Friday, August 31, 2007

Sequins and Fringe

I have a huge bag of the woven scraps and thrums (warp ends) from the weaver whose work I used in this bag. It is just a fabulous collection of strange fibers in great I decided to dig into that very large rat's nest and start creating a fringe element to help integrate those sequins.

Thanks for you comments, too...all opinions welcome! I have decided to keep the unadorned side of the bag "against the body" and just go for it on the one side.

Tying on the fringe has been so much fun...and when a project starts being fun again, then you know you are probably on the right track.

Have a look:

It's fun to use this stuff...most of it is boucle, which is hard to stitch with. But knotting it is great.

I'm developing little fringy areas....not going to cover the whole thing. I like the way the sequins peek out from under the fringe...and the fringe breaks up those too solid lines of sequins as well.

I'm not done yet, but am heading off to Seattle for today and tomorrow to help #1 son move from his summer sublet to the house he is renting with nine other engineering students for his senior year at U Dub.
That is going to be some zoo. (A well wired one, though.) My son's girlfriend has a single apartment and I have a feeling she is going to have a gentleman caller rather frequently!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Sequins

I am highly ambivelent about how this is progressing, mostly because at this point I prefer the side of the tote that has no sequins on it at all!
I think I will leave that side unadorned...but the sequined side I will just have to junk up further. I'll bring out some threads and see what kind of damage I can do with them...

I might just be creating a little monster here. But nothing ventured, nothing gained!

More threads, more threads!....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Terrible, Beautiful Nature....Katrina Cloud Images

I don't know the name of the photographer who took these; my brother sent me these images and I just had to share them with you on this second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

How can terror and beauty be so inextricably married? This is something I want to ask my Creator.....

Lastly, the above picture was taken from the third story balcony of Saint Stanislaus College located next door to Our Lady of the Gulf church in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippis, on the morning of August 29, 2005. This is believed to be the initial wave of Hurricane Katrina. The wave was approximately 35 to 40 feet high.
It almost looks like a mountain. The force behind it would have the same impact as one...

God bless our brothers and sisters of the South as they still recover from this.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In Praise of Sequins....I Think

My stash of sequins has been slowly building over the last few years, but I've just never hauled them all out and used them before. The Autumn Totebag with all its tweedy textures and rich colors seemed like a perfect foil for them.

So I've been sewing them on there, mostly matching the colors of the sequins to their backgrounds, at least so far. I don't exactly know where this is headed or if it is a mistake or not...but it is fun to play with them.

Pretty subtle here....

These stand out more. I wanted the hint of sequins, not obvious sequins.

I am so holding back with them! ones......

We're not approaching Bob Mackie territory here, are we?

The jury is out and has much deliberation to do as to whether this was a good idea or not...but meanwhile, I'll keep sewing on sequins. I sure wish I had more colors. This is an excellent excuse to go buy some more!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Autumn Tote, continued

Today I sewed the two sides to the bottom piece of the tote, added the two lining pieces, attached the magnet that will keep the totebag closed on the top, and quilted half of it. Not bad considering how much corn Robert and I harvested and put in the freezer this afternoon! Remember all that corn he planted?

The sides are sewn to the bottom, which is a piece of ultra suede I had forgotten I had.

For the lining, first of all, I ran out of that blue silk, so I am using it along the top edges of the bag where it will show the most. Secondly, I am sewing the lining on this way, in pieces, so that I will have the opening of the bag as a finished edge to work with. I don't care about finishing the side seams yet. I'll overlap the bottom edges and finish them by hand later.

This is why I needed those top edges sewn. Here is the back of my purse magnet, poked through the lining and the seam allowance (for durability).

Here the linings are flipped down into place, ready to be quilted to the sides of the tote. And my magnets are already "installed", so to speak. I will just quilt around them.

One side is quilted. The quilting melds all those loosey-goosey woven fabric pieces together and this creates a very durable tote side. Plus it feels really cool.

A close up of the quilted hand-woven fabric and velvet. Yum.

But frankly, this is where the real action is today. Lookit all that corn.....

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sharon B's blog has moved...

Heads up, all you textile blogging friends....Our beloved Sharon B of inaminuteago
has had to move her blog, due to the same evil spambots that forced me to move mine last winter.
@#$%^&* Spambots!

She is now here:

instead of here: I won't even link that.

We don't want to miss a single post of hers. Good luck "moving house", Sharon!

Autumn Tote

I made such a mess this morning! But I've swept up and am left with two pieced tote sides, ready for their next step, which is joining them with a bottom piece in the middle, adding a lining to the back, and quilting them.

