Learning at Sea

When you take classes on a quilting cruise, you not only have a very pleasant working environment, you are also learning from the best. At least, that has been my experience. view

This cruise had 4 teachers; each teaching a variety of classes.  I could only pick 3.

Class #1: Building a Visual Vocabulary by Pat Delaney

Pat has won many awards and has been published in different magazines. She quilts on a domestic sewing machine and has written several books on Free Motion Quilting. This class was about developing a portfolio of stitch designs. With the help of Open Sew time, I came home with these swatches.

I totally agree with this concept. The middle of a project is not the time you want to file through the index pages of your mind for an appropriate stitching pattern. It is so much easier to reference a visual library. Plus – if you previously stitched it in a sampler, you will already have some muscle memory built in to assist you.

It did remind me, however, why it is I prefer ruler quilting. Less time spent marking…more precise lines…better end product (by my definition only). Combining the two will give you the most flexibility a sewing machine can offer, and will be the most efficient. The best of both worlds.

Class #2: Building a Nuthouse by Laura Wasilowski

Laura is an art quilter who dyes her own fabrics and threads.  She uses them to create whimsical pieces, filled with improv hand and machine stitching. She is also the Dean of Corrections, Chicago School of Fusing (ha. read more here). Laura mix

To be honest, my expectations going into the class were low. I have done a lot of hand stitching in my life and most classes start with the beginning stitches – chain, stem, daisy, fly, french knots, etc. None of that in this class.

I also have extensive experience with most of the fusible products out there – Misty Fuse, Wonder Under, Steam-A-Seam, and Heat & Bond. I thought I knew how to apply them and when to use which product.

I was so very wrong. I could not have been more surprised at how much I learned and how much fun this class was. Here was my Nuthouse by the end of the day, apparently in the middle of a windstorm. Hand stitching will definitely improve it, but … when? my nuthouse

Class #3: Attic Window by Cindy Walter

Cindy is an author of more than 10 books, a TV host and instructor. One of the books she co-authored with Diana Leone was on Attic Windows (2000). In this class, we looked at the wide variety of panels each person brought and we discussed a variety of options they had for turning them into ‘window’ quilts. She showed us fast ways of working, including how to get the 45 degree miter right, every time.

My panel was the New York skyline. One wrong cut and it ended up a little shorter than it should be. window on New York

The next day, I used Open Sew time to put together a challenge quilt top in a similar style. You will see more of this one when it is done, as it will be auctioned at our local Quilt Show (Manitoba Prairie Quilters) in April. cat and mouse

So, those were my 3 classes.

Teacher Demo’s

The teacher I did not take any classes from was Karen Combs. The reason? All of her classes were full. Some people signed up for her classes two years ago. Now that is dedication!

My first (brief) exposure was during Teacher Demo’s, where she showed us how to get accurate measurements for odd-shaped tumbling blocks. A useful technique I will store for use in the future. Karen demo

Karen also has a beautiful line of fabrics coming out in December with BayanBatiks. Colorfall

Finally, she shared a family recipe for these Rolls. They are by far the easiest and best of any I have made. If you want the recipe, you will have to sign up for her newsletter. She tells me that it will be in her December or January issue. buns

For the Demo’s, Pat talked about Colour Theory using Joen Wolfrom’s 3-in-1 Color Tool. I agree that her tool can be very useful. I used it in Amazon Star.

Laura entertained us with a song about the use of different needles and threads.

Cindy showed us a examples of Huck embroidery, aka Swedish Weaving.

Isn’t it pretty? This is another technique that I will have to highlight and file in my memory bank for a future project. She is working on a new book with patterns. Watch for it in the years to come.

That is it for my Quilting Cruise. Memories to treasure. Techniques to apply. Next week we will get back to some more Ruler Quilting.

Posted in 2019, art, Classes, FMQ, Highlighting others, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, travels, Uncategorized, WIP | 6 Comments

Cruising with Purpose

Have you considered, or maybe wondered about a Quilting Cruise?

We arrived home – to snow, and temperatures below zero. That may be enough reason to go on a cruise. But there are so many more. Lets take a little break from Ruler Quilting so that you can come along with me on this Cruise. itinerary

There is just so much to cover that I will do it in 2 posts. This week I will comment day by day; next week, I will tell you about the classes I attended along with links, tips and descriptions.

