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  12:24:00 am, by Airycat   , 514 words  
Categories: Needlework, Sewing for the Home


Several years ago (before 2000, but I don't know exactly when) my mom got an older quilt that had been made simply by sewing two fabrics to batting. She decided she wanted a duvet cover instead and she carefully removed all the batting by opening one end and pulling all the quilt stitches out. She did that here in Oregon while visiting my sister. That was as far as she got before she had to return to NY.

When I moved here in 2004, my sister gave me a lot of fabric she didn't want, plus a lot of mom's fabric, since she would be living with me. This past week, mom said she didn't think she really wanted any of the fabric. She'd rather paint than sew. (I've never known my mom to sew much at all -- curtains, simple draperies, and an occasional chair cover --but if she could do it without sewing, she did.) Anyway, I was looking through the box and spied one I thought would make a lovely tablecloth. It turned out to be her "duvet."

Actually it would make two tablecloths that would look great in my kitchen. I checked it against the wall color and against the still-unfinished-curtains. Although the pattern is totally different from the curtains, the colors match exactly. Woohoo!

So today I worked on one of the tablecloths. I took the floral design and this is what I ended up with:

I just love it! I also made six napkins. I have enough for more, so I may make two more, but maybe not. Six is all we can fit at the table at this size and the cloth won't cover the table if it's expanded. I may use that fabric for another project instead. Don't know what, yet.

Here's a closeup of one of the napkins:

This is a photo of the teapot that was part of my inspiration for choosing the colors in my house:

Pretty much all the same colors!

I hope to do the other tablecloth (yellow check) by the end of next week. Maybe even tomorrow. I also want to get my curtains and shades finished. It has taken me forever to do them and I haven't even half finished. The other project I had hoped already to have finished is the cushions for the outdoor chairs. I don't know if you can see them in the second photo, or not, but they are old and drab and splitting along the seams. I have a gorgeous red hydrangea outdoor fabric for them. It would be nice if I could finish all these projects by the end of July. My workspace is a lot more comfortable now.

I didn't work on the fairy quilt again. This time it's because I took my machine into the shop. I was going to use the Husqvarna, but that would mean rewinding all my bobbins because the two machines don't use the same size. Since I have these other projects to work on, I figured I'd just wait for my own machine to work on the quilt.


  01:53:00 am, by Airycat   , 465 words  
Categories: Needlework, Chitchat, Fairy Quilt

A Feast!...

...A veritable feast, I tell you! I saw Alice in Wonderland, and loved it and followed Susan Elliott as she did her inspiring AiW CQ block, but OMG!! I saw The Lion King tonight and it was indeed a feast for the eyes for anyone who loves color and fiber/fabric! (and costuming, puppetry, dance and music) I sat entranced through the whole thing. People most often talk about the masks and puppet parts of the production, but the costuming as a whole is magnificent and masks and puppets are only part of the costuming.

The sad part is that it was all over and gone so fast. My sister rushed us out the side door so I wasn't able to even consider getting a book. I don't know if they had the kind of photos I wanted, though. I'm going to look online to see if there is a good picture book.

I have to say that reading all the blogs about fiber arts that I have been reading these past several months definitely made me more aware of these things. Talking with my son's gf, who is a costumer/puppeteer, during the intermission was enlightening, too. Front row (!!!) didn't hurt, either! &amp;#58;&amp;#68;&amp;#68;

I also 'discovered' a new (to me) voice -- Phindile Mkhize (Peen-DEE-lair m-KEYZ-zair). I looked her up on YouTube

All I can find are these phone recordings and they all sound a little tinny to me compared to her live voice, but it will give you an idea. If anyone knows of an official recording by her, please let me know. She really is awesome.

I got my fat quarters sorted. I think it's reasonably clear to see what color each stack is.

Before I got all the stacks put away, I went down and I removed the vinyl from atop the fabric -- put there to protect the fabric from the cats -- and there was Ruby, under the vinyl! I guess it was cosy for her there. I didn't have my camera handy. Wish I had. However a little while after the fat quarters were put away, she was back.

On the fabric for the fairy quilt, of course.

Emily gets up there and knocks things off the table. I don't think Llyan gets into things at all. Except for being a grouchy, hissy, scratchy cat, she's a good girl.

Finally, I got started on my fairy quilt again, today. I did not get much done. I cut out five small pieces.

