Monday, December 24, 2012


Everyone seems to be in such a  just taking time to doodle

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fold - Stitch - Dye

Last week, I decided to try something different. Did I have a clue what I was doing? absolutely not....never let that stop me, not knowing exactly what will happen IS what makes it FUN!
I took a piece of cotton and folded it just like I do the paper for making those papercut snowflakes. What I did then, was thread a needle with heavy thread (jean's thread actually) then I randomly began stitching through all those layers, pulling it all up good and tight, creating lots of deep creases.

Soaked the piece in a soda ash solution and then placed it in a ziplock bag with some dye

After, batching, rinsing, removing the stitching and unfolding......this is what I got.

Not fabulous, but interesting all the same. I think I know where I may have gone wrong and will definitely try this a little "ink blot" thing happening  :-)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quilting....Free Motion, continued

In my last post, I talked about some of the basic steps I take when doing free motion quilting. In this post I thought I would share how I decide "what" to quilt.
It really depends on the quilt itself, if I am working on a utilitarian quilt, I will generally use simple shapes, stencils, feathers or basic meander. I let the size and purpose of the quilt dictate what I choose to do.

But art quilts are a different matter, art quilts tell a story and I want the stitching to continue the story. Below are some examples of ways that I use stitching to compliment the images on my quilts.

Sometimes I just add a little something in the background....can you see the spirals that break up the stippling?

pebbles stitched using pastel variegated thread kind of looks like snow
Simple "echo" stitching is often a great choice when you just want the stitching to stay in the background

Carrying an  image in your stitches out into the border  adds interest and continues the story. Here the roots spread out into the border.
In between the roots, I wanted the feel of earth, jagged, uneven stitching, pebbles and stippling worked well.
wavy lines and bubbles surround these turtles for a watery feel
This is another example trying to get the feel of the movement of water
sky.... gentle breezes

Sometimes, it can be as simple as following the pattern of the fabric, for excellent effect.

I just noticed....this is my 300th post.....Wow...have I really have that much to say?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quilting.....Free Motion

I have noticed that as I continue to produce quilts, more and more time is spent on the actual quilting. The quilting, the addition of those stitch lines, has become my most favourite part of the whole process. I am aware that there is a lot of information out there regarding the subject of free motion quilting, but I believe everyone needs to develop a way of working that best suits them. I thought I would share a few things that I feel are key to success in my quilting.

I think one of the biggest myths is that you need to go  FAST,  that is simply not so, you need to be in CONTROL. You need to develop a rhythm where your hands are moving in sync with the speed at which you are running the machine. It takes time to find it. It doesn't happen overnight. It does take " practice"  but not just grabbing a bit of quilt sandwich and stitching with no really won't learn a lot from that. you need to actually "quilt" the more you quilt, the more you will learn and the better you will get. Most of the newer machines allow you to adjust your speed, try experimenting with different settings until you find something that is comfortable for you, something that feels right.

A topic I often hear discussed, is what music to listen to while quilting......I do NOT listen to any music at all. I listen to my machine. I almost "zone out"  as I stitch at a steady rhythm, I am extremely aware of the sounds the machine makes and will know immediately if a problem begins developing on the underside.

If you have " Needle Down" function. use it. As soon as I have pulled the bobbin thread to the surface, I engage the needle down feature, I essentially take 1 stitch in place before moving and do this every time I start and stop to ensure I don't get any jerky stitches...the goal is a nice smooth line.

When I quilt, I put my machine up on top of my cutting table so that I have a large surface to support the quilt, no pulling or dragging from the weight of the quilt is extremely important.

Finally, where to look when you are stitching, you need to know where you are heading and have your eyes focused there. Do not look at the needle, instead, look ahead, follow the line (even if only imaginary) with your eyes and your hands/machine will move in the same direction.

I plan to do another post later, about how I decide what to quilt, sometimes what you choose to quilt can make all the difference

Friday, November 23, 2012

My latest article

As the Artist in Residence for the Canadian Quilters' Association, I design and write articles for The Canadian Quilter. The Winter 2012 issue is out and contains my latest article. This time, I choose to talk about designing and provided an exercise in creating your own designs.
I had to include a shot of the cover. That quilt that appears on the cover, was created by 4 very talented ladies as a group project. It is an absolutely amazing piece.

Below, is the quilt I made for this issue, it is a small whole cloth piece 30" square. I showed how to mark (or not mark rather) those circles. here .......and ..... how I basted it, here

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cutting Paper Snowflakes

Edit:  Video added

I am often asked about my paper cuts, many of you would like to know how I go about doing them.

