knitting Paradise

I belong to a wonderful knitting and crochet group called

Knitting Paradise.

I hope you will drop by and check us out. Shirley

Friday, October 31, 2008


We are in the process of setting up free classes for 2009 - and we have lots of great things planned. Once I have the schedule set up, I will post the classes here.

Learning fa is a group I started in May 2007 - with the idea, that I would like to share
any knowledge I have about quilting landscape wall hangings, thread painting etc.
I also wanted to make sure that there were lots of traditional classes as well.

Wow, has it ever taken off -- we have covered so many things, and learned so much.
The members themselves have done most of the teaching. Some have never taught before at all, and others have never taught on line. We have a very workable method of sending emails with each class, showing pictures and instructions for each step of the way. The girls have been wonderful. We have all gained from the group - it is a happy, fun, and very
interesting group. Some have never done any art type quilting and they have enjoyed doing thread painting and making landscapes. Others have learned new techniques for traditional quilting. We have mysteries, swaps and round and row robins. However it is mainly focused on teaching different techiques. We have taught stained glass, one block wonder, prairie points, wearable art, colorful cubes, and on and on.

If this appeals to you , click on the learningfa on the side bar - I would be happy to have you in the group. We also teach (at least I do) with the Cdnquiltswappers and the Valerie Hearder landscape group - so we are spreading our knowledge.

If you are new to my blog, check back on my posts and you will see lots of pictures of work done by our members.

It has been a dream of mine for years to do something like this but I never dreamed it would work out so well. Shirley

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Visit to Wellspring

I had a lovely time visiting the Wellspring head quarters today and meeting quite a few of the volunteers. They gave me a tour around the building and I was very impressed.
There are so many great programs for Cancer patients and support members - emotional, physical, art therapy and many many more. I have decided to volunteer each week as I am sure they can find a place for me.

Wendy, who is in charge of the auction, chaired a meeting of the wellspring volunteers and it sure looks as if everything has been thought of. She is doing a marvelous job.
The venue is wonderful and I think it will be a successful auction. It sounds like they are going to have a wellspring silent auction of gifts
received by them ,as well as a silent auction of the smaller quilts. They will then have a regular auction of the large quilts - I will let you know next week how it goes.

I believe so strongly in Well spring and what it stands for. All of us have been
touched by different kinds of cancer, and it is a wonderful place to go for support
when you are on that long, hard road, for the patient as well as your family and friends.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chinook Arch at sunset

I thought that those of you who have never seen a Chinook Arch which
I discussed previously, would enjoy seeing the pictures I just took showing
our sky from daylight to sunset. It is one of the prettiest arches I have
ever seen here. These were taken within a period of one hour and it was spectacular!

We have had 3 Arches with their warm winds in the past 3 days which is rather
unusual. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Shirley

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My dear friend Nilma

and I spent many happy hours in the stained glass shop at Valle Del Oro Park in Mesa.
We spent 9 happy winters there. Nilma asked me one day to help her draw three whimsical, skating Nuns - she then made a fused stained glass picture and framed it. Since then she has made over 200 of the Nuns doing different activities. A few are in her webpage Click on Nilma on the side bar.
I just received a phone call from her SIL who is visiting Calgary and we just visited with her - she sent me a very special picture and I am delighted. It will always be a treasure. She also sent a card with another of the Nuns scenes. I just wanted to share it with you.

She cuts the glass, makes the scene and fuses all the pieces into one beautiful picture.
This one is called "Mother Monet" - She has had showings of her Whimsical Nuns all over Ontario and Mesa and I am so pleased that she sent me this one. I spent hours with her teaching and doing stained glass. My husband was a friend of hers as well as they hiked all over the Superstition Mountains with the hiking group. The four of us took many wonderful trips around Arizona. Click on it to get a close up. Isn't it wonderful?


Friday, October 24, 2008

Winter fun

I am not sure what the final name will be, but I am working on the wall hanging which will go to the first corporate donor to Well Spring. I had done one previously, but Well Spring is using it for a raffle at the auction so they asked me for another. I have lots to do on it.
still add lots of thread painting, a couple of spruce trees in the foreground and will mute the color of the skating marks on the ice. I will also add quite a few shrubs and bushes to the village. What fun I am having with this one. I took a dark blue fabric and painted the sky and ice colors and am happy with it.
I will like use a narrow light border and a darker wide border but haven't decided yet.
I hope you like it!

The Quilt Project Auction

Here are a few pictures of quilts that are being displayed in the LaZboy store here in Calgary. The LaZboy stores across Canada are one of the main sponsors for 'The Quilt'. For the past 8 years we have had a display there prior to the auction of the quilts. I mentioned previously that I 'sat with the quilts' on Wednesday and managed to get a few pictures.
The winter scene is mine. If you look at the white quilt with the scalloped top it is all beautifully hand quilted. You should see the beautiful hand stitches.

