quick project: jewelry drawer liner

I continue to grab brooches and other pieces of jewelry at rummage and yard sales and the drawer I’ve been keeping them in has been a big jumble.

Quilted drawer liner

You can see that there’s a wide variety of stuff in here and that it moves around every time I open the drawer, making it hard to see what I have and find specific things. I had the idea to make a quilted drawer liner to keep things more organized.

Quilted drawer liner

This is the simplest design – it’s just two pieces of fabric with one layer of cotton batting, sewn all around the edge and then turned right side out, and a double line of stitching around the edge (closing the gap through which I turned it, as well as providing a nice detail and some stability). I thought about quilting it more than this, but decided that this was good enough. As I was able to remove the drawer to do this, it was easy to measure and make the liner the exact size of the drawer.

Quilted drawer liner

While I was at it, I did some sorting and found a number of items to get rid of (including no fewer than 6 pairs of cheapo sunglasses that were either scratched or didn’t fit very well – all in the Goodwill basket now!) So here’s the drawer with everything laid out neatly on the liner. Isn’t that so pleasing?

Quilted drawer liner

And here’s the drawer in place, from my vantage point (I’m not super tall compared to this dresser, but I can easily see everything here). I still have other jewelry in drawer organizer unit (which does not fit into this dresser – it fit into a previous one we owned, so now it’s sitting on a shelf) holding earrings, chain necklaces, and some other assorted sundries, but these are the brooches, bracelets, rings, and necklaces that I’m looking for at a moment’s notice and/or are best stored laying out. I will admit I even found a few things during this sort that I had forgotten I owned!

Tutorial:
1. measure your drawer
2. cut two pieces of fabric 1″ larger than the drawer’s measurement (1″ wider and 1″ longer)
3. cut one piece of cotton batting the same size as the fabric
4. place fabric pieces right sides together, and layer them on top of the cotton batting (doesn’t matter which way) so the three pieces are all lined up
5. sew around the perimeter with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a 5″ gap on one side (or big enough to get your hand in)
6. trim the excess from the seam allowance except at the gap (especially be sure to trim around the corners)
7. reach in through the gap and turn right side out – you may wish to use a corner poker to get the corners turned out fully)
8. press well with the edges of the gap turned in tidily
9. stitch around the perimeter, being sure the gap is sealed – I used a longer stitch for a nice top-stitched look
10. stitch around the perimeter again an even distance from the first line of stitching

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review: The Quilter’s Paper-piecing Workbook

The Quilter's Paper-piecing Workbook

The Quilter’s Paper-piecing Workbook: Paper piece with confidence to create 18 gorgeous quilted projects by Elizabeth Dackson

I have not done much paper-piecing yet myself, but though I usually like to freehand things as I go, I’m interested to learn more about this technique to expand my repertoire. This book starts with practice mini-projects and moves from there to rookie, adventurous, and daring levels of projects. Each project comes with cutting charts that show exactly how to cut the fabric and piece it together. As a newb, this seems the most intimidating part so these charts are reassuring. The rookie level projects include blocks that could easily be created without using paper-piecing, which is a nice way for someone like me to see the differences in construction between methods. A CD is included with printable templates.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Bay County Library System through the MeLCat ILL system

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review: The Art of Whimsical Stitching

The Art of Whimsical Stitching

The Art of Whimsical Stitching: Creative stitch techniques and inspiring projects by Joanne Sharpe

This book covers a range of stitching techniques including machine and hand sewing, quilting, and embroidery. Sharpe’s goal is to enable the maker to create unique art using the artist’s preferred choice and combination of methods. The pieces shown also use fabric painting, dye, art markers, and more. Some basic information about using these tools and techniques is provided, along with inspiration pieces created by the author. The bulk of the book consists of projects that showcase one or more techniques and include utilitarian items like bags and pillows as well as pieces created purely to be art. Fans of mixed media collage will find lots of inspiration and useful information here.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Capital Area District Library through the MeLCat ILL system

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review: Quilting is My Therapy

Quilting is my therapy

Quilting is My Therapy: Behind the Stitches with Angela Walters

I’m not generally one to use patterns for quilting – I prefer to make things up as I go or get a general idea from something that is traditional (like a nine-patch) and then figure it out on my own from there. I do, however, love to get inspiration from looking at the quilts others have made, and this book is perfect for that. Exquisite quilts from a variety of quilters are pictured and while they all feature the intricate and very busy long-arm quilting that I don’t choose for my own projects (this is Walters’ specialty, I believe), the quilt patterns themselves give me lots of ideas. The running story of Walters’ own journey to becoming a quilter has some inconsistent punctuation and a number of what read to me as quilt-snob sentiments (she’s entitled to her opinion! I just don’t find it constructive for me as a reader), so I preferred to focus on the quilts themselves.

full disclosure: I checked this book out from my local library

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Art Walk Central wrap-up

Modern Venus - on display at Helios Art Gallery

Here’s a much better photo of Modern Venus on display at Helios Art Gallery! I went in with the DSLR and of course managed some higher quality shots.

I am so honored that my art was displayed in this gallery! It made my Art Walk Central experience so much richer this year – big thanks to the folks at Helios for welcoming me, being interested to know more about the piece, and encouraging me in every way during every interaction we had throughout the festival. It was such a pleasure to be involved with such good people.

Overall my experience this year was a bit of an up-and-down. I had received a call from ArtReach informing me that my piece was in the judges’ top ten and I was both stunned and elated! But then when we attended the judges’ round table discussing their top picks, mine was not among them. I felt so embarrassed in that moment, even though as far as I know, K and I were the only ones expecting to see mine in the slide show. I am pretty sure that someone confused my name with the other art quilter from Mount Pleasant (named Ann, oddly enough) on their contact list and called me by mistake. The folks at ArtReach were extremely apologetic about it and really did everything they could to make things right, so I have no ill feelings on that front, just a little residual disappointment and embarrassment that I had to then tell everyone that my big happy announcement was the result of an error.

