Friday, May 30, 2014

Skully Embroidery

I stitched this out for a friend, who is facing a future with a relative who likes (gulp) skulls. I think she envisions making a little table runner that can be displayed at the upcoming nuptials, as well as in their home. So sweet! This sucker has 70,051 stitches in 12 colors, and it took over 6 hours for my machine to stitch it out! If I were buying a new machine today, I wouldn't get an embroidery machine again, but for those people who say, "it's just pushing a button!": WRONG! It's certainly not handwork, but it does entail an incredible amount of fussy, technical machine-operation know-how. Big thanks to Sue K for her professional advice on setting up the hoop and stabilizer, and using the appropriate needle.
Design by Urban Threads

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Diva wallet

Having just spent the last week in Maine, I was in need of a small project to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine. I bought a snap frame to make a Diva Wallet a few weeks ago but hadn't made it yet, so I dug out some lovely Japanese fabric that I bought at last year's GHQG quilt show and whipped this up AFTER getting home from a fab-tastic day sewing with friends at the FLQS. More sewing tomorrow!

For me! 
Don't use some weird space-age CSI software to try to read my credit card number.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Quilting" as Public Art

My friend Taryn has been working hard with the Imagine Main Street initiative to enhance the public image of Manchester, CT, and earlier this spring she asked if I would submit a proposal for decorating a public bench. I submitted a few drawings of benches covered with triangles and diamonds, and I heard back from the committee in late March. John Boyle Decorating donated all of the painting supplies to the participating artists, so I had a little help choosing the brightest color of orange (of course!) paint that the paint store could mix in an outdoor formula. After that, I indulged in a fabric-buying binge to accumulate a nice stack of cheerful picnicky fabrics to chop into little triangles.

On the first Thursday in May my family and I battled the Hartford traffic so I could begin the bench project as a "public performance" activity. That evening was a fun painting session; lots of people who were enjoying the gorgeous evening in Manchester stopped to talk and ask about the program.
A plaque! With my name! They kind of mixed up my quilting alter-ego with the name of the bench, but I'm good with it.
Lots of chatting during the initial painting. NoRA Cupcakes and hula hooping for everyone too!
A few days later, the organization had the bench delivered to my house so I could work on the decoupage here, far more convenient than repeatedly crossing through Hartford. I chopped up hundreds of little 2 3/4" triangles from the new fabrics and threw in a few others from my Strategic Fabric Reserves to round out the set. The backs of the rails were a little tricky; since I used continuous lengths of the yellow paisley fabric, I had to figure out how to make the appropriate cuts to wrap it around the concrete base pieces. After that, it was just a matter of gluing. I used a bottle and a half of Mod Podge to adhere and seal the triangles, working across one slat at a time.
Bench in progress.
My resident 12yo paparazzo captured the exact moment of the last piece being installed.
Manchester's "quilted" bench!
Manchester's "quilted" bench -- alternate view
Manchester's "quilted" bench -- close-up view of the fabrics
They'll be picking it up later today or tomorrow so they can get it back into use at the bus stop. If you find yourself in Manchester, stop and take a look! I'm going to get some photos of it in situ later this month. Fingers are crossed that the combination of Mod Podge and Spar Urethane will be sufficient.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Triangle scraps

I made a mid-scale Lotus quilt using the Forest Floor line of fabrics, and I couldn't bear to part with the neat stack of evenly trimmed equilateral triangles leftover from cutting all the jewel shapes. I shaved them down a little with my Mini Hex n More ruler and pulled out a stack of 1.5" strips of neutrals. I didn't measure the strips at all, I just cut all of their ends at 60-degree angles.

I added triangles to even the smallest bits of neutrals (even other 1" triangles), then ganged those units together until I had a bunch of strips that were just short of 19". Once I had the strips long enough (a totally subjective determination), I sewed them together kind of randomly, choosing strips that gave the right balance to the project. I have been feeling like I don't do enough "freeform" projects, but I prefer this sort of halfway compromise -- starting with precision-cut pieces, then assembling them without pre-determining where they're going to fall.

I love this little wall hanging! What I particularly like about it is that the eye keeps wandering looking for a pattern -- that's what our species excels at! -- but there isn't one. I think I'll call this one "Pareidolia in Scraps".

Scrap equilateral triangles...don't throw away those Hex n More cutoffs!