I begin with a piece of paper that measures 12" x 12" which is then folded......there are several sites that show how to create paper snowflakes, you can see the folding steps here

Fold (you will notice in the following photos that the excess at the top gets cut away)
 I then draw the image I want to repeat. It will need to fit onto one section of the folded paper
 I unfold the paper and using a light box, transfer the image onto one section, then refold.

 I use a set of mirrors to see exactly what I will get once I have finished cutting

The tools I use
Staples hold the layers tightly together, punched holes allow for easier maneuvering of the scissors.

Now, I am ready to make those cuts, small sharp scissors are an absolute must!

More cuts are made...... notice that I am cutting so that I always have something solid to hold on to.

I am showing you lots of photos so you can see that I "plan" each cut

Cutting is complete

Carefully unfold. It is delicate and must be handled gently

Once I have it unfolded, I use a dry iron to press it flat. This one has 12 sections and is made up of birds and bees. Whatever you choose to draw, you need to be sure that everything is "connected" otherwise it will all just fall apart.

Here is a video of the whole process

Below is a sampling of some other themed papercuts I have created using this same method.

Even though I had been designing this way, it had not occurred to me to cut snowflakes until I had taken a workshop conducted by Kathy K Wylie.....she takes "snowflakes"to a whole other level.
If you seriously wish to create your own unique snowflakes and want to learn how to translate them into fabric, I suggest you get yourself a copy of Kathy K Wylie's book, Sewflakes

Friday, November 9, 2012

Anne-Marie's Prize

Recently, I celebrated my 3 year Blog-Versary by having a giveaway...the prize was to be an original doodle by me...........the winner was Anne-Marie (no blog). She asked me to draw a frog, I did, and sent it off to her. I had not shown it yet, because I wanted her to be the first to see it. Yesterday she let me know it arrived, so here is a look at her very own frog.
So glad she liked this.....She sent me an email and I just had to share part of it with you....Anne Marie says
"This is one froggin' awesome doodle! I love everything about it: from the pattern on the back to the funky legs and the sharp eye! It looks like it's about to jump out of the frame!"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Zentangle or Doodle

This book, Joy of Zentangle arrived at my home yesterday.

I was made aware about a month ago that I was listed as a "contributor" (ah, don't get is just a photo of pieces created using this doodle) no instructions....just a photo and my name.

The work shown, was originally published as a project in this book in 2010

In Joy of Zentangle, the history and philosophies behind  Zentangle and it creators is fully described.....In fact, it even goes so far as to tell you the difference between Zentangle and a mere, having read this, I can tell you for certain, that I just doodle.... I do not Zentangle.   I show what it is that I do, here

Apparently...."Doodling is mindless, and the end result is not always a piece of art. The Zentangle method is mindful and the end result is always a piece of art."  this is a direct quote from the book, btw.

I won't go into all of the descriptions of how Zentagle was born, or how using it can "change your life" (another direct quote.) I will say that, while I did learn some things about Zentangle, I am also left a bit confused. There are "official" tangle patterns......uh....really???? patterns that have been used for centuries.....look at them and tell me you have not seen these in antique quilts, medieval tapestries...yadda yadda....ya-duh!

The book does walk you through the steps to drawing 101 tangle patterns, has very nice instructions on how and where to add shading, as well as tricks to getting wonderful depth and dimension.

So....if you want to Zentangle.....find some Zentagle books or take a sure your teacher is CERTIFIED!!!!  apparently you must go to Providence, Rhode Island, take a 4 day seminar from it's creators to become a CTZ (Certified Zentangle Teacher)....whew....I am getting thirsty.....pass the kool aid.

Even though my work is often referred to as, or compared to Zentangles.....I have always maintained that what I do is nothing more than doodling......oh... and I have an eraser and I know how to use it   :-)

Monday, October 29, 2012 like free? Right?

Now that I have your attention....let me explain how you can get some free eyewear. Yup.....I said FREE!

I am not one to go to the mall.....I am really not much of a “shopper”. Now, shopping on-line? well that is a whole different matter.........On-line shopping is such a convenient way to access goods and services and it appears you can purchase just about anything this way. I had no idea that you could get prescription glasses through an on-line source until I was contacted by Firmoo. I was asked if I would like a free pair of glasses in exchange for an honest review of their product and service....well who doesn't like something for free? Want to know how you too, can receive your first pair for free? You will want to check out Firmoo's First pair FREE for new customers program

Let me share with you, my experience, I went to the site and looked around, it was actually quite fun to “try”on the many pairs of frames available. It was super easy to set up an account, just an email address and password is needed, then you can upload a photo of yourself so you can see how the frames will look on you. The way the site works is that you choose your frames, put in your prescription information and then from a menu, choose the additional options such as lens thickness, coatings, etc You are basically able to customize your glasses and order exactly what you want, all of the prices are right there for you to see. No “hidden”costs. The site set up is extremely user friendly and walks you through every step. Have questions? the FAQ page should hold most of the answers. There is lots of information available to ensure you are able to order the correct size for your needs.

