Sunday, March 31, 2013

On My "Design Wall"

Over at Jude Hill's Diaries, "White" is the theme. Despite the fact that I'm resisting this (and I've already got enough to do), I decided to play a bit. So I laid out a base and cut out some squares for a nine-patch.
The thing is, I associate white with bright light and heat--glare. Yet, when I looked at my stash, I was particularly drawn to the fancy fabrics, the brocades. Probably because light bounces off of brocades in different ways. I used both the right and wrong sides. These fabrics are old friends from flea market evening dresses and formals that I lovingly washed and cut apart to fit into my stash some 20 years ago. And I'm testing out one of my grandmother's doilies that has yellowed.
Then, I decided to extend one side of the nine-patch squares.
Nothing stitched down yet, but, now, I can see lots of possibilities.  I'm looking forward to hand stitching the squares, probably following the designs of the brocades (I mean, look at those roses). And, of course, some needle turn in those extensions.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sketched Blue Flowers, 5

Nice weather, so much to do outside.
I like the extensions. I could add a white or beige border underneath them. Possibly. 
Anyway, I fell asleep last night with the needle in my hand.
Lucky I was stitching in bed...or my husband might consider a needle in bed unlucky...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Putting Down Roots

For the Pomegranate Tree Quilt I've been trying to figure out how to do roots. I sewed a series of brown strips together to extend across the width of the base of the tree. Then I thought about doing needle turn for roots, which would require a different color behind the brown as a base fabric. Well, I could piece together a base, but, then I remembered an old brocade sitting in my stash in the fancy fabrics section.
This was one of my mother-in-law's curtains, a lovely, heavy fabric. 
The light reflects off of it in different ways.
Because of the slippery nature of this fabric, I cut a backing of harem cloth and basted the two together.   I hand basted through the middle and machine basted around the edge. Then I placed the brown strips on top and hand basted across the top edge and pinned the bottom edge.
Oooooh, this is longer than my dining room table.
I rolled up each side to start in the middle. Oops, I meant to get brown roots, not white. 
More late night stitching. This could take awhile...

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Wild Thing, 1

The floor is the only place to work on this piece--it's too wild.
I decided to do two while I was at it and they surprise me. Probably because I tend to work with an emphasis on light and dark and here the values are fairly equal. Just pinning fabric to news print, which I'll eventually sew down on the machine. No idea where this is headed, just playing.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sketched Blue Flowers, 4

        It would seem that I am determined to finish this small piece.
More late night stitching. I find the infinite possibilities of curved lines intriguing, like doing a puzzle. 
The overflow on the edges looks rather interesting. 
This may require a second border--drat, it keeps growing, which makes it difficult to finish...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Still Pinning

Fiddling around with the brown branches, which appear too rigid--not there yet.
This sits on my living room wall where I can get some distance. Testing out a base and thinking about roots. Still lots to figure out--I sit and stare at it often. Pomegranate trees don't get very tall, however, mine is looking a bit stunted. I may have to space things out a bit more. Looking at the photos in this blog helps. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Forgotten, then Found

As I noted over at MulticoloredPieces, I should rename my studio the Lost and Found. I found this scrap piece while cleaning.
I had completely forgotten these tea-dyed scraps sewn randomly to a base cloth. Didn't want to waste any of those precious scraps.
Let's see, a list is required. I could:
1) slice this for a border
2) cut it apart for a block
3) use it as a background.
4) insert it into a still life, as a table, maybe.

Et voilà. Now I won't forget it again.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sketched Blue Flowers, 3

The weather remains beautiful making spring the best time of year in Tunisia. However, warmer temperatures also mean lots to do outside. I'm having a tough time carving out sewing time. More stitching into the wee hours to add on some black needle turn as a sort of frame to the sketched blue flowers.
This piece measures about 15 " square (38 cm square), for the time being. 
I managed to finish some bamboo pots as well.
Just bamboo sticks from the garden glued to plastic water bottles cut in half. 
A couple still need planting. I might make a few more. 
The ties are the seams of flea market clothing that has become a part of my stash once cut apart.

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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Still on My "Design Wall"

Began slicing and piecing the brown background. I left the paper on the back, which made sewing the seams easier, but may be a job to rip off.
I like the contrast of the raw edges with the straight, smooth seams. 
Then, I pinned it up to see how it would work.
Yes, I'm beginning to see it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Into the Wee Hours Again

Beautiful, warm, springtime weather means lots to do outside and in the garden...before the high heat hits. Don't have to heat the house or turn on the electric blanket. So I could only find time to stitch at night.
This piece begins to interest me. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the dark green frame is a bear to photograph. To my eye, it is almost black. The camera eye sees something different. I hate it when machines have a mind of their own....

