Sunday, November 30, 2008

November not quite ready . . .

I was doing quite well on this month's Take It Further* project - really.  There was a brief moment when it looked as if it might make the deadline.  Very brief!

This month Sharon challenged us to use typography (ie, letters, etc.) as inspiration for a fiber piece.  I find the multitude of fonts letterWavailable these days to be fascinating and fun, so this theme was sure to be entertaining.  It did not take me too long to find a good combination of font, letter, and design.  I could have spent all month playing with letters, but eventually I returned to one of the first that caught my eye.  I used the letter "W".  The font is Matura Script, I think.

I decided to do some experimenting in executing this piece.  I've been wanting to try some techniques that I've seen lately using various paints and heat.  I made layers and stitched and layered and stitched some more.  Added paint here and there.  Then plugged in my trusty wood burning tool.

Here is where things began to get complicated!  You see, I don't usually do HOT.  As in flames, heat guns, burning tools.  Oh, once in awhile, but not often enough to - er - know what I'm doing!


So, let's just say the results were not quite what I was expecting.  Not sure what I expected, actually - but wasn't planning on burned spots, ya know?  But , we're good!  I am considering additional options - opportunities for growth - to complete the piece soon!  And the smoke alarms did NOT sound!!!!

* By the way, SharonB has moved her web pages and blog to Pin Tangle (she was at In A Minute Ago).  I've linked to her several times this year and will have to go back and edit all the links.  Until then, you will find they are broken.  Go to Pin Tangle instead.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The "C" word

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  That means th0baubleat REAL SOON NOW we  will no longer be able to avoid the C word . . . Christmas!  Why is it that just the word itself raises stress levels?

Don't get me wrong - I love Christmas.  All the glittery things and toys and carols and fun stuff to make (and eat!).  I also love the true meaning of Christmas and think it would be wonderful if we could have "goodwill to men" all the time.

BUT - struggling through crowds to shop, sweating over who gets what, where will we go this year, when do the packages have to be in the mail.   Those are not fun things.  Necessary, but not fun.

TenTwo I found something that does look like fun, though.  Lisa Volrath at Go Make Something will be posting holiday images for crafting each day in December.  How cool is that?  It looks like she will have tags and boxes and old fashioned images.  It's a techie take on the advent calendar.  Ooh I used to lo-o-o-o-ve those!

Drop by Lisa's Original Printables page to see how you can download these images.  Be sure to read the FAQ about how you can use these images - they are for personal use only - and get on her list.

Maybe having something fun to make each day will help prevent the Christmas Bah's.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What a Doll!

I know . . . what a corny title!  Sorry, but my mind is in idle today, so that's probably as good as it will get.  At least for the time being.  It's been a busy week and today I decided to veg out. 

But enough of that.  This post is about my newly completed doll.  I am calling her Jan - at least until a better name comes along.

PB170013 Jan is made by wrapping batting and fabric around a wire armature.  I followed the general instructions in Ray Slater's 51yiIm-jQiL__SS500_book "Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists".  I used a head and hands that were in my "spare parts" box and used ribbons and yarns to embellish her, so she was a quick and easy project.  I will be leading my doll club in making more of this type of doll at our January meeting.  So . . . that is why her name is Jan.  I did tell you my brain was not at work today, didn't I?

PB170020  I find it interesting that I made this head in a class several years ago - 2003 I think.  It was one of my first doll classes and probably the first on painting faces.  Christine Shively was the teacher and if you are familiar with Christine's work you can see her influence.  But after five plus years, my own style doesn't look much like this anymore.  And I wasn't really happy with the way Jan looked.  I mean, she's pretty - but she has Christine's face - not my own.  So . . . I did a little needle sculpting, and just a few tiny touchups.  She still doesn't look completely like a face I have drawn, but she no longer looks like Christine! 

Follow up on last post:

I've had some supportive comments about my messed up sewing bobbin and I thank you all.  I knew you'd understand. 

But the really cool thing is that today I got a comment from a Bernina tech!  How cool is that?  He said this can happen when there is a problem with your upper thread not spinning freely.  I was using a finer decorative thread in the needle and it was starting to fray and break at about that same time.   I applied sewer's aid, but it was probably drying out by then.  I'm not surprised since that thread was already a suspect, but I'm glad to hear that it is probably not a major machine problem.  Thanks, Steve!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Well, This is Ugly . . .

PB190005 Anybody know what could cause this?  No, it did not look like this when I put it into the machine!  It looked - well - normal!

After stitching for about an inch - maybe less - the top thread broke.  And this is what I found in the bobbin case.  Eeeeew!

I've run through the possibles - inserted in the case wrong - bobbin case not completely locked in - incorrect threading - etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  I can't say that none of those occurred.  In fact, I believe I've pulled about every dumb operator error stunt ever invented - and invented some new ones!  But none has created a tangle quite like this. 

I'm saving this for my Bernina technician.  She's off getting trained this week I think, but I'll stop by the shop later and see what she has to say.

