Sunday, August 31, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Kirsten, who blogs at Gemini Stitches, tagged me in the Around the World Blog Hop last week. I met Kirsten, if not before, in a pillow swap. I was the recipient of that beautiful pillow that she made. The blog hop has some questions to answer.

1. What am I working on?

This weekend, and generally in the last few months, I have been working on developing some quilts that are my own design with an eye to making patterns for them. Although I have many ideas, it is remarkably difficult for me to "design" a quilt and then write a pattern for it. My goal with patterns is to add something new to the options for the pattern using quilter, not just to give them my take on something that others have done. Finding that new thing is not that easy, at least for me.

Today specifically I have been designing that block you see above and some quilts that use it to submit a project to a magazine. I put a picture of my first prototype of the block up on instagram and asked if people saw it as a modern block. I was overwhelmed to receive 87 comments and 355 likes to date. I guess People think it is modern and they like it too, and it is so nice that they took the time to let me know.

2. How does my work differ from others?

Although I am fairly certain that many of you would say that I have a clear quilting "style" I am not totally convinced that I have found it, or all aspects of it, yet. Many of my quilts fit comfortably within the current concept of modern quilting. I often refer to my approach to quilts as industrial modern and I use that term in reference to all aspects of a quilt - the design, the piecing, the choice of fabrics and substrates, the quilting and the fact that the texture from washing and drying is also a design element for me. I want my quilts to be technically well made and to be durable and usable blankets, and I also want them to evoke a feeling of an old warehouse, a comfortable pair of blue jeans, the sunbleached beach, or a winter snowstorm. Technically good, but not perfect, just a little edgy, urban, and interesting.

Besides all that, I also continue to explore far more traditional quilting designs and techniques. I see my development as a quilter as a journey, and it has barely begun.

3. Why do I write and create?

For fun. Seriously, for fun.

The process of making a useful blanket - of making a useful thing, is very rewarding for me as in my work I think and talk and write a lot but there are no "things" made at the end. So quilting - and also knitting, sewing, needlework, embroidery, weaving, spinning, and other fibre arts - fills in a big gap for me. I love creating, being creative and working with colour and design too. Quilting is a perfect way to do that and still make a useful blanket too.

Why do I write about quilting - again for fun. My blog, instagram, flickr, other social media with quilters allows me to make and stay friends with quilters around the world. I have now met a surprisingly large number of them in person too, something that would not have been possible if I had not been here, writing about quilting and participating with you all on line.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

I almost never write a blog post for a later date. Only when there is a blogging event and I know I will be pressed for time. For example, I am writing this post minutes before it will be published, even thought I knew I had to post it today a week ago. I approach blogging like much of my other writing - I figure it out in my head and then when I sit down the words just spill out and it is done. This approach has meant writing some posts while fighting to keep my eyes open when there was a deadline, but oh well.

My creating process is also much the same. I think about something I want to make, or I am inspired by something and then I make it. I seldom do sketches first, except if I am not able to work with fabric directly like when I am on vacation. I am trying to do more sketching, but we shall see if that actually happens. I like to try new things and I am happy to make a quilt that I like several times. I am also prone to working through creative ideas in a series of quilts. I think that this approach may be part of why I don't see any one quilt as that precious - I could always make it over should it be harmed in some way, I have plenty of fabric.

Enough about me, I asked some friends and two have agreed to be tagged next. My friend Felicity, who blogs at Felicity Quilts, is a fellow Canadian who I have had the pleasure of meeting in person. She is smart, funny, creative, lovely and likes great shoes (like I do). My friend Lynz, who blogs at Domestic Light and Happiness, lives in Scotland, has been a blogging friend from the time I started blogging and I have yet to meet her in person. She is also smart, funny, creative, lovely and likes great shoes - and I did not realize I had picked such similar friends to tag until just this minute. Watch for their posts next week. The Around the World Blog Hop is meant to allow for connections to happen between bloggers and readers of blogs.

I am going back to my new design. I think that unless someone tells me that they have already given that block an official name, I am going to call it Allium - with a big thank you to Krista - Poppyprint for the reference when I was mentioning it reminded me of a dandelion. If you already know that block, please let me know. Just because I designed it surely does not mean that many others have also already done so too.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

A winter scarf - Ta Da!

