Monday, February 20, 2012

AAQI for February

February AAQI.
I had a lovely machine embroidery from Debra  which inspired this quilt. The silks were given to me years ago. After the Atlanta Olympics - when local quilters donated quilts to the athletes - we also donated small quilts to the Japanese Olympics that winter.  Everyone who donated a quilt received several pieces of beautiful kimono silk from our Japanese counterparts. I've had those pieces all this time, and they seem to really complement the embroidered piece. Then, I have all this dupioni silk - or had, since I've used a lot of it. Holy cow does that stuff ravel! I replaced all of the binding once; then a portion of it yet again. In the process, one of the "fast finish triangles" that I use for hanging the quilt got turned down and I stitched over it, then had to do that over. Not at my best under pressure! The lace is from a vintage jabot I found at an antique place in Woodstock years ago. Depending on your definite of "vintage", this little quilt probably qualifies, because almost all of the materials are at least 20 years old, or older!

Here's a detail from my February cqjp block.  If I say I've had that button for years, you'll probably barf but it's true. I rarely throw anything out. I've got small scraps of fabric that go back 30 years. I drew a circle intending to do something quite different, then decided to use the flower pot button. Still it helped me keep my perspective on the flower placement. They're not too helter skelter I hope.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not for the faint of heart...

...and not for anyone over 30!

CJQP Update

February Block: Polly

This block will be my second for the CJQP challenge and honor my mother's second oldest sister, Polly. This is the middle block on the top row. In this photo, it's upside down.  

Aunt Polly

Working on the first block taught me a few things which are probably no brainers for most of you. One: embroider first, embellish next, photos last. At least that's the sequence that's making sense to me right now. I've been doing seam treatments and using very basic stitches which I'll add to later. I will determine where the pictures will go before I get to far with the embroidery, although I won't actually stitch them at this point. 

This weekend I've been doing nothing much but spinning my wheels. Thursday my husband was taken to the ER from work with symptoms very much like a heart attack: left arm pain, sweating profusely, shortness of breath, high blood pressure. Tests were all normal - EKG, blood chemistry, and a stress test the next morning. The ER doctor insisted that he spend the night in the cardiac unit for observation. The cardiologist could find nothing wrong with his heart and thinks the pain could be the result of nerve damage. The DH was in the paratroopers while in the army and did quite a few jumps out of airplanes and helicopters. Thirty years later, I think his body is talking back to him and it's not happy. He knows he has back problems as a result of this so I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't some issues that are just now showing up. I do wonder if the pain in his arm caused a panic attack over fear that it *might* be a heart attack?

The stress of that little surprise really wore me out and Saturday was kind of a blur. Today is our 25th anniversary, so we met the rest of the family for breakfast and then did some grocery shopping! Never say we aren't the romantic couple!! 

Actually, DH called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I'd like to go to Savannah on our anniversary.  Hilariously, he didn't realize it was just 2 weeks away - too soon for him to get leave from work. So we're celebrating a littler later, at the end of April. That will be a much nicer time to go anyway - more flowers, nicer weather.

I'm extremely glad DH is okay but my weekend has been written off as far as the CQs go. It wasn't a total loss as I did make a skirt for my sister-in-law - who, incidentally brought me a lot of interesting loot today:

All of those lovely hankies were in this case which is leather and what feels like silk.

Elegant faux fur collar.

Funky retro beads...

Lots of jewelry

This wonderful stuff comes from J's mother who is 96 and now in a nursing home. K  was from Germany, is a Holocaust survivor, and immigrated to this country after the war. She, her sister and mother were the only members of her family who survived. K was always very elegant. I'm so thrilled that J wanted me to have these items.

