Saturday, July 12, 2014

And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose...

These words conjure up a lot of emotion for me.

As I was sewing binding on this wedding quilt for a very special couple, a song from scripture from my time living in Israel back in 1984/85 flooded my memory and I found myself singing it.  The scripture reference is from Isaiah 35.  I felt impressed that this was brought to my remembrance because I was to share it with the bride and groom. 

I realized just how appropriate the scripture is for this couple.  The groom lived with us for almost a year and during that time we watched this relationship 'blossom as a rose'.  We are people of faith, lovers of Jesus and believers that God is a God who fulfills promises.  And He sure did for these two!

Justin and Danielle have an amazing love story.  The story is theirs to tell but what I can say is that God truly is a redeemer; He is faithful to care for that which we commit to Him; He is the Giver of good gifts.  The fact that He brought this scripture and song to mind for them brought me to tears.



Here is the history of the song:  When my team was wrapping up our year in Israel living and serving on Kibbutz G'var Am, one of the fellows on our team, David Roberts from the UK, felt impressed that our time in the desert (literal) had been fruitful and had blossomed like a rose.  Our Kibbutz was near the Gaza strip close to a desert area of Israel.   He wrote a melody to accompany this scripture and a beautiful song was born.  It still makes me very emotional to remember my time there...a fruitful time, a time of spiritual growth and deepening of my walk with the Lord.   After our friend and composer had finished creating it, we learned his song and sang it at a meeting before we went back home to our respective countries. And here we are over 25 years later and I'm making a quilt and it comes to mind.  I love how the Lord does that.

Tomorrow we celebrate the union of these two precious people.  I have been honoured to make this quilt for them.  With it goes prayers and blessings for a long and happy life together with many adventures in God, much fruit and an abundance of love.

This is their wedding quilt:


We had a quick little photoshoot this afternoon,  the quilt and me...before it goes to its forever home...





They haven't got the quilt yet so I'm writing this on Saturday but will schedule it to post tomorrow on facebook after the wedding.  They don't follow my blog so I'm safe.  They DO follow facebook though and I don't want to reveal it there until they've seen it.  I'm so excited for the wedding!!  I'll post a picture of them with the quilt soon...as in a couple of days.

A special thank you to Theresa Harbidge, the longarm quilter who quilted the quilt for me in record time to make my deadline!

Until next time,
Mavis



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Free EQ7 download

I've been spending some time playing with my EQ7 (Electric Quilt) software.  My foot fracture of March 13, 2014 has officially healed but I still need to rest it after standing too long.  So when I'm sitting and elevating, I've usually got my laptop at the ready on which I design quilts using EQ7.

Yesterday my DH was watching Quantum of Solace, a James Bond movie.  I happened to look up from my laptop to notice this gorgeous tile floor.  And I had my iphone with me so I asked my hubster to rewind so I could snap a photo of the screen.  Quilters are famous for these type of scenarios right?  We see quilt patterns everywhere!


Anyway, so I set to playing.  This was my first drawing:





But I wasn't quite satisfied.  So then I switched it up to this:

I like this version much better!

So now I'm working on printing out the components to create it in cloth.  I will have to get the centre paper-pieced medallion printed at a print shop because it's 36 inches square.

I want to share this EQ7 pattern for those who have EQ.  You can access it on my free patterns and tutorials page here.

If you make this quilt, please send me a picture.

Now time to go and play with some real fabric...

Mavis










Sunday, April 13, 2014

Another finish...

I'm very happy to have this quilt finished.  It has been sent as a gift to my cousin who endured multiple fractures just over a month ago.  I hope the cheery colours brighten her days.  It sure brightened mine when I knew it was meant for her.

"Tennessee Waltz"



I machine quilted this on my B-Line frame with my Janome 6500




.  I did a type of teardrop echo in the white parts which was meant to add texture.  Here's a closeup:



And a beautiful spring day was the perfect photo opportunity outdoors.




Until next time,

Mavis


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Playtime...

My DH set up my sewing machine in the diningroom so that I could spend some time playing.  You see, my foot is broken and I'm on non-weight bearing orders until I get another x-ray on May 1st and have another consultation with the orthopedic surgeon. 

The first week after my fracture I had my foot elevated and finished the hand quilting on this.  I'm not sure if you can tell but I've used sage green thread to quilt the feathers.


It was then time to figure out what's next.  What's the quilt asking for??

