Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Other Side

I started the center seam on the other side of my kimono. I chose this design because it reminds me of so many of the pine tree designs you see on Japanese items. I like how the larger beads fade from dark to light (they're laid out to the left of the seam). The seed beads are metallic and kind of copper-colored, but don't show up well on all the fabrics. So on the blue fabric, for instance I'm using some darker brown seed beads. I'll have to choose which seed beads to use as I work my way down the seam.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kimono Half Done!!!

YAY! I have finished the embellishing on one side of my kimono! I can't decide which is my favorite seam treatment. I've already started the center front seam of the other side, which will take awhile since it is kind of long.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Day 64 & Day 33 combined

Here is my latest seam treatment. The top portion is from SharonB's Day 33 and the lower portion is an adaptation of Sharon's upper treatment in Day 64. Sharon's Day 33 has bugle beads up against the cretan stitch, but I didn't make my cretan stitches big enough for that, so on the other side I put my version of Day 64. I really like Sharon's elongated pearls, but I only have those in white & I needed more color here.

Yesterday's seam treatment,
replaced the one below, which you can see is very lightweight. Since I am working on a kimono, I wanted the seams delineating the sleeves to balance out. I don't think all the seams in a regular block need to be the same weight....

Monday, August 28, 2006

Another CQ seam Redo

Well, I had to take out another seam and redo it. It seems (no pun intended) that I chose a light and airy seam treatment on a seam that needed a little more punch, to balance out the other side of the kimono. I replaced it with this seam treatment, which was a lot of fun with all the different beads. I'm finding that on a small project, some of the seam treatments just don't work - they need more space than a few inches. So I will have to save those for my next project.

A tip for whose eyes are as bad as mine....
I am a detail person. I've always had trouble with the "big picture" and love to get down to the knitty gritty, especially when looking at all the fabulous embroidery on the web. Sometimes a block I see just doesn't have enough detail for me to tell what the stitcher did. So I do a "copy image" and "paste" into a word document, use "print preview" and then look at the stitches at 200-300%. It's a great way to see the details.....

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Shoppping Jackpot & Button Wreath Closeups

I hit the shopping Jackpot! Yesterday I went to my local JoAnn ETC. (fabric/craft store) and they were selling discontinued samples from their home dec department. So there were lots of silky, shiny wonderful fabrics. Each sample was an 18" square and was 50 cents! Perfect for CQ! I avoided the thicker fabrics that were for unholstering a couch, but got some lovely golds, creams, greens and blues.

In response to a request for more Button Wreath close-ups, here are a few.

I love the way mother of pearl can look white, creamy, peach and rainbow....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Another CQ seam (redo Day 19) & Button Wreath

Here is one of my seam treatments. I had woven the herringbone stitches with some velour, like in SharonB's day 19, but it was too heavy , so I went with a more lightweight thread for the weaving and added some embellishment also. The blackish cord Sharon used for her weaving seems to be useful in so many ways. I'd like to know what exactly that is. Sharon, if you're reading this, can you tell us more about your cord?

I have mentioned before that I got a lot of buttons from my grandmother, and when she died no one else wanted them, so I got more. I had so many mother of pearl buttons; they are so pretty and just sat in a drawer, so I made a wreath out of them. I wrapped a wreath form with some gold ribbon, then glue-gunned the buttons on. Hot-melt glue peels right off of pearl, so if I ever want to use them for something else, they aren't ruined or anything. I really like the cat and the bird buttons.

Blogs and Buttons

I just discovered 2 new (to me) blogs while surfing. Check out:

Judith's Material Musings


Rick Rack Ruby

Since we can never have enough embellishments for our crazy quilts, I was surfing around looking for charms and cool buttons. There's lots to see at:

JustNan for charms

Mill Hill for treasures(little glass birds, etc.)

Susan Clarkes for buttons, charms, etc.

Happy embellishing!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Miscellaneous Musings.....

