Friday, May 30, 2008

Spring CQ...Full View

Theresa, this overall shot is at your request...glad to do it!
And the threads on the iris were two strands of hand-dyed silk floss by Vicki Clayton.

Wish I had better lighting....but you can get the idea of how things are shaping up....

Spring CQ....Iris

It's not really a Siberian's more a generic one.

This time I thought I would try just appliqueing my flower on, using fabrics and the buttonhole stitch. But I constructed my flower in a slightly different way for me...I used that water soluble stabilizer.

As an experiment, it worked pretty well.
I used clear thread in a zig zag and just slapped the pieces together on the stabilizer base.

Once the flower was dunked in water and then ironed dry, it looked like this.
I knew that none of the stitching along the edge would show, as it would be covered by the buttonhole stitching. Plus this kept the edges from fraying.
I was just too lazy to back all my little fabrics with fusible web...and a little nervous about fusing directly onto my quilt, anyway. Plus I just don't like hand stitching through fused fabrics, even if I do use lightweight MistyFuse.

It was just a matter of a few pins to hold my "unit" in place while I stitched it on.

See, once the button hole stitching went on, that raggedy edge with the machine stitching completely disappeared.

Which brought me to this point. But then I decided there should be one open flower...

All of a sudden my quilt is dominated by the presence of this iris!!!
But that's o.k....the roses to come will balance it all out. And do we have roses coming!!!!

But meanwhile I think I will just cover some seams for a few days. I feel like just plain ol' crazy stitching while the roses get ready to pop outside.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spring CQ...Helianthemum

I love the saturation and delicate coloring of the little helianthemum (Helianthemum Nummularium) blooms...

In setting out to put a version of them on my quilt, I knew I would be taking a leap into a brighter intensity of color than what I've used before in this piece, and that this would start altering the composition of my quilt. But after warming up on those less obtrusive flowers, I was ready.
It is all part of the plan....scary to jump in, though!

You can see the two blooms I picked to bring inside while coloring my lace flowers. I am using Tsukineko ink for this.

Here is a real bloom next to the textile one going on. That's Edmar rayon thread in the stamens.

Fast they are all sewn on. That is ribbon from Riversilks in the leaves. Great really doesn't run while being stitched!

And here it is in place on the quilt, in the lower left quadrant.

I want to balance out the Dame's Rocket, which is along the right edge of the quilt, with some Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) along the left side.

If the #$%^& sun would ever come out, these blooms would pop open in no time. But I kind of like the idea of putting some buds on the quilt...they always suggest growth. These make a nice vertical element, too...and will go on next.

As a parting shot for this post, I want to share some garden art that my son Chad made in "clay class" this year; high school graduation requirements necessitated that my art-phobic son take one studio fine art class, so pottery it was.
Are you ready for his final project?

Yes, it is a snail, though to me it is just like the slugs that cause us grief around here.
Please note the tattoo along the side of the head, and if you look closely, the Frankenstein-like scar at the neck.
When he presented this to me I was understandably speechless...finally I stammered, "It'', Chad..."
"I know, Mom, it's really ugly. But it's cool."
"It's sure.............something..." my voice trailed off in wonder.....

But now it has pride of place guarding the broccoli.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spring CQ...Dame's Rocket...Embellisher Experiment #10

With all the rain we continue to get, there is not much for it but to work on the textile garden inside...the outdoor garden is too muddy... ;-(

My little stem of Dame's Rocket went on quite quickly, and it was fun to do....
Here are the steps I took:

You don't think I have forgotten about my Embellisher, do you?
I decided to try out the water soluble stabilizer that Catherine gave me when she visited last month, so I could create my own "fabric" for the petals. This is silk and soy silk going under the felting needles on top of the stabilizer.

All felted down, this piece is ready for its bath. I hope those little holes go away.

It took about 5 minutes for the stabilizer to dissolve.

But could I wait for it to dry? Heck no, I ironed it.

This is stiff and flat, not too thick. The holes are mostly gone, and this doesn't have the fuzzy surface that so much embellishment-type work has. I did not want fuzzy; Dame's Rocket petals are smooth.

The edges of the petals are nice and sharp and will not shred when I tack these onto the quilt.

And here we are! Couched stems and burnt-edge leaves will be a recurring theme, no doubt...
I like it when the stems follow the seam lines in crazy patching, as they do here.

There are two varieties of Helianthemum out in the garden, occasionally opening their petals when the rain stops, as here a few days ago....

I plan on doing a stylized version of these next....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Spring CQ...Dogwood and Chives

The night before last it rained hard....and the pink dogwood tree, which was about done blooming, shed its petals....

