Here you see 4 new poppies from the last time I posted about my art quilt; clearly, I’ve gotten my machine back!

Here’s a close-up of the 4 new flowers. Reverse applique. And I completed all the zig-zag stitching on the appliques, too; but I had a few struggles with a 50 weight rayon thread that kept breaking, it was a type of thread I hadn’t tried before. With a new needle and lower tension, things improved, but on this purple flower I feel the satin-stitching is a bit lumpy and stressed:

Things look a lot better on the orange poppy, the satin stitch is nice and smooth:

No matter; it’ll work in the end!

I figure I have to make 7 more reverse applique poppy shapes…..

New Corgi!

This isn’t the best photo; but sometimes it’s hard to get dogs agreeable to a camera flashing, and then the red-eye light blinking….most of the time, when I try to take a photo of my dog inside, I wind up with only his backside, which eloquently expresses his feelings about being photographed.

But tonight I acted fast and got this shot. The bigger dog is Bearbear, my corgi mix who’s been my dog buddy for almost 3 years. The smaller dog is Baxter, a bona fide corgi with AKC papers and a pedigree; I told Bearbear he’ll have to learn to curtsey, now that we have a dog of a different social class in our home.

Baxter is 10 next month; his owners died last year and he’s been in a couple different homes since then. For a 10 year old, he looks awfully good; and the way he chases, retrieves and returns a ball/frisbee, you’d think he was 2. And he won’t stop. In fact, if you don’t throw the ball fast enough when he brings it back he barks at you. It seems that a tennis ball is the equivalent of crack cocaine for Baxter.

Anyway, this is our first day together; Baxter came to our home through the Arizona Cactus Corgi Rescue. I saw Baxter’s photo on their website, learned more about his personality, and after some thought I offered to give him a home. So far he’s low-key and quite the gentleman.

But when the tennis ball comes out, it’s a different story…

Stephen Colbert as Dr. Strangelove

Stephen Colbert’s impersonation of Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove is uncanny, and fabulously funny: it’s at the end of this very hilarious episode of The Word. I couldn’t stop laughing, Colbert has the accent down perfectly: this is 7 minutes of absolute comedic brilliance.

I think the character of Dr. Strangelove was based on Edward Teller, wasn’t it?

If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Applique

Recently, I’ve been hobbled by plantar fasciitis, due to bellydance practice (working on my 3/4 shimmy). Ouch. Then, my sewing machine conked out last week. I was so depressed.

But I did listen to the call of needle and thread, and pulled out the old overhead projector:

I magnified a simple drawing on transparency plastic of a desert poppy: then I traced the image from the overhead projector with a sharpie onto some Pellon Tru-Grid to make a pattern; this “pattern” for an applique will have 4 parts (not including the stem):

So, this is hard to see below, but the master pattern is on the left, and in red on the right I made 4 individual pieces for the poppy:

Then I picked out the right fabric. My photos of poppies in my yard seem to all have darker colors on the background petals. Here, I have my first piece of fabric, water soluble marker, scissors:

I traced the pattern onto the fabric, carefully selecting the bias, because there are curves in all the pieces, and it’s easier to manipulate the appliques with curves when they’re cut on the bias…and then I cut it out, adding a 3/8 inch (give or take) seam allowance to the drawn line…

…and then I spritzed some water on my counter top, and gently dampened and folded and squeezed the seam allowance fabric under the drawn line. I also alternated some pinching with a hot iron. Notice that the bottom part is unfinished; that’s just extra fabric I left on so that the other 3 pieces will have something to attach to.

Here are all 4 finished pieces, all pressed:

And, once I put them all together with a few straight pins, they looked like this:

That’s close enough for me to the pattern I made. I basted the seams of each piece. I’ll baste it all together, and eventually this will be one of several poppy appliques on my new art quilt; I’ll topstitch them down to the quilt top. I’ll add some water soluble crayon shading to the applique, too, to create the illusion of depth. But the appliques will be machine sewn to the quilt top, when the time comes; it’s just sturdier, and, there’s only so much hand applique I can take!

Return of the Art Quilt

Remember this? My art quilt project from over a year ago? Either do I. But this past weekend I spent a lot of time trying to get this thing off the ground. I started with more reverse applique, to increase the visual crop of verbena flowers:

Then I drew some poppy shapes and made a pattern for 2 different sizes of poppy; these will also be reverse applique (eventually, I’ll add real applique):

So here’s how the first poppy turned out:

And here’s a slightly closer-up shot; you can’t see all of the painstaking zig-zag stitch. I’m going to need an awful lot of thread. I figure I need to add about 10 more poppies like this one:

I hope to finish this by the end of the year; more updates soon!