Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Years Rabbit, 2

Having so much fun with the shimmery, glittery fabrics.
As I cut out the letters (freehand), lots of pretty snippets wanted to join the party 
so I put them under the letters.
Photographing this was beastly.
The trumpet swirls are a gold metallic thread as well as the date on the right side. Even though this was a lot of fun to work on, I don't think I'll sew on fancy fabrics any time soon. I felt like I couldn't get enough control over it.  This looks like a wild celebration!

Linked to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Years Rabbit, 1

Trying to come up with a blog post to kick off the New Year in a festive way.  I had an idea for a sort of blog greeting card, done on a sketchbook page. However, this felt like school homework, so I dragged my feet at getting started. Finally, I picked out a page I had sewn together a while ago.

Once started, I found it fun. Didn't like the corner patch and I was in a festive mood so I checked my fancy fabrics.

As I haven't looked at my stack of fancy fabrics in a long time, they dazzled me. And I remembered how much I like them, how delightfully pleasing they are in all their glitzy, shimmering brilliance.

The down side is, of course, that they're a pain in the neck to work with. As my rule for the sketchbook is "fast" (relatively), I decided to zigzag edges.

I felt like revisiting the old design that I used last year because I'm rather fond of the sometimes mischievous rabbit.  The shiny, creamy brocade seemed perfect, however, it's the type of fabric where you only have one shot: no mistakes allowed or you ruin the fabric.

So I sketched up a pattern, then drew around it with a pencil.

Then I outlined him with free motion stitching in gray (which I'll darken later), added some scraps at the bottom for a platform and zigzagged all the creamy brocade.

What a mess. Fuzz all over......

This is the stage where I'm thinking this is the worst thing I've ever done. I have no idea if this is going to work or not....

but, of course, I'll just keep at it until it works out. Some would say (with annoyance) that I'm frightfully stubborn. I say that's one of my better qualities...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Right Side, 1

Safety pins still hold most of this baby together.
However, the design is s-l-o-w-l-y appearing. 
I usually have a slump in the day, about 4pm. I should probably take a nap, but there's so much I want to work on. So I make myself a hot cup of tea, find a comfortable spot, and hand stitch. After an hour or so, I feel calm and get my second wind--and I've made a small dent in the appliqué. Small.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Stitching the Sea, 1

Finally pulling out of the world of my ancestors and stitching again on the Wing Cloth. My needle choice: no. 7 milliner's needle (very long). My stitch choice: running stitch with changes to back stitch and outline stitch occasionally.
I started out very tight with the spiral movement on the right corner 
because I drew it in first with a pencil; was thinking about frothiness. 
Gave up the pencil, went freehand and consequently loosened up.
I'm using 5 or 6 different blues and single strand sewing thread. I'll add more flowing lines and more waves along the "land." Still uncertain about the center space. I'm thinking it will explode into wild needle turn appliqué with either lots of color or a very pure white....I'm kind of chomping at the bit here.

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday".

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stacked Squares, 3

More play with squares and skinny rectangles.

My new rule:
 a different design for each side.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

'Tis the Season, 2

More of my mom's tole painting for the season.
And for those who celebrate today, may you have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

'Tis the Season, 1

Memories of Christmas past. My mom's tole painting.
This train resides in my daughter's home. I didn't care for tole painting, but for my mom (a frustrated artist, in my opinion), it was a life-line. In her zealous manner, she took classes and conscientiously collected books and painting supplies. She spent hours copying patterns, then arranged them meticulously into a huge file by subject matter. Our house quickly filled to the brim with the final results.

Giving credit where credit is due: besides the fact that my mom made sure I had art lessons as a kid, she  set an example of do-ing/making. I know people who don't know how to make anything and I find that sad because that's a handicap from my point of view.

In addition, my mom taught me the value of patterns. When I was eight, she not only taught me knitting stitches, but also how to read a knitting pattern and later how to read crochet and sewing patterns. I haven't used a pattern in a long time, yet I recognize that it is an important skill to possess. It's a back-up--if I need it, I've got it. And now I feel better about my mom's tole painting. Thanks, Mom, your gifts were many.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thoughts on Life

For the past ten days I have been embroiled in the virtual world of Picasa and old family photos. When Picasa boosted their photo allowance to 5 G. I suddenly realized that the old photos scanned last year could now be arranged and shared with some ease. Here is one of the photos I found that has me reflecting on life in general:
The people remain unidentified, but this was either my great-grandfather's farm or a neighbor's in northern Minnesota near the Canadian border about 1915. Short summers and long, bitter winters. What struck me was the amount of labor required to be able to scratch out a living. Motorized vehicles were rare because the roads were so poor most of the year and who could afford them?

