Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sewing group project -- Holiday!

These rectangles have been waiting for completion since mid-2013.  It's another project from my fabulous and crazy sewing group.  Many of us have chosen the holidays as the theme of one of our projects.  I decided to do trees.  It could have been a single branch or even just the top, but everyone chose to do a complete tree.  The background is hand-dyed (by me) wool.  The thin black is velvet ribbon and the wider black is black wool.
Here are some close-ups.  Mine is in the upper left.  I used some rug-hooking techniques and various shades of green wool.  The tree is proddy using small strips of the wool.  I cut the ends at a point to mimic pine needles on branches.  The bottom is some glitter-infused velvet that I cut using a wool cutter and hooked just as you would wool in a rug.  The strands of metallic pop out randomly -- a nice bonus I didn't expect.  As usual, mine is one of the heaviest pieces!  An occupational hazard of using wool as your medium, I guess.
Next across is Anne.  Anne of the amazing embroidery and strategic use of sequins.  This design has great swirls and crystal and sequin accents.  I'd know it was Anne's a mile away.  Each year at the stocking contest, Anne's stocking is silk with fantastic appliqué and embroidery.  When her oldest daughter was dancing ballet, Anne did headpieces for the Akron Ballet.  Her attention to detail is unmatched.  I've learned many things from her over the years.
Heinke's is next.  Heinke is the master of never settling for the same old techniques.  Over the years I've seen her try almost anything to get the result she wants.  This piece uses wash-away stabilizer as a backing.  She free stitched using various green and metallic threads, loosely in the shape of a tree.  Once the stabilizer is washed away, all you have is the thread.  Pretty cool.  The red background is hand-dyed wool and she used some metallic thread to do a running stitch frame on the blue background.
Katie is another artist whose work I can instantly recognize.  She is a master of collage using found objects, odd bits of sewing supplies, and vintage materials.  This piece is classic Katie.  I love feather trees and this is certainly a great example.  Each tier of branches has a slightly smaller size of ornaments as you move up the tree.  Katie owns a fantastic clothing store in Hudson.  I wonder how many of these little bits started out as trim on clothing that Katie kept for her personal use?  Her house is full of eye candy.  Mini collections of embroidery thread and religious icons;  small framed bits of art from friends, textile fabulousness.  
On to the bottom row!  This one is Barb's.  Barb and Anne are sisters and our sewing group meetings always have an interesting depth thanks to having sisters in the mix.  Watching the two of them makes me miss my own sister who lives much too far away.  Barb is also a master of embroidery.  Our first year as a group, Barb did squares of silk with the most beautiful bird on a branch.  Each one exactly the same and so precise it would make you cry.  My embroidery skills will never come close to Barb's.  Her tree is airy and light and lovely.  The tiny beads look just like lights and I love how the trunk curves.
Beth is next.  Beth and Heinke are the two in the group most likely to use fabric.  Beth quilts and does massive amounts of sewing for her daughter and son-in-law.  Mark Cesarik is a fabric designer with great talent and Beth definitely makes the most of his creativity with her creations.  But, this tree uses new and vintage Christmas fabrics, probably bark cloth.  Beth hoards bark cloth of all types.  One year we used her bark cloth in a project.  On this tree, I love the second tier up from the bottom.  The large ornaments add so much movement to the tree.  Oh, and Beth is Jewish!  Pretty great stuff from someone that doesn't even celebrate Christmas.
Two more!!  Next is Angela.  You'll have to look closely at this tree.  The tiers are made up of ribbon and on that ribbon is printed pictorial instructions for knitting!!  How perfect for me!  When she gave this to me, I immediately found out where to get that ribbon and I ordered some for myself.  The creamy white and the black printing are the perfect foil for the red stitching.  This also shows why I chose that muddy blue for the background.  Almost every color looks great against it.  It's neutral without being boring and I love it so.
Last but definitely not least is Kathy.  I will take a tiny bit of credit for Kathy using wool in many of her designs.  But, beyond encouraging wool as a material, I obviously cannot help Kathy with anything else.  She is a master needlewoman.  This piece is wool appliqué plus embroidery.  Look at the little bird hitching a ride on the tree as Santa drags it away.  Look at the laces on his shoes!  Seriously fun and fantastic.  I put this piece at the lower right so it would lead the eye off the work.  
The entire piece hangs above the French doors in my house.  I normally hang my sheep there but now I will switch out the sheep in December in favor of my fabulous Christmas tree hanging.

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