Big Week 10 Mar 2019

I’m not sure that they know what kind of propaganda they got, but the Transportation Department for the Town of Mt. Pleasant will hang, “Within a Half Mile of Home,” the walkability map in the reception area! It will replace a picture of a road (kid you not). Gil and I delivered the piece Thursday morning.

And if that weren’t enough, on Friday I finished the upcycling picture to submit to SAQA. This is a landscape built out of vintage linens and features the Ravenel Bridge. My plan was to recycle drawings of Charleston buildings, but that plan did not work; so I went with a silhouette of the town featuring church steeples. The silhouette is definitely application of artistic license–you don’t see these rooflines with this view. Applying the bridge cables (and only selected cables!) took most of a day to accomplish. They had to be applied in layers, background to foreground, zig zagged in place (using a tucking foot to keep the cords in place), and ends pulled to the back.

Goal for next two weeks:

Work on music mobius. Notes are cut out so first up is creating the staff. I made some changes in the anticipated materials because of the availability of fabrics with crosswise stretch which I am hoping will replace need for bias cut fabric.


Conner, Lindsay, ed. Visual Guide to Art Quilting. Published by Stash Books. E-book in Toronto Public Library collection.

This book reviews the whys and how-to’s of art quilting, with contributions by the who’s who of the art quilting world. The sections tend to be concise. There is a nice discussion of why to work in series, an extensive chapter on surface design techniques, and one of the most comprehensive chapters on finishing techniques that I have ever seen (almost worth purchase of the book). This is an excellent general book on art quilting because of the extensive coverage of various issues.

Things Happen 26 Feb 2019

The bridge picture is ready for stitching but the machine is not ready! Still at the shop waiting on a new knob.

A trial of the sketches (done for the möbius tour map) printed on paper and pinned to the picture revealed what should’ve been apparent all along that the cityscape needed to be in shadow. So I have created a silhouette for the background. I also prepared the bridge cables by zigzagging over “strings,” ribbon floss, and thread that were twisted together. By varying the strings, I changed the gauge of the “cable.” No more pictures of this piece until after submission and jurying.

Yesterday I did some fine tuning of the music möbius so that I can buy the final supplies when in NYC later this week. There is something holding me back from starting the work on this piece: Is it fear? It is physically large, with a lot of tedious cutting. The main strips, trim, and interfacing will be on the bias which will necessitate stabilizing all along the way. Sometimes you just have to take a breath and plunge in.

Goals for the next two weeks:

1. Finish the bridge picture and get it to the photographer.

2. Cut out the notes.

3. Cut out the little dresses for the NICU so that they are ready to serve as a break from music notes! The plan is to make 10 dresses and caps before we leave Charleston.

Keeping On Keeping On 16 Feb 2019

Just a quick progress note on the Upcycle project:  Have been glueing on bits for the sky (see below) and working on the bridge. The background is peach which will serve well for background of the sunset portion and adds liveliness to the sky portion. The second picture shows how I used cutouts from the cartoon to judge placement of the bridge parts.

The picture of the back of the bridge span (below) shows one method of removing Pellon tear away stabilizer from narrow channels by scoring it with the point of the scissors.(sometimes I forgot to remove before stitching the next lines!). This is the tear away with holes in it, #360 maybe? Generally it is a breeze to remove this stabilizer.

Goals for next week:

Upcycle project

  1.  Complete “first cut” of the picture.
  2.   Assemble drawing for skyline and try wax paper transfer.

Mt. Pleasant Town Art project:  Follow up on Walkability map.


Progress! But Always More to Do! Feb. 4, 2019

Today I was fortunate to be able to talk through the three projects with Lynne, an accomplished art quilter who lives nearby. She validated a couple of things I had in mind and asked some good questions about issues that were waiting to be sorted. Thank you, Lynne!

Progress last week

I figured out a general plan for the Upcycle challenge, drew a cartoon of the picture, and assembled all the vintage linens for this project. The due date on this is at the end of March, so it has to be the priority.

I probably spent more time on the music möbius because there are more technical issues. Another mock-up with the larger notes and printed words revealed that the song would end up pushing 15 feet in length! Which means that it would have to be hung from the ceiling because of the maximum size for a wall hanging.

What amazes me is that at every turn, there is something else to consider: Should I use tie interfacing for maximum flexibility instead of batting? Would that mean that all the fabric should be cut on the bias? Should only the key note of a particular segment be coloured? Lynne suggested using the words above or below the staff as in the original mockup; this could simplify things! But I need to make sure that the orientation of the words will be correct when the song is divided into the “wrong” and “right” side. Fortunately, I can use the original mock up to check on that!

