Nearing the Finish Line!!!

Finally, number 20 is complete!  I think it still needs something, but I'm not sure what yet.  It will come to me eventually.
The Tiffany blue brocade and lace are from my aunt's wedding suit back in the 60s.  The dark blue (it looks black in the picture) is from my uncle's dress blues that he wore for the wedding.  He was in the Navy and is a Vietnam Veteran.  I feel very, very blessed to have these fabrics but I'm not sure if it's because Aunt Tricia cut up their wedding outfits for me or because I have his uniform, a true piece of our history.  It's very humbling.  My aunt inspired me to start quilting.  She is very, very creative with a needle and thread and has unwittingly challenged me to change, adapt, and improve in my own little fabric world.  This is not to say that we are the same at all, but we do appreciate each other's work.  Aunt Tricia's quilts, and decorative clothing, is generally super bright and very modern, except for her work with buttons, neckties, and yo-yos.  (She is being featured in an upcoming issue of Belle Armoire.)  I tend to be much more traditional and while I enjoy pops of brights, I lean toward spring and fall colors. 
The brown floral, black cat, and turquoise paisley are from my cousin Tommie Sue, whose favorite colors are orange and turquoise.  Can you tell?  One of TS' jackets was in the Valentines issue of the same magazine this year.  I'm thrilled for them both to have been published, as well as extremely jealous!
I have never worked with wool before.  It sews nicely, but does it ever attract every snippet of thread and anything else!  How in the world do soldiers keep themselves looking as handsome and neat as they do?  It boggles the mind.  Anyway, the eagle pattern is from the Q is for Quilter blog that I found a few days ago.  I just had to play around with the size and transfer it to my water soluble stabilizer.  The USA is free hand.

My strawberries are satin stitched.  Didn't I say a long time ago that I was NOT going to satin stitch again?  Ah, well.  They turned out nicely.  The pink flowers to the left are silk ribbon and done in a lazy daisy stitch, as are the leaves.
Tommie Sue's Halloween cat was cute but needed something.  I picked out his whiskers, eyebrows, mouth, and ear hair with a single strand of gray.  There is satin stitching on the solid orange of the striped fabric he is wrapped in and black backstitching.

My lucky horseshoe full of flowers is tatted.  Some of the flowers I had laying around and can't remember where the patterns came from (sorry to anyone I have offended).  The horseshoe came from Be-stitched.  This is a very cool site with lots of different motifs well beyond the general doilies and edgings.  This arrangement didn't come out the way I envisioned, but I'm not sure what to do with it so it's staying as-is.
I finished the block last night and stitched it to some of the surrounding blocks early this morning.  Hopefully next week I will be able to share pictures of all the blocks sewn together, before the border is added.  I found the perfect fabric for that last weekend while shopping for school clothes.  I know, the fabric store is not the first place most people think of these days for school clothes.  But after spending that much time shopping with my little teen angels, I deserved a mommy break.
Comments?  Suggestions?


Finished Recycled Clothing Quilt

Hi, happy quilters!  If you are just joining me, you'll want to peek back at the last post to see the recycled quilt in progress. 
And, ta-da!  It's finished and delivered:
I apologize if the picture seems a little bleary.  I took it at 6:45 this morning when I was still a little bleary.  It finished out at 72" X 90."  There are twenty 18" blocks. 
I left the ruffles on the collars and skirts loose to add dimension.

And I put the bows and buttons back on the bodices.

The hardest thing about the quilt was appliqueing the pieces on, working with the thin/worn knit pajamas, and quilting through the really thick pieces.  All in all though, it was a very worthy project and turned out to be really cute with little planning.  I would recommend this project to anyone with lots of baby items and little room to store them.


Recycled Clothing Quilt

This is the latest quilt-in-progress.  A local lady brought me several of her daughter's dresses and various baby clothes and wanted them incorporated into a quilt.  I forgot to take a picture of the outfits before I started cutting into them.  I usually get excited about a project and forget to take pictures before beginning. 
I purchased the green and white polka dot and the white and green stripe to give some continuity to the quilt and in case I ran out of usable clothing scraps.  Everything else is from an outfit.  Dress skirts, even those for little girls, gives an amazing amount of fabric if you cut carefully.  In some cases I was able to use the lace or ruffle around the hem on the quilt.  I also cut around collars and bodices to applique.  There is no pattern and I really didn't use rhyme or reason when assembling the blocks.  Whatever fit went into a particular block, making sure that there was only one piece from any particular outfit in each block.  Then I laid them out to determine placement.
The little pajamas were appliqued onto bigger squares.  Anything with a ruffle, including skirts and collars, was left free.  I think it adds interest. 
This is a purse that came with the sunflower dress.  It was appliqued in it's entirety.  When I am finished with the quilt, I will attach some of the bows and buttons that were on the clothing, probably in the solid blue areas.

I made twenty 18" square blocks to make the full size quilt.  I chose not to use a border as I wanted the clothing to be the focus.  It has been quilted in a large meander since the last picture was taken and I am in the process of binding it with the green polka dot, which should act as a frame for the quilt.


