Today we’re having an “at home” day. The wind outside is howling and blowing snow around. Police are advising people to stay off the roads. There are a lot of snow drifts developing and accidents. We are taking their advice!
I thought I’d take some time to fill you in on my latest reading:
I finished Meryl Cook’s “One Loop At A Time”. I found it a very interesting way to rug hook, having never heard of chakra colors before. I love the look of her work! I am so glad Meryl decided to pick up the hook and work her way through recovery using rug hooking! This book is the story of how Meryl worked towards wellness and recovery following surgery using rug hooking and her creativity. I find times of sudden illness have been life changing for me as well.
I am finally getting serious about Karen Miller’s book, “Eyes Open To The World”. I am loving her writing style! Both she and Meryl have great writing styles. They don’t waste words and they are very clear in what they say and mean. I like that.
I’ve finished chapter 1 on traveling and really seeing what’s around you. And I agree. It’s too easy to just go, go, go and not really see what’s around you. That’s what happened on our South Korean trip in 2017. Thankfully I captured a lot with my camera on that trip. It definitely helps to be a decent photographer when you travel, or to travel with one!
As one of the featured rug hooking artists in her book, I can see where I have an unusual word cloud of artists and people who’ve inspired me. I think sometimes we’re too narrow in defining which “artists” have inspired us. I have to include my grandmother, a fibre artist long before they were called such. She was an excellent needlewoman, seamstress, quilter, etc. She inspired me to make time for my creative work and to aspire to excellence in technique, as well as interpretation. She inspired me to create works with meaning – something I am still working towards at this time.
I also find my children’s poetry to be inspirational. They were pretty good poets as children – far better than I was! They created a large body of work and have given me permission to use some of it in my rug hooking. I am currently planning a three day retreat for myself in order to put more patterns on backing, color plan, and dye fibre for them. That’s a tall order for three days, but we’ll see how far I get.
Of course I am inspired by the usual Impressionist, Van Gogh, Emily Carr, Group of Seven, Georgia O’Keefe, etc. They all affect how I perceive and interpret what I observe. They teach me, as Karen writes, about light, perspective, and color.
I am also finding inspiration in unusual places. Take for instance, the manhole covers in downtown Vancouver. Don’t laugh! They have great designs I’d love to do a rubbing of some day. Unfortunately it’s rather crowded for that. I settled for snapping quick photos!
Aside from reading and being inspired by Karen and Meryl, I’ve been busy quilting. The quilt I’m currently working on is from a South Korean quilt book a friend owns. I have no idea who the designer is or the name of the quilt, let alone the book. All I could decipher was the pattern diagram. A friend who used to be a quilt instructor gave me instruction on how much to enlarge it and how to quilt it using the freezer paper appliqué method. So far it’s working great! I have one block I have redesigned, as it requires tricky machine quilting to determine what it is exactly.
I’m hoping to turn it into a queen size quilt for our bed. We still don’t have a quilt for our bed. I’ve made lots of quilts for other people, so now it’s our turn. I have eight blocks completed and need at least forty-two total. That’s another thirty-four blocks! I can appliqué one a day.
I’m also knitting a pair of Merino wool socks from Ella Rae yarn. I was originally planning on making a shawl, but the yarn had breaks in it. In the end I decided to not only make socks, but to make bed socks. It’s cold where we live…especially at night. The breaks won’t matter if I’m just keeping my feet warm at night in them.
This morning I gathered up all my unfinished projects and took them to the upstairs living room, where it’s warmer. I stored them all in the large tote I have of projects I want to do or finish. I’m hoping to make strong headway on emptying that tote this year!
That’s my Weekly Review folks! Hope everyone has a great weekend!
I have plans. Big plans. I sat down and went through some unfinished projects I’d like to finish, and some I’d like to start. It’s going to be a busy year!
