eight by eight

September’s theme is recycle by Blair
October 7, 2008, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Blair | Tags: , ,

Dear Daria,

I love September’s box of bits. I needed a hug today (this nasty cold has gotten the better of me) and all these soft, snuggly fabrics seem to be doing just that. I think recycle is the perfect theme for me right now, although I feel as if I must admit that there has been some recycling in previous boxes I’ve sent to you, but this one is the legit recycle one, right?

I’m seeing a swatch from the lovely smock you recently finished, from a girly corduroy jumper, a knit shirt (or maybe a few), some Denyse Schmidt County Fair (would you believe I just made a purse in that same fabric??).

I’m off to think about what I will do.



August: Finished Project by daria
October 1, 2008, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Daria, finished | Tags:

Dear Blair,

I had no idea what to do this month, so I just sat down & started cutting.

Looking at it now, it seems clear that I was influenced by all the Alabama Chanin stuff floating around the blogs, but at the time I was wiped out from a busy weekend & thought, basically, oh, good, felt doesn’t fray & then I can stitch it down & it will be THREADY.

Actually, I like it a lot more than I thought I would, especially the green section — which, as it happens, is the one I liked least after cutting, but sewed down anyway because those are the rules.  I’ve been thinking a lot about printmaking lately, about repetitive pattern & simple shapes, & I think that definitely seeped through into this piece.

I sort of wish I’d assigned the floss colors differently, so the rectangles weren’t quite so tonal, but overall, I think it turns out that I am more pleased with this project than with some of the months that I spent much more time on.  There’s something to be said for just leaning into it & letting the thread fall where it may (ha), I guess.


August is done by Blair
September 28, 2008, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Blair, finished | Tags:

Dear Daria,

I literally finished this piece about 20 minutes ago, and we are heading out to a soccer game shortly. But I love to get things crossed off my list (and there’s much more to do today) so here you go. The first thing you may notice is that I went completely away from my original inspiration of that Gee’s Bend quilt piece I posted about. I noticed that too. As hard as I tried, it just wasn’t working with September’s box of supplies. There wasn’t quite enough contrast in the fabrics to make the geometric, graphic effect I was inspired by. So I went back to the drawing board and the result is this piece.

I thumbed through Pattern Motifs: A Sourcebook (one of my favorite pattern reference books, by the way) and ironically found inspiration in a very simple square grid pattern. I also thumbed through my sketchbook and remembered an idea I’d played around with briefly over the summer, cutting and sewing fabric into narrow strips, then cutting those pieces into strips, perpendicular to the seams. Leaving me basically squirmy little strips like the one above. I sewed these together and had one long patchwork-y, skinny snake of a strip. I pinked the edges mostly because I like the way it looked, though it does help with loose threads.

I sewed the strips on the machine, right down the middle, with the thread you sent in the box. Then I used the thread to make the grid pattern. I had planned to use the largest brown swatch you sent as the background, but decided there needed to be more contrast between the background and the handstitching, so I used this blue corduroy from my stash. It seemed to work well with everything, so hopefully that was okay. I mimicked a handquilted, running stitch on the grid pattern I “drew” with the thread, which is great practice because I will be handquilting the twin sized quilt I’m working on soon. My stitches are far from even and uniform, they’re not even straight, but I’m beginning to realize that the charm of a hand stitched effect on anything (a quilt or something else) is in the idea that its done with someone’s hands, and not on a machine. Don’t you find it terribly hard not to study something that’s been entirely handstitched?

Anyway, there you have it. This box was a challenge for me, but I’m so glad I jumped in it this weekend. Its simple, but the play of the handquilting, the patterns in tiny little doses, the pinking, worked for me.

Can’t wait to see yours!


august’s box: I’m lured by quilts by Blair
September 24, 2008, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Etc.

