite detailed. At the same time i've been wanting to try a little looser style. This technique will be fun to experiment with.
Meantime, I can free motion quilt for anout 10 minutes at a time . It's about 3/4 done.  
It's getting greener and lusher in the yard.
When the weather is good, I've been weeding, mulching, dividing perennials and planting. Radishes, beets and spinach are growing under the old window  on my raised bed. Im lucky to have two machines in my studio, one that i have set up for free motion and the second for straight sewing. One of my unfinished projects is to put together more squares cut from an old sample book. Previuosly, i made a bed cushion. I want to use this for a slip cover on a small chair in my bedroom.
My latest socks just off the needles.
I'm never at a loss for something to do! I just need the time and energy!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Free motion quilting baby quilt

Its been quiet here on the blog because I've had the most lovely visit from my daughter and 6 month old grandson, Ollie. Hubby had a quick visit before he left for Labrador and then it was the three of us. The weather was pretty good so we got outside in the yard, on the deck and went walking on the trail and through the park.
I let everything else go for the four days except making meals and spending time with them. I was a bit teary eyed when they left yesterday, so I threw myself into more cleaning and purging. This afternoon, I put the Stacked Squares baby quilt under the needle to free motion quilt. Most of the time I have my quilts done on a long arm. For the first time, though, I had to press all seams open and i thought I'd do it myself to keep the stitches and quilt pattern denser.
Im finding it a little painful on one forearm that has been troubling me. It's good that I can leave it and come back to it for little sessions. I can also  take little rests to breathe and watch the bird activity. We have a pair of swallows setting up nest in the house on the pole. Earlier we had chickadees.
Sometimes I find quotes that inspire me and like to save them in my journal. The pages where I cleaned off my brushes and brayer during my Gelli printing sessions are perfect for that. The figures on the right  look like trees but they're actually the outlined shape of dandelion leaves.
It's cold today, too cold for the garden, 9C, would you believe. Hopefully, itll warm up for the weekend. I hope you have a good one.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gelatin monoprinting workshop

Ive been recuperating from my little workshop trip to the Spruce It Up Quilt shop in Port Elgin, reorganizing and putting away supplies for the last  few days. We had just the right number for the space, six in all. I must say that my host was very welcoming and well organized making my job a lot easier.
I think we fed off each others enthusiasm! Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was always a pleasant surprise when the fabric was slowly pulled away from the mold and a print was revealed.
Although no one really knew what to expect, nit having seen the process before, they all were excited and pretty creative. They took my demos and immediately played and experimented developing their own style. I enjoyed feeling and seeing it all.
They were all pretty inventive with textures. 
  After a quick lunch break, I showed them how to make and incise craft foam stamps.
In the last hour we quickly cleaned up to make time for a little hand stitching on a piece that they chose to use to make a small sewing kit like the one featuured in Quilting Arts October/November 2016.
They left with several fabric prints and and supplies to finish their sewing kit. I enjoyed my day so much that I didn't even notice my sore feet until i had loaded my car and pulled away! Yesterday, I needed to get groceries and then I had my knitting group in the afternoon. I was happy to have a day at home today to catch up and even do a little stitching. This is one of my demo pieces that I used to show the lazy daisy stitch. This afternoon, I added the free motion stitched black to the ferns and flowers. I always like how it defines the images.
The sun came out warming the day so I headed outside to do a little gardening. There's not much up yet. My husband and I have been watching a pair of chickadees going in and out of the burdhouse. Lady year, racoons got a swallow nest in the same box which was mounted near the fence. We're hoping this will be safe.
Each time I'm out I hand till a small section of garden, adding more mulch and the odd garden ornament as I go.
Tomorrow, I've got to head back to Moncton for a check up with the orthapedic surgeon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Preparing workshop

I've spent a good part if this week getting ready for my mono orinting workshop this Saturday in Port Elgin, NB. The fact that its been cold, windy and rainy meant I had to stay in anyway. I had been enjoying getting started in my gardens. Last night, we even had some snow! At least I'm all prepared and can relax. I watched the movie, The Light Between Oceans, on Netflix. A bit of a tear jerker but very good. I ended up ripping out the last socks inwas workingon. The pattern was tight and they seemed small. I've restarted using another pattern which is working out well.
Then, last night, I cast on an infinity scarf that is plain knitting in the round using 209 stitches. It's a yarn with half cotton, half acrylic and would make a nice mid season scarf
I like to have something eady to travel with. There's been time for a little free motion play too. I stitched with black thread on six bookmarks cut from a loosely painted and printed large piece of canvas which I cut up to make various little projects.
It's almost used up, so I'll soon be due to paint another piece.  As im doing painting or printing projects, i continue to use my journal pages to print second orints or to clean off the brayer. Im finding the pages are fun to sketh on top off or to write quites that I find interesting.
I liked this description if the seashore in my most recent book, A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker.  This is a gelatin monoprint that i tested on a journal page.
And this is anither 'clean off' the Gelli page which is imperfect but will appeal to me in the future and spark an idea for finishing or writing.
Now, im going to get ready for the pool.  Im wishing you a great week and weekend. I will try to have some workshop pics next week.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Free motion stitching ferns

This morning, I had errands, and then my standing lunch date with friends. Except for a few small patches, the snow has gone from our yard, so I took an hour plus to do some outdoor work before the rain. Gord took the afternoon off to get a few things done outside too. Of course, once the chores were done, he went to hit balls at the golf course. Its opening soon. I've been packing up my baby quilt blocks to take tomorrow to our second last sewing day for the season. I made the decision last week to put a hold on some fiber art pieces because I was feeling scatter brained with the pending monoprinting workshop and the preparations for that. It's all organised now.  I couldn't help but try a wee bit of free motion stitching on one of the gelatin mono prints. 
It's one that didn't come out as I'd hoped but I  think the stitching really helps --as it often does.
I've no idea what it will be for yet. Maybe a bag. Yesterday, I tried another method to make a stamp. I drew some flower shapes with a low temp glue onto craft foam. 
I see potential for all kinds of printing. I'll be taking this along to show in the workshop. You can make stamps using a glue gun onto a pressing sheet. They peel off but stand alone or would have to all be connected. The craft foam base means you can create an overall design with some elements unconnected.
Here are my latest socks.
Happy Friday!  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Hand stitching a monoprint

I haven't been here as much as is usual for me. Its a combination of better weather and being able to get a few things done in the yard, getting ready for a workshop next week and stitching on a baby quilt. In this pic all the little blocks are laid out.
I'm currently part way through getting some rows together. I've been experimenting with a few different stamp techniques. This one is made with aluminum tape added to craft foam and drawn into.
I don't think the end result is any different than plain craft foam. It may be more durable but you're limited to the size of the tape. This afternoon after getting back from a hospital appoinment- a mammagram which got cancelled part way due to machine malfunction-- I needed something a little creative. I chose a monoprint that i thought would work with hand stitching. Participants in my workshop won't have sewing machines. If time permits, we'll start stitching on one of their prints. 
I enjoy hand stitching; its relaxing; however, I  can't do it as long as I once could because of arthritis. Its fun to do little projects.
I always like a little splash of color.
 I can hardly believe our grandson turned 5 months!
Im hoping your week is going well. Happy Wednesday!