Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welcome to le Tour de ...Fabric?

Now historically this time of year can only mean one thing. It's time to start getting ready for TDF. As in  le Tour de France - which (if you're on Ravelry)  means le Tour de Fleece. This  is a wonderful challenging event in which we all spin our little hearts out (using spindles and spinning wheels) to reach goals - conquering a perplexing technique - or using up mountains of stash etc. I was planning to participate this year - but I am in the middle of my hexxie quilt top. And  I   r e a l l y didn't want to interrupt my progress.

And sooooo... with that in mind...

Instead of treadling madly through my fibre stash on my spinning wheel for the entire month of July - I have decided to swap out the "F" in the TDF from "Fleece" to "Fabric" - as in le Tour de Fabric. So - similarly to TDFleece - TDFabric will include watching the tour de France (which starts today by the way) and stitching everyday they ride. I will rest day on their rest days. On July 22 (the final day) I will stitch hysterically towards victory - reaching the finish line with the boys as we enter the Champs- Elysees in Paris (yes all very heady stuff!)

So here's the 2012 schedule:
  • June 30 - TDF starts 
  • July 10 - rest day
  • July 17 - rest day
  • July 18 - special challenge day
  • July 22 - Victory Day!
I'll post my progress here as I am able. I'm now heading off to set my PVR to the TSN HD network and pre-thread a load of needles... 2012 TDFabric starts today...

Sew - if you're doing the traditional TDF (as in fleece) I hope you have a wonderful time. If you're want to challenge yourself with the Tour de Fabric (as I am ) I'd love to hear from you!

Getting ready for the tour de .... fabric?

Now historically this time of year can only mean one thing. It's time to start getting ready for TDF. As in Tour de France - which for me has traditionally meant the Tour de Fleece. This year however I have decided to add a twist.

Instead of picking up spindle and wool or treadling madly through my stash on my spinning wheel for the entire month of July - I am swapping out the "F" in the TDF to include Fabric - as in the Tour de Fabric. As many of you already know I have been working on a not so traditional Hexagon Quilt and have become quite enchanted with the process of handstitching (see sheepless quilts if you are looking for more details).

Having said that - if you're doing the traditional TDF (as in fleece) I hope you have a wonderful time. If you're going to challenge yourself with the Tour de Fabric (as I am ) let me know - I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quilting with Caroline...

Yesterday I had a wonderful afternoon of quilty pleasures. I went to my friend Caroline's house. This was our first get together (in which we ate turkey wraps, drank tea and watched one of our favourite BBC series Upstairs - Downstairs and worked on our projects). We started with a show and tell.

This is Caroline in her sewing room. It's a wee bit dark at the moment, but it is a temporary relocation as Caroline (like me) seems to move here and there into whichever nook seems available in between children coming and going and whatever space is on hand. The entire wall on the left is floor to ceiling shelving with labelled and suitably arranged boxes of craft. Having said that she is very organised - and of course that is nothing less than I would expect - for that is she. 

This a a sewing machine cover made from vintage Laura Ashley fabrics many of which were leftover bits from dresses that Caroline made while growing up in England. Underneath is her mother's vintage singer on which she learned to sew. (I should have taken a picture!)

On to the quilts. First off let it be known that although Caroline does the piecing by machine, she is a hand quilter at heart - so all of the quilts shown are exactly that.

This bed quilt (above) was made by Caroline when she lived in (Texas?). It came from a kit and although the colours "are what they are" (her words not mine) she says she enjoyed making the blocks and it is perfect for this bed which is in the guest room (which used to be her sunny sewing room - but that's another story).

This quilt was made to go with some curtain fabric she had from another era. It's only now when I see it that I realize she has a pattern with a pattern going on with the pink, aqua and ochre squares. Now aren't you a clever girl?

In looking at this quilt - I realise I need more details. I will have to link this entry to Caroline so she can tell me more. However irregardless of what she says - it has one element that I love to see in a quilt. The backing is a surprise...

I love the back of quilts that have a surprise - it's like getting a bonus quilt - 2 for 1! And you know I am always a sucker for a deal!

And now on to tea and DVD's... in which Caroline snips away at her biscuit quilt - and I whip-stitch  hexagons.

All and all a lovely afternoon - the only downside... too short!

(PS. Caroline has already emailed me to say the biscuit quilt is done and she is very with it - more pics to come).

UPDATE: Caroline's biscuit quilt all done!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quilt Galore! 2012 Heritage Park Festival of Quilts (part one)

So here are just a few of the many (many, many) photos that I took at the Heritage Park's 2012 Festival of Quilts. It was my very first time attending, and it was one of the best shows I have ever been to (Having said that - please be reminded that my "show experience" at this point in time is limited. Having said that I think it's a show that would stand up happily with the best). I bought a 2 day pass and I'm glad I did. Day 1 I went with my Mom and Day 2 I went with friends. Both afternoons were jam packed with quilty goodness - so yes you do need to make a weekend of it. (I suppose you could go full throttle from dawn to dusk in one day - but I wanted to pace myself).

One of my favourite quilts greeted me right at the entrance (above). I love the colours. The simplicity. The bold presence of the quilt.  I took alot of pictures of this quilt - and only now realise I didn't take a picture of it's show number for reference.

It's funny how you can be drawn to a quilt - and not understand why.The quilt above (#194) which was simply titled "Modifed Nine Patch."  It had a bit of indefinable quirkiness about it.  Once I read the creator's quilt statement I understood why.  It had 3 major components that I like: A: It's handquilted. B: It uses 1930's style fabrics and C: It's inspired by Gwen Marston's Liberated Quilts books.

Heritage Park is an immense historical village stretching over 127 acres ( right in the heart of the city). Quilts reigned supreme that weekend. This quilt (above) was hung on the veranda of the Prince House (noted for being haunted). The picture really doesn't do it justice. Inside the rooms were laden with quilts and hooked rugs (which were also part of the show). This happy sunflower quilt, was draped over the diningroom table (below).

Here is a gorgeous wool applique - both the full quilt and a close up ... (inspiration is "My Heart to your Hands.") The creator notes that she has used hand dyed wools!

And lastly (for today's installment) here is what I believe is a "One Block Wonder" quilt. There were 3 spectacular quilts (each using different colourways) that I believe used this technique. A few years ago I attended a mini seminar on how these are made and they are indeed a "wonder"... I was so impressed I bought the book... but.... well you know how it goes...

Well that's it for today. I think have enough photos and inspiration to keep my blog and my mind happily rolling along until next year's show!

Well - it's just after 9 am on Sunday morning... time to put the pedal to the metal and get sewing!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I've been charmed!

As in "moda charmed". I went to the festival of quilts last weekend (I was a real keener buying a weekend pass and going both days). It was one of the most inspirational weekends ever. I will be posting pics shortly but thought I'd share the news that I finally found out what all this 5 inch charm pack business is all about. I'm currently sewing up little nine patch squares with the intent if doing some sort of altered nine patch thing. More to come...