Monday, November 23, 2009

Book review of "Material Obsession"

Today's blog is a book review of "Material Obsession – Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots" by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. Kathy and Sarah are the owners of a quilting shop, named "Material Obsession", located in Sydney, Australia. This book is a story told through pictures of the beautiful quilts they designed, with lots of helpful tips for everyone.

It starts with an introduction by Kathy and Sarah themselves. They explain their approach to quilting, how they pick the colours to use in their quilts, where they get their inspiration and more. The introduction makes you feel like you've known the authors for years and that you are close friends with them.

The next section of the book is of course, the projects! They give the project instructions for 23 projects that Kathy and Sarah designed. The quilts are arranged by level of difficulty from easy to intermediate to advanced. The easy quilts have only a few pieces to cut out and assemble together. The more advanced quilts have several pieces to cut (don't worry, the templates needed to cut the shapes out are included) and give step-by-step instructions with lots of pictures on how to put it all together.

Throughout the whole book, Kathy and Sarah tell where they got the inspiration for a particular design and they also share ideas of how other quilters can modify the projects to suit their tastes. They encourage the reader to try different options and to have fun with the process.

Finally, the book ends with a section on quilting basics. It explains the different materials and supplies needed to make a quilt and how to choose these supplies. Then the section goes on to show different techniques, including how to properly cut fabric in different shapes and sizes; various applique techniques; how to piece the quilt together; how to layout and assemble the quilt; and ends with some notes on quilting and binding. There are hints and tips a plenty in this section to help you get the most from your quilting experience.

I think my favourite part of the book is reading all their stories of how the quilts came to be. Or is it the colours they used in the quilts ... I can't decide!

One of the things the book talks about is how to choose your fabric, especially the colours of the fabric. One method that Kathy and Sarah shared in their book for choosing colours, was to choose one central colour and then build from there with either contrasting or complementary colours. Want to get started thinking about your colour scheme? Then please visit Beautiful Creations to look at just some of the colours you could use in your next quilt!

Happy quilting!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Card Ideas

Remember my blog post about the book review of "The Encyclopedia of Greeting Card Tools & Techniques"? Well, it inspired me to create some of my own cards, which was a lot of fun. Here's some pictures of the cards I finished.

For Christmas, I made this card, which I call Snowflakes for Christmas. For this card, I used a paint brush to splatter paint on the card to form the background. But I think I'm going to have trouble deciding who to give it to ... any suggestions?

This one I call Seashell Wishes. I think I'll use it for a birthday card – especially a summer birthday. For this card, I was playing with oil pastels, making me feel like a kid again. I didn't have to worry about how pretty the picture was going to look – I just scribbled the pastels wherever I liked! Then, I just blended all the colours together. To finish it off, I used a black marker to trace a stencil on top of the colours. Fun and it turned out so pretty!

Here's one I created for New Year's celebrations. I'm really happy with how the colour turned out because blue is my favourite colour. For this card, I used oil pastels again, since it was so much fun when I did the Seashell Wishes card. I also added a ribbon to add that finishing touch.

If you would like to see more about these cards and other ones that I have made, please visit my Card Ideas webpage. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Knitting Adventures

The past month has been a busy one, filled with lots of company. My mom came from BC to visit me for a month and while she was here, my cousin also came to visit. We did some site seeing and shopping of course, but we also did a lot of knitting. And talking. It was like our own little family bitch and stitch!

Along with knitting, we went to a few local yarn shops in Toronto. One was Lettuce Knit near Spadina and College. It was a tiny shop, but very cute and had a lot of yarn. A few of the patterns had been knitted and were on display. It was nice to see the finished projects. My mom really liked a shawl that was on display and bought the pattern and yarn for it. My cousin found a Debbie Bliss magazine that she had been looking for.

The next store that we went to was Romni Wool, near Queen and Bathurst. That store was huge! One wall had shelves filled with knitting magazines and books, plus there was a ton of yarn. If you ever get the chance to go, make sure to check out the basement, where they have discontinued yarns on sale. My cousin found some lovely wool in the basement sale section and quickly snatched it up. As for myself, I couldn't quite decide on what to get because there was so much to choose from. I will definitely have to make a trip back there ... once I have a pattern in mind and know how much I need to buy.

Here are a few of the things that my mom and I knitted. My favourite is the blue scarf - it has a very lacy look to it that I just love!

If you would like to see the patterns and instructions for the projects that my mom and I did, you can find them on my website – Beautiful Creations Knitting Projects. What projects have you knitted lately?