I have been busy enjoying our fine weather, and sewing some summer shorts for the grandchildren.
They are now ready except for the elastic waistband. That will have to wait till we meet up.
Enjoy the summer everyone!
I have been busy enjoying our fine weather, and sewing some summer shorts for the grandchildren.
They are now ready except for the elastic waistband. That will have to wait till we meet up.
Enjoy the summer everyone!
Posted by kameleonquilt on July 6, 2014
We have just celebrated the 200 year anniversary of our Constitution on 17th May, and as usual on the National Day, everybody who own a national costume, wore it to the festivities.
While I was enjoying myself looking at different dresses with a myriad of interesting details, I was reminded of the rest of the photos of the Ukrainian costumes that have been sitting in my computer for some time, waiting to make their way into this post.
Well, here they are at last.
The first one here is a costume from the Transcarpathian flatlands. We are still in the era of the sewing machine, as can be seen on the vest. It has colourful ruffles made from a very thin fabric, which have frayed a bit over time. The shirt has fantastic smocking and embroideries on the cuffs. The photo of the skirt is sadly out of focus, but shows the multiple colours of the ruffle border.
I have been studying the belt, but cannot quite decide on the construction technique. I have been wondering if it might be made in the old braiding technique called “sprang”, but I am not sure. Maybe someone reading this will know. As I wrote in the first post, there was no information on the individual costumes other than the region they came from.
The costume above comes from the Lemko area. Again, the amount of detailed work is amazing. I like the dense embroidery of the head dress, which is also repeated on the cuffs, and I love the large pearl collar, – and not just because quilters are partial to hexagons.
When studying the embroidery on the skirt, you will notice that each motif is perfectly aligned with the pressed folds of the skirt.
I wonder how many pearls would be used for a dress like this.
Then we move on to Bukovyna, and here they had costumes for both men and women on display. The one above is for males, and it looks like they were not averse to wearing flowery decorations embroidered in many colours, – including hot pink.
The detailed work done on leather is impressive, and I love the woven belt. Also, I was surprised to see that the bottom of the trousers has a border of drawn thread embroidery. They show very little wear, so these trousers must have been for very best use.
Above is the female costume, which, as a whole, appears less colourful than the male counterpart. The most impressive parts are the sleeves, which look unusually long, by the way, – and all covered in embroidery in three very different patterns. The edging on the vest with alternating dark and light fur, must have taken quite some time to accomplish. The belt has a similar pattern and colours as in the male costume, but seems to be narrower.
Now, this one from the Pokuttia region has everything: embroidery, fringes, pearls, handmade cords, – you name it, – and then some detailed leather work to blow your mind.
First, I love the head dress with the colourful borders. To wrap it around the head and make it sit correctly must be an art in itself. The shirt sleeves are also heavily embroidered.
But the most impressive part is the vest. I have no knowledge of leather work, so can only guess at how these things are done, but even to an untrained eye, there is no denying that a lot of work has gone into this piece. Just look at all those small pom-poms, – they look like they are felted. Anyway, each and every one of them have been fastened, – probably sewn, – to the leather along with an accompanying dark triangular leather piece.
The narrow checkered borders on both sides of the the front looks like narrow dark leather bands have been woven into slits in the light leather background. Then there is some cross stitch embroidery, and red and yellow twisted cords are couched on both sides.
The alternating pieces of dark and light fur on the edges of the vest, are even narrower than on the vest we looked at above, and there are also lots of small triangular leather pieces, looking like praerie points, on top of the fur pieces.
This women’s dress from the Hutsulian area is also rich in details, and colours.
The head dress is interesting, consisting largely of pearls, – but I wondered about the tinsel. I guess it must have been highly valued at some point to be displayed so prominently.
I love the pattern in the pearl necklace, – although there are repeats, it appears quite irregular.
The upper part of the shirt sleeves has a very dense, colourful embroidery.
The vest has similar decoration details as the one above, but they are arranged a bit differently. Lots of couched cords, and the edges of the dark triangular pieces are also couched in dark thread, – so much so the leather almost disappears. Lots of eyelets are also used as pure decoration. It also has a colourful embroidered border at the bottom, in style with the shirt embroidery.