There is also another landscape which is quite whimsical and pretty - I wrote the pattern name down but must have misplaced it. I hope you enjoy these beautiful quilts.
Proceeds from the auction will go to help Well Spring with their wonderful work.

We have a "Chinook Arch" in the sky today, so that means we are going to have warm
weather for the next few days. The Chinook wind is a warm, sometimes fairly strong, wind coming across the Rockies from British Columbia. Only the area around Calgary
gets the winds and they sure are welcome when it is bitterly cold. It some times warms up
20-30 degrees within an hour or two. It is just too bad it doesn't last, but at least it gives us a break!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Winter scene -finished top

I finally finished the landscape top - this is for a friend and
I hope she will like it. I have put in two close ups to show
how I did the thread painting on each side. Then I am showing
the finished top. You will note how I 'grounded' the buildings
by putting trees and shrubs around them. I also added interest to the snow by adding more shrubs and two fields.
I will post a picture when I have it bordered and quilted. Please click on pictures to see closeups of the thread painting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learningfa Students' work

finished row robin

Here are some of the projects our learningfa group members have just finished from recent classes taken in the group. It is amazing the wonderful work the girls are doing and the amount we are learning. Check out the group by clicking on the sidebar. It is an open group and we teach all sorts of different free lessons.

We average at least one big class a month, usually two, and the classes are taught by our members as well as some of my friends who donate their time to our learning group. We have
grown during the 17 months that we have been operating and I am so proud of what the group has accomplished. The first two pictures were from a Stained Glass class which we recently completed. The 3rd and 4th pictures are of jean quilts which is a work in progress. The sunbonnet sue is a round robin - we have so many lovely finished robins,
Oversize tote bags from a recent class. We also hold round and row robins, swaps,
mystery quilts etc. I teach an ongoing Thread painting workshop which will carry on throughout the next year or so. Also shown is one of the landscapes we took in the spring.


I am really delighted with a phone call I just received. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that Well Spring (a community based cancer support program) has asked me to
help obtain corporate donations by donating some of my quilts. When a company donates 2500.00 they can choose one of my wall hangings. This was just set up less than a month ago and guess what? A $2500.00 donation was just received, and they are in the process of choosing which wall hanging they want. I am just tickled!

They have asked me to do a series on the Canadian Rockies as there is a lot of interest in those types of subjects - so I am going to have a ball! I love doing the Alberta Scenes, especially the rockies close to Calgary. Hopefully I will be able to do 5 or 6 of the most popular mountains and areas around here. I am going to start with Mt. Rundle. If you check out 'my work' you can see it in one of my albums.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Winter on the farm

is a landscape I have been working on this weekend. I thought you might be interested to see how a landscape is 'built' from far away to the foreground, hopefully getting the perspective correct.

I started with a piece of hand dyed fabric that Debbie and I dyed last year. I like using the blues for winter landscapes. I use the whole piece and cover it with the different elements of the quilt. I found some fabric which worked well for the mountains in the distance, cut a strip in the shape of mountains and attached them across the background one third down from the top. I then used acrylic craft paint mixed with textile medium for the mountain peaks. The next picture is a close up of the distant foothills. I did them in a very light grey pen and thread painted all over them. see closeup. I used my green Y & C fabric mate green pen to sketch in the fir trees. I then thread painted trees on top of the green sketched trees to give it more of a 3 d effect.
I used a dark blue pen to draw a line underneath the far shore of the lake. The third picture shows that I am trying to decide where I am going to put the buildings. I
printed 3 different sized buildings on fabric. It is important that the buildings should
be used to set up the perspective with the smaller buildings off in the distance and the larger buildings in the mid and foreground. I also started to do some of the bushes along the hills on this side of the lake.
The last picture shows how I have used trees and shrubs
to 'ground' the buildings and show the connection between the house, outbuildings and the big barn in the foreground. I also thread painted two wheat fields by showing the
rows covered with snow. I still have lots to do in the foreground which, by the way, is the most difficult part of a wall hanging for me. I will put more details in the snow, as it is important to have it balance with the 'busier' side where the barn is, and then will do the foreground lake and snow area. I will put the rest in as I work on it. I hope you find this interesting.

-------- I find with landscapes that if you do your landscape in stages, it is not as
difficult as you would expect. Do the distant part first and work forward. I never know what I am going to do with each section until I get there.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Birches and examples

here are some examples of

how I use trees in landscape scenes.


I thought it might be helpful to do a short tutorial about how to incorporate trees into your landscape. We will start with fir and pine trees. They are found all over North America and are extremely useful for showing perspective in your scene.
The first pictures are good examples of trees in a scene - notice in the first one that the size of the tree is a great help
in showing the perspective. The larger trees are in the foreground and they are smaller and less precise the further away.

