Monday, April 27, 2009

Design Choices for Hearts RR

I belong to a Hearts round robin in Crazy Quilting International, a Yahoo group. This block belongs to Carol, and it was sent to me to "do my thing" on it. I'm the 3rd out of 4 people to work on it, then it goes back to the owner. This seemed like a good project in which to blog about the process I go through as I figure out what to add to a round robin block when it comes to me. We have a lot of newbies in CQI, and maybe seeing how someone deals with design decisions will help erase some of their fears!
To be frank, at first I panicked (I usually do, LOL, until the ideas start flowing). This is the block when it came to me, and as you can see, there's a lot of different things going on. The pastels are on the right and the saturated colors on the left. Although it's a Hearts theme, there are fabric prints with butterflies and roses as well. And the lovely green trim (wish I could get some for me, LOL!!) rather made the butterfly look like it was on a stick, and led the eye off the block. Now, things like these are common when a block is in progress - that is to be expected. If you click on the picture, you can see that Gerry H. did a lovely heart/swirl and pearl seam treatment in the right (as well as emphasizing that heart) and added that to-die-for green trim. Karen did the fabulous seam treatments at the top and dyed that lace to match the butterfly. You can click on the picture to see their meticulous work.

But my primary responsibility as the third person in the rotation is to begin to tie the elements together into a cohesive whole. My other design goals were to make the block more "heartsy", make the eye flow around the block, balance color and visual weight, and finally to add some texture. At first I intended to ignore the roses altogether, but then my friend Gerry K convinced me to play them up. Since I love doing ribbon roses, that was a no-brainer! :-) (which is good, because sometimes I'm known to be brainless.......)

One of the first things I did was to add some hand-dyed vintage lace sweeping along the bottom to break up the green trim, and then built an arrangement of ribbon roses over it. I tucked in leaves and a few hearts, too.

But then I needed a focal point, and so I added (again, thanks to my friend Gerry K for this idea) a big heart in the lower left area at the intersection of the hot pink, white and pastel pink rose print. I did some searching online and found a cute bead-woven heart pattern, and made the center of the heart with 19 sparkley crystals. Here is a closeup.

I also did some seam stitching in a variegated silk pearle thread. Then to this corner, to break up the strength of the white and deep fuchsia colors abutting each other, I replaced the tiny white trim with a blue and white to carry some blue into that corner. Next, I dyed a venice lace motif in pink/blue and green and placed it over the seam.

And so I was beginning to feel better. But I knew I was going to have to meander either a stitched vine or a nice trim, lace, or cording around the block to lead the eye. After searching through my stash (I love to do that, don't you? It gets you reacquainted with your goodies, LOL), I found the perfect aqua trim (and in the perfect length). I began laying it down in the lower right, where the doves in the fabric print had a ribbon in their beaks..... To the ribbon, I added button clusters, hearts, and pearls. It went counterclockwise around the block and ended up tucked into the rose arrangement.
Finally, I added some glitter to the rose print fabric (in the darker areas) and made some more ribbon roses and silk ribbon leaves, alternating with mother-of-pears hearts on the vertical seam above the big heart. The ribbon underneath is vintage rayon with picots, covered with a variegated silk ribbon in the middle. That pearl heart in the center of the "butterfly" lace motif is another of those bead-woven hearts. I think all butterflies should have a heart-shaped body, LOL!!

And this is how the block ended up. It is now definitely a pink and blue block, and a definite HEARTS theme. I was able to add 23 hearts to the block (can you find them all?). And there is still room along the top for sweet Debbie Q to do her magic!

And soon the block will be winging its way to the next stitcher. And I await the arrival of the next block. But first, I have an apron commission to finish, a purse in the works, and I'd like to start on something for the AAQ Contest. Maybe if I give up sleeping..........


Sunday, April 19, 2009

This and That

Hello! Just odds and ends today....

First of all, if you haven't seen the latest issue of CQMagOnline, don't miss it! This quarterly publication is in its 8th year, and it just keeps getting better and better. Rissa and her staff of writers and contributors have put together a lot of wonderful ideas this time. I'm going to sit down with a cup of coffee here shortly and read every word (just scanned it as I printed it yesterday).

