Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Weston Super Mare Beach

I am posting this on behalf of Jayne Butler; it is a reflection of the silver surf on the sand here on Weston Super Mare Beach.  She will be posting more about it soon!

Surf Lifesaver - keeping the Sea safe

It is early evening on the 31st December 2014 and I have managed to finish my quilt challenge. When I first read the theme of “sea”, my mind went into a spin. Do I do actual sea, look up the dictionary meaning or go with the flow of sea – ocean – beach – surf lifesavers. In November I sat with a cup of coffee and my girlfriends during a quilt retreat, throwing ideas around. I planned, sketched and worked on making waves from sewing rows of organza and chiffon close to each other. Looked okay but my imagination would not let go of surf lifesavers as when I think ocean/sea/beach that would be the reason I am there. My husband has been a Surf Lifesaver since he was 16, (our whole dating life was spent at surf carnivals or beach patrols) my youngest son followed him into the tribe and just this year my oldest grandson (11 years old)became a nipper (young surf lifesaver) so with that in mind I looked to my stash of fabrics – well a small part of my stash.

First up I printed photos and words onto “photo print fabric”

Next came throwing some threads and “Angelina fibres” onto a background of pale blue muslin. This I hoped would show through layers of chiffon, net & organza as seaweed.

Layered over the threads with net and “wash away “ fabric then using variegated thread in the machine and a free motion foot, I stitched wave like lines to hold it all down.

Using a waved shape ruler which I had bought many moons ago with great intentions, I cut strips of various fabrics. Plus cut the photos out. This was all done in preparation for my trip to Walpole where we have a lovely holiday cottage. As usual my sewing room is packed up and brought down with me.

I hand stitched each wave strip onto the thread covered muslin backing, with a mixture of variegated crochet yarn and shiny machine embroidery thread. Starting at the bottom of the block I layered as I went until a photo was to be included then carried on to the top repeating the process.  As I inserted a photo it was hand embroidered and beaded depending on the details I wanted to pick out.

Next I tested the words on the design. First neat and orderly then thrown on. I called hubby in for an opinion and thankfully he agreed with me that the thrown on words worked best. Took them off and cut the block to size using the wave ruler.

Next the wadding (a little smaller than the top so it didn't pop up in the curves) and backing which was small hessian squares, were added. As the quilt top has lots of movement I didn't want to put traditional binding on so made the backing a quarter of an inch bigger than the top with the idea of it fraying adding to the piece. I then added more lines of hand stitching, machine stitched the piece around the edge as well as around the words to quilt it all together.

I really enjoyed playing with the waves effect and trying to pick out interesting designs with the beads. It was nice to just loose myself in the process of art rather than worry about if the finished item was meant to be useful. So thank you for inviting me into the group.

Here’s to more fun in 2015

Liz Ford

(PS I have more pictures of the process which I will add once I get into a wi fi area)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Red Sea

Red Sea

I have to admit to procrastinating on this piece. Not sure why I was never a do your homework at the last minute kind of person. I think I was just waiting for the right inspiration.

I started with some ice dyed fabric I made this summer. Then I decided to do some free motion "lace" for the coral. I used Sulky Solvy as my stabilizer and made lots of coral pieces dissolved the solvy away then added the pieces to my lightly quilted piece.It still needed a little something so I added the fish my hand.
I usually work from my own photographs but in this case I looked at a few photos online of coral then just ran with it just using my imagination.
I had a lot of fun and so happy to see so much participation this round.

Here is a close up.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Exploring Newfoundland

This "Sea" was inspired by my photos from three weeks exploring Newfoundland in August of this year.  Lots of ocean vistas, and many days of grey sky, but a wonderful friendly place to get to know.  After a fair amount of experimenting on 4x6" pieces, I developed waves that I was happy with.

For the base, I used a 12x12" piece of Timtex.  Onto it I fused the blue-gray satin, making tucks as i fused to create the wave effect.  For the sky I got out y fabric paints and sponged on some darker cloud areas, then covered they sky with fine grey net with a sparkle to it.  a line of satin stitch defined the horizon.

Rocks in the sea came from my fabric stash, some of them grayed with fabric paint.  They were slid into the wave-tucks in the satin background. Foam was created with cheesecloth (laid on parchment paper, painted with Modpodge, and then peeled off once dry.)  The stiffness made it easier to manipulate and shape.  Also part of the foam are some strips of sparkly net and the edges of silk "hankies".  These pieces were held in place with strategic bits of Misty Fuse and an occasional dab of Glue-stick so that I could do the rayon top-stitching.

