Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In the Home Stretch

We had a quiet holiday weekend, spending most of the day watching a war movie marathon. Hubbie and I are both veterans (US Navy) and being baby boomers, we grew up on WWII movies. They are still some of our faves. All this movie watching provided plenty of time for stitching... in between loads of laundry.

7 in begun
Here is the 7" block with seam treatments and encrusting begun. This block will snuggle in with the block containing the bridal couple so I added a button cluster to mirror the one on the other block.

I spent some time working out the seam treatments. I used one that I had seen at Chloe's Place (go to top of screen).
7 in seam treatment C
Her's has a bit more going on with it, but I wanted mine simpler.

This is one I came up with myself... I'm sure it's not original but I haven't seen one like it before (click to make bigger).
7 in seam treatment
It's a double herringbone stitch, gathered with a single stitch, then lazy daisy stitches in the vees. It almost looks like a candle to my eye.

Here's is the third seam treatment.
7 in seam treatment B
I kept this one simple, also, to allow the french(?) edging on the linen napkin to show. This is a family piece, although I don't think it was done by them. It has a faded blue stamp along the seam that says "Made in England."

I'm rather anxious to get the blocks done so I can begin attaching them to the backing. Here is the 9" block (I did more work on it) laid out on a piece of batik that may become the backing.
9 in CQ further work
I like it but may change it out for something a bit darker. Although, I just remembered that Beth likes lime green so I may leave it. We'll see how the hearts look on it after I have them hemmed.

Speaking of hemming, that's the next hurdle. I have to decide how I want to do that... any suggestions?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

More Wedding Hearts

So sorry I haven't posted this week. I got some kind of intestinal bug and was down for the count. When I'm sick my brain pretty much turns itself off so I thought it best to not try and blog... could be dangerous!!

Anyway... on to stitching... I pieced the 4", 5" and 7" hearts last weekend. Somehow I skipped a 6" when I was drawing them out... not sure how that happened but by the time I'm done all of them will have grown various amounts so the composition should still be pleasing to the eye.

This is the 4" and 5" on one piece of muslin with seams embroidered and beads/buttons begun. They are held in a 14" hoop on a stand that sits in my lap.


(A picture of the 7" heart should be here; however, blogger is having issues so check out my flickr site for the actual pic.)
And this is the 7" heart just pieced. That's my granddaughter in the center, she was the flower girl... isn't she sweet?! The long seam across the top is not ideal; however, when I ironed the picture to set the color, something came off the iron onto the picture just above her head so I had to figure out something to cover it up. Oh, well... buttons, beads and lace cure everything! ;0)

(Ditto on this picture!)
This is the 4" heart "pieced" with the beading started. It's actually part of a lace table runner I inherited from my Mother. I know... I cut up a piece of family linen, I should probably be shot! But wait... there was candle wax embedded in the runner (from my misspent youth) and simply no way to get it out so I bit the bullet and cut into it. It will get used and admired that way so I feel OK doing that. The lace is laid over hand-dyed cotton I got on eBay. The color here is pretty accurate.

(And this picture... sheesh!!!!)
This is the same heart with the beading completed.

Since this is a long weekend, I hope to get quite a bit done. I'm tentatively planning on having all the hearts finished by Monday so I can begin attaching them to the backing. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

8" Wedding Heart Finished

The 8" Wedding Heart is finished...

8 in CQ - done
The upper right corner is the only part that doesn't really trip my trigger... when I first did it I thought I had screwed it up but then as I did the left side it started to pull together better. I love the left button/bead cluster... it had a life of it's own and just flowed!

