Purse

Finished this purse a few weeks ago:

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Lately I have been about quilts as garments and this was a first idea.I have the beginning of a jacket as well. The inside of pockets and the bag lining are bright orange.  This was Steve’s idea. I love this idea and am still amused by the little surprise of the the color. I used small bits of it on the strap as well. The strap is intentionally not even, creating a sinewy sensual line. I usually wear it across the body, so it is a nice semi vertical line. I also used several polymer clay objects that I had made a long time ago. By and large, I am happy with it, although it could be slightly bigger inside.  Next time I will spend some time thinking about making a flat bottom so more items will fit inside.

new dress

I have been working on this dress for a couple weeks and finished it last week.   I wore it to work and got a lot of good feedback- which gives me the courage to post it here.

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I added the little blouse which matches pretty closely and has little beaded edge.

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Here it is without the blouse- unfortunately, the horizontal stripes are better when they are broke up by the jacket or they widen me a little bit. Also, it turns out if I have to take more than one picture I start to get cross.  I should probably be nicer to my photographer.  He took quite a few more and I always have that slightly angry face on which means I was “saying hurry up already”.

I drafted the pattern from a dress that I have that I loved that got a hole in it.  I used Alabama Chanin techniques to hand sew it. In the process of sewing the neckline either stretched or was slightly too wide. I had reinforced the neckline with hand basting, but in future, I may fuse some fusible interfacing to the neckline to avoid stretching. It gapped when it was finished. I ran a line of elastic thread by hand in the binding right in the center front, hence the gathering.

Julie from my church gifted me this fabric. Originally it was cream and brown, I wasn’t too fond of the cream so I over dyed the fabric, first red then black.  As you can see, there must be some polyester in the fabric because I didn’t get a super dark color either time. It took dye unevenly, resulting in the lighter stripes in between the wide stripes. I like this, too.

I will definitely remake this dress, it is super comfortable.

Heart quilt

It is getting very close to done. I love this quilt. Visually there is a lot going on.
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It is fun to look at, with its wonkiness and energy.  It is interesting to me, having worked on it and started with so much red, how much the addition of the pink has changed and lightened. It is very improvisational, and that comes through in it.  Now, off to the fabric store to get fabric for a frame.

new projects

Several projects that I have been slowly working on.  This first one is near my heart.  It is corduroy and so far just two fabrics, one my husband’s old shirt and one my sister gave me.

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It is a wonky log cabin.  It is so much more successful than this block that I was also playing with:

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Several errors here. Since is it was play I probably won’t redo it.  I was frustrated with it because it caused a lot thinking to put it together.  Someone with more patience than me would need to put a whole quilt of this pattern together. I get so much more enjoyment out of the wonky blocks instead of trying to force the pattern.

The last one is a bag I am making.  I just have a vague idea of how this will go together but I love the trajectory:

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Prince

I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain.  -Prince, Purple Rain

You did cause sorrow- with your purple passing. This one death hit me very hard, and I am not sure why. After all, I never met Prince, never even went to a Prince concert. We thought we saw him on Lake Street once, but more likely it was someone dressed up like him- his presence was so pervasive in Minneapolis.  I hadn’t really been a hard core fan. If you asked me what his most recent album was,I couldn’t tell you. Even though he is gone, I can still listen to his music the same way as I always have.

The beautiful ones
U always seem 2 lose   – Prince, Beautiful Ones

Yet, I am sad. Why?
Prince really embodies the 1980s for me, and his passing has felt like a closure of my youth- not that I have been really young for a while. I am steadfastly,flat-footed middle-aged. But it sure feels like a door closing on my youth with his passing.

So what did Prince mean to me?

His wonderful, overt sexuality was attractive to me.  Of course, for me, I was 16 years old when Purple Rain come out; full of curiosity about anything sexual, without any understanding of the actuality. Prince tapped into my budding sexuality. Besides that, he sang about love and he is the perfect lover full of intensity and devotion.

On another level, he really embodied the idea of a gender spectrum before it was really even a thing. There were men who dressed like him, but they were mostly gay, not straight. There were men who were overtly sexual , but didn’t look like him.

They say two thousand zero, zero
Party over
Oops, out of time  – Prince, 1999

He wrote about the end of the world, which every generation since Christ’s has been anticipating as just on the horizon. Of course, my generation grew up under the shadow of not God; but man’s ability to end the world. With the constant tension from USSR, it felt very possible. Yet he took that anxiety and made it into a party anthem.

You may say lots of artists were doing similar things and you would be correct. Boy George and Micheal Jackson overtly and covertly played with gender identity. Sting and Nena wrote songs (much sadder) about nuclear annihilation. Madonna pushed overt sexuality into a powerful woman’s genre. But none of them took these elements and bundled them up into one package- that is what makes Prince so much more complex and multifaceted.

I leave you with a piece I made several years ago, which I have called the “Tiny Angel” quilt. The background was my visual representation of Purple Rain. Now the piece seems even more appropriate:

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Goodnight, sweet Prince!

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new blocks

I can’t seem to get past the block stage lately, here are a couple new blocks.

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The top one may not make the quilt because it is out of scale.  I am disappointed in my math.  I had cut out these little squares a long time ago and tried to make the heart the right size for them.  I had to come to terms with the fact that having perfect corners is not in the plan for right now. There is something in the intensity of color that resonates with me very strongly.