Finished over the holidays were the following:
~ a soy silk/alpaca drop stitch scarf, modified free Ravelry pattern,
~ a soy silk/alpaca tuque, my own pattern,
~ an alpaca/Merino/bamboo set of wrist warmers, free Ravelry pattern.
In progress are the following:
~ a trip-around-the-world quilt…yes, I’m still working on that.
~ a South Korean appliquéd quilt pattern. I’m gathering supplies for that.
~ a needlepoint cushion cover. Yes, I’m still working on the hydrangeas.
~ the sandpiper crewel embroidery.
~ a hardanger wall hanging that just needs framing and hanging.
~ hardanger Christmas ornaments.
In the wings, waiting to be started:
~ a gold work wall hanging,
~ a robin needlepointing piece,
~ several sketchbooks of patterns to hook into rugs and wall hangings.
~ various scrapbooks from the last 18 years of photos.
This all sounds like a lot. But I have a partner in crime. Someone who can help me by encouraging me and holding me accountable. Not just my readers my friends, but also our current hostess/landlady. Our hostess is a craftswoman herself, and knows how valuable motivation in the form of accountability to someone else can be. She and I have decided to start a quilting challenge on Monday, January 6th. A block a day. That could be difficult for me as I’m starting with an appliqué South Korea quilt. But we shall see. Any forward progress is good progress in my view.
Wednesday evening I finished off the fourth and final quilt of The Shirt Project. Those who recall the origins of the project know that my goal was to make about 30 items from Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts for descendants of my father who wanted them. To see the projects check out the slide show below this post. Wednesday evening we packed like mad and we mailed most of the packages Thursday morning.
All told I made 29 items in 2 months. That is record sewing for me! I had a lot of fun doing it too. One person hasn’t responded to texts related to his memento, so I haven’t been able to start it. Another doesn’t want anything. That’s fine.
Total cost of the project was just under $500CAD. Most of that was for postage. I had to mail fifteen parcels across Canada. Other than that the costs were for the Moda fabric for the puppy quilt, thread, sewing machine needles, and some sewing machine pressure feet.
I made quite a dent in my supplies, but not as much as I thought I would. I have less quilt batting and less muslin. Also donated one sheet set to the cause for quilt backing. It was an old set with holes near the edges from being caught in our hide-a-bed mechanism. It was destined for the garbage anyways.
Next up is a major freezer cooking session. I’m due at hospital for a procedure next week and am not sure how long I’ll be out of commission. Will try to post next Friday again. Have a great week everyone!
I’ve been working off and on, between company, on Dad’s L.L. Bean shirt project. I finished the third moose and flying geese quilt and am onto the fourth quilt – a puppy quilt. The puppy fabric arrived in the mail Tuesday. It is Woof-Woof-Meow from Moda. I purchased through Dinkydoo Fabrics.
Third quilt finished.
Moda puppy fabric from DinkydooFabrics.com
Design for the puppy quilt.
I packaged up six of the thirteen batches of work to send to the recipients. Had to confirm addresses before shipping. Also notified them all their packages were in the mail. So satisfying to see this project come to a close! I have to finish the last quilt and a jackknife pouch, and that’s it!
I was lamenting I might have to buy cotton yardage for the binding for these L.L. Bean shirt quilts, and then thought about it and asked myself “Why?”. Surely I or one of my friends would have something I could use! Before going to my friends I decided I needed to check out my own stash first.
I thought it was a lost cause. But Hubby had been up in my sewing room rearranging the packed boxes for our move so he could get at the walls to repair and prime them ready for painting. I wandered through the room and spied a clear tote with some cotton yardage in it that I’d forgotten all about! Out of sight, out of mind. Sure enough, I found fabric to bind one of the quilts in the tote.
The fabric for the binding on the second quilt came from Dad’s old cotton housecoat. I hadn’t cut it up for blocks because it seemed a bit flimsy. As the binding is doubled over before being stitched down, I figure it will be good enough for a toddler quilt. I finished sewing the binding on the quilts Tuesday afternoon.
