Archives

Challenge Accepted

The other night my mom and I were talking crazy squares. She wanted to try making some, so I was giving her some tips.

We were discussing how most of my crazy squares end up between 3″ and 6″ in size, no larger. Some even as small as 1.5″.

So that started me wondering, how big could I make one? Why didn’t I make larger squares?

Out came the fabrics. I decided to use an old jelly roll that had been sitting on the shelf for a few years now.

I managed a 14″ block before I was annoyed with it and then added the polkadot border to bring it to 18″ square.

Challenge accepted, completed, and I don’t like it. I don’t know why. I just don’t.

So, I did what any other crazy person would do. I took the rotary cutter to it.

Now I like it! It’s weird and unusual.

Some batting and backing, some decorative stitching, and I determined it done.

Or was it? Time to add beads! I love the shimmer and shine that beads add.

What have you challenged yourself with lately?

UFO Progress – Crazy Squares

I have quite a few finishes this month, but one in particular is making me very happy. It’s bright. It’s colorful. And holy cannoli does it have a lot of pieces!

Going through my bins I found a stack of 15 crazy squares I had made a couple years ago.

Each one has about 20-21 pieces of fabric in them (The picture above I cropped out of the finished piece, so you might see edges from other squares). The “fun” part? Each square was only 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″!

I sewed them together then stepped back and thought about it a little bit.

It needed a black border to help the colors pop. So I grabbed my roll of 1 1/2″ wide black strips.

It still needed more. Then I thought what about a crazy border? Using more of the 1 1/2″ black strips as my base to help me, I stitched on my colorful little pieces.

When I got to the point of having two of those borders on, another wild idea snuck into my brain. Crazy square cornerstones… that are 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″.

(At this point, amid the giggling, I admitted to myself that I might be a little insane).

A little fiddling as I haven’t done much with cornerstones, and the top is finished!

I still need to quilt it, bind it, and put a hanging sleeve on the back because:

It’s only 22″ x 15″! I don’t have a exact count yet. But there are between 425 and 450 pieces in here. Some are really tiny.

What have you finished recently? Anything tiny? Or something nice and big? Let’s aim to make 2018 the year we finish some UFO’s!

Yellow and Turquoise 2-color Block

Fiber Art Junkies monthly meeting was last night, so I can now post my latest block in our 2-color challenge.  Last month’s meeting we drew the colors yellow and turquoise/teal from the bag.  I was a little leery of this combination, but I made it work.  

After some thought I decided to make the block from yellow fabrics. It appears that my photo of the bare block has disappeared though. hm…

Since the block was all yellow fabrics, that means my stitching is all in the turquoise/teal. 

This is a color combo I don’t think I would have ever put together on my own, but I’m pretty happy with how my block turned out. 

Our next colors are: 

This one should be good! 

October’s 2-Color Challenge Block

Our FiberArt Junkies meeting was last night,  so I can now share my October 2-Color Challenge Block.  Our colors were gray and fuchsia.  Fuchsia is a hard color to pinpoint.  It’s pink  and purple mixed together.  And what’s fuchsia to one company is dark rose to another company. Since I was primarily using DMC floss I went with what I found online listed as their fuchsia colors.  

I did all the fabric in grays and all the stitching and beads in fuchsia.  

The hat is my favorite part of this block.  

Unfortunately,  the color on these beads rubs off very easily so most of them have turned silver.  

This is another of my favorite sections, with the little “roses” and beads and Swirls.  

I also redid my red and white block as I decided on a theme for my blocks.  

I did the fabric in white on white fabrics then all the stitching in DMC red floss and beads. 

The little dragonfly was stitched by following the printed dragonfly on the fabric. 

My favorite section here is the beaded wavy line and the bit just above it with the swirl, leaves,  and circles.  
November’s colors are turquoise/teal and yellow.  This combination could be interesting…or a disaster.  

Red and White and Odds and Ends

My red and white block is almost finished.  Our meeting was last week for the Fiber Art Junkies and we each showed off our progress.  Mine would have been done,  I think anyway, but I was pretty sick for over a week and lost a lot of stitching time.

Here are some of the pictures of my block in progress. Again, the challenge was to use only the two colors that were drawn from the bag,  red and white.  We could use any shade of red as long as it still read as red.  (No pink,  orange,  etc).

It is closer to done now. The colors for next month are gray and fuchsia.  I’m going to do another crazy square block,  but I’m still looking through my stash to see what I have in fuchsia that would work.

I’ve been playing around with recipes again,  and tonight I made pasta with a really good sauce.  Olive oil, garlic,  spinach, tomatoes,  seasoning. Very happy with how it turned out.

