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

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

Friday, April 23, 2010

Older work

I was talking to my dear friend Debbie on the phone and she has taken up pottery and doing a great job.  
I finally found some pictures of my clay and basket work to send to her and  thought I would 
put them in my blog.  I think I might have shown them 2  years ago but here they are again.
I took a class using Arizona red c
lay and we made navajo indians on a wall.  I did the two navajoh - but the third one ended up as Chief Chiniki an indian chief from the Morley band just outside of Calgary.  He used to ride in the stampede parade with his beautiful head dress and 
beaded outfit.  I grew up watching him at the parade and some how he ended up on my wall.
I have to admit  the wall means a lot to me.    I also did  a lot of other
 types of clay work. 

Two of the above are "southwest indian carving's  which was interesting to do.  You take a green ware vase  raw -and using undercoating thinned with water  you put l0 coats letting them dry in  between each coat.   Then you put  between 8 and l0 thin coats of another color , letting them dry thoroughly between each coat.  Then you put the last series of coats in a 3rd color.  You let them dry for at least four days - then you carefully draw your design on your vase and start 
scraping very carefully until you reach the color you want -- My first coat was black and turquoise and sand were my other colors.  I scraped the black  until I reached the next color and  then scraped that way until I reached the bottom color.  we then fired the piece and what you see with both the vases is what you get you can fire it to bisque and then either cover with a clear matt finish (not fired)  or you can  cover it with a matt or shiny glaze and fire it again.

I didn't use a glaze - I finished it off with a matt finish painted on.   I loved doing them.  I won a
ribbon at the Phoenix Art show which pleased me. 

I loved going down to Mesa every year - there were wonderful areas for so many new arts that I hadn't taken before - My eyes were opened to a lot of wonderful new techniques.   I wish I 
lived closer to Debbie as I would join her pottery group.  It was amazing the work that 
came out of that pottery room.  One girls made a 3 ft long crocodile made in 3 section which 
fitted together so that it was able to be placed in different ways.  It was really outstanding and 
she really reached out of the box.   So many memories of Valle Del Oro in Messa.  I got my start in quilting and fabric painting there. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our 55th anniversary

was yesterday, so Pat and I decided a couple of days ago to go to Banff and spend some time 
just soaking in the scenery.   The  picture here is Bow Falls right in Banff Town and although the ice has melted the falls are still covered with ice and snow.  It is a lovely spot.   We then went to the Vermilion lakes which is also in the Banff Townsite and took lots of pictures of Mt. Rundle with snow on the lake.   It is one of my favorite mountain scenes -- and each time you go it looks different. 

I am going to do another wall hanging ,Spring in the Rockies once I finish binding a couple of my newest wall hangings.   Check out the header on the blog and you will see how beautiful it is.

It was a wonderful little trip and the when we got home last night Kelly (son) and family took us for dinner.    

I really needed to get away and I could feel the stress leaving me on the trip.   It is my favorite place in the whole world.    Shirley

Monday, April 19, 2010

New BLog

I hope you will welcome my friend Val who just opened her blog.   Val and I are good friends.
She lives in Canmore and worked at the Sugar Pine quilt shoppe (anyone from Alberta or BC will know about the Sugar pine) and I met her at one of the retreats a few years ago.

I would love you to check out her blog and look at the quilt she made of her grand daughter. 
She should be very proud of it.   I have put her blog on my blog list. 

It was a gorgeous day and we took a drive - however, I FORGOT  my camera and saw at least 
4 scenes which would make great landscapes.  oh well.  Talk to you all later.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Learningfa Class projects

We are having a very successful thread painting  on going series and Delia from Australia
did this beautiful parrot.   I taught how to do a robin and was so pleased that she took one of 
the beautiful parrots that live in her part of the world.   When we were in  Oz  about 5 years ago we  visited a place just outside of Melbourne that  had thousands of parrots.  They ate out of 
our hand.
  Delia is in the same  Challenge group that I belong to and an active member of our group.  She can do anything - traditional and art quilts.  She will be teaching the 'disappearing nine patch ' in May.

The second picture is  a Seminole patchwork wall hanging which was taught by Verona -
her wall hanging is lovely.  It was a very successful class and I am showing you her
class sample.   Verona does such gorgeous work.  It was an extremely successful class.

The bottom   picture is the next landscape class I will be teaching  in May- we just finished 'skating on the pond"  the girls are working on theirs right now.   This one is quite easy so I hope they enjoy it.

these are just examples of what we do in learningfa (fiberarts).   So much fun.   Shirley

Thread painted daisies

were done by Teri  in the learningfa group.   She is taking my thread painting series and I was so pleased with what she did with these.   She is keeping it and hanging it in her house. 
She is one of our most active members and does very lovely work.  Good job Teri!

Monday, April 5, 2010

#2 Manipulation

I have  nearly finished thread painting my second small wall hanging of manipulated fabric. 
I am really liking the finished result here.  I have about two inches of the border to quilt then will trim the outsides and satin stitch around it -   I have another one I am anxious to get at. 

This is fun ---  I love thread painting and I have found I like the results of the manipulation.

I hope you like it so far.  Shirley

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Skating on the pond - continued #3

I finished doing the landscape part of this piece, for a class I am going to teach on 
Learningfa -- we have over 80 students signed up so I hope they enjoy this winter 
landscape.   Here is the finished top -- it now has to be bordered and quilted, but 
the class portion is finished.   I hope you like it.   There will be lots of room for 
variety as the student can go much simpler than this one so I hope  the class goes well.

A landscape similar to this one was sold at the quilt acution for breast cancer a few 
years ago  at their auction and did very well.   I have to admit I am glad it is done 
as I like to do new 'stuff' rather than repeat - however it is great for a class and people
love the little skaters.