A winter scarf

You might recall earlier this month, that, at the last minute, I decided finishing this scarf would be my August goal for A Year of Lovely Finishes. Well, I am happy to report that it worked. I carried this scarf around all month, on and off ferries, to Vancouver and back to my island, and I finished it. I have a vision of wearing this scarf in November with a black leather jacket on a windy fall day, not that I have such a jacket but it will work nicely with my other fall coat too.

A winter scarf

This yarn is by a designer named Noro from Japan. He blends the different colours before the yarn is spun and that is why it changes so gradually as it changes colours. Also, the yarn does not change colours exactly the same way every time and there is generally something unexpected thrown in like that bit of pink. I've forgotten the name of this particular kind of Noro yarn and its fibre content, except to say that it is fairly chunky and has some cotton, silk, maybe wool and other fibres in it too so it is soft and lovely.

A winter scarf

This is a pattern that my grandmother often knit - you get squares that look a bit like patchwork. For this scraf, I knit 8, purled 8 and repeated that. I worked 10 rows and then changed the order around (purl 8, knit 8, repeat.)

A winter scarf - while blocking in the sun

I gave this scarf a good blocking. I washed it in the sink with some dish soap, making sure it soaked long enough to get the inner fibres wet. I rinsed it without wringing it. Then I patted it into shape, rolled it in a thick towel for a few minutes and then took it outside to dry in the sun. It happily held its shape while drying and after.

Scarf - in progress

This is a picture of the scarf while it was being knit. You can see how lumpy it was where the stitches changed and how wavy the edge was. Blocking made all the difference - I highly recommend blocking everything you knit. Also, it cleaned out the year's worth of dust and dirt that the scarf had acquired as I carried it about to work on.

A winter scarf

My scarf model is tall, almost 6' now, and although he is thinner than I am, there is no doubt that this scarf is a generous size. It should ward off the Canadian winters very nicely.

A winter scarf

Scarfs roll up nicely like quilts. You can see that I did nothing fancy on the edges of this one, and after the blocking, they look neat and mostly even.

I am off to link up my finish with Shanna and Melissa. You can join AYOLF too, it sure has been working well for me. And this scarf was on my Q3 FAL list too!

One question, I am doing my Around the World Blog Hop post tomorrow night and I need one more person to tag. If you want me to tag you, please let me know in the comments or send me an email.



Friday, August 29, 2014

if you're shopping.... #4

Welcome to if you're shopping.... On Fridays I will share with you the news from my sponsors, in case you want to do a little shopping, or even window shopping, this weekend.

Oakshott Fabrics is having a summer clearance sale on handloom cottons, Impressions and Italy fabrics and bundles until September 8, with free shipping on orders using the promotional codes as follows:
  • UK Orders over £50 - OXFORD
  • European Orders over Euro 100 - MUNICH
  • USA/Canada Orders over US $200 - VANCOUVER
  • Australia and New Zealand orders over £200 - SYDNEY

At Sew me a Song, Becca sent me a link to this fantastic Lecien Fat Quarter bundle. Every day new and interesting fabric seems to arrive at Becca's shop, go an take a look.

Mad about Patchwork  is having a Labour Day Sale of 25% off selected fabrics. Their  new Monday Mosaic bundle, Fairy Tales and Flowers is  20% off until Sunday August 31 at midnight.

Sew Sisters now has all the new Kona solids in stock and they have fat quarters, half yard bundles as well as yardage of these new colours. They also have some great prints in their clearance section.

The Fat Quarter Shop is hosting a new feature in September for National Sewing and Quilting Month and I get to participate later on in September. Look, they let me pick the words for the end of that cute little button and then sent it to me. Feel free to grab a copy and use it anywhere on the internet that you like - as I am sure you agree with me, sewing rocks! Watch the Fat Quarter blog, this is going to be a fun month of great sewing. And if you want to buy most any fabric, the Fat Quarter Shop probably has it, if you're shopping, or even window shopping.

My favourite Massdrop deal this week is this 10 spool bundle of 500 yard, 3 ply King Tut cotton thread which is open for about 6 more days. I love King Tut, it is a beautiful thread to use and this bundle is a great bargain.

Green Fairy Quilts, has a Labor Day Sale with discounts of 15% - 50% off all their products with free USA shipping. Enter the bonus code LABOR at checkout through to Labor Day for an extra discounts, and look Kate Spain's Horizon has arrived in time for the sale (I so want to have some of this line). 

