Thursday, December 21, 2006

Now for something completely different...

Now that the year's scheduled quilts are winging their way through the mail to their various owners, I've got some time to work on quilts for family and friends. There are also a couple of art quilts that I'll be finishing in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye on things here.

Yesterday after taking youngest son to school I got working on a quilt for my 4 mo. old neice, Zoe. I haven't made her birth quilt yet! Here are some photos of my progress. The photos don't quite pick up the real luminous intensity of the colours I'm working with! The pattern I'm working from is Judy Martin's current Block of the Moment called Parallels. I just got her 'Scraps' book last week and am itching to get to some of the wonderful things I see in there...but this is a great introduction to all the 'shadow' effect piecing that she shows in the book. Below you can see a detail of the block.

I like that I can't just strip piece this. Now that I've done 3/4 of the blocks I've got a system worked out, but I'm still laying out each block individually as I go as I want to have a pattern emerge in the brights (if someone cared to look for it). I LOVE the shadow effect. I think I'll quilt this one with butterflies and dragonflies 'floating' above the water surface. Whoohoo! Back to stitching!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Busy day!

Yesterday was tremendously busy. Aside from mailing out my last quilt for the year, I worked my 'other' job at the school delivering the Roots of Empathy program. I work in the grade seven classes at our school with two teachers who have been gracious enough to share their precious classroom time. In one class we talked about diapering -what a riot! The students ask really good questions, and challenge me to be clear, concise and straightforward. In the other class we had our parent/child come to visit. The baby in that class is 3 months old now, and we got to see how much stronger and capeable he is this month than last month. The unit we're doing in that class is centred on crying as a means of communication, and the students and parent had a really good question/answer period about crying and strategies that deal with crying.
In between classes at the school, I was here with our local newspaper editor talking about my shop, quilting and design business. I had a project come out in the Festive Issue of A Needle Pulling Thread magazine - which arrived day before yesterday! This is the first time I've had something published in a nationally distributed magazine! Needless to say I've been walking about 2" above the ground. It looks like the article that he's doing is going to come out in next week's or the following week's paper.
We had one of our son's Christmas Concerts last night. What fun. It was great to see everyone from the community out! Our other son's concert is tonight, then only a few more sleeps (in our youngest's words) until the big day!

Wherever you are, have a wonderful holiday with those you care about the most.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Countdown continues...

I just returned from the post from sending out my second and third-last quilts of the year. One left on the machine - it should be done quite soon too! We have a busy week ahead of us with all the school Christmas concerts, parties and family coming. I'm almost as excited as the kids!
This week's Illustration Friday challenge is 'help'. I have a drawing in mind for it but am being very disciplined about getting the quilting done first...
Back to stitching!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Customer Quilt

As promised, here are some pictures of Tracy's quilt. The photos don't really do it justice, but that seems to be par for the course lately.

The quilt is all velvet and batiks- a word of caution if you're thinking of doing this yourself: this is a bit of an unruly combination! Tracy is an amazing piecer and I know that she had trouble with this one. She brought in some gorgeous variegated King Tut thread to go with it, and chose a double batting of BlackHobbes 80/20 with a layer of Hobbes Wool on top of it. Very cushy and warm. The backing is a sateen sheet - I had my doubts about how the sheet would work at first, but the type of weave that it was gave me no trouble at all on the machine.

She opted for geometric stitching (which I did freehand) that seems to go really well in this masculine quilt for one of her sons. Unfortunately the colour in the photo leans toward purple on my monitor, when in reality it was a deep, rich blue with green combination.

I'm part way through my next customer quilt, a friendship quilt made for a birthday gift. It's wild and fun and full of generous-hearted sentiment.

Happy stitching,


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Musings on Creativity

This book I've been reading about creativity continues to be really interesting. After setting up the context in which the experiment is done, the author moves into talking about the creative personality - he cites 10 different pairs of paradoxical personality traits that he found expressed in a large component of his test subjects. From there he talks about the actual nuts and bolts process of creativity - this chapter really rung true for me. The way that Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the creative process is as one that has 5 distinct steps:

