Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Saturday, September 27, 2014
I have been negligent with posting, I have made a promise to myself that I would try to stick with this. So. here I am, I broke my quarter inch patchwork foot the one with the little quarter inch guide on it- It has been the one tool that has made a real obvious difference in my work- It is amazing what consistent seam allowances achieve in relation to patchwork- Points that never would have matched up- suddenly have hope of being where they should be. It has taken some getting use to- I was used to using the edge of my standard foot as a guide- after measuring my seam allowance- I discovered I was way off from a quarter inch while using that standard foot. So- I was devastated when my new foot broke- Alas- I ordered two replacement feet and they came yesterday... I think all sewing machines should come with this foot- It has really made a HUGE difference in everything I make... So, I have been busy up-cycling some old leather jackets into totes- Hope I can get some more pics up, my PC has been acting up - making blogging a little more challenging than it ought to be.. Football practice and game today- My boys team has not won a single game yet- the score is usually 30 something to at best 6..... I am happy when we get anything on the board...:)
Hope they have better luck today- this will be the first game I miss- My mom just got back from Shanghai- so we will be having a little girl time, Oh, before I forget- She brought back this lovely Jasmine tea- that is suppose to be served in clear glass so that you can see this beautiful garden that the jasmine tea creates in your tea cup- It really looks like a garden with butterflies in a glass- I will try and take some pics... Shanghai sounds beautiful- I would love to go- Mom told me stories of their hospitality that sounds incredible- Everything is so well thought out- So many thoughtful touches, Wonderful people, she had a great time..
Thursday, September 18, 2014
This is a quick project and a great way to make use of your machines fancy stitches, i save all of my batting strips after the squaring up process just for similar projects, a great scrap buster, who says they need to be all matchy match either, use what you got. Its so small it is a little easier to go bold , which is what i have done with numerous potholders, coming up....
This quilt did not make the cut for listing in my store- I saw this quilt on pinterest- I loved the color combo and copied it by eye- no pattern, I love the quilt- However, I do not love this quilting design on this block
I learned a lot during this quilt, through taking risks and doing something different, this philosophy does not always work, but today i am very proud of this quilt and it is definitely the finest thing i have produced to date in terms of quality of construction, craftsmanship, and the fact that it appeals to me. It is so nice to feel proud of something that I have made with my own two hands- It has taken quite a while and quite a few quilts to get here. The straight line quilting looks better in person than it does here in this pic- I could not seem to capture all of the lines in one shot. I tried with a flash, without, automatic mode and mode P. Even the pics of the backing that I took did not seem to show it accurately..... I will have to figure it out..... I probably would not use that big bold print again in this way- this was what I initially did not like, I liked the looks of the individual cabins- once I put the cabins into block formation I saw how this was not going to work, but I had gotten this far- this is my first log cabin quilt after all, because all of the fabrics are so busy- there is so much going on in this quilt it seemed lower contrast up close- the star was at risk of being lost- which is why I highlighted with bits of white, while the border is still a busy fabric it is in neutral colors that somehow seemed to work maybe because it contrasts nicely in its coolness with the heat of the bright colors... Now I realize how important the binding is in framing the quilt- I had planned to keep the binding in a solid gray tone- then changed my mind when I auditioned this CRAZY busy fabric that I bought long ago- on sale, and it had every color in it that is in the quilt- using this print in the binding- and seeing it in a smaller scale- really changes the whole appearance of this particular fabric- I was amazed..... My other lesson that I learned while doing these blocks- If you have some fabrics you do not like- try reversing them- audition the wrong sides of fabric as well- this gem has doubled my fabric stash in one instant...
This quilt was my first attempt at paper piecing, each block took forever, it seemed, then, hence why there are so few. I think i would be a bit faster now that i have the hang of it, oh and there is a card trick block in the center that was pieced normally. What i loved about this from the start was how precise paper piecing is, each block comes out perfect, this appeals to my OCD half (self diagnosed) 😇 and the fact that i was able to produce this quality of work so early in my practice because of the ease of use with this method. The results are encouraging, so if you are feeling diwn and need a little boost, check out a how to paper piece method on youtube before you get started, it really hels me to see something being done first, then to play around with it hands on.
This quilt is an earlier piece, raw edge applique and all over free motion quilted in my very own design, i was testing this design out to see how it would stand up on a larger scale, i wish i would have done a better job basting, i also tried out a new sandwiching technique that perhaps i did not do quite right or maybe it was the fact that the quilt was folded and put away between basting and quilting, however it happened, the layers moved around a bit and i have some baggy spots , if you know what i mean, i hope a good washing will fix it. The design itself worked out quickly, and that is something i appreciate.
I have decided to post my best items. I am donating all of the quilts that I made as practice and am looking for an appropriate local charity, probably Inn from the Cold, Calgary's local homeless shelters. Winter is coming and quilts will come in handy, heaven knows warmth is something that many will go without this season. I am feeling better already , decision made...
I have really struggled with the business end of my shop. It is hard for me to have an objective opinion about my own quilts, i have some fears regarding this whole endeavor. My internal dialogue is conflicted; one minute i believe i am under value- ing my work and then i am plagued with more negative self talk that goes a little like- my work is not good enough, i am asking myself, if the quality in the craftmanship is up to par, of course the first few quilts i made are nothing like what i can make today as far as quality, i learned how to sew a straight line, or i should say , i started the process of learning barely 2 years ago, i am in my second year now.. I have not yet made myself a quilt yet, instead i have busied myself with making gifts for my family, last count was 5 quilts for my mom, both my kids, a special aunt and my grandparents. I kept all these quilts simple and was happy with each of them. I am a perfectionist, i have had to make an effort in overcoming this defect of character as it has gotten in my way during life plenty of times. Perfectionism keeps me challenged as one can always improve, which is not such a bad thing over all, however when it robs you of pride in accomplishment or joy of completion it has gotten the better of you, and is no longer a positive motivator but rather a subtle enemy that if personified you would ban from hearth and home due to their abusive nature.
