Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dusting Off a UFO

Lest you think from the title that I’ve been off doing housework with aliens, I will clarify right up front that a UFO, to those of us in the needle arts, means “unfinished object” or project.   And I must admit that after I dug this old project up, it did seem rather alien to me.

At Crazy Quilting International, we do an annual charity project, and this year’s project is once again for the purpose of raising money for breast cancer research.   I originally started this CQ wall hanging in 2001, a year or so after I began crazy quilting.   On another list (Quiltropolis, I believe), I had hostessed a tea-themed swap.  Although I loathe tea in any form, I love teapots, teacups, tea cozies and the whole ritual of “taking tea” .  I can’t help it if my mother felt the best way to get rid of nausea when I was little was to make me drink tea.   It worked in reverse, and now the smell makes me gag.   

Back to the story - I pieced this wallhanging with snippets (machine embroidered teapots and fabrics) received in the swap, except for those that I used in this tea cozy.  

Top Left

I usually try to stay away from the color blue, but too many of the fabrics had a predominance of blue, so I thought a pink and blue (with variations in intensity) would work.  And then somewhere in there I started adding gold.  Sigh.  I wanted to use that velvet-embossed teacup.  

 Top Right

So, after piecing, I added tatting and lace and began stitching basic seams.  I even added a doily over which I planned a silk ribbon floral arrangement.

Lower Left

And in the big gold patch in the lower right, I planned to embroider a quote about tea.  It was a four line verse and I ran out of steam on the first line and just frogged it (today, LOL).   Now I don’t think I want a verse there anyway...  And that doily has got to go, or at least be moved...

Lower Right

I took these pictures so I could see on the computer what it looked like overall at this stage.  I know, I could’ve just used a reducing glass or design board.  But by doing it on the computer and posting it to my blog, I am committing myself to work on it.   (OK, no jokes about me needing to “commit" myself, LOL).

So, this is the overall “before” shot, and when I finish, I’ll do an “after” shot. 

My feelings at this point are that I can work over the two navy floral patches.  With silk ribbon, I can probably bring the flowers forward and cover or let the background recede.  Perhaps I can do that as well with the loud pink and blue patches, but I think they’ll need to be covered with lace or tulle to tone them down.    

And Lazy Me wants to keep the gold teacup patch, but Artistic Me thinks it’s gotta go (and speaking of needing to be committed...) .  I want flowers coming out of that teacup on the pink patch near center right.   And I do plan to add more layers to the stitched seams (at least some of them) - layers that will include threads, ribbon, beads, etc.  Maybe even sequins. Maybe.  

And then I ran across this picture I took at Anthropologie last summer and began thinking of getting rid of the Victorian silkie on the block and perhaps give it more of a country spin.  Less of a formal "tea-with-proper-posture-and-pinkie-finger-raised" feel and more of an "informal-tea-in-faded-overstuffed-floral-chair-in-Costwold" feel.  

So, is any of this making sense?  I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on it!  Not on my mental state, LOL, but on my “vision” for the Tea Time piece.  

Cathy maroon


  1. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I love this!!! Oh I'm so excited to see you work on this more!!! I've always wanted to do a tea themed project too but I haven't gotten to it yet, but recently I found some tea cup fabric that I could cut out the cups and applique them so I got enough to have one of each cup and there are a lot!
    I'm not into a lot of blue either but I'm surprised when I find I like some things that have blue as a background like your idea to stitch over it and let it be in the background. I also think you could balance the brighter colors with motifs, beads, buttons and things, but the dark gold embossed tea cup patch does look a little too odd, I might be with you on getting rid of that one, it feels heavy. But the victorian lady I think looks great on the block with the tatting around it I think you could prob just embellish around her more to casual her up and have her still fit in though.
    Love love love! It's going to turn out wonderful!!!

  2. This is very pretty and should definitely be finished. I really agree that the "gold" teacup should go. Also like your idea of covering some of the pieces with lace. I'm looking forward to seeing this as you go along. It's a winner!