Then my sister showed up and by the time I settled down after she left, she was back again to take us to dinner and the theater.

Now, it's about 2 am Wednesday, so I won't be doing any sewing tonight... except maybe a tiny bit on my Blessings sampler before I sleep.


  02:22:00 am, by Airycat   , 1346 words  
Categories: Uncategorized, Needlework, Chitchat, Cross Stitch

Reorganizing Update and Thinking "Out Loud"

I wanted to have some lovely new photos to show you my lovely, reorganized work space. That's not going to happen. It's kind of hard to show something that doesn't yet exist. I have made some progress, though.

One thing that happened is that I had to clean out cupboards a bit more than I expected. Today I didn't get to work there at all. I slept too late and then had to take my mom to Wal-Mart for her meds and then do grocery shopping. She was fast, for her, today, but it still takes too long as far as I'm concerned. I really dislike grocery shopping.

And we had to get heavy stuff, so my back aches from packing, lifting and loading the car. Iqbal unloaded the car, thankfully.

Since dinner (if you can call a sandwich dinner), I have been reading needlework blogs in the Google reader. Normally I like to go to each site, but I'm just too far behind and the reader is faster.

Anyway, I do have a couple of "improved" photos. The will give you a view of part of my stash, if nothing else.

The area went from this:

to this:

by Friday afternoon. Then it moved on to this:

by dinner. After dinner it became this:

The piles on the left and in the center of the table are more or less color sorted. I say more or less because sometimes it's hard to classify a color. When does a red shift enough to be called orange or purple? At what point does pink turn into peach or red? How do you decide what color to call one that is evenly balanced with three colors? When do teal and aqua turn to blue or green? And since I didn't have an aqua pile, which one do they go into to start with? I did manage to get the purples and blues back into the cupboard, but by then standing so long had taken its toll on my back. I will work on it tomorrow a bit if I get up in time. (I have to make the macaroni salad for dinner, so we'll see...)

The piles of green fabric on the right and the one at the bottom of the photo are those I'm using in the fairy quilt, which I will finally get back to when this mess is cleaned up.

It would be nice if I could get the whole room cleaned up, but one corner (a large one) is filled with my son's stuff and he won't be moving until August at the earliest.

It was fun to go through the fabric. About 98% of it is fat quarters from Keepsake Quilting. I get their Medley of the Month. I've had different ones over the years, I just switched to their scrapbag, which is skinny quarters, but more of them. Looking at each one was inspiring -- giving me ideas of what to do after the fairy quilt. Nothing really specific, yet, but the fairy quilt won't be done for a while, so it's good not to have something specific nagging at me. I'll keep getting my Medleys, but otherwise, I have no need to buy any more fabric for a while, because this is not even half my stash!! I have a ton of clothing fabric and home decor fabric, as well -- out in the laundry room cupboard and in plastic bins. Plus, some rolls of fabric my sister gave me are in the closet.

Another side effect of the cleaning was finding and putting together various WIPs and (since I don't know if there is a term for it) PWIPs (Planned WIPs). Well, the PWIPs are together separate from the WIPs.

One WIP I pulled out and hope to get finished fairly soon is a cross stitch I started years ago for my mom. In our house in VA, the guest room, the one she used when she visited (she didn't live with me then) was decorated with cherubs and flowers and I was going to hang this in there.

As you can see, it's not exactly ready to hang. If it weren't for those single stitches, it would be finished. They keep throwing me off because the chart uses a different color for them than for the full stitches. Poor thing has been folded so long, it's going to need a gentle bath when it's done.

I'm kind of frustrated. I want to be working on the quilt, not cleaning and reorganizing. Certainly not grocery shopping or housecleaning (which my house badly needs right now). I think part of me is worried that I will forget what I want to do if I stay away too long. And I have a bad history of taking forever to finish projects. I'd rather it were because I hit a real hurdle than because I got stuck doing other things and the creative energy died out for a while.

I learn a lot from my blog reading. I can't always put it into words. I'm not always sure I'll be able to give credit for inspiration, or necessarily even realize I need to, if I employ some of what I have learned. A lot of it is by osmosis from many, many sources.

