Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Afflicted by Words

My words pile grows.

Words and writing by Andy and me.

And this makes me silly happy, even in my affliction.

My mami's beautiful handwriting.

Still collecting and still stitching. I feel like a bird gathering twigs and fiber for a nest.  I feel like a mad, giddily nerdy archivist digging through a vat of letters.

Word and writing by me.

I feel like an Absinthe-drinking, word-obessesed character from a Borges story... a passionate, intense, woman dressed in black, with bright red lips, glasses and a mad look in her dark eyes who whispers, "give me more words," in a breathy voice into the ears of the fellow word-afflicted.

Word by Lisa RK, writing by mami.

The more clear-headed of you ask, what are you making? A perfectly rational question. And if you know me, you know that I am a perfectly rational person about many things.

Saudade, word and writing by Ron.

Kumquat by Chris, writing by mami.

But about these stitched words... I am not. And I don't know yet what I'm making. Right now I'm just doing. Collecting and stitching words and asking you, in my most beseeching voice, "tell me a word."

Words and writing by Marcus and Juline.

Word and writing by Bryony

(I adore the words you've given to me, in your comments, in person, in email. I'm grateful for your grace.)

Bar stitching. Grace by Jamie MrXStitch Chalmers,
writing by mami.

Word and writing by Susan.

What else am I making? Well, I have ideas racing around. An idea for a tiny, naughty-fun Valentine for my squeeze. And idea for a tiny portrait in red floss. And I'd like to stitch up a handkerchief for this Danish war project.

Wanton by Ellen Schinderman, writing by mami.

But what am I making with all of these words? I don't know. I know that I see a massive collection of fabric, stitch, paint and words. In the writing of all of these different hands.

Word and writing by Monique.

People on Fire, by Guillermo Kuitca, 1993.

Perhaps the stitch-speration for this giant, crazy project was this painting from the NC Museum of Art that I saw last summer called, "People on Fire" by Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca.

Word and writing by me, the afflicted.

For now I can only smile and reach out to you and ask again, will you spare me a word? Ask your friends. For me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Words, glorious words!

In the development stage of a new project that combines stitching and my love of words.

In heaven. Stitching writing by Byrony, Marcus and me.
It's early and I'm not sure where this piece is going, but I know that I love collecting favorite and meaningful words from people in my life and stitching them in simple backstitch with 321 Pearle Cotton on white muslin strips.

Word & handwriting by Andy.

I especially love stitching up other people's handwriting! There is something so intimate and wonderful about running my needle and thread over their letters.

Onomatopoeia. Words & handwriting by me.

And the variety of penmanship thrills me! There are folks who write in all caps, cursive, half-cursive/half printing... those who dot their i's with circles and those who don't close their letters.

Sydney's handwriting. Two people provided this same word to me!

Those who write in strong verticals and those who slant their words up or down.

Waiting to be stitched. Andy's word & handwriting.

Waiting to be stitched. Monique's word & handwriting.

And then their are the words themselves.

Word & handwriting by me.

Adjectives, names, body parts, alternative colors, slurs, onomatopoeia words... god, the variety thrills me.

My word & handwriting. Stitched but waiting to be rinsed.

So, please help me out! Leave me a comment with a favorite word or even email me a .jpeg of a word you like in your own handwriting.

Words & handwriting by Andy.

Word & handwriting by me.
More to come! Word Nerds United!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doing Flips for Doaflip's Mr. Burns' Cookie Pillow

My Phat Quarter Food Swap piece arrived from Emma in the U.K. and, can I just say, it is flipping brilliant.

On my lap. I want it next to me at all times!

Emma (a.k.a. doaflip, who blogs at Flip-a-dee-doo-dah) made me an elegant little cross stitched pillow depicting the fake business name that C. Montgomery Burns provides to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when they come to smack down his skinny ass in the "Homer Goes to College" episode of The Simpsons.

“Ah, General Tso, you were a formidable opponent, but your chicken is delectable!”

That's right. Simpsons' Nerd Girl O now owns a piece of Springfield paraphanelia stitched just for her! And I'm flipping out. FLIPPING OUT. I am like Lisa with her pony. Could this be any cooler? The answer is: NO.

In all its glory. 

How did this scrumptious little piece come into my greedy little mitts? From the Phat Quarter Food-Themed Swap, via MrXStitch and flickr. (For this swap, I made one of my "Do Not" embroideries for Salvaged Mutiny.)

Do Not Eat, 2011

Two other considerations.

Number One: I have never done cross stitch, but I've long admired the elegance and cleverness of this kind of work, including the amazing pieces created by beefranck. In person, the gorgeous details of the piece are evident -- the graceful border, the careful lettering. Take some time to explore Emma's tumblr page and flickr stream for more examples of her work and design.

Mr. Bergstom is a hunk. 

And Number Two: This has inspired me to create some more Simpsons-related stitching, like the little Lisa Simpson piece I made for a cool man a while back.

My giddy mind is crackling with possibility! As anyone who is a Facebook friend or who follows me on Twitter can attest to by my constant stream of Simpsons's quotes, I have an endless supply of happiness to create!

Me and my new bestie.

For now, I say thank you to the uber talented Emma for this amazing little artwork. I'm so grateful and humbled by this amazing gift.

Photo by Emma

Emma, Emma, Emma... how I love thee!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Darwin is a big party boy!

The Evolution Cocktail Napkins are done for my Pops for his birthday!

Who says evolution isn't fun?

As I've written before, I saw this amazing and simple evolution pattern on the Coyote Craft blog a while back and I was instantly attracted to it. Bean Paulson designed it for Darwin Day back in 2009. Her original free pattern was the outline of an evolving man, minus the party theme. For some reason, when I came upon it, I thought of a celebration.

