I’ve been taking part in the bi-weekly challenges over at Linda Ledbetter’s blog, where we’ve been working our way through Tim Holtz’s third installment of Compendium of Curiosities book. Unfortunately I couldn’t participate last time because the challenge was to use one of the current colors of Distress Embossing Powder, and I only had a few of the discontinued ones. (I’m going to hoard those until retirement and then sell ‘em for a million bucks on Ebay!)
Even though I didn’t take part in that challenge, I was very busy with creative work. It all started when my bestest gal pal, Terri, decided she wanted to try quilting. She and I are paper artists, for the most part, so this was quite a departure! Also, I am not a “precision and perfection” kinda gal by any means, nor do I have the patience for any project that takes weeks or months. Hours to completion is more my speed, so the idea of quilting didn’t really appeal at all. But then I discovered the wonderful, fun and highly satisfying world of rag quilts! What is a rag quilt? Only the best way for a beginner (or impatient, non-perfect, non-sewer) to make a beautiful and useful quilt in hours instead of days! The quilt is constructed by sewing squares or strips together, seam side out, then snipping the seams so they’ll fray in the wash. The end result has a lovely, soft, shabby-chic look, and the best part is that you can be a little “wonky” with the construction and it won’t even be noticeable!
When I get into any new creative endeavor, I tend to go nuts and make zillions of them. Happened with book making, soaping, knitting, felted handbags, gelli plate printing…the list goes on. Rag quilts are no exception; I have made five of them in the last two weeks and have plans for at least five more. I think they’re going to make amazing holiday gifts; suitable for both genders and all ages. The creativity and fun are in picking out fabrics and laying them out together, and the construction is so easy and quick.
Here are four of the rag quilts I’ve made so far. I have given each of them a name; it seemed appropriate to name them instead of having to refer to “that one with the orange-y fabrics” or whatever. The first one was made with flannel fabric donated to me by a lovely gal I met on Etsy. When she heard I wanted to try rag quilting, she insisted on sending me a box full of pre-cut squares! She had made her first quilt with donated fabric and wanted to “pay it forward.” Thank you, Deb! I will remember your kindness every time I snuggle up under “Kiddy Pool.” Isn’t it cute and fun?
My husband named it “Kiddy Pool” because it’s mostly blue and because of the rubber duckies swimming in one of the squares!
My husband also named the next one, which is almost big enough to fit a queen-sized bed. (I got ambitious after making a small one and wanted to go big this time!) I told him it had a vibrant, tropical vibe and he immediately said “Hawaiian Punch.” (Sure, why not?) I made it from fabric gotten for a song from an Etsy seller who had long strips left over from other projects.
My favorite so far is a little throw made from pre-cut squares from yet another Etsy seller. (It’s so convenient to use pre-cut squares; it saves a lot of time and my cutting skills are still very amateurish!) This one is called “Manitou Blue,” named after the street my friend Terri lives on. This one is for her. :)
Finally, the rag quilt I made for my niece’s Sweet Sixteen birthday earlier this week. It took a LONG time to cut, sew and clip all those hearts (and the letters spelling her name), but it was so worth it. I love this so much I decided to make a similar quilt (without the name) in a size to cover the bed in our guest room, which is decorated in the shabby-chic style.
So what does all this have to do with the Compendium of Curiosities challenge? Mixed media, baby! The challenge this time is hand-tinting photographs with Distress ink products. I LOVE hand-tinting photographs; I learned how to do this back in 2005 at a convention from Tim himself. The method described in the Compendium is slightly different now in that it uses updated products, but the technique is much the same. I had forgotten just how enjoyable the process is and I hand-tinted many, many photos in the last few days.
Because I’ve been so into rag quilting, it occurred to me that it would be fun to make a mixed-media project using a rag quilted piece as the base of a wall hanging, and then add all my “usual” fun stuff to that. Two worlds colliding!
I picked up four coordinating fat quarters from Joann’s, pieced together the hanging and sewed it “rag quilt” style, with the lovely, shabby-chic frayed edges. Then it was just a matter of adding the tinted photos and some pretty embellishments, like a flower, lace, beaded hat pins, metal key and a paper butterfly colored with chalk.
It turned out so pretty and was so much fun to make and I still had more tinted photos. Soooo…
…I made a second one! This time I added some Stickles flourishes. Can’t go long without getting out the Stickles!
Won’t you join us at Linda’s? We’re having a wonderful time creating our way through Tim’s Compendium; there’s so much inspiration from the design team and the possibility of winning a fabulous prize package during each challenge! The sponsor of Challenge 12 is The Funky Junky Boutique, for all your “frilly and funky” projects!