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, October 30, 2012

Its Done?

This week I worked a bit more on ‘the truck’. It has taken me a lot of time to finish this piece because, quite frankly, I started it out in an unsatisfactory way and needed time to noodle out how to proceed.
Overall, I am content with this re-creation but there are a few things I would do differently. I'll talk about this later.

I normally do not do this, but for some reason I messed around with the trees and while they look good after, they had looked really good before hand.

The fall fireweed looks better now that it was been tweaked and I like the look. It took about 10 colour changes to get to this point however.
fireweed close up
I ended up with a wicked ripple after all that work and the only way to control it, other than cutting the design and and restitching it, was to do some vertical zigzag across the whole grass area. This did relax the speed bumps a lot. Unfortunately, like an idiot, I used a really light brown, like a taupe, to do this and I had to spend several hours covering it up with reds, greens and browns.

Oh well, I'm Ok with it now.

I really should spend more time  getting the engine more realistic looking, but those shadows are killing me. I'm really not much of an artist and black just looked like a gigantic hole. I should get some highlights on the little pine trees. And the rust colour around the fenders detracts rather than enhances the great curve of this fender.

But as I said, I am OK with it so far..

So thanks for listening! I am going to put this on my design wall and come back to it at some point. Talking it through has made me see the areas I want to work on.
Tomorrow I will show you my redwork (bluework actually) that I am doing by machine since I don’t “do” handwork.. It’s a great Christmas project. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tin Lizzy Fun

My friend Robin got herself a very nice Tin Lizzy system and I went over to help her set it up properly.

Five hours later, four You Tube videos and several cups of tea, we had it figured out and I had completed this quilt.

This is the result of the 5 minute block  I had read about by Kathy on Tamarack Shack. The blocks themselves took us hours to do, and I blame Janet's unusual decision to have 5 or 10 glasses of wine plus a gin and tonic when we were cutting fabric. Well, she probably had 2 or 3, but she is a lightweight and it made us giggle. Luckily, we have enough for another quilt and got these together. 

And yes, lots of other quilters laughed at us for how long these blocks took. I stole a bunch of their fabrics and embellishments, so take THAT laughing girls. Take. That. 

I lked Kathy's idea of a simple meander around the cream area and I totally stole her pattern for the brown wheels. I ended up doing those on my own Bernina since I didn't have enough time on the longarm (and Robin was going away).

So now it waits for Janet  to put on the binding on when she returns from her wonderful holiday in Newfoundland.  I am sure her boss is going to be tickled to get this quilt. I think I need to make one for me.

PS--I have 2 more quilts I was hoping to quilt before Christmas, so I am going to do nice things for Robin in the hopes that she lets me use her machine again. I told her that the Tin Lizzy is a perfect size for 'us'.  LOL LOL

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Winner Is....

drum roll please.....

Michelle G!   Michelle blogs at Love Chinook Winds in Calgary. Michelle, I was born in Calgary and lived in Montgomery along the Bow River until my family moved to the Yukon when I was 12 years old. I went to University there for my first degree (Sociology) and still have family and friends in Bowness. I know exactly what a Chinook wind is and often pray it will come north, but it never has..Anyway, congrats on the win!

For everyone else, I just want to thank-you all for sending me a note--I love to hear where you all are from and what you do. I even met another Yukon quilter (hi Vivian!) so it was a win-win for me as well.

Dahn   :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Give Away!

I love books. Educational, thrillers, mysteries, self-help, humour and everything in between. Mostly though, I love quilting books.

I received a number of new books recently and I ordered this one twice! Since I don't really feel like going through the hassle of sending it back,I am giving away this book:

What an awesome book! Many of the projects use hexies and really simple quilting designs. There are some good, quick tips and as expected, some crisp and detailed photos throughout. On top of that, Malka's blog is great too..

OK--here are the RULES!  You must be a real person, living somewhere in the world and you must leave a comment. (and it wouldn't hurt to follow me!). I will ship world wide.

The draw will  CLOSE Wednesday, October 24 @ 6pm PST.  

I'll post the winner on Friday, October 26.

Good luck!     :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Thank-you for the nice comments yesterday! Given that there is some interest, I am going to post more about thread painting trees—my way. Believe me, I am no expert, nor would my final pieces win any prizes, but I like to think about myself as an enthusiastic amateur.  : )

It is always a good starting point to find something familiar and close to you and use that as your inspiration. For me, I have no further to look then from the window of my craft room.
Yes, I know I am lucky. And yes, I do know there is snow on the ground. I am trying to ignore it.

Way back when, I initially thought the colours of pine trees were brown, ash and black. And I kept trying to make realistic looking trees in these colours and was never happy. One day at 40 below I had had enough. I grabbed my threads and ran outside in open toed crocks to find out what the true colours were. I  held thread up to the tree as my husband stood inside shaking his head. Yah, he does this a lot..  I remember I was shocked at how off the colours were that I was using. Pine tree don’t have ash or black colours, and the brown I was using was not even close to the brown of the bark. My pine trees actually look like this (see below), and the threads that matched it are light grey, dark grey, chocolate brown and butterscotch brown.
   tree thread2
Another tree in my yard is the birch tree. I was using light grey with a green/yellow and black for the knots and bands across it. Again, I got the colours completely wrong. The true colours of the bark are light moss green overall with mid moss green striations in certain areas and smoky grey knots and bands across it.  Sorry I do not know the real colours of these these greens, but I hope the pictures help.
Tree1    Tree thread1
Lets talk more about birch tree. Below is the way I started creating a match for birch trees (click on it to see a larger image if you want). So that you know, I do this every time I try something new. Yes, I really do. The birch tree are the green ones, not the 2 trees on the far left.

