Friday, 2 August 2019

New Theme Announcement

What a fantastic reveal that was!  I think we should all feel very pleased with ourselves :-)  As always it's wonderful seeing the variety of interpretations of the theme and the different techniques that members have experimented with.

We now have the following themes left in the bag:
  1. The Sea
  2. Memories
  3. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
  4. Emotions feelings
  5. Opposites attract
  6. Colour theory
  7. Dreams
  8. Wishes
  9. A scene from a book
and the random number generator has chosen.

So our theme for reveal on 1 November is Dreams.  How exciting!


A Shady Path, second try

A Shady Path, second try. As usual, I am down to the finish line with this challenge. I begin by collecting images on Pinterest of what I had in mind. I spent many years in the San Francisco area and loved nothing better than walking through the redwood forests. So after discarding the idea of a flower garden, I decided to try a walk through the redwoods. There were many excellent photographs and I loved the ones with the sunshine backlighting the trees. I narrowed known my choices to two or three and finally settled on just one picture. That was as far as I got a week or so ago. I gathered a lot of batiks and decided to work with them.

Three days ago I came upon a beautiful printed forest in my stash. It was not redwood trees, but was really alive with color. I don't know where it came from, but I know it is a Northcott fabric.

For batting I found instead a double sided fusible foam stabilizer. It is In-R-Form Plus by Bosal. One quarter of it was 8-1/2 x 11 inches, so I was ready to go. This type of fusing was new to me so that was a challenge. I was able to fold over the front fabric to the back and fuse it therec as well, not needing any binding. For additional texture I used glue basting to attach the path and its borders.

About six weeks ago I bought a new Pfaff machine and am thrilled with it. However learning all the bells and whistles means I am constantly referring back to the manual. After an aborted attempt at trying some free motion quilting, I gave that up. I chose a varigated olive green thread which blends in very well.

On the backside I fused a piece of peach colored batik and my bobbin thread is my usual beige. The quilting shows up better there.

I managed to get to get my finished project photographed before sunset.

The other challenge I set for myself was to get good areas of contrast with these subdued prints. One was the addition of a scrap of batik with black branches. The other one is the light colored edging along the path and the bit of orange highlight on the path itself.

Once again this Endeavourers challenge has really broadened my quilting experience.

An Apology and Explanation

After looking at everyone's challenge piece I went back to look again and found that not one of my comments appeared on the blog.  This really upset me because I value and support being a member of this group.  I follow most of your blogs and am pretty sure that I commented on them too if you posted your challenge piece on them.  That's the apology.

This is the explanation.  I use Chrome and have an extension added called Privacy Badger.  It is an extension that prevents advertisements from appearing on my side bar when I am browsing.  Periodically I come across I site that I can't navigate then remember about the extension which allows me to click a setting to deny it to the site and all is well.  Recently I found that there are certain blogs that I cannot publish a comment, but there is no warning that I was denied.  I just comment my little heart out, publish the comment then go on to the next blog to read on my list.  That is what occurred today when I read all of the posts for the current challenge.  When I came back to review your posts I noticed that none of my comments appeared.

Privacy Badger is really a great service that I highly recommend.  You just have to remember that you have it.

I sincerely loved each and every project posted.  Some inspired me.  Some made my thoughts spin in wonder. All were creative and gave great and diverse interpretations of the theme.


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Not a walk in the Park

Hello friends... I love seeing what you created for this theme. Unfortunately I don’t have anything to show for this reveal. I had an unfortunate kitchen accident and cut one of my fingers pretty badly. I haven’t been sewing or doing much. So sorry to have missed this... I hope for the next theme I’ll be all healed.

A Walk in the Park

I put off thinking about this challenge theme too long. There was no reason for that, other than too many other projects that needed getting done. When I finally got around to thinking of this theme, I had no idea what to do. Should I approach it literally, and create a scene from my walk in fabric? Since I don't usually walk in parks, that would be a challenge. Should I take it as making something that comes to me easily?

In the end, I chose to make a quilt of what I like to see when I do walk in a park. I'm not a gardener, but I do enjoy seeing gardens full of lovely flowers. I had a quilted piece left from last month's challenge, so I used that as the backdrop. (I thought it was fitting given how much rain we've had this season.) So my flowers have rain falling in the background.

