In fine feather

Sometimes, hoarding precious fabric isn’t sensible.

In my last BM&I post, you saw a small piece of fabric featuring all kinds of feathers in shades of grey and light brown. I’ve had that fabric for 7 years, I think. Every so often, I got it out and thought about using it for something. And then I’d put it away again. I used a really quite small piece for the Parterre block, but I still had a sizeable chunk left. Back in the cupboard it went.

The other day I read a couple of things. The first was Anne Lawson‘s comment on my BM&I post, enjoying the feather fabric and pointing out that one of the feathers was from a guinea fowl, one of the types of feathers she has illustrated so beautifully herself. The other was a theme running through a number of Anne’s own posts, expressing a lack of inspiration to continue with much of her creative work, and worrying about how to address it. I thought perhaps I could offer a little encouragement…

Anne derives a lot of benefit and inspiration from artist residencies, taking time out to single-mindedly pursue inspiration and excellence in her work. If she’s anything like me, packing up and preparing creative materials for trips away is half the trick; so often I leave at home something important. Last time, it was my camera…

So I thought I’d make her something that combined the feathers she loves so much with something practical and useful. And here it is: an artist’s tool roll.

And of course – of course – there are plenty of feathers:  a large panel of the fabric on the outside, and one of the two levels of pockets made from it too. What you can’t see very well is that the binding is silver on black, not grey. I love that tiny metallic touch amongst all the softness.

Even the tie is made from the very last scrap of the feathers. And I’m so happy that Anne is the very deserving recipient of all this airy loveliness. 

Look out for it, Anne, it’s coming your way.

Laughing up my sleeve

I’ve finally finished this one.

I’ve been working on it off and on for a few days, doing as much as I could each time before the eye gave out. I cut it all out on impulse before eye surgery, as a sort of distraction from pre-op nerves. Now, it feels almost like a secret sewing project, since I haven’t posted anything about it before, mainly because I had no idea how long it would take.

You may recognise the pattern, this time with a longer sleeve length than the Mango & Papaya top I made earlier. Speaking of sleeves, what do you think? Bright, aren’t they? I bought two half-metre pieces of Kaffe Fassett fabric from his Artisan range for Westminster Fibers. It’s gorgeous, but not cheap (AU$29/metre). One piece was this blue version, and the other is the same print, but in bright orange. In order to make something wearable from the small quantities, I also bought this blender fabric in the same blue. I didn’t have a plan or the pattern at the time, I just wanted to make something that didn’t involve totally cutting up the print.

By shortening the long sleeve from the pattern options, I was able to squeeze both sleeves out of just half the fabric, leaving me a reasonable amount to make something quilty with. I couldn’t resist the acid green binding for this top too, the remainder of what I made for M&P. It’s a great match for colour in the big print, and gives the neckline a bit of zing. The top probably wouldn’t work in northern Europe without sunglasses, but here in the very bright sunshine of a tropical summer, it’s just another colourful garment.

Now I need to get some fabric to go with the other colourway. I still have some coral pink binding from the sleeveless top variant I made from this pattern (did I show that one? I don’t think I did). I reckon coral and orange would work nicely… The question is, same top again, or something different this time? I have a pattern I haven’t tried yet which might utilise the print panel nicely.

Right, on with the next thing!

PS: the eye’s definitely mending. For those who wanted a status update, here’s the new yellow/ brown colourway!

When black is blue, purple, green, yellow and brown

It’s a complete misnomer really.

A black eye encompasses so many pretty colours, but it’s not at all a pretty experience to wear it. I’m fortunate to have large black frames on my glasses which hide a lot of the damage, but still, I’ve had second glances and the odd pitying look. I feel like getting a sticker for my forehead:

Eye surgery, 
not domestic violence

This one is for those of you who asked if you’d be seeing the black eye. It may yet get larger, but maybe not; the eye doctor was very quick and deft, so this might be it. He said a week to ten days before it’s all gone and the swelling is down.

