Tuesday 31 December 2013

Committing....Feathers QAL

Quilt Alongs have always scared me. I've always followed along, but never actually done one. That would mean commitment and actually doing something. But I finally gave in.
I've lusted afar after the Feathers quilt by Alison Glass, always wanting to buy the pattern and make the quilt, but never really committing to it.
Well, now I have. I'm going to do it. I'm going to do the Feathers Quilt Along.
Um...well.. I'm going to try. No promises that the thing will actually get done.
But the pattern is bought.
I even pulled some fabric today to see what I'd like to use.
There are too many choices, but somehow not enough choices, if you know what I mean. (It means I need to buy more fabric!)
But I think this one..
Knowing me the selection will change as I go along. I haven't decided which background grey to go with. Maybe I'll do both.
The pattern itself is paper pieced, which suits me just fine. I like paper piecing.
The quilt along part will be the hardest part. There's like link ups and Flickr group things I have yet to figure out.
Feathers QAL

Saturday 28 December 2013

Less like Leonardo, More like Michelangelo

Disclaimer: In this post the Leonardo and Michelangelo I'm talking about are the actual artists, NOT the teenage mutant ninja turtles. My boys just wanted to let you know, in case you were disappointed, like they were. 

Leonardo DaVinci was a genius, brilliant, and a dreamer. He filled journals and canvases with his ideas, work, and creations. His one flaw, if he had one, was that he tended to start projects and then never finish them. Adoration of the Magi being a case in point. I mean if monks can't get you to finish something...
Contrast to Michelangelo, also brilliant, who tirelessly worked on one project, the Sistine Chapel, for four years. Well, on and off. Not that Michelangelo finished everything he started, but he did follow through on most even, if he did complain about some of them (Sistine Chapel) a lot.
This is a gross simplification of two men's lives, but it gets me thinking about my current state of creation.
Three ideas/variations of a quilt yet to be sewn.
I have tons of ideas I want to do, many of them started (just). I have projects in various states of completion all over! Bins of them! (Because at least I'm organized and put them in bins... there's something very ironic about that.) Everyday I think.. oh I should totally do that.., and Pinterest doesn't help. I keep buying fabric for projects that I am planning to do. I now have piles of fabric all over the place. Does anyone else do this?

Am I crazy?

I read how some people have quilts that they haven't completed in years. YEARS! Which I thought was ridiculous, how on earth could someone take that long to complete something.
Now I know.

One hindrance to me completing my projects is the state of my sewing room, which is also part of the front entrance and the first thing people see when they enter our house. Out of the chaos comes order? (I hope.)
Leonardo and Michelangelo had little boys (apprentices) that cleaned up after them, and although I have the little boys (also often called apprentices- in the Star Wars sense of course), I'm not so sure that they would or could tackle this mess.

Um.. and upon further thought, I don't want them anywhere near my sewing things.

This week has been a total Leonardo week. Lots of fun and parties (Leonardo was a party planner extraordinaire). Christmas was great, filled with lots of love and family, lots of down time and fabric (it's what I asked for). Hope yours was great too!

So looking forward to the new year, I need to be more like Michelangelo and less like Leonardo. At least for a little bit...
It's off to clean and then work on finishing something. Wish me luck!

Friday 20 December 2013

Piecing Together Star Wars

I am fairly new to quilting. OK, I am new to quilting. I just started this summer. One of the first things I wanted to do was make a Star Wars quilt for my son.

In our house Star Wars and Superheroes dominate. Poor choices in behaviour are couched in terms of "remember when Anakin turned to the dark side, and remember how as Darth Vader he chose to be good again, you could too"...and if I want them to hurry, it's "let's see who's faster: Superman or Flash?", which my husband turns into an actual philosophical  discussion with the boys about who really is faster, Superman or the Flash (don't go there- just don't).

Anyway, I found a grey Star Wars print that wasn't too obnoxious and decided to use some solids along with it. I only had to chose a design. Right. Chose a design....

