Friday, October 31, 2008

CQ Landscape...A Warm-Up...Finished

If your glitter stash is stored in plain sight where you walk by it every day....well, a girl can get ambushed by it and I was last night.
So helplessly I got out my glue, glitter, and beads and went for one last encounter with my experimental CQ landscape.
And now it is telling me, "Done!"

Here's the back....

I had fused the knit interfacing over the back after I did the felting and before the heavy embroidery went on. It may have helped "lock" the felting in place...not sure about that. But it definitely strengthened the blocks and kept them from bunching up under all that stitching. I ironed the piece often as I went along, using a press cloth.

A detail shot shows part of my glittery bead trail....of course it is supposed to suggest the sunshiny wind on a cloudy day...

I also handstitched lightly around the lettering to keep it from puffing up. I used silver metallic sewing machine thread for this.

And here is the overall piece....

You never know where undirected experimenting will take you, that is for sure.
I think trees are going to stay on my brain for awhile....

Some nice news....
At the last minute this summer I decided to enter "Crazy for Flowers" into the International Quilt Festival show along with my "For Uncle Hal" quilt. Well, it got in too, and ended up winning Second Place in the Embellished Quilt category in Houston this week. I'm so glad I sent it off!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

CQ Landscape...A Warm-Up, Part 3

Well, things got very swirly.
This piece is starting to look like Kate Bush's music...that song "The Big Sky" comes to mind. She goes so wild and chaotic at the end of the song, just raving and reveling in her freedom.
The visuals are distracting in this video (and dated)...the music is what I mean...

And I let things go wild in my little quilt here, too....just kind of let 'er rip!!!

There's not much more to add, although I think a dark border would make a big difference here. I'll give it one more day's work... ;-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CQ Landscape...A Warm-Up, Part 2

I added another "layer" of work on this little experiment, some stitching over the felted on leaves. I used the Kreinik Soi Noppe that I love so much. They don't make it anymore... ;-( or I would give a link on where to buy some.

Also, thanks to Leonie's most welcome critique in an email, I've covered up some of the visually distracting dark patches "behind" the branch with more leaves. There is some more filling in to do, too, as I go along. And lots more detail on the branches.
Working with the Babylock embellisher is such an immediate process! I love how fast it is.

Here's a detail shot. I've added the barest seam treatments along the patch edges on the left there. So far that element seems unintegrated with the rest of the piece, so I'll be addressing that issue next...

Also...I want to make sure you all know that Pam Kellogg is again posting on her blog! She is changing the emphasis a little bit...there is still absolutely gorgeous stitching going on, but her approach is now more personal and inspirational. Have a look! Welcome back, Pam...we missed you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

CQ Landscape...A Warm-Up

For the past year I have been mulling over how make a crazy landscape quilt.....I'm finally starting to get a handle on it so have been playing with a practice piece to get things rolling.
Newer readers might like to check out these pages of my website. They show a good sample of my landscape "phase" as a sane quilter.

I know that I definitely want to combine printed photos on fabric with more traditional CQ type fancy fabrics, soI dug into a small pile of "reject" prints that went into the mix below. This little piece is about the fall trees...and the wind that gets the leaves blowing across the sky....

This measures 16" X 24".
"Om Tat Sat" is Sanskrit and can be translated as "Supreme Absolute Truth". I always feel God in the sky. There is a wonderful saying, "I drink Thy power from the mighty cup of the wind..."
It's been really windy around here, too!

Those brown limbs are a fabulous chenille yarn that has been felted in place with the Babylock Embellisher. Thanks, Leonie, for that great yarn!

Then I used the embellisher to "felt applique" the leaves down...except for the shiny ones. Those are holographic lame that have been fused in place.
I've embroidered some finer detail on some of the branches, and am trying out some simple stitches along the seams in the bottom right section.
I just want to see how to combine these different elements.

Oh, and just for fun, here is basically the same quilt from 1997...

It is 16" X 19".
I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Issue of CQMagOnline is Live!