And, because she posed so nicely for me,  a picture of our formal feral,  Ginger.  She’s snuggled in as close as she can get to me right now.

Success at Fall Sewing Retreat

We had a great time at the Sew Crazy Sewing Retreat last weekend. Our cabin had a great view. 

Mom and I found a trail that went around the lake. Halfway around we could see the cabins across the lake.  

The food was good, especially Friday night’s roast turkey and mashed potatoes.  

But the highlight of the whole weekend is just the fact that we have hours upon hours to sew and sew and sew.  And also toss out jokes and insults at our friends.  

Earlier in the week I had been looking at a jelly roll that I had,  then grabbed my graph paper and started marking up lines.  I came up with a fairly easy 12×12 inch block.  

After cutting everything out then setting out the pieces for one block,  I made a small change to the upper left two pieces.  

This way all of the B could be sewn to C. Then I just needed to be careful with what side A was attached to. 
I was able to make 16 blocks with one jelly roll,  with some fabric left over. I would love to have four more blocks but I don’t think I have enough left for that. 

Right now it would measure 48×48 if I sewed all the blocks together. I want tomake it bigger though. So it’s time to grab the graph paper again!  

I also made some bowl cozies for us at home and for potential christmas gifts. 

The top middle one is mine!  

And I made a red and white 6.5×6.5 crazy square block for our Fiber Art Junkies group monthly challenge.  I need to finish my block before our meeting on the 21st. I can post a picture after that.  We will find out our next two colors for the next block that night.  

CQJP2014 – April Block

I know it’s May now but I just realized I didn’t do a post on my April CQJP block.
After some searching, I found the picture of the bare block hidden about 300 pictures ago on my phone. I mentioned in the past that I have an excessive amount of photos on my phone didn’t I? I deleted a TON and I’m still back to over 1400 photos. Lol

Bare block:

20140501-131819.jpg

Finished block:

20140501-132054.jpg

Details:
The theme for this block is Soar:

20140501-132147.jpg

20140501-132254.jpg
This hot air balloon is soaring through clouds made with stuffing.

20140501-132350.jpg
Butterflies soar on the air.

20140501-132442.jpg
Music can soar through the air, and your soul.

20140501-132539.jpg

20140501-132605.jpg
I like seeing kites flying on the wind.

20140501-132702.jpg
This trumpet is my own design. I had to add an instrument to go with the musical notes.

I have a May block finished. Once I get the picture sent in to the CQJP2014 blog I will make a post here with details.

Other news: last weekend my hubby and I planted several seeds in a 16-cell starter container. Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapeño peppers.
Last night we had one cherry tomato starting to peek through.

20140501-133037.jpg
This afternoon, that cherry tomato is looking like this:

20140501-133123.jpg
Plus we have two more cherry tomatoes and a regular tomato starting to peek through. The peppers are supposed to take 10 days or so to start peeking. Hopefully we get at least one plant of each.

Visualize – An Embroidery Experiment

Last night, an idea popped in my head. Could I make an embroidered crazy square…with one piece of fabric? Using seam treatments to make the different sections?

So, I had to try! I ran down to the Wife Cave and started flinging the fabric around until I found a light color that would show my working lines easily.

First step once I had the fabric ready and attached to a backing, was to draw my lines on the fabric. (edit to add: I used a FriXion pen, which easily irons off when you are done).  Plus I felt the word Visualize fit perfectly with this block because since it is one fabric, you need to visualize the sections using the embroidery.

Bare block:

20140325-233312.jpg

Of course, this idea really grabbed hold and I was up until 3am working on it. I didn’t finish because I had to force myself to go to bed (8am alarm comes early when you stay up that late).

This evening, I finished it up. Just over 24 hours since the idea popped.

Finished block:

20140325-233509.jpg

Several of the seam treatments I used were new to me. I will add the details under each of the next few pictures. The next few pictures the block looks like a different color due to different lighting.

Up close:

20140325-233628.jpg
Cross stitch seam (maroon-ish) and Eskimo laced edging (pink and blue).

20140325-233741.jpg
Cretan stitch (yellow) and German knotted blanket stitch (orange).

20140325-233840.jpg
Stem stitched flowers and vines.

20140325-233935.jpg
The multi-color seam is …well the name eludes me at the moment. I’ll edit and add the name in when I can double-check it. Edit: it is the wheatear stitch.

20140325-234105.jpg
This picture turned the wrong way on my phone again. This section shows the word Visualize done in stem stitch. A seam treated with lazy daisy flowers. Green stem stitch vines and a wavy line also in stem stitch.

20140325-234238.jpg
A heavy chain stitch in pink and a buttonhole fan in blue.

