Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend Excursion

This weekend, we joined my in-laws and some family friends and toured the Medical Teams International Real. Life. Exhibit in Tigard, Oregon.

We were asked not to take photographs, in order to respect the privacy of the real people within the exhibit's photographs.  However, a few photos may be seen on Medical Team International's website.

It was a profound experience and I am so glad our children went with us.  My thirteen-year-old had some very good questions.  We were reminded to be thankful for running water, restrooms, and heat that does not require an indoor open flame.

I love the fact that my children left the exhibit inspired to help and that they have a few more ideas of ways they can make a difference.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My First Crazy Quilted Purse Post 3

Front Pocket Embellished (the center blank area will have Velcro later)

Front Pocket Before

Last week, I finished the pocket panel for the purse I am making.  The plain area in the blue floral fabric will have Velcro sewn in.

I tacked down a dark blue rick rack with variegated blue floss.  Then, I added the spider web.  I love the way the facets in the dark blue beads used to make the spider sparkle in the light.  The web is made with a single strand of a DMC white metallic floss, so it sparkles too.

After I made him, I was disappointed to realize he would be hidden by the flap of the purse.  However, I decided the idea of a lurking spider might be more fun.

Next, the seams were embellished.  Below, flowers made of green straight stitched stems, lazy daisy leaves and yellow lazy daisy petals alternate with flowers made with green straight stitched stems and yellow seed beads.

The variegated floss I used to make the lazy daisy seam below and the flower vine had such long sections of each color, I found myself disappointed the end result was not as colorful as I had hoped.  I was not disappointed the section below would mostly be covered by the flap of the purse.

The floral printed fabric was embellished with two different blue variegated Edmar Flosses, using French knots and lazy daisies to cover the flower prints.

Once again, I used my Embroidery for all Seasons book by Diana Lampe and Jane Fisk.  This time, I made the Easter Daisies.  Unfortunately, I also learned that the light blue flannel-backed satin I used on almost every piece of the purse did not hold the stitches well (as seen below.)  I also added a pink butterfly.

Now, I am working on the back of the purse. 

Back of purse, before embellishing
I began with the seam treatments.  And I am currently working on a tree for the center of the block that was inspired by a tree pattern in Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection: 400+ Easy Embroidery Designs by Aimee Ray.
Progress on back of purse
On the back of the panel, I penciled in the trunk of the tree and a circle for the top.  Using a variegated brown floss and chain stitches, I created the trunk and branches.  Now I am adding flowers, beads, and circular shapes in greens and pinks to fill in the circle.  It is not quite complete.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My First Crazy Quilted Purse Post 2

Upper-left section of purse panel.
The first panel of my crazy quilted purse is embellished!  I tried to keep the colors soft and somewhat subtle, for the most part.  On the upper-left, I added a chain-stitched vine and lazy daisy flowers with French knot centers.

Along the top-center section, I made a green chain stitch along the light blue.  On the dark blue, I added a light green button-hole stitch.  In the same shade of green, I added two small lazy daisy stitches for the leaves and a tiny variegated blue French knot as a flower.  A blue butterfly, made of four lazy daisy stitches and a straight stitch completed the dark blue section.

Next, I added a seam with sets of three pistil stitches using a variegated peach/cream Edmar floss.  (I did not continue the embellishment along the entire seam, as the purse pocket would cover a large section, hiding it.)  Along the upper-right, I made a green stem-stitched vine.  And, using a soft yellow DMC rayon floss, I added lazy daisy flowers.

To finish this panel off, I added two pink rayon floss French knot flowers with tiny green lazy daisy leaves along the bottom, beneath the seam line of the pocket.

Front panel of purse, prior to adding pocket.
Now, I am working on the pocket.  One small section is complete.  I hope to share more soon.

I believe I have also completed my second block for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2013.  I am just waiting for the end of the month to share it with you all.  It has been a learning experience.  Parts of it, I am very happy with, and others... well, I'm not sure how I would do them differently...

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My First Crazy Quilted Purse Post 1

A few months ago, Jo-Ann Fabrics had a sale and their Butterick patterns were only ninety-nine cents.  Knowing I wanted to make a crazy quilted purse in the future, I bought a couple of patterns.  Last night, I decided it was time for my first attempt.

I chose purse B from Butterick's pattern number B5728.  I cut out the pattern pieces.  Then, I pinned all of the pieces I wanted to crazy quilt onto muslin.  Using a permanent fabric safe marker, I traced the patterns onto the muslin, including cutting lines, the seam lines and other notations.  After that, I pieced each section, leaving a couple of inches of muslin around each one.

Two of the pieced sections may be seen below.  One will be the front of the purse.  A pocket will cover a large section of this piece.  The second is the front of a flap that will close over the pocket.

Front of purse

Front flap of purse
This evening, I embellished two seams on the front of the purse.  (The pocket will cover a bit of both seams.)  For both seams, I used ideas from a book my husband gave me for Christmas, The Magic of Crazy Quilting: A Complete Resource for Embellished Quilting: Second Edition by J. Marsha Michler.

First, I added small flowers.  The leaves were stitched with 2 strands of DMC 954 (a light green.)  The flowers (stars) were stitched with 2 strands of DMC 4215 (a variegated blue, pink and purple floss.)
Next, I added two flowers made of lazy daisy stitches with French knot centers.  I used a single strand of Edmar Lola #093 (a variegated blue and pink rayon floss.)