I struggle with balance, finding a happy medium, i wish i could see my quilts through the eyes of a few dozen different individuals so that i could view it objectively, more important, i wish to recognize the value of my own craftmanship and hold on to the love, inspiration, excitement and thought that went into each project, and let that be enough. I guess i am seeing the differences between gifting and selling and hope that i can find some pleasure in the selling department. Would it not be great to be able to earn some money by doing something you love, using creativity ever day in your work? The slight possibility of this is enough reason for me to plug on, when i start doubting myself or my work and start considering slashing my prices to the point where i am paying for the privilege to give my hard work away, i hope i can come back here and take a breath, and remember that all greatness is birthed through some not so greatly moments, to persevere and hang on, maybe one day someone will read this😉 and be able to relate. I am feeling a little lost in blog land and on etsy, like i am in anew place and struggling to find my way around, i dont know the language and am finding a lot of threads that claim to be directions but in fact leave me a little confused. I have found some good advice as far as the blog is concerned and that was to stay true to yourself and hang in there, try to be consistent, have patience as you will eventually get more traffic once you have a bit of a consistent history and you are for sure sticking around. I believe that all efforts are rewarded in time in some way or another, one door closes a window opens, let it be.
Monday, September 15, 2014
I am starting a new venture and am in the midst of opening my own online shop on etsy called Threads quilt Co. I wanted to call it kararist threads ( my hubby says he is being kararized when i give him a hard time) This is funny because i can be a bit of a terror during my creative process, i usually hunker down and push through in solitude, this is not always possible, as i have him to feed as well as our two kids, they all have to eat, even at inconvenient times, like in the middle of a quilt.. Only because i am so wonderful, do i stop doing what i am doing, sometimes it takes every bit of my strength to then re-focus my energies on dinner..
Anyway, please do not take the above to seriously, just my brand of humor, getting off track... i am opening an etsy shop as i am finally satisfied with the quilts I am producing. I am a bit of a perfectionist and am struggling still with listing some of the things i made earlier, the last two quilt tops i have made, i am really happy with, i am adding borders to those star log cabin block and will be listing those shortly in my shop. Still not sure about some of the others i had in mind, i made quite few table runners while i was practicing free motion quilting, these small quilts could be considered art quilts, i will have to pull some of these items out, i really want to make a good go of this shop, i want to sell good quality items at fair prices. I could really use some advice as to whether i should be listing a few of my items with flaws like a pinched back from the quilting, if the blemish is mentioned and photograph of flaw is shown, and this minor flaw is reflected in the price, or , should i be leaning towards listing fewer items that are more up to my standards... and priced accordinly. Pricing is another thing i find challenging, to put a monetary value on ones artistic creation, this is difficult. I wonder if a quilt appraiser can value a bundle of quilts for a fee, this way i would know they are priced fairly, i dont want to sell myself short, but still have to be competitive, after doing a bit of market research, i am more confused than ever as there are huge differences in price, quality of construction or difficulty of pattern or the materials used do not seem to be what individuals are guaging value of a piece by, but more often asking prices that are way too low or way too high in my opinion. Maybe somewhere in the middle is where i should start. i would love to hear what some of you might do..Please look through the following pics of the things i am listing and considering listing in my etsy shop. I am hoping that my reluctance to list some of these items due to imperfections is unfounded...... I guess my biggest challenge will be to recognize the value of my own craftmanship... Another Aha moment, as Oprah would say.... thanks for reading, if anyone has indeed read this far 😆
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Sunday, September 7, 2014
I have been staring at these blocks that my mom (by heart and in-law) had given me during our last visit in Vancouver B.C. Inititially I had thought I would add more of the same blocks as i had a couple of the same fabrics from moms fabric stash, so i started strip piecing, there are a few really great tutorials out there that show how to do this particular block, i will have to track said tutorials down again and figure out how to add the link.... I pieced a dozen strips or so and held it up to the quilt, i was way off, i should have been auditioning prints from the start, i figured as they were similar value it would not matter, i was wrong...So back to the drawing board... I layed out all the blocks on the design wall, one more row of blocks would have completed this design perfectly but alas, i did not have the right fabrics, so I decided to add some borders to it, maybe i would use the strips i pieced as a postage stamp border instead. I auditioned a couple of the same prints used in the blocks and found i preferred the a solid white as it brightened it up where as the other prints made it look muddy. The white fabric gives your eye a break from all the busy prints while showcasing them in the best light. I was going to add another couple borders but decided against this after auditioning several, sometimes less is better.
Now it came time to make my sandwich, i taped my backing- a vintage floral, also from moms scrap stash, down to my cutting table and layered batting and our quilt top and spray basted between layers. I have decided to try my hand at hand quilting, this is what mom does. I have only quilted by machine, i do enjoy free motion quilting, but i do not lime the shine an invisible thread puts on a top, and that would have been my only option on this top or i could have used a taupe or grey thread, the thread would have really stood out in some places and disappeared in others given the variation in colour and print. So, my mom is an amazing hand quilter, her stitches are so tiny and even and straight where they should be straight. Mom marks her quilts with bits of masking tape, after stitching 3/4of a block and finding I have some really wobbly lines, i tied and buried my thread last night , i think today i will be using the tape, and i will have to try out the thimble, it would help , if i could push the needle back up from the backing without getting stabbed. Pictures to follow, i just have to finish my tea...