Archive for the ‘finished projects’ Category

Postcard exchange-March

The new project that the Designing Quilters group is working on is an exchange of what we’re calling fiber postcards. Everyone who was interested in taking part in the exchange chose a theme that we wanted postcards made for us on, for example my theme is fractals, my mom’s theme is stitch, etc. Then we went around and everyone who is participating in the exchange got to choose six themes to make postcards for. We have to have one postcard done every other month, although several people have gotten way ahead, and we exchange the ones people have finished at those meetingsĀ (theoretically each person only brings one postcard to each exchange to give away, but those who have been working ahead often bring more). The postcards all have to be 5″x7″ and when we chose themes we had the option to choose if we wanted all the cards in the same orientation or not, although only two people requested a specific orientation. Other than that, there weren’t really any restrictions set, and it has been really fun seeing all the variations! I will split the postcards up based on each exchange, and since the first exchange was in March, I’ll post about those first.

The first theme that I made a postcard for was Calm. It took me a while to come up with a way to represent calm, since the things that make me feel calm (rock music, storms, the ocean, etc) tend not to appear calm on the surface, and things that look calm tend to make me fidgety. I had recently had an idea for a piece based on something my mom has told me several times in the past, which is that I am like a rock, calm and steady, which makes me laugh because that is not at all how I feel inside. So I had been thinking about doing something, possibly an embroidery piece, basically showing the contrast between how I feel inside and how I look outside. This made me think of how, especially in very chaotic situations, I have noticed that calm can sort of spread out from one person or point. So I decided to do an embroidered postcard where the background is full of all kinds of overlapping designs and looks incredibly chaotic but there is a ripple of calm spreading out from the center. The recipient of my postcard said she sees it as everything being sucked into the calm, which works just as well for me! Here are process pictures.

The other postcards were all really awesome. I tried to get good pictures of all of them, but we set them out on a table as we got there so there was a lot of coming and going as people set down new ones and picked up ones that were already there to look at them, so hopefully you can see them all.

That’s everything from the March exchange. We just exchanged more in May, so I will post about those, and some that were brought to the April meeting, tomorrow.

Wedding dress! and more!

In the end of November I got married to the love of my life, and, of course, there was fibery goodness involved! My mom made my dress, because she is just that awesome, and our friend Virginia made all the flowers, which were all fabric flowers! A good deal of how happy I am with how the whole event turned out is thanks to their awesomeness, so I thought I’d share some pictures with you guys!

All but the first two pictures were taken by Milestones Photography and should not be reused without permission (as is true with all pictures you find online really, but I want to be more specific with these). Hope you enjoyed the quick glimpse of my wedding, next I’ll tell you all about the new project the Designing Quilters are doing!

Favorite Holiday ATCs

Our final set of ATCs was originally going to be on the self portrait theme, but there wasn’t much enthusiasm in the group for that, so we changed it. We finally decided on the theme of favorite holidays. This one was kind of tricky for me because the closest thing I have to a favorite holiday is Christmas, and other than that I don’t especially care about most holidays, and we had already done Christmas themed cards. Thanksgiving was another option but I wasn’t thrilled or inspired by that idea, so I decided to try and come up with something unique. Everybody has days that are important specifically to them and feel more like holidays than “official” holidays, so I decided to think out what one of those is for me and do that. I considered my birthday, but I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about my own birthday since about age 13 and choosing someone else’s birthday as my favorite holiday seemed weird. Then it occurred to me. My favorite holiday is the day that Andy came home from the hospital for the last time and we could finally focus on getting him back to healthy and getting our life back on track. For those who may not know, my husband (then boyfriend) Andy was diagnosed with Leukemia in December of 2011, and spent 8 months undergoing intensive chemotherapy, most of that time while also being stuck in the hospital. I decided to call this holiday Remission Day, and got thinking.

I decided that this was another time that my usual more pictorial style wouldn’t work, and I wanted to try to use inkle weaving to make the card, so I decided on an abstract design meant to show the feeling of moving from darkness and doom (because I can’t think of a less melodramatic way to say it right now), back into the light and adventure of every day life. So I warped up my loom with thread moving from black and browns into the brighter colors of reds and greens, but with a few blacks thrown in there because life isn’t all happiness and joy. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, at least that I can find, while I was working, so you don’t get any process pictures this time, sorry. šŸ˜¦

There was a big range of holidays chosen, and the cards were all really cool, as usual. Some of the more unusual holidays included Holi, an Indian festival that involves throwing colored pigments, National Procrastination Day, and the Festival of Broken Needles, which is apparently a holiday specifically for seamstresses! There were plenty of more standard holidays as well, of course, including Independence Day, Arbor Day, and Halloween/Valentine’s Day (she couldn’t decide on one so she combined them!). Here are all the pictures.

