eight by eight

March: finished project by daria
March 31, 2008, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Daria, finished | Tags: ,

Dear Blair,

This has been done for a couple of days, but the surprise March sleet has been interfering with my photo light for the surprise March color pairing, ahem.  Plus, I had to sit around thinking about how much I love your project before I could post about mine.  I love it!


Ok, so, I took the fabrics you sent, added a handful of solid cottons from my scrap box, & gave foundation piecing a whirl.  I’m not sure it’s a technique that will become part of my standard toolbox (not like the paper bag trick you used, which I’m dying to try), but I will say that it was very easy to handle some pretty fiddly little bits of fabric this way.  I used my rotary cutter to slice the fabric up into little freehand strips, then sewed them down to a muslin backing (more pics on flickr), & while the end result is thicker & lumpier (seamwise, I mean) than I would want in many cases, it was a lot of fun for this little project.


I initially made three strips, but felt like the piece needed something more, so I cut each of those in half the long way & sewed everything back together.  I added a few embellishments with the felt & ric rac you included in the box, then decided that this was the perfect opportunity to test out the square loop quilting design I’ve been working out.


Of course, with all the extra seaming & then the fairly heavy quilting, I came up short on size, so I decided to add a scrap of the uneven foundation-pieced ends across the bottom, since that skyline effect was actually one of my favorite results of the technique.  I ended up having to trim off most of the interesting bits when I cut the piece down to size (bad planning = making the piece too large & having important sections, pre-trimming, at both top & bottom).  Still, it’s something I’ll remember about doing strips that way.

I absolutely agree with you, the size & scope of these projects makes them feel very manageable, a perfect little way to try out new ideas or new techniques.  (I do really wish I could find my notebook, though.)


*As usual, I posted larger images than usual for the big reveal but looks like our template cuts off the sides so be sure to click the pictures for full size or check them out on the 8×8 flickr.


march by Blair
March 28, 2008, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Blair, finished | Tags: , ,


Dear Daria,

You’re probably amazed at how ahead of our deadline I am this month (I know I’m amazed!). I think this one is my favorite so far. Paper bag piecing is so fun! For readers who may not know what I’m talking about, as I cut strips out of the individual fabrics, I put them in a bag and pulled them out in pairs- without peeking- and sewed them together. Then those pairs were put back into the bag, pulled out in pairs, sewn together, and so on. What you end up with is something like the idea of my finished pieced. I put a few pictures of the process over on Flickr. There was not a bit of thought as to how these were going together, I really followed the rule of no peeking!


What is really freeing about a process like this is that the colors just come together on their own, there’s no planning and wondering if there’s too much of one color here or a pair that doesn’t work over there. And its so quick! Because there is not much planning and contemplating, I completed this in one rainy afternoon, from start to finish.

The handquilting is rather, um, rustic. But I actually tried to do that (you believe me, don’t you D?). I bought some various colors of orange and blue thread and just played around with stitching different shapes. The muslin piece you sent worked perfectly as a neutral border and the twill tape became the top and bottom edge. I *love* the way the colors came together in this, and how they are framed by the neutral border. I plan to play around with this whole technique some more. Its so simple to think by just putting the strips in a paper bag and not actually looking at them when choosing could inspire me, but I often go through periods of overthinking color combinations.


OK, Daria, we are three months into this and I couldn’t be happy with where this project has taken me. It has not been daunting, it has not felt like a burden (well, except for when I was knee-deep in school auctions, but at that point sleeping was a bit of a burden too.) Quite the contrary, it has inspired me and gotten me thinking in new directions creatively. Hope you think so too.


March: surprise color pairing, finally by daria
March 24, 2008, 10:58 am
Filed under: Daria | Tags: ,

Dear Blair!

The auction is done!  I can breathe!   I thought there would be time to sneak some 8×8 earlier in this month, but I also thought that I was taking on a reasonable amount of work for the auction, so there you go.

First of all, lo these many weeks ago you sent me this:


I would just like to point out that not only is half of our palette basically the same, but that we sent each other the exact same Denyse Schmidt fabric (which continues to be one of my favorites in that particular colorway).  I love this tonal bunch of fabrics, plus I love how differently we approached the theme (aside from our shared devotion to DS).