This was really a challenge for me -- quite different from my more usual quilting-type projects.  Great fun and a great learning experience.
Thanks for inviting me to join the group!

The Sea - Home Before The Storm

I wanted a stormy sea, using some semi-sheer blue rippled metallic/silk fabric, and its unrippled blue, and gold twin.  I had visions of crashing waves and craggy rocks, but it just wasn't working because, to me, it looked too contrived.

I began this piece by layering some shiny brown poly/organza over batting and cotton and stitched them together with wavy free-motion quilting using decorative threads. I then cut away areas and replaced the cut-outs with the above-mentioned rippled blue and unrippled gold fabrics.

I added lots of beads and semi-precious chips, including aquamarines (water joke ...) for the waves and a pewter Christmas ornament and brooch that belonged to my late aunt, who loved her walks along the waterfront on Dallas Road in Victoria, BC, loved birds, and loved my sister and me.

Of course, no piece is complete without some glammed and glitzed cinnamon sticks!

Kapiti Coast NZ

Here is my Challenge "The Sea"
I took the photo at the beach on Kapiti coast on North Island while visiting my son in Wellington NZ.
I used shrink magic for a background and used TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) to transfer the picture of the sea on fabric (used Gloria Loughman's technique) and stitched the tiles on to the background
It turned out a tad wonky so I need to brush up on my placing.... I usually unpick my mistakes but have been to busy and didn't get time to redo it better luck next time hehe!!!!
I enjoyed making it and  can't wait to see everyone's challenges.   Happy stitching!!!

Friday, December 26, 2014


I was pleased with the topic of my first 12 x 12 as I live at Umina Beach, Àustralia and have the most beautiful beach at my door.
I started the piece with hand dyed silk which I treated with salt to give a bubble effect. Coral stencilled with luimere paints. I then found a little bag of embellishments that I had purchased in Paducah in 2012 on a whim. The ribbons were couched and then I added beads. A little swipe of moss green sun dyes completed the picture. Overall I am pleased with my first attempt and hope you enjoy it as well.

Friday, December 19, 2014


I am almost finished an 18x36" "ocean" piece for another group, so I was pleased the "sea" was selected for our current theme.


I chose to represent the earth's wonderful sea water and its movement.  In this piece, I tried to invoke the gentle calm swirling the sea does, enveloping bits of bubbly froth and foam.  I based SWIRL from a photo my husband took at Friendly Cove on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The background fabric was hand painted with Procion MX dyes after protecting the froth and foam areas with soy wax.  The quilting lines are supposed to mimic the movements of the gentle side of the ocean!

I'd like to welcome the new members to this online 12x12 group as well as to returning members.  Hopefully 2015 will be positive for all.  (I'm away now so posting early.)  Oops - I didn't have the cursor in the right place but I'm sure you can figure it out! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The space within becomes the reality of the building.
~Frank Lloyd Wright

My 12 x 12 groups's challenge for this quarter was "Structure".  "Structure" can mean many things; for me, from my nerdy engineering side, I thought first of building structures

 I went to Google, looking for structures and the photo below spoke to me.
Below is a photo of my piece in process; it is tough to see all of the layers.  I pieced fabric, sewed additional lines, rubbed  metallic wax on it, covered it with tulle, and then added the two circular appliques.  I knew I needed to add one more layer of stronger supports, but was not sure how I would layer them on.  
 I took a photo of the work-in-process and printed out six copies; I took a white colored pencil and began experimenting with how the final layer would look. Finally, I could add the velvet thread to finish it! 

I wanted this work to be dark and steely, but thought that one pop of color was needed, so a citrine colored velvet puff was added.  Below is my finished piece, entitled, "Industrial Pop".  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Quilting Bee

I have been somewhat obsessed with hexagons lately so for Structure I thought I would feature one of natures amazing builders. (Bees do build hives which is a "Structure" right) These industrious creatures not only produce yummy honey but are integral to our food production. So I decided to give my salute to bees some added colour. First I selected a piece of fabric I ice dyed this summer with my friend Gladys.

I cut the hexagons from this lovely fabric. The bee is a copy right free image I enlarged and printed onto TAP transfer artists paper then transferred  the  image onto white fabric. Once the image was transferred I thread painted it and added dimensional wings to it.

