Wednesday, November 25, 2009
She couldn't unthread the needle and set off with me showing her how to do a running stitch. She finished her butterfly quickly. I was intrigued to watch her lay the colors of thread out in the order she wanted. The first time she came to the end of her shape she waited patiently for me to thread a new color in the needle. The second time, she picked her color, cut a strand of thread with me guiding her regarding the length, and then began pulling out the strands. I threaded needles and made knots in the tail after that--otherwise she was on her own.
Next she wanted a horse. Her daddy drew that. Then she noticed I wasn't doing the same stitch she was. So I taught her outline stitch and she stitched her horse. We discussed how curves came out nicer if you made smaller stitches on them and she continued to do that as she worked her way around the complex outline.
She then carefully trimmed around her treasures.
Her brother was intrigued but not at all sure about those needles that prick fingers. (He saw me prick myself.) So he dictated and I stitched. I think it's a Pokeman figure. He carefully selected the figure, drew me several sketches to base the design on, picked out thread colors. When I didn't have black, he suggested I cut very tiny pieces of black felt and sew them on with the darkest thread I had.
We then backed his figure with another fabric and stitched around, with K carefully adding a cotton ball to round the shape out. Then he cut around the shape, with mommy's help. (The photo was taken before we stitched on the back and cut the figure out.)
Boy, was it intense! Both children had much more concentration and focus than I did at their ages. All the while the adults were having good conversations, over the top of our our stitching. The fun only stopped because we had to start on our long ride home. I realized I hadn't moved for hours... youch! But it certainly was fun.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
And I've had Finished Objects to show! This weekend I got the sewing machine out and finished some things. I'm going to put them all here in one post, because I know I won't get back to the computer for a while.
This 1970s Columbia Minerva, Erica Wilson design chatelaine is brand-spanking new. I bought it at an antique shop several years ago, all in the closed package (probably what's called "mint in box" by antiquers and they'd probably be appalled that I opened and stitched it). It took me a long time to stitch. I found it a bit fiddly but fun. The duck fabric was hard to sew and my hands hurt from the finishing by the time I was done--and I did all I could on the machine. But I like it, it's so bright and colorful.
The loops at the bottom hold strands of thread or scissors. The pattern had them stitched but I sewed on large snaps.This little pin doll is another long-languishing project. It was just a pattern so it took forever to find all the bits of fabric and trim and get them all in the same place at the same time. Once I had that, it went together quickly. The design is called Lil' Butterfly by Susan McFadden (1990--I told you it sat around a long time!)I know I've shown this before, with the knitting complete. But now it's really, finally done. It has ties and a lining (red corduroy). I also have a lovely little red corduroy gift bag when I cut the original lining piece too small and didn't notice it until it was stitched, French seams and all. It will come in handy for the holidays.I found these nifty little bits at J0-Ann's. The are preprinted fabric designs but instead of buying yardage, you get a small piece (fat 1/8th?) with the two ornaments (printed front and back) or the pincushion (front, back and sides). Both came with instructions and the ornaments came with the ribbon for hanging. I added some touches of embroidery to the angel but left the others alone. The bottom of the pincushion has the blue of the angel on it. Everyone needs a holiday pincushion! I also stitched the completed pears. Here are the third sides. I began stuffing them and ran out of polyfill. The pattern suggests doll pellets to weight the pears and I think that or a large washer is a good idea, but I haven't had a chance to get out to the store. Maybe Friday.
We're off for the long holiday weekend and I can't wait. (although I know I'll be tempted to come in to work--it's just looming!) Thursday we're going to Brookfield Zoo with a friend. (it's free day, too!) We're doing the family gathering on Saturday. Sunday is a car event (a collector is hosting an "open garage"). Busy weekend.
Tuesday is my first holiday party and I need to have gifts done, wrapped and ready. Yikes!
Friday, November 20, 2009
I made up a couple of fragrant gift baggies for friends and then destemmed and froze the rest for us. This was the first time I'd grown thyme and I was quite pleased. Sometimes sage and rosemary will winter over, but mostly not. My hands smelled of thyme all evening--I really enjoyed it.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
In addition to news items for our members (what to bring to the meeting, etc.) we also plan to announce Chicago area needlework events, show what our members have stitched, and hopefully discuss issues relevant to us and other needlework groups in this day and age (how to raise funds, how to increase community awareness and membership, how to promote needlework and share, and how to attract younger stitches).
HEG was begun thirty years ago. The group grew out of Hardanger classes at a local shop, the Scandinavian Boutique by owner Aina Momquist. She was a major influence on me and my interest if fine embroidery.
HEG is a smallish group of about thirty right now. We're not affiliated with any larger group and we follow our own muse. As member's interests have evolved, so have our meeting workshops. We tend to stick to projects that require a needle with an eye but that's been everything from needlelace to bookbinding to beading. We've also veered a bit on occasion and included knitting and other textile arts.
We meet in Hazel Crest, IL, at the Hazel Crest Community United Methodist Church, 17050 California Ave., Hazel Crest, IL 60429-1137 on the second Monday of the month at 7:15 p.m. We welcome visitors who are interested in needlework and perhaps in joining our community.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I'll send it anywhere. To win, just leave a comment for this post. Please be sure to include a way for me to contact you in case you are the winner. Thanks!
If you have trouble with the security on comments, please look at my profile and send me an e-mail. This giveaway will end on Monday, November 30 at 9am central U.S. time.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This is what I came up with. It's much brighter in the photo than it seemed to me in the store. Hmmm. The larger piece in the back will be the main body of the purse. I haven't sorted out the rest yet. I did get the pattern enlarged and I copied the instructions to send to my niece hoping she can provide guidance.
