Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks…


Remembering family members creatively is one way I’m giving thanks this year. Thanks for the legacy and love of generations now gone, and thanks for creative gifts which bring me so much pleasure. This vintage photo from the 1940s is of my mother-in-law Ida Santelli Roberts and her siblings. I’ve always liked the carefree, summertime feel of this photo so I chose it as the centerpiece of a Crazy Quilt display piece. I transferred the picture to muslin, using a scanner and inkjet printer. And then the fun began, pulling together the bits and pieces of fabric, lace, and trims to frame the photo.


In this close-up photo you can see the array of fabric from silky decorator fabrics to cottons, and the assortment of embroidery stitches I worked to add contrast and interest. I find embroidery so relaxing, plus it’s portable so this project traveled with me. I have a couple of useful resources on embroidery stitches that provide plenty of ideas for the stitched accents. One is "Crazy Quilt Stitches" by Dorothy Bond, and the other is "Pocket Guide-Crazy Quilt Stitches" from Leisure Arts. Both are well illustrated and easy to carry along, too.


I also added buttons which took longer than I expected. Not to sew them on, but to find just the right ones. With all the buttons in the jar and other containers, it took some time to sift through and find ones that were properly proportioned, flat-backed, in the right color range… well, you get the idea! I also found a skein of metallic embroidery floss that was soft and easy to work with. I like the look of metallic thread, but it can often tangle, break, and fray so that I avoid using it.


Since I had the floss and needles out, I thought why not try making one of Teesha Moore’s “little pillow” fabric journals. They are so novel and free-form. Teesha has a series of tutorial videos on You Tube and shows a lot of examples of her method. She puts two fabrics wrong sides together, stitches around three sides, and then fills each “pillow” with some fiber fill. Then she stitches the last side closed and whip-stitches the edges, bringing the fabric from the back to the front to add contrast. Adding some embroidery and embellishments gives the pillows even more texture. Then they are whip-stitched together to form book covers, tote bags, or other projects of any size. Always in a hurry, I changed the sewing method by starting with two rectangles of fabric (mine are about the size of an index card) and one rectangle of fusible batting cut 1/2” smaller. I fused the three layers and then did the edge stitching. This is another portable project and it’s such fun to combine small bits of fabric in such a colorful way. I’ll keep you posted on this one. One problem I note- it’s hard to call each unit “done”. There are so many ways to add just a bit more. I have to call a halt and move on if I ever want to finish. And I do… there are plenty of projects in the works and I’m hoping their “done someday” day is coming!

And while I’m giving thanks, I’ll also say thanks to you for reading and following this blog. Your comments always mean a lot to me, and I appreciate your kindness and encouragement.


Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Ah, your vintage piece is drop dead gorgeous. The hand stitching, the varied fabrics, the embroidery, everything worked together to make this a truly memorable piece that is truly worthy of gratitude.

I put some fabrics together a few years ago to make the Teesha pillows, then turned the pieces over to a friend to hand stitch them together. She still has them, and I'm so glad I could give her this gift that unfortunately, she had to finish (grin).

And before you ask, I don't hand sew, because I have NO PINCH GRIP in my hands, which means I can't hold onto a needle. That's why I don't doodle for any length of time, and am unable to decorate cakes.

Have a super Thanksgiving, because it's obvious how grateful you are for this day.

Robbie said...

What a wonderful keepsake you've created!!! The photo/stitching/fabrics all go together so well!! Just a wonderful job, Nancy!!!
Those pillows remind me of a free form purse that is made in a similar way!! I'll have to see if I can find info on it. You would love it! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Createology said...

Wonderful tribute to honor your memories and keep them close. Thanksgiving Blessings...

Wendy Green said...

It's a gorgeous quilt you made Nancy! The colours are beautifully combined and the embroidery is gorgeous too. Wishing you a happy Sunday, hugs

Barb said...

wow, your memory crazy quilt is beautiful. what lovely details!

Lenna Young Andrews said...

Both wonderful projects!