CQMagOnline has a new issue live on the web. Find it here and enjoy!

Many thanks go to our intrepid and hard working editor, Rissa Peace Root. She is a truly accomplished needlewoman....check out her website here.
Rissa, you rock!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Altered Sweatshirt...Finished

Progress on the sweatshirt was interrupted by my neighbor calling to say, "We're picking grapes down here. You want to come down and get some?"
Well, yes.
Three of the tastiest batches of grape jelly ever made ensued....with much more juice in the freezer for more jelly later in the year.

But the sweatshirt is officially done as of this morning. Summerset Banks, the art clothing maker extraordinaire, gave me a great suggestion for making the sweatshirt fit better...four vertical tucks in the front and in the back, which were easy to pin and sew by hand.

Here is the front...

No dear friends, I am not going to model it! It does fit fine, though.

And the back...theose dahlias stayed with me and suggested this circular lay-out over the amorphous felting I had put down. The button in the center matches the button on the front used for my closure.

My final thoughts on this experience are these:
--It was a great challenge to see what I could make from a simple $5 sweatshirt. We are all going to need to do more with less over the next few years is my prediction, and this kind of project fills the need to have lots of sewing fun for little money.
--There was no pre-planning involved. I just winged it with the colors and materials I liked to see where the design would take me. A cheap sweatshirt gave me "permission" to do this, but I would recommend a solid plan if a more expensive garment or fabric is involved.
--I am just not an art garment person. This sweatshirt is so flashy and outside of my comfort zone it will be very hard for me to wear it! I will try, though.

Meanwhile...I thought you'd enjoy seeing this bounty get transformed...

Thirty-five pounds of Concord grapes here..., squished, and simmering...

...and ready for toast with peanut butter. So, so yummy.

Now I think I'll clear my head and do some piecing, just for the heck of it! Who knows what kind of trouble that will lead to next.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Altered Sweatshirt...Day 3

Filling in the second half of the front of the sweatshirt and adding some more detail is starting to pull it all together for me.

I don't want the look to be "folksy" but I'm not going for an "artsy" effect either. Really I am just responding to the fall season...and the great leaves and flowers that are still among us.

Dahlias! They put on such a great show in October around here, a flaming good-bye to summer right up until frost. These grow along a protected side of my house where they get lots of afternoon sun...I may have them into November. I hope so!

This sweatshirt front is getting there...the felting on the back is pretty wild and will be my next focus.

If you click on the picture above, you can see the bead-like knots I made at the base of each spiral.

I used a fat needle and some wide rayon ribbon that my friend Freda Butler sent to me.

So if you don't have the right size and color of bead that you want, you can make a pretty good substitute!

The sweatshirt has a boxy fit that I am not crazy about (and which my sister said I should never wear...sisters know these things better than we do.) I'm going to play with making some alterations to the fit after the embellishment is done....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Altered Sweatshirt...Day 2

This project is taking me along for a ride!

To make some applique leaves, I felted some silk fibers on water-soluble stabilizer.

I laid out the leaves....

And then I sewed them down...on the right side so far.
All these squiggles and beads started showing up, though. For some reason this is hard to photograph, but if you click on the picture you should be able to see them better.

It just seems to me that the more squiggles and beads arrive at this point, the better. So all of a sudden this little $5 sweatshirt project is going to take up a lot more of my time than I thought it would. But I can't hold back now....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Altered Sweatshirt

In the new issue of CQMagOnline, which should be going live at the end of the week, my friend Binki Thalman has an article about how to prepare a standard crew neck sweatshirt for a cardigan!
I am in between projects so thought this would be a good time to give this a try...and also to play with my machine embellisher.

So here we have a size L Hanes womens' sweatshirt, which cost $5 at WalMart. A few of my potential feltable goodies are along side it.

A few hours later and I am at this point. The whispy wool and silk roving is felted into place, and will serve as the background for today's further experimenting....a perfect pastime for a rainy morning...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pat's Peace Sign...Finished

I was down in San Francisco for a few days this week, plus I am STILL canning tomatoes, so it took longer than expected to finish this project.