  1. Preparation/immersion (essentially this is a gathering/research stage). I find that in my own process I try to keep this ongoing...I don't always have a specific project in mind while doing this, but that I'm always gathering motifs, information about colour, context and line. In recent years it's become apparent that even while (and sometimes ESPECIALLY while) doing other crafts I find the inspiration for something new in my quilting.
  2. Incubation. This is essentially a quiet time. It isn't necessarily a 'doing nothing' time for me, but sometimes it is. (Well, inasmuch as regular life will let me do nothing! I'm always doing customer quilts, but that is part of the daily fare, not always specifically a new creative endeavor).
  3. Insight. This is the 'aha' part - the part that sometimes I think we do the rest for. This is the moment when things seem to come clear on a larger level. This is when the real goal becomes clear.
  4. Evaluation. This is a really important step. Often the project will get thrown out at this point, or only parts of it will be retained, to wait and be incorporated into some later project. A really tough stage, I find that it can wander into self-criticism if I'm not careful.
  5. Elaboration. This is the big time consuming part. This is where all the bugs are worked out and all the actual WORK is done.
These stages, though laid out in a list, are in reality really non-linear. Sometimes the ideas at the insight have to go back through the incubation. Sometimes what has been elaborated upon needs to go through another round of evaluation. There's just no set number of times that any single project can go through the process, or part of the process.

There is one quote in particular that stands out to me out of this portion of the book. The words are those of Nina Holton about her own work - I think that they are relevant to anyone doing creative work, in any field (finance, art, music, counselling, administration):

"Tell anybody you're (sic) are a sculptor and they'll say, "Oh, how exciting, how wonderful." And I tend to say, "What's so wonderful?" I mean, it's like being a mason, or being a carpenter, half the time. But they don't wish to hear that because they really only imagine the first part, the exciting part. But, as Khrushchev once said, that doesn't fry pancakes, you see. That form of an idea does not make a sculpture which stands up. It just sits there. So the next stage, of course, is the hard work. Can you really translate it into a piece of sculpture? Or will it be a wild thing which only seemed exciting while you were sitting in the studio alone? Will it look like something? Can you actually do it physically? Can you, personally, do it physically? What do you have by way of materials? So the second part is a lot of hard work. And sculpture is that, you see. It is the combination of wonderful wild ideas and then a lot of hard work."

Amen to that.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stitch Journeys

Hah! It was in my mailbox today! A book about how to use WonderFil specialty threads called "Stitch Journeys"...I've been looking forward to the release of this book for many reasons - one of which is that I got to contribute some photos and tips to it...there's the little quilt on P.19! That little quilt now lives at the main office of WonderFil in Calgary, and gets to travel around to different shows with them throughout the continent. It's so exciting to see it in print! There are lots of projects and ideas in it... it's a great 'how to' book for techniques of all kinds from free motion quilting and embroidery to art stitching and thread as structure. Super cool. I have a few copies available in the store (link at left), and one copy for little 'ol me.
Happy Tuesday,

Illustration Friday Challenge

Here's my little sketch about the Illustration Friday challenge "Mask".
A few different images were rolling around in my head most of the day yesterday while quilting, and late last night I got a chance to quickly put one down. This is my favorite composition of them all, I think. I've always been intregued by the idea of masks, a lot of my early drawings and paintings deal with masks in different ways. The sketch is entitled 'dressing room' and the character is getting ready for her day. I've always felt that we all have masks that we wear for different reasons, some that are a result of the situation we are in, some we wear in spite of it, or bring into a situation.
Not very 'quilt-y' I know. Please bear with me!
The quilt I'm working on right now is gorgeous - all in velvets and batiks in rich, dark colours. As soon as there is some good light in here I'll take and post a picture.

Monday, December 11, 2006

This beautiful place

The weather here is amazing right now. This morning on my way back from taking my youngest to school I found deer tracks all around our back gate. After following the tracks around it appears that they jumped the fence (gutsy, considering we have a dog)and wandered around our yard eating the few blackberries, grapes and rose hips that were clinging to the bushes. We try to keep the fruit-bearing plants really cleaned up in the fall as we don't really want to invite bears! This year, however, there were some little remnants of the season there - but no more! The tracks went back to the gate, over and out again. It looked like two, but there may have been more.
The photo above is from last Saturday, on the NewDenver/Kaslo highway. It was a spectacular drive...I tend to carry my camera with me to photograph anything that takes my interest...many times this is where colour schemes come from for new quilts, or the spark of a design for a pantograph pattern. Not all of our quilting equipment is a needle and thread! The sky last week was that amazing high-altitude, cold weather blue that is so rare and beautiful. The crisp mountain tops were the clearest white, and the air was at it's most transparent. So unusual, so perfect, so fleeting.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Zoe's Toes

We're on our way over to Kaslo today to see my sister and her family. It's her oldest DS's birthday, and we're off to play with the cousins. My boys love going over there and actually went through their books this morning to see what they could give! Ah, it warms my heart.
I spent a couple hours watching movies with all my men last night. Lo and behold, at the end of it all - voila! A pair of teeny, tiny socks. These will go over to Kaslo to go on the feet of little Zoe who (like the others) is growing so quickly.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Creativity Exercises 5

I've elected to take part in the Illustration Fridays challenge. This week the challenge is 'Mask'. Last week's was 'Might'- I had quite a few interesting ideas around last week's, but this week's is going to take some thinking about. Right now the only thing that occurs to me is around the 'mask' tool on Corel for cutting out around images. Hmm. Mask...mask...mask.....

