Monday, May 30, 2011

The Rest of the Story...

The "Once Upon a Time" quilt for the grandkids is now finished. I just did a simple "stitch in the ditch" to quilt it.

It will go in our pop-up camper so we can unfold it and tell stories when we are bored. Follow along a path between pictures and who knows what you will find or what will be part of your story. Skeletons, eyeballs...

...castles and princesses...

Or we may blast off into outer space, encounter a witch, be scared by ghosts, play a game of baseball or get bit by spiders...

And the back is some "Where the Wild Things Are" fabric I've been saving for just the right project.

I woke up a couple of days ago with a strange neuropathy - tingling and the feeling of pins and needles in my arms and hands and feet. I got out of bed and my knees buckled and I fell. The feeling is still here today. It takes a lot of thought to use my fine motor skills to even type this. I thought it might be due to cough syrup I started taking but did without yesterday and symptoms still persist today so I'm back to taking it again. I tried pulling weeds today since the rains have finally stopped but fell twice and it's hard to pull weeds when your fingers are on pins and needles. I'm making an appointment tomorrow!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Color Theory

Imagine my surprise to find some time to read blogs this morning and to find my name and bird blocks on Gerry's blog  .

I made two sets of blocks but have a few more. They are going to be a bedrunner to go over a sane version of a bird quilt. I've worked on a few of the blocks myself but didn't take pics because I thought they needed something more.

As you can see...there's a wide array of colors going through the blocks.  And what follows are pics of some of the same fabrics used in the sane version of the quilt.
Side view.  Disregard the boxes of scraps in the background.

Anyway...back to color theory. Gerry basically says several people use color with wild abandon and must experience an inner joy. More to that later.

My idea of color theory?

 I think all crayons look good in a box together no matter how many crayons are in there. And if a few spill out I still think they all look good together. And, if I don't have a box of crayons and just have some broken ones...I'll be happy using what I have. 

I think all plants look good in a garden center. I buy plants (or start them from seed) I like with no regard to color or height and plop them in my flower gardens and sometimes in my veggie garden with the same disregard. And, if some pretty weeds grow up with them that's all right too. And, if the plants reseed themselves and pop up outside their original boundaries I leave them glad that they love it in my garden and glad I didn't have to pay for that plant. Cottage gardens. That's what I have.  I don't think the original prairies full of wildflowers that existed here on the plains were planted according to a plan sketched out on graph paper.

My sane quilts are almost always "scrappy" - I use what I have with wild abandon and I always like the end result which is practical too...a quilt someone somewhere can use. Scrappy quilts remind me of grandma who turned old clothes into quilts during the depression. Grandma was my hero.

Now, if you met me for the first time you would find me very quiet and reserved...a observer. I would probably be dressed in dark colors...nothing that would stand out but would instead blend into the woodwork. You might think me a snob instead of shy and I would do nothing to disuade you from your thoughts. I wouldn't have a smile on my face. I rarely smile or laugh. I do have a sense of inner peace although from an early age I have had to fight depression. I fight depression by escaping into a book, my garden or by sewing and not by escape into a bottle or pills like those who came before me. I feel a sense of joy when I walk into my garden and get hit in the face by all the colors. I feel a sense of joy when I use colors with wild abandon. How can you not smile?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Finding My Voice (Literally, In Creative Writing and in Creative Stitching)

With my latest bout with a chest cold my voice has come and gone. That got me to thinking more about voice.

I have been taking a creative writing workshop a couple of times a year for the last few years. I'm going to start adding those stories to my creative writing blog "To My Children's Children". I have lots of stories...I just haven't posted them yet. I've been putting them in a journal for my descendants to discover someday.

I've struggled during those workshops to find my "voice". At the last workshop I think I finally figured out what was meant by "voice". All the workshop participants (5 of us) had a different voice and a different style. I think an author's particular voice emerges with practice.

And then I started wondering if creative stitchers have a "voice" just as authors do. I'm not sure I have one yet. I participate in crazy quilting round robins that have different themes and different people from all over the globe. I try new things. Yet, I don't think I have yet found my creative stitching voice. I'll have to think more about that. Will it come with practice as it has with my writing?

What follows are my latest endeavors in re creative quilting.

For the Birds for Connie. I added a wavy blanket stitch with some variegated thread grapes and another bunch of silk ribbon grapes at top. I crocheted some leaves and made some leaves from some textured ribbon and stitched some raised leaves. There's a circular fantasy vine on the side and some kiko flower stitch flowers and the circular patch. Somewhere on here I used DMC "Antique Effects" metallic thread for the first time and found it easy to work with and when I combined it on anothr block with regular DMC it gave a very prettey antique effect indeed.

This is another of Connie's blocks that all participants in the RR stitched on. The upper right corner was black velvet so I thought it called for some silk ribbon to raise above the pile. I added light blue stem and flowers. My other addition was the silk thread flowers under the bird near the button cluster. I just love the color of blue on that bird.

This is my work on Nicki's Lucious Lace block. It's really not a very good picture but there are lots of different laces on this block. I have a hard time figuring out how to embellish over lace.

