Sunday, April 24, 2011

Where in the World: Wonderland's Tea Party

   Founded in 1977, the Quilters' Connection is a dynamic group of more than 400 quilters and quilt enthusiasts in the greater Boston area and as far away as Japan. Although barely a quilter, I put my name on the membership list and have found no other group so exciting to me with regard to programs and mind- stretching art work. Although I am too shy to enter a big quilt yet, I was attracted to the idea of the Quilt Challenge at the annual show.

    The 34th Annual Quilt Show will be held Friday-Sunday, June 3-5, 2011, at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown MA. Besides the completed quilts and quilted garments, each member may submit two "Where in the World" Challenge Quilts. These are not to be bigger than 20" either direction.

click to enlarge
     I made two Challenge Quilts. One is shown below at the April 5 posting. The other is this teacup. Where in the world is Wonderland, inspired by granddaughter Hannah. I first sketched a teacup at Linda Blumsack's house during beading. Then I enlarged it (via grids) on tissue. Next, I sketched the same onto posterboard and cut out the main pieces. I traced these pieces with freezer wrap, and ironed those freezer wrap templates onto fabric. I cut out the fabric, leaving 1/2 inch margin for seams. I also cut out batting and a backing fabric (the blue) the size of the teacup with seam allowance of 1/2 inch. Before cutting out the pictures of Alice and other characters, I fused them with Wonder Under to make fine cutting easier. I ironed them in place. I was ready to put the good sides together w batting, sew pillow case style and turn inside out. I stitched the opening closed. Then with invisible or colored thread I began to quilt the three layers.With embroidery needle, I further defined things.

     Both quilts are to have sleeves for hanging on the back as well as a label. I may further embellish the two.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hannah's 7th: a quilted card

    Hannah turned seven and celebrated with friends at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston After creating a birthday banner, the group broke into two groups and the princesses sashayed off to look at four entirely different areas of the MFA which touched on royalty, returning after the tour, questions and answers to make copper pendants, have story time and dessert. Guests left with big 3D plaster royal cupcakes and paint palette in a bag. Some parents chaperoned and enjoyed the museum afterwards.The interns were fabulous and the project age appropriate. I was staggered by the new museum.
Hannah is seven and a sewer (click to enlarge)
    If I remember, I try to make the girls a journal quilt for their birthday. This was a close call. I am making challenge quilts involving Alice and Wonderland, and Hannah has that long blond hair. I fused "her," cut out the figure, and took her to my stash. The two background fabrics fell into my lap. I lightly quilted all, placing a bright erratic pink polka dot on the back after the batting. I free motion wrote, "Hannah is seven and a sewer."
     Hannah is proud of the sewing she has learned this year, embroidery and Sashiko. She wants to make a quilt. Alas, she is moving.Whereas I was going to make "her" with wings, carrying my heart, I sewed the heart onto the pocket here and we drove it by to her tonight with CDs of her birthday party to enjoy and send to her other grandmother.  I also included a CD of her making the origami bird available at YouTube. For her birthday I gave her A Book of Artageous Projects by Klutz in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art that I bought locally.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pearl and face knotting: a craft of concentration

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    Often people want to knot pearl or other bead necklaces to preserve the beads once a string breaks. Nita found dynamic Suzanne to teach the Beadsprouts, our group which meets every Thursday for lunch and chatting while we design bracelets and neckware.

     We arrived with tweezers (available at craft stores or drugstores for splinters), some silk beading cord with a needle attached (from craft or bead store), pearls or beads to practice on, a clamshell to hide the beginning knot, and some jeweler's glue. We made simple overhand knots, inserted the tweezers and pulled the knot next to the bead...all better seen on this video at YouTube. One can learn so many skills at YouTube.

      I was so amused by the deep concentration of my fellow beaders that I thought I must capture their knotted determination while out in the fields beyond, creatures munched with equal determination on spring that finally arrived! This facility in knotting will increase the variety of necklaces that we can make. Good idea, Nita; and thanks, Suzanne!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Project Hope: block collection time

     In the Fall, Katie rounds up friends to make blocks for quilts for Project Hope . She brings in fabrics on a theme. People gather to take home remnants to create. There is no pressure at all. I usually make about eight different blocks; others make fewer and some, more.
      In the Spring we meet to see how things are going, to get ideas from each other and to know what is realistic to expect by the deadline in late July which is when Katie likes to start assembling the blocks. After that, we tie the quilt. It is fun to gather with those who have worked on it before and pull in others we see passing in the hall to engage them. We are always surprised by the individuality of different participants. I assure you, all are more complex and interesting than mine.
      This year, the theme is creatures of the Northeast. It will be fun working with animals. This goes much faster than the art quilts I am working on. Katie has the tough task, but she listens to books and sews away! She has come up with a cozy way to make people aware of Project Hope.

I am now off to embellish my Alice in Wonderland quilt, make decisions about buttons, and try to create and finish the teacup before the guild meeting tomorrow night.

Also, I hope you viewed Hannah folding an origami bird which I filmed this week!
YouTube - Origami Bird

If you want to see earlier postings on Project Hope, click on Project Hope in Labels below and it will bring up earlier blogs of April 12, June 14, and June 2l of 2010.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where in the World: Wonderland

   My ultra creative quilt guild where I am quite the newbie, has a quilt challenge fund raiser. Since the size must be under 20" on each side, I thought I could try. Mother said I could do anything, and I naively have always believed her despite evidence to the contrary.
click to enlarge

   The topic is "Where in the World," real or fantasy, the thought being to bring in many cultures but not to limit. I imagined I would make unfolding postcards from my youth and fuse fabric showing themes from Africa, Rain Forest, Japan, Mexico, spring or the circus. Joe thought the Jackrabbit postcards (cowboys atop) from his summers would fit the bill. The Alice fabrics I had on hand seemed manageable for a first attempt. With no pattern, I just started cutting and making a zillion mistakes, but nothing ventured. If I don't chicken out, I will make a big cup and saucer shaped hanging for the same images. Now I wonder how much to quilt besides the edges.
    What I have learned: Make a serious pattern on card or poster board before starting. Use freezer paper and fusible fabric between image and turned pillow case of front, back and batting. Do a little basting. Will I ever learn?

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Mouse full of fun: a crafty find

     Apologies for tardy posting. I am working on too many projects at once and not getting any of them up. March Madness. April Fool is here and so am I. For an interim posting I want to share a quilt store find.
      Perfect for my beading group is this cute mouse, both pincushion and thread holder. Debbie said she wanted to have it hold her rings. This Little Mouse Needle & Thread Keeper is a Susa Glenn Design:ArtFabric Studio. This link sends you to her "Sewing Whimsies" but she has a big website to explore and if I had not posted this,  the site I would not have discovered.The pincushion body is filled with sand (some suggest builders' sand or aquarium sand), but I wish someone would tell me how to find emery locally (though it may be for needles of the past, and wool, better to lubricate needles and pins). One could also use poly-fil. About 10" wire is included which you shape to secure the tale within the piece.
      At the same sight you will find other creatures from dogs to frogs. The rooster Nancy gave me is next! One can never have enough pincushions. Mimi Kirshner's are so loveable!