A Glimpse

This week I've been busy putting blocks together, embellishing the seams between them, and moving and adding motifs within the blocks.  While I'm only showing two things today, rest assured that much more was done behind the scenes!

This is my take on the Sacred Heart.  I saw something similar on one of the quilts in Crazy-Quilted Memories by Brian Haggard and decided to design my own.  After drawing it, I traced it onto the water soluble stabilizer and embroidered using buttonhole, backstitch, straight stitch, and french knots.  I obviously did not soak off the stabilizer before I snapped the picture.  Mr. Haggard's designs strike me as more Eastlake-ish (not a word, I know) in form.  Since I love Eastlake and aesthetic, I find his work very interesting.  As a matter of fact, as I write this and look at these pictures, I see a few other of his inspirations that I've followed.  Note the wagon wheel on the top left of the picture below (the rest of that design is also inspired by Haggard) and the blue triangular seam design on the top left.

This spider and web are stitched between two joined blocks.  I love, love, love how it came out.  I made the spiderweb first and then searched online for a tatted spider pattern.  This is from be-stitched.  I chose turquoise for the middle of the spider because the suggested red (black widow) was just too scary for me. 

In Victorian times, a spider in the home was a sign of good luck.  I think the husbands just told the wives that so they wouldn't have to be bothered with killing spiders.  So, much like pineapples and other positive traditions, spiders were added to crazy quilts. 
Stay tuned.  Next week I hope to have the last block finished.  I'm still searching for the perfect fabric for the border of the whole quilt. 


Blood, Sweat, and Tears

This block really has been all about blood, sweat, and tears.  The blood starts with my poor sore fingers.  For some reason, it has been a particularly rough week with the needle and I've never been comfortable with a thimble.  I have an aversion to things that confine, like shoes, gloves, and thimbles.  Chalk it up to claustrophobia, but this week I kind of wish I had learned to use the thimble years ago.  To top it off, I burned two fingers and a thumb (different hands) at lunch time. 

Remember what the block looked like last week without the embroidery?  It's quite a change, eh?  First up is the lace purse.  The lace was from a vintage lace sleeve from Roxann.  I hated cutting into it, but this way I can see the beauty instead of being stuck in a box. 
To the right is my take on a hibiscus, embroidered on top of a sliver of tropical barkcloth.  I used to wear a lot of Hawaiian shirts. 
Here is my pocket watch appliqued from a piece of very pretty silk.  Ignore the purple marks, please.  That's just from the disappearing ink that hasn't disappeared.  I am planning to extend the chain into the next block when they are sewn together.  And yes, there is significance in the 3:00 time stamp.  The very pretty olive, beige, and rose fabric (which is also the softest thing on this quilt) is picked out with plain brown backstitching on the brown lines in the fabric.  It's subtle in the photograph, but very nice on the real thing.

This is where the tears come in.  Every time I located the peacock, it would disappear again.  Really.  I lost this thing at least 6 times.  I was so relieved to finally get it sewn on.  See the blue velvet it is mounted on?  I embossed that with a peacock feather rubber stamp, but you can really only see one of the feathers now. 

My corset mannequin took some doing.  I bought a stamp when out of town this weekend along with a set of dye markers.  Then, after coming home, realized that I didn't have the right stamp ink to apply it to my fabric.  Did I mention I live int he middle of nowhere?  I finally traced the design, embroidered it to the block, then filled it in with dye markers.  The flowers are those chiffon and tulle things I made before with the candle.  I like the outcome, but I still wish I had the right stamp pad.

One more block to go.  I don't think I will have it done for a couple of weeks due to time constraints, but next week I will post what the blocks are looking like sewn together.  I have ten together so far, but I am going to give my fingers a chance to heal before finishing the joining embroidery on them.


Little Bits of Randomness

Last week I had fun making lace with the embroidery machine.  All of my lace patterns are from Embroidery Library or Secrets of Embroidery.  Just search for "freestanding lace." 
These are some of my results:
green owl

brown rooster with lime bobbin-should be an "oops," but turned out very pretty

green frog with white bobbin

My favorite is the peacock (of course).  Like the others, it was designed to be sewn out in one color.  By watching very carefully I was able to switch out threads and come up with my masterpiece.  The dark color that may look brown is actually a deep plum.  The whole thing needs to have some more of the bobbin clipped, but that isn't nearly as much fun as the sewing.

I also assembled 3 sets of four crazy quilt blocks and have done the embroidery on the seams of two of the sets.  I've been worrying that they wouldn't fit together well and decided that the only way to stop worrying was to try it.  They work!  I haven't taken pictures of that yet.  Don't want to spoil the surprise.

This is what block 19 looks like without the embroidery.  I was going to take before pictures of all the blocks, but I was too anxious to get started that I only have pictures of one or two. 

Of course, crazy quilting is what I do in my free time.  I am currently working on a quilt using a young lady's baby and little girl clothes and dresses.  Hopefully I will have that top finished by next week and I will post a picture.  It's really cute so far.  The biggest challenge is the fabric availability.  I'm not sure if there will be enough for the twenty blocks I'm trying to squeeze out of it.  Otherwise I will have to add a border.  Not a problem, but not what I envisioned.