Catching Up

It has been three months since we moved into the new house and two and a half months since I started my new job and I have been remiss with my posts. So I have decided that a quick catch up is in order!

In the spring, right before the big move, I was working on designing some of my own patterns for fabric. This was such a fun project and allowed me to hone my illustration skills, helping me to find passion in graphic design and illustration again. Using my experience buying fabric at the quilt store, I wanted to try to make a collection of five or six patterns that would work together in an entire quilt. The toucan theme just popped into my head, pretty much fully formed, one night as I was falling asleep and woke up ready to give it a try. I am pretty excited about this and learned a lot in the process. There are many things I like about these patterns, things I would do differently next time, and many things I have yet to learn through more practice, I can’t wait! A new post will be coming in the future about incorporating my samples into a project to see how everything works together in reality.

In June I took another terrific class through Fern’s School of Craft and had a chance to try my hand at Sashiko on a pre-made pillowcase provided at the beginning of the class. I have been wanting to try this and even bought a cute little kit while vacationing in Maui a few years ago, but it had since been sitting ignored in the closet. I found this class to be quite an easy exercise in stitching and I account this to my inclination towards hand quilting. We were given four different stitch patterns to choose from: Seikai Ha (Blue Ocean Wave), Yabane (Fletching), Juji-Tsunaji (Linked Crosses), and Shippo Tsunagi (Seven Treasures). I chose Juji-Tsunaji and love how it turned out. I will definitely be trying more of this and can’t wait to incorporate it into my quilting.

I love the new house so much for so many reasons but one of the most fantastic elements is that the house has provided me with the wonderful advantage of having my own art space! It is so great to have a space that I can just sit down and start working whenever I have the inclination. In the old apartment my stuff was everywhere and I was stuck working on projects on the dinning room table. It was a huge roadblock for my motivation to have to set up and take everything down anytime anyone came over, especially mid project, not to mention having no space to do anything else. Here I have a space dedicated to quilting and one for watercolour. No more sitting on the floor at the coffee table trying to paint!!! It’s amazing. I also have more spaces for storage and organization, the pièce de résistance being an antique cabinet from the 1920s where I can display all of my fabric for easy access, no more fabric shoved in plastic containers! Plus the cabinet has walnut wheels!!! I finally have a proper workspace and it has already brought me so much joy.

Quilt Space

Quilt corner: Look at that beautiful cabinet.

That’s about it for now, I started hand quilting a quilt that I created using only fabric that I dyed myself with natural materials but was finding it a bit of a slog, so I am benching that for awhile while I work on other ideas. I am also exploring my own backyard and having a lot of successful experiments dyeing yarn with the trees and plants within it. Now I just have to figure out what to do with all of the yarn balls. Most likely a lot of fun quilt experiments are in my future!

1stPrize

One last thing, I ended up putting my quilt, “Snow in Grandmother’s Garden”, in at the fair and won 1st prize!

Advertisements

Learning the Ropes

A few weeks ago I mentioned an upcoming punch needle rug hooking class with Fern’s School of Craft and I just had to share some pictures with you. I highly recommend checking out this technique if you get a chance!

I love the hands-on quality and portability for a project like this, and for someone like me who quilts by hand, it’s a pretty quick turn around (at least for something this size).

Fern showed us a bit about rug hooking the traditional way with a rug hook needle, but I really enjoyed using the punch needle. We used The Oxford Punch Needle #10 and I think it’s the perfect instrument for this.

Punch Needle Class

With our monk’s cloth stretched on a wood frame we got to it. Fern had a variety of designs to choose from or we could draw something ourselves and after much deliberation I drew out this quilt square. I don’t know it’s name but my guess is it may be a variation of a shoofly? I would love to know if anyone has seen this before!

Punch Needle Class

Table full of yarn, plus check out the cutest watermelon slice ever!

I’m definitely going to have to work on cleaning up my stitches and getting the density just right (they’re a bit close) but I look forward to getting more practice in on the next one. I finished up the background when I got home and voila!

Finished Punch Needle Rug Hooking Back & Front

The image on the left is traditionally the “back”, with the image on the right looking more rug-like. I like how clean the left version is though, so will probably make that my “front”. 🙂

I’m currently in the process of moving so have been busy packing up the apartment. The new house will have a dedicated office/studio space just for me, so I’m trying to decide if I want to turn this into a pillow or keep it as a piece to hang on the wall in my new studio. Either way I will probably turn the edges in and make a yarn stitched binding. Yay!

Adventures on the Loom

This weekend I’m so excited to be taking a beginner rug hooking class through Fern’s School of Craft (check it out at www.fernsschoolofcraft.com). This will be my second class with Fern, the first being about a month ago when I learned how to weave on a floor loom. It was such a fun experience and I can’t wait to see what this weekend brings.

Fern’s weaving class included a mix of theory (project prep, loom set up, etc.) interspersed with actually sitting down at the loom to create. The goal for the class was to weave a length of cloth, which we then turned into a pillow. This is the reason why I wanted to take the class; I can’t imagine what to do with a piece of weaved cloth. What do I use it for? I don’t need another scarf and am not the table runner type…for now at least. Being able to make something I would use or make more of in the future is what in the end made me think that this was the class for me. This is going to sound crazy but I didn’t even know you could sew a woven cloth…don’t judge me!

Weaving

Getting comfortable on the loom.

Fern has been weaving for over 10 years and is finishing up her second year, of five, of the Master Weaver program at Old’s College – it sounds intense! She is an enthusiastic artist, both in textiles and photography, and is great at making everyone feel welcome and at ease, which made her class really fun and relaxed. The class size was small, with five students in total, and we each got our own loom for the day. There was no waiting and plenty of materials for everyone, allowing us to really get into a flow.

In the way that Fern teaches, we were able to have complete control over how we wanted our experience with weaving to be. I wanted to experiment and see what would happen by changing the treadle order multiple times throughout the project and got some pretty weird, but cool, designs, while others were more comfortable using the same motif and experimenting solely with colour. Either way the result was a really beautifully patterned finished product. It was so interesting to see everyone’s finished pillows, especially all of the different colour palettes!

On the loom

Playing around with different treadle combinations to see what would happen…

Apart from colour, Fern had many different types and weights of yarn to choose from and you can see in my orange stripe how a textured yarn looks when woven. It’s amazing to think about all of the many decisions that go into a final woven piece.

Finished Pillow Weaving

My pillow on the new living room chair.

I ended the class really excited about the process of weaving and am inspired to try more of it in the future. In the meantime, onward to rug hooking!