Sunday, June 21, 2015

Selvages and Paper Dolls…



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A fiber arts group I belong to has a monthly challenge to make a small journal quilt (8 1/2” x 11” or so) designed around a theme. I like to participate and use the small project as an opportunity to try new techniques, or to incorporate small bits of things I’ve accumulated in the sewing room. This time our theme was “Memories”. I was a great fan of paper dolls when growing up, and have fond memories of cutting them out and playing with them for hours upon hours. So when I found some cute images of Dolly Dingle, a character designed by artist Grace Drayton in the 1930s, I wanted to include one in my journal quilt. The characters she designed became the iconic Campbell Soup Kids, but were also a series of paper dolls, and even a series of embroidery patterns for redwork blocks. I never had the Dolly Dingle paper dolls, but did make a few of the embroidered blocks. I printed this Dolly Dingle image on fabric and placed it on a background made from selvages. Isn’t it funny how we have memories of our fabrics? So often when looking at someones scrappy quilt, I’ll hear quilters say, “Oh I had that fabric!” Often I say it myself, and may even remember where I bought it! So these memorable selvages got included in the piece. I also added a vintage hankie- remember when your great-aunts had all those lovely hankies in their purses? I used to select hankies for “grandmother gifts” from beautiful stacks in department stores. One challenge for me was to practice “writing” with my sewing machine, and using the twisted fabric “rope”  (shown in my previous post) for the binding. A little button trim, and I called it done. We haven’t discussed what to do with all these journal quilts yet, but we’re  sure having fun making them. I think I’d like to bind mine into a book at the end of the year. Next up- July and “The Beach”. Ideas are percolating already.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Paper and Leather and Fiber… and More!



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Piecing and sewing large quilts is a long-term effort for me. So there are many times when a small project in another medium that I can make quickly piques my interest. Such was the case with this decoupage initial members made at a recent quilt guild meeting. Of course we kept it “quilty” by cutting quilt images from catalogs and old magazines. The letters are lightweight papier mache ones from the craft store. This was a fun patchwork project of a different sort.


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And then I saw a tutorial on making fabric twine from narrow strips. Of course I had to give it a try. The twine goes along quickly and is good handwork for watching tv or a movie. Before I knew it, there were yards and yards of pretty fabric twine. I used some as an edge finish on a journal quilt which I’ll show here in my next post. And the rest is just sitting and looking pretty, awaiting use in some other project.

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There’s a bag full of strips, so I’m sure I won’t stop making the fabric twine until… who knows? I think it will make nice tie closures for fabric journals, so it's likely to come in handy.

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Here’s new life for old tee-shirts. In Alma Stoller’s STITCHED online class, she offers some tutorials for making soft beads from strips cut from tee shirts. They’re chunky, clunky, and soft. And again, I think I’ll use them to embellish bindings or closures for journals.

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I was recently invited to spend a day learning to craft a bracelet from old leather belts at Goatfeathers Studio. We crafted, painted, visited, and had a lovely lunch plus a tour of the studio. It was certainly my idea of a lovely day out! This is my bracelet resting atop a gift bag I painted with a Dresden Plate design. I stockpile and recycle gift bags by painting them with gesso and then adding some colorful painted or stamped images.

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One of the participants in our recent Fantasy Fish workshop gifted me with this theme-related coaster featuring the artwork of Leoma Lovegrove. She has an entire line of products available at Beall’s stores. My quilting friend was wearing one of her tee shirts with a similar fish image on it. I may need to find one of those. I love the colors in Leoma Lovegrove's work. So while I don’t turn out quilts very quickly, you can see there’s never a dull moment in my sewing room. I believe my tombstone should say “She wanted to make one of everything.” I’ve certainly got enough stuff in the sewing room to do so!