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Yesterday I finished this crazy quilt wall hanging and hung it outside my apartment, in the hall.   Outside apartment

This project began in 2005, when I first conceived the desire to create a series of embroideries on the theme of the S shape. For several years, I had been thinking about words that described my life as it had become–housebound and very limited (at that time); and all the words began with S. In fact, I began a Mind Map to collect my ideas as early as 2004. At the time I got the idea to make embroideries using the S shape in the designs, I was listening to Bach Partitas, and I thought I would like to make a stitched “partita”–a set of variations on a theme. But it was not until 2006 that I got to work on the idea seriously.

By this time I had 14 S words that I wanted to make embroideries for. When I have in my outer life silence, simplicity, solitude, slowness, stability, study, and stitching, then in my inner life I have satisfaction, self-sufficiency, serenity, softening, spaciousness, spontaneity, and synchronicities.    These words define my spiritual life. To them I could add Spirit/Self.

The design process began on paper, late in 2013,as participation in CQJP 2014. I wanted to see how 12 blocks with black seam treatments would look. I made myself some blocks with colored pencils on paper, cut them out, and tried out arrangements. Next I chose fabrics and hand-basted 12 CQ blocks. I photographed and printed them and played with various arrangements.  I also began to make notes for seam treatments. Paper-blocks                          Pieced Seam-treatments-on-paper              On-paper
Basted-block From several sources, I found S’s to transfer to the blocks, first on the printed paper blocks, then on to the fabric blocks

In January  last year, I chose the threads and beads I wanted to use and I stitched a trial block.  See it below. (I’m having a helluva time getting WordPress to put pictures where I want them. I used to be able to drag them where I wanted them.)      January-trial-block

Work-in-progress. It took  me until the end of  the year to finish embellishing the blocks. It took  me until a few weeks ago to know how I wanted to finish the piece.  The border was once a velveteen skirt. Because I’m not skilled at constructing a quilt, I chose to mount it on padded foamcore. I covered the back with black cotton quilting material.

IMG_4487I’m fairly happy with the finished product.  Yesterday a neighbor knocked on my door to tell me how much she liked it. We spent about 15 minutes talking about it, as she asked me questions. Having done crewel embroidery many years ago, she recognized some of the stitches.

Now, what next?

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Beau with her bag

Beau received the bag and book two days ago. Here she is with the bag loaded for an outing at the park.

Beau

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Having gotten out of the habit of frequent blogging, I’m finding it hard to get back into it. I’ve shown you the work-in-progress on Beau’s bag.  It’s finished and I’ve mailed it off to Vashon Island–the bag with the Kate Greenaway book inside. It just fits. Here you can see the front and the back. I stitched the CQ blocks to a ready-made canvas bag. The front has alphabet letters and critters on the patches. The back has numerals and flora motifs. On both sides I included shisha, thinking Beau would get a kick out of the tiny mirrors.

Front Back

 

Now I’m working on a sampler–just something to keep me stitching, as I’m still finding it hard to do so every day. Here’s Guilloche stitch for the border. It’s funny how putting a border on it makes the sampler feel more important–worth trying to do it well.

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Counting threads is not my favorite stitching technique, but I like the even stitches it produces. This sampler is on Aida evenweave fabric.

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Though I’ve done quite a bit of crazy quilting, piecing blocks for embellishment, it is still hard for me to do by machine.  I know how much faster it would be if I used the sewing machine. So I decided to try piecing the bag for Beau on the machine. I was following directions for what was supposedly the easiest method. First, I designed a pattern. There’s a Kate Greenaway little girl on the central patch.

Piecing

Well, I spent most of the afternoon yesterday trying to match the patches on the foundation fabric. It just wasn’t working. In the end, I gave up and went to my preferred method of hand basting the patches. After basting them, I stitched the seams with invisible stitching. Here’s the result.

Piecing

This morning, I looked at my work and realized that I had made a mistake. I pieced the blue patch on the right over the light tan (#3) patch below the central patch. So today I unstitched three patches and corrected my mistake. Now it looks like this.

Redone

I’ve started stitching the little girl with split stitch using a single strand of DMC floss.

And I’m trying to get myself back into the habit of blogging. So even though I don’t have much to show, I’m writing anyhow.

From month to month I can’t see any improvement in my health, but looking back six months, when I was in Shepherd Pratt Hospital, I’m very much better now.

 

 

 

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My other grandchildren and great-grandchildren have something I have made for them. Beau does not. She was born in 2010, when I was stricken with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Try as I could, I was not able to think about what to make or to create it, but I’ve always had in mind the desire to make something for her. A couple of months ago Kate Greenaway’s illustrations came into my mind. I decided that I would try to design something that incorporated one or more of her images. At Amazon.com I found a book of iron-on transfers of her illustrations of children.Greenaway_0001

Greenaway_0002Subsequently, I searched for her books and found this compilation of selections from her most popular books, first published in the late 19th century and reprinted in 1979.

Still I did not know what I would make. Dear friend Maureen in Australia suggested a small tote bag with a book in it. Yes! Great idea. When she’s not using the bag, Beau can have it as a wall-hanging. I think I will make the bag a crazy quilt design with a Greenaway illustration on a central patch of the front of the bag.

For practice, both with ironing on the transfer and with stitching it, I made this trial cloth. It’s a good thing I did as I managed to smear part of the pattern. I’ll know better when I’m ready to do the patch for the bag.

IMG_4574_edited-2    Now to design the crazy patchwork.

I’m still forcing myself to make things. It’s too hard sometimes, but stitching this practice piece was pure pleasure–the first time I’ve felt that way about stitching in many months. It is stitched in split stitch and some satin stitch with a single strand of DMC cotton floss. You know how slow that is! Yet I was able to spend several hours yesterday absorbed in this project, contentedly. Progress!

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Having finished the embellishment of my CQJP 2014 quilt and having joined all the seams, I’m now waiting for an opportunity to shop for fabric for border(s) and back. Here’s the quilt so far. It’s tacked to my design board.

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For weeks I’ve been thinking about what I want to do next. This past week I’ve been asking myself what do I want to do. Today I got out a pile of fabrics and chose some for a crazy quilt block. I was also online looking for a pattern I could crib, rather than make one myself. I chose Sharon Boggon’s pattern for Block 82   of her” I dropped the buttonbox quilt.” Do click on the link to see her work.Here’s the pattern I printed from Sharon’s website. For my block, I enlarged patch #7.

block82-diagram

Then I reviewed a method of piecing using a pattern that I have done in the past. I slightly modified Sharon’s pattern so that I could have a large patch of a particular fabric, then transferred the pattern to foundation fabric. Here’s how the back of the block looks. As you can see, #7 patch is on the left.

Back-of-block

Because it would take time to set up my sewing machine, and because any mistakes done in machine stitching would be harder to take out, I stitched the patches by hand. Also, I prefer to stitch by hand rather than by machine, and that means I have not become proficient with the sewing machine. The stitching is easily done from the back of the block where I just stitch over the pattern lines. Here’s the front of the block.

Front-of-block

Well, I surprised myself today. I had no plan to make anything and it just happened that I did. I wonder what will be next as I try to get myself back into regular, joyful stitching…and blogging. So far, I’m having to make myself do it.

 

 

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January block

Once again I am participating in the Crazy Quilt Journal Project.

I have pieced 13 6″ blocks, one for each month and one for practice. Here is the the 13th block, my trial block. I wanted to try out some of my ideas and see how they would look.

13th block

Here is my January block.

January

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