I love to dye fabric, make thread pictures and quilt. I live in the Yukon on an acreage with my husband, 2 dogs and 34 fish. It's the 'good' life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I’m Ready to Retreat

OK—I had to add 2 more projects, 2 lamps and a fan, but I think I am ready to go! I am meeting my friend Janet tomorrow night, then several other good friends early the next morning. Yea ha!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Retreat Projects!

The annual quilt retreat is coming up this Wednesday through Sunday. I think I have all my projects ready. Wanna see?
I love these table tops and have probably made 10 of them to date. They take less than an hour to piece and quilt (really!), however I am a fairly fast piecer and can free motion quilt quickly. This pattern is from Quilting Arts Magazine, the holiday 2011/2012 edition. The picture can be seen larger by clicking on it.

Here are the ones I have already made for the retreat and I will just finish them there. These will be a good late night project, hopefully before several glasses of wine.

I am going to make this Christmas table runner from the Small Quilts and Gifts, 2011 edition of Quiltmaker Magazine called Holly Days Inn.
I am going to use these fabrics, even though to me, blue is not really a Christmas colour.
Another Christmas table topper I am making is the Homespun Holly from the Quilting Celebrations, 2011 from Fons & Porter. Below are the fabrics I am using.

 Another table topper I am making is this one by Little Charmers. This is a really quick pattern that uses those stupid 5” charm squares I keep getting. I had no idea what to do with such small pieces, so I picked up this pattern. (and my apologies for the background.

This is my ironing board for my Setacolour paintings and  sometimes they not dry when I iron them, hence the paint blobs you see).
Still with me? There ONE more table runner that I want to do. This one is called Field if Fire by Wildfire Designs Alaska. I love this designer—go check out the beautiful designs she has… You can’t see it, but I have her fabric with the wildfire on it somewhere in this bundle.
I also have some other projects I want to get to. I have made this triptych Hallowe’en  pattern about 5 times and my friends and family always want one, so here we go again. I noticed on the Patch Abilities website that these patterns now are sold individually. So not cool when companies do this..

Big Project 1. I have more projects! This is a kit from my LQS, Bear's Paw Quilts in Whitehorse, Yukon. I usually do not purchase kits since I have sooooooo much fabric, but I loved these fabrics by Patrick Lose (Kona Colorworks).

Notice the pizza carton? This is how I pack projects in my craft room. I add all the fabric, the pattern and anything else that will make this project go together. I pre-cut the fabric so all I have to do is grab a box and start sewing. I always, always cut the binding too. In this box I am taking the fabric with me and I will cut the binding when I know what the kit size for the binding is supposed to be.. I clearly mark the project name on the front of the box and then they are stacked 4 deep (no more than 4 projects ever), at eye level and I see them whenever I go in my room. Since they are not out of sight, but there are options, I can work on whatever I want.

Big Project 2. This great lap quilt is one I have made before. This pattern is by Lisa Moore and I LOVE all of her other patterns as well! Go see her unique ideas—she is an Alaskan designer and I get her patterns from the Skagway, Alaska store. I see from the link that she recommends Wonder Tape for this quilt. I had never heard of this before, and I need to read up more on it. You can’t see in the box below, but I have some bear fabric as the focal fabric. I know, I know—very hokey. This is for a guy, so I thought it would be good? The light green is the border and the darker green is for the sashing. 

Big Project 3. I haven’t cut this one yet since I haven’t decided what size I want the finished blocks to be, however this one use the 5 Minute Block I recently blogged about that I saw on the Tamarack Shack blog. This will definitely be one that I do this weekend, if for no other reason than to see what the block looks like.


And that’s it! Do you all think I need to have a few more stand-by projects just in case? Here is a panoramic view of all of my projects. And yes, I always worry that I will run out of things to do..  But this year I am so organized it is sickening. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My sewing machine is in the shop getting its yearly cleaning, and so I am not doing any sewing. Is this how people without TV feel??

I did get a fabulous new book, Machine Embroidered Seascapes by Alison-Holt, I am relishing every page and have not finished it yet.

