26 June 2014

An Amazing Birthday Gift

Friendships can take many forms. Some people may think that true friendship cannot exist beyond people that you actually see regularly. I can dispel that belief since I have made two, true, online friendships with Jeannie and Karen.

I "met" Karen when we began trading ATC's some years ago. From there our friendship has developed. Now we are in an intimate mixed media trading group of three. Karen, Linda Wyatt and myself. Our wee group has no boundaries when it comes to mixed media. It's been a wonderful journey together so far.

Today I was the lucky recipient of a wonderful, extraordinary birthday gift from my friend Karen Musgrave. Karen is an author, quilt historian, mixed media artist, quilter and, now, ceramic artist. I have been the lucky giftee of a couple of Karen's ceramics over the past year, but nothing can beat this amazing angel's wing. As a person who believes in angels this was an especially wonderful gift. I love quote that she included as well.
   The wing is a beautiful shape and the indigo coloring and intricate scribing makes this a special piece.
 How lovely!
Isn't this a wonderful card ?!

This is what Karen wrote about the beautiful tea set that she included in my amazing package. 
 It will my herbal tea preference an extra special drink!
What is special about this particular gift though is the information that Karen wrote as seen above.
What a wonderful thing to do Karen! Bravo!

18 June 2014

"Sew Together Bag" From SewDemented

I am a bag fanatic! I love making bags and I love using them.   I was intrigued when I saw this  "Sew Together" bag pattern for sale at one of my favorite online fabric shops, Pink Castle.  Compartments- oh how I love compartments in my bags! There is a section for sewing things, a section for knitting knick-knacks and one for whatever, plus you can put some larger things (I keep a needle case and a spool of thread in the "in-between" section. The background story behind the name of this extremely talented sewist's blog is quite interesting, but I could not find the link in her new blog - so now you have both links if you're interested.

This is not what I call an "easy-go" pattern. I think that the pattern is for an intermediate-advanced, sewist.  It took reading and more reading, and going slowly, for me to get through it, but it was worth it!  I used scrap pieces in making this first of what will now, most definitely, be a series of these little gems. I love this bag! It was well worth the time it too to make it. Of course, the funny thing is that as I was gathering links and information for this post I notice that there is even  Craftsy class  (for only $12.00!) on making this bag! Now, I don't feel as bad! I totally admire SewDemented for coming up with this amazing design. Personally, I felt that the pattern needs some more photos, but also, as a visual learner, I like as many photos as I can get!

When I first began knitting, knowing that I did not know what I was doing, I followed the instructions absolutely, even when things made no sense to me. I took that attitude in making this bag, and it paid off. 
This pattern comes as a folded pattern. I always like to put patterns in sheet protectors so that I can lay them out.

I used my all time favorite stabilizing batting, Inn-Control, from Innovative Craft Designs, for the outside portion of the bag. It's similar to using Soft'n'Stable.  I love the 'cushy' surface and the quilting stability that it offers. It makes the most of any bag pattern! Innovative Crafts also offer a fusbile Inn-Control Plus batting that I also like a lot. 

The outside of the bag, the red gusset section and one of the interior pockets.
How the interior pockets line up with the exterior, and the gussets that hold it all togeher.

The completed, scrappy looking bag. You can see where a larger item, like my needlecase, could fit into the "in-between" space .
The completed bag with the interior of the pockets showing
All neat and tidy!

15 June 2014

Prayer Flags an Friends

Our first four prayer flags exchange.
Next round will be later this year.
A couple of days ago I got the gentle nudge from my friend Janet. Her email was short, and red something like - "no post since June 2nd!"  Really?! Could the time really go that fast I wondered?  On June 1st something went wrong with my back. I couldn't stand up! I was in very bad pain. Of course I considered going to the doctor often over the next few days because I was concerned that something had slipped from one of fusion surgeries, but I also wanted to give it time in case it was nothing more than a bad strain. Now, two weeks later I can stand and walk, but I am still having days when I have to think about how to get out of the bed. So I may end up getting checked out, but will give it more time. All of this simply means that I was not really up to doing too much - other than sitting and stitching.

SO - on to the good stuff.  First my apologies for the poor image quality. I was having some issues (as mentioned above) when I took these photos and, quite obviously, my performance was poor! The tops are all over exposed. Arghhh !!!

Our first prayer flag exchange! Early in the year three friends and I met for lunch with the aim of exchanging prayer flags. We considered shape, size, intentions and words. We compiled a list of words which included a list from Buddhist and Celtic beliefs as well as our personal 'words with meaning'. We chose what felt right. We will be working on round two later this year. For now, everyone is headed out on vacations or into their gardens, readying for our County Fair, or like me, enjoying the warmer weather.
Janet Wright chose to use the words "Ordinary Joy".  These two words hold powerful meaning for me. She used a field of deep blue and micro hand stitched all of those tiny silver seed stitches! I love the way she wrapped the threads that surround the heart !
Phew - now that's a lot of hand stitching!
Liz Pillow chose "Strength".
She is a fabulous painter of cloth and used her talent to create a wonderful symbol and then added a powerful quote
Linda Cooper chose the word "Compassion".
I love the power and the meaning of her choice of red fabric
 and the lotus symbols tie everything together. 
I chose "joy". Life is a cup full of joy.
 It's a word for living to me.
 It's what life is all about.
That being said, I like my flag the least.
 It looks a wee bit frenetic to me.
This is the prototype so I used bits of printed cloth -
the others were, at least, seam free.
I am committed to making my next round much better.

02 June 2014

More Sentiment Woolie Blocks

I'm just making these small 6" blocks when the thought moves me. I have a limited amount of the background flannel. I can make another 6 blocks or so I think.  I am, I fear, becoming more and more addicted to hand work, or perhaps it is returning to hand work since I did a lot of hand applique for quite some time in years past. Below is a 16" block that I donated. I should have done the quilting by hand and I regret it, but I till have more of these intricate applique blocks left. I taught myself to applique by making a Dear Jane quilt. It is so much fun, it is also very satisfying. I love doing hand work, although now that I knit, it's always a bit of a tug-of-war in the evenings as to which I will do!

That was/is then - the 'woolies' are now!
 Above - a close up of my little flowers . I am using Aurifil lana wool thread. Luscious
 Of course I had to do a stitching block!
Close up below. I used Krenik silver braid wrapped with  
a strand of black wool thread 12 weight for the needle.