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! 

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

When I first learned that this was our theme I initially felt a bit despairing as nothing came immediately to mind except Paul Newman on his bicycle and the song in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, but luckily we have a whole quarter and I started to really enjoy thinking about it.

Once I'd got Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head out of my head it quickly got replaced with Chopin's Raindrop prelude, which is a beautiful piece of music evoking the kind of lovely, peaceful, heavy, but gentle rain you sometimes get (except where I live, where as more often than not it is accompanied by a high wind and coming at you horizontally).

I thought of rain falling on greenery, on a still dark day, and so eventually I settled on the idea of rain falling on a pond and its surrounding plant life.  Since the raindrops also had to be falling on someone's head I added a frog, who is making the most of the wet.  The pond is surrounded with marsh marigolds, water forget-me-nots and rushes. The rain drops are creating rings on the shiny dark surface of the water and there are fish below.

I used a new-to-me technique to create the water, and place the fish below the surface, by sewing a piece of gauze over them.  You can see more photos and read further details on my blog.

The Empress's New Umbrella

I can't wait to see how everyone has interpreted this theme. It seemed to me an extremely difficult one so I made this very literal illustration. The empress's uncovered umbrella frame shows up a bit better in real life than in this photo. I will say a bit more about it over at Rainbow Hare.

Rainy Day Recall

On rainy days, I am so happy to stay inside and work on digitizing old family photos.

Outside on a rainy day.

Inside I spend the day with old family photos.
These photos may not have had raindrops actually falling on them from above, but many of them have suffered the effects of rising water.  They have gone through a flood or two, been pulled out of soggy photo albums, separated, dusted with talcum powder, and left to dry.  Eventually, while more pressing flood repairs called, they were tossed in a box to deal with "later."

I sort them, scan them, repair them, and upload them for future generations.

What better way to bring them back to life than with an art quilt?
"Rainy Day Recall," the computer screen and photos, translated into thread sketches and a mini-quilt.

A suggestion of a portrait, in green thread.

A photo revitalized, printed on Lutradur and sketched with threads.

I took this particular box of photos, mostly from the 1920s to 1940s, out of the family homestead garage when my mother-in-law downsized.  About six weeks later Hurricane Harvey hit, leaving five feet of water in the house.  They would have been a soggy mess not worth saving one more time.

Not only am I working with old family photos, but a lot of the trims and notions were handed down from family members as well.  They have little notes about when and where they were bought, and how much they cost.

I had so much fun blending different techniques into one piece, and you can read more about how I created it here.

Bring on a rainy day, and let me see which photos call out to be next!

Reflections in the rain

Today we reveal another project for this wonderful quilt group, this time on the theme of "Raindrops keep falling on my head", what a brilliant theme that has been to work to!

My piece is entitled "Reflections in the Rain" and is made up of 4 pieces of slubbed silk which were quilted, appliqued and beaded before being joined together and stuffed to create a raindrop.

As soon as the theme for this quarter was announced I knew that I wanted to create a 3-D piece for the reveal. You can read about my inspiration for this piece over on my blog at Celtic Thistle Stitches

My initial intention for creating the faces for my raindrop was to make several stumpwork heads and stitch them around the base, but when I came to it the scale was all wrong and as I had never tried stumpwork before I was wary of attempting it on an even smaller scale!

A rummage through my craft books unearthed this unused gem which provided the ideal means of applying the heads that I needed to the bottom of the raindrop. Another rummage through my stash uncovered an assortment of "heads" for the applique too!

The technique involves coating the reverse of your fabric with Mod Podge and then cutting out the desired shapes when dry. The book states that the resulting applique shapes will adhere to the fabric when ironed but I didn't find the adhesion particularly strong. I had always intended to stitch the applique down too, so it wasn't too much of a problem. The author suggests using invisible thread when there would otherwise be lots of thread colour changes, which I did but the bobbin thread does show through in places, however, I can live with that!

I quilted radiating lines from the top of the raindrop and finished them off with hand stitched seed beads, then joined the raindrop shapes together and finally stuffed the raindrop to give it body.

Once again I have had great fun putting together my project for this quarter and I am really looking forward to seeing the amazing pieces that I am sure the rest of my fellow Endeavourers have come up with!


Raindrops keep falling on my head...... because the wind blew away my umbrella.

