Friday, September 26, 2014


At the beginning of September, I showed a small whole cloth quilt top I was marking. It is a redesign of a previous piece. This one ( design called "Echo" ) is being done as a small white on white test/sample. This sort of stitching tends to be difficult to photograph, but these images might give you an idea of how it is progressing.

I am currently still in design mode and have created (on paper) several new designs which I am working to refine.....The one shown below is called "Grace"

finding myself in need of a portable project, I thought "Grace" would lend itself nicely to hand quilting.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Coloring Animal Mandalas

Coloring Animal Mandalas is the title of Wendy Piersall's book published by Ulysses Press. When asked, I happily agreed to review this book. My readers know that I myself, love to play with the mandala form and often include nature in the themes, so I thought this one just might be a fun book to explore.

Here is a look at the front and back covers

Lets start with the basics....the book measures 9.25" x  7.5" there are 31 different designs for your colouring pleasure, presented on crisp white pages. A really nice feature is the "lay flat" binding.

I used this as an opportunity to play with colour in a way I don't normally. I did not worry about careful colour choice/consideration....I just picked up pencils and went to it.  Warning!...colour riot ahead!
With these first two, I used colour pencils only....often closing my eyes when picking a colour, allowing myself to use colours and colour combos I likely would not have chosen on purpose  :-)  Kinda fun to see what happens as the colours begin to take their place, to mix, mingle, and play off each other. The process is rather meditative and somewhat addictive.
There are no instructions with this is, after all, a colouring book.....but I assumed it would be suitable for dry media only....I was wrong!!!!  Know how I know? because I decided to give some watercolour a go to see what would happen. I was certain the paper would crinkle and not withstand the wet media. I began by taping a piece of watercolour paper behind a page just in case it would bleed through (turns out that was probably not necessary)

I used cake watercolours as well as Inktense pencils with water...the page held up quite well...really quite well! and as you can see, I laid down a lot of colour.....everything used on this design was wet. I initially began rather timidly, using just a dampened brush, but as I progressed I used more and more wet colour, now, mind you....I don't think I would use any heavy "washes" but it sure handled the moisture I did throw on it. 

Some designs in the book are more elaborate than others......Lots of detail in each one. I think the Frog and Dragonfly was likely my personal favourite but in Coloring Animal Mandalas, you will find insects, elephants, seahorses, serpents, cats, birds, flowers, fish....and I said 31 different designs to enjoy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A is for Apple

With September being National Sewing Month & back to school time, Janome Canada is celebrating with "An Apple a Day" over on the Janome Life blog.  Something "apple" related is being posted
everyday this month.  I am quite happy to be one of the contributors and since I seemed to be in design mode anyway, I created a continuous line quilt design.

I did 3 actually, 1 pretty basic, another, just a little more challenging, and a third for those who want to take it a bit further.

So, if you are interested in these designs and want to try them for yourself, head on over to the Janome Life blog and grab my downloadable  PDF.  These free designs are printable and ready for you to play with....(even if you don't want to do free motion, you could adapt them for applique or perhaps have a fabric painting/colouring session).....hope you like them!

Of course, I couldn't just stitch the design, I also thought I was due for another round of playtime with discharge paste, mine is called, "de-Colourant". You can find out more about this product here
I have shown this technique before but here is a refresher. I traced the design onto a piece of freezer paper, pressed the freezer paper to my black cotton fabric,

then went to the machine, removed the bobbin as well as the thread from the needle and stitched along the design lines in order to make perforations. The next step was to brush on the discharge paste. once I was sure I had distributed the paste evenly, I carefully peeled off the freezer paper and left the piece to completely dry.

The final step was to hit it with a good hot iron using plenty of steam. The discharge paste had made its way through the perforations, once activated by the steam, this is the result.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Small Whole Cloth underway

I have decided to play with the design I recently re-vamped, the plan is to use it in a simple "white on white" wholecloth piece.
This will also give me an excuse to re-visit the use of those FriXion pens. I do like the way they glide so easily across the fabric and the fine lines they make, I worry about the lines reappearing at a later time. BUT, since this is not going to be a competition piece or a gift, it is an opportunity to "test" this out again.
I enlarged my design and have begun the process of tracing it onto white cotton.

Did you know that when you are tracing, you will find it MUCH easier and accurate if you use a broken, dotted or dashed line?

Copyright Jill Buckley