Thursday, March 26, 2015

One more crazy cat and a question

Here is my latest (and possibly last) crazy quilted cat. It was made on commission for a lady who purchased one of the two that I donated for a craft sale to benefit the local humane society. I don't plan to make any more for the bookstore, as they had their run there.
And here's the question: does anyone have experience using this type of fiber/thread? In a short google search, I found that it is used in Brazilian embroidery or stump work, but not how to use it, for instance, couch it, stitch it with a large needle?
Two skeins are color 81 and the one at the top is slightly lighter and marked 83. I think it might be 1950's vintage, but not sure. It says 100% poliamida, so not a natural fiber.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tutorial for stitching tiny pansies

Here is how I stitched the little pansies on the two pieces on the bottom.The drawing below illustrates the first steps and where to place the first three cast-on stitches in relation to the French knot.
 
First I stitched a line of stems to put the flowers on. The initial stitch is Cretan on top and chevron on the bottom, but you don't have to use this exact stitch. Just something with fairly even spacing is fine. Above the top of each stem, I stitched a French knot in yellow-green.

 
 



 Sorry this is out of focus, but here I have stitched the first petal (7 wrap cast-on stitch) on the left and have positioned the needle to take the wraps of the second one on the right.







This shows the needle positioned to take the 10 wraps that form the larger bottom petal.








After completing the row of flowers in the light yellow, I go back and add the petals that sit right behind the top two petals. I used a darker yellow for these petals, and they are also done with 7 wraps.
The finishing touch is just a touch from a fine point purple marker to make the darker "face" patches.
Here is another example, done as an insert for a notecard.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2015

Kathy Shaw is once again hosting the CQJP. Find her blog here. Finally this year I'm going to give it a go.
 
The focal patches for each of the twelve blocks (the goal is to complete one each month; I'm already behind!) will be a "silkie" or an image printed on fabric. Each of the ones I've chosen is of a child or children in Victorian times with a pet or pets. The pets are mostly dogs and cats, but also include rabbits and ducklings. There will be quotations stitched on some of the blocks, such as this first one,
"The smallest feline is a masterpiece." by Leonardo da Vinci
 And this one by Theophile Gautier: "Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes?"
 I'm not sure I'll put a quotation on this block. If I decide to do that, I'll probably have to replace the lower left patch, as I put that piece of silk in with deliberate pleats to echo the dress on the child.
I'm also finally getting around to working with a book of ribbon trim ideas that I've had for a year or more. It's Ribbon Trims by Nancy Nehring, and the instructions are not the best, but I've been able to work out a couple of them with some help from Youtube videos and just by trial and error.
These first blocks have their ribbon trim framing the silkies, but again, not all the blocks may include that type of frame. I've used a lot of moire taffeta in the blocks, which I'm finding is difficult to photograph. But it's my all-time favorite fancy fabric and looks beautiful in person.

Puzzle piece swap

On the yahoo site Crazy Quilting for Newbies, we are doing a swap for CQed puzzle pieces. This was originally done by Pat Winter, and Lesa (CQ4N's list mom) got her permission to use the template for the size and shape of the piece. My plan is to send in 3 of these and keep one, and then Lesa will send me back 3 that are made by other members of the group. Then I'll have a little grouping of 4 to display. Maybe in the future we'll do the swap again and I can collect a few more.
The shape presents several design challenges that you don't get with more regular-edged shapes. I found that one should be careful about having a seam go into either the outie or the innie, as it makes finishing the edge difficult. One also has to be careful where and what to stitch if it will end up too close to the edge. I ran the pansies a little too close on the two bottom ones. Areas of open, unembellished fabric seem to be more apparent, like on the upper right one, the area between the two innies, and on the lower left one in the middle. It's not as noticeable on the upper left one, where the unembellished part of the green fabric is brocade and has more detail to it. I personally like the fabric to stand on its own in spots on most blocks, as it gives the eye a place to rest, but it sort of bothers me on these. Who knows, doing a few more of these may move me into the encrusted embellishers' arena.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I've been busy....

 These are stockings I've made to sell at Grand Valley Books this year. Some are western boot shaped, and some are more traditional.
 These two (below) are not for sale. My younger grandson is a dog lover, so when he saw the silkie of the little dogs sledding he asked if he could have it. I added his name and the date, and then let his older brother choose one as well. They're just a good size to hold a gift card.




 I tried to make some of the western ones a little more masculine, so they'd be suitable for men or boys. Some of the traditional ones have non-Christmasy colors, like the one below on the left. The colors of the silkie are what I try to use to choose the fabrics and threads.
 The one below on the right is my favorite. The pine branch and pine cone stitching around the silkie is so much fun to do. It takes a lot of time and thread, but it's fun.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mesa County Fair

I hadn't entered anything in the fair for many years, but this year I had two small projects finished in time to enter. The elk scene piece is 21" x 15" including the 2" border of brown moire taffeta (my favorite CQing fabric!). The block was pieced out of fabrics I chose in the stash dash at the last CQ retreat I attended in 2010 in Estes Park, Colorado, along with a hand-painted (by me) patch with an elk on it. Each fall, Estes Park hosts the Elk Fest, taking advantage of the many elk that frequent the town and surrounding area. The vintage crocheted butterfly was purchased from a vendor at the retreat (sorry, I don't remember who). So this is a memory quilt for me, even though most of the work on it took place over the 3+ years following the retreat.
I won a blue ribbon on it, and my friend Lauri, who was observing the judging, told me that it was one of five quilts in the running for Best of Show as well, but was not chosen.




The chicken piece's central patch came to me in a donation box that one of the local guilds shared with our CQ group. It appears to have been drawn on fabric with crayon; perhaps an original drawing, or maybe taken from a coloring book image. Nobody else wanted it, and the more I looked at it, the more it said, "Take me home," so I did. This took quite a bit less time than the elk. I pieced, embellished, and finished this one in just a few months, and it ended up being 15.5" x 14". It also won a blue ribbon! While Paul and I were at the fair admiring all the entries, we overheard an elderly gentleman comment on the proverb I stitched on it: Don't count your chickens... before they're stitched. He seemed to get a big kick out of it.

Hearts and flowers shower hearts


We had two ladies who were recipients of H&F showers this month. The one on the left went to Judy D., and the one on the right went to Alice M.
Alice is a very special person. One might actually call her "Looney." Go ahead, everybody does. And she wears the title proudly. She has a special building in her back yard for her crafting room, which she has christened, "The Looney Bin." Whenever anyone in our CQ for Newbies group has a life challenge, she says she's going to rattle chicken bones, burn sage, and maybe even sacrifice some virgins (I think that depends on how difficult the challenge is...or is it on the availability of virgins?). So for her heart, I tried to incorporate all three. If you look closely, you'll see a chicken skeleton rattling his own bones along a flowered path on the horizontal seam. The upper left seam is alternating volcanoes and virgins. The vertical seam on the right is done in sage green. And the hand-dyed lace motif was added because my daughter Michaela said, "Just because you have virgin sacrifice on there doesn't mean it can't be pretty."
Alice's response was, "I guffawed all down my leg..." which is exactly the response I was going for. They say laughter is the best medicine!