Friday, 31 May 2013





I had such fun with this and after many thoughts and choices I chose this colour as it spoke to me of you girls in the northern hemisphere who are going into your wonderful, warm spring/summer and we are into autumn so I felt this was an appropriate colour challenge for us all.



I loved the idea of the blue against the purple.  The fabric was dyed with a procion dye called eggplant.  A little purple I think, not quite the dark of an aubergine.  But I liked it.  And forget-me-nots were in bloom, and my mother died a few months ago and blue was her favourite colour.  And she had had Alzheimers for many years, so all these things led me to make this little bouquet for her.  I had visions of clouds of forgetfulness punctuated by flashes of awareness and the fabric seemed to show that.  The quilting represents plaques that are found in the brain.  This is getting maudlin.  But there we are.  

Honourable Mention

What can I say, the nest is no longer empty so I am dedicating this one to myself, lol. Aubergine is a beautiful royal colour which immediately brought thoughts of velvet, jewels and a crown. The crown wasn't as successful as I had hoped so after rearranging my personal ribbon collection I was reminiscent of the beautiful ones that were created by our guild members. The velvet was a challenge to properly pleat so scrunching was the main technique of this project. The small scallops on 3 sides were done by machine and trimmed with my new amazing "Karen Kay Buckley" scissors.


I found this very challenging indeed and had no idea how to proceed until I decided to gather the fabrics that I needed and then draw a design which freed me up in my thinking.  I loved the colour but until I had something on paper I was stuck!  Once I started to put it altogether the name just came to me and from then on I started to enjoy the whole exercise.  It was fun and did not take long to get it finished, but there was lots of angst before it started to come together.  A really enjoyable challenge and I hope you like the next colour which will be revealed later on today - just thought I should get this up first!

Stepping Out  II

The darkness of this colour choice brought some new opportunities to experiment with dramatic effect and to try to learn about its possibilities.
This piece is about the the circling we sometimes do before starting something new. The low key palette and splash of compliment produces a mystery here, leaving us in anticipation of what the excitement might be up ahead, as time slows down during a short walk at dusk. As you can see, this dog walker sometimes has a dog and sometimes not, which happens to be my current dilemna . It was fun to play with the negative space and add to the edges to simplify the focus onto a moment in time.

Purple Artichokes

I woke up this morning and checked my email and thought OH NO it is reveal day and I forgot! So here quickly is mine before I cycle off to yoga. I will have to comment later from the car as we drive to Toronto. When Pam announced the challenge I could not get eggplants out of my mind. Then I learned about the existence of purple artichokes, and my decision was clear. Marion and I have been working on a giant artichoke quilt (regular green ones) so it seems very apt for this challenge. All of the fabrics are my hand dyed. The artichokes were made on a separate piece of felt, stitched and the attached so they are very 3D.

Aubergine - Nothing for almost two months then two at once!

I loved the idea of working with aubergine - so much depth of colour, and that gorgeous sheen ... but how to re-create that in fabric. (I may have mentioned that I'm a very literal person!) In the end I added depth to a piece of purple satin with diluted black ink and was happy with the result. That was almost two months ago. Since then I've been scratching about with different ideas but with only three days to the deadline I decided that all I could do was make up the first idea that came into my head. I don't know what prompted it, other than the fact that I've been working with squares a lot, or what it means but here it is:

I wasn't happy making it, the inset green strip which is a technique I'm quite comfortable with, took two attempts. I ended up taking time over two days as I kept walking away from my machine and as you can see, because I needed a lot of steam to press the piece into submission some of the indelible ink ran - a final insult!

But this morning as I was clearing away the leftover bits of fabric something clicked and here is Aubergine 2 which took two hours rather than two months to make!

This piece virtually put itself together as it is an echo of work I've been doing since completing an on-line class with Lisa Call earlier this year. It's nothing more than a bit of fun - but it makes me smile!

A New Direction

I struggled a bit with this challenge, despite it being one of my favourite colours.  The problem was other deadlines which were more urgent, and then the subsequent relaxation after those had been meet. I finally discovered myself driving down an english motorway, last Thursday, on the way to Belgium for a long weekend, with nothing done and no ideas.  Luckily inspiration suddenly struck as we were sitting in a traffic queue.  The overhead signs on the motorway were rounded rectangles, and when viewed from behind you can see the angular shapes of the metal beams.  I suddenly saw a set of shapes against an aubergine background.

During the making of the piece I discovered a few problems.  The original idea to reverse applique the 'background' using a freezer paper template failed completely due to the size of piece, and the extreme fraying of the silk I was trying to use.  Fusing them onto a cotton background worked, though the fusing was stuck more to the seam allowances then the top fabrics, meaning many edges were still loose.  They subsequently tried to fray as soon as a sewing machine needle came near them.  My orignal aubergine silk got used for the binding.

On the whole I'm pleased with this, and can see how it could be done on a larger scale.  Can't wait to see the next colour.

This one or that one

The first piece I did was the obvious one - an aubergine (eggplant to the rest of the world).  I enjoyed making it,.  The vertical green is corded and the sliced aubergine is rusted fabric - perfect!  The beige background is a cotton/linen mix from Kona - they do a range of colour - it's great to work with.  The dark fabric is a glorious piece of hand dyed fabric by Heide Stoll-Weber.  It is so deep that it is almost velvety.