Here it is obvious that the base leather is sheepskin, which I also suspect is the case of the vests in the photos further above.
In addition to a woven belt, there is also a woven band adorned with pom-poms wrapped across one shoulder, reminiscent of a ceremonial sash, some times used at weddings. Now, if this is a wedding outfit, maybe that would explain the tinsel, – just guessing here.
The corresponding men’s costume from the Hutsulian area is even more adorned than its female counterpart, minus the pearls.
The shirt front is richly embroidered in many colours and patterns, including numbers which indicate it was made in 1961. The woven belt is quite wide and has stronger colours in it than the one on the women’s dress, – maybe it is newer and less faded.
The vest has similar decor elements and placement as the one above, minus the embroidered border at the bottom. This one has larger, dark triangles, and they are adorned with lots of eyelets and have their edges couched with green cord. The checkerboard strips are wider and have three bands woven into them.
The footwear is also similar between the two costumes.
This is a woolen cape from the same area as above. It has some embroidered decor around the neck, down the back, and along the seams.
The tip protruding at the back looks like it could be a hood, but I have not been able to detect an opening for the head. It is a mystery to me why it looks like this, unless it is meant to cover a load carried on the back.
The last two costumes that were on display, are from the Podillia area. The men’s costume has a long shirt, with a wide embroidered border around the opening at the front. Stitches around this opening also serve as a strengthening of the fabric, which can easliy tear at the bottom of the split.
The decorative leather work on the west is more similar to the ones from the Bukovyna area than to the two shown directly above. This also goes for the belt, which seems to be woven in a jacquard technique.
The most prominent feature of the women’s costume from Podillia, is the strong decor on the sleeves. With two heavy, black and red pieces at the top, – not sure whether they are embroidered or sewn in fabrics, – and a wide, black zig zag ribbon sewn in a spiraling pattern around the sleeves, they sort of define the whole costume. The red colour is also repeated in a many stranded pearl necklace.
The vest is decorated in similar technique as the one above.
Seeing this exhibition, and then studying the individual photos afterwards, has been like a journey, – very interesting. People everywhere like to dress up, and being well dressed is always a way to show off either wealth or status.
A lot of these costumes has been very time consuming in making, showing that these people had time on their hands, and material, to spend on other things than just scraping a living.
The first post about the exhibition can be seen here.
Posted by kameleonquilt on May 26, 2014
It is Festival time again over at Amy’s Creative Side.
Since I am working on projects that cannot be shown yet, I decided to write about an older quilt this time, – and then I thought, why not go to the real old ones while I am at it. So here we go: the first Kameleon Quilt:
After the quilt was made back in 1998, people were constantly asking: How did you come up with this idea?
Well, how indeed.
Keeping track of my creative process, and then explaining it afterwards, is not at all easy. The process is for the most part visual, and does not translate well into words. Words as such come into play only as long as they trigger mental pictures.
Well, - here goes anyway:
It started as a brainstorming for a special log cabin quilt I wanted to make, – something that would be a bit different from just ordinary log cabin. I had been into three dimensional folding techniques for a while, and was pondering if three dimensional pieces could be added to the quilt somehow.
I had also just read, and immensely enjoyed, Antonia Barber’s book about The Mousehole Cat. I loved the illustrations, and many of them were mainly in blue greens, which are my favourite colours.
Mowser the cat helps save the starving village “Mousehole” by pacifying the Great Storm Cat so his human can land a catch of fish. Afterwards they celebrate with “Stargazey Pie”.
Just from this last word a lot of associated pictures came to mind: yellow stars gazing out of a velvety blue sky, the oval bluish fish peeping through the golden pie crust, the pie shape in my quilt design program which easily makes a melon patch block when doubled and flipped over.
I had also flowers in mind. They are always appealing, and the Stargazey-Pie-word made me think of the flower called “Night and Day”, a small pansy-like flower with dark violet-blue and yellow petals.
I was finally able to visualize log cabin blocks surrounded by flower petals, a yellow centre, something orange and pink folding out onto a blue-green background of leaves. Yes – I could make that happen by alternating the colours of the blocks and let the petals be three dimensional., standing out from the surface.
