Please ignore this post if you don’t like to be asked to do things! But if you want to show your support for an indie crafter and first-time art quilter, vote for Figure and Flock in the Craftsy Awards!
It’s done! It’s done! Hoorah and huzzah!
I’m so happy that I finally finished it! I had so much fun and learned so much while putting this project together and I’m anxious to move on to the next one. Figure and Flock turned out to be 32×43.5″.
Learning how to use the free motion quilting foot was quite fun and I know I’ll use it a lot in the future. I’m so pleased with the texture of her hair. I also love the dragonfly-inspired fabric I used for her eyes.
I love the way these thread-painted birds came out. The look of thread painting is so pleasing, especially on a bird where it can mimic the texture of feathers. I wanted the birds to appear to be disturbing the air around them, so I did some free motion quilting around each one. My goal was also to have the birds appear slightly menacing and I think that the button and bead combination I used for their eyes helped this come through. Birds have often been used as symbols in paintings and other works of art, and I drew on that here. Sparrows are sometimes used to represent the souls of the deceased and robins symbolize change and new growth, both of which I was thinking of here.
I’m quite pleased with the way the quilting worked out, too. I did free-hand grass-esque shapes in the grass and radiating curved lines in the sky. To me it feels effective in conveying the difference between the two areas.
In the interest of adding more dimension to the piece, I also added some thread-painted birds that I sewed separately and then fussy-cut. They’re a little rougher around the edges, purposely, to carry on that subtle sense that all is not quite right with them.
I’m still very pleased with my Dresden Plate-inspired dress, too. The sections radiate out from the figure’s heart, where a bird also lives. In designing this figure, I was inspired by Blythe and I feel like my interpretation of her came out effectively. You can tell (if you’re familiar with Blythe) that it’s her, but it’s not so literal as to scream, “I’m a doll!”
I chose a wood-grain-esque fabric for the binding (it’s not the same fabric as I used for her hair – you can tell the difference better up close), which I finished by invisible stitch on the back. I thought that the wood grain look seemed apropos to frame on a piece of art. I also added a channel so that it’s easy to display (that channel is in the same fabric as the quilt back, which is lilac with tiny white polka dots). I used only fabrics that were in my stash to make this quilt, with the exception of the bird fabric which I purposely selected and purchased with this intention. In case you wondered, I didn’t even make a dent in the stash! I probably need to do some really big projects in order to achieve that. 🙂
I haven’t figured out yet what my next project will be, but I think that I will rely more on piecing than on applique for that one (though of course I always change things around a lot during the process of making a project, so we shall see). Another art quilt is for sure on the docket, though I may opt for something smaller this time. Having made a lot of very-small-scale doll clothes, I’m interested in the applications for very-small-scale in quilting. In the future I’d also really like to make a useful quilt for our bedroom, though I will probably wait for that until we find our next house, so I can use the room as inspiration.
Now I need to find some quilt shows in which to enter Figure and Flock. I just missed the deadline for the big one happening in Grand Rapids later this year, which is a bummer, but I’m sure there are other shows out there.
Last weekend we went to the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival to check out the syrup, arts and crafts, and quilt show. I had considered entering a quilt myself, but didn’t get to it in time to make the deadline. Next year!
Odd as it seems, despite having lived in the area for close to 15 years in the 90s and 00s, this was my first time attending this festival. We got some syrup, of course, but skipped the really, really, really long lines for the all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage meal.
The quilt show was small but a nice mix of types of quilts by a few different quilters (some quilters had multiple pieces on display). As usual, I was most interested in the original quilts, but those made from commercial patterns were also very nicely made.
Some of the quilts had been made long ago, in some cases by older or now-deceased relatives of the person who entered the quilt in the show.
This one, which was one of the largest on display (96×68″), was hand-pieced by the owner’s mother, who used fabrics from the owner’s childhood. The dimensional quality of this design is really impressive.
I liked the nature/fantasy subject of this quilt (62×46″) by Carol Griffin. It is called Flower Belles and I suppose one could see the women as just that, but I thought they seemed to be flower fairies. I’ve been reading the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series by Susan Wittig Albert, which has probably put fairies at the forefront of my mind.
I’m interested in portraits and depictions of figures in quilts and this was a nice example of a relatively simple approach that is realistic but still fun.
