Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Crafty inspiration

Three books have inspired me to get back in the craft room studio.

Quilts of Gee's Bend: Masterpieces from a Lost Place by William Arnett, Alvia Wardlaw, Jane Livingston, John Beardsley is a beautiful account of quilting by African American women. Stunning photographs and engrossing stories. But the inspiration, for me, was JUST MAKE IT. Great grandmother quilted. Mom quilted. And somewhere inside me, there is a quilt. But life is busy and I figured I would look forward to that when time passed a little slower. But this book has motivated me to get out the fabric and teach myself to make quilt! No patterns, no T-squares, no pinning. Learn to quilt and have fun while doing it.

Next I picked up a book titled Subversive Cross Stitch by Julie Jackson. This woman is after my own heart. She revealed her dislike of cutesy kittens and bears offered in the pre-packaged cross stitch kits. Her subversive urge caused her to add sarcastic comments to the otherwise milquetoast stitching. (And I thought I was clever to stitch "If you've nothing nice to say, come sit by me" in fancy script.) No, Julie Jackson is way too cool for school, what with her "Go Fuck Yourself" patterns. But again, inspiration struck and I quickly stitched a fingertip towel for my friend Bonnie with her oft repeated command, Bite Me.

And then I found Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To by Jenny Hart and Alexandra Grablewskifor. I have cross stitched for at least twenty years and while I enjoy the activity, I don't want any of that crap in my house. It is fine for baby gifts but not for the wall. So, after perusing the local library, I checked out Kids Embroidery by Kristin Nicholas. I have all of the needles and floss but what to stitch on? The scrub pants were right there and a handy future reference. With my well-stocked craft stash, I pulled out water soluble pens and stencils to mark my fabric. The stitching began. Hey, this is easy! Meanwhile, I am kind of pissed that I have been jacking around with cross stitch all these years while I could have been doing embroidery.

A look around the house turned up my stack of cotton tea towels. Stitched all of those. Then made a purse. And embroidered on that. Purchased six packs of nice cotton tea towels from the KMart Martha Stewart collection. And I am looking at all of my unadorned pillowcases . . . Everything will be stitched before my hands become arthritic!

Yay, my creativity has been juiced!

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