Day 1 – approximately 75 quilters and 30 non-quilting spouses/partners gathered in the lounge to receive schedules, goodies, meet the teachers and hand in our ‘Life’s a Beach’ block. I showed you my block several weeks ago, but now to explain the thinking behind the block… Life's a Beach

Don’t cat’s have the easiest life of all? This cat (like the one at our house) certainly does. He – or She – has a fish-mobile and mice to play with. There is a rug to lay on and even a perfectly crumbled up old quilt to snuggle with. Most cats enjoy looking out the window, and this cat has a bird’s nest just on the other side to further entertain him.

Most of the other quilters took a far more literal approach to the topic, which you will see later.

Day 2 – This was a port day. No classes were scheduled but we spent a couple hours in the classroom for a Make-and-Take. The side benefit was that we learned how to use and get comfortable with these top-of-the-line Janome sewing machines. Make and Take

Day 3 – I had a FMQ class with Pat Delaney. More about that in my next post.

Dear Hubby had his own demo’s and workshops to attend on this cruise. There will probably be additional recipes posted in Ken’s Kitchen soon.

Day 4 – We arrived in Aruba at 1:00 pm.  Most days had some scheduled Open Sew time so on this day, I used the morning to finish my FMQ blocks from the day before. Open Sew time was really appreciated by many who just wanted to sew. Thanks, Scott & Sam for hanging out with us, keeping our machines serviced, changing feet and bobbins! Open Sew

Day 5 – Another port day. This time in the charming island of Curacao. I found the help of a pirate to address and mail quilted postcards to the grandsons. quilted postcards

All of the ‘Life’s a Beach’ blocks were hung. Feast your eyes. Would you be able to narrow it down to one?

Day 6 was a class day with Laura Wasilowski. More next week…

This was also a day where we gathered as a group for free drinks and appetizers. The teachers provided our entertainment as they were on the hot seat, answering all of our questions on any topic, panel style. 

Day 7 – We had an excursion to Panama City that included a 1 1/2 hr bus ride each way. The perfect time for some hand stitching. I was glad that I had brought Baltimore Christmas to work on. Baltimore Christmas

We visited old and new Panama. Old Panama (Panama Viejo) is a UNESCO world heritage site) dating back hundreds of years. So do these pins, needles and thimbles.

Day 8 – Holland America arranged an exclusive excursion for our group to meet with the Costa Rica Quilt Guild. What a highlight! Quilting is just one of those things that removes all barriers, and provides instant connections. This was the whole group.excursion quilters in Costa Rica

They were amazing hosts. We were all given a bag & pin cushion, with a snack of fresh fruit. There was a game with prizes and some entertainment… entertainment

The grand finale was a block exchange. Prior to the cruise we were given the option of making a block representing our country/province/state, and then doing an exchange with a member from their guild. block exchange

The Costa Rica Quilt Guild is very new and has around 100 members, scattered throughout the country. My new friend, Nancy, drove 4 hours just to meet with us! 

Day 9 – another class day, this time with Cindy Walter. More next week.

Day 10 – Our final day at sea was a full one. I went to Open Sew in order to finish a couple of class projects, but took a break in the middle to participate in a 5K Walk for a Cause. This is a walk Holland America does on every cruise as a fund raiser for Cancer Research. As a cancer survivor, this is personal. Participating is optional. So is walking. FYI, 9 laps = 5K.

There were teacher demo’s in the afternoon. Due to the length of this post, I will cover those next week.

Our final group event was another appetizer & drink party, along with Show & Tell and the announcement of the Challenge Block winners. So, here you go… The Winners!

This quilting cruise was put together by Quilt Seminars At Sea. They have a number coming up next year, and you can even make reservations for 2021. I highly recommend them. Thanks Amy, Cindy and Kim for a wonderful time!

Posted in 2019, challenges, Inspirational, mini-quilts, travels, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Ruler Quilting 201 – Start Stitching

Starting can be scary.

