Saturday, August 2, 2014

Back to Flowers and a Blogging Break

It's been an unusually cool and wet summer and the garden is loving it.  I keep picking lettuce for salads and it keeps coming.
This year the phlox are especially abundant and more multicolored than usual--we have every shade from white to deep red violet with many interesting mixtures going on.
Some of the flowers are solid, some have dark centers, and others light centers.
I especially love the hot pinks of the phlox mixed with the oranges of the tiger lilies. They bloom at the same time each year and I rhapsodize about it each year.
We have more pure white ones than usual.
I'm going to have my other knee replaced next week, so I'll be off line for six weeks or so. I hope to get a lot of stitching done while home recuperating--I have my projects all lined up!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Finally, some embroidery

I've been dividing the little stitching energy I have between my local EGA chapter's summer challenge (which can be revealed in the fall)and the EGA Challenge with a Twist (which can be shown along the way). Here's where I am with the Challenge with a Twist.
I've focused on the water (midground) and tried to show the background, midground, and foreground of that with thread thickness, stitch length and the density of the rows. I've been experimenting with the breakers.
First I did outline stitch, but it was pretty invisible, so I whipped it with a fine metallic. I left it that way in the background.  As I get closer to shore, I've added detached buttonhole stitches, first with an old NeedleNecessities overdyed metallic braid (#8) and then with strips of tulle put into the needle and stitched like thread.  As I approach the shore, I'm adding in some tan tulle--sand showing through the water. 

All the while, I'm thinking about the foreground and how I want to do the figure. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Flowers

Last weekend, in kind of a post institute haze of exhaustion, we drove up to Naperville to Anderson's Bookshop so I could pick up my copy of Diana Gabaldon's new book, Written in My Own Heart's Blood.  On our way home, we swung by the Oak Park Conservatory to visit the flowers and birds there.  It is a lovely haven that always lifts my spirits. We ate our lunch on their outdoor terrace and then wandered in the conservatory.






This is actually a lemon, a Ponderosa Lemon.  There was a yellow one above it but I couldn't get a photo. They lemons are about the size of a softball (huge) and are used for lemon oil.




These leaves are all one plant--they change colors dramatically as they age.
View from the bench where we ate lunch. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Institute photos

 It's very quiet at work this week, without our summer institute participants.  We were having a quiet morning conversation near the classroom when a friend offered to take our photo with my iPad. It came out pretty good, given the birght backlight. Each of us on the bench is from a different country.
 This was at the formal banquet.
 Most of their time was spent in the classroom in intense study.  Most of my time was spent next door keeping things organized and running.
This photo was taken at our opening mixer event. Chicago style pizza, salad, and fruit.  We had similar lunch buffets each day where I got to sit with and get to know the participants.

Now I'm paying bills and getting the planning for the fall conferences underway.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Institute

For the past two weeks, I've been running our Summer Institute. Once it gets going, it's lots of fun--grueling long days, but, still, fun.  So not much needlework to show (one finish at the end).
To relax, last weekend we went to the Antique Power Steam Show at Crown Point. It's one of the highlights of our summer--kind of a low key county fair.
 It was lovely weather (we went Sunday, after Saturday's deluge was done and gone).
 Most of the biggest steam tractors weren't there because the ground was too wet for them, but there was still loads to see.
 This little engine really could--it went all around the grassy area, to the delight of the passengers.
 
 Hubby in the grandstand, waiting for the Parade of Power.
Here's my second monogram, another gift.  It's finished, framed, and wrapped. I have a third underway.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

EGA Challenging, getting under way

I have a treasured large pad of heavy vellum that I used to make the detail to size tracing for my final piece. I chose the beach scene. I plan to frame it over stretcher bars so I extended the sides to cover the sides of the bars.  So the inner border is the top and the outer border includes the sides.
At the International Quilt Festival I shopped for the project, looking for texture to add to all three images I have in mind. I found hand dyed cheesecloth and some lovely loosely woven cotton that will unravel nicely.
Each of these cards has two different fibers. 
I found some subtle hand dyed cottons for backgrounds.
A bundle of silk remnants. I buy one each year just for fun. I saw some leaves and bark in this one.
And I got to work.  On a piece of old sheet I drew my outlines.  For the sky I used a plain cotton but I colored it on the wrong side with crayons. Just a hint of color comes through.  The water is layers of tulle and netting.
The sand is pleated rust dyed fabric I made a few years ago.  I sewed the seams across and basted it around both the inner and outer borders.  Next, begin to embroider the water.  I'm going to leave the sky unstitched.

I'm still debating on how to do the figure. Applique? Satin stitch? (My recent side trip into monograms has me leaning in that direction.)  fused fabric?

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 4th Weekend

Things are going to get (even more) sporadic now. Today's the first day of the two week summer seminar. Looong days.  But fun.  Then in August, I'm going to have my second knee replaced (did the first in January).  But for now...
 On the Grand Old Fourth I worked.  (I dragged Hubby in to the office with me so it was fun, for me at least!) We saw awesome fireworks at the park down the street from our house.  On Saturday, the gang met at my sister's for lunch.
 The weather was beautiful.  We feasted and talked.
 
 And I stitched.  I had the "brilliant" idea to stitch some gifts for some of the Summer Institute people I'm closest to.  I decided on monograms as a "west meets east" kind of thing.  This is for a Chinese friend.
 This for for a Thai friend. In Thailand the day of the week you are born determines your color. His is orange (as is mine). 
 On Sunday we drove out to Lubeznik Gallery to view the current show.  I love the detail in this shibori by Frank Connet.
 By the end of the weekend I had my Thai letter completed and framed.  It helps to have a deadline like a trans-global flight coming up to get the fingers moving.  The circle that looks like a watermark on the embroidery below is actually a reflection of the camera lens in the glass.  I didn't notice it until too late.