Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Give and Take Applique on YouTube!

I finally made it to YouTube, I'm a movie star! Check out this link to see our introduction to the Give and Take Applique DVD from Nine Patch Media.
It was fun taping the DVD and even more fun creating great designs from our book Give and Take Fabric Applique!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Canadian Christmas Blog Hop

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I was in Saskatoon last weekend and we visited the Festival of Trees at the Western Development Museum. Part of their display was old Christmas displays taken from the Eatons store windows. You probably remember them as elves, animals, little children and Santa made toys or were part of a song....it reminded me of gazing for what seemed like hours watching these wonderful displays at Christmas time-long ago!

Here's a recipe from my childhood to share with you:

Toad in the Hole

We have this every Christmas morning after the stockings have been looked at, but before the gifts are opened! I cook the sausages the night before so the little ones don’t have to wait too long….

Makes enough for 4 people, I usually triple the recipe for Christmas morning.

  • 8 links pork sausage
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.               Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2.               Pour the oil into the bottom of a baking dish, and arrange the sausages over it in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

3.               Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs, and half of the milk until smooth. Gradually mix in the rest of the milk until a smooth batter is achieved. Season with salt and pepper.

4.               Remove the sausages from the oven, and ladle the batter over them until the sausages are 3/4 covered. Return to the oven, and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the center is risen and browned.

I like to serve it with maple syrup or chutney, a fresh fruit salad is a lovely accompaniment.

Merry Christmas!

Blue Glue Batik Blast
Since I've been working on a number of surface design projects, pattern for you is a little different!
This is a great technique to use with kids or the whole family can join in and be creative over the holiday season.
You can achieve great results with this simple technique and Elmer's School Glue Washable Gel as a resist! This gel glue can be found in most office and discount stores. I like to use the gel with prepared fabric and Dye-Na-Flow™ paint or diluted fabric paint. You can use any natural fiber such as cotton, linen, hemp or blends.
°        Lay fabric on wax paper or the shiny side of freezer paper and draw a design onto the fabric. Think of lines, wiggles, circles, simple shapes, landscapes flowers and more....
°        Remember that the fabric will not colour under the glue so those areas will remain white. Let the glue dry for 12 hours.
°        Place dyes/paints in a styrofoam plate or egg tray and dilute if needed.
°        Colour the open areas with paint or dye. Try blending the colours, playing with lines or shapes, be open and have fun with the adventure. (If you are using Procion MX dye, cover with plastic wrap and batch in a warm place for 12-18 hours)
°        When the fabric is dry, soak it in a warm (almost hot) water bath. Depending on the fabric's weight this soak can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 1/2 an hour, (heavier fabrics take longer).
°        Use fabric in your next project! This is also great to do with kids or as a craft day.
°        Try drawing the glue onto dark fabric and using discharge paste to take the colour out, this yields amazing results!
© 2010 Susan Purney Mark www.susanpm.com
Visit www.fabricimagery.com for great fabrics, threads, books and more!

New Thermofax Screens

I've justed posted four great new designs for my Thermofax Screens category at www.fabricimagery.com
I had so much fun designing these and they will be perefect for some of your surface design techniques. There are three different sizes available and as usual, I also offer custom screens with your own images. Have a look:http://fabricimagery.com/category/thermofax-products/

 Chain Links
Crazy Keys

Knobbly Bark

 Odd Orbs

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dragon Bones and Fish Fingers

I just returned from a fabulous five day teaching trip to Saskatoon Quilters Guild. The snow arrived my first night when the temperature dropped to -22 C, a nice brisk cold! Luckily, being Canadian, I had my warm woolies!
The first two day workshop was Dragon Bones and Fish Fingers, a playful technique that's featured in my book Accent on Angles. In this workshop students are using insertion strips to divide up their fabrics that can be cut into squares, rectangles or other shapes. There aren't many rule sin this workshop!
Here are some of my students work, I'm sure you'll agree that they are outstanding!

I'll be teaching this workshop at Quilt Canada in Halifax next May, hope to see you there!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pippa Moore - Quilter with a Mission!

I don’t remember when I first met Pippa Moore but I’m sure it was at a quilting or art event. We’ve been friends for a number of years and have each had a booth at Quilt Market to promote our patterns as well as attending art quilt retreats together.

I’ve followed Pippa’s blog http://kitambaa.blogspot.com/  when she travels and have always enjoyed reading her stories and adventures.