Here is a close up of the bee, hopefully you can see the dimension of the wings.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


So I was all ready with my "structure". The sketch was done; even the values were filled in. Then as with all of you, life happened! Last minute came around with no further progress made when lightning struck. Long story short, we live on a small rural acreage and had arranged for around 18 trees to be felled. Many were dead or dying and therefore a hazard and to make it easier for the fallers, we agreed that others would come down also. (I'm getting starved for light.) So here are some pics showing, not exactly before, but rather during the process through to the end result - firewood, all clean, cut and stacked. Photo 1 is the faller up about 130 feet. He has cut all the branches off and this is the moment before he cuts the top off. Looks like he is on a toothpick. Scary!
Photo 2 is wood on the ground - the faller cuts it into smaller lengths as he comes down the tree.
Photo 3 is the wood all cut and stacked. My husband and I were enjoying a beer looking at all our hard work (which is continuing) when the light bulb came on. "A stack of cut firewood is a structure isn't it?", said I gleefully! "Yes indeed", said my husband.
Photo 4 is my firewood structure, STACKED.
Looking at it now, I realize the outward edges should be lower than the middle, but it's done now. Not quite confetti, but the "wood" is still held down with tulle then quilted over very randomly. A feel good moment! Eventually I do hope to make my original idea/sketch into an art piece too.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Semi-Detached Structure


... or OMG! 
I completed a challenge! 

Meet Semi-Detached. 

I made the leaves about six weeks ago and left them alone until they provided the "I should do something with these" impetus needed to create Semi-D. Semi-D is created mainly from silk dupioni, which doesn't photograph very well, MistyFuse, and Timtex. I like the rigidity of Timtex, which gives the piece "structure". 

The tree-branch is made from Timtex and heat-activated, moldable batting, giving the tree-branch a slight three-dimensional curve. According to the packaging, the moldable batting gives rigidity and stiffness for handbags and totes. A fun product, and I shall try it again for something. 

The Timtex and moldable batting were covered in brown silk dupioni and cords made from silk embroidery floss,  Kreinik braid, and metallic knitting yarn (the stuff that looks like a ladder) were attached with a zig-zag stitch. The edges were left raw for a little bit of texture.

I should have used a much firmer quilt batting than bamboo, and next time I will quilt the backing and top before attaching such heavy add-ons. In order to keep some of the leaves from flopping around, and to secure the base of the tree-branch, I used some "450 Quick Dry Adhesive" - it's clear and dries very quickly. Some of the leaves are raised from the surface with large beads, which are glued to the background and to the leaf itself.

While I was writing this, my husband was vacuuming my sewing room (Yes, he really was!) and found something I thought I had lost. So I added it to Semi-D.

As a bonus (and because I haven't kept up!), this is a photo of Stream - the piece I used for inspiration when I made the leaves. Stream is over two feet long, and is over seven years old!

Ready for the next challenge!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kathy's Abstraction

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” -Oscar Wilde

My 12x12 group had the challenge theme- 'Abstraction'.  I really struggle with creating abstract art and this piece was a struggle throughout. I never quite got into it or as the quote says above- it never became 'dangerous'.  I completed the exercise, but still am not happy with the finished piece, even considered disposing of it.
 An interesting struggle was when I  begun hand embroidering circles haphazardly on the top but it looked AWFUL!  I had marked the circles on the fabric with a Pilot Frixion pen (draw with the pen, iron it and it disappears); I love these pens but when you iron it, it takes a little color with it.  To make lemonade out of my lemons, I made circles ALL OVER the piece, ironed it and made it a design element!

I am hoping my next one is more inspiring!

Friday, August 8, 2014


The next topic for the challenge......with not much notice.......


So what does this mean to you?? Routine, architecture, texture. Get your thinking caps on. 

Monday, June 30, 2014


Well, abstraction certainly got the juices flowing! Loved this challenge, Gladys. For the last couple of years, I've been trying to figure out just what is abstraction. Still learning as my natural inclination is to do fairly representational/realistic artwork. Thanks for giving me a chance to explore my creativity on another level.
I called this piece "Line", even though it is kind of colour blocking. Line is what gives us shape and therefore image. That is accented by quilting stitches as well. This piece is all made out of my hand dyed/rusted fabrics. I sewed the 4 background blocks together, sandwiched and quilted the background before adding the central smaller square. It was not quilted, just machine appliqued on to the middle. Boring. Lacking. Unhappy. Out came the fabric paint. White. Fat lines with the paint brush. Vertical and horizontal. Misses where the background is quilted giving dimension. Happier! Next comes the dimensional paint - black and white. Kind of blobby, a bit of cross hatching. Now I don't see boredom. Now I see more interest. Now I am happy :)


I really wasn't sure what to make for "Abstraction" I usually make a thumbnail sketch or work from a photograph when I work. For this challenge I decided to take a very different approach. I had a package of goodies from Stitches Fibre Art that I bought at a quilt show last year. It had various items all hand-dyed for a fibre art project. I dumped the contents of the bag onto my cutting table along with some aluminum shaving from my husbands workshop. I decided to try and let the materials "speak" to me rather than go with a "plan".

