Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not Quite Pink Spirit Doll

I decided to make spirit doll with some of--er, a tiny part of--the not quite pink beads left from my October BJP. Here she is.

She's almost finished. There is just one empty spot, where three or four more beads are needed. Can you find it? After those last beads are added, I'll cut it out and whipstitch the back on.

The final step will be to do a beaded picot edging around the outside. However, that will have to wait for a few days. I don't have enough of the beads I want to use for that so I had to order some more.

Always room for more beads!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Real Truth About Dust Bunnies, or How to Stop Worrying So You Can Make Art

1. Dust bunnies are neither rats nor bats nor armadillos nor woolly mammoths.
2. Those with dirty glasses do not see dust bunnies.
3. Those with dirty bifocals do not see dust bunnies at all.
4. Threads and fabric scraps on the floor camouflage dust bunnies.
5. Significant others who object to dust bunnies are just asking to vacuum.
6. Dust bunnies do not follow one to fabric shops or bead stores.
7. Dust bunnies do not clean up your stuff so you can't find anything.
8. If you sit on a chair when you eat, dust bunnies will not get in your food.
9. Clutter can hide many dust bunnies.
10. It is better to have dust bunnies on your floor than in your head.
11. It is better to have both dust bunnies and clutter on your floor than to have either in your head.

Renegade Militant Seamstresses, part 3, or the completion of the sweatshirt jackets

Ta-da! This is the first completed raw edge, collaged sweatshirt jacket. It is Wendy's. She used a variety of blue fabrics. Many of them had bits of brown, so she used brown flannel as binding for a suede look. I think it looks great!

This is mine, with an unidentified body inside. To quote Nora Efron, "I feel bad about my neck." It seems to me that the neck--I mean the neckline--is again too large for me. I'm thinking about adding a stand-up collar to this one, too. Of course, another option would be to increase my exercise regimen until I have the neck and shoulders of a football player. Ok, never mind. I'll keep thinking about the collar.
This is a close-up of the fabrics after the sweatshirt had been washed. You can see a little of the texture that develops. Many of the fabrics were from Northcott's Quest for the Cure collection from a few years ago.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not Quite Pink--October BJP

Here is my October Bead Journal Page, Not Quite Pink. It is in acknowledgment of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Technical Details:
Again I used Lacy's Stiff Stuff as a foundation. I sprayed it with some red Memories Mist so the Stuff would be somewhat not-quite-pink under the beads.

Most of the beads are 11/0. There are some 15/0, 8/0, 6/0 and bugles, plus a few hexes and triangles. Nearly all of it is worked in the back stitch. The little heart in the upper right is almost copper colored.

It is 2.75 inches by 2.75 inches.

I used Nymo thread. I started it with mauve thread and then somewhere along the line switched to light pink.

What I Was Thinking:
I chose a rosy peach color scheme instead of the pink usually associated with Breast Cancer Awareness. As a Survivor, I have mixed feelings about the relentless pinkness of October. You can see my October 1 post for the full rant.

The copper-colored heart is for my supportive friends and family. As a whole, I find the piece somewhat disjointed--I feel that unity and flow are missing. But that's what makes it a good journal entry for this month. It reflects my disjointed feelings. Although I finished September very early, I had a hard time getting started on this one. It was tough to get the needle moving through the beads until I knew I had "passed" my check-up.

Issues that Came Up: (Beading Issues)

  • The size works well. After I did the September page, I wondered if it were too small. But this size gave me time to do some other things without feeling rushed.
  • I like this color, and I certainly have a lot of beads left over. And most of them are sparkly.
  • This would be a wonderful color for a spirit doll.
  • But I need more not-sparkly beads.

Thanks to all who left supportive comments after my previous rant. The BJP has been good for me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Renegade Militant Seamstresses, part 2

The Renegade Militant Seamstresses met last week to take the next step in their raw-edge, collage sweatshirt jackets. This is a really fun group, and in keeping with the "renegade" nature, not everyone worked on sweatshirts. See the nearly finished spiral bracelet above. It will go with her sweatshirt.

