Thursday, March 17, 2011

Window Monkeys!

So, it's been six months and....Drumroll please: I have finally posted my very first quilt listing in my etsy shopThis crib-sized quilt (approx. 34” x 44”) was made using a selection of Moda 100% cotton, quilting weight fabrics. . It features ‘funky sock monkeys’ in pajamas in the framed windows on the front, and on the back. The monkeys are framed in a yellow print with small white dots, and those frames are framed with a banana print, cornered by the same dotted yellow fabric. The outer quilt border is a deep pink with polka dots in many colors, including one matching the yellow framing the sock monkeys. The quilt was machine-pieced and quilted, using unbleached, 100% cotton batting.  It is bound with the yellow fabric using the double-fold method; machine-stitched to the front, and blind-stitched to the back by hand.

If you see the listing, please let me know what you think!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pure Harte

A fellow etsy friend of mine, purehartehas just finished her new collection of spring/summer clothes. They're all made from organic, fair trade fabrics, and are truly beautiful! I really love her style; everything looks so clean and comfortable, with a touch of whimsy. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend that you take a look at her shop. 

This is my favorite piece from the collection; I'm a big fan of the neckline, waist detail, and it's green!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stitching Paralysis...

I am so very close to the completion of a quilt (have I said this before?) that I have been working on for some time now. So close. Very close... I was derailed by attempting a new binding technique, and to be honest, I hate it... which is why it is taking me so long to finish! After every few stitches I stop, take stock of the situation, and ponder ripping it out and defaulting to to my standard technique. But at this point, I think doing that will cause too much damage to the blanket, and I will be better off finishing it with the method I began with. What's the point of creating a blanket that looks like it spent the afternoon in a wood-chipper, only to have perfect binding? That seems about as practical as dressing up a sweat suit with a pearl necklace.

My stitching paralysis on this quilt began one day, several months ago, while I was out fabric shopping. I had finished the piecing, and was well on my way to completion, only lacking enough of the fabric I wanted for the binding. While having the fabric cut, I was chatting with one of the ladies in the shop. I let slip that I really hated the binding stage of the process, because I didn't like hand stitching (it's very tedious!). She adamantly told me that I was crazy to be hand stitching my binding, and convinced me of what she described as a much better, faster method. I had used the method she described before, to attach the bias tape around the sides of my 1950's apron (machine-stitching to the back and top-stitching on the front). It had worked out well with the apron, mostly because what the wrong side of an apron looks like is entirely irrelevant. They're not exactly a reversible garment, under ordinary circumstances.

At least my paralysis on this quilt has not stopped me from breaking ground on the next; the first quilt to go into my Etsy shop. I've continued with the sock monkey theme, but this time I brought in some bold pinks and yellows, making this one a bit more appropriate as a gift for a baby girl. I have finished the piecing, and pin-basted it this morning. Needless to say, this quilt will be bound following my usual method of choice: the double-fold method; machine stitching my binding fabric to the front of the quilt, and then blind stitching the fold to the back of the quilt by hand. I'm looking forward to creating my first quilt listing, and seeing how it all goes!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Everyone has a story to tell...

I am a fan of music that encompasses different styles, genre's, and regions. But the common thread between all of my favorite pieces, is their ability to convey a story. Whether it calls forth feelings of fear, anger, love, resentment, nostalgia, or merely provides a narrative that I can relate to,  these are the pieces that touch me.

This song is a great example of what I have been trying to explain, and why I tend to gravitate towards the music produced by singer/songwriters. This is not to say that music can only tell a story using lyrics; feelings can be evoked with equal ( if not more) effectiveness through melody alone. The stories told without lyrics are often more meaningful for you, because it's essentially your own story, directed by shifts in the composition of the melody. Can you recollect a film score that elicits a feeling from you--changes your mood, or directs your thoughts in some way, whenever you hear it? I can think of quite a few.

But i digress... the reason I began on this tangent has to do with my new direction. I think my hiatus began when I ran out of ideas. I was tired, overworked and, unfortunately, uninspired; frustrated and without a direction on which I wanted to focus. The story. I am going to attempt a period in which everything I create tells a story, which is how I think photographs are going to be very effective (especially given that I am inept at rendering images by hand). I am excited to see where this might lead...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A New Direction

In the past, all  of the cards I have made containing images, have been stamped images using various types of ink and embossing powders. Today I have been playing with different ways of incorporating photographs onto different types of paper, and applying a waterproofing/texturing layer using a liquid paper-sealant.

Photography is something that I love, and on my last trip to Ireland I was gifted a trip to one of the three Aran Islands-- Inis Mór. It is the largest of the islands in the chain, owing to the translation of it's name- the big island. But don't let the name mislead you; only about 900 people live on the island. To get there, I got on a very, very, small six-seater plane (where I was seated shotgun), and proceeded to fly across the Galway Bay. Being inside the cockpit (minus the visual stimulus) is how I imagine it would feel to be trapped inside of a "jumping bean." Despite the feeling of being that last un-popped kernel, bouncing around the popcorn machine, the view made the whole experience well worth the ever-so-slight fear of crashing to my death. The pathway in the photo printed on the card shown above leads to the Dún Aonghasa fort. 

This fort, situated at the highest elevation on the island, is thought to have been built during the Iron Age. It is amazing to me, to see something built so long ago, still standing in a form that, in some way, resembles the original structure. There aren't many examples of such structures still intact today. I am skeptical to believe that any building constructed today will sustain the test of elements and time, that this one has already endured. 

On the other side of this structure is a scenic cliff edge, that overlooks the sea crashing on the rocks more than 300 feet below. Between the deafening silence, the crisp fresh air, the strong breeze, and the breathtaking view, being near the edge was one of the most uniquely dizzying experiences I have ever felt. 

Being there had a way of making you feel very small, in a comforting, and strangely reassuring way. This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and I dream of one day having the means to take a sabbatical to live here and spend my days writing. In this unrealistic dream, I am comfortably settled in the stone white house, down the long winding path, just inside the peninsula. My father tells me that the harsh winter and solitude precludes it from being a desirable place to live. But everything I have described, in conjunction with the fact that, while there, I sat in a bar and had what I can only describe as the best fish and chips I have ever had (with a lovely pint of Guinness), makes me think that I could survive the stint quite well. In the meantime, I will enjoy the memories and images that I have, and incorporate them into my projects.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Well, That was a hiatus!

Where to begin? For months now, I've accomplished nothing outside of work. I'm part way through three quilts, one of which is for a baby nearing 6 months of age. Not really sure what happened there... he hadn't been born yet when I began! The second is for a baby whose birth is quickly approaching, and the last is a throw for my mother, who will soon be turning 60. I should really get on top of those! During my blogging hiatus I also delved into wedding invitations. Thankfully, it was a very small wedding, so it wasn't as overwhelming a first attempt as it could have been. Hopefully they are what the bride and groom were hoping for!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back to babies!

There must be something in the water, because just about everyone I know is either getting married, having a baby, or going for both! In the spirit of life moving on around me, I've delved back into some baby quilts. I started this one yesterday. It's a simple pattern, but one that I haven't tried before. I'm loving the sock monkeys and bananas! There's another row around to go, that will be a dinosaur print in the color scheme of the small blue squares. Hopefully it will all come together! I think crib quilts are my favorite to assemble. I love all of the adorable prints and color combinations that you just couldn't get away with, for any other occasion!