Well, these sad looking little sausages are possibly the worst looking Christmas crackers in history! I am taking part in the Christmas Cracker Exchange on the Crazy Quilting International yahoo group again this year and these three are my contributions. All I can say in my defence is that they are better inside than outside! lol This is such a fun exchange and one of my little yearly rituals that get me started on the holiday spirit.
It is so good to be home at last! I had four months away working at the campground, followed by a weekend conference in Saskatoon, then three weeks of house/babysitting, a weekend conference in Ottawa and a week visiting the in-laws in Quebec, then finally two weeks worth of house/babysitting again. I am home now at last as of Sunday night and catching up! lol One of the first things I did was visit my favourite local thrift store where I discovered this hardanger bellpull hidden away and unappreciated.
Isn't it lovely? If you have ever attempted hardanger you will know that this was not an afternoon's work for someone. It was a labour of love and deserves to be appreciated, not hung on the back of a pillar in the thrift store where I found it and purchased it for fifty cents! The bell pull hardware itself is work about $20.00!
As for the hardanger itself, as much as I love it in its present form, I have enough of my own work hanging on the walls here without adding someone else's. So, I am deciding what to do with it. I see two possibilities because of it's size and shape. It could easily be made into a clutch purse for evenings, or perhaps a little art quilt for AAQI?
Whichever I decide, this made my day! Fifty cents!!
PS - If you embroider, you want to see the back, right? Come on, admit it. If I wasn't looking, you would turn it over and check it out! lol So, just so you can see what a lovely stitching this actually is, here is the back view...
This is the little six inch quilt block I embellished for Janet in the Fools Gold Round Robin at CQI. If you follow along with my misadventures here, you may remember I had lost all my inspiration and, in fact, thought perhaps my muse had perished. Well, thanks to all the great advice I received in everyone's comments, it appears she is alive and well and has come out of hiding at last - thanks!
I have to give everyone in this round robin a huge shout out for their incredible patience with me while I have been sitting here twiddling my thumbs, unable to pick up a needle. Now I am on a roll again, I have two more blocks to finish up and send on and then I am retiring from round robins so I don't get myself in a pickle like this again.
Here is a closeup of what was one of my favourite things to stitch on this block. I created the evergreen twigs by looking at a photo of actual twigs and simply trying to recreate what I saw with needle and thread. This is my favourite type of stitching I think. Then, since it was a Christmas block, I made it into part of a Christmas tree by "hanging" some gold charms to look like Christmas tree ornaments. Fun!
According to Wikipedia: Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting or graffiti knitting is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk.
This idea has piqued my interest... Dare I say I am inspired?! I am not much of a knitter and have never made it much beyond the scarf and potholder phase but I think that much skill would suffice for this type of adventure.
Some of these projects are a bit beyond my capabilities although |I suppose a person could do the bike and then just wheel it to the site and chain it there?
Some very adventurous ladies in Whitehorse yarnbombed a vintage aircraft!
Basically, any public installation seems to be fair game. I can't help thinking ahead to next September when the Embroiderers' Association of Canada has it's Stitch in Public Day. What could be more fun??
Slowly but surely my muse is returning and I am getting some stitching done - baby steps! I am pleased with how this seam turned out so thought I would share it with you.
I started with a row of cretan stitch in Kreinik gold braid and then added a french knot at the point of each stitch using two strands of red DMC cotton floss. Above each french knot I added three straight stitches in Kreinik gold braid. I used Japan gold to weave through, passing it up and down through each set of straight stitches. Pretty, yes? It makes a nice wide seam which is what you want sometimes and it had lots of "shiny" to entice my muse out of hiding, lol. Hope you like it!
It is with great sadness I note the end of an era with the publication of the last issue of CQMagOnline. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do so. This online publication has been an unceasing source of inspiration for crazy quilters for years now and I am so sad to see it go. Kudos to Rissa and the staff of the magazine for this generous gift of their knowledge and inspiration all this time You will be missed!
The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) is starting a newsletter! Sign up before noon (Eastern) on November 13, 2012 and you’ll be in a drawing to win “Bright Star” featured here.
“Bright Star” was made by AAQI supporter Martha Wolfersberger of Frenchtown, MT. The quilt measures 8.25″ x 12″ and it is meticulously machine pieced and quilted.
Sign up here: http://www.alzquilts.org/newsletter.html
The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative® (www.AlzQuilts.org) is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. The AAQI auctions and sells donated quilts, and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer’s. The AAQI has raised more than $773,000 since January 2006.
Thank you for making the AAQI possible!
