Thursday, October 30, 2008


Making fabric postcards are a great way to try out ideas. They don't take a lot of time or resources. Here are a few examples of postcards I have made resulting in asking myself "what if?" What would happen if I tried to use paints, rubber stamps and ink, T shirt transfer paper, how about a technique I've been wanting to explore? Even free motion stitches can be tested on a postcard. Most of all I just give myself permission to play.

Here I used an image from a stencil. I lightly penciled in the honeysuckle and then used watered down acrylic paint (nothing fancy) just the inexpensive stuff available everywhere.
The outlines are drawn with a fine tipped sharpie. Believe it or not it is actually washable after heat setting with an iron.
This is called "Painted Honeysuckle".

So how about rubber stamps? They seem to be everywhere but I did not want to spend a small fortune to find out if this idea would work. So it was off to the dollar store in search of supplies where I picked up a few small ink pads along with a stamp. Then I looked around my home to see what I had handy that could be used to make simple shapes.
I used the stamp I had purchased and placed it randomly on the fabric. The dots are made using the head of a screw & pen tops. The shapes that resemble flowers were made using the hardware that will hang your broom or mop. Once again I got out my trusty sharpie marker and did some outlining. This piece is also washable after heat setting.
I call this one "Playing with Ink".
I find it difficult to come up with names for my quilts so making postcards can also be good practice at giving your works a title.

How about using T shirt transfer paper? It also helps with your skills at the computer. Once I have an image I am happy with, I simply tell the printer that I am using a transfer paper and it will reverse the image for me. Follow the few simple instructions that come with the paper and you can do most anything.
For this one, I printed a number of quilt blocks, cut them out and ironed them onto the fabric, did a few quilted spirals and I was done. Since they are all star blocks
I have called this one "Seeing Stars".

A friend of the family ( who is a passionate quilter) was about to celebrate 60 years of marriage. She enjoys receiving a postcard from me now and then so I thought I would just have to make one to commemorate this event. I, unfortunately did not get a picture of the finished card before mailing it but here is the image I created, then transferred onto fabric just like Seeing Stars above.

What a great way to send a "one of a kind" greeting!

Of course you can take advantage of scraps of fabric just too lovely to toss away. Here I cut a spiral and some ray shapes, fused them to a beautiful batik to create some sunshine. I then put a layer of tulle on top of this so that I need not worry about the raw edges fraying ( although that might have looked cool too!) and added the machine quilting.
This was one of my 1st postcards I think I named it "Catching some Rays".

Don't forget all those novelty prints out there. Have you ever bought some thinking that they were kind of neat but really have no idea what you will actually make out of them? Well, with some paper backed fusible web and a little imagination you will soon find use for even the strangest prints you own.

Here I have just placed a few leaves on my fabric added a couple of rubber stamp images and then used a variegated thread for the quilting. I can not remember what this one was called.

This next one is a novelty print used with a twist. I know that you can use fusible web under fabric but what if I wanted to use it on top of one and under another?????
The fish and plant life were fussy cut and simply laid on the fabric, I then layered a fusible web the size of the entire postcard on top of them. Next came a piece of drapery sheer, with a Teflon sheet I pressed the whole works with a dry iron and the result gives a cloudy appearance which I thought was quite effective. This was "Catch of the Day"

How about trying a new technique? I have seen and admired shadow applique and thought it might be a good candidate for a postcard. The pieces of stem, flower and leaves were all placed on the 6 x 4 inch fabric and then a sheer layer was laid over them. I did a straight stitch around all of the elements and then just had fun trying a new free motion quilting pattern.
This is "Morning Fog"

I enjoy being able to play and not worry so much about trying to achive a perfectly finished piece. I am always happy to find a fabric postcard in my mailbox.

Monday, October 27, 2008

MyQuilts Part 6

This piece is called Earthbound. I was very pleased to learn that it had been accepted into The Grand National 2008 show titled Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, held at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.
This work is really the result of my wanting to know if I could create a somewhat larger, more complicated piece than I had done to this point using the top stitched curve piecing method I so enjoy.
The answer is YES I can.
I began with not much more than a doodle that kind of, sort of, looked interesting. I played and developed it into a reasonable drawing on 9" x 12" sketchbook paper. The image was then projected onto a large piece of paper which was taped to the wall and traced into it's current size. This image would be traced again so that I would have a second layer to "map" how each individual piece would be added.

