Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lush Life

Lush Life:  The Fall Collection
Media in the Studio:  Eureka, Season 2 and 3.0, lots of other stuff

About 10 years ago I started thinking that the soft sided luggage I made in the 1980's was due to be retired from active service.

I had an image in my mind of the perfect fabric.  I searched for a long time, never found anything like my vision, and eventually almost forgot about it.  Then, while looking for fabric for Helen's sewing machine cover, there it was--the exact fabric from the vision.  Title of the fabric is "Persia" and it is a tapestry weave upholstery fabric.

I bought 5 yards and just started sewing, without any master plan.  I looked at the bags that we actually take on various trips and duplicated them, using the same Butterick pattern from the 80's (4105), along with garment bags, drawstring bags, and a giant tote. I had bits and pieces of other upholstery material that coordinated with the vision fabric, and many years collection of bits and pieces of trims, mostly acquired from thrift shops (and supplemented during several trips to JoAnn's).

I had way more fun than is allowed by law.  The sumptuousness of the fabrics and trims kept me entranced.

I can never resist adding an element of humor.  The completely over-the-top nature of these bags is the big joke, since my husband and I are strictly jeans-and-t-shirts types and stay in cheap motels when we travel.  The title represents the appearance of the bags, of course, but is also an inside-Hillsborough joke.  Pretty much everything about the massaged and marketed promotion of history here in "Historic Hillsborough" strikes me as funny, including the annual jazz festival held in honor of Billy Strayhorn, whose only Hillsborough connection is that he spent a couple of summers here as a kid.  Billy Strayhorn: Duke Ellington collaborator, composer of "Take the A-Train" and "Lush Life" (which is also the title of the PBS biography of his life).  Explaining just why this is funny would take way too much time but if you want the background, feel free to read my doctoral dissertation on the relationship between people, place and history here.  ha!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stargate Quilt

Stargate Quilt
When Patty and Len got married I promised them a Stargate quilt. We are all big fans of the show. It took me several years, but I finally finished it in time to take it up there for my nephew's wedding.

The top photo shows the front of the quilt. If you don't know the show, the Stargate opens with a whoosh and allows you to travel to stargates on other planets.

The back of the quilt is in an informal strippy style with several Egyptian themed fabrics and leftover fabric from the whoosh.

Many thanks to the Stargate fans at the SyFy bulletin board.  I asked them for help early in the project design phase, and they responded generously.  At that time I planned to embroider sayings on the quilt, but when it came down to it, simple names worked better in the design. 

I hope they will agree about the design and forgive me for asking them for help and then not using their suggestions except for one or two, such as "Ya Think?"  and the title of the quilt is "Indeed".  Thanks again, folks, you were great.

My favorite part of the quilt has got to be the chevrons.

They are three-dimensional because they are attached only at the top and bottom, which gives them a bit of depth.  I found just the right fabric for the glowing part.  The photo also shows embroidery details that mimic the details of the gate, and the embroidered gate symbols.  My thanks here go to the unknown person who created a TrueType font of the gate symbols and put it up in Wikipedia.  My embroidery machine will do any True Type font.

Finding the font was a huge aid to the project, as was finding the stargate whoosh, a fabric titled "radiant orb", once available from equilter.com.  But sadly, available no longer.