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1  Central Park and Yellow Linen Patchwork Pillow - Iron Craft Spring Challenge! in Quilting: Completed Projects by craftydame on: May 15, 2011 12:13:31 AM
i'm not sure if people are familiar with the Iron Craft challenge, but i'm totally loving it.

basically, it's two friends who facilitate weekly challenges, one for every week of the year. every thursday there's a new theme, and the next wednesday, everyone posts pictures to the flickr group to show what they were inspired to make. every couple of months they have a contest, which is what this past week was, but mostly it's just for the fun of it! i've been focusing a lot on quilting and needlework for the past year or so, and even though Iron Craft isn't quilting focused, or even fabric focused, it's awesome for inspiration.


so that's the backstory! and as i said, this past week was the Spring Contest, with the really open theme of spring. this is what i made.




id been planning this project for awhile, so Iron Craft was the perfect motivator. whats more spring-like than bright yellow linen, really?


my sister got the linen piece for me at a stitch and swap, because she knows how much i love coloured linen. i dont know the full fabric content, but its lovely. it had been torn, and therefore the edges were really wavy, and for the life of me i couldnt press them out, so i used Best Press, which is a pretty magical product! (its like starch, but better)


the yellow is the perfect shade to use with the second half of my Kate Spain Central Park charm pack (by Moda). i had some orange linen, but it wasnt really the right shade, so i was really happy when she finally remembered to give it to me.

i made up blocks, sewed them all together, and decided i hated, so i unpicked it all, snd started over. i decided to figure it out inphotoshop before i sewed anything else together!



i took some photos of the blocks, and chose the clearest one of each fabric. then i rotated them around, playing with the layout until i came up with this one. it's interesting how the prints and the geometric design that they create are prominent here, but in the actual pillow, the sashing and the cross/plus signs that it creates is most prominent. i think if id added yellow sashing around the entire piece, it might have changed that because once i stuffed the pillow, the top and bottom blocks kind of disappeared into the curve.

(the prints used are, from left to right, esplanade in sunshine, seneca in metro, trefoil in sunshine, carousel in sunshine, cherry hill in metro, and bridle path in metro)



the backing is orange kona cotton, because i freaking love konas. i put a layer of quilt batting against it, but didn't actually quilt it, i just wanted to ensure that the back was smooth after i filled the pillow with batting.



i did quilt the front though, with a fairly thin cotton batting. i havent washed the pillow yet, but i think its gonna scrunch up nicely!




i wanted the prints to be the focus (though i kinda failed with that, since i didn't takethe curve of the pillow into account), so i only quilted on the linen, around the chain created by the prints.

these arent my usual colours at all, but i really love how it turned out! im really excited about using this basic pattern for larger projects. i havent decided on a design for the Kona Charm Pack challenge that my guild is doing yet, so this might be in the running.


there's a teensy bit more info on my blog here, including my first layout and a bit of a hint... and if you'd like to check out all the awesome entries in the challenge, and vote for your favourite (voting ends 7pm EST on sunday), you can go to the Iron craft post here for more info
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2  sticks and stones in Needlework: Completed Projects by craftydame on: October 18, 2009 11:53:36 PM
i embroidered this because it's something that i want to hang in my house. i want to remind myself, and to remind others in my life, that words can be as incredibly hurtful as other kinds of abuse, and to take care.

i remember as a kid, the phrase "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me". i sincerely hope kids aren't still learning that, but when i was a kid, we didn't talk about bullying and the cruelty of children. when i started school, my dad told me that if a boy bothered me "punch him in the nose" (i don't think i ever did, though as i grew older, i realized a groin shot would be more effective anyway! Wink) but we never learned how to deal with the emotional cruelty, you know?

i was a super sensitive kid, i cried at EVERYTHING, and got teased all the time, and even more so when i started to cry! it got to the point that by my early teens, i'd trained myself to never cry in front of anyone else - even if it was totally acceptable (like a sad movie). i don't really know how things would have been any different if we'd talked more about it in the 80s, but i wonder.

