Sunday, November 26, 2006

Printed Calendars

Pitcher plant quilted calendar

I've been working on this project that just keeps taking me a little longer than I'd thought. It's really fun though--it has screen printing and sewing. The print is of a North American pitcher plant, a carnivorous plant whose tubular, trumpet-shaped leaves grow tall and end in a curved ruffle to catch insects

the pitcher part

Elie loves and is rather obsessed with carnivorous plants, so we have many different varieties at our house. They live outside all spring and summer, but they come in to hibernate in the basement in the fall. I find them to be kind of creepy the way that I find most thing in the natural world that pretend to be something that are not kind of creepy (exhibit A: the mantis). I don't like insects that try to pretend they are plants, and there's something I don't like about plants that try to pretend they are bugs. But regardless, I find the pitcher plant quite beautiful.

Pitcher plant in linen

The calendar at the top is screen printed on muslin, then quilted with cotton batting. The one just above is printed in natural linen. If all goes well, I hope to have a few of both in my very own Etsy shop in a few days!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

So much to smile about

You All
Thank so much for all the nice comments on my last post! It's a little special to me and I'm glad you like it as much as I do.

A Super Artist
Beebs, whom I've always thought to be an excellent artist in a completely unbaised way, was one of four winners in our local paper's holiday art contest. It knocked my socks off-- I didn't even know she had entered as they did it at school. I'm just so pround on so many levels--proud of Beebs' wonderful artwork (she "mixed the yellow and orange so it would look like gold"), and proud that she chose to draw a menorah. We keep both Jewish and Christian traditions in our house, and I know that Beebs has felt a little funny lately about wanting to share her Jewish holidays with friends at school because "they might think they're a little weird". So by seeing this drawing, I know she's OK with it, and that makes me feel good.

A new baby

I have a new nephew! His name is Owen. I haven't seen any pictures yet, but I'm sure he's cute!


It's grapefruit season

Grapefruit is my favorite fruit (ok, a tie with blueberries) and my dad just sent me a big box of them from Florida. When I told one of my co-workers this, he said something snarky like, "oh, grapefruit. yeah, I wish you could buy those here." He just doesn't get it. These are much better. They are so delicious and they come in a big orange box right to my door, just because someone was thinking about me and knows I love grapefruit.

My sister Lizzie bought a sewing machine
And she's already stared quilting in an obsessed kind of way. Do you see how much fun this could be? We could be quilting sisters. I've been sending her all my favorite links, and she's already made some things.


It's delicious. Turkey-head.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Longview Quilt Top

view from the road

A little quilt top. The colors are just so perfect for this project, but I didn't put 2 and 2 together until this whiplash comp.

A few years ago I made a large quilt that had both white and dark blue in it. I was afraid that the blue was going to run into the white, so I bought some special laundry sheets designed to catch dye. They worked, and the laundry sheets came out blue-ish. Cool, I thought, a blue sheet, and I saved it. I've been using those sheets on all my suspect loads for a while now, always saving the resulting colored sheet. They have a fiber make up that feels somewhere in between paper and cotton. Sometimes I am totally surprised by the color that comes out of my clothes. Sometimes (as with the new hot pink beach towels), I wait excitedly to see how bright the sheet will turn. Now, I have many different colored sheets in three basic color groups: yellow, blue, and red. I used these for the quilt.

my sheets and WIPs

I've wanted to make this quilt for months--since the little corn and soy seedling starting sprouting up on the farms the line the highway. The flat, farm landscape that surrounds me is more incredibly beautiful than I ever thought it could be. The lack of topographical features brings smaller details to the landscape's foreground, and as I drive by I am in love with the colors the different plant stalks turn when the sun hits them. The gray and blue and purple of the sky against the golds are greens of the fields always amazes me. More than that, it amazes me that it is so amazing because I thought that in the midwest I'd find nothing but flat and brown. It's totally beautiful, and it changes with each season the same way that a forest would.

Anyway, I thought I would make this design a much bigger quilt, say maybe 3 feet by 4 feet, but I was never able to find just the right colors. When I sat down with my laundry sheets to begin the whiplash project, I was thinking that I would make a traditional quilt block, but use this material instead of cotton cloth. A quick errand in the next town over via a country road reminded me of the quilt I wanted to make, and I quickly realized that my laundry sheets were the perfect colors. They are a beautiful assortment of subtly varied golds, blues, and grays. Sometimes stuff just works.

I'm very happy with it, and I'm very happy here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Redwork quilt WIP: Owl

Is it WIP day already? Where does the time go? I've been WIP-ing a lot this week--Tuesday was my second-to-last upholstery class, and the chair is looking pretty darn good. In fact, from the front it looks done. It has no back.

