Sunday, March 31, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Home Tweet Home

Last week I used textured fabric to make a landscape.  During the week, I would look at it hanging on the wall and think about how it could look better.  I’m afraid it became a bit of an obsession!  So today, I decided I’d better do something about it.


I pulled out some of the hand-dyed scraps from my class with Laura Wasilowski last fall and started cutting.  Once the pieces were fused down, I gathered up a selection of perle cotton thread and sat down to stitch.


I gave the birds some definition and I added flowers here and there.


I decorated the bird house so those birds would have a cozy home.


I made the sun shine bright and warm.


And I planted some crops in the plowed field.  Some kind of grain, I think, so those birds will have plenty to eat.


With all that accomplished, I gave it all a fabric frame (which is green, by the way, although you certainly can’t tell from the photos!) and called it done.

That was a nice little change, but I will be back to folding and tucking with Jennie Rayment next week.  For now, though, I’m giving my hands a rest.  All that stitching wore my fingers right out!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Well, Sometimes I Make a Doll!

It seems like a very long time since I last showed a finished doll on my blog.  Come to think of it, it seems like a long time since I actually made a doll.  So much for calling myself a dollmaker!

Nevertheless, sometimes I do make a doll . . .


This doll is from a class I took with Christine Shively-Benjamin.  Christine always has lots of costume ideas and tips and I came away with  tons of ideas.


She showed us her method for creating shoes . . .


. . .  and hats.  Those curly-cue things are another trick she shared.


I’m not sure why I chose to use a Halloween theme.  We had originally planned to have this class in October, which explains why I selected the fabrics in the first place.  But when it was postponed to March, I could have collected another set of fabrics.  Perhaps her green hair is in honor of St. Patrick!

I rejected a lot of “witchy” names as too bizarre, or too obvious, or just too too!  For now I’m calling her Winnifred.  Winnie the Witch is boring, though, so I guess she’ll be Freddy.

I’m on a roll now.  More dolly stuff to come!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday WOW–March 27

Wednesday again and I’m back to the purple project.


I spent ALL DAY stitching these curved seams.  It was slow and tortuous!  For the longest time the stack of pieces left to stitch didn’t seem to be getting any smaller.  I could see my future stitching on and on forever!  Well, I think I would actually like to stitch forever – just not on curved seams!


When I finally did get them all stitched, it did not look like something that would eventually lie flat and go together with any kind of order.  Luckily, a little quality time spent with the iron made a world of difference.


That’s much better.  I had just enough time (and energy) left to do a trial seam for the next step.


It’s still a curved seam, but being a larger circumference, it is not quite as fiddly to stitch.  You probably know I don’t do fiddly very well!  Nevertheless, I believe I’ve done enough curved seams for one day! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–A Room with a View

This week’s experiments were really different.  As I said I would last week, I read ahead in this Jennie Rayment book and decided to skip the chapters on Fibonacci and Dyeing fabric in the microwave.  I’d like to play with Fibonacci proportions some day, but it doesn’t fit well with what I’ve been doing in this series.  The same is true with dyeing, added to the fact that I manage to create humongous messes when I dye and I really don’t think I want that in my kitchen!  Sarge says I manage to use every pan and utensil on the rare occasions that I actually cook, so I’m reluctant to expose my kitchen to fabric dyes!

So, what DID I do today?  Thank you very much for asking . . . Landscapes!


I cut a piece of craft weight stabilizer and started layering scraps for the sky.


Then I chose some green, gray, and brown for various landscape elements.  I prepared each piece by tucking, gathering, ruching, and so forth.  This was a very improvisational process, although I do think a little bit of planning would have helped! 


I did quite a bit of sewing by machine, with liberal pinning as you can see here.  Then I sat down to hand stitch what couldn’t be shaped or anchored with a sewing machine.  This was the point when I began thinking about what the final piece might look like.  Yeah – it might have helped if I did that thinking earlier!  I have a tendency to work too much in middle tones so that there is not enough contrast to make a successful picture.  Although, now that I can see it through the photos, it doesn’t look as blah as it did up close.


It does need a focal point, however.  I plan to embroider some flowers in the foreground and perhaps add a fence or something structural.  This may need to sit for a spell while my subconscious works on the question.  Eventually it will be finished and framed in some way.  It was fun way to spend a wintery afternoon.

Before I forget  - I promised to show last week’s finished piece.


Here it is all stitched and curled.  I love the simple, clean look of it.  The only problem is that this beauty is eighteen inches square!  We don’t do decorative pillows at our house (too many dogs have eaten too many pillows), so what in the world am I supposed to do with eighteen inches??!!!

