Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two Finishes!

I finished the back of the EGA Challenge by covering the back and edges of the mounting foamcore with a dark coordinating fabric, hand stitched all around. I like the "finished" look of it, even without a frame.
Not really noticable here, except as a thin dark line around the edge. I mailed it off to Judy Jeroy yesterday.  

I stitched this holiday design a while back and a friend gave me the perfect frame. I finally got it all together and laced the linen to a piece of mat board and put it in the frame.  I backed the frame and added a small sawtooth hanger.

Here are some closeups.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

EGA Challenge Nearly Done

I got down to work and have completed the stitching on the EGA challenge piece.  I've begun mounting it on foamcore. All I need to do now is add the backing fabric and personal information and I can send it off to Judy Jeroy.
Here it is.  The top wheel is a detached stuffed shape.  It took me a while to figure out how to stitch and stuff the complex shape.  I ended up cutting the top layer from fabric, adding two cut layers of batting to it and then basting the top seam allowances to the back of the batting.  Then I cut a backing piece, folded in the seam allowances, and hand stitched it to the prepared top piece.  That sounds more organized than it was--there were some tiny seams and clipped curves and I just made it up as I went along.  There were so many layers and then the wooden sticks for the rods, that I ended up gluing the top wheel to the piece.  I couldn't sew it on invisibly or neatly. 
 Here are some close ups.
And another cropped view of the whole--without the ragged edges showing. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Judy Souliotis

This past week, stitcher and designer Judy Souliotis passed away.  I was very sad to hear this news. She was a wonderful designer and teacher.

Several years ago I took a wonderful class with her at the Chicago ANG retreat at Donaldson. All Au ver a Soie silks and Kreinik metallic threads on black canvas.
This is the piece and it was an amazing class.  Judy had added gold leaf and gold paint to the canvas and placed some beginning design lines so everything fit perfectly--a ton of work for a large class. She was so enthusiastic about the ideas, techniques, stitching--the class was vibrant and alive.

For me, I loved the needlepoint with a Japanese twist--the design has a Japanese influence and some of the techniques are based on those in Japanese embroidery.  

I learned so much in this class about color and color placement, working with metallics, working with silks, working on black canvas, couching techniques...and that's just off the top of my head today years later.

I finished the piece in 2010 and I'm very pleased with it. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Challenge progress

I realized that the challenge ends Sept 1st and I need to get moving!
 I decided to stitch the rim on the large wheel using raised stem stitch.  I had stitched on some batting to pad it, but realized that was a mistake--it was too easy to catch in the needle. For raised stem stitch you don't go through the fabric, but skim the surface to make the stitch. 

Above is my first bar--most of this will be off the edge of the picture, so I'm going to leave it as is, even though I'm not thrilled. I did learn a lot about doing the stitch.
For the second band, in the upper left, I removed the batting and stitched over a piece of paper. That worked much better.   For the long band on the right, I left the batting but added a piece of paper on top of it so I have the padding but could also stitch without catching it. That worked very well.

I've also added a circle in the center--part of the next layer of these articulated arms that come out of the center.
I cropped this picture (above) to the edge, just to see how it looks at this point. 
And here's a hint of my plans for the next step. I'm covering wooden coffee stirrers with fabric to make the articulated arms.  I've decided that I need to give the piece a good pressing before adding these more dimensional elements and I haven't been home yet this week to do that. 

Summer time!

It's been hot here more often than not. Lazy summer days!  Our yard is an explosion of pink--the phlox is in bloom.
This morning I picked some kale to add to my lunch salad. Bliss!

Last weekend we visited India Fest in Schererville at the Indian Cultural Center.  Music, food, fun, and lots of glitzy jewelry and clothing. Cute children performing songs and dances.
I got a henna flower on my palm. I love how the color changes. It's bright orange here, in the photo taken Sunday night. Now it's turned brown and is starting to fade. 

I noticed on my walk this morning that the maple across the street already has a few bright red leaves. This tree is always the first to change, but really--August?

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!