I will give a review when I'm done, however I am sure it's well known that Alison Holt is my hero and nothing she does could be bad.  :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To Skagway (Again)

Even though I was there on Tuesday, I went to Skagway yesterday with my friend Janet. We needed to catch up and since our quilt retreat is in a few weeks, we thought this would be fun. I’ve shown some pictures of Skagway but here are some more-get ready!
Here is the harbour. Yes, it was cold and miserable and there was a blowing wind. I felt sorry for the cruise ship passengers because they have a lengthy walk from the ship to shops.
I recently saw this quilt on Tamarack Shack, and decided I needed to make a similar one, so I needed some chocolate brown fabric. This quilt is based on the 5 Minute Block by Suzanne McNeill. So simple and fast, so I am going to definitely add this to the 38 other projects I am taking. This had better be a one year retreat so I can get it all done!  lol

And finally, here is the quilt store! Pretty, isn’t it?
My friend Janet posed for me.  Thanks Janet!
Finally, I want to show you how quickly fall comes. The first picture is from Tuesday, the next is just 4 days later.

The leaves are going, going…
and my favourite one:
Hope you are all enjoying the end of summer and the start of fall in your areas!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Today the oddest thing happened. There was a knock at my door, which is very odd as I live on an acreage and my friend know I do not like to have surprise guests, so they always call first. But it was the next door neighbour, whose name I don’t even know. She is about 78 years old and grows a beautiful garden, but I have not had many conversations with her over the years. 

Today she asked me if I would show her how I do embroidered landscapes. No, she did not want a lesson. No, she did not want to see a completed piece. She just wanted to watch me free motion painting. I didn’t even know she knew I did thread embroidery—I do not sell it or exhibit it, so maybe she knows because I teach it at the local quilt store every so often.

Bewildered and somewhat off balance, I decided to make a little scene of daisies, since these are fast and easy to demo. It was just a quick, QUICK rendition since I had no idea what she wanted. After it was completed, I offered it to her, but she politely refused saying “I saw what I wanted to see”. Then she thanked me again and went home. 

Is that weird, or is it just me?? 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Skagway, Alaska

 I was in Skagway, Alaska this week and primarily to pick fabric for a retreat I am going to at the end of the month. Since it is such a beautiful town, I thought I would share a few pictures from there. Skagway is about 1-1/2 to 2 hours from Whitehorse and I go there fairly often with other quilting friends or the hubby. In the winter they roll up the sidewalk at the end of the tourist season, but luckily the quilt store is open all year round. What a difference this town is during the winter (population 700) and the summer (daily traffic 20-30,000). Since it was raining and there were only 2 cruise ships in, the board walk was fairly clear of traffic, so the pictures are uncluttered with people.

Fall has already arrived in the Yukon, so if you ever decide to come here the first 3 weeks of September are the best for fall foliage. Anyway, here is Skagway:

Raining--see the drawings up on the hill? It is a 1900 advertisement.
Some of the original buildings have brought back old signage.

The only year round restaurant. In the winter they close at 2pm, so you  better get there before 2pm or leave hungry!

Alaska licence plate. The middle area shows prospectors climbing the 'Chilkoot Pass". 
Emerald Lake--this is on the way to Skagway. The beautiful blue and emerald colouring is from light reflecting off of 'marl'--I think it is clay and calcium deposits.  

A view of the train station and a cruise ship. Behind in the mist is a magnificent mountain range. 
The Whitepass and Yukon Railway 
Skagway Harbour
Look at the spikes! Used to keep birds from landing on the light posts at the harbour. Ouch!

Skagway from the hilltop-only a couple of cruise ships in today

The quilt store!

The website for this store is here: Rushin Tailor. There are some very unique items here you may want to see. Hope you liked this quick tour of Skagway...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whitehorse Horse

 I am working on things after my busy weekend, and will post a little piece I finished tomorrow. I wanted to show you all something that I love and have never actually gotten close enough to take pictures of.
Recently the town of Whitehorse, Yukon erected a new Public Safety building. They commissioned an art piece of a metal horse made by a Yukon artist Daphne Mennel. It is a magnificent sight to see and I am fortunate to see it every morning as I drive to work.
At the top of 2 Mile Hill overlooking the city of Whitehorse, Yukon

Daphne created this piece with donated pieces of metal from a number of Yukon residents. For instance the tail is made from electrical cable donated by Yukon Electric (my favorite parts), and there are other treasures-- a pair of glasses, a frying pan, an anvil, a horse bridal, a radiator front, garden utensils such as a rake and 3 prong thingie, a muffler, bike spokes, and many, many more treasures. 
Look at that gorgeous tail!

