Friday, June 21, 2013

Oo-La-La: Adventures in Crazy Quilting

At the end of April and beginning of May, I took a two-session quilting class from the amazing Jacqueline at It didn't take long to realize all my messing around with artsy crafts in the past pushed me to this point. My, how I have missed handwork.

I used a "jelly roll" -- 2.5" strips of fabric from a collection called "Comma by Zen Chic for Moda" -- along with other coordinating odds-and-ends from my stash. Using a quilt-as-you-go method, I covered 36" x 45" of  batting in a LONG week. Those strips and odd-sized chunks cover the front, while a single piece of fabric backs the batting.

Quilt piecing in progress, the last week of April 2013.

We started needle work in class the next Sunday. Oh boy. I spent the whole time trying to sew a single stitch. It must have seemed like I was in way over my head. I had no idea how to stitch between layers of fabric. What the heck do I do with a knot on a finished back?! I was used to going up and down through the fabric, instead of just through the top layer. By now, I've adapted, but I probably won't do handwork that way again. I'm uncertain about the stability of beads attached to the quilt. My solution is to cheat and tie off in the back -- fortunately, a creme color like the bead thread.

Fabric covered, ready to hand sew. And what on EARTH am I going to do with a 3' x 4' beaded thing I can't wash? I chopped it in quarters. It was exhilarating. That sounds insane, I know. But chopping that bad boy up was freeing and such a good choice. Now I have workable chunks that will eventually become wall-hangings, I guess. Shrug.

On evenings and weekends for the last two months, you could find me at a Starbucks either with embroidery supplies or beads. I am particularly enamored with the feel of the cashmere...thread...floss...what do you call it?

Some of the fruits of my delight -- I mean labor.

I love the contrast of the embroidery floss and satin ribbon
against the black fabric.
Auditioning bead placement.
Playing with black on black. Not a success.
I love this stitch. It's a woven stitch. You make a giant asterisk
in the circle and then weave the  ribbon or thread over and under
 the arms of the asterisk. The grey "lollipops" above the flower are
the same stitch, with different materials -- and different results.
I'm not delighted in my bead work, but it'll do.
Ze knots of -- how do you say? -- French.
Cretan stitch, executed somewhat cretinously.
I want to eat these berries. They are probably poisonous. 

Stem stitch, variations on lazy daisy, French knots.