Could I make the petals open and close? – that would be fun. What would the quilt look like with closed petals? Very green, perhaps, because then the petals would cover the yellow centres. And maybe it would be boring if all the yellow disappeared behind the green leaves.
Could I make the leaves more blue and put in some yellow spots for stars somehow? The Stargazey word had not left my mind yet, and since the flower petals close at night, the quilt ought to look sort of “nighty” with the petals closed.
What if the petals didn’t close completely, but let some of the yellow flower centers show through? Cut holes in them? Yes, that was definitely a possible solution. But when the petals opened again, then the blue-green would show through on the orange-pink side of the petals, – well, so what? The holes could be leaf- shaped, then they would fit nicely with the flower theme.
How could I make the holes in the petals look nice? I did not particularly fancy raw edges at the time. Passepoils? Too much work, and I might not get them to be flat.
Cut the petal in half and curve the two adjacent edges? That would be sort of cheating, but it might work well. Curve the edges?????? That’s it!!! Curve the edges of the petals themselves, and there will be no need for holes or cutting in halves.
The idea was too good not to try out, so I eventually sat down and drew a pattern and then sewed the quilt. I discarded the log cabin block and went for a block with straight diagonal seams instead. All the time I felt so smug when thinking about my quilt which would be able to change between two looks: open petals and closed petals, and at this stage I had also figured out that I needed loops and buttons to hold the petals in these two positions.
As I had joined the blocks into rows and was sewing the rows together, the three dimensional petals wobbling this way and the other while I was sewing, I suddenly realized that my quilt would have more than only two looks. In fact, there were so many possible combinations, I was not able to figure it out. An internet acquaintance, who happened to be a computer engineer as well as a quilter, helped me figure out the number.
The triangles, or petals, can be buttoned in an unbelievable 1 152 921 504 606 846 976 possible combinations. The number is so huge I did not even know how to say it, and I bet many of you do not know how either.
Out of this, “only” 512 combinations will make up a symmetrical and balanced pattern, which is still a lot more than the two I had planned.
I probably should not reveal that this was a surprise to me, but rather do as the cat does after it falls off the window ledge: just walk away with a posture that says: “it was not an accident, I intended to fall all the time”.
But I admit it, I did not plan all these combinations, they just happened!
I named my quilt “Night and Day” after the flower, but a friend commented that it was just like a chameleon as it could change its look endlessly, so I also called it The Kameleon Quilt. With so many looks, it deserved to have more than one name.
Later I have made more quilts using the same principle of the 3D petals or flaps, and then they were numbered Kameleon Quilt no 1, no 2, etc. They can all be seen on my website.
I eventually wrote a pattern for the quilt, and also taught classes. It also hit the TV-screens during the last season of “Simply Quilts”.
Over the years people have sent me photos of their own renditions of the quilt. I am often told that especially their menfolk are intrigued by the quilt and the way it can change its look almost endlessly. It is a great toy. :-)
Here is our oldest grandson engaged in buttoning the flaps to change the quilt.
This quilt is entered in the “Original Design Quilt” category in the Bloggers Quilt Festival. Please head over to Amy’s site and check out all the other entries there.
My entries for the previous festivals can be seen here:
Posted by kameleonquilt on May 16, 2014
It is interesting to look back on my previous spring reports and compare between the different years.
This year beats all the previous ones in terms of early blooming.
We have had a very mild winter with next to no snow, and then the last part of April was exceptionally warm, …..
…….so the woods turned green record early, and everything was suddenly in bloom.
On May 1st. when these photos were taken, a little bit of winter had returned. Showers of snow are coming down from the north.
In between the showers, the sun comes out, and everything looks like summer again, ……
…. but it is quite cold when venturing outside. I love the colour of new leaves when the sun filters through.
The white wagtail (motacilla alba) has returned from Africa, and is busy patrolling our veranda bannister, hopping and flying up and down outside the windows to catch insects hiding between the wall boards.
In between he rests on the telephone line.
The cherries and plums are in bloom record early. During the warmer days earlier, a few bumble bees were busy visiting the flowers, but there are not a lot of other insects around yet.
All the narcissuses have been out for at least a week, and hopefully they will last a bit longer now the weather has turned cold again.
