Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Finishing the Carnival Quilt and Back to Making Jewelry


Love close ups of  fabric showing its warp and weft... and texture...and varying colors of white and off white.  Love the little dimples the stitches make.


I used Gutterman 100% cotton black Quilting thread.. 2 full spools of 220 yds. Beautiful strong thread to work with... hardly ever tangled.


I was really happy about that little narrow 1/4" strip that runs all around in the middle of the border... such a small fabric slice makes such a difference.


The tools of the trade... pretty simple.


There were 7 rows of 7 blocks.. I kept winding it forward on one side and backward on the other side as my quilting frames were just a bit too small for it to be all wound out at once.


On the home run now and later that day I had it out of the frames. Good thing cause I had a bit of catching up on a few other things.. The thing is when I get myself into a project, I really hate to leave it till I'm done. I am always anxious to see how it will turn out.  I did get used to the brightness of it from spending so much time with it and it grew on me... and I was glad I kept pushing forward with each stage.


Had to pause from the quilting to work on some jewelry.
Lots of stones, Crystals, Jasper, Fresh Water Pearls... would up and ready for dangles on some designs in our Earth Collection.


They are all strung on a wire so they stay in order and don't get all messed up in the storage drawer.


A Girl and her Flower Garden design


Back to the quilt..  All the binding strips have been cut and stitched together, then folded and pressed double.
 I did that on my last quilt and I really liked the density of it and figure it will wear a good long time. I'm sure it will outlast me.


Working on the back side and hand-hemming the double thickness binding in place.  I am happy that I used the black quilting thread and how the stitching shows up on the pale gold patterned back. 
 I wasn't sure how it would look, as I never quilted any of my quilts with black before.. but I would do it again if the colors worked for it. 


It is easier to see the design here that runs all around the border of the quilt. It represents the waves along the Fundy shore ...  a connection to our landscape. 
I want to remember that it was made here.


Well here she is. Resting on the spare bed.  The quilt is fairly large, probably would fit on a queen size bed nicely but it is here draping down the sides of a 3/4.  
I think it looks best in a very spare room where there is nothing to clash with it... cause it wants to take over any room its in.


It will be a while before I can put all my effort into the next quilt... as making new designs and "building up jewelry stock" season is here. 
Cheers for now.
ps. That is John's painting above the bed... his interpretation of the recognizable "Hands",  of Adam and God from the Sistine Chapel.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Steaming Cup of Coffee and A Second Quilt


Early morning sunrise peeking into the kitchen..  I love early morning light... even the air felt renewed.

 ...my favourite coffee  perked in a Moka pot

Ohh la la.. that looks good... perfect way to start the day 

a few sticks in the fire and the day has begun.


 Below are a few designs I made to send off to customers and to post on my FaceBook 
(yes I am on Facebook... kind of a scary place for a Hermite but not as scary as it was 2 years ago when I initially tried it and then hurriedly ran back to my cave )







After working on them and finishing a few other things, I decided to make another patchwork quilt... out of fabric I already had in my stash this time.. I gave myself limitations.. I like to have perimeters when I am creating...  a few confines... I feel it makes one more inventive... besides I hate to waste anything... and we can always use a warm quilt instead of a bunch of fabric stuffed in a cupboard really being no use to anyone..

I looked at what I had and searched through some quilt pattern books, did a few sketches and went with this design... sort of a double 9-Patch... prints, plains and all pieced with varying shades and weights of white cottons... Initially when I was drawing up the pattern I did not have the border drawn in... that was added later when I was figuring placement of colours.. even still it evolved again.






 I'm trying to figure the placement here.   I laid a black piece of fabric on one side of my bed and a white piece on the other and began placing the little 3" blocks out on it... wondering  which way I liked best...   they each have a very different effect..  I took several pictures and studied them on the computer screen for a while too... of course I puzzled over this for quite a while and then I thought Why???.. I could always make another in the opposite manner sometime if I wished... and then I got on with it.. 

 the bigger 9-Patch blocks are beginning to be sewn together and placed again for "Judgement".

 Here I have all 7 rows of 7 blocks sewn together in strips. 

I have to say there were a few times I said to myself " what were you thinking???.. this thing is going to take everybodies eyes out".. and "now you have chopped up all this fabric and you wasted it all.. You! Wasted!!"  What could I do but carry on.... sort of like a traveler lost in the woods.. hoping I was going to come out the other side in a place I wanted to be... or even if I was going to make it out of the woods at all. 