Then I felt I should have pushed myself a bit harder so I came up with this one.  Again the Kona background fabric but throwing in contrast colours and then a few stitched circles for good measure.

The edges are satin stitched.  I enjoyed this little exercise more than I thought I would and I don't know which I prefer.

I can't wait to hear what the next colour is.


Eggplant: View from the Academy

My response to the Eggplant challenge is based on a photo I took in New York last year. It's a view from a rear window of the National Academy Museum on 5th Avenue. I liked the grids of the windows and the strong diagonals.

Shown here are the photo and the line drawing derived from the photo. Making the line drawing is one of the things I like best about this technique.

This was not my first stab at the Eggplant Challenge. My starting point was to do a Boathouse composition, using brightly printed cottons, with polka dots, stripes and checks.


A second Boathouse interpretation in solid hand-dyes (purple, fuchsia and lime) didn't make the final cut either.

Finally settled on this composition, with hand dyes in violet and yellow, using tints and shades of each hue. Once again I gravitate to the complementaries.


I am afraid my subject matter is quite predictable , hence, the auspicious sounding title, however, my inspiration came from a piece of my 'break-down screen printing' fabric. Do you recognise it Hilary? It meant the construction of the piece would require minimal effort.

Even though there is quite a bit going on in the fabric I kept the quilting simple by first sketching in thread a young Aubergine (Egg-plant) plant and then filling in with vertical lines. The rest is very simple ... fused fabrics, stitching, shiva sticks and writing.

I found this challenge just that.  Having a colour and not an object or theme really pushes my boundaries which is going to be great.


Synonyms for “perseverance” include  carry on, keep on, keep at it, keep going, keep trying;  not take ‘no’ for an answer; not accept compromise;  endure, last,  continue, hang in there, tough it out,  and stick with it. These descriptors apply to my health struggle for the past five months.

It has been very difficult during this period to create, not that I didn’t want to, but I found my creative “juices” were gone. Having our group challenge was just what I needed to keep me going. The theme “Aubergine” enabled me to find this “special” color in places that I never expected … the bruising and discoloration that result from medical interventions! This unconventional inspiration has brought me laughter, humor and my confidence to be able to create again.

This piece titled, “PERSEVERANCE”, will remind me as a testament to commitment, the blessings of friends and family - - - and toughing it out!

The materials I used were cotton, felt, bamboo fibers, wool roving, silk threads and yarns. I layered cotton fabrics for the reversible appliqued circles. I placed the curved rows of circles onto aubergine felt. I embellished between the rows with the various fibers to create texture.  Adding special yarns create movement and whimsy.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Text'Art adventure

Here's a fun photo of some of our Montreal members, taken on a visit to a new museum in Montreal: the Museum of Costume and Textile. It is located on the lower floor of the Marché Bonsecours, in the historic neighbourhood where Linda F. lived during her years in Canada. The current exhibit features some forty "gala" dresses, some of them 150 years old, and many of them made by big-name designers: Dior, Schiaparelli, Patou and others. The work of local designers was also included.

Pam wasn't able to join us, but we were able to invite a Montreal member of SAQA, Rebekah Crown, whom Heather met when they attended the SAQA conference in Santa Fe. No doubt we will be seeing more of Rebekah in the months ahead.

We included a visit to la Guilde Graphique, a collective of Montreal printmakers, and walked along the cobbled streets to a new spot, the Avenue Gallery, to see a photography show by actor Dylan Macdermott. Dylan is the stepson of Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler, who has established the City of Joy as a refuge and clinic for women victimized by war in Africa. Dylan's photos focused on Masai tribespeople and others who have been sheltered at the City of Joy. The gallery itself was a treat, with its thick stone walls and a simple cafĂ© in the back. The get-together ended with a "trunk show" that was literally staged in the trunk of Heather's parked car. Another wonderful day of inspiration and friendship.

Monday, 20 May 2013

the one to choose the title for our next challenge.............


is Patricia!!

Good luck and have fun with the choice!

I hope to submit the first one and perhaps even the second when and if life goes back to a slightly slower pace.



Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Exhibition News

I am happy to announce that two of my pieces, in fact my most personal and meaningful pieces, have been juried into Sacred Threads, a show in Washington DC in July. These are "Remembering my Family: A Holocaust Memorial Quilt" and "Catharsis".

Also my latest collaboration with Marion Perrault, "Globe of Light" was voted Best of Show at the annual Beaconsfield Quilters Guild show, where we also displayed our 12BTD work.


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Aubergine preview

Naughty - but nice.  I can't believe I have finished two pieces and there are still weeks to go.  And to top it I have enjoyed making them.  The first was a bit of a cop-out so I challenged myself to 'try harder'.  Here's a tiny window on the two pieces.

I have finished my Straplines piece as well - and submitted it - so the die is cast.  It was very difficult to photograph.  I have found before that white is not an easy colour.  Frustrating when I know that the photograph is so important.  Time will tell - end of May is when they have said they will inform us.


12 by the Dozen at the Beaconsfield Quilters' Guild Show

Heather and I hung 21 of our pieces at the show this weekend. These were the 4 challenges from the past year: Fine Living, Threads, Jubilation and Encore by the Montreal members of our group (Heather, Helena, Dianne, Michele, Colleen, Pam and one piece from honourary guest Lauma Cenne). They were viewed with great interest by visitors and looked great. Note the black webbing straps,Hilary, made with your instructions a couple of years ago.