My October challenge was to make charity projects. I already showed you the hats I made. Here are the quilts I’ve been working on.
These were both machine quilted, a big challenge for me.
So here I am in November and ready for a bigger challenge. I decided that it’s time I conquer my fear of orange. It’s a color I only tackle when I use every other color in a quilt or in an autumn quilt. Not any more, orange and I are going to get acquainted this month. I plan to make a sampler quilt using mainly orange. Wish me luck!
I seem to have lost September and part of October. It’s not that I haven’t worked on my 365 Day challenge. I just have not found the time to document it until now. I chose animals as my theme for September and it was a fun one that I will definitely expand on. In the first couple of weeks I was finishing a quilt for my son’s wedding and it did have a bear, loons, deer, wolves and moose, so it fit right in.
I spent a good portion of the month looking for inspiration and patterns. I found it in some usual and some slightly less usual places. I collected some coloring books and books about drawing to help with my design process. I have children’s books to use too. I have found some wonderful animal ideas in very old crafting books that I’ve collected along the way. That is where these basic little gingham toys came from. I love gingham.
I found a wonderful book of knitted toys called “Animal Friends, Two by Two” by Jeanne Stauffer and Diane Schmidt.
It has an afghan and small animals to go with it. The animals are just the right size and cuddlesomeness. Very precious little toys.
These are some of the animals that came from it. The blue dog and pink pig were not in the book. I designed those myself using the patterns in the book for a base.
So now it’s already October and I’m working on some charity projects. My quilt guild makes preemie hats to warm the wee noggins at our local hospital. I’ve been working on those. We are also making some lap quilts for our local Ronald MacDonald House. I’m loving working with all of my bright fabrics.
I read a quote today by James Abbot McNeill Whistler. (yes, he’s the one with the famous mother, I checked)
“Art happens-no hovel is safe from it, no prince can depend on it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about”
The quote made me think of a trip to Alaska several years ago. We were in Anchorage at the Alaskan Native Heritage Center. Wandering through the exhibits, I was struck by two things. First the harsh world that these people lived in. Crops were almost non existent, wood was scarce. They used tiny little boats to go out and hunt gigantic dangerous sea animals to eke out a life for their families. Their homes were often dug into the side of hills for lack of any other material. Yet, somehow between the summer days of hunting and the long, dark cold winters, they found a place and time for the most beautiful art. They created giant totems and delicately carved animals, beaded and feathered art, bowls and music and graceful dances. Art cannot be kept at bay, it simply is and always has been part of who We are. You can see it in ancient culltures, even before “civilization” in cave drawings and piles of stones set just so. in the quilts made by pioneer women as they wound their way across the country in bumpy wagons. Every scrap of fabric was saved, to be resurrected as a piece of art. In the simplest, most difficult times, and in times of ease and plenty, humans will create art, because we must.
I haven’t forgotten my drawing. I just haven’t taken the time to photograph it. In the spirit of absolute honesty, I haven’t drawn every day, but I probably have a drawing for every day in the month. One thing this whole 365 Day Challengeis teaching me is a profound respect for other artisans. I like to watch artists on TV who use pencils and paint and paper and canvas for their tools, and it seems so simple. Just jot down a few lines and there you have a squirrel or a car or a tree. Add a little shading, mix up the colors and it’s a whole landscape. Not so much for us amateurs. Our lines turn into scribbles, maybe a troll or a rock looking sort of thing. But I remind myself that this whole challenge was never really about the quality of the work. It has always been about the fun and the chance to explore different crafts, and I simply enjoy sitting down with a pencil and paper and drawing what comes to my mind. It very rarely looks like what I imagine, but sometimes I can at least recognize it! An improvement from my early days. Here are some of my drawings. I think I’ll stick to my needle and thread. As a matter of fact, I can see some of these being turned into fabric art. Somehow I can make fabric bend to my will better than a pencil.
I’ve spent a little time every day drawing and here is what I’ve come up with. Much of it is just practice in shading and shape. The flowers at the end were done on large paper and will be applique patterns for a line of shower curtains that I’m working on. Even my drawing leads me back to my needle and thread.
The last week of July was a busy one and I didn’t even keep track of which day I made what flower, but here they are.
beads and wire wrapping
quilling, sounds like quilting so it’s bound to be fun
buttons on denim
irish crochet roses
small beaded banner using pony beads-I did this without a pattern. Next time I’ll definitely make up a pattern ahead of time.
These frilly crocheted flowers in orange and burgundy are going to be part of a beautiful scarf some day soon.
One day I just spent planning to make this plain old cupboard into an island in my kitchen
July left me with a host of ideas to work on, purses, flower pot magnets, a scarf, earrings, cards, wall hangings, a shower curtain.I discovered that needle and thread are my favorite media to work with.
So next comes August. After a couple of days of thinking about it I’ve decided to explore pencil drawing . It’s not something I do very often, or very well for that matter, but I enjoy it and it sparks my imagination. I can’t wait to see what I come up with.
Saturday the 14th, and I’m still working with flowers. I used my die cut felt shapes to make these little pretties. Eventually they’ll be purse embellishments, pins, maybe a pillow applique.
Five days, five flowers. I drew the pictures of these and then made them into applique quilt blocks to go into a patchwork shower curtain I have planned. I used my hand dyed fabrics, giving them amazing depth.
Now we’re up to Friday the 20th. I took out these beautiful floral fabrics to put together with the appliqued blocks and spent the day with my rotary cutter.
Needle felting is something I’ve been wanting to do and I had the equipment for it right in my studio, along with some wool roving that I had dyed with simple kitchen food color. Here’s my needle punch bouquet punched into a piece of felted crochet. The picture isn’t fuzzy, that’s just the texture of the felt. I don’t know what it will be yet. I also made a couple of tiny little mushrooms, about 1 inch each, just for fun. For a tutorial on dyeing wool roving with food color and koolaid (yes, koolaid!) check out Mom’s Crafty Space. It’s very much like dyeing Easter eggs and just as much fun.
On Saturday, I felt like painting again, so I found a t-shirt, changed it up a little by shortening the hems and changing the neckline, and painted two of my favorite flowers on it, daisies and pansies. To find out how to change the neckline on a t-shirt , visit Laura’s Sewing Studio.
On Sunday it was finally time to try some yo yos. I had to, I’m a quilter after all. I found some tiny little clay pots while I was looking for something else so I made these tiny yo yos and a few other fabric flowers in miniature form with teeny tiny buttons. This little plant is about three inches tall.
Now, what’s next?