Hopefully that will also be the case with the rhododendrons and tulips as well, – some of the latter being nearly finished already.
The strawberry bench is in good shape already, and the blueberries have been blooming for two weeks. I cannot remember seeing blueberries in bloom in April before.
It is even earlier than the spring of 2011, which was the best one before now, since I started taking photos in 2009.
Spring has been really good this far, so I will not complain about a little cold and snow, even if it is May.
(As long as there is no real frost, that is.)
Posted by kameleonquilt on May 3, 2014
During the recent Olympic Games in Sochi, quilters everywhere admired the Games’ patchwork theme, which I wrote about back in May 2011.
The fact that the patchwork bits were inspired by different traditional crafts, including embroidery, reminded me of some photos I took not very long ago, and which I intended to show you here.
The museum at Maihaugen, Lillehammer cooperated with the Museum of Folk Architecture and Customs of Lviv, Ukraine, to show part of their collection of Ukrainian folk costumes at Lillehammer last summer. We travelled through the area at that time, so we planned a stop at Lillehammer to visit the exhibition.
I have spent some time during the last week or so, sorting through the photos I took there. Meanwhile, the political situation in Ukraine has escalated, and is still unresolved and threatening as I write this.
Amidst all the turmoil, maybe it is fitting in this situation to also have a look at the beauty that has been created in this region. One term that comes to mind after studying these dresses is: “Flower Power” :-)
As the small poster accompanying the exhibition tells us, the costumes are from late 19th century and first half of 20th century, during which time the sewing machine came into use. The poster explains how the shape of the costumes changed after the introduction of the sewing machine. (Click on the photo to enlarge).
At the exhibition, the costumes were divided into two groups: before and after the introduction of sewing machines. The latter group, above, has costumes with sewn waists, while the group below has the older long shirts with woven belts.
Here I will post some photos of the youngest costumes, and will have to make a new post with the older ones later.
(Click on the small photos above to see the full version of the photos.)
Like we do with quilts, I find it interesting to study how things were done, and to sometimes wonder why. The joyful red colour of the embroidery above (which seems to have been colourfast, by the way) is very prominent on the white background, and would certainly stand out in a crowd. The shirt is very well made with lots of detail and even stitches, and the edges of both the collar and the cuffs are beautifully finished off with embroidery stitches. From a distance the waistcoat is the most eye-catching piece, with the larger flower embroideries.
However, when looking closely, one can see that there is a difference in workmanship between the shirt and the waistcoat, and also in the waistcoat itself, namely between the embroidery and the general construction, including the machine stitching. It looks as if more than one person has been involved in the making, or perhaps some older item with embroideries still intact, has been remade into a waistcoat. Lots of questions pop up when you start looking closely. The buttonholes, for example, puzzled me especially, – why buttonholes (and not very well made at that) and no buttons? At least the maker took care to cut them in between the flowers so as not to ruin, or unravel, any embroidery stitches.
The “make-do”- phenomenon, which we often see in quilting, is also present here. The maker seems to have run out of the flowery ribbon and had to use some yellowish ribbon instead on top of the left front piece (to the right on the photos). It goes both vertically and horizontally at the top, but in the corresponding horizontal space on the other front piece, there is no ribbon at all. Again the question pops up: why?
The skirt raises similar questions. It looks like hand embroidery, but the border patterns do not fit at the seams, at least not all of them. Why go to all that work and not have the pattern fit?
But let me assure you: none of these questions entered my head while walking through the exhibition. At the time I was just impressed with the gorgeousness of it all, and had no time to contemplate the details. It is when I look at the photos afterwards that I start noticing things. So, any young or older woman wearing this costume, would just look beautiful, I think.
Below are more costumes, and similar questions could be asked about a few of them. There is always something to wonder about when you are curious, but I will try to not repeat myself too much.
This one was quite restricted colour-wise, – only “a few” coloured flowers and leaves on the vest, - but the blackwork on the shirt is to die for. You can also see that the machine stitching in black is very well done. The distance between the two parallel seams is so even that one might suspect a twin needle has been used.
There was no written information about the individual costumes beyond the general information on the poster at the top, except for the name of the region the costume came from. The two above, and the next two below are all from the Lviv Region.