  3. That's what's so great about cq, you can change your mind at any time and it turns out beautiful. I really love the victorian lady, then seeing the whole square I agree that maybe a country theme would fit better with the rest of the square. Either way, I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  4. Well you know better than to ask for input from me as I always have something to say... Are you sure???

    What I REALLY LOVE are the two bird tea towels in the bottom pictures... WOW they are the greatest... Hugs Gerry...

  5. I'm giving my non-expert opinion - I don't think either gold patch fits (but if it was me I would keep it there and make it fit). I also don't think the Victorian lady fits because the rest of the block makes me think of taking tea in a shabby chic cottage while looking out at the cottage garden.

    I do love the block. I used to love tea until I got addicted to Starbucks.

    Cathy L

  6. Cathy.... wow... this is going to be stunning once you have put your magic touch to it.... on first glance at your close up, the lady with the cup looked okay alongside the two teacups above her, but once you showed the whole piece, she did stand out as being the "only" victorian embellishment (even though the tea cups are victorian they seem to blend in) and didn't quite seem to fit in... however, perhaps it is just because it is surrounded by the blue lace, really drawing attention to her, perhaps removing the lace and embellishing it differently to blend it rather than making it a focal point might work...as for the gold with the tea cup... it also stands out, however, I noticed the darker gold square across from it... so there is gold as you say elsewhere in the project... perhaps you could save some time by bringing the colour of that patch to elsewhere in the design to balance it off... otherwise, it should go... these are only my two cents worth from a very very inexperienced cq'er, I just know with your talent it is going to turn out magnificently no matter what you decide.... Hugs!

  7. Oh boy. I hate disagreeing with Maureen but...

    I like the idea of keeping the gold cup in. I love it when you have a piece that doesn't seem to jive with the rest. I think it might be the color POP that the piece needs to give it real interest so the whole thing doesn't just come off as pink and blue. If, when you do your flower sprays, you include that color family as well as your pink/red ranges, I think you can make it work.

    As for taking the lady off, I like that idea only because it takes away a focal point and lets you meander your seams and motifs to create your cozy, overstuffed Cotswold look...

    Just my 2 cents but don't tell Maureen...

  8. Hello Cathy, WOW, I absolutely love your "Tea Cup" project. Your stitching is fantastic. I think I would not change a thing. vbg I have some tea cup fabric too and hopefully one day I will create something with it. Hugs Judy

  9. I think it sounds wonderful..but I love all of your work, and because I don't CQ, I can't give an "official" opinion..just my 2 cents..I like it but I LOVE the idea of a more English Cottage/country/non-fussy approach as well..Love the photo from Anthropology as well!

  10. Of course I have already personally sent you an illustrated (with the help of photoshop) opinion.. but will add it here as well...
    I think it matters not whether the gold cup or the Victorian lady stay or go...each could be included easily... What I feel strongly about (do I ever feel less than strongly?) is ....First: NO NO NO do not remove or stitch over the navy blue prints.... They are wonderful... and are your eye movers... Find something similar in that dark navy with pink and add MORE...see bottom photo I sent... Those patches pick up the dark blues in ALL the places I put green checks...

    Second:Do get rid of hot pink patch and royal blue patch...they only distract... Those two patches similar in size (next to where doily is) need to be broken up and that long line removed... see bottom photo.. Do I make sense????

    Really this quilt needs very little to be spectacular... Do not be discouraged with it... Those things I suggested could be done in an afternoon.... Just hop on over and we'll do it together and drink COFFEE!!!!! Hugs Gerry

  11. As a newbie CQ'er, just getting started I have no advice to give. I do like your casual tea at Cotswold to blend with the rest of it. I really really love that victorian silkie (so much that I'm wondering where to find one like it or similar), if you remove it you have it for another project though.
    I'll be eager to see how you work this out and watching for pointers and tips/tricks :)


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