Saturday, January 31, 2015

Satin stitch

But I'm thinking I may need to buy a vowel ('satin' is
a-l-m-o-s-t correct).

SO much satin stitching completed with so much more to go - and then all of the loose bits on that covert feather to stitch out.

Oh, my-lanta!  I will be a peafowl feather expert by the end of the week.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy, happy, happy

And a little feh.

Now have three full Dresdens ready for stitching - yea! There's only one more quarter panel to make for the full set of four, and then I can stitch in all earnestness.

I've been holding back on the embroidery a bit due to proximity of colors, etc, and in wanting to keep everything balanced overall. The only way to accomplish that was to stitch piecemeal while continuously referencing adjoining segments...but it's became a hassle in so many ways. Not the least of which would prove that every time I'd look over the arrangements of the quarter pieces (for color selection on a new row of stitching), I would become disenchanted with some portion of the entire configuration, tear them asunder, and then rework all of the Dresden pieces thinking I could mix them and match them better.

But I couldn't. Most times I ended up - unintentionally - with the same quarter pieces together. There's your sign.

I was like a crack-addled monkey playing a never-ending game of "what if?"  Very anti-progress.

Well, I'm happy to report that I may be able to actually finish the layout tomorrow, and begin to 'fly' on the embroidery. Truly, the exciting bit of it all means I will be able to put all of the materials away and reclaim a bunch of lost space on the dining table, several chairs, and the use of the entire ironing board again.

The stitching phase will last the next several months (I am estimating), during which time I will decide if I still want to add a very groovy border, or leave it as is with just the four Dresden blocks. Time will tell, so stay tuned.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Accept it and move on with a smile

I am deeply in the midst of "Peacock", and hankering to work on every other project I have underway, but 24 hours in a day is only twenty-four hours....and sometimes you just have to sleep (and look for work, and feed animals and children and... Well, you know how it is).  But, I also waste spend time looking online at the quilting of others - for inspiration, for the fun of it, for the sheer pleasure it brings me.

I was reading through some comments in a favorite Fb group, when I ran across an answer I gave to another member's question.  I thought it was topical and to the point, especially given how much handwork I am up to these days with the crazy quilt project.

So, here is the question posed and my answer to it.  I hope I don't need to clarify my position (but you know I most likely will 'enhance' some of it just to make the point a little clearer):
"Hi all. I have a somewhat silly question, but I'm asking it seriously. When you are describing a quilt you made to a non- or machine-only quilter - how do you explain it's all hand down without coming across as a pompous snob or a luddite or just annoying? When I've entered quilts in shows I've always struggle with that part. Thanks!!!"
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  • Bethany Waldon Does it matter? 
    If you aren't answering with acrimony - but you are proud and positive - and if someone interprets your answer as pompous or snobby there isn't a thing you can do about that. That's a sad thing for them.

    I suppose [we] feel defensive in telling someone (a non-quiltermaker) how we do what we do because they automatically envision a machine that does it all, and [we] simply slap on the binding and a label and say "hand made." In my case, when I crazy quilt, it is ALL by hand, and I feel a little put off by those who ask "what sort of machine do you own? I'd like to get one." And put off even more so when they watch me laying stitches onto the work, and still feel compelled to ask that question, "Is it ALL by hand?"

    As a machine quilter (AND a hand quilter), I am not offended or put off when someone tells me they pieced and quilted their entire quilt by hand. If I asked the question then I sincerely want to know, and I am doubly impressed by the patience of those who still make a quilt entirely by hand - as my great grandmother did. I am not one of those purists, but I am not ashamed by that, nor am I put off or defensive or snooty when answering the question of a hand quilter regarding my FMQ work. I AM PROUD of my skill sets with my needle and thread, and my domestic machine work.

    I am glad there are those absolute handmade hand quilting purists - and it's a gift to have them still do it for those of us not so inclined (for piecing AND quilting by hand) to look to and admire. [edited and redacted from this point]

I suppose the best way to hear the words of someone asking 'what sort of machine do [I] use' to create my Crazy Quilt embroidery stitches is to receive it as the highest form of compliment.  To interpret it instantaneously into the thought that 'such loveliness and (perceived) perfection is not possible by human hands, and that only a machine is capable of manufacturing the stitches' laying on the material in my lap - even though I am stitching it right there in front of them.

OK, from now on I will!
I will totally interpret that question as a compliment...
and I won't feel the least bit braggadocios for saying I made it,
...and then issue a completely thunderous "thank you" at their awe and praise.

I'm going to heed my own advice.

Phwew.  I wanted to vent a little...and so I have.  Now [deep, cleansing breath] I am heading back to my quilting - I've got some 'awe' to create.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

They can stay, I suppose

These alien-looking ferns can stay, and the funky noodle flowers, too.  Managed to finish one side of the 'plant'.... now to screw up my courage and tackle side number two.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

BIG post script

Nearly forgot -

I scored a lovely half yard of velvet!  REAL velvet ! !

Thanks, Jean, for doing your online voodoo thing.  I had already shopped all of the stores in a 50 mile radius, and called around to a few others, checked online as far as I dared, and poo-poo'd the ebay and amazon offers for $19+ per yard....AND extortionist shipping charges.  I figured I could wait until another shopping adventure in February, when area stores may have restocked it.  Or, maybe I'll get lucky and run across a remnant in the near future.


It was in stock once again within 11 miles of my home!  Now I am in possession of one half yard of Navy blue velvet, and I can really finish laying out those crazy quilt panels.  [happy sigh]

Went ahead and tried this 'experiment'

When I first began "Peacock", there were so many questions to deal with -
  • on the overall design, 
  • on the schematics of the quarter blocks
  • for the joining seams
- and on and on.  It seemed the only way to answer them was to simply dive in and just figure it out as I went along. And that working premise has served me well for the last couple of weeks; many of the how-tos have melted away.

However, one of the questions requiring constant - carefully considered - mulling was how to conquer the arc of the large circle.  There were several options as I began, and I weighed each in my mind's eye over time, trying to imagine how well I would like them once the piece was complete.  Ultimately, I would have to stitch it out and see if the actual finished look matched my expectation(s), and whether it would mesh with the rest of my work to come.
And here is the outcome (so far...I mean, I may end up changing my mind and going with choice number 2. Well, choice 1b, really, as it was a tie between what is and what may be.  Yes, I have issues!...and I am well aware of most of them. Thanks).

I laid down a daisy chain along the edge of one arc to audition the look before going any further.  I toyed with French knots in a series, too, but realized I would be making a lot more work for myself than I already have planned (especially considering the border design I will be embroidering around the Dresdens).  The rest of the treatment I will keep under my hat for the time being...but this is where I am at currently, and I am living with it for a while to see if my misgivings grow, or if I can manage another stitch solution before I come to a point where I join some quarters to produce the first full panel.

Keep in touch and let me know what you are working on. : )

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Just because

Yes, there's progress.

No, not as much progress as I would like, but this isn't a full time thing....this is the 'traveling project.'

Friday, January 2, 2015

A little progress, a little housework, a lot 'o' job searching

I managed a little progress on some of the seams on a new "Peacock" block (two different blocks, actually), and I am making plans for additional fussy embroidery embellishments for several seams between larger sections; taking my cues from old crazy quilted works of art.
Hopefully this will help create more visual interest - and a feel of antiquity - for the finished piece.

STILL looking for some deep navy blue velvet (not a crushed panne' or stretch velvet) for use on two or three of the blocks.  I really want that variety.  Waiting to finish building the blocks until I can find it is crimping my plans for final layout.  Grrr.

What are you working on today?