Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Found a Forgotten Project That's Now Begging to be Finished

While I was cleaning out some computer files the other day, I ran across this project that I had begun to design in 2008.

The fans were not designed by me.  I don't remember where the original fan designs came from--probably from a vendor on eBay.  I can't even find the original files on my computer now.

From viewing the project file, it looks like I scanned, then traced the designs and re-sized them to fit into 9" squares.  Some of them are a little skewed.  Because all of the fans are set diagonally in the block it's really not that noticeable.  They were probably not all the same size to begin with.

I had gone so far as to design a crazy quilted background block to be used in all of the squares, too. After giving this a second look, I think that the squares should be bigger, too, to set off the fans better.

I got that far with it, then it seems to have been forgotten.  Giving it another look, it now looks like something that's do-able and I'd probably enjoy working on it, too.

I still have a few problems to work out before I begin.  What fabrics should I use?

I sell this beautiful line of silk velvet on my website from Colour Streams.  This fabric is hand dyed by Robyn Alexander in Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia.  It's available in 52 colors, with hand dyed silk ribbon and silk thread to match.  There are more than enough colors for this quilt.

They'll be a lot of embroidery and applique on these blocks, so I need to find something that's really stable for the background blocks.

I still need some other fabrics to blend with the velvets, too.  I'd love to use silk dupioni for the appliques along with the silk velvet, but I don't know how to get around the fact that it's nearly impossible to needleturn to get a smooth edge on an applique.  I actually prefer the freezer paper and starch method of turning edges like the block below.  It's not even difficult to use this method with very detailed appliques like this block from the Roseville Quilt that was so HOT many years ago--it's another forgotten project of mine, too.

The problem with using the silk dupioni with this method is that the silk is stained by the starch and there's no way to get around that.  The starch needs to be spread around the edges of the fabric, and it bleeds into the fabric.  With cotton, it's not a problem.  With the silk, it is.

So, I may have to make up a sample block to try a few ideas out before I begin.

I plan to probably spend the next year working on this.

But first I need to finish a block that I was invited to make for a special project.  I can't share it yet, but I will soon.  I learned a lot working on this special block.  I plan to share what I learned working on it, too.

Monday, June 1, 2015

To Dear Dad

Inspired by this postcard from my personal collection, I first posted my To Dear Dad Crazy Quilt Block on my blog back in 2008.  The free pattern is still available on the 4/15/08 post.  You can also use this postcard to design your own tribute to your father.

My dear Dad turned 88 years old two months ago, along with his twin brother, Jack.  In September, both of them will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversaries, too.

This photo was taken a few weeks ago in Florida.  Uncle Jack is on the left, and my dad is on the right.  They didn't look much alike when they were young, but they've grown to look more alike as they age.

My father is the most loving, hard working and the most decent man that I've ever known.  I'm extremely fortunate, I know, to still have both him and my mother in my life.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Simple Needlebook is Finally Completed

Back in August of last year, I began what I thought would be a quick and easy project.  Nine months later, I'm finally finished.  I got distracted.  This got buried on my dining room table, too.

I started by cutting a 12" x 18 piece of wool/rayon felt into quarters.  Using these easy instructions from National Nonwovens, I wet the felt and dried it in my clothes dryer to give it a bumpy, vintage look.  This also gives the felt a nice edge.  It doesn't look sharply cut, and also looks fine without further finishing.

The embroidered design was from a rubber stamp that I had on hand.  I used StazOn black ink to stamp the design.  Some Valdani thread that I also had on hand matched the ribbons that I wanted to use, so I used that for the embroidery.  I thought that the Fresh Linen felt that I began with was still a bit bright when I was done with the embroidery.  I tea-dyed all of the felt (even the embroidered piece), and dried it again in the dryer. The tea toned down the thread a little bit, too.

The flowers and leaves were embroidered with Colour Streams silk embroidery ribbons.  I began with the leaves first, then added the larger flowers and bigger beads, and finished by filling the design in with French knots and tiny flower beads.  The Czech pressed glass flowers and leaves and the butterfly bead were sewn on with size 15 Japanese seed beads using Nymo bead thread.  This nylon thread has some give to it, so stretch it between your fingers after you cut it from the bobbin.  That will take the curl out of the thread, too, and make it easier to sew with.

The finished needlebook is approximately 4" x 5" closed.  The pages were sewn together with small Czech seed beads.  It ties with sari silk ribbons.  These ribbons are torn and somewhat fragile, so I sewed a running stitch down the length to give them some strength.  A few beads were sew onto the ends of the ribbons to give them some weight.

The inside front and back covers both have a bit of embroidery.  When opened flat, the center has two narrow embroidered pockets to hold needles or a very small pair of embroidery scissors that will remain securely in place when the book is tied closed.

Here's my finished project.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Greeting from Vintage Vogue

If you celebrate the season...Happy Easter from Vintage Vogue.