These are the strips/sashes with the red squares centered to fit where the corners of the blocks meet.
In the background you can see some of the sewing machines I have been collecting during the last year. Kenmore, White and Singer.

 I pieced the entire quilt on a 1936 Singer Treadle.. it would go as slow as I wanted no problem... as I was piecing carefully to make sure all the seams were sewed in the right direction and that the seams met where they were suppose to.  I LOVE this machine. 

 that little light clamped on the back of the machine was pitiful to see with tho... The bigger clamp on lamp in the last picture above was much better and more flexible.. Probably I just have to figure how to replace the little old sewing machine lightbulb... so long as they still make these kind.

I'm sewing the long black and red strips in now between every row.
Look at the beautiful design that Singer incorporated into the end cover-plate.. so lovely and the metal is as good as the day it was made.  It gives me pleasure every time I see the machine even when I'm not using it.

The blocks and windowpane sashes are all sewed together... but I really feel it needs a border.. something to pull it all together.  Yes even at this point I kept saying to myself.. What Have you done.. this is so bright, it is like a carnival.  Hense the name of the quilt came to be known as  "Carnival".

 well sometimes more of the same works, so I cut narrow strips of some gold cotton.. I barely had enough... I used every last piece of it... each strip was only 3/4" wide and when the seams were taken away the gold only measured 1/4".  But being a very bright color.. that was all that was needed. then a bit wider red border to tie into the small corner pieces and a 3 1/2" black edge.

The borders.

The finished top waiting to be quilted. Very bright isn't it?  kind of crazy bright... kind of "quit trying to hypnotize me" bright.... oh well, onward through the forest.

 I used a soft gold patterned sheet for the back... but to make it big enough I had to pick out the wide hem.

Here she is going into the frames with the backing below and the lofty fiberfill in the middle.. I did it lying on the floor for this part of the process this time.. It was so big, 84" x 84" sq., my old frames would hardly hold it.. I don't have it stretched in this pic, I'm just pinning and basting it in place. 
 I'll stop here for now and show some of the quilting and the finished work in a future post.. Hope you had your sunglasses on.

During the piecing a cold spell of weather hit and this snow covered view to the west greeted me one morning.
It's gone now but it was pretty then.

till next time...

Wishing you All a Most Wonderful 2015 !

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Some Days Are Like This


...  the little dots in the water are fishing boats from our village harbour and beyond, lobstering in the Bay of Fundy ... high tide ... photo from my studio window..

I am grateful.

Gwen Buchanan at Desideratum Art and Jewelry in St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Cat # 7 and a New Pair of Embellishments


Earrings from the Desideratum Art Jewelry "Embellishments"  series.

Sketch of fluffy cat from my sketchbook ... pen, ink, watercolour washes, approx. 6" x 8"

A few interestings things about Cat's Eyes:
 A cat's eye is about 6 times more sensitive to light than our own.  They cannot literally see in the dark but they can see when it is too dark for us to see.  Their eye has a pupil that can open wide to let in all available light, including starlight and they have a special light reflecting layer behind the retina, that works as an image intensifier for night vision.  But it takes time, up to an hour, for a cat's eye to adjust completely from daylight to nightlight... it can worry a cat that is suddenly put out of a well lit home at night...  an outside light helps their eyes adjust. 

The lens of a cat's eye has a fixed focal length, like a camera... objects between 6' and 20' are the clearest... anything closer than 30" is probably blurred. It is thought, their peripheral field of view is better than right straight ahead.

A special feature of cat vision is the way the smallest flicker of movement catches their attention and they see these tiny movements best in low light conditions and hardly at all in bright light.
Colour does not seem to be very important to cats.
 
  Sterling Silver and Copper with a mix of mauve and blue-green glass and african turquoise, semi-precious stones.

 Segments are linked together with jump rings, so there is lots of movement.

One of a Kind... not to be reproduced.. although I can make a somewhat similar pair with different coloured stones at an individuals request... and it will be One of a Kind too..

  4" from top of earwire to bottom of earring.


 If interested in ordering, they are identified as Embellishent D #1.
Price $50.


...created by me at Desideratum Art and Jewelry studio, St. Martins, New Brunswick

*oh I just have to add this cool and unusual sunrise spread across the Bay of Fundy from yesterday morning ... of course it was way more amazing in real life... quite a perk after the gray days we had.  Cheers All!