Monday, May 31, 2010

Process/Summer Set

I tend to have so many projects I work on throughout the week that I don't end up blogging about all of them--I just hit the high points. But it seems there's a growing interest in revealing inspiration and process rather than just the end results of our labors. This summer I hope to update this blog more frequently with bits and pieces of WIP's and how I draw inspiration.

Summer to-do list draft

Vintage lace and trims from my best friend's mother

Detail of trims and lace. Their destination? An unbleached muslin dress based on one of the Simplicity patterns I picked up at JoAnn's Memorial Day sale for a dollar

Anna--now a roommate!--modeling her hang gliding outfit! Tee by Tye Dye Mary

Fabric for Anna's Maverick Stars. L-r Country Classic solid in plum, green crackle remnant, assorted white/batik fat quarters, butterfly tan fat quarter, Anna's favorite fat quarter

More of Anna's fabric. She bought a set of fat quarters long ago just because she loved them. More an ink/canvas artist, she turned the fabric over to me. Love how these fabrics reflect her hang gliding shirt!

Tools for my Circles baby quilt.

Hand-stitched blocks. I popped the background fabric into the embroidery hoop (came from a grandmother or great aunt, not sure which), pinned the circle on top, and sewed around. Although I didn't figure this to be an original idea, I was first inspired by Cluck Cluck Sew's quilt. After I'd begun, I found Jaybird's.

Liberty of London for Target. Black and white is my favorite combination, and I just happened to find this sweet comforter and notebook set on clearance. SCORE! I remembered being introduced to LoL via The Purl Bee, then soon after seeing their Target line on some blog (really can't remember). Love the look on my bed! The notebooks consist of (1) graph paper, (2) lined paper, (3) blank paper--ideal for (1) quilt sketches, (2) poetry/songwriting, (3) design sketches. I am soooo set for summer!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nine-Patch Triumph Dress

I went through a lot of adjectives for this dress... redemptive... victorious... reclaimed... restored... repurposed... In the end I rest with triumph because it represents a triumph over doubt and despair.

Fairy tales inspire curtseys!

Each nine-patch block was hand constructed of rotary cut five-inch squares, and each block represented particular memories about a particular person. The original plan was to create a bedspread-sized quilt from all these memory blocks, but unexpectedly, plans changed.

Back detail

Instead of destroying my work, I decided to take the cacophony of colors and patterns and construct a cheery, wacky sundress akin to this one. I used the same tutorial but modified the straps and simply folded over some blocks for the chest piece, then ran encased elastic around the waist (someone help me with the technical sewing terms for this, please!)

Side view and gun show--no charge! ;-)

I need to hem it a couple of inches at least. These pictures show it at an awkward length. Just above the knee will work better for my petite frame, playful demeanor and VIM and YOUTHFUL VIGOR! [singing] All the single ladies (all the single ladies!)

Made my list of to-do's for the summer... three and a half days, but who's counting. God, I love being a teacher!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trippin', Not Knittin'

First off, here's a preview for those who won my 50th post giveaway. First on the agenda for the morning is a post office run. :-)

I went on a road trip this weekend. At the destination I engaged in one of my favorite games with some of my favorite people, and wouldn't you know it? I got a word that ended up making me the winner!

Eight or ten hours in the car each way required some sort of travel activity, so I began a giant granny square using my leftover yarn from various projects.

... Like I said... eight or ten hours each way... Lots of time to crochet. :-)

The goal is "ugly-ish afghan". I just need more projects so I can have more leftover yarn! :-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fiftieth Post and SMS Winners!

Mazl tov to Number 113, Free Indeed, who won my Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway!

And since it's my 50th post, and it seems people tend to celebrate these things, I've decided to give away a couple more fat quarters from those who commented on the post. So...

[fidgeting on]

Numbers 55, 56, 20, 100 and 87 will also be receiving something from me! Maybe I'll slice and dice the rest of that tulip fabric everyone seemed so smitten over. Multiplication miracles, anyone? Do fishes and loaves apply to quilt fabrics? :-) We'll see how far it goes. If not, my stash could do to be drubbed soundly into submission, and you winners shall reap the spoils :-)

edit: just for kicks, commenter 50 is also getting something. [cheesy grin]

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day

So technically I am not a mama, but I like the site. They taught me how to cut fat quarters, so I am giving away three!