Enjoy your weekend - it's Labour Day weekend in Canada and the USA (although they spell it differently than I do) so Monday is a holiday. My kids are back to school on Tuesday so I spend most of today - my first day back at home - buying books, supplies, and getting schedules changed, which is why this post is going up  a little later than I planned. At least I found myself a 12 pack of pretty coloured, fine line, permanent Sharpie markers in the process so now I will have multi-coloured quilt labels.

I should have more quilt photos and thoughts to share from the AQS show in Grand Rapids tomorrow.



Monday, August 25, 2014

The Modern Wall Quilts at the AQS Grand Rapids Quilt Show

Snowfall - by me (Leanne Chahley)

I was delighted to be able to attend the American Quilter's Society show in Grand Rapids this week. In this post I am going to share the quilts that were in the Modern Wall Quilt Category, starting with the winners.

So the Honourable Mention in the Modern Wall Quilt Category went to my quilt, Snowfall - yes, I get to show off my own quilt first. I was thrilled that this quilt was accepted into this show. Given that there is considerable snowfall in Michigan, I felt comfortable that the viewers would appreciate the image perhaps more than if it was hanging in a warmer place. I was even more thrilled to be able to see one of my quilts with a ribbon!

Unravelling #2 - by Judy Mercer Tescher

Unravelling #2 by Judy Mercer Tescher received the third place ribbon in the Modern Wall Quilt Category. This quilt placed third in this category at the AQS show in Phoenix in 2014.

Variegated - by Paige Alexander

Second place in the Modern Wall Quilt Category went to Variegated by Paige Alexander. This quilt received the Honourable Mention in this category at the Charlotte AQS show.

The Long Winter - by Catherine Redford

First place in the Modern Wall Quilt Category went to The Long Winter by Catherine Redford.

Keep it Simple - by Jodi Robinson

The best overall Modern Quilt award went to Keep it Simple by Jodi Robinson. This quilt won this same prize at the earlier AQS 2014 shows in Phoenix and Charlotte.

The following quilts were the other lovely entries in the Modern Wall Quilt Category at the AQS 2014 show in Grand Rapids.

Color of Winter by Mary Ann Van Soest

Color of Winter by Mary Ann Van Soest.

Floating on a Lazy River by Candace West

Floating on a Lazy River by Candace West.

Silk Construction by Carole Sorrell

Silk Construction by Carole Sorrell. This quilt won the third place ribbon in the Modern Wall Quilt Category at the AQS Show in Lancaster in 2014.

Binary Baby Quilt by Janice Smith

Binary Baby Quilt by Janice Smith.

PayDay Candy Bar Challenge by Sandra Panagos and Angela Huffman

PayDay Candy Bar Challenge by Sandra Panagos and Angela Huffman.

Mouse Trap II by Jenny Lynn

Mouse Trap II by Jenny Lynn.

Off Center by Charlotte Noll

Off Center by Charlotte Noll.

Connected Blocks by Jan Lewis

Connected Blocks by Jan Lewis.

Mid-Century Musing by Zinia Lewis

Mid-Century Musing by Zinia Lewis.

Point Me in the Right Direction by Diane Hiemel

Point Me in the Right Direction by Diane Hiemel.

Red Zinger with a Twist by Donna Karolus

Red Zinger with a Twist by Donna Karolus.

Rural Ragtime by Jennifer Emry

Rural Ragtime by Jennifer Emry. This quilt won the first prize ribbon in the Modern Wall Quilts category at the AQS show in Charlotte in 2014.

146 by Gayle Gruss

146 by Gayle Gruss.

This, That, and the Other by Miriam C. Coffey

This, That, and the Other by Miriam C. Coffey.

  Barion Cut Saphires by Linda Barrett

Barion Cut Saphires by Linda Barrett.

Those were all the quilts in the Modern Wall Quilt category at this show. These quilts were all different sizes and you can get an idea of the scale by looking at the name papers as they were all exactly the same size. I will show you some more quilts from other categories in my next post that I, personally, would also classify as modern.

Most of the quilts in the other categories of this show were, in my personal view, either traditional or art quilts. Many of them were fantastic and I loved seeing them all but clearly there is a big difference to me between the quilts I prefer and traditional or art quilts.

I learned a lot by attending this show and have lots more to share, but today I just wanted to give you a chance to see the wonderful quilts entered in the Modern Wall Quilt category. If you missed it, you might want to read my earlier post about entering quilt shows, although I love all the quilts entered, I think that there is room for more modern quilts in these shows and more different quilts - as you can see some of these lovely quilts have won more than one prize.