I think I might have Googled it, but somehow I found this FANTASTIC quilt from the blog Quiet Play. When I saw it I quietly said to myself my boys can NEVER see this. Because they would want it. Good grief, I wanted it!

Then this awesomely generous person even put all the patterns on her Craftsy shop for free! I had to do it. I downloaded...a lot...but, ultimately, reality made me chose on four for the quilt I wanted to do. The patterns are awesome. I particularly like R2-D2.

Now I only had to learn paper piecing. Which I did thanks to YouTube (Really, I learn everything from the internet. It frightens me.)

Don't hate me when I say this, but paper piecing came easily to me (way easier than...oh.. let`s motion quilting). Maybe its just the way my brain works. You get to sew down a line people. I love it! What could go wrong? (well, let's not ask loaded rhetorical questions shall we).

I even designed my own pattern for the light sabre hilt? handle? (or whatever it is, I'm sure my husband or other Star Wars fan will correct me).

This is were the quilt stands now. I keep tweaking the design.
It was suppose to be done for Christmas, but that's not going to happen. I'm not going to stress about it though. I'm sure my son will be getting enough other Star Wars/ Lego stuff that he won't even mind.

And lest you think that Star Wars "things" are sacrosanct in our house, think again.

Never underestimate the power of the force.

This is a picture of the debris that resulted from one of the boys climbing the bookcase, retrieving my husband's Star Wars collectible figures, and ripping every one of them open. He wanted to play with them. Not mint in the box anymore.

Never mind that they've sat on the high shelf for like three years now. Guess he decided it was time. It actually took him two goes to check this off his bucket list of destruction. The first time I caught him at midpoint. But he returned to the scene of the crime at a later date to finish, as most criminals are wont to do.

Welcome to the dark side of the force my friends, together we can rule the quilting galaxy!
Linking up for the first time with the blog and person that made this whole quilt possible!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Wedding Reception "Practice" Quilt WIP

My sister got married this year and I couldn't go because I was pregnant. Doctors don't like it when you are 38 weeks pregnant and want to travel to another country, even if it is just the United States.

She had always wanted her wedding reception to be outdoors in my parents back yard, so we had a reception for her and her husband later when she came up the the Great White North in the summer (redundant- no one comes in the winter).

Anyway, despite the brief and violent thunderstorm that blew threw about twenty minutes before the start, the reception was lovey, all in white, with lights, cupcakes, and desserts.

My part of the reception was to make the cupcakes and a country chic type (is that even a type?) bunting to be strung across the yard with the lights.

I grabbed a pile of fabrics from the clearance racks at the local big fabric store. Um, ya, I wasn't going to spend a lot of money on something that would be used for one night and not even be seen up close. I mean really design and aesthetic count, but I'm cheap people. Cut the fabric into triangles and sewed them to ribbon.  Easy Peasy.
I had some left over fabric with which I thought it would be cool to make into a quilt that would remind my sister of her great dream wedding reception. I attempted a stripey chevron look. Pardon the blurry pictures!

Sigh. I learned many things with this quilt. Its become my "practice quilt" As in, "oh crap!...., um..., ok..., well this will be just for practice" quilt. I sewed strips of material together to create the striped part and then sewed the whole long striped piece to a long piece of white material to create a tube of sorts. I then cut the tube on the diagonal to create half square triangles.

The white fabric I used was from my mom's stash, which means it could be from anywhere in the eighties. It ended up being cut on the bias when made into half square triangles, which meant it tended to stretch. And I tended to iron the crap out of it. Yeah, so ..... There was a lot of squaring up afterward.
Then I decided on a layout. Then I sewed it together and of course none of the striped pieces matched up. Sigh.

But I persevered. Not because I'm not a quitter, I'm stubborn.
By now I've decided that I'll just make my sister a better different quilt.

So now I'm in the midst of trying to free motion quilt the sucker. Cause I'm so good at that (pfft!). And, like, I practice FMQ all the time.. (not).

