Friday, September 30, 2005
And if you never have seen "Firefly" - what are you waiting for? Rent it, buy it, support it. I have this dream that we'll get our show back, just like the Trekkies did. At least they got 3 seasons of Classic Trek. We only got half a season.
I'm not moving at full speed today. Full speed, hah. Not even at half speed. Feels like I'm swimming through molasses - every step just taking so much effort. Finally managed to fall asleep and take a nap, which gave me energy for a little while. Now it's worn off again and I'm back in slow motion. Don't know why today should be such an effort, it just is.
On the good side, after my nap I machine sewed on the binding and the sleeve to my Halloween Faces quilt. Now I'm turning under and hand stitching the binding and then I'll do that last stretch of the sleeve and I'm done. Looking forward to that. It'll be ready for tomorrow: the first day of Halloween decorating.
I've been watching the first season of "Lost" - four episodes yesterday and I'm on episode eight right now. Or I was - took a bitty break to write this. Definitely enjoying it, altho why I'm watching a show with so much turbulence and airplane-crashiness I'll never now. I already don't like flying as it is.
I've worked a bit more on the little devil thready as well. He's all outlined now and the edges are all turned under. I've already put his teeth in because they were so small I was afraid they'd disappear before I got to them. It's how the fabric puckers and pulls. Things that I want to emphasize need to have a lot of stitches in them, the earlier the better. So now he has teeth, but the inside of his mouth and tongue have disappeared. Maybe I'll try to force them in before it's too late.
Yesterday I watched "Laurel Canyon" - what a waste that was. Definitely a character study in search of a plot. And I'd prefer an ending next time as well. Also tried "Bride and Prejudice" (I'm a sucker for Jane Austin riffs) but quickly got fed up with the Bollywood singing and dancing numbers. Did make me want to watch my BBC miniseries of "Pride and Prejudice" tho.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
34 % Nerd, 60% Geek, 39% Dork
For The Record:
The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Well here is the little guy completed. I actually ended up not doing as much threading as I expected to. I liked how his skin looked as it puffed out around the stitches, so I didn't fill it all in. Didn't need to do all the background either at that rate. So ta da. He's now off at the framer's. I'm really amazed at how well the detail shows using the scanner. This is about life size.
I haven't been able to settle down and work on a project. Not happy with working on Bloomin' Horrors, so it's put aside as I think about beads and threads. Started a free-form thready (i.e. not following a printed background) tonight but not sure I like how it's coming along.
I'll get over my discomboobulation one of these days.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
It's been awhile since I've seen a beautful starry night sky. Too much light and air pollution to see much of anything here, unfortunately.
I made this quilt years ago, inspired by Alex Anderson's Sawtooth Stars quilt in the 1988 version of "Quilts, Quilts, Quilts." I made more stars, arranged them differently, and didn't use the book's direction for strip piecing the inner border. And I certainly didn't use yellow or any of those pale colors.
There are 121 4" sawtooth stars in this quilt. The fabric for each star has just one color in it (it may be mottled or hand-dyed), plus sometimes black. I was very strict on that rule. I didn't have to buy any additional fabric to make this quilt either, so that tells you something about my stash. This is a true Tonya colors quilt. I hated how the quilt looked when the stars were randomly placed, so I ended up starting with pink in the upper right corner and working my way through the rainbow (always starting each diagonal row at the top) until I hit blue-green in the lower left corner.
I was strongly influenced by some of the Amish quilts I've seen in not just the colors but in not stressing out about perfect points on the triangles. Some of those old quilts were made to be used dammit. They're beautiful and more than the sum of their parts and they are NOT perfect.
I used several different colors of black so that I'd get that uneveness and when I had a problem sewing rows together, I pleated a bit here and there. I didn't freak out about getting them all lined up vertically - I just SEWED.
The back of the quilt is no beauty. This was in my defiant "leave the quilting thread knots on the back, who cares about the back of a wall quilt" mode. Plus, when I was basting I managed to get huge creases in the backing fabric. I mean big. But you know what, the backing still made it all the way to the edges of the top or more, so I left it. I wasn't going to (and still never would) rebaste just for aesthetics.