Looking through my pictures I realized that I have 7 of these cards when I should only have 6… one must be my mother’s that I borrowed for taking a picture and haven’t gotten back to her, woops! This was the last group of ATCs, so next up I’ll post some wedding stuff, and then I’ll post about the Designing Quilter’s current project, a postcard exchange!

Farm Felt Baash!

This weekend I was at a needle felting retreat on a farm down by Rochester and it was sooo much fun! I was so excited to meet other needle felters, and the weekend did not disappoint! Amy from Needle & Felt hosted the retreat and I met lots of wonderful ladies including Ginger, Mary, and Amanda who all have Etsy shops that I wanted to link to because their stuff is so cool! Ginger makes all kinds of stuff including needle felted things, nuno felted things, and hollow book boxes! Mary makes neat bags, many shaped like animals, and Amanda makes lots of needle felted things including these absolutely amazing needle felted masks!Ā Amy and Ginger both have blogs too, with lots of cute fiber things, and sheep pictures! And I think I need to stop using exclamation points before I hurt myself.

On Saturday there was much cuddling of lambs and baby goats, with lots and lots of pictures of all the animals, and we got to play with all different types of fibers and some new kinds of needles and see each others’ felted stuff and just generally hang out and chat. At the end of the day everybody made their own sheep so we had our own little flock, and it’s amazing how many different kinds of sheep we all came up with! Now, pictures!

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Sunday was a shorter day, but no less exciting! Amanda graciously showed us how to make felted masks, and I think I’m addicted now. She has some really amazing ones (you really should check out her Etsy shop, there are some amazing masks, and other things of course), and I don’t expect I’ll make any quite as beautifully lifelike, but they are fun. I was so busy working on my mask though, and trying to get it done because I had to drive home that day, that I didn’t get many pictures. Here are the few I did get.

I didn’t manage to get a picture of Amy’s mask cause it wasn’t very far along by the time I had to leave :-(. The whole weekend was so much fun, and I hear it’s already being planned for next year so hopefully I can make it again!

Our next ATC exchange is this Thursday (the theme is Spring so the snow better be gone again by then!) so I should have lots of pictures for you soon after that!

ATCs and Inspiration Boxes

As my mother keeps reminding me, it’s been a while since I posted. Sorry about that. So, remember my post months ago about the artist trading cards I made and the exchange for them? Well here are pictures of the other cards from the exchange!

I managed to miss getting a picture of one person’s cards, they’re adorable kangaroos with Santa hats! Somehow I was thinking that I had one of them in my set so I didn’t take a picture of them at the meeting, and today I discovered I didn’t get one.

The next exchange is this Thursday, so I will post more, including the ones I’m making, sometime next week! (hopefully)

We also exchanged “inspiration boxes”. Somebody found one on Etsy that you could buy, and figured they’d be good for an exchange. So first, here’s the one I put together.

And the inspiration box that I got. I think this one was a lot better than mine!

My inspiration box came from Australia, hence the Koalas and the neat fabrics that I suspect you can’t get here. And I love the sparkly box, but boy does it shed everywhere! I put it in my purse after I got it, and have been spreading sparkles everywhere, even at work, ever since. šŸ™‚

Christmas Artist Trading Cards

I am participating in an artist trading card (ATC) exchange. Its 6 cards every other month, and the theme for the December exchange is Christmas! Who ever could have guessed that theme? šŸ™‚ The cards need to be 2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″ and can be made using any technique, and this time around I went with embroidery. I don’t know exactly how/why I decided to do hedgehogs, they’re not especially Christmas-y, but that’s what I did. Well, there is one rabbit too, but it’s mostly hedgehogs (I’ll explain the rabbit later).