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Well, I finished them last night (my sister will be so impressed). It was one of those "one more stripe", "I'll go to bed after the next stripe", "oh, look there's only 2 stripes left - I could finish this by the end of CSI"...any stitcher knows how that goes. Anyhoo, they're warming my toes as I write! They're made from Regia sock wool on 2.75 mm needles and the pattern is a 'toe up' one. It's the first time I've made 'toe up' socks and found that I quite liked doing the short rowing for the heel. It'll be interesting to see if the heel has as much long term strength in it as the ones I'm used to doing in the top down version. I don't know about how picky it is to start the toe, though. It seems like way too many needles for the amount of stitches for the first 15 rounds or so - BUT I like the 'no seam' look, and it was nice to finish without doing the toe grafting.

The main reason for doing a 'toe up' pattern this time was that I was hoping to use all the wool that I had (2 50g skeins). I still have loads of wool left over...these could have been as long as Wicked Witch of the West socks if I'd kept going! Ah well, time to cast on some baby socks for my niece, then...


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Quiet on the home front

I haven't been posting for awhile as things have been busy here. As most of you know, I'm in the midst of my 'Christmas Rush' - getting things done for people before the holiday begins in earnest. Although I'm putting more hours in than usual, I have to say that I enjoy this frenzied time! Something in my personality thrives on activity, I guess.
I'm also working on some new panto patterns (and something totally new,only to be hinted at for the time being), so all of my non-quilting machine time is fast becoming computer time. In the evening, I've been knitting more socks. Gotta say, those are addicting to make - especially with the self-striping wool. I have another pair almost finished and will post a picture of them when they are done.

Thanks to all those lovely people who have taken the time (in one way or another) to let me know that their happy with my quilting. It means a tremendous amount to me to know that you are getting the work that you wanted done!


Sunday, December 03, 2006


Let's try this again...

I got the scanner working. Here's a much better image of QuilterGirl, in all her pencil glory.

Thanks for all the sweet emails about her.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Creativity Exercises 4

Yesterday my boys and I took the challenge being offered by Blue Sky Studios for this week, which was to draw a new superhero. It was so much fun! I didn't limit the time to 1/2 hr. this time, and we took closer to 45 minutes to do our drawings. My scanner is on the blink, so these are photos of what we did.

Mine is QuilterGirl (of course)...I started out with a traditional hero costume for her, then decided she should wear comfortable clothes. No boots and spandex for her! Just good 'ol breathable cotton. Just in case you can't tell - that is a rotary cutter she is holding aloft - maybe at a later date she will be balancing her featherweight on one finger (wink).

I know we can all relate to her stance of triumph after completing something particularly difficult or time consuming! To have climbed the allegorical peak and reached the highest hights of our skills is an awesome feeling. Okay, sometimes just getting something finished gives us that feeling!

Oldest son's hero is on the left - Duckman. You can see the strong soundwaves coming out of his bill.

Youngest son's hero is on the right, Frostkill. He can breathe out icicles - chilly!

I could really use a ScannerGirl or ComputerWiz right about now. Maybe I should go back to the drawing board and invent someone who can fix my scanner!



Friday, December 01, 2006

Finished! - and the winter wonderland

I finished this quilt today - it's for a customer in Grand Forks. It's tremendously late getting back to her...I feel terrible, but there's not a lot I could do. I have one supplier that is sometimes veeeerrrry slow getting batting out to me - sadly it is my customers who end up getting the brunt of that. Anyhoo...this one's done, and I love how it came out. I did the whole works in Silco cotton thread, and it ran like a dream on my Millennium.
The quilt itself is so pretty. The picture doesn't do it much justice - the batiks are strong and beautiful, saturated colour.

I've also included a picture of our house taken around lunch time today...we have easily 1/2 M of snow on our roof. The weather has warmed up enough that it's nice to be outside again (it's only about -9 C). If I could, I'd go cross country skiing today. The last few days were so cold that the car froze completely shut. My DH thinks that the snowblower may have frozen! If the current rate of snow keeps up that may become an issue!

Enjoy stitching,


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Friday's Sale Fabric

Don't you just love the subtle dimension of this one? It's our Friday 50% off fabric. If you'd like to know more, check the store link at right.