I bet you can guess that I quilted the whole thing in fans. It wasn't my original plan - I wanted to do diamonds in the squares and then outline each star. I tried first with perle cotton and then the quilting thread. I hated it both times. So I fell back on my comforting old standby. I had to start quilting fans in from two different corners and then let them smash into each other in the middle - the quilt was too big to just go in one direction like I usually do. I was still marking my fans then, and the silver pencil never came out in some places. I like to think that it adds a sparkly effect.
You may be surprised to learn that I entered this quilt into the Houston quilt show and managed to fool the jurors into accepting it. I didn't do it to win a prize - I had no such foolish notions. I just wanted to share the quilt with my friends who lived far away. In 1999, I met my favorite aunt at that show, as well as a bunch of Colorado quilters with whom I'd gone to the show the previous three years, and two of my friends who came from overseas to be there. For what it's worth, the jurors were completely unimpressed.
Several of the blocks that didn't make it into this quilt are now hanging on my design sheet, waiting to see if they'll get sewn into my orphan quilt. There's no room for them at the moment, but we'll see.
Friday, September 23, 2005
My husband has had to take an unexpected trip back to the states for a couple of weeks, at least. The friend I a pal around with a great deal is gone for the next two months. But today she let me break into her stash of DVDs, so at least I have some entertainment.
I had several tests done this last week. I either have loose cartilage ("joint mice") or some kind of nodule in my knee - so that is going to have to be vacuumed out. But the doctors here have to confer and I won't know for at least another week what the plan is.
Lying motionless in the MRI with my back throbbing, walking home afterwards (couldn't stand the thought of being inside a cab - needed to MOVE) with my hip killing me, as well as the knee throbbing, I realized this is all part of a bigger picture. I'm now convinced I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis. My brother was diagnosed with it a year and a half ago, after I moved overseas, so I've never been tested for the genetic marker that would help prove I have it.
I hadn't paid that much attention to my brother's diagnosis. I'd superficially read the description and my lower back just wasn't aching nearly as much as it used to when I was working at a computer 8 hrs a day. I can sleep a normal night without waking up in agony (there have been times in the last 12 years when I couldn't say that). But the more I read about AS I see that it affects women in more joints than it does men and isn't just a back thing. One of the places that it can hit is the jaw - leading to clenched teeth and headaches. Headaches - like I have had for over a month now. I wake up and it's hard to open up my mouth - it's like it's frozen. I thought I was clenching for some reason, even tho I'm not under stress or having any reason to do so.
So many of the puzzle pieces are coming together. I'm 98% sure I have the disease. The hard part now is getting it made official. Sigh. Have another doctor's appointment next month and hope I can convince my doc. Don't know that there is going to be a Rheumatologist here who can really help with this - not a disease found in Africa - it mainly hits those of Northern European descent.
I feel so whiny to be going on about this when there are so many people out there with worse diseases or without homes, but I can't help it. I'm trapped in this particular body and it just plain doesn't feel good. I'd like to know that there is a cause for my fatigue and pain and swelling and headaches and it's not just that I am a pathetic, l0w-pain-threshold, hyperchondriac layabout.
Okay, that is all. I will be happier next time. Really.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Bonnie has now named the quilt: "Blooming Horrors" it is.
I've now sewn the background all together (so, not completely a hand project, but it will be from now on, unless I decide more borders go on). I do realize I need more bright colors in the middle and to help balance out that moon (which may get smaller).
Some of the Faces got tossed - I don't want to fiddle around with them.
I added a zombie hand (an outline of my own) flower. Put an eye into the middle of it, cuz it needed something there. Plus I went out of the apartment today to an outdoor sale and bought the Evil Eye Deterrent hanging thing - so the whole eye theme rules today. (The thingy is a handmade blue glass orb, pyramid and dangly bit covered in paint. Love it. I collect things which ward off the evil eye.)
I've also tossed out the idea of black tulips - they weren't going to show up on that background. I was looking thru old applique articles that Gwen Marston wrote for LCPQ mag in the early 1990's and found the cool flower shape that the skeleton now fits in. Much brighter and wilder.
