Monday, October 13, 2014

Stripes are back!!

Longtime blog readers probably recall my past rants on how difficult it is to find striped fabric (and just when I have decided that stripe-on-stripe is the design motif I am most excited to explore).  For a couple of years it's been polka dots 24/7, stripes zero.  But when I went to the fabric store last week for last-minute supplies I was delighted to find several stripes on the shelf.  The clerk told me they had just come in the day before.

As you read this I'll be starting my week of teaching at the Crow Barn, and I wanted to bring stripes for people to use if they want.  It's often fun to use stripes for these very skinny lines because they show up as dotted lines, more interesting than solids.

Crazed 8: Incarceration (detail)

Right now the stripes in the store are pretty basic -- white and a color, quarter- or eighth-inch stripes -- but it's a start.  Fortunately I've been feeding my habit online, where claims to have 5,376 items classified as "stripes."  I bought two huge orders of stripes from them in the last several months, which produced my Quilt National piece and left plenty for future projects.

But here's a thought -- if stripes are coming back, maybe it's time to buy dots before they disappear.

Friday, October 10, 2014

On assignment -- stitching about travel

When we were in London early this summer I had the pleasure of visiting one of my best Internet friends, Margaret Cooter.  We had a fabulous day together talking about art and life.  We exchanged some little presents; mine was to choose a sewing kit from a collection that Margaret has been making to sell at craft fairs (here is a picture of a bunch of them).  Here's the one I chose:

It transpired in the conversation that I had not brought sewing supplies with me on the trip, just a scissors for my daily collages.  I figured there wouldn't be much time for stitching, but Margaret thought it was a really bad idea to be without one's materials should the occasion arise.  So she stocked my kit with a couple of needles and a pack of assorted threads, and found a long piece of linen cut from the border of some past project.  It's 59 inches wide and somewhere between 5 1/2 and 3 1/2 inches tall, kind of like a small version of the Bayeux tapestry.

I asked her if she also wanted to give me an assignment for the project, and she said "travel."

Sure enough, there was a little time to sew during the evening presentations every night on the cruise, and here we were on a ship, so I began by stitching an ocean full of water.  Not much else got done on that vacation, but in the months since I have expanded my "Bayeux tapestry" to include several of the lasting images from our travels over the years.

Iguazu Falls

Greenland (usually we see its steep black mountains from an airplane, but once we got there at ground level and visited Viking churches and an old seamen's cemetery)

Rome, with St. Peter's and the seven hills

cargo ship

World Cup soccer fans with German-flag face paint

olive trees in Tuscany

There's still room for more stitching but I'm finding it challenging to come up with images that I can easily execute.  For instance, how can you embroider the Grand Canyon or the Metropolitan Museum?  I'm sure more ideas will come, so I'm keeping the piece right there by my TV place.  (Still have three hours of The Roosevelts on tape that we have to get through!)

And what a great format the long and skinny piece of linen has been.  It's so much better for random thoughts or long stories than a squattier rectangle would be, and it's so much more casual and intimate, with its raveling edges and uneven cutting.  Thanks again, Margaret, for a great visit and a great project!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quilt National

The very good news is that my quilt has been accepted for QN '15!  Can't show you a photo just now but that will come in time.  Yes, it was an obsessively pieced quilt with lots of fine lines.

Based on the couple of other acceptances that I have heard about so far, it's good to know that this year's jurors are apparently more respecting of the traditional pieced quilt than happened in 2013  (read my rant on that subject here).  Can't wait to see the whole show.