Saturday, July 4, 2015

Crazy Quilt Owl Block

I created an owl block at the request of Pamela Kellogg for her Autumn 2015 magazine publication.  I was so excited, yet nervous, when she asked me to do one.  She only asked that it be in fall colors and include an owl and maybe fall leaves.  That gave me a good starting point yet left me lots of room to play.  I thought I would share the full block along with some close-ups with you now since she has made the cover public.

Final Completed Owl Block

For those of you who did not see the announcement, below is the image of the cover of her upcoming magazine featuring my block.  The magazine will be available August 1 which is just around the corner.  Her blog is where you will find some beautiful work and a link to order this magazine or her previous publications.  Click HERE.

Final block used for Pamela Kellogg's publication

Planning my block:

Since the main subject of the block was to be an owl I had to first decide how I wanted to incorporate the owl.  Options included doing an outline stitch or use an embroidery pattern stitched directly onto the block, find a silky with an owl feature, paint an owl onto fabric, or (the option which I chose) to stitch onto felt.  I actually chose the latter because I have wanted to try this technique and because the icon could then be moved around to find a favorable placement.  The other options were pretty permanent once stitched.  I cut out a silhouette of an owl I had drawn to check the size and play with placement.

Planning owl size and placement
Here is the owl which I stitched, both front and back.

My final stitched owl

The back side of stitched owl (not so pretty)
Below is the placement I chose at which point I began adding decorative embroidery stitches.

Placement of owl
I then used some leaves from a silk flower arrangement to decide on leaf placement before I actually stitched them in place.  I sort of wish I would have used the same technique for the leaves that I used on the owl...but I didn't.  I think they would have showed better and I would have had more options for placement.

Planning placement of leaves
At this point (below) I had all the seams treated and the owl, branch and leaves stitched.  I could have called it done at that point, but kept thinking it looked a bit blah and uninteresting.

Completed version one
So I kept are some close-ups:

seam close-up

Seam close-up

Button cluster and owl close-up


Spider and web close-up

Trailing vine close-up

Shibouri ribbon floral

This was my first attempt at using Shibouri ribbon.  The colors were perfect and I love the texture and dimension it adds.  Below again is the completed block.  I was glad I continued to add details as I think it adds so much more interest without taking away from the focal point, don't you?

Finished block

Although this wasn't part of my CQJP 2015 journey, I learned new things and I will definitely use the stitched felt technique on future blocks.  I will also use the Shibouri ribbon again.  Now to figure out what to do with the block!

Monday, June 29, 2015

CQJP 2015 - Tatting

Each month this year for my CQJP (Crazy Quilt Journal Project) I am learning a new skill, experimenting with or adding to what I have learned.  This month I worked with needle tatting.  I had already learned very basic needle tatting a few years back but had never really done anything with it.  My challenge was therefore to follow patterns and I also worked with ways to add beads to my tatting.  Three YouTube videos were previously added to my blog and you can find those HERE.   I found the videos very helpful and had a lot of fun with this.  I am happy to say I finished before the end of the month.

Following are some close-ups.  Working on a black block was also something I have been wanting to try.  I'm quite pleased with the effect.  It is surprising how much brighter the colors look on black than on softer shades.

The fan was definitely one of the most challenging patterns I followed, lots of tearing out stitches and re-starts.  I had saved the pattern for several years and was happy to finally make it and have a place to use it.  The butterflies are my own pattern and I modified the larger flower pattern.

Since I finished my block early I decided to try a few more patterns and experiments.  Those pieces are shown in the following photos.  I will probably use these in future projects or maybe just sell them in my Etsy shop.  If not any these pieces, I will definitely offer some tatting pieces for sale in my shop as I really enjoyed tatting.

I know there are a lot of excellent tatters and I have learned to appreciate even more the time they put into a piece.  Tatted jewelry is also a popular trend and I hope to find some time to try some of those and to try some tatted ornaments.

Do you do tatting?  What is your favorite thing to tat?  Do you tat with a shuttle or with needle, and if both, which do you prefer?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CQJP 2015 - May Block - Ribbon Play

My completed May CQJP block - Playing with Ribbons
This month I played with Ribbon trims etc.  This is my completed block.  I will definitely be incorporating many of these in future projects.  I love ribbons and have a few references that, up until now, I have only drooled over.  This was a good opportunity to experiment.  I hope you like the results enough to try it yourself.

I began by replacing the center patch with a piece of woven ribbons.  For the woven ribbons I followed the directions on the booklet by McCalls called Bridal Elegance.  There are lots of possibilities with this weaving.

I believe I incorporated ten different ribbon trims/techniques not counting the little silk ribbon flowers just above the braided ribbons or the rosebud trim.  There were many more I could do but my blocks are going into a fabric book which would have flattened them so I chose to stick with the more flat techniques.  Lots of close-ups follow, captioned with the name of the ribbon trim techniques:

Ribbon Prairie Points topped with vintage rick rack, decorative embroidery and beads

Ribbon Beads Trim and silk ribbon woven through closed blanket stitch

Silk ribbon roses stitched over silk flower petals; center gathered ribbon below that
along with a ribbon bow

A little closer view of the center gathered ribbon and silk roses

Looped ribbon (top) and rosebud trim (center) - This wasn't added to block, just played with it

Another angle of looped braid and rosebud trim

Top view of two ribbon techniques

The narrow sheer ribbon in teal was used for the rushing technique -
Adds wonderful texture

Ribbon bow adorned with seed beads which also hold it in place
and a section of looped braid

3 colors of 1/4" ribbons - braided trim

Below are some books from my reference library.  I would recommend any of them.

Lots of eye candy and instructions in the following two books.  Beautiful vignettes and project photos for inspiration.

Ribbon Embellishments is a 'how to' book I just found at my local Hobby Lobby.  It is an excellent source with very clear directions and lots of photos of Trims/Braids, Rosettes and Leaves, Ribbon Sculptures and techniques with beads and baubles.  This is a definite keeper!

Now I need to figure out what I am going to do for June.  I have a few ideas but just not sure which to do next.