8 in CQ heart - left

Then, when I came to the bottom I was stumped... the top was bright and bold and completely overshadowed the lace at the bottom, which I had intended to pretty much leave alone. I filled in the leaves with french knots and that worked OK... but I was still unsure about the flower. First I thought about buttons.. covering the lace flower with a flower of buttons... didn't work. Then, I was thinking maybe silk ribbon embroidery... but I'm not very good at that yet and this is an important piece. Maybe beads... but there was alot of beading already and I wanted to move in a different direction. As I sat contemplating my naval... er... the Wedding Heart, I looked up and the varigated orange perle cotton was waving it's little hand frantically at me and a light went on... so I just used satin stitch to fill in the voids in the lace rose.
8 in CQ heart - bottom
I like it!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Wedding Heart Progress

I've made some progress on the 8" Wedding Heart. All seams have been embroidered and beading has begun.
Progress on 8 in CQ heart
I like the way the seam treatments have evolved. Linda at Chloe's Place has been doing some inspired blogging, focusing on her seam treatments and giving lots of good info, helping readers understand how she is approaching her latest work. I like focusing on the details of a block, so I thought I would do the same and learn something at the same time.

So far, in my extremely short acquaintance with Crazy Quilting, I have just sort of worked on the seam treatments without pushing myself to explore and stretch my skills. On this block I have started to really think about the seam treatments and consciously pay attention to what I am doing... what a concept!! ;0)

This seam treatment was completely ripped out and done over...
8 in CQ heart seam A
I got rather carried away and it was just too loose so I pulled all but the initial line out and filled in with much less exuberance. There was a problem with this approach; however, in that I used a commercial printing product to print out the picture on the center block and the material is rather unforgiving. The initial feather stitching left holes in the center block that I had to use again for the second round of feather stitch. Challenging but doable... although, I do believe I will be a tad more cautious in the future!

On this seam I used Peking or Pekinese stitch (thank you to Sharon Boggon for the stitch index) with the varigated #8 perle cotton and laid a line of beads along side to highlight it and give it a little more weight.
8 in CQ heart seam B
I have tried the Peking stitch before and was not happy with the way it looked using regular stranded cotton floss; however, in perle cotton it is just lovely. The perle cotton gives it much more definition, allowing the eye to pick up the detail. This is a stitch I will be using more and more.

This seam turned out well, using varigated perle cotton in Herringbone stitch and detached chain stitch in strategic areas so the colors contrast nicely.
8 in CQ heart seam C

So, this is where the 8" heart stands for now. Hopefully I'll have more progress to show in the coming days.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Hurricane Katrina Quilts on eBay

Just a quick reminder to everyone that the Hurricane Katrina quilts are still on eBay, the auctions end in about 5 days so there's plenty of time to bid!! ;0)

This is the block I made for the competition and I was lucky enough to be chosen as the block that would be included on the large quilt. I was soooo excited when I checked Sharon's blog to find out who the winner was... and it was me!
Finished Katrina block
Thanks to all who voted for me... you really made my year!!

eBay Goodies

This month I have been seduced way too many times by eBay; however, at least I have loot to show for it!!

Rick rack
This is 75 packages of rick rack... all vintage and many different colors with varying shades of those colors... yummy! I've been watching the auctions for awhile but usually they have stretch seam binding and seam lace, etc. in with the rick rack. This one was all rick rack and I jumped on it. Very nice, mostly baby sized but some larger.

Then came the #8 perle cotton, all varigated.
#8 Perle cotton
I wasn't too sure about getting this much all at one time, but I figured it was a decent price and a good way to get lots of colors so I went for it. I've been using the orange and yellow on the wedding hearts and I really like it. I've always used stranded floss before this and I'm finding that the perle cotton gives a much "cleaner" stitch that I really like. I also like that I can either use it as varigated so that the colors flow in and out along a seam, or I can concentrate on just using the lighter or darker sections to get the effect I want. Very cool!

I also got some nice, carved mother of pearl buttons:
MOP buttons

and some of German crystal, gold laced glass and rhinestone oddments:
Buttons - crystal-rhinestone
I'm looking forward to incorporating some of these in the wedding hearts, too. Not too sure about how I'll used the buckles, though... maybe I'll use them on a bigger block and weave some ribbon or lace thru them. I'll definitely have fun playing with them, I can guarantee that!

All for now... I've been working diligently on my second wedding heart and it's almost ready for public review... hopefully I'll have it up this weekend...

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hanging my Finished Joggles Block

After adding the beaded edging to the block I made in the Joggles class, I had to find a way to frame it or hang it. I had been mulling over several ideas including putting it in a shadow box; however, I wanted it to be accessible... so it could be admired and fawned over, if you know what I mean!! hehe... hee. Anyway, I bought a shadow box that opened up, which was really cool, but it was rectangular and the block was square and I just couldn't get it to look right.

