On the Hoop

I had an afternoon of stitching yesterday since we had rain throughout the day. As you can see I have started on my block for the All that Jazz Quilt project.

Settling down with a cup of coffee I started off with designing some key motifs that were suitable for the theme. I drafted them out using Adobe Illustrator then printed them out. These motifs I then attached to the block using double sided fusible interfacing. With the exception of the mask shape at the base of the block, that is still to be done I outlined each piece of fabric by couching a fine flexible braid down. Since the silhouette of the musician was fine this took a little time as it’s quite detailed. With these key areas blocked in I next commenced the foundation row of some of the seam embellishments and started to block in a spray of Magnolias.

I notice that often crazy quilters work a seam or an area at a time. Completing one area of stitching then moving to the next. I do not work this way. I work all areas of a block at once flicking between areas. My first step is to block in the size that each motif is going to take up, then I return to complete and embellish it. By working across the block like this I don’t have as many problems getting the block to balance. So at this stage I am blocking in key areas and then I will return to work it further.

It’s a relief to be stitching a block after working on the denim of the bags of fun bag.

In case people have just stumbled upon this site everyone can join in and make a block for the All that Jazz Katrina fundraiser project as all blocks are being made into quilts to be auctioned off to raise money for the relief and rebuilding efforts. Every block will also be published in the gallery. Blocks are due to me on December 8. Everybody is welcome and the All that Jazz guidelines are here, and there is a dreaded ticker!

Bags of fun challenge: My bag is finished


Bags of fun challenge bagAs everyone can see I have finished my bags of fun bag. I thought when I proposed the Bags of fun challenge I would have plenty of time to complete it but since I also created the gallery to host on my website I only just made the deadline!

I have to admit that towards the end I tired of stitching through denim. Finer threads are OK but the thicker threads were tiring on the hands. I am looking forward to some regular stitching on the Katrina block now. I decided I liked the V shape and retained it. I also added a little bit of elastic (about 7 inches) in a casing front and back. It just holds the bag closed or perhaps I should describe it as tucked in.

I used many of textured stitches such as French knots, Couching, Bullion knots and oyster stitch all of them fun.

Since it is going to be a project bag that simply gets tossed in the back of the car and taken to various stitching meetings the roomy size is fine and it does not need to be closed as such. I am delighted to say that it holds a project, sewing equipment, a hoop and one of those plastic storage boxes that hold threads. There is still room to spare and pockets to tuck things in. I am thinking of attaching a pair of scissors on a long cord to it and needlecase and simply keeping them in one of pockets as I am always losing scissors.

On the flickr group I was asked if I was reaching out of a comfort zone with this crusty treatment. Well not really because I have been intrigued with this sort of overly stitched treatment for a while now. Last January I experimented with this fabric postcard . Previously I have also experimented with contrasting textured stitches against pulled thread techniques.

I am still experimenting with this. If I had to summerize it in a few words I would say I am exploring voided areas combined with  high and low textured areas. I think that it has loads of potential and I am still experimenting with it. I will organize some close ups of the samplers after I have the gallery built for the bags of fun participants and if people are interested.

Anyway I enjoyed the challenge of translating this to a denim bag. It meant I had to shift the scale and as a result the buttons were added. It at least looks different! I also wanted to retain the obvious look of recycled jeans.

Now for a bit of Bags of fun challenge housework. For those who are finishing their bags could you please send me an image of your bag and a little bit about how you made it . I have started working on the gallery site to display all the bags. So please email me an image of your bag and your story.

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Mardi Gras to go ahead in New Orleans in 2006

I was pleased to read the New Orleans is going to have a Mardi Gras in 2006. According to mardi gras neworleans.com “Despite the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, we welcome all of you back to the “City that Care Forgot” for Mardi Gras 2006 — we will again open our arms with Southern hospitality to everyone who loves New Orleans!”

When I read this I was pleased that we chose a jazz/mardi gras theme for the All that Jazz Quilt project.

I have nearly completed the Bags of fun challenge so I am thinking of my next commitment which of course is the Katrina Block. As you can see that ticker is moving along.

I have been digging about collecting ideas for my block So I have stumbled across a few things such as this history of the madi gras and another article on the architectural history of the French Quarter. An interpretation into a block of the Wrought iron balconies is a real possibility.

These led me to the Louisiana Studies in Historic Preservation which I got lost in particularly the French Creole heritage section then somehow I was in the plantation section and had to pull myself up short as I was heading into ‘Gone with the Wind’ daydreams.

I have also been finding out much more about Louisiana . A couple of weeks ago, I found out via the discussion lists that the magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is state flower of Louisiana . Now I think a silk ribbon interpretation is on the cards for that one.

The State Bird is the Eastern Brown Pelican and I found a colouring page of the Louisiana Eastern Brown Pelican that could be adapted for embroidery. On the same site I found a colouring sheet of a magnolia which could also be adapted.

The State Tree is the Bald Cypress (taxodium distichum). Since it is a conical pine it would be easy to translate this to a crazy quilt block.

They have a lot of state symbols in America they even have a state musical Instrument. Apparently Louisiana’s musical instrument it is diatonic accordion, commonly known as the “cajun” accordion. They even have state insects it’s the honey bee and an Iris the Louisiana Iris (Giganticaerulea) is the state wild flower.

Well all this combined with the music and mardi gras heritage has my head full of ideas and its about time I started to work on them!

That pile of mulch is considerably reduced but I still need to have a shovel in my hand today. In the process of mulching the garden has been weeded and everything trimmed – so its starting to look good. Annie came around yesterday (yep, I had a day off) and we had a pleasant afternoon in the garden. She has a new blog format with a definite botanical theme – check it out.

Anyway its time to get on with my weekend task and get out there again.