Thursday, December 20, 2018

Stitching, crocheting and Christmas preparations

This year, I’ve really scaled back on Christmas activities and preparations. I think I might be suffering from a ‘perfect storm’ of ailments  rendering me exhausted. This morning occupational therapy made this brace for me and I was told to give it a complete rest. It’s my right arm and I’m right handed! It’s going to seriously hamper my stitching and sewing which were already cut back. I’m doing some of this:

It could be worse, I try to tell myself to keep my spirits up,  but not always easy.
I’m having only my son and his wife for Christmas Eve and day. They are vegetarian so no turkey. I’m doing easy stuff, a soup, cheeses, olives, baguettes and a main dish as yet undecided. Maybe filo with feta and spinach. We will go to PEI to see the grandson and family later in the week.

Yesterday, I made a gingerbread cake with cranberries and butterscotch sauce which I will freeze for Christmas dinner. Of course we did a taste test! It is a delicious , moist recipe.

I’ve been working here and there in my studio only in shorter lengths of time. I’m pleased with where I think I’m going with the seed pod.

The smaller pod top left is only resting there and will move. I’m glad I got it to this stage as my mind will rest easier . I’m not completely sure exactly how I’ll finish but have an idea.

When I want some no brainer playtime I’ve been playing with the ‘scrap box’ piece. It’s also near to finishing and will also cause no angst to sit.

I suffered through finishing this double stranded very heavy waffle stitch  afghan because it’s a Christmas gift. I love it so much if it wasn’t for my daughter, I’d be tempted to keep it. When my arm is better I will use leftovers in a different is so weighty and warm.

I put together this small table topper (about 10 by 15”) to fit my small kitchen table in between the placemats. My machine was acting up while stitching the appliqués on so I left it and put it on the table as is, lol. No stress.

I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas, happy holidays or whatever suits! I’m going to be taking some time off here until I do can some healing and I’m able to create again.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Some improv sewing

It’s been a bit of a slog lately -  fatigue, illness from a new med and tendinitis, lol. It’s been seriously hampering my stitching time. The doctor has switched me to an injection which will bypass the stomach, rather than a pill once a week. I just gave myself the first one and was pleasantly surprised. It was easy.
I have been sewing a little here and there but not what I’d liked to have been. Generally, I don’t sew at night; however, with my revamped sewing room, I’ve subscribed to The Quilt Show and I’ve been watching and stitching. At night, I like no brainer stuff, so I started a little improv piece just for fun. It may become a small baby quilt or simply a wall hanging.

This afternoon, I did a little cleaning and organizing. I figured out how to hang my design wall using command hooks. It had previously been screwed up. I did one half so far.

I took the rocky cliff down and laid it on a cutting board for now. There are a lot of pieces with more to come, so it’s easier laid flat. I’m anxious to finish this section and stitch the pieces on before adding it to the background I think.

Then I trimmed the seed pod and added stiff interfacing to the back. Next step, some free motion stitching for accents.

I’ve been gathering up some prints and fabrics to work with it.
This is not the finished arrangement.

The last thing is that I got the I Spy quilt ready to go to the long arm quilter this weekend. I pieced the backing fabric on the right.

I feel back on track and hope it stays! Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Fiber art, crochet, knitting and sketching

I continue to struggle with neuropathy and fatigue so excuse my  absence here. We’ve also been away over the past weekend to PEI for my grandson, Ollie’s 2nd Birthday where we stayed at a lovely B&B in Cornwall, called the Country Lane. After our NL trip he is more willing to try them out. I look for ones with an en-suite bathroom. This one was a beautiful 125 year old renovated house painted in light beige with lots of aqua painted furniture and the breakfasts were wonderful.

My daughter and I went to an Etsy craft show where I treated myself to this special wool hat. 

I spent most of yesterday resting, knitting and crocheting while watching a movie on Netflix. I switch from crochet to knitting as fingers get sore. The Afghan is knit double stranded. My daughter is always cold and wants something really heavy.

I picked up this hand dyed merino yarn at the show as well from the same vendor. It reminded me of watermelon but I can see it’s Christmas colors too.

 Today, I did a small pen and ink of the balloon flower seed heads that I’m studying for a piece of fiber art. I collaged the foam stamped background into my journal with matte medium at breakfast and did the sketch at lunch when it was dry. I could see this on fabric using free motion stitching in black thread.

Then after another short rest, lol, (I’m learning to accept it) I headed to my studio for about an hour where I cut more pieces for my rock cliff while watching an episode of The Quilt Show.

 I only worked on the rock part can you believe it? It’s still in the very ugly stage and will be for a while.

I just startled when G came in the door. Time got away from me. Our lights on the back deck came on a few minutes ago. I’ve been putting them there for a few years set to come on at dusk and turn off at ten. It helps to cheer up the dark days and gives us hope as the days grow longer after Christmas and they gradually come on later.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wintry blast — studio time

Since last post I’ve been away to Nova Scotia to the SAQA Atlantic retreat. It was professionally informative- there was a presentation about CVs and grant applications - and it was artistically inspiring. 

Yesterday, we had our first real winter storm and today it is terribly cold and gusty, definitely a good studio day.

 The rock cliff that I’m working on is quite large for me so I’m taking it section by section. My goal today was to finish cutting the bits for the right hand background and to lightly press that section together.

I’m audioning the confetti foliage that I made as well as two different tulles over top which I think may gray the background a little and thus serve to make it recede.

