Second Block Finished

I finished the second crazy block!

 This is a close-up of the silk ribbon wreath, fan, and monogram.
#3 is ready to go!  And I think I'm ready to start trying to add fabric photos with number 4.



A Crazy Treasured Friend-oops! I meant a friend's crazy treasure!

This beautiful crazy quilt belongs to my new friend, Roxann.  It is about 24-30" square (I didn't measure it) and was made by her greatgrandmother in the 1920s-30s.  Katie Todd was born in 1852 and died in 1938.  The backing and border was added by Roxann's mother in 1986. 

Check out the beautifully embroidered rose and the nifty little appliqued bow.  How cool is that?  While the overall effect of the quilt is dark, many of the fabrics are very light and keep your eye moving.

I've really enjoyed seeing all of the designs Katie used for her seams.  I've been getting overwhelmed thinking that my quilt won't be "authentic", but seeing a true Victorian crazy has made me realize that I'm way too uptight over the whole thing.  No, it wasn't made in a strictly Victorian year, but who can say that Katie wasn't a true Victorian woman?
I love the scalloped looking effect of the white on black in the middle-left area.  Can't you just imagine where she might have salvaged all of these fabrics from?  That pink might have been her daughter's best dress and the green her ball gown.  The stripe looks like it could've been her walking dress. 


First Crazy Block is Finished!

I finally finished embroidering a block.  It feels like it took a year, but really it was only a few weeks.  Since I'm not putting a time constraint on this project, it really doesn't matter.  The next ones will probably take longer.
I'm posting a picture of the whole block and then some close-ups.  The ribbons were dyed by my son and me.  The orange and yellow medallion was also his dye job.  The tatted lace was a birthday gift from a friend that I dyed and the sea foam and ecru ribbon was a gift from another friend who visited Europe last year and brought me yards of it for my souvenir.  Apparently my friends know me well!

I am really enjoying embroidering again.  I was taught as a young child by my grandmother, but have never done much with it. 

This is my second block.  I embroidered the wreath right after I made the block because that wide open white velvet was calling to me and wouldn't leave me alone.  Don't you hate it when that happens?  Then I went back to work on the first one.  Do you recognize the green fabric in the lower left corner?  That one is from the chair I recovered a while back.


Oriental Fan

This is the Oriental Fan runner that I made earlier in the summer for a class.  Unfortunately, too many things happened for me to teach the class, but I hope to soon. 

I used fat eighths of several Japanese type fabrics for the fan blades, handles, and red strips.  The border was a very pretty white fabric with thin lined red branches.  It was too white for the other fabrics so I tea dyed it.  I love tea dye. 

What do you think?


First Post in Forever

After forever away, I'm back!  Too many awful things have happened in the last few months to even begin to list and I've spent most of my "free" time just trying to remember to breathe.
In the midst of it all, I decided to finally start the crazy quilt I've wanted to make for 20 years.  It may take me another 20 years to finish it, but that's ok.  At least I've taken the first step. 

It doesn't have any embellishment yet, but that is something I can work on at night or at lunch time, etc.  I've been collecting fabrics for a really long time.  This includes several sari pieces, satins, velvet, and a drapery piece.  I'm not exactly sure what the blue flowered piece is.  But it's cool. 

Not bad for the first block.  I hope to eventually get some of the silk fabric that can go through the printer for photos of my family. 

I'll keep you "posted" on my progress.  Until then-remember to do something for yourself!


My Favorite Mesquite Tools

Today I thought I would share my favorite mesquite tools.  On the left is my new seam ripper.  It has a large ripper on one end and a small on the other.  Both pop off and slip inside to protect the ripper and your hand when it's not needed.  When both ends are inside, it kind of reminds me of an ear of corn with the little holders stuck into the ends.  I got this at the local market day downtown.

In the middle is a wooden iron given to me by my friend Shirley and made by her husband.  I've never had or used one before, but now I'm hooked!  It's super convenient by the sewing machine because I hate getting up to use the regular iron every few seams when I'm paper piecing.  I have a mini electric iron, but I've found that the wooden one is so much better!  Thanks again, Shirley.

The cigar-looking thing on the right holds my long tatting needles and a couple of tiny crochet hooks.  My dad made it for me a few years ago.  The needles come in a clear plastic tube, but why use plastic when you can have something that looks much cooler?  My folks specialize in custom mesquite furniture, pens, etc.  They recycle the coolest stuff into furniture, like cast iron stove bases into coffee tables, etc.  They also turn old bowling balls into pens.  Check out their website at http://www.mostlymesquite.com/

Mesquite is native to South Texas and is the bane of many farmers and ranchers, but it is a hard wood with a beautiful red hue.  Because it grows with lots of bends, it's hard to find a straight piece longer than around 3'.  It has superb grain lines and the occasional interesting void.  Mesquite...it's not just for barbeque.


