Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Miniature Baltimore Album Quilt: Block One

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it is my intention to attempt to make a miniature Baltimore Album quilt. I thought it would make a nice backdrop for photographing my 18” dolls. I had planned to learn how to use needleturn appliqué to stitch the motifs so I practiced on an oak leaf design with lots of tiny concave curves. I’m not even going to show you what an unmitigated disaster that was! I was just not able to turn those curves accurately. After a couple of fruitlessly frustrating hours, I tried tracing my pattern onto a used dryer sheet (in the spirit of recycling!), placing it on the right side of the appliqué fabric, taking tiny handstitches all around the marked lines, cutting a scant ¼” around the stitching and carefully clipping curves, then making a slit in the dryer sheet to pull the appliqué fabric through to the right side. I used my trusty hemostat to push out the edges. And pushed right through the tiny curves! ARGHH! Reluctantly, I decided to just use a lightweight fusible web and add decorative embroidery stitches. I’m actually kind of pleased with the resulting dimensionality. I have eleven more motifs to appliqué – plus border designs so I’m sure this little project is going to take a month of Sundays but, at least, I’ve made a start. I'm using old cotton fabric from my stash as much as possible for this project.

The patterns I’m using for my 4”square blocks are from the wonderful Better Homes and Gardens book, 501 Quilt Blocks, A Treasury of Patterns for Patchwork & Applique.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge: "Spilling Over"

When the theme for this month’s Sketchbook Challenge, “Spilling Over,” was first announced, I was really stumped as to how I would illustrate it. Couldn’t think of a visual to save my life, but I did wax poetic:

Spilling over, overflowing;
Don’t have a clue where I am going.
Ideas for this theme elude,
My sketchbook sighs in solitude,
And wonders when
My Pitt Art pen
Will once again
Its ink exude.

Then, the other day, we had temperatures in the glorious mid-70s and I was walking around the house and noticed how the ivy spills over itself as it climbs the foundation. I decided to sit outside for a while and sketch it. Forgive my messy smudges – occupational hazard of being left-handed…