20140325-234340.jpg
Maiden hair stitch in variegated purples. Scalloped buttonhole in greens and blues. And a spiderweb in silver with a brown spider hanging out resting on a scallop.

What do you think of my experiment? Can you “visualize” the crazy square?

CQJP2014 – March Block #2

I originally was not sure if I was going to do a second block for March. The idea was percolating in my mind but I had several other projects shoving around for space as well, some of which I did work on. Then as the fabric was flying around one night, several pieces of fabric just happened to fall together on the table and I said ‘That’s it!”.   The colors just worked. And they screamed to me, you MUST MAKE ME NOW. So…I did! The colors made me think of spring, and flowers, and warm weather. I would really love to have spring weather now.  I am tired of shivering on the couch in the living room.

Here is the bare block:

20140320-184041.jpg

Do you agree that it calls out Spring! Flowers! Warm Weather!?

I really wanted to do a floral themed block, and the colors just really called out for it on this one.  This was a fun block to work on.

Finished block:

20140320-184108.jpg

I picked the word Hope for a couple reasons. Spring is a season that makes you think of Hope, in my opinion. Moods get better, the winter blues go away. The winter jackets (and long johns and triple layer sweatshirts and…) get put away again until next winter. We start looking forward to seeing beautiful flowers, brilliant green leaves, and going outside barefoot.

20140320-184134.jpg

 

While I did again use doodles from the book Doodle Stitching on this block, I also used a bit more of my own drawings. The bottom left corner is a flower taken from Doodle Stitching and then modified slightly to fit the space. Just above that in the green section is a flower that I have been drawing for a good majority of my life. Sometimes I draw just the flower, sometimes I add vines, and sometimes I add a lot of vines and more of the flowers.

20140320-184200.jpg

When I was talking with my mom about this block, she asked “Can you add lilacs?” And that led into reminiscing about the gorgeous lilac bushes that my grandma had next to the farmhouse. Couple different shades of purple, the bushes were HUGE. You could smell the lilacs all around the farmhouse. Any time I smell them now, I think of Grandma. Last year was the first year the lilacs at my house and my mom’s house bloomed. We like to think it was Grandma looking down (we lost her last year).

I had to think about it for a bit, and I looked through my phone at the pictures of lilacs I had taken. Then I sat down and drew out the lilacs and used a ton of french knots to create them. Mom said she could smell lilacs when she looked at them.

20140320-184215.jpg

For some reason, the next few pictures turned sideways on my phone and I can’t get them to turn the correct way. Two small sections which are the bottom right corner, I did a field of purple french knot flowers and…a curved vine with some petals. Don’t ask me what it’s supposed to represent because I’m not really sure. lol.

20140320-184231.jpg

Along the right side of the block in a larger section, I added vines with lazy daisy flowers and a few french knot flower buds.

20140320-184247.jpg

The top right section of the block took me a little bit of time to decide on. Then I decided to attempt drawing a large daisy. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. French knots fill the yellow center of the daisy.

20140320-184302.jpg

(this picture is also sideways. sigh). Along the left side of the block, which is shown at the top of this picture, is another Doodle Stitching design that was modified slightly to fit the space. I think it was from the Asian section of motifs.

20140320-184317.jpg

I really wanted to add a long stem rose to the upper left corner, but I could not find a pattern that I really liked, so after studying various images and again looking on my phone at roses that I have photographed, I drew out this rose. I decided to keep it more as a rosebud.

20140320-184344.jpg

I used one patterned fabric on this square. It is in two locations but only one was large enough to play with the details on. I outlined the leaves, added details inside the leaves, stem stitched the stems (who woulda thought, stemming a stem!), and outlined then filled in the flowers. I’m very happy with how they turned out.

20140320-184427.jpg

I wanted to leave the other flower bunch on this piece of fabric as the printed version, but it seemed like I had such a large empty space left on the block. I looked through different ideas for circling or bordering the printed flowers. Then the other day I was up at Sew Crazy talking with my Mom and I was looking at one of the quilts hanging on the wall. It happened to be the breast cancer quilt. And I noticed on closer look, that the woman who did the quilting, actually quilted in awareness ribbons. And that is what led me to the last detail I added to my block. Four awareness ribbons that hold some meaning to me and my family.  These ribbons all have multiple awareness’s attached to them, but I’m only listing the ones that are relevant to this.