Some parts look better than others.

Practice quilt, practice quilt, practice quilt.
 If I say it enough maybe it will make all the wonky stitching go away.

Linking up for the first time ever!!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday 17 December 2013

So I Took Up Quilting...

So this is it. The blog I decided to write.

Because.. well mainly to see if I could really. I thought if others were doing it, then well, why not me too. And it bugged me, not knowing HTML and the hows and ins of actually getting something into cyberspace. I consider myself pretty technologically aware, but had no idea about the basics, like how to create a logo and add it to a blog, how to upload pictures with the correct pixel size, blah, blah, blah.

The boys
So here it is. Deciding what to write about was a little difficult too. You see, I’m not really a writer, I'm more a visual artist and would rather create a picture of something than literally describe it.This blog is to be a journal of my creative endeavours and a witness to the destructive natures that oppose them; the ying and yang of creation and destruction, Jehnny (me, the creator) and the boys(the destroyers) in one household. Because where there is creation there will also be destruction.

The idea of the dual nature of creation/destruction was something I have dealt with as an anthropologist and totally as a mom, so it seemed a natural theme. Also, it meant that I could blog about practically anything and have it fit with the theme of the blog.

So in my creating I took up quilting. In my search of how to start quilting, I happened upon some talks from the Modern QuiltCon on Craftsy. On one of the videos, Jacquie Gering talked about how her family were "makers" and that resonated with me because when I thought about so were mine. 

My parent’s house runs like continuous episodes of some home renovation TV show- they are constantly changing, updating or building something. Not to mention the other crafty things they’ve done.

I, by nature am drawn to creating too. My media of first choice has always been painting, mostly with oils, more recently with chalk pastels. By the medium that I liked did not work with motherhood, or more specifically with having boys. Oil paint is waaaay too easy to make a lasting mess with. Alizarin Crimson, or any other hue of oil paint is a potent, permanent, and contagious paint that easily makes its way onto everything white or stainable. And oil paints take forever to dry, which means a larger window of time for small hands to touch, smear and inevitably transfer paint to every surface of the house. Ditto for every other artistic medium I tried.

Really, this blog might rival the one, you know, that has all the stuff that kids have wrecked. I literally could have written that blog and provided all the pictures and examples of destructiveness it needed. And then there was the fact that not only were my sons emptying bottles of paint onto everything and spreading it everywhere (expensive tubes of paint, I might add), but everything I created was given their (as in the boys) own personal touch. I mean EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE of art that I tried to create. 
 Yellow flowers on the landscape are not my addition. 

Red and grey blobs on the bottom of an unfinished piece- not mine either.

Scribbles all over... you get the idea.

I needed to create, but I needed to work with something that wouldn’t break, stain or require hours and bottles full of chemicals to clean. That’s when I started getting into quilting. I’m not sure how it happened, but it happened. And I don’t need to tell you that once you get that first hit of fabric buying, you are forever chasing that Amy Butler (or fill in your favourite) high for the rest of your life.

So the switch from paint to fabric hasn’t been less expensive, but I thought, how can my boys possibly wreck fabric.

That’s how you wreck fabric. But still, no mess to clean up. At least not a big one.


I highly underestimate the destructive force that resides in our house. It takes the form of a small middle child, who resembles the cartoon Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson, in looks and demeanor.

So yeah, my son has combined both my hobbies. Somehow he found a bottle (or two) or craft paint.

He layered it with playdough on the floor, just because..

  Yep, that’s paint dripping down the bin of recently purchased fabrics.

 And, yep, that’s my sewing machine.

And, why yes, he did dip a scrap piece of fabric in paint and then attempt to run it through my (and my sister`s) sewing machine. And, not shown, he did manage to get paint on a quilt. So now the quilt is his, not to be given away as was planned. Of course.

So there it is, my transition to quilting is complete. Created and destroyed as per usual.