Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tying up loose ends

Many who just came to this country asked how I managed to survive being here for four years.

My answer to that is, guess what? Quilting.

Meeting up weekly with my cherished quilting friends, sometimes at two places, sometimes three. My days get filled up pretty quickly.

I am really grateful for the wonderful people I've met here and my circle of friends have been extended just from quilting.

Especially important in a country where I live at the moment where women may not be as free as they normally would be else where. Lets face it, sure yes there are many things we women could do over here, more than what people think, but you'd have to be really brave to be able to venture out all alone. But to have friends who can show you the way, share their knowledge, speak the language, thats something else altogether.

I haven't started on any new projects but has decided to finish up all my old ones.

Many friends had asked me why I didn't put up my quilts for show in my house. I didn't have an answer to that. I never got round to showcase my work. I just didn't think of doing it. My joy was in making them. I didn't even know or for whom I sewed them. Just that I wanted to learn something new, a new design, pattern or class. Put the fabrics together and sewed them.

Which was why I was never in any hurry to finish them up properly!

This stained glass quilt took me 3 years in total to complete. It started 3 years ago, when I was taking a class with Evelyn, Joy and Alice. Eva was there too. Somehow I did two blocks and then decided to put it away.

Then the following year in the guild, Jean, who was the President of the guild that year presented a president's challenge. Her challenge was to finish a UFO.

I was pregnant with DD then and was determined to finish the quilt top. At the end of the guild meet year I managed to finish up the top.

In the meantime, Joy who had moved to Jubail, told me that she met a lady who could quilt it for me. Which was a godsend for me at that time so I sent the quilt through Joy to Jubail to have it quilted by Nora at Craft Kingdom.

The quilt came back, I was happy with it, sewed the binding on but didn't finish the hand stitching.

Childbirth and a new baby just made me forgot that I didn't finish this quilt. Until two months ago that is. I don't know what got into me. I decided that I will not start on a new project but to finish up all my unfinished quilt.

And I took this quilt out. It had been hibernating for awhile on my shelf. I finished the hand stitching on is binding and submitted it for the end of the Guild meet year quilt show.

At the moment I am finishing 3 other projects. A braid pattern table runner, I am quilting the tessellation stars and tying up the loose threads for my tessellation pinwheels.

Lets hope it won't take me another 3 years!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And we sewed

When we learned that one of the ladies whom we sew with on Wednesdays will leave for good in July, S@linah suggested that we make her a quilt.

At first we thought we'd do a friendship quilt sort of thing, one block per person and we will put the blocks together in a quilt.

Then I remembered 2 tubes of what supposed to be a water colour heart quilt. A project I started 2 years ago and left in the drawer sewn, uncut and unpicked. (The project requires unpicking much like the bargello quilt style.)

So I recommended to the ladies that we did a watercolour heart project and I will project manage the quilt. Just that we have to commit to meet until the quilt finishes.

We met 3 days, one day to do the unpicking and piecing together for the top. Another day to attach the binding. And the final day to sew the label.

I worked on the quilt 2 additional days, one day to sew the tube and cut into strips and another day pinning and quilting the top.

S@linah spent one day handsewing the binding.

Everyone had their own role. Sa@diah and Nor@ helped with the unpicking and the piecing. Abeer sew the paper pieced heart for the label. Anees was in charge of the label.

5 days isn't bad for a group work.

And the result, gave us inspiration to work on our quilts together from now on. Abeer suggested that starting September we will start sewing one quilt per person each month. The owner of the quilt will choose fabric and pattern and we will all work on the quilt for that month. The following month, it will be another person's turn to have their quilt sewn together by us.

It seems so much more fun that we sewed the quilt together!

I call it a quilt tontine.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Seven Random facts

Nour tagged me.

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Here are the 7 random facts about me:

1)I am addicted to both books and fabric. Can't tell you which one I am more manic about.

2) I did English Literature back in University.

3) I am reading 5 books at the same time. Someone asked me how I could concentrate reading 5 books at the same time? Well point no 2 trained me to do this. I could extract the necessary information I want from that page and file them somewhere in my mind. Its not just merely about remembering but more about understanding!

4) I was told I am intuitive. Didn't recognize or paid attention to it before but now I am trying to listen to my heart again.

5) For the longest time I thought I was 26. Nowadays I feel 32. I need to calculate my age by counting!

6) Japan, its food and culture interest me, can't tell you why or how, I just do. The best trip I made was to Kyoto by myself. Love it. I feel so at peace there.

