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.
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!
Filed under: Etc.
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.
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’s little watery piece was just what I needed this month. I’m not sure why, but I found the process of making this one very relaxing and sweet. Perhaps its because summer is ending? Perhaps I was remember all those afternoons the we wandered around the beach, picking up rocks and other little bits. I loved all the parts in the box you sent for July, especially the little painting.
I’m sure you didn’t intend for me to quite as literally inspired by your painting as I was, but I couldn’t help it. It was just perfect, and I enjoyed putting all the colors and shapes together to come up with a fabric version. The green-blues and baby blues you sent could be my new favorite color combinations. Its funny how they did not feel pastel, but just beachy and washed, lovely.
So, I consider this a postcard of our summer. It will always be a reminder of good stuff.
How are you doing with July’s box? Will we ever catch up? I am finally working on mine and am really enjoying zoning out on my little water-inspired piece. I am pretending to be making a postcard to give myself, a summer postcard. I’ll show my finished piece soon.
I really love this tiny painting you sent in the July box. (For those following along, we are just now starting our July projects because we took a small summer break). Everything you sent in the box just sings of this little capture of water.
First and foremost, thank you a zillion times for sending me no buttons ; ) I think this little box of watery inspiration will be going on the road with me soon, I already have some ideas…