Everything falling in place...

Everything is falling in place and now all I have to do is relax and stitch and stitch and stitch.  Look at the cool fabric that I found for the lining.  How appropriate is this for a spider bag..
I've started on the velvet with the vines and it shows up so well against the black.  I'm doing a back stitch with silk ribbon and then going back over wrapping it with more silk ribbon.  I want to get all the vine elements and webs done early on when it fits easily into a hoop. 

I used potassium permanganate last night to antique a few  ribbons and laces.  I never have good luck with that stuff even when I use it really diluted it is too dark.
I got it all dried and ironed and put away.  I want to jump ahead to the ribbon but know I need to do the groundwork first.

I cut these bamboo handles off a thrift store bag and they are perfect for this piece..

As with any interest I have I always buy too many books and end up only using very few...  whether it is cooking, gardening, needlework etc. and ribbon embroidery is no exception.  I have a lot of ribbon embroidery book and if I could only keep one it would be this one....Ribbon  Renaissance by Helen Eriksson  For me it is how she builds her bouquets and the smaller elements are the icing on the cake.

Every page is eye candy.  Just look at the detail in the smaller flowers... delicious.  This book is still readily available, new or used.  See how she ruched the edging on this pillow.  I used that technique on one of my cottage books and want to use it on the top edge of the spider bag.  It's elegant but doesn't snag or catch on anything.


Defeated but flexible!!

DH left for Israel early Thanksgiving morning and I headed out to spend the morning in the barn.  It was one of those rare winter days when the sun is shining and no wind.  The sun heats up this big room in a jiffy and I went through a lot of bins pulling fabric and trims for the spider bag.

He was hardly down the road and I set up two tables in the living room.  One with all the small projects I want to work on while he is gone and this includes Madi's guest book, the giant green capris, the eyeglass cases, and a green necklace. Another table has all the spider bag materials. No cooking.... just going from project to project as the spirit moves me and eating turkey and dressing for breakfast on a paper plate.

Today I was going to actually start on the bag and I did.  I spent the ENTIRE morning cutting out all the pieces for the bag plus the lining, fleece lining, and the interfacings.  But try as I might I couldn't figure out a stress-free way to partially assemble it and embellish it.
Since this was to be a "no stress" winter project I finally gave up.  I put all the pieces in a bag and will finish it later for another project.  I don't even want to look at it now.....for months.
So defeated but flexible, I decided to just do a ordinary tote-like pattern for the spider bag  and luckily I had enough crushed velvet to do it.  I want to get all the vines on the bag before webs and flowers so step one was to sketch out the vine patterns on freezer paper.  This was all free hand and really loose.

Then I roughly repeated these vines to the back of the velvet (with fusible tricot).  If it were critical I could have transferred it with some transfer paper but since it was so rough and loose I just did it freehand.  Then I did a running stitch on the lines.

When I turned it over I had my vine pattern on the black velvet without any markings on the velvet.  Over the years I have worked many project designs from the back like this.  Especially if it is white, textured or dark material.  The spots you see are light reflections on the velvet.  It is going to be impossible to photograph.  I will work the vines in silk ribbon.  Then I will add the webs and   will add the flowers and leaves the last thing before I assemble the bag.

Again my friend Shirlee surprised me with a special package in the mail..  It was all this silk ribbon that she said she would never use...  What a treasure.  I have it all sorted by color and size and can hardly wait to use it.  This whole project is like a sweet treat and I will stretch it out and savor every step.

Another project that just slipped in my agenda unbidden yesterday  is this necklace.  I never wore it because I never had earrings and decided to make some and one thing led to another and it got a complete makeover.  I may still never wear it but if I do I now have earrings.

The winner of the bag pattern is Cyra in New Zealand... Send me you address Cyra to olderrose@yahoo.com and I will pop it in the mail...


Lost is found...and a giveaway!

My missing  bowl turned up tonight.  When the plumber was here a couple weeks ago, unbeknownst to me,  he used it underneath DH's sink upstairs to catch any leak while he was changing the faucet... DH went to put a mouse trap under his sink before he left for Israel and  found the lost bowl...  
 In the meantime I bought one on Etsy so now I have two...

And I had to apologize to DH because I kept accusing him of doing something with it...