7)I love the mountains more than the sea. Something I discovered when I lived in Calgary and made numerous trips to the Canadian Rockies.

I don't know if I have 7 people to tag. Can I tag a person 7 times instead?

2) Joy
3) Joy
4) Joy
5) Joy

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tutorial with Sue Kanamoto

We were privileged to have been invited to Sue's home where she showed us how she went about creating her masterpiece. Tittled "Patterns of Transformation" her quilt is full of rich details.

For me her quilt was not just another quilt but rather a painting made with fabric. I did ask her what was her inspiration for the quilt and she told us that she had the 2 ladies sitting around in her sewing box for over 20 years and wanted to do something with them before they frayed too badly to be used.

If you looked closely, the cliff edges behind the ladies were actually taken from a fish fabric! Such was the ingenuity Sue showed with the selection of her fabrics.

We asked how Sue went about selecting the fabrics for the different textures, she said the fabrics chose themselves. She didn't necessarily pre selected them but rather they took a life of their own.

Sue started the quilt by sketching out the picture on the table.

She then traced the area she was working on with wax paper. And cut of the shape of that sketch.

At this time, she already has a fabric in mind, and then proceeded to iron the wax paper on the fabric, on the right side ie on the top of the fabric.

She then trimmed the fabric around the wax paper shape, leaving an allowance of about 1/4 " all round.

Note that the wax paper is ironed right side up.

Then she snipped the fabric around the wax paper at regular intervals to help the fabric turn in easier since the shape of the wax paper does have a lot of curves.

Then the fabric is turned down to ensure that they will lie flat rather easily.

Repeat the steps for the corresponding shape and fabric that you will attach this part to. Sue numbered the pieces to help her remember which piece goes where because after a while you may find that you are working with what looks like jigsaw pictures. When in doubt she returned to the sketch and compared the shapes.

After making sure that the two pieces fit together, she pinned the two.

And started sewing. She used a looped stitch.

I did start with something while I was there but my sewing room is in a mess at the moment. Will put up my work as soon as I start working on it again.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Silver lining

I havent had the chance to touch my sewing machine the past couple of weeks due to my current hobby of attending cooking classes with Chef Marianne Mussi. I attended 2 so far, a three course meal class and a chocolate themed class.

I am truly grateful that my DH is very supportive of my hobbies. Be it cooking class or fabric.

I've been busy preparing the house for the arrival of my in laws. Hence the rush to get proper storage space to minimize the clutter, that had built up since their last visit, in the guest room. Very timely actually because I had been procrastinating the trip to IKEA for ages. We finally bit the bullet and went and got the shelves we wanted as well as 2 tables. One for our office and the other for my sewing room.

I have left my sewing room as the last item in my list and look forward to arranging it tomorrow. Truth is I have more fabric than I do have the space to accommodate them. I bought more fabric than I did sew. My weakness really.

With the new table I hope to set up the laptop and my Bernina embroidery module. I was extremely excited when we managed to make Ev's work about 2 weeks ago. It took us 3 heads and about 2 hours. I was very excited.

SO things are shifting towards the right direction. I just need the concentration and the inspiration to put my sewing room in order such that my creativity will be released and I'd be sewing again in now time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What have I been up to?

I've been gone for a long while haven't I? Been to dubai and came back. Sewed a quilt for the challenge. And here it is!

The Elements

Here's my Quilt story:

When I saw the challenge fabrics, the first thing that came to my mind was earth and fire. My challenge was to present the two elements that the fabrics bring to me in a context that represented Reflections, the theme of the quilt challenge.

I decided that a convergence quilt would clearly illustrate how elements in our natural world can come together in a quilt. With inspiration from my daughter who loves the butterfly fabric, my quilt depicts the reflection from a window; of how fire, earth, nature, sky, wind and water come together.

This is my first attempt at doing a full on free style quilting. My previous attempts had been mainly with stitch in the ditch. My experience at the Dubai Quilt show became the inspiration and the push factor for the free style quilting. I also purchased a considerable amount of rainbow thread which helped bring emphasis and beauty of freehand quilting.

This is the first quilt I managed to finish in the past two years since my daughter was born, was well as the first one I finished with my Bernina Aurora 440QE.

Thus I dedicate this quilt to my beautiful daughter, may her life will always be filled with beautiful memories.

A special thank you to Nour for the picture.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Serious quilter?

A couple of people (non quilters) had remarked that, "You are serious about your quilting."

I heard the remark and let it sink in. What does it mean to be a serious quilter?

