21 Sep

Too Many Quilts (4)

I’m cleaning house again. This time it’s the wall quilts that I’m looking at. I built some quilt storage and still have more than I want to fill it with. My work has changed over the last decade or more (as it should) and I have many quilts that just don’t make sense for me to hold on to for exhibits or display in my home. So, I’m going to post them here at bargain basement prices.

hansel-u-gretel-web

This is “Hansel ind Gretel,” created for my solo show Impressions of Germany in 2006 and juried into Main Quiltfestival 2006 Wettbewerb “Märchenwelt” (The World of Fairy Tales). It is 29.25″ x 35. The center is has dyed cotton velvet embellished with suggestions of a magical forest with a button and pebble path. There’s even a (boiled and bleached) chicken bone should any inquisitive witches be looking for small children to eat. The backing is an adorable Japanese print with Hansel, Gretel, and forest critters of course. This would make a lovely wall hanging for a child’s bedroom, and if you buy it and remove the bone and pebbles, it would be a snuggly lap or play quilt as well. I’m offering this quilt for $150, mailing included, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested.

hansel-u-gretel-detail-3

16 Apr

Knit Night

I missed yesterday’s post. I have a knit fail I’m willing to share, but I haven’t gotten around to photographing it. I’ve got some fun knit related accessories though:

Circ holder 1

 

I made this circular needle holder last week. I made a book style needle case about a year ago, but it didn’t have enough pockets for all the sizes and now I have enough needles that it was getting too full. This pass-through style holder looks messy, but is actually more organized since each section only holds one size of needle, so I don’t have to get out my needle gauge each time I want to start a project.

Circ holder 2

 

Also, when I was at the Maryland Homespun Yarn Party a few weeks ago, I got this awesome monster yarn bowl from Claymonster. It’s so fun to look at this silly face every time I work on a yarn project.

Yarn Bowl and Elfe WIP

23 Oct

Baby Quilts

Lots of them.

I started my quilting journey making baby quilts for friends. These days most of my friends are parents of teens so there’s not too much need for baby quilts. But every now and then the opportunity arises, and last year friends we met in Hawai’i conceived twins after much trying. Twin quilts — fun! There would need to be two, and they’d have to be the same, but different.

Twin Quilt 1
I started with this one. The mom is stylish and modern so I knew this was the perfect opportunity to make a houndstooth quilt which I’d been eyeing for a while. All the colors were chosen to be gender neutral and to coordinate with some absolutely adorable forest themed fabric my daughter chose for the backing.

Twin Quilt 2
I tried plaid to go with the houndstooth for the second quilt, but the scale was wrong, so I went with tried and true triangles. I really like this one.

Unfortunately, the twins didn’t make it. So, I didn’t finish the quilts. The good news though, is that mom and dad tried again and they are now expecting their first daughter any day! When the baby shower was announced, I knew I didn’t want to give them the original twin quilts. The karma just wasn’t right. So I jumped right back in to make a quilt that was related, but it’s very own.

Baby quilt

I was in an improv quilt kind of mood so I started with a motif from the backing fabric and built around it in a modified log cabin style. I like it, but something just wasn’t quite right yet. I still had a bunch of fabric left over, so I kept going.

Baby Quilt

Simple and slightly floral.

Baby Quilt

Yes, that will do.

Baby Quilt

Now we are all just waiting for baby to arrive so she can be wrapped up in this and drag it around with her for many years to come. I will finish off the twin quilts and the log cabin and will eventually donate them to a good cause.

29 Aug

A Random Mix of Projects

Remember Pretty, or Pretty Ugly? It’s now Blorange.

Blorange quilt top

I like it much better, and I thought the top was done until I laid it out to photograph and realized that it was almost large enough for our queen sized bed. What it really needs though, is one more column of blocks on the side. I’ve used all the wider blue and brown strips, and I’m afraid I don’t have enough thinner brown to add enough width, so I may add a purply strip down one side. Scrappy, right?!