We didn't quite get finished, but everyone should be able to complete the jackets at home. This one features seamstresses.
One person added a side seam pocket. You can see the quilting from the wrong side if you enlarge this photo.
How about this for a beginner's project? Beautiful soft colors and fabrics with a special meaning.
And here's one finished except for the binding. Just made to wear with jeans. Note the black and white patchwork sweatshirt she's wearing.
I've got the binding almost sewn on mine. It came to a temporarily halt when my machine needle broke. Not a big problem, but I can take a hint. Time to stop for the day. I'll get it done tomorrow or the next day. The final step will be to machine wash and dry the jackets so the sweatshirts shrink up, giving a soft, rumpled look. And then trim off any loose threads. And then vacuum up the threads. Or not.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beaded Button Workshop

On Monday evening, I did a beaded button workshop for our local sewing guild. There were 14 participants, a good sized group.
These are some of the works in progress.
Each person got a kit with fabric backed by lightweight, stable-in-all-directions interfacing, a button form, a beading needle, beading thread and a collection of at least ten different kinds of beads. Most of the beads were 11/0, with a few 8/0, 6/0, and other shapes.
I've found that, for me at least, it's easier to teach this when the fabric is backed by interfacing. Maybe that's because sewers are very familiar with interfacing.

Here are some of the finished buttons.

We only had abut 90 minutes to work, but most people got nearly finished or completely finished. They did a nice job, didn't they?
Our guest brought several little beaded bags to show us. They are just gorgeous. They are knitted, with more than 1500 11/0 seed beads on each one. The knitting needles are about the diameter of toothpicks. The bags are about two inches high.
Amazing, aren't they?

Blog Info Update

1. The pattern for the Spirit Doll has been found. (October 12 post) It was in that favorite location, "under stuff."

2. Forget what I said about the Wall Street Journal and a lack of attention to women's shoes in the September 23 post, item #5. For a full discussion of women's shoes, see this article in the WSJ.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spirit Doll Finished!

I finished the Spirit Doll for my friend. This was my first project of this kind, so there were many opportunities for learning. Most of the beads are 11/0, with some 15/0, 8/0, and a few 6/0. There are also some triangles, cubes, and bugles. It is actually somewhat greener than the photo shows, but I haven't figured out how to adjust that yet. (See the photo in the October 8 post.) The heart is a little sterling bead. It is beaded on the same fabric as the bag shown below. I used paper as a stabilizer, and that worked well. It is about 6 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide at the arms. The ribbon at the top is so that it can be hung up.

This is the back. It is a piece of cotton I painted during the summer. The doll is stuffed with fiberfill. To put it together, first I tore off the excess paper around the edges of the beaded front fabric. Then I trimmed the fabric so that it extended about 3/8 inch beyond the beading. I carefully clipped into the curves above and below the arms so the fabric would fold under. With the doll front face down on a towel, I pressed the edges under with the tip of my iron.

Since I had "cleaned up" the pattern I used, I had to make a new one for the back from the beaded front. I put the beaded front face down and put a piece of lightweight paper over it. Then I gently rubbed a pencil over the paper so the outline would show. I cut out the pattern and compared it to the doll front, trimming so it would match better. Then I drew around the pattern on the wrong side of the backing fabric. I machine stitched along that line using a small (1.8) machine stitch. I trimmed the back about 3/8 inch outside my stitching line, clipped the curves above and below the arms, and pressed the edges under along the stitching line.

I whip stitched the front and back together, leaving about an inch opening along one side for stuffing. After stuffing the doll and sewing the opening closed, I finished the edges with a beaded picot stitch.
This is the bag for the Spirit Doll. It is lined with a gold-on-white cotton fabric. There are three beads on the end of the drawstring ties.

I will deliver this in the next few days. In the meantime, on to October's BJP.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blue Jeans Jacket

Well, that's a misleading title! It should say "Jacket Made of My Favorite Color Blue Fabric in the Style of Jeans Jackets." But it doesn't.

