Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Design high

A few weeks ago, I was having an email chat with Jake and Melissa, the editors of Quilter's Home. In the course of this conversation, one of them - one whom I assumed at the time was high - said that they had been noticing my sewing projects and that I should consider submitting one of my "original designs" to the magazine for publication. Then the other one chimed in and said, "Hey, I was just thinking that same thing!" Maybe they were both high. Whatever the reason behind this entirely insane suggestion, it took me several minutes to stop laughing and then several more to compose a response that wasn't as harsh as, "Are you both fucking high?"

I have never designed anything that involved fabric in my life. The only reason anything of mine looks good is because photographs hide all the mistakes. Sure, I want to eventually design a quilt, but that's like the guy who plays Man On Toilet in some cheap b-movie saying, "Eventually, I want to direct." Oh, he might direct something someday, but he'll use his cousin's old VHS camcorder to film it and it will be about boobs and vampires. If I were to attempt an original quilt design, odds are it would be the fiber version of boobs and vampires.

Then this weekend, I got a package from Jake. First, there was this utterly appropriate Mother's Day card:

and then this lovely quilt-themed bracelet:

and this mini-pack of charm squares:

There was a card with the charm squares that said "just because I like to see what you do with this stuff!" So that, combined with that weird email suggestion, made me think that I had better come up with something "original" for the charm squares. 

After trolling the internet, searching for inspiration, I decided that the best way to make use of 24 different squares of fabric was to applique some shit on them. Not that I've done much applique beyond circles. I can applique the living hell out of a circle. Watch: gimme a circle. BAM! Appliqued that fucker. I have not gotten much farther in the bird applique project I showed you a few weeks ago, mainly because it is so boring to starch and fold over all those edges, I tend to nod off while I'm doing it and I'm risking a big Clover mini-iron-shaped scar on my face. 

I know that folded-edge applique is not the only method and since I decided that for this project I wanted to applique letters, it was time to dig out the Heat-n-Bond and do some fusible...applique. I need another word for applique. Since this is my first "original" project and I have decided to call it "Boobs and Vampires," I shall now henceforth use the word "boobs" as a synonym for applique and the word "vampires" as a synonym for free motion quilting. 

I was not content to just fuse the letters onto the fabric and be done with it. No, I felt the letters needed some definition and I didn't want the edges to start peeling and fraying, so I did a satin stitch around the edge. I did this even though I had no idea what the hell I was doing and had to stop every few stitches to renew my will to live:

You can see there are places where I didn't completely cover the edge of the fabric, and I still can't figure out how to do those sharp inside points, but from several feet away its not bad and I definitely improved over the course of all seven letters. The same cannot be said for my quilting, however.

I also had the brilliant idea to try a different vampire design around each letter. Naturally, I went over to Leah Day's site, The Vampire Project, and looked up all the beginner designs that I thought I could handle and that would work around a bunch of letter boobs. However, I didn't want the vampires to show, because it would compete with the boobs, so I used an ecru thread. It turns out that if you cannot see the vampires, you cannot really do the vampires. At least not well.

This was supposed to be stippling:

Wandering Clover:

Echo quilting:


I don't know what this is. Some sort of vine?

This was gonna be like flames or something. I dunno. Some of them look a bit like penises, though:

And this was supposed to be Sharp Stippling:

Despite how awful the vampires are, I'm kind of proud of the boobs and of the whole project in general. Here is the entire thing, on my front door where it will live for a while:

So, there you have it. My first truly original design, which I am calling - say it with me - Boobs and Vampires. Thanks to Jake, for the fabric, and to Jake and Melissa for their unflagging belief that I am not a total screw-up. Now on to my next project, which I plan to call Cocks and Cthulhu.

1 comment:

Leah said...

You did a great job with the sign! I work for the company who makes that card and it's one of my favorites. They make one for every season and birthdays. I'm sure you can think of someone to send it to. Love the bracelet, too!