No pix to share today. Instead of stitching yesterday, I spent some time with the latest issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. Always a happy day when that shows up in the mail! Their 2007 calendar challenge is described somewhat like: make a quilt inspired by the setting, a character or a mood in a favorite fiction book. This just seems amazingly difficult to me. There's a big difference between making something beautiful and evoking a mood. I would like to do something like this, but don't even know how to start thinking about it. Do you truly pick a book you love and go from there? (You can't use any images or phrases from the book because of copyrights) Or do you choose a technique or an idea that you think you could do and find a book to match? I guess this really puts me in the category of craftsperson, not artist. Of course I have no training in the arts, but I'd really like to know how to traverse this path from A(book) to B(idea).

The other thing I spent yesterday doing was pouring through Carol Sample's book, looking for that trellis pattern. At first I thought it would be impossible to find. But then I realized that I had never actually read the book, just looked at the pictures, which is a bad habit of mine. Her categorization of all the stitch types is so left-brain for such a right brain activity as making these beautiful stitches! I was surprised.

On a humorous note, I was thinking back to when I was embroidering my jeans as a teenager in the 70s. I didn't know the stem stitch, so did a lot of outlining of motifs in backstitch. I didn't like the way the outline looked chopped up, so I would go back and whip the outline to make it look better. I thought I had invented the whipped backstitch! The funny thing is, though, that I didn't think it was a good thing, I just thought of it as "cheating" to get my final motif to look better. Teenagers.....

Today I was teaching my daughter how to sew (she's 13). We are making a stuffed dragon. It has felt spines on its back that had to be sewn together. I showed her the usual method - stitch to the point, needle-down, rotate and continue stitching. There were about 10 of these spines. I sometimes forget she's still a child. Every time she got to the "rotate" part, she would sing out "Wheeeeeee!”

We had to cut off a few spines after they were sewn together. She loved ripping out some of the stitches, (she has a totally different attitude toward the seam ripper than I do) then played with this little thing that was left. Sometimes it was a bird, sometimes a plane, sometimes a pterodactyl, sometimes an elephant. Later she spent 2 hours cutting minute pieces of felt for legs, attaching sequined fabric on its back and sewing on 2 sequin eyes. Now she has this cute little 3" dragon that she's so proud of! Kids are amazing....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fans seam treatment

Here is another seam treatment on my small kimono. I started out with the chain stitch in a serpentine curve, ready to stitch one of Sharon B's 100details, and then decided to try fans. I used cotton embroidery floss for the chain stitching, then rayon ribbon floss (Rainbow Gallery's Neon Rays) for the lines in the fan. The black is size 8 Pearl Cotton - straight stitches on the sides of the fan and a (short-tailed) fly stitch at the base of each fan. I really like how it came out. Hope you do too ...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Iris Susan's Trellis seam treatment

When I saw this seam treatment of Iris Susan's I fell in love with it and just had to try it. It looks oriental to me, so I put it on one of my kimono seams. Check out the rest of her seam treatments - they are wonderful! Here is my version

I found it very hard to get all those lines perpendicular and even - although I used a template to help me.

Have you ever volunteered for something once, only to have it end up being your job forever? My church has a Holiday Boutique every year in November. About 4 years ago I was in charge of it and have made lots of items to sell each year. Last year a good friend of mine was in charge and I wanted to make sure she had a successful one, so I made over 100 ornaments for it. All the money goes to various charities - battered women's shelter, etc. so it's all for a good cause. Most of my ornaments involved stitching of only the simplest kind - a little SRE and some blanket/buttonhole stitching around a felt ornament, for instance. It was a way for me to be creative and have my creations DO something, not just sit in a closet somewhere. The market for these items was very limited though; items over $20 never sell well and cute items fared better than sophisticated ones. Well this year I share the responsibility with 3 other women. And this year all I want to do is CQ! Now that I've gotten back into it, thanks to Sharon B (and her inaminuteago blog) I feel so much like I've found my niche. But I feel like I will always be expected to make tons of stuff for the boutique. I get so involved in Oct/Nov with the Boutique that my garden is neglected (and looks it) and life is just sort of putting out fires. I, too would like to take Sharon's encrusted class, but I wouldn't be able to do it justice if I signed up just before the Boutique. and learn, I guess. I'm not the kind of person to sign up for something and then not do it, but I am just sooooo jazzed about CQ! Feeling selfish and guilty at the same time......