Happy stitching!


The weather and my current customer quilt

It's amazing here right now. The snow is falling as though it were that fakey movie snow made from potato flakes! We got another 8 inches of snow overnight...the kids are extatic.

I'm enjoying working on this lovely quilt right now...this is an absolute joy since doing the apqs foot upgrade. I can switch back and forth between template and freehand work without issue - it's awesome!

Hope all your stitches are straight!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thursday's sale fabric

It's a real beaut! This large scale colour packed honey is Thursday's 50% off fabric...for details see the link at right.



Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wednesday's Sale fabric

Isn't it gorgeous? This is Wednesday's 50% off fabric. See store link at right for details!


New Longarm Pattern and other news

Here's my most recently released LA pattern...'Cogs' - you'll find it at Willow Leaf Studio, through the link at right.

I got a note last Friday from Carla Canonico of A Needle Pulling Thread magazine that the project samples have been sent back to me, and that their printers are busy printing out the 2006 Festive Issue. This is so tremendously exciting to me as this will be the first pattern that I've ever had the opportunity to have published in a periodical...yay! Needless to say, each time the doorbell rings I'm jumping up to see if it's the courier.

Back to stitchin'!


Tuesday's Sale Fabric

We're having a fabric sale at the shop - this is Tuesday's 50% off fabric! For details, check the store link at right.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Creativity Exercises 3

Today's exercise was a timed half hour to draw what I could see out the window. As you can see, we've had a lot of snow here in the last couple of days. It's really cold outside. I love the amazing colour of blue that the sky is when it gets this cold. The only other time I've seen the sky this clear and blue is at really high altitude on a winter snowmobiling trip. Having the sky this colour today brought back many good memories of the trip.

For those who are curious, the drawing was done in CorelPaint Essentials 2. I think it's my favorite program for anything 'painty'. I love CorelDrawX3 for the actual drawing work, and for designing patterns. CorelPaint is fun and with the tablet and pen it is much like drawing in any other media.

Musings on Creativity

I've been reading a lot about creativity lately. It's an interesting topic as it's so hard to define. The book I'm reading right now is one that defines creativity as the ability to add something novel (or original) of value to the culture. It recognizes creativity only if it is recognized by the field that the innovations are made in.
I'm not sure how to feel about this. In my life, I've always been a 'personally' creative person, learning many skills and using them to make the things in my life. When I look around the house and shop almost everything has been touched in some way by either my or my husband's hand. We've literally made most of our lives together. If I were to look at my own creativity from this book's point of view, I would not be considered creative at all. Our creation of our life has certainly not had any impact on our culture, only on our personal lives.
The same, too could asked of my work life... as a designer, I try to innovate, to come up with new ideas that will make my work more valuable to my customers. In the field that I'm in there are many, many innovators - more so than ever. There is no way to know right now who's work will be remembered as influencing the course of the craft in years to come. Someone could, with the available resources in the field, buy an LA machine and do things for their customers that are all designed and thought of by other LA innovators. As the person that matches the patterns to the quilt are they still creative? Could one be said to be creative when they only use another's ideas?
The book is intriguing, though, as it has interviews with so many people from so many different fields. I'm not that far into it yet, but am enjoying the types of questions that it raises. It's called "Creativity - flow and the psychology of discovery and invention" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It's an older book, published in 1996. I'm being disciplined in reading it. Supposedly there is a chapter at the end that has information that is gleaned from all the studies about how to lead a creative life.
I do understand that the point of looking at creativity from this cultural impact point of view probably has as much or more to do with the ability to 'measure' creative impact for the study that this book describes than it does with the actual experience of creativity, BUT part of me rails against that. Once we reduce the creative impulse to just the measurement of its impact, we sterilize and neuter it. In my experience, creativity is messy and organic. It jumps and leaps, it does not follow linear growth patterns. It's true that for every idea that I have that gets fully developed in to a consumable, usable form there are easily 15 - 150 that don't get developed. Sometimes it takes 5 or 10 of those initial 'spark' ideas to form one coherent drawing or pattern. There is no way to jump to the end, to do only the final product without all the pre-product ideas and thinking. Should my creativity be measured only by the ideas that make it to print? Or should it be measured by the ability to generate ideas?
I'd be interested to hear other's points of view on this topic.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Monday's Sale Fabric

Here's the sale fabric for Monday, November 27 -

only $8.50 per Meter - for details, check my website through the link at right.

Happy Stitching!


Hummingbirds and Hollyhocks

I've had the blocks for little quilt on my design wall for months and months...finally tonight I managed to break through a little and start putting the blocks together. After a little consultation with my sister, I got going...

