Feb 102016

After a good break from Scrappy Cats, I had reason to finish up one I’d mostly done last year. I’d culled a small stack of flowery, pastel scraps of fabric for disposal, but then decided they’d make a decent Scrappy Cat together and so it goes. One of my two acting solicitors (Ymabean arranged this one, and the second is AmyKatt) found a person looking for such a gift and so I had pressing motivation to finish this off instead of leaving it to sit around the workshop for a few more moons.

Pastel Flowery Scrappy Cat - front view.
So pastel. So flowery! This is Scrappy Cat number seven and I think I will make more yet.

Pastel Flowery Scrappy Cat - heart and collar.
I free embroidered the heart to give that scalloped edge. I like it. I also went back in by hand and added some light yellow threads as a glowy outbursts from the heart. The collar holds a flower, a heart, and a little star hiding behind the heart loop.

Pastel Flowery Scrappy Cat - zipper belly and AteMouse.
This slender cat has a small belly, only enough to squeeze in the AteMouse. I think I finally have the ears the way I like them now.

Pastel Flowery Scrappy Cat - soft claws.
Soft claws for a soft cat.

Pastel Flowery Scrappy Cat - paw pads.
Lightly padded cat paw. This fabric has clouds and glittery sparkle stars on it, but I think I’ve stitched over all glitter on this paw.

Pastel Flowery Scrappy Cat -back view.
Back detail, with free embroidered flower focus, machine detailed flowers, and my signature star, in a matching purple which is difficult to make out here.

Pastel Flowery Scrappy Cat - flower and magnet paw.
This cat has a small magnet in its left paw. It isn’t very strong, but enough to hold a little pipe cleaner and fabric flower, if you settle it well.

Pastel Flowery Scrappy Cat - head shot.
I especially like the shell eyes for this one. They have a sort of luminous depth to them.

These fabrics, which I wouldn’t have ever bought of my own volition, turned into an interesting Scrappy Cat. I like this one and am glad it has a home.

Feb 082016

Okay, that sucked. Two and a half weeks of intensive work, most of the days lasting 12 hours. Yuck. I spent the weekend recovering from the overlong days of enforced work social interaction by doing laundry, catching up on sleep (to the extent humans might do so), eating junk food and sewing. A lot of sewing.
Pastel equilateral triangles, cut stacks.
The cutting work for this project was already done before the work stuff started, so that helped.
Pastel equilateral triangles, joining.
Stacks of joined blocks.

Pastel equilateral triangles, joined rows.
Rows of joined triangles, ready to join their neighbors.

Pastel equilateral triangles, top (aka flimsy) done.
The top, also known as a flimsy, is together and done. This means the quilt is about halfway done. When it is complete, I’ll do a separate post for it and discuss the design.

Sewing and hiding in my workshop, not having to deal with people, was good. I needed it. It seems that Gretchen needs some attention, too. I’m noticing skipped stitches every once in a while. After this quilt is done, I’ll do some test stitching to suss it out, but I find this ominous. Gretchen has been a workhorse since I brought her home, on sale as a used floor model going out of production, from the local Sewing Center about 11 years ago. As an older Pfaff (meaning, when production was still largely in Europe with mostly metal parts and no computer chips to flake out), I’m sure she can be repaired if needed, but we’ll see how it goes.

Good to be back.

Jan 192016

As always, I have a number of projects ongoing at the same time. They’re all in places where they need a lot of uphill push time, but many of them are also paused. While I wait for a few things (clay drying time, dyed fabric dry time, paint dry time, order shipment to arrive) I thought I’d do a quick, small project. Since my Etsy shop is a tad bare and I’m aiming to keep it stocked with some items this year, I thought a few cuffs, like the ones I made for the Wonderpull at WYO Art Factory gallery last year would be a fun, comparatively small thing to make. Also someone mentioned it would be impossible for them to get a cuff from the machine due to geography and with these in the online shop, they are accessible to almost anyone in the US.
 Bits Fabrics for art cuffs
Here’s a fuzzy workshop progress photo for you. I made some small pieces of bits fabric from recent scraps and used the bunny stamps I carved up last year using my drawings from the Centzon Totochtin quilt. I’m especially fond of the bunnies with vices. I plan to do more such.

Bunny & Bits Fabric art cuff
Here is the first one completed. I listed it in my shop already so it can get some bunny-appropriate attention. I went ahead and put the snap at the common 7.5″ length, but the rest of the cuffs will be “note your own measurement” so that one can get exactly what is needed.
Smoking Bunny & Bits Fabric art cuff
Like this one. Smoking bunny. Yes, I have a lot of pink, red, gray, and black fabric tidbits. And that red flannel? Same leftovers from the More Kitties quilt.

Yea! Items in the Etsy shop! Plus, as I mentioned last batch, I really like making these. Fabric scraps, color mixing, sewing, using my carvings for printing, beading, and using the snap press = all good! I like when I can combine my multiple creation methods into items.