With the piece up on my design wall, I work sitting in my computer chair using small scissors to cut and tweezers to place the pieces.

While away, I picked up a small glass sculpture at a craft show and I planted one of my orchids in it using moss to contain the soil. It sits on the window ledge in my studio.

This is a crocheted waffle stitch Afghan that I’m doing using double strands of worsted weight yarn.  My daughter wanted heavy.

Finally, at my lunch times I’m still exploring one of my favourite fall and winter shapes - seed heads. These are columbine.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Last details on Nfld cliffs

My goal this morning, back permitting, was to get the bits of thread painted details done, the border quilted, and the backing and binding I cut on my Nfld cliffs. I did it with a break in between to meet my husband for a quick lunch and to stop at the grocery store. I’m still feeling pretty stiff with a big pressure on my lower spine but if I sit correctly in my computer chair, it’s ok.

I’m audioning the light brown fabric on the left for the binding. I think it works.

The other thing I did this morning was to rotary cut with the wavy blade snippets of yellows and golds to make leaf lace, something I learned at a Laurie Swim workshop and often use.

The bits are laid out on Saran Cling Plus over a hoop and sandwiched with a second layer of Saran.

At the machine I use free motion stippling over the whole thing being careful to catch all the bits.

Once done, it gets ironed in between newsprint until the plastic has all melted away.

I’m preparing this to use on my newest  piece.

As I write this, I’m sitting legs up with the heating pad behind my back. I may pick up some crocheting while I rest.

I’m making an Afghan for my daughter in her colors and I’m sampling 2 different patterns to what I like. No decisions yet, lol. The first pattern is easier but harder on the fingers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Snipping fusible branches and leaves

My day did not go exactly as planned as can happen sometimes. Even though it’s a damp grey day, it wasn’t raining and there was little wind so I decided I’d go for a walk on the trail around 11. I wanted to get a little cleaning done — our back entrance was looking pretty shabby. I vacuumed, shook the mat, and cleaned the metal sill, cleaning in all the grooves of the screen door. With a tooth brush.  Happily, I got that part done before my back went into a spasm.

I got myself to my bed with the heating pad. After that I stretched out on the sofa for a while until I decided I needed to eat! It wasn’t easy but I managed a sandwich. A little more heat and some meds enabled me to sit in my studio in the computer chair and do some cutting at my counter. It sthe kind of thing that makes you want to lay flat all day. The pain is terrible when I try to get up but moving around helps a little to loosen up even if it hurts.

Would you believe that I spent almost 2 hours cutting all the little pieces for the background trees on the top right? The mess looks pretty contained there on my counter but you should see the floor!

It did my time also include ironing fusible to the back of the small pieces needed for foliage.

There’s more cutting to be done for trees and foliage at the top before I can move on to the rock.

On the weekend, I took the side borders off the Nfld rocky coastline, straightened the sides which had drawn in by cutting them and then put the borders back on. I added the stiff fusible as well even though it’s nearly finished. I wanted to add the final touch ups today but life gets in the way sometimes.

Thank goodness hubby managed dinner tonight. I had salmon steaks for the barbecue and veggies were easy. We’ll see how the night goes. I’m hoping to be able to move tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Thread painting rocks and water

It’s a beautiful fall day today, the calm before the rain and bit of snow we may get tonight. Rather than the gym, I opted for some yard work, trimming and tying up some shrubs and cleaning a few areas  near pathways making it easier for snow clearing in winter. I picked the last few bits of veggies too, including these little Brussels sprouts.

On the weekend, I went to my guild quilting retreat something I’ve been unable to do for a few years around the time of my hip replacement and recover.
As always, it was like a beehive with lots of chatter, many laughs, many projects completed and too much food!

These are the blocks I’m making for my grand son’s I Spy Quilt.

I’m auditioning it also with a black sashing.

I’m leaning towards no sashing.
I also did a couple blocks from the gnome quilt pattern which won’t be for this Christmas but it’s fun to see how it will look.

I think the next two quilts made by the visiting daughter and a friend of a member were among my favourites.

The blocks for this woodland animal quilt were awesome! I think she said the owl had 56 pieces!

The trip around the world blocks Quilt is one of my favourites and I love the mix of soft low volume fabrics in this one made by Wendy Oeullette.

We each mad some of these bags from precut kits (thanks to a couple of members) and then filled them with toiletries for Passage House, a women’s shelter.

I had yesterday to finish unpacking, do wash, and go to the gym so today I was anxious to get some stitching time. I’m almost done, just a few details needed!

I will also quilt the border and add a binding.

(Backup) Thread painting a rocky cliff

This afternoon, I had only a snippet of time to do a little stitching as our guild retreat is tomorrow and I needed to stop and finish packing. I finished the water except for the whit frothy areas which I can’t wait to get to!

I added a few highlights on the rocks. All that remains are a few more dark lines and areas and then the white water.

I stopped, covered up my baby and put my ironing board away.

All the while I’m thinking about my next piece. I had though about doing another Nfld view from our trip. It was so awe inspiring with all this craggy cliffs and turquoise waters. For some time though I’ve wanted to do a view from one of our local trail.

I’m doing the above view but will also use this view as color reference.

I’ve done the black and white outline which I will cut up and photocopy and enlarge.

I’m off to retreat starting tomorrow morning until Sunday. Have a great weekend!