This is a long  photo intensive post. Thanks for hanging in there.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Productive Insomnia

A bit of a sleepless night/morning. On mornings like this, I can't wait to retire. I am so so weary of waking up in the wee hours in a panic over some perceived mistake/bad judgement call  at work. I'm so tired of second guessing myself. I'm ready to enjoy life worry free (never happen), and unleash the free spirit within!  A friend told me about her son who falls into that category. He didn't have stamps so he taped cash to his bills and put them in the mail. Almost all of the checks cleared. When his car payment didn't make it and the bank called he told them not to worry about it. The next month's check would be a pay off. Would it be nice to live in that state of mind?   I don't know and I'm sure it has it's down side, but looking at it from my perspective right now, it sure seems like it.

Putting my insomnia to good use, I naturally started cruising Pinterest which eventually led me to this lovely website. Lots of vintage love there, embroidery, and some interesting photography. She has an Etsy shop too. I love the sweet, simple design of her embroidery.

Now's about the time I start getting sleepy again which means I can maybe get another hour of dozing before I have to get moving. You'd think I had a handle on this after all these years, but no.

UPDATE! Debra has got to be one of the most generous people I know. Yesterday I received a package from her full of wonderful stuff: fabric, embroideries
beautiful machine embroideries
and something that in my excitement over those beautiful things I had set aside. I got distracted and didn't open a second bag filled with these until this morning:

vintage embellishments!

Even more vintage love!

I took these photos in a hurry this morning so didn't have time to edit them, but wanted to share this with you. These pieces are absolutely perfect for my cq - all are very vintage looking if not in fact. They will absolutely make this quilt into what I had hoped. I know that a collection like this probably takes years to accumulate, so THANK YOU, Debra for sharing these. I have been looking everywhere for just this kind of thing. You are the best!

Monday, February 6, 2012

You Big Doily!

(sorry about the shadow)
While looking through the several hundred (it seems) I have kept over the years that my aunts made (Mom did not crochet) I found these examples of what is truly amazing work. I would never have the patience to complete anything like these:

There are 44 of those clusters in each bunch of grapes.

While they never learned to knit - no one to teach them - they certainly loved to crochet. No one uses these much any more, and I wish I could find a way to display them - perhaps frame them? or make them into pillows? Not sure.
And who doesn't have one of these from the 1970's?
I made this afghan when I was about 17. It's 100% wool, and one day I forgot that and washed it, so it's quite felted. But I've had it all these years - nearly 45. And don't these colors scream 1970?

We spent a lot of time together, my aunts, my mother and I on Saturday nights doing things like this. I was lucky (although I often feel I was raised by a committee). Their hands were always busy, as long as they were able.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Yard Sale - Binding: SOLD!

Bonnie at Quiltville's Quips & Snips is having a yard sale. Here are my items:

Thanks for your interest!
Five rolls of binding. Here are the specifics, top to bottom, left to right:

Peach: 4 yards, $2.00
Pink: 7 yards, $3.00
Yellow: 7 yards, $3.00
Black: 5 1/2 yards, $2.50
Red(ish): 6 yards, $2.50

This includes postage. Or, buy it all for $12.00 which includes postage. UPDATED: Or, make me an offer! This is binding I made to sell on Etsy. The prices are 1/2 what I originally charged. I have a paypal account which would be the best way to pay. Let me know & we'll work out the details.

Friday, February 3, 2012

CQJP Block One - Semi-Finished

Block One - Aunt Emma

I'm sure I'm not completely done but I'm giving it a rest. There are things I would have done differently -- the top right hand corner needs something more, I think -- But, overall, I'm okay with this.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Devil is in the Details

Feather stitch with French knots

Herringbone with lazy daisy & French knots (above)), feather stitch (below)

Several examples of our TAST stitches from the past few weeks

This is the photo on the bottom right side of the block. I wanted just a little more color or detail to the lace so I threaded floss through the eyelets, and added French knots to the flowers - which I decided to fuse rather than stitch. I realized it would be very difficult to stitch through so many layers and was doubtful the result would be very attractive.  The French knots should anchor them.

 I'm still not ready to reveal the entire block. I'm still not completely satisfied with it. Hopefully by this weekend - which will be another busy sewing weekend.