Filed under: Blair, finished, inspiration | Tags: finished, inspiration, january
Wow! I love how yours turned out. You managed to take a group of fabrics that I put together while thinking things like what a great patchwork they would make, etc… and you did something I totally did not expect. Your woodgrain is brilliant, am I’m most impressed that you found a way to use that white ring (cause I would have wondered “wha??” if you’d sent that to me). And I believe we both thought about that postcard I sent to you as we did our projects, it shows in both our projects.
OK, here’s my January piece-
I alluded to all the snowflake thinking that went on in my brain this month, after I changed my blog banner, got your package of neutrals and whites, and watched it snow at least three separate times out my window this month.
My initial thought was that I would be at a loss as to what to do with the clear sequins you sent, but those ended up being so fun and easy to place, addictive too (I don’t think I’ve worked with sequins since I knitted a poncho for Emma several years ago, of her own design, hence the sequins). It again, seemed natural to create a snowy, snowflake-like feeling with them, so I stitched them onto the appliqued snowflake.
Can you tell I was having fun with Amy’s paper cutting when I did that beige snowflake? That was the first thing I did. Next I decided to embroider and sew sequins on the cotton batting that you sent, and I’ll say batting definitely prefers the sequins, it was a little tough to embroider because the stitches could possibly pull through. I decided to knit i-cord out of the embroidery floss you sent, just because I’ve never tried knitting with it. That became the white wood between the “window panes”. Oh, and, guess what, I lost a a button or two myself.
The part that stumped me the most was the ribbon. I kept thinking and rethinking what to do with it, and in the end I just sewed myself on a small award ribbon for actually completing January’s piece on time! I love that I didn’t allow myself the out of starting over on this piece. I created it quite organically, not pre-planning anything beyond snowflakes.
On to February! Your box was mailed yesterday. I will anxiously await the unfolding of this month’s theme of “cozy”.
Well, here it is: NEW*.
Except for the pale green button you sent, which was supposed to go on the pale leaf sticking straight up on the right side, only last night I looked away for two seconds to thread my needle & when I looked back , ready to stitch it in place, it had completely vanished. But believe me when I say that that there’s an imaginary pale green button right there.
As I’ve said, very early on I got stuck on a version of the postcard you included very early on, a branch half-covered by snow, tiny green leaves poking through. I liked the imagery, plus it seemed like a good way to pull together the colors you sent: green, blue, peach, brown. The idea of the January package I sent you was also very obviously lingering over the entire project, too, since everything I added was white or ivory. (This was a complication I did not expect — I had such a clear idea for the January box I put together that it was hard to approach the materials you sent me in a completely fresh way. I’m going to keep that in mind in future.)
I’ve never done much with appliqué before, so putting the branch together was my favorite part of this project. I love the way the stitched woodgrain turned out.
I did a little bit of hand quilting in green under the branch (with poly batting to keep things as puffy as possible), then layered two kinds of white tulle (sparkly & regular) & did some machine quilting over the top of that, randomly bunching to try & get a mounded sort of look. I got about halfway to the look I had in my head, which isn’t bad for the first time out, I don’t think. I maybe should have put some more beading on, though.
I quilted the remaining white space pretty heavily, with a few lines of echo quilting around the top of the branch & leaves, then random loops for the rest. There was a lot of white space left; 8″ square seems so small until you have to fill it, turns out.
Next month I’m definitely paying more attention to scale. Scale, & maybe some more woodgrain.
*Here’s most of it, anyway — 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.
The funny thing is, I have never even picked up a Jane Cumberbatch book — so if she’s hovering somewhere in my inspiration, I’m pretty sure I’m getting it by way of YOUR blog (though, thinking about it, your pictures aren’t so different than all of the airily-styled Japanese craft books I’ve got around). Those images are great, though; I wish my own January involved such a quiet white room.
I did manage to get my hands on the Williamson book, & here’s my favorite:
I like the stitching as line drawing plus the small spots of paint, like you mentioned with your pick from the book, the cleanness of it appeals to me. I know that a lot of people are very excited about her use of unusual materials; I think maybe I should check this book out again in six months, when we’ve been working with the idea of this project for a while, because right now I am less excited about sewing with onion bags or etc than I am about messing around with all the regular supplies in my studio & just seeing what I can do.