I will start with fir or pine trees. I find that if I am doing a clump of trees it works very well with the branches going down. Make sure that your trees are tall and narrow (they don't look like tipis - or mustaches! draw your trunk or trunks first then start at the top and work down - only the tops have to be precise , once you reach the point where the branches run into each other it is not necessary to draw each tree. See photo. Notice how I have put shrubs and fir trees together. You can also draw your trees with the branches going up. I do them both ways. If you check out the larger tree in the first picture I think you will get a good idea of the shape.

here are some examples of how NOT to draw trees . The next picture shows different shrubs and trees and the 3rd shows different trees from different parts of North America. I have put in one of my forest scenes to show you how effective the birch trees are . I will do a little tutorial tomorrow on how to do these beautiful trees.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This and that

We are going to celebrate my daughter's birthday as well as have a late Thanksgiving dinner tonight atmy son's .I am really looking forward it.

We had a dusting of snow yesterday morning but it melted very quickly. We had our
Election yesterday so we went to vote- I will have to admit it, I am glad our election doesn't last as long as the US elections! They called ours 3 months ago and we voted last night.
We once again have a minority government but they gained a lot of seats so it will take all three other parties to vote together to defeat them. Our Prime Minister is from Calgary and I think he is a very good man.

I have become very interested in the US election and it will be interesting to see who becomes President. It affects Canada in so many ways.
I have decided to carry on with the tutorials. The first one on Press N Seal went very well and I have had good feedback on it.

Tomorrow or Friday I will start a series on THREAD PAINTING. We will learn to thread paint a rosebud. It will be a good subject to learn a bit about how to use your machine and how to shade with thread. I have taught it on my group and it was well received. We will use the press N Seal to transfer the pattern. I hope to carry it on for the next few months.
We will do about ten different subjects including how to do trees for landscapes, autumn leaves, different birds and on and on . We will learn the technique and then we will do a thread painted landscape. We will also make a table topper using a thread painted block for the center and your choice of 6 or 8 inch blocks to surround it.I hope you will join us and let your friends know.
I am feeling really good as I have finished my Wellspring quilts so now I can get back to making gifts and getting some classes organized for my learningfa yahoo group as well as this blog. see side bar if you are interested in joining.

well, I had better get at it. I am still sitting in my housecoat finishing my coffee.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all My Canadian Friends

We are so fortunate to be living here in Canada and my best wishes go out to all of you.
I hope you all have a nice day with family and friends. It has turned a bit colder this past two days but some leaves are still on the trees,although most have fallen, and we are still having beautiful sunny days here in Calgary.

I have so much to be thankful for. I have done a fair amount of traveling during my lifetime and there is no place in the world I would rather be than right here in Canada. I am sure we all feel that way.
I have been delighted at the personal emails I have received about my tutorial on the Press N Seal. I hope to continue putting in short tutorials every week or so until I run out of
tips. I was having a bit of trouble last night when I was posting and so had to break it into 3 posts. Hopefully I will be able to do future tutorials in one post so that they will be in order. By the way, the finished eagle is in the 2nd picture from the bottom rather than the bottom picture. I really enjoyed doing him. I am going to keep him and possibly frame him. I hope you find it useful.
My little grand daughter is coming to spend the day with us so I will be off line until tonight. That is another thing I am thankful for; we live within l0 minutes of her and what a wonderful little person she is. Once again, have a great day! Shirley

Sunday, October 12, 2008

#3 Press N Seal tutorial

Once the beak and the eye are appliqued onto the eagle , I used fabric pens to color the rest of the eagle. I started around the eye and then worked down to the brown feathers.
The eagle I have been working on is the last set. I will now satin stitch around the beak and eye. I hope you have found this tutorial useful. It is a very good way to do applique, especially flowers and buildings. Shirley

#2 Using Press N Seal

Once you have the P N S with the picture on it - laid on the fabric you will now stitch around all the lines. Make sure your feed dogs are down and that you have your
embroidery foot on it as well. Now stitch all around the lines until each line is covered.

You then will lift the PNS off the fabric, making sure all of it is removed. You now have a
picture stitched on your fabric. You can use the back or the front of the fabric; in this case I am going to use the eagle facing the same way as the picture.

I have found some yellow which I will use for the beak and the eye. I do it exactly the same way, tracing them onto the P NS , once it is traced, stitched and the PNS removed we will then attach it to the picture. I used steam a seam lite to attach them to the piece.

Now is the time to either color, paint, thread paint, or applique the other colors onto the eagle. I have decided to use my fabric pens. See tutorial number 3

Tutorial -No. 1 transferring a picture with Press N Seal

I have decided to do a few lessons here and there on my blog. The first one is to show you how to use Press N Seal to transfer a picture to a piece of fabric. I am going to use a
picture of a bald eagle for the first tutorial. I am starting with a picture of a Bald Eagle ,

1 Cut a piece of Press N seal the same size as the picture, lay it on the top of the picture and using a sharpie fine trace around the lines of the picture , including all the center lines. Once you have drawn the lines on the P N S you then let the ink dry and place the PNS with the drawing on it , sticky side down on your white fabric. If you are doing a flower, put it on a fabric the color of the flower.