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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This and That -

I mentioned that the robins are home -- it is so nice to see them. I always feel so good when they arrive in our tree! I took some pictures from our patio and thought you might like to see them. They have started gathering twigs to make their nests. Usually only one pair stays here, but these 3 pairs seem to be settling in so it might be that they are going to stay here! Click on the pictures to get a closeup.

As you can see, we have a lovely sunny day and thankfully the forecast is good for a change. One thing with the
robins here, we know spring will follow!!

I bought a new sewing machine yesterday and am I ever having fun 'playing' with it.
It is a Husquvarna Sapphire 870 and I am really enjoying it. I wore my other machine out and so have been fighting with the tension for the past year. I finally decided it was time and just love this one. The best thing about it is that the 870 has an automatic tension setting which is so nice - thread cutter, fonts for writing , automatic threader and lots and lots of new bells and whistles. I bought it from the same dealer I bought my last one which was a husqvarna viking freesia - I literally wore it out - She knows what I need and talked me out of buying a more expensive machine- told me this one would more than do what I needed it to do. I am so tickled. I quilted my large landscape today and am now
putting on the binding . My quilting has not been up to par as I wasn't able to fix the tension and the technician told me my two machines were 'worn out' They did last another year but he was right.

We figured I had put hundreds of miles on my machine doing quilting and thread painting. I haven't branched into thread painting a specific animal or bird but quilted my whole piece today . I can hardly wait until I start designing a new landscape - lots of fun.

I will finish my binding and put a picture on of my new wall hanging. Needless to say I am a happy camper. Shirley

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring is here!

Every year 5 robins arrive in our yard and we wait for them with baited breath (especially this year as the winter has been dreadful) THEY ARRIVED YESTERDAY.!!! They have come a long way and yet they are quite chubby and busy. It must be difficult for them as they always arrive when there is snow on the ground. A couple of them stay and the others keep on going a few days after they arrive. They come to the same two trees each year. The picture is part of my thread painting class - click on it to see the stitch directions if you are interested in thread painting.

We always have baby robins in the spring and what a joy they are! We are also watch for
an eagle or a very large hawk that arrives about now every year. It has its nest in a tall tree
along the road beside our complex. She has her babies and hunts in a large natural park across the street from our complex. Next we will have the johnie jump ups, (little pansies)crocus and dandelions! It is sunny and nice today, with more snow expected tomorrow. This has been the worst winter I can remember, and I have seen many many of them.

I am concerned about the flooding in North Dakota and the strong possibility of flooding
in the Winnipeg area. For those who are affected by the water, our thoughts are with you.

I am having problems with my sewing machine and I am afraid it is time for me to think about buying another one. My two Vikings have embroidered thousands of miles of thread over the past ten years - I don't use the straight stitch except for the borders, all my other work is embroidery. Both my machines are having tension problems, even though I bought new bobbin holders- which did improve the stitch a bit. It looks loops on the top and the bottom and my tech person said I needed a new machine. I will likely start looking around. I can't complain as my two freesias (Husquvarna's) have done a good job on my wall hangings. I use different layers, different stitching directions and heavily free motion quilt all my wall hangings so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I am going to look around before I decide which machine would do what I need it to do.

Bye for now. (I hope the robins are arriving or have arrived at your house!!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I have shown you the thread painted tree and bear - and here is the finished top, ready for quilting. I have it already for quilting . The foreground on this one didn't come easily - I haven't worked on a large wall hanging for some time. The quilt will finish at
30.5" wide by 44" tall. It will take me awhile to quilt it as the quilting is very important and I want this one to really really look good. Click on the picture to see the hand dye up close as well as other parts of the quilt.

The sky is one of my hand dyes and works very well.
The mountains are from a grey,purple batik, and the snow on the peaks is thread painted with white thread.

I found the border fabric when we drove up to Canmore last week and I am happy with the way the colors work.

