Shabby Miss Jenn

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Amaryllis Quilt and Christmas Gifts

I decorated for the holiday over the Thanksgiving weekend.  One of my favorite parts of decorating is pulling out my holiday quilts.  I'll try to feature a few of them here over the next few weeks.

I made this amaryllis quilt several years ago, from a Susan Du Laney pattern.  The flowers, leaves, and bulb are stuffed, giving wonderful relief from the background.  (No, I *still* haven't embroidered the roots. I also plan to add a little shading with chalks or Copic markers to the bottom of the bulb and the stem/leaf areas.  Someday.)  It is hung at the top of the stairs, and quite lovely to look at every time I walk upstairs during the holiday season.

One of my bees, Cyberbee, will have our annual holiday party on the 10th of December.  We only meet 4-6 times a year, several of which are all-day meetings.   It's all about catching up, sharing both food and sewing projects, show and tell (and what a great show and tell this one is with all the holiday quilts and gifts being shown off!), and a gift exchange for those who signed up.  The gift can be anything, store bought or hand made.  This year, I'll be giving some fabric, chocolate, and two handmade items: a needle book and a notebook cover. 

This is the needlebook.  One nice thing about quilting and scrapping is the number of tools that can be used for both types of project.  I used my die cutting machine and some QuikKutz and Tim Holtz dies to cut out the pieces for this needlebook.  The flowers are attached with french knots, and the leaves (which I hand cut) with a simple vein down the center.  All of the felt is from Papertrey Ink - they make a gorgeous range of colors and it cuts like butter.  I used a white lining and a piece of the melon berry felt for the inner leaves of the needlebook. The recipient's name is embroidered in the upper right quadrant, but I blurred it out in case she reads my blog.

The lining: 

The quilter who gets the needle book will also be getting this notebook and notebook cover:

I dyed dryer sheets with Dyna Flow to try to get green and teal colors that would coordinate with the background fabric.  While the green turned out great, the teal was not as bright as I had wished.  I pulled out the die cut machine again and cut a variety of circles and rings, then arranged them on top of 2 layers of un-dyed dryer sheets (to brighten the colors and reduce the transparency) below the colored circles.  I fused on a very thin layer of angelina fibers to give it some shimmer.  I layered the background fabric and a stabilizer, then free motion stitched the circles onto them and trimmed away the excess, undyed dryer sheets.  Some beads and couching with a variegated yarn in green and teals finished it up.

I made one more notebook cover; this one will probably be for one of the boys' teachers, and I'll be making another one for my other son's teachers. I went simple with this just fused a beautiful peony blossom onto a green pinked square, and added them to a dark brown speckled fabric.  A bit of stippling brightened up the brown fabric.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Seahorse Quilts

So I finished Jeremy's seahorse quilt before the end of August, but just haven't managed to get pictures taken and posted.  I made time to do so today.  When I wrote about it last, he'd had me paint onto the partially-quilted surface - a new adventure for me.  I then quilted in the water, using multiple shades of blue threads in the painted areas, and a slightly blued white thread in the unpainted parts of the background.  In keeping with his preference for all things shiny, all of the threads were shimmery and glittery.  I also added some hotfix crystals for "bubbles".  I satin stitched the edges and couched a single frame of a multihued fiber (perfect for this little quilt, with blues, teals and browns) around the outer edge.  

I brought it to Jeremy, showed it to him, and asked him if he liked it.  Those of you who read this post are probably shaking your heads right now, thinking "she'll never learn."  Sure enough, Jeremy did not agree with me that the piece was complete.  He looked at it for a few minutes, told me how much he loved the paint and the crystals, and then informed me that it needed another row of the fibers along the outer edge, just a little bit apart from the first one.

"No, it's fine as it is", I insisted.  It looked complete to me.  But he turned on those baby blues of his and I added another row of the fiber.  And I have to admit, that while it was just fine with one fiber border, the second border really added definition and set off the piece better.  And here it is:

And a detail shot of the seahorse on the bottom:

This was a great piece for me to practice with new techniques before going onto the bigger piece.  I also learned that Jeremy has a good, intuitive eye for balance and design, and is NOT afraid to share his opinion when asked for it.

So I moved onto the original piece I had intended to make before this little side trip.  It is a beach-themed, mixed media piece called "Live in the Current".

The 3 main panels were cut from felted wool, in shades of blue, green, and purple, that was needle felted directly to batting.  After the felting was done, I hand-stitched a variety of fibers on the top, and did some embroidery as well.  I fused the needle felted sheet to timtex to give it some stiffness, added backing, and did light machine quilting to give additional texture.  I then cut it into three panels, and did a double-layer of satin stitch in a variegated thread to finish them off.

The "library cards" are digital images by Katie Pertiet (Library Card Collection: Seaside) that were printed onto background fabric that I made in Susan Brubaker Knapp's class in June.  The background fabric was painted with very dilute Lumiere paint, and it glitters slightly.  I batted and back them, then stitched outline stitched the critters and the lines of the index cards with Monopoly thread.  I inked the edges for a little more definition, and attached them to the felted cards with small clips.

The background has the same seahorse and seaweed used in Jeremy's quilt on the right, as well as a shell on the top-left corner.  These were stenciled with Shiva paint sticks.  I used two of the images from Katie Pertiet's Beachy Clusters to create the layers and cut stencils.  I used a Silhouette America cut file to create a stencil for the seaweed.

To create the title, I used letter stamps (by Autumn Leaves), then filled in the letters using Copic markers.  I added a little bit of sparkle to those letters by selectively outlining with a Spica glitter pen.  After quilting it, I decided to add a little blue and purple color to the background with Faber Castel Gelatos, and using water and a stencil brush to dilute the color across the background in washes. I decided not to bind it, and instead, faced and turned the edges, so the design goes right to the edge.