...all over my car (a '98 Subaru Outback wagon, the best car I've ever owned).
I figured I had better get those dogwood flowers on my quilt, and fast!

Those pink petal beads were made to become dogwood flowers, don't you think?

Here is a detail.
I purchased these luscious pink petal beads from The Raven Store at a bead show. They may not have these particular beads right now, but they have loads of wonderful pressed Czech glass beads and buttons, and their prices are terrific.

Here is one of the little clumps of chives...

They actually look more like clover to me.

And here is the whole quilt as of yesterday...

As you can see, I have settled on the shape for the center...mocked up in freezer paper at the moment.
My DH, Robert, has his own ideas of what should go in the center....

He never lets me take my work too seriously, as you can see. And thank you, Susan, for your very special input here....*wink!*

Next up....My Dame's Rocket is blooming...I planted it last year, inspired by Judith in England, the Threadspider. It does smell sweet...

Now where and how will that go on?.....

*Gail asked what the Latin name for cornflower is....Centaurea Cyanus...find it here.*

...and a blessed Memorial Day to you all....we do remember and so deeply honor our soldiers....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Spring CQ...Wisteria and Cornflower

There are indeed some flowers blooming now, in spite of ALL OUR RAIN (this is getting to be a sore subject), so I decided to add my first flowers to the inner portion of the quilt....timidly, along the edges, and blending in with their backgrounds...but still, the first flowers have gone on!

Let's start with the wisteria....

The blooms are a little more violet colored here, but that was the ribbon I had on hand.
Can you see the burned-edge silk leaves above the blooms?

This is a nice way to get a finished edge, and you get that little black outline, too.

The cornflowers in the garden are a robust and actually quite invasive plant. I try and restrain them to one area of the garden....

These were a favorite flower of my mom's so I love growing them. The ants love them too, and crawl all over them.

Cornflower supplies! (*Freda, do you recognize the shiny ribbon and the cool black thread?*)

The first clump.
I think these are going to spread out on my quilt, too, just like they do in the garden...I'll add some more in a spot where they will show up a little better.
And of course I will have to sew on some ants....then the chives will go on.

I want to thank you all for your lovely comments as I work along on this quilt. Lucinda from Belvedere Beads said it was like watching a romance unfold. That is how it feels to me, for sure...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spring CQ...More Greenery

Work on the green arcs continues apace....

Today I added some thorn stitches into my green arc sections of the quilt.

I just love this stitch.

Here is the upper left arc. You can see I stitched the rather blobby-looking lace applique leaves on there too.

Here is the upper right arc.

There are a ton of buds in my flower garden....just when I should be finished filling in the green arcs, I can be running out there to get inspired by all the new blooms for the inner, warm-colored section of this quilt.
White flowers will go on last, in the center...they are going to be the last to bloom, too.
I always knew gardening and crazy quilting had a synergistic relationship in my life!

I will start with blooms from the alium family...these chives are flowering, and my giant alium is about to pop open.
Isn't that little row of spinach and broccoli so cute? I decided to add a little French potager influence to my perennial garden this year, planting lots of herbs, tomatoes, leeks, broccoli, spinach, garlic, shallots, and lettuce in with my roses and other flowers. It is fun to experiment!
I don't think I will be putting any vegetables into this quilt, though.

I have that tomato CQ brewing for late summer...I can sneak the veggies in there... ;-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

New Products from Spring Market

So I got to do a little shopping!
I am always on the prowl for new tools to use in the sewing room and I found some fun ones at Spring have a look...

The first one requires a little backstory. One of my houseguests, Tracy Kincheloe (a teacher of sane quilting from L.A.) had told us about an early business of hers. She was "The Quilt Whisperer" and cut out the quilts for sewers with arthritis and such. Ladies who wanted to make quilts but could no longer do the cutting would hire Tracy to do it for them.
Well, my other house guest, Holly Casey, had brought me a lovely palette of neutral cottons as a hostess gift, so I asked the Whisperer if she would cut out a nine patch quilt for me out of them.
It took her all of about 20 minutes, I swear, including binding. But she thought the state of my rulers was appalling.

So she got me the Omnigrip 8 1/2" X 24" that you can see here, along with Tracy's strips and business card and my pathetic old ruler. The 8 1/2" width is going to be so great for cutting out fabric sheets for the printer. Thank you, Quilt Whisperer!

Other goodies I found at the show...

I bought the stencil on the left from a company new to the States--they're from Scotland--called Stewart Gill USA. They provide "Professional textile paints and accessories for seriously demanding multimedia artists".

