Friday, February 27, 2009

A Bit of Chicken Scratch

I've been quiet this week - but not because nothing is happening.  I've been making steady progress on a few projects, just not enough to show any pictures yet.

Bu-u-u-u-t, I do have pictures of the embroidery sample I finished a couple of weeks ago!  No, I don't know why I did not post this earlier.  Out with the fairies, I guess!

P2160001 I am following Sharon B's Stitch Explorer project and last month we explored the Chicken Scratch.  I recognize the stitch, but can't remember ever trying to stitch it myself.  It is usually done on a gingham fabric with white thread.  That creates a very nice lacy pattern.

P1250001This photo was taken at night, so everything looks yellow.  The stitch is a series of cross stitch - or double cross - and then lacing around the white squares in the fabric.   The heart shape is half done here, so you can see the two elements of the stitch.



I tried a couple of different layouts and color settings on the checked fabric;





And some variations on a linen fabric, with just lacing,





and with both lacing and cross stitches.  I can imagine some ways to use this stitch for a patterned area, or as fill-in.



But, I think I will most likely use it as an embellishment on gingham.  I remember some aprons from long ago.  And I like that crisp lacy look.  Can't help it!

This month we are working on trellis stitch.  I will share my experiments with that later.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Question of Y-Seams

I mentioned earlier that I am doing some experimenting with quilt blocks.  I have been collecting block patterns for a very long time and decided to try out a few - just to see what different colors and fabrics can do.  Since I am also making the "back" side of my TIF pieces so they can be bound in a book, I thought I'd combine the two into one project.

bydaisySo, some of the block patterns I have are from the 1930's when patterns were published in the newspaper.  I acquired this booklet by "Daisy" at a yard sale and have been trying to figure out how to piece some of these blocks.  'Cause the newspaper didn't print directions!  I guess if you were a quilter you were expected to know how to put the blocks together - or you had a mother, grandmother, aunt to teach you. P2130027

So, this is one of the blocks I chose . . . "Swallows in the Window"  That is really a pretty name, isn't it?  You may not be able to read the line above the title, but it says "The quilt with the quaintest name is not the easiest to piece."  Oh boy, is that an understatement!!!!

But, as usual, I did not heed the warning, and charged right on down that road. 

P2130022You see, there are a lot of Y-seams in this block.  But, I've done Y-seams before and - after a few false starts - I remembered how to make them come out pretty nice.  The trick that works for me is to start at the outside edge and stitch toward the center of the Y, stopping at the seam mark.  Then swing the piece around the other way and stitch from outside edge to center.  See?

y-done-right Before we start congratulating each other, however, let me give P2090006you the rest-of-the-story.  You see, for some reason my brain went on vacation when I was figuring out what size to cut the pieces.  I made four center square-in-squares and they looked pretty nice.

P2130023And I motored through four corner pieces for each center section.  That's sixteen sets with three Y-seams each for a total of . . . let's see . . . well, a lot!  And even the backs look pretty with the cool little blossom when you press the seams just right! 

Bu-u-u-ut.  (sigh!)  There's a problem in the math somewhere.  And the completed blocks are pretty wonky.  Oh yeah!  Really wonky!!  Like, even a little fudging when you stitch the blocks together can't really fix this!  P2130025No need to offer suggestions on what went wrong.  I figured it out and it was a (stupid) oversight at the very beginning!  But no way I'm tearing anything apart and going back at this point.  I'll find something to do with this piece - somehow, someway.

But, if you squint at this picture just right - so you can't see the wavy sides and the cut off points - it really is a pretty block!  I can picture a full-size quilt made with this block.  But not by me!!  It will be a cold day in h very long time before I am ready to try this particular block again!

