Friday, September 28, 2007

Playing with Fall Colors

Playing with Fall Colors
Originally uploaded by lasassone
Today we had an appointment with a professional home stager. which was a real eye opening experience for both G and I. She went through our home showing us things to do, moving things and sometimes frustrating us to no end. We were told by our realtor that we should just listen and then do the things we felt capable of doing. No obligation. Yesterday I told G I couldn't imagine what she would want to change or have us change. I thought everything was fine the way it was. Wow! Was I in for a surprise!

It was amazing watching her as she breathed life into the small rooms of our cottage home. I have to admit to muttering "oh-oh" under my breathe about a dozen times as she went blasting from room to room! After all was said and done, we are doing about 80% of the changes she suggested even though it means the garage is a little fuller now because of the things we have removed from the interior of our home and the front porch. Some of the other 20% either are not doable or will take some time and/or muscle and may get done when we have time.

Some of her ideas were actually forehead slapping moments for me. Because she hasn't lived here, she was seeing things with an unbiased eye. We are looking at some of our old tired things that she moved around in a new way. To us they were nothing special, but she loved much of what we haven't packed away and said more than once that she wished she had come while we were packing up the house so she could have had us leave some more things out.

This wonderful much-loved wooden bowl which is a true antique bowl that cracked many years ago and is repaired with leather lacing was just sitting on the top of G's grandmother's little china cabinet. She had moved a piece of furniture into the den for use as a coffee table and then placed the empty bowl on top of it. She suggested we fill it with something like apples or lemons - either real or fake.

On our trip to Michael's and the grocery this afternoon we laughed when we found that the fake things cost more at Michael's than real stuff at the grocery store. We got this mix of oranges, lemons, green pears and colorful gourds and are very pleased with ourselves at how it looks in the bowl.

We are frantically doing a lot other things before we have to go off for two days for G's 50th class reunion. On Sunday the realtor will be having an open house here and I'll be very curious to see what she thinks of all the changes. And, of course, it remains to be seen if any of the "staging" will help sell the old homestead. Of course, we surely hope so!

So, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! When I return I will be posting the pictures of the last two vintage blocks I bought up in Carson City, Nevada. I think you will agree when you see them that I saved the best for last. Ideas are bouncing around in my head about how to use all of the six pieces in a hopefully memorable crazyquilt wallquilt or throw. It's no wonder I am having trouble sleeping!

In the studio today I had very little time to do nothing more than quickly admire my Gambler's Special order that arrived from this afternoon. I have to say that I got two of the most awesome black brocades and one blue one that are just too yummy! If you hurry on over to their site, you might be still able to snag some for yourself. No affiliation, yada, yada - just a very happy (and long-standing) customer!

In the stitching department I have managed to get my September Doll Quilt Challenge piece almost done. All the rows are pieced and I have 7 of the 10 rows sewn together. I'm leaving it out in my studio to show how true my sign is that I leave out for realtor showings. It says "Quilts in Progress - Watch for Flying Fabric!"

Stitch On!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vintage embroidery #4

Vintage embroidery #4
Originally uploaded by lasassone
Good Morning all!

Here we have the fourth embroidery I recently acquired at a Carson City, Nevada shop. It is worked on a piece of dark navy blue velvet about 8.5 inches square. This velvet is much nicer than the black/dark grey of block #3 and seems more like silk. It's very soft. However, this embroidery was definitely done in one strand of cotton floss. There isn't the sheen to these flowers that the ones on the black velvet have. It's more of a matt look and the threads on the back are definitely cotton.

I believe the flower design depicts nasturtiums which are one of my favorite flowers. If you look very closely you can see on the far right that someone at one time had embroidered an outline of a butterfly. It was removed perhaps because the embroiderer wasn't satisfied with the look.

At first I thought that I would have to embroider another butterfly there in order to use this piece but I have since changed my mind. I have not been pleased with the results of my few threadpainting experiments. I think this piece can be worked into a crazyquilt project quite well with some strategic applique piecing over the former butterfly area.

Today I'll be working to finish the piecing of my September doll quilt challenge piece and then I may try to finish that tiny outline embroidery on the purple and gold crazyquilt pillow cover. I may have to load up on Motrin a bit though before I get into that! My hands are better, but not much. I was hoping the recent Fall-like weather we've been having would help, but guess it's going to take a bit more time.