I had a piece of Kaffe Fassett fabric in my stash, and it was just what I was looking for. Cutting those flowers out was a bit of a chore, I'll admit.

Once I settled on a layout, I pulled out my embroidery threads and got to work. No fancy stitching, just long and short stitches wherever I thought it worked. I had all the right colors of threads, which is always a bonus.

I'm not quite finished with this yet. No binding, since I'm still debating whether to bind or face the quilt. I may add a few more details, like a dragonfly if I can find one to stitch on.

It's been a good challenge piece to work on in the evenings!


A Walk in the Park

“Let us to go for a walk in the park”, she said.
“We will take some bread for the ducks
And jam jars to catch fishes in
And, maybe, a skipping rope…”

“The blackbird is sure to be singing,” she said,
“And children will be flying kites,
Making castles in the sandpit,
And throwing balls for their dogs”.

“You can watch the butterflies dancing,” she said.
 And I’ll see how high I can swing…
Then, perhaps, we will buy ice creams
To eat on the bus back home”.

This quarter's theme was NOT a walk in the park for me so I'm very much looking forward to seeing the other quilts. I'm not really fond of parks so I struggled for a long time to find anything I could make with enthusiasm. Then I remembered how, when my brothers and I were very young (pre-school), our local park seemed so exciting with the swings and slides and river and sand pit and we used to beg my mum to take us there. I think, if I'd decided on a plan sooner, I may have been able to make a nicer quilt inspired by this memory but finished is better than perfect!

I hope everyone else has enjoyed this theme and I'm looking forward to visiting you all later today :)

A Walk in the Park

That is what someone is hoping for anyway.

A walk in the park 1

Think the idea was better than the execution but might be improved with a bit more work - I sound like a teacher marking homework haha

It's always exciting to see how everyone has interpreted the theme.

A Walk in the Park - 'Taking a Lion for a Walk'

As usual it was a lot of fun thinking random thoughts about the theme, which suddenly went in the direction of a doodle we used to do at primary school called 'taking a line for a walk' - maybe you know the one; you do a squiggly line and then fill in all the intersecting loops with different colours or patterns, preferably using your best felt-tip pens.

For no real reason I thought perhaps I could take a lion for a walk (ho ho) and so here is my quilt.

My little lion has just taken a wander through a park filled with flower borders, and is now sitting down smelling the flowers and enjoying a rest.

Click on the pictures to see them better.

The flower borders are made from Liberty scraps.  The lion's mane and tail are accentuated with lazy daisy stitches in perle thread, and I used 28 weight aurifil for the stipple quilting.  I used fusible bias binding for the line, and carved a stamp for the paw prints - the first time I've used either in a quilt. 

I wanted a binding that looked like a picture frame so attempted a faux-flanged binding and have to admit that it took me two goes.  So although my quilt is really just a bit of fun I did try some 'new to me' techniques.  I enjoyed making this one a lot!

You can see a few more photos at

Quiet counting in the park

 Another quarter, another reveal this time on the theme of "A walk in the park". We are lucky enough to live next to a small park so that was an obvious place to start when thinking about what to do for this challenge.

 At the same time I had been toying with the idea of making a Quiet Book for the gorgeous grandsons, so had the lightbulb moment of combining the two projects to make "Counting in the Park"!

The book has six pages each of which are related to an element of our neighbouring park, so we have one model yacht, two swans, three windows on the clubhouse, four dogs, five flowers and six ladybirds.

 The flip side of the Quiet Book pages are made with blocks of sun-printed fabrics surrounded by numbers.

The sun printed items are also of things that you would find in the park i.e. one feather, two flowers, three leaves, four (paper-cut!) butterflies and five fungi. I drew the line at using dead butterflies for my sun prints so resorted to paper stencils instead! As you can see that did make a difference in the outcome of the final print. The butterflies, fungi, leaves and flowers were all printed for the same amount of time in the same place on the same day but the level of detail transferred from the flowers is much higher than from the leaves, which was a surprise.

My grandson found the feather as we walked in his local park and 'helped' with the sun printing so it is particularly appropriate that it is the front cover for the book.