Turns out that the first thing I could do was use eightbyeight as the perfect excuse to buy a new packet of Moleskines.
Which also seems like a January kind of thing to do. Also, there are few things I love more than filling a notebook with sketches & swatches.
Now the thing I’m doing is being a little stuck on a point of technique, since there’s a very specific thing I want to try to do, only I don’t know exactly what that thing IS (I hope I’ll know it when I see it). Good thing we have a few more days, hm?
How is your January box coming along? I thought I would share a bit more inspiration tonight. My project is most definitely still in progress, so its good for me to explore some more inspiration.
When I saw your chosen bits for my January box, all the whites and their close relations, I immediately thought how Jane Cumberbatch of you! Who does white better than Jane? She made the whole idea of white throughout my house appealling to me again. So, I pulled out my Pure Style Living and my Decorating Easy copies to get some more inspiration.
I love how airy these images feel…
When the sun came out yesterday and reflected off the snow, I was struck by how much fun I was having working with the sequins you sent in the box. My whole worktable was glistening! This is just a tiny peek at what’s going on from my box so far. Far from done. I had really planned to just go for it, pull out the box contents and make it all happen in an afternoon, but this month hasn’t gone that way. I do envision doing that in the future though. Since I tend to overthink projects at times, I like the way that would get me feeling spontaneous.
To answer your question about Jeanne Williamson and the size of her projects, she says the smallest was 4″ x 6″. She recommends starting with an 8″ x 10″, which we’re close to with our 8″ x 8″. I have to say I really like the small size, its easy to visualize filling it.
Just as an aside, I just spent way too much time surfing for a good soundtrack and have come up emptyhanded this time, but I’m still thinking…
The best thing about that video is the techno music in the background. Clearly, we need a soundtrack. (Actually, I loved the final step, drawing a rectangle & then cutting away everything outside of it. Does she work in specific dimensions? That book is on hold for me at the library, by the way. I’m heading over today to get it.)
I’ve been looking at small quilts too, though the two magazines are showing work that’s very different than Williamson’s, more in the altered book/scrapbooking/collage genre, lots of vintage children wearing collaged tall pointy hats, things like that (particularly in the Somerset mag I picked up, though it seems like that’s pretty typical for Somerset in general). I’m fascinated by the elaborate layering that goes on in work like this.
I like the repetition of form here (from Sew Somerset 2007).
I like numbers (Sew Somerset).
These are more “quilterly” works, I guess, lots of hand-dyed & embroidery, I’m attracted to the fact that the media is not quite so mixed (Quilting Arts Dec/Jan 08).
These projects are inspiring in the ANYTHING GOES sort of sense, but they’re also very visually… noisy. I’m rolling the idea of a layered fabric collage around in my head, but I want something much calmer & cleaner.
The more I look at it, the more I love this Port2Port postcard you included in the box. It has just the right amount of noise.
Last night I was looking through The Uncommon Quilter by Jeanne Williamson again. This book was what originally inspired me to think in terms of a long term project like ours in the first place. I loved that she didn’t make excuses for not finding the time to sit a make a tiny quilt each week, and that she set rules for herself that made this even more doable. For example she “could not throw out the original piece and start over with a new one if I didn’t like how it was turning out. I would not obsess over the aesthetic of the piece- the goal was to create.” I know if I allowed myself a “start over” I would ironically never really get “started”. Her goal was to create, as ours is here. She has an interesting You Tube video of one of her small quilts coming together, which gives an idea of the randomness of the process. The photo above is one of my favorite pieces in the book. I tend to be such a clean-lined girl, and always looking for symmetry and balance when I craft. Perhaps its time to change my own rules up a bit.
I have been thinking about “new” in terms of this month’s theme in so many different ways this week. Did you know that it snowed for the first time in living memory in Baghdad this morning? Talk about something new! I know what a sense of quiet and calm snow can bring to us here, I wonder what it felt like there… watching that snow fall?