After cutting up a finished quilt, I used it as the starting point for EIGHT new Notes for a Friend. Here are four of them, #23-26.
Click any image for a larger view.
I really enjoy creating these tiny pieces, each of which is 5 x 7. Many of them look great turned 90 or 180 degrees. They also look fabulous framed. Here’s an earlier example:
Each Note for a Friend is $59. I’ll add them to my website soon, or you can email me with your purchase request.
Four more coming soon!
As part of revamping my website, I’m moving travel articles to this blog. This one was published in 2006.
A Visit to Paris’ Fabric District
Just down the hill from Sacre-Coeur, lies a wonderful surprise. Nestled in the narrow streets are an abundance of fabric shops, each with their colorful wares displayed prominently on the sidewalk.
When I visited in March of 2006, there was lots of activity. Frequently, shoppers could be seen carrying large bolts of fabric, either hoisted on one shoulder, or perhaps carried by two people. I’m guessing that this large yardage was destined for drapes or such.
I did most of my shopping at Marche (Market) St. Pierre. Unlike most of the small shops, this store was five stories tall. (See below.) It was very busy on the day we were there. Among the shoppers were fashion students, who had their sketches in one hand, while they caressed fabrics with the other.
All the fabrics were on tubes, like upholstery fabric in the U.S. The tubes were arranged on large tables. (See below.) There was no cutting table anywhere in sight. Instead, there were lots of salespeople standing around, waiting to help you. Each one held a meter stick and a big pair of sheers. You would tell them what you wanted, they would cut it, and give you a handwritten slip with the price and quantity indicated.
On my visit, no one spoke English, and my French is NOT very good! I did okay until the sales lady asked me “combien?” How much? I THOUGHT I knew the correct way to say half a meter, but apparently not. She just looked at me. Then, I remembered a sign (in French) saying “Minimum cut .50 meter”. So, I motioned for her to follow me, and pointed to the sign. She asked “???” (something, in French, that I didn’t understand,) and I answered “oui!” It worked, and I got my half meter! Later, my sister had the brilliant idea of pointing to 50 centimeters on the meter stick. That worked much better! Of course, the language barrier was part of what made our visit fun, as we felt like we had gotten completely away from the “tourist track.”
I had great fun exploring all 5 floors, and making a few purchases along the way. The top floor had fabulous (and expensive) fabrics, like silks with wonderful embroidery on them. Only €120 (about $145/meter!) Another great thing about the top floor is it’s wonderful view of Sacre-Coeur. The back window is a great place to take a photo!
Across the street from Marche St. Pierre, was a cool trim and notions shop, called Moline. My sister and I loved the way they displayed their buttons. Each type was in a tube, with one button glued to the cap. They were all housed in a big wooden grid, which was set on point. It was a very colorful and interesting display. (See my sketch below. They didn’t allow photography.)
This same shop had a very beautiful and ingenious way to show off their multitude of trims: they had made them up into lovely samples that looked like children’s dresses. (See sketch, above.) Most shops in the district sold only fabric. Others sold only notions and trims. But no store (that I saw) sold both.
We saw another notions shop that carried American “patchwork” (quilting) fabric. These were on traditional American bolts, and were displayed in the usual American fashion. The supply was very limited, however. It made me really appreciate American quilting stores!
What a delightful side trip! I highly recommend it – to everyone. It’s very easy to find, visually stimulating, and a fun non-touristy thing to do!
If you go:
After descending the hill from Sacre-Couer, go left on the street you’re already on. The second intersection is where you’ll find Marche Saint-Pierre, at 2 rue Charles-Nodier. It’s open from 10-6:30, Tues. – Sat., and 1:30-6:30 on Mondays (except August.) From there, you can wander a few side streets, as you head back to the Anvers Metro stop. (2006 information)
When our SAQA “pod” leader decided to step down, the rest of us chose to make postcards for her, as a “thank you” gift.
I had the perfect scraps, given to me by Judith Content.
I thought about proportions and “sweet spots” (good spots for focal points,) and came up with this. Hand stitching really stands out on small projects like this, so I added accents using both a running stitch and a back stitch.
Finally, I quilted it and began to consider what else it might need.
I chose a circle. When I traced it onto the background I messed up, but then decided I liked the effect. So, I stitched it that way with black thread.
Once I cleaned the marks off, the black circle didn’t show up as much as I wanted against the black stripes. So, I smudged some white oil pastel into that area. I’m very happy with it!
Fabric postcards are lots of fun since they’re so quick to complete. When was the last time you made one?
P.S. SAQA is Studio Art Quilts Associates. The state of Florida is considered a region, but we’re too large to easily meet together. Therefore, we have area groups, called pods, which meet to learn together and to enjoy one another’s company.
P.P.S. Want to learn more about SAQA? Send me an email and I’ll tell you all about it. It’s a fantastic organization!
I’m winding down on the latest EIGHT Notes for a Friend. (The ones I cut from a finished quilt.)
After finishing the design of each one, I added a facing. After turning them right side out, but before pressing them, they had a wonderful little puffy shape.
Kinda cute, huh?