Ha Ha! To start things off I finally got my prize iron from the $100,000 Quilting Challenge out of its box where it has been languishing for two months since its arrival. (I am slow to take on new tools; the sewing machine I won is still in its box.) This is one great iron, the heavy artillery.

I used it to fuse some interfacing onto the backs of my two muslin tote foundation pieces.

Fast forward 2 1/2 hours and we have Side A....

And Side B...or as Dr. Suess wrote, "Thing One and Thing Two".
I want to class this up a little beyond my normal tote and am going to use leather on the bottom....and maybe go to the great folks at my local shoe repair shop and have them make me some leather handles for it, too!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Tote Project

Thanks Everyone, for the very kind comments on my last post. You sure know how to make a stitcher feel good!

Ever hear of "PPD"? Not to make light of Post Partum Depression...but what I am referring to here is "Post Project Depression". I can't stand that void that comes when a major piece is finished, but I am not ready to embark on another one yet. So my personal cure for PPD is of course, The Tote Bag.
I have made zillions of them--I really should start an Etsy shop, just to clear them out of here--as a way not only to combat PPD, but also as a means to "refresh my palate"..or pallete...between big projects. It's a chance to not be so careful, to just have fun, and experiment.

This is a PPD Tote from about three and a half years was a blast to make; I was just going bananas with reweaving that silk ribbon. It's not at all practical for use, though...the ribbons would snag on I keep it in my sewing room with lots of loose fibers, yarns, etc. in it.

Here's a detail.....

And here is my pile of fabrics for the new tote, a cousin of the one above, I think. Those are hand-woven scraps from a weaver in San Francisco...I buy her scraps by the 1 gallon bag for $10 per bag. I've mixed in some velvets as I like the contrast in texture. Autumn is coming...

I will quilt this bag and not put much embroidery on it...but I do have this enticing and too large stash of sequins that could really be fun to spark this up with.
I mean, why not? ;-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Floral 9 Patch....Finished!

Except now it has a new grown-up name for an upcoming show entry, "Summer Mandala".

I documented the whole process of putting on the French Facing edge, but as I'm going to be writing that up for the next issue of CQMagOnline and have described it on my blog before, I won't put all that up here.

I did want to show, though, that before I sandwiched the quilt, quilted it by hand in the ditch (not fun, but actually what the quilt needed), and put on the facing, I did reinforce that top border seam by hand. That is because when the quilt is hung there will be lots of gravity pulling on the seam, and a fine line of silk thread whipstitched wasn't going to be enough to handle the load.

I used beading thread and a small stab stitch, going in and out along the fold where the seam would have been if I had sewn this on the machine.

Here are a few detail shots from the finished quilt.....

And here is the whole thing...

I think the dark green border makes it all a bit more formal looking, a little less chaotic.
I've really enjoyed this project....thanks for coming along with me on it!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Adding Cording to the Border

Well, I had a LOT of colors to choose from, didn't I? These are seconds from
I tried many different combinations of cording colors up against the quilt and that was fun, seeing how just those thin lines of different color changed the whole look of the quilt. Orange and purple was my runner up choice...but I went with lavender and blue.

One of my favorite subjects on my son's second grade report card was "Has Control of Glue Bottle" (he got an "Average"). I had to have very good control of my glue bottle here. I didn't know if I was brave or crazy, dotting glue over stitching, ribbon, beads, anything in my path!!! It actually wasn't necessary to remove those beads...I just steamrolled right over them.
Crazy lady. The trick was not to pull too tight on my silk thread as I sewed the glued cording into place.

Here's how it looked as I smoothed the cording down. I would dot the glue for four inches, smooth it down, and move on. After one side of the quilt was glued, I sewed it on before turning the corner and traveling up the next side.

Turning the corner here. I buried my beginning and end of the cording in one of the corners and it is pretty hard to tell where.

So I'll just show you, here it is in the lower right.

The next steps will be layering the batting and false back to the backside of the top here, as I have done before, with close rows of basting stitches. This quilt has some flimsy fabrics carrying some heavy beads, and all that needs to be well supported.
But after I attach the fancy back--a screaming pink crushed velvet, I might add--over that, I am actually going to quilt in the ditch through all the layers along my 9 patch blocks. The only reason I am doing this is so that this quilt will be eligible to enter in a show that requires quilting. Crazy quilters know that this requirement keeps most of our quilts out of shows, because normally they are not quilted. But this is a small quilt so I will do hand...a machine would be impossible. After that I'll cover those seams with some feather stitching.
But the blasted thing will be officially quilted!