Genealogies took up some of my time as well. My mom had worked on her side of the family, however, the paternal side was only partially completed. It was similar to putting together a puzzle.  After pulling this all together, I would venture two observations: women generally had 8 kids, of which two would not live past infancy. Ten or twelve was frequent. And once women began getting education and moved off the farms, they chose to have only two or three. Gee, how about that?

And so, I am thankful. Although I live on a small farm, the climate is mild, and there may be lots of work, but it's not back-breaking toil. My great-grandmothers had to know how to sew and quilt because they were survival skills. I turn to needle, thread and fabric for artistic expression. Yet, I would pay homage to the women who preceded me and thank them. I would not be here if it were not for them.

And now I can get back to my work/play.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stacked Squares, 2

Another side glued of this plant container.
Excavating: As I peacefully cut tile pieces and fitted them together, I remembered Gd2 (2nd granddaughter) when she had just turned five last summer and was looking forward to kindergarten. When we had art sessions, she would methodically pick out markers and make squares and rectangles all lined up. She would struggle with those shapes to get them right and she certainly didn't want any coloring outside the lines.
In my mind's eye, I can see a small head bent over the paper, repeating, repeating, patiently repeating, impervious to what others were doing.
At that moment, "stacked squares" was her artistic voice. She was compelled to fill the page with those simple shapes. And apparently they remain in her artistic repertoire
as her recent kindergarten work shows. Stacking, stacking....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Red & Green Holiday Colors

I can't help thinking of ornaments on a Christmas tree when I look at this. 
Made a special effort to finish the free motion stitching on one of the eleven branches for the pomegranate tree quilt. So far, I've used 8 colors of thread (besides black) for the pomegranates, and 3 shades of green for the leaves. Ten more branches to go. This is s-l-o-w.....

This post is linked to Nina Marie Sayre's "Off the Wall Fridays."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stacked Squares, 1

I collected broken pieces of this pretty blue wall tile when we had construction going on.
So I played with those pieces on a 3-l. olive oil tin plant container. 
This pot awaits grouting with cement.
As I cut and glued the pieces, I thought about artists who play with simple shapes. For example, Carole Reid has a circle journal with all kinds of interesting designs; a design a day, more or less.

Playing on paper or on a journal or sketchbook page doesn't really hold my interest. Rather, I seem to experiment on the mosaic surface. My rule: every container has to have a different design. And as I use a fair amount of olive oil, and empty paint buckets present themselves occasionally, I have a steady supply of surfaces.

On this container, I played with stacked squares and skinny rectangles lined up in some kind of flowing order.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Cat

A bit of holiday spirit. Remembering and documenting very early work. My daughter sent me a photo of the Cat that now resides in her home and comes out every December.
I designed this in the late 1980s. Very bright. The holly fabric came from the States. For awhile I did a lot of machine embroidery onto patchwork--pillows and the like. I still have the cams for my little Singer. I made a number of these cats for gifts and also in different colors. This cat originally lived with my folks. The machine embroidery was labor intensive.

Having posted this here, I'm thinking I'd like to create a similar cat now. Bring the past into the present. How would it turn out? It's a nice shape to play with. It would have to be much faster, as I want to be working on the pomegranates. Yet, I think I'd like to play around with those cams again; they've collected a lot of dust. As usual, too many ideas and not enough time.

Monday, December 17, 2012

More Pink

My daughter just sent me a couple of pictures of her wedding quilt that I made, which dates from the late 1990s, because I never photographed it. Maybe, just maybe, I've been fooling myself about pink. I say "I'm not a pink lover" quite readily. And yet.
For me, a bed quilt has to be sturdy--a utility quilt--and always machine done. It can't be too complex of a design, preferably squares on the point. Diamonds. This one has held up well.
The border triangles are the blues and greens of the pillows. Kind of cheery and appropriate for the season. The reverse side is made of smaller squares in white and blues, much more sedate. So blue's my favorite color and pink, hot pink, is a close second? The evidence seems to indicate that....