After pressing the facings in place, it was time for labels.
Next, photography. Then, I’ll be able to show you the finished notes.
P.S. Hmm, should I write a separate post about how I do the labels? Would you like to read about that?
I cut up a finished quilt.
Don’t panic, though. The quilt just wasn’t that great. Here it is, As I Watched in Wonder.
Thankfully, the colors aren’t quite so jarring in person, but this quilt just never quite sang. (At least not on key!) It had wonderful little details of hand stitching and hand dyed splotchiness. I knew I could at least do something with the nice little details, so I began to consider cutting it up to make more Notes for a Friend.
First, I used a 5 x 7 paper window to identify and mark the sections I wanted to turn into notes.
I spent some time deciding on the orientation for each one (although that’s flexible.)
Then, I added small pieces of fabric to create or enhance a focal point.
Finally, I added more hand stitching to the seed stitching and French knots already there.
Don’t you love those details?
Hey, these were starting to look really good! (MUCH better than the original quilt.)
On a related note, I have a reputation, locally, for being the Queen of the Crop. And it’s not undeserved. Once, in a round robin style exercise, I asked a quilter if I could crop her piece. She agreed and I returned it to her with about 2/3 of it removed. Apparently, this was not what she was expecting! I still get ribbed about that today, and there are frequently jokes about keeping quilts away from me and my rotary cutter.
Still, it’s served me well on other occasions.
I just had to show you two more photos from our trip to Door county, Wisconsin. Many Scandinavians settled this area in the 1800’s and their influence can still be seen today.
On Washington Island, a wooden church has been built to replicate a Norwegian one from the 1100’s. It was very interesting.
While that was unexpected, it didn’t match THIS.
Goats grazing on the roof of a Swedish restaurant! (They do it every day.) Now that’s novel.
And definitely NOT boring!
P.S. You can see a video of the goats here, at about 3:20 into it.
My favorite spot on our Door county trip was a shoreline park near Jacksonport. Check THIS out!
Amazing right? The trees went almost all the way to the water, which was lapping rather enthusiastically against the rocky shore. On top of that, visitors have built cairns. Tons of them!
Aren’t they cool? Some of them are pretty big, too. The tallest one in the first photo is about 6′ tall.
In such a setting it’s almost impossible to resist building one yourself. Here’s my sister adding to one.
And Mom got into it, too.
Later, we visited a beach on Washington Island that has nothing but smooth stones both on the beach and in the water. Can you see the water line below? As you can see, the water was extremely clear.
But, it was almost impossible to walk on that stuff!
These shorelines were very beautiful and unlike anything I’d ever seen.
When I told my husband about all the fun things my mom and sister and I would be doing in Door county, WI, he started calling it “Bore county.” I guess visiting art galleries, cool boutiques, and antique shops, while enjoying beautifully scenery and weather just didn’t appeal to him. But, it sure did to us!
Door county is a skinny peninsula in northern Wisconsin which sticks out into Lake Michigan. The surrounding water creates mild weather and great growing conditions. Which explains the plethora of gorgeous flowers we saw.
The peonies were huge!
And there were many other flowers to enjoy, too.
All the quaint fishing villages are now quaint little homespun villages with mom ‘n pop motels, restaurants, and shops. None of them have stop lights, and they’re all easy to investigate by foot.
Here are my mom and sister at a gallery with graffiti all over it. You can pay for a little pot of paint and add to it, if you desire.
It was NOT boring!
I often use black thread to add definition to my quilt designs. Especially on the petals of flowers.
Of course, when I suggest dark thread to my students they’re, understandably, reluctant to try it. So, I’ve developed a way for them to audition the idea. The supplies needed are a plastic page protector and either dry erase or felt tip markers.
First, test that your marks will come off the page protector. Dry erase markers can be wiped off with a paper towel. Regular markers can be wiped off with a damp towel.
This is the flower needing some definition. It’s supposed to be a snap dragon, but you can see that it doesn’t look quite like that just yet.
No worries. Pin the page protector over the design area. (Most of these photos were shot at an angle to avoid flash reflection.)
Once the page protector is in place, you can just draw directly on it. In the one below, I just went around the edges of each piece of fabric. (Another bonus of this technique is that you get to plan the stitching path.)
In this next drawing, I’ve drawn a pattern more like my usual mode. There are two changes: I’ve drawn in petals even though there’s not a separate piece of fabric there, and I’ve added a second line, which is something I use a lot. Now it looks a lot like a snap dragon, doesn’t it?
Here’s the same technique at work on a poppy-ish sort of flower. Can you see how much dimension those lines add?
The lines come off very easily.
There are, of course, other ways to audition stitching. One is to take a photo, print it out in color, and draw directly on it.
Maybe you’d like to try some dark stitching?
BTW, the flowers shown in this post will be used in the class I’m currently developing. It’s called “Floral Improv” and it will include several ways to make flowers without a pattern, among other things.
P.S. See these other quilts where I’ve used dark stitching:
Rhapsody in Blue Berries
White Poppies (This is a glued collage so the black line is actually drawn on. It serves the same purpose of adding definition.)