Archive for the ‘Pattern’ Category

Renegede Butterflies

February 21, 2008

GreenhouseI have been suffering with the typical dead of winter color deprivation syndrome. Predictably, each February, I begin to crave color, so I start to desperately seek springtime.

In my greenhouse, color abounds! Orchids, overwintered annuals, and other flowers are in bloom. Seeds are now seedlings and they are being nurtured. Robins have been on the property for almost a month and everything is signalling that spring is almost here. But it snowed yesterday and our outdoor temperature is in the teens. With cold weather like this, it’s amazing that the snowdrops, crocus, and pansies are blooming. I know that Spring is not far away, but I am impatient. So this week, I’m on a mission to create a little springtime in my studio!  

Feedsacks, some vintage era fabric swatch samples, and reproduction fabrics have been chosen to carry out my mission.

I am inspired by many of the vintage era quilts with lovely pastels. Those light, airy colors remind me of Spring. Vintage, it is!

With a pile of fabrics from my vintage stash and a purple print feedsack in perfect, uncut condition, I had gathered my springtime vintage era fabric palette.  Next, I wondered how I might use the fabrics to create a bit of springtime.

LauraWheelerPatternsFollowing with the vintage mood, I looked through my collection of Laura Wheeler patterns. I saw butterflies! Vintage butterflies sounded charming, so I pulled the Laura Wheeler Butterfly Design 515 from the collection. It was a perfect springtime block of simple butterflies!

I photocopied the original and modified both the pattern and layout for my butterfly applique quilt. What I think I have now are renegede butterflies…

The original pattern suggested that it be made “entirely of applique blocks in two materials. The same materials may be used throughout, or different materials may be used in each block.” I thought that a quilt composed of the same identical fabrics would be much too boring, plus I had a stack of springtime fabrics to use. I opted to create a scrappy-looking vintage reproduction with this pattern.

Directions for the applique block suggest, “Stitch down the patches with outline stitch. Trace and embroider feelers, the lines in butterfly in outline stitch. Embroider body in satin stitch. Use six strand cotton (using three threads in the needle) for embroidery.”

I didn’t do that either… My butterfly patches are stitched down with the buttonhole stitch. After all, the buttonhole stitch is SO vintage….

Laura Wheeler Butterfly Pattern 515

Contrary to the Laura Wheeler pattern directions, I plan to add appliqued butterfly bodies rather than 1/2″ wide satin stitches which would be much too wide or practical.

Before stitching, I made a traced copy of the block so that I had a placement guide for the applique. For each butterfly, there are 4 separate wing sections, plus the butterfly body. The original pattern is stitched with blocks set diagonally and without any sashing. My butterfly blocks will be made with a straight set using some type of sashing.

So not following the original directions or pattern or layout, I’m making a dozen renegede butterflies for a dozen small 8-inch” blocks. These renegede butterflies will make a small quilt. A fun quilt. A quilt of little renegede butterflies trying to fly through the dead of winter into Spring.

Remembering: The Springboard For Design

February 1, 2008

The February Take It Further challenge was announced a few hours ago and for some reason, the theme, remembering, is not a difficult one for me to work with. Perhaps this theme is easy because I do family genealogy. Perhaps remembering is easy because I was raised in a family where we would solidify and celebrate who-we-are by examining both our past and our future. Then again, perhaps this theme is easy for me simply because I enjoy memories and recollections.

For me, looking backwards from a distance softens life’s edges and blurs life’s timelines. When I reflect on my life, I know that I am relying both on the reality of life and my perception of life. We are, indeed, a product of our experiences and so my TIF challenge will convey my reflections and recollections in a generalized abstract manner, not with specific life events. To take a time-trip back to specific places or people I have known, I have photographs and scrapbook albums to remember with.

Like many people, my recollections are filled with peaks and valleys, achievements and failures. Where these events converge, there I am. My recollections have many wonderous moments of excitement and opportunity. My recollections also include times of living on-the-treadmill as part of that rat-race I no longer run. Ho hums and ye haws are both in my life, just as laughter and tears have been.

But who-I-am and what I remember are mostly filled with memories of my childhood, my young adult days, my parenting to three great boys, and the strong passions in both vocation and avocation. These major eras in my life have filled my memory-lane with happiness and a richness that paints-out like a super rainbow of vivid colors. For me, my recollections are a treasure trove, like that pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. Truly, I have been blessed……

To convey my experiences of reflection and of remembering, I decided to design something that would illustrate how my life is divided into different segments that occur with time as I have aged.  I also wanted to show how those segments converge. After all, those are the experiences that help define who-we-are.

To illustrate those segments of life, my mind’s eye saw the images of tiny gems and the shining stars in the infinite world beyond our universe.  Life Facets block by Lynn Shaw

So, okay. Here we go: Gemstones and stars. And somewhere in-between  is my little spot in my little world. 

I decided on a geometric block and thought how a rough gemstone would be cut into facets to show the depth and beauty of the gem. So, I chose to create a block that is divided into gemlike facets and also shows star blades. Thinking further with the gemstone and star images, I noted that both gem facets and stars are interrelated within their worlds. Facets converge or intersect and stars attain their position within their solar system by forces of physics and chemistry. I appreciate how these images are life-forms with interrelational properties.  Distant stars appear to be beyond our own world yet there they are, visually attainable as they twinkle in the light years of our immeasurable past.

So there it is, my springboard for design. My thought process. My analysis. And with the help of my morning java, this is how my very left-brain can think quasi right-brained.  Art is extremely difficult for a geek like me. But by examining my thoughts on remembering, then analyzing them to think abstractly through relationships, I can create. It’s a geekist’s point of view. :-) By allowing my mind’s eye to conjure up a few images, I found the springboard for a design.

My block design, Life Facets, was created by using EQ so after I had my block design, I rotated the block to create a 4-block piece, then selected a fabric palette. Filled in color-wheel fashion, I hope this design, Life Facets, will convey my interpretation on our February TIF theme, remembering. And if nothing else, I’ve had fun with my e-fabrics and just written the beginning of my dissertation…..

Life Facets project by Lynn Shaw

Rickrack & Rhinestones

April 20, 2007

rickrackRemember rickrack? Many of us can recall seeing rickrack trim in the home sewing basket. Some of us even used rickrack as a decorative embellishment on a dress or apron.

Rickrack was originally created during the Victorian era as a decorative trim. The first rickrack trims were crocheted using a wave design. Through the years, rickrack evolved from crochet to a cotton or rayon braided trim.

Most of the items using rickrack trim are dated from the vintage era. times, however. Studying old patterns or sewing instructions, the use of rickrack can be found as a decorative trim in a number of handmade items. I chuckled at the vintage Laura Wheeler jewelry pattern in my collection. I don’t believe I would have ever thought of using rickrack as jewelry. And I seriously don’t believe I would have thought of using rhinestones with rickrack. (I must not be vintage yet!)

Laura Wheeler's Rickrack JewelryThis Laura Wheeler pattern (R728) provides instructions to create flower jewelry from rickrack. From a vintage Laura Wheeler catalogue:

It’s easy as pie to make flower jewelry from thrifty RICKRACK! So pretty, you’ll want a matched set of earrings, necklace, pins! Your friends will want them, too. Use rhinestones, pearls in centers.

Laura Wheeler Potholder

The Laura Wheeler “Handy Potholder” pattern suggests the use of rickrack to create fabric with a plaid look.

If you have some rickrack or want to try making this vintage-era potholder without the rickrack trim, check out the free “Handy Potholder” pattern instructions I posted. (And if you decide to try making some of that vintage jewelry with rickrack and rhinestones, please let me know!)


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