But I had a plan, I had rulers, I had a sandwich I liked, and I had thread. Recently I attended a class where a teacher suggested using 7 threads – 3 matching the colours in your quilt, 2 variegated, and 2 entirely different. This was my line up. 201 threa

This week’s task was to stitch the square flower design that I showed you last week. This is what it ended up looking like on paper. RQ201 final paper copy

The center (1) was made using the 2 1/2″ circle, which is found in many beginner kits. Using the Magic Seam Marker (small red disk in the picture), I am able to duplicate the stitching line, which is 1/4″ in from the edge of the ruler. The circle stitches out to 2″. RQ201 flower circle

I used the 8 Point Crosshair ruler (Westalee) to mark and then stitch the center lines, with the longer ones along the seams. This was the only markings I made for the flower.201 cross-hair

 

The length of the Chevy ruler (Angela Walters) determined the length of the long petals. I used the reference lines on the ruler for the shape – starting with zero at the circle and going to the 3/4″ line at the end of the spoke (#2). RQ201 flower arm

The corner of the ruler formed the tip of the petal. RQ201 flower tip

For the shorter petals, I used the same technique but determined the length by the seam, and then marked the ruler to get them all the same length.

Stitching one row around was okay, but not very noticeable. 201 flower b

Another row of echo stitching was better, but still not enough. 201 flower c

I decided to vary it, so did another row of outline stitching 3/4″ away, and finished it off with an outline row 1/4″ away. Markings on the ruler helped keep things relatively consistent.201 flower d

Now I had lots of options. There were channels I could fill with squiggly lines or pebbles. There were inside and outside parts to the petals, and there was the center. All spaces in which to play.

My 201 option (ruler only) ended up looking like this: 201 flower f

The 201+ (ruler + FMQ) was: 201 flower e

I liked 201, but the jury is still out on 201+. Plan A is to continue and see what happens; Plan B is to cut it up and turn it into pillows. We will see where things takes us. In either case, this is a flower I intend to make again. There are just so many potential design options.

This flower would be easy for you to make, even if you don’t have any of the rulers that I used. Simply mark/stitch the circle and then use a straight ruler for the rest. It measures out at 15″ square. I think it would look lovely as the center motif on a pillow, and you could make it bigger with some straight line stitching around it. 

Posted in 2019, FMQ, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Ruler Quilting 201 – The Design Process

It started right. A large sheet of paper on the floor, with the blocks marked.

Do you have any idea what cats do with large sheets of paper? It goes something like this… 201 cat

The next step was to put the bed runner under a vinyl tablecloth and mark out designs on the tablecloth with washable markers. That was the picture I showed you last week. IMG_9276

Now, why did I think that would work? It could…if you were going to stitch it before the marks disappeared…if you didn’t need the table for anything until you were done…if you didn’t mind markers coming off on your hands, your rulers and everything else they came in contact with.

Next came a smaller, more manageable sheet of paper (to be used only when my assistant Sir Huxley was sleeping). I picked several rulers to use, as I get confused with too many options. 201-rulers-scaled-2560-e1572572319128-scaled-2560.jpegThis time I was going to do a repeat- drawing out the basic concept of one section but giving myself permission to reverse, resize and revise motifs for variety in other sections.

It made sense to start with the larger design elements. The Chevy ruler from Creative Grids (#1) has been in my collection for awhile but I have been at a loss as to what to use it for that a normal straight ruler couldn’t do. This time I was determined to use it, and I come up with this straight-line flower that I quite liked. 201 pattern

Drawing it on paper first really helped visualize the design. For the real thing I would make just a few minor adjustments so that the seam lines wouldn’t compete with the edges of the flower.

Next week we will start stitching. I really liked it before it was quilted. Would I like it after?

 

Posted in 2019, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ruler Quilting 201 – Super Simple Bed Runner

For the next few weeks I will build on all of my previous Ruler Quilting post.

RQ 101 was about using one ruler for a variety of designs.

RQ 201 is the reverse; Several rulers, one design. You might even get one or two Free Motion Quilting suggestions to complement the ruler design.

This week its about the quilt sandwich – something simple and manageable. In RQ 101, I made the blocks without a particular plan. It turned into a Sampler. IMG_E6684

This time, I wanted to apply RQ to an actual, more practical quilted project. Placemats? Cushions? Table runner? Bed runner?