Head on over to Celtic Thistle Stitches to see the pages in more detail and read more about my quiet book.

Once again, I had great fun planning and creating my Quiet Book for this challenge and I am really looking forward to seeing what my fellow Endeavourers have come up with.  I am sure that there will be lots of " I wish I had thought of that!" moments as I read their posts :)

Thank you Catherine and Janine for giving me the opportunity to push my creativity further yet again!

A Walk in the People's Park

I read a quote in a book I got out on loan from our local library.  I don't remember the name of the book but the quote went something like every artist knows you shouldn't let your materials dictate the direction of your piece rather your piece dictate the materials you use.  This seemed like good advice when I first read it but I've gone completely against it in this challenge.

As soon as I heard the theme "A Walk in the Park", I knew exactly what I wanted to do, exactly how I wanted the piece to look and exactly what materials I wanted to play around with.

Every Sunday in the summer, when I was little, my Dad and I would go visit my Grandad's house.  On the way home there would be the stop off at the pub where I would be whisked away upstairs to visit with the pub owners family, have red lemonade and a packet of Kings or Tayto crisps while the pints of Guinness flowed downstairs as an aperitif before the big Sunday dinner.

We'd walk home though the Peoples Park where my uncle Pat was a Park Warden, chat for a bit and Dad would somehow manage when no-one was looking to snaffle a rose for Mum who was busy cooking the Sunday roast.

So the idea that popped into my head was a quilted Rose.  I had bought Dye-na-flow paints at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham last year and not used them and I wanted to try them,  I also wanted a watercolour painted effect.  Lots of wants in that one idea.

Our housing estate has a very active neighbour's association and they love their flowers.  We have flowerbeds in the two greens we use for giving the dogs a run.  A remembrance garden and an allotment.  My garden Roses had done blooming but whatever they are feeding the flowers on the green they are blooming away all summer long.

So on one of our dog walks I took some photos, pulled out the watercolours and made an attempt at painting some roses.  Some roses make for better subjects than others so there was more than one attempt at it!

Then it was time to be brave and move onto fabric.  Unlike watercolour paper the dye bled quite a bit more when mixed with water so it was a little bit difficult to control.  I read that you should use 20% water.  Used straight out of the bottle gives a hard edge which could be fun to use too but not the look I was going for.

Also I taped the fabric down to an old cutting mat and that may have led to more bleeding.  I've seen people use resists and suspend the fabric in a frame to control the flow and spread of the dye.  Still I was happy with the delicate effect it gave.

In the quilting stage it needed some contrast so instead of using the black to define the edges like in the sketches I thought about different colour pink threads and went for hot pink!

Lastly I wanted the background to compliment the piece and touch on the idea that memories are there in the background and they don't disappear even though the moment that in it, is the Rose in front of me today, so I quilted in some Nora's Roses (see Lori Kennendy @the Inbox Jaunt) in white to fade into the background.  I put it in a frame as a gift for my Mum whose favourite flower is still a Rose.

So there you have it "A Walk in the Park" and a trip down memory lane.

A Shady Path

Please check out my post on my website,  I have not been able to get it posted here on Endeavourers.

Fiori Boat

I love this theme and could happily do a series based on it!

Fiori Fun, based on Fiori Boat by Dale Chihuly, seen at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas

A close-up of some of the stitching, painting, beading, and trims I used to capture the curves and colors of the original.

My piece is based on Dale Chihuly's Fiori Boat, which I saw at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas, when I was there two years ago.

Usually when we travel, it is for my husband's business. I get to sight-see, but he is busy with work and doesn't get to come with me.  But on this trip, all we had to accomplish was meeting an auctioneer, to hand off a collection of artifacts my mother-in-law wanted to sell.  We had lots of time to see all the sights, and were happily surprised by how many of them there were!  I have contented memories of strolling leisurely at Crystal Bridges, taking in the art.

To capture Chihuly's flowing glass forms, I used a variety of techniques, including quilting and then painting the quilted areas, raw edge applique, beading, and embroidery.  In the areas of the background trees and foreground grasses, I added some big stitching to suggest highlights and shadows.
Ribbon, embroidery floss, and paint add shadows and highlights.

