August 22, 2011

Phat Quarter Food Swap (or how I work the Simpsons into everything I do)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 9:40 pm by Pam

I know that by now, I’ve expressed my love for the Phat Quarter a million ways. The Phat Quarter is the Flickr branch of the wonderful stitchers found on the Mr. X Stitch site. I feel honored every time one of my pieces goes up on Mr. X Stitch, and I wouldn’t be able to do half of what I am able to do if it weren’t for the people in the Phat Quarter and all the photos of their truly amazing creations.

Ok, enough of that.

Every few months, there’s a swap held on the Phat Quarter, with some theme to stitch around before mailing off to a stranger. This month’s theme was food – a perfect theme for a food blogger, no? Pop culture references usually go over pretty well in this group, so when a few different Simpsons quotes popped into my head immediately, I figured I had a good foothold on the subject (did I mention that I taught a class in college on the Simpsons for not one, but two semesters?). Then I found out the person I was mailing to is named Lisa (here’s her blog!), and ideas started to fall into place. I asked Lisa if she was a Simpsons fan to make sure my plan would work (although if she had said no, I don’t think I had a back up…).

I opted for one of my favorite lines of Simpsons dialogue, from the episode Lisa the Vegetarian (yep, the one with Paul and Linda McCartney)… only to find out that I have been misquoting the episode for years (and I use this quote pretty damn often). I like the version in my head better (“mystical, magical animal”), but I had to stick to the real quote for the stitching.

The whole time I was stitching this, I had a strong craving for bacon…

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April 25, 2010

Self-Winding Yo-Based Toy

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 10:28 am by Pam

Do you ever have a day where you see something and immediately think that you HAVE to have it? Usually, it’s stuff that’s easy to obtain – food, clothes, books, etc. But images?

A few months ago now, I was watching an episode of The Simpsons with friends (The Color Yellow, in which Lisa researches her family’s place in the Underground Railroad). The episode has been pretty well panned since airing, but I loved it – I laughed out loud more during this episode than I have at most recent Simpsons episodes. In the middle of the episode, Milhouse disputes Lisa’s claims, and uses his distant relative’s journal as proof. Flashback to a very-Milhouse-looking boy reading “Mr. Thomas Jefferson’s Marvelous Inventions.” The page he had open was for a Self-Winding Yo-Based Toy, complete with copy about the wonderful things it can do.

From first glance, I was smitten. I loved the design and the simplicity, the old-time feel, the cross-hatching – all of it. I wanted this on my wall. I tracked the episode down on Hulu and took screenshots of the image, then set to work.

I crayon-tinted the fabric, although looking at it now, I probably would have been better off doing some sort of fill stitch for the black areas (I’m quite happy with how the yo-yo itself turned out). It was very detailed work, especially the lettering, but if anything, this taught me patience 😉

By the way, the lettering, which is my favorite part, reads “This device, which will astound that natural scientist, delight the wizened crone, infuriate the feeble-minded, can be manufactured with a mere six months of whittle-work and hemp winding. It can perform tricks most unnatural, including exercising the hound, oscillating the infant, and lunar cannonading.” A close-up shot of the stitching is here.

March 23, 2010

Sneak Peek

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:27 pm by Pam

I started this piece almost a month ago, and I’ve been working on it in fits and starts. I am totally in love with it, though, and can’t wait to see it hanging on my wall. Maybe by next week?

March 2, 2010

I’m Idaho!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:56 am by Pam

I’m a big Simpsons fan – have been since the beginning. Back in 1989, my brother was home from college for Christmas, and we watched the then-new show together. (Years later, I watched reruns of the Tracy Ullman show all the time and loved the original Simpsons shorts.) The Simpsons are so ingrained in my upbringing – quotes, sight gags, situations – that I can tell when I’m talking to someone who hasn’t watched the show much because they can’t follow what I’m saying. Did I mention that I taught a class on the show (not once but twice) while I was in college?

Anyway, Ralph Wiggum has always been one of my favorite parts of the show. I even quoted him in my high school yearbook (“Go banana!”). He’s such a misfit, and I just love him.

After my first little embroidery kit from Michaels, filled with stem stitch and satin stitch that never came out quite right, I was a bit scared of those two stitches. I decided to grab my fear by the horns and do a piece entirely in satin stitch. I didn’t master the technique with Ralph here, but I got a much firmer grasp on the concept. It doesn’t scare me quite so much anymore.