i really wanted to embroider this piece for the domestic violence theme because i think emotional abuse can sometimes be overlooked. i think survivors of emotional abuse are often the first ones to do that. i was in a common law relationship for several years that was really messed up, when i look back on it now. it took me over a year to stop hearing my ex's voice in my head putting me down, even though i realized soon after we split that it wasn't really ME thinking those things. friends have come out and called the relationship abusive, but i still shy from that. i don't think he was intentionally trying to hurt me or to control my actions, i think he had a lot of his own emotional problems, and we were really unsuited. is it still abuse if it isn't intentional? i'm also uncomfortable calling it abuse because it doesn't seem "as bad" as other people's stories of physical or sexual abuse, which i know is totally contradictory to what i'm saying here. but that's how it goes, you know? rationally, i know that emotional abuse can leave long reaching scars, and for some people, may be more damaging than other kinds of abuse. but emotionally it's a different story.

coming out of the relationship i realized that both my physical and mental had been affected by the relationship, and even now, years later, i still struggle with things that go back to that period in my life.

so this is what i embroidered


the words are a simple font, i wanted them to look almost childlike. (i'll edit this with the actual name later, i have to look it up!) they're simple backstitch, and the heart is satin stitch with two different shades of pink.





once again, comments and criticism are totally welcome, and the pics are on flickr, so if you'd like to see them bigger, just click on them.
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3  the deceptive beauty of breast cancer (french knots galore!) in Needlework: Completed Projects by craftydame on: October 18, 2009 09:33:22 PM
my original plan for this piece was an anatomical image of a breast with a lump, much like the pregnancy anatomical image i embroidered a few months ago. breasts are incredibly complex, and i love all the lines that make up the images.

i started googling for images, and ran across an entirely different anatomical image - the breast cancer cells themselves. though i continued searching for the breast images, i kept coming back to the cells. they were so BEAUTIFUL, and i was really challenged by the idea of a more 3-D needlework piece, since i usually work on flat surfaces of fabric.

i started thinking about how as a society we idealize beautiful breasts, regardless of what may be hidden inside them. a pair of slightly droopy mom of 3 breasts are seen as less beautiful and less valued than a pair of young perky 20 year old breasts, regardless of actual health. you usually can't tell from the surface if someone has breast cancer, which is why self exams are so important.

and this is what i came up with.



this ended up being smaller than i'd originally planned, because gathering up the bobbles took WAY more fabric than i'd anticipated! i bought half a metre of fabric, about 19", and the piece ended up being 5.5" tall and 10" or 11" wide. i used a stretch velvet because i wanted that slight sheen, the variance in tone dependent on light, that velvet has. i used sewing thread to hand stitch circles on the fabric, then pulled them up tight and stuffed them with fiberfill. i didn't have any fiberfill, but i did have a pillow form - this piece took almost all of a 12"x12" pillowform's stuffing! it took a really really long time, so much longer than i'd anticipated!

after i had all the cells complete, i hand basted the velvet onto a piece of cotton, basting between the cells to keep the surface consistent (the cells had a tendency to pop out everywhere!).

i used dmc tapestry wool, colour 7896, for the french knots. i printed out the image and took it with me when i went shopping, and this was the closest i could get between dmc and anchor. i looked at embroidery floss, and at the possibility of using beads instead of the french knots. the embroidery floss was too shiny, and would have made knots that were smaller in proportion to the cells than i wanted, and the same thing went for the beads.

because i was using wool, but working with a fabric that i would need to pierce, i used chenille needles that were thick enough to thread the wool onto, but sharp enough to pierce the fabric (unlike typical needlepoint needles).

i find french knots easy (don't throw stuff at me! i'm sorry!! Grin), so that part of it was fine, but getting the wool through the "cells" was a whole different story! after an evening that left me with severely bruised and callused fingers, i dug out my locking pliers and used them to get the needle through. in some areas it was going through countless layers of fabric and fiberfill, the gathering of the bubbles/cells created a lot of excess fabric around the bases of them!