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Fiber Fest '06 (Photo-heavy)

Well I went to the Fiber Fest in Santa Monica today!

It was smaller than I expected; I've been to bead shows that were much larger at the same venue. But there was good stuff to be seen and bought, none the less.
There were wonderful quilts on exhibit. I've included a few pix of them here:
This is a combination quilt, with CQ around the more traditional applique blocks.

I took a couple of close ups of the CQ embroidery; see below:

Quilting Arts Magazine had an exihibit of ATCs. They were all so varied - I can see why they are so intriguing - you can try a new technique in a small space - you're not risking much and may come out with something great! One of my favorite ATCs:

There were demos of spinning (with 2 live and fluffy alpacas) and lots of looms set up. There were women walking around wearing these long capes that were like CQ knitting. They belonged to a group that did free-form knitting and crochetting and these capes were big, colorful, sometimes fluffy, with big leaves hanging off the sides - they were wild. Here is a purse made by one of the free-form knitters. The picture just doesn't do it justice - it was fabulous!

I dyed this lace! You just paint on the dyes - I ended up buying the dyes - it is permanent on natural fabrics once it dries. She had absolutely wonderful laces.

I thought and hoped there would be more crazy quilts on display there, besides the one pictured above. That was the only one, but there were various others that were very interesting - I got a few pix of them:

I bought some very small buttons, and some glass leaves - perfect for a CQ seam. I also bought some "wire lace" - which is very fine wire knitted or woven into a tube. You can stretch out the sides of the tube and it will stay in that shape. You can also put a bead inside the tube, if you wanted to make a necklace, for instance. It's very strange and interesting. Thought I would experiment with it in a seam treatment. I also got some fibers meant for knitting - a very thin "braid" that is hand-dyed and is almost a very narrow rick-rack. I was very impressed with the hand-dyed rick-rack on some of the CQ blocks people have posted on flickr. So I want to try the dyes that I got for the lace on rick-rack. Now I just wonder if most rick-rick is cotton or polyester.

I was talking with some other women there who were disappointed there wasn't more CQ stuff for sale - like cigarette silks, threads, etc. I did buy some fabric-covered paper that you put in your inkjet printer so you can make your own "cigarette silks" by printing a photo or some clip art. This is something I want to try adding to a CQ block also. Well, all in all, it was a fun time - great inspiration, great sharing, new plans and dreams for CQ....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Day 7 & Fabulous Fiber Fest 2006

Here is my version of Day 7. (I think there was too much sun - the brown is a little washed out) See SharonB's Day 7 here. I'm so glad I bought those tiny sequins way back when. Those are red seed beads on top of the tiny gold sequins. The black fiber is a Rainbow Gallery tubular pantyhose-like fiber, woven through a backstitch. The bugle beads up the right side are one of my subtle seam treatments.

I'm so excited - this weekend is the Fabulous Fiber Fest and bead show in Santa Monica. I will be going on Saturday and can't wait. Anyone else in the area planning to attend?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Still Stitchin' along on CQ Kimono

Well, I've stitched a few more seams on my small kimono, but believe it or not, I wanted to downplay a couple of the seams, to keep the emphasis on the vertical lines of the kimono near the sleeves. Ever try to embellish in a subtle way? Kind of anti-CQ, really. So I''ve worked my way back to regular embellishing with this seam. I think I got way too small on this one; I had to use the little tiny super-magnified area on my magnifier, which can drive a person crazy.