The green ribbon is for my maternal Grandma, who we lost to Kidney Cancer (she was 3rd known generation to have it). Green ribbons stand for Kidney Cancer Awareness . The purple ribbon is for my maternal Grandpa who we lost only 34 days later, official cause is a broken heart, but he also suffered from Alzheimer’s. the Purple ribbon stands for Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness.  The red ribbon is for Heart Disease Awareness. We lost my paternal Grandpa when I was younger to heart problems. Several members of my paternal family suffer from heart related problems, including my Dad. My stepdad also has heart issues.   The fourth ribbon pictured here is an adaption of the pastel pink and blue ribbon that stands for Infertility Awareness.  The pastel pink and blue did not show up at all so I needed to use darker colors, also the actual ribbon is one side pink, other side blue, which I couldn’t depict properly here with my style of ribbon.

20140320-184441.jpg

CQJP 2014- March Block 1

Imagine! That is the theme of my March block. Just imagine what you can do when you really let yourself be immersed in the project.  Imagine what you can do when you put effort forward, in anything in life not just something creative.

I appear to maybe have accidentally deleted the bare block picture from my phone. Oops. Or it’s there still, buried somewhere amid the 1,518 photos and 50 videos that I have on the phone. Yes, 1,518 photos. And that’s after having deleted close to 100 photos a week or so ago. Of those still on the phone, I would estimate about 1,250 are photos of crafts and/or cats.  The other 250-ish are vacations, my best friend’s daughter, and a few other random things. 

 

This may be block 1 of 2, or it may end up being the only block for March. I’ve been distracted with a few other projects lately, one of which is creating some quilt designs. So without further ado, Here is the finished block for March:

20140307-092732.jpg

 

Imagine the fun you could have when you let yourself wander. As I did with the … I don’t even know what to call it. Spiraled out of control? I had just learned how to do the reverse chain stitch and I wanted to see what I could do with it.  So I started in the center and started spiraling out. And somewhere along the way, I wandered.  Wandered right off the path of the spiral and into a couple of loops.  If you could see how I work on projects, you would realize that this actually fits my process fairly well. I work hard and dedicated on the current project, but when I get close to a certain point, my mind starts wandering off to other projects. I think it kinda drives my hubby nuts, because while the Wife Cave is downstairs, when I’m hand sewing or crocheting or designing or…whatever else, I’m upstairs in the living room working on it. So I usually have the coffee table and side table full of craft stuff, plus a bag of supplies on the floor in front of the side table.  I do clear it all off when we have company coming though!

20140307-092812.jpg

 

Imagining sometimes is like wishing. Your mind is wishing for ways to accomplish a project, and you might not even realize the idea is percolating back in your subconscious until BAM, there it is!  So I had to add a magic wand to this block. The wand is from the Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection.  Depending on the design, I now rarely trace the exact design and transfer to the project. Instead I grab my Frixon pen and eyeball the picture then draw it freehand on the block. Sometimes like with the wand, it ends up looking almost exactly like the one in the book. Other times…lets just say it’s a great thing that I can just quickly iron off my pen marks and start again!  The vine to the left of the wand is just a little curvy stem stitch vine with some french knot flowers.

20140307-092843.jpg

 

I love curvy lines in embroidery. And reverse chain stitch just called out to me for this section. I used hand-dyed rayon and again the design was from Doodle Stitching, although I cant remember if I changed it slightly or not to fit the section on the block (I’ll have to look in the book again).  The small section above the curvy design has a little pink mask. (Which as I look at the picture on the laptop, I appear to have not finished ironing this block to remove the Frixon markings. oops again).

 

20140307-092911.jpg

 

This bottom corner I played around a little bit with trying to make a fancier fan than I normally do. The variegated yarn had longer color runs in it than I would have liked for a small design. I also used french knots to do a seam treatment along the same section the fan is in.

20140307-092941.jpg

 

In this next section, I added curvy vines and lazy daisy flowers. I think this also came from Doodle Stitching (can you tell by now how much I enjoy this book for it’s designs and inspiration?).  I love the hand-dyed for the flowers, the short color runs make for some pretty variegated flowers.   The upper corner has a simple fan and buttonhole stitch for seam treatment. I was at a loss for what to put in this corner as the size of the section didn’t allow for a whole lot.

20140307-093009.jpg

 

The other top corner I decided to play around with a few more Doodle Stitching designs. I added a sun/moon to the corner piece. In the long section I attempted to free-hand copy the peacock feather. The one in the book looks MUCH better, but I’m happy with my attempt. Anyone else think the top part of the feather looks like an alien head with three eyes and an open mouth? lol

20140307-093046.jpg

 

Imagination is a wonderful thing.  When you hit a snag in your project, dip into your imagination and see what solutions come up. Maybe the solution is to step back for awhile, pick up another project, and work on that for awhile. Just don’t forget to go back, someday, to the other project. UFOs like to pile up!

20140307-093116.jpg