23 February 2014

Fan Block for Gerry K.

Fan DYB Block for GerryK finished
I finished Gerry K's Fan block this afternoon!  I love how it turned out and hope that it is just what Gerry was after!  

Gerry's Fan DYB block before
Gerry's set of blocks were all nearly identical, just a minor difference in a couple of the blocks regarding which color order the fan blades were in.  She also included some gold braid to cover the raw fan edges with.  In her instruction booklet, she specified NO lace and no large motifs, requesting fancy seams and beads in peacock colors.  

Fan DYB for Gerry K WIP 01
I love doing fancy seams!  To me, the seams are what Crazy Quilting is all about!  How glad I was that when I did some stash enhancement earlier this month, I picked up several colors of silk and rayon threads in just the colors of Gerry's blocks.  I have a sad lack of purple in both threads and beads.  Thankfully what I did have was just perfect for this block!  

In this photo, you can see some fine gold thread on the lower left seam.  I had hoped to use more gold thread on each of the other seams on this block to go with the braid, but the colors and weight I had did not balance out well.  I ended up removing all if it and using more of the variegated green that I used in each of the other seams.  

Fan DYB block for GerryK
I was so much happier with the balance of seams once I did that!  Here, I've added the gold braid as well as beaded (and sequined!) the seams!  The lovely plum purple and royal blue sequins were given to me by my Aunt Mary this past summer!  Love being able to use the things that other's have given me!  At this point, I realized that the block still needed a bit more to make it sing.  That's when I added the fancy "seam" of gold cord and beads around the edges of the fan that you can see in the top photo!  Beading those last areas made me think of the amazing Indian sari's that are so beautifully embroidered and beaded!  

What a fun block to work on!  Soon I'll send it on to the next person.  Can't wait to see what the entire set of blocks will end up looking like!  





22 February 2014

Bits and Pieces in February

Grape Hyacinth 02
We had a few warmer days this week.  Wicked high winds, but the sun came out now and then, so it made it bearable as long as one didn't need to be outside in the wind.  I stopped off at the garden center for a little bit yesterday.  It's a balm to the spirit to see all the plants on these seemingly endless winter days!  A little pot of sweet pale blue grape hyacinths had to come home with me!  

Grape Hyacinths 01
So pretty!  I have them sitting on the table next to the chair where I sit and sew!  

GerryFanDYBGKbefore
Gerry's Fan blocks arrived last week!  I love her choice of colors ~ but then she and I often see eye to eye on color!  She's hoping to combine these with another larger block that she has done.  Her inspiration?  Peacocks of course!  

Fan DYB for GerryK WIP 02
I opted to use a limited thread palette in the colors of the block.  Most of the stitching is done and now I'm working on beading and applying the gold braid that Gerry included with the blocks.  This is just a sneak preview!  

Pansy DYB WIP glue issues
I've also been working to finish the Pansy DYB bell-pull.  But I've been having to fix some issues.  This block is a good example of why glue is never a good idea on a crazy quilted block.  It simply doesn't hold up.  This sunny faced pansy is falling apart, even though the block has been handled very little.  I am having to remove the entire thing and remake it so that it will attach in a way that will hold it together.  I'm afraid the lovely pansy porcelain piece next to this pansy is also primarily glued on, so I'll be adding reinforcement to that as well.  

Great Horned Owl neighbor
Outside, the sky has been pretty grey lately.  Day after day of grey.  Not so common for Colorado, where we have over 300 sunny days a year ~ usually.  But then this doesn't seem to be a "usual" year anywhere!  It's reassuring to see that the great horned owls have been checking out their nesting spot in the neighbor's tree and often sit on this large arching branch over the neighbor's house!  Love seeing them there.  It's entirely possible that they have already set eggs to hatch, as I know that owls start nesting quite early.  Too early to tell yet! 

Thomas Napping
Inside, the kitties search out warm cozy spots for their afternoon nap.  I keep my knitted wool shawl on the back of my chair for easy use when needed.  Thomas often curls up on it and naps while I'm stitching!  