Digging through my mom’s fabric stash, I found two fabrics that I liked for the background on the cards so I decided to make 3 cards on each fabric. I cut out strips from each piece that were wide enough for the long side of the card (I think the original strips were 5 inches wide but I don’t remember exactly) and long enough to fit three cards, with seam allowance, on each strip. And then I went to town. This was the first time I free-hand stitched things that needed to be a certain shape, rather than just a pattern along a seam, and I’m pretty happy with how it went. The hardest part was figuring out 6 different designs to do (they could have all been the same or just re-used several, but I wanted to make them all different) and still make the hedgehogs look Christmas-y. That’s where the bunny comes in. After the first hedgehog I was thinking I could do a couple different little animals, and thought a rabbit and a squirrel would work quite nicely. So I was thinking I could do one rabbit, one squirrel, and and one hedgehog with Santa hats on and then the same but with reindeer antlers and a red nose. I only had to get about halfway through the rabbit to decide that it was a much more complex shape than the hedgehog and I really didn’t want to do such a complex shape 4 more times. So I went back to just hedgehogs.

Once I got the embroidery done, I needed to finish the edges and put a back on the cards. My mom was quite helpful in that, as she usually is, and I’m happy with how they turned out.

The exchange is happening at the December Designing Quilters meeting which my mom and I will miss because we’re going to be in Hawaii (so excited!) so we have to send our cards along with someone else. Because of that, my mom made a cute little bag to put the cards in.

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I’ll be getting 6 cards back from other people and I’ll be sure to post pictures of those when I get them!

The Penguin

No, not the Batman villain, this is just a penguin. I shouldn’t say just a penguin, he’s an adorable penguin. A few months ago we took a road trip to Wyoming for my cousin’s wedding, and on the way we stopped at a great fabric store in Billings, MT. There’s more about the store, and the trip, in this post here, but the important part to know is that I got a pattern for a penguin family. Theoretically it’s to give me some practice making stuffed things before I try to make the dragon pattern that I got at the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta (there are a lot of posts on that one, but the dragon is in this post).

So a couple weeks ago I was planning to go out of town for an SCA event, but was reeeeeally tired on Friday night and decided it just wasn’t worth the drive. My mom suggested that since I had all my homework done ahead of time anyway, it would be a good time to work on the penguin, so we did! Mostly, it went pretty smoothly. I had some trouble getting the belly to line up right with the side panels, but my mom fixed that, and he somehow came out with his head turned a little sideways (I suspect this problem has something to do with the other one…), but he looks pretty good. I think I will do at least one more penguin, but not for a little while yet. I have a few other projects that have actual deadlines, a couple of which are coming up fast, that I need to do first.

 

Beauty and the Breast Redux

The title for this post popped into my head and the word redux just appealed to me, so I went with it. Well, my life has gottenĀ crazy busy. I started school again last Monday, and I have soooo much work for my classes that I haven’t had time to post anything, and barely had time to work on any projects! So I probably won’t post nearly as much until the end of November or so, because I almost certainly won’t be finishing anything, but I’ll try not to disappear. I’ve been thinking about doing a series of posts showcasing people’s studios/work rooms, so I may try to do that while I don’t have time for crafting.

Now, to the actual subject of this post! I told you about the Beauty and the Breast show in a previous post, and this is another piece for the same show. I’m just gonna copy and paste the description I did of the piece for the show, since I already wrote it and I have a paper yet to write tonight as well!

I have always been intrigued by the idea I see represented in the Tree of Life motif. That interconnection of past and future, birth and death, with the present/life in between, in a harmonious, even beautiful, way has always appealed to me. In thinking about breast shapes in nature and how our identity as ā€œbreasted-beingsā€ affects our relationship to others, I kept coming back to the shape of boles on trees, and the tree of life. Women, and indeed breasts, are often a tangible connection between life and death, past and future. We create new life in bearing children, and breasts are an integral part of nurturing those children. And women are traditionally the care-takers of the old, and the bodies of the dead as well. When I think of a woman comforting and caring for a dying person I always think of the phrase she is ā€œcradling him/her to her breastā€. Of course, in this context the word breast is used simply to refer to the chest portion of a personā€™s anatomy, but I think the use of the term is telling and important. In this case the breast is meant as a source of comfort, in many ways harking back to the comfort of a baby at its motherā€™s breast. And so, women are like the trunk of the Tree of Life, a connection between the past, present and future, between the dead, living, and yet to be born. In a way then, the female form can be seen as a beautiful symbol for life in all its stages.

