Monday 31 July 2017

Columbia StrEAT food truck fest

photo from /

Last Saturday the City of New Westminster closed down Columbia Street down town and moved in a over 150 food trucks.  It was fun to wonder up the strip and check out the different food venues.  I settled on Pad Tai and of course had to have a local brewed beer in the beer gardens.

There were artisan displays in the Anvil Center, things for kids to do, things for adults to do and by 6pm it was packed with lineups to many of the trucks.

It was a fun day that ended at the far side of the strip (for me) at one of my favorite restaurants the Taverna Greka for lasagna (I know in a Greek restaurant, right.  But so good.) and to watch the belly dancer.

A fun day to wander, snack at all the watering holes along Columbia, people watch and enjoy the awesome weather we have been having.
Beer garden in the shade.  

Monday 24 July 2017

Fusing glass in a microwave kiln

I've been having so much fun wire wrapping glass lately that I have run out of pieces that tickle my fancy.  Time to make a few more.  It is always questionable as to what is going to turn out in the end and as of late I have had a few with cracks in them.  Beautiful but damaged.  So make more!!.

I always have to laugh at the prep it takes to make a few little bobbles.  Here is the supplies all spread out on the table ready to cut and design.
goodies to play with.
Not being sure what glass code the glass is  (bought a bit of scraps out of our local stained glass scrap bucket) I have been trying to keep clear glass with clear and opaque glass with opaque (not knowing the glass code may explain the cracking).

Today is red day, add a bit of clear and a very cute millefiori slice.  It should be cute.

fun to play with

When the are all designed and cut the glass is ready to put in the microwave kiln.  Making sure to put down a piece of kiln paper first.

Transfer the bottom to the microwave and making sure the glass hasn't moved place the top on and set the time.

All ready for the microwave
My microwave is 900 wats which means it takes a little more time to fire than a bigger and stronger microwave.  According to research some microwaves need as little as 2 min.  It is a trial and error to find what works best for each microwave.

The microwave I have seems to work best at 12 min.  Then it is a matter of waiting the 12 min and a quick peek to make sure it melted.  Make sure that you are wearing heat proof gloves as the kiln is really really hot.

Great gloves

It's hot!!
After a quick peek, close the lid and move the kiln to a save place.  I use a wire trivet to set the kiln on, on my bamboo cutting board just to make sure I don't scorch the counter.

On a trivet

And then you wait....... and wait..........and wait........even Carl waits, 

....... might as well pick tomatoes........... and wait.

Heart Patio Tomatoes

After about an hour check the kiln to make sure its cool, remove the lid and cross your fingers.  Lets see what we have?

Definitely not what I had in mind.  Interesting that the beautiful red glass turned almost black.

Has potential 

Oh well back to the cutting board.  Hummmm maybe opal glass next time.

Here is one that did turn out.  All wrapped and finished.

cute little fishy

Friday 14 July 2017

Thread Play Completed (maybe)

Well it is cleaned, trimmed and hanging on the wall.  Just a note that it is really long 5'10" x 1'7" wide.  The photo to the left is a panoramic I made with a new program that I could not figure out how to keep the squareness of the quilt.  So the top is square in real life.

Detail 1
I love how it turned out. Very organic.  I had intended to follow a scene or progression from sky to ocean bottom.  So hopefully with a little imagination the concept was achieved.  

Sun set to mountains as in detail 1.

Detail 2

Detail 3
Mountains to foothills a (detail 2) to pastures to shoreline (detail 3). Then to fish in the sea to the oceans sea bottom (detail 4).

I loaded the quilt back on the longarm to add a narrow thread border in order to keep the edges flowing and to try not make the quilt look rectangular.  But after having it on the wall for a few days have decided that something is missing.  I'm thinking it needs a branch to hang off or something  to add detail to the top of the quilt.

Detail 4

                                                                       Any suggestions or comments on whether or not to add a binding for the border or if you think a creative branch would solve the problem.  Thanks, tg.

