Last week, I mentioned that we hit up some sales as part of the Maple Syrup Festival. I finally snapped some photos of the goodies I picked up!
This lovely wool scarf looks like it’s never been worn. It’s a bit late in the season to wear it this year, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it next winter.
This tiny wooden mouse is actually from the craft show sale at the festival – it’s the tiniest little thing! Perfect for Blythe. I found the little sewing basket at the jumble sale. It is also perfect scale for Blythe – I love the little drop spindle and knitting needles as well as the yarn. So cute!
Next is a bag of tiny autumn leaves, which are also in scale for Blythe. Finally, there’s a Kelly set that includes a pair of shoes and a dress.
The shoes fit Middie, though they’re slightly tight. They’re also not as thick/as high quality as most of the Kelly shoes I’ve seen before. The dress is great for a petite, though! I also picked up a small obelisk-style trellis for the garden. One of my friends who was with me at the festival asked, “do you usually find this many miniature things?” and I had to say that I definitely do not! I feel like it’s unusual for me to find even one thing, let alone several. The other miracle moment was that K found an object he’s been looking for for some time. The weekend before, we went to a few garage sales and he remarked to me that he wished he could find an old TMNT play set that would make a good back drop for photographing many of his figures. Just one week later at this festival, he actually found one! They are not that common, so this was really a stroke of luck. It’s not quite as unlikely as me finding a Blythe at a sale (I *wish*!!), but not far off! I’m excited to do more sale-ing this summer and hopefully our luck will continue.
Saturday we spent most of the day over in Shepherd at the Maple Syrup Festival. It was a friend’s birthday on Friday, so we treated the day as a celebration for her as well!
There are a lot of activities going on in Shepherd every year during this festival. We walked all around the village – the weather was glorious! It was sunny but not too warm and with a nice cool breeze.
Of course one of my favorite events was the Festival of Quilts. I was pretty disappointed that they apparently lost my registration information so none of my information was listed (except my name, misspelled, boo!) for my feature quilt, Modern Venus:
My Fall Frolic challenge quilt was also on display and several people mentioned to me that they liked it, so that was cool:
I also enjoyed this feature quilt by Sharon Jarczynski:
Most of the other quilts on display were family heirlooms or quilts that were created from published patterns/kits, so I was pleased to see another representational quilt.
We also enjoyed the pancake and sausage dinner, bingo, the craft show, the classic car show, the carnival, yard and jumble sales, and of course the petting zoo, where we met this adorbs goat:
It’s done! I finished it just in time for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show competition this weekend. 🙂 Whew!
The challenge was to incorporate their fabric in some way and to use the Fall Frolic theme. I used only a small portion of the fabric, but it fits with the overall vision I had and it counts! 🙂
The challenge fabric is seen here in the two yellow leaves. There are four of these leaves in the quilt (as there were only four in the fabric swatch provided).
I’m happy with my two witchy figures. I used different shapes (cut freehand) for their hair and used different embroidery on each of the two cloaks. Their cauldron is emitting smoke in varying colors which is billowing out between them.
I’m quite pleased with the techniques I used for the background – I think the sunset sky and land work well and the contrast in construction helps achieve the look I was going for.
The deadline for finishing this quilt is looming, so I spent nearly all of my crafting time last weekend working on it. Of course my plans for this quilt mean that there are a TON of leaves to attach, and of course I decided to do them all by hand, which takes longer than if I did them with a fusable product or by machine.
I started out by placing the leaves where I wanted them, just arranging without fastening anything in place.
Then I pinned everything in place. USE ALL THE PINS!
Then I started sewing them on. Thank goodness for the Ott Light I got on a super deal at Joann last year – the light was awful this weekend as it was snowing, sleeting, and raining pretty much the whole time.
Many hours of podcasts later, all the leaves were stitched in place! I finished off the weekend by cutting out the batting and backing fabric. I will hopefully grab a few minutes each weeknight this week to make the quilt sandwich and start quilting!
This weekend I focused a ton of time on my Fall Frolic quilt. The Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival is coming right up so I’ve got to wrap it up!
I cut out the very small pieces for the center of the quilt and decided that I wanted to use free form hand applique to attach them.
I did things one piece at at time for the most part, and just focused on getting things ON – I’m going to add more decorative applique stitches to some bits later on.
All this tiny stitching makes me VERY glad for the table top OTT light I picked up awhile ago. Especially since it was all snowy and gross all weekend and there wasn’t as much natural light as there usually is.
My Fall Frolic quilt is continuing to take shape, slowly but slowly. This past weekend I worked on the witches.
I came up with their robe-shapes and cut those out freehand, and then half-traced half-sketched some Blythe heads for the witches’ heads.