Listening to the judges discuss their top picks was extremely enlightening. It’s clear that they both appreciate fiber art, which is awesome (the top 10 had two art quilts, which seems unlikely to happen very often). They both also spoke a lot about political art and how much they value pieces that address specific current events (#blacklivesmatter and the Flint water crisis in particular featured in several of the top ten). For me as an artist, I think I’m less likely to address a specific event – I think that my work, so far at least, is less likely to be so direct and specific. I would rather address a theme or idea in less literal ways, I guess. I wonder if this is a current movement among art critics or in the art world in general? Or maybe it’s always a preference some folks have? I should ask the Art Assignment! It was also interesting to note that the judges seemed to be very in sync with one another – I don’t think I heard either of them express an opinion that the other didn’t echo. I wonder if it’s a challenge, when working in that capacity, to keep one’s own voice strong and distinct. It could be that they were just that in tune with each other.

I also quite enjoyed the artist talks that I got to attend. I could have signed up to do one myself, but I was so intimidated that I didn’t. Having seen some others now, I think that I could manage it, though I’m sure I’d still be quite nervous. It was reassuring/notable to me that the artists I heard all took somewhat different approaches to the talk – and all seemed to be equally acceptable. That gives me a bit more confidence for the future as well.

For now, I’m still working on the planning stages of my next piece, so I need to get to the drawing board for that. Once again, big thanks to everyone I worked with this year and big congrats to all the other artists!

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WIP Wednesday: even more leaves

Last week I got a start on cutting out a zillion leaves for my Fall Frolic quilt, and this weekend I continued working on those trees.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I want to provide a background for the trees themselves, since I’m not planning on showing any exposed branches. I didn’t want the edges of this background to show as distinct from the leaves that will go over top, though, so I used my leaf templates to cut out leaf shapes along the edges of the background pieces.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

These pieces may very well end up completely covered, but I just wanted to be sure that the foliage seemed solid underneath the individual leaf pieces.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I also started working on the foreground, with this cauldron and flames. I started working on the witches as well, but didn’t get too far yet. Next weekend I hope to get those complete!

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

It has been pretty busy in CraftyTown lately – I have a lot of things on the work table (and still trying to find a good replacement work table).

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WIP Wednesday: Fall Frolic background land

Last time I posted about working on the sunset/sky portion of my Fall Frolic quilt, and this last weekend I did some preliminary work on the land part of the background.

More Fall Frolic art quilt WIP

I’m doing something akin to a log cabin pattern, with concentric sections radiating out from the center. I’m not 100% sure what exactly I’m going to go with on this, but I started cutting out blocks to form this basic shape. For these quilts I like to do a background with some traditional-ish quilt techniques, so including this type of shape fits into my overall vision for the project.

You can kind of see in this picture that the right side of my craft table is really leaning toward the ground. The caster on this leg broke about three moves ago and all our re-glueing attempts have been temporarily successful at best. I really need to find something better before this one gives up entirely. I have a bunch of yarn and other supplies in bins and tote bags sort of shoved under/around the table right now, so it would be nice to find something with drawers or cubbies to store all that stuff off the floor. I’d also like to be able to keep my cutting mat, which is about 36″x60″. Anyone out there have a table/unit they love and recommend?

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WIP Wednesday: quilting by hand

I’m making more slow but steady progress hand-quilting my current art quilt WIP. It’s really slow going, but I’m getting there!

Art quilt WIP

As I stitch, I keep asking myself what I was thinking making such a large piece. A learning experience for sure!

Art quilt WIP

I started re-listening to the Harry Potter books for the thousandth time and that is helping the time pass more quickly while I’m stitching. I opted for the Stephen Frye version this time, as I’ve listened to it fewer times than the Jim Dale edition.

Art quilt WIP

Some of the quilting I’m doing is also decorative, but some is just functional to keep everything together. As usual I’m making decisions about what to do as I go along, which is working well for me. I like to have a basic plan in my head but also the flexibility to make changes to that plan on the fly. This is how making art works for me – do you find the same is true for you?

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WIP Wednesday: still stitching

I’m still steadily stitching away on the hand quilting of my current art quilt.

Hand stitching

I’m using relatively large stitches for a couple of reasons. 1.) I’m stitching in the ditch, so it’s all straight lines at this point, and 2.) I want it to go at least a little bit quickly.

Reverse side

Here’s what it looks like on the reverse side. I’m not being very picky about accuracy, since I want it to be clear that it’s hand quilted. I’m still figuring out what I want to do when I’m done stitching in all the ditches. I may do some decorative stitching on the figure, but I’m still thinking about what exactly. Maybe just something in her hair?

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WIP Wednesday: moths have arrived

After last week’s playing around, I decided on placement for the moths and started sewing them on.

Art quilt WIP

I decided to do this by hand, so that I could get a less uniform look to the stitching. (Also, lifting the presser foot a billionty times for each of these did not sound like fun.) I am super pleased with the result!

Art quilt WIP

I don’t do much hand sewing very often, but I find it really in-the-zone-putting when I do make time for it. Note to self: do more hand-stitching! I watched a ton of Jane AKA maidensuit‘s videos about Blythe stuff while I did this stitching and the time flew by. I also got inspired to make the skirts that I posted about on Monday!

Art quilt WIP

I used a variety of freehand stitch patterns to sew these moths on, and I pretty much stuck to just sewing on their bodies (thoraxes? thoraces? thesauri?) and then adding the antennae. I may decide to do some more stitching on the wings, especially of some of the larger ones that want to flop around more – I’m still considering what I want to do with that.

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