More Student Blocks

Here are two more sets of blocks from Thursdays class...
Lisa's blocks have a sweet, almost pastel look.  But look closer and see the deranged rabbits, freaky birds, and killer bugs.  It's a cute runner on acid. 

I love the contrast of the teal and fuschia in Jan's blocks.  With the lighter colors and the black, it really makes a statement.


Student Creations

Would you like to see some of the blocks by a couple of the ladies participating in last night's class?  Of course you would! 
It's very gratifying to see someone take my design and put their own stamp on it.  The creativity is commendable!


Michelle chose wild, bright fabrics and a white background.  There are swirls, paisleys, flowers, butterflies-you name it!  Very modern and hip.


Shirley opted for a muted dusty lilac, cream, and dusty rose to create a very elegant runner.  I think the applique pieces are from a Tina Givens line, but I could be wrong.  The background of the blocks is a dusty rose Fusions piece.

I love seeing how each individual puts her stamp on the same pattern. 

More to come later!


Bohemian Tile Runner

Brilliant!  My blog is new and I'm already behind!  It's been two weeks since I posted last, but a lot has happened in those two weeks, so I'm not going to beat myself up. 

I finished the Bohemian Tile runner.  I absolutely love the colors and fabrics!  I will be teaching a class on this design on Thursday of this week.  My patterns are also for sale, so if you see something you like on the blog, just drop me a line.  I hope my designs inspire you, but please remember to not plagiarize because that's just not nice.

The pieces are appliqued using fusible web and a straight stitch.  I've never used a straight stitch for applique, but I saw it in a book and thought it was pretty cool, since the fusible web will be holding the pieces down, too.  I don't recommend that stitch for anything that will be washed often.


New pattern

I've been working on a new design/pattern for a class I'll be teaching on April 28th.  It will be a table runner in the style of a tile quilt.  I've been inspired by the book Quilt Tile Revival to try something new.  Since applique is not my strong suit, mostly because I shy away from it, I thought this would be a good chance to get some practice in. 

As you can see, the fabrics I'm using for this particular runner are a tad outspoken.  I love the 4-petaled shape in the right lower corner that was fussy cut from a rose.  The block designs are paisley and other related free-flowing type shapes.  I'm still trying to think of a name for the runner.  I should have it all appliqued and the border added by this Thursday (the 14th) when we have a sewing night. 


Non-quilt Accomplishment

I've had the most beautiful Aesthetic style slipper chair in my bedroom for a couple of years now.  I absolutely love the carvings, the wood, etc.  I also loved the color of the fabric (green) that almost perfectly matched the bedroom walls.  What I didn't love was the design and peachy accents in the fabric.  The colonial/Victorian/whatever look just didn't do justice to the carvings and style of the chair.  So, I waited patiently (!?!) for the perfect fabric to go on sale at Hancocks at the same time that I had some extra pocket change and was making a trip to Victoria.  It finally happened when I was at the quilt show I mentioned before. 
Last night I finally recovered the chair and it looks perfect.  The new fabric has more of an Aesthetic or William Morris look to me.  I did forget to buy trim, though.  Hopefully I can take care of that this weekend. 
What do you think of my new masterpiece?  And I know it's incredibly dusty, but it's not from my housekeeping.  It's from the old batting and the fabric I took off.


Woo-hoo!! My first blog!

My friend Lisa came over last night to "help" me play with my new lace dyes that I got from Charlotte Anne (you have to see her stuff!) at the Victoria, Texas quilt show a couple of weekends ago.  I've never done anything like this before.  I love lace, I love to tea dye, and Rit is my friend for shirts and such, so I had to give dying lace a try.  We practiced on some old stuff, and cheap Wally stuff.  I'm not ready to touch the really pretty medallions I got from Charlotte yet.  (Are you one of those people who can buy lots of yard goods and then never cut into them because they might get messed up?  I am!) 
Lisa also finally pulled me into the 21st century (I was so enjoying the 19th still!) by setting up my blog.  Something about good for business, yada, yada, yada.  I may have tuned out some of the important stuff.  Fine.  I will say a (grudging) thank you, Lisa. 
So what do you think of my masterpieces?  The daisies and tiny heart lace is all 100% rayon.  The large medallion is a piece of vintage cotton that I've had forever.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it now, but I really like the way it turned out.