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Friday, June 19, 2009

Bookmark Swap

For a few years now I have been taking a monthly quilt class at the City Quilter in Manhattan. Originally a crazy quilt class, because of the high proportion of regulars it has become more of a art quilt/mixed media studio, where we all work on a variety of projects (sometimes even an actual crazy quilt). Recently we've started doing challenges, such as making small quilts totally from recycled materials or trash, or finding innovative or unusual ways of "quilting" three layers of something together, and so on. This time around, the instructor decided to do a bookmark swap. There aren't really any rules, just that it, you know, be bookmark-shaped and flat enough to go in a book, and that in contain something recycled.

I played around with several ideas. I thought of incorporating beading of some kind, since that is my specialty (if I can be said to have one); I could only use seed beads, though, to keep the bookmarks functional. I thought of making charms out of the little colorful plastic caps I've been collecting from juice cartons -- drilling a hole, filling them up with beads and thread and charms, and sealing them, then having them dangle from the bottom of the book. The charms, though, I thought would be too big. I thought of experimenting with various mixed media techniques I've been meaning to try, but that seemed daunting. And then I realized I would be missing the August class and would have to turn them in a month earlier in the beginning of July. So for the sake of my sanity I decided to embroider wool felt. Here are the first three:
(Ignore the scarred and beaten, I mean distressed, table.) I've opted for bright colors for the felt and perle cotton (sizes 3 and 5, with a little 8). What I wanted was to devote each bookmark to a particular stitch and its variations, and to get a layered, not-very-organized look.

The top one is feather stitch. Turns out, there are not a whole lot of variations, but because it is so airy it layered nicely. I still might fill in a couple of spots. Detail:
The stitch family for the bottom one was the chain stitch. There are all sorts of pretty variations, but I'm not thrilled with the way it ended up so linear. I guess I should have meandered more. I do really like the laced cable stitch, though -- that's the 3 pink columns of chain with two strands of red weaving them together.
The middle one is just a simple running stitch. I really like how the stitching came out, and the colors are growing on me. I've since added some teal and purple, but I don't have a photo yet.

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