Dear Daria,

First off, I’m glad you like the box of materials I sent you for “thread”. Don’t you love getting these monthly boxes? The minute I see one on my doorstep, I feel a little tinge of possibility. I will admit that often what is on my sewing table heavily influences what I send in some of those boxes (I know this goes for you too- hello remnants from Jedi costume), but the combination of thinking about “thread” and a clean studio made me start from zero this time, which I think was helpful.

I’m giggling because the late timing on our August box certainly makes me heavily influenced by the inevitability of Fall. And the contents fit right in with my thinking. I have wholeheartedly surrendered to my yearly quilt obsession again this year, which is happening right now. I don’t see how I can avoid thinking about quilt blocks with this current theme, handquilting is certainly the manipulation of thread and all it can be, right? I thought about doing some fancy stitching and exploiting my new machine, maybe embroidering something like “thank you for not sending me buttons”. But I think the dimmer days, mist in the air (did you feel it today?), and the cozy brown bits you sent all feel like they need a good dose of handstitching.

I treated myself to the postcard set of The Quilts of Gee’s Bend a couple of weeks ago and have definitely found my inspiration in the quilt above. I don’t quite know how its inspiring me for thread yet, but it is. Done by Sadie Bell Nelson in 1965 of synthetic knits, a variation of the “Monkey Wrench” pattern. I think its so pretty in fact, you may see it inspiring a future box one day.

Write soon,


August: Thread by daria
September 20, 2008, 9:54 am
Filed under: Daria | Tags: ,

Dear Blair,

You know, if months actually went at the pace they seem to in my little eightbyeight world, I’m pretty sure I would get a lot more done.

When we were making our topic list, last December, I thought that thread was a really cool idea.  I still do, WAY cooler than buttons, but I am not sure exactly how to — well, never mind, I just got an idea.

Also, the grey fabric you sent is just gorgeous.

And I really like the floss colors too.  I’m working with a lot of rich, plummy brown fall colors in my other projects right now, & I like how different, how cool & smooth these are.  (Not that the rock postcard is influencing me, or anything…)


August- thread by Blair
September 9, 2008, 11:49 am
Filed under: Blair, inspiration | Tags: , ,

Dear Daria,

Fresh off the rejuvenation of July’s project (which is prescisely what I’d hoped this project would do, rejuvenate!), I open your August box. Such a contrast from last month, but it feels very in line with the world outside right now (although isn’t this indian summer we’re having incredible?). The contents are full of textures and depth of brown and navy blues (I’d love to see the Jedi costume these came from, did I miss it? It must have been fabulous!).

Thread… when I thought about this theme, I immediately thought of Lisa Solomon’s method of drawing with thread, like these pieces in one of her newest shows (scroll down). I am also thinking about everything I can DO with thread in general, like on cloth, of course, but also things like helping Ian hang a paper mobile. I was struggling a bit with this month, and thread, but then when I talked to my sis-in-law about it, she helped me brainstorm into an idea that resonated with me. So, I’m all a-go. Hope you are finding inspiration out there (and in the box I sent).


July: Finished Project by daria
September 2, 2008, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Daria, finished | Tags: ,

Dear Blair,

Hi, I’m back.

Ok, so, at first I was thinking about taking all those fancy fabrics & doing a sort of undulating striped patchwork piece, meant to be wave-esque.  But, you know, slippery.

That was my best idea,  though, until the image of concentric ripples, like when you drip water into a puddle, popped into my head.

I thought it would be a nice way to manage the gradations of color you sent, plus it had the added benefit of making use of wonder under instead of actual piecing, so I was all for it.

So I organized the colors, then cut some wonky circles.  After fusing my pieces, I stitched around each one with some metallic aqua thread I had on hand.  And that was it.

On the one hand, it sort of reminds me of an egg (if the white fabric was in the shape of a slice of bread, it would look very much like my daughter’s lunch today), but on the other hand, it’s also sort of like a lily pad, which is also watery, right?, & mostly it feels very clean & simple & unfussy to me.