The two on the right are pre-washed, but the one on the left is still crispy. All have been purchased at various times from JoAnn's and are, I believe, from JoAnn's lines (I'm an economical hobbyist, not a serious investor in higher-priced designer prints, but I'm sharing some of my favorites!) They are already packaged and awaiting the address of the winner!

Here's how to enter:

Leave one comment before May 21 telling me the name of your favorite visual artist. This may be a painter, a sculptor, a quilter, a graphic designer, an architect, a designer (including Project Runway contestants), etc. One comment will be chosen at random. The winner will receive an email from me asking for their physical address. Make sure I can access your email address through your blog or leave it in your comment.

A slight disclaimer: I will be away from my computer from May 20-24, but please be assured that the winner will receive his or her fabric promptly.

Thank you so much for your participation, and enjoy blog hopping!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Callouses and Completed Blocks

If I were left-handed, the hand sewing callouses I've developed would also be useful for guitar-playing! My superior pincer grasp is getting quite a workout.

Those 52 tree blocks (pictured here) I had to piece together are coming along quite* quickly. I'm left with just under a dozen to complete!

The above photo was taken under compact fluorescent light sometime before midnight. Let me take a moment to say how such garish light does no one any favors...

Nine-patch blocks pieced and cut/awaiting piecing as seen from the light of a cloud-veiled sunrise. Hello glorious red, clear-eyed blues and creamy gold! So nice to see you!

My nine-patch began with 5-inch squares. Each block is 13.5 inches. In a rough sketch I figured on a full-sized quilt six blocks wide and seven blocks long. So far I have seven pieced and four more cut. I spent a few minutes setting scraps of solids on fire and examining ashes to be sure I didn't have any poly-cottons in the mix. Not only was this delightfully satisfying, it also put those sweet callouses to an affirming test! Thank you, brilliant callouses, for allowing me to pick up smoldering cotton threads with my bare hands!

I am very excited about my nine-patch. It has more meaning than any quilt I've yet worked on, and unlike the others, I'm choosing fabrics as I go along. Maybe when it's all done, I can caption the meanings in the border. The unifying element is black/white, so a white border with black captions would be appropriate... Hmm... How did I come to be so delighted by musing on quilts? :-)

*Last night the young man and I were privy to an 8th grade production of The Importance of Being Ernest. Fan-flippin-tabulous! I blame them for any anachronistic diction. :-)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

If Grandmother checks this, she might ruin her surprise. I won't see her for a few weeks, but I made a couple of flower pins for her for Mother's Day.

For my mother, I made a Raggedy Ann and Andy soft book. The print is from a panel an aunt gave my mother, and awhile ago my mother gave that panel to me. You know the type--each page printed separately, instructions in the selvedge about how to put it together. Instructions recommended filling the book with felt, but I chose cotton batting.

I doubt it would have made much difference what order the pages were in. Not Pulitzer-winning writing by any stretch, but it was meaningful for my mother, and she was truly touched.

After stitching the pages together with batting, I outlined some of the picture elements in quilting stitches, then washed it to shrink and fluff up nicely.

I surprised my mother by showing up at my parents' church for this morning's service, and she was already wearing one of the cloth flowers I'd made for her. Last night I put another together (not pictured), so with the two she almost had a corsage! In light of the floods in Nashville and the fact that so many were affected--almost all church services were cancelled last week as pastors and congregations were trapped in their houses or bailing out basements--I am so glad to have the opportunity to honor my mother. She is truly a woman of noble character. Momma, I know you're reading this! Happy Mother's Day! I love you!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Finished List

I did it!

Nine-patch blocks consisting of five-inch squares

I completed my list on Sunday!

Assembled components of another nine-patch block

I am quite excited about the nine-patch I just began. This makes four quilts in progress, none complete. Everything is set for the chuppah, though. I just lack the stitches on the remaining windows (between the pieces whipped together). Tree blocks are coming together, though, mostly because they're portable!

Can you guess what the following might be?

How about another clue?

Give up? Find out here!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wet and Stitchy

It's flooding in Nashville. Church was called off so I stayed at home--gleefully!--and set about stitching. Goals for today:

  • Finish Momma's Mother's Day gift
  • Finish whipping chuppah together
  • Begin nine-patch
  • Begin best friend's wedding gift
  • Pick and pin remaining interior squares on chuppah
Can she do it? YES SHE CAN!

Meanwhile Mr. Blue Eyes and his housemates are bailing out their downstairs neighbors by the bucket. Prayers for Middle Tennessee and the flooding South, please!