The costumes were behind ropes, and the lighting was a bit varied. I had to zoom in on some details where I could not reach close enough with the camera, so not all my photos came out great. I could only use the flash sparingly, so on some of the darker costumes, the details do not show up very well, or they are a bit out of focus. Still, I chose to post some of the lesser photos anyway.
Here the flowers are blooming in a riot of colours. The shirt has lots of flowers arranged in orderly borders. It is interesting to observe the arrangement of the decorative elements on the shoulder pieces. Also, I love the creative use of colours in the embroidery on the vest.
This costume strikes me as a celebration of earthly gifts: golden wheat fields with poppies in them, and an abundance of grapes. And then the flowers on the apron. The amount of work to make a dress like this is awe-inspiring.
The pattern of the necklace could be an inspiration to any quilter.
This costume is from the Polissya region. The flowers have been left behind, except for the cuffs. Also notice that the embroidered pattern on the collar is widely different from the one on the cuffs, – and then the shoulders and sleeves have yet another pattern, which is a bit similar to the woven pattern on the skirt.
I found this costume especially interesting as it was the only one with sewing that resembled quilting on the waistcoat, – or maybe the term machine embroidery could be used.
Also, we can deduce that at one point the owner must have put on weight, or the dress has been passed on to a new owner and needed to be fitted. As you can see, some of the buttons have been moved. The old positions are still visible for the two buttons at the bottom. With the buttons in the old positions, the quilted leaves forming a zig-zag pattern, would have fitted nicely at the front, so this was well planned from the beginning.
When looking closely, you may also notice that the red fabric in the waist border is a twill fabric, while both the red and black fabrics above are satin weave. The two red colours are so similar that the difference is not noticeable, except when looking very closely. With so many different elements coming together, one could almost call this a patchwork project :-)
The last costume for now comes from the Boiko area, and is almost solemn compared to the riot of colours displayed on most of the previous ones. As with the rest of the costumes, the shirt does not lack decor, particularly on the shoulder pieces. I also love the smocking on top of the sleeves.
This was it for now.
I will start sorting through the rest of the photos, and eventually write another post showing you the older costumes.
Posted by kameleonquilt on March 6, 2014
I have just changed the look of my blog a little bit. I found that my old theme had been retired and did not get updated with new, useful features.
I found another theme which looks a little bit like the old one, but has features like Gallery, which I plan to use a lot. I love to add lots of photos in my posts, so this means you no longer have to scroll miles to read through a post, but can choose to click through a collection of photos, or just look at the thumbnails if you are in a hurry.
It is not quite finished yet, – I still have to tweak a few things to get the look closer to what I want.
Posted by kameleonquilt on February 23, 2014
Sometimes I just fall head over heels in love with a quilt. That is what happened with this one:
I spotted it as it was posted for sale at the website “Through our Hands”, and I could not believe my luck that it was still available when I came across it. I decided on the spot that this was going to be a Christmas present for myself, and hurried to buy it before someone else could snap it up from under my nose.
It was made by UK artist Annabel Rainbow in 2011. If you visit her website, you will see that it is very different from her current work, which is absolutely fantastic, by the way.
The quilt is approximately 58 cm square, each block is 6 cm, and it is made entirely of silk fabric. The centre is Cathedral Window blocks, surrounded by a row of Secret Garden blocks. Those of you who are familiar with the technique, will know that a lot of fabric goes into the creation of each block. It is hand sewn through and through.
The borders have a pattern in reverse applique, with border fabric re-appliqued on top of the circles in every corner. The blocks all have a small pearl in the centre.
The name of the quilt, “Hoc Sensu Modo”, is hand embroidered along the top border, and it means “This side up”.
It is a gem, and I just love it.
Posted by kameleonquilt on December 30, 2013
Sometimes I buy quilts that I like, if they are for sale, and if I get the chance.
This spring, Australian quilt artist Dijanne Cevaal advertised a sell-out on her blog. When I became aware of it, my absolute favourite was already gone, but my second choice, “Night of the Iguana II”, is a stunner too.
This week she is having a second sell-out on her blog .
Many of the advertised quilts have already sold, but there are a few left as I am writing this.
Go and have a look at her blog “Musings of a textile itinerant”.
Posted by kameleonquilt on December 10, 2013
This quilt was started as a way to use some blocks that were left over from a previous project, The blocks had lots of colours in them.
I wanted to make something to resemble a landscape, so grouped some blocks with similar colours and added strips in between. The blocks and strips were then framed in a light blue fabric with a pattern that looked like clouds.
I wanted a very big tulip to be in the centre of the quilt, and with the background finished, I drew it to size and appliqued it on top of the background and border.
One of my goals in making this quilt was also to practice some freehand machine quilting on a piece that was not too unwieldy.
I had a lot of fun thinking up different kinds of doodles that would fit inside the space between the wavy lines.
I also played around a bit on the tulip itself. The result is so-so, but I hope to experiment more with this kind of thread work later on.
This will be my contribution to the 10th Blogger’s Quilt Festival. A small jubilee, since I have participated in all of them up to now.
My quilt is entered in the Applique quilt category.
Here are my previous entries:
Be sure to visit the Blogger’s Quilt Festival to see all the entries.
Posted by kameleonquilt on October 25, 2013
Lately I have been working with a very young designer on a new quilt.
He has long been dying to lay his hands on granny’s sewing machine, as he knew he would be permitted to do when he turned five. (The older brother was five when he first sewed, so we had to be fair).
However, there was a huge time span (for a five year old, that is,) between his birthday and their next visit to our house, and since he also wanted granny to make him a new quilt, he started the design process while he waited.
First, he thought about what figures he wanted to have on his quilt. He decided on an octopus, an egg, and a car, which he drew on paper. He also thought the car wheel and speedometer should be included, and a (self made) road sign would also be appropriate.
After drawing these shapes on paper, he decided to make all of them in fusible plastic pearls (nabbi), and then tape the pearl shapes on top of the drawn ones. A very wise decision, since this made the shapes to stand out very clearly.
It was also important to make notes of the sewing sequence.
While working on this, he also composed a song (lyrics and melody) about the quilt. Sadly, this was forgotten by the time he finally came to granny’s house.
Before the visit, I had acquired a photo of the design sheet, and had made some enlarged drawings on paper backed fusible web.
But first things first. Before we could go on with the quilt design, or food, or anything, he had to try out the sewing machine. Here is one happy child :-)
After a while, we managed to choose some fabrics for the quilt. The figures were easy, as he wanted the same colours as the pearly shapes, but the background was a bit more difficult. Blue with silver suns and stars was finally chosen for the background, and some green, turqoise, beige, and red for the quilt blocks.
After making all these decisions, and watching and helping with cutting and fusing the figures, he could finally work on a little project of his own. The leftovers were all his, to do what he wanted with.
Then the quilt was put on the back burner for a while, because he wanted to make himself a bag.
So he gets free access to granny’s fabric resource center (aka stash), and has a great time rummaging through lots of plastic bags.
Oh, the joy of finding a perfect, lovely fabric :-)
For the bag(s) he decided on a rosebud pattern, – perhaps because it was available in several colourways, so he could make many similar bags. He (and granny) managed to make three during that first weekend. Note that one of them also has a pocket for his future mobile phone.
There are still two more colours of this fabric, so I guess there will be more bags before long.
He also decided that he wants a fabric collection, and it is going to have at least a hundred fabrics. Of course, granny’s resource center provided a few to start with. He first counted 31. Then he cut some of them for one of his small projects, collected the leftovers, and when he counted again, there were 37.
Useful lesson learned: Fabrics multiply when you are supposed to use them. There will be 100 in no time.
As for the older brother, he goes for quality rather than quantity. This is a quick sketch of the design for his bag. Orange is his favourite colour.
And here is the result, which he can be very proud of. Sewing all those squares down took some time, even if they were fused first. And there are squares on both sides.
It was finished a few weeks later:
The white, musical fabric was a favourite, and it reminds us that there once also was a song about the quilt. The designer and recipient was happy with the result.
Now, there are some Pokemon drawings waiting to be turned into another quilt, for another young designer.
Posted by kameleonquilt on August 18, 2013