Stitch On!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Vintage Embroidery #3

Vintage Embroidery #3
Originally uploaded by lasassone
Here is the third piece of vintage embroidery that I purchased on our recent trip. The 8-1/2" square backing appears to be a very soft cotton velveteen and the actual embroidery is in awesome shape. It's done with what looks to be silk floss. It is possible, however, that the thread used was an art or filo sylk which was a common thread available during the early part of the 1900's. I have many such skeins in my stored stash and I believe they are made of rayon.

The stitching has a wonderful sheen or light to it that I don't think shows in the photo. Silky to the touch, it's a very nice example of what these days is being called thread painting. There are many shades of greens, golds and browns used skillfully for the stems and leaves and almost as many shades of reds used in the flowers.

I wonder at the patience and skill this floral piece took to complete. The design appears to have been drawn onto the velvet with some kind of white ink or paint. On the back there are thread ends and jumps that show the fineness of the stitches and threads used.

There are pressed hems on the back on all 4 sides of this piece and some remnants of stitching leads me to believe that it perhaps had a former life as a pillow.

The more I study these pieces, the more thankful I am that I was in the right place at the right time and was able to give them a new home where they are greatly appreciated. I only hope I can do justice to their stitcher's skills when I find a way to give each of them a new life.

Stitch On!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Saturday Haul!

My Saturday Haul!
Originally uploaded by lasassone
I visited the Diablo Valley Quilter's 23rd Quilt Show in Danville, California today. My husband and I went to high school in Danville and his 50th Class reunion is next Saturday. So, he went scouting for places to buy supplies for the Class picnic that he is helping with which will be held next Sunday afternoon. And I went to the quilt show which was held at Charlotte Wood Elementary School.

Whenever I go to this show I always look around for familiar faces, but the town has changed so much since we moved away, I've never seen anyone I know.

It's always a good show though and since they went to having it every other year, it has doubled in size. Most of my "haul" came from the booth of the Blankie Project (Chemo quilts) that I make quilts for. Just look at all those silk threads someone donated! The lace was from there also plus I bought 4 fat quarters of Christmas fabric which were, sad to say, busy in the laundryroom and couldn't make the photo session!

The buttons I bought to put on my Under The Sea block for the Crazy Quilt International charity project block that I'm making. I don't think you can see them very well - they are all starfish things. The cluny trim was a "just because it was there" purchase. You never know when you might need some trim.

One of the vendors had those little lacy corset appliques in black and red. I just couldn't pass the black one up! I've no idea what I'll do with it, but I just had to have it! There were also stylized cats and fancy hats but the corset just grabbed me! And it was only $2!

Be Honest! Could you have left it there?

Stitch on!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vintage Embroidery #2

Vintage Embroidery #2
Originally uploaded by lasassone

This is the 2nd of 6 embroideries that I purchased at the shop in Carson City, Nevada. This one is done on a 10 inch round of an elegant rich teal velvet that is very soft and feels like silk. Typical of the velvets used in many vintage crazy quilts I've been fortunate enough to handle, this one too has a similar cotton-like backing.

The design that was embroidered on this piece is similar to a copy of a vintage embroidery image that own. I don't know what the gold flowers are because my copy did not have a name on it. Could it be Goldenrod?

The embroidery work is done in two shades of chenille, 1 strand of a thread and a ribbon with a crimped look. The thread used for the background stems and leaves appears to be a very thin twisted pearl cotton. The "flowers" were done in a lighter golden colored chenille while the leaves on the left and across the bottom were done in a darker gold chenille with a long and short stitch.

I'm not sure you can see it, but at the very top of the design there is one broken thread in the chenille. It won't be difficult to fix. All the lighter colored gold stitches are french knots and one has come loose. The back of this piece, by the way, has nothing on it to secure the thread ends like the back of Vintage Embroidery #1 has.

The clover or thistle-like flowers were stitched in what, from the back, appears to be 3 different colors of a pink ribbon that has a crimped look to it. On the back you can see the original colors and the bottom of each flower was actually done in bright fuschia pink, but the front of this piece has faded. I'm very curious about this stitching ribbon and have taken a close up that you can see in my Flickr pictures if you click on this post's picture. If you have a clue as to what this ribbon is, please leave a comment here on my blog.