I pulled and stretched the cheesecloth to make holes in it and elongate the holes. I chopped the waffle fabric up and sewed it down in the order I cut it up. I then dug thru some lovely foil that I had and added to to my circle section and used a hole punch to punch out more circles. I quilted the piece then hand sewed the aluminum pieces on.
It was fun and challenging to work intuitively and I really that is the beauty of participating in the group :-)
Had to add a close-up

Sunday, April 13, 2014


I think we did extremely well and produced outstanding pieces for Margaret's theme and I felt a little intimidated at thinking up another theme because of that.  How do I think of one as good as that, which can be as inspiring to the group as "words" was?  I've thought and thought.  I considered "self portrait"; Egypt; trees; and many others.  But I've settled on ........


I hope we can work with that and do just as well as the last one.  And at the same time, let's see if each of us can recruit one new member so that it makes the site more interesting.  The more the merrier!  

I am glad I am a tea bag

My favorite quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt, "A woman is like a teabag, you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water". 

I began with white fabric that I used Jacquard's color magnet on by making a dot pattern with the pen. When I dyed the fabric with periwinkle dye, the dots become darker than the rest of the fabric. 

I hand embroidered the outlines of the letters for the quote. My teacup and its flowers are machine appliquéd with some puff-paint accents. A fine China teacup usually is gold rimmed, so I thought it fitting I trimmed the entire teacup, saucer, and handle with gold paint.

Finally outside of the quote's circle, I did a pattern of French knots. Inside of the circle I did a diamond hand quilting pattern. One of the niftiest parts of this 12" x 12" quilt is the binding, it's the first binding I ever did that was entirely machine sewn with no handstitching needed.


Sunday, April 6, 2014


This challenge was fun!  Thank you Margaret for such a good idea!  I had an idea as soon as it was announced and have no reason to be late, except that life gets in the way around here!

This piece is quilted with what would amount to a journal page of words in the lines between the stripes on the bed sheet.  I chose non contrast thread so that it wasn't immediately as negative as it actually is.  In doing this piece I discovered the cathartic effect of writing down what is bothering you at the time.  But it's done discreetly so nobody is hurt.  Words you might find are: "mashed potatoes, clockwork mouse, repetitive stories, senior pace, dreams, and caregiver".  You can get the general idea from that.

First I quilted the words onto the sandwich.

When that was done, I arranged the rumpled sheets and made two little pillows.  These were arranged on the "bed" and the drawing placed over them with pins and some hand stitching.  I then thread painted on top of my drawing (done on soluble).  Why I did that I have no idea because it meant getting the project wet afterwards to get it all off!  If I had used tracing paper I suspect I'd have had much better results.  The thread used is Aurifil Wool so that it gave a softer look to the drawing. Her clothing was applied in a sort of "collage" manner.  

I think if one had the patience to do it, you could hold this in front of a mirror and read most of it.  Here is a photo of the back.  

As with everything I do, I would do it differently if I were to do it again!  But it was a good learning experience and I did accomplish my goal to produce a 3D project. At least I think it is!  What is the difference between 1 dimensional, 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional?  Does anyone know?  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Live, Love, Laugh

First thank you to Margaret for a great challenge topic. I have to admit it was tough deciding what to do for this one!
I often look thru my photo album for inspiration and I had a wonderful photo of a dandelion from a motorcycle trip hubby and I took last summer with some dear friends. We drove to the Alberta badlands to Dinosaur Provincial Park and as we entered the park there was a scenic lookout and my friend noticed this awesome dandelion. So I snapped a few pictures before we headed into the park.

In my first plan I was going to put an original poem I wrote on this piece but decided against it once the piece was almost done. I also considered "Wish" since as a child we would make a wish then blow hard on the dandelion to "scatter" our wishes onto the wind. But along with those fond memories I could still almost hear our laughter. So I tried to use the words that would most sum up all of these feelings, hence Live Love Laugh. 

