Saturday, April 25, 2009

April colors

The tulips are almost done blooming, but these guys were just shouting to be noticed last week. We got some good rains early in April and the greenery in the front flower bed just seemed to burst forth overnight. Sadly, the weeds aren't far behind...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spiders 2 RR, Kerry's block

I was the first to get to work on Kerry's block. It is done mostly in dupioni silks and has a central patch with a tulip print in beautiful spring colors. So hard to decide which space to occupy when the whole thing is screaming, "Stitch here, stitch here!" Finally I decided on the upper left corner and planted a lavender lace motif that is a part of some trim I bought in Denver last September at the CQ retreat. It was very expensive stuff, if I recall correctly, about $30 a yard, but really exquisite. I used some hand-dyed green trim to meander around a second patch. Then I added some SRE loop flowers in the darkest purple on the block, and some pink variegated roses and lavender detached chain buds.
I recently was given a gift of some vintage silk twist threads, so I used them to make some very dainty feather stitch vines and cast-on flowers. The web is done in metallic sewing thread, so you have to look closely to see it. The spider is my usual 2-bead variety, but done in dark purple (I know that Mother Nature color-coordinates her creatures to help them hide from predators or prey, but this may be stretching that just a bit!). Last, I added a bee up in the largest loop, and she's color-coordinated too; gold and dark purple!
As always, you can click on the picture for a close-up.
This block will be making a world tour over the next 5 months, as it goes next to Nevada (USA), then Nederland, then Italy, back to USA in Oregon, and finally home to Alberta, Canada.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Black and white schlep bag, finished.

I forgot to take pictures of the individual blocks after they were embellished and before they were sewn together, so I tried to get them to pose afterward. Notice that I added touches of pink and dusty rose, the traditional color for breast cancer research and awareness. It didn't occur to my conscious brain until just now that that was true, but apparently my subconscious knew it all along.
The grey brocade you see peeking out is the focus fabric inside the bag. In other words, the bag is completely reversable, and the brocade takes the place of the CQ blocks on the other side.

And here's two views of the finished bag. Soon it will be off to Omaha for the July Crazy Quilt Convention, where it will be auctioned or raffled off to raise money for breast cancer research.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Works of mercy, all sewed up!

Two of the last chapters in our religious education workbook are on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. In case you're not familiar with them, allow me to put on my catechist hat for a moment and list them.
The corporal works of mercy are:
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Visit those in prison
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Bury the dead

And the spiritual works of mercy are:
Help others make good choices
Teach those who lack knowledge
Give advice to those who are confused
Comfort those who are hurting
Be patient with others
Forgive injuries
Pray for the living and the dead

I try to impress upon the kids that a quilt can be both a corporal work of mercy and a spiritual one. It can "clothe the naked", in other words, be warmth for the body, and if the images are beautiful, it can also "comfort those who are hurting" in their soul.

So each year as an end-of-the-year class project, I have my 3rd graders draw pictures to be transferred to fabric to make blocks for a quilt that will be donated to Catholic Outreach or the homeless shelter. I usually give them minimal guidance about what to draw. Kids are full of wonderful imagery on their own, so I just ask them to make something cheerful, colorful, or uplifting. I absolutely love seeing where that takes them in their imaginations!
Left to right, top to bottom:
a cheerful rainbow arcing over puppies, a flower reaching for the sun, two girls showing off a quilt

some very imaginative animals (drawn by a future Laurel Burch?), an Easter bunny, high flying kites

Mom's car (I happen to know his mom's car doesn't look like this, but he can dream, can't he?), the burning bush from which God spoke to Moses (wow!), a happy cat

a sweet black kitty, some simple crosses on a hill, and some dramatic crosses

We'll be presenting our quilt tonight at the end of the year celebration. We hope that whoever receives it will feel the warmth and care that went into designing it!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blue Monday; our family Easter tradition

My family has long enjoyed Robin Eggs malted milk ball eggs as an Easter treat. When my sister and I were still living at home, we would doll ourselves up with the blue dye on those puppies and make kissy faces. The tradition continues with my daughter Trystan, looking mysterious and sultry and........cold.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Silky ladies and swap items

I bought these silkies for a friend who doesn't have access to such items. They were printed by Jill P., who I met last year at the CQ retreat. She does a lovely job and her prices are very reasonable.

These are two needle books I got in Mary L's swap. The gold one was made by Mary herself, and the ivory one was made by Ruby R.

These are motifs I got through Crazy Judyth's swap. I sent in the silk ribbon embroidered motifs and in return got a huge variety of things, as you can see.

There sure are a lot of creative people out there!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Black, white and grey

I am making a schlep bag to donate to the Omaha CQ retreat and convention's auction/raffle. I've done a bag for each of the last 2 years. This one will be black with these blocks as the focus fabric. I got to use many of my favorite ties and fancy blacks, which may not show up in the picture. I'm also using some dusty rose accents in the embellishments; will post the completed blocks as they are done.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blue Monday....

...and we are challenged to post about something blue. I thought this might be tough, so I stepped out the back door and took a picture of the not-quite-leafed-out cottonwood branches against the blue, blue sky.

Then I looked at the pics my DH took yesterday during his ATV club ride on the Colorado-Utah border and found this muddy guy (not my DH), but look at the color of that sky against the snowy hills!

And this is one of the many vistas they saw while on the 75 mile ride. These are the very snowy La Salle mountains.

I finished the last seams on my black block in a blue perle cotton fancy fan. And I kind of like how it looks right next to the yellow one.

Lastly, a bird in SRE. Is he a blue jay? I dunno, and he's not talkin'.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

SRE goldfish

I've tryed some more SRE, and actually dyed some 7mm ribbon to use for making this goldfish. The scales are done in very short ribbon stitches (no longer than the ribbon is wide). The tail and fins are just straight stitches, but I did tack them down in spots with some invisible thread. The eye is a black iridescent bead, the bubbles are clear beads, and the beads on the bottom are from a bead soup that Connie K. sent me. The water plants are 4mm in a twisted straight stitch.