I’ll let Pippa tell you about herself:

I first started quilting as the stay-at-home mother of twins. I desperately needed an occasional break from the babies, and my university student husband had Thursday afternoons off. A quilt teacher and author - Frances Fournier - offered to teach me in her home, in exchange for which I proof-read her manuscript for a book on making quilted clothing. A year later we moved to rural Manitoba, where I was asked to teach the local women what I knew - the sum total of which was the making of a Sampler quilt - and I have been making quilts and teaching ever since.

So how did Pippa get involved with Africa and cloth? Through love, of course!

I married a man who had already lived in Africa for 5 years - in Burundi, to be more specific - before I met him. We had the opportunity to return to the continent - Lesotho this time - in the early nineties. While there, I had two fantastic jobs. Both involved working with grass roots development, particularly with respect to women and income generation projects. My husband has been working in East Africa - mainly Uganda - since that time. When I resigned from my full-time job, my dream was to begin a project with grandmothers and widows, and that's what I've been doing for the last 4 years.

Pippa began a business to help women learn to sew and produce items for sale, thus helping them earn a living.

“Kitambaa” is the Swahili word for cloth, and the baobab tree that I use for my logo is a tree prevalent in many equatorial African countries. There is a legend, variously told in several countries, that it once was the most beautiful tree in the forest. But it became proud, and the gods were not pleased. They plucked it out of the earth and planted it upside down with its roots in the air, so it could never boast again. And that explains the root-like shapes of the ugly-beautiful branches. Both the logo and the name were chosen in recognition of the years I spent living and working in Southern Africa, and the importance for me of this experience.

In February 2009, the first Kitambaa Designs workshop was held in Mbarara, Uganda. Twelve women, mostly widows and grandmothers, and chosen from existing grandmothers’ and widows’ groups, began learning how to sew using a treadle sewing machine, and how to quilt. These twelve came to the workshop knowing little about cutting fabric and using an iron and sewing, but at the end of three weeks, had developed the skills required to make saleable products. Previously most of them had been subsistence farmers, working in the fields from six in the morning until six at night. They brought such enthusiasm and determination to the project, and have been sewing on an ongoing basis ever since then. Many of them has at least one child in school who was not in school previously, and other proceeds from their work has been used to purchase things like a bed, a cow, a table, as well as for food and for medicine.
 This photo is taken at the closing ceremonies of our third workshop with the ladies I work with. Alice is the amazing Coordinator of this group - patient, skillful, with a sense of professionalism and a sense of humour. Here she is being presented with a solar operated desk lamp, so that she can keep sewing in the evenings. Working with Alice, and getting to know her, has been one of the highlights of recent years.

In between her travels to Africa, Pippa has designed an exciting range of patterns and kits. She has shown her quilts in international shows and has received rave reviews. I particularly love her exuberant use of colour and her stylized Art Deco designs.

"There's an Elephant in my Garden is inspired by the Art Deco period, and combines many of the motifs that have been drawn from the early part of that period, with a love for saturated colours. I like the improbability of it, the marvel of it.

Pippa is also strongly influenced by the cloth of Africa as you see in this piece.

The Kente-inspired piece is one of a series of quilts I plan to make, honouring the textiles of Africa, in this case Ghanaian hand woven Kente cloth. I use diverse techniques in my quilts - whatever suits my purposes - but must admit that my favourite is machine piecing.

I’m sure that you will enjoy a visit to Pippa’s website and blog, be sure to sign up for her newsletter and keep up to date with all her wonderful adventures!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Susan's Book Report

Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 2
This inspirational and simply beautiful book presents the work of 40 of the most creative and talented art quilters in the world. It features approximately a dozen quilts for each artist, sumptuously spread over ten pages. the pieces showcase the leading techniques in contemporary quilting and present an array of themes including portraits, nature, abstraction, realism and political commentary. Fully international in scope , the book includes quilters from the US, Canada, France, Russia, Switzerland, South Africa, Italy, England, Australia, the Netherlands, South Korea, Norway, Israel and Japan.
Theis book was featured at International Quilt Festival in Houston last week and recieved rave reviews. I picked out three of my favourites: Jan Myers Newbury, Rosalie Dace and Izabella Baykova
Each artist works very differently but all of them move me with their use of colour and imagery.
I strongly recommend this book as a wonderful addition to your library. You can get more information and order it here.