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, December 31, 2010

2011 Calendar -My work is December!

I just found out one of my wall hangings is in the 2011 calendar (December)
I am very pleased and hope you will check it out. There are other pieces featured under the "Art quilts" as well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

more Christmas knitting

I have finally finished my Christmas presents - and I hope the girls in the family will like them. It has been fun to do and helped me get over a hard time especially this past week.

It was a year ago on the l3th that we lost our son Rob.

I received a parcel from my friend Deb - a skein of merino wool and a skein of alpaca wool. So beautiful. I haven't decided w
hat I will do with it. The alpaca will definitely go into a pair of socks for
me and I am thinking about a lacy scarf. The merino will make a lovely hat to go with my leather coat! Dear Debbie - such a good friend.
The weather is getting colder but actually we have avoid
ed the terrible weather here in
Southern Alberta.

I imagine most of you are ready or nearly ready for Christmas. I hope , if you are
going away, that you will arrive at your destination safely. For those of you who are staying
near or at home, I hope your Christmas is lovely.

For those of you from around the world -- May you have health and happiness, whatever time of the year, or whatever faith you live by.
I think of the Christmas we spent in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand in the 70's on the beach with
our friends -- and our Christmas's in Arizona at Valle Del Oro where we made such wonderful life long friends.

I want to congratulate my dear on line friend Miriam Gogarty who designed 'Emma's Tree' in
honour of her daughter who died of cancer a few years ago. Emma's tree is being made by
Quilters around the world. Miriam presented the President of Ireland an Emma's tree. She
also contributes a huge amount of her time and knowledge teaching, designing and quilting -throughout Ireland. I am honored to know her. We share the loss of an adult child and it
means a lot to me to have her for a friend.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas projects

I have been knitting up a storm this
past while -- have done lots of hats, mittens, scarves and socks
for family and friends for Christmas.
I have also knit 3 sweaters so as you can see, I have been
busy!. I made the brown set for myself - I like
the caps with the brims - I designed a
crochet pattern which works well. The red hat and socks are
part of a set I did for my dear friend Debbie - socks, hat, scarf and mittens. She lives in Athabasca and it is even colder there than
here on the average - (North of Edmonton). The mottled teal and beige set is for one of my family members and the pink socks go with the sweater I did previously. I needed a break from thread painting and art quilts and these are my first times doing socks and
mittens although I have knitted and crochet for years. I am enjoying it very much.
I still learn a pattern and then change it - grin. Our weather is better -
we had a terrible week awhile ago and word was that we were one of
the coldest spots on earth -- (might have been a bit of imagination - but
it sure felt like it and it was in the paper as a fact!)

It has been nicer lately and we have even had some Chinook winds which
are warm winds from the west.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

more knitting

I designed a cap for myself that isn't as large as most of the patterns - I like it better for
me as I don't wear floppy hats that well. I think I will make up a bunch of different styles of hats and give them to a charity that needs clothes -- our winters are so cold here that warm hats, mittens, sweaters etc. are very welcome. They only
take me a little while so I think I will use it as a project for " Inn from the Cold" which works in conjunction shelters for abused women and families who have to leave home suddenly.
The blue hat I posted previously is much
larger and would suit a young person more than the red one does.

I have so many different types of yarn I think it would be a good project for my evenings.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Finished pullover

Here is the finishes sweater and luckily it fit her perfectly.

I can now relax and decide what I want to do next.

I think I will start doing some thread painting as I have
some photos of some interesting subjects so I might just start one of them.

They are warning we will get our first winter storm starting on Monday, so I guess winter is on the way. We have had a great autumn so far after a crappy summer.
I have enjoyed knitting 4 (can it be 4 sweaters in the past two months?) think I will start doing some socks for
Christmas. It is years since I knitted some socks so have been checking the internet. I found a couple of patterns that look quite simple. I hope to advance into making some
fancy legs with the regular sock foot but I think I had better knit a couple of pairs first!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I am coming along with the sweater I am knitting for my dil - I finished her hat and the back of the sweater and am currently working on the front. The hat is crochet and I took a basic pattern and
changed it quite a bit -- The yarn is so pretty -- and I decided that I would use an overall pattern for the sweater.