During my convalescence I've enjoyed some quilting classes on Craftsy, an online teaching platform.  One course by Cindy Needham "Design it, Quilt it" was probably the best course I've taken on machine quilting.  She uses the phrase "Sunshine and Shadows" when planning how to quilt a piece.  In looking at the above picture, she would say it's all sunshine.  It needs more.  The feather is nicely hand quilted and I love what I did but it really does beg for more.  It really doesn't stand out at all.

Cindy uses a technique called scribbling to create the shadow which makes the sunshine pop.  Here's what I mean:


See how the feather now pops?  It's the sunshine.  The scribbling creates the shadow.  It's very densely quilted and will hopefully soften once laundered but for now, it makes my block pop and that's exactly the effect I was looking for.

Here's how I accomplished it.  Firstly I 'draw' my boundaries so I know where I can scribble and where I don't want to.


Then I do some loose free motion quilting to basically flatten it.  I had a few puckers in some of my blocks but this technique is meant to reduce the puckers.  


And then I filled in the area.


Then I move to the outside of the feather and repeat the process until the whole background is flattened by the scribbling which then makes the feather pop.  I'm so happy with this technique and absolutely loved Cindy Needham's class on Craftsy.

Here's a view of the quilt taken a little further back.  I'm also sewing cathedral window quilt designs on the Irish chain part of the quilt.


I've already done some loose free motion quilting swirls and curls in the border which I'm not thrilled about.  To be honest, there was a time when I was ready to just throw this quilt away.  The basting process was less than successful and then when I stitched in the ditch to stabilize the quilt before hand quilting,  it puckered on the front and I was not happy.  But I decided I couldn't quit because this is a memorial quilt that I'm finishing in remembrance of my friend Janet.  So I got my stitch ripper out and worked out some puckers and then re-stitched.  I'm glad I didn't throw in the towel.  I will treasure this quilt as a remembrance quilt.

I've got about 6 more of the feather blocks to machine quilt.  And then I'll move on to the cathedral windows quilting.  Then I may add some more dense quilting to the border.  I'll see.  I'll wait for the quilt to speak to me.  There will be a couple more spots that will require some additional quilting.  Like in the above photo where the rectangles frame the feather blocks.  They need something but I don't know what yet.  But I will know.  I'm confident of that.

 It's getting there but for tonight I'm stopping and resting...and blogging about the progress.  There are a lot of hours in this quilt so far.  I will be so happy to have it done but then again I love getting quilts finished.

Until next time,

Mavis

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Labelling quilts...

So with my latest finishing flurry, the last step is always the quilt label.  I totally believe in labelling quilts.  I want to document my quilts with the details that will mean something in the future.  Who made it, why did they make, where were they from, who did they make it for and lastly, when did they make it?

I've done a variety of different label styles in my 'career' as a quilt hobbyist - everything from handwriting on white fabric with sharpie markers to computer-printed on printable fabric. I've tried using my Janome 6500 special embroidery function to sew letter right on to the binding.  This is a technique I learned from Sharon Pederson (http://sharonpederson.blogspot.ca/).


Computerized label on wedding quilt for Stewart and Rebecca

Baby quilt label done by computer



Quilt label for Anna & Braeden's wedding quilt

The last label above (a + b) was a scan of the postcard style wedding invitation from my niece and her husband.  I thought it would make a great quilt label.


I've just ordered some custom made labels from Sweetwater.  This is yet a new quilt label technique for me.  I'm excited to receive them in the mail.  In the meantime, I'm working on printing some on printable fabric.  I need to label a few baby quilts to deliver, all my show quilts and my "Winter Solstice" and "Tennessee Waltz" quilts that I blogged about here.

I am still recuperating from my broken foot and am elevating as much as I can and resting, resting, resting.  I would rather be quilting, quilting, quilting...but I need to do this right.  I need my feet working so I better just get with the healing program and be a good girl.  But I can do hand sewing and I think that's a perfect time to label some quilts, don't you?

Until next time,
Mavis

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Cleaning!

Here on the west coast of Canada the cherry trees are in bloom and the promise of warmer weather is evident.  Lovely!  Sadly I don't have any of my own pictures of same and didn't feel right about posting my friends' photos.  I won't be able to take any outside pictures for awhile.  Sadly I had an incident at work last week walking to my desk where I rolled my right foot and broke my 5th metatarsal bone. It was a freak accident and I couldn't believe it took so little to break a bone. Weird thing is that I broke my left foot in the same place last June.  What are the chances!??   So, in obedience to the orthopedic surgeon  I'm non-weight bearing for six weeks.  I can't get to my sewing room because of stairs so I've taken the opportunity to tidy up my blog and do some spring cleaning. Do you like the new look?