If I photographed your quilt and you would prefer that I not share my photo here, or if I have your details wrong, please email me and I will remove your photo (shecanquilt {at} gmail {dot} com).



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sew Canadian - more on my sewing space

Today, my friends at Mad About Patchwork are featuring me as part of their Sew Canadian summer feature, so click here to go and read their post, and then come back for a few more details. A bunch of fantastic Canadian bloggers have been sharing the details of their sewing space and the answers to a bunch of questions all summer and you can check them out here. You can join in by posting pictures of your sewing space in the Mad About Patchwork Sew Canadian Flickr group here and that enters you into a sweet giveaway too.

So, once I got over the hesitation of sharing my space - because I would have to find some time to clean it up some - I thought I would share some more photos and details here for you. And no, seriously, there is no way I would share the "before" photos, and since I did not take any, I can't anyway. The after photos are still pretty messy. Oh, and I took pictures on different days and in between I hung up a bunch of my mini quilts, many are by fantastic quilters received in swaps and some are by me. I just used map pin tacks, which are short and strong pins with a plastic ball on the end (and I know that repainting will therefore involve a lot of polyfilla (spackle) but who cares.)

I sew in a, for now, vacant bedroom - if you are my guest, you either get one of my kid's room or I put you up in a nice hotel down the road. My APQS Millennium long arm machine was new this year in February. It has a 10 foot table, which is the shortest table available as any longer and it would not fit in the room. The long arm does have 6 feet of space on the back between it and the wall and if I am quilting I roll my sewing chair out of the way to give enough room in front.

A bonus I had not realized would be available when squishing the long arm into the room was that I can store things under the machine. I need to find some kind of nice looking cupboard so that it keeps the dust away from the boxes and bags (which are usually overflowing) now stuffed under it.

The arrival of the long arm changed the space all around. So now my Janome Horizon is right up against my old design wall, as are the shelves of fabric. I thought this would be a bad idea but it is so nice to lay out your block or quilt right in front of you and then just be able to take it down to piece it.

However this design wall is not big enough to lay out a whole quilt so I am thinking I will tack up another piece of batting on the empty space you see in the picture above the one above. My version of making a design wall is quite economical, thumb tacks and batting, right on the wall.

Here is the view from behind the long arm. And photos you see on my blog of quilts on the design wall are taken from here and cropped. You can see my "show off" corner too and yet another cupboard of fabric. I have been keeping my featherweight out too, so that I will remember to use it too.

So here is one of those "confession photos". This room has a nice closet but it is still full of other crafting and sewing supplies that I need to go through and reorganize so that I could use that closet efficiently. And I do have a chair stuffed in the small amount of space there, so that I can relax and think when I am sewing or for when someone wants to keep me company for a while.

The astute quilters will have realized that important things were not present in that room - no place to cut or iron. I have stuffed that into the adjacent room which was supposed to serve as the home office but never really has. It is more of the knitting, storage, messy stuff left on the floor room. Moving my cutting and ironing stations there has actually forced me to tidy it up some (but not enough yet). I cut fabric on a counter size table from IKEA. When I forget to put the fabric away, it piles up on the corner until it covers all but a tiny bit of the cutting mat which finally drives me to tidy it up again.

You may also have noticed the construction site next door through the window. We used to live next to a lovely little forest. Now we get to observe the house building process, probably for the next few years as they are building 8 houses there. When the work is not shaking my house to bits, it is pretty interesting, although not nearly as peaceful as the birds and urban wildlife were.

These shelves arrived in this room in June as my son jettisoned them from his. It was prefect as it seems that my fabric supply was growing faster than I was using it up - a mystery of the universe how that could happen I think, right? But they mean that my ironing board is pushed further into the room. I'm not showing you the other side of that room as it is full of shelves, and messes.

So there you have it, the space where I hang out when I sew. I really do try to not tidy it much, as that takes up limited sewing time. But there will need to be some major changes in late October as I ordered this fantastic fancy table from Martelli at the AQS show I have been at in Grand Rapids (the show price was fantastic and they were very generous to me in regard to the high cost of shipping to Canada too). I have much more to share with you about the show this coming week too.

Today, I am plan to do very little and enjoy relaxing during a nice hot spell in Michigan.