Category Archives: sewing

Art Quiltlet: 39/52

"Fraying," art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

“Fraying”

This is not at all subtle. I used part of an old pair of jeans with a hole in the knee, a scrap of Japanese cotton, and some running stitch. This one is inspired purely by how I feel.

I don’t like where I live. Not the house itself, which is old. I don’t care about cosmetics, although it should have gotten a deep cleaning before being rented out, and it didn’t. I do care about the ancient plumbing that hasn’t had to deal with more than two elderly people in decades. It’s one thing after another. I don’t like where I live geographically either. It’s been well over a year so I don’t think that’s going to change. It is what it is.

I’m tired all the time. That’s the schedule; it is what it is, too. I’m looking at October with a whole lot of hell no. My 12yo needs his wisdom teeth out under general anesthesia because one of them is tangled with a molar, which can’t erupt. He’s never had surgery before. He’s anxious. I’m anxious because I’m missing the pediatrician who actually knew us versus the factory version we’re stuck with down here. It’s a crapshoot whether I get the correct information when I call, and my kids have never seen the same doctor twice, and they don’t know us at all. A week after the surgery, my husband goes away for a week. He keeps texting me dates from work as he schedules more travel. I hate those texts. My daughter would like to have a birthday party with friends. I would like that too, especially since her father will be away for her birthday. But this house is way too small, with dodgy plumbing. She was in tears. It’s just one more thing.

I swear I can feel my molars, especially on the left side, getting shorter as I clench my jaw so hard it practically spasms. I could use a dentist, but very few take our insurance and I haven’t found one yet. Heck, I could use a therapist too I suppose, but who has the energy to try to find one? Every attempt has ended badly, and very few of them take insurance, too. It is what it is. I’d hoped things would be easier here after this long, and I guess in some ways they are. I don’t get lost going to the grocery store. I’m involved in some activities, some local, some father away. My kids are settled in. I have the best next door neighbor ever (until we find a house we can afford to buy that doesn’t have dodgy plumbing, and we move). But in other essential ways it’s still so hard, hard in ways that just exhaust me.

Fraying. Not torn, not irreparable, but definitely fraying.

Sewn: Musette Bags

musette bags at amyhoodarts.com

These have been completed for a while, but I needed someone to help me with pictures and I kept forgetting to ask. I had the idea to make a musette bag while watching the Tour de France, of course, in July. Musette bags are the lightweight bags handed to the riders, containing their food. They’re not intended to hold anything terribly heavy, yet I wanted one anyway, because why not? As I am wont to do, I added a layer of complication by deciding that I needed to draw and carve a lino block bicycle so I could print it on the bags. So that took some time.

bicycle linoprint at amyhoodarts.com

Close-up of the bicycle linoprint. I used my husband’s bike as the model.

These are made out of utility cotton I found at Joann’s. It’s sturdy. The straps are twill tape, and I bought snaps and a snap setter from snapsource.com. I highly recommend them; installation was so much easier and smoother than trying to use the plier-type tool sold at craft stores.

musette bag at amyhoodarts.com

In the above picture I have an 8×10″ sketchbook and a pencil pouch in the bag; it’s sturdy enough for art supplies, which is probably what I’d use it for. It’s designed to cross the body.

musette bag at amyhoodarts.com

(Don’t judge the hair; it’s still so humid here and I was having an I-don’t-care sort of day.)

I love these bags. I have no use for more than one and am happy to sell or make one with a different color print or with a different print altogether. These have French seams, so no raw edges. They’re simple, as I said, with no interior pockets and a snap closure. I think their simplicity makes me love them more. That, plus it’s always satisfying to go, “I need to make X,” and then do it, and have it come out the way you wanted.

Introducing Gallery

I’ve added a Gallery tab up top there, which takes you to photos of finished work, all of which are available (unless it says otherwise). Here’s the latest addition

"Squid," 8"x8" plus hanging loops. Neocolor and hand-dyed cottons, machine and hand stitching.

“Squid,” 8″x8″ plus hanging loops. Neocolor and hand-dyed cottons, machine and hand stitching.

I had the urge to stitch a squid–things like that happen–so I did. This is a layered reverse appliqué (stitch & slash style, except I used scissors), with the blue layer free-motioned stitched first. The blue is created with Neocolor water-soluble pastels, and the red and purple are hand-dyed. The squid’s patterning is also free-motion stitching, with hand stitching to create the eye.

I’ll continue to add pieces to the Gallery page as I finish them.

