17 May, 2013
Sad news in the crafting world today. Author, designer, quilter, blogger and force for all, Kathreen Ricketson died tragically. The woman behind Whip Up and author of some pretty cool books was on a year long adventure with her family, backpacking around Australia.
I had the pleasure of working with Kathreen on occasion. I greatly admired her career trajectory and found inspiration in her quilting and writing. She will be missed by many.
Please take a moment to learn more about her and her family. If you are so moved, there is an education fund already started for her children, details here.
Even though the chances are slim that we will ever meet all the people we know on-line, it is not our place to dismiss the connections anyone makes this way. Even if you never exchange an email, a blog comment or anything more than an Instagram like, this is not to say that you don't feel some inspiration, ire, delight, or joy when the other person shares details of their lives. And if you are the one sharing, remember that there are other people on the outside looking in, intrigued by your life. We can respect that relationship, but we also embrace it. So when losses happen, even from people we've never met, they can have profound impacts beyond those who are ready to give out literal hugs. Kathreen will be missed by many.
15 May, 2013
More circles going on here. Shocker!
Someone in my Craftsy class asked about doing inset circles inside pieced backgrounds. I promised to try and let them know how it worked. What a fun experiment! I took leftover blocks from the Denyse Schmidt class at QuiltCon. No one claimed these early improv efforts and I couldn't let them go to waste. I took them with no plan and here they are.
As you can see, the blocks were not the same size. I created a random circle template and used it on both blocks. So the circle is the same size, but that's it. I'll likely trim things down and sew the blocks together. After I make more, of course.
And, for the record, it totally works to use a pieced block as the background.
13 May, 2013
A simple pillow with great impact. Fun for my living room and I used up blocks, unfinished blocks, laying around the sewing room. Win-win!
I had these blocks from filming my Craftsy class. They were the step-outs from the Reverse Circles lesson. So I took a few minutes to finish all the blocks and turned them into this pillow. I can't lie, I chose the fabrics for the filming so that I could do this afterwards. These fabrics are a perfect match for my living room!
This Reverse Circles technique is one of my favourites. It achieves the look of an inset circle without the stress of doing a full inset circle. The finished block is clean, crisp, and flat. This is perfect for showcasing some really awesome fabric. (Mod Century by Jenn Ski, for example, with some Aneela Hoey.)
And the whole pillow is perfect for snuggles on the couch reading and for climbing adventures by the baby boy.
Details: 24'' by 24'' finished pillow cover size with a 26'' pillow form from Ikea stuffed inside. It's perfect this way. Just an envelope closure on the back with more Mod Century. Straight line quilting with Wonderfil Konfetti.
10 May, 2013
When you've got three kids you are very good at multitasking. You are also very good of milking every single second of any free time you've got. So when I was blessed with a unexpected afternoon off (school, playdate, long nap) I decided to sew and watch The Great British Sewing Bee. And it was awesome, all of it.
I worked on these blocks. And made it through 2 episodes. After the kids went to bed I watched the other two episodes. I was tired the next day, but so motivated. I started looking at dress and shirt patterns for myself. I want to sew clothes now. I've never wanted to sew clothes for myself. I hate sewing clothes and I don't know that much. But this show made it seem so interesting. And oddly, doable. I won't be making an evening gown, but I think I could tackle a simple dress.
The show is a reality show, let's be clear. But the Brits do these competition shows differently. The drama isn't there in the competition, just honesty from the contestants. And the judges are actually kind and not caricatures. If I was a man I would lust after the suits Patrick wears.
The best part? You can see all the episodes on you-tube for free!
Deborah over at Whipstitch is getting ready to launch an e-course on dresses. This might be perfect timing for me as I definitely need someone to walk me through this. I envision my pincushion and good tailor's scissors are going to get quite the workout.
08 May, 2013
Sometimes inspiration hits and you just have to run with it. Regardless of what the to-do list looks like. The moment I saw this photo I knew I would translate it into fabric. There was just something about the energy of his painting, the colours, the shape... It all combined into a flood of Must Make That Into a Quilt Now!
My friend here in Calgary, Katrina, is often inspired by an artist friend of hers, Shimon Kate, so I find it kind of interesting that I was inspired by art in her family. Overlapping circles formed everywhere.
Here's where I'm at now (thanks to a random afternoon with school/playdate and sick baby taking a long nap). When I first started I envisioned it with four blocks. Something about emphasizing the notion of a quadrant. Now that I see these together I still like that. But it needs to be sized up and filled in a bit. Right now this would only make a wall hanging. And I want those red strips to be floating between each other more.
Or, I could make more... or not have such a precise layout. (I am a bit worried about the defining lines that would be created when these become 4 actual blocks. I think I can manage that with judicious fabric placement, but maybe not.)
Any other thoughts? I'm open to any and all suggestions.
06 May, 2013
It's been a week since I was in this lovely space known as The Workroom. What a delightfully different quilt store! For one, it is not located in a strip mall or out in the boonies. No, it is on an urban street filled with hipsters and streetcars and bums and roti and taco shops. And it is filled with light. Oh, the light! I imagine those same windows make it stifling in the Toronto summers, but right now it was dreamy.
Then again, it might be dreamy no matter what. Karyn, the owner, and her employees are soft spoken and kind. They radiate a quiet energy that makes you smile. It was just so peaceful to be there, in addition to a lot of fun.
Besides, what's not to love about a store dog in a quilt shop? Okay, I'm biased on this one - Maisy kind of reminded me of our old girl that we lost at New Year's - but she was wonderful company. (And no, there wasn't dog hair all over the fabric.)
While I was at The Workroom I taught two classes - The Quilted Storage Box from Sunday Morning Quilts and my Values class. If you don't count my mistake (I was going on less than 4 hours of sleep) on the storage box instructions it was perfect. Everyone finished (thank-you to Quilt Sunday folks for your few minutes of patience). And we had such a range of awesome boxes.
One of the things I really liked about teaching at The Workroom - aside from the very dedicated students - was the space. The tables for students are on one side of the store, with the fabric on the other side. And a giant table in between. It was so nice not to be in a classroom shoved in the back or the basement. Being right there allowed us to take advantage of the light. Have I mentioned the light already? But it also allowed us to be in the thick of things. If someone came in looking for some fabric they saw us and could ask questions. I know some teachers who would hate that, but I loved showing off the students' work to anyone who asked.
The Workroom is also a sewing lounge. You can come in and work on your projects, take advantage of their walking feet or Berninas, and enjoy a cup of tea. Sometimes it would be so nice to just get out of the house and sew. I would take the interruptions of a curious shopper over a toddler most days.
Thank-you so much for having me, Karyn! I hope to come back again soon.
03 May, 2013
Balloon Animals made of granite. I almost feel like I don't need to say anything else.
A series of animals all made to look like classic balloon animals - dogs, swans, horses and the like - are part of a public art installation on the Thunder Bay Waterfront. And how cool is it that kids were part of the decision making process on picking the final installation?
The installation is called Naturally Inflated and is by Paul Slipper and Nadine Stefan. I could have stared at these things for hours (except for the creepy guy that launched into a tirade about the waterfront development and kept getting too close). But I can't get them out of my head. Best public sculptures ever.
Hubby is also obsessed now and we're wondering if we'll ever have the budget to commission one of these for our yard...