with the flash, the colour is a little less accurate. it looks more blue here than green.






and the back, with the title stem stitched across.

i had bought all the skiens of tapestry wool that my local needlework shop had, and used the majority of them for the front. i decided to use a lighter shade for the words, so that i could do as many french knots on the front as possible!


i also did a little flower design, to tie the two purple shades together and to add detail to the upper and lower portions. i used french knots there as well, and back stitch for the curlicues.

i'd like to do more french knots on the sides, the areas that aren't visible from the front, once my local needlework shop gets in more wool of this colour.

after both sides were done, i machine stitched the two long sides of the pillow. i had to use my sister's industrial machine, mine refused to stitch it! i stuffed the pillow, and ended up hand stitching the short ends because it was impossible to get the sewing machine foot close enough to the bubbles/cells.


and this is the image that inspired it all -

Credit: Annie Cavanagh. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
images.wellcome.ac.uk
A cluster of breast cancer cells showing visual evidence of programmed cell death (apoptosis).
Scanning electron micrograph


i hope you like it. comments and criticism are TOTALLY welcome! and if you'd like to see the needlework in more detail, click on the pics and they'll lead you to flickr.
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4  3 New Political Opinion Embroidery Pieces! (healthcare, zines and ignorance) in Needlework: Completed Projects by craftydame on: October 16, 2009 09:24:14 PM
PLEASE NOTE: though i believe that crafting is inherently political, and that needlework is one of the best crafty ways to get your message across, i TOTALLY respect craftster's wishes to keep the discussions on topic, i can't imagine the riot that all of our varying politics would create! Please refer to kittykill's post about off-topic comments, and feel free to come bitch, complain, discuss or agree on my blog instead! (specific posts about healthcare, zines, and the word pimp are here, here and here)




The Healthcare Debate is Simple Really.....



i'm obviously being slightly facetious with this piece, since people die in every country. but at the same time, i'm really not. i did a whole bunch of babbling about my personal experience of losing a friend to a treatable illness due to her low income status, and my position as a Canadian about healthcare, it's all on my blog.



the stitching is rather simple, back stitch for the country outlines, and tiny tiny stem stitch for the words.


Zinesters Do It For Love!



this piece was inspired by a few things.

the first, and the main, inspiration for this is something that i've been seeing for quite a while, and something that's been bugging me for quite a while, and i've blogged a whole bunch about it here - zines aren't supposed to make money.

and the second inspiration, which is much more mellow, was those awesome 70s ringer tees with the glittery slick iron ons with phrases like "teachers do it with class", "football players do it in the end zone", "seniors do it better", etc. i found one for a friend years ago that said "musicians do it with rhythm", and i've loved them ever since.



i tried something a little different for this - i wanted to cross stitch the words, but i didn't have waste canvas small enough. i also wanted it to be a little less perfect than cross stitch usually is. so i used a cross stitch font! the font is called Home Sweet Home, and it's from 1001fonts.com. i typed it out in a word document, 42 point size, and then trimmed a piece of tear away stabilizer to 8.5"x11" and printed it right onto the stabilizer.

it was so freaking easy, i don't know why this never occurred to me before! i use tear away stabilizer for a lot of my stitching, because my stitches are so bloody tight that they tend to pull on the fabric if i'm not careful. the stabilizer helps with that,plus, it's way easier to transfer patterns onto than dark fabrics!

after i'd printed the words out, i used a pencil and traced an image of a typewriter on the stabilizer.




that's actually one of the typewriters in my collection, and i had fooled around with the photo in photoshop awhile ago, making it outlines only, so it was easy to trace. it's mostly all backstitch with 2 strands, except for the keys, which are single strand, and the typebars, which are chain stitch with 2 strands.