P2160009Now this block, on the other hand, turned out great!  Once I figured out what went wrong with the math business, I tried this Goblet patch.  Perfect!  I expect I'll actually make something with this block!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


This is Zenobia.  She's been waiting to meet you all.  She had to stay in the shadows for a bit because she was in a contest and we didn't want to cheat in any way.  The contest winners were announced Saturday - and Zenobia took second place!  Isn't that cool?

zenobia-rightUntil recently, I have referred to her as Flapette.  You see, she was made using Nancy Gawron's pattern for Flap.  Flap was the little man who wanted to fly with the birds, you know?  Well, Zenobia is his lady friend and her interest in birds is a little more down to earth! 

zenobia-chickensShe does try to get Floyd (Flap's at-home name) more interested in the chickens and other birds that come to her back yard, but he really wants to find out what it is like to fly!  Well, he can try it if he wants.  Zenobia will be right down here to pick up the pieces!!! 

zenobia-leftI've been asked why I call her Zenobia.  Well, I saw the name and when I tried it with her, she really likes it.  [Don't you wish you could choose your own name?]  Zenobia was a queen of the Palmyrene Empire (Syria-ish) in the third century.  Kind of an interesting character, said to be very beautiful and intelligent.  Sadly, my P2020019Zenobia doesn't take after her much!

Some additional photos to share with you . . .

Before getting her dress:  You can see her resemblance to Floyd a bit more here.  Except for that lacy underwear!




With her - um - unusual pose, it's hard to see her face  very well.  Here is a picture while perched on my lamp, waiting for her chickens to get settled!









A woman's favorite view!  OMG - she's pigeon-toed and knock-kneed!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Goal Review, the First

Yes, boys and girls.  It's that time again.  You know you've been waiting for it!  No?  Too bad 'cause you're gonna get it anyway!

Time to see how my new goal system is working.  If you  need a quick review, you can go here - but hurry back!

Back already?  OK, let's take a look:

P10900011.  Make a box for my 2008 daily planner.  Done!   Here is a picture.  This is a pretty simple project.  I just did some fabric collage and stitched it together to make a box.  I worked out dimensions and special tricks last year, so this year went quickly.  Found the 2008 letters at a drug store for something like a quarter!

P2090005 2.  Continue working on Take It Further pieces and bind them all into a fabric book.  In progress.  This one will take longer than six weeks, but I have added several pages so far.  Right now I am making backs for the "theme" pages and experimenting with quilt blocks at the same time.   Not always with success!  More about that later!


3.  Take part in Valentine swap on Stitchin Fingers cloth  doll group.  Done!  And I posted about her.  Go here to see that post.

P1140003 4.  Finish one or more UFOs.  Done!  Hey - I posted about this one too!  Go take a look here.

5.  Prepare for and begin the Stitch Explorer challengeP1250003 on PinTangle.  In progress.  I'll probably post this month's progress shortly.  Sharon will be posting a new stitch tomorrow.  This will be an ongoing project this year, but I won't be including it as a goal again - unless I get behind.  (Could that happen?)

6.  Begin working on Flapette.  Done!  Not only begun, but completely finished!  AND, photos sent to Nancy Gawron for the "Flip the Flap" challenge.  Unfortunately, I can't show you any pictures yet.  After the challenge results have been posted, though, I have some cute photos to share.  So stay tuned.

There you are!  Not a bad result, huh?  I'm not going to get excited, though.  If you have been around since last year you might recall that the first couple of reviews looked pretty good.  I can generally get through April or so before everything fizzles.  So, we shall see how this year goes.

And for the next six week period, here are my six goals:

  1. Decide on a theme and develop a design or mockup for the Hoffman Challenge.
  2. Decide on a UFO doll for this month's doll club meeting and get him/her finished.
  3. Continue working on pages for the Take It Further book.
  4. Baste and quilt the (still!) unfinished Halloween quilt.
  5. Choose an embroidery Block-of-the-Month pattern and stitch January and February.
  6. Take part in the March fabric postcard swap with my FabricPostcardsforStitchers Yahoo group.

Ooooo-kay!  There we have it.  Come back on March 27 to see how well I do with these.  I think these are going to be fun, and I hope to have some fun pictures to show you then.

