Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Where have I been?

It's been two months since my last post.  I have been very busy doing, making, fixing and finishing all manner of things.  I also lost my camera for a while and couldn't take any photos.

Today my camera leapt out of its hiding place and so in the next few days I'm going to take photos of everything I've been up to.  So stay tuned for a visual treat before the end of this week.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Graduation Quilt

I have a strict policy of not posting photos of my handmade gifts online until the recipient has seen the finished item.  So this Graduation gift for my niece is making its blog debut 2 months after she actually graduated.

The quilt was made from 5 antique butterfly blocks that I purchased online.

The butterflies were made of two different fabrics for the wings and black embroidery for the body and antennae.  The fabric appear to be 60s style.

I took the blocks to a fabric store and selected some complimentary fat quarters.  I then set them with alternating four patch blocks.

I created borders by cutting strips of the remaining fabric and stitching them to solid borders of pilot blue.

I then used a complimentary fabric as an outer border.  Even though the printed design is reminiscent of crewel embroidery, the colours harmonize with the modern fabrics for a pleasing final effect.

A wonderful local quilter named Debbie Reed quilted the lovely butterfly design.

I finally bound the quilt using the remaining strips of the block and border fabrics in a 1/4 inch cross grain binding.  This tutorial from Connecting Threads shows the technique used.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

CQJP 2012 blocks - June update

Well here are 5 more of the CQJP 2012 blocks.
I've tried to stay in the same color palette for the entire project so that the finished piece has more unity.

 This block is fairly self explanatory.  I have the feeling that it is unfinished in some way so I may add or subtract something.  The blue strip looks like a canal cutting through the landscape.  I'll think about it for a while and see what it needs.
Here I've used an antique doiley and embroidered around it to add some unity to the block.
In the bottom right corner is a pressed paper flower from Prima Marketing.  These are designed for use in scrapbooking and paper arts but they are very thick and look wonderful on a crazy quilt.
Another Prima flower and a hand dyed lace flower anchor this block.  Again, this feels unfinished and I'm not sure why.
 I really like this block.  I found the central lace motif on the floor of a thrift store!
The mauve ribbon is one of my favourites.  It's polyester or nylon and I can't remember where I brought it.  It is a perfect Victorian mauve and a wonderful drape that makes it perfect for covering seams.
 I cut the blue embroidered flower from some tulle yardage that I found in Hancocks Fabric on sale for 90% off.  I added hand embroidered details to give it some depth.
For some reason I chose to make all the blocks different sizes.  this will pose a challenge when setting them because I don't want to use sashing to divide the blocks.  I'd really like the blocks to touch each other and then embroider over the seams.   I have an idea about how to proceed and will experiment and post photos of the results.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Altered Couture Summer 2012

A dress of mine is featured on page 122 of the latest edition of "Altered Couture".

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I have been remiss

I have been remiss and not posted for several weeks.
I have been busy planting vegetables and redecorating my house.
I will return with garden photos, house photos, embroidery photos and perhaps even some science content.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Starting this blog has reminded me of why I found it so hard to journal.  I'm just too busy most of the time to sit down and write what I've been up to.  So here is a synopsis (with pictures) of my activities over the last two weeks.

Firstly, I tackled the dreaded brown crazy quilt.  Here are the first 3 blocks ready to be embellished.

The fabrics include velvet, crushed velvet, embroidered micro corduroy, microsuede, cotton lace and silk.

I used the Montano method of construction.

Next, I made a necklace from a kit by Stef Francis

Stef Francis is a UK based designer.  This kit contained dyed silk cocoons, cord and embellishments for the necklace.  I chose the cocoons with a peacock color palette to go with a dress that I was making.

This is a fitted dress and bolero from the designs in "Alabama Studio Sewing + Design", the latest book from Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin.

The dress is constructed of organic cotton, available from the Alabama Chanin website.  The color is Peacock and it is very rich.

It is completely hand sewn with czech glass beading on the bolero and bodice.

Alabama Chanin is based in Florence, Alabama and offers a range of custom, ready to wear and DIY clothing and accessories.  All of the clothes are made from organic, US grown and dyed cotton jersey and can be purchased from the company at their website.
Alabama Chanin DIY Store

I have a number of works in progress....

The first is a baby quilt for a friend.  I am not going to publish a picture online until she has seen it first.

The second is an altered dress.
I found this green dress in a local outlet store called "Dirt Cheap".  It is very large and rather plain and so I am going to make it fit and make it fun.

Astronomy nerds will know about the planetary conjunction earlier this month.  On March 12 and 13, Venus and Jupiter appeared in the early evening sky a mere 3 degrees apart.  I am told it was impressive, however it was cloudy here and I couldn't see.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

While it's cloudy out....

I sew and I have been very productive over the last few days!
Here are some more crazy quilt blocks for the CJQP 2012.
March CQJP 2012
Sometimes when I make a crazy quilt block, it's hard to stop it looking like a log cabin block with lace and embroidery added.  So to avoid that look on this block, I added a circular crocheted motif.  I used beads on the circle and embroidered the center with a matching cotton perle.  I used trefoil long tail chain stitch groups to extend the shape over several different fabrics.  The effect is less linear then just using straight laces along the seams.

Attaching crocheted motifs to fabric and then adding beads is something I have been teaching for a couple of years in my "fabric postcard" classes.  I was lucky enough to get a shoebox full of old, unfinished crochet projects on ebay for only a few dollars.  
Here is a yellow and green postcard I use as an example.

Fabric Postcard from 2011 class
The crochet motif was unfinished and so I added embroidery and beading to extend the shape into the space.

This is the "Easter" block of the month which has an unfortunate flash reverb.
The most interesting feature is the extension of the spring blossom branches into the surrounding fabrics.  I embroidered pink flowers and green leaves over an existing floral lace.
April CQJP 2012 block
This block is a different size to the previous CQJP 2012 blocks.  I miscut the foundation fabric and decided just to "roll with it".  I cut another foundation larger and so the finished product will still be square.

With all this sewing going on, my children became very interested.  I can unveil my daughter's first crazy quilt block.  She calls it "free quilting" and I like that name.
India's first crazy quilt block