It will be quite cosy and good for outdoor activities in our winter, under a coat or jacket. I think it will be good for camping too as they go camping quite a lot and the evenings are chilly.

Once I get this one finished I will open up my sewing machine and start a couple of projects I have in mind --I really needed this break and feel a lot of energy now that I have taken a bit of
a holiday.

I also have been doing water exercises 3 days a week and am feeling the difference.

I turned over my yahoo group (Learningfa) to Julie and Delia as I felt I had done what I could in the way of teaching my work. It is amazing we held 37 classes not counting my thread painting and some of my rough edged landscapes - over the past years- all classes are free and
it is amazing the great work the girls are doing. Debbie just taught us a watercolor quilt and the girls put a motif of some sort in the middle or side of the piece.

I will however do another thread painting series sometime next year. I am in the process of debating whether to change the format and do groups of 3 tutorials in one group - with signups for each group. Both the new owners are doing a great job and it is a relief for me to see how smoothly the transition has been accomplished. both are very talented and I know lots of new things will transpire on the group.

It is a lovely autumn day here in Calgary - sunny and not too chilly. I love the fact that
we get so much sunlight here rather than dull, cloudy days. I don't mind the cold that much when it is sunny! We didn't have a nice summer but October and the first part of November have been lovely. There is snow on the peaks of the Rockies and I can see them out my window.

We are going to take a drive up to Banff next week if the nice weather stays. I will post a picture of the finished sweater in the next week or two.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My latest challenge (knitting)

has taken a lot of my time lately. I decided to knit something for the girls in my family, after I finished the two sweaters for myself. I just finished a pretty blue pullover for my daughter. I put a moss stitch pattern (one of my favorite knitting designs) up the front and on the sleeves like I did for my pink sweater. It is finished now and I am starting one for my dil in a lovely
soft heavier yarn which gives the feeling of heather when it is knitted. I found
a wonderful knitting book which was published in l984 which allows you to use whatever yarn and needles you wish to design your own sweaters either in knitting or crochet. It has been sitting around my library for years as it looked rather difficult to understand how to knit a swatch and
figure how to get the proper size. I spent the afternoon a few weeks ago reading it thoroughly and it is great. the size works out perfectly. The only disadvantage is that it gives very
plain patterns and you have to design your own additions, stitches, collars, different types of sleeves etc. I enjoy doing that so it works out well for me.

it is called "Sweaters in every guage" by Barbara Goldstein and was published by Prentice Hall in l984.

I doubt I will ever use a pattern again unless it is something that can't be worked into the instructions in this book. I think if I really worked at it I could adjust written patterns to it - I always 'do my own thing' even when following a regular pattern but I love it that I can pick out a yarn - use whatever needles I wish and figure out the guage with a swatch, then go to the
charts and figure out the stitch number. there are
different necks, sleeves, collars etc. which can be incorporated. I did my pink sweater with different sized needles and yarn than the blue one I am showing today and both turned out nicely --

I just started one for my dil a few minutes ago in a lovely yarn by Red Heart (collage) and it is knitting up beautifully. It is heavier yarn so I am using larger needles.

It is a cool foggy morning here in Calgary - we have had a very nice autumn but it is starting to get pretty chilly. I imagine most of the 'snow birds' are heading toward Arizona, every year I feel homesick for our park there but life is good even though we don't go down any more. We still keep in touch with our friend in the park we stayed at for l0 years.

Well, I guess I shall read my morning paper and go shopping. Shirley

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunhine awards

I have been honored with TWO Sunshine awards from other bloggers who enjoy my blog.
Carol and Eileen have both sent me an award, and I do appreciate it. I hope you will visit both their blogs.