I've sorted my finishes into years.  This helps me have a better record of my accomplishments and it makes it easier for my readers too so you don't have to scroll through endless photos without a break.  I've also revamped my UFO page and added some new works in progress (I like that term better than UFO).

I've also done some hand sewing.  I sewed binding on my Winter Solstice quilt ...

and my Tennessee Waltz quilt,




I won't be able to get fully finished pictures until I'm more mobile,  but for now you get the idea.


I've also added hanging sleeves to my three quilt entries for our Victoria Quilters' Guild quilt show coming up in May

Amish Block Party

Wild Child

Tuscan Hillside

and...I've done some hand quilting on my Irish Chain.


And while I was searching for pictures to add to the blog, I came across these design wall pictures of "guesses" for blocks on the Celtic Solstice mystery quilt.  Some of us were filling in time guessing on blocks waiting for the next clue on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog.   I was totally wrong but it was fun playing and these may actually become future quilts for me.

So first here are Bonnie's blocks in my colours which were the blocks used in my quilt.


And here are some of my guesses.  Firstly I cut my four patches from the wrong fabrics (dark blue and brown).  Then I thought my colours might be too dark so I played with introducing a light blue in the four patches.  Then I realized what I had done and decided to stay with the rust and dark brown which were the correct colours according to my substitutions of Bonnie's colours.

Looks like a Celtic cross to me!  Maybe I'm on to something!

It kinda resembles one of the tiles that Bonnie photographed and put on her blog.  But it's really dark.

Maybe it looks like tile...or maybe not.

These look really good from far away and they are on point and look like Celtic crosses.  Maybe...
You see?  I couldn't have been further away from Bonnie's design.  I love her designs and her scrappy mind.  It was a joy to create this quilt and the monster is now living on my bed.  It's the biggest quilt I've ever made and am really glad that it's done.

So there you go.  Spring cleaning is done.  I hope you enjoy the new look.

Until next time,

Mavis


Monday, February 10, 2014

Moving on...

Good morning!  It's Family Day here in B.C. and a stat holiday for everyone except federal employees.  The dear posties will be delivering mail to closed businesses/provincial government offices.  It's the only stat holiday here that works that way.  I'm not sure why but feel for our postie who has to carry a heavy bag of mail around only to have to carry it back again.

I've planned our dinner to celebrate Family Day and have also spent some time in my sewing studio this weekend.

Firstly, I FINISHED my Celtic Solstice quilt (1 of 2 actually ~ the KING sized version is done).  It has now gone to Jeni Mummery of Quilted on the Rock studio for her to add her magic to it.  Here it is with the borders on.  I wanted to complete the white diamonds so I changed the border from Bonnie's original design to accomplish that:


I've totally strayed from Bonnie's colours. You can see her completed quilt HERE.

The backing is a taupe wide backing and it will fit in our bedroom beautifully.  We have dark blue carpet (not my choice) so this should tone it down with all that lovely chocolate.  I can hardly wait to see the quilt finished.

But now...moving on!!

This UFO has been around for about 3 years.


It's called "Tennessee Waltz" and I finished the quilt top last November at my quilt retreat.  The only thing remaining was the borders.  Determined to finish off another UFO before starting anything new, I decided that this needed to happen this weekend.

Again, the white compass units (?) didn't finish into the border and those are the kind of things that drive me buggy, so I was playing with the borders to see if I could accomplish this.


Better!

And let's see what we can do in the corners:


Oh yeah...that'll work!  I did a half square triangle unit with the aqua from the snowball in each of the corners.  Happy now...

As I was working on this quilt top to add the borders I received a facebook post from my cousin's daughter that my cousin had a fall on vacation and was being medivacced home.  She has 2 broken wrists, a broken elbow and a broken.  Wowsers!  That's a lot of misery and I do believe I know where this quilt should go.  I'm currently quilting it.  I loaded it on my B-line frame last night and got a couple of rows done. I'm trying to finish it tonight. It will go as 'show and share' to the guild meeting tomorrow and when it's bound and labelled it will be making a journey eastward to bring comfort to my dear cousin.

Until next time!

Mavis