Thursday, November 19, 2015

When the flowers were in full bloom...

It was the first weekend of November, the sun was shining bright and the temperatures were very warm for this time of year.

We were a group of friends gathered around our passion, gathered to quilt and stitch. It was the first trapunto project I was about to stitch with the help and advice of Nathalie Méance from La Fée Pirouette. She is the wonderful designer of the 2015 Mystery Quilt for Quiltmania.

 And so I  stitched this block and was happy to learn this technique which I had seen on Nathalie's videos over and over again. The colors were beautiful, the atmosphere fantastic with a group of wonderful ladies. The climax of the weekend was when Nathalie revealed the quilt Colmar completely finished!! Oh my goodness, how beautiful it was!!! I couldn't stop admiring it! I was enjoying the weekend so much. Yet, I knew that something wrong was going to happen... I had sensed it just before I left home on Friday night and I was worried the whole weekend though I tried not to show it.

What I feared the most did happen... the relapse of my wife's cancer. Since then the battle has started again with its pain and suffering. And as if it was not enough, the terrorist attacks on Paris covered my country with  a veil of sadness.

Sometimes it is just difficult to stay optimistic. Today the sun is shining in the sky but not in my heart but we will face what we have to face and fight the battle together.

I wish I could pick up my needle and relax but for now I can't.
I wish I could read a book, dream and escape from reality but for now I can't.
I wish I could leave home in the morning lighthearted but for now I can't.

I will try to finish my block though.

Life is beautiful... I know... but sometimes life is hard. I will keep looking at the flowers on Nathalie's quilt while waiting for the flowers to bloom again next spring.

I have turned the comment section off but I know that you are around.
Thank you.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

For once...

... I am ahead of time and have finished part 3 of the SMC 2015 before part 4 arrives!! I still can't believe it! I am ususally so slow on all my projects!

But look at the sampler!!! How can you stop stitching it? It is really beautiful and stitching it over 1 with tent stitch on 40-count linen enhances its beauty in MHO.

The whole project is already looking gorgeous and I cannot wait for part 4.

I have not decided how I will frame it yet but have several ideas. I will decide when I choose in which room it will go. The framing will depend on the sampler itself, of course, but also on the surrounding frames on the wall.

As a reward, I will bake some scones for tea this afternoon, using the recipe Natalie gave on her blog.

Edit 6.30 pm : Well, I thought you would like to have a glimpse of my tea time ;-) My daughters and their friends, who had stopped by, enjoyed some tea and scones with us :-)

Until later,

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stitch Me Club Part 2

Summer stitching is fun even when away by the seaside at the beach condo. Though the boats, the sea and the sand are not really coordinated with the atmosphere in this piece, it was great to stitch it there.

It was a very relaxing time and I also managed to have some study time every day  which was great. We spent some time with friends from Burgundy and Switzerland and enjoyed the clear blue water of the Mediterranean sea.

How do you like this second part? Isn't it the most adorable cottage barn? I love the flowers on top of the roof! Don't you?

The atmosphere is very different from the boats and the palm trees, but I am sure the lady enjoyed the vacation as much as I did ;-) At least, she didn't complain :-)

I was really happy to finish part 2 on time but being away, I could not start part 3. Fortunately DD1 was home and texted me the photo of part 3 as soon as it arrived and it is another gorgeous part.

When I arrived home on Friday 14, I immediately started it!

 I do not want to be late for part 4 which will be in my mailbox when school resumes. Yes, it is just round the corner now.

 I still have two more weeks off.

I garden a bit every day, make some progress on the SMC 2015 and work on the last border of Mountmellick. But I still spend 3 to 4 hours for work and have planned a few days of collaborative work with colleagues. It is great to have time for everything and not be in a frantic mode.

Days are getting shorter now but it is still warm though not so hot anymore... it is just a perfect end of summer.

I hope you are enjoying  a peaceful time too ;-)

Until later,

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer stitching

It's been a long time... and high time to show you something.

As usual, I am very busy with my work and though I am on vacation for the summer break I have much to do for work and for a major professional project. But I do find time in the evening to play with my needles, finishing Di Ford's Mountmellick and The Basket by La Fée Pirouette. I have also found some time to start a new sampler.

Now that I have started stitching part 2,  I can show you  the first part of the Stitch Me Club 2015 project by Nataliejo from L'Atelier Perdu.

You know that I am a great fan of each project that Natalie designs. I have never been disappointed and I think she is a very talented designer, one of my favourite with Merry Cox and CA Wells.

As I did for the previous sampler that she had designed, I am stitching it on 40-count linen using tent stitch. It is teeny tiny but the result is really delicate.

The second part is  as charming as the first one and the four-part sampler is going to be another heirloom.

I know some of you had regretted not signing up for The Patches Of Life Sampler so if you wish to stitch this one, do not delay as it is available , as always with Natalie's patterns, for a short period of time (until the club ends).