The name Blorange came from blue + orange since I have been calling my smaller foray Grellow (grey + yellow).

Grellow

Grellow may become a gift. I rather like it in it’s oddness.

I spent today making bags for the kids out of the ninja and bacon fabrics I bought while in Oregon.

Ninja and bacon fabrics!

Seriously, how could I pass up coordinating ninja AND bacon fabrics?!

Zip pouches

These little zip pouches are loosely based on the Purl Bee Zip Pouch Tutorial. I interfaced the small one but forgot to do the same on the larger bacon one. It suffers a bit from that. The ditty bag is from a tutorial by Sew4Home. I love the way the ninjas dance along the top! The lined bag is of my own design (because they’re just that simple to make). The boy wants the bag and the girl gets the rest — much to her satisfaction.

Finally, I also made a half dozen little House Icons to add to an upcoming show with the 8 That Create ladies at Etui Gallery in NY. More details on that to come soon. These are so satisfying to make and I enjoy searching through my beads and floss to find just the right combinations.

Tiny house icons

14 May

Dinner@8 Artists Exhibit 2014

LaflammeSelfiesm

I am happy to finally be able to share this quilt, “Selfie: a portrait of the artist as her stash.” It was made for, and has been accepted into, the Dinner@8 Artist’s 2014 exhibit “Reflection.” The exhibit is an annual one that shows at the Festival of quilts in Houston and is curated by Leslie Jennison and Jamie Fingal.

I began this project not really knowing if it would work. I have several other things in the works that I didn’t want to take time away from unless it was for a good cause, and I just didn’t know if I could pull this off. But, I liked the idea of playing off the popularity of a Selfie as a modern self portrait, and the idea of my peculiar fabric stash being a reflection of myself. I shared a few peeks early in the process on Facebook, but here’s how it all came together.

Selfie test

 

I took a lot of photos of myself (with my phone, of course), in the car, in the mirror, with the phone turned toward me… Duck lips were mandatory.

 

Selfie 1 pix2Selfie test 1

 

Next, I cropped the best photos and tried several degrees of pixellation in Adobe Photoshop. I ran these by my trusted friends who helped me decide which was most easily recognizable as a selfie. The photo on the left won, but those squares represent 2″ blocks which were definitely too big. Even 1″ squares on the right were too big for the facial details.

 

Stash strips

 

Once committed to the project, I spent four days cutting strips from each fabric in my stash and sorting them by value. I’ve been contemplating making a scrappy Trip Around The World quilt with my whole stash, so I cut with that secondary project in mind (no, I haven’t gotten to it yet).

 

Stash grid bw

I took lots of photos with my phone along the way, turning them black and white to check my accuracy. I put the strips in bags marked with corresponding value numbers to keep everything sorted and tidy.

 

Stash crazies

 

What makes this portrait special is that I’m a fabric omnivore. The concept wouldn’t be the same in all solids, batiks, or natural colored hand dyes. I had to cross my fingers and hope that it would still read as a portrait even if the fabrics were this wacky combination of hand dyes, reproduction prints, novelty prints, florals, Kaffe Fasset favorites, and whatever else that makes up my stash.

 

Selfie Grid WIP

 

My road map was a grid I made in Adobe Illustrator. I decided to use 1/2″ squares for the facial details, 1′ squares for most of the quilt, and 2″ squares for the distorted foreground area and flat background. I assigned a value to each pixel in my photo which would correspond to a bag of strips of the same value. Initially I thought I could pick one strip randomly from the appropriate bag and make this a kind of charm quilt as well. As it turned out, once I got going, it helped to use warm and cool colors strategically, keeping generally to green eyes, red lips, brown hair, and so on. And, while large, my stash isn’t large enough, so I had to use many fabrics several times.

 

Selfie WIP

And here it is as I built the face. I had a grid on my design board, but I didn’t include seam allowances, which rendered it pretty useless.

I chose to quilt the piece very simply as I wanted all the pixels to have equal importance. I didn’t want to try any overworked thread painting or end up with a nose that stuck out. This is all about the fabric.