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Roses, 5

Playing around with the leaves.
I happened upon this lacy cotton fabric from a flea market blouse hiding in my stash. 
How could I have forgotten this fabric? I snipped out several of the leaves from it.
Then on to the words, which I had decided to do with freehand machine sewing.
This made for an exhilarating adventure. The pink snippets seemed to fit. The yellow snippets were too much. Then, the tails of thread caught my attention so I couched them down.
I was feeling rather pleased with myself, looking at this photo on the computer screen. Then it hit me. Crap-eau (frog in French). I forgot a couple of letters in "documenting". Back to the machine.
OK, all's well that ends well. However, when working with raw edges exposed, one cannot afford to make too many mistakes. The fraying fuzzied things up a bit.
And I rather liked the back. Looking very sketchy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Labyrinth, 3

OK, so now the Wing Cloth has the Labyrinth on Crete built by Daedalus, Icarus's father--
the guy who built the wings. 
One way in, no way out. A cage, a prison, vs. flying, freedom.
Now the problem is that the Labyrinth has unbalanced the whole composition. So I've dug myself into a hole and now I'm going to have to dig myself back out again.

After cutting the strips in the right corner with my mother's marvelously sharp Gingher scissors, I was inspired to make the effort to find a place to sharpen scissors in Tunis. I asked in my favorite notions shop and they sent me to a small shop in Tunis that sells knives and sharpens scissors as well as knives. For thirty dollars I had 9 pairs of scissors sharpened. My joy knows no limits!
Had to test them immediately and realized that I have been working with dull scissors for about the last 25 years. Except for the large Singer scissors on the left, I inherited my mom's scissors. The black handled scissors are made by Wiss and must be at least 50 years old. And when I hold these scissors, I remember my mom madly slashing fabric and zooming away on her machine. Thanks, Mom.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sketchbook: Roses, 4

Oh, man! I think I'm in love with pink.
This is going much slower than it should, but I'm savoring each step. 
I just lay down a few pieces and stitch them down. Can't decide about the snippets, whether to add them or not. Will have to see at the end.

And as Nina Marie has kindly invited me to "Off the Wall Fridays" over at her blog, the roses have traveled over there today, too.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Labyrinth, 2

Icarus's view (while flying) of the Minotaur's Labyrinth on Crete that Daedalus built.
The weaving was a pest because the strips are so thin and tend to unravel.
The entrance to the Labyrinth is on the left. 
I've already been doing running stitch throughout to try to get it to hold together.
More stitching will be required. I wonder if I need to back this up. Will consider that later.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Roses, 3

Just playing around while pinning on pink fabric. Little snippets kept falling all over so I decided to go with it.
The snippets aren't attached yet. Not sure I'll keep them--something to be decided at the end. The idea of snippets seemed so appropriate for a blog named "Multicolored Snippets."

Excavating. Thinking of drawings in old sketchbooks. Yipes! from the 90s!

It would seem that roses appear on my path often. Childhood memories of my grandmothers' rose gardens, of the rose gardens in Oregon and the Portland (Oregon) Rose Parade.

The four rose bushes in my garden must be 30 years old and are fortunately very sturdy varieties. Can't say I take good care of them, but they generously put forth their luxuriant blooms a couple times a year.

Until I began the Snippets blog to document my work/play in fabric, I couldn't really see any crossover between mediums, that is, between sketching and fabric quilts. I'm beginning to see this more clearly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Labyrinth, 1

The lower right hand corner of the Wing Cloth was destined for the Minotaur's Labyrinth that Daedalus constructed. However, I had trouble figuring out how to do it. So I worked on the tea-dyed sides instead.  A maze of needleturn appliqué in several colors seemed feasible, but didn't really seem to fit. Then, I saw Jude Hill demonstrating her technique of weaving fabric, and using that technique to blend the edges of two overlapping pieces. Bingo.
I pulled out the basting to free the two layers 
and got out my mother's Gingher scissors that she kept in the original box.
It was like cutting butter.
However the strips seemed to wide for a bird's eye view.
And as those Gingher scissors worked so well, I cut smaller strips.
OK, the strips are the right size, but miniscule. Now for the weaving--what a mess.

Monday, December 10, 2012

On My Sewing Table

I seem to have pink scattered all over. And there's my little ol' Singer 248.
All that fabric is from flea market clothing. I went every Saturday for years, but, I haven't been in a long time. Prices have gone up, and I really have a good deal of fabric. A nice palette of colors.
Still pinning. Lots of fuzzy bits floating around.