Then I started designing the third quilt, which is going to a little boy. Unfortunately I am running out of shirts! It went through several metamorphoses until I settled on these colors.
And by yesterday afternoon we have an almost pieced top…
It doesn’t look half bad! Thank goodness Dad liked blue shirts for dress shirts! Hoping to work more on it today. 🙂
Have a great weekend and upcoming week everyone!
The Shirt Project continues! I’ve moved on to designing quilts from Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts and quilting this week. I started out trying to keep it simple, so it would go quickly and look good – a simple 4.5″ square quilt with stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. When I moved my design board downstairs to the dining room the plain quilt looked, well, a little plain. So I added some flying geese squares. Not too many because I’m starting to run out of fabric to make things match. It still looked plain. I decided to add appliqued moose to the centre blocks of the quilts. Still not totally happy with the design, but it has elements that reflect my dad’s interests. I’m sure the recipients will be happy with whatever they receive.
Running low on fabric has its challenges. I was scouring YouTube looking for ways to make quilts from scraps. I discovered crumb quilting this week! A crumb quilt is a quilt made from pieces of fabric too small to make a piece for regular quilting – meaning usually less than 2 1/2″ in any direction. (This is my generic definition.) I watched all ten videos in one series by Darlene Michaud. I tried to make a 4.5″ x 4.5″ square. It took an hour to come up with a very poor looking one. I think I made my crumbs too small. Lesson learned. Having taken the time and thread to do that though, I think it will be easier on my time and thread to make a plain scrap quilt from leftover blocks 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and larger. I’m going to try and design one that way first. If I don’t come up with enough blocks, then I’ll switch to doing a version of a crumb quilt…with larger pieces of fabric.
Other than that, not much exciting happening this week. I am debating the best and most affordable way to bind these toddler quilts, and the best and most affordable way to get all these mementos to their recipients. I think a trip to Alberta is in order as thirteen recipients live there. It’s cheaper in gas to drive there and back than it will be to mail to the thirteen different recipients. Plus we get to visit and stay with relatives.
I’ve now taken to referring to all this sewing and quilting of Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts to “The Shirt Project”. I finished the moose wall hangings Sunday evening. So far I am a week ahead of my overall schedule for sewing items. That is good because the quilts may take longer than I expect. I want to hand stitch those bindings to finish them.
Here are the finished “flying geese” pot holders. I found a basic flying geese quilt pattern online (just google “flying geese pot holders”) and adapted it to my materials. Each one of these has two layers of Radiantex (R) in the centre, facing outward on both sides. That makes both sides suitable to use with hot pots and pans. These are really designed as hot pads for the table as they have no hanging loop. However they will serve as both pot holders and hot pads. They are 8″ square.
And here is the table runner in various stages. It is roughly three feet long by twelve inches wide.
Table runner pieces.
The border added.
The finished table runner.
Next up are four 40″ square toddler quilts. I have designs drawn in my bullet journal and have cut out the pieces for two and a half of the quilts. I am waiting for coordinating fabric to arrive in the mail for one of the quilts. I had a special order for “a puppy quilt”. Dad didn’t have any puppy shirts, so I am augmenting his shirts with some puppy fabric. I don’t think I have enough shirt fabric for the final quilt to be similar block style to the others. I may end up making a form of strip quilt, or something like it. Something that will use up scraps and still look good. But first I have to do an assessment tomorrow and see if I have enough fabric left for one hundred 4.5″ squares.
Having a great week and hope to have a better weekend. Take care everyone!
Hi folks! It’s been raining off and on this week. We badly need it. I am happy to see it.
I had a great time at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair this year. Found some friends selling their wares and chatted them up a bit. I hope they did well.
This weekend is our multicultural festival, Mosaic. Hubby and I were out to the Korean pavilion last night. The food was good and so was the show! Lots of good dancers there. Not sure yet where we’re heading tonight for Mosaic. The weather forecast is for thunderstorms, which can be an issue here on the prairies.