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sketched Blue Flowers, 2

Stitched last night into the wee hours. Only time I could find...
Now I can see some interesting possibilities...
An interesting bit of news: the office for the Tunisian driver's license is still on strike and closed. This could be a complication!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sketched Blue Flowers

During this short break from pomegranates, I'm backtracking to bring a few small pieces forward and possibly finish them. A first fabric sketch from a year ago:
I first sketched on fabric, then added small pieces of fabric by machine, 
after which I machine stitched the flowers. 
I framed it up with a dark green fabric (a bear to photograph), so now I'm adding hand stitching. 
A thin layer of batt serves as a backing for the moment--easy to stitch into. 
As this measures only about 14" square (very small for me), I might manage to finish soon.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Today I'm chuckling. Sometimes cleaning up can be creative. For example, I ran across these strange beings wearing glasses:
I thought they were rather interesting. I've been drawing up a series of imps, but these beings don't quite fit into that category for me. They look rather perplexed.

They came from the wild boars...

Looking at things in a different way.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Order & Coral Bells

When I finish a big project, I usually feel a bit of a slump and a need to put my studio in order...somewhat. Ok, I didn't really finish anything, but stitching the pomegranate tree segments is done, and that was engulfing. So I need a break to clear my head.

First, I put my sawhorses in order...yeah sawhorses. I have two shoved together over which I drape my quilts so there are no folds.

Then I wrote a T-Do-List (at the top, under the header). Lists help. This one is extensive--20 items lined up and waiting. That's a pretty big back-burner. Some people (like my husband) would be totally overwhelmed. Not me.

So here's what I'll be machine stitching next.

There are a total of four sections like this. I made a pattern from Coral Bells:
I enjoyed looking at Coral Bells closely again. I could gush for hours about the beauty of machine and hand stitching together. I remembered why I made a pattern.
In the second version, I'm going to slice up the pieces and sew them back together. 
Much as I hate to repeat myself, the idea in my head overrides the boredom factor.
And then, the colors please me so much.

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays"

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wing Cloth Center, 7

Inching along...I'm getting a tangle on the lower left side.
While stitching, I watched the very first three episodes of "Bewitched" on Youtube. 
I didn't watch TV much as a kid, so I've only seen an occasional episode of "Bewitched" and under the dictatorship we couldn't get Youtube. I find the old programs enjoyable. Of course, I can't help but analyze patriarchal discourses since I research and write about women's history. Still, between the stitching and the wily Samantha, it was an agreeable evening.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On My "Design Wall"

Working on the floor didn't allow me enough distance, so I put up my "design wall"--white sheet pinned to a wall-hanging in the living room.  Then I attached all the pieces.
I fiddled around with the arrangement a bit. This seems more balanced to me. Squinting at it, this reminds me of one of those lovely old quilts with appliqué in red and green. 

Against a white background, I can now see this more clearly. As I get the brown backing sliced and pieced together I will add it back in, but not all over.
Last night I dreamed about roots...I'll have to think about that idea...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Driving in Tunisia

OK, I made a big mistake when I didn't renew my driver's license while in the States--now it's expired and I can't leave my recovering loved one. (Can't do it online because I changed states).  So I decided to take the Tunisian license test. Talk about adding spice to my life! Here are some practice photos--This is an odd way to get a scenic tour of Tunisia.
There are Mediterranean beaches,

                               mountains (albeit rather low),

white-walled towns and palm trees,

                            and forests.

I've been studying for the last week for the written
test (European style signs and rules, etc). Admittedly I learned a few things. So this morning I got up early and went to Tunis for the test.

Guess what....the door was locked; they were on strike! What luck. Such is life in Tunisia today.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It Leaves, 2

Choosing thread has become such a pleasure. The cool side of the spectrum against the maroon grayed background.
Then laying down thread with an added two layers of newsprint to further stabilize.

More blues. I had forgotten how much I like green and blue together.
Before adding text.

I must find beauty in the sadness. One cannot remain silent.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Zero To Go

Yay! The Last One!
The countdown served its purpose and motivated me to finish the FM stitching on the pomegranate tree segments. A long, slow task.
At this point, a design wall might have been useful, however the floor will do for the moment. This tentative layout measures about 5' wide by 4' tall.
This stage gives me anxiety because the segments are putting up resistance.  This does not coincide with the vision in my head.  Actually, I have no vision--when I stumble upon the right arrangement, I'll know. Ok, I'll fiddle with it some more. For the next stage, I slice the brown background and sew it back together in a more interesting arrangement. Lucky I'm not in a hurry...

Linked to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It Leaves, 1

After sewing so many pomegranate leaves, I felt like playing with them a bit on a sketchbook page.
The fabric background glued to loose leaf drawing paper goes toward a grayed maroon. A few of the sewing lines from the original blouse show.

The leaf fabrics also tend to be grayed: several lights, a couple mediums, a couple darks.

The space through the middle is for the text.

I started drawing on the leaves first with a pencil, then I realized that I have done so many of these shapes that I really don't need the pencil, so most are drawn on directly with a marker pen.
The stitching will have to wait. The weather has turned beautiful (high 60s) and my garden calls. 
I think I'll go plant some pots.