BTW, after a nice cleaning and complete re-thread (and new bobbin), the sewing machine is working like a dream.  Scared me for awhile, though!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Works in Progress . . .

I know.  It's been awfully quiet here on this blog, hasn't it?  Things have been happening, though.  If you walk past the basement door, you can hear sewing machines and humming. 

So, I thought I'd share some snippets.  Things I am working on - but not quite finished.  Pretty soon - depending on how much crafting time I get in the next week or so.  This should give you a taste:

PB080005 Here is one border of a quilt top I have almost finished.  It's a big block quilt, so the borders were really the most work.  Hope to get the "sandwich" together soon so I can start quilting.  Lap quilt size.

PB170020 My current doll.  I have the January program for doll club and I want to have a sample for this month's meeting.  She will make it in time, but I don't have a name for her yet.  I've been calling her "the January doll."  Really creative, huh?

PB170021 These are two projects I started today - and several years ago!  Confused?  Well . . . once upon a time in a land far away (it really was, you know) I used to do a lot of cross-stitch and crewel embroidery.  Those were the days PB170022when my eyes were good enough to see small stitches and the focus was fast enough to look back and forth between stitching and the television.  Ah!  The days of our youth!

Ahem!  Well those days may be gone, but I have quite a few pieces of stitchery that was never framed - or framed and then un-framed.  I have a couple of techniques I want to try and thought these little stitcheries would make a nice focal point.  So I have been adding strips of fabric to the edges and after a little quilting and maybe some handwork, they will be ready for these projects.

The rest of this week is pretty busy, but I should be able to make some progress here and there.  Thanks for stopping by and come again for more pretties.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Working on Another UFO

What good is a UFO Challenge if you don't finish any UFOs?  I finished my first project - even though it took two months! - and it's time to choose another.

Here is the before picture:

PB050009I can hear you all asking - what the heck is that?  Looks like a hand, huh?  Well, this is a life-size hand and it was part of an online class on making doll hands.  Judi Ward has a short class to help beginners cope with the ins and outs of stuffing fingers and all.  The first step was to trace around your own hand, stitch in cloth, turn, and stuff.  Well, I got to the last step and skipped ahead to itty bitty fingers!  That was - oh - probably about 7 years ago!

I always planned to do something with this hand - some day.  Guess the day has come.  Yesterday I stuffed.

PB080008Now I plan to do some needle sculpting and decorating.  I'm thinking wicked long fingernails!  And a beaded bracelet of some kind.  Then it will have to hold something.  That blue and green to the right is a ball that is about the right size.  Kinda plain, though.

For a quick project this is starting to sound complicated!  Another two months?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Urge to Quilt

Well, the urge to patch, anyway.  I've been busily stitching the past few days.  I had a couple of projects that need to get done soon - and since I'm doing that I may as well do these others.  Go with flow and all that, ya know?

So one of the "need to get done" projects is a quilt guild challenge.  We were given a fat eighth of red fabric and told to "make something."  Ooo-kay!  Here is what I've got.  Show time is this month's meeting - in two weeks.  I may or may not put a backing on it by then.  I figure a quilt top is a finished "something."


Project number two is more peacock blocks for Rivkah.  I've had these cut out for quite some time - it was definitely time to get them stitched up!  Rivkah has been waiting patiently.  I hope they are what she wants.

PB050006I really like the way these look together (in spite of the one turned sideways - you would think I'd notice that before I take the picture!  Good grief!)  I'm thinking I will have to make up some of these for me one of these days.  Not yet, though.

And, since I'm on a roll.  I started stitching on my Christmas wall hanging.  I "designed" this last year in Quilt Design Wizard.  Most everything was cut and the log cabin blocks were all stitched.  I don't remember why I put it away.  There is a small chance I could get it done by Christmas this year.   My initial plan was to decorate the tree with embroidery and trinkets.  We shall see.

PB050010There are some more projects on tap.  I haven't run out of steam yet, so I may get a few more tops stitched this week.  Cold weather is moving in tonight, so there shouldn't be many reasons NOT to spend time in the sewing room!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Winnah . . .

. . . and new World Champeeen!  Oh - wait!  Wrong contest!  Heh!

PB010010 I asked Jake to help me pick the Giveaway winner.  He was happy to help - after I buried some treats in the basket, of course!  He's very good at finding treats!  Once the comments had been thoroughly mixed up, we picked one. 

Drumroll, please.  And the winner is . . .

PB010011Suze please e-mail me at dolls4liz (at) yahoo (dot) com and tell me which journal you would like.  I can send you some pictures and give dimensions, etc., so you can pick your absolute favorite.

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, both for the giveaway and for the recent posts.  I wish I could send you all a special gift, but virtual hugs will have to do.  I hope you will keep reading and commenting.  I'll try to make it worth your while.

And now - we will return to regular programming.  Boy!  I sure admire those of you who have something to post every day.  That was hard work!  So I am going back to every 4 to 7 days - so I've got time to make stuff!!!!

I'll leave you with a little preview.  I cut fabric yesterday, so I hope to get at least some sewing done this week.