A look at my fabric stash for solids or near solids, helped with the decision. It seems I have collected a fair bit of grunge in the past couple years, and I decided to use an assortment of white and pinks – a little bit of yardage, some fat quarters, and a few pieces stolen from a Layer Cake. IMG_9258

I have always liked the look of bed runners, with matching pillows but it is not something I make very often, so it became the project to practice my ruler quilting on. 

The pattern needed to be simple. The thread, not the piecing would be the star of the show. I cut all the pieces 10″, the same size as the Layer Cake; 12 white and 12 pink.

Pairing a pink and white together, I stitched around the perimeter and then cut the pieces diagonally in both directions to produce 48 half square triangles.

The eyes don’t work as well as they used to. The hands shake more, and every machine sews a little different. 1/4″ seams aren’t always 1/4″. Good thing we have tools to help us get it right. In this case, the Bloc_Loc helped square up the pieces to 6 1/2″.

Keeping it simple, I choose a herringbone pattern for the layout. IMG_9276

It is ready to think about quilting designs for this piece. That will be next week’s discussion.

 

Posted in 2019, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Life’s a Beach

Ironic, that topic is.

On a weekend that most Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, it is looking more like Christmas. Thanksgiving pumpkins

Roads were closed. School was cancelled, and the grandkids came to hang out with Grandma. They had fun making forts. Tea anyone? fort

It turned all our plans upside down. Instead of traveling 6 hours north to make a Thanksgiving dinner for aging parents, I spent considerable time prepping for an upcoming Quilting Cruise.

The assignment? Make a 10″ challenge block using the phrase “Life’s a Beach” as inspiration. It had me stumped – until I returned to one of my favorite subject matters. Life's a Beach

Now I really need your input. Does it work? Does it make sense? What does it say to you?

The next task was internally driven. I had no hand stitching to take. Now, even I have to admit that being concerned with not having enough to do when you are going on a quilting cruise seems excessive. All I know is that hand stitching is my security blanket. All those hours, airports… airplanes… hotel rooms… ports… sea days with no classes… will be made MUCH better with a small portable project. And for that, I had nothing.

Looking through my ‘someday’ pile, I found the perfect project. Baltimore Christmas. This will be an applique challenge. One that could keep me going through many, many trips, but I made the decision (subject to change) to make only three of the blocks, and to make one per year. In 3 years I should have a Christmas wall hanging. No pressure. IMG_0197

I decided to start with Block #8 – a nice top block for a wall hanging of three. Block 8

Part way through the prep I was already contemplating a strategy for shortening this project. What would a person do with only one block?.

We were just given another piece of homework. One of our excursions will involve a block exchange with quilters in Costa Rica. It was optional, but how could you not? The block was to represent where you came from. All I have so far is the fabric.exchange block to be

As usual, the first thing to go into the suitcases will be my quilting supplies and projects. My hand stitching book will be part of the carry on. handstitching book

Dear Hubby had a birthday this week, so DH was given a day off and I took over Ken’s Kitchen. I have as much trouble following recipes as patterns but came up with a very delicious meal. Birthday dinner

Garden carrots, spinach pasta, Lemon Vodka Shrimp, (a very, very good sauce) and Walnut Crusted Chicken. The recipes are with my modifications.

DH has been busy harvesting his gardens. It was not very bountiful, which suited my minimalist spirit fine. Instead of massive amounts of zucchini to deal with, I have been able to use them one by one – mostly for this classic Chocolate Zucchini Cake. birthday cake Super easy and half-way healthy (you can even successfully substituted carrots for some or all of the zucchini). Instead of icing, I sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped nuts on top, and I make them into large cupcakes instead of baking it as a cake. The cupcakes are large enough to serve two, and freeze well.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, lets focus on everything good in our lives. Life’s a Beach!

Posted in 2019, challenges, recipes, travels, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Verb Command Prompts

I am in need of a little breather, so for the next few weeks we will have posts that are lighter in nature.

