Wednesday, July 30, 2008

White or red background?

The carpet is in, the computer is back up and I'm getting used to the new keyboard and operating system.  I was able to finish up some ornaments I'm making as samples for a Christmas in August program I'm helping to teach for my EGA chapter.  But I need some opinions on the backing for this stocking.  I've used the needle card blank from Tokens & Trifles but used my own designs and a couple of other motifs from various ornaments.  I can't decide if this should have white or red backing.  What do you think?

I also need an opinion on this piece.  It is weighing me down.  I charted out some motifs from the ballroom rug in the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg.   Somehow I slightly miscalculated so the ribbon that joins the motifs doesn't fit.  I'm also tired of the cross-stitch and colours and I now hate the light blue linen I purchased for the ground fabric - this was going to be a pillow by the way.  But I love the center motif.  So I'm considering cutting things up for crazy quilting.  What do you think?

By the way, this is the other ornament for the class.  This is actually the shape we are using in class but not the chart.  I used the blank chart on the web site to take another chart and adapt it to this shape - again just to show the group how it could be done.
Finally, another Tokens & Trifles project.  I've just written an article about this one (and other tins like it).  I call it a Mini-Memory Tin.  It is an Altoids tin decorated up - in this case as a vacation memory with pink sand and shells inside.  I'm really pleased with the top design.
Off to attend the wedding I fixed the dress up for.  I'm hoping West Virginia is cooler than Virginia or I will be a puddle of sweat at the end of things!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Waiting for carpet

I realize that I should be doing something more substantial than a blog entry today, but I'm waiting for the crew to come and install the carpet so I don't feel that I can start something big since I'll have to unhook the computer when they come. I also have the excuse of needing to practice on our new computer.  I needed to upgrade for work and since my DH is a Mac person we went with this lovely new iMac.  What swayed the balance for me was the huge number of cables and the two pieces of computer hardware under the desk, as compared to the photos of this iMac on the website with just two cords!  Of course I have to learn a new operating system but I've used Macs before (our first computer back in the 80s was an Apple with a 5x7 screen) so it hasn't been bad.  I'm finding some things much easier, once I figure out where everything is.  My address book is another thing, but since I get to use the iTouch that we end up getting free once the rebate comes in, I figure I can live with that.On to something more substantial.  DH the older chose stained glass instead of jewellery making for art camp last week and this is her first attempt.  She made some really nice choices for the glass so there is lots of texture and movement.
With all the time I had to weave while the kids were at the arts center, I was able to finish my first linen runner.  I'll hemstitch then start on the next one, after leaving some length for fringe.

And their are some new additions to the family.  DD the older now has two crested geckos.  We went to a reptile show, which was fascinating, and she finally decided on these two, about 3 and 4 months old.  This is the older gecko - we think it might be female.
This is the younger one.  It has a really nice flame pattern along the back.
They hide for much of the day but their tongues are so neat it is lots of fun to watch when they do come out and so far the cricket colony has not been noisy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some More Stitch Along and Weaving

I received the book Wessex Stitchery by Gay Eaton a while back from a friend and I've been contemplating what I could make using the patterns. I first saw Wessex work done on a band round robin piece by Christine. When you look through the book you realize what a huge range of patterns there are. I worked this biscornu for a larger project but I thought I'd include it here because the center of the flowers is Algerian Eye and the petals are really a form of eyelet stitch - 5 straight stitches coming from a single point. The border is the next stitch in the alphabet of the Stitch Along - the Arrowhead stitch. There is arrowhead in many of the Wessex stitches, including a border stitch where it is called a 'stacked wave stitch'. I plan on doing a sample of some of the more complex Arrowhead stitch patterns for my stitch book.
I was able to get my loom up and running so I could start weaving in class last night. I love the look of the linen warp!
Here is the tabby start with hem stitching - please ignore the blip where I stepped on the wrong treadle.
Here is the huck lace pattern I'm doing. This is really one of those things where a photograph doesn't do justice to the texture and colour of a piece. Again, there are a few places where the pattern is a bit off because the linen threads stick together and the shed doesn't open fully in some places. I've slowed down a bit and I'm being more careful. This will be a table runner for my home so I'm not worried. Hopefully I'll have everything perfect for the second one which will be a gift.
I wonder if every weaving project is a learning experience no matter how long you weave. This is only my fourth project, but this time I've learned about working with a high epi (ends per inch) piece, adding heddles to a frame, fixing a misthread and weaving with linen (lovely but challenging). I'm sure I'll learn another lesson soon, something is bound to happen!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Keeping Busy Despite the Heat

I thought I'd start with some bling. DD the younger is taking metal jewelery design and beading in art camp this week and these are her Monday creations.

It is funny how she has no patience to do cross-stitch but was able to create and join all these swirls into a bracelet. I guess we all have patience for what we really like!

No photos of DD the older's stained glass or graphic design because nothing came home. Maybe later in the week.

I love the new linen I'm dressing the loom with. I'm making a table runner and it will look so good on the black table we have in our living room. This is really a peaceful green. I've had lots of time at the weaving studio. The girls art camp is near the studio so I have some extra weaving time this week. I threaded all 420 heddles yesterday and sleyed the reed today and tied up the pedals. I will wait now to see if I did everything right before starting the weaving. I'm doing a huck pattern using the same green as weft.

