Sunday, October 21, 2007

We're off and running......

Joanie and I are off to Toronto to attend The Quilt auction at The Distillery District and see our " Girl Crazy" meet it's new owner, along with 50 other quilts that will go to loving new homes. I hope to take a few photos while there so will be posting soon with news of this fabulous charity event.

We're quite excited about it all, as when I put the last stitch in " Girl Crazy" and with much relief shipped it out of the studio, I had hoped in my heart of hearts that it might fetch $500. Cdn. Well, it is our understanding that the opening bid tomorrow night will be $ 450. And that does not take into account funds that have been raised via the tote bags and prints or the PR work it has done to raise the profile of the charity as the corset travelled across Canada.

We are over the moon about it's success and looking forward to schmoozing with fellow stitchers, prospective buyers and overall enjoying an evening of fun and laughter. A big thank you to all our friends and special appreciation to Dave and The DA for your love and support throughout this venture. We are truly grateful to all of you!

Watch this space for final results!

Long delay

Time has eluded me where blogging is concerned this past week or so. Contractors at the house have kept me on my toes more than I'd like and trying to get ahead on some studio work has been a priority as I will be more than occupied this next week. Lots of things happening right now as The Quilt auction, CEG guild program and Creativ Festival are all on this week. There will certainly be lots to blog about please hang in there.
I hope my American friends enjoy their time at Houston and my Canuck buds enjoy Creativ Fest.
Talk to you soon.....

Friday, October 12, 2007

More re Aquabond

Allie left a comment re the Aquabond and a few others have enquired via e mail. I do know that it was difficult to obtain here in Canada but then it seems we are always behind the old 8 ball when it comes to new products. Having said that, CEG workshop members went into a " group buy" and we found a supplier on the west coast,
located on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. They were excellent to deal with and not only did they give us swift and efficient service but also sent along lovely quality ball point pens for each of us with their compliments! I'm sure there must be a US supplier but the Stitches Quilt shop would not be too far Allie for you to deal with from your location if you had problems getting it elsewhere.
Here's some other information I've gleaned that might help:

Aquabond can also be obtained through Bernina dealers and it is called" Aquamagic Plus"

For Irene and others in the UK : Aquabond or Aquatic Bond can be obtained through Barnyarns
The clear soluble that you put on top of the Aquabond is also called Avalon Fix and it can be obtained through Madeira suppliers.

Also, one can use Solvy as the top soluble but it is a bit foggy looking as opposed to clear so not as easy to see through when stitching .

All of these items are cheaper by the yard or metre from the roll than in packaged forms.
I think a yard would go a long way unless you are planning a very large wall hanging.

I hope this is helpful to some of you who would like to play with this newer product and
I'd love to hear some comments in time from those who have tried this technique. I LOVE the fact you can hand stitch through it without needles getting sticky or having to force your needles through the fabric, thread layers.

Monday, October 08, 2007

"Girl Crazy" on it's final journey!

I visited "The Quilt Project" once more and checked out " Girl Crazy" before it went on it's final journey to Toronto. ( See my post August 21st). The " old girl" has held up exceptionally well and after a thorough examination of the piece, I'm happy to report it required no repairs or fix ups whatsoever. I guess triple stitching all those beads in place with silamide thread does pay off!

" Girl Crazy" has travelled across Canada and become quite the party girl so it's a credit to the terrific staff and amazing volunteers at The Quilt that the piece has been handled so well. Kudos to all of you and a special thanks from Joan and myself. It's been a blast working with you!

I enjoyed a lovely lunch with Debbie Deichert who is the Executive Director of the project and we excitedly discussed the upcoming auction ( October 23rd) in Toronto. " Girl Crazy" is now on exhibit at the beautiful venue of Casa Loma and will then head over to The Distillery District where it will meet it's new owner! Joanie ( my Mum and co-designer) is in fine fettle and it will be my privilege and pleasure to escort her to the auction where we plan to enjoy the fun and say goodbye to our " baby".

It seems most gals can't resist " trying on" Girl Crazy" and Carol Miller, the founder of The Quilt Project is no exception as she shows it off at a PR presentation in Stratford.

Deb tried it out too.......looking good girl!