Another one of my favorites was this dog quilt, titled Moochas Pooches (57×46″).
While of course I would’ve liked it even more if it had included a Boston Terrier, this pug was cute enough to almost make up for it.
The smallest piece (10×8″) on display was this framed fabric art, titled Lake Michigan and made by Carrie Dunn. To make it, she used raw edge applique, a technique that I have been reading a lot about since seeing it used on some of the art quilts in Lenore Crawford’s exhibit at Art Reach in February.
One of my favorites of the day was this horse wall hanging (36×47.5″), pieced by Carol Griffin. I’m not particularly interested in horses as a subject, but the piecing and construction of the quilt caught my eye.
I like the combination of fabrics the artist used, as well as the variety of stitch techniques she used to create the impression of texture and movement.
One thing I found notable was that, with the exception of the tied and vintage or antique quilts, very few of the pieces on display had been quilted by the same person who pieced them. I suppose that most of the folks doing the piecing take their quilt sandwich to a professional machine quilter and pay them to do the machine quilting. I’m not opposed to this on principle, but I definitely feel like, for me, it would take something away from the overall achievement of having completed a quilt. The same is true for using pre-made quilt patterns, as I prefer to make it up myself, or at least make up most of it in the cases where I might use a well-known quilt block design as inspiration. I want to do it all myself! (This is probably why it takes me ages to finish anything.)
One of the things that I was excited to see was the chance to participate in a contest in next year’s show! The challenge is called Spring Fling 15. It cost $1 to sign up, which provided a small piece of fabric that should be incorporated into the entry. The finished piece can be any shape and size as long as the perimeter is between 60 and 100″ total. All the entries will be displayed in next year’s festival and awards will be given for the best representation of the theme, best use of color, and best workmanship in piecing and/or applique. I’m excited to plan my piece.
Maude has a face-up!
So, way back when, I was named the lucky winner of ThriftyDoll’s Face-Up Giveaway on BlytheLife. I was SO EXCITED, especially because I had only recently gotten my first Middie and she was looking pretty shiny and reflective in photos. Since I am often shooting in low light or with a camera phone, I really wanted her to have a matte finish so her beauty would shine, rather than the surface of her face.
Jenni was excellent! She worked with me to figure out what exactly I wanted and as a result I am completely, 100% pleased with the outcome. Maude is looking gorgeous!
Of course I happened to be moving during the middle of this process, which dragged it out a bit more than just the usual time needed for overseas shipping and back. It was so worth the wait, though!
As you can see, it’s a pretty natural look, with subtle shading that adds up to a great effect without being super noticeable. I think that this kind of subtlety is especially difficult to achieve. Well done, Jenni! I also love the earth tones she used, which I think accentuate Maude’s unique hair color perfectly.
Now, as you can clearly see in these photos, Maude is in need of a major hair treatment. I haven’t done anything to her hair since I first took her out of the box, and she’s kind of static-y yet at the same time sticky/greasy. Her bangs are also SUPER uneven (and there are a few random hairs of different lengths here and there), but I want to give it a thorough washing before I tackle a trim. So that will be the next step in Maude’s very slow journey to being settled into my Blythe fam.
The Longstockings have announced a new monthly contest:
We are thrilled to announce our new monthly contest known hereafter as the Knock Our Socks Off Contest! Here’s the skinny: every month we will ask a short, off-the-wall, book related question. Not trivia questions, but creative ones where you try to make us laugh out loud with your supreme cleverness. And if your answer knocks our socks off, you win! The prizes are going to be awesome — advanced readers copies (ARCS) of books we love. Or sometimes the books themselves. You can enter as many times as you want, either by leaving your answer in the comments of the post or emailing us here. We will post the winner a week later.
This month the question is: What would your very favorite book character dress up as for Halloween?
I know what my answer is, and I’m off to put it in the comments!
Bantam Dell Publishing has announced the first annual Spectra Pulse Short Fiction Contest. The deets:
Presenting a new short fiction contest for unpublished writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
For its third edition of Spectra Pulse, Bantam Spectra is allowing unpublished writers to get their work featured alongside some of the most well-respected names in science fiction and fantasy.
One lucky winner will receive $100 and have his/her story published in the Summer 2009 issue of Spectra Pulse, Bantam Spectra’s exclusive magazine distributed at Comic-Con San Diego and select conventions and bookstores (available July 2009).