Thursday, January 21, 2021

Not Another One!

I could be referencing the series of headaches I've had this week but I'm not. (Thank goodness, right?) No, this time I'm referring to yet another distraction from the patchwork you've come to expect here. This time it involves paper over fabric or thread.

Ever since I read Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way I've been writing three pages a day in inexpensive spiral bound notebooks. She calls it Morning Pages. I've found it a very helpful practice over the years. I now have boxes of these journals stacked in a closet. (Some day some poor soul is going to have to figure out whether to read them or toss them.) About the same time I started keeping a visual journal of sorts. Just images from magazines and catalogs that appealed to me, stuck in a mixed media sketchbook with old fashioned rubber cement. I didn't realize at the time how that product was affecting me. Today I dug out that old sketchbook, thinking I would resurrect it. Unfortunately, my sensitivities are such now that merely paging through that book was problematic. 

The catalyst for pulling out that old sketchbook are the videos I've been watching on YouTube lately. I've gone from watching ladies stitching pages for textile books to watching ladies making books from Amazon packaging. My enjoyment of washi tape and stickers has been revitalized. I've purchased new blank books without any specific purpose in mind for them.


I don't usually enjoy writing in bound books like these but they could become full of tape and pretty pictures. Meanwhile, below are the ones that are already in use. You'll notice they all have a spiral binding.


On the bottom is the sketchbook I use for my quilt projects. Working out the designs, noting yardages for backing and bindings, that sort of thing. The red one is that cheap notebook I mentioned for my Morning Pages. Next up is another sketchbook that I've begun for needlework projects, much like the larger quilting book. The Edward Gorey engagement calendar is going to be where I put the cartoons, notecards, whatever paper comes into my hands this year that I can't bear to throw away. There is a problem however.


Where am I going to store these new books? 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

First SAL of 2021

 I'm continuing work on Anne Brooke's #12pagesofChirstmas book-in-a-tin project. (You can check out her projects on YouTube.) Frankly, without this stitch along it might have become a UFO at this point. Not that I've lost interest, I've just become distracted. That often happens when new projects present themselves! 

When last we met I'd completed pages seven and nine, having skipped page eight's prompt. Since then I've made pages eight, ten, and eleven! There's only one page left to do but after that I have to come up with a cover. Anne added little tags to her book, on the backs of most of the pages. I will probably try to do a version of that but I'm not thinking that far down the road just now. 

The prompt for page eight was a pocket and a tag to go into it. My pocket is a strip of burlap on top of a 3" square of a Tim Holtz print. I cut a little section from some lace to embellish the pocket front. The tag is another piece of a Tim Holtz print, embellished with a button. It's only two layers of fabric stitched together. I wish now I'd put a bit of batting between the layers of fabric to give it more substance.



Page ten was made with circles folded into quarters. Some makers were able to be very creative with their circles, making replicas of flowers on a vine and such. I only had room for four circles so I made a single bloom. Can you see the layers created by the folds? 


 They get flattened down when the book is closed of course. I took the opportunity to practice making leaves using the fishbone stitch. I'd have had better results with a piece of muslin under the quilter's cotton. 


Page eleven was to feature a heart held onto the page with a "belly band." My heart is a tiny piece of wool backed with cotton. It looked pretty plain so I added the lovebird charm. I was delighted to see that I could make it rest over the strip of eyelet lace I used for the band.


I used size 12 perle cottons to embellish the heart and secure the laces and trims.


The final prompt is to make a page with some bling. That will mean sequins and beads for me I think.  I've been concerned that the book would get too fat to fit comfortably in the tin I chose for it but so far it looks like I'll be okay if that bling doesn't add too much dimensionality. 


The cover might have to be kept as flat as possible to stay within the tin's interior as well. 

This SAL is hosted by Avis and is meant to help us finish up needlework that might otherwise be left on the shelf or in a drawer. We each work on our own projects and check in every three weeks to share our progress. Just click on the links to see what everyone else is working on. 😊



Friday, January 15, 2021

First Scrap Happy Day of 2021

 And I'm probably one of the last to get my post up! This month Scrap Happy Day has worked much like the Stitch Along I participate in does for me, motivating me to do something I might not get done otherwise. I haven't been in a patchwork frame of mind for what seems like a long time, and that's where my scrappy efforts take place most often. But with Scrap Happy Day bearing down on us (the 15th of each month, courtesy of Kate and Gun) I got busy cutting and sewing sashing strips to 88 of my 264 scrappy Hole in the Barn Door blocks. 

Obviously that's not 88 blocks in the photo above. That was just the beginning. Now my design wall looks like this:

There are eleven rows of eight blocks each. The paisley print on a dark blue ground between the blocks will also appear as narrow strips between the rows. 

There was one block that had to have its' sashing strip removed because it just didn't seem to play well with the other blocks I'd selected. There's still one spot I'm not entirely happy with. As I approach the bottom of the design wall and the number of available blocks decrease it gets more challenging to achieve a pleasing distribution of colors and values. I'm not willing to go down the rabbit hole that would be rearranging the placement of existing blocks. I'm more inclined to remove another 6" length of sashing from one block and sew it to a different one if I do anything at all. Sashing between the rows may make it a moot point. The blocks won't be as close to each other as they are at the moment. The final decision will probably be dictated by my energy level when I get to that point. πŸ˜‰

 This link party is open to anyone who is repurposing or salvaging scrap materials of any kind. Contact Kate or Gun if you'd like to join us. The folks in the link list below may or may not have a dedicated Scrap Happy post up but their blogs are were investigating in any case. 😊

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEva, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaire,
JeanJon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette and Ann

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Winter Scroll

About the time Anne Brooke proposed the #12pagesofChristmas book in a tin project (see my SAL post) I knew my Summer scroll was coming to an end. The 12 Pages project wasn't yet clearly outlined. I thought I might like to do a Halloween/Days of the Dead version of the book project but that didn't happen. I'd still like to tackle that at some point. Instead, I began another stitch wrap/scroll. While I started it in late autumn technically, I'm referring to it as my Winter scroll because most of it will cover the winter months here in the Northern Hemisphere. This time I'm using a long, narrow strip of batting for the foundation. The Summer Scroll was stitched on a strip of muslin. 

