eight by eight

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.



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.


JUNE! BUTTONS! by daria
July 25, 2008, 3:49 pm
Filed under: Daria, finished | Tags: ,

Dear Blair,

Holy moly, this one was hard. Hard!

Which, ok, I guess is not too surprising, since I am not one someone who collects vintage buttons, or thinks to use buttons for decorations on things I’m making — I have SEEN some fantastic vintage button collections, & some great, inspired, charming uses of said buttons, but it’s just not my gig, to look at a button & have a flash of design genius. But we’re stretching ourselves, right?

Though I am not sure a nine-patch with buttons sewn on is much of a stretch, & am definitely sure that it’s not genius, but focus on how the thing is actually FINISHED & humor me, ok?

For a long (long, long) time I didn’t know how I was going to pull everything you sent together, but then I noticed that the aqua in the Japanese print you sent was pretty close to one of my favorite aqua cottons, & once I had the fabrics working together, it was easier for me to let the buttons do their mismatched thing.

I had originally thought I would “quilt” the nine-patch with the buttons, only I had too many/not enough, so I tacked the corners with a machine satin stitch & attached the buttons (with orange thread) in two columns. I experimented with some orange binding, but it sent the entire project over the edge from tiny quilt to potholder, so it was a thankfully short-lived experiment.

The little silver button was my favorite, I think.

Ok, so, I have to say that this was the first project of ours that was NOT my favorite while working on it, though I did have a very satisfied moment when I figured out the background color scheme. However, now that it’s done, I’m not sorry we included the BUTTON theme, since I think that if we went through a whole year of challenge without totally tearing our hair out at least once, it’s not really so much of a challenge, right?

(I’m looking forward to getting back onto a less aggravated path with WATER, 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.

Mixtape Issue #5 by Blair
July 6, 2008, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Blair, Daria, Etc., finished, special projects | Tags: ,

Daria and I were asked a loooooong time ago (wasn’t it ladies?) to create cover projects for Mixtape’s issue #5. I have been anxiously awaiting each new issue of Mixtape since Justine and Nichola began it and was honored to be asked. In keeping of the spirit and theme of what eight by eight is all about, a box was sent (one to Daria and one to myself) from Australia with an assortment of all kinds of things create a project with. Daria and I did not see each other’s pieces or really even discuss how we were using the items in the box until they were completed (it was killing us, believe me). Same rules as always…use all the materials in some way on the project, finished size must be 8″ x 8″. To fully show each finished project, they featured mine on one side of the cover of issue #5, and Daria’s (below) on the other.

I love how different they each turned out. Yet we each seem to be on a similar wavelength, which seems to happen to us often.

You can preorder your copy of Mixtape issue 5 here, which will begin shipping in late July/early August. It promises to be larger than ever. I can’t wait.

Thank you to Justine and Nichola!


P.S.- Daria, I’m still struggling over the whole button project for June. Which is why I haven’t shown my finished project yet. It’s not finished! Soon….soon….God help me soon…..

May was the toughest yet by Blair
June 9, 2008, 10:05 am
Filed under: Blair, finished | Tags: , ,

Dear Daria,

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? :


april finished piece by Blair
May 2, 2008, 11:48 am
Filed under: Blair, Etc., finished | Tags: ,


You were a very clever girl to have gathered the bits you sent me from charm packs, to go along with our theme of “square”. I loved each of the prints and actually had in my mind a finished piece very similar to yours, using them as squares within the larger square. But when I sat down to work on them I decided on strips of them, all mixed up. I am sticking to my commitment to myself of doing each month’s eight by eight project in one sitting (which sometimes leads to, um, interesting effects), so in an afternoon I had several strips of pretty prints, all kind of loosely based on this pillow I saw in one of the magazines I got recently-

I thought it would be interesting to combine these into strips and zig zag stitch them on to the beige large swatch, similar to that pillow in the photo. I wasn’t loving my result until I added the teal blue binding-

I don’t remember where I got it, but it has got to be the most narrow width of binding I’ve ever tried to sew over an edge (which I’m now thinking it wasn’t meant to do, but whatever). Once I added it, it all felt much more cohesive to me. This was good practice for me, I’m always trying to get nice sharp corners. As Melissa once said about her (always lovely) quilt binding, “Next time will be perfect.”

The charcoal embroidery thread you included added a little more handwork, which I liked adding to this piece. I just roughly marked parallel lines and handstitched a running stitch across them.

As I said, you totally got my April package to you, it is perfect!

Is it May already? Okay, your “post” May Day package of “green” is on its way (can you guess I’m behind).

For anyone joining in, you can check out our entire gallery of past month’s eight by eight projects in our Flickr group.

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.