I am away for a couple of days and will post the blogs I will award the wonderful daisy to when I get home. It is an honor. There are lots of wonderful blogs out there and I will find it difficult to pick out my choices. thanks ladies. Shirley


I started out knitting a sweater, using a Norwegian pattern which I found on the internet.
I saw one finished and really liked it. I had nothing but problems with it and finally got
the front and back finished -- When I started the sleeves the instructions were poorly
written and after trying 4 times and even taking it to a knitting store - found out that
the whole sleeve pattern was incorrect. I trie
d to design my own sleeves, but with the
pattern on the whole piece , I found it more trouble than it was worth. I therefore decided to make a vest
from the back and front and actually I am quite happy with it. I crochet a narrow design around
the neck and sleeve openings and bought myself a black long sleeved t shirt to wear with it.

I decided to start another plain pullover with a seed stitch strip 3" wide up the center front -- it is well under way and I am going to get lots of use out of it. It is still only Sept. and we have had
a bit of snow already -- We have had a terrible summer - it is very cold out and everyone is
fed up with the bad weather. Especially as winter seems to be arriving early! I bought a
pretty medium pink and will knit it on the round.
I am enjoying my break from landscapes and thread painting and once I finish the 2nd
sweater I will get back at it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Today is the reveal for the second challenge of our group Challenging ourselves and once again there is lots of interesting pieces posted. Here is mine.

I painted the scenes with craft acrylics and then
did thread painting on top to highlight the pictures. I then did some beading .

I am enjoying the group so much and love looking at all the new work. I hope you will visit
the group see the side bar, and check out the
reveal today.

I am working on a beautiful cardigan and it is slowly getting done. It has been a
long while since I knitted a pattern and found this one confusing. I saw the finished
cardigan in a wool shop here in Calgary, and tried it on and fell in love with it.

I decided to cut back on my art work for awhile and decided to do this sweater.

I find the pattern hard to understand but have struggled through it and have the
back and both fronts nearly done. I am so glad I stuck with it and I know it is
going to be nice when I finish it. I am not sure whether I am allowed to show
the pattern but here are the pieces I have finished. It is pattern l04 Garn Studio

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September is here!!!!

Unbelievable that we are well into September after a very cool, stormy summer. Our
summers are so short anyway that one like this past one makes the winter seem much longer.

We did manage a few nice days -- had a picnic with the family at one of the parks (one I used to visit when I was very young) for my
birthday, which was lovely. Such a good time --

I have made a big decision and have decided to retire from the Learningfa group which I started in 2007 - it now has over 400 members and is a very active good group- I know I will miss running the group but I really am ready. Delia Holst from Australia will take over the
art quilt classes and she is a wonderful artist so the group will be in good hands.

It is such a successful group, with free traditional and art classes, that I really wanted to make sure it is in good hands -- Julie runs the traditional free classes and Delia the art free classes so it should be
a smooth transition. Check out Delia's Blog (right side bar)- her art work is outstanding and I am fortunate that both these girls were willing to keep the group going.

I will still be teaching on my blog and for the group so I am not 'leaving' the group --

I have started knitting a cardigan and as it is years since I knitted by pattern, I am having quite a time. It is a Norwegian Pattern and difficult to understand even though I am using US
measurements. It is bright and pretty and I know I will love it when I get it finished.

I have done a bit of unravelling but am slowly getting there. I have always designed my own knitting patterns for sweaters but this one is so pretty I couldn't resist it.

Here is the link to the pattern (it is l04). I hope you can open it -- I tried a sample on a couple of years ago and it has been in my mind since then. I will be glad when it is finished. I wish I lived close to a really good knitter as I am sure it isn't as confusing for someone who follows patterns all the time! I will persevere though!

I have the back and 3/4 of one front done . The decrease for the neck should be simple but isn't and (I have done this type of neck before with no problems. It is just understanding
what they are saying ) I am seriously thinking of doing the neck my way rather than the pattern. grin.

