Thursday, December 27, 2007

finished pillow embroidery

It's done! I didn't get a picture of the final, backed and finished pillow. I put it together by hand and finished sewing on the twisted cording at my sister's yesterday and handed it off to the bride and groom. Here's how it ended up:

I ended up not using any pearls or sequins on it. I made a twisted cord from the burgundy thread to use to tie on the rings. It seems to hold the tie nicely but also pull apart easily so there won't be any unseemly struggles for the rings at the altar.

I backed it with burgundy velvet and for the little boy to hold it, I stitched a 3" wide band of velvet across the back. He can grab the band or he can just slip his hands in to hold it.

Here are the eyelets I stitched in to hold the cording. I also debated just stitching the cording to the top but I decided I liked the look of the eyelets.

My part in the preparations for the big day is over, phew!

Friday, December 21, 2007


I've been working on my ring bearer pillow but it's slow going. I don't have another scan yet because there's not much new to see. I finished the silk wings and have begun couching the metallic outline of the crane's head and center body. Once that's done I'll scan it.

When visiting the hyperbolic crochet exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center, I spotted an old cigarette vending machine. It was an Artomat!

I'd read about them but never seen one. My friend and I were quite excited and both got tokens to buy some art!
I got an incredible quilt: M is for Minimalism by Sharon Benton. My friend Sharon got some lovely black and white bead earrings. Later on another friend, Däryl, got a cool piece of collage art. The art is packaged to the size of the old, soft cigarette packages and each piece is wrapped in celophane.
Since my name begins with M, I was quite pleased to have gotten the "M" quilt! I also had fun exploring the fiber artist Sharon Benton's site. If you have an opportunity to visit an Artomat do--it's a load of fun.
I want to wish everyone a lovely Christmas holiday and Happy New Year! Since the wedding is a week away, I may not get time to post again until the new year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I managed to get a scan last night of my progress on the pillow:

It's coming along. I stitched two more silk feathers last night after I scanned this. It doesn't sound like much but each takes about twenty minutes. Seven more feathers and I'll be done with satin stitch.

As I'm stitching I'm thinking about finishing. I'm still thinking twisted cord. I'm debating endlessly whether twisted cord or ribbon would be better for holding the rings---which might be easier to untie and not knot.

I'm also going to make two small felt pillows, one for the ring bearer to "replace" the fancy pillow and one for the flower girl. I plan to put their initials on them and perhaps a pocket on the back for a note of thanks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

lost pictures

I got a lot done this weekend, but with a slip of the finger this morning I lost my photos. I'll try to rescan them tonight. When I got going, I really got going: I stitched about twelve hours Saturday. Thanks for your encouragement, Barbara.

I didn't get to pick up a needle yesterday until late in the evening so it was good I'd done a lot Saturday.

Yesterday we had about 6-8" of snow to get shoveled, the usual weekend chores, plus I fulled two hats I'd knitted and plan to give for Christmas. The hats take forever to dry and I have six more to do (with one still on the knitting needles). I'd forgotten the toll felting takes on my hands (I prefer to do it by hand). Today my hands and arms are pretty sore.

In Saturday's mail I got back my Embroiderer's Guild of America Group Correspondence Course piece, Crewel Confidence by Judy Jeroy. I am over the moon with her evaluation! It is much better than my last one (Crewel Confidence). I grinned for hours. Here's the picture:

I tweeked a lot, from the colors to some of the stitches and placements. but didn't do anything major to the design. It was great fun and that must have shown in my stitching. Judy's ending comment was "It's been a pleasure to evaluate this piece; please continue with your study of crewel." Woo-hoo!

I think my next step will be the Crewel Individual Correspondence Course. I always intended to do it when Mary Dick-Digges was the leader, and never got to it. I wasn't ready then but perhaps I am now.

Trixietaxi: check out the hyperbolic crochet pages and the crochet reef and you'll be hooked, too. I did my little bits in just a few hours and had a blast. I trolled the sale bin at my lys for the fuzzy yarns I used on the edges. The base yarn is Noro. There are some great new crochet designs out there.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


It's really easy at this busy time of year to procrastinate--I've got work, shopping, wrapping, decorating, cards that all should be done. All are good excuses to procrastinate on an embroidery project. My niece's wedding is in two weeks and I suggested, offered, downright begged to stitch the ring bearer pillow. But for some reason I can't get going on it. I have the design on the fabric. I have the threads gathered. Not a single stitch! I've been working on wedding things for months, shower invitations and favors, wedding favors, etc. but I'm stopped by this.

Here's the shower invitation, which was fun to do. And I had no problem getting it going or completed and mailed on time.

For the ring bearer pillow, the fabric is a lightweight silk with a layer of fine chiffon over it, both in a nearly-white color. The embroidery will be in silk and metallic threads (Kreinik Vatican and silver) in shades of white and a burgundy. I have some wired flower centers that are quite similar to the trim on the wedding dress and I may either attach them around the pillow top using the wires or remove the wires and stitch them on as drifts of flowers. So the plan is worked out and things are set.

I will attach Burgundy ribbons at the dot in the middle to tie on the rings, and an elastic band underneath for the ring bearer to hold.

Since the couple likes classic and simple, I plan to just finish the pillow with a twisted cord around the edge.
This is the book that provided the basis for the design, a ring bearer pillow that I modified a bit by swapping some design elements. The text is in Japanese but the pictures are good and my niece was able to translate some things for me, to get me going.

My niece and her fiance are both Far Eastern Studies majors and have lived, and plan to live and teach, in Japan. That was my motivation for a Japanese theme for the pillow. Nothing else about the wedding reflects this interest, but I thought a touch of it would be a nice addition.

Next week I'll post the progress I make over the weekend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hyperbolic crochet

I was so inspired by the show at the Cultural Center that I tried some hyperbolic crochet and coral reef designs last weekend. I made a hyperbolic coral and a attached two anemonies and some seaweed to a flat stone from the Lake Michigan dunes. The images are a little odd--my photographs were quite out of focus (obviously I need some practice) so last night I scanned the 3-dimensional objects and the images were much better, if a little squashed.
The website for the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef that visited Chicago is There are increcible photos and some instructions there.
There are about three days left for the Chicago exhibition, which also includes a Chicago-made crochet coral reef.

Monday, December 10, 2007

First Post

My friend Leila suggested I start a blog so here I am. So far I've been posting photos of my work on my flikr site,

If you're near Chicago and can get into downtown this week, don't miss the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at the Chicago Cultural Center. This is the last week for this awesome show. So, if you're heading to the loop for the Christkindlmarket or holiday decorations, be sure to stop in at the Cultural Center at Randolph or Washington and Michigan for the Reef. (it's free!)