The first panel is plain muslin with no embellishments. I still don't have any spools or bobbins on which to wrap these scrolls so I left that plain in case I needed it in the future for mounting purposes. Then I went into full autumn mode with this panel:


For what it's worth, all of the pictures in this post were edited quickly on my phone. My intention is to fill the center of that flower I made of lazy daisy stitches with a button. The green sprigs are fly stitches, and I added some seed beads.

The next panel was created around Thanksgiving time (end of November). 


It's actually two scraps from a single print that I butted up against each other. I just used simple straight stitches around the two images and to accent the bush in the foreground of the house. Eventually some beads will probably go into that bit of eyelet lace at the top of the panel. That's a short strip of sari silk peeking out from underneath the lace to help it show up better.


Next up is a circle I fussy cut from one of the flannels I used to make pillowcases for one of our granddaughters this Christmas. It's appliqued onto a piece of wool with some more fly stitches. The roses next to it is a bit of another flannel I bought for a pillowcase cuff but didn't use. It was a good place to practice my feather stitching though. 😊


And still in pillowcase mode, the skelly and candy canes was yet another pillowcase (I made five for her in total). I really liked how the bit of vintage lace echoed the snowflakes in the print. I added the five little hearts to represent all the granddaughters, the pink standing in for the newest addition. There's just basic straight stitching outlining the skelly and canes in the green background and then some white on top of the snowflakes to highlight them. Not sure more will be done to that section.


Next up is a scrap of a print to represent our acquisition of a Christmas tree on top of a print that represents the cloudy, stormy weather we had. Then I found a piece of black velvet onto which I stitched an assortment of beads leading to the star sequins. That's meant to represent the convergence of the two planets into what was known as the Christmas star. Below the star sequins I've attached two feathers my canary dropped recently just to fill the space without doing much to the velvet. 


Finally we have the latest additions to the scroll. I bought a packet of goodies from Tilly Rose some months back, and in it was the piece of fabric I've used to indicate the end of one year and the beginning of the new. It seemed perfect for the purpose as it's appropriately dark for 2020 and lightens up with hope for 2021. I've only just added all the white bits to the right of that. Anne has begun her #52tags project for 2021 (on Instagram and YouTube). Basically the plan is to do a little slow stitching and attach it to a regular shipping tag, one for each week of the year. I'm not participating in the strictest sense of the word but will be watching from the sidelines and probably incorporating many of her prompts in my own work one way or another. In this case, the prompt for the first tag was to restrict yourself to the use of white materials. Starting the new year with a clean slate as it were. I wanted to acknowledge the fact that the annual Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, CA had been cancelled this year due to Covid-19 so I inscribed that note on a strip of muslin to attach to my scroll. The muslin was so thin I decided to rip two strips to layer one on top of the other. At the time I thought I might stitch them together for stability. But I kind of liked the way they flutter. Then the insurrection of January 6 happened. Now that second strip of muslin will be inscribed to that effect. 


And underneath the two flags, more feather stitch practice. 


The rest of the stitching on the white section is just straight or tacking stitches. There are a couple of areas I want to do more on but this is as far as I've come as of this writing. 

Working this way has made me realize I've got more reorganizing of materials to do as the year progresses. That's one of those tasks I dread because you have to make a bigger mess than you already have before you can put things away more efficiently. Which takes time and energy that I'd rather spend actually stitching! 

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Official Beginning to a New Year

 New Year's Day is a holiday. Then we had a weekend. Now it's Monday the fourth and life actually returns to normal. A lot of people probably bemoan this event. I'm finding it helpful. Like most folks, Hubby has been working from home for months. But during the holiday season he seemed to be in my studio space a lot more than usual. I don't seem to work well with lots of interruptions. Now that he's back to work I'm able to get back to work as well. Or so I hope! 

I have another new laptop to get used to this year. Which means I have to log back in to all those accounts I'd been using previously. Which means I have to dig up all those passwords. Passwords are a necessary evil in this day and age but it's going to take some time for me to get back up to speed online. I also have piles of stuff that have accumulated on my ironing board and cutting table. It's all going to have to be rehomed somewhere. Wish I knew where! The boxes for my floss collection are here now, I just have to gird my loins to start transferring things from one place to another.

In the meantime, one of the first things I've done is to put in a single line of stitching on this little quilt.


I did the quilting on this one myself, on my Pfaff. But James spotted a line I'd missed after I'd changed the needle and everything on the machine and right before Christmas hit. So today I set it all back up again and put in that single line of stitching. Here's the back of the quilt where the stitching shows up better:


Naturally the missing line was one of the shorter ones in a corner. But it's done now. 😁

I've been stitching away on the 3 Flowers canvas in odd moments over the holidays. This is what it looks like now:

Very close to being done. There's one little leaf to stitch yet, a line of detail on a flower stem. and the petals of the blue flower. For the first time ever with a kit I've run out of the thread provided for the background (the lighter pink). Believe me, I didn't waste any. I think whoever kitted this unit up just miscounted. It's quite possible I have the right color in my stash so I'm not too worried about it. 

I've begun cutting sashing strips for that scrappy Barn Doors potential quilt I mentioned in my last post. Haven't had the energy to start auditioning blocks yet though. One step at a time as we move forward into this new year!