Today I was reading about Elaine Lipson's Slow Cloth. I think I will need to reread that a few times. One thing I get out of it now, is that it's ecumenical. Any kind of needlework fits. I also like that it's not a particular project or even a particular way to do things, but rather the philosophy behind doing them. This so fits with how I want to do fairy quilt. I have plans for both machine and hand embroidery. I'm machine piecing it, but really want to hand quilt it. Anytime I see something new (to me), or see a different way to do something I find myself thinking about how I might do this in this quilt. Obviously, I can't do everything I've seen, but it all gets considered. This is my quilt and I'm going to do it my way, but I can easily see how Elaine's ten qualities of Slow Cloth fit in with what I'm doing.

Apparently a very lot of people associate Slow Cloth to work like Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth. Just as apparent to me, after reading several of Elaine's posts, is that it is only one example of Slow Cloth. I love Jude's work (all I have seen so far), but it's not what I do. At least, it's not the kind of thing I have in my head right now. I am inspired by it and possibly enough so that it will influence something I do, but whatever that might be, even if I might think of it as a 'spirit cloth,' I cannot now imagine that it will be like what she does... Unless it is an intentional homage or if I were to take one of her classes. It still wouldn't be the same, though. In the first place, she's way ahead of of me on the third quality -- skill/mastery. I also hope I would be able to bring enough of "me" to it that even wanting to do something like hers, it would still be different.

That paragraph didn't go where I thought it was going! I think that is what we all want with our work. I think it's what drives us. It's why I'm so much more excited about doing my fairy quilt than I am about finishing my cross stitch above, or even the idea of doing traditional quilts. And I'm not putting down charts or traditional quilts, 'cause I've seen many that the creator has brought some of her(him)self into. It just doesn't call to me, to my imagination, the same way. Which does bring me back to where I thought the above paragraph was going. I think this putting a bit of ourselves into what we do is part of what Slow Cloth is about.


  02:14:00 am, by Airycat   , 353 words  
Categories: Uncategorized


No stitching today -- yet. I hope to do some cross stitch when I finish here, before I go to bed.

What I have been doing is reorganizing my sewing area. It simply has not been comfortable and only barely functional.

This is how it was arranged:

You can click on this to enlarge it if you can't read my little notes. Essentially, what they say is that everything was all over the place. You can also see that I didn't have a lot of room to move my chair. It looks like a lot of work space, but the table covered three feet of the counter top, since I have only about seven feet in that direction. And the table was constantly being loaded with piles of fabric, sewing and needlework books, magazines and catalogs, and a lot of random stuff, too.

So, after getting a large portion of the fabric put away in the new cupboard, I decided to see what I could do. I thought I was going to have to move the counter around, but, fortunately, I didn't have to.

This is the arrangement now:

Now, all of those three drawer cupboards that were facing away from the sewing area (or, at least, accessible only by going around the tables) are under the counter. I didn't think to take before photos (and couldn't find any that showed what I want), but I do have a during photo. Please ignore the mess. I will have it cleaned and nice pictures tomorrow or the next day.

I have also regained the three feet of counter that were under the table. And there are more cupboards under the counter and table. I put the ironing board in the laundry room. I have a small wall ironing board that folds down that I may put on the small table, unless I can find a way to hang it that doesn't look bad.

I can't remember what else I was going to say. Oh, the letters!

  • a = embroidery machine
  • b = sewing machine
  • c = felting machine
  • d = computer monitor

Now for a bit of cross stitch.


  02:32:00 am, by Airycat   , 243 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book

Blessing 13, My Son

Page 2

Block 18, Blessing 13, Position 7
Backstitch, satin stitch, Chain stitch
Rayon and silk machine threads

Having a child is learning unconditional love. That alone is worth it, but the joy of motherhood is so much more, as any mother can attest. Alex is a great son. He's certainly not perfect and has habits and does things that drive me crazy, but they are outweighed by the good things. I have learned more than love and patience from him. He and I have great long discussions. How can one clearly delineate all the way a child is a blessing? I can't. Suffice it to say that he is indeed the greatest tangible blessing in my life.

I think I may end up redoing this one. It doesn't look quite right and after seeing the close up photo, I can see why. I think I need to find a different stabilizer or melt away to print my guide picture. I think the one I use slips, because stitches that look like they are totally connected aren't. Same thing for straight lines of stitches. I also need to refer to the larger photo more often!

LOL I asked my mom if she knew who this was and her first response was "Jackson?" Um, no, he won't be on my blessings list. His dad recognized him, at least.

Here's the photo I used to do this block:

I cropped out the background.

Yeah, definitely needs a do over.

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