Monday, June 24, 2013

My June Crazy Quilt Block

Here is my June 2013 Crazy Quilt Block. I am so proud of this one. I think I might be getting the hang of this art- finally!
I love every attempt I make when learning a new technique. Even mistakes can be lovely. I really love taking on a new challenge.

I often see something in my head, but it comes out very different in real life. The bird on this sampler is certainly an example of that!

I am a great admirer of Sandey Mavor and of course, I had an idea to add a bird to my sampler, but wasn't quite sure how to start.

Mine was a bit of a flop! However, only in comparison to one of the most talented embroiderers I know! I still loved mine and Sandey Mavor- she is a stump work genius, an inspiration and a very kind a lovely person as well. I am trying hard to get back to stitching a bird for applique. I am getting better but I have a ways to go.

I tend to jump head first into something new. I allow a bit of me to become a part of something from someone else. The final pieces are always a sign of growth and experimentation. I don't care if they are imperfect. I love that about the new "handmade". It fits me and it invites exploration. What more can you ask from art?

Well, in my quest for a better Crazy Quilt Block, I am finding these elements to important choices in creating a good block.

Create a great Fabric Family
Although random color and fabric choices can be great, I think the best blocks are made from colors and textures that get along comfortably. No one is fighting for top standing. They all speak well to each other and of each other. No one is shouting, or grabbing the spotlight. They enhance each other.
Good fabric colors can be like a group of people who will live together for a very long time. Fabrics are like family.

Here is a beautiful block by Gerry Krueger from the blog- Olderrose
I urge you to take a little time to visit her blog. She is a very talented fiber artist who has many beautiful pieces to admire and inspire.

Colors don't have to be alike, they just need to like each other. Here is a wonderful example of a block with many colors used in a beautiful way. Perhaps its that most of the colors are of the same intensity, or that the stitching and embellishments tie them all together. Allie in Stitches is another amazing blog, you just must visit!

Never underestimate the power of Pretty Stuff.

A true gatherer of great and beautiful stuff is Susan Elliot of Plays with Needles fame.
Her blocks are not overly stitched. She creates a lovely conversation between things and stitches. Her charms and trinkets get along so well with her stitching and tell a wonderful story.
Here is Breakfast at Tiffany's.

and January Reflections

Use Awesome Materials.

I can't emphasize this enough. I used to be a bargain hunter. I am sad that I denied myself for so long the joy of working with beautiful fabrics, tools that work and make the job easier and exciting beads, buttons, tidbits and trinkets that take your breath away.
I would love to recommend a wonderful shop on Etsy where I get my silks. Its Chad Quilt. Nancy is so wonderful to work with and she has been so generous with her expertise. Because of her, I purchased silk dyes and I am having a ball playing with custom dyed ribbon for my creations. She also makes beautiful quilts as well.
Look at this beautiful antique aqua silk dupioni. It is a dream to work with.
Here is one of Nancy's quilts. You can find it here-

Of course, there is that "Certain Something" that is so very important to any project. Its hard to put a name on it. Perhaps it is a spirit or soul that stirs something deep inside of us. Maybe it a sense of humor. Perhaps it is a peaceful, or joyful feeling we get when we see something beautiful. It inspires us to try something new. I don't know how to include that in a tutorial. I can't label only one or two artists who possess the ability to create these kinds of things time and time again. We all have an artist or a type of art that speaks to us. Perhaps you are an inspiration to someone else. I am always so very happy when someone tell me that I inspired them to try a new craft, or that they were moved to bring out supplies from storage. I can think of no greater compliment!

To see some of my favorite artists, check out the list of blogs I follow and admire. Its a long list!

Jump In!
Above all else, don't just admire the works of others and wonder if you are capable of learning how to do it. Just do it! Watch a video, read a tutorial. Just allow yourself the time to play the the ability to possibly fail along the way. That is how we learn. We accept the possibility of imperfections. We learn to love our personal viewpoint.
Most importantly- once a vision, or an image is processed by your brain, is attempted by your hand, and is created with your spirit, it is yours. Your work will not look like anothers as long as you embrace the unique way you approach your art.

Share what you do. Post pictures on your blog, on Pinterest, on websites, on Flicker, etc. You never know who you will inspire!

You can find so many beautiful Crazy Quilt Blocks on the CQJP13 Website.