If you are unfamiliar with this technique, let me explain the basic premise. Each piece is inserted next to another. Each piece is turned under on one edge and then is placed to allow it to overlap another so that there are never any exposed raw edges. So to be successful at this you must take the time before the first piece of fabric is cut and decide how you plan to insert each piece. Here on the right you can see pretty much the whole drawing as it lies on my cutting table.

Left is a close up view of the water area. The arrows indicate which edge I plan to turn under.
If you like jigsaw puzzles you most likely would enjoy this process. Quite often I would think to myself.........I"ll just go and put in a few pieces.........but it can become a bit addictive and you find yourself there for very long periods of time. The actual piecing alone took me 120 hours, add to that the drawing and redrawing, "mapping" which is quite time consuming, preparing it for quilting and the free motion quilting itself, this piece took close to or possibly even exceeded 300 hours in making. Knowing that, would I do another similar piece? You bet!

I also had the idea, ( since this was not yet complicated enough) that I wanted to put all of the left over bits onto the back of this quilt. I kept every scrap of freezer paper and fabric....If it was not large enough to be of any real use I chopped it up into tiny little bits and scattered it across the entire back, placed a layer of drapery sheer over and then made sure this quilt was basted very well in preparation for all the wrestling it was in for while I did the free motion quilting on my domestic machine.
Then a thought occurred to me. Uh Oh! Can I actually quilt through the layers of the quilt and all of that fabric and paper I just crammed on the back? I guess I will find out. Not wanting to risk making a mess of this piece I decided to make a small landscape with lots of seams close together similar to what I was working on, added all that garbage to the back and see what would happen when I quilted it.
It worked surprisingly well so I was able to get back to the business of completing this quilt. I am quite happy with the result.
If you have an interest in seeing the other works that were exhibited at this year's Grand National check out the online catalogue and for past exhibits visit
It was a fabulous show as usual with some of the most amazing works by quilt artists from across the country. I was thrilled to have the chance to be a part of it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The LFQG's Harvest of Quilts show 2008

WOW! I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the show. What an astounding array of quilts. The welcome desk was very welcoming..........yummy stuff in the tea room.........fabulous items on the tooney table and great shopping! I thought the slide show of the challenge pieces was a wonderful idea, talk about a mix of traditional with contemporary.

The talents and creativity of our guild members could be seen in every single quilt on display from the tiniest miniature to the largest bed quilt and everything in between. The comments I heard from those taking in the show were nothing but positive. I am so glad that I choose to become a member of this guild.

A lot of planning an effort goes into a show like this and it was evident everywhere you looked.
Great job up......... the next show is only 2 short years away.

My Quilts Part 5

I am still having a little trouble here................but I think I might understand what I am doing wrong so bare with me, I'm sure I'll figure this out sooner or later.

In March of 2008 I saw a call for entry for a block contest sitting on the back table at guild. I thought that sounded interesting but the deadline for submission was just 3 weeks away. Oh what the heck I thought I'd give it a shot. This competition was being held at Joseph Schneider Haus in Kitchener and was called A Greener Planet. It had to be an unquilted block measuring 12.5" x 12.5", made of pre-washed cotton, it had to include at least 1 piece of green and at least 1 recycled fabric.

This is my interpretation of the theme. I called this Positive Energy.
The block has 3 sections depicting renewable energy sources, sun, wind and water. My recycled fabrics were a piece of denim from some torn up jeans and some very soft flannel from a blanket that had become a rag that had just about outlived it's usefullness.

The blocks become the property of The Joseph Schneider Haus Museum. The quilt that is made from the blocks entered is used for fundraising and other charitable purposes.

This block received a lovely ribbon for honourable mention................I am so very pleased!
The best part about entering these sort of competitions is the feedback you receive from the judges. The positive comments give you such encouragement while the negative ones help you to learn so much about your own work.

I have been having trouble trying to put more than one picture in a post or even putting the image where I wanted it. That is why I have a separate post for each of my quilts but I think I have this thing figured out now. I'll go back to an older post and see if I can successfully insert an additional image.

My Quilts Part 4

Pictured here is a miniature piece called Glen Etive. This piece was done to enter into the 2008 "Wee" quilt challenge, Scotland Rocks held at McDougall Cottage.
I wanted to see if I could securely attach actual rocks ( well stones) to a quilted piece. Keep in mind that if the piece was accepted, ( this is a juried show) it would be required to hang from Easter until Labour day. I wanted to be sure that part way through the exhibit the rocks were not going to start falling off..............wouldn't that be a little embarrassing?
I used a small amount of stretchable flexible glue to hold them in place, I then put a layer of tulle over the entire piece. I began very carefully stitching by hand through all of the layers coming as close to the rocks as possible keeping the tulle as taught as I dare without tearing it. In some spots I even used a little clear nail polish on top of the tulle to help it "stick" to the rocks. Instead of batting for the inner layer I used a fairly heavy product similar to Timtex to support the weight. These "Wee" quilt challenges always involve the use of plaids and I did comply but you really need to look for most of them. There are 14 pieces of plaid scattered about.
It was an interesting piece to work on, it was accepted and to my great surprise it was awarded Viewer's Choice at the close of the show. Best of all none of the rocks fell off!
Use of the image for Glen Etive was generously granted by Douglas Ritchie, the photographer.