It was fun to pull lots of trims and ribbons from the stash I inherited.  The little boat was quilted as a separate piece, because I wanted it to look really three-dimensional.  The blue borders are from a piece that I hand-dyed a few years ago.

Chihuly put about 150 glass forms into his boat -- I don't have near that many!  But I enjoyed capturing my impressions of his fabulous piece.

A Walk In The Park- A Secret Place

My Challenge piece is done as an embellishment for the back of a jacket I have. It has a story that is real.

Long ago a little girl had a sad life. She found serenity in a place that only she knew about.  She discovered it quite by accident.

She found a path that lead to a lovely park. The path followed beside a little creek that meandered through the park.  There were lovely hills filled with tall grasses and wild flowers that swayed gently in the breeze. She found a tree that was perfect to sit under while she read whatever book she was engrossed in at the time. She would either sit under it in the grass enjoying the sweet scent of the grass mingled with flowers.  Sometimes she would sit on the rocks that were piled like a little stool.  There were birds.  ALWAYS there were big black Crows flying above.  Sometimes they landed near her to enjoy the bits of bread she would bring to share with them.  She loved to hear their caw-caw as they saw she had come to visit them.  There were frogs sitting in the grass by the creek.  They croaked their greeting to her and she always spoke back telling them how handsome they were.  There was a cat that must have lived somewhere in the park.  He would sneak a piece of bread but never came closer.  She silently asked him not to eat her Crows.

She visited the park all of her life.  It was her secret place, even now when she had a happy life.

Please visit my personal blog to see my thoughts about creating the Secret Park.

A Walk in the Park on August 1st

Late Summer in the Blue Ridge

At first I thought of cars in a parking lot. I spend a lot of time walking around looking for my car in the car park. I do. But a conversation with a friend got me thinking beyond car parks and county parks. I realized there are all kinds of parks. Then my mind went to Shenandoah National Park in my beloved state of Virginia.

For my non-American friends, the Shenandoah River meanders through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia which is in the northern part of the American South. As in Dixieland. Virginia was Confederate state during the Civil War in the 1860s. In the song Take Me Home, Country Roads, John Denver sings, "Almost heaven, west Virginia, Blue Ridge mountains, Shenandoah River..." Yes, it is all that..

The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of only two places in the world where the chemical isoprene, released by the (red oak) trees, imparts a blue cast to the atmosphere. (The other is a eucalyptus-forested area in Australia.) Other mountains in the world might look blue from a distance, but, apparently, not to the extent of these two places.
Yup. They really do look like this.

Since I happen to have a lot of gradient blues in my stash, I thought I would do something like this. But then I thought about what it is like to actually walk in late summer in these mountains among the trees and flowers. When you are standing on a mountain, it doesn't look blue.

My favorite kind of quilt making is to use only what I have on hand. I have had some muted 2.5 in/6.35 cm blocks hanging around for several years, so I started fiddling with them. The idea was to use up as many of those blocks as I could to represent the textures of the Blue Ridge as you stand on them. Thus, Late Summer in the Blue Ridge was born. The colors remind me of the dusty heat that is present there this time of year.

The 156 blocks finished at approximately 20x21 in/51x53 cm. I quilted it in wavy horizontal lines to mimic the peaks and valleys. It's the first abstract representational quilt I have made. Hope you like walking in Shenandoah National Park with me. Here's the song if you care to have a listen:

The tiny flowers remind me of little gnats buzzing about.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

The City Park

The theme selected for this quarterly art quilt challenge was "A Walk in the Park."

I had a few ideas from which to choose. I thought of the saying, "It was a walk in the park." Meaning accomplishing something easily. I wasn't sure I wanted to try to easily do this, so I moved on to the next idea. That was a bird's eye view of a park, a map, showing things that one might find in a park. But what type of park? The final choice was to invite the viewers into the park to imagine for themselves what they might find there. I invite you in to the City Park.

This wall hanging measures 18.5" wide by 20.5" high. It is raw edge appliqued, and includes threadwork on the fountain, the benches, and the entrance arch.

I especially liked stitching the water spraying from the fountain.