So, lots of fussy finish work is coming at me over the next several days. It's a good time for some rock and roll..and spy movies...and The Teaching Company CDs....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Finishing Up the Floral 9 Patch....Borders

Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my last post....I really appreciate them!

Summer is waning, and so my floral extravaganza needs to be finished to clear the way for the new direction that autumn always brings. By now I've covered every seam in the Floral 9 Patch and today added its cotton velveteen borders.
With great good fortune I had followed my nose (via Deb Geyer's blog) to some of Sharon Schamber's You Tube demonstration videos, and so this morning I paid close attention to her four-parter on creating mitered borders. Part one is here. While I did not follow her exact process, she gave me a couple of key insights that literally saved my bacon with this quilt.
I knew that trimming my 28" square quilt would lead to disaster due to beads and stitches being in the way and fabrics becoming too ravely once that protective zigzagged edge was sliced off in the squaring up. I knew I would not be able to sew on my border with the machine, either, without seam lines getting very wiggly due to heavy nearby embellishment, causing me much gnashing of teeth.
Sharon Schamber to the rescue, God bless her!

I have appliqued on my borders before but was never satisfied with the straightness of my border's sewn on edge. Sharon irons on freezer paper to the back of her border, leaving a 1/4 inch edge...

....and then folds her to-be-appliqued edge over the freezer paper. This was Key Concept Number One. Lots of you probably have done this for years, but not me!
Of course, Sharon pre-shrinks her freezer paper, and she paints starch along the edge before ironing, and she sews her borders on by machine..but this is velveteen and I didn't think starch would be such a good idea. It is also why I am ironing on a towel here. And we already know machine sewing is out.

Next she runs a line of glue along her folded over edge...(see how totally uneven the edge of my quilt is, and how trimming it would have been suicidal? And by the way that white backside of the velveteen is interfacing. The freezer paper has been removed.)

...and then she smooths her borders into place, heat setting the glue with her iron. Key Concept Number Two: Glue it, don't pin it. Her method, using flat and submissive cottons, is much more exact than mine, but the concept was priceless for me on this go-round. I could line things up perfectly without having to trim anything, and in a much more secure way than by employing a long line of pins, which would have marked up the velveteen as well.

Halleluja, square corners!!! Once the four border pieces were glued into place, and each corner mitered by simply folding over one edge at 45 degrees and gluing that....then all I had to do was whipstitch the borders on there by hand with some fine silk thread. This was a piece of cake and I am so happy with calamity being avoided. The borders look smooth and even...and are going to get some cording added to them tomorrow....!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Marne's Landscape, Finished

This has been much more of an emotional project than I anticipated. Concentrating on this image of my early years at Michillinda and the days of living next door to Marne and her family--and near the other cottagers in our summer "colony"--has ended up being a long meditation on my own mother, who has been gone for over 30 years now.
Her presence is still so strong there, as that place exists almost outside of time. And Marne was one of her friends. When I visit with Marne, she can still tell me new stories about my mom, which is a miracle, really! So my work on this Michillinda portrait for Marne of course ended up being a surrogate gift to my own mother, representing my longing for her still, and my gratitude at still being connected to her through her old friend.

Once the landscape was completed, I pinned it to a piece of acid-free foam core. The pinning was to keep it in place while I stretched it, as I had to be absolutely sure that that horizon line on the front was going to be perfectly horizontal.

The front has been stretched nice and snug, as you can see here.

This is the back of the backing. The white stuff is Pellon fusible fleece...It has a bit of body and stiffness that gives a nice finish to the backside of the mounted landscape.

Here is the backing pinned into place. The photograph is of Marne's family dining room table at the cottage, with a further table in the addition beyond it. (She has a very large family.) The lace rose motif belonged to Marne's grandmother and dates from the Civil War; the inscription speaks for itself.

The front, all done. I had to add a little more embroidery to the left foreground...
I have another painting by my Uncle Hal that shows our cottage to better effect...I may enlarge upon this idea and make another Michillinda portrait for my family...
But before I leave this subject..., I can't write about Marne without mentioning Sallie, who lived on the other side of us along the row and at 92, is the other icon of Michillinda. She too was my mother's friend...this is the first year she hasn't been at the lake; she's got some health issues keeping her home, but no doubt she is battling them with her usual fierce energy. I got to see her last year, though.

Sallie is a force to reckon with, and I remember many an evening my mom would storm home from her cottage saying, "That Sallie makes me so Damn Mad!!!!"
But Sallie is the one who has an old photo of my mom pinned to the door of her bedroom at Michillinda, because she still misses her so much.
I love her for that.

She let me take a quick snap of it....and there is my mother, gazing out at the lake as we all do, disappearing into the light.