I’ve spent some time fussing over the moose wall hangings made from Dad’s shirts. The binding proved more than I could handle alone, even with YouTube videos to watch! I called in reinforcements. A friend came over and showed me how to do it quickly and, well, almost effortlessly. I have one more to fix and one more to go. Then it’s onto attaching hanging sleeves. I hope to be done the wall hangings by Sunday evening.
After that I have potholders, a table runner, and three baby quilts to sew. I think I’ll be leaving the quilts till last.
Okay, so mostly I’ve been sick with a cold this week. But I did get some serious sewing done using Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts. I have to say the fabric quality is excellent. Some of it is very fine cotton, but it still looks good and, backed with leftover quilt batting, an old sheet, and lined with leftover muslin, it should hold up just fine in the tote bags I’m making.
This tote is stitched in the ditch to quilt the fabrics to leftover quilt batting and an old sheet for stability. The lining, pockets, and straps are a tight muslin that was leftover from another project. I confess I had to buy thread, because I couldn’t find mine. I may have to buy a seam ripper too. I have a seam that needs to be partially ripped on the tote bag yet.
Dad had interesting taste in colors and patterns. Once his hair turned white he determined he would wear any color he wanted, and did! All the colors of the rainbow are here except purple. And I notice there is no black or white either.
This week I sewed eight cushion covers and one tote bag. I have three more tote bags ready to go. Unfortunately company is sick and sleeping in my living room, which is open to my sewing area in the dining room, so no sewing today. I decided I will sort through boxes looking for my fusible webs for the moose wall hangings that are coming up next.
Backs of cushion covers.
Pockets inside tote bag.
Tote bag #1 Side A
Tote bags in the making.
Finished cushion covers.
Hubby and I at Dongdaemun Market in Seoul, South Korea.
One of the objectives of my trip to South Korea was to explore the handmade textiles in the area. I had unexpectedly more difficulty with this than I thought I would. The first part of the trip we were in Busan and Gyeongju with friends just acclimatizing. The second part of the trip I was traveling with men. I counted myself lucky to convince them to go through textile museums, galleries, and shops with me at all. Poor Hubby left one shop in a daze after seeing the framed goldwork for 450,000 KRW. That’s roughly $450US for a 12″ x 12″ piece of exquisite goldwork embroidery. Worth every penny in my mind. But I digress…
Our first textile stop was to Dongdaemun Market in Seoul to order silk for rug hooking and pick up burlap for samplers for my students.
To understand Dongdaemun Market you have to think of a large warehouse, three buildings of it, 5 or 6 floors of it, all fabric/yarn/craft vendors. One whole building is fabric. Each vendor has a space about 10’x 10′ to sell their product. So, for the most part they just have small samples out. You check the samples, order what you want, pay for it, and then come pick it up the next day when they bring it in for you.
Dongdaemun Market is one of the largest fabric markets in Asia, and I was thankful to have help getting through it. I have a friend with contacts outside Seoul who were able to tell me exactly where to go. I got in, ordered the silk, and was out in half an hour. Our guide was amazed! It was definitely a lot quicker with him to translate for me.
As we went through various museums I’d stop and take photos of textiles and textile related items. I found some interesting artifacts at the National Folk Museum of Korea, an unscheduled stop we just happened across on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Check out the old looms in the National Folk Museum of Korea.
Floor loom, National Folk Museum of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.
Loom, National Folk Museum of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.
Also the traditional dress of Korea.
Korean Traditional Dress.
We saw a lot of people walking around in traditional dress, especially women, because you have free access to key tourist sites if you wear traditional dress. It was little weird seeing people of all nationalities in traditional Korean dress, but one got used to it quickly. I opted to not go for traditional attire because of comfort and time constraints. We were really moving through sites at the rate of 10 – 12 kms. per day.