This time around, I am sharing a list of Verb Command Prompts. They are simple phrases used as inspiration in art and design, but can also be applied to your quilting projects. These may be handy as a starting point for a new project.  On the other hand, one of the prompts may be the perfect solution if you have a project you are struggling with.

  • Make it bigger
  • Make it smaller
  • Make it tiny
  • Make it BIG
  • Make it round
  • Make it square
  • Elongate it
  • Simplify it
  • Make it shorter
  • Make it longer
  • Make it shorter
  • Make it heavier
  • Make it lighter
  • Make it sparkle
  • Make it light up
  • Enclose it
  • Fill it up
  • Empty it
  • Coil it
  • Twist it
  • Combine it
  • Make it glow
  • Open it
  • Turn it upside down
  • Lay it on its side
  • Stretch it
  • Shrink it
  • Change its colour
  • Refine it
  • Eliminate parts of it
  • Distort it
  • Use repetition
  • Make it two or three dimensional
  • Change the shape
  • Change a part of it
  • Make it part of a set
  • Mechanize it
  • Electrify it
  • Make it move
  • Reverse it
  • Make it look like something else
  • Rotate it
  • Make it part of something else
  • Repeat it
  • Turn it inside out
  • Give it texture
  • Make it revolve
  • Make it stronger
  • Make it fragile
  • Make it durable
  • Use symbolism
  • Be unrealistic
  • Contain it
  • Make it cooler
  • Make it hotter
  • Add ingredients
  • Twist it
  • Make it transparent
  • Make it opaque
  • Glamorize it
  • Use another material
  • Add human interest
  • Make it compact
  • Miniaturize it
  • Make it collapsible
  • Go to extremes
  • Summarize it
  • Make it shine
  • Make it grow
  • Split it
  • Make it darker
  • Exaggerate it
  • Subtract it
  • Add it
  • Divide it
  • Use the obvious
  • Lower it
  • Raise it
  • Isolate it
  • Condense it
  • Bend it
  • Match it
  • Suspend it
  • Make it stand upright
  • Make it lie flat
  • Concentrate it
  • Make it symmetrical
  • Make it asymmetrical
  • Sharpen it
  • Depress it
  • Spread it out
  • Solidify it
  • Liquefy it
  • Soften it
  • Harden it
  • Make it narrow
  • Make it wider
  • Make it funny or silly
  • Make it fly
  • Squash it
  • Flatten it
  • Fold it
  • Unfold it
  • Extend it
  • Make it uncomfortable
  • Use a different texture
  • Make it slapstick
  • Extrude it

I do wish I could tell you who compiled the list, but I can’t. All I can tell you is that it has been on my phone since March 2017 and I get inspired every time I read it. One of those things you just can’t delete.

 

Posted in 2019, art, Inspirational, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The very basics – Curved Ruler Quilting

This week we continue Ruler Guided quilting exercises for the Arc Ruler. This is geared towards anyone who is just starting, or interested in exploring ruler guided quilting.

Here are the four exercises I will cover:

Once again, I would recommend at least 2 Arc rulers for your toolkit – a large and small one. The large one will give you a nice smooth line over a large block but the arc is gradual so you will not see it on a small block. The small one works well in small areas but you would need to pivot too often on a large block which makes it difficult to get a nice smooth line. I also prefer rulers that have the same arc on the outer and inner edges.

You will need four 10″ sandwiched squares and contrasting thread.

Square #1: The Orbit exercise is very simple, intended just to get the feel of free motion quilting around a curved edge. Draw your square 1/2″ bigger than your ruler. Place your ruler along one edge, leaving 1/4″ on either side.

Stitch corner to corner; then repeat for all four sides. Use your small ruler or spacer to get an accurate positions and get right into the corner.

Square #2: The Curved Diamond exercise requires a 6″ square. Mark the center of each line. Then stitch from point to point to point all the way around.

For the second row of stitching line the ruler up with your previous row of stitching at the mid-point of each line so that your stitching will be 1/4″ away in the center. Then pivot the ruler and stitch back to the same spot on the outside as the previous row.

Square #3: For the Flower exercise, practice using the inside curve of your ruler. Stitch the 6″ square starting anywhere along one of the lines instead of a corner. Once you get back to where you started you are ready to begin the partial flower.