Close up:

Hard to get a real detail shot so here is another picture. 

Simple words to live by.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I know this posting is a bit early, but my life is about to get hectic and I didn't want to be late!

Adding a word or words was a challenge.  Picking just the right one.  Why did I pick that one and not another, etc.  My older brother, Bob, was born in February.  He passed away in 2000, but as with everyone who is close to you and passes away, you think of them particularly on special days you celebrated with them.  So last month, I thought of Bob a lot.  Just before he died, he said, "Marg, I've figured out the meaning to life!"  When prodded, he said, "Be."  I have tried and tried to dispute this, but I always come back to "be".  You can add descriptors, positive and negative, but when you take those away, you end up with "be".

For the image to go with "be", I picked my garden Buddha. First, the background fabric was sandwiched and quilted. The Buddha was also sandwiched and hand quilted before hand appliqueing it to the background and before attaching the words  Because I wanted the words to be very subtle, it might be hard to read them all!  Sorry about that.  I wrote or printed each word on paper and put the paper behind clear glass.  I then ironed misty fuse onto the back of a piece of organza, taped it on top of the glass with the words underneath, heated up my cutting tool, and heat cut the words out making sure to have the words lift off the glass with no breaks between letters.  To attach the words, I laid each on the background, covered it with parchment paper, and ironed it in place.  The misty fused words are rather fragile because they are just ironed on - no sewing - hence they were added last.

In case you can't make out the words, they are:  BE, patience, serenity, truth, kindness, harmony and peace.

So my fellow artists, continue to be!  Thanks Bob.  XO

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mr. Love, by Gladys Love

Finally!!!  When this theme was announced I immediately knew what I was going to do.  You would think that would make it easy to be on time right?  Not so.  Life got in the way and even though I was consistently trying to sneak in moments with my project, it wasn't till this very minute that I stitched on the buttons and called it done.

This portrait was inked in a class at Empty Spools in Asilomar, California, with Lura Schwarz-Smith.  I did several in the four days, but this was the best.  I also discovered that inking wasn't the way I wanted to go about doing portraits.  But here I was with this little sample that Lura referred to as "Mr. Love". 

This is the photograph I worked from.  It was taken by his sister at a family gathering in evening light.  I liked the way his hair looks blue! But,  I feel I failed to capture him perfectly.....his chin isn't just right, but I decided I would finish it by stitching all over it in the style of Hollis Chatelain and many others.  

This turned out to be a great experiment for a larger project (the one I started in a class with Esterita Austin but have yet to finish).  
This is starting to look like an exercise in name-dropping, but it's not meant that way....I have a lot of unfinished projects and have decided 2014 is the year to not take classes and to finish a lot of what I've started and use what I've learned!  Wish me luck!  

But back to the decision to thread-paint my portrait of Mr. Love, who is indeed my husband.  

I asked Karrie, who has taken a class with Hollis Chatelain, whether she quilts the faces she does with the backing on or if she puts a backing on afterwards and re-outlines.  Karrie said she does it with the backing on.  This was my first try at this kind of thing and I thought the back would be a mess since I was new at it. So rather than putting a backing on it, I layered it with batting and a stabilizer to stitch on, planning to put backing on when it was ready to finish.  

I LOVED doing the stitching.  It is absolutely amazing how much difference the color of the thread and one little thread line in the wrong place can make.  I learned a lot with this exercise.  Mostly that it looks pretty neat on the back and I should have had backing fabric on there.  I didn't, and when I pressed it, one part of the stabilizer melted and messed up my iron.  So it's a little messy on the back.  But I liked how it looked enough that I put borders on it to make it 12 x 12 and left the back showing.  Not an entry for any competition, but a great learning project and teaching tool!  Here is what the back stitching looks like.  

The red border is a scrap of work shirt fabric and the buttons are from old work shirts.  I could only find three but would have liked five on there!  

Now, to focus on the next challenge with a shortened time frame (for me).  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Jan - Mar 2014 theme

Next theme is "put it in writing" - add a word, phrase, poem....  Enjoy, Margaret
LOVE - lots of ideas, lots of emotion (especially this period as my husband fell off our roof and did some serious damage - recovering well thank goodness).  That got me on to "emotion" and I thought music creates or accompanies every emotion it seems.  So, for me at the moment, love is music.  I must confess that I made this top (15x16) in the spring, but quilted it recently.  I could have cut it down but obviously didn't.  I think this is a case of forgiveness vs permission!  You get the idea....