This is a photo of the welcoming door to McDougall Cottage. It is a stone cottage surrounded by a lovely compact garden with incredible landscapes painted on the upper walls and ceilings of it's interior.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Quilts Part 3

I am still trying to learn how to do this blog thing so hang in there.
Above is a piece I call Siren's Song. Last year at guild we were all given a fat quarter of Laurel Birch's Ocean Songs print and were told that we could create any quilted item we chose but that we must use this fabric. I decided that the real challenge for me was going to be incorporating this wonderfully bright coloured fabric with what lived in my sewing room. ( Bright and colourful would never describe my stash) I am proud to say that only 1 fabric was purchased to complete this piece, all of the fabrics were already in my home. The fabric I purchased is what was used for the hair. This is actually a floral print but when I saw it I knew immediately that it would work perfectly for what I had in mind for my mermaid's flowing tresses! In creating Siren's Song I took the opportunity to learn a few more techniques. There is a small amount of hand applique, more curved piecing ( I really really enjoy using this technique) The mermaid's face was first drawn with pencil and then a pigma pen but it just did not have any pizazz so I began stitching the details of her face with my machine. I used the vivid colours of our challenge fabric to create the body of the mermaid but it was still so bright. I covered the entire piece with a layer of gold/brown tulle to help "tone" it down just a bit. I cut out a few of those crazy smiling fish and raw edge appliqued them on. I pieced together a little seahorse and added a bit of beading. The piece was then free motion quilted.
This was an extremely fun piece to work on.
All of the entries for this challenge were assigned a number and ballots were cast by guild members for viewer's choice.........when the votes were tallied Siren's Song was awarded 1st place. To see a slide show of all of the wonderful pieces entered, click here

My Quilts Part 2

At the January 2007 guild meeting I learned of The "Wee" Quilt challenge being held at McDougall Cottage in Cambridge. This seemed like a great opportunity to try entering something for competition. I decided that I would try to make a suitable piece to enter. The theme of the show was Heather Hillsides. It was to be no larger than 24" x 24" and had to contain at least a couple pieces of plaid. Entries were due March 1st so I had little time to waste. This is Viking's Bane. I again used the top stitched curve piecing technique to create the small landscape in the background along with the thistle and garden in the foreground. I was having a great deal of trouble finding the plaids I wanted to use for this piece
( every one I saw was just too big in scale) so I used my computer and printer to create the plaids in just the right size and colour that I felt I needed. I designed a continuous line quilt design of thistles and leaves for the border stitched with a variegated thread.
I was delighted to hear that this piece had been accepted into the show, so I am sure you can image how thrilled I was to learn that Viking's Bane had been awarded Best In Show and at the close of the show it had also been honoured with Viewer's choice.

My Quilts Part 1

This one is called Learning Curves...........I was just finishing the hand quilting on this piece when I attended The London Friendship Quilters' Guild Show in the fall of 2006.
It was then that I decided to join this guild. I find there is so much to learn and see at each and every meeting. Learning Curves was done in 9 sections and then the sections were joined together in the same method used for quilt as you go quilts, I wanted to learn to do top stitch curved piecing so that was what inspired the original design of the border on the back of this quilt, this was also my first hand quilted piece. I discovered that I really enjoy the hand quilting process, more importantly I learned that a quilt made entirely of Batik fabrics is a poor candidate for hand quilting. ( Although I must say I am not at all unhappy with my stitches)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Toy sewing machines

On the side bar you find find a slide show of some of my collection of toy sewing machines, I started with 1 about 5 years ago and it has grown to just over 70. It is amazing to see just how many different ones are out there. What I have is just a small sample of the toy machines that were made through the years.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My first post

Blogging is a new concept for me. I have absolutely no clue as to what I am doing just yet but I have never let that stop me before. I have found many blogs to be intriguing and inspiring. What will I bring to this forum?...................I do not know. I will just have to see where this leads.
Copyright Jill Buckley