Sunday, April 6, 2008

I have been having so much fun felting and I decided I was ready for something more complicated. I bought this felted purse from They had a huge color selection and two or three styles and sizes. This color is called Iris and it cost $15. My plan was to felt directly on to the bag, but it has a nice lining, and I didn't feel like getting into a major lining-removal project today. Instead I basted on to it one of the small motifs that I have been making. I like it. If I want to change the look, I can just change the motif. I'll have to get to that remove-the-lining-felt-on-the-bag thing later.

I have been working on my Big Crazy Quilt today. The stack of blocks in the photo will actually cover a bed. As slow as I am going on this, it might make more sense to call it a coffin cover.

I am laying down base stitches so that I can go back and add layers of more stitches. I like to get the bases down and then work on decorating the base stitches with different weights, colors, and fibers. If you have a chance to attend a workshop by Carole Samples, or if you can find her book A Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches, leap on it. (I believe the book is out of print, but check on amazon.) She is an excellent teacher, and her book is one of my constant references.

This block is screaming for some seam treatments, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I just realized that it is 3:30pm and I have not eaten lunch!
(I just noticed that there are some tubes of glue at the top of the first block photo. I do not use glue in my crazy quilts. They are still there from another project I was doing earlier. Just want to set the record straight about that glue!)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Life keeps getting in the way of making art. It's a beautiful day, so I took some photos of my yard for inspiration, to get me moving again. When I am stitching, clock time goes away and I go to a place where I am in my own time. I stay in the present moment -- the past and future lose their power over me. I am taking babysteps toward learning to get back to the present moment when I am not making art by focusing on my breathing, by being mindful of what I am doing, and by reminding myself that I am not my thoughts or feelings. As I grow older, the peace that comes from being present no longer feels like a luxury but a necessity.

I bet that most of you did not come here to read about my inner self, so on to a stitching topic. I am spatially impaired. Can't crochet, can't knit. The cast on stitch gives me fits. Every time I do it I have to relearn it. I love Sharon' B's stitch dictionary, and refer to it frequently. Sometimes, however, I am just mystified when it comes to looking at the photos and making my hands do it. The other day I ran across the Video Library of Hand Embroidery Stitches and found help. Little 2 - 4 minute videos of many embroidery stitches show clearly, with narration, how to do even those stitches that confuse me. Great resource for beginners.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I gave my sister her crazy quilt block birthday present today. She loved it, and we spent the day celebrating by going to lunch at a great Italian restaurant, then we just visited for hours. We even planned a sewing day to make some darling things for her granddaughters, which we have never done before. What a great day.

We live about an hour apart and we don't see each other enough. I was reminded today that it is worth making the effort. Sisters are special, and mine is very dear to me. She is 60 today, but when we are together we are not in our sixties, we are young again.
A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life. ~Isadora James
A note about the frame: I purchased the bright green brushed metal frame and mat at Michael's. However, it squashed down some of the embellishments on the block. Michael's staff were not helpful, so I took it to a customer framer who said he would put in a second mat, with a spacer. When I picked it up, he told me that the frame would not accommodate a second mat, and he just put it in the frame in its mashed state. I picked it up this a.m. and did not have time to do anything about it. My sister decided that she liked it the way it was.
What I learned: If you don't want to spend a fortune on custom framing, go to Hobby Lobby or Michael's or whatever store you have in your area and buy a frame with the double mats already in it before you start the project. Make it to the specifications of the frame and then you can pop it in yourself. Even better, wait until they are on sale for 50% off or until you get your hands on a coupon for a big discount.
If you make many gifts, keep a couple of these around and then make the gifts to fit. Much less hassle and $$$ than custom framing.
I don't know what is wrong with blogspot today. The spacing in this message is all messed up in the preview!