Archive for the ‘Design Phase’ Category

The Making of a Protest

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Hi Bev.

I’m behind, so this protest quilt has to come together quick. Thankfully, I’m the sort of woman who gets worked up about injustice on a daily basis. I think we can all agree that there are plenty of things to protest in this world from wars and bungled laws like the  Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to unreasonable bosses and parking spot stealers. From the serious atrocities to minor annoyances, it will be fun to stitch out some of my issues. Come to think of it, I think the world would be a much better place if all world leaders stitched. President Obama, I’m available if you need an International Ambassador of Craft.



A long lost stitcher returns… Well, sort of.

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Hi Bev.

Your Green Man turned out amazing and your protest quilt looks fantastic. Unfortunately, my protest quilt is still an idea in my head. In an almost ridiculous turn of events I’ve been dealing with the whiplash worries that are becoming quite common for print journalists here in the United States.

Fearing that I would be downsized after Christmas, I took on extra work including a couple unpaid craft-related opportunities to promote CraftSanity and then a paid commission request to make another fart quilt. (Seriously, this is not a joke.) Then, only when I found myself completely overloaded with work, I came to realize that my job will be around longer than I anticipated. Of course, right?!

So, now I’m too busy to craft as much as I want to and feeling a tad cranky about it. Some days, when I’m forced to walk past my stash of embroidery floss, it’s difficult not to growl. I just want to stitch. That’s all.

The good news is that I’m in the perfect frame of mind to work on my protest quilt once I get the binding on that fart quilt. Can you believe my first commissioned quilt would be flatulence-related? Life sure is entertaining and truth is so much more entertaining than fiction.

Things will settle down soon. I refuse to live a life that doesn’t  involve appropriate amounts of time spent stitching with my daughters. I need that creative time with them.

My apologies to your and our readers for lagging behind. I will catch up as soon as I can.



Catching Up With My P.S. Quilt

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Hi Bev.

October was a a wild month that came and went and I’m still stitching and will be through the weekend. It didn’t help that I’ve been particularly indecisive as far as subjects and fabric choices. As I suspected would happen, I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the freedom we’ve had to choose are own fabric. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’ve changed my theme a “myths of marriage” instead of Greek mythology. (I’ll explain later.) I’m a little nervous about it, but I think it will be interesting to see if I can pull it off. Wish me luck and happy stitching!



P.S. As a newspaper feature writer, I wasn’t involved with any of the election night news coverage. But I did wear my “Craft the Vote” apron to the polls that day, and I brought an embroidery project to work on while I waited to vote. This worked out well, because I ended up meeting a woman who makes hooked rugs. I smell a craft column coming on.

Wild man of the green

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

It’s the middle of the afternoon here in Melbourne, and nearly midnight in the Eastern U.S. I’m glued to the computer to keep tabs on your election results. I keep hitting that ‘refresh’ button on the BBC’s vote counter to see how things are stacking up. As a journalist, this must be a wild and woolly week, elections being what they are. I hope you get some stitching time soon.

Myth in the dark

A few nights ago I sat down late – it was almost midnight here – to paint a Green Man. It was a wild a windy night; perfect for an elemental spirit, and when I went to hang the dripping wet square out on the line in the dark, it glowed.

I’m still stitching on leaves and bark, bugs and buds, but I wanted to let you know that my Jack o’ the Green is on the way, soon to be revealed.


You’re going Greek? I’m going green….

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t think about or plan out a part of this Myths and Legends challenge. It’s such a great topic, and I want to do so many images to explore myths and their place in modern life.

But I’ve decided. I’m making a Green Man.

Green Man

Green Man carvings – and they are nearly always men – are often found on churches in England. When we lived in Oxfordshire, we used to look for them every time we visited a country church. They’re often at the top of pillars or perched in a corner, looking down on the church nave through the mask of foliage and leaves that sprout from their mouths, sometimes from their nose and ears as well.

Sutton Green Man

Green Men can be disconcerting and they can be surreal, they often invoke shadows of the power of the ancient religions from the time before Christianity came to Northern Europe. Wood spirits, folk deities, ancient gods and spirits, they are associated with Pan, Herne the Hunter, Jack in the Green and the Old Man of the Woods. Some say the Green Man is a source behind the Robin Hood legends and Peter Pan, even early images of Father Christmas.

It’s an ancient myth – as old as the hills – that strikes a chord with me for the basic love of the earth and the seasons, and the quiet power of the forest; sometimes benign, sometimes dangerous, always powerful.