Deb Deichert, Executive Director, The Quilt Project

Who knows who will be wearing her next? We have an idea who - so stay tuned as the auction draws near!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

More J & J workshop news

With three absolutely packed workshop days, there is really not enough space in the blog to relay all that went on but it was very stimulating and everyone was pumped up to the hilt.
Jean's latest craze ( besides her obsession with pavement and potholes) is pushing the limits on the embellishing machine. I always had reservations about the Embellisher as I wondered if it was really worth the investment. Having spent a couple of days with Jean ( who will embellish almost anything that comes within her grasp) I have decided to purchase one. Seeing firsthand what the machine is truly capable of and having thoughts of creating your own fabric is just far too engaging!
Jean has a piece of her embellisher work in the new book " Embellish and Stitch" by the late Val Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey. You can check it out via Maggie's blog I've just ordered a copy for myself so will let you know more about it first hand when it arrives. Maggie was invaluable to me and CEG London a few years ago when I was teaching mask making, by sharing teaching materials and helping me to track down the then elusive " softsculpt". Thanks again Maggie!
Jan and Jean also have a wonderful series of books ( and a couple of new ones coming out shortly) available through their Double Trouble Enterprises and they can also be obtained on this side of the pond through Barb at
A very special thanks to Jan and Jean for yet another fantastic visit with us. They had each and every one of us on stim overload and left our minds racing and our fingers itching to create!
While here with us, Jan and Jean stayed with Connie Jefferess, a highly revered and beloved member of our guild. All three were close friends with the late Constance Howard who was our guild patron for many years and it was wonderful that they could enjoy some quality time together while the workshops were going on. Below is a photo of Connie, Jan, Johnnene Maddison, our guild workshop convenor and Jean.

Notable quotes from the workshop:

"It's not what you have, it's what you do with what you have" - the late Constance Howard

"Life's too short and I'm too busy"- Jean, on cooking

"Some of you are too good and tidy for your own good" - Jean

" Make it atmospheric and textural not applique plonked on" - Jan on creating work on Aquabond

"Don't let your beads sit there like measles "- Jean, on adding beads as embellishments

Can you say stim overload?

Well I've been pushing the envelope time wise, creatively and personally of late. CEG London members spent a wonderful three days with Jan ( Beaney) and Jean( Littlejohn) and the time literally flew by. They introduced us to Aquabond, a new water soluble stabilizer which is a dream to hand stitch through. It comes with a paper attached which you remove to work on. The Aquabond itself is extremely sticky ( that is an understatement!) so make sure cats, dogs, kids, husbands etc. are far from your work area. You secure it to your worktable with masking tape so you don't stick to it and it doesn't move out of place while you are working on it. You begin by laying out threads,cords what you like in a grid like fashion on the sticky Aquabond. You can lift pieces off and re-appy if you so choose. Add heavier threads, strips of fabric, whatever takes your fancy. Then you place a water soluble light plastic ( Guillieta) over the entire piece and press into place. At this point, you can machine or hand stitch it together. I used a #14 Chenille needle ( as in honking great needle) so I could use heavier threads and wools to stitch through the sandwich using large cross stitches, Romanian couching, knotted cable, sorbello stitch to name a few. Even with the heavy threads and large needle, the needle just slipped through the AB like butter. Like other water soluble stabilizers, you absolutely have to make sure your stitches are connected or when you wash it away, your piece will disentegrate. We were all collectively holding our breath when it came time to wash ours, especially the hand stitchers. Fortunately Jan had been quietly inspecting our pieces when we least thought she had and was pretty much assured that they would all turn out and they certainly did. See below!

Aquabond samplers laid out

Jan critiquing our pieces

As is the usual case with our guild members, the work was very diverse. They are such a creative , talented group and it's a joy to see everyone's individual take on things. Many pieces had a lacy effect to them and others specific design layouts. I incorporated small pieces of fabric into mine and made mine more dense. I was seeking a forest floor /grassland type of thing. I left some threads intentionally long as I could not decide whether to cut them or not and didn't want to be disappointed later on. I added some pieces of silk rods and of course, beads. I will lay it over another piece of printed fabric when I get back to work on it. Jan refers to me as the " wayward one" as I always tend to do my own thing and push the limits when trying new things ( and some old ones too!). I really enjoyed this technique and definitely want to play with it some more.

The "Wayward One's" piece

The ever ebullient Jean