Art Quiltlet: 37/52

oh hell no art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

Simple and to the point. This has been my reaction to so much lately: my alarm going off at 5:30 every weekday; the new assistant principal using insulting sarcasm with my kid; every single thing that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth (or that of one of his supporters); anybody who says Colin Kaepernick is protesting in the wrong way, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, or for the wrong thing; white authors who cry that calls for diversity are unfair to them; I could go on. From big to small, from local to worldwide, so much is just Oh Hell No.

My middle child, by the way, saw this and said, “You should just put that right on a tee shirt and wear it around.” Maybe I should.

Back-to-School Sewing

Sewing for my daughter is a joy. I have improved my skills so much thanks to the patterns we’ve chosen. Most of her back-to-school clothes were sewn by me, with a few more things (leggings and pants) not started yet because it’s still so warm here. So here we go:

roller-skate-dress-no-1

Roller Skate Dress, pattern by Oliver + S

I actually bought this pattern last summer and never got to it. It’s awfully cute. The fabric was bought locally on sale.

Roller Skate Dress, pattern by Oliver + S

Roller Skate Dress, pattern by Oliver + S

It’s such a cute pattern, she wanted two. She picked this fabric out online.

Seashore Sundress, pattern by Oliver + S

Seashore Sundress, pattern by Oliver + S

Again, since it’s still so warm, a sundress is perfect back-to-school wear. She picked this Lizzy House fabric out online too. This photo only shows the back, but the straps button in the front. I can now do buttonholes like nobody’s business and I wonder why they ever stressed me out so much.

A-line skirt, pattern in From Stitch to Style (book)

A-line skirt, pattern in From Stitch to Style (book)

She saw this fabric (Butterfly Box by Lizzy House) online and asked for a skirt. We settled on the A-line skirt pattern in the Great British Sewing Bee book From Stitch to Style.  This one has a faux button band down the front and an adjustable waist with buttonhole elastic (and two more buttonhole slits in the waistband–no problem!). It looks like a big-girl skirt. So I made another.

A-line skirt, pattern in From Stitch to Style (book)

A-line skirt, pattern in From Stitch to Style (book)

I won this fabric from Ellen Baker in an Instagram giveaway and G asked for it. It’s double gauze and so, so soft. I left out the faux button band on this one.

A few things I made, I only have Instagram photos for, because I deleted some pictures when I switched phones. My son asked for a new, bigger pencil case. My daughter needed a placemat for school, so I made one with utensil slots that rolled up neatly. And I made her some reusable snack bags with food-grade laminate.

It’s so much fun to sew a bespoke wardrobe for an almost-eight-year-old!

Art Quiltlet: 36/52

I swear I have other stuff going on besides these quiltlets, which I have such good intentions of posting about, and then the week goes by in a whooosh! of driving kids to schools and bus stops and picking them up again and cooking and packing lunches and cleaning and eking out some time to actually sew or read before falling asleep drooling at a ridiculously early hour most nights. But! I’m keeping up on quiltlets. Sometimes I finish one and immediately think, This one has to go bigger, too. Like, for instance, when I finished this week’s.

Symbols art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

I took photos as I went with this one, because I knew it was going to be a multi-step process. First I added color to white fabric using Neocolor II water-soluble pastels; they went on dry, then I wet with a brush.

painted fabric amyhoodarts.com

While that dried, I made a foam printing plate. But scratch foam printing results in a block of paint with the scratched-out part allowing the paper (or fabric, in this case) to show through. I decided I wanted more of the fabric visible, so I decided to cut a stencil out of freezer paper. I drew this free-hand, not terribly worried about getting everything exactly even or all the shapes the same size. Here’s the stencil ironed onto the fabric.

freezer paper stencil amyhoodarts.com

Then I painted it black, let it dry, and heat-set the ink. After peeling off the stencil, I had this:

freezer paper stencil amyhoodarts.com

Finally, I added the white geometric stitching, cropped, and finished. As I was stitching, my husband walked by and said, “I like that fabric.”

“I made it!” I said. And how cool is that? I really need to finish gathering the dyeing and batik supplies. That’s one of my goals for September–to have everything I need by the end of the month. Another is to freshen up this site a bit. And post a little more. Goals are good, hmm?