Went to the orthopedist last NIGHT - my appointment for 8:30 turned out to be p.m. instead of a.m. Unfortunately I didn't figure that out until I went to the doctor's office and no one was there. D'oh. So going for an MRI this afternoon and thus continues the saga of the knee. The doc says no more treadmilling on an incline for me - not allowed *ever* to do exercises that involve bent knees. Has to do with my tendon and thus my kneecap being in the wrong place. Sigh.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
So here's my start at it. Somewhere along the way I decided I needed some of those damn Halloween Faces stuck in here, for no reason other than they are cool. After I cut these shapes out (wasting loads of fabric) and decided on the purple background, I realized I loved how they looked with the orange background. Really makes them pop and otherwise they'll be lost in the purple. So I can either recut the shapes - wasting even more fabric - or I can finicky applique them onto bigger shapes and make them into the centers of flowers like I did with the devil. (I did needle-turn applique and those horns were NOT fun.)
The skeletons are going to be tulips and those are spiders inside each of the grapey things (lilacs?). I'm afraid they are going to get really small. I think the rat is going to have to stay in the picture. Not in white paper tho - will pick some kind of fabric for him. And don't worry, it's not going to look this bare - many more flowers to come.
Friday, September 16, 2005
We have five bookcases in our living room. They're taking up valuable quilt-hanging wallspace, but we didn't have any choice with the number of books we have. And this is hardly all of them - I left a lot of my quilting books in storage, worried about going over our weight allowance. I'm the one with the fun reading material like sci-fi and mysteries; my husband tends towards the non-fiction.
This first bookcase is all mine, mine, mine. The top shelf has a pewter queen riding a cat switchplate frame (which of course doesn't fit around any of our light switches) and a picture of an alien, tulip, and sunset. There are also three of my threadies and some of my collection of onyx vases (which may be alabaster, not onyx, but I'm no geologist). I was told they were naturally this gorgeous turquiose color, but found out differently when a big glob of dye came off a new one I was cleaning. That's okay tho, I think they're beautiful anyway.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Unfortunately the scanner lopped off some of the edges, but you definitely get a better picture this way. Can you see all those darn stitches? Now you know what a mindless idiot I am. No, dedicated needlewoman, that's it.
By the way, the size is roughly 4 1/2" x 4 3/4". At least how I'm seeing this image, it's looking almost exactly life size. The whole thing is very wobbly - the result of going in circles (I didn't lay down a grid first b/c I didn't want stitches going a different direction). I could wash and block this piece and it would get flatter, but I like it as is.
I needed a project I could just pick up and go, so decided to make a thready to match the "Halloween Faces" quilt. In this style of thready, I start with a regular patterned piece of fabric, and just add embroidery floss stitches over the top of it. The first step I did on this one tho was to add a perle cotton stem stitch outline. I've discovered that it's best to do a grid pattern and then start adding the stitches going diagonally, or whatever direction they want to go.
Horror of horrors, I decided I hated how "Noel" was quilting up. I'd used polyester batting - cuz it was the only white batting I had - and I hate how puffy it was making the quilt look. Will have to use that batting just for crusties. Anyway, I also realized that the dark green backing I'd chosen really was shadowing thru to the front and didn't care for that either. So I took out all the fans I'd quilted on two sides of the outer border, unpinned it, and threw the top into a pile where it will wait until I get some bleached Hobbs Polydown. Better to be happy with it.
The saga of my knee continues. After getting it drained and going on the strongest anti-inflammatory they had (which I could only take for five days or else my "blood would fall out") the doctor has decided something else is going on with me knee. Going to see the orthopedist on Saturday morning. I'm on new meds called "Cataflam" - isn't that the best name ever? Sounds like a game.
And in completely unrelated news, I've discovered how much I hate "CSI: NY" - way too dark (both on screen and emotionally). Doesn't have the humor that the original has and I hate all the characters. So it goes bye-bye. We've been lucky enough to get some "Law and Order Criminal Intent" here, which I enjoy until the last 10 minutes where Vincent D'onofrio gets to start grilling the witness. Boring.
For true class in mysteries, we're watching third season "Columbo" even tho I've seen most of these episides multiple times already. And hubby and I are rewatching "Alias" from the very beginning - no, it doesn't make much sense this time thru either, but I still enjoy it.