I used a cording foot (that I've had for years and never used) and Razzle Dazzle thread by Ricky Tims. It adds the watery sparkle to the fountain. I began on the left side with the stitching and, as you can see, got better by the time I got to the right side.

Thank you for visiting and please look at all the members' quilts for this quarterly challenge.

Monday, 15 July 2019

I Get A Do Over

This post appears on my blog today.  A little set back but not the end of the world.

You've seen him before if you are frequent visitor.  You may remember how we got him.  How he claimed Terry for his person.  How he torments the squirrels.  Now I'll tell you that we HAD four baby squirrels in the big tree in the back yard.  Yesterday the third one went to Critter Heaven.  Terry says it is what his breed was bread to do...hunt rodents.  We find dead stuff all the time in the back yard.  Squirrels, birds, mice.  I live with that.  It's nature.


I moved my sewing machine to the dining room table so Terry will feel like he has company as it is widely open  to the living room where he sits.  HOWEVER, it means that I can't leave ANYTHING on the dining room table when we go away as the dogs have free access to the kitchen and dining room. Both of my Min Pin have power jumping abilities.  But Harley is the one that must do something to get even with us for leaving him alone.  His target will be anything we might leave on the dining room table. 

I few weeks ago, we only went out to take my sister's mail to her. (she lives across the street).  But then I asked Terry to drive past a friend's house who lives one block over.  She sold her home and moved in with her daughter and the new owners were doing extensive renovation to the entire house.  That lead to stopping to talk to my SIL who what sitting on her front porch. (all Terry's family live in this neighborhood).  We were gone about 20 minutes.

When we came home I immediately knew that Harley was a bad dog.  The other two greeted us at the door.  Turning the corner to enter the dining room I saw red.  No, not blood.  My current Endeaverour's project was in shreds.  Luckily the patterns I had made were not on the table.

So, with one month to go to the reveal I get a do over on a project I REALLY enjoyed.  But I am up for the challenge.  Dang Dog!!

Friday, 3 May 2019

New Theme Announcement

Congratulations to you all for making such a wonderful collection of 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head' quilts! It really is an inspiration to be part of such a creative group and to see all the different responses to the themes :)

Our list of themes now look like this:

1.The Sea
2. A walk in the park
3. Memories
4. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
5. Emotions feelings
6. Opposites attract
7. Colour theory
8. Dreams
9. Wishes
10. A scene from a book

And the Random Wheel has chosen...

... Number 2. A walk in the park

The deadline for this quarter will be August 1st 2019 at 10.00am GMT, which will show on the blog at 9.00am BST. 

If you have any questions or problems arise, please feel free to email me (Janine) or Catherine at any time.

In the meantime, please post here, on The Endeavourers Blog, with any thoughts, ideas or techniques you'd like to share. 

I can't wait to see what you all will create for this theme.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Rain Drop Keeps Fall On My Hed on May 1st

Josephine in Spring

When I first read this quarter’s challenge I groaned, “Are you kidding me?” When I finally settled in to give it a good think, the image that kept popping up was the top part of a head at the bottom of a quilt with rain drops falling and the words: Raindrops keep falling on my head, but that doesn’t mean _____. After watching my little tortoiseshell cat, Josephine, flinch and twitch while getting rained on one day last month, I thought of putting a cat head at the bottom instead of a people head. Then I suddenly remembered a cat quilt I had made twenty years ago and the final idea sprang to mind fully formed in about sixty seconds. I made a little sketch and set to work.

The cat is a variation of a cat from the pattern “There Are Cats on My Quilt” by the late Billie Lauder. There are ninety-nine 2″ blocks plus the border. It measures about 22×19 inches or 56×48 centimeters. I tried and ripped out two attempts at quilting (while uttering a few several choice cuss words) before falling back on my usual wavy cross hatch. I like how crinkly it makes quilts once they are washed and dried. Finally, the words came from the depths of my darling, exasperated and exasperating pussycat’s soul: “Mom-mee! Rain drop keeps fall on my hed but that not meen I not want go owt! Then bak in. Then owt. Then…” And there you have it: Josephine in Spring.

Is MY quilt!