This block is pretty free-form. Make as many petals as you want and as long as you want them. There is no need to match lines or reference points, just always come back to the center point of the flower. 

Square #4: The Four Petal Crosshatch looks much more difficult than it is. After stitching your 6″ square, start at the center to make the four petals. Stitch along the arc of your quilting ruler to one corner, back to the center, up to the opposite corner and back to center. Do the same for the other two petals.

To complete the cross-hatch sections, travel from the center out along one of the petals using the ruler foot to determine the 1/4″. Line up the edge of your quilting ruler along the stitching line of the petal. Now your stitching will be 1/4″ away. Fill the section with curved stitching one way, and then the other, traveling the short distances needed. Repeat for all four sections.

This is just a taste of what is possible with the Arc Ruler. Keep an eye out for designs you like. I can guarantee that you will find many, and it will become one of your favorite rulers.

 

Posted in 2019, Classes, ruler quilting, super simple quilting | 4 Comments

The very basics – Straight line Ruler Quilting

I promised you some Ruler Quilting, and it starts today.

Previously, I had posts about why you might want to quilt with rulers, what to look for in rulers, preparation & set-up, and even designing with rulers.

Then, I did a series of 6 posts called Ruler Quilting 101.  It was an exercise of coming up with many different designs with just one ruler.

This new series will end with Ruler Quilting 201 – using multiple rulers to make one design. At this point, I really do need to add a disclaimer. I am not an expert. I just like to explore and experiment. Some things work; others don’t. You can follow my process and learn from my mistakes, or copy things you like.

This particular post is for those who are entirely new to ruler guided quilting on a domestic sewing machine. The very basics. This will ensure that we are all on the same page once we actually get to Ruler Quilting 201.

The straight line is the most fundamental shape in quilting, so in this post we will have 5 short exercises using a straight ruler. A nice straight line is difficult to achieve with FMQ, but one of the easiest in ruler-guided quilting. The straight ruler will end up being your most valuable ruler in your toolkit. I would recommend that you have two – a short (6-8″) and long (12 or 13″). 

Start: with sandwiched scraps (about five 10″ squares) and contrasting thread. Use things you are happy to dispose of – it will give you the psychological freedom to play.

Set your machine for FMQ, with the feed dogs down.

NOTE: Make sure that you have the appropriate Ruler Foot for your machine, and that the rulers you are using are the right thickness. Your sandwiched scraps should move freely under the foot, but your foot should be low enough to sit lightly on the fabric.

Mark a square on your fabric using any marker you want – even pen! The easiest is to mark around a common 6 1/2″ cutting square. RQ basics

Square #1: The Matchstick exercise is intended to get you comfortable holding the ruler and stitching in all four directions. Start by stitching around the square that you drew, but instead of moving the fabric when you get to the end of the line, move the ruler – example might be to start with the ruler to the right of the foot, moving it to the front, then to the left and finally to the back (if your ruler doesn’t fit along the foot at the back, it is too thick).

Moving down the line, make a series of matchsticks in both directions. There is no way to do this wrong! Just practice and get used to using the reference lines on your ruler. RQ straight 1

Square #2: For the Wonky Square, you will learn to reference different points. Start by putting your needle down at one corner and then stitch to the opposite line. Continue stitching to the next line, and so on, working towards the center. It doesn’t matter how far along the line you place your ruler, just be consistent. I placed the ruler at the third line. RQ straight 2bRQ straight 2

Square #3: The Zig-Zag Block is similar to the Matchstick Square but you will be practicing accuracy. Start with the zig-zag. It doesn’t matter where you turn, how many lines you make, or how far apart they are. Once you have made them, stitch a series of 1/4″ lines in two different directions. NOTE: line your ruler up along your last line of stitching, and along the Ruler Foot. That should be 1/4″. RQ straight 3

Square #4: The Tunnel block is more practice for your 1/4″ stitching, and using the ruler on all 4 sides. Remember to rotate the ruler instead of the fabric! RQ straight 4

Square #5: You will use a Spacer for the first time in the Star Block. Some kits have spacers in them, but I use a small 2″ ruler.

