Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2013 Block 1 Progress

In December, I decided to participate in the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2013. What is it?  As described on their blog, "The Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2013 is about promoting the art of crazy quilting and expanding the participant’s individual artistic creativity and technical knowledge." It is a commitment to complete a block a month, and hopefully, assemble a quilt from those blocks.  (For some wonderful inspiration, I encourage you to take a look at the CQJP 2012 blog.)

It took me a few days to decide if I wanted to add another commitment to my busy life next year.  In the end, an excuse with deadlines to create a crazy quilt block every month sounded like a good idea to me!  *Grins*

In the rules I discovered the project should not include something we are already working on, so my monthly themed blocks would not qualify.  I have always loved landscape quilts and thought 6-inch blocks would make for pretty quick work.  Right?!  Well, I planned my first block and realized that might not be the case.
CQJP Block 2 prior to stitching.

To save time, I decided to assemble two blocks the same day.  This way, when I finished one, the other would be ready.  I had pretty clear ideas for one block, and the other, I knew would be more challenging.  Guess which one I decided to work on first?  The trickier of the two for me, of course.  
Winter landscape prior to stitching.

I was hoping to complete my first block before posting photos here.  However, as I have been putting as much of my free time as I could into it for the past week and a half, and it is not even half complete, I gave in to the temptation to share my progress so far.  

My "plans" for the block are a simple sketch on a yellow sticky note.  I wanted to put a house along the horizon and I wanted it to look realistic.  A cross stitch leaflet I have came to mind, so I found it and discovered the perfect house to add to the block.  The leaflet is from the Stoney Creek Collection and it is called Country Living Book 130.  (I tried to find a copy on-line to link to, but I failed.  Sorry!)  The house I chose was taken from the pattern entitled, "Cozy Winter Twilight."  This is only a small portion of the original pattern.  I LOVE Stoney Creek cross stitch patterns because the shading is simply gorgeous.  Of course, that same shading takes me forever to stitch...
Before removing the cross-stitch canvas.
I learned a few important things about cross stitching onto a crazy quilt block.  First, I learned it is a REALLY bad idea to put an intensive pattern across a seam.  (Putting a needle through that many layers of fabric again and again is hard on the fingers.  I could have tried a thimble, I suppose, but I never claimed I was smart - lol!)  I thought that would be my biggest challenge.  However, when it came time to remove the mesh I put down to guide my stitches, I was in for a disturbing surprise - my second lesson.  Instead of pulling out, the threads snapped.  Careful use of a needle and a LOT of time allowed me to remove the layer beneath the tree.  Then, I had to use a pair of sharp scissors to VERY carefully trim the coarse threads all the way around the house.  At one point, I nearly cut the thread used to back-stitch the design.  In the end, I suppose I salvaged the block.  But it was certainly a stressful hour or so, wondering if I had just wasted the past week of stitching.
After removing the cross stitch canvas.
Next, I began stitching a tree in the lower-right-hand corner.  You may recognize this silver birch tree from the stitching I did on Mardeen's block in my first round robin.  For Christmas, my wonderful husband gave me my very own copy of Diana Lampe's and Jane Fisk's Embroidery for all Seasons!  I will be making very good use of that book with my landscape themed blocks this year, I am sure! 
CQJP Block 1 partially complete.
I am anxious to complete the tree and move on to the next section.  I just need to figure out exactly what that will be first!

Thanks for stopping by again!


Lei said...

Your block is beautiful so far. I don't envy you the task of using the mesh. I tried that once or twice and it requires a lot of patience.

NickiLee said...

Hi Renee!

I'm so excited fro you that you signed up for CQJP 2013! Come next Dec you will be happy you did. I'm in the process of putting the final touches on my OCt, Nov & Dec blocks. I think next year I will complete one block a month before I start on another months. I love how you have incorporated cross stich into your blocks. Before I became addicted to Crazy Quilting, I was a cross stitch addict. I'm looking forward to seeing how your landscape blocks progress.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I can already tell it's going to be gorgeous!

So a crazy quilt block, you 'basically' take various pieces of fabric and put them in non-traditional attachment, then embroidery them?

I have so much fabric in the Wife Cave...I wonder what "could" result from it.

Renee said...

Lei, thank you. The waste canvas was always a bit tricky for me. I certainly learned to only use it with a single layer of fabric in the future!

Renee said...

Thank you! I LOVE your work, so I cannot wait to see your Oct, Nov & Dec blocks! The majority of my previous "embroidery" experience was all cross stitch. I am trying to step out of the box a bit; but for a house, it seemed like the way to go. :)

Renee said...

Thank you!

A block is pieced on a foundation (I use muslin.) There are a few different methods. One may be found here:

Then the seams are embellished and motifs are added. They are a great way to use scraps! I'm sure you could make some amazing blocks with items from your Wife Cave!

Anonymous said...

I blame you.... Guess where I spent the last couple hours?? Yes, down in the Wife Cave. I have the basic block done, blues and purples. Now to figure out how I want to embellish it. I'll post some pictures over on my blog hopefully tomorrow of my current progress.

Anonymous said...

Renee, I love what you've done with your January block! It's striking.

Judy in MS

Renee said...

I cannot wait to see it!

Renee said...

Thank you!