Originally I had planned on stretching this over foam core...I love the flat tight surface this gives. But Pat told me a few days ago that she preferred batting and a backing, so I had to do a little creative problem solving.

The green background area was too poofy for my taste.

To flatten it out, I machine quiilted it. (What a concept!)
The Wonderfil rayon thread was just great to work with.

There were a few little finishing details. The white thread I had used to sew on those yellow beads had to be fixed. I use fabric markers to "dye" threads all the time after the fact.
Some loose beads had to be tightened, a little extra stitching put on the peace sign itself...but now it is done.

This is 15" X 15". Pretty darn fun it was!

In San Francisco I was helping a friend clean out her closet. This gal is a shopper, and has the wherewithal to buy some really nice clothes. I came home with three suitcases full of them after spending a day trying stuff on and hearing the great stories behind some of the garments. ("I wore that coat in Paris one April..." "This one went to the opera in Vienna and the casino in Monte Carlo...") What I really enjoyed was the way my friend was just as excited by a cute blouse from Target as she was by a fine old Chanel velvet skirt.
So when I went grocery shopping this morning I had on Prada shoes, Ann Taylor jeans, and a Georgio Armani striped hoodie. No doubt Washougal didn't notice, but I must say it put an extra spring in my step!

One of my new hand-me-downs is a lightweigh denim hoodie that is begging to be transformmed by my embellisher. I think it's time to play...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pat's Peace Sign...Part 8

I wish you could smell this!
Pear chutney is simmering on the stove, filling the house with pungent sweet ginger, cinnamon, jalapeno, onion, cider vinegar, sugar, red pepper, and pear. It is delectable.

These are waiting to can see there is still more food preservation in my future.

Actually, a lot more. These are still on the tree, waiting to be harvested.
This was an amazing crop, considering that while this tree was flowering it got hailed and snowed on. Bees don't even like pear flowers that much either. But look at this yield.

And then there is the seemingly never ending supply of Super Marzano sauce tomatoes. I have a kettle full of these simmering into pasta sauce next to the chutney on the stove.

So you can see why the Pat's Peace Sign is moving kind of slowly. But I am making progress with the seam treatments. It has been fun to severely limit my beads, no ribbon..just single or double strand floss in very traditional stitching patterns. This just seemed like the best way to show off the flowers.

This shows what I have in mind. I do think it will work, especially with that cording along the inside of the border.

Now, to switch gears....the financial panic has been so dreadful over the last weeks. If you would like a very clear explanation of what went into this happening, and how we might eventually get out of it, check out this series of YouTube videos...starting with this one.
There are 7 in the series, each about ten minutes long. But you can skip the first one, as it is just an introduction of the speaker. Then just find the links on the sidebar for the next part in the series.
He is L. William Seidman, former head of the FDIC and also the RTC (Resolution Trust Corporation, the government entity that oversaw the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990's.) He makes this extremely complicated situation understandable. I am learning so much watching it. (And what a sinking feeling it is giving me.)
The fact that the speaker is my uncle makes me proud to recommend this. He's doing pretty darn well for 87 years old, too.

I hope you are all keeping your chins up and trying to stay positive during these trying times. Stitching has never seemed more important, somehow... ;-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pat's Peace Sign...Part 7

Thank you ALL for your congratulations. Your kindness just blows me away....!

I will celebrate just about anything by spending an afternoon piecing. Oh how I love a pile of fabrics, cup of coffee, and the peace to just wing it with my trusty Juki.

My goal was to get the borders pieced and onto my center peace section.

Because the overall quilt will only be 16" X 16", each border section was small. Plus, I kept myself strictly limited in fabric choices--in this case, all dark greens--and this can keep the process moving along quickly. I accomplished my goal in about three hours.

I love how embellishments jump out from dark valued fabrics. Black is the traditional choice for this, but in this case the flower colored stitching will stand out from the dark green background.
The stitching will be kept relatively "flat" so as not to compete with the 3 D flowers in the center. No doubt some rayon cording will go along the edge of the central square. I always end up adding that!