I also selected an image for the Cherrywood Challenge and have ordered the batting to use with that. Of the three projects, this is the one that I would most like to work on–it’s a landscape to fit with the Bob Ross theme.

Goals for this week:

1. Begin piecing the Upcycle image.

2. Try a mockup to figure out whether the song can be divided into two “sides” for the music möbius.

3. Assemble drawings for Upcycle and try a transfer method for the Charleston drawings.

Worthwhile books spotted during a library shelf cruise

Ford, Joan. Cut the Scraps! A method for cutting and organizing your stash for facilitate quilting–and using up the stash!

Michler, J. Marsha. Crazy Quilts by Machine. There are patchwork methods for crazy quilting that were new to me (using patterns and confetti piecing). Best of all, there was a pattern for a table runner that might work well with the vintage linens. Michler has also written Crazy Quilting: A Complete Guide which is different from other authors.

A New Year Jan. 27, 2019

All the best in the new year to my friends and followers out there! I will miss the FaceTime contact with the group in London but hope that some of you will stay in touch through this blog.

Owing to a pesky virus, I am off to a late start. But started! My goal for the year is to get work juried into as many shows and venues as possible. A call for entry is a call for creativity and organization; responding avoids “messing around” with no discernible output!

The walkability map is finished and being photographed. Sorry, CEG, it won’t be back in Canada in time for the Open House! I will bring it for submission to the Quilts at the Creek Show (Black Creek Pioneer Village, July 27 and 28, 2019).

Goals for the week:

1. Finish planning piece for Upcycle!. Collage of vintage linens with recycled images of iconic Charleston buildings (drawn for möbius tour map) or Ravenel Bridge at sunset?

2. Mock up of music möbius to correct scale; placement of notes and words must be coordinated for the two “sides” so I will work them with the staffs one above the other. How long will it be?

3. Measure the cording selected for lines of staff. Do I have enough?

The Finish Line

The Walkability Map is nearly done, but resting. The legend and a major message of the map, “We Can Walk There,” became a “border.” For portability, I elected to make it quilt-like; the sandwich is assembled and quilted (just enough to hold the layers together). Still to do is a label, possibly a cartouche with the name of the town, and a binding. Since I wasn’t sure about some of those, this seemed like a good place to stop. Generally I like to come close to the finish, put the piece aside, and later pull it out and reflect on it. Sometimes you see or think of something later that was not apparent before. As long as you are not fast approaching a deadline, I think this waiting period is worth doing.


One of the bonuses of a big city is a big city library; in the Toronto Public Library there were SIX copies of a book highlighted by Mary Veenman: How to Make Hand-drawn Maps by Helen Cann. This book is a rich source of ideas and examples about map making. The author will often cite the work of someone else in discussing a particular kind of map but then show her own work as an example of that type. And Cann’s work is beautiful.

Because the holidays and some traveling are coming up, I will sign off until mid-January. It will be time to finish the walkability map and to continue working on the music piece. Happy times to all in the weeks ahead!

Little Things Mean a Lot

I’m not done with the walkability map! At the end of last week, I embroidered the legend and cartouche for the map which not only looked out of scale (the town name) but also amateurish and inconsistent with the mosaic approach.

After some experimentation with mosaic lettering (and deciding to leave that to the Romans), I decided to incorporate the legend in the border, typing the lettering on the computer and printing on Jacquard fabric. I’ve been fooling around with inner and outer borders. What finally seemed “right” required changes in width and fabric selection that were very subtle. And it takes a surprising amount of time to get there!

Meanwhile, my nephew okayed the layout of the music for another project. And I have been assembling the fabrics for the background–still more to acquire.

Having selected the photos for the BC landscape, I would like to sort out the composition and paint the background before we leave for SC. That way, there is clear direction when I sit down to work on it in January.

Goal for the week still is: Finish the walkability map!

My thanks to Larry Shackleton in Pickering for his diagnosis and treatment of my main machine! Thank heavens for warranties!

Small progress

“Not forging ahead rapidly” would be another way of saying it. I spent much of Wednesday getting my machine to the shop (with Gil asking, “Isn’t there any place in the CITY to take it?”). Larry changed the board (thankfully under warranty) while I shopped for fabric at a couple of nearby places! Gotta use your time wisely!

With the machine performing well, I have tested the legend and title for the walkability map; the design, machine lettering, and spacing has been determined. Determined does not mean easy! I will be sewing out the designs separately from the body of the map and then appliqueing it, trying to push all the right “buttons” as well as to keep breathing.