Quilting and stitching brings me peace and joy in a manner I can hardly explain. Add to that some very good books on my nightstand, some flavourful tomatoes picked directly in the garden and prepared with some olive oil and fresh basil. Plus, the piano played by Louise who is now back after a year in the USA and her sister who is about to arrive before leaving for Seattle where she will study for the autumn quarter. Add also the long evening  talks with my wife for our future projects now that she has been cured from cancer. Not mentioning the wonderful lunches or dinners with friends from time to time. All this make my life a beautiful one filled with simplicity and love... I wish nothing else and enjoy every second of this blissful time. It really makes the work I have to do very easy and even enjoyable :-)

I wish you all a beautiful summer, and for my friends and readers in the southern hemisphere I hope you can stay warm ;-)
Here in the south of France it is VERY hot these days, so hot that eating on the terrasse for lunch is almost impossible!

Until later,

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A class with Di Ford. Pour L'Amour Du Fil #7

This last post is about the class with Di Ford or shoud I say a dream that has come true! I had been dreaming of attending a class with Di Ford since I first opened her book. I love her quilts.

I am still working on Mountmellick, the Quiltmania BOM that Di ford did last year, and it is such a pleasure to piece this quilt. 

For me, broderie perse is a real discovery and opens up new creative possibilities.

This is the model we've been working on in class. The aim was to discover broderie perse, how to cut the fabric, how to stitch tiny points and how to make the flowers in the border.

I love opening a kit and discovering what it contains... it is like a package a possibilities. It is also the reverse process from what we usually do as quilters. What I mean is that I usually choose fabric and try to guess what the effect will be depending on the fussy-cutting I will do or on what part of the fabric I will use. When opening a kit which contains the same fabrics as the sample piece, this is just the reverse process. It is discovering from which fabric Di obtained such an effect in the block. And let me tell you that it is really instructive. It opens up your mind and teaches you to look at fabrics with a different perspective.

Di also showed us what tools and pens she usually uses.

Di was very open to our questions and that was great because I wanted to learn her technique for reverse appliqué. So she showed us in great detail how to do it for a perfect result.

We were also very lucky to see pieces of future works...

... as well as a red version of Mountmellick.

At the end of the class, Evelyne, showed her version of Phebe, one of Di's quilt. It was really impressive! Such a beautiful version and the details were amazing. I suppose it must be fantastic for a quilt designer to see how their creativty is such a source of inspiration for many of us.

I was also happy to meet people who knew me from my blog. And in this class, I met someone from England. I am glad she introduced herself and was happy to meet her ;-). That is so nice to be connected with many people sharing the same passion.

Thank you very much Di for creating so many wonderful quilts. Mountmellick should be finished very soon and I am already looking forward to handquilting it.

I am also looking forward to seeing your fabric collection in the shops.

This is the last post about my quilting journey to Nantes. No need to tell you that it has been a very special moment. This quiltshow is unique. It gives all of us the opportunity to see wonderful exhibitions, meet quilt designers in a very friendly atmosphere and to attend classes to learn new techniques or share a special moment with your favourite designers.

I have already marked the dates for next year. I do not know yet whether I will be able to attend but will do my best not to miss it.

Until later,

Friday, May 8, 2015

Tomie Nagano. Pour L'Amour Du Fil #6

Tomie Nagano is a Japanese quilter who works with indigo fabrics. She uses old antique fabrics that she collects. I thought it would be a bit like the work of Shizuko Kuroha but, though I can hardly explain it, her work looks different to me... not very different but it has a personality of its own.
It may be due to the artist herself. I discovered a person who speaks English, who is lively and enthusiastic. I felt this kind of energy in the quilts rather than the peacefulness I felt in the quilts of Shizuko Kuroha.

Look carefully at the photo above. You will see close-up photos below, and I will show you a piece of fabric which wa unusual in such a piece.

Not only is the work amazing but the quilting is really impressive too! Another great opportunity for me to study the different quilting patterns used.

Enjoy ;-)

A surprising use of yellow and orange for a striking effect.

Back to the first quilt presented in this blog post. The log cabin block is completely de-structured.

Can you see the teeny-tiny yellow heart of the block?

I told you there was a surprising piece of fabric in the quilt of the first photo. Here it is!! I wonder who has noticed it?

Here it is again. Can you spot it? How I would have loved to know the reason why she put this piece of fabric there! I am sure she did it on purpose... But this will remain a mystery.

And now a grandmother's flower garden... the Japanese way...

Log cabin blocks again... love the effect!

 The handquilting adds so much to the texture of these quilts. I am always in awe when I see such amazing quilts, but it requires a shift of mind from my western perspective to really appreciate these quilts. Japanese quilting is different though they use the same blocks and are inspired by western quilting.

Until next post,