Shamrock Blossoms
The month is swiftly passing and it won't be long until March is here.  A little pot of green and white shamrocks came home with me from the garden center along with the hyacinths!  These are sitting on my kitchen windowsill right now!  

March CQJP 2014 PinCushion block
I've gotten a head start on my March pincushion for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project!  As you probably know if you've been reading my blog very long, green and white and natural linen are my favorite colors!  Can't wait to get started stitching on this!  

20 February 2014

Published!

What a delight it is to let you know that Pat Winter has featured some of my work in her Spring 2014 issue of Crazy Quilt Gatherings Magazine!


As always, Pat has put together a lovely issue filled with lots of lovely crazy quilting!  I am honored to have one of the blocks of my Cream & White Crazy Quilt featured on the cover! Inside, there is a short article I wrote about Round Robins and photos of more of my work! Thank you Pat!  

If you are interested in purchasing a copy in either digital or print format, it is available on HP's Mag Cloud.  

13 February 2014

February Pincushion for CQJP 2014

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I'm on a roll!  This afternoon, I finished my February entry for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014!  

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The silk ribbon embroidery blossom was inspired by the silkie on this block.

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I haven't worked with 13mm ribbon much, but it was perfect for this blossom!

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Around the base I used a tiny ribbon trim to cover the stitching holding the top and bottom together.

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In my stash, I found some perfect vintage rick rack and some fun flower beads!

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There was also a piece of lace which I had dyed ever so long ago that was just right.

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Perfectly romantic for the month of February!

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Once again, I added my signature on the back along with the month.

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The block was part of a Christmas Cracker exchange that I received a couple of years ago.  I had no idea what I would do with it when it came.  That orange/red patch was a bit "off" for the rest of the block as was an eye-popping fuchsia piece that got trimmed off when I made the block round.  They almost put me off the block for good, but I'm glad I persevered!  

2014.02.12WinterViolets01
In my laundry area, the miniature African violets are blooming like crazy!  One itty-bitty plant has grown into several!  When they stop blooming, I'll repot and separate a few more off!   When we had our house fire in 1999, I lost several pots of violets and streptocarpus.  This little violet was the first house plant I purchased afterwords.  It's been going strong for 14 years!  

2014.02.12WinterViolets02

Love those fuzzy stems and buds!

2014.02.12OrchidRoots
The orchid we received as a house-warming gift is going strong too and sending out new roots and shoots!  

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Edited to add: The above photo made it into Flickr's "Explore" on 11Feb2014!  It's had over 4000 views since then and 45 favorites!  Thanks to all of you who have "fav"-ed it!

11 February 2014

January Pincushion for CQJP 2014

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I finished my Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 piece for January!   My goal is to make one large pincushion each month for this project.  

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Spring must have been heavy on my mind amidst our winter snow and bitter cold!  

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It turned into such a happy piece!

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I wasn't thrilled with the rigid straightness of the piecing on this block, so used the lace to add interest.  All of the lace came from un-salvagable items.  Love being able to give them one last bit of life this way! 

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It wasn't until I added the little pink beads in the lace that this piece came to life.  It always amazes me how just one small thing can make such a difference.

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I love the fancy little ribbon trims for finishing the bases of these pincushions.

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The butterfly is embroidered on felt and the edges finished with tiny blanket stitch.  The edges are not wired, so I don't think it quite qualifies as stumpwork.  It sits lightly on the pincushion!  I was greatly inspired by Jane Nicholas' book,  Stumpwork Butterflies & Moths (Milner Craft Series).  It was a huge help!  Many thanks to Susan at Plays With Needles for the recommendation!

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It just makes me happy!

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On the base, I embroidered my name and added the month since it's a monthly challenge.  Hopefully at the end of the year, I'll have all 12 months completed!

CQJP January Block WIP 01
Here was what it looked like before I started stitching on it.  I am very glad to have minimized the yellowish fabric, which didn't add much to this block and was one of the reasons it sat in my Unfinished Project basket for so long.