One day was devoted exclusively to my request to see textiles. We stopped first at the Embroidery Museum of Korea. It was a disappointment. It had piecework or patchwork samples in it, but no embroidery. I was a bit mystified as to why the name. There were a lot of very expensive books for sale. The only one I thought worth purchasing actually did have embroidery photos in it and was selling for close to $150US. We walked out and went onto our next stop…the Chojun Textile and Quilt Museum.
This stop did live up to its name! It was a small place, but larger than the Embroidery Museum. And it had proper displays that included embroidery. Some lovely goldwork on display. The quilts were not all made by Koreans or in Korea. We were told that the exhibit is actually a partial display of a private collection amassed by a generous lady over the course of 40 years. The lady at the museum was kind enough to let us take a few photos…without flash.
After purchasing a sample of Korean piecework and some postcards, we headed off to Gallery 0001010 at the recommendation of the lady at the Textile and Quilt Museum. She told us it was “in the basement” of Myeongdong Cathedral. Hmm…Myeongdong Cathedral has no basement we could discover. What it does have is an underground shopping mall nearby. Sure enough we found Gallery 0001010 in this underground mall!
We were in luck! Not only was the gallery there, but the quilt show was open, AND the artist, Lee Jae Woo, was there as well. I had the opportunity to chat with her and her friend, and to show the guys some quilting. It was a delight to meet her and her friend. Unlike traditional Korean quilting these quilts were machine quilted. Lee Jae Woo learned quilting in the USA. Traditional piecework and quilting was done by hand. Still, the small size of the quilt pieces and blocks just awed me. Look at this one…three different levels of close up…
Hubby checking to make sure all the corners match!
Closer yet. Yes, those are smaller blocks even yet!
These small pieces were well under an inch square…more like a centimeter square. Amazing detail!
By the time we were finished Gallery 0001010 it was suppertime and we were ravenous. We had a great bite to eat at a local restaurant and shopped Myeongdong Market before heading back to the hotel for the night.
We also popped into the Hansangsoo Embroidery Museum in Bukchon Hanok Village. No photos were allowed and there was not much happening. I understand you can arrange to take silk embroidery lessons there if you plan in advance. I did not. There were some nice embroideries in there, but they appeared to be mostly one particular artist’s work.
Other fibre things of interest? The South Koreans excel at knotwork. They create beautiful tassels and hang them from long strands of silk rope with elaborate knots made in them. Check the sides of this painted panel hanging in the National Museum of Korea in Seoul. This is not a particularly elaborate one. Our guide said it was actually quite easy to make.
If you feel so inclined there is a Knot Workshop in Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul where you can go and take a workshop in creating a basic knot. It is best to book in advance though. Interestingly enough, there are a lot of workshops and little classes one can take if they book ahead. I simply did not have time to do them.
When I asked around about the lack of textiles Korean women commented they were too busy working from 8 AM to 10 PM to have time to do handwork. Most Korean women with families are up at 5 or 6 AM to prepare for the day and don’t get to bed till 11 PM or midnight. Most textile work was done by retired women, and women who could afford to do it. However, while that may generally be the case, I do know some South Korean mothers who make time for handwork, and do an excellent job of it. Our guide’s aunt hand painted and made beautiful fans for Hubby and I from scratch…after she finished her day job.
I was disappointed not to get to see the dye garden at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, or the dye workshop located in or near Bukchon Hanok Village. I was just too tired. Hubby and I both agreed we need to go back again someday and see more of South Korea.
Inspiration doesn’t only come from photos for me. It also comes from other bloggers…and they don’t have to be rug hooking blogs either. Here are a few blogs and blog posts I’ve been inspired by lately.
Elizabeth Barton’s Art and Quilts, cogitations thereon
Danny Gregory’s blog by the same name.
If you’re a knitter like I am as well, check out KnittingHelp.com for free videos on how to knit.