 I researched countless images of rain on Pinterest.  Most of them seemed to show streaks of white falling rather than discrete drops.   That is what I portrayed in my quilt.  The only tedious part was having to do each row separately. I wanted to vary the placement of the streaks in each row, so I had to go back and make sure each one was different.  Actually, the backstitch at the beginning and end of each streak resemble the tiny drops seen in the photos.
 This was truly a real challenge.

Rain Drops Falling On My Head

This month's theme was a little tricky for me... I had a hard time coming up with ideas on how to interpret the theme. So I decided to be literal and go with that. I used various techniques to achieve this quilt: raw edge appliqué for the cloud, hand quilting for the rain and embroidery for the girl. It was fun figuring out how to create the hair so it will look three dimensional.
I really like how it turned out. I just love how these challenges push us to try new technique and ideas that otherwise we wouldn't do.


Raindrops On My Head...Nope, Just Couldn't Do It!

RAIN DROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD is the theme for the May 1st reveal.  I just could not think about depicting rain on my head. Mostly because I am a deep thinker and because I take these challenges to a personal level and my interpretation most always comes from my heart.  I speak more about my thoughts on this subject on my personal blog.

The rain is falling all around this frog with the drops plunking in the water all around him.  Yet he is happily enjoying the day under his leaf umbrella.

One thing I would have done differently is to have stitched the  words onto the fabric before I stitched that band to the piece.  But heck, frogs don't have very good penmanship anyway.

I plant to use this piece in a wall display of the frogs I collect.  Frogs are one of my Animal Spirit Guides.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Aiming to Quilt Raindrops

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
That is The Endeavourers
Art Quilt Challenge theme for the May 1, 2019, reveal. 

How can one interpret raindrops in a quilted work?
What emotions do the various types of raindrops evoke in people?

I attempted to show in my quilted piece
raindrops, small, pleasant and warm 
perhaps from an unexpected summer shower that will pass quickly. 

Raindrops that sparkle and shimmer from the sunlight,
filtered by the sheer drapery of the passing clouds.

Raindrops that delight with the pitter-patter as they lightly fall on the hatted head. 

I do hope you are able to sense my interpretation of
Raindrops keep falling on my head.

I explain my design process on my blog.

The works of the other members of
The Endeavourers can be seen by clicking the links below:

Nancy (me)


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Texture: Basket Weave

First, I apologize for this post being so late.  Some of you know that I had a computer issue a few weeks ago and it seemed that Microsoft struck again.  But I am up and running and still resisting replacing my Win 7 desk top.

When I read the theme for this quarter was texture, I pretty much knew what I wanted to try.  I wanted to use fabric to create a basket weave effect. The squares are 4 inches and the black is just 1/4 inch.

I don't think it turned out too bad.  It looks a little wonky, but wonky is trending right now, isn't it?  Or maybe just in stars.

I'll be posting about this piece on my blog:

Sunday, 3 February 2019

New Theme

Thank you all for making and sharing such wonderful Texture quilts :)

We now have eleven themes left in the hat:

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
11.         Raindrops keep falling on my head

And Mr Random Number Generator has selected...

Number 11 - Raindrops keep falling on my head! 

I have no idea who suggested this theme but I can't wait to see how everyone is going to interpret it :D

Please be sure to have your quilt ready to publish for the deadline. 

The deadline for this quarter will be May 1st 2019 at 10.00am GMT. 

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. 

Happy Sewing!

Doodle Quilting - having fun with quilt texture!

Apologies for the late post!  We had stomach flu in the house this week and I am much delayed in everything.  Here is my take on the challenge of Texture:

My friend Paula first showed me the Art Therapy range of adult colouring books and straight away I loved the patterns and saw how similar, and how well, they could translate to quilting.  I thought this could be a fun way to explore texture that is created by varying quilt pattern and density.
These three are my favourite of these types of books.  I have not once coloured any of the gorgeous images in!  I take them out, admire them, feel inspired and somehow they end up back in the bookcase but this time I took out my A3 sketch board and had fun doodling shapes inspired by the books!
I found out that I liked dense bits with echo lines creating space around the doodles to let them breather a bit!

Thinking of that echo line I remembered a drawing I did for the Pictorial Ticker Tape Quilts I teach in a 1/2 day to full day workshops.  This cow was a quick sketch using my finger (couldn't find the pen) on an app on the iPad.  This is why the line is so thick.  I thought quilting on either side of this line would give me the echo outline and a frame work to have fun with some fillers and doodles.
Using an app for the Slate 2 tablet I got for Christmas, I had fun playing with fillers.  The app made a 15 second video of the drawing so I thought it might be fun to share it with you here.  If you want to find out more about the app see my blog Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner or visit ISKN-the Slate 2 here.
Then it was onto fabric with a bit of sketch stitching in black thread.  And some free motion quilting.

