Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Different Direction

This post is not about quilting.....but rather about, not quilting.  Lately I have not had any desire to make anything with textiles, it seems that I have perhaps become a bit bored. I am not currently working on any pieces, I have no plans to enter any challenges or competitions....I simply seemed to have lost interest.

So, I have decided to learn something new. I have always been able to draw (sort of) but never explored much beyond plain pencil or a black marker.  I am intrigued by drawings where the medium is Pen & Ink with watercolour, I love the illustrative nature of it. I enrolled in this excellent online class through Craftsy, purchased a dip pen, nibs, black waterproof ink, proper paper, a pan of watercolour cakes and dove in.

I debated sharing my early work, but what the heck.....I am well aware that there are problems with each of them...BUT..... at the same time, I do believe that there is something successful happening with each piece as well......I realize that I am still rather heavy handed with the watercolour washes and really, REALLY need to work on that....practice....practice....practice

I am working from my own photos and thoroughly enjoying the process, here is a look at what I have done so far.

ink only
after the addition of watercolour

ink drawing

after the washes were added

forgot to scan the ink only version of this before adding the washes


the finished drawing/painting

Monday, March 10, 2014

Whole Cloth Quilt

A few months ago, I showed this quilt as I was in the process of designing and creating it. Below is the finished, painted, whole cloth piece.

you can revisit that post to see how it evolved here

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Last article for CQA

In May of 2011, I eagerly took on the role of "Artist in Residence" for the Canadian Quilters' Association. I has been a terrific experience, but, as the saying goes.....all good things must come to an end. I have decided to move on.

Rather than another pattern/project or design, I wanted to have my last article reflect what I thought my role truly was....to encourage and perhaps inspire others to experiment, play, create, learn and most importantly, enjoy the process.

The Spring issue containing my final article is out. In it, I talk about building one's own "technique" library. I began by drawing simple outline of a feather, gave examples of how one might modify it to meet the needs of the technique they plan to use and then showed examples of ways that one simple image could be used in many, many different ways

simple outline
modified for applique

modified for stencil and several other techniques

Here is a look of some of what I created using that one image (each technique used, is listed below the photo

 discharge paste & a stencil

hand applique

liberated style piecing

stencil & dye sticks

white batting on top of cotton, layered under tulle and stitched

raw edge fused applique

outline stitched with black thread, paint added to create the colour


sunprinted and trapunto

wool applique

dryer sheet cut and fused with stitching for detail

by doing this exercise, I now have a reference, I have notes about what I liked, disliked or might want to do differently next time. It gave me the opportunity to play with a variety of quilting ideas and the next time I have the impulse to try something new....I can just grab my feather image and get to work.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Top Down Knitting

Like just about every quilter, I enjoy a variety of needle arts, and like everyone, I am better at some things than others. I like to knit but don't consider myself really very strong in that area. While I can keep my stitches fairly consistent, I tend to knit a lot and rip out even more because I am rarely happy with the fit. When you begin a sweater at the bottom and work your way up....you get what you get.

Recently I came across "Top Down Knitting" with this method, you start at the neckline and work your way down. The best part about this is, that you can place your work onto a waste yarn and try it on as you go. So far I am really liking this.

Just as in my quilting, I do like to challenge myself. This pattern has cabling....these are my first cables .....I have discovered that they are much easier than they look!

Since taking that photo, I have gotten to an area where I will just be knitting until I get to a certain length, keeping the cable stitch pattern correct. So...instead of having the whole (7 page) pattern with me. I created a little "laminated" chart that I can mark each round with a whiteboard marker to keep my place. Once I have completed the full chart I can wipe it clean to start all over.

I simply printed the chart, glue stuck it down to an index card and then used packing tape to laminate it.

