28 Feb

Swaps Rock!

I’ve been a little remiss in posting about a recent swap. Partly, I was waiting for the parties involved to get their packages, but I’ve also been a bit lazy about posting in general.

About a month ago, Terry posted a picture of her latest little quilt — an Oregon Junko in a snow. My mom’s birthday was approaching and Terry’s little bird just seemed perfect for her (newly transplanted to Oregon) and her Craftsman house. Unfortunately for me, that little bird was spoken for, but Terry was generous enough to offer to make another one — if I’d swap one of my quilts for it. Oh, twist my arm! Ouch, ouch ;-P

My Village Series #4 seemed like an appropriate swap size-wise and such, but I wasn’t feeling totally confident about the quilt (I’m warming up to it though, and I have an idea of where it might be happy). So, I dug around until I found another painted house bit and built a new, more organized, quilt around it. So, here’s my half of the swap:

Village Series #6

Village Series #6, Welcome to the Neighborhood     2007     17″ x17″

My mom has received her Little Bird, and Terry has her Village Series. It appears that everyone is happy — especially me! THANKS for the swap Terry.

23 Feb

Village Series #1

Two things: Wow, I have a series that is really a series! And, how can I be at #1 when I’ve already posted #3 through #6?

Last year’s work for my show got me to focus on a “body of work.” Now that has focus has birthed a series. A year ago, the thought of a series boggled my mind. I couldn’t imagine that I could approach the same imagery or theme, or even technique, more than once. (My earlier quilts are ALL OVER the map.) This is no in-depth, finesse-the-details, series a la Nancy Crow, but it’s a breakthrough for me. It started with the work I did at Art Quilt Tahoe, and then has flowed into a few more little quilts using leftovers from AQT and a continuation of the techniques, color palette and house imagery. Quilts #1 and #2 were begun at AQT, but I was at a loss as to how I’d quilt them, so I warmed up with #3 and #4. #5 jumped the queue as it is for the “Dream Houses” competition in Berlin this summer; and I made #6 especially for a swap. So, now I’ve worked my way back to #1.

Village Series #1

Village Series #1, 2007 28″ x 34″

Village Series #1, detail

I think I’ll try to baste #2 tonight (and there’s a few pieces of fabric on my design wall destined to become #7).

22 Feb

I should never say “I don’t..”

I should never say “I don’t..” when it comes to quilting.

Postcards and purse

I was slow to catch on to the fiber art postcard craze. I thought, “Oh, I don’t do those — they are toooooo small.” Ha! I made a bunch for my gallery show, and they are flying off the shelves. I actually had fun making those, and a bunch for Heart2Heart now that I’ve realized that I have a cache of “personal imagery” to draw on. I keep saying that I don’t really do fusing (I’m more of a “piecer”), but you know, sometimes it’s just the perfect way to make an image — like my Heidelberg Schloss and my favorite little quilt, Staufen Vineyards. Oh, and I’m not much into raw edge appliqué either. Appliqué is fussy, and fussy wants to be done by hand. But look — I’ve done all three this week and I’m totally inspired! This trifecta of techniques started with the purse. I wanted to incorporate some silhouetted botanicals as is all the rage (purses can stand to be trendy in my opinion), so I decided that raw edge appliqué and a little free-motion embroidery was the way to go. Then I made some fused collages as class samples, but I didn’t like one, so I cut it up to use as bases for postcards. I thought that the simplicity of the botanicals would be a nice foil for the layered background. The postcards aren’t bound yet, but already I am absolutely in love with the one on the left. I love the way the engraved-look flowers on the commercial fabric are speaking to my stitched black line-work. I have got to figure out a way to interpret this BIG. And if you ever hear me say “I don’t…” just smack me upside the head, OK?!

21 Feb

Faschings Dienstag

You didn’t think it was over yet, did you? Tuesday, being Faschings Dienstag, was another parade day. The kids and I went to the next town over where we had gone last year. I apologize to everyone for posting so many pictures. I tried to make this a highlights post, but it’s all so much fun I had a hard time passing anything up.

We saw my new favorites: the witches with faces that looked like tree stumps. The red-with-white-polka-dot witches were back again too. Check last year’s post to see them if you’d like. The pink cowboys with the papier mâche horse from last year were also back, but this time they were dressed as Bavarians and had a giant papier mâche beer stein. I’m guessing: a) they are a club devoted to drinking; and b) someone really likes to papier mâche.

These guys looked like they were having fun:

I don’t think I’ve shown the German version of cheerleaders yet. They have a special name like Princess Corps, but I forgot it. Adult ones show up at weddings too, like bridesmaids. The braids come with the hats. These ones had a well choreographed little dance…

…which went well with the music from the band ahead of them. Typical parade music is either bouncing pop blaring from loudspeakers (in carts or floats) or “Gugga” which involves a lot of fast, rhythmic percussion with this thing. I don’t know what it’s called either, but here’s a link to a video of another band which pretty much captures the sound (it’s the knocking/clopping sound).

I can’t explain this apparent beverage dispenser. I’m afraid to ask.

This band from Stuttgart had the coolest costumes. I’m thinking it’s an Undersea Biker Mariachi kinda look (with fur).

Their leader rocked too. How often do you get to see a bald man with his head painted like he’s Neptune’s nephew, wearing a Goth stand-up collared cape (as part of the whole biker-mariachi thang), playing the trombone?

These bakers were cute. I’m sure the wagon o’ beer helps a lot with the baking.

Part of their schtick involved throwing flour at unsuspecting onlookers (like me), or just in general:

And, of course, there were witches.