Most of the blocks in the top half of the quilt are finally together and I've almost got the balance of how the bottom is going to work figured out. It's a lot of 'piece, cut - piece, cut...stand back, start again' - honestly, I'm loving it. As you can see by the time stamp at the end of my post, maybe a little too much! -Ah, but isn't that what keeps us quilting? This sense of adventure and accomplishment?


Sale week at Threads in Motion

If you look at the shop website today you'll see this:

One week only - November 27 - December 2!
We're having a BOLT-A-DAY sale here at Threads in Motion. Each day this week one of the new fabrics will be featured at 50% off! The good news is that if you buy 1 (one) metre of the featured fabric - all additional fabrics in that purchase will have 25% reduced from their purchase price! Be sure to check back here each day to see what's on sale.
Please be aware that the additional sale price will be reflected in the confirmation email sent you from Lisa - not the automatically system generated email. This offer is not for use in combination with fabrics that already have discount prices (such as those listed at 40% off).

I'll post the featured fabrics here, too, along with my usual posts about what's going on at the studio and our house.

It'll be fun to do...all these gorgeous new fabrics...excuse me, I have to go pet them again...


Friday, November 24, 2006

Some customer quilts...

Here are some of the quilts that got mailed out today.

The first one is just a picture of the back of one of the quilts - the pattern used here is Flurry, one of my Threadsongs LA patterns. I was really happy with the size and spacing, and how it complimented the top which was all done in Christmas prints.

This next quilt is a beautiful Hunter's Star done by the same lady - lovely, lovely work. I really enjoyed being enveloped in the colours of this one while working on it!

As you can see in the detail photo, Ruth doesn't miss any points.

Another quilt that went home today is this warm, rich interpretation of the fan class that I taught in a few communities this year. Beautiful! I love all the warm colours and high contrast. And, as usual, doing feathers is one of my favorite things!

I used several different threads in this, one of which was a Silco Variegated. These cotton threads are made for machine quilting and come in all kinds of beautiful colour combinations!

Things are dark here, and cold. I'm really glad to be inside, quilting. Tonight our community will have it's annual Santa Parade, and all of the local businesses will be open until midnight for late night shopping and sales. If you show up at our Overwaitea in your pajamas to do your shopping, you'll get bonus points! I've not managed to show up there in my P.J.'s yet, maybe this is my year!

Happy Stitching,


New Longarm Patterns

My other new pattern came out this week, called 'Let it Snow'. It's available through Willow Leaf Studio (link at right). This was an especially exciting pattern for me to design, as it marks the beginning of my comfort with working with computer graphics. Finally I'm getting the hang of CorelDrawX3! It's a great program with more capacity than I will ever use. It's been an adventure learning how to use it. It's a lot of fun...I've got two more patterns on the burners that will be coming out soon.

On another exciting note, I got a shipment of 30+ bolts of fabric for the shop (link at right). They're not on the website yet, but as soon as I finish up this next bit of quilting, I'll be getting busy with that. There are a lot of fun, bright, clear colours...the combinations keep suggesting different new quilts to me. If I could make every quilt that I imagine, we'd be crushed in an avalanche!

Happy stitching!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On the mend

I've been sick, and then I've been sick. This last round has been about as unfun as it gets. Things were looking up, then I had a bit of a relapse this past week...but things are looking up again. The hardest part about all of this is that I fall behind on my work! I love doing it and as soon as I'm up usually the machine is on again - that's where I'm at right now. Trying to catch up. The quilts I'm working on are really beautiful and are going well (thank goodness!).
When I was feeling better last week I re-squared my leaders on the machine, reset my zippers and did a mini tune-up. The machine is just purring and all the quilts are perfectly square.
The only upside to being this far behind is that I get to enjoy looking at the finished quilts until I get this last one done so that they can be shipped. There's a great folk-art one of houses that is hung up in the studio here and I'm really enjoying it...but am looking forward to getting it back to it's owner!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

YoYo Sweater

Here's what's been keeping my fingers busy in the evenings for the last while. This sweater is made with Sirdar YoYo yarn - a wool blend boucle with the coolest slow colour fade of any wool I've seen. It takes variegated to a classy new place. The sweater instructions include not just the regular pattern stuff, but also which part of the ball to work from for each piece (ie: inside or outside) so that each of the fronts match, each of the sleeves match. The picture shows it quite subtly, but you can see that the cuff edge of the sleeve is light, and that the sleeve body gets gradually darker as it progresses toward the shoulder. The only marked stripe on the whole thing is on the border/collar...the shawl collar is worked in short rows and deep enough that by the time all the upper collar is done, the yarn is running at a much lighter shade. I enjoyed doing this enough that I just might have to make a pullover. The only thing I'll change on this is to put some kind of closure on it. I can straight pin it to my dear model, Sally, but I don't think I'll be straight pinning it to myself! Ah, the next fun thing... finding the right closure...maybe after some quilting.