It actually was a fairly simple pattern (McCalls 5191), and I was surprised at how quickly it went together. The pattern called for two-piece pockets with a buttoned flap just below the yoke seam. That didn't seem to go with this fabric. It also called for topstitched seams. I visualized various loose and frayed threads on the inside, as the jacket is unlined. So I decided to do flat felled seams for a more finished interior. The only time consuming part was searching for the buttons. I had to go across The Big Lake to find enough of the same color.

This is the fabric. It is cotton and lycra with a jacquard paisley pattern. And did I mention in my favorite color? It is a Jones of New York bolt end. I found it at Fabrications, when we stopped on the way to St. Gregory's Abbey. I used a #14 topstitch needle and polyester thread because of the stretch. A lightweight knit fusible interfacing is in the collar, cuffs, and front and lower edge facing. Those with dyslexia may not notice that the photo above is upside down. Bloggers who are tired didn't notice it either.

I wanted to finish the facing and hem edges because all the other seams were finished. Folding them under seemed like it would leave a ridge. So I found some coordinating fabric in the Fabric Storage Cave and used a Hong Kong finish. The arm hole seams are bound with the same fabric.

All I need now is some place to wear it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spirit Doll, Part 2

The front of the Spirit Doll is finished! Next I will stitch the back on and bead around the edges and finally stuff it. Please ignore the thread across her face. It's too dark for another photo now.

I had planned to use Ultrasuede for the back, but instead of one big piece, I have two, too small pieces. I'll use fabric instead. At first I thought I would used the same fabric that I beaded on, but it just looked kind of blah. I rooted around in the Fabric Storage Cave and found a couple of possibilities. Then I dug under the bed and found some fabric that I had painted last spring. That looks best so I'll use it. Right now it's in the sink with the Synthropol.

But where is the cardboard pattern of the doll for me to use when cutting out the back? In a safe place, no doubt. What good does it do to have planning ahead brilliance (See September 28 post.) when you can't find what you so carefully saved? I did find the two patterns I didn't use. They didn't help much. The lesson of this is to stop cleaning up!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October BJP Page--Not Quite Pink

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and suddenly the whole world has turned pink. Ok, ok, ok, that's an overstatement. It wasn't suddenly. It has been building up for a while.

Several weeks ago there was an advertisement in our local newspaper for readers to (pay to) honor and remember those have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This weekend the newspaper insert from one of the big box office supply chains featured pink merchandise. There was another insert with lots of product coupons giving discounts for buying pink--soup, toothbrushes, toilet paper, shampoo, yogurt, and so on. The morning news shows all featured stories abut Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And when I went to the grocery store this morning, there was a "Think Pink" sign next to the green beans suggesting that I buy more vegetables and fruits.

I'm a survivor. But to be perfectly honest (and at the risk of coming off as a crotchety old biddy), I have mixed feelings about the entire event. Oh, sure, I understand the need to raise awareness and to remove the stigma of any kind of cancer. Times have changed since Betty Ford went public with her breast cancer. Education, screening, and treatment--even prevention-- have saved many lives. And we need to continue to find more ways to save more women (and men).

But as a survivor, I sometimes find the relentless pinkness of October just a little too much, especially when it coincides with various scary medical check-ups. I admit it, I'm a wuss. During my first couple of years as a survivor, I felt blindsided by the media's emphasis on the pink month. I was concentrating on getting my strength and my hair back, and there it was. It was a little like Jaws 2, "Just when you thought it was safe..." there would be another breast cancer story. Several survivor friends were also disconcerted, bothered, unsettled. I was surprised and relieved to find I was not the only one who felt that way. It's easier now because I know what to expect in October, and I know I am not so weird after all (at least in that way). I also wonder why we need a soup coupon to make a contribution to charity. What if I bought a less expensive kind of soup and contributed the difference? What if I donated a dollar for every pink story or advertisement?

I thought I "ought" to do a pink page for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ought, schmought! I don't want to do it. It just would not be relaxing. So I decided to make mine not quite pink. Here are the beads I will use:

They're a pinkish peach and salmon, an all together prettier color.

I would be interested to hear what other survivors feel about the pink month.

And has anyone participated in the Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer, the Bead it Forward quilt part?

Final note to others: Get your mamogram!
Final note to self: Embrace your inner wuss!