Archive for August, 2008

Are you ready for September?

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

The August challenge is barely finished and already I’m thinking of the next one! Are you ready for the reveal yet?

Actually, I’m not quite ready. The ‘Dreams’ quilt still needs a little final construction, such as zipping around the edge of the binding, but our electricity’s been off all day and I am not sewing by hand through two layers of Timtex, three layers of fused fabric and seams!

I can get to it now that the juice is flowing and the workmen are no longer tramping around on the roof.

Aussie stamps reversed(Aside: The dog has been looking most upset about the workmen on the roof. We have a tin roof that amplifies every noise, but his only experience of footsteps overhead up until now has been possums scampering around chasing the neighbourhood cats, or whatever it is they do.

I wonder if he thinks we’ve got the mother of all possums up there? – It’s enough to make anyone’s tail droop.)

Your parcel of fabric for the September theme should arrive at any moment now. Here’s a little playing around with a scan of the stamps….

Can’t wait to show off that August quilt and to get started on September!

Bev

Getting there…

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Hi Bev.

This month’s challenge has led me in an interesting direction. When I opened the package you sent, I immediately saw a landscape forming, which isn’t what I expected I would be stitching this month. After watching Michael Phelps win 8 gold medals for the Team USA this month, I thought I’d stitch my childhood dream to compete in the Olympics or something like that, but instead I’m stitching a dream that has been passed down to me from parents. I’ll explain more about that later.

I’m not going to finish my quilt today, but I hope to complete it in the next day or two. I guess it all depends on when I can stop myself from adding more. I’ve been stitching French knots like crazy. How do you know when enough is enough? I struggle with that question every time. Okay, back to stitching…

Cheers!

Jennifer

Dreaming of spring

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

Spring has arrived in Melbourne! For the first time today, it’s warm enough to have the doors and windows open, and it’s lovely to be in and out of the house into the yard.

Our house feels so small during the winter, because it’s like we’ve lost an extra living room, the yard, with its green walls of tomato plants, lemon and orange trees, and the breeze and the big tree over it all.

I’m pleased with the progress on ‘Dreams’ – maybe the sunshine is affecting my mood! – but this feels like a spring, energetic quilt already.

It’s weird, and I think, quite pretty. Now, this is a nice new sensation for me, because with the previous two quilts I had a crisis of faith at about this time. I didn’t like them that much, but I knew I was going to have to keep going until I loved them. And then they’re done.

Will I finish tonight? I hope so! I have booked the assistance of my mechanically-minded other half to help with the workings (ooh, what could that be?)

Let’s see how it turns out.

That is, if I don’t go to sleep in the sunshine instead…

Bev

Stitchin’ Up A Dream

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Hi Bev.

It looks like you’re making some nice progress on your quilt and even finding time for illicit stitching, too. Good for you!

I skipped my usual pre-planning and child-like sketching this time around and decided to design my quilt by moving the fabric around and let it tell me where it wanted to go. I’m finding this is actually a more freeing approach for me because I’m no longer restricted by my inability to sketch the images I see in my head. I just cut shapes and move them around until something it looks right. I know this is a pretty random method, but it seems to work for me, so I’ll likely stick with it.

My first two quilts involved appliques with finished edges. This time I decided to include some embellishments with unfinished edges to achieve a different look I’m actually considering the possibility of not binding this quilt, but even as I type this sentence, I realize I’d never be able to consider the quilt completed if it didn’t have a binding. So, this quilt will very well end up with a binding when it’s all said and done.

I’m surprised at where this quilt has led me. I originally was planning to make a quilt based on a dream, as in the that R.E.M. state people experience while sleeping. But then, when I opened the parcel of fabric you sent I decided to go in a completely new direction. And I like this direction much better. This underscores once again the challenge and benefit of creating art with supplies selected by someone else. I have incorporated bits of fabric from my stash, but I think I will use at least a bit of all the fabrics this month.

And I have to tell you that I’m having a great time working the beads into the piece. A few of the beads you sent will have a very prominent role in this months quilt. What a kick it is to spread out all the materials and see where each element fits. But it’s challenging, too, like putting together a puzzle without the picture of how it’s supposed to look.
I’ve made more progress than what I’m revealing here, but I don’t want to give it all away before the big reveal. It will come as no surprise to you that I’m also working on what I thought was going to be the back of this quilt. However, I think I might have to let it stand alone. I can’t really decide on that yet. I’m just going to keep stitching and see what happens.

I think I’ll be happy with this month’s quilt, but for now I’m just enjoying the creative journey. Thanks again for agreeing to share in this experience.

Happy stitching!

Jennifer

Flamingo fling-bling

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

For all that there’s progress around here, I still haven’t figured out what exactly I’m going to do with this piece of fabric:

Flamingoes

It’s about 3″ x 5″ and it’s a piece of wild loveliness that demands to be used in some creative, wonderful way. It’s bizarre, painfully blingy-bright, whimsical. You’ve definitely posed me a real challenge here!

I am wrestling with flamingos. Oh, what shall I do? What shall I do??

Bev

Making progress

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

It’s a construction zone around here! I’ve finally moved off the stage of drawing and thinking and looking (and worrying) – and I’ve started to build. Late in the month, as usual!

Ready to start

Here’s all the fabric on my desk, ready to get started! There’s even tea – creative juice – in my new and lovely Moomin mug. (I love that Moomin mug!)

Today’s construction started with a foundation of a stiff interface, Timtex, which I ironed nice and flat then cut to the 10×10″ size of the anticipated finished quilt. I’ve also roughed out a circle – or a ring, actually – which will be a main part of the design.

Drawing the ring

I knew the pudding basin my Mom gave me was more than just decorative!