These paper templates are really more to keep me in line while I’m free cutting – it keeps everything in scale – and isn’t a 100% pattern that I’ll follow for sure.
These witches are on a much smaller scale than most things I’ve done before, so the pieces are itty bitty. I kept having to cut them down to be the right size.
Because these pieces are so small, I decided to hand stitch them all in place.
As tedious a task as this could be, I actually really enjoy it! The early morning sun kept my work desk well-lit and I knocked out both faces in not very much time. I don’t know what it is about working with tiny things that is so satisfying for me.
My next art quilt project is officially underway! This piece is for the themed competition at the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show, and this year’s theme is Fall Frolic.
I started picking out fabrics last week. The competition requires the use of one particular fabric which must be incorporated in some way.
You can see that required fabric on top of the stack on the right side of that photo – it’s a leaf print which has a lot of red, yellow, and green in it.
My concept for this image is a scene featuring a witch (gotta go with inspiration from one of my favorite parts of fall: Halloween!) in the woods, frolicking in some way as the sun sets. I’m still figuring out what I want to do for the figure and trees, but I have started working on the background.
Looking at some photos for reference, I tried to get a sense for what sunset usually looks like in Michigan, if you’re in a place where you can really see it. Sunset tends to be orange at the horizon, then move into gold and yellow and then as you get toward the ‘top’ of the sky, fades into blues. There are often clouds in Michigan in fall, so I’ll use those as well but they’ll go on top of the background layer.
I cut strips and started lining up the fabrics for the orange/gold/yellow section of the sky.
I’m sewing these strips together unevenly – meaning that each strip will not necessarily be the same height as the strips above and below it, and wont’ necessarily be the same width all the way across, either.
I’m once again trying to use fabrics from my stash almost if not completely exclusively, so I haven’t purchased anything for this project – just shopping my stash to find what I want. So far so good! Next I will work on the upper/blue portion of the sky, and then the land at the horizon and foreground. I’m so excited to be working on a new project!
What? AS EVERYONE KNOWS, breks for dinner is one of the best dinners you can eat.
So, things have been super busy and I’m pretty belated in reporting this, but my challenge quilt won a gold star at the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival of Quilts!
I was going out of town for work later in the day, but I was able to sneak over to the quilt show right as it opened that morning. There were some really nice quilts in the show, and the challenge quilts were all very different, which was neat.
I just love this 1930s-inspired fabric:
The limited color palette of this quilt is really appealing:
The Spring Fling challenge quilts were all about the same size, which I found interesting. They were required to be 60-100″ in perimeter, but the fact that several of us came up with pretty much the exact same size surprised me.
So, not only did I win a gold star, but I also won some maple syrup and maple candy!
So cool! I feel really pleased to have won a thing on my first try!
Finally, a WIP is complete! And just in the nick of time.
This is the Spring Fling quilt, which I made for the quilt show this weekend at the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival. Last year I picked up one of the little kits they had which included instructions/rules and an 8×8″ square of fabric to be incorporated into the quilt. The challenge theme is spring fling, which I used as the name of this quilt.
I decided that this would be another Blythe-inspired quilt (I’m hoping to make a series of these) and that I would use themes of feminism and nature as well.
I crowned the figure with a wreath of butterflies. This is inspired by this painting, as well as by the fact that butterflies are symbols of spring and renewal.
The center of focus is the robin’s next the figure is holding in front of her on a tray. This is meant to echo advertising images from the middle of the 20th century: a woman serving, dressed in a traditionally feminine dress with apron, offering a tangible object as an item of value. All the quilting lines on the main body background radiate out from this nest. The idea of the egg-containing nest being the most valued item is also a statement on our society’s insistence that a woman’s value is directly tied to her ability/desire to have children.
I also added butterflies as a 3D element. They are emerging, flying as if from the figure, and they are adhered by their bodies only (this may not translate well in these photos), so the wings are free and stand out from the main body of the quilt.
My little art quilt is coming along! Fittingly, too, since it is really starting to feel like spring is on the way. Last I posted, I had things mostly figured out and pinned in place.
Looking pretty good.
I then got the butterfly crown arranged. I ended up using a fairly limited number of butterflies because I liked the final look better than a more crowded crown.
Then I started to figure out how I wanted to handle the eggs on the tray she’s holding. I was thinking deviled eggs and was toying with the idea of some embroidery techniques to create the deviled yolks.
I cut out a bunch of tiny eggs, but decided I didn’t like the way it was coming together, and I had a brainstorm of another angle I could take. More on that next time!
I also got the flower blossoms sewn on. I’ll likely go back and thread paint some stems and leaves on them in a fresh, bright spring green.
I’m feeling pretty good about this project! Being on a deadline has lit a little fire under me, and hopefully that keeps going.