Monday, May 19, 2008

Unique Knitted Animals

These cute, cute, cute creatures are the one-of-a-kind creations from Ana Castellanos. She made these for me and my daughter. These are just a small sampling of what she can create with just a couple of knitting needles. She is currently teaching Spanish classes at Harper College and prior to that she taught at Northern Illinois University.

If you think these are cute, you can catch her display of all her special animals and dolls at the Schaumburg Township Library in Schaumburg, IL. There are 2 display cases in the main lobby but that's not all. She had so many they also filled 2 display cases in the fiction book room. She has a love of specialty yarns that help to create the unique look and also help create their furry appearance. Size of the animals and dolls range from the tiny to larger cuddly creatures. Many are the same pattern but the size changes just by changing the size of the needles. You can catch the display at the library now through the end of June 2008.

Here are close ups of the bear and the little elephant.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Clover Mini Iron

New Craft Critique article on the Mini Iron from Clover is out today. I hope all you quilters and crafters who use it or another portable crafting iron go over there and tell us what you think about this or if you have another one you like better. We always like to know what else is out there.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ribbon Roses on the Jane Austen Centre Magazine

I'm so excited. Last summer I did an article for Craft Critique on wire-edge ribbon and how to make a rose. The Jane Austen Centre in England asked to post the directions to the ribbon rose with my photos on their online magazine. It is in the Hands on Regency section where you can find a variety of crafts from soap to clothing. The rose instructions are part of an article to help adorn a simple pair of shoes into a 19th century inspired fashion. You can find the magazine article here. You can check out the critique on wire-edge ribbon in the original one at Craft Critique.

Now, I feel inspired to go read Emma. I have it on my bookshelf. I received it as a gift from my mother-in-law soon after my daughter, Emma, was born. It has been so long since I've sat down and read Jane Austen's books and I've never read this one.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rockin Robin

Last weekend, Mother's Day weekend, my daughter had her first dance recital in a real auditorium on a real stage. She danced for about 2 1/2 minutes but we were there almost 3 hours and we sat through 46 dances. We don't live in a small town so it was amazing to see how many people we knew who had girls in the show. My daughter is the one on the right. Her partner is one of the only girls taller than her in the class.

Below is a video from my limited still picture camera (and my first attempt at posting to YouTube) that just happens to have a video feature BUT it has no sound so you will have to imagine their song, "Rockin Robin." We really need a camcorder and I want a new digital camera. It was a slightly crafty weekend because my daughter lost her black gloves before the recital so I bought a new pair and they were too big so I had to shorten the fingers. I also had to tack her belt in place so it wouldn't ride up too far. Oh, the joys of costumes.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Book Review: Bead & Button, Ribbon & Felt Jewelry

I started working on a new article for Craft Critique tonight when I realized I didn't mention my last article I did. It is for the book Bead & Button, Ribbon & Felt Jewelry by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell. I love it for its easy to create ideas. Check it out when you get a chance. I'm working on a review of the Clover Mini-Iron so hopefully I will remember to put a link to it when its published.

Monday, May 5, 2008

International Quilt Festival/Chicago 2008

Well, almost a month ago I went to the International Quilt Festival/Chicago that was held at the convention center in Rosemont, IL. This was my second year except I didn't take any classes this year. Instead, I went one day with my friend Susie and one day with my daughter (who loved the shopping part the best - see picture) and I still didn't get around to seeing everything. There were many, many quilts that were just beyond superb. Quilting just keeps getting better and better. I can't even imagine getting close to the level of many of the artists out there today.

There were just too many pieces at the show to even begin to give details of even just some of the works I admired. I love collecting pictures of techniques I would like to try. Here are some of those details:

This first picture is a close up from one of the Journal Quilts 2007 - Journal Quilt Project. These were small quilts that meant to be pages of a journal. This one is titled Forgotten Flowers by Francis Holliday Alford. I love all the dimension in this and the wonderful use of beads.

This detail is from a large quilt by Carol Taylor called Tiptoe Through the Tulips. The base is squares and rectangles and then it's embellished with multiple threads and stitching. I love the swirls.

Here is just a small portion of a very large quilt with a technique of string piecing. It is called Prairie Dawn by Ann Brauer. This gives me an idea of how to use up the loads of fabric I inherited from my mom.

Now, unfortunately, I cannot find my notes on this next quilt but this detail photo is a very small area of the piece. I was amazed at the wave of buttons - all stars - that spread out through the middle of this quilt. Can you imagine sewing on each of the hundreds of buttons?

Here is an example of another technique that I would love to try - bleach discharging. This quilt named Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire! by Cynthia St. Charles shows the technique, I think, at its best. I also like the beads that have been added to enhance the starburst design.

This is a huge dahlia design and I've lost my notes on this one as well. It was just an amazing piece of an even more amazing quilt. If anyone knows who did this I would love to know. If I'm lucky I will be able to come across this one again and fully credit it. This also is one piece I cannot really tell what the technique was but it seems so geometrically perfect I just love its power.

I'm showing this detail of Open Up! Your Dream Flower by Harumi Asada from Japan. I love paisley patterns as well as the colors of this piece. I couldn't find a site for Harumi but I did find this picture of a quilt using a similar paisley.

The next two pictures are more traditional patterns but are a couple of my favorites. This is a feathered star which was the center part of the quilt Autumn Sky by Gretchen Neal Jackson. This shows 3 feathered stars inside of each other. I have done a feathered star but have not completed it in a quilt yet.

Mariner's compass is another one of my favorites. You might have noticed that a lot of the pieces I have shown has curves in it somewhere . I also like angles which explains the feathered star but the compass pattern has both elements. I really like the triangles (reminds me of distorted flying geese) that circle this compass. The full quilt is called Follow Me by Margaret Curley.
I hope you enjoy these little details from just a few of the pieces I admired and I hope they inspire you to try a new technique.