I'd like to share a cocktail with all of these creatures. You?

So, to her crisp, clear design, I added a party hat, Mardi Gras beads, a birthday crown and decadent, slightly raunchy elf boots. And I thought they would look nice on cocktail napkins.

Still think the booted man is kind of hot.

Stitched this up in simple, at times messy, back stitch with 321 pearle cotton. I do like the raw simplicity of this design.

Party with festive ardipithecus.
Or party with our erect friend, who I call Lyle.

My Pops is an amateur science nerd, albeit a very cool one. (My friends and I think nerds are uber cool, hot and sexy, even, but he is from a generation that may not appreciate the term.) In the 19th Century, and with a different bankroll, Pops might have been a gentleman scholar. I remember him explaining evolution to my brother and I when we were wee and living hardscramble, in a neighborhood pizza parlor in NYC. 

On the other side of the napkins, The Tree of Life.

I love Bean Paulson's use of the Tree of Life.

Stitched Tree of Life

Darwin's original

Happy Birthday to the world's wildest, coolest pops! (Don't get me started... it's hard to rebel when you have a wild Pops, but I tried!) May you drink many bottles of white while gripping these little napkins.

Wild Pops and The Kid (as he calls me).

And now I move onto my latest obsession: stitching words. Very simply. In red. Nerdy as hell, mofos. Can. Not. Stop.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Juline of the Hexagon, Portrait of the Artist as a hand sewist

In 2012, I am surrounding myself with creative, talented, driven artists and writers. I'm fortunate to have so many of them in my life. My dear, beautiful friend Juline is among the most wildly prolific. She is a dynamo of inspiration and a little machine of making.

A combination of wild fabrics
and carefully planned design.

Juline loves to hand sew, as do I. Here is an interview I did with her about her fascination with the hexagon and her gorgeous, entirely hand sewn and hand quilted (wow!) charm quilt. It is so much fun to speak to other makers about their process. And her attitude about trying new techniques and being fearless about it... it is the attitude all of us makers should have!

Juline's finished hex charm quilt, entirely hand-sewn!

What is it about the hexagon as a shape that captures your imagination?
My favorite shape is a spiral or circle.  I'm not sure if the hexagon really captured my imagination, but it's a shape that tesselates, so it's awesome for quilting.

Detail from her hex charm quilt.

Tell us about making your hexagon charm quilt. How did you get interested in making one?
I think you showed me the charm quilt-a-long and I decided to give it a try.  I love hand-sewing, so it seemed like a good project.  I also enjoy trying new things, so I decided to give it a go, and I fell in love with it.  Some craft things I try and don't go back to.

Me fondling Juline's chart for a new hex quilt.

Tell us about your process. How did you decide on fabrics? How did you decide on the hexagon size? Was this your first paper pieced project?
I started with fabrics I had, and then exchanged with friends, etc.  I ended up buying more fabric than I should have, but it was so fun and worth it. I used the size of hexagon that was being used in the quilt-along...I guess I kinda blindly followed.  It also seemed like a great challenge.  Yes, this was my first paper-pieced project.

That's a radiation symbol that I embroidered for her  quilt.
I'm honored to be stitched into Juline's work!

Tell us about a few of your favorite hexagons charms.
The one made by YOU!!!  Plus, I also made some out of sun print fabric that I love.  I put some of my old negatives (from college) on the sun print fabric, and have included these little contact photos here and there.  Some are pics of flowers, and there's one pic of my childhood dog, Tache, who has been dead for many years.  I like to find her pic on the quilt and remember how sweet and cute she was.

Such fun fabrics. Elvis!

The back. You can see Juline's hand quilting.

You hand quilted it, too, right? Was that very time consuming? What made you decide to hand quilt it?
Yup, hand quilted too.  Not too time consuming.  I finished the whole quilt in 4 months (crazy!) and I cannot remember how much of that was quilting.  I decided to quilt it by hand because I was nervous about sending it to a professional quilter with a machine.  I know these folks are pros, but I had put SO MUCH time and effort into the top that I didn't want to take any chances.  My little sewing machine wouldn't have been able to do the kind of job that I wanted, so the only option left was to hand quilt.  I love to hand-sew, so this was a soothing process.

Daisy peeking out from under the quilt!

Where does the quilt live now?
In a big crumpled pile on my big comfy chair in my den.  I made the quilt to use.  My dogs sit under it. I use it daily. For me, textile art should be practical and beautiful/meaningful.

More works in progress.

What other hexagon projects have you started since making your charm quilt?
Working on my polka dot hexie quilt now...1.25 in. hexies go SO MUCH faster.  I started on a pillow for a co-worker, but lost interest and it's still only 1/3 finished.  Maybe she'll get it for x-mas this year.  maybe not.

What the hexies look like as they're coming together.

You prefer sewing by hand to on your machine. What attracts you about hand sewing?
It's methodical and soothing.

Juline with the finished quit top at her family's beach house this summer.

45 records as necklaces, by Juline.

Aside from working with hexagons, what other types of crafts do you like to make with your hands?
Knitting, needle-felting, jewelry, and more.  I've tried a lot of crafts.  One thing I really like about myself is that I'm not afraid to try new crafts.  I'll jump in and get messy.  I don't feel pressure for the first thing I make with a new craft technique to be perfect.   

Lucky me and fabulous Juline, ready for anything!

How the hell did you get so awesome?
It's the cool people I hang out with that make me awesome by association.

God, I love me some Juline! For more images of her work (including 40 pzanky eggs made for her parents' 40th anniversary last year) check out her flickr stream.