Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just a Little Bit Crazy!

Crazy quilting is my first love, has been since I was a little girl it's the first stitching I remember my grandmother teaching me.  Years later my father came to visit, he left a paper wrapped package on my guest bed with instructions to wait to open it till later.  It was a wool crazy quilt done by the church ladies at my grandparents church, the embroidery included their names and it means the world to me.  When we started talking about making new examples for our booth, I knew I just had to make a crazy quilted piece.
Recently we got our first copies of Embroidered Memories by Brian Haggard and I remembered meeting him a couple of years ago at the National Quilt Association Convention in Columbus, OH.  He was there promoting his first book Crazy Quilted Memories, I remember looking at it, thinking I could never work in such a muted color palette.  Remember "never say never", so I thought this would be a good challenge for me.  Confession; I absolutely loved making this quilt.
First, I grabbed one of our Tea Dye Bundles, it turned out to be the perfect starting point to jump off from.  I had just dyed Osnaburg in carmel, it had such a great old-fashioned texture I knew it would make a perfect border.  From that point I just raided our hand-dyed textures for anything that might work....burlap, flannel, organdy and kona cotton.  Next decision was to piece it in a simple log cabin style crazy block, with the photo as the center.  The photo was printed on Jaquard Inkjet Silk, which has a luscious sheen.
This piece of a doily under the photo of my grandmother was what was left-over from making an apron.  Now for the "just a little bit crazy" part...I was bound and determined to not loose the wonderful scalloped edge by stitching it in as you would normally piece a crazy quilt.  Actually lost a whole nights' sleep trying to work out how to leave it as a "flap" can see below that lose of sleep was not for nothing.  Everyone just has to pick it up to see what's under it.
Below on the right hand edge are felt applique flowers as seen in Brian's first book, the dimension and texture they add are really great. They also gave me the perfect place to show off vintage mother of pearl button's from my grandmothers button jar.

On the left hand side of the block below is a feather stitch vine stitched using our Bark Pearl Cotton in size 5, the sheen and colors are a great addition to this piece, as is the vintage crochet flower. 
   Come back again to see what else we created using our hand-dyes. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Isn't it weird reading about yourself?

I find it very odd to read about oneself!  We obviously knew this blog post was going to happen because we did the interview.  It is interesting to see what the writer takes away from the interview and then posts.  Here is the blog about our time at A.I.R. Studio in Paducah that is on their blog....follow the link......

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nothing Like a Little Improvisational Creativity!

Have you ever been away from your home studio...such as a retreat or class and found yourself without all your "stuff" what do you do?  Well Kristin found herself improvising  while we were the Artists in Residence at A.I.R. Studio in Paducah, KY, in order to create new booth samples she had to come up with ways to implement her visions. 
She had been talking about using our hand-dyed cheesecloth to create trees, but was struggling with the background.  That's when she decided to use a piece of our organdy in the  Dulce de Leche colorway, but wanted the surface to have a bit more texture/movement.  After searching for a piece of sponge to apply some paint to the fabric, I found her painting the dyed fabric with a piece of "wadded" up paper towel.  It really gave the background the punch it needed.   Next came the darker smaller sized trees in two different colors and finally the cheesecloth strips.  After putting it up on the design wall to view it, she decided the darkest brown were to stark and needed to be toned out came the thread in a couple of colors and there she was "hand stitching".  Kristin never does hand work.....
Sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.....if you are sharing a machine or spending hours riding in a car (from Paducah to Denver) it's a no brainer...hand work it is.  Her vision had been to create birch trees...I think she did that.

Come back again to see what else we created to show how to use our yummy hand-dyed fibers....someone said they look yummy enough to be candy...eye candy that is.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Whew! Finally a Deep Breath

Finally a break in the travel schedule, at least for me, but Kristin is at North Carolina Quilt Symposium.  If you are in the Fayetteville area this weekend, drop by and see her on the second floor of the Student Union.  She has a booth full of our yummy hand-dyed fibers, such as our texture packs.  For the next couple of weeks I'm going to blog about our new work that made it's debut at Spring Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon.  Hopefully this will show what you can do with our wonderful fibers.

 This is a close-up photo of our Briar Patch Texture Pack.  The colors and textures are enough to entice, but then what can you do with them.  The pack includes a piece of our hand-dyed burlap, a 3 piece cheesecloth gradation (1/2 yard each), 5 cocoons, 5 carrier rods and a variegated skein of Perle Cotton.
Every time I looked at this particular texture pack I saw flowers, it is.  It was a simple decision  to work in a collage style, the finished piece could be framed or mounted on a quilted mat as seen in Intuitive Color & Design by Jean Wells.

Cutting off a piece of cheesecloth and playing with the loosely woven fibers just a bit, I could see the flowers taking shape. The small flowers are created by cutting off the top of a cocoon, incising it all the way around and voila they lie flat.  The flower receptacle on the light color flowers are created using a carrier rod.  Leaves were created using both cheesecloth and carrier rods.  Once all the parts were laid out it needed something, pinning it to the wall and stepping back for perspective it quickly became apparent it needed vertical lines. A few randomly cut pieces of our hand-dyed Kiwi Kona cotton provided the major lines,  embroidering provided others and the burlap that was unraveling were added for a more subtle effect. (When working with burlap I always stitch around the outer edge, but a few fibers always unravel.)  The cheesecloth flowers were hand stitched down using an embroidery back stitch in regular sewing thread.  By using a simple hand stitch you will not be distracted by the stitches, nor will you flatten the flower and loose the dimension. 
Hope we have inspired you to play with our wonderful hand-dyed fibers.  Come back again to see what else we have created.