Tonight I sorted through my laces and discovered I have enough lace leaves for 2 or 3 bags.  I swear that when I shut a drawer everything in it multiplies.  I also found I had bought this bag pattern some time back and now I have two of it so I'll have a giveaway.  Leave a comment if you would like it and I will pick someone at random on Saturday...

A mystery, my new pants, the lizard and misc.

First the mystery.  I had a bowl just like this.  I   had it for SIXTY years.  It was my "bread bowl", my "sour cream rolls" bowl, and my double batch anything bowl and it was huge.  Not only that, I kept it on the same spot on the same shelf for the last 37 years... And when I went to use it last week it was gone.  We have looked everywhere inside and out to no avail. Absolutely no idea what happened to it...a true mystery.

I saw this pair of capri pants on the internet and I thought they might go well with the lace jacket for granddaughter's wedding.  So I ordered them and decided to order one size larger because it is much easier to take things in a bit than to let them out.

I liked the look of the tapered leg and it was supposed to be a stretch fabric which would be comfortable and I loved the color and   they had pockets.

Well they came and here is what was in the package.  I still love the color, they are well made, and the fabric is lovely.. But obviously taking them in a bit is not an option and I would have to be six feet tall for them to be "capri."  I am going to take them completely apart and see if I can make them fit.

I finished the pet lizard button for Ella's granddaughter.  It was a challenge.  His name is Bask!

It has been months since I updated the eye situation.  The most important update is I have a new doctor.  The pain from the side effects of the treatments was almost intolerable and I knew I needed to find help  ....but changing doctors is not that easy at this age. 

First there are not all that many retina specialists around here and the good ones aren't taking new patients and the ones taking new patients may or may not accept your insurance. But my opthamologist used her personal influence to get me in with the retina doctor of my choice and all that pain is behind me now.

 I had high hopes for a while the retinal occlusion (blood clot) would dissipate and sight in the right eye would improve but instead it has worsened and although I have some sight in that eye the occlusion makes it   look like everything has gone through a shredder.

So I am left with only the peripheral vision in the left eye which is like on the left... Nothing in the middle and blurry on the outside.  But with lots of lamps and magnification I can do a lot...the hardest part is accepting what I can't do and moving on...  sometimes "moving on" entails a day I call a "wailer"... but they are fewer and further between


Now about the spiders!!!

Spiders have fascinated most major cultures for centuries. In Ancient China it was believed that seeing a spider drop down from its web  was a certain sign that you would be blessed with gifts and good luck from heaven.  Romans  had a favorite  precious  stone they carried for luck upon which a spider was engraved.  Egyptians associated  spiders with riches and carried spider charms at all times.. 

Throughout the history of crazy quilting spider webs have been used as embellishments on crazy quilts. During the Victorian era they were thought to bring good luck to the quilter and they became a necessary part of each crazy quilt.      It is  rare that I do a crazy quilt piece that I do not include  a spider and web on it somewhere.  I do it for tradition and to pay homage to every woman who has put her needle in crazy quilt in the last 100+ years.  And a little good luck coming my way wouldn't hurt either.

So many times embroidered spider webs look like they were laid out with a ruler and every part of the web is perfectly spaced.  Spider webs are not like that and I love it when they look natural.

For spider web inspiration I always look to Helen Stevens, renowned English embroiderer but on the bag I want to have every web be unique.

Another resource I have is a quilt I bought on e-bay several years ago.  It is entitled "Anachrophobia" and was stitched by award winning quilter Lisa DuCoing of Nevada.

I have tried often to get a good full size photo of this quilt but I gave up because the beauty of this quilt is in the detail.  The ribbon and seam work are exquisite.

There are spiders and spider webs in almost every patch and each is unique.
She combined a wide variety of fabrics mixing silks, cottons, fabric flowers, buttons and beads and top stitching on the rose fabric.

In addition to beaded spiders there are beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, etc

I love owning this quilt and find new delights every time I look at it.  There is just one thing that has always  bothered me.  If there is a masterpiece askew on the wall, no matter how beautiful the painting your instinct is to reach out and straighten it. After countless hours of detailed work on this piece it was finished with uneven machine top stitching around every patch and it detracts from all the other beautiful needlework..

Finally I've decided that a good use for my large supply of narrow vintage laces is to use them to frame these gorgeous squares and hide the uneven machine stitching.. A good deed to make my hands happy.

Now the next step is the modify the bag pattern, draw the vine work and to select the fabrics.  DH is taking a group to Israel and leaving Thursday morning so I will wait until then to drag out all the fabrics for my spider bag....


Picking my color palette

Now that I have the mechanics of making the flowers pretty well sorted in my mind I want to concentrate some now on colors.  I said last post that I wanted muted colors...This palette on the right  is one of the palettes that comes up when I put "Victorian color palette" in Google. It is basically what I want but some blues and more variety in value.

This palette is getting there.  It has some more intense values and a bluish gray/green.

I love it when color palettes come with a picture.  It give you a much better idea how these colors work together.

This one has more colors in it but somehow doesn't give me any inspiration. They just don't seem to work together for me.

I eventually settled on this palette.  It basically only has 4 colors - red, yellow, green and blue.  But there is a wide variety of values in each color going from dark to light.
I will print this (probably several copies) and keep them near my work to use as a guide when I am choosing or dying materials.

 I did run across a few palettes that I added to my color file for future possibilities.  I find that using a color palette as a guide opens up new color combinations for me and also serves a guide for adding just that extra color that brings other colors to life.

I would have NEVER thought of using orange, red, pink and lime green but it works and I might try it someday.

I love all the pastel shades of turquoise and pink but doubt I would have thought to add the brilliant cerise which just makes all the other colors pop.

I love this palette.  It is in my comfort zone completely.  This palette and the water lily before it are from one of my most favorite color sites....  Design  Seeds.  They have a daily blog with new palettes every day and you can type in anything... autumn, spring, floral, seaside, carnival etc. and a palette comes up.  A great site for inspiration.

My very least favorite palette is jewel tones.  I have only used it once as the challenge option when I made my vest and this was as far out of the box I could get. Although I am happy with the vest but I will   never use this palette again. The colors were too bright and intense and actually made me uncomfortable when working on it even though  I did add black to temper the brightness of it.  I certainly stand out in a crowd when wearing it.


The CQ BoHo bag begins

Keep in mind that the inspiration for this bag is the spider belt buckle and a round robin block I did for Janet Popish years ago....

I did go over the pattern for the  bag and it states quite categorically that it must be assembled in a precise order.  Well since I have to embellish parts before the assembling, that caution has gone to the winds already. 

I have lots and lots of decisions to make before I start  but since the bag will be covered with flowers and foliage I guess that is as good a place to begin as any.  Keeping in mind my vision problems and frustration level, I am using larger materials throughout including a lot of heavier green pearl cotton that has always been too heavy for anything else.

1. I have decided to do mostly fabric and ribbon flowers....and a little  ribbon embroidery.. I want to do flowers similar to vintage millinery flowers.  Flowers that look like they have gotten wet and been run over by a truck.  In fact I might spray them with water and put them in my antique book press.

2.  I want them to be muted and vintage looking.  No bright colors.  This brings me to the fact to achieve this they will mostly have to be hand dyed or antiqued. And I plan to paint some of them with alcohol inks  after they're sewn

3.  In a perfect world I would use real silk but in my less than perfect world it will mostly be rayon ribbon and whatever works.  I am going to get out of my comfort zone on materials.

4.  I do want a very dense covering of flowers... not quite this dense because I want to showcase  the spider webs...

And I want the piece to have a sense of movement with an art deco influence -lots of flowing foliage,

5.  Since it is difficult working with a larger piece under the magnifying glass, I will be working some smaller floral groupings on buckram  and adding them to the body of the bag.

6. I want to also include vintage laces when possible.  I like the use of lace with the flowers on this bag.

 7.  Some bling, beads or buttons will be included.

8.  I have a big supply of Kreinik threads that I hope to find a use for... I can definitely envision them as floral centers.. And cording...I have  a  drawer of fabulous unused cording.

In the past I have always  added a new skill I want to learn to each project and this project will be no difference.   There is a whole world of off-the-wall fabric and ribbon flowers that I have never tried.

I have this book by Christen Brown which has 132  ribbon flowers.  I plan to try as many as I can...

Now next come the spider decisions.....

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