So I am good to go for some traditional CQ seam treatments...just in time for the Post Season playoffs.
Go Dodgers!!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fun News!

I was surprised and thrilled to learn that "The Home in the Garden" won first prize in the "My Quilts/Our History" contest sponsored by the Alliance for American Quilts. You can see the announcement here at their website.
You can spend hours and hours learning about quilt history and viewing hundreds of quilts at their site, too. They do such great work!

Pat's Peace Sign...Part 6....

...And a Week-End Trip to Seattle.

I drove up to see my son Max's new apartment that he shares with his girlfriend, Esther. They live in a neat neighborhood near the U District called Wallingford...have a nice 2 bedroom apartment with a view of the top of the Space Needle! It's a close bus commute to Max's job at Amazon in downtown Seattle...all in all, a sweet scene and I enjoyed being their guest a lot.

Now all they need is furniture.

Esther is content with a crochet hook and yarn....I love that! And all Max requires is his laptop.

Who needs a dining room table?
Well, actually....I think they are finally going to get some basics at Ikea next week-end. I hope so! My shabby old bones could use a chair when I visit...the food was great, though, vegan enchilladas by Esther.

I got plenty of work done on my peace sign while we were all hanging out.

Esther and I walked to Fusion Beads, where I picked up those nice yellow five-petaled flowers and the purple lucite flowers, too.
I'm just about done with this central section, and I must say I am happy with it. Now for the crazy quilted frame....

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pat's Peace Sign...Part 5

This is almost hitting critical mass...not much more to go on but little details like buttonholing the edges of the fused fabrics, and filling in the actual peace symbol just a bit more.

Two of today's additions were inspired by fellow bloggers. I got the idea for the buttonhole wheels over wool from Conni over at The Scoop, Score, and Deal's September 10th post.
The maroon ribbon flowers are a (somewhat feeble) attempt at Marie Alton's loop flowers.

I am liking where the colors are going with this...and also how the 3 D flowers have integrated well with the printed ones.
So far, so good!
Don't you love it when that happens?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pat's Peace Sign...Part 4

Today brought back happy memories of working on the Spring CQ, as I recreated some of the flowers I used on that quilt.

First there were the little angelina flowers.
But this time, after I fused my sheet of angelina and found it too thin, I didn't try to fuse more angelina on top. I've learned that this just doesn't work, because the layers come apart.
So with wonder under I fused my thinnish sheet of angelina onto some magenta silk. That did the trick.

I love the fuzzy texture I get from felting, so I laid down a small section of green wool and silk fibers on top of this hand dyed silk dupioni, (the same dupioni already on the peace sign as the little fused leaves. This is to help the different leaves blend.)

Using the same technique as for the "Dove Rose" on the Spring CQ, I made a single rose for the bottom of the peace sign wreath.
That bunch of pre-fab paper roses cost $1.oo at a local craft discount warehouse. I gave one of them a quick bath in the Dye-Na-Flow and got my yellow center. It's just to the left of the jar in the picture.

In her comment on the last post, Susan Elliot wrote that the background print gives a jumping off point and framework for creating the composition. Bingo, Susan! I don't know how much of it will even show by the end--except for the daffodils, which Pat loves--but it has given me a great beginning to work from.
I'm already imagining the little CQ frame that will go around this block, too....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pat's Peace Sign...Part 3

The tomatoes are keeping me fully involved.

This shows a portion of the Great Tomato Plantation of 2008.
Right now I have a tray of these Super Marzano plum tomatoes roasting in the oven with onion and rosemary....just for a quick little sauce for dinner tonight. I go out there and pick a sackful of them and don't make a dent!

So I'm not working in the sewing room as long each day as usual, but I did get a bit done this morning on the peace sign.

The fun part of starting with a neutral background is that adding contrasting colors gives such a pleasant jolt.
Hopefully I'll have more on here for my next post.....