Also, I've been surfing pix of embroidery & CQ - which can get so addicting you can spend all your time surfing instead of stitching....always trying to find that balance... Anyway, while surfing I came upon some beautiful pictures of over-the-top sequin embroidery from India. To see these, go to Sequins. And I'm sure SharonB has pointed to LindaB's work, but I am continually blown away every time I see her fabulous peacock wall hanging. Check it out at peacocks.
Happy Stitching!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Old Embroidery?

I was rooting through my closet in the back, through the clothes I rarely wear & came across this shirt I embroidered as a teenager. The chain stitches are only about an eighth of an inch long! I could never do this now - the old eyes just wouldn't be able to handle it. When I was 16, I used to embroider jeans patches. I would go with my mom to antique shows (she was a dealer) and put my patches in a basket on her table and charge - get this - one dollar each!

I wonder how old others were when they first began to stitch and who taught them. Anyone else still have some oldies-but-goodies?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The White Rabbit

Like I said in a previous post, I'm busy with VBS this week, so I have no time to stitch the 100 Details. Just thought I'd post this pic of some silk embroidery I did. I used buttonhole twist for this, sometimes separating it into 3 strands, then ironing it and stitching with just one strand(!).

This is a button that's about 3" in diameter. I used to belong to a Button Collectors Club. I have a collection of beautiful antique buttons, some that were my Grandmothers. Sometimes people would ask me to embroider them a button with a certain picture, so they could have a whole set of, say peacock buttons. This was one I did for myself.....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day 27of 100 Details

Here is my version of SharonB's Day 27 Although it was a challenge to marry red & turquoise, I really had fun with the many beads & sequins in this seam treatment. Sometimes I focus too much on getting it done and how much time it will take, instead of just enjoying the process. If it weren't for Sharon's inaminuteago, I wouldn't be as far as I am on this project....

This week I'm helping out with Vacation Bible School, so I won't be able to stitch much CQ, but will try to send out some eye candy every day or two. (The first graders are sooo cute!)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Memories of my mother & some SRE

One Christmas many years ago, my mom and I both gave each other the same gift for Christmas - Judith Montano's Crazy Quilt Odyssey book. It was so fun and so funny. I don't remember how I learned to embroider, but I was doing it as a teenager - I think I might have been self-taught. My mother didn't teach me, rather I taught her. At one time she was sentenced to 6 months of bedrest because of an enlarged heart. During that time I flew back to Ohio to cook her some meals and help care for her. While I was there, I taught her embroidery. She was always very creative and talented - she won countless awards for her sewing and her Japanese flower arrangements. She would cut off every bud except one on a dahlia, then when that one bloomed it would be a fabulous flower.

She took to embroidery like a kitten to milk. When you're laid up for 6 months, what more fun could there be than to have the mailman delivering weekly packages of fun threads and fibers? Since SharonB's inaminuteago blog got me back on the CQ track, I got out her CQ squares and have been thinking a lot about her. She died about 14 years ago and had 16 squares - some finished, most not. One interesting thing she put on one of the squares was a tombstone with her mother's initials and lifetime dates. I wonder if I'll eventually add one for her.

After she died, I was depressed for about 2 years. I eventually did this embroidery of her as a young woman walking through heaven. For her, I thought, heaven would be very flowery. And she could go back to being a younger woman, walking through the garden of Eden. Her name was June.

Well here she is... She is walking on some antique kimono fabric that I inlaid into the brocade fabric, then embroidered over the seam with all kinds of flowers. You can see close-ups of the stitching if you click on my flickr pix on the right side bar. The pix have descriptions of some of the stitches I used.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Day 27 and a half?

I started out intending to do the beaded Cretan stitch in SharonB's Day 34, but my Cretan stitch was too small to sport beads next to it, and since the olive fabric has those flowers in it, I couldn't resist using my flower beads on the red side. I must admit, when I bought the beads, I wondered why I would ever want black flowers. But here I am using them and totally happy. One of my next seams is red next to turquoise - am wondering how I will wed those two disparate colors.