Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Some beads and a nostalgia trip

daily stitching July 14

A couple of days ago I wanted to add some beads to my daily stitching, and had the idea to make them stand up in a tower instead of just lie there on the fabric.  And as I started sewing them on, I thought of Sandy Snowden.  Sandy was one of my good internet friends whom I never got the pleasure of meeting in person, although other in-person friends of mine were also in-person friends of hers.  

Sandy lived in England and was an avid garment sewist as well as a lover of quilts and hand stitching and an enthusiastic blogger.  Sadly, she died in 2020 but her husband has thoughtfully left her blog online, and that allowed me to indulge in an hour of nostalgia.

In 2019 Sandy did a daily art project involving beads, 24,000 of them, to commemorate 24,000 Christians in India who were physically attacked in the previous year because of their faith.  She wrote, "I wanted to see just how many 24,000 was." 

Each day for 300 days she sewed on 80 beads, sometimes in towers (standing straight up from the fabric, attached at only one end of the queue) and sometimes in loops (attached at both ends, standing up like an inchworm).  She finished the year by adding words around the edges of the composition.

Sandy's finished project

Sandy put a small sequin underneath each bead tower, for a bit more structural stability, but unless I happen to find my stash of sequins in the very near future, I'm going to do my own beads without that step.

Sandy's project in mid-July 2019

As an aficionada of daily art, I have always enjoyed it when one of my internet friends embarks on a daily project, and I follow along closely during the year. Going back through Sandy's old posts that year, I came across my own comments many times, which made me happy that I had been able to stay in such close touch with her.

I don't know how long I will keep stitching bead towers in my own daily project this year, but I'll be thinking about Sandy while I do it, and about how the internet has allowed us to make connections and friends across the continents whom we would have probably never met in real life.

daily stitching July 15

daily stitching July 16

daily stitching July 18

Monday, July 10, 2023

Someone else's trash becomes my treasure

Last year my good friend moved to Atlanta, and realized that she owned a whole lot of stuff that she didn't want to take with her.  So she held an open house of sorts, in which friends were encouraged to take home anything in two big upstairs rooms.  I of course could not resist, and found all sorts of treasures, including but hardly limited to a guillotine blade paper cutter and a 1950 edition of Webster's New International Dictionary.  I've been using the paper cutter for myriad projects, and cutting up the dictionary for art.

But today I want to talk about a special find: a huge box full of the ribbons and medals that my friend's daughter won in a long and successful swimming career, spanning many years from childhood through high school.  The minute I saw them I knew they were perfect fodder to be turned into "postage stamps" for a grid quilt.

The ribbons were two inches wide, with woven selvages, already a bit stiff with some kind of sizing, but I backed them with nonwoven polypropylene for a little more substance.  As soon as the backing was sewed to the ribbons, I sliced them into squares with a pinked-edge rotary blade, and then continued with many more rows of stitching in different colors.  There was no fraying or raveling (a big improvement over previous postage stamp projects) and the gold letters and pictures sparkle when the light hits them right.  

I watched a great deal of trash TV last August while mindlessly feeding hundreds and hundreds of squares through the sewing machine, and eventually counted and bagged all the finished squares and stashed them away in a big shoebox.

I pulled the shoebox out again in April and started sewing the squares together into a grid.  Having learned from experience that the larger the quilt, the more tedious it is to sew it together, I decided to make three separate panels and hang them as a tryptych.  It was so easy to put these smaller panels together that I zipped through the final assembly stage in less than a week.

And now the finished quilt -- "Competition" -- is hanging in the 20th Anniversary Show at PYRO Gallery.  I think it looks great, and it was probably the most painless major piece that I have ever made!