Well, back to it. Shirley

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gifts for my nephew

My nephew got married on Saturday and I am posting pictures of the gifts I made for them.

They are divers and photographers and have some Wonderful photos of different fish, and underwater coral. I decided to do 3 of their pictures for their wedding present. I completely thread painted each photo after transferring it onto a fabric sheet, placing the background fabric on a piece of heavy timtex, and placing the photo in the center. I then thread painted the whole photo. I made a set of three of their photos and then made the underwater landscape I posted previously. (Here it is again). I just heard from him and they really liked them. It was one of the most fun projects I have ever done - Their photos taken during their dives are
wonderful. All over the world - so interesting.


Retreat, Sylvan Lake, Alberta

I want to show you some of the pictures from the Western Retreat at Sylvan Lake, in June.

I drove up with Verona (thanks Vee) and we had lots of fun. It was the l0th anniversary as Debbie and I started it in 2001 so we had a table set up with pictures and some of the gifts the girls received.

We have a large balcony in the gym and so it is great for show and tell. Some of the work done by these ladies is outstanding.- The one on the bottom right is a painted quilt I did in 2000 (my first quilt). The One Block wonder is Verona's isn't it a beauty? and the Beautiful black background flowers is Debbie's

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I am home from

Both retreats and learned that two retreats,one immediately after another is just too much.
I am taking a few days before we leave on a week's holiday into BC to take it easy and just
do what I feel like doing.

While at the retreat dear Debbie taught me how to make bowls using clothesline cords. I am
visiting a friend in her new apartment tomorrow and will take her this set as a housewarming gift- a bowl, 3 hot pads and a knitted dish
cloth -- I hope to make a couple more dishcloths tonight for
the set.

I have also made a set for my dil as part of her birthday present.

Once I get back I am going have to get my brain working on my next challenge with the Challenging Ourselves group.

I was so glad to get home -- we had two great retreats though and it was great to reaquaint with a my friends. It was the l0th anniversary of the Western Retreat and the pillow cases
I made for the anniversary with landscapes on them went over very well.

I will be getting back to normal with my blog and the learning fa group once we come back from our little holiday.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Here I am again

I have been working on some projects that I wanted to finish before I go to my two retreats next week. I am really ready for a break -- I missed one of them last year due to my son's illness and
I am looking forward to getting away. It has been a difficult year and it seems to have caught up with me a bit - so I will be happy to visit with my friends and get some 'fun ' work done too.

I am teaching a class of my miniatures (rough edged applique) and I am also ready to work on
another manipulated miniature - also have some binding to hand finish so I will have lots to do.

I doubt I will have a chance to post before I leave but will post some pictures of the show and tell and other retreat pictures when I get back. Shirley

Monday, May 31, 2010

I watched the ceremony

in Washington last night and it really was wonderful. I was so impressed with the tribute to the veterans, and especially the widows of men killed in the war.

We are in Afghanistan too, and a neighbor of mine just lost her son. I was an 'army wife' for
20 years and my husband was in the United Nations Peace Keeping force -Gaza, Germany, Korea, and other parts of the world. I was so touched with the beautiful singing, and the tribute to the wounded and the men who have lost their lives. I thought the way they presented the two stories
with actors, was done exceptionally well. It doesn't matter if I am a Canadian we have been in Afghanistan since the beginning-- we are all
in the same boat during this awful war. I feel so much for the people represented by the
ceremony So sad for the wounded and the families left behind.

It was very well done -
"In flander's fields the poppies blow,between the crosses row on row,
Which mark our place,
While in the sky, the lark still bravely singing, flies. Scarce heard among the guns, below.

We are the dead - short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flander's fields.

Take up the quarrel with the foe -- to you with failing hands we throw,
the torch - Be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with those who die, we shall not sleep.
though poppies blow in Flander's fields."
This was written by a Canadian soldier Lt. Colonel John McRea in the first World War who died shortly after
writing it. If you are interested in reading the story behind it there is lots of information if you google it.