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Thread Play day 5

The last bit of thread has been added and sewn
I was surprised at how much thread I had left.  Here I had been worried about not enough.  There are spots however that I could have made a little thinner as the longarm really had to chug to get over.
remaining thread

The whole art piece took 6 needle changes, a 3000 meter spool of thread for the bobbin (with only a half bobbin left) and 7 spools of variegated thread with not much left on them.

Whats left of the variegated thread.  I still had another spool of
thread for the bobbins, just in case.

Then came unloading the quilt and laying it on the floor . Omg is it ever long.  Just perfect.

All stretched out on the floor.
The next step was to fill the bath tub up with warm water and clean off all the wash away stabilizer.  Everyone got into it even the cats.

Rub a dub dub.
I rinsed about 3 times just to make sure to get all the starch out of the quilt.  Not wanting to squeeze the fabric and warp it in any way it was a matter of just standing for a few mins to drain some of the water before hanging it over the shower rod.  Hanging it over a towel and towels on the outside of the tub to catch the drips.

A few rinses. 

So now it is hanging by a few pins on the wall waiting for me to reload it onto the longarm and finish the edges.

Add a hanger and it will be completed.  Finished quilt on the next post.

Saturday 8 July 2017

Tread play day 3

The thread quilt has been coming right along.  I has been interesting blending the threads and then make individual sections to create texture and direction in the thread.

Making sure to go over and over the stabilizer to make sure to hold down all the wayward threads.

I found that just straight lines did not add enough texture and started going back over the individual areas with loops, zig-zags, or circles and waves seemed in my eye to look more organic.

Adding the stabilizer in overlapping sheets.

Being very careful to make sure there were no threads sticking out from in between sheets that the hopping foot could catch on.  Also making sure that the thread was not layered too thick as it really slowed down the topstitching process.

It was fun to figure out the natural lines of the colors.  The process worked perfect and was going so smooth.  I was using up the threads, creating these amazing texture and color waves when I ran out of the top grey fabric.  I was surprised that I'd not used as much thread as I thought and still had not come close to having the color graduations that I had in my head.  So I added another piece of grey fabric so I could continue on.

Once the thread is covering the join, no one will notice.  But it was a reminder that I only have a bit more space to cover before I run out of backing and batting.  I'd better organize the threads a little better if I am going to finish with the color scheme I had intended.  But that's for tomorrow.

Thursday 6 July 2017

Thread Play

After 7 years of having the longarm I have collected a bit of thread.  Always meaning to use them for a abstract thread play quilt; I finally decided that today was the day.

I loaded a medium grey cotton fabric of approximately the width I thought I would need.  I really debated whether or not a batting was needed but in the end decided to add one.

Then came the cans and bags of fabric collected over the life of my longarm.  I'm sure I am missing a can but am not going to worry as I am pretty sure there is enough.  Amazing what one little coffee can can hold.

After hours, and hours of sorting through all the threads and matching colors (which I mean in the loosest of terms), picking out bits and pieces of batting, tape, fabric, and strange odd pieces of string, I had the basics.

Look at all the pretty colors.  My desk top looks like it holds a dozen rat nests.  In sorting I really tried not to sort out to much as I wanted the threads to blend and mix as I was longarming them.

A typical mix.

Then it was a matter of placing the thread on the grey backing and mixing, and mixing, and mixing.

Cover it with a water soluble stabilizer and I am all ready to start quilting.

Maybe tomorrow...... so stay tuned for the next stage of the Thread Play fun.

Sunday 2 July 2017

Happy Canada Day

Quite the show.
Reservations at a local restaurant last night was the perfect choice to watch New Westminster's fireworks.  Here are a few of the photos.

It was perfect weather, nice and cool on the deck.

I'm sure that the entire population of New West was there.

Lots of big bangs and colors.

Mom's Little Monsters.

 I've been having a ball making Mom's Little Monsters on days that we are not renovating Tyler's shop.   Lurch Lurch in his butl...