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.

Blair



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!

B



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).

Blair



July’s summer postcard to myself, all done by blair
August 31, 2008, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Blair, finished | Tags: ,

Dear Daria,

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.

B



summer postcard by blair
August 27, 2008, 10:56 am
Filed under: Blair | Tags: ,

Dear Daria,

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.

B



July, water by blair
August 1, 2008, 11:50 am
Filed under: Blair, inspiration | Tags: ,

Daria,

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…

Blair



June buttons: I pretended they were something else. by blair
July 27, 2008, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Blair, finished | Tags: ,

Dear Daria,

Well I, like you, was secretly trying to wish this particular month’s challenge away. I mean, buttons are nice, but I wouldn’t say I am too inspired by them at this point in my crafting life. But what is inspiring me right now is printing (of any kind) on fabric. When I sat down to finally work on this project, I came at it from more of exploring what was inspiring me at the moment, and working the buttons in, rather than make the buttons the focus. That’s how I came up with this little piece.

I cut a freezer paper stencil for the silhouette and printed it in gray onto the beige linen you sent, then I attempted to “applique” different parts of her outfit with the other pieces of fabric you sent (all of which I loved!). The 2 fabric covered buttons were going to go on her dress bodice, but then I decided to embroider little french knot buttons on there instead.

Based on the direction she is facing, and the way her dress seems to be blowing, it became windy and her balloons (buttons) started blowing downward.

I did this last Friday afternoon, and even though I was tempted to stop and start it again the next day, I kept going. I’m glad I did, as I’ve said I often overthink things when I spend too much time on them. I probably would have completely started over (this was already my second idea from an earlier foiled attempt). I am already exploring more printing ideas thanks to the little push this piece gave me (well, minus the buttons). I see many mistakes in this piece, but I also needed the practice I got from making it.

You are right, these monthly boxes aren’t always supposed to fall completely within our crafting comfort zones, are they?

I have laughed more than once this past month at how coincidentally, neither of us were inspired in the least by our self-imposed button challenge. And I do have a confession to make about what I sent to you. I’ve always snatched up at least a quarter yard of those novelty sewing prints, but once I get them home, they never get used for anything. So I sent those to you as sort of a favor to myself, to inspire me to use them. You used them to their best, I love the buttoned blocks and quilted “tacks” you added (how do you do those so neatly anyway?), they anchor it all so perfectly. You also managed to balance the colors and add in just what was missing.

I hope you think I was nicer to you when you opened our July box… I am IN LOVE with July’s theme and what you sent to me, which I’ll share here soon.