Another Challenge Finished

December 24, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Patchwork | 3 Comments

In addition to our regular yearly challenges (latest installment), occasionally the pile of leftover fabrics from my group’s charity quilts and challenges gets too big and needs purging. What happens is that at our yearly quilting retreat (remember those? We were lucky to go in January, when we could still be together in a big room for a weekend), a set of piles of matching stuff will be created. Then we draw numbers from 1 to however many we are, and whoever got the lucky number 1 can choose a pile first. There was some stuff I had my eye on, but as I had a number solidly in the middle, I expected most of it to have gone first. I did think I could possible get the fabric I actually got though, since I love it but it was pretty controversial at the time we did that challenge back in 2014. I may have been the person who chose it back then. So yay, I did get all the scraps of the black and white fabric from it. A fellow group member still had some she was willing to part with, so I ended up with a decent amount of fabric.

Here’s my quilt from the original challenge:

While those extra challenges don’t come with any instructions but “Use this stuff, come back with something for next year’s exhibition”, I wanted to set myself a few restrictions. Apart from the print, I wanted to use only solid colours and black. Given the amount of fabric I had to work with, I also decided to make another 40*40cm pillow cover. Here’s the result:

40*40cm pillow cover featuring nine pinwheel blocks in the middle.

I was pretty sure I had enough fabric to make the nine windmill blocks for the middle, and decided to set them at different rotations against the black background. Once I was finished with that, I realized I had almost but not quite enough fabric left for a border. I decided to insert a square of each of the solids I used, and fill in anything still missing with a few bits of black. The quilting is fairly simple – lines going mostly parallel to the seams. Done, so let’s hope we can actually have an exhibition again in November 2021.

Wishing all of you happy Holidays and a better year 2021!

A Month of Postcards

December 13, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Patchwork | Leave a comment
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2020 was finally getting to me, and November promised to be particularly fraught. I decided I had to do something constructive to replace some of the doomscrolling, and posted this on Twitter on the first of November:

I had started making cards earlier this year, first as samples for my Green Woman quilt, and later to make my yarnbombing project for CoNZealand mailable. This was an extension of that, trying to figure out what else I could do with the format, and generally making things. I kept at it, and ended up with 30 cards at the end of the month. Here they are in all their glory:

Thirty textile postcards laid out in a 6*5 grid

You can follow the link to the tweet to see the whole thread of cards, but in addition, here’s a gallery of all of them:

  • Two fabric postcards each with a swan on water. On the left, a needle-felted swan, on the right, an appliquéd one.
  • Textile postcard with five diagonal stripes on a dark blue background.
  • Two textile postcards with needle-felting on top of a striped background from hand-dyed fabric. Three spirals in white on the left and a stylized tree on the right.
  • Two fabric postcards with an olive green backgrounds and a single oak leaf on top - on the left needlefelted in red, orange and brown, on the right just outlines machine-quilted.
  • Two textile postcards showing dark trees against a brown and golden background.
  • Textile postcard with light blue fireworks in beads and sequins on a dark blue background.
  • Two textile cards showing an appliquéd tulip on top of a striped background intended to evoke tulip fields seen from the air.
  • Textile postcard made from strips in rainbow colours from red at the top through violet at the bottom.
  • Textile postcard in beige and black fabrics showing musical symbols, mostly in gold.
  • Pair of textile cards with a vertical strip of white fabric with tiny black cloverleaves on it. Rest of the card are horizontal stripes in mostly pastel solids, overlaid with big black appliquéd cloverleaves.
  • Textile postcard from a dark checkered fabric with a white abstract flower and leaves quilted on top.
  • Textile card with a green background. Vertical strip of green machine lace on the left, white tatted flower with added beads.
  • Two textile postcards with a blue background, overlaid with strips of lace. Focal point on the left card is a butterfly from machine-stitched lace, and the right a dimensional flower in Irish crochet lace.
  • Textile postcard consisting of small squares of colourful fabric randomly assembled.
  • Textile Postcard with a violet background with machine-couched yarns primarily in pinks/purples/violets on top forming an abstract skyscape.
  • Two textile postcards from a printed fabric sample with a dark blue/violet background. Left one has the letter "D" from the Dublin 2019 Logo as a star constellation, right one has two planets and a rocket.
  • Textile postcard with colourful diagonal stripes on a dark blue background.
  • Two textile postcards with a fall theme - print with leaves and cones and berries on a black background, narrow lace edging, quilted leaves on green background.
  • Two textile postcards with a rainbow gradient spanning both, the seams embroidered crazy-quilt style.
  • Textile postcard in greens and oranges with a stripe of autumn-themed printed fabric as focal point.

I really enjoyed making small finished pieces almost every day, and finishing things I started was definitely one of the habits I was trying to get into. A format this small also helps me to get past my perfectionism into a more playful state of mind. I had a rough list of ideas before I started, but I didn’t really get around to exploring all of them, but did multiples of others, which is perfectly fine.