Happy stitching,


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Latte Quilt

I got to take Donna's Latte quilt back to her today. It's such a pretty thing! The full size photo doesn't do it justice. It really has wonderful delicate texture. I think my favorite part is the centre - it has all that I like about quilting in it...geometric designs juxtiposed with flowing, organic shapes.

I know I don't fully understand this machine embroidery thing, but from the size of these blocks it appears that she would have to set up and hoop each of the block segments seperately, re-hooping and re-registering the design each time. Beautifully done!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Antique pattern library

I learned of the most amazing link today! It's to the online Antique Pattern Library.
I've collected old and antique knitting, tatting, quilting, crazy quilting, crochet, beadwork, you name it. Most of the patterns I have are from the '30's and newer, but these are older - in some cases much older. There are patterns here from the 1800's...for fans of Victorian needlework it doesn't get better than this.
All the pamphlets have been scanned into PDF format, so you'll need Acrobat Reader in order to view the patterns. I may just have to print out a bunch of these to feast my eyes on over lunch today.



Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New Longarm Patterns

I meant to mention in my previous post that I released two more LA patterns at the end of last month. Here they are, Arabia (at left) and Catalina (below).
This brings the Threadsongs line to a nice round number, 20 patterns. I'll be breaking that even number soon, though, with a new pattern to be released soon, called "Let it Snow"

I'll post it here as soon as it is available.

If you are looking for either of these patterns, or my other ones, they're available at

Have fun, happy stitching!


Is all press good press?

In the last few days Jodi Beamish has submitted a pattern on my behalf to accompany her article in Unlimited Possibilities magazine. I'm totally excited to have the opportunity to do this- the pattern is called "Candle Glow" and is included free to subscribers. Nope, no'll have to get your own copy!

It's been a big year for me, press wise. Aside from continuing to write articles for Connections-For Quilters! , a BC wide inter-guild newsletter, I've been lucky enough to have my work featured on the cover of, and in, this year's calendar by Connections, have a pattern coming out in the next issue of canadian needlework magazine "A Needle Pulling Thread" ( a little sneak peek of the project is in their current issue), done two quilts for the lovely folks over at WonderFil threads for their display purposes (one of those quilts is included in the book "Thread Journeys, your passport to working with WonderFil threads to be published in the next month or so), and now this opportunity with Unlimited Possibilities. Exciting stuff!

On the home front, however, youngest son and I are recovering from a nasty bout of tummy 'flu. Today is the first day that I've felt half human and am glad to be getting back on my feet again!

Until next time,


Friday, November 03, 2006

Just in time

Last night saw our area get 25cm of snow...I finished Oldest son's hat while watching ER - just in time. He likes it! It's (as Meryn Cadell would say) 100% acrylic. It's been wet and dry at least 3 times already today. Boys gotta build snow forts, don'tcha know.

I'm still working on this beautiful Latte quilt, loving the feathered borders. The whole thing is so gentle and pretty.



Thursday, November 02, 2006

This week's work

I thought I'd put in a little picture of the quilt I'm working on right now.

It's a Latte Quilt by one of the ladies in Nelson. Beautifully embroidered with Mettler threads on a soft cotton background, I'm doing the quilting predominantly with Sulky blendables, but also with the embroidery thread in some areas to help the quilting really show. I'm happy with how it's going, the organic hand guided shapes seem to be really setting off the precise richness of the embroidery.

I have to include this, too, the view from our front door - It's snowing like crazy here! Usually the snow doesn't stick when it comes this early, but today I think we might just end up keeping it for a while. Can you hear the skiiers cheering? Guess I better get cracking on that little toque for my oldest...


After all the tricks, the treats go on and on...

Hallowe'en was great around here, our two boys brought back loads (and I mean loads) of candy. We did one circuit of our immediate neighbourhood - people here are so generous! Here they are right before the big event. I asked where they'd like their picture taken and youngest piped up, "in the kitchen where we always get them taken!" This was news to me, I thought we'd been more inventive over the years with areas for pictures - maybe not. Anyhoo, here they are in the kitchen - the Ninja ready for action and the Power Ranger just ready to go trick or treating.

We got together with friends for the annual re-acquaintance with our neighbours, and it was tons of fun. You just can't beat running in the dark with your buddies while getting candy from people in scary costumes!

