Monday, April 23, 2012

A Week of Notan - Day 1

This week, I'm showing you a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery.
Nōtan is traditionally presented in paint, ink, or cut paper, but it is relevant to a host of modern day image-making techniques, such as stamping, applique and screen printing. I've used Notan in my Give & Take Applique technique shown as my quilt Ball Joints:

Here is a piece that I created using black construction paper and scissors:

If you want to look for some references in books, try these:
  • Composition: A Series of Exercises in Art Structure for the Use of Students and Teachers by Arthur Wesley Dow (1899)
  • Notan: A Virtual Art Academy building block by Barry John Raybould, MA (2004/2010) Course on Notan
  • Notan: The Dark-Light Principle of Design by Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield (1968/1991)
This blog has some excellent work that was drawn by a high school art class:

Tomorrow I have other pictures and some tips to get you started.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One Word Wednesday

Welcome home!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Shattered Angles - Bracebridge, ON

Last week I had the privilege of teaching my Shattered Angles technique to the Pine Tree Quilt Guild in Bracebridge, Ontario. I drove from my daughters house near Ottawa, through Algonquin Park on a lovely spring day and arrived in Muskoka area while the sun was still shining!
The members of the guild learned my Shattered Angles technique and had fun trying out new fabric combinations.

Preparing the strip units

Trimming the blocks

Carol decided to work with my Dragon Bones technique instead

A smiling group of successful quilters!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Books on Sunday

Creative Quilts from your Crayon Box
by Terrie Linn Kygar
Have you got a box of crayons in the drawer somewhere? Put them to use colouring petals, leaves, birds and butterflies and using them in your quilts!
This excellent book shows how to use a great technique where wax crayons are melted onto an applique pressing sheets and then applied and blended into the fabric.  Additional colours can be applied to create shading and details such as leaf veins and flower centre are are added with coloured markers.
There are seven projects for floral wall hangings that feature a variety of styles and themes. A four page Quilt Gallery gives additional inspiration to create you own Crayon Box Quilts.
You can also see this technique as a video here
You can order this book from Martingale or your local quilt shop. You'll love the possibilities when you open your box of crayons!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One Word Wednesday

Red Door

Friday, April 6, 2012

Learn all about Hand Piecing

I'll be teaching my Hand Piecing class at Quilt University beginning this weekend and its not too late to registerIf you've never considered working just by hand here's a brief introduction to get you started:
Why would quilters consider hand piecing? Some people may think, "Hand piecing? Why bother? Didn’t we get rid of that a long time ago? There are so many newer speedier methods!"

Handwork has really never gone out of fashion. There are times and places where working by hand is the best method. We cannot always haul the sewing machine, cutters, mats and rulers with us wherever we go. Thus, piecing some or all of our quilts by hand stitching can be a perfect answer for portability and the opportunity to use spare moments of time.
Is portability the only reason to hand piece? I think there are several good reasons, some of which apply at different times depending on our needs and moods. Here are a few to consider:

It is relaxing; we have to sit down to do our work. This is different from sitting at our machine where we have to concentrate on the machine and where the needle is in relation to our fingers. In hand piecing we can pick a comfortable chair, curl up in front of the TV or at the beach; I often stitch while my husband is driving during holidays, with the map close at hand. We can relax and hand piece any time and anywhere we choose. The stitching is repetitive; almost always it is a running stitch, which is easy to manipulate by your fingers, using only a few pins, if needed.

We usually work in small units, concentrating on one unit or block at a time. Accuracy is another key element in hand piecing. When we have small pieces to put together or curved units to join, working by hand ensures that bias edges are kept under control and eased into the seam evenly.

With good preparation, work progresses quickly. Preparation is key for hand piecing. By tracing and cutting all the pieces needed for your work and then having them ready for the hand work, you will save time.

Few tools are needed for your work. Remember that quilters in the past had scissors, needle, thread and pins. So, it is not a costly endeavor to begin your quilt making journey. When I worked in a quilt shop, I often thought that the initial expense of all the modern equipment deterred beginners when they wanted to just try it to see if it was a skill they wanted to pursue. The tools for hand piecing are generally ones which we already have, so expense is not a critical factor.

We can use short periods of time to work on our project. It is easy to find a few spare minutes in our day to pick up a project and add a few stitches. Think of the time spent waiting at doctor’s appointments, while dinner is cooking, or at the kids sporting events. If you have made the preparations that we will discuss in class, small amounts of time can develop into some wonderful work! With hand piecing it is easy to stop in the middle of a seam and then return to complete the seam later. You will not have lost your place. Imagine doing that with your machine piecing!

These are three projects we'll be working on:

Monkey Wrench Table Runner introduces template making, straight seams and stitch technique.

Petal Power is about curved piecing, pressing tips and more!
Black Diamond is all about Y-seams and reversed templates.
Remember that Jinny Beyer creates all her quilts by hand and look what gorgeous work she does!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Resists, Rubbings and Repetitions - Upcoming Workshop

Join me for three exciting days of colour and pattern while using thickened dyes, textile paints  and soy wax. You will be able to experiment with painted batik, soy wax crayons and screen printing while learning design principles, mark making and colour theory. Soy wax is biodegradable and easy to remove with steaming and washing! You will make a wide variety of samples which can be used for further exploration in quilting and stitch.
Date: June 7-10th, 2012
Come as a day student or stay at the beautiful Pearson College in Metchosin, BC

Visit for registration information or email me at for details. You can also call Carol at (250) 383-4965 for further details.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

One Word Wednesday


Monday, April 2, 2012

New Work - Homeward

I've just finished a new piece for the Fibre Art Network show at Quilt Canada in Halifax, NS this May. The theme of the show is "From Away" a uniquely Maritime term that means a person or people that come to the Maritimes form other in the phrase " Susan is a quilter that comes from away".
The quilts will all measure 16" x 36', either portrait or landscape and will be part of a travelling exhibit over the next two years.
My quilt is titled "Homeward" which I've interpreted as lines and curves representing the people who have left their homes to work and live in other locations and countries and are now feeling the call of returning to their roots and their beginnings. The piece is discharged and coloured with dense quilting and additional embellishments.