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

As soon as I saw the theme for this quarter, the song came into my head. It wouldn't leave. I really wanted to divert myself from making a quilt based on the song. So I spent some time thinking about the phrase "raindrops keep falling on my head" and what that meant to me.

While processing that, I was thinking about the quilt and what I wanted it to look like. The final version I'm showing you today is about three versions beyond the original. I hope I'm not alone in doing that.

Just when I had settled on a design and had actually completed part of it, I happened to watch a series of classes by Joe Cunningham on Bluprint. In one class, he mentioned bias tape and how he used it, and a new, final, version of this quilt came to be.

The blues and gray bias tape represent raindrops. The direction the tape falls is supposed to mimic the way rain sometimes falls against windows - every which way.

As a kid, I used to love rain. I enjoyed being out in it and putting my face up to it, letting the drops fall on my head. As an adult and having more life experiences behind me, rain took on a new, less happy meaning. I realized during this process that with the rain in my life, there also is hope. So in my little quilt, the colored bias strips are there to remind me of hope.

The background fabric is a light gray Grunge. Some of the bias tape is made from solids or batiks. The quilt backing is a batik I had in my stash, and it just seemed perfect for this quilt.

This was a fun challenge; it definitely had me thinking!


I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining....

When it came to picking a theme to put into the challenge list I chose "Raindrops keep falling on my head!"  It  is one of my favourite songs that always manages to give me a bit of a lift and puts a smile on my face like Three Little Birds by Bob Marley or Jason Mraz "I'm Yours".

Still this was a bit of a head scratcher as to what to make.  I had to have a think about it and remembered the reason I chose the song as a theme in the first place. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head is a song by B.J Thomas that was used as the theme song for Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.  I remember the scene where they were cycling trying not to fall off the bike and the music playing over it as they wobbled around the yard.  I used to watch Westerns with my Dad.  We loved them and had no problem re-watching movies and staying up til 4am on New Year's Eve watching Once Upon a Time in the West, or the Big Country, Magnificent Seven, High Noon, The Searchers...

Seeing as the song is so personal I thought I might do a self portrait in thread.  Originally I thought about a collage of different fabrics but couldn't find enough of what I wanted.  So in the end I went for a cartoon style with sketch stitching.

"Raindrops keep falling on my head,
Just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed,
Nothing seems to fit.
Those raindrops keep falling on my head,
They keep falling."

So that's me sitting up in bed with my feet sticking out (I'm 5ft tall so that's the ironic bit!).  Gordon is snoring his head off beside me. Charly our 12 year old Jack Russell has a habit of hiding away on our bed when she can so not having enough room for her on the bed, I have her framed on the wall (artistic licence!)  I'm trying to do the healthy thing of getting up early for a morning routine but I have a habit of hitting the snooze button so there's the alarm going off and me happily ignoring it!

"So I just did me some talking to the sun,
I said I didn't like the way he got things done,
Sleeping on the job,
Those raindrops are falling on my head,
They keep falling!"

So there is a bit of smiling sleepy sun about to wake up.  Clouds in the distance with their silver linings and of course after every sun shower there is a rainbow! 

"But there's one thing I know,
The blues they send to greet me,
Won't defeat me,
It won't be long,
Til Happiness steps up to greet me"

It's been a difficult time lately with managing workload, voluntary committee work finally coming to an end after 3 1/2 years and I had a bad back for much of last year.  So I found myself worn out, feeling stressed and wired with too much going on.  It's been a healthy, take a step back, prioritise and let some things go moment for me.  I'm loving Spotify and happy cheerful music gets me through the housework and cleaning the kitchen and I'm coming back to myself again and making again so I thought a portrait (is it a portrait if it is only the back of my head?), with me talking to the sun, enjoying the morning, with the rain clouds billowing away into the distance summed all that up.

"Raindrops keep falling on my head,
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turning red,
Crying's not for me,
Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining
Because I'm free...

Nothing's worrying me."

I didn't quite get it finished so it's unbound, but somehow that feels right too. In a week that had Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones: The Long Night (aka Battle of Winterfell), new home heating boiler installed, Birthday lunch for a friend, Storm Hannah blowing down a fence in the garden and a busy work week, I'm forgiving myself for that!