Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mornin', ladies!

Hope all of you are well and stitching like crazy!

I joined the Bead Journal Project (BJP) this year, just to see what I can do with it. I wanted to keep it in the Crazy Quilt realm, since that is my favorite thing to do. First I needed to do the piecing on something a bit sturdier than just muslin in order to hold the beads well. I found a dress of Ultrasuede at Goodwill and decided it would be perfect for my needs. After cutting out the seams I had enough to make 12 8" squares for backing. When finished, each block should end up right at 6", which will make a nice size wall hanging.

Now that I had the backing and size determined, I needed a theme. I spent nearly the entire month of January coming up with and discarding various ideas. I've been wanting to do a rainbow or color wheel quilt for awhile, so that's where I finally ended up. The 12 months of the BJP will work perfectly with the 12 colors of the traditional color wheel. So, these are the 12 colors I'll be working with:
Color wheel

Taking a lead from others working the BJP, I printed out the color wheel, cut it in wedges and taped them on cards. I put them all in a box and blindly chose one for each of the 12 months. Here are the first 4 months of 2010:
Fabric Jan-Apr
January = Violet
February = Blue
March = Blue-green
April = Red

Another challenge I set myself was to use only stash items for both the fabric and the beads. I have since modifed that to allow myself to buy from Goodwill as long as the items are already discounted since my fabric stash was a little thin in an area or two.

Anyhoo, on to January. Here is the first pieced square, in Violet on light blue ultrasuede.
Jan block pieced
I love the center fabric! I decided I wanted to make it a fairly traditional block, so I did the seam treatments all in beads, here are some progress shots for your perusal:

Jan Beading begun
First seam treatments with sequins as a base for short stacks, a ruffled seam and a fan.

Jan block more beading
Next came some intertwining lines of beads, a not very successful bugle bead set, some beads treated as cabochons and the beginnings of a fringed seam in the top right corner.

And here is the finished block for January:
Jan block finished?
The finished fringe on the upper right, more intertwined bead lines on the left, another fan, a flower and the lower right beads increased to a "shield."

I'm not sure how successful this block is; however, I'm viewing these 12 blocks as a major learning experience so to me it doesn't need to be a full success in order for me to learn something from it. I want to learn Robin's techniques and adapt them to crazy quilting. I imagine that as the year goes on, each block will teach me more and become more fully rounded as a "bead embroidery."

Although you can get up close and personal by clicking to embiggen each photo, I thought I would include a couple of close-ups here in case you are tired of clicking. ;0)

Jan block detail 1

Jan block detail 2

Jan block detail 3

I'd appreciate your comments and thoughts on my first BJP piece.