These buttons are killing me.
I took these pictures two weeks ago, started trying to write a post about them, lost the post in a computer crash, got busy, procrastinated, waited for excellent button inspiration to strike…
I’m still waiting.
I knew that I would get an excellent & varied assortment of vintage buttons from you, but I didn’t realize just how many button-themed fabrics you had in stash. (Because, ok, two = many in this case, I’m pretty sure.)
This one is hard! I’ll get there, & the fact that it’s hard is sort of exactly why we’re doing this project, right? But, it’s HARD!
Well, I have to admit that I really wanted to skip June altogether. I mean, buttons?? I’m still wondering if we had some sort of sudden button/fastener inspiration the day we decided this, that I can now not remember for the life of me. But then I got your box.
Your purples make me like purple. They really do. I love everything you sent. The fabrics could be the perfect palette of squashy cushions and chair covers for my backyard. Add some white lights and we’ve got a party. It feels just like you described in your note. Of the summer we are looking for here in Seattle…lemonade, berries, blue sky….
I’m looking out my window today and thinking we may finally be seeing it. The summer stuff, I mean. Not the inspiration for the buttons. I’m still working on that.
The box of green bits you sent for May threw me for a loop and I didn’t even realize it. There it all sat…on my work table…staring at me. Capped off by those little pots of fabric ink. My thinking ran the full gammet of possibilities. I could use a little of that ink…or a lot… I could use a little of the fabric…or a lot… Some days I would feel like just jumping in there, with no plan, and tackling it with whatever on-the-fly inspiration I had that day, but I held back and finally felt I came at it with some sort of creative plan. Here’s what I did.
Rather than use the large green piece you gave me as the base/background, I decided to use some quilter’s muslin I had (I worried that the green fabric and the light green ink were too close in color). I fiddled around with a pattern repeat I’d pulled from somewhere ages ago, which I drew out onto acetate (2 separate sheets, to cut out one for each color placement). Then taped them down over the muslin, one at a time, and pounced the ink on with a sponge. I like the way the darker green ink came out, but I was hoping for more even coverage for the lighter green (I think I should use a finer sponge). Each color required a couple of coats, which also affected the surface hand. But anyway, I reach a point where I was ready to move on to the fabric, so added the various fabric you sent a dots in between the patterns. I like the way it turned out.
This whole fabric printing business came at a really good time for the amount of brainspace I had for it. Its something I’d like to do more of, so you pushed me in the right direction D.
And yes, I think June’s theme is hard. Hard to put the box together, hard to find the inspiration for. Maybe now that the kids are home for summer break, we should get them to help us, no? :
Well, in the end I did manage to use all of that embroidery floss. I played around with a few different ideas, thought about using the floral fabrics as coloring books, though about embroidering “green” or etc across the piece, but in the end I decided to stay simple.
I put the floral fabrics together essentially as they were, size-wise, then set them in the middle of the green lineny stuff & put a big green zigzag over the seams. Since I knew I didn’t want to highlight the floral patterns, I decided to just put an abstract pattern across the top of everything, & my old familiar loops were the obvious choice.
I started with a medium green & stitched a series of loopy rows across the middle panel. I wanted a more layered effect, though, so then I went back over one of the rows in each of the other floss colors.
I freehanded the additional loopy layers (I’d drawn the first set of rows on), following the original line but veering off here & there, the way freewheeling loops might do, & while I did sort of get the look I was going for, I wonder if the quilty running stitch that I liked so much when there was just the one layer of embroidery wasn’t the exact right stitch to show off what I went on to do.
Messy, maybe, but very green. And, like I said when I was writing about eight by eight for the back and forth project, all the embroidery on this one made it my favorite project thus far…until I start on June.
*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.
I’m amused, or maybe bemused, at the way that the easiest themes to put together, boxwise, are the hardest for me to turn into actual projects. They’re also the ones where I feel the least like I’m sending MY vision over to you, though, which I think probably means that they’re the months that I open up the box with no preconceived idea of the direction my project will end up taking. Not to get overly philosophical about it, but that seems to be the way it’s breaking down for me so far.
Which is all to say, while I was blithely tossing a couple of tiny pots of green ink into your May box, I should have known that you would be packing up three pieces of fabric + a handful of embroidery floss for me.
(PS, I’m actually looking forward to having to slow down & do some careful embroidery…I just think it’s some funny karmic payback for the ink.)