SnowBall by Tahlia 02
I have to share the sweet "Snowball" swap block that Tahlia sent me!  I asked for CD sized blocks with a bit of extra room in the middle so I can make little banners out of them by either folding them in half or cutting them in half and backing with other fabric to make a Christmas banner to hang on my fireplace mantle!  I also asked for shades of green and a winter woodland theme. 

Snowball by Tahlia 01
I just adore the block she sent and especially this sweet bullion bunny!  Perfect!  Thank you Tahlia!

Colors of Silk
I had the opportunity to do some serious stash enhancement in the past month.  Luscious shades of silk dupioni!  Small pieces, but so wonderful to now have so many lovely colors to work with!   They didn't come without a bit of headache though.  While at the sewing expo in Denver, I thought my wallet had been stolen.  When I went to pay, I discovered my backpack unzipped ~ and knew that I had zipped it up.  Then I realized my wallet was not there.  Hunted and hunted through my bag, removing everything and putting it back.  Not there!  Total heart stopping panic!  Headed to the front desk where we called and immediately stopped my credit cards, notified the sheriff and filled out a report.  A couple hours later, when I got home, emptied out my previously thoroughly searched bag... and there was my wallet at the very bottom of the bag.  Whew!  How I didn't find it when I searched and searched again at the expo, I will never know.  I did have to go through the hassle of getting new credit and debit cards issued, but that's ok.  I'd rather have to do that than worry about someone else using them.  Better safe than sorry.  So relieved I didn't have to replace everything else though!  

The next day, I was able to go back, with my daughter along this time, and finish my purchases!  What fun we had!  It was a joy to see Helen Gibb again, who I had the great pleasure of taking a class from many years ago.  I use her book The Secrets of Fashioning Ribbon Flowers all the time!  I was also able to meet Cheryl Oberle, whose book, Folk Shawls: 25 knitting patterns and tales from around the world (Folk Knitting series) I have used again and again!  She was delightful and my daughter kindly took a photo of the two of us! 

Had another headache this week as well.  I picked up my camera and for whatever reason, was not able to keep hold of it and it dropped to the floor - with the expensive macro lens attached.  I just about cried when I saw that the glass on the front of the lens was broken. Then I realized that it was just the filter that broke and not the lens itself!  Made me very glad that I put a UV filter on all my lenses!  It took all the brunt of the fall and was the only thing damaged!  It was a bit of a fright removing the broken filter as it involves wire cutters and pliers and a lot of elbow grease, but the great news is that the macro lens is INTACT!  And I was able to use it to take all the above photos!  Whew!

Hoping for a slightly less eventful week this week!  


05 February 2014

Crazy Quilting in Miniature

2014.02.05MiniCQ01
Have you seen the beautiful work of Evy in France?  I was much inspired by a Victorian Sewing Box that she made and the exquisite teeny tiny work on it.  Tiny things have always intrigued me and so I had to have a go at doing a really tiny piece of crazy quilting.

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This little piece is only 2 1/2" square.  Silk fabrics were the perfect weight and scale.

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These are my two favorites of the four blocks I made.  I included the thimble for scale!  The larger of the blocks is only 3 1/2".

2014.02.05MiniCQ04
In all, I made four squares.  The top two were my first attempts.  It's definitely different  trying to piece at this scale where none of the pieces is even half an inch wide!  As you can see in my new header above, I'm already stitching on one of the blocks!

2014.02.01OregonJunco
Isn't this an amazing winter?  I can't believe how cold it's been here in Colorado this year.  It seems unrelenting.  There is a steady flock of birds at my feeders.  The juncos are there even into the evening hours.  So pretty!

2014.02.05ChillyBirds
My car sits where it catches the morning sun.  The tires and wheel wells must warm up nicely and be out of the wind, because when it's parked there on these snowy days, the birds have been sitting there non-stop!

Stay warm!  Greeley was 24 below zero last night!  Very unusual for us!

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