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

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's talk about fear

I've done a lot of things that would terrify others.  I've lived in another country where I didn't speak the language.  I've been to a war zone.  I've seen a terrorist attack.  I have performed a dramatic presentation of Kipling's poetry to a group of literature students.  But somehow, I can't get over one big fear.

I have been collecting fabrics and embellishments for a brown crazy quilt for years.  I have delicious silks, ultrasuede, and velvet.  I even have some lovely rust colored satin for backing.  I have laces and trims, charms, silk images and even some vintage milliner's flowers.  I have all the ingredients for a beautiful crazy quilt.

I have worked on my embroidery skills.  I have the skills I need to do this.  So why can't I?

I'm afraid.

I'm afraid that the finished result won't match the image that I've treasured over the years.  I'm afraid that I'll ruin my delicious fabrics.

My job for the next few weeks is to overcome my fear and get started.