Also, check out Marie Alton's blog, SREDeluxe. Marie is doing a fundraiser to help her niece Amy raise funds as she prepares to ride in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. The Ride is a 200km bicycle ride from Toronto to Niagra on June 13 & 14.

As her fundraiser, Marie has made some beautiful beaded motifs, which are on a little ring. They can be used as fobs, CQ motifs (just stitch 'em on), or as dangles from your car mirror, your purse, or whatever. Lots of uses. She is asking for a donation of $5 for each one; the shapes include hearts, diamonds, butterflies, and more. I fell in love with them and happily bought two. It's easy to support a great cause like this. Most of us have been touched (either ourselves or someone we love) by cancer. I hope that you will consider joining in this great cause and support Marie. The beaded fobs can be seen at a special blog that's been set up for Amy's Ride.

And since every post needs a picture (says me, today. LOL), I dug one up that I meant to post a month or two ago. It is apropos to abolutely nothing, except DH & I. We just celebrated our 7th anniversary of meeting (in April 2002 in a bookstore), and in July will celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary.
However, while we were dating, and I was trying to sell the big house that my ex and I lived in, Bruce lived in a tiny rented house about a 40-minute drive from me. We alternated spending weekends at my place and at his (during the week we worked and Had No Time). This little house had a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. In the basement (accessed only from the backyard), Bruce had his workshop. This was such a fun, cozy little nest. And our name for it? What else? ..... THE LOVE SHACK..........


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter to You!
May you enjoy the Blessings of the Season!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Mother's Easter Bunny

I don't decorate much for Easter, but one item that always comes out for a seasonal visit is the stuffed Easter Bunny that my mom had as a child. It's always nice to get her out, give her an airing and press her clothes. And I need to do a bit of mending on the dress before she goes back into "hibernation", LOL. This stiffly-stuffed bunny dates from the 1930's, I believe.
She's a lovely ol' thing, isn't she?? Poor bunny, doesn't even have a name. If my mom ever named it, she never shared it with me! And I never named it either....... hmmmm..... what's up with that? I name EVERYTHING (even my cars!) But I digress.....
Her clothes are layers of sheer organdy-like fabric. First is the flowered overdress. Then below that is a plain colored underskirt.

And below that, our Miss Bunny (must call her SOMETHING!) has lacy pantaloons. Ooh-la-la! Can't you imagine what fun this would be for a little girl to have and play with?

Can you tell she's been well loved?

Here is the back of the ensemble. The ribbon is a bit tattered, but it's still the original ribbon.

And her chic little lacy cap and pink eyes ......

Her expression is a bit severe, which was probably just How Bunnies Were back then. I might be mistaken, but I could swear I saw her smile last night after her dress was spruced up and she got her cuddle........


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hearts Round Robin CQ Work

I just finished up my work on Karen South's block for our CQI "Hearts" Round Robin. Her block is lovely - the colors are warm and rich.

It was neat to find that I had a vintage piece of lace, in just the right length, to add over part of the light blue strip. To keep the Hearts theme, I stitched a row of angled hearts with silk floss. They are separated by little gold sequins. The thread colors I used picked up colors from other areas of the block. The painted heart to the left was a little pendant, and I completed a couple short seams in gold thread. The lace heart in the bottom right is dyed with potassium permanganate and stitched with silk ribbon flowers and leaves. Beads are added to the center to add a bit of sparkle. The fabric it sits on is some that I sent to Karen a few months ago - a home dec fabric. Cool, eh??

The center section of the block is a heart that was done for Karen in another round robin. She wanted it to be the focal point, so she added it to this block. It is slightly padded. To the heart I added a gold braid around the perimeter to set it off. A ribbon flower and silk ribbon work at the top left break up the line and add a little interest to the bare portion of the upper heart. I also added a gold Swarovski crystal heart under the dragonfly.

This is the block after two of four people have worked on it. It was a real joy to work on, but I must pass it on to the next person, as my next project awaits.........

Until next time,