Anna Hergert’s Anna Hergert, Art & Design
Katie and Dori Hobbies Up To Here
If you are a stitcher or needlewoman, Sharon Boggins has a blog, Pintangle, with lots of inspiration and ideas.
And for a good change of pace I love to follow this blog out of the border country in Great Britain.
It’s not that I don’t have a lot to do. I really do! And when I look around my home and start pulling out all the half finished projects and projects to do around the house, or making a list of them, or…well…in this case, photographing them, I find it’s inspiration to get on and finish a few of them.
If you didn’t guess it, last week’s Inspiration Wednesday theme was Warmth. Can you guess today’s? I gave it away above. It’s my “To Do” list of projects. All except my rug hooking…of which I have sketchbooks full of ideas. Should keep me out of trouble for a while. 🙂
I hope everyone has a busy and productive day. I know I will! 🙂
A baby blanket
The hanging sleeve
A Korean applique quilt pattern.
Plein air “Wascana Creek – Study”.
Yarn! It’s emptier than it was! The rest I’ve already either used, given away, or sold.
An Irish chain quilt.
A gorgeous Needle Box.
WIP “Prairie Sky – Cirrus” wall hanging.
People sometimes ask me what took me so long to actually sell my work and start a business? The answer, as with most things in life, is complicated.
I’ve been absorbed and immersed in fibre most of my life, from a very young age. Learning sewing, embroidery, and knitting before entering the double digits in age. None of it was very good, mind you, but I had the rudiments taught to me by my paternal grandmother. She was an excellent seamstress and needlewoman, often winning prizes for her work.
As I entered my teen years I drifted away from fibre, encouraged by a school system that felt I was “matriculation” and didn’t need to learn to sew or create art. I balked at the latter. It was in my teen years I took up painting. My interest continued into my 30s.
“North Mountain Lookout” and “Azaleas”
“White Elephant Inn”
But I kept coming back to fibre… My grandmother taught me to tat lace as a teen. My mother bought me needlepoint patterns and supplies. I continued to embroider and sew. I learned cross-stitch. I attempted my first quilt at seventeen. It’s still unfinished! I did finish the quilt for my first baby’s crib though.
When I had my first child I learned to hook rugs. That was 30 years ago now. I hooked rug and painted side-by-side for some time. We moved and the paints were put away. The rug hooking too.
Our new community had a wide variety of fibre craft opportunities. I took up quilting…
Hardanger embroidery from the Hardanger Fjord region of Norway.
And finally settled on rug hooking again about 16 years ago. From the beginning I knew I wanted to design my own work. I also knew I didn’t want to just hook wool fabric. It creates beautiful work, but it just wasn’t me. And so the experimenting began…
“Pennsylvania Dutch” – t-shirts and double knits.
“Cohasset” a free pattern from a magazine. Yarn and wool fabric, sculpted border.
“Family Reunion” – wool yarn, wool fabric, beads, wire, silk thread, cotton threads, polyester thread, rayon thread.
“Hollyhocks” – wool yarn and fabric, polyester yarn, roving, mohair locks.
And I took up spinning…
Canola fields art yarn drying for my “Prairie Sky” wall hangings.
I was happily hooking along one day at the annual local fair, demonstrating, when a man came up to me and started asking about my work. By the end of the conversation he wanted to know why I had not become a juried member of the Saskatchewan Crafts Council. It was the first time I’d heard of the Crafts Council.
It took a few years, but finally I decided I was ready to take the plunge. I applied to be juried in and was. That was 2 1/2 years ago. Since then I’ve had a lot of fun learning the ropes of having a craft business. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long!
It seems like yesterday I was in the “upper room” of the Affinity Gallery in Saskatoon having my work juried. I look forward to many more years of fun and learning in this business.
A big shout out to all the people who have helped and encouraged me along the way. Both online and in real life. Without you I would not have had the courage to try and have a craft business. 🙂
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Hope you have a wonderful day! 🙂