After drawing the ring in pencil into very fine fusible interfacing, I folded the interfacing in quarters and pinched the corners between my fingers. I also folded the base in quarters and pinched the corners too, which makes little crease marks that I can follow to line things up. If I’m going to have a ring in the middle of the quilt, it should be centred!

a ring of interfacing

I’d be the first to say that this doesn’t look like much yet, but given the wacky and wonderful selection of fabrics you sent me, I don’t think ‘subtle’, ‘refined’ or ‘understated’ are going to get a look-in on the final piece. Watch out for the wildness, it’s just about to be unleashed…..

Bev

Illicit stitching

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Hi Posted Stitches

Don’t tell Jennifer, but I’ve been engaging in some illicit unfaithful Posted Stitches stitching….

Shh!

Applique in progress

It all started innocently enough. Drawing, as usual, onto fabric and looking at the results. I quite liked what had happened, so out came the sketchbook. The colours of the fabric worked well as an underlay to drawings, so I drew a bunch of these shapes on the pages of my sketchbook and had a lovely time doodling on top of them.

Oh, if only it had stopped there!

Fabric will always be my downfall. “Hmm” I thought, “I’ve got some nice fabric that would make great fused applique shapes just like that..” And off she toddles to the front room (aka trashed guest room, aka sewing lair).

So, er, I have to confess that at yesterday’s stitching group, I spent the whole crafternoon applique-ing shapes to the foundation for a 10 x 10 quilt that is not made from Posted Stitches posted fabrics. So it will be a tangential Posted Stitches play piece. “Daughter of Posted Stitches”?

Ooh, the illicit pleasure.

Did I mention that my first plan for this month’s challenge (Dreams) might need a mechanical engineer? That’s my excuse for running off to play with my new idea: I’m just not mechanically-minded….

Let’s hope Jennifer doesn’t notice this post!

Little dog (Do you think the dog can keep a secret?)

Bev

What Dreams May Come

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Hi Bev.

It’s August 18 and I have yet to start work on this month’s quilt. I’m not too worried because I was on this same pace last month, too.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to stitch those crazy swatches I sent you into something fantastic. I’m not sure what approach I’m going to take this month. I can’t decide if I want to illustrate a dream, as in what happens during one’s sleep, or illustrate a dream goal. Both are appealing. I need to decide and commit to a plan very soon.

I’ll update you as soon as the verdict is in.

- Jennifer

Do you dream in black and white?

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Some fabrics

I’ve started the August challenge. As usual (!), I’ve spent the last week or two thinking about it, before the sketching begins in earnest and the ideas start to emerge. At first, I wasn’t sure what I would do. The parcel of fabric you sent me was just so wacky, it DEMANDED that I change my idea about what sort of dreams I was going to stitch.

I had been thinking dreams as aspirations – blue sky thinking, that sort of thing.

Instead, what you sent me was bizarre. There’s no two ways about it. And what you wrote in your card was: “Do you dream in black and white or in colour?” (Colour, definitely. And scent).

Actually, what you wrote is:

Do you dream in black and white or in color?

<<Aside: I’m Canadian, so I write colour with a U. Pedantic? – ME?? >

The funny thing was the arrival of your parcel. You said by email that your next parcel should arrive at about the time we got home. Well, I didn’t say at the time, but these little old houses in Melbourne’s north don’t have any front gardens, and so occasionally, just occasionally, parcels left on the doorstep go missing. Too tempting, within reach of the street. I was quietly hoping that parcel would not arrive a few days early so that Posted Stitches would not become Missing Stitches this month…

Well, Tuesday we opened the door and lugged our bags in, home from the airport. The house feels strange. Someone shrunk all the rooms. Man, it’s cold, and damp in here (we don’t do central heating ’round here)Opening the new parcel. Gosh, it’s gloomy. I’ll just open the front door and sit here on MY home step in MY house in the sunshine and bask and NOT be on an airplane…

With my eyes closed, I am listening to the sounds of the neighbourhood, and it’s so good to be home. ‘Brap-pap-pap’ – someone’s coming down the street on a moped bike – it’s the postie. And he’s got…. A parcel for me…

For ME?

“Posted Stitches, Ma’am, right on time.”

I’m sure the postie – all wrapped up in his glo-vis yellow and red jacket – chuckled to himself at my big-eyed jetlagged, excited grab at the parcel.

- Or maybe it’s just a part of his job and this happens every day.

How did you time it so well?

(P.S. The postie didn’t say that. But I wish he had. With a ‘Dragnet‘ accent.)

The Emperor’s New Quilt

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Hi Bev.

I had to laugh when I read about the difficulty you had seeing the stitching on my July quilt. Web cams are not the greatest when it comes to show the details of our quilts. I’m so glad my quilt looked better and not worse when you saw the photos! : )

I totally see where you’re coming from on this. When you showed me your July quilt during our Skype conversation, I was not able to see all the find details of your sketches. I really enjoy your sketches, so I loved the idea of you sketching directly onto the fabric. However, I wasn’t able to “see” the results very well via web cam. I wasn’t able to fully appreciate your efforts until I saw the photos you posted online. Wow, what a treat! Love the luggage.

Your sketches combined with the great stitched details like the breeze blowing in the window make the piece wonderful. It’s really lovely, Bev. And it was great to see you in this quilt, too. Will you be appearing in all your quilts? It would be an interesting approach to continue.

It’s great that you decided to blend sketches with stitches, but I have a question: How did you fight off the urge to trace the pen lines with thread? (Just an FYI, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to leave me unattended with this quilt because I may try to stitch those sketches.)

Sorry about the two-sided quilt trend I started. I never intended to make it a habit, but I can’t seem to stop now that I’ve gotten into the routine. (Somebody, please help me.) On the bright side, I love what you did with the back of your quilt. : )

Cheers,

Jennifer