Well, it was pretty exciting when I went to the mailbox and received the latest issue of Embroidery Canada, the magazine of the Embroidery Association of Canada (EAC). There on the cover was one of the little quilts I have made and donated to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative! Inside the magazine was the article I wrote and submitted some time back - far enough back in fact that I had forgotten all about it. If you would like to read the article, you can see it here.
One thing I would like to mention is that because the article was actually written so long ago, it does not mention the wonderful contributions made by my home chapter of EAC, the Calgary Guild of Needle & Fibre Arts. The guild has its own page on the AAQI website where you can see the quilts made and donated by guild members. All six of the quilts currently on the page are now up for sale at the big quilt show in Houston. CGNFA also has a sale table of excess stitching stash donated by members at each meeting and all the proceeds are sent to AAQI as well.
The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AlzQuilts.org) offers an online auction during the first 10 days of every month. Each November, in honor of National Alzheimer's Awareness Month, the AAQI offers 12 very special quilts. This year the auction quilts have been made by world renowned quilters Alex Anderson, Hollis Chatelain, Caryl Bryer Fallert, John Flynn, Diane Gaudynski, Becky Goldsmith, Pat Holly, Libby Lehman, Marsha McCloskey, Sue Nickels, Mary Sorensen, and Ricky Tims.
Caryl Bryer Fallert Paducah, Ky USA
The quilts are about 16" x 16" and the auction is open to the public.
Ricky Tims La Veta, CO USA
Last year the 12 quilts offered in the November auction raised more than $14,000 for the AAQI, an all-volunteer effort to raise awareness and fund research through art.
The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative® (www.AlzQuilts.org) is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. The AAQI auctions and sells donated quilts, and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's. The AAQI has raised more than $773,000 since January 2006.
Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer's.
Here I am, completely blocked! This has been going on for some time now. Remember me? I regularly resolve to stitch a minimum of 15 minutes per day and stick to it year after year. Now I have not picked up a needle in months!
What do I do about this? At first it was exhaustion that kept me from stitching - gut wrenching exhaustion from working two jobs all summer and running myself into the ground. Then one job ended for the season and the other picked up. Since I am a sucker for punishment I found another job and planned to work two at once again but my regular employer questioned me dedication since I was planning to moonlight so I left that job. I am now housesitting/babysitting for a couple weeks and after that I will be unemployed.
I am actually relieved about my upcoming unemployment. I have been so exhausted since the summer I have been nodding off at the wheel of the car, falling asleep sitting up and unable to concentrate on anything. Exhaustion bred depression and depression enhanced the exhaustion until I was completely immobile. I have now been sleeping and little else for ten days or so and it is time to either start stitching again or give it up.
How to start??? It seems that my muse has passed away quietly over the last few months and I am not sure she is coming back. Advice anyone???
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of stitchers in Saskatoon and enjoyed the customsry exchange of little favours among the attendees. I love these little stitching items and thought I would share them with you. The first item here is a little needlebook from Cochrane Big Hill Needlearts Guild.
When you open it up there is room to park your needles and included were these two sweet counting pins adorned with crystals.
The second item is a needleroll - you can see it here rolled up as well as opened up and ready to add a needle or pin stash to.
This is a clever idea - a thread counter or place holder when you are doing counted thread work. I hadn't seen or heard of these handy little helpers until very recently. I thought - what a genius idea! It's one of those cases where everyone else in the world knows all about something and you discover it late and can't get over what a wonderful idea it was! lol
Speaking of brilliant ideas, I had never seen or heard of these thread straighteners either but |I'm glad I have now!
Now, this is just so sweet: two little shells which sandwich a pincushion inside and two beautifully embellished pins added for marking your place in your work.
Sometime it is all about the presentation! This is a handy piece of beeswax is in the shape of a starfish.
I received a couple more including a lovely ATC by Joyce Gill but I think I left that photo on my other computer so I am not sble to shared them.
Some attendees who do not have time to make little favours generously shared blank insert cards and patterns.
I have to admit to having an absolute favourite and it is this one. \Everything is included to embellish this cute little pin stand - the pinstand itself, thread, silk ribbon, evenweave and choice of patterns as well as a piece of that fuzzy fabric you use to hold your beads when you are beading.I'll share this one with you again when I have completed it and I'll show you what I made for my favours - I don't have any left but want to make some more.
Isn't it a great custom we sitchers have of gfting each other with little tools and trinkets when we get together? I love making them, giving them and receiving hem and am always on the lookout for new ideas! I would love to hear about any more ideas anyone has.
Last weekend we travelled to Saskatoon where I chaired the Prairie Pacific Regional Meeting for the Embroidery Association of Canada. The weekend of activities was hosted by the wonderful members of the Bridge City NeedleArts Guild. What a wonderful event these ladies put on! If you are in the Saskatoon area and looking for a needlework guild let me know and I will be happy to provide you with contact information - you couldn't find a better stitching home than with these ladies!