I love the face!

I am so happy I finally went and took a good look at this piece. We are fortunate to have it in our community!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fall Class-Grasses Thread Embroidery

I am teaching an embroidery class this fall, and it needed to be a piece that could be completed in 4 hours which includes instruction/practice time. I chose to do a small grass scene that was embellished with wheat stalks and some cow parsley. I have taken pictures of my progress for you all, and it all went just fine until I decided to add a few details with several felt pens. Wait till you see what happened.  :-(
To begin, I find the picture I like, then I trace it out. I used a composite of these pictures:
I did a rough line drawing of a blob (seriously), then I added some shooting grasses and wheat stalks. Several circles within the blob helped me to decide where to add the cow parsely. You want to see the drawing? Seriously? Here it is:
image Nice, isn’t it?! This is really the picture I used to start the process.  Smile
Tip! I use these $1.00 Christmas lights and chuck them under my sewing table as a light source to trace the design. I use a disappearing pen (the purple kind) to make my marks. You may not see my marks, but I’m sure you can see how well these Christmas lights work as a light source..
I started freehand sewing with the darkest colour. I used a dark green in the bobbin and top—this may or may not be important to you. It depends on whether you have your bobbin thread showing on the top. I like that look, so I get a variegated look . The darkest colour defines the shape and helps to create depth as the piece evolves.

The second colour I added was a mid green on top and the same dark green thread in the bobbin. The use of a different green continues to add depth and variation in a piece. My rule of thumb is to add 3 colours at a minimum to make the piece look realistic and give that 3D quality to a piece. You can probably still see the purple markings I am using as a reference.
After the mid green colour was added, I added an acid green to give the grass some light and used the mid green colour in the bobbin. Looking better…
Finally, I added the last green—a very, very pale green with a yellow thread in the bobbin. I then took ‘stock’ of the picture (pun!) and decided that the grass was good the way it was. I then started to add the light brown wheat stalks here and there. I used the same brown in the top and bobbin. These were on the original picture in some fashion and I used the source picture only as a reference.
The final stage was to add the cow parsley. Below you can see how I add each flower head. When I finish a group, I do not snip the thread, but just lift the presser foot and move on to the next area. When I completed all of the cow parsley, I then used small, sharp embroidery scissors and snipped off the connector threat.
At this point I thought I would add a few highlights with felt markers. I had some areas where the very light green really stood out and I used a dark green marker to colour it in. Man, did I feel smart!! And it looked great when it was done. It was then that I made a FATAL mistake. I misted the piece to iron it flat and that little bit of felt marker bled from the thread onto the white background. Bled. Really. Badly.  I thought I could save it by adding more grasses at the bottom of the piece. That went OK, but see the blob on the left (about halfway up)? I decided to try and paint that out ‘just a bit’ with white paint. Sheesh, just writing that I am wincing. What a disaster!
Only to you, dear readers, would I show this horrible piece. My only excuse is that it was after midnight last night and I was exhausted. I made one bad decision after another, adding more white, then a light green, then more white, etc… Here is the end result.
And a close up just to REALLY let it sink in.
At that point there was nothing—NOTHING that could have saved this piece. So I took a deep breath and started again. I decided that I needed a coloured background because white was too boring, and  I quickly colour washed a new piece of fabric with a very, very light green. I cannot get the true colour to show here and it looks very yellow. But the colour looks more like the paint chip beside it, except mine is a bit lighter:
I did all the same steps as shown above and here are a few pictures of the finished piece. I finished at about 2:30am and by 10:30am it was at the shop. Tomorrow morning class registrations starts and I just got this in on time. Nothing like using every last second to work on a piece!
DSCN2923  DSCN2921
I’m happy with this one.. Hopefully the purple marks will disappear before tomorrow, but I cannot fret any longer. It is done. Put a fork in it..
PS—it took me 33 minutes to make the second piece. That included photos, threading bobbins and ironing.