I hear that

Ontario is having a heat wave -- I know how hot and humid it gets there. HOWEVER, we
are having lots of snow - can you believe it! We have such a short summer under normal
conditions that we don't need a week of rain and snow at the end of May!
I am so tired of it! We had a lovely month of March and since then it has been yucky!

Here in Alberta we get winds from the North as well as winds from the Pacific and if the two run into each other it means lots of bad weather.

Oh well, at least I am getting some work done. I am also getting ready to go to two retreats
starting June 17 I will be gone for a total of 9 days - I will be teaching my little humming bird
Challenge quilt (with the babies in the nest) as well as a little winter scene. They will learn to
do a l2 x 12 miniature which will be thread painted on fabric backed by heavy timtex-

One of the retreats (Western Retreat) I started l0 years ago and women came from all over.
We have made many lifelong friends from it., The other is another retreat which originated with the first one. Between the two we have over 60 people meet each year.

I am working on a series of fish studies from underwater deep diving. They are wonderful and will be given as gifts for an upcoming event. I am really enthusiastic about them and have the first one well under way. I really like doing the miniatures that are completely thread painted.

Well, off to the library and then back to thread painting.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jacket for my sister

I decorated a jean jacket 4 or 5 years ago for Marj - it was a forest scene with tipis etc. a lake . She just loves it and has worn it a lot . She mentioned how often she wore it so I decided to do another for her. Here it is. It is very much like one of my scenes with a coyote in it and I know she will like it. I am going to put a winter birch tree on the front.She is in Ottawa so we don't see each other often. Thank heavens for the internet!

She is much taller than me so the jacket will fit her better than it does me! Shirley

Thursday, May 20, 2010


We took Hayley out for lunch the other day, and we found some pillows shaped like a rainbrow trout - it was a foot taller than she was and she just loved it. I couldn't resist putting a photo
to show you.

She is growing so quickly, We look after her once a week and have since she was born so we have been lucky enough to be involved with her growing up. She changes so quickly.

I have had more issues with my mac - although I think I have the problems solved - for how long I don't know.

Yesterday I opened my blogs and there were no pictures or back
ground color on the blog s. It happened before and the mac
support person helped me get it back. About 3 hours later it was blank again except for the text - so I called them again. This time she walked me through quite a few steps and voila! there was the color. I just had all my data removed and there seems to be a glitch in it. Hmm- might end up having to buy another computer if it keeps on acting up.
Our Çhallenging ourselves group has chosen another challenge theme - 'FOUR ELEMENTS'
there should be some interesting reveals on this one. I have a few ideas perking around in my head. These challenges are REALLY a challenge.

I hope you will drop by our Challenging ourselves blog and see the results of the first challenge
"Hidden Treasures" Well, I have to head out for some errands. have a nice day! Shirley

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Challenging ourselves reveal today

There are now l5 'Hidden Treasures' in the Challenging ourselves BLog and I hope you will drop by and check them out. This is our first challenge and therefore our first reveal. I am so pleased with the variety of subjects and the beautiful finished projects.

We would love it if you check them out and comments would be very welcome. The address is on the side bar - of my favorite blogs. Shirley

My challenge piece, HIDDEN TREASURES!

This is my challenge which was revealed today.

I decided it would work well, if I used baby Hummingbirds as the Hidden Treasures . It was fun to do.
I will be teaching this miniature, as well as two others at the Big Sky retreat in Olds, in June. I hope you will check out the rest of the challenges.

Challenging ourselves reveal today

I would love it if you would go to the side bar and click on Challenging Ourselves - today is the reveal of our first Challenge "Hidden Treasures" The girls in the group (20 of us) are posting
pictures of their challenge and telling us how they decided to do their challenge, and what they did to meet the Challenge.

