Friday, June 27, 2008

Finishing and starting

I'm trying very hard not to take on too many things over the summer. Since I stopped working full-time nine and half years ago, I've had this awful habit of thinking that I'll have lots of time in the summer since the kids are out of school and I stop leaving the house for my part-time job (i.e. I still work on the computer from home, but I don't go to the library every day). Somehow the time never materializes and I'm frustrated. So this year I've set very modest goals - work on the Stitchin Fingers Hand Embroidery Group Stitch Along, do some stumpwork, and do some weaving.

But first I thought I'd get a few things out of my done but not finished pile - you know the stuff that has the embroidery done but needs sewing up or framing. I started with the little topiary piece by Catherine Jordan that she taught at my EGA chapter. Catherine's kits included cute little metal finishing forms, which I found quite easy to use. The project was originally finished as a pin keep, but I have a large pair of scissors I'm using in my weaving kit so I made a scissor fob - it would be too big and heavy for embroidery scissors.

These photos are before framing, but I did frame these two pieces from Colonial Williamsburg that I stitched up for my SIL. Quick and easy, which was good for evenings watching mysteries on TV. I've discovered you can't do extensive counting while watching a good mystery - maybe while watching a bad one, I haven't tried that.

This project is from way back in September 2007. I decorated the flap of a neat, fold up embroidery blanket. You put it on your lap or table to provide a clean working surface and it is white or dark (green in my case) depending on what sort of background you need to work on. I've had the stitching done since last year and finally stitched it up on Saturday. You can see the fancy topstitching I did with the machine - I haven't used it much so the fancy stitching is still fun. It folds up into a neat little packet that easily fits in an embroidery bag.

My starts are weaving projects - although I will be starting some embroidery soon as well. I was able to get to the weaving studio this week and got a good start on the baby blanket I'm making.
Of course it didn't turn out quite as I expected - I thought the coloured weft crossing the white warp would be lighter, more like the white weft crossing the coloured warp. But I am happy with the result and it will be a soft, washable blanket in the end. I am doing double weave so there are two layers, one side open, so when I'm done it will open up to a 48 inch wide blanket. Because I am just doing plainweave, I have a chance to concentrate on my edges this time and work on tension. In retrospect, I should have done some practice weaving to get comfortable with the tension of this particular yarn, but after over a foot of weaving, I'm not starting again.

I also found a small wood frame loom that belongs/belonged to DD the younger. I've taken it over and I'm working through techniques in a tapestry book I have out of the library (sorry I'm too lazy to walk to the other room to get it right now, I'll tell you the title later). Eventually I want to do real tapestry weaving, but I'm learning from my TAST experience and making a sampler to practice things first. The pale blue is the header so it isn't part of the piece - although I have been know to make some poor colour choices. Not much yet, but I'm learning, which is the main thing.

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