And some straight line background quilting.  Things I learned: use a darker background or thicker white thread to make the white bit pop more,  Thread sketching is fun, Fill in doodle quilting is lots of fun,  Spirals make for great texture and pebbles make for for a great animal nose filler!

I hope this light hearted take on the challenge is ok.  I'm so glad I got the opportunity to have a play and finally get some use out of those books!

Friday, 1 February 2019

Wendy's Texture Challenge

This is Wendy's February Reveal but I (Janine) am posting it here for technical reasons. Please visit her blog to see her post and find out more about this beautiful quilt. You can find her post here:

Texture on February 1st

Greetings Fellow Endeavourers!

Having been a member of this group since its inception but, due to a series of bizarre life events, having never actually finished a quilt to post, I am thrilled to have something to show you this time around.

I have always wanted to try my hand at a Cathedral Windows quilt and this seemed a good time to give it a whirl. It's made of nine blocks and measures 14 in / 35.5 cm square. The learning curve was surprisingly steep. I groused to myself that I would finish this sucker and never do another. But, I found little tricks and fixes as I went along, and things came out better as I kept sewing.

The blocks are machine zig-zagged together which is something I would not do again as it makes the intersections at the corners quite thick. The curves of the windows are hand stitched, which is something I like to do -very zen. The buttons add texture and interest and, most importantly, camouflage above referenced crappy intersections.

The background is white muslin, the windows are a fabric by Alex Anderson from a line called "Flutter," and the buttons are from an old shirt of my husband's. And, I see it is snowing softly as I look out my kitchen window.

I wish you all many blessings as we enter February!
Smiles, Maureen


Ain't nobody here but us chickens

Actually it's a cock because they have the nost flamboyant plumage. I love the quills that overlay the feathers creating extra texture in the plumage

I have chickens so I should have chosen one of them!

I used some felting to do the comb amd wattle but I kept catching it in the presser foot. I added it before quilting thinking it would be easier to attach to a single layer of fabric but I think I should have on last

The quills were made from thin strips of dyed t-shirting which was then pulled to make thin curly strips

I echo quilted around him

The lower part is shibori, indigo dyed fabric which looks like feathers. different coloured threads - mostly variegated - were used to echo and accentuate the outlines

This is quite small so I may revisit this topic on a larger scale as I like the subject matter and the greater use of texture than I would normally do

PS ignore the Brit in Brisbane! I can't sign out and post as which is the blog I use now!

Texture: Bubbles and drips

This is the first reveal of 2019 for the Endeavourers.  Our theme this quarter was 'Texture', and this was a lovely one!  I so enjoyed thinking about the possibilities, and getting stuck into playing with fabric.

When I make a quilt for The Endeavourers I usually start by looking up the dictionary definition of our theme.  It kickstarts the thought processes and it's interesting sometimes comparing the entries in different dictionaries.

In this case, some dictionaries focussed on what you might think of as the obvious definition which describes texture as the tactile characteristics of something, which are experienced through touch.  Others added the idea that texture can be experienced visually too.  And others added another idea - that texture is the quality you get when you combine different elements, for example in literature or music, or even in life - you could say the way in which the elements, or strands, are 'woven together', which is a nice fabric metaphor!

Anyway, I started off by thinking about the tactile qualities of different fabrics and how the texture would work in a piece inspired by the visual texture of bubbles and drips in condensation on my window.  I find these patterns very beautiful and had been thinking for a while about how I could experiment with trying to capture some of their quality.

I sewed this strange piece using velvet and cotton,  and then added more texture with bubble quilting.   It looks quite organic and didn't seem to want to be square.

I made the larger white bubbles using a trapunto technique and the black ones using velvet behind 'portholes'.  The contrast in all the textures means that running your fingertips over it is strangely satisfying!

Having made this piece quite early I was still having so much fun thinking about the theme and was so interested in its possibilities that I made lots of experimental pieces which have started to form another quilt.   I was starting to hope that I might have been able to post it here instead but a disaster in quilting means the entire thing is waiting until I can face unpicking it.   I will finish it!  As always I am grateful for the opportunity this group gives to really think and explore.