This is Laurie's English Garden block that she wanted stitched as a child's garden. The fabrics are all flannel. I let this sit for a while before I took up stitching on it in order to figure out what to do on it. I was  first going to cover it all with lots of fabric leaves one could pick up and look under to find bugs or other jewels. For some reason I didn't go with that idea. I started by embellishing all seams with perle number 5 in feather stitch. I normally use perle 8 but felt flannel called for a little thicker thread. Anyway...after I added all the feather stitches I tried to add to all of them in a different way. Then, my grandkids just love butterflies in the garden so I added a big one at top and a tatted one at bottom. Then I added some other bugs, bees, insects and a spider. Joy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm Sick and Tired...

I'm rarely sick but some respiratory illness (aka funk) has had me down for about a month now. I've been so tired, barely able to breathe, coughing non-stop, had a headache and at one time couldn't hear. I only stayed home from work one day when I just couldn't get out of bed and I refuse to give any money to a doctor for a virus (well, maybe at this point I'm dealing with bacteria, but I THINK I'm getting better now). My coworkers tell me I smell like a jar of Vick's Vaporub and run when I start coughing.  

A while ago I had purchased a pamphlet and some yarn in order to try my hands at crocheting socks but have been too tired to pay close attention to any instructions. I've also been too tired to walk downstairs to finish the story time quilt I've been making for the grandkids and too tired to think of what to stitch on some CQ round robins. So, after work when I haven't been going straight to bed I've crocheted a couple of dishcloths since mine are pretty gross looking right now. And now that I'm in the groove I'll probably make a couple to add to my Christmas gift box. Here's that last one I made draped over my dirty bread making bowl I inherited from DH's grandma. I made whole wheat biscuits for breakfast last weekend (even tho' I was too tired to get up off my butt) and served them with homemade strawberry jam. The grandkids loved them. And so did I. That's why the dirty bowl. I do love homemade breads.

BTW, my DH, the diswasher, loves the new dishcloth.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Tone on Tone and Following Crazy Tips

This is my work on Ritva's Tone on Tone block. Her instructions stated we could use a little old pink, green and/or black if we wished but to keep it mostly white, cream and light brown. I crocheted 3 pansies - one of 6 strands of embroidery thread, one of size 10 crochet thread and one of size 15. Then added a few silk ribbon pansies and cast-on stitch pansies. Also added various types of roses, some kiko flower stitches, beads, lace and some butterflies done in outline stitch and DMC precious metal thread (can't remember color) which I found easy to handle as far as metallic threads go.

This block I already posted last week as my finished work on Janet's bird block. And then, I was contacted by Gerry K with some bits of advice on how to make the block just a little bit better. That was advice I readily accepted. It was to move the blue organdy flower from the middle of the block to the bunch of flowers at top right. And then to fill in that empty spot with some more raised leaf stitches. Well, the organdy flower got a little crumpled in the move since a few of my gathering stitches were cut in the move; however, I pieced it back together as best I could so it now looks more like the flowers in my garden - not all perfect (and I should have added a few weeds up there with the flowers, but that's another story for another day). And, below is the newly revised block.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Once Upon a Time

I just recently participated in a "once upon a time" swap where we exchanged 3.5 inch squares of fabrics to be used for a "Once Upon a Time Quilt".   Check the link to the book "Modern Quilts" to see what it is all about. Basically, it is a quilt with pictures with links/paths to follow. Follow a path and add the next picture on the path to the story. I'm making the quilt for the camper. I think the grandkids (ages 6, 6 and 2) will enjoy the game. Below are some of the pictures I cut for myself. I took the pic before I received the swapped squares. The size quilt I'm making takes 96 little pictures. I've started sewing on it and am actually having fun making up a few stories of my own. My grandkids already make up stories and they love scary ones so I threw in a few skeletons, eyeballs, spiders and witches.
The fabric I will use for the backing will be good for story telling too. I've had this fabric for quite a while. I bought it online and on sale and think this is just the right project to use it on. They look like the monsters from "Where the Wild Things Are".  Hope the GDs won't have nightmares sleeping with this thing when it is finished! Our camper beds aren't that big.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Going a Bit Crazy

Between trying to get out into the garden to get my flowers and veggies in and working my real job that pays the bills (6 years to retirement) I've managed to stitch on a few crazy quilt blocks as follows:

Above is Janet's "For the Birds" block.

We were also supposed to contribute some stitching toward a joint block so I added some fluffy thistle, a crocheted sunflower with prairie point leaf, some "kiko flower stitch" and added a few flowers to the stem stitch that was already on the block. Below is the total block after my addtions.

Above is my addition to Nina's "Pink Color Study" block. The button cluster was already there but I added a few beads and drizzle stitches to the largest button. Also added a tatted butterfly, some bullion and silk ribbon roses, some ribbon, a couple seam treatments and a crocheted heart. I really didn't think I liked pink before I started on this block. Now that I've picked up some pink supples I will probably make a few things for a granddaughter who has loved pink since she was old enough to say the word.

This is Nina's pink block after me and ready to pass on to the next stitcher.

This is my stitching on Carol's "Anything Goes" block. She has a wonderful valentine theme going with her blocks that I just love. She is going to make a wallhanging with all the blocks separated with black sashing hence the black additions. I've been working on valentine blocks for my own valentine bedrunner so had a bunch of supplies on hand to add to Carol's block. Even tho' I never get much for Valentine's Day and even though I am not much of a decorating or holiday celebrating person I must say for some reason I love Valentines.