I've also been gearing up to build a Christmas float with the Scouts. The Christmas parade is this weekend which just seems way to early, and it's theme is Carribean Christmas. Our float is more like Hawaiian Christmas, and I'm somewhat curious to see if anyone challenges us on it. The fun parts: making paper flowers for our hair and grass skirts out of garbage bags. The not so fun part: sitting is the cold, keeping 10 wound-up girls from hurting themselves in the towing garage where we build it. You will note that the fun part does not actually involve building a float.

One final WIP--I'm sending out a pincushion swap package to aiar tomorrow. I want to post it, but I guess I'll be patient!

Owl is from the same pattern book as bunny a few weeks back. Thanks so much to all of you who had nice things to say about the Frances block and my log cabin blocks. Much appreciated!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Log cabin swap blocks

Log cabin blocks are a good way to get many of your favorite fabrics into one block. I did these with Mom when she was out visiting, and we had so much fun arranging and rearranging the colors to make them just so. The were sent out to my blogless October swap partner at the end of last month. I hope she's enjoying them--they were hard to send away!

Sunday is starting nice and sunny and happy in the household. We made some scones to have with the morning coffee. Yum! I love scones almost as much as doughnuts, but not quite. I'm trying to think out what all we'll do today, but I just don't know. A new knit shop opened up in Urbana, and I'd love to check it out, but I fear that they may be closed on Sunday. I'm sure we'll find something.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Redwork quilt WIP: Frances

redwork Frances

As promised, another literary character in the redwork quilt. Russell Hoban's Frances stories were probably my favorite books as a little girl. They were the ones I'd take out from the library every week (along with the Blackboard Bear stories). I loved Frances. I got her, and she got me.

One of Frances' signatures is making up little songs to sing to herself. They are sometimes very telling. I do this. I make up lots of little songs, and looking at it now, I can't help but think that it's a little bit of Frances' fault. The little songs were something Elie noticed about me when we first met. He (rightly) thought it made me a humongous dork. He told me later that I was almost written off because of it. Thing is, now I have him singing little songs, and we are humongous dorks together.

Interesting Frances fact: Garth Williams illustrated the first Frances book, but then he was replaced by Russell Hoban's wife, Lillian.

I'm posting the Frances block this week because I got the chance to visit with a real little person named Frances. Her mother is a knitting genius.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sneaky peeky

I have been hard core crafting these last few days. I'm doing round 12 of Open Yours Too, and wow is it exhilirating. To participate, I made eight things. They could be different, but they had to be representative of my work. Eight can be a lot of things when you're trying to make each one extra special. I love everything I made and can't wait to share, but I just mailed the package today, so I'll have to wait a bit to do that. There's a sneak peek up above though.

Since I can't talk obsessive craftiness, how about we talk bags? I want a new fall/winter bag. The Frounchess bag carried me though summer, but it's just not right for cold weather. What I like:So maybe I'll make something like one of these, or maybe really I'll just buy one of these. My craft agenda is way packed.

Some of you might want to see the witch. Here:Edgar steals candy:

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Some projects don't turn out so well

I have many ambitious craft plans for today. Like all projects, I'm diving into them with the perfect result floating in my head. Sometimes I get that result in the end, and you all hear about it, and I have pride in making something fabulous. Sometimes it just doesn't turn out. I thought I'd share a couple of the latter with you.

Exhibit A: The Too Small Shower Cap
I love my shower cap. There is one day a week that I allow myself, if so inclined, to not wash my hair. The shower cap is a symbol of lazy, homebody Sundays, and mine is really cute too. It's from Benefit and has little anthopomorfic cat ladies taking bubble baths on it. It was a gift from my sister a few years back. Anyway, I thought that it would be so cool to have vintage fabric shower caps. How hard could that be, right? Well, sizing is tricky, and my old machine just doesn't have a good stretch stitch.

Exhibit B: The Too Big Shower Cap
I did give it a good try though. Twice

Exhibit C: Who Spat on My Boots?
I liked these, no matter how weird, over at anthropologie. Holy crow, they were 78 bucks. I can make them, right? They're basically just a glorified legwarmer. Right? Hmmm... This was my first time knitting without a pattern, and in retrospect, I can see where I went wrong (too large a gauge and I tried to get fancy with some shaping where it was not needed). As with other knitting blunders of mine, Edgar got to try it on. That cat is a meatloaf.

Hope you got a chuckle out of these. I did. Go craft.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Redwork quilt WIP: bunny

oh, bunnies' bottoms! This pattern was from this book. I used quite a few patterns from here as well as the general pattern for the whole quilt. I think that was the first quilt book I bought. I can't remember why I wanted to make a redwork quilt in the first place. Glad I did though.

The new camera seems to take a lot of blurry pictures. I think it has something to do with the way I hold the shutter button down.

Happy Friday