So, on to the next idea, backing the block with a fabric covered something so it could hang on the wall. I had the brilliant idea (at least I thought it was brilliant) of using an artist's canvas covered with batting and fabric. A visit to an artist's store showed that it was an idea that would probably work, but the canvases were pretty expensive and they didn't have any square ones that were the right size to back my 10" block.

However, in my wandering around the store, I found some French bulletin boards. You know the ones, they are covered with batting and then crisscrossed with ribbons so you can either pin things to them or slip bits of paper under the ribbons. This is what I found:

Original backing

It was in the clearance bin because one of the oh-so-chic plastic hula dancers had come off. Hmmm, this I could work with. I took it home and popped off the remaining oh-so-chic plastic Hawaiian cuties, and cut off the ribbons... yes, I saved them, why do you ask?? :0) Then I covered it with some dark green fabric, hot gluing it around the edges, and it looked like this:

After covering

Not too bad, hmm?? This is what it looks like on the back:

Back of board

The places where the ribbons crossed had been attached with heavy duty staples that went clear thru to the back, providing holes to pass the needle thru to attach the CQ block. I used beading thread and hid the thread in amongst the embellishments on the front and used a button on the back. I did hot glue the button down because I didn't really trust it just sitting there.

Here is the finished product:

Sophia's completed hanging

It frames the CQ block nicely, lifting it away from the wall and showing off the beaded edging. I think it works!

I do think I'll revisit the artist's canvas idea, though.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Progress on the 9" Wedding Heart

I've been working on this heart most of the week. The colors from the wedding were orange and white so I went with that. This couple is not exactly the crazy quilt type, so this will probably end up being rather unique! ;0)

9 in CQ heart001

The writing is done in varigated #8 Perle cotton. The buttons are carved Mother of pearl (MOP) and the beads are glass. This is probably all I'll be doing to it at this stage. Once it is on the backing, I'll probably extend the button cluster off the edge of the heart.

It has given me fits at times! I used a disappearing pen to write the names and words. It took several tries to get the spacing correct and then I couldn't get all the ink out. This pen disappears when sprayed with water but then it seems to appear in bits and pieces around the edge of where I wet it down. It was like it was migrating to the edges. So I wet it again and then, even when it all had seemed to disappear, when I ironed it the ink came back. Gah!!!

Finally I just got all the writing embroidered and then, after pinning it to the edge of the ironing board, I just wet the heck out of it (until water was running off the end) and left it to dry. That finally got all the ink out. I was rather relieved to say the least!

This is the 8" heart, with the happy couple in the center.

8 in CQ heart001

The picture is rather dark, but once I have it embroidered I think it will be OK. At least I hope so!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Extraordinary Crazy Quilt on eBay

Occasionally I do a "crazy quilt" search on eBay, just to see what is being offered. Today I found the most exquisite one I have ever seen! Here's the link (I'll try and make it pretty later!):

It is truly a work of art!

Monday, May 01, 2006

We Have Stitching!

I was finally able to spend some quality time on my crazy quilting this weekend. I decided to put the finishing touches on my Joggles block. Because it was so heavily encrusted, the center block with the Fairy on it was rather wrinkled and sunken in. After a bit of thinking on it and with much trepidation, I cut into the backing fabric (two layers) and gently laid some batting in beneath the Fairy to raise her up.

Back of Sophia's block
Here are the cuts in the back.

Sophia's Fairy
And here is the Fairy all poofed up.

Then I backed the entire block with a coordinating fabric and laid more batting inside to make it a bit more substantial. It felt great but needed more... so I spent the rest of the day beading the outer edge of the entire block. I really like the way it turned out, although it would be more even if I had used delica beads.

Sophia's block - beaded
Here is the entire block showing the beaded edge.

Sophia's block - beaded detail
And here is a detail of the upper left corner.

There is one more step to be done before I can send it off to Colorado. Hopefully I'll have more on that in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, I have pieced the first heart on the wedding block.

Randy-Beth lg heart

More to come!!