Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ibolya the Lonely Matryoshka and a Minor Correction

I miscounted, and this is actually post number 77.  I fail at counting.

Moving on.

One of the blogs I follow is the 'official' blog for DMC floss.  Well, the other night I came across a post about a stitching contest; more specifically "Rainbow of Stitches" contest being hosted by Feeling Stitchy.  Basically you do a bit of stitchery based on 9 different categories and then you enter them into their Flickr pool.  Each category is a color of the rainbow, plus pink, black and white.  By the time I found the post on the DMC blog, there was less than two weeks left to enter -deadline is Memorial Day- and I wanted to do something that would be striking, yet simple enough to put together.

The first thing I did was pick the category I want to do.. basically the main color of my submission, and I picked purple violet.  Then I thought about the subject.  At first I thought it would be cool to do a hedgehog themed entry; however I'm not that awesome at drawing them, and while I could use the same hedgehog I've used previously on other projects, I wanted to do something original.  My other addiction at the moment are Matryoshka -also known as Russian Nesting- dolls.  I had gotten bored about a month or so ago and decided to sketch one out.. so I did.  I decided on a whim to go ahead and trace her out onto some fabric using a water soluble marker and go to town!
This is the first mid process picture I took.  You can kind of see how unmirrored the image is, I eventually filled her in NOT using these line as a guideline.  the faded line under her chin was where the original chin-line was at.  This was quite rough and the end product looks quite different.  The stitches I used in this portion are as follows:

The outline for her hair was done by alternating granitos and a backstitch.  the right side of her hair is filled in with french knots and running stitch.  The left side of her hair is a granito and french knot flower, and of course running stitches.

Her entire headscarf is done in a couching stitch using Ecru as the base thread and DMC # 211 as the couching thread.  As you can tell in the picture, you have to do this method with two needles, or spend time switching back and forth.  Using two needles was easier for me.  I'm VERY sure that her hair was done using DMC # 898.  The flower in her hair was done with DMC # 327.

Here's a closeup of the upper half of her body.  Her eyebrows, eyelashes are done with the running stitch; and her beauty mark is a french knot all done in the same color.  Unfortunately I don't know the exact number of the color since when I bought the skein -among several others- I did not have enough spool thingies to put my floss on, I left it still intact and my daughter ended up getting into my box of floss and she lost all of the wrappers.  There's now flosses in my box that are wound with no numbers because I have no clue what the numbers are.  The flesh tone is actually DMC #3770, and it was all done in a running stitch.  Her eyes are done in a deep dark green; however I've misplaced the spool labeled with the number so I can't give that to you.  The little flower detailing on her headscarf was done with #210, #327, and the greenery is #989.  That was done in a combination of granitos (flower) and a running stitch (greenery)  Her torso was outlined in a running stitch using #327 and alternating at a slant, the 6 pointed cross stitches were done in #327 as well as #210.  Oh, and her lips were done in #817.
Here's the finished project; all framed up nice and neat.  I took the glass out to photograph so there's no glare.  Her skirt is actually reversed appliqued and is actually a scrap of the Liberty of London scarf I bought from Target on the Friday before Mother's Day to make myself a top -speaking of, I need to blog about that- and the apron and apron strings were some bits I inherited from Jeff's grandma when she passed away in 2007... apparently I'm the only crafty person in the family.  The apron was quite easy to reverse applique because the white fabric is actually double layered which is why you are not seeing the shadow of the dark threads crossing back and forth.. trust me though they are there! *Edit:  I forgot to mention that the Liberty fabric is sandwiched between the two white layers, I had basted it down to the bottom layer of white fabric and then sewed it on my sewing machine, and then I carefully pinched up the white, made a snip and went to town to cut off the top white layer to reveal the skirt under. 5/27

Ibolya is named so because I wanted to find a foreign -to me anyway- word for "violet"; and I believe it's Hungarian.  I honestly do not know if it's referring to the flower or the color if it's even used as a first name in Hungary, but for all points and purposes it fits her exactly.  She's currently framed in some awesome paper so the space showing is 5 by 7 and she's in a 8 by 10 frame.  The actual cut size of the fabric is larger; however until I can figure out what project I want her going on she's staying put inside the frame.  She's currently resting on a cabinet in my sewing room;  however after I get around to putting the glass back on and picking a spot she's gonna go on the wall.

There's not many entries for the Violet category -I hope I'm not jinxing myself here- so I'm crossing my fingers that I make it to the final 9 -basically first place in each category.  That would be pretty awesome!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Every Quilt Has a Story

And in the case of this (not yet made) quilt, it even has a journey!

It all starts innocently on a Wednesday afternoon in March (the 24th to be exact) and I had just recently discovered a store on etsy through a blog (jaybird quilts if I'm not mistaken) and I came across Anna Maria Horner's "Little Folks Voile" fabric in her shop.  Chatting with my friend Nay, I asked if she thought I should buy the bundle.  She said go for it, and so I did.. plus I bought some really cute ribbons!  What was great is that she lives in my city and was kind enough to do a local pickup.