The shopping was directed at finding the fabrics needed for the rainbow background for the music piece. Yesterday, after a couple of tries, I settle on the shape of the pieces for the background. The arrary will require three colours per section which means more shopping is required! The stencil for the notes is waiting in SC so most of the work will happen there.

P.S. Saw the Anthropocene show at the AGO this week. These photos are stunning! And the message is powerful. Jennifer Baichwal is quoted, “The Anthropocene Project is a culmination of all the conversations we have ever had about art’s capacity to provoke change, as well as the merits and drawbacks of doing this experientially: to not preach, harangue or blame, but to witness, and in that witnessing, try to shift consciousness.” We can employ this approach in our textile work, including the maps!

Goals for the week

1. Complete the walkability map so that I can share with group in London next Thursday.

2. Send my nephew the music score to be sure that it is correctly spaced.

3. Look through the photos from BC to compose the next landscape.

Hit Pause

Forward motion on The Walkability Map has ceased as there is some gremlin in my sewing machine which prevents me from completing the legend. The only thing to do after the legend is maybe a border and/or neat lines which will set off the rest. I was thrilled to find out today that the theme of Quilts on the Creek, July 27, Black Creek Pioneer Village is “Map Your World!” And Valerie Goodwin is doing a workshop! Interested? See

Having completed a mock up of the music quilt, I am experimenting to figure out how to do it! Specifically how to make the notes. The bulbs are about 1/2” thick; with the stems, the notes measure about 1 1/2- 1 3/4” tall. Some ideas:

-appliqué—Having cut out cardboard notes this morning, I can’t imagine cutting these out of fabric unless it is non-woven interfacing. Maybe it would be easier with wonder under complete with paper on the back? Again, the size could be challenging for reverse appliqué.

-stamped—Am looking to see if the dollar store nearby has some fun foam to try this out. Stamps online are generally too small or there is not enough variety.

-stencil—this is possible but could be extremely tedious with the amount there is to do.

-transfer—not quite sure how to do this. Got some good prints from material on the internet.

-couched string/yarn. It is messy looking, but maybe if an embellishing machine is used to push it into fabric…

-sketched with sewing machine—also, messy looking

-use built-in embroidery patterns on the sewing machine. Picture stitching half a circle, leaving the needle in at the end, turning the fabric and stitching the other half. To get the parts to match it is essential not to put any resistance on the fabric at all. NONE. I have had wonderful support from the Bernina educator in Canada about how best to achieve the desired results.

-stitch outline and then paint it, or vice versa.

I would welcome other ideas!

Went to a SAQA pod meeting this morning and it was a wowser!

Goals for the week:

1. Keep experimenting on the notes.

2. Get the sewing machine fixed.

Moving on and Singing a Song

Progress report on Mt. Pleasant walkability map: The mosaic is finished. The marshy areas are indicated with a randomly placed machine embroidered stitch. Yet to be sewn is a motif for the golf course (good idea from classmates at Canadian Embroiderers Guild) and the bias circle around the highlighted area. I am working on design of the legend, will prepare it separately, and appliqué it.

Do Re Mi quilt: The mock up of the melody line is complete, measuring almost 13’. Thus far, I have been using music and lyrics available on the web but have noted discrepancies in the musical notation and spelling of the lyrics (“dear” not “deer” for example); in future I will be using published versions of the song in books from the library! I have sought expert advice on musical notation from our film-score writing nephew; doubtless he will be amused at the simplicity of my questions!

Meanwhile I have been on the hunt for ways and means of making the notes on fabric: Stamps, appliqué, embroidery. There are surprisingly few resources for any of those techniques; size and flexibility of use are the two main issues with any approach; many of the motifs are a cluster for decorative purposes. AccuQuilt has a die that yields the right size notes and I have a friend who has the GO cutter; maybe I could twist her arm to use the machine and add to her die collection? Last night I experimented with some built in embroidery motifs which might do the trick; the bulb of the notes would be comprised of back to back satin stitched crescents yielding a blob about 18mm deep. I am wondering why these motifs do not end up the same size, whether you sew in two directions or in one by mirror imaging.

Goals for the week:

1. Complete the walkability map except for applying it to batting (which I will do when it gets to SC).

2. Check the lyrics and music of the mock up against published versions of “Do Re Mi”. Make a mock up for lyrics embedded in the staff (Note: Technically this contravenes the definition of a moebius loop as words are uni-directional).