Saying Pimp Doesn't Make You Sound Cool, It Makes You Sound Ignorant

though this last piece is the one that started my recent spate of political pieces, and is one that i've been planning since at least january, and am very proud of, it's also the most frustrating piece, and the hardest to write about.

this piece is in direct response to the crafty/diy community, and the language we use. i wrote about the inappropriateness of this word on my blog, and also about my concerns publicly posting a piece that criticizes the community, so i really really hope you'll take a few minutes to read my post, and maybe rethink the slang terms that have crept into our language.



completely off the political topic, and onto the embroidery itself....

this piece uses stem stitch, back stitch, french knots, and chain stitch.

 
as i was doing the french knots, i was asking myself whatever possessed me to chose them... and thanking myself for choosing to use them on the shortest word!


i wrote out the phrase in a word file, choosing different fonts for each part.


the orange stem stitched words are "tall paul", pimp is "curlz mt", cool is "arnprior", and ignorant is "goudy stout".



as usual, if you click on the pics, it will take you to flickr, where you can see the stitching in better detail.

comments and criticisms are totally welcome, just remember to stay on topic, and head on over to my blog for the off-topicness!
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5  embroidered love, cupcakes and craftiness! in Needlework: Completed Projects by craftydame on: October 11, 2009 12:32:38 PM


this first piece is a tea towel i stitched for jMi back in february.
 
i fell in love with the january freebie from bad bird/andrea zuill, and i really really wanted to stitch it. jMi really loves the colour combo of oranges and pinks, which was perfect for this design, there are lots of little bits to stitch in different shades!


the large heart is chain stitch (dmc 600 and 608), stem stitch (dmc 718), backstitch (dmc 741), french knots (dmc 740 and unknown) and detached chain stitch/lazy daisy stitch/tied loop stitch/picot stitch/petal stitch (dmc 608).


the small hearts are blind stitch/forbidden stitch/pekinese stitch/chinese stitch (unknown colour), lettering is stem stitch (dmc 740)


jMi's pics are better than mine...





this is yet another tea towel, done for the valentine's day tea towel swap. my partner loved cupcakes and cute stuff, but not so much the precious memories type of cute so much as kawaii cute, which i definitely agree with!

i had a lot of fun trying new stitches for two of the cupcakes, i wanted them each to have a different stitch for the frosting and the heart, to add to the loveable quirkiness of the design!


the cupcakes are based on a stamp made by Studio G and the writing is a font downloaded from dafont.com called DJ Candy Hearts.


the base is backstitch (j&p 4300), the frosting is scroll stitch (anchor 89), and the heart is overcast stitch and french knots (dmc 815).


the base is backstitch (dmc 915), the frosting is pekinese stitch/chinese stitch/blind stitch/forbidden stitch (dmc 553), and the heart is fishbone stitch (dmc 498).


the base is backstitch (anchor 112), the frosting is stem stitch (dmc 3607), and the heart is chain stitch (dmc 815).



the hearts are back stitch, and the writing is stem stitch and french knots.


and this piece was just for fun, i did it this summer. i haven't quite decided what to do with it yet. i originally thought i'd frame it, but then i discovered that it didn't fit in the frames i painted, so now i'm contemplating a pillow instead. we'll see.

i stitched it on this fabulous white cotton moire that i found at a thrift store. you can't see it very well in the photo, but it is pretty awesome. the problem with it was that it's so thin, even with stabilizer, my stitches really pulled and now it's all wrinkly, unfortunately. i need to learn to relax my stitching a bit.

the design came from Urban Threads. i fell in love with the machine embroidery design right off the bat, but the file is too big to fit in my 4"x4" hoop. so sad! during their big sale a few months ago i decided to buy the hand embroidery version at least.



the banner and words are backstitch, as are the outlines of the birds. i used chain stitch for the detail of the birds, and french knots for their eyes. the spool of thread is chain stitch, the thread itself is stem stitch, and the needles are satin stitch.


the upper bird is dmc 825 and j&p coats 7162 and the needles are dmc 318.


the thread is dmc 600 and the spool is an unknown purple. the banner is another unknown colour, and the text is dmc 946.


the lower bird is dmc 995 and dmc 312.


