Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #19

Working with Ann Cox's book, A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers, has been a revelation.
Not that I have dived very deeply as yet, but there are some key concepts here that are going to change the way I do floral embellishments from here on out.

In the book, she divides her different floral renditions according to the degree of difficulty: easy, hard, and most complicated! (My words, not hers.)
I chose an easy one for my first attempt, the aster.

We have perennial asters growing all over the place and I have always loved that flower, too.

So I gathered my materials here....A small vase of some asters, the book and block, some ribbon, beeswax, needles, threads, Dye-Na-Flow, brush....and off I went.

I normally do not like to mark patterns on my embellishment surface, especially in non-removable gelpen ink! But I was trying to follow the directions for once, so I marked my pattern. (Any marks that would end up showing could be covered with black permanent marker, anyways. An old trick!)

The main stem had nine strands of floss. Ann suggests running them through beeswax to get them to form a cohesive line.
Great idea, I never thought of that! You can use dry soap for this too, evidently.
The stems are couched with a few stitches.

I did not have the 2mm silk ribbon called for to use as the petals. And it would have been more aster-like. But that's ok...this 4mm is from RiverSilks. It is already hand-dyed, but Ann's method--and the part that is SO great to me--is that you overdye the ribbon once it is in place. She gives lots of technical tips for how to do this, too.
Now I want to overdye every ribbon flower I ever make!

In the aster example, she just called for a slightly darker magenta painted from the center to about halfway out the petals' lengths.

It is subtle, but can you see the difference?

For the flowers' centers, she was very specific about starting with three strands of floss, two green one yellow, in a 3 wrap French knot, then graduate to two yellows and one green strand, in a smaller knot, to a single strand of yellow in a one wrap knot.
It makes for a more believable flower, doesn't it?
This was a great first exercise....

My husband loves Shirley poppies. Ann ranks her version at the medium level of difficulty, but I think I will be brave and try them next week...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #18

Those twin babies were straight from heaven. It was so great to meet them last week-end!

I did have time to complete another of the wheel blocks for my Vintage CQ. Here is #18:

The designs for these blocks seem to be either large close-ups of a single flower, or some kind of spray of small ones.
These are made from narrow ombre Mokuba ribbon, 3mm Swarovski crystals, Kreinik Silk Serica thread (one of my all time faves), and some ribbon that dear Rengin sent to me long ago. Oh, and there is some hand-painted fabric from Vicki in there, too! It's the warm yellow...

There are 12 blocks more to go...I'll be done by Christmas!

But along the way, I will have some awesome new inspiration. I have a new book on silk ribbon flowers that is unbelievable.

Would you look at those nasturtium on the cover!

If you click on the photo here, you can get a better look at the flowers on the back of the book.
I've done an initial reading of the book, and found that the brave author paints her ribbon after it is stitched into place. She has many technical tips and great artistry to share...and sets the bar very, very high.
But like Susan with her Charm School (just look how she has recreated the Alstroemeria Lily here after gaining technique from delving into Di van Niekirk's book, Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork, this summer), I plan on studying this book and chosing one of the flowers to replicate.

** EDIT**
This book can be found at here. It has a different cover than the copy I have, but it sure sounds like the exact same book.
Thanks, Judy, for this heads up!

I'll have it next Thursday...see you then!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baby Clothes!

I have two 3 month old grandnieces and I get to meet them this week-end in San Diego!
My oldest brother's oldest daughter had twins in June...I am so excited to finally be able to hold these babies in my arms.

It is never too early to have a good supply of hoodies (my favorite article of clothing), so I decided to make the girls a matched set of hoodies and booties. I didn't have a lot of time to decorate them, but still, it was fun.

I ordered them from Dharma Trading...nice white cotton, ready to dye.

This is one of the two sets, soaked in a soda ash solution (which will act as the mordent to set the dyes.)

I had some old procion dyes kicking around, so I mixed them up....

...and poured them over my wet baby clothes in these jars. Then I let them sit in the sun for a couple of hours. Next I washed them well with detergent, and let them dry overnight.

"A" is for Anna....

...and "H" is for Halle.
This is cut out fulled wool.

It was fun to applique them onto the hoodies with a little embroidery.

But most fun of all will be to see those precious girls wearing these things...

Given with love from their Aunt Allie.....

Have a great week, you all!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Vintage CQ...Flower #17

Busy, it has been so busy around here!

Multiply this by about 100 and you'll understand what I mean.
This particular harvest did turn into some great eggplant parmigiana last night...(no broccoli in it of course).

I got my Spoonflower swatches back!
Have a look...

The one on the left is from a picture of a detail of "Crazy for Flowers". It is printed on Organic Cotton Sateen. The one on the right is one of my flower mandalas printed on Bamboo/Cotton Rayon...and I much prefer that fabric. Both color-shifted towards when ordering a full yard of fabric, care would have to be taken to avoid that.
But the quality of the imagery and color saturation are just great. And the Spoonflower folks are so nice, too.

My Vintage Flower #17 was inspired by some of these "circus dahlias" (my name for them).

Some dahlia breeder just went wonky, I think. But these are cheerful little guys.
And they inspired this...

The outer petals are angelina...the inner ones are silk ribbon..and there is beading in the center.
The leaves are actually cut out sections of some wonderful jacquard ribbon that Susan Elliot generously sent me a few months back. I just appliqued them on...
I wasn't sure what to put in the center and then of course....a spider! This was a black metal one that I had painted gold long ago....and he waited all these years in my bead drawer just for this moment.

Susan had requested a shot of all the flowers here they are, slapped up on the design wall in no certain order....

I left the photo pretty large, so if you click on this you can get a better view.
I am really enjoying taking my time on this quilt, and like what is happening so far....

That's it for this week.
See you next Thursday!