Jan 152016

The Captain, not being a good messenger cat.
We occasionally joke about giving the cats chores, even to simply pick up their toys. Under-the-sofa dusters. Foot warmers. Hah. This is The Captain, not being a good messenger cat. He kept getting distracted by everything or trying to eat his message. Fortunately, Slick was monitoring The Captain’s performance as messenger and stepped in to tell me that dinner was ready.
We’ll find something else for the cats to do. I’m pretty happy when they simply sit next to me and purr.

Jan 132016

The Chinese New Years cards were a pleasant success last year, so I thought I’d do them again this year.
Year of the monkey print.

The Chinese New Year begins Feb 8th and this is the year of the red fire monkey, with a lucky flower of crepe myrtle. These cards feature a monkey, the symbol for monkey, the year 2016 and a crepe myrtle on the front.
Year of the monkey print.
I’ve listed them in my Etsy shop, Creations of Dubious Utility, like last year. Hopefully they will be equally popular this time.

Chinese New Year of the Monkey card pack items.
I like making the card packs up. They’re like little kits, and I love kits. This puts me in the mood to make some zip pouches, too. Kits are even better when you have a place to put them.

Jan 122016

Margarita (aka Cutie Niece) got her quilt last week.
Cutie Niece, Margarita, enjoying her quilt and kitties.
She likes the Bitty Kitties. Here she has pulled them all out of their pockets and gathered them behind her Scrappy Kitten (the big, pinkest one, with shiny silver eyes in the middle).
You can tell she is cat crazy. She has ten cat toys in her hands, sitting on a cat quilt made of cat fabric, with a cat calendar on her wall and some cat art in her window – all while her actual cat sits on the bed with her.

Cutie Niece, Margarita, enjoying her quilt and kitties.
Cali (my sister) said she was meowing with the cats while playing with them. That makes me happy. I am glad I made the whole thing, as crazy cool as it is, since she enjoys it. The happiness of that little girl is completely worth it.

Jan 112016

This was a custom request, based on my mention of the original inspiration for the Cthulhu hanging.
Custom Godzilla pillow
It is a 16″ square pillow with a 2″ flange.

Maker Talk
One of the first hurdles I jumped for this project was making Godzilla out of thread and fabric. I’d never tried such a thing. I grabbed a quilt sandwich square (I keep a small stack of these – very light gray fabric and very dark gray fabric with batting between – at my main sewing machine so I can do quick thread sketches easily — it is like keeping a sketchbook nearby for the same reason) and the first screenshot of the original Godzilla that came up on my internet search. (Picture at bottom of post)

The rest of the design fell into place easily. The navy is the same background as the Cthulhu piece, so they coordinate. Godzilla himself is a fabric base, paint, and two or three layers of thread sketchiness for depth. The tulle was limited to Godzilla’s flame breath, with a fabric base, paint, and glitter and beading for a bit of magic. The house was a stylistic interpretation of the recipient’s home. The sentiment was stitched, stitched again, then highlighted with paint so it pops, both visually and to the touch. I also inset that bit so it would be more noticeable, as separate. I started laying out some rubble and car wreckage to go under Godzilla’s feet, but it was looking crowded and busy, so I took it back off and kept the images more streamlined – leaning towards minimalist. The background was quilted with horizontal lines to keep that clean and simple look going.

I like it, but the real test is the customer’s opinion of it and the end recipient.
The thread sketch:
Godzilla thread sketch.
I think he totally looks like Godzilla. That was encouraging.

Jan 082016

… any snuggle in the cold.

The Captain, cautiously snuggled against Moxie.
Sometimes, when it is cold and you want to snuggle and no other cats or people are available, you just have to risk snuggling up to your mean, little sister.

Click the Dmitri Shostakovich tag to see Moxie and The Captain as kittens, when snuggling was more common. They were a tangle of fuzzy limbs and rounded ears when they were toddlers.

Jan 072016

Each winter I select a myth/figure/character related to the winter solstice and carve a lino block for it. These are printed onto Fabriano medioevalis cards, hand colored, and sent off as Solstice party invitations or winter cards. This winter, the Yeti.
The Yeti, Legends of the Winter Solstice #3.
I now have so many UFPs (UnFinished Projects) piled up on my work table that I had to use my oversize ironing board as a print staging area.
The Yeti, Legends of the Winter Solstice #3.
I really like this guy; he turned out great. I wanted to hit the highlights of the Yeti, the ubiquitous footprints credit, the snowy mountainside where sightings happen by hikers with no one else around for verification, the “is it a monster, a man, or a throwback combination?” form. This print makes me happy. The odd grays you see in some places (like the snow ridges) is an iridescent pearl, which the scanner/Photoshop/any computer monitor ever could not make reflect light in a digital image. In other words, its even better in person.

Legends of the Winter Solstice series:
#1 Krampus
#2 Perchta
#3 Yeti (this post)

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