Even though I haven’t been around on the computer, I’ve found a second here & there to do some sketching for this month, only apparently sometime in the last two days I put a bunch of important things, including my eight by eight moleskine, somewhere very safe, so I’ll have to get back to you about my project plans.  I think they involve foundation piecing, just because after all of the big quilting I’ve been doing lately, I am in the mood to work smaller & fussier, plus I’ve never tried it before.

Speaking of never having tried something before, can’t wait to see how the paper bag situation works out for you.  That quilt you posted is my absolute favorite project in the entire book (are you surprised?), & I think something along those lines could be pretty fantastic in a stripped down two-color palette.

Ok, actually, only ONE auction is done, so I’m off to finish up my (much smaller) projects for the second one.  I’ll be back soon, I promise!  Maybe I’ll even find my moleskine before then!


you sent March fabrics in brown paper, I’ll actually need a paper bag. by Blair
March 21, 2008, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Blair, inspiration | Tags: ,


Dear Daria,

I know you’re swamped with school auction craziness, and you know I sit here in my post-auction leisure (as if!). The March color pairing you sent has really inspired me these past couple of weeks (or maybe its that everything truly does just look better when the sun shines on it!). I keep going back to this quilt project in Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts (a detail shot from the book is pictured above). You know the “Sort of Crazy Quilt” project…the one in the more than 12 hour section. I know, what am I thinking?? Seriously though, I’ve always wanted to try Denyse Schmidt’s approach to piecing to combining colors (the paper-bag technique) and I think the stack of fabrics you sent is just the pile to start with. I know that the version in the book uses many tonal colors combined to flow nicely, but I would like to mix up the blues and oranges you sent to see how the contrast would work. This is the part when I so love the fact that this project is small and focused, eight by eight is a very doable size.

Hope to hear from you soon.


March: surprise color pairing by Blair
March 9, 2008, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Blair | Tags: ,


Dear Daria,

The package you sent has been sitting here…tempting me…but I promised myself I’d open it when I could give it the time it deserves. I *l o v e* this one the most so far. Just so pretty! The patterns, the textures, they will be so fun to work with. I don’t have a clear inspiration jumping out at me for this one as I did in the other 2 you sent, it will be interesting to see what the outcome with be.


I interpreted this theme a little differently in the package I sent to you, with a more tonal color pairing. It will be interesting in how we switch gears from the color contrast we sent to the color constrasts we received. Have fun!


cozy patchwork sampler for February, which can also be called good crafting therapy… by Blair
March 2, 2008, 9:16 am
Filed under: Blair, finished | Tags: , ,

I have a story around what came out of this month’s theme. First of all, the colors of what you sent just jumped out of the box with all their vivid-ness. They were a welcome surprise (although I don’t really know what I was expecting, which I guess is part of the fun). I formed an idea of what I would do immediately. Then a h u g e project landed on the little lap of our small business, and everything was put aside. Everything. I found myself working not only while the kids were away at school each day, but at night after they were in bed, and sometimes even through dinner. I can’t say its put me in the best mood. Feeling as if I had no time for anything at all and most definitely no balance…well…yes…I was pouting a little. Anyway…

Just as I was about to go to bed the other night, I switched gears and decided to jump into my eight by eight project instead. I suddenly felt the urge to do something completely for me, and let me tell you, this was the perfect thing. Funny how sewing all these little stitches created such a total calmness in me, I immerged from my studio feeling so much better about everything, immediately calmer and just more “me”. I love having a pre-defined size and a pre-chosen set of materials to work with (that I did not choose). This month especially, it just seemed like the best kind of crafting therapy.


Looking back at the original pile of bits I got in my box, I was most interested in the felt dots and immediately called them my favorite part. They definitely fueled my initial inspiration. I found it most fun to use them as a foundation to play with different embroidery stitches. As for the fabrics themselves, they all seemed to come together as a patchwork, with the dots on top. I loved how the polka dot corduroy balanced with those round felt dots.


The wool roving you sent stumped me initially, but then I decided to pull out my needlefelting supplies and create pom poms (you can see these pom poms inspired other aspects of my crafting this month). I have wanted to do some needlefelting again for a while now, and while this is not a huge amount of work, my hands immediately remembered how theraputic the process can be (well, when I don’t get poked). I sewed these onto the corners, and this all suddenly felt very pillow-like to me. You know how I love the pillows. I added some stuffing, added a backing of red felt, and present you with a very tiny, eight by eight (actually a bit smaller) patchwork pillow.

On to March, a surprise color pairing is on its way to you!