Monday, September 12, 2005
You are the Fool card. The Fool fearlessly begins
the journey into the unknown. To do this, he
does not regard the world he knows as firm and
fixed. He has a seemingly reckless disregard
for obstacles. In the Ryder-Waite deck, he is
seen stepping off a cliff with his gaze on the
sky, and a rainbow is there to catch him. In
order to explore and expand, one must disregard
convention and conformity. Those in the throes
of convention look at the unconventional,
non-conformist personality and think What a
fool. They lack the point of view to understand
The Fool's actions. But The Fool has roots in
tradition as one who is closest to the spirit
world. In many tribal cultures, those born with
strange and unusual character traits were held
in awe. Shamans were people who could see
visions and go on journeys that we now label
hallucinations and schizophrenia. Those with
physical differences had experience and
knowledge that the average person could not
understand. The Fool is God. The number of the
card is zero, which when drawn is a perfect
circle. This circle represents both emptiness
and infinity. The Fool is not shackled by
mountains and valleys or by his physical body.
He does not accept the appearance of cliff and
air as being distinct or real. Image from: Mary
Seems appropriate somehow, doesn't it. Certainly know many people who would agree that I'm a fool. I am actually smiling as I say this.
In webby matters, my thready is progressing - you just have to have patience. This is about as time consuming a project as there is. It's all about tiny details.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Work is continuing on my Web thready. I've gotten to where it's really hard to push the needle through - I'm using a rubber mat made for opening jars to grip my needle. I'm long past doing a running stitch - it's all stab stitch now, filling in the missing gaps.
Here's my favorite thready. I finished it here so it's probably from 2004, but it's only about the third thready I made. The color is accurate in the first pic, but you can see details in the second. Was I smart enough to take photos of any of my threadies before they became encased in glass and thus much harder to photo. Of course not. I'm not sure how much I like having glass on these anyway - it mashes down the threads. Plus the back is jerry-rigged because the frame wasn't deep enough to hold this piece and the faux-velvet it rests upon and now dust is getting inside anyway.
This one was made with lots of embroidery floss, rayons, a bit of chenille, and metallic threads.
I'm kicked back and taking it easy, reading "Brimstone" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs. Not the best wordsmithing ever, but the story is cooking along. The problem is that whenever I read a novel, I don't want to quit reading. I neglect other tasks and stay up too late at night. Speaking of neglecting tasks, it's time to go cook dinner. Sigh.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I'm going to take a break from quilting for a bit. I have to stay off the knee, so piecing is out. I could work on quilting "Noel" but that doesn't have to be done until Thanksgiving (the official beginning of Christmas decorating in our house), so I'm working on a Halloween thready project.
Up above there's a picture of an early thready (circa 2002) just to give you an example of what I am talking about. It's not what I'm working on now. I tried to move the photo to elsewhere in my post but Blogger and my brain weren't cooperating today, so the picture stays where it wants to.
Thready is my name for a piece that is all threads or yarns stitched or couched down onto a piece of fabric or lightweight canvas. The thready in the photo started with a base of reddish pink fabric that I couched down some tiny bits of red batik fabric to before beginning the running stitch, which I did in embrodiery flosses, rayons, perles, metallics... The silver frame is 8" by 9" ish.
I started the piece I am actually going to work on last Halloween and worked on it for awhile after that. I even took it on our Nile cruise and stitched on it while drinking tea under the shade of an umbrella, watching the banks of the Nile glide by. That was last November and it's been in hiding since then. See, I get bored and put projects away, but generally I do pick them back up again. If I still like them.
The one I'm working on now (again) is a piece of white canvas that I drew a spiderweb on. I stem-stitched that with a black perle cotton royal (it's shiny and pretty - you can quilt with it, but boy does it fray). Now I'm doing running stitch with various colors (lots of oranges with bits of yellow, lime green, purple and red) of embroidery floss. I just keep going and going and going until all the white is gone. All of it. That's how I know when it's done. Kinda psycho? Maybe, but still soothing, in a different way than the quilting stitch.
This Web thready is almost done - only several more hours to go. I haven't actually counted how many hours it takes - that's one of those things I just don't want to know. I would show you a pic, but might as well wait until it's done. Then I'll have to decide if I'm going to do a fancy spider somehow with beads or just stitch down a plastic one that I bought at Walmart. The final step will be to frame it - because they just aren't large enough to stand on their own. Previous pieces I've framed with glass (it's dusty here) but I'm pondering leaving it off. Halloween stuff is in a box 10 months out of the year...