Have fun!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wonderful Wool

I am in love wool. It feels so rich. It reminds me of warm, fuzzy sweaters on a cold Wisconsin day. It holds color as deeply as silk. Best of all is its versatility. It comes in so many beautiful forms. I love hand painted wool fabric, wool roving, needle felted wool, wet felted wool, wool wool wool! Its so wonderful. It inspires so many creative dreams.

Here are my latest wool lovelies. The braids are beautiful Merino wool custom hand-dyed for me by Edgewood Garden Studios. Their Etsy shop is so amazing! She hand dyes many types of high quality wools. I told her what I was using it for and gave her a list of colors I would like. She sent me a shipment of wool so beautiful I oooooh and aaaahhd for hours. Each and every time I begin to work with this wool I think of more ideas I'd like to try. I had a custom order for Kelli to fill. She wanted some exclusive designs for the History Museum of Olmstead County's gift shop. I kind of got a little carried away and created 6 pincushions for her. I hope they sell well.

My favorite of all is a little wren I stitched up. I used cotton embroidery floss and needle felted the background and the bottom layer of the embroidery. Isn't she sweet?

Here are some of the floral designs.
...and the wool that inspired them-

Here are some on my wish list-
Imperial Throne
Cnaterbury Bells

I've shared these other shops with you, but they are so good, they bear repeating.
Lovely silk silk sliver mulberry from Woolie Bullie called Tutti Fruitie
Lovely Intense Pink Corriedale from Purple Moose Felting

One of the newest shops on my list provides me with great felted balls I use for my pin assortments from Crafty Wool Felt
I wrap them in wool roving in assorted colors and do a little embroidery.

I also ordered some lovely heathered wool sheets for some needlebooks I'm working on-
So many ideas! So little time to play...

I can't forget another shop, Chad Quilt which also provides beautiful silks. I love this pink felted wool. Its a dream to work with

I also the felted wool bundles I get from Misty Pond Primitives. They are the basis for the pincushions shown at the beginning of this post.

And last but not least, Hands and Notions which has some really fun wool samples you can order in small quantities.

I know the weather is warm and there is not need for warm woolens, but give these shops and wools a try. I'm sure you will be as addicted as I am to the soft, colorful goodness which is wool.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My May Crazy Quilt Block...a tad late.

Here is my latest CQJP13 crazy quilt block. Yes, it is late. May was a rough month. I had to squeeze this in among my custom orders. I don't remember the last time I had any free time. Between my busy schedule and endless rainy days, I was very much in need of some fun and some bright colors. I think this block filled both of those holes. Its not fancy. It isn't filled with complex stitches or fun findings. I have so many of those blocks ready to stitch in my "free time" stash. I strong believe that when you feel yourself beginning to burn out, it essential to recharge your batteries. If not, the stress and gloom will show in everything you do.

I love these fabrics. They are just so bright and fun. The patterns are new and modern. I have a whole pile of new fabrics waiting for some fun time to play. I don't think there is anything more frustrating than not being able to create what you want. I blame time. there just isn't enough and when there is, it seems like there is always dishes to be done or orders to fill. Oh well.... such is life. I look at other quilters and I wonder just how they can produce so much! It seems as though I work 24/7 and my to-do list remains the same length. Sounds like I need a vacation. Sorry for the whine. I think I just needed to get that off my chest. I'm sure so many of you can relate.

Here is that crazy quilt block, stitched into a cute pincushion. You can find it in my Etsy shop Here if you would like this in your studio.

While I was piecing the crazy quilt block, I went ahead and pieced a few more. I wanted to try a fast Half Square Triangle method. It works! I found the tutorial here. The blog is called Ricocet & Away. Its a cute blog. She also has a bunch of tutorials for little bags and larger totes. Check it out.

If you would like to see some fun options for the HST, check out the In Color Order blog.
In Color Order is a wonderful blog with tons of tutorials. Jeni has so many beautiful quilts. Visit her block of the month for some wonderful inspiration.

Enjoy a peek at my other pincushions from this fabric series. I totally recommend working in some bright colors when you are feeling a bid down. They are the perfect medicine!
Most were quick to sew up and fun to make. I machine quilted the squares and used a high loft, mixed polyester/cotton batting.
You can find these in my Etsy shop, Fiberluscious as well.

This is a simple strip block. My Sassy Strip Pincushion. Fast and fun!

Here is the HST block

Thanks for stopping by! I hope to share some wonderful wool pincushions I am working on right now. Lots of color and I have some great sources to share with you.
Happy Creating!