I have also been working on my second CQJP 2013 block.  However, I plan to finish it before posting pictures.  I think it is about halfway there.

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

CQJP 2013 Block 1 Completed

Happy New Year!  I hope 2013 brings you all great health, amazing friendships and fantastic memories.

We have made a tradition of spending New Year's Eve with friends of ours.  Their boys are best of friends with our boys, so we always have a wonderful time.  Last night was no exception.
CQJP 2013 Block 1 Completed (Black lines are seam lines.)
I did manage to convince myself, once again, that I am crazy.  (Perhaps the name is part of what draws me to crazy quilting?)  Last night after our friends left, somewhere close to one in the morning, I decided to finish my CQJP block.  I did not want to fall behind on the first block, and it was so close to being done.  It took about two hours to finish it, photograph it, and email the picture for the CQJP 2013 blog.  And here I am, about six hours later, sharing the block on my own blog.  (I think I may actually take a nap today!)

As mentioned in my last post, the house was cross-stitched from the Stoney Creek Country Living Collection from a pattern entitled Cozy Winter Twilight.  (I was unable to find a leaflet available for purchase on the internet.  This house is only one small element of the pattern.)  It was the first addition to the block.

Next, I made the silver birch tree from directions in one of my favorite embroidery books, Embroidery for all Seasons by Diana Lampe and Jane Fisk.  (The book has directions for both right- and left-handed users.) I do wish I had made the tree a little larger, so it would have extended further into the block and into the sky.  However, as I began at the base and worked my way up, I could not bring myself to tear out so many hours of work to redo the tree.
Pathway and snowflake details.

My third addition was the cobblestone walkway.  Using a number 2 pencil, I lightly marked the pathway on the fabric.  (I only marked the two outside lines, not the stones themselves.)  Using DMC Perle 5 #4145 (a variegated brown), I back-stitched the outer edges of the path.  To add to the illusion that the bottom of the block is closer than the house, the path widens at the bottom.  Using additional back stitches, I made random cobblestone shapes.  These were also larger at the bottom of the block and smaller as they neared the house.  (As I did this, I wondered if the more experienced crazy quilters still worry that they might ruin their block with every embellishment they begin.  I know I do!)

After that, I added a border of trees.  I have mixed feelings about the results.  I showed them to my husband and told him I was not sure what I thought about them.  He has found elements of my work he really liked and a few he disliked; but, like me, he simply was not sure what he thought of the trees.  In the end, I loved the texture, so I decided to keep them.  This was my first time using Edmar's Boucle floss.  It is typically used for Brazilian embroidery.  I used #305, a variegated white and light green, to make slanted straight stitches for the tree tops.  The color of the floss allowed the trees to look "snowy."  Then, I used #029, a variegated green and brown floss, to make two straight stitches for the trunks.  In hindsight, I should have made the trunks first, but it turned out okay.

Needle painted mailbox.  (I need more practice!)

Next, I hoped to add a rabbit.  Someday, I plan to make one using a needle painting technique.  However, due to the amount of time I had, I decided to cross-stitch a bunny onto the block.  Unfortunately, the only pattern I had was too large to meet the scale of the block.  (I decided a bunny that was half as tall as the tree was simply too big to fit.)

I did end up making my first attempt at needle painting.  Using my own sketch and tips from Needle Painting Embroidery: Fresh Ideas for Beginners by Trish Burr, I added a mailbox to the scene.  It is far from perfect, but for my first attempt, I decided I was rather pleased with the addition.  I used blue DMC flosses for the mailbox.  The door is a bit lighter, using DMC 3752 and 932.  The main section used DMC 931 and 932.  For the post, I couched a strand of DMC perle 5 #801 floss down with a single strand of regular DMC #801.  To add to the thickness, I couched a second strand down in the same manner.  I may add a little stitch to the top of the post, as my needle went to the fabric a little to close to the first post, but I am undecided.  Up close, that may stand out more than the slightly narrowed post.

To help the post blend in, I added a small spray of snowflake flowers.  This pattern was also from Embroidery for all Seasons.

I still wanted to embellish the seams, but I had two challenges.  I did not want to detract from the landscape image.  And, I had interrupted most of the remaining seams.  The logical solution seemed like adding snowflakes.
Snowflake details.

The fabric for the sky was already glittery.  They are difficult to see, but I added a few Mill Hill Petite Glass Beads #42010 as tiny snowflakes in the distance.  They sparkle in the light.  Next, I added snowflakes to the seams and a few bare spots on the block.  I used a DMC rayon white floss for some and a DMC metallic white for others.  Some snowflakes are made with straight stitches, some with straight stitches and French knots and yet others include straight stitches and an assortment of white or clear glass beads.  In person, the light plays on the flosses and the beads.

A few of the snowflake shapes were inspired by (but not identical to) snowflakes I found in two other embroidery books I received for Christmas.  My mother-in-law gave me Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection: 400+ Easy Embroidery Designs by Aimee Ray.  And my husband gave me The Magic of Crazy Quilting: A Complete Resource for Embellished Quilting by J. Marsha Michler.  I found both books inspirational last night.

My final touch was the addition of a few straight stitches in DMC 502 to make tiny blades of grass at the bottom of the birch tree.

This morning, my husband commented that this block seemed simpler than my previous blocks.  True.  But, it fits the picturesque image I was hoping for, so I am happy with it.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Best wishes for a Happy New Year!