I hope you like it! Shirley

Saturday, March 21, 2009


As I have posted on this blog - our learningfa group has been doing quite a few different landscapes this past while. We have some challenges and a simple landscape class which was sent out awhile ago. I am really impressed with the lovely landscapes the girls have done. It is amazing as some of them have never done landscapes before and you can see from these, what a great job they have done. These are just a few and I will look for more-
It is very satisfying to have the members
use my classes to try a new type of quilting. It is hard for traditional quilters to change over to landscapes and I am pleased that there is so much interest in trying this new type of quilting. We will be doing an advanced landscape in April and it will be interesting to see how it goes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I want you to look at this

wonderful landscape by Janet- The landscape was one of the Challenges on our learningfa group and she did a wonderful job. She took a photo and copied it in black and white and then chose the colors for one of the seasons. She had it framed for a gift and I think it is outstanding.
Click on it to enlarge it. Janet does wonderful work and is working on many different
aspects of art quilting. You will enjoy her blog.


Latest work

I am working on a larger wall hanging which will be given for a special occasion in June.

I have the background done and am working on the foreground now. I am putting my thread painted bear and fir tree in this piece and it is finally starting to come together.

I don't have any problems doing the distant mountains but it is more difficult to
come up with something 'different' for the foreground. The piece is called, the
"Bow Valley in Autumn" and after many different layouts I have made the final decision on how I want to finish it. I had planned to put a foreground hill in the piece but with the bear and the tree , I decided to put in some dead logs, and have lots of bushes, but leave
it flat. I still have to decide once I have it quilted, whether I will put tall birch trees in the
border. I won't know that until the very end.

I am putting in the pictures I have taken so far- you can see how it evolved.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I hope you are all 'wearing the green' today. I am thinking of my friends in
the park in Mesa ,Arizona where we spent our winters for 8 years. Every St. Patrick's day we had a party around the pool. We had an Irish band, dancers and green beer! Everyone in the park came and what fun we had. Here is a picture of us at one of the pool parties.
So much fun with so many winter friends. I miss them.

We knew the winter was ending and soon we would be heading north. I have so
many happy memories of St. Patricks day - I wish we could surprise our friends and drop in today! Shirley

Monday, March 16, 2009


CONGRATULATIONS ARLENE! Let me know which of the 3 wall hangings
you would like! Please contact me at .

There were 53 finished projects this year not counting the rr's so that is

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thread painting - more animals

Here is another thread painted bear as well as two deer - click on them to see the
stitch direction. I did these when I first started and used a bigger zig zag than I do now.

Both are in landscapes that I did in 2007 -08.

Draw choices

I have been looking over some of the pieces I have on hand, and have decided that the
draw winner will be able to choose from one of these three landscapes. The forest was done in 2008 and is a rough edged applique piece - one of my first forests-at that time I didn't put borders on my landscapes. The eagle and sheep are thread painted. I loved doing this one, but just don't have room to hang it here so decided I would put it in as one of the choices.

The Southwest scene - is from a class I am going to be teaching as a repeat class in the near future on learningfa. It is another one of my favorite subjects.

The third is the 3 sisters which I showed yesterday.

The winner will be able to choose which of the three landscapes she would like to have in her home. I just hope whoever wins will enjoy their prize. Shirley

A lovely folk art landscape

which was just finished by one of our members, Phyllis Duffy - she is a very talented lady, and designed this landscape and will teach it in the spring. I was enchanted by the
whimsical appearance of this piece and she gave me permission to show it here on my blog.

This is such a great way of showing we all can do different things and one perspective is just as good and as interesting as another. I really love it. Congratulations, Phyllis.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


The header picture "Three Sisters" Canadian Rockies, which are near Canmore,Alberta, Canada is the
quilt I am giving away to one of the members of learningfa who finished a project since the first draw.

I am in awe of the beautiful work the girls have done this year so far. I will be holding
another draw in the fall. There are 52 projects eligible for this draw. I wish I could make a
wall hanging for each and every one of the students who have put so much time and effort into these projects. I am also gratified and pleased that a lot of them are landscapes
and thread painting, as well as landscape challenges. There are lots of traditional quilts in the eligible group who are doing art quilts and traditional quilting including paper piecing, mystery, square dance and others. That is what is so great about this wonderful group. I am so pleased that many traditional quilters are willing to teach excellent classes for our group- it is such a help.