Make some marks on all four sides of the square that you can use for reference. Put your needle down where you want to start, and your ruler down 1/4″ away from where you want to end. Stitch across the block. RQ straight 5aRQ straight 5

Curves are also very common so next week I will do something similar with an Arc ruler.

 

 

 

Posted in 2019, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Postcard Fabric Art -Winnipeg

Last year I was challenged to make a large 3-D postcard of my Hometown. It was so much fun that I decided to make a series, one for each city/place I have ever called HOME.

That first one was an area that I grew up in – Love, Saskatchewan.

A small rural farming community with a great sense of humour

Winnipeg, Manitoba was next. I have lived here for 40 years.

I designed the card as soon as I finished Love. I started, ran into problems, and the project stalled. Then I spent considerable time contemplating some technical difficulties. The background layer had to feature a big moody sky, a large canopy of trees, the famous corner of Portage & Main, and The Forks – where the Red River and the Assiniboine River meet

My first attempt was entertaining, but not very successful. It involved the pounding of plant materials in an attempt to dye different designs into the fabric. That was last fall – after a very dry summer. Maybe the plants had nothing to give.  The next attempt used a scrap of Indigo dyed fabric for the sky and Inktense for the rest. I can’t seem to get the hang of using Inktense, but decided to use the piece, knowing that the majority would be covered. Here is a picture of the two I had to choose from.

On to Layer #2: I decided to include the St. Boniface Cathedral-Basilica to pay tribute to our French heritage. I made a pattern, transferred it to Heat & Bond, added seam allowance (SA), adhered it to the Flexi-Firm (wrapping the SA to the back) and then added details with pen, pencil and pencil crayons. Layer #3: The Provencher bridge goes over the Red River, linking downtown Winnipeg with the French community of St Boniface. There are many interesting Inuit carvings along the bridge. I made a ribbon using fabric and Heat & Bond (in photo above), drawing the Eagle, and the Fleur de Lis, placing the ribbon under the Esplanade Riel Foot Bridge and over the St Boniface Cathedral-Basilica.

Layer #4: Esplanade Riel Foot Bridge is the People’s Path over the Red River. It is only 5 meters wide, 250 meters long, but rises 57 meters in the air. I completed it the same way as the Cathedral, adding the cables (crochet cotton) while I was putting the card all together. For this one, I glued down 1 layer of spacers (bits and pieces of FlexiFirm) so that it would sit higher than the Cathedral.

Layer #5: The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is the only national museum outside of Ottawa. It’s purpose is to promote respect for others. For this piece of unique architecture, I used pieces of silk fusion left over from my ICE project. I put two levels of spacers under this piece so that it could be placed higher than the Esplanade Foot Bridge.

Layer #6: Winnipeg has a large canopy of trees. Layer #6 was intended to reflect that based on this picture of a tree lined pathway. I wanted to be able to place it on top of CHRM but under the Legislature in order to create some depth.

Winnipeg trees

To create this, I decided to make fabric out of thread. I have never had much success with this process so I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. It is made simply placing a ton of loose threads in between two layers of water soluble sheets. You then do a lot of free motion stitching to keep the threads together. The sheets dissolve when washed and you are left with a fairly soft flexible web.

Layer #7: Winnipeg’s PFA would not be complete without including Winnipeg’s grandest and most mysterious neoclassical building – the Manitoba Legislative Building. The Golden Boy is at the top, with a sheaf of wheat in its left arm representing the fruits of labour while the torch in its right hand represents a call to youth to join his eternal pursuit of a more prosperous future (Wikipedia). I thought this would be the most difficult of all the elements to ‘build’ but in the end it was fairly simple. After tracing the outline onto FlexiFirm and cutting him out, I used a gold leaf marker to make him the appropriate colour.

The PFA had to be completely finished before I could glue the items to the front so it was time to consider the back. LOVE had a unique Postmark. Winnipeg also needed something that was unique. The Winnipeg Jets Logo, found on a piece of fabric, was perfect.

After that it was simply stitching around the edge, adding info, and gluing down the elements on the front.

It feels good to be done. Which HOMETOWN will be next?

Posted in 2019, art, challenges, fabric dyeing, FMQ, quilted postcards, Uncategorized | 6 Comments