This chart was made when I had just started thread painting and I wanted to capture everything I was doing. What colour thread to use, what the tension should be on the top and the bobbin and what width I was using for the zigzag. It was really helpful. Even though my newer ones have less writing, the way I test thread and tension has not changed.
birch trees
And yes, it IS hard to slow down and do a sample sheet like this. I am a free spirit and like to jump into things with both feet without a plan or roadmap. That may be the way you want to do thread play and I encourage you to just go for it! And if you ever want to be more ‘scientific’ about the process, I hope you remember this post. Maybe it will give you a direction to go in when you want to chart your own process. And maybe you will always wing it and do terrific work.

Later this week I’ll show you what I do once I have the samples—how I practice actually drawing trees. That is definitely the fun stuff!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Embroidered Trees

I love to read Monika's blog and see what beautiful thread painting she is working on.  As a nod to her awesome ability (and current piece), I am sharing how I do trees. Well, at least how I test how I will do trees.

Here in the Yukon,our growing season is short and the winter is long, so our trees take years to mature. They often do not get very thick—for instance a 8” diameter tree could be 50 years old. Since these little trees are 'my' reality, many of my practice tree pieces are thin, straight ones.

Whenever I try a new design in thread, whether it is a tree or a flower or a bunch of grasses, I always do some test pieces and label them for future reference. I have made quite a few of these practice sheets and they are invaluable for reference at a later date. Its surprising what you say you will remember, then when you want to do that technique, you can’t remember how.

In the picture below, you can see that I adjusted the top tension quite a bit and played with the bobbin. I do have a dedicated bobbin that I do not adjust the tension on, but this is a recent purchase. I have found that I could always readjust the bobbin tension back to normal quite easily. I know this makes some people nervous, but not me!

Why do I adjust the tension? If you look at the 7th and 9th trees from the left, you can see that the bobbin thread pulled up to the top and this is what adds a two tone colour to the trees. And I didn't have to do any fancy stitchin'! I had black thread in the bobbin and light grey on the top. Major contracts can make neat affects while subtle ones add tones and highlights.

I am so glad I started doing this because now I have a binder full of tips and examples..
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll show you more from this book if anyone is interested..

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pinterest Fun

I Pin a lot of things, and recently I added something that I thought might be useful at some point. Little did I know that I would need it this soon. Last night I made some curtains and remembered this template from Scientific Seamstress that I used to add a neat and tidy seam allowance. Mine can sometimes go wonky, so this came in handy. She also offers a curved seam template--very nice!
Scientific Seamstress

Another Pinterest find was the Magic PillowCase that has a french seam in it. It is a really fun way to make a nice pillowcase (and I used up a lot of ugly fabric).. sorry--I don't have a picture right now.

And finally, here is one that I need to make since I cannot stand light of any kind in my eyes when I am sleeping.  LOL
Silly eye mask

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Retreat Update

It has been a busy week and only now have I had the time to blog about it. Needless to say it was a blast and I was exhausted by the end of it—exhausted! And I got almost all of my projects done (so take THAT  doubters!)..

I attend this retreat annually in Haines Junction, Yukon which is situated about 1 hour south west of Whitehorse. It is a very, very tiny village with a population of 589 in the last census. I envy the locals this--  the magnificent Elias Mountain range.

 DSCN0001 (4)
The retreat this year was 4 full days long. FOUR. FULL. DAYS. I ate till I was stuffed, I quilted from 9am to 1am every day and as I said earlier, I finished everything I took except for a full size quilt that I decided to add an additional row and I didn’t have the material.

This is the St. Elias Convention Centre where the retreats always take place. Isn't it awesome?!
DSCN3245 DSCN3253
My friend Janet (above in black) and I even finished the top of a quilt we impulsively decided to make for her boss when she retires next month. Wow. It was a blast!
More friends and fellow quilters.
We have a “Chinese Auction” all week-end long and between you and me, I am NOT a fan of it at all. You have to pick a gift or ‘steal’ from someone who has a prize. Anyone who wants to play contributes a $25.00 gift for the table. See the full table above? My friend Karen is trying to decide what to pick. I don't like it because it takes forever and some people bring horrible gifts. (just being honest here).

There are alwasy incredible sunsets. Check this one out!
And there were more metal animals to feast my eyes on! Like the Whitehorse metal sculpture I posted about here, these are incredible. Made by another artist whose name escapes me right now, these just as beautiful.

See the Convention Centre in the background? And that incredible sky? I am definitely going to be making this sky in fabric!

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Birthday Stuff!

On the 4th it was my birthday, and I decided that I did not want to go for dinner, have a party or do anything other than have some pierogies,  eat some cake and watch a horror show I had taped last weekend. Hubby made me dinner and got me some beautiful flowers (alas, no pictures right now). Even better, I got these:
DSCN3277  DSCN3278 
Plus I received numerous emails and calls from friends and family. I had a great day.