So, anyways, one touch of the buttery softness of the voile and I was hooked!  I decided I wanted to get at least one fat quarter or at the very least 1/4 yard of each fabric in the line.. all 28 of them.  However, we were due to leave on our vacation in the next few weeks, so I didn't order anymore offline.  I did however, take the 10 fat quarters I already had with me, in the hopes of being able to stop and buy some more on our trip.  The tricky part of my plan was A) convincing Jeff to stop and B) finding stores on our route that carried her fabric, since according to her website only 18 brick and mortar stores carry it in the United States.

Luckily, on our way to Virginia we were driving through Kansas City, Missouri and there's a store called Urban Arts + Crafts that was JUST off the interstate and Jeff consented to stop!  I had the sense of course to call ahead when we were about an hour out of the city to see if they had any, and of course they did.  I ran in, waving my bag of fat quarters and explained that I was planning on purchasing more of the fabric, but was wanting to avoid duplicates, and that's why I was bringing it in.  Had I had more time I would have LOVED to browse the store, but we were on a super tight schedule.  I was able to buy 4 more pieces of the collection, and after taking a potty break and clearing out some trash from the van -the shopping center/strip mall had public bathrooms so we took advantage- and we were on our way.  We got a bit lost getting back on the main interstate but it was well worth the stop!  Or at least I think so anyway.  I should add that customer service was fantastic and I highly recommend if you're in the area to go stop and visit.  It's a really beautiful store and I love how they have each type of craft in it's own corner; very neat and tidy and very open.

Unfortunately, there was no stores in the state of Virginia that carried her fabric, and thus we headed home.  However, on the way home we drove through Iowa City, Iowa and of course since I discovered there was a store there called Home Ec, we stopped again.  It wasn't quite just off the interstate; I think we had to drive about 3 or so miles into the city to get to the store.  After paying the meter, we all headed in.. since it was time for a pit stop anyways.  Again, I walked in waving my bag of fabric, and was able to purchase two more 1/4 yards.  Of course, once again I called ahead and made sure they had it.  And they had the fabric I needed and more... they had a decent selection of Japanese imports in fabric and ribbons... I didn't take the time to look around at EXACTLY what they had, but I was able to take a cursory glance.  Had we had the funds, I KNOW I would have easily walked out spending around $100.. because in addition to fabric, they also have yarns and in addition to sewing, I enjoy yarncrafts such as knitting and crocheting.  Alisa -the gal who helped me out- was awesome and even said if I wanted to call back later in the summer when they restocked in Anna's fabric, they would be more than happy to ship some to me!  Of course silly me forgot to ask when approximately they were going to get it back in stock; however based on what I've read online, the company that prints her fabric will be pushing more out later this month, so I'll probably end up calling or writing an email next month inquiring after it.  I was briefly browsing their selection, saw some very hard to fine Heather Ross fabric and regretted not purchasing any while I was there, so last week I called and I now have 1 and 2/3 yards of one of the prints from her Rabbits and Race Cars line on it's way to me.  I bought the rest of the print they had, so it's gone.. muwahahha.  And in addition to yarns, fabric and other types of craft stuff, they also have a little cafe/bakery inside of the store.. which smelled absolutely scrumptious.. but we didn't buy anything from the bakery.  Maybe someday if we're ever in the area again, I'll be able to stop in and sample some of their wares.

I bet you're wondering what my collection of the fabrics look like so far.. so here it is.
I should have labeled the picture with letters or numbers to indicate which of the fabrics I got from where, but alas I didn't.  But so far I have 16 of the prints, and I'm on a quest to get the last 12 that I need.  Of course I'll update when I get more!

Oh and if you're wondering what I'm going to do with them.. here's a hint... That's the floor of the Steak and Shake in Dayton, Ohio that we ate dinner at when we stopped in Dayton for the night on the way to my sister's house in Indiana.

That's all I'm sayin.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sentimental Post

We've been back from our trip to Virginia for a week now, so I figured it would be a good time as any to start blogging about the trip.  I'm going to do this in chunks, and I wanted to start by blogging about my first sewing machine.

My dad still had it, and I decided to just leave her in Virginia with him.  That way he has one as well if he needs it for some reason.  Yes, my dad sews.  So what?  It's just one of many power tools he knows how to use!  Oddly enough, my mother couldn't use a sewing machine to save her life...

Anyways, I had the presence of mind during the packing frenzy to snap a picture of it before we left.  I was going to drag it outside to get a picture in natural light, but it was drizzling outside and I didn't want to get any strange looks.

Like I've said before, my first machine was a Babylock, one of the reasons why I currently own a babylock.. this one has been through the mill and is currently out of commission; however my dad has a friend who used to repair sewing machines for a living, so he's going to have him take a look at it and fix it for him.  It's so cool, it can use a double needle for sewing!  My dad was trying to remember how much he paid for it; however he doesn't remember.. he thinks somewhere between $100 and $200 ($143 to $286 adjusting for inflation in case anyone is nerdy enough to want to know)  He kept asking me but he NEVER told me how much he paid for it.

She's held up pretty well over the years since it was purchased in 1994, and as much as I would have loved to bring it home and fix her up and use it, I decided to leave it behind.  Mostly because we didn't have the room for it.

I'll end up getting it back anyway someday so it's all good.