Thanks for your support.  I love getting comments, so feel free to chime in anytime!  ;-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Christmas in February?

I haven't bragged about my Christmas present!  Here it is February already!  Where has my mind been?

Sarge got me a Zutter Bind-it-All binder!


How clever is he to know just what I wanted?  Oh, OK.  I'll confess.  I gave him some subtle hints. . . like PRINTING OUT A FULL PAGE ADVERTISEMENT!!  (It was just a little hint.)

And here is the first project bound with my very own amazing Bind-it-All:




I love getting Christmas cards, and I can't bear to throw them away, so I took all the Christmas cards we received this year and bound them together into a little book.



I had a purchased set of covers that are 6" square, so I wound up cutting down most of the cards.  And some of them needed additional card added to one dimension or the other.








In fact, each page was sort of a collage.  I cut out some greetings and pasted borders, and so on.  On some pages, I trimmed shapes so that the pages aren't all square.  Then I used some wrapping paper to cover the front and back.  I also pasted a list of the people these cards were from inside the front cover.

P1300001The end result is I have a nice, handy sized memento of the Christmas season - instead of an unwieldy stack of cards & envelopes!  

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How About A Hand?

Sorry.  I couldn't resist some kind of pun!

P1140001Believe it or not - this is a pincushion!  Mostly for show, I guess, but pins and needles can be stashed just about anywhere on the ball or the hand itself.

This is my latest UFO-to-FO . . .Unfinished Object to Finished Object!  For those of you who have forgotten, I joined a group last fall called "UFOs Uncovered" (look here).  It has taken several months, but I now have completed two UFOs!  And feeling pretty proud of myself, too!  LOL!

P1140003This hand is life-sized (read more about it here) and so the ball is about 4" across - give or take.  I embellished each seam on the ball, which was slow going.  I think one of my next goals will need to be to find time to devote to hand stitching! 

P1140005I used fake nails from the dime store.  I love these beautiful designs, but my hands are in too much clay and paint and take too much rough use to ever wear false nails myself.   Sometimes I'll cut them down for a doll, but it's not quite the same, is it? 

P1140008OK, this picture looks a bit creepy!  Hmm.  I do have some black nails.  Plenty of time before Halloween, huh?

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Occasionally I find myself "collecting" pretty pictures.  I am basically a visual person.  If I had to choose between chocolate and eye-candy . . . well, I think I'd be in trouble!!

So I'm always on the lookout for clipart and sources of free pictures.   Sometimes I use pictures in my artwork - and sometimes I just think about it!  Most often, though, I use pretty pictures as inspiration.


Like this bright tag, for instance.  Isn't that a pleasing pose?  I could use this as inspiration for a doll, posing her to cuddle her wrapper - or a pet or child, or any number of options. 

OR . . . I could just use the tag image.  Many crafters use images like this as a centerpiece for embroidery or crazy quilting.





The shape to the right can be used as a tag - or as the starting point for a paper doll.  That swirling pattern could be inspiration for embroidery - or even a quilting pattern.

OK, so where did I get these pretties?  These two are part of Lisa Vollrath's Holiday Giveaway from December.  Lisa very generously provided one piece of artwork/collage image each day as a countdown to Christmas.  These images are just a teaser to a vast amount of images, collage sets, image CDs, books, ephemera, and so on available from Ten Two Studios.  If you are a paper artist of any sort, there's sure to be something you need there!

Well, I'm not a major paper artist - fiber is more my thing.  But I do dabble occasionally and I love, love, love to look!  And the Ten Two site is worth looking at - and buying, too! 

pink-girl-valentine And -- once again, Lisa is holding a Holiday Countdown.  To Valentine's day this time.  This was part of today's download . . . isn't she sweet?  All one needs to do to "purchase" these pre-Valentines images is to post about Lisa's giveaway on your blog.  Hey!  I just did that!!

(Alright, so there was an ulterior motive.  I think these are cute enough to warrant a blatant bit of advertising, though.  Right?)