With this piece I had a lot of issues the first time around as well, that seems to be my theme for this show. On my first try, I just started making the shape of the tree trunk by felting down lengths of yarn, like I had done to make a tree before. Apparently I did something different than I had done before because the background started getting really stretched out. Of course I didn’t notice this until I had the trunk quite a ways done and had finished the roots. So, totally disgusted with it, I stopped for the night and sent my mom an e-mail with pictures asking her advice. After showing it to her in person and talking the next day, we both agreed it would be best to just start over, and I’m glad I did. It was much better planned from Ā the beginning the second time around and ended up with a much better shape that way, and it just went smoother. I ended up felting the whole trunk by hand, which I hadn’t expected to do, and just doing the roots and branches with the machine, Even so I had a couple spots in the roots where the machine started to cause some serious stretching, which I’m quite perplexed about as that’s never happened before. But I am so very happy with how this one turned out.

Both pieces are off to the show. I ended up putting a price on The Temples but marking this one as not for sale, I find I’m rather attached to this one. And oddly detached from The Temples. In a way I think that may be a sign of where I’m at in my life. Anyway, the show has an opening reception next Thursday which I’m hoping to get to, depends on if a co-worker will swap shifts with me, and if I do make it I will put up pictures of the whole show. And the artists too of course!

KaCBW Day 4: Colour Review

The prompt for today: “What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.” I think I tend toward two different sets of colors when I’m just buying yarn because it’s pretty and when I’m making a project. (I think I’ll leave needle felting out of consideration for this one cause the colors I use in needle felting tend to be based on the colors of objects in the real world, not my own choices.) When I’m just buying yarn because it’s pretty, which is most of my stash, I think I tend to go with mostly blues and greens, and the occasional bright red or yellow, if it jumps out at me. Blue is the color I wear most, so I think that affects my yarn buying because there’s always that rationalizing voice in the back of my head saying something like I could make a hat out of this, orĀ this would be great for that mitten pattern I found on Ravelry. Not that the theoretical projects get made very often.

So now I’m supposed to go look at my stash and see if I was right! *five minutes later* Ha! Just as I thought, mostly blues, although a surprising number of oranges, and lots of random single or pairs of balls of a big range of colors. There are especially a lot of partial balls of various jewel tones from the Hedgehogs.

Now in colors for projects, I think there’s a much bigger variation. Very few of my projects are clothing items, and of those even fewer are for myself, so I can be more adventurous and indulge my love of color. I really do enjoy bright colors, and will gladly put together a set of colors that make your eyes water but I think looks good, but I prefer not to call attention to myself so I don’t wear many bright colors. That just means I have to use all the bright colors in non-clothing items! Now let’s take a look at some of my projects and see if I’m right.

I’d say there’s a pretty good range of color there. The bright colors are mostly in the hedgehogs I guess, maybe that’s why I like them so much, but there’s even lots of colors in my first quilt! Yay for lifelong consistency!

So there you are, my color preferences, and a nice little review of my projects in the bargain.

Finished Book!

Well mostly. There are a few things I want to clean-up on it, but it’s finished enough that it’s on display in the show, so those things will have to wait. All of the pages are together now and the covers are on, and it shouldn’t fall apart. So, pictures first.

The pictures aren’t the best cause I was taking them quickly, so I could get out the door. First I did the pages that are back to back, just the basic right sides together, sew three sides and flip back to right sides out. Those went pretty easy, the most difficult part was making sure to line the pages up correctly. All the pages were different sizes to begin with and the words and illustrations took up different amounts of space so it was a little tricky but I got a system worked out. Once those were all sewn together I used the un-sewn sides of all the pages to connect the sets. Basically I sewed the fourth side of the facing pages together. It worked quite nicely, but darn was it tricky to sew it on the machine once I started getting a pretty big stack of pages. This created a stack of connection points at one edge of the book that would basically be where the spine of the book is. The connections still seemed kind of flimsy so I went back and added some stitching along the top and bottom edges of the stack of connection points, just to secure everything. That helped quite a bit but I think I want to figure out a way to stabilize that area even more once I get the book back.

After I got all the pages together I needed to finish up the cover. I knew I was going to sew the two halves of the cover together by hand but I hadn’t realized that I would want to connect the two sides a little bit on the top and bottom as well. It didn’t occur to me that you would be able to see the ragged ends of the pages and all the stitching and thread tales to keep them together, and man was that ugly. So I basically just extended the seam between the front and back covers to cover a bit of the top and bottom edge. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it works.

All in all it turned out well. And I got it done in time for the show which we did hang today, the winter storm held off just long enough for us to get it put up and scurry home. Everybody loves my book, and the whole show looks just great. There are so many neat books, and now I can appreciate the construction of the books more as well. Here are a few pictures of the show, I may have more later. And there are a few more pieces that may get put up later, but the artist lives out of town and didn’t want to brave the weather, I don’t blame her.

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