Thursday, November 30, 2006
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
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
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'!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Today's exercise was a timed one...one 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.
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
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?
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
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
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.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
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
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
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 http://willowleafstudio.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=12
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
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
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...
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!