We did a few little jack'o'lanterns to greet people coming to our door. Here's ones by each of the men (small and otherwise) here. The photo was taken after school on Hallowe'en day. The pumpkins were already frozen solid. This was one cold Hallowe'en.

Oh, and this is what's been keeping my fingers limber in the past day or so. Our oldest has asked for a new toque - with a skull on it. I'm using charts from 'Enchanted Knitting'. This is one of the swatches that I put together last night to check out how big it really will come out (and besides, I didn't have the white wool that he wants yet and I'm really not very good at sitting still). This morning I knit up the little one before school, and he's asking now if maybe the big one could go on the front and the little one on the back. Sounds good to me. Now I better get doing the math for the hat itself. It's fun to be working in two colour knitting again - as you can see I needed to get back into it so that my tension settles down a bit before I do the actual project. I'll probably block the swatch today and see if that improves it somewhat.

One of the cool things about getting bit (again, like I do every year) with the knitting bug is that it recharges my creativity for other things, like quilting and design. I love all the alternative knitting culture that's out there on the web, we don't really have a comparable peer group within the quilting community - at least not that I've found so far. It seems that people doing the wicked cool knitting are all around my age and stage in life, whereas many of those that are into quilting are a little older, mostly retired. I wonder if that's just do to the start up cost of the two crafts; knitting with sticks and string (or red licorice whips as I saw the other day) or a big sewing machine and whole whack of fabric. Hmmm.

Well, I've got a gorgeous quilt on the machine right now that I'm chomping at the bit to get back to . Tally-ho!


Friday, October 27, 2006

Whoa - quite a night

Well. My good man called me at around 5:30 tonight from the hospital to say that our youngest was there with a good knock to the head - yipes! It turns out that Max needed 3 stitches. He was a little disappointed as the nurse told him that he'd need 5 or 6. Silly boy - not being as silly as usual! While our oldest was out on the ice for hockey practice, our youngest (who usually runs around all silly on the cement bleachers) slipped from basically a sitting position down the steps and and whacked his head. What a nightmare for my good man. Max is okey dokey now, so far...
I can only hope that he sleeps tight tonight, and wakes full of his usual fun.

Whew. Time to turn out the light.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

And there was light!

The only real casualty of my recent foot upgrade was my onboard flourecent light bulb - who knew you couldn't stick a screwdriver right through the glass of the bulb without consequences? Ah, well. I've spent the last couple of weeks quilting with a flashlight clamped to the side of the machine to try to better light my work area - not a great solution, but a passable one. My lightbulb (and a spare) arrived today - yippee! It's amazing how much of a difference good lighting can make.

I had to include the picture of the above quilt because 1) it's lovely. 2) It's amazing how many of these fabrics I have in my stash, or have had in my stash at some point! It's almost like deja vu, - I've not had this degree of synchronicity with a customer quilt before...(I think I hear the twilight zone theme in the background)
I'm looking forward to finishing it in the morning. I'm almost caught up now from the time lost to doing the machine upgrade.



Monday, October 23, 2006

Creativity Exercises 2

Today's phrase was 'rocky shore' from a book of baby names. I just did the ol' open it up with eyes squinched shut and point - voila! I can't for the life of me remember the name that this was the definition of, though...

Things have been busy around here. I'm glad to say that I'm fully back and unpacked from that last show. It's funny, throughout the year I never really completely unpack everything! Usually I know I'll be hitting the road in a week or two, and with that in mind, leave a few things still in their suitcases for 'the next time'. Knowing I'm not going again until February I went through EVERYTHING...including the kit box that I take every time (it has scissors, pins, invoices, all the nuts and bolts) and re-organized it. I'll be ready in the new year.

I have to say, things are getting pretty exciting around here on the upswing toward Hallowe'en. The boys are in full costume and scare mode, looking forward to the big night. We've been invited to a Hallowe'en party the Saturday before the big day this year - an outdoor party with a bonfire and fireworks much like the one held by friends of ours every year when my sister and I were growing up. I'm so looking forward to sharing that tradition with my own children. I'll have to make some pumpkin pies like my Mom did.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Creativity Exercises