UPDATE 9/16: A friend with more knowledge of vintage pieces than I have says she believes that this stitching ribbon is "silk grosgrain". She also says that Mokuba Ribbon company currently makes a similar ribbon but it is rayon. Sounds fine to me; now I just need to find some! Anyone ever seen this. I don't ever think of Mokuba since they stopped selling the silk ribbon here in our Michael's stores.

I think perhaps this embroidery was stretched and framed or may have been a small pillow. You can see the stitching line in the photo and on the back there appears to be remnants of what looks like a dried glue-like substance in many places but especially around the edge.

UPDATE 9/16: The same friend suggests that this piece may have been put into an embroidery hoop for wall display maybe in the 1970's when doing that was popular. That would explain the glue residue on the edges.

Again with this piece I think it could handle being the centerpiece of a crazyquilted item all by it's self; maybe a wallhanging or pillow. More and more though I'm thinking, after I have studied them all really well, that I might try to find a layout that would showcase them all together.

Because the Realtors are having an open house here tomorrow, my day has been spent cleaning and clearing projects off the table in my slimmed down studio. We are going to take a trip to the closest IKEA store to dream about new furniture for new rooms in a new house!

After that I look forward to getting back to stitching on the crazy quilt pillow I started last month, but first I think I have to finish the Halloween pillowcases I started for the grandkids.

Stitch On!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vintage Chenille Bird

Vintage Chenille Bird
Originally uploaded by lasassone
On a recent trip to Carson City, Nevada I visited a newly opened quilt shop called The Sewing Studio. The show's owner carries a variety of unusual fabrics for quilting and garment sewing and some vintage textile items as well. This 10" by 7" piece is the first of six I purchased and will share with you over the next few days. The owner seemed happy to find someone who would give these pieces a good home. She said she just knew that someday a crazyquilter would walk in her door!
The shop's website, by the way, is here in case you'd like to see it. After you watch her little video make sure that you click on the slide show button on the left to see all the different rooms and gorgeous things in this wonderful shop!
Aside from the odd shape of this piece, it is in perfect condition. The bird's beak and legs are embroidered in long and short stitch using a single strand of a floss which may be silk. This is like threadpainting I believe and there is a subtle use of difference colors not only on the bird's legs and beak but also in the foliage worked into the scene. The cattails are 3 dimensional and done with a rich brown chenille in a tufting stitch where looped stitches and been cut and then shaped into the cattail shape.
I think the chenille used for the bird's body is the vintage chenille is often seen on vintage crazy quilts. It's very soft and I actually have some in my stash so I'm familiar with it. The bird's eye is glass and has been attached with a very tiny wire.
By scooting aside some of the stitches some white lines can be seen. It appears that the whole scene including the bird was carefully drawn onto the black satin-weave silk fabric with white paint.
Something interesting I noticed is that on the reverse of this embroidery the knots and threads appear to have been sealed with something perhaps to keep them from unraveling. On the other hand, the lighter colored chenille that was used on the bird's body appear to be brown n the back. I don't know if something was dabbed onto the back to discolor it or if it's just the age of the piece. I feels like the sugar-starched doilies my Mum used to make in the 1950's.
I have no idea what I will do with this treasure, but like the other 5 pieces, I think you could build a whole crazy quilt project around him!
I'm still winding DMC floss on bobbins and just heard from a friend that she found another Wal-Mart and managed to get a lot more colors including 54 more for me that were on a list I had given her of colors I don't have.
I'm having a painful flare up of the OsteoArthritis in my right hand and this winding is about all I can handle for now. I've always been very thankful that I only had OA in my left hand, but recently it has appeared in the joints of my right hand sadly. My mum had it in both hands so I expected it actually. I'm anxious to get back to my ladies boot pincushion motif on the pillow, but that tiny work is just impossible for now. But you all....