A highlight of Saturday was the speaker that the Bridge City ladies had in for us - A. Elizabeth Muirhead. I was really upset that my camera battery was dying at that point and I was only able to snap one photo!
I've cropped the photo here to try to let you see a bit more of what type of fibre art Elizabeth creates. I love wool felting but I had NO idea that anyone had taken it this far! She makes large, vibrant, three-dimensional pieces that are just exquisite. There was a purse displayed (at the far left of the photo with the pink roses on it) that I would have traded my firstborn child for! lol If you ever have a chance to see a display of Elizabeth's one-of-a-kind handcrafted felt creations - go for it!
A heartfelt thank you to the Bridge City Needlearts Guild for their hospitality last weekend. This was my first large "away" meeting and I was very nervous but these ladies immediately made me feel I was with friends. I am sure all the other delegates left with the same warm feelings I did.
Gary and I arrived in Saskatoon a day early to tour around a bit because neither of us had been there before. It is a lovely little city and seems to be very active with cultural events and venues. I was very excited to visit the Ukrainian Museum of Canada! No photos allowed inside unfortunately but it is definitely worth a visit if you are there any time because the examples of Ukrainian embroidery are unbelievable! I have a real love of Ukrainian culture - Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs), the distinctive embroideries and the foods!
One last photo here to show you why they call Saskatoon the Bridge City. With the South Saskatchewan River running through the city, there are a lot of lovely bridges!
Last in this series of round robin blocks, bur certainly not least, is this beauty embellished by Gerry Krueger. The Fool's Gold round robin theme was a brainchild of Gerry's and the challenge issued was to do traditional goldwork embroidery techniques while using inexpensive trims and notions. As you can see, Gerry certainly rose to the challenge! Thank you Gerry!
Here is the 4th block I received back in the Fools Gold Round Robin at CQI, embellished by Maire. Once again, the work is soft and romantic and just what I was hoping for. I love the silk ribbon embroidery and the beautiful pastel shades Maire used. Thank you Maire!
This is the third block I received back in this round robin, embellished beautifully by Flora Goodson. Flora constructed a wonderful circular motif of couched Japanese gold thread, small gold beads and silk ribbon embroidery. The focal point is the bird she embroidered in the bottom right quarter of the block. The design and execution are perfect. Once again, the romantic feel to the block is there in the light airiness of the design as well as the individual elements of it. Love it, Flora - thank you!
This is the second block I would like to show you that I received back in the Fools Gold Round Robin. This block was beautifully embellished by Janet Popish. Click on the photo and it will enlarge so you can see more. I wish you could see it in person though - photos do not do justice to the delicate stitching and all the sparkle!
Janet knows what I love - beautiful seam treatments and button clusters in particular. The butterfly charms are so delicate - I have never seen any like these before but will be on the lookout now. The focal point of the block is the large heart of gold fabric, lightly stuffed to raise it and couched down, trimmed with a beautiful gold braid. The stitching is absolutely flawless. I love this block! Thank you Janet!!
I am just getting settled home from working at the lake for the season and going to a weekend meeting in Saskatoon. At last I can see things having an opportunity to get back to normal!
So, I thought I would start out by posting photos of the blocks I received back in the Fools Gold Round Robin from Crazy Quilting International. This was a DYB (Do Your Block) Round Robin where each participant makes 6 blocks, 6 inches square each, and everyone in the round robin fully embellishes one of each other person's blocks. In the end you receive the six blocks you pieced back with five embellished fully and one left for you to complete. Clear as mud? lol
Anyway, this is the lovely block which Barbara Warner stitched on for me. I love this beautiful fan she did and the lovely floral spray! I pieced all my blocks from wedding dress fabrics and my request from the others was pretty vague - that I would like something romantic. Barbara hit the nail on the head as far as I am concerned. Thank you Barbara!!
Even though I have been home from the lake for a week now, and yesterday was my last day of going back and working, I am writing some notes from the lake anyway. I always seem to be watching the skies out at the lake, maybe because weather means everything to campers and I have access to no other weather forecasts than looking up. Here is some of what I saw this summer...
I don't remember ever seeing these as a kid but I see them now - double rainbows.
I especially enjoy rainbows where they make the complete arch from ground to ground - then you know the pot of gold is there for you to find.
Odd sky - the sunset on my last night at the lake.
Followed by my last sunrise - I pulled the trailer home later than day! So another summer is over and another four months out at Lake MacGregor is done with. A job like campground host where your work is 24/7 is similar to banging your head against the wall - it feels so good when you stop! lol
Another of my favourite skies with the "fingers of God" reaching down through the clouds.