Thursday, 22 February 2007


The two quilts are the biggest open projects . Steven's quilt is fun: Each block is different, and each block we have designed together so that the quilt will reflect his taste (over a period of time), as well as mine. The quilt will be 6 x 4 30 cm. blocks, except that the central 4 blocks are one big chess board. (In flannel so the flannel pieces will stay put.) The left hand column will spell STEVEN. The other blocks are a big medley of things. There is a Harry Potter block quilted in 'glow in the dark' thread that makes the moon really shine. An appliqued tiger with machine-embroidered jungle around it. A fish tank where the biggest fish has eaten a cat. A Paper-pieced puffin. A crazy square that uses all sorts of bits that Steven liked but somehow didn't inspire full blocks... The S is a lovely snake. We started with a copyart picture, Jerry changed the image to come closer to a real S shape, then I appliqued and embroidered it. One of the Es is a Pakman out of a bubble material that Steven liked. It's really high time I finished the quilt. Luckily I'm quilting each block as I go along, and also sewing some of the blocks together. When the final block is made I'll be able to bind it and be done.

The 3D quilt is mostly to have a quilt, and for the fun of sewing with others once a month. I do like the pattern, though, and have made one big change to the quilt as planned for the class - It has sashing that matches the block background. Except mine won't. Karen and I found a marvelous match in Essex Junction that will enhance the quilt, and my blocks will 'pop' visually as they wouldn't otherwise.

Then there are several samplers going. Right now I'm actively working on a sampler of 30 cm wide linen band trying out some of the bands in Linn's reprint books. These will be alternated with various alphabets. The first one is Latin alphabet in back stitch. I intend alternating the latin alphabet with others that are meaningful to me. That means Hebrew and Greek, of course. Also Russian. I ought to also try to do the Hindi alphabet I (supposedly) learned as a child. After that I could use a cursive Hebrew alphabet and braille, if I am still working on the sampler. The piece of band is 1 meter long, so the final length is more up to how long I feel like working on it. I'm sticking to red and black on this one.

IThe Hebrew sampler is near the top of the heap.

I am also working on a kit of the rose window of the National Cathedral in Washington DC. Dad gave it to me for my birthday, and it is proving to be quite a challenge. First I tried replacing the 16 count Aida with 32 count linen. Forget it. I can't see that well, and there is just too much thread counting becuase the bits of colour are so scattered. I think what I'm using now is 25 count. Much better. I bought new black for the background rather than risk running out and having the new not match, but decided to use the coloured threads. A risk, I know, but it's going to be fine. This kit had plenty of thread in it, even for a significantly larger embroidery. I do wish, however, that the pattern had overlap between the pages. I finally had to glue the sheets together, and the size is very difficult to deal with.

There is also most of a crocheted sweater lying around for me to work on. One of these ribbony yarns.

I'm also supposed to be working on Christmas stockings for Melissa and Cailan.

Is that ALL my WIPs? No, but it's the ones that I think have a chance of being worked on in the next few months. I'll try to report in once a month.

Week 8 Project 6 Steven's quilt

Actually not Steven's quilt yet, just another block for it. Nor does it really count yet, as I have to dig out the box of materials and quilt the block before it counts. The digging is what will take time.

I'm working on a 3D quilt with classes at my local quilt shop, and decided it was time to try and use the patterns I was learning in a different size. Steven and I went through my stash and decided to base this square on the chilli pepper cloth. The grey and orange were chosen to coordinate with that, and we decided to use the same background material as for the quilt.

I will quilt only a few lines in the flat bits. That means in the four corners, in the background triangles of the point squares, and the grey corners of the central square.

BTW the blocks for Steven's quilt are 30 cm (about 12 inches.)

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Thoughts on Quentel and Art Nouveau

I gave myself a treat last night, and looked through another of the books I got from Linn Skinner: This time her reprint of Hiersemann's reprint (1882) of Quentel (1527 - 1529).

Of course I am already working on another bookmark. (I'd better find a source of band I like here fast! I only picked up 4 of these when I was in the US. Mostly because the store I found them at had a lousy selection.)

The pattern I picked out was only one of several that I would not have hesitated at dating to the late 19th century. Very 'Art nouveau.' Of course I was aware that that period was also full of reworkings of historical patterns. How could I not be, living here in Vienna and seeing the Ringstrasse buildings so constantly. And I knew that William Morris had referred back to old traditions in his writings. But it did stop me in my tracks when in the middle of so many traditional blackwork patterns beloved of the sampler crowd there were designs that shouted Art nouveau at me. Even a border of facing birds that is very reminiscent of Morris's 'Strawberry thief'. I had never seen before how the old designs had been brought out and refurbished. Just a reminder that for all the refurbishing we do, good design is good design is good design; What is new is not in the basics, but how we interpret them for our own time and needs.

Speaking of Art nouveau: If you are ever in Bern (Switzerland), try to get a look at the ceiling of the Old Catholic cathedral there. The panels are painted with lovely Art nouveau floral designs. I had to laugh, though. After admiring a group of lilies, I moved on to the next panel. It took me ages to figure out what flower was being depicted: Edelweiss. But instead of being the little retiring squat plants they have to be to survive the Alpine heights, they were as tall and as full of the same foliage as the neighbouring lilies. Very fun!

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Week 7 Project 5 Bookmark

This week I've been playing with a pattern out of one of Linn Skinner's reprints. This is taken from 'Pattern Leaves from Lessing & Lipperheide' p. 20. First a look at how the original would have been worked in two colours, and then the way I have worked it. I redistributed the colours and used four:

I started with DMC 4050. Then two colours chosen to match: 3849 and 3012. The fourth colour is one strand each of 4050 and 3849. This close-up shows that better. I'm also really pleased to have started filling up my little box of gifts again. it had gotten very empty, but soon I hope to have a few choices available the next time I want to take a little something along to a friend.