We have spaces for a few more people, once the group is full, a waiting list will be set up, so if you are interested in joining - I would suggest you do so now. Shirley


Here is the finished thread painted fir tree, as well as the finished poppy. I would
suggest you click on the picture so you can see the closeup of the thread painting and the
shading. I am now ready to work on the foreground of the large landscape. I am
debating whether to quilt the scene and THEN place the thread painted subjects (bear and tree) on it. Will decide when I get the rest of the bushes etc. done. I have done it this way in the past, as well as adding it before I quilt it. I am also going to add some Poplars or birches up the border and into the scene, but will definitely do them once the quilting is finished.

It is the first time I have done a tree like this and it was a learning experience. I used 3 different shades of green - very dark for the deepest shadows, medium green for the medium shadows and a pretty rayon thread for the top lightest shades. I am quite happy with the way it turned out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

More mysteries

Here are more wonderful mysteries - aren't they great?


As I am doing a lot of thread painting for the big wall hanging I am doing. I thought I would show you another thread painted subject. I am going to do a fir tree - quite large for the foreground. I lay a medium mottled green on my timtex - 3" wide by 16" high.

I drew a fir tree on the green and stitched around the drawing. I wanted there to be a distinction between some of the branches. Using a very dark green, I went over the portion which will be shadowed.

I then started using a pretty fairly bright rayon green for the branches, after thread painting in the trunk and a bit of the branches. You have to look fairly close to see the thread painting on the top branches around the brown trunk. I will carry on down the tree. Once I have this portion done, I will over stitch with a bit of contrast (likely lighter), to give it more of a 3 d impression. This is my first attempt at thread painting this type of tree for a closeup and I want it to look as natural and real as possible. (I am not sure whether I am going to succeed with this one or not. Usually I can highlight what needs to be highlighted once the whole thing is thread painted, but it is difficult when it is one dark shade - rather than a variety. I will post this now and finish it up tomorrow and post a picture of the finished tree (I hope) grin. Shirley

Trip to Canmore

My husband and I took a trip up to Canmore (near Banff) in the rockies, as I wanted to get some photos of the snow on the foothills. I am glad we went when we did as it sounds as if it is getting warmer and there was much less snow than I expected. I take so many pictures, but don't have many for this time of year, while the snow is on the ground and the rockies have snow on them. We had a lovely drive- We also went to Tim Hortons' for a muffin and donut (for dh) and their great coffee. I then went to the Sugar Pine quilt shoppe which is my favorite place to get fabrics for my wall hangings. They have hundreds of fq's in every type of fabric imaginable. I always pick up some batiks in all different shades as I use them all the time. I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures I took today. I also took a lot of pictures of the forest as I want to do a
forest scene with trees from this part of the world. Most of the pictures are quite grey as it was a dull day, but as we got near to home we visited Bowness Park and the sun was out - what a difference. I hope you enjoy some of my photos. I am going to do some Scenes from these. Aren't the ditigal cameras wonderful? I love it that I can take so many and crop them or delete the ones I don't think I will use.

We also stopped at the Art Gallery where the local Guild had some art quilts on show. It
is so different than a few years ago- art quilts are 'in' now and there was a wonderful variety of abstract as well as very realistic scenes. We both enjoyed it immensely.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I want to make sure the finished bear is in with the tutorial so here is the finished animal-
I decided to leave the snout a light grey to show the reflection and all in all I am quite happy with it. I also added a bit of color to the hump and I think it looks realistic.

I wanted to make sure that the finished bear is with the tutorials in case people want to refer to it at a later date.

TUTORIAL thread painting a grizzly bear

Here are the steps in doing my grizzly. The top two pictures show the printed on fabric,bear which I have put on timtex. The second shows a group of brown threads which I will choose from
for thread painting the shadows, and the surface fur.

The third picture shows how I highlighted the light portions of the fur. I then did the darkest thread which is very dark and will cover all the shadows. I then chose a medium brown for the middle value and the bear is starting to look pretty good. I am now working on the bare spaces using a slightly darker than medium thread. Then I will put in the face which I always leave until last. I haven't decided how I am going to do the snout as the photo shows the light reflected on it - it is difficult to get that impression so I will think about it while I am doing the eyes. I will post the fully completed bear in the Header for a couple of days. I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. Shirley

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Mysteries!

Here are Linda's and Tammy's mysteries. They are all so different and I like every one!
From the sounds of things there are quite a few more in the works. It is amazing how different every one is from the others. Interesting how the different values and colors work. Excellent job, ladies.