I've been hunting around the house, looking for a book I've had for 12+ years called "The Book Of Questions". It's a book that I used to leave in the spare bedroom along with some lighter reading for guests. It's a book that we used to play as a game when I was in my early 20's, when meeting new people we would open up the book of questions, choose one at random, then discuss it - you could learn an awful lot about people in a hurry that way. The book's questions are varied and interesting. Some of them set up difficult moral or ethical dilemmas, then you are asked what you would do in that situation. Some are as simple as:
"You are sitting in the back of the bus. You notice a $10.00 bill on the floor. There are several people around you, including someone who appears to be homeless. What do you do? Do you ignore the bill? Do you pick it up and ask around as to who may have lost it? Do you wait until an opportune time to pocket it without anyone else seeing? How would your answer change if the bill was a $20. - or a $100?"
Fun stuff, eh? Well, I'm looking for that book today because I got it in my head that I'd like to use it for some creativity exercises to jump start my creative brain (yes, I'm trying to blow the dust off...I may have to use canned air). My thought was that I could open the book at random, then draw something related to one of the questions. Spend some time interpreting the ideas, not just rote illustration. Alas, no book.
Part of the whole motivation behind the sketching is to help me better learn the drawing program that I use for designing pantograph patterns. I need to stretch my wings a little, push the boundaries of what I know, rather than regurgitate the same ideas over and over. Then it occurred to me that I could do it with any book, not just that one...any text pulled at random could be the impetus for a sketch. So here it is.
The phrase was "my first memory". My first memory is of a time when I was very little, looking out the window of our kitchen while sitting in the sink. I must have been only 2 or 3 years old. I could see the plum tree (and my swing) and the big cement steps that led down from the road into our back yard. It's a hazy, almost-not-there memory, but I can somehow remember turning toward my mom and seeing her smile and reach out to me.

Happy stitching,


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

more quilt photos

I'm knee deep in paperwork here, so am treating myself to a little break to revisit again some pictures of winning quilts from last weekend. Oh wait, I have to let the dog in...
All right. That's better.
This quilt is called "Fandango" and was loosely based on a class that I taught in Castlegar in the spring. The lady who made this one looked at my sample and redrafted her block so that al the fans would line up perfectly. She is a tremendously precise piecer who does wonderful work. She knew at the outset that it was going to be a really big quilt - and it is! I think around 110" square! It was a lot of fun to do ( I love feathers).

Here's a little detail of the quilting. The whole pale green area was filled with freehand feathers. Beautiful quilt.

This next one was so much work for the piecer! She really struggled with some aspects of this quilt. It goes to show that sticking with it - even when you have to unsew and resew can really be worth it. I love the graphic impact of this amazing, large bedquilt. I know that Verna was really happy with the results, too!

I got a lovely little thank you card from the Castlegar Guild yesterday, and in it were some lovely photos of Verna and me, of my booth, and of some of the other quilts. What a treat to get in the mail!

Well, I probably should get back to beating back this paperwork.

Good day and may all your stitches be straight,



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Castlegar Quilt Show

I'm back from the show this past weekend in Castlegar. This is the second time I've had a booth there, and as before, it was a fun weekend. The show ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with gorgeous quilts on display - one of the Guild members said over 300!

It was an especially nice show for me as many of my quilting customers won ribbons. There were 19 quilts entered that I had quilted - of those, 10 quilts won 12 ribbons between them!

The categories were as follows:

1st,2nd,3rd in the bed sized, professionally quilted category

2nd in mixed technique, hand quilted (I just SID'd the blocks to stabilize for hand quilting

1st in lap quilts/table cloths machine quilted

2nd in Novice (quilting under 2 years) prof. quilted

1st wall haging prof. quilted

1st and 2nd in bed sized, mixed tech, prof. quilted

1st in bed quilt applique, prof. quilted

Of these quilts, two of them won further ribbons. The 1st bed sized won Viewer's Choice, and the 1st bed sized mixed tech. won the Canadian Quilter's Association ribbon!

As you can see here, Verna is very happy with her ribbons!

The other two ribbon quilt is one that I mentioned here before, Bonsais andButterflies by Elaine Ross. This is the one that won the CQA ribbon:

Here are some details of the quilting:The butterflies and Lotus flower border are from one of my own pattern packs sold as Threadsongs, Kamon.

I want to post other winner photos, but things are not working the way I expect them to right now. I'll try again later in a different post and see if that will work.

One of the great things about being away this past weekend was staying with my friend Jodi and her family. She's a smart cookie and lots of fun... big thanks go to her for helping me figure out the computer stuff I was having trouble with! She made my life a lot easier in one heck of a hurry.

Another good thing about the show is that it's got my head back in design mode. I'm working on more Threadsongs, and translating a couple of the smaller Homelines patterns up into the larger format for longarmers. Last night a fun little pattern came together quite quickly (in great part because I'm finally getting the hang of my equipment). I'll announce it formally when it is released.

I better finish up unpacking all the stuff from the show. It always takes at least a day to get everything back in order. Then, to the sketchbook! (I think that'll be my little reward for the grunt and paperwork part)