Once I had provided the necessary information, I was told by customer service that my order would be processed and that an email would arrive to confirm the shipping date. My eyewear was ready in just a few days, I received an email telling me that my order had been shipped and sure enough it arrived in just under a week.
So...from a few clicks of the a knock at the door and my glasses arrived, well packed along with a few accessories.

I ordered my new glasses to use specifically at my computer. I wear progressives most of the time but they drive me crazy when I am at the computer as I would have to hold my head at just the right angle, well no new glasses put an end to that annoying problem.

I am very pleased with my experience at, I plan to go back to see about ordering another pair, but with progressive lenses.....I have been checking them out and the cost is a fraction of what I have paid in the past at those well dressed eye wear stores.....why pay for the fancy lighting and decor?....I just want glasses that fit well and allow me to see properly.

My new glasses are terrific! hey and I think they look pretty great too!

yeah......this is knew I wasn't really a Rat.....didn't you   :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Drum Roll please........

The winner of an original Quilt Rat doodle is....... Anne-MarieB 

She will get her choice of what she would like me to draw for her ........congrats Anne Marie, an email is on the way. 
I just can't put up a post without a photo, so I thought since Halloween is just around the corner I would do a new aren't bothered by spiders....are you?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blog-versary.......3 years and counting

I became a blogger 3 years ago. Like many of you, my blog is really just a place to track my progress, to be able to look back and see the evolution of my work. In the beginning, I did not even know how to upload a photo. It has been a terrific learning experience and along the way, I have met some fabulous people and have been presented with several exciting opportunities. I enjoy having this spot to share my "eureka" moments and am always delighted by your comments.

I know some of you have found me just recently, while others have been visiting right from the very start.

I think 3 years, needs to be celebrated, don't you?........perhaps a giveaway is in order?......the prize????.....well my doodles seem to be popular so how about if I offer to do one just for the winner?
To enter, leave me a comment telling me what you like best about visiting my little corner of the Net.

I'll choose the winner next weekend........if you win,
what would you have me draw????

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quilt Circles without Marking

I like the look of circles in quilting. When doing a pebble type background fill, random sizes look best, BUT if you want your circles to be the same size, and you don't want to measure and mark each is what works for me.
I use these sticky dots, they come in several sizes. I just eyeball a line of them, stitch around each one, then peel them off and reposition them to another spot so that they can be used many times.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

a little behind

it seems that I have fallen a little (well, quite a lot actually) behind in keeping up with the Creative Prompt Project. Jaye over at artquiltmaker is still enthusiastically offering up prompt words each week as a way to boost our creative thinking. I thought perhaps I was due to post one

Word #175 is Needle. Check out this huge needle I idea what it is used for (sails maybe) it is marked England and is incredibly sharp.
looking at it beside some normal sized tools made me think that it might require a larger needle threader.

and where do we tend to store our sewing needles?.......... how about this pin cushion?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Printing on Fabric ......continued

 Note*  if you are looking for information on printing fabric with an inkjet printer and or, a homemade Bubble Jet Set solution......please click on the "Tutorials" tab above

Once you have printed on fabric using your inkjet printer the pieces will need to be rinsed.  I left my printed pieces overnight before rinsing. I use a little bit of Retayne in my rinse water to help set the ink. Here is a look at a piece in the rinse bath......I wanted you to see that there is no ink floating about. 

For the photos that I printed in sections I wanted to be certain there would be no distortion, so I sewed them back together before rinsing

Here you see that hockey player image immersed in the rinse bath. That cloudiness you are seeing, is the soda ash dissolving.

I added some borders, note that after rinsing the colours have remained strong.

this small quilt is about 20 inches square, so it is a great candidate for pin basting with those little foam bits I talked about here

Some of you may recognize this image. Occasionally, I agree to do a presentation/trunk show and am not always able to do a slide show, I was looking for a way to show some pieces that I no longer own. I know it not the same as the "real" thing......but viewers will be able to get a sense of the original design.

I have printed a few different images so that I can make quick "replicas"

Copyright Jill Buckley