New Paths are Waiting!
by Andrea Kelter on 01/05/16
2015 was a tough year. Our family lost a much loved parent, and it left all of us reeling.
However, that parent would have been the first person to say "Life is Beautiful", and would have given us all a metaphorical kick in the pants and told us to get on with it.
It's 2016 now, and after giving Mum the send-off she requested last October, it is time to move ahead.
It is amazing how quilting is the ideal activity for grief, at least for me. It truly soothes the soul, and quietly, so quietly, allows healing to begin. So, while I wasn't posting much (or anything) - I did have some finishes, and also tried some new techniques which were both fun and exciting.
I made a crib quilt called "Elephant Walk", which is a combination of piecing and applique, and which allowed me to use some new FMQ techniques taught by Angela Walters of Quilting is my Therapy on the Craftsy platform. Specifically a border fill (which works great for rows as well) called Wavy, Wavy. Elephant Walk is a pattern featured in the October 2014 edition of Quilter's World (in case you'd like to make one). It is available as a downloadable PDF pattern at Annie's Catalog.
I also took a course with Patsy Thompson (quilting genius!) also on the Craftsy platform, and a section of that course dealt with trapunto, which I have long wanted to try - but not in a traditional way.
So, I created "Bloom" a table runner destined as a Christmas gift for a good friend. I appliqued flowers in a trapunto style, overlapping them to create dimension, and adding one quilted right into the background fabric, also in trapunto, just to add more visual interest. Then I FMQ'd it in a dense and intricate design - and adding two dancing dragonflies (which have a personal meaning for both my friend and I).
It's not always I love how a project of mine turns out, but I love Bloom and also fell in love with trapunto. Which means there will be more trapunto projects in the near future.
Another technique I have been excited about trying is Quilt As You Go. A quilting heroine of mine, Maureen Cracknell, blogged about it a lot late last year - and I really, really wanted to give it a go. Finally, in December, I did.
With a set of four placemats from a post I saw on Samelia's Mum's blog. I love her sense of design and colour - that beautiful Australian quilting style that marries colour, whimsy and design so incredibly well.
The recipient of these placemats has a great cottage on Grand Manan (more about that later), which overlooks the Bay of Fundy. She loves coastal design and colours - so here are her four Island Summer QAYG placemats! Who knew QAYG was so much fun! I'm hooked...
My daughter loved these, and asked for a set for herself, in a shabby-chic Parisian style. Thank goodness I still had some of my Paris Flea Market fabrics around, so I made her four as well between Christmas and New Year. I accented these with 12-Wt. Aurifil thread, first time asking my machine to sew with 12-Wt. thread - and, I'm happy to say she performed like a star. I slowed the machine down, lengthened my stitch to 4.5mm, and lightened both my upper thread tension and my presser foot - and then let Minerva (my machine) do the work. Love the sheen of the Aurifil 12-Wt. - glad I purchased a number of colours because it is going to feature in a lot of projects going forward!
I also (finally) brought myself to cut into my Wee Wander fabrics, which I have hoarded like a fiend for over 12 months. I love, love, love this fabric collection - and as the available supply dwindles, find it very, very hard to actually use and cut. Silly, I know, but there it is.
My pink colourway is now a twin bed quilt for my great-niece, and is currently on Minerva being quilted. This quilt is an original design featuring pieced blocks along with applique, free motion embroidered fireflies, and trapunto. The quilting is all in Aurifil 50-Wt. "Bubblegum" pink thread - and is an allover, very delicate climbing leaf design. It's fun, and challenging, because the backing of the quilt is microfleece, and I also have a layer of Quilter's Dream Puff batting in this quilt - which makes wrestling it through a 9-inch harp interesting (to say the least!)
And finally, the most exciting news of all! In late spring I am opening a store on Grand Manan Island, located in the Bay of Fundy off the coast of both New Brunswick and Maine! The store is called The Painted Whale, and will offer a unique combination of decorative, useful, handmade and manufactured items with a coastal/Fundy/island/Bay theme! I will be posting a lot more over the next few months - and The Painted Whale will have its own website and blog (and already has a Facebook Page - The Painted Whale) - but for now, a sneak peek at the store (which is still under renovation), the logo and the island is what I'm able to share.
So far, 2016 is off to a wonderful start. And I am so grateful...