Did you catch those shoes?

I think there were more witches than last year.

Or, if the witches are too scary, there was a group of gnomes:

And now I know EXACTLY what I’m going to do with that bag of double-knit house dresses I have — I’m making next year’s Fasching costume!

18 Feb

Buttonhole Bag redo

When I downloaded the pictures from the Fasching parade I realized that I hadn’t posted my finished Buttonhole bag. I had made one in November, but it was too small to fit my wallet plus anything else. So, I increased the size by about half again.

Buttonhole Bag #2: the Big one

I used up lots of leftover yarn, and loved knitting from my Fliegenpilz stitch marker to the plain beaded one, increasing, the knitting back around to the Fliegenpilz, increasing, and repeating. Woo hoo — each time I reached the cute little mushroom bead I had completed another round! I’m easily amused.

As before, two times through my American washing machine with a pair of jeans or two resulted in a nice sturdy felted bag:

Still a Big one

I can fit all kinds of stuff in this one 🙂 I seem to have a consistency problem though. Not only did I forget that I had these photos to share, but I forgot to make sure my buttonhole handles were centered (makes for a slightly off-kilter bag), and I forgot to include the CD for scale in the “after” picture so that you could see how much it shrunk. I did the same thing with the first bag, not thinking about using a CD for scale at my sister’s so that I could be consistent when I got home. It shrunk about a third, by the way.

18 Feb

Hellau and Ahoi!

This is what people yell in Fasching parades as a greeting. It is hoped that the greeting is returned and the crowd is then pelted with candy and popcorn. Last year I posted about some Fasching traditions, and have a video from the previous year. This year’s parade didn’t dissapoint. So off we go (Zavi is a ninja and Katja chose “flower princess” over the previous days’ cat and witch costumes) :

These tinselly witches looked great when they moved:

This guy was on the tallest stilts I’ve ever seen:

Who could resist this women’s club dressed as ice cream cones?

Loved the polar bears!

But what I really enjoyed this year was the funny little details (it’s hard to say whether the bottle around mama bear’s neck is for her or baby bear). The most popular costume — at least amongst the young, drunk, adult crowd — seemed to be a sort of “party animal” getup: black makeup with bright colored powder blown over it, paint splattered overalls and/or dirty fur coats, crazy fuzzy hats, big boots and mirrored cop glasses. One of these guys came up to TS&WGH looking like he was going to plant a big juicy one on his lips. End up the partyer had makeup on his hands and just smeared color on my man’s face.

I noticed a little later that they had gotten one of the Polizei as well. I love authority figures with a sense of humor. The fireman who was in charge of the stretch of street across from us had a sense of humor too. He got painted by a “party animal,” was given a shot of schnaps by a witch, and danced with a snow woman:

I love the groups that dress like witches. There are soooooo many variations on the theme. I’d love the know what was in their pot/cauldron:

Each group had a cart of some sort with their name and parade number on it. More importantly, the carts usually had snacks, drinks (alcoholic, caffienated, or both), and loud dance music — like this speaker-laden wagon:

Check out the party keg and coordinated bottle holder on this cart (oh yes, they had awesome headdresses too):

Oooh, vintage stroller filled with bread, apfelschörle, and coffee:

Now this guy is prepared! It’s like a Batman belt for parties:

I loved this knight’s treasure box. I’m not sure what’s inside, but you have to give kudos for a castle on wheels pull-toy!

This poor little panda bear pooped out before the end of the parade:

I’m trying watermarking my photos. I haven’t had any issues with misuse, but I figure prevention is the best measure. We’ll see if it drives me nuts or not.

11 Feb

Other Things

I finished another little quilt which I had started at AQT in November:

Village Series # 4, Windows

Village Series #4, Windows is about 17″ squarish and hand quilted. It is possibly going to take part in a swap, but I wasn’t sure the fit was right, so I made this one too:

Village Series #6, Welcome to the Neighborhood

Village Series #6, Welcome to the Neighborhood is also 17″ square-ish, but it is machine quilted and also has a hand embroidered rose.
Then I actually finished off the knitting project started at the end of December. It has been dubbed The Conan Sleeve (although it’s really a shrug, and Conan wore mere cuffs, but, whatever, everyone agrees this is what it is):

Conan Sleeve/Shrug

I was a little concerned about half way through because I chose luscious wools (and a little fun fur) without thinking that if I was cold enough to wear thick wool I would probably want something that covered more than my arms and half my back, or conversely, if I needed just to keep my shoulders warm, I wouldn’t need something so warm as all this wooliness. Oh well, I finished it anyways, and it is actually quite comfortable. I’m actually wearing it right now. It’s just a tube with an opening in the back slightly longer than the width of my back (knit in the round, then back and forth, then in the round again). I changed yarns when I felt like it, and mixed up the stitches a bit, even trying some dropped stitch fancy stuff, but the dropped stitches would tighten up on the cord part of my circular needle and were a pain to get back onto the thicker pointy ends. I’ll try it again on something else.

Now I am making another, hopefully larger, Buttonhole Bag, so it’s just knit knit knit (which is good because I’m not a big fan of purling). And speaking of knitting, a certain Couch Pirate sent me some booty since I’ve “joined the knitting madness.”

Stitch Markers and little bag

Do you see, not only does the bag have embroidered Fliegenpilze (from Farbenmix too), but one of the stitch markers has a glass Fliegenpilz bead too! I am soooo using these to make my buttonhole bag!

Fliegenpilz Stitch Marker

Thanks Katrin!