I used my scrapbox as the primary source of fabrics to use, so this is also an overview of what my favourite themes and colours are, with snippets of fabrics of many past projects making an appearance. There’s a lot of nature-themed ones, and a rainbow or two – both things nobody who knows me is going to be surprised about. I also did get around to raiding my lace box, but I’m still not quite sure how to incorporate more lace into my quilts – it’s not because I don’t have enough.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #15

December 6, 2020 at 8:27 am | Posted in Embroidery | 18 Comments
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After finishing my November postcard project (the promised post still needs to be written), I took a few days to add some stitches to my owl, just to have a sense of making some progress. So here’s the previous version:

Progress shot of counted cross-stitch embroidery of a cute owl

And this is today’s state of things:

I’m working on the beak, and there’s also some structure appearing on the wings. I may have caved on buying a couple of other kits from Gecko Rouge that I absolutely adore, but I’m committing to finish this owl before starting the next one when it arrives.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #14 – again

November 15, 2020 at 10:33 am | Posted in Embroidery | 10 Comments
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Unfortunately I haven’t touched this in the last three weeks, so here’s the last state again:

Progress shot of counted cross-stitch embroidery of a cute owl

I have been busy elsewhere, however: my November project is making a textile postcard for every day of the month, that is, 30 in all. I’ll do a writeup here when the month is up, but you can follow along as I’m doing them in this twitter thread. I hope to have something more to show on the embroidery side next time.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

Challenge 2020 – not a 25th Anniversary

November 1, 2020 at 10:12 am | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 2 Comments
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A couple of weeks from now, there should have been my local quilt group’s 25th anniversary exhibition. But since it’s 2020, this will obviously not happen. Last year around this time, as we always do, we set ourselves a challenge for this exhibition, and since I won’t be showing the result in real life just yet, I thought I should at least post about it.

There were three different elements to the challenge this year: a silvery holographic fabric, silver ornaments (a rosette and a star) and a reference to the number 25. The silver is referring to the use of silver in connection with a 25th wedding anniversary. The size of those is standardized to 40x40cm, so we can use the same hanging system every year.

When thinking about a design for the quilt, one thing was immediately obvious for me – the 25 is going to be a 5-patch block made of 25 squares. I was going for a checkerboard effect using light, dark, and the silver holographic fabric. Around this, of course it had to be a celebratory rainbow, since I still haven’t worked out my fascination with rainbows from last year. A fairly short time later, I had this:

checkerboard 5-patch with light and dark/silver squares, surrounded by a rainbow colourwheel radiating out.

The finished quilt is pretty similar, since I decided to keep the quilting minimal – I just used straight lines in the middle of all the pieces using a silver thread.

Finished 2020 Challenge quilt - silver/black and white checkerboard 5-patch with asymmetric rainbow colourwheel surrounding it.

So, that’s two of the three elements – the holographic fabric and the number 25. So, where are the silver ornaments? To be honest, I don’t think the quilt needs them, and I probably will attach them for the exhibition and remove them later. But it’s still a good question where to put them. My original idea was putting them on the black squares of the checkerboard, but I’m currently leaning more towards something like this, emphasizing the diagonal of the quilt:

Possible positions of the silver ornaments along the diagonal of the 2020 Challenge quilt.

I’ll probably even go a bit more random with the positions, having a wider path in the upper left on the yellows and fewer in the lower right. But I have a whole year now to make that particular decision, so I’m not worrying about it right now.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #14

October 25, 2020 at 7:14 am | Posted in Embroidery | 17 Comments
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Another tiny bit of progress this time, but we’re starting to see colour!

Last time:

Counted cross-stitch of a colourful owl in progress

Now:

Progress shot of counted cross-stitch embroidery of a cute owl

The reds are on the beak and on the upper part of the wings, which is not a huge area, but there’s lots of different colours involved, so I might take a while on this.

I think progress will stay slow in general on this, since I do try to prioritize my own creative projects when I have the brainspace for them. This one is a good travel project, and in fact the progress was made when I was traveling for a few days at the beginning of October. But who knows when I’ll get to do that again, and at home I mostly have my own projects on the go.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

Green Woman #12 – Finished!

October 11, 2020 at 8:39 am | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 5 Comments
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Celebrations are in order! I’ve finally finished all the invisible bits and pieces that were still missing, and now I have a finished quilt I’m very happy with. Here it is:

Finished quilt with image of "Green Woman" by Iain Clark.
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In addition to putting on the binding, adding a label and a tunnel for hanging, I added a few tiny details that were better left for embroidery and beads than for patchwork:

Detail of "Green Woman", showing the sundew flowers with embroidery and beads.

Here are the sundew flowers with the shiny beads, and I also gave the flower on the upper right a few:

Detail of "Green Woman", showing the beaded center of the flower on the upper right.

That’s one long-term project done, and I am happy with the result. Who knows when I’ll be able to show it off to people in real life, though, with everything that’s not happening this year.

Off to find something new to get obsessed with, now…

SAL Update – Prism Owls #13

October 4, 2020 at 7:51 am | Posted in Embroidery | 15 Comments
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It’s been three weeks again! Just a tiny bit of progress this time, but I did finish all the black stitches inside the owl. Last time:

Counted Cross-stitch picture of a colourful owl in progress

And now:

Counted cross-stitch of a colourful owl in progress

The wings and the beak will be in the reddish tones of the feathers above the eyebrows, while the belly feathers will be in the same greens as the little piece at the top of the head. I’ll probably start in on the reds next.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, AJ, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #12

September 13, 2020 at 7:32 am | Posted in Embroidery | 18 Comments
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I’ve made actual progress this time! Here’s last time (6 weeks ago in this case):

In-progress picture of a cross stitch showing a colourful owl.

And now she looks like this:

Counted Cross-stitch picture of a colourful owl in progress

Not much colour yet, but I did get the black in the interior mostly done, and you can now see the structure of the feathers on her belly.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, AJ, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

SAL Update: Prism Owls #11 – again

August 23, 2020 at 6:57 am | Posted in Embroidery | 12 Comments
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Sorry, not a single stitch done since last time, I was busy doing other things. I do hope to have something for next time. So, my owl is still looking the same:

In-progress picture of a cross stitch showing a colourful owl.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, AJ, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

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