Edit:  The pattern I am using, is an Amanda Lilley Design, which I purchased it through Craftsy.... you can find it her patten here

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Showing off

My designs, that is.
A friend embroidered them for me. If you are a regular visitor, you know that 6 of my doodles  have been digitized into embroidery designs and are currently built into 2 Janome sewing machines. I blogged about that excitement several times already....you can find those posts here.

Each design was stitched in gleaming white thread on black cotton, I pieced them into a simple wall hanging so that I can now proudly display them

I had great fun quilting the background.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Embellished Wool Applique

Do you recall this little quilt?

At the time that I showed it, I don't think I explained that it was a sample for a workshop I was asked to conduct. I don't generally accept invitations to lecture or teach but this was for my former guild, so I just could not turn them down.

The workshop was held on Saturday, it was well attended and well received. The ladies arrived prepared and ready to enjoy the day. They brought their supplies, were eager to jump right in. I really did not have to do all that much...I demonstrated a few stitches, gave suggestions for the variety of ways they could be used and they did the rest.

I was SO incredibly impressed with what I was seeing emerging as the day went on. Each and every one did a fantastic job, their imaginations were humming and you could see it in the fabulous pieces that were being created.....they were not simply "copying" the sample, they were each going in their own unique direction, adding beads, using wonderful, unexpected colour and stitch combinations....it was just so cool to observe.

you can see another post about the day from one of the gals who attended here .... Thanks Gail!!!

Working with wool on cotton is a fun way to play with design. When most people hear the word "Embellish", glitz and bling likely come to mind, but that is not what we were doing, We were building layers of texture, just doodling with stitches to enhance the basic design. This technique could be done with any design....for those who love the look of applique but perhaps don't want to do all the prep work to turn under raw edges, this is perfect. Cut the shapes, whip stitch in place and you are ready to add the magic, one stitch at a time.

While I was able to coax mostly everyone in for a group photo, I regret not getting close up photos of each of the pieces in progress...it was amazing to see how different each looked, even though all started with the same basic design, and fabric selections. Thank you for a wonderful day ladies..... I can hardly wait to see the end results.

Monday, January 13, 2014

More Dye Experiments

I am becoming a little obsessed with dyeing threads, it is so easy and yet so rewarding. A few of you have asked if I will post a tutorial....yes, I will do a post showing the supplies and process I use... Please note that there are currently lots and lots of great tutorials to be found online.  I hope to put one together in the very near future, showing how I go about it.

This latest batch consists of 6 strand embroidery floss, some strange cotton skeins that I found, along with some lovely #20 mercerized cotton (it is the finest I have found so far)

Here is a look at where I placed the colour on this skein of 6 strand embroidery floss (it started out white)

here is another skein....before it was wrapped and after...this is that #20 cotton

here you can see the whole batch. I wanted to see what would happen with dye that had been mixed (water only) not activated, but sitting for a week......I was very happy to see that it still worked brilliantly. I also used some plain old Rit dye......it worked well too. Some of these skeins started out white, some off-white, and others were already a soft colour of some sort that I simply "punched" up

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dyeing Session

I have done a little bit of thread dyeing previously, but this time, I experimented with commercial embroidery floss, as well as cotton and even tried some that had metallic thread running through it.

I started with mostly whites, but as you can see in this photo of the thread soaking, I did use a couple of skeins that already had colour

here they are, wrapped and "batching"

I am quite pleased with the results. 

just a little sparkle

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In Stitches

Do you recall this little "sampler" quilt that I designed  earlier this year?  You can read posts about it here.

If you would like to create your own version you can access a PDF of the pattern here

please note that the diagrams and illustrations are for visual purpose only...please read the instructions and use the actual cutting measurements given. Since the quilt is made in "sections"  you can do it in any order you prefer, then assemble them according to the numbered layout.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Papercuts for the season

A Partridge in a Pear Tree........2 versions

This one is a little more complex

And a much simpler one

Do you see the hearts for "true love", the Partridges  perched in the pear trees? 

Copyright Jill Buckley