It was a 'reach' for all of us and I am soo impressed -- We have about 9 challenges posted and the rest will like come in today. I think you will find it interesting. I am so glad we set up this Challenge group - it is amazing how different people work. Check them out! Shirley

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I  have had a great two days.  I started this top yesterday and finished it a few minutes ago.
I will add a border (possibly 2) and then quilt it.  This will be a class , but it is also going to 
be a wedding gift -  I have decided to do some beading as well.   Isn't it a nice feeling 
when you start something and it just happens, with no problem and the work just flows?

It is the first time that has happened since we lost our son so I am feeling really good about it!

Well! we have had the Mother of all spring storms.   Rain, 8 - l0 inches of snow  heavy wind, and really a mess.   We never left the house.   It is slowly passing.  The only good thing about it is that the farmers desperately needed moisture so that will help.  The roads
were blocked, accidents all over the place.  Our summer is so short that we really don't need a storm like this in May!  The whole Province from Edmonton to the Montana border was 
affected and roads impassible.   Now I hope summer will likely arrive.  We were in Banff last week and it was 22 deg.
C   (over 70 degrees F.) absolutely glorious.   One thing about our Alberta weather it can change in an hour.

I  have just about finished binding my winter Skating on the Pond, and have finished 3 
 fully thread painted manipulated miniatures so it has been a good time for me.

I am attending two retreats in June, as I do every year, so have started getting my 
secret sister gifts ready  and other things organized as well.  I am really looking forward to it
this year.  

Nothing much on tv tonight - but I feel good about finishing the wall hanging.  Shirley

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My first quilt - ever

One day the quilt group in the park asked me to teach them how to paint on fabric.  They wanted something southwestern, so I agreed.  It was my first use of my 'little people' which I had designed for sets of cards etc.  While we were in the class I casually mentioned  what a great quilt they would make - one of the girls offered to help me make a quilt - all the rest agreed to help me. I had ABSOLUTELY no idea how to quilt, how to put a quilt together.  I drew l6" x 20" panels and we picked out the  sashing fabric.   Eighteen of my friends helped us.  Two close friends helped me  sandwich each  block with a portion of the sashing.  l6 of my friends hand quilted a block each and when we got them back my friends showed me how to put the quilted blocks together.  I then hand quilted the  quilt - I couldn't believe how beautiful it was.   That was the last year we were able to go to Arizona and when we got home I decided I wanted to make 
another quilt so that I wouldn't forget anything.  All of my hand painted quilts were 'quilt as you go' and all were hand quilted.    There was a lot of interest in the quilts and there are three of them in the US - hmm I wonder if they are still being used.   

I then put together a group of blocks given to me for running the first Western retreat - it was two sided and I learned then that traditional quilting for me was not nearly as much fun as using my own ideas for quilts or wall hangings.  I will put a picture of the second  and third quilt I made - one was given to my son Rob 9 years ago and he treasured it.  I have it in my 
collection -  Shirley

Student's Southwestern wall hanging

Last year I taught a class on learning fa - it was a southwestern scene and used some of my 
patterns for southwestern 'little people'.   Susan just posted a picture and as we are talking about some of the southwestern work - I decided it was fitting that I showed it.   T here were some 
wonderful wall hangings completed with this class.   

I am going to take some pictures of my Southwest painted quilts  and tell you how they evolved, tomorrow.  I hope you are enjoying my memories of Mesa!   Shirley

Pine needle baskets and clay

This is part 2  of my southwestern art pictures.   I learned to do some wonderful pine needle 
woven baskets  which I still have, while I was staying at Valle del Oro in Mesa --  In some cases I hand built some centers and
poked in holes all around the center circles -- Then I attached the raffia and started making the outsides.   The long one is 
a 'bun holder' - the larger is a hot mat -- the basket at the side 
is a bit different.  First of all I dyed my needles a brown -  and used sliced walnuts put together with silicone - which gives them strength and a nice looking finish.  I also incorporated some walnut slices in the ends of the basket.   

As mentioned in my previous post, I loved doing the southwestern arts - and these are 
treasures.  I made quite a few at  the time for gifts but made  sure I kept one of each for me!

I hope you enjoy looking back with me.   Shirley