I did have some excitement while starting yesterday. I had to add 50 heddles to two of the frames. Cherri tried to show me a way to thread them on but I hadn't paid attention to the direction the heddles were facing well enough so it couldn't be done, so I had to put heddles on by hand. I mention this because even though I couldn't get the threading technique to work at first, I had to use it later because I didn't do a good job keeping the tops and bottoms of the heddles straight as I put them on. As I started threading heddles I discovered that some were crossed. I should have realized that it must be me because I had used the same frames for the baby blanket, but at first I wouldn't admit it. After finding three crosses and realizing that I wouldn't have enough heddles if I had to skip all the problems, I decided I had to fix it. For those who might find themselves in the same predicament, here is what I did. I tied together all the heddles I had threaded so they wouldn't slide off. Then I tied one end of a piece of yarn to the frame and after pulling out the top heddle rod, I started sliding the tops of the heddles off onto the thread until I had removed all the crossed heddles. I put them back on a few at a time to be sure the were straight, and when I reached the good part, I was able to easily slide the heddles on with the thread next to the rod and then pull the thread out. I wish now I had taken pictures, but at the time I was embarrassed that I had been so careless. The main thing is, it worked, and now I have even more appreciation for how the loom works!

Sunday, DD the older and I finished her bedroom painting. She really wanted to get rid of this peachy colour. So here is the room all taped up and ready to go. We had to start with primer so the peach wouldn't affect the blue. After the first coat of blue DD was agitated by all the spots that weren't perfectly covered so I told her to put a bit of blue tape by the bad spots after the paint had dried for a day, so we would be sure to get them with the second coat. The room looked diseased! My husband thought she was maybe trying to see what it would look like Dalmatian-style, since that was her favourite movie as a child. I never realized what a perfectionist she was. I don't recommend anyone doing the same thing by the way. It took some time and was occasionally awkward to get the tape off, and a couple of times it pulled off the new paint!
And here it is done, but without the new Roman shades that are on order, or the furniture back where it belongs. The main thing is, the painting is done and she is very happy with the colour.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another eyelet and some finished work

I started the stitch along with Algerian eyelet stitch and late last week I found another variation on Jenny's blog. It is called a single cross eyelet from Mary Fry's Pulled Work.
I think Jenny's have more threads around than mine do, but I like the floral look of these two.

Here is my big finish! The baby blanket is almost done, except for some hem stitching, which I must do soon since things are unraveling!
This is my mini-tapestry done. Rather meager but I do have a better feel for technique and where things can go wrong - lots of places actually! This will soon be a lavender sachet. I will be sending it to my MIL. It was going to be an ornament, from the Just CrossStitch ornament issue, but I didn't have it done for Christmas and I don't want to try to find (and pay for) the special holly leaf beads that were supposed to decorate the ornament. So it will be sewn up and sent of just plain. Don't be too impressed by the blackwork. The back is horrible but because the linen is dyed and I've used dark brown rather than black, the errant threads don't show. I have great respect now for those who can create perfect front and back blackwork!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

And now for something completely different...

..well maybe not that different, it is still in the realm of textiles.

Inspired by Annie's Crazy World and Spirit Cloth and of course all the TAST and Stitch Along challenges of Sharon B, and all the blogs I have read, I have decided that now is the time to make t-shirt memory quilts. There are piles of t-shirts from all members of the household in various nooks and crannies around the house that have been waiting for me to do something with them. But I've never been inspired until now to start the project. I've been making excuses about space for a large quilt, but I see that I really don't need lots of space for a long period, I just work on a block at a time. And I don't need a full size quilt for a bed, just a nice comfortable quilt for an afternoon nap or something cosy for reading time. I guess as I looked at the great fabrics of the old clothes that were too worn in places to be sent to Goodwill, and as I enjoyed the feel of the old fabrics I used on the horse CQ pillow, I realized that I wanted to hold all that fabric in my hands and work with it. So I'll do a bit of planning to decide on block sizes, and pull out some appropriate fabric to surround the important bits of the t-shirts and see what happens.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stitch Along and weaving sampler

As I gazed at the list of stitches sharonb collected for the Stitchin Fingers Hand Embroidery group Stitch Along, I couldn't figure out where to start so I decided to work alphabetically - not particularly creative, but some days it is easier not to think too much.

The first stitch is Algerian Eye. I worked on Algerian Eye last year during TAST but my goal with the Stitch Along is to fill in gaps with the way I used stitches. Last year I did a ribbon picture which I do like, but it doesn't help me visualize Algerian Eye as a seam treatment. I have a basket where I store all the ends and extra strands from projects for small things, so I'm using those threads in this project - unless I want to test with something in particular.
In this case I used cotton floss, the gold and rainbow are overdyed, some very light blue silk (3 strands) and a bit of ribbon.

The ribbon doesn't do anything for me, but I really like the single strand of rainbow floss. I used the sequencing technique taught by Catherine Jordan at my EGA chapter back in January. It was a departure for me to use a single thread in something like this because usually I like really full coverage in a stitch, but I like the delicate look of a single thread in this case.

As you can see, I didn't do much stitching, but I've been reworking a gown that my SIL will be using as a wedding dress. I had to remove 3 full length lace panels and sew on a ribbon with pearls and beads.
I've also been weaving. I'm up to 30 inches on the baby blanket, no photos since it really looks no different than my last post, just more on the front roller. And I've added a bit more to my tapestry sampler. I'm working from 'Tapestry Weaving' by Kirsten Glasbrook. I'm not doing all the rows, just a quick test, and my colours are totally different, but it is helping me get a feel for the technique.