 

 

a few new blocks

Haven’t got as much done, but I did make a couple new blocks.

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Here is Glenda and her bubble pocket.

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This is a the background to my lion.  The trees turned out really nice.

I have been slowly moving my sewing room back up and organizing. I did a lot last week and just in time, the hot water heater went out last week.  Luckily, only a small amount of water leaked out. But last week all of my sewing stuff including my second machine were right by the water heater.  It all worked out for the best.

 

more blocks

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I was excited to finish these two this week.  They were super tedious to put together but the result is exactly what I wanted. Here is the pattern if you are interested: Pineapple blocks.

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I did both ways but I like the first one better.  I did use colored markers to make the spirals more distinctive.  These are part of the No Place like Home quilt.  They are the beginning of the yellow brick road.

Still working off and on making blocks from the Quilting Block & Pattern-a-day 2016 Calendar. Steve helped me pick the colors for this one and it turned out quite striking:

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One criticism I have is that the blocks are quite big.  Several other ones that I made are over sized. It is rare for me make a block larger than a foot, but several of these are 16 inches.

I have been cleaning and getting rid of items this weekend.  I took about six bags to Goodwill this weekend.  It felt good to get rid of it all. I am slowly moving back into my sewing room. I made a lot of progress since it was fairly warm this weekend.

 

 

long cold weekend

My youngest buddy had his wisdom teeth out on Friday.  He is doing well, but because of this, the weather and football we had an inside weekend.  I spent a lot of time sewing while binge watching House (just in case he had medical complications) and going through things and discarding them.  I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo last week. Really good book.  I have about four bags of discards on the porch specifically of items that no longer give me joy.  If you think that on my porch in brown paper bags your joy is hidden, let me know. I am totally willing to deliver joy to your house if you live within 40 blocks of my house and if it is contained in brown paper bags on my porch.

On Saturday I discovered that I had a box of colored pencils and Steve had a box of color pencils.  The difference between his and mine was that his were all perfectly sharpened. Even though we both are artists, there is no way we would ever use all these colored pencils.  So being somewhat OCD, I inventoried all the colored pencils to make sure that we had every color before I give the balance away.This was a several step, completely crazy process.  In case anyone needs a completely OCD method of deciding to keep or discard colored pencils, I am sharing it here.

Step one: Lay out all of Steve’s colored pencils, according to the spectrum.  Lay out all of my colored pencils according to the spectrum. These must remain separate until the next step.

Step two: Save all the white pencils.  You really cannot have too many white pencils when you sew. Also, silver.

Step three: Starting with yellow, sort all of the pencils by color name and manufacturer.

Step four: If there is no duplicate, save. If there are duplicate of color and manufacturer, this is no guarantee of these pencils being the same exact shade especially if the paint color of the pencil is a different color. If you give away a Rose Art yellow that is slightly, almost, but not quite imperceptibly, different from another Rose Art yellow colored pencil your life will be irretrievably ruined.

Step five: This step requires 25 years of foresight.  Marry an artist who will allow you to interrupt him multiple times while he is reading the paper to color several nearly perfect quarter inch swatches of pencils that look nearly the same but not exactly.

Step six: Chose the best pencil from the duplicates based on completely arbitrary reasons including size, how sharp they are and the mood of chooser.

Step six: Repeat steps 3-6, for all the other colors.  Correct order is: yellow, red, orange, green, blue, violet, brown and black. I don’t know why, but this order is deeply true and proper.

This process takes about 45 minutes or for the people who keep time more accurately: one episode of House with the commercials removed. This time frame also includes one good-natured argument about whether it is crazier to perfectly sharpen fifty or so colored pencils or to spend a Saturday morning sorting them carefully for discard. I lost that argument pretty soundly. That I have spent forty five minutes documenting this process in this blog nails the lid on the coffin of that argument. Also, provides solid evidence for why I work in provider data.

So for people who read this blog for quilting, I finished three more blocks for my Quilting Block & Pattern-a-day 2016 Calendar:

 

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This one I will use for sure. I have a kitty cat quilt in queue after the Wizard of Oz quilt.  Already built the pinterest page.  In an only vaguely related aside, if you are interested, here is the No Place like Home inspiration page on pinterest.

I blew the block up to 8 inches.  In fact, any of these appliqued blocks I am blowing up to 8 inches instead of what the instructions say. That would be one criticism I have of these patterns.  Many of these quilts are based on 12×12 blocks.  This requires me to have xerox machine or go to a copy store because my computer printer only allows paper up to 8 1/2 and 11.  I would suggest that most blocks be 8 inches or less.  It would actually be nice if the calendar was big enough to allow 6 inch squares and the designs could be that size so the designs could be as is.  I suspect that most people are not using these as fun puzzles like me and may actually make the quilts as designed so I won’t complain too hard.

Here are two other blocks from the calendar:

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This one turned out a little lopsided.  I used a different technique for applique for this one than the previous ones.  The previous ones, I used reverse applique and the xeroxed pattern as stabilizer.  This one I cut the pieces and used glue stick to hold them. I will do a comparison of applique techniques in a future blog.   The yellow center piece I used English applique, a hand applique technique.  If I use this in a quilt, I will probably slash the back and stuff to add more dimension to the applique.

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