Stitch On!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering 9-11-01

Remembering 9-11-01
Originally uploaded by lasassone
What can I say? This says it all. On this 6th tearful anniversary, I find myself speechless.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Final Redwork Ornament

Final Redwork Ornament
Originally uploaded by lasassone
The Redwork Ornament set is done! AND....I went shopping for Christmas fabric, which normally I wouldn't need. But with everything in storage, I had no Holiday fabric at my fingertips. I want to make a sample block of what I think I'll do for this Holiday quilt or wallhanging, but first I had to go buy a pad of graph paper so I could try some different settings. Yes, the graph paper is in storage too. By the time we get moved, I'm going to have doubles of a lot of things!
A friend of mine is doing 3 of these designs in red too but she's decided to add gold accents to the designs. I think that's a wonderful idea. I had already decided I might do another set and use beads on them. Another idea I had was to do a set in the real colors of the items, like green on the leaves and purple on the grapes of this last one. Even doing that I could add some beads here and there I think.
Yesterday afternoon I dug out all the DMC floss I had in the Hot Wheel Garage container labeled "stranded floss" and discovered that I actually did not have much DMC at all. Most of it I inherited from my mother-in-law and HER mum, my dh's gramma. I put what little DMC I found into a floss box according to number and started winding some of the new colors that were unique and I could only find one of. Winding actually hurt my hands worse than stitching does! Who knew? I wound last evening until I ran out of bobbins.
Today I made a run to Michael's Crafts for some more bobbins and they didn't have very many. So.........I dropped into the Wal-Mart on the way home and my-oh-my! Those 3 round-y racks have been raided thoroughly! HowEVER......there were still 43 skeins of white and ecru there for the grabbing.
Now if I just knew where my dyes were in the storage place I could make some unique varigated floss!

Well, off to wind away the evening!

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Visual

A Visual
Originally uploaded by lasassone
Recently through a couple yahoo embroidery lists I heard that Wal-Mart stores across the USA were getting rid of their DMC floss and had put them on sale for 10 cents. I thought our store had not done that because recently (before our trip-more later on that) I was there and it was still 28 cents which had been their normal price.

So ... yesterday off I toddled to the closest Wal-Mart store about 11 a.m. where I found the rumor was true and they WERE on sale for 10 cents each. SO.........

I started going through the 3 round spinning racks which I soon found DID have a system to follow the numbers. Wherever I could I bought two of each color they still had. The singles I found I set aside in case I found one to match. Let me tell you - those racks were a MESS! But when I left they were not!

With a carry basket half full I got in a short line and soon there were 3 or 4 people behind me. When I put the basket up on the counter and the cashier and I started laughing, there were many curious glances thrown our way. When the people behind me saw that each skein had to be scanned separately, they ran to other lines like rats deserting a sinking ship!

The cashier turned off her light so no one would get in line and she and I with the help of another employee began laying the skeins out in lines with the upc codes up. That way the cashier could zap each with the scan gun and then sweep that row into the bag. I don't know how long that took, but I had spent a great deal of time going through those 3 round racks - part of it sitting on the floor! What I don't understand though is why they need the codes recorded if they don't need the info for inventory. If they aren't going to carry the floss anymore, why keep track. Ah well........

So, meanwhile back at the cashier's counter, the 3 of us are chatting and becoming friendly and sharing "mom-stories". When the cashier finished scanning and pushed the button to print the receipt, it just kept on printing and printing.....all 650 items! There were doubles of 300 colors plus 50 singles not pictured. You can see the receipt there on the table folded in half. It measures 83 inches long. It created quite a stir! The cashier said that was a record for her since she had worked there - it might be a store record, who knows! It is surely MY record.

Remember I said I left home at 11:00 a.m.? Well, I got home at 1:50 p.m. Allowing for the 20 min. it took me to go and come home (10 min. each way), I was still there a long time. By the way, after going through one rack I had a fleeting thought that I had bit off more than I could chew. But faced with the daunting task of putting what I had in the basket all back, I just made my self comfy and kept going through all 3 racks.

Hint to anyone off to Wal-Mart to try this: Hide a folding stool somehow in your purse. You have to stand up to see the top 3 or 4 trays on those racks but you can sit for the bottom trays. I really could have used a stool!

Priceless was the look on my dh's face when I came home, pulled the receipt from the bag and said: "Well, I was worried that I wouldn't find anything to spend my Social Security check on this month, but I'm not worried anymorer!"

I also said:

Except maybe for red..............

Notice the teeny pile of red? Well, Obviously some redwork embroiderer(s) got there ahead of me. All the bins for the popular colors for Redwork like 304 and 321 were totally empty.

Today a friend pointed out that I should have bought all the white and ecru so I could dye it. Gosh I didn't even think of that at the time!

Maybe I need to go back!