Perhaps I should say that one commenter noticed that I "went sewing" on New Year's Day. I didn't realize it was New Year's Day when I made prior arrangements. We meet up every Tuesdays and that Tuesday was not going to be any different. Afterall I was in good company. The activity is stimulating, the conversation almost always interesting and the things I learn from my quilting friends are valuable, mind you not just about quilting techniques but life lessons as well.

And nobody's going to look at me funny when I tell them about my frustration of not being able to sew or not getting corners meet. For us going out buying fabric is a good reason to congregate and hangout.

Not all of them share my zeal when it comes to pre washing, ironing and starching fabric. But the moral support from fellow quilters and how much they are willing to share information is phenomenal.

I cannot honestly call myself a serious quilter because I don't enter competitions nor do I even sew enough to qualify as one. I didn't finish a whole quilt last year. Only a top. But yes I am passionate about quilting. I can spend hours with my fabric, arranging them, looking through books and patterns looking for inspiration, surfing through other quilting blogs for ideas and inspiration. I trawl through the net looking for a manual for my sewing machine. I make my DH drive for a couple of hours or 3 so that I could get the needles and the feet I needed.

For me quilting is not about making a blanket for use in cold winter nights. Quilting is about a work of art. I put my heart and soul together in different colors of fabrics to create something with my hands. It makes me aspire to try new things. It allows me to translate or recreate something I have seen into something I have made.

Quilting is part of who I am, it is what I do and what I love. My passion.

Now I just have to figure out a way to make money from my passion.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Finally my sewing machine is seeing some action. I haven't used it for so long that I forgot how to adjust the speed!! Shame on me!

At the moment I am working on the following:

1. Lone Star project, thanks to Ev@lyn. I stared this project I think 2 years ago but abandoned it. Goos time to pick it up again I guess.

2. My challenge quilt. I have to start and finish it soon!

3. Crumb quilt. I am getting a bit obsessive about not throwing out any form of scraps! At first I kept the crumb/scraps for The Little One's collage. Just something to keep her busy while I sew. Then I saw Kumiko Sudo's pattern about Temari balls and I wanted to do one. [She had used scraps and crumbs at the center or heart of the temari balls.] ANd then I saw Patti's tutorial about crumb quilts and I am inspired to do one!

3. My demo for AWC
At first I thought I'd just do Hidden Wells because I had done the demo for the Guild last year. Then I remembered that some members found my handout confusing and thought perhaps I should do a new one. I tried using Excel to do the new one but got stumped. So I thought why don't I sew a new one and take step-by-step pictures and put the pictures in the handout. But my camera is missing! I have been looking for it for the past 2 days with no luck!

I have started cutting new strips of fabrics for the demo.

But now I am thinking perhaps I should just do a Rail Fence demo instead.

I am undecided!

I still need to buy felt to be used as a design board. I should look at the location and start planning for my demo! Do I need to construct my own design wall?


4. My demo for the Guild

I had an idea of what I wanted to do but changed my mind about doing it because I don't want to reveal my challenge quilt pattern.

I guess I can fall back on the scrappy quilt I made last year but I am not sure if I will add value to the members who show up. Is it good enough for them?

Or perhaps I can take up a theme of scrappy quilts for the evening. Which means I have to sew up the quilt prior to the demo. Argghhhhhh.

Hence I started sewing the crumbs scrappy quilt.

5. Autumn leaves paper piecing
I saw the pattern awhile back and thought that perhaps I would like to do it someday. Ev@lyn has a class but I couldn't really go because I thought it would be too much for The Little One for me to be out 2 evenings in a row in the week. But I went ahead and bought a package anyways. Because I love how she put different fabrics together and I thought that since its a package I don't have to wreck my brain and my stash deciding what colors to put together.

6. BOM from the Guild
I spent one hour sewing the blocks the other day. I am still behind. They are on the 5th month now but I've only done 1.5 months. I have to catch up! I have decided that any design with small triangles in them are too taxing for me. [Which was why I started on the crumbs scrappy quilt project.] It was my own "anti accurate triangles" sewing movement hahahah.

And with every moment I sew I feel guilty that I am not spending my time with The Little One. Perhaps I should have brought her to the play park myself instead of sending the nanny to send her there?

Am I missing out watching her develop and play while I devote my time to some sewing?

But it is thoughts like this that caused a halt in my sewing the past few months. I feel guilty that I spent all the money acquiring the "other baby" and then just letting it sit in front of the window to collect dust.


I am just so torn into so many directions!