Here's another page from their info sheet, showing all their different paints. I am no seriously demanding multimedia artist and couldn't begin to appreciate all the doors these paints open...but I felt the fabrics they were painted on and the hand was soft and they are washable.
I can tell these products are "next generation" in their capabilities.....Stewart Gill has a fabulous book that explains how all this stuff is used too.
They have a new distributer in the USA named Sally Richards, who can be reached at 877/843-7801. She'll be back from Market at the end of May and would love to hear from you with any questions.

Moving right along...

What beader and embroiderer isn't always looking for new and great needles? These supposedly are long beading needles that do not bend. They take beads as small as #11s.

This one could be is the "Big Eye Beading Needle". It really is two wires joined at top and you can fit yarn in there and then bead onto it. (How could you fit yarn through a regular beading needle?) They might be a little fragile, so I bought three of them. I think these open up some neat possibilities.

This is the Grip-n-Grip rubbery sheet that you use as a work surface. Say you are writing on will grip your fabric and keep it smoothly in place while you write on it, or draw with fabric crayons, or whatever. No longer do you have to iron your fabric to freezer paper to stabilize it, or tape it into place. I tested out some silk chiffon on it and it really didn't move! I left this photo big so if you click on it you can read the information on the sheet. This is washable, you can heat set on it, and it seems like it could be very useful.... for when you are using the foiling pen here. This is like having a ball point pen write in glue. You lay out your fabric on your Grip-n-Grip and then write on it with the pen. After 3 minutes the glue becomes tacky and transparent, and will stay that way indefinitely, until you either rub glitter into it or a mylar foil sheet over it.

Here's a little demo, with the little packet of foil sheets I got. I thought this would be a great way to add some veins on leaves, for example.
Of course, the lady who ran the booth had foiled all over her shoes. You know those gals...
Her name was Betty Blais, and she owns Embellishment Village, where all these products came from, and where you can get them, too.

Alas, I found no evidence of crazy quilting except for a template from EZ Quilting for making a 5 sided center for piecing a block. Lame, in my opinion. Crazy quilting is just not big business in the quilt world.
But we stitch on, regardless.....!!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spring Quilt Market

My friend Tracey Brookshier is having her first booth at Quilt Market, and things are going well! The two friends she brought to help--all three of them are staying with me--are delightful and we have been having a swell time together. I think Tracey has appreciated having a very supportive posse, too.

Tracey and Holly Casey have just begun booth set-up here on Thursday. That is Tracey's famous "Bento Box" pattern directly behind them, along with a new Scotty pattern, the Interweave pattern, and you can just see the LavaLamps quilt on the right.

Less than 24 hours later they are hard at it selling patterns, taking orders, giving out promotional info, answering questions....and doing plenty of schmoozing.

As we were there to work the booth, I haven't been out prowling the aisles like the last time I went to Market....but the river brought nice and interesting people to our little shore there at booth #2304.

Here is Kathy Mack, of and also PinkChalkStudio.
She is holding her "Mail Sack" bag and also her "Note Taker" notebook, which she has developed patterns for and is marketing this week-end. I really like the Note Taker, and wanted to link to the pattern because I'll bet some of you will like it look here. As an independent pattern designer she is at the beginnings of what I know will be a very successful professional career. She and Tracey were comparing notes on the process of getting that ball rolling...

Here is the front of the Note Taker....

And here is the inside. Very slick. Best of luck to Kathy!!!

I was able to just wander our little quadrant of the show and came across two people I've admired for a long time, so I stopped to say hello.

Paul Kreinik, a sharp businessman and funny guy. His company in West Virginia employs 20 people, and they bring us the wonderful Kreinik threads that we CQers (and others) love so much.
He was mostly pushing their new metallic thread designed for longarm machines. Says it does NOT break......Yes, the trend of the year is long arm quilting, no doubt about that....

And here is Penny McMorris, author of the highly collectible Crazy Quilts, long out of print. (The link takes you to Amazon where they have several used copied available!)
I just had to introduce myself, shake her hand, and thank her for her wonderful book...she is a gracious, lovely lady. She was there with her current company, the Electric Quilt, maker of the famous quilt software program.
I asked her to wave to all the crazy quilters out here in Blogland, so here is Penny greeting you and saying hi!

I'll be back at the show tomorrow, working Tracey's booth and helping to tear it down at the end of the afternoon. I hope I'll get to do a little more scouting of the show while I'm there.

There was absolutely no evidence of crazy quilting in any of the booths I saw. This is causing me to growl a bit, I confess. Maybe I'll find some of our select, kindred spirits there tomorrow...