Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Lull

I'm wading through the piles of paperwork on my desk that accumulated while doing the summer program, but mostly things are calmer. Thank goodness! 
My fun news is that I got to hold the baby. My great-nephew William is five-weeks old and still getting used to things here.  They came up Saturday for the 30th wedding anniversary party for my sister and her husband. A fun time was had by all in the pavilion on the Fox River. 

My other news is that I will soon retire.  It came up faster than I'd expected or planned--pushed along by yet another office reorganization.  I think it'll be fine once I figure it all out, so that's what I'm doing right now.  I'm envisioning more stitching, more traveling, more husband, and I'm looking forward to all of that.

And speaking of stitching.  I'm still plugging along slowly...
I stitched down the overlay for the current level of the EGA challenge piece and I added outline stitch around the edges of the blue wheel.  This time I used black with a color for a thicker line and tweedy effect to catch some light.
I've basted down padding for the rim of the wheel. After I took this photo I began stitching one of the shorter sections with raised outline stitch. I'm not sure I like it, but I think I need to add more rows and really pack it full to see for sure.

Friday, July 17, 2015

No Stitchin'--been busy at work

For the past two weeks, we've had a group of about 80 faculty here from universities around the world. They're here for a two-week intensive course in four Law and Economics topics. This is the fourth year we've run this program.  In addition to their course work, we organized a bunch of academic and  fun activities at the University and around Chicago. 

Here they are touring our Law Library. (It's not only one of the best Law Libraries, it's also beautiful!)
This is a typical lunch break. We had a wide variety of lunches brought in from caterers and local restaurants. Faculty joined the lunches to talk about various legal and economic issues.
We sent them on a bike ride down Lake Shore Drive. Many don't quite understand why we encourage this activity, until they see the amazing views they encounter on the way. They end at Navy Pier with dinner. I organized this (and all) events, but didn't go on this one myself.
It's been a busy two weeks with endless questions from and conversations with group members. We had a picnic on the beach with hot dogs and smores, Chicago style pizza, lots of special guests and lectures. It's sure kept us all hopping, but is also great fun. 

And it's helping my walking program...I've walked more some days these two weeks than I used to walk in a whole week!

Friday, July 10, 2015

EGA Challenge--layers 4 and 5

Sorry, this was to have been posted last week...

I've been doing the pressing and organizing on the weekends and trying to do some stitching on the week days.  Below is layer 4. I pressed it over freezer paper and then stitched it with the paper still in to give it a bit of thickness and stiffness. 
The edges where they overlap the box shape at the bottom are outlined in red flower thread.
 This is layer 5. It's appliqued on and the right half is outlined in black flower thread. The outline really makes the shape pop.  This shape is a turquoise cotton with matte grey lace over it. I cut fat seam allowances, so most of the shape is a double (or triple around the edges where seam allowances overlap each other) layer.  The lace added a lot of thickness and body.
I've seen some facebook conversations lately about how much stuff (or little) people need when working on a project. I tend toward pulling a lot more than I'll ever need.  This is my bag of threads (with a package of gray rickrack I thought I might use) for this project. It's mostly flower threads, some floss. And spools of sewing thread for the applique. So far I've used red and black flower thread.  But who knows what all I'll use before I'm done.

More Layers

 Here is layer five done--I like it and I like the feeling of depth I'm getting. I was surprised by how much the simple embroidery added to it.
 Layer 6 and I'm not so sure.  Here it is appliqued. I set it aside to look at and think.
While thinking, I pinned on the next partial layer, designed to show the insides of the large wheel. I like the way it highlights the spokes, add back focus and depth, and tones down all that turquoise, so I think I'll go ahead and stitch it down.  Next I want to add some detail embroidery around.

That may not be for a week or two.  These two weeks are our Summer Institute and things are beyond busy. I love it--we have 80 faculty and graduate students here from around the world. They're a lovely, friendly, very nice group and I'm having a great time getting to know them. But I'm going home and crashing each night.

It's helping my walking--I've walked just about as much every day this week than I'd done in an entire week before!  But I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend and perhaps a nap each day.  Next week will be another fast paced circus.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Odds and Ends

I have a finished object!--it's a bead wrap bracelet I'm going to be teaching next year at Homewood Guild.  It's designed by "On the Surface." I couldn't find a website for them.
 It wraps five times around my wrist.
 My EGA challenge piece from last year is on display in a show at Calumet College in Whiting, Indiana. We went to the opening last week and it was fun.
 And after I ran a conference with them last week, the Law Review board presented me with this gorgeous vase and flowers.  I have them at the office, since I'm there more than at home.

Friday, June 26, 2015

EGA Challenge--adding layers

 Layer 2 was plain applique. I pressed the freezer paper pattern to the back and clipped and pressed the seams using the paper as a guide. Then I removed the paper and appliqued the wheel to the ground. I stitched a line of split stitch using Flower Thread around the wheel/gear.
 The next layer is a box shape. I prepared the fabric the same way as layer 2, removed the paper, but I added a piece of medium-weigh pellon to the lower section of the box to add a bit of dimension. To define the box shape, I stitched a row of split stitch in red and an area of black stitches, outlined in split stitch and then filled with open rows of Bukhara couching.
Layer 4. It's pinned on here and I've begun to applique it. I also pressed this layer over freezer paper but this time I'm leaving the paper in as I stitch. It adds a lot of body to this layer. I plan to outline stitch along the edges that overlap the box--perhaps in red. In the original image, the box was very red. Most of it will be covered by subsequent layers, but I don't want to lose that bit of red.

You can see my border stitches here--most of the red that shows now will be covered by the layers or the frame.

Monday, June 22, 2015

More Layers Challenge

As I was figuring out the pattern for each layer of the wheel photo, I decided to look for fabrics in my stash. And I was immediately stuck again--most of the fabrics I had in my stash were prints. There were a couple of solid grays, but not many. And these prints sent off flashes of excitement, especially some steam punk style prints with lots of gray.

But then I realized my final photo had a lot of blue and turquoise in it, so I added a few (and found that cool gray lace to the right below, over the red).
 This was my final selection of fabrics to work with, shaded light to dark on top of the red background.
And here are the same fabrics with my working photo on top for comparison.

Next was the weeding.  Below are my final fabric choices. I put the gray lace over a deep turquoise fabric. Most of the steam punk fabrics that inspired me didn't make the cut.  (I added one back in, you can see a bit of it in the top photo--it's grey type with bands of rust, so it looks rust colored.)
And here are the choices with the photo.
And here's my start. The bottom layer. All I can see of it in the photo is a kind of lopsided circle.  This one I just fused on.
I think it looks pretty awful, but know it will be covered by the other shapes. (I'm not sure if this is right-side up--before I added layer two, I stopped and stitched an outer border basting line and marked the top of the design.)

I also traced each pattern for each layer (I am making 8 layers) onto freezer paper twice and cut them all out (great do do while watching TV).  The next layer will be needle turn applique--I'll press the fabric over the freezer paper to get the shape and make the applique easier to do.  The layer after that is the red boxed shape toward the bottom right--I'll cut that from the rust fabric. I'll use the second freezer paper pattern to cut a layer of thin batting to go under it. 
Now that I've finally gotten started, each layer is giving me ideas for how to do the next.  More progress reports to come.