Still not seeing well out of this eye yet, but it’s improving. Back to the sewing machine in the next couple of days, I hope, and the hand sewing in about a week, I reckon. Meanwhile, I leave you with an earworm.

This time, black really is black


BM&I #42: Parterre block 8

Block 8 really has progressed at a snail’s pace.

I had the fabrics and ribbon selected and some of the pieces already cut when my eye problem blew up. It’s only in the past few days that I’ve been able to sew at all. First on the agenda was getting the Opal panels finished, and then I could turn my attention to this.

It’s not the most contrasty or striking version of the block, but I really wanted to use these greys together, and I’m glad I did. I think it works well, and it’ll integrate into all the brighter versions if I place it correctly in the finished layout, probably as a little quiet space between some more hectic prints.

The fabrics are both by Philip Jacobs for Westminster Fibers; the feathers are an old print and the peonies are more recent. It’s a pity that the photo isn’t colour accurate and I can’t seem to adjust it to match the reality better. The very wonky (because eye) centre of the flower is actually a bright fuchsia pink, not red, and the ribbon is a strong, bright orange.

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column of this blog.

I don’t know if my busy social whirl will allow for making another block to show on New Year’s Eve (yeah, right!), but we’ll see.

Until then…

Avast, me hearties…

Tis done, shipmates.

OK, enough of the pirate talk. You’ll have to imagine the Captain Jack Sparrow accessories.

Surgery was quick, briefly unpleasant when the local anaesthetic went in but mostly painless, if a little bloody. Post-op, it is painful: I feel as if I’ve been smacked in the eye, with a bonus serving of pea-gravel under my eyelid. The patch comes off later today, after which I’ll be sporting a black eye.

Thanks to everyone who offered good wishes and crossed their fingers. It appears the outcome is going to be positive.

I kind of wish I’d gone out and bought the pirate hat and stuffed parrot after all…

The turquoise twirl

One of my favourite shirts is wearing out.

It has been darned and otherwise mended multiple times, but the fabric’s just getting too thin. Don’t worry, I’ll be recycling the good bits into patchwork fabric, but I love the colour and its absence will leave a hole in my wardrobe. So the other day I went and bought 3 metres of a pretty batik to make myself a replacement.

The original shirt is turquoise, blue and white in a sort of jumbled paisley pattern, and it’s a traditional short sleeved shirt with a collar. The new fabric is turquoise and a little green and white, also in a paisley pattern. But the similarity ends there, as the new garment is collarless and has a deep V-neck and a handkerchief-point hem. It’s a slight simplification of Butterick B6056, without the peculiar pockets, and shorter sleeves without tabs to hold the rolled-up cuffs.

The Husband has many wonderful talents, but taking a flattering photo is not among them. I try. I ask that he doesn’t press the button at the moment of maximum hugeness of person, roundness of face or doubleness of chin. It makes no difference. I always look at least 5kg heavier than I should. This is where a daughter would come in handy, to prompt sucking in of cheeks and tummy and the correct three-quarter view pose.

I used the best of them, and it didn’t help that a sleek and slender Mouse photobombed all the others. The contrast is, frankly, cruel. However, I’m happy with my new clothe, and it’s cool, light and very comfortable. The fabric is still a little stiff and new, but once I’ve washed it a few times, it’ll soften. Batik’s a little firmer and more tightly woven than the pattern demands, but I think it’ll soften enough to drape nicely in time. I love the colour, and yes, I do have some gorgeous scraps for the next ovarian cancer quilt!

Worth a tiny baby-elephant-type twirl, I’d say 🙂

Opal #4: hanging about

It has taken for-evvvveeerrrr, but it’s done.

The blasted eye is so blurry that I could only work for half an hour at a time, in good light. Half an hour at a time was enough in the end, though. It’s up and I think it looks great. I bought a length of 16mm dowel from Bunnings, together with a pack of jumbo Command® hooks. The pieces are not heavy, so the hooks were sufficient and I didn’t need to drill into the wall.

So that’s another one ticked off the list. Now I can crack on with my big project.

Once the eye is sorted out, of course.