I am so pleased with the final quilt! It was a great relief to see that my initial idea actually did work, and having it chosen amongst all the other fine art quilts for the show is good validation. Please, visit the blogs of the other accepted artists and look forward to posts on the Dinner@8 blog in the coming months. Maybe we’ll even see each other in person or in the cloth in Houston this fall.

 

16 Oct

15 Days of Halloween

Dalek Costume

The costume to-do list is getting shorter!

Buy interfacing, a hula hoop, little plastic cups, bronze spray paint, and a plastic hardhat
Cut out and interface fabric for Dalek
Assemble Dalek dress with straps and hula hoop for shaping
Attach balls to Dalek dress
Cover stiff interfacing hoops for helmet
Paint hardhat helmet
Attach hoops, headlamp, and cups to helmet
Cut fabric for Candy Corn dress
Sew Candy Corn dress
Buy tights to coordinate with dress
Gesso box for creeper head and cut out eye holes
Paint Creeper head with green grid
Paint green hoodie with some green squares

I’m half way done with sewing the candy corn dress and painting the Creeper head too. Of course, I’ve left the Dalek body for last since it’s the one I’m least sure about construction-wise. Still, plenty of time. Fifteen days still to go! Oh, and we’re collecting bits to assemble a Tusken Raider now too.

29 Sep

It’s Crafturday! (14)

Mostly I sew, but sometimes I knit. And now I’ve knit long enough that I’ve accumulated a decent sized collection of needles and supplies. I had been storing them all in one roll, which was great when there wasn’t much, but recently it’s been getting out of hand.

Knit and Crochet Tools Storage

So I spent Friday making tidy little cases for everything. The best part — I used hand silkscreened fabrics which I’ve had for a few years but been stingy with since I didn’t have a really good project for them. Now I’ll get to admire the fabrics every time I go to knit.

Circular Needle Book, closed

I started with a “book” for my circular needles since they were my trouble makers.

Circular Needle Book

The house fabric was oriented the wrong way and too bulky for the pockets, so I used this aboriginal-inspired print from my stash. I like that the colors coordinate and the fabrics share an Australian ancestry. I’m also busily plowing through my stash right now, using up stuff and that makes me very happy!

Crochet Hook Roll

Chuffed with my needle book success, I made a little roll for my crochet hooks.

Crochet Hook Roll, open

I realized after the fact that the chunkiest needles should be on the opposite end of the roll from the ties, and that I had missed an opportunity to line up the house fabrics, but that could all be remedied in the next roll. Before, my crochet hooks would fall out of the needle roll every time I opened it since they were in bigger pockets than my knitting needles. Now the problem is solved and I will no longer have loose crochet hooks rolling around!

Straight Knitting Needle Roll

Now I was on a roll (punny) and made a slightly larger needle roll for my knitting needles.

Straight Knitting Needle Roll, open

I realize that this would not accommodate a full flight of knitting needles like serious knitters have, but I’m not there yet and this will do just fine for the immediate future. Besides, now that I’ve taken everything out of my first needle roll, it is ready and waiting to be re-filled some day.

With one of the scraps, I even made a little lined pouch for the funny shaped bits and bobs like a stitch counter and a little container of stitch markers, my needle gauge, small scissors, tapestry needles, etc.

25 Aug

It’s Crafturday! (13)

I finished the afghan inspired by the one my at my dad’s house which my Great Grandmother made. It was a good thing too, since the original has essentially disintegrated with age and use.

Here’s the original
Old Family afghan

And here’s my homage:
Grandma Meta Afghan

A detail:
Grandma Meta Afghan

And the whole blanket:
Grandma Meta Afghan

If I am to believe my Ravelry notes (which I am not terribly fastidious about), I used 15 skeins of Plymouth Encore, Valley Yarns Northampton, and a couple other random bits and bobs. The Northampton was by far the dominant yarn in the project. The afghan is nice and snuggly and is getting use on our sofa now that the heat wave has passed.