(excuse the stain on the left side - my iron did that! i forgot that it has started staining whenever you use the steam. anyone know how to fix it? i know it's because i haven't been using distilled water, is there a way to clean it out?)



again, the pictures are on flickr, so if you click them, you can go through and see them bigger if you'd like.

originally posted on my blog here, here and here, but i'm trying to get caught up on craftster!
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6  the anatomy of motherhood in Needlework: Completed Projects by craftydame on: October 11, 2009 12:38:57 AM
i did this piece back in may, for a swap, and realized the other day that i never got around to posting it here!

the theme of the swap was anatomy, and since the person i sent to was a mother (and it was right around mother's day!), i decided to do a piece that showed the anatomy of a pregnant woman. i google image searched and found an image that was detailed enough to make it worthwhile. i traced the image onto some light pink kona cotton using a washaway marker, and picked out 4 different shades of pink/burgundy to embroider with.

this was the final result -



i LOVE how it turned out!

after i finished the embroidery, i cut it to size and cut a piece of quilt batting that matched. i used sewtakeahike's awesome rose tutorial to create fabric roses in the corners, using strips of jersey knit. i played around with them a bit first, and was very thankful that i did - my first attempts were not pretty at all! my biggest problem is that i'm a perfectionist, so i was all concentrating on perfect folds and stuff, and i kept ending up with square roses. eventually i started going with the flow a bit more, and they turned out really cute. i played around a bit with the measurements she gives. the big roses are 3/4", but i think the strip was shorter, and the small roses were 1/2" strips, and again shorter.

some more pics -
http://
after rinsing, before pressing, obviously!




closeups of the roses






i backed the embroidery and batting with a bright pink kona, and wrote the title and date on the back. (i signed it too, but i've blurred that out...) i added a hanging sleeve at the top before i sewed the binding on, and then handstitched it and the binding down.




i hope you like it! the recipient totally did, and so did i! (the pictures are on flickr, so if you click them, you can go through and see them bigger if you'd like)

originally posted on my blog, but i'm trying to get caught up Roll Eyes
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7  Re: Pendant Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by craftydame on: May 20, 2009 09:51:30 AM
i received my last pendant yesterday!

the original was unfortunately lost in the mail (some postie's probably wearing it! Roll Eyes), and digital misfit sent me another.



it's more of a pin than a pendant, though it would look super cute pinned onto a ribbon choker! isn't it gorgeous? my mom's trying to steal it!

thanks so much digital misfit, i love it!
 
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8  Re: Pendant Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by craftydame on: April 28, 2009 02:30:28 AM
i received my awesome charm pendant from sevsonlygirl today!

it adamantly refused to be photographed, so just imagine it as way cooler than the photo shows, kay? Grin


there's a sparkly heart, a star, a purse, a high heeled shoe, and a little charm that says unite. it's perfect!

thank you so much dawn!
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9  Re: Little chunky houses 3 GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by craftydame on: April 27, 2009 12:30:46 AM
ooh, the cutout windows are fab! i love little niches like that!

speaking of things that i love, i received from parisgirl!!

we were getting worried that it was lost, but it showed up on friday. apparently it took the scenic route!

the front


the back


i love it! the glitter, the swirls, the black and white diamonds, the flower in the middle, the polka dots, the columns, the red beads on top of the ingenious thumbtacks... it's all fabulous!

and she sent me this little goody too!


thank you so much parisgirl!
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10  Re: Pendant Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by craftydame on: April 27, 2009 12:22:34 AM
yayy! i'm so glad everyone is liking their pendants!

i know the deer were a little random (as well as extremely hard to photograph!), but i made myself a pendant after doing a similar thing on an assemblage piece, i totally fell in love with the look. so i scrapped my original idea for the second pendant, and made more of the deer instead!

here are all the deer -

i was going to do some coloured ones, but after what felt like 6 million coats of paint, they weren't done, so i said screw it, and painted them black, so i ended up with more black ones than i'd planned on. Roll Eyes



i received from cejaypi on friday, and they're lovely!

i love the aqua swirl one, it's gorgeous! thank you so much!
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