Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Other sewing projects

When I am stalled on a quilt (as I am currently with the Ohio Star), or if I am waiting in an office for Karl or for car maintenance, I take along handwork to keep busy.Quite a while ago (years and years) I began making Christmas stockings, table runners, wall hangings, ring bearer pillows, etc., using Crazy Quilting as the medium. I fell in love with the art form quite unexpectedly. <

As a younger woman I always found Crazy Quilts to be especially unattractive, and wondered "what would possess someone to create such monstrosities?" Then, one day while shopping in my first true quilt shoppe, I found a CQ sampler hanging on a wall, with a sign-up notice for a class.

There was something about this woman's work that made me really stop and look at the mixture of materials and embroidery work with curiosity and excitement instead of the typical dismay and repulsion. It was beautiful and compelling, and no longer a gruesome mash of confusion and mayhem. I wanted to learn this art form...I wanted to Crazy Quilt!

I signed up right on the spot! These are some of my Christmas stockings, with a close-up view of my needlework: Sometimes the stockings have themes; either color, or a specific idea.

This particular stocking centers around fishing. For children the themes can be based on toys or cartoon characters, or even Santa himself. Or, perhaps something reflecting what it is they would like to "be" when they grown-up.

Of course, a good theme could be sports- or hobby-related, too. Perhaps a favorite team....or all about travel.

This purple and cream colored confection was my first attempt at creating a stocking pattern of my own. I drew up a stocking shape pattern (with a shape and size I could work with) and set to work collecting remnants of many types of material other than cotton to use.

Sometimes I broused flea markets or barn sales and had great luck. Other times I had to stick with sorting through remnant bins at the local chain fabric stores.

Then I began to add beads, laces, pieces of doilies, old hankies, ribbon and the like to my stash. It's just the thrill of finding another way to use material, and combining different material textures and threads in one place, that keeps me working with it.

This piece is still in process (a lot of stockings are in process), and the yellow thread you see is my method of basting - to keep the pieces in place while I quilt them down.I was taught to use long straight pins to hold the edges over and everything in check while embroidering, but I found it painful to work around all of the straight pins, so I adopted the practice of basting the edges very loosely to accomplish the task.

I don't mind pulling the threads out as I work, and I certainly don't mind not being gored every time I handle the work! As you can see, it doesn't compromise the final results in any way, either.This last little sample is simply to show that I also use traditional blocks in creating stockings. Although, I do allow myself the fun/luxury of adding beads and gold thread to the quilting process. The fun is in the selection of materials for the blocks, and then embellishing like mad on the top (in this case, the front of the stocking). If you look closely you'll see I stitched a holly leaf and berry design at the intersection of the half squares, then echo-quilted the holly leaves with a matching cream thread before adding the gold beads as specular highlights.

Anyhow, besides making clothes every once in a while, I do have other sewing projects besides the quilts. And, as my sons have pointed out, if I would finish them I could sell them (which I have done a time or two in the past). So here goes nothing!

No comments: