Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beading My Garden Path

At our July EGA luncheon, we had renowed teacher, Marie Campbell, join us. She taught us her Garden Path project which was featured on the cover of Needlearts magazine in 2012. In a testament to how much we loved the project, at our Guild meeting yesterday there were six finished pieces. 

Not my best photo, but it was early and I hadn't had my coffee yet. This was designed as a nametag as the name part would be above it. But we six chose to bead just the heart. I know there are some coming along with names attached. And it's funny, but no two hearts looked alike. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Planet Earth

I cannot resist kitting up a project even when I have no idea when I'll be able to start stitching. Right now I'm working feverishly to finish my Garden Path beaded heart for tomorrow's Guild meeting. And in heavy rotation I have my Fenway Canvas, my LSG Mystery Sampler, and my Ghordian Knot correspondence course. Those three all have real or imagined deadlines. I did a lot of basketweave sky last night, but of course in reality it's not that much. I think that's slightly depressing. But with luck, I'll meet my World Series deadline on that one. (Notice I did not specify beginning or ending of the Series.)

I didn't realize the white balance is so far off in the photo until I got it on the computer. It's a Cooper Oaks Warren Kimble seasonal panel. With a lot of Planet Earth Silks and just a touch of Brown Paper Packages Stardust for the snow on the trees. I probably won't get around to starting this until December, but I can look forward to it.

Then there's this online class I'm taking where I get to pick everything. It's not a big project and I just needed to go all Lilly Pulitzer on it. 

This has been my preferred color palette for the past three years. I don't know why. But it just makes me happy. And you have to love the names of these threads. From top to bottom we have: Malibu, Aquarius, Girl Friend, Passion, Hearthrob, Shrub, and Fern. Interestly enough, in the store we saw some Hearthrob tags that had a space inserted so they read: Hearth Rob. Someone has a sense of humor? On their website, it's spelt Heartthrob. However you spell it, it's a beautiful non-stranded silk that's easy to work with. It's meant for 13-14 ct. canvas, but I've got a feeling I'm about to work with these on 18 ct. so I'll be doing the thing I usually have to stop myself from doing which is the tight tension thing. The whole piece is an experiment for me. I might need to add some dark silver metallic to this, too.

The big news is that if grandbaby doesn't decide to arrive on her own this week, she'll be making her debut next week. And that's where we stand in my little corner of the world today.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blue Skies, Nothing But Blue Skies

I don't remember the last time we looked at my Fenway canvas. I know I took some photos in July, but apparently I didn't post them. LOL

See, I was having a problem and even though there are non-problematic areas of the canvas I could have been working on, I don't work like that. I had to put this away so it could simmer on a backburner in my brain. 

Here's where I was when I put it away:

 My problem was the sky. I didn't like what I was doing. Here it is up close:

 This week this canvas reappeared in my stitching bag. On Tuesday night, I stitched the left hand column of bricks beside the flag. Most of the time I was working on this, I was thinking about that sky. 

And on Wednesday I frogged the sky. And tried something else. And frogged that. And tried a variation of the last stitch. And frogged that. And tried something else. And frogged that. And tried a variation of the last stitch. And frogged that. Then unbelievably I tried something else and it, too, was frogged. At this point, I reached a decision. The problem wasn't necessarily the stitches, but the thread. So out with Vineyard Silk and I tried two versions with Splendor silk. 

I told my troubles to a friend on Wednesday night. And on Thursday at stitching she tossed a handful of Finca #12 perle at me saying she didn't think any of the colors would be right. 

Well, I didn't have my canvas with me, having put the troublesome thing back in its pillowcase and leaving it at home. But I thought one ball of Finca might be close to the right color. And I took it home to experiment. 

Thursday night after dinner I sat down one more time to stitch on the sky. And knowing when I am beat, I decided to just try basketweaving. 

Lo, it works!

 And I rewarded myself by starting to stitch the second flag. All I wanted was for this sky to disappear. And now it does.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Beading Class - Garden Path

At our July EGA luncheon, we had a special class with a bead expert, Marie Campbell. 
Some EGA people might recognize this as a Needlearts magazine cover from last year.
I kind of got distracted while beading because I was chatting with friends and I may not have followed Marie's directions to a T. But I'm even further along now and I think it's beautiful. 

So this weekend when I got to pop into the Potomac Bead Co. inWinchester, a few more things might have come home with me. Because I'm pretty sure I'll be doing more of this. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Back from the framers. I'm happy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Notebook Classes

Needlepointers may be familar with the concept of a notebook class, but the cross stitchers probably are not. In fact, the essence of a needlework sampler is what a notebook class is. You take a piece of canvas. You take a type of thread. You take a stitch and stitch a sample. You save your stitched piece with the information and you now have a reference.

In fact, I'm stitching 3 different notebook classes right now. And that's okay because the pieces are small and if I don't feel like stitching on a big project, stitching a square or two on one of these gives you a feeling of accomplishment. 

The first one I started last spring, but didn't get very far. The class name is Potpourri and it is designed by Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson of SHEAR Creations. Their names might be familar to you if you have ever used the Stitches for Effects books or the Red Thread Thesarus. (Stitches for Effects, More Stitches for Effects, and Even More Stitches for Effects are wonderful needlepoint stitch reference books. The Red Thread book is a completely different type of book that details all the needlework threads that were available at the time the book was published. Its thread equivalencies are invaluable if you do substitutions like me!)

I took this class with the Shining Needle Society. Aren't familar with that? Try here:  Shining Needle Society. It is a yahoogroup and here's the basics:

Mission Statement:  To provide nurturing and inspiring opportunities for growth in the study of needlework, with the hope of continuing the legacy of embroidery art for future generations.

 About:  The SNS is a friendly, supportive group that seeks to provide connections for enthusiastic stitchers and the teachers who inspire them. We sponsor online support groups for needlework classes.

There are no dues for SNS and membership is open to interested stitchers.

If you ask to join, you'll be given access to the Home Room and can see what the current classes are. And what's coming up. SSN is always dangling something exciting in front of me.

I knew I needed to start a stitch notebook for myself and this class seemed like a good starting point. What I got: Instructions and threads and holder for my samples. I provided canvas, etc. for this class. 

My first stitch, long upright cross, was stitched with Impressions. The second one, oblique slav, uses Neon Rays. I didn't finish this one because I needed to stitch this one on a stand and use a laying tool. So I started the mosiac checker with Hyla's High Cotton.

 The information with the stitch diagrams includes what that particular stitch might be good for. And other threads that will work well with it. As you see, I get practice with different stitches. And get to work with different threads.

My next notebook class is another Suzanne and Beth class, but this one I took in person with them at Waste Knot in Arlington. I signed up for this before I started working there...

This class theme is animal stitches. I knew I needed this one. I don't have lots of experience with the wools, alpacas, etc. It's been a while since I did turkey work. We played with bunka brushes to raise the nap of the threads. In general had fun and learned a lot. 

My third notebook class is another one offered through the Shining Needle Society. Another collaborative class, this one if offered by Carole Lake and Michael Boren of StitchPlay Designs. The emphasis here is an introduction to different threads.
I'm signed up for all 6 parts of this class. And first one is using Duchess Silk by Gloriana. And I have to say "WOW!" I'm in love with this thread. It's a handdyed silk perle. Suitable for 13 ct canvas and for long stitches on 18ct canvas. It feels so good. You just want to rub it against your cheek. 

As you can see by the time I'm finished with all 3 of these classes, I'll have dozens of stitch samples stitched with various threads. What an invaluable reference tool. Much more organized than my doodles on the sides of my working canvas...

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bayeux Tapestry Replica

I saved this link a few months back. Let's see if it works. 

Bayeux Tapestry replica

I've got a soft spot for Bayeux Tapestry which isn't a tapestry, but is an embroidery. It's a miracle that this piece survives. I nearly saw it in person once. I was so close. But I dislocated my knee on a Normandy beach and my husband got to see it while I got whacked out on painkillers in our hotel room. Le sigh.

Hey, you can also look here for a painted replica:  Bayeux Tapestry painting in Georgia.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

It's All About Rewards Really

On Monday after I got home from work, I finished my blackwork acorn band on the Loudoun Sampler Guild mystery sampler. I made some changes, of course. I only did the middle part of the band. And I didn't do any queen stitches. It's all blackwork. After the a bit, I don't have to look at the pattern, I can just stitch this. Which I love. I'm really, really happy with my acorns. 

I'm so happy that I rewarded myself with a martini!

Which meant I was done stitching for Monday night!

To recap on the mystery sampler:  this is the 5th band I've stitched. I've got the 6th one started then we're supposed to be designing our signature band for the 7th. Wow. I've had some far-out ideas for that one. At one point, I went to sleep thinking about stitching a Led Zeppelin band...but I woke up the next morning thinking that wasn't such a great idea for this piece. I'm thinking a little bit more traditional. 

So I may not have a settled on anything by the time the 6th band is done and I guess I can skip it for a while because we've got a Quaker band coming up! Which will be fun, relaxing, and beautiful. 

Also the Guild does plan on making some type of book of patterns available for sale when we reach the end of this project. I'll definitely keep you posted on that info. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Friday Funday

 A few photos of what I've been doing lately:

This is Miss Polly Nosegay by Queenstown Sampler Designs. Barbara is kind of local to me and I know her through the Loudoun Sampler Guild. She says she found a girl on a sampler with a large nose and this design is a bit of homage to something stitched long ago. I just thought she was cute. I did change out the DMC floss for Au Ver au Soie silks. I think that made my colors just a big darker than originally called for. And I threw into this frame for a guild meeting, but I think I'm going to make it into an ornament. Yes. I have visions of a Christmas tree that has only stitched ornaments on it. In fact, if I made that my goal, I could accomplish it pretty quickly. But that's not my goal. 

This is an original piece by me that I'm called Kites Aloft. This is the result of 2013's Presidents' Challenge where we gave guild members 6 small pearls and challenged them to use them. 

Kites Aloft is my third attempt at this Challenge. The first one I discarded because I'm honest with myself - I don't enjoy freeform embroidery all that much. The second one grew too large for me to finish and I abandoned all hope in May when it became apparent that I bit off more than I had time to chew. That meant I needed another idea. And one morning I just woke up and there it was. I'd use the pearls on the tails of kites. 

I'm going to be completely honest here. All the threads were leftover bits and bobs in my stash. Everything is silk except the teal kite which is an overdyed cotton and the background which is Kreinik #4 braid. There was no planning. I sat down on Friday to see if I could make a kite shape - that's the pink one. On Saturday and came back and stitched the other 5 kites and started the border. On Sunday I finished the border and started the greenery. On Monday I finished the greenery and started the background. On Tuesday I finished the background and kite tails. Five days from start to finish. And I think it turned out pretty darn good considering the lack of planning. It would really be something if I'd put more thought into placement first! LOL

And here's where I am on the Ghordian Knot correspondence course from ANG. We're meeting again next weekend and I'd like to have the next section finished by then. It goes pretty fast when I sit and apply myself. But like always I'm flitting from one thing to the other. But the plan for now is to concentrate on this and the Loudoun Sampler Guild Mystery project.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Phew, A Finish

Baby's first Christmas ornament is stitched. And I left it at the shop for finishing. Just not up for doing this myself right now.

Took a couple of hours to continue sorting threads in the studio. Yikes. I still have cards of Rainbow Gallery to sort. Found a bigger bin to start collecting wool and wool blends in 'cause they take up so much space. I may do some thread giveaways in early September just because I can!