Actually, the sewing looks pretty straight forward and I'm not too worried. I'll just need to think it through--things like doing the zipper in the top and do I want to add a solid base, feet, interfacing, etc. It's now on hold until after Christmas.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This blog has recently been hit several times by spam in the comments. For now I'm going to tighten the level of security on comments (sorry) and if that doesn't work, I'll probably turn them off for a bit until they lose interest and go away.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I met my sister and s-i-l and we drove out to Sycamore, IL. Sycamore is a Very Pretty town and we really enjoyed looking at all of the really cool houses. (It's about 60 miles west of Chicago.)
We had lunch at the restaurant pictured above: Nat's on Maple. Very yummy "trendy comfort food." (I had Mahi-Mahi sauteed in a gingered broth with fresh vegetables and jasmine rice for my belated birthday lunch--it was all the better for the wait!)
Then we drove over to Tammy Tadd Designs. I was looking for fabrics for a purse I saw in a Japanese Quilting magazine (more on that another day). My sister was looking for fabrics for a new quilting project. My s-i-l was just looking. This shop has loads of fun fabrics. If you like to quilt but aren't into the classic dull colors, get on over to Tammy Tadd's--there's color everywhere. Before hitting the doctor's in the morning I ran into Trader Joe's for almond butter. They gave me a box of apples--they weren't selling so every customer that wanted one, got a box. I should have put something in the picture for scale. This is one Mammoth apple (probably why they weren't selling--they're waaay too big). It's at least a pound. When we got back to my sister's house, we sliced two up and made yummy baked apples with cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and nuts. Vanilla ice cream added the crowning touch. We spent the rest of the afternoon finishing projects. I worked on felting this reluctant-to-felt entrelac bag. It flattened out enough that I can finish it once it's dry. We measured (three times, I think) the placing of grommets on a shirt. They're all done now. I sewed the last button on a knitted vest and overcast a couple of buttonholes (made by s-i-l for her dad). I sewed handles on a knitted purse (also by s-i-l). I worked on an embroidered ornament of mine. My sister worked on some needlefelting and a fleece top. S-i-l stitched a couple of zippers into knitted garments. At the end of the day we all felt very accomplished and pleased. When she was getting her stuff out for finishing, my sister ran across this piece. I remember mom making it--it was a huge struggle for her to stitch on the velvet with the tiny beads. The note was tucked inside. Mom would really enjoy the sight of the three of us carrying on the family tradition of sitting around the table with our hand work.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I also got some time on Sunday to enjoy the sunny and warm weather, read (I'm nearly to the end of Diana Gabaldon's Echo in the Bone--I can't believe it's taken me this long. Usually I sit up all night 'till it's done!) and get the laundry caught up. I also got some time to cook (I cook on weekends). I made chicken-vegetable soup, a pasta dish with white beans, zucchini, spinach, fresh tomatoes and lots of garlic and onions (hubby has a bad cold) over brown-rice pasta, and our standby beef and brown rice oven-bake--with loads of really good fresh kale. Doesn't seem to have helped his cold much but I felt good about doing it.
We've been having a time of it (using my best Royal We here). My handy hubby's fixed the 'fridge (30+ years old) twice now in recent weeks. Yesterday he replaced the motor. There's still one other problem, some frozen back-up inside, that we may need to call service for. When that's not acting up, lately my older car has been (ha! older as in 2001---for us usually older means 15 years old or more!). He replaced the radiator recently--an all day job. Then coming home from embroidery guild on Monday, as I backed up to park there was a really horrible noise in the breaks. When he took the wheel off to look, pieces fell out--big chunks. That's today's repair task with the help of a friend who has the proper (expensive) tool. He's also done some work recently on the washer. I'm not the only thing that's aging around our place!
Friday, November 6, 2009
From model airplanes as a child to working for a company designing, planning and writing instructions for those big remote-control plane kits to becoming a pilot and most recently getting into soaring. He and his family live on an airfield. (well, not really on, but next door to one.) It was really interesting to see this lifelong passion and how it's played out through the years. (btw, his current job is involved with making McDonald's Happy Meals toys--how cool is that?)
This is my hubby, sporting a lumberjack look, catching up with another old college friend in the gallery.
And here's the artist, on the right, with his mentor and former teacher at the college. We were really pleased to see him--he had a very great impact on many of the students' lives, including my husband's.
And this if from today--two very good friends and I met for lunch and a mutual birthday celebration (two of our birthdays were a while back but one is tomorrow!) We don't take breaks like this from work often so it's a lovely treat. We had Thai food and great conversation.
Tomorrow I'm having another friends luncheon and then I get to tour Pat Winter's new Studio...I can't wait!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I spent the morning today stitching on my Japanese Embroidery piece. (if you're in the Chicago area and studying JE, come join us. First Thursdays at the Hyde Park Art Center (9am-noon))
I'm never sure of the proper orientation for this piece (which is a paper wrapped bouquet of flowers). I started this summer at this point. So, the work done was over four half-days of study this summer and two First Thursday sessions. It is really wonderful to do and a great calming pause in the week. Life is good.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I gave him a wooden box with a needlepoint inset in the lid. Our wise sister gave him a more appropriate chocolate cook book.We planned a "girl's day out" for the 12th. I can't wait!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I'm still working away slowly on longer term projects right now. Knitting a holiday gift that I can't show. Working slowly on my long and short stitch sampler and also on my embroidered pears. The latter doesn't photograph well, being tone on tone so far (I've been stitching green stems). It's been sunny for the last few days and I've found my mood has improved some. After this weekend some of the pressure will let up a bit--my weekends aren't as heavily booked. I'm running a huge event for work the first weekend in December and things are going to be insane until it's over (and I collapse).