Art Quiltlet: 35/52

Playing with Curves art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

All three kids are in school as of this week, which you’d think would free up lots of time, but it’s not feeling that way. It’s a three-and-a-half hour stretch in the morning between wake up (to make sure my oldest is moving) and dropping off the final child. Five-and-a-half hours later, I start picking them up again. It’s about the same amount of time I had last year, except I’m much more tired and needing to go to bed much earlier, so I’m useless at accomplishing anything in the evenings. So, it’s net much less productive time.

Anyway, all that to say that even with my supposedly free days, I didn’t get to this week’s quiltlet until Thursday, finishing on Friday. My inspiration came from The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood. I decided to try “template-free layered curve patchwork.” It was tricky at times and the curves don’t show up a whole lot at this scale, but I enjoyed arranging them and adding free-motion stitching. Here’s what it looked like before I cropped it.

art quiltlet before cropping at amyhoodarts.com

The book, which Amazon thought I’d like (so I borrowed it from the library to see) has some interesting ideas for piecing that I want to try, but I’m skimming a lot because I’m not interested in the life advice part (the subtitle is A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously). I think I’m content to get my quilting inspiration and my life guidelines in different places when it comes right down to it.

The year is winding down. Thirty-five weeks gone. There’s nothing like a weekly project to keep you mindful of the passing of time, geez.

Art Quiltlet: 34/52

hand stitched collage art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

This has been an interesting week. My two older kids began school (the youngest starts next week). I have three kids at three schools on three different schedules, and two of them need transportation. My oldest began high school at a magnet STEM program, so he needs to be driven to the bus stop, and I’ve been getting up at 5:30 every morning to make sure he’s up. (High school. When I began blogging, at a long-gone blog, he was four.) Sunday night I messed up my sewing machine, which was well overdue for a cleaning anyway, so I was without that all week. I also had an allergic reaction to a new detergent we tried, specifically for sweaty workout clothes, and my skin has been flaring and miserable since Sunday. I fell down the stairs very early one morning. Getting up at 5:30 stinks.

So, anyway, without a sewing machine, I completely hand-stitched this week’s quiltlet. It includes flannel (which I sometimes use as the middle of the sandwich, instead of batting), gelatin-printed cotton, organza, tulle, and plastic netting from a clementine box. I stitched the layers together with the blue embroidery thread stitches, leaving some of the flannel exposed. When I cropped, I stitched the crop line with regular thread, then finished the edges with blanket stitch. This took me all week, in fits and starts, which is actually the kind of time I had. My youngest and I were doing things together while her brothers were in school, and that wake-up schedule has me pretty tired anyway. I need to get used to it.

Next week we add the final moving part into this logistical challenge of getting the kids where they need to be, and on time, every day. Hopefully it doesn’t all fall apart.

Art Quiltlet: 33/52

Leaf art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

Earlier in the week I saw this photograph come across my Instagram feed, and I liked it quite a bit. It stuck in my head, and definitely inspired last week’s quiltlet (completed on Saturday, just posted late). This quiltlet uses several techniques, and I like that I’m getting more comfortable mixing different methods. It’s also great to have expanded my technique toolbox, so to speak, so I have more options and a better likelihood of portraying something the way I see it in my head.

The top of this piece is composed of three layers. I wanted a lighter value green than any I had in stash, so I took a white piece of fabric and used Neocolor II watersoluble pastels on it, then sprayed with water and brushed to blend. The green is the middle layer, with the coral on the bottom and the purple on top. I stitched the leaf and then ripped away the fabric around it using the stitch and slash method, except I used scissors in places for a cleaner edge and I trimmed the green close on the outside edge rather than letting it show. Then I printed the coral with stripes of darker pink paint. After making a quilt sandwich, I free-motion stitched around them, cropped, and zigzagged the edges.

Leaf art quiltlet, detail, at amyhoodarts.com

Leaf art quiltlet, detail

This came out about how I’d hoped, and was a fun bit of play on a Saturday afternoon. I need to bring my sewing machine in for service on Monday–I have thread tangled around the tension discs and it’s not something I can remedy at home (it’s overdue for a cleaning anyway). Depending on how long they keep it, I may be doing this week’s quiltlet entirely by hand. I could borrow my daughter’s Hello Kitty machine–but there is something appealing about adding another layer of challenge.

Art Quiltlet: 32/52

art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

Back to Neocolor water-soluble pastels on this one. First I stitched the oval shapes, then colored them in and added water. (They bled a bit more than I intended.) Once the piece was dry, I added the running stitch with hand embroidery, cropped, and finished the edges. Hmmm I don’t know, it’s a departure from anything I usually do. I’m still deciding how I feel about it.