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
But remember how I said I'm rigidly inflexible about MY colors? I am. And those aren't colors used in Egyptian applique. So I commissioned a piece from Muhammad Fouad here in Ma'adi. I gave him some solid fabric swatches in my favorite colors, and then chose details that I liked from his other pieces: lotus designs and islamic curves. He came up with the wallhanging. You'll have to forgive the pic - the color is a bit more intense than in life and part of the treadmill is in the way...
It's a great blend of cultures, isn't it. The inner bit is rather ancient Egyptian but with Amish colors and the border is Islamic in traditional Islamic colors. I love it.
And in completely unrelated news, the doctor punctured my knee with the big giant needle today and gave me a new, strong anti-inflammatory to try. I'm crossing my fingers - I'm tired of hobbling around.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Quilt Mavericks have grown some more. Go check out Dawn's sweet little crayons in "Quilts and Pieces."
I overdid it last weekend - did too much shopping and now my knee is unhappy. I know, I know, it's always unhappy. But now it's unhappier and I have to be good. The question is, is it time to let the nice doctor use the really big not-nice needle? Don't think I'm there yet, but I better stay off of it.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
I made "Sensational" right after "Bricks" back in 2002. It's pieced in a slightly different way than my other letter quilts are, but not so much so that you'd notice it right away. I loved the look and feel of this quilt so much that I made my recent bed quilt with the same colors and black letters. The words read: Sensational, Fantastic, marvelous, wonderful, incredible, magnicent.
I'm feeling guilty right now. I've been off having fun the last couple of days, not doing much sewing at all. Yesterday I went with some friends to the Bulaq fabric souk and bought some really hideous Halloween orange pharoanic fabric for 10 LE a meter (that's about $1.70 for more than a yard) as well as some gorgeous black fabric for making folk art cats. The souk was so hot and crowded I thought I might pass out. What a light weight I am.
In the afternoon we went to the Khan and visited Tentmakers' Street - that's where the traditional Egyptian applique is sold. I managed not to buy anything (you all know how strict I am about my colors) but my friends' wallets are worse for wear.
"Moonstruck" was on tv this afternoon. I truly love that movie. "I love you." "Snap out of it." Cher used to be such a beautiful woman and would have aged so well, but instead she went the Michael Jackson route and looks freakish. This has to be one of the few movies I can stand Nicolas Cage in. Can't even think of another one at the moment, but surely there has to be one more.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
This is a happy, positive quilt. Actually, I think this is a photo of just the top. D'oh, don't have a better pic. I quilted this, unsurprisingly enough, in black perle cotton fans.
This is "Bricks," named for the shape of the blocks. (I'm not really into naming my quilts - whatever is easiest to remember is usually what sticks, tho sometimes the names change every few years as I forget what I used to call them.)
This is the quilt that my Tonya bruise block fell out of. My name was supposed to be the last brick in the wall, but it just didn't work. Too purple to go there. Plus I would have had to drop out an adjective, and I kinda liked all those.
I didn't put punctuation in the quilt, but I think of it as "Be yourself, be dazzling, be joyful..." but it could also be read "Be yourself: dazzling, joyful..."
These are all words I'd use to describe myself, at least the me I'd like to be. Sure, there are lots of other adjectives that I could have in there, but that was what I needed to hear back then. And I wanted fun, exciting words. Be honest, be sincere, be kind, be good-hearted: all excellent choices, but not what I had in mind for this quilt.
I'd challenged myself to use every letter of the alphabet in this quilt. Then I experimented with making some letters tall and narrow (imaginative) and others wide (bold). I used the black with speckly grey bits and all the rest are commercially available hand-dyes.
So if you've made a bunch of free-pieced letters and don't know what to do with them, here's a project for you. What shall you be?
63% amorality, 45% passion, 72% spirituality, 36% selflessness
|Interesting. Do not be fooled by his rough exterior; Adam was much deeper than most have given him credit for. Like most, he sought answers to the harder questions of existence: who am I? what is my purpose? You might ask those same questions, yourself.|
Like Adam, you're calm, and dispassionately work to achieve your ends.
Also, you may just have a nuclear core.
|My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The 4-Variable Buffy Personality Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating|