Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Milkweed cycle, in progress

 "Milkweed Cycle" in progress on the design board:

Here are the nine pieces of "Milkweed Cycle" assembled in a circle. They were carefully sewn together by Joann, one of our group of nine. The plan is that the upper part of the circle will be set into the brown fabric at the top. The bottom half of the circle will remain circular. Some embellishments will be added after the whole thing is machine-quilted. There will be a brown binding around the whole piece.

At "6:00" on the circle is the first stage of the milkweed, a seed - and an adorable earthworm - in soil. The progression of the milkweed cycle goes clockwise around the circle. There is actually one piece that is out of order, "Fertilization, " just to the right of "12:00" on the circle, which we somehow didn't catch when we laid the pieces out. It seems we might leave it as is rather than have Joann take it apart and redo it. She worked hard to get the circle to lie flat and did a beautiful job of it. We could philosophize that cycles don't necessarily progress 100% linearly.

It's fun to see the nine pieces coming together as a whole. The only guideline we all followed was to put the sun at the tips of our pieces (the center of the circle) so the bottom of each of our depictions would be at the outer circumference.

It's so true that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Milkweed and caterpillar

"Cycles" quilt challenge: Milkweed...
(Tap on the photo if it's out of focus!)

The Minnesota Contemporary Quilters' current challenge is to create a wallhanging no larger than 36" x 36" with the theme
"Cycles." I'm in a small quilting group of nine women and we decided to collaborate on making a wallhanging for the challenge, using the milkweed plant as our theme. We made a large paper circle with a 36 inch diameter and then we cut it into nine equal "pie pieces," a template for each of us to depict a stage of the milkweed's growth from seed to seedpod. I depicted the stage where the milkweed has mature leaves. Here is a detail, a caterpillar, which may be found on the plant at this stage. It's the kind of caterpillar that will eventually become a monarch butterfly. I love my bright and cheery caterpillar. The milkweed plant is necessary to the life cycle of a monarch butterfly. Monarch numbers are decreasing rapidly and dramatically, due to loss of habitat and the use of chemical sprays along their migratory path. Milkweed plants are native to Minnesota prairies so this theme is something special to us. I will show a photo of the completed wallhanging when it is done.

Happy spring in a couple days. It is snowing here at the moment.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Textile-related images, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland, February 2014:
some memories......

Above two photos: taken through the window of a tailoring shop in Zurich.

Another photo taken through a Zurich shop window: handcrafted bed and bedding, with a contemporary yet traditional folk
look. My husband liked the dovetail detail on the bed frames's corner.

The rest of these photos were taken in the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum in Zurich:

Footwear display: one-pieced wooden highheel shoe with attached heavy woven fabric stocking (there is a mirror at the top of the display case causing the reflection at the top of the photo.) I think they're adorable but  can't imagine walking on the cobblestone streets of Zurich wearing them.

Swiss apparel through the centuries:

Paisley wool scarves (I have one similar to these that I got at a consignment shop in Minneapolis); and the center portion of a huge piece of fine handmade lace:

A fabric sample book - I didn't get the year on it:

Lovely treadle sewing machine with built in cabinet:

(On the iron work under the cabinet it says:"ORIGINAL VICTORIA")

and a magnificent tile floor!

Happy March,