Well, for now, I can look at it on my Design Wall and enjoy it. . . . until I need to use that space for – er – designing. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday WOW–March 20

I stayed and played at home today.  And for a change of pace – I actually worked on a DOLL!


But first, I had to clean up that awful mess!  I couldn’t find a thing in there.  But, it was good to sort through the scraps, etc.  I let the ideas for clothing the doll mull around in my mind while my hands were busy cleaning.  Doll club had a visiting teacher this month, and this is what we worked on.


She needs a bit more work – little things like, oh, arms!  Oh yeah, she does have a head, but she might prefer it actually at the end of her neck! 


Ears, hair, hat . . . that will all come in its own time.  But she’s well and truly started, and that is all good.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Slowing Down

I seem to be losing momentum in these last few chapters.  Perhaps it really is a repeat of earlier experiments.  Close enough that I am feeling less than enthusiastic about the techniques.

I soldiered on, though, with folding triangles and sandwiching into squares.



These two photos were taken at the halfway point.  After making two of these, I stitched them together to get this:


Of course, this is just the basic shape.  The fun part is manipulating the triangles and stitching the edges, etc.  Basically, the same techniques as a lot of the previous work in this book (or books).


I have the triangles refolded into trumpet or kite shapes, but it is just pinned at this point.  As I have time during the next week, I will do the hand stitching and – hopefully – have the finished flower or whatever it is to show you next week.

During the coming week, I also plan to take a look ahead in this book and see if there is anything startingly new or interesting.  If not, then I believe I’ll move on to the next book.

After all, if I am getting bored then I imagine you are all yawning and tuning out as well!  Can’t have that!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday WOW–March 13

This week started out looking exactly like last week.


Yep, more paper piecing for the never-ending purple project.  But guess what?


I finished the curvy-spiky-things in the last section!  Now all I have to do is sew the sections together.  This photo is just the four corner pieces, which would make a fairly large pillow.  I have about twenty sections that go in between the four corners and that will take awhile to work my way through.  I laid these corners out just to get a feel for how it will look. 

I think I’m going to like it!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–About those tucks

Last week I looked at the next chapter and decided it was something I had done before.  This week, I took another look – and I’m glad I did!


While it’s true that I have done crossed tucks before, these were done on the bias.  That was different!


Here is what the back looks like.  Now, why did I not notice that the outer tucks were not centered on a side?  Those rectangles in the center are supposed to be square!  I guess that is why Jennie wrote a little “discussion” about mistakes not being a bad thing – the results are just different.  Describes me perfectly!


So, back to my explorations.  I tacked some contrasting fabric in each of the (ahem) rectangles, and then proceeded to play.


And here is the final result.  I added strips around the outside because all the handling and stitching warped the overall shape just a bit.  I kind of like the way it looks.  I bet I would like it even better if it were square!

Next week, I’ll be taking another look at circles.  Who knows – I could wind up with ovals!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday WOW–March 6

This week, things are getting back to normal . . . finally!  No snow, no doctor visits or surgeries, etc.  Today I was back at the quilt shop for “therapy.”  And a little more time with the purple project.


By lunch time I could see light at the end of the tunnel – so to speak.  See?  There is just a little bit of paper left to work with.


And by the end of the day – done!  With this section, at least.  Twenty-one spikes on these hummers, times ten.  I think I’ve been working on these FOR.EV.ER!!  So glad to see the end of it.


Next time I will start on the fourth – and last – section.  It will go much faster than this one.  To say the least! 

And then I can begin stitching the sections together.  Can’t wait.  I’m already planning my next project!  The fun just never stops!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–A Rose is a Rose

Okay – confession here.  I looked at the next technique in Jennie Rayment’s book and decided I did not want to do that.  Three dimensional objects.  Doesn’t light my fire.  So I turned to the next chapter.  Tucks and triangles.  Um, been there done that – although there was something at the very end that looks interesting.  But maybe later.

Besides, this was calling to me:


I started working on this yesterday, and I decided I really want to finish it!  This is from a foundation-paper piecing pattern by Regina Grewe.  She offered this pattern to celebrate her web site’s anniversary.  The pattern was free . . . with a condition.  You can download two parts of the pattern, but need to send her a picture to get the rest!


So while I was waiting for the full pattern, I made this one:


Now I have two blocks.  Two?  What can I do with two?!  Guess that means I need to make a third one! 


I decided it needed to be a mirror image.  That meant that I had to trace all the lines onto the back of the pattern pieces.  Boy, wasn’t that fun!!!  Eh, not so much.  But it was worth the extra work because take a look I what I have now:


I’ve been longing for a little bit of Spring and this really fits the bill!  Well, there’s still snow on the ground in the real world, but my fantasy world is warming up nicely! 

And next week I’ll be back to folding and tucking along with Jennie R.  Promise.