A quick search for good material about Green Men gives me three interesting articles:

An Introduction to the Green Man

The Mystery of the Green Man

Wikipedia entry for the Green Man

Life is busy at the moment, but I’m going to enjoy creating my own version of this ancient symbol. Stand by for reports: Wednesday afternoon is open for crafty business, and I’ll start my Green Man then.


I drew a mythical village…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Doodling some houses last night, and these ones look like they might come from a myth or a folk tale:

Folk tale village

Sort of Swiss-German, with Regency British touches around the doors. Hmmm. An architect I am not.


Inspiration for myths and legends

Thursday, October 16th, 2008


This month, I’m reading on the theme, for inspiration. Myths and legends, folk and fairytales. I could read all month and not set a stitch. (Never fear, I’ll start sewing soon!)

What I\'m reading

Historian Michael Wood takes the premise that some myths might have a kernel of fact buried in their centre. He’s explored these themes for years: Was there a king of Britain called Arthur? Who was Alexander the Great? Did the Trojan War really happen? I’m a big fan of his eclectic approach to archaeology and ancient history, chasing any echoes of ancient literary references in the real world.

If you ever get a chance to see his TV programs, have a go! They are fascinating and a thankful antidote to those cheap ‘torches and swords’ re-enactment ‘history’ programs we get all the time (gack.) This particular book and program, In Search of Myths and Heroes, looks for evidence of Arthur, Jason and the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba and the kingdom of Shangri-La.

Printmaking has caught my eye recently, due to the effect of my recent screenprinting class at ThreadDen, which was wonderful! And there’s been a bit of a stencil-along going around in the Aussie and online crafty scene – as you know from last month’s quilt. I got some easy-cut lino blocks, tools, and a basic printmaking book for my birthday this week, and I am now all set to go!

When I came along for the ride on this challenge, little did I know that it was going to turn into an exploration of applying paint and ink to fabric. But that’s what’s happened.

So, what’s sketching? So far, I drew random images that remind me of myths: red apples, flowering trees, a white stag, mistletoe and a harp. Green will feature. I think I’m a celt at heart.(smile)


Balancing Quickly… Is This Possible?

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Hi Bev.

After weeks of mulling over the possibilities for this month’s quilt, I finally started stitching last night. I’m going in a direction I didn’t expect, but I guess that’s what happens every month. If all goes well, I’ll have the top done by late tomorrow night.

I’m having fun with the fabrics you sent and so far have not used any from my own stash. We’ll see if I make it to the end without adding to the mix. I’m really trying to avoid that. I’ll fill you in on my design inspiration in my next post and also tell you about the magical substance I’m using to make my appliques. This trick has changed my life already. Seriously, you’re going to LOVE this!

In the meantime, here’s a quirky little video to inspire you (or not). It’s called “Balance.” Enjoy!



Complete circus-o-rama

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I’m not sure I can stop finding these amazing circus images.

Have you seen Elsa and Magda in their natty matching outfits (halos are optional)?

elsa and magda

Or perhaps you prefer the solemnity of Daniel and Son, like fantastically talented waiters wearing beautiful boater hats?

Daniel and Son

I love the graphic of this one, with the curling shapes of the black body shapes on the right almost like writing or a decorative flourish. Very classy.


Ernesto’s flipped over the bill again, but he plays a fine tune.

And finally, there are the amazing and elegant window-washermen themselves: the Alwijano Troupe!

Raise your hands, ladies and gentlemen, for the Circus Museum of the Netherlands! All poster photos are originally posted in their archives.


And now, for my next act…

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

I’m having some fun researching images and inspiration for this challenge! After getting knocked for six by a virus, I’m getting up and raring to catch up on the lost week. Here are some of the fun things I’m looking at as the Balance art quilt takes shape.

Barnum and Bailey circus

Mr Louis Cyr, the “Strongest Man on Earth”! Oldtime Canadian Strongman and Quebecker, too, he could lift a horse, and displayed his strength lifting 18 men on a platform.

There’s a blurb about him on this OldTime Strongman site – a gym site, it serves up tips if you want to train up for that strongman role. It made me a little – tired, so I made a cup of tea and cruised on….

Louis Cyr, strong man

Only to come across the lovely Silvestros, trapeze artists (who look like they might do a side-line in debt collection.)

- Would you say no?


These fantastic posters were courtesy of a wonderful site you absolutely must visit: The Circus Museum of the Netherlands. (Here’s the link in Dutch). I haven’t had so much fun in ages, checking out the retro glory of the nineteenth century circus poster archive.

circus troupe

Where is all of this leading? A-ha, I could tell you, but then I’d spoil the show!