Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finishes and Spring cold

Spring has just barely arrived here. The Vernal Equinox a couple of weeks back, however, arrived with a bang--bad colds for both of us.  We're still getting over it. (Hubby went to bed during the day, multiple times--he never goes to bed during the day!)
 I did get some projects finished while I was just sitting for days on end.  Above is a cross stitch scene--it's the view pretty much from the front door of a friend's home. When I last visited, there were a couple of canal boats there.
 I got this sweet little felt elephant pincushion kit at the 2007 EGA seminar in Chicago. I finally got around to putting him together.  He holds little teeny scissors, a thimble and pins. 
And I finally finished the lining and zipper on my felted sweater recycling project.  I've now used the entire sweater!  
I stitched most of the lining/zipper by hand. I did machine stitch the bias binding and then folded it over the edge and hand-stitched it in place. I'm much happier with the purse with the lining, rather than the open top.  I used a heavy stabilizer in the handle to support it.  

I haven't begun any of my new projects, haven't been doing much of anything. A lot of reading: Ilona Andrews's Kate Daniels series and now Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. Working away on my endless hexagons for the London quilt. 

Hopefully once Spring really takes hold, and we get over this bug, I'll get my usual enthusiasm back.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

WIP progress

I took advantage of last Saturday's This-n-That workshop and World Embroideries' lovely large improvised light box (a large pane of heavy glass suspended between two tables over a lamp) to transfer some of the designs I'm beginning.
First, I traced the peony design for the ANG workshop onto the Lugana.  The traced design is laying on the light table over the printed design, moved slightly so it looks doubled. It was really easy to see. I used a .005 Pigma black pen for the tracing. It's a very fine line.
I also traced Paradisio, the design I recently won from Wooly Thread. It's much harder to see the printed design through the linen twill. And harder to get a good tracing of the design because the herringbone weave is so prominent. I used the same pen as above (and then realized I should have used a lighter color pen, given the light color of some of the stitching). I got the design onto the fabric. The pattern calls for blue crewel wools. I looked for something last Wednesday in the needlework shops we visited, but nothing grabbed me. I came home and poked through my threads and decided to use red. I have a good selection of reds that I like and pomegranates are, after all, red. (I tend to be pretty literal.) So I pulled the reds and some neutrals I think will work and am ready to go.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NANI This-n-That Workshop

On Saturday we had a This-n-That workshop on how to get your design for embroidery onto fabric.  We had a lot of fun playing with the techniques. Above is a traced design colored in with crayons. We experimented with using a "improvised" light box, a large window and the prick-and-pounce method to find out which techniques worked best for us.
Here are a variety of traced and ironed on designs. Some use iron on crayons, some were traced using an iron-on pencil, and some were printed iron-on designs.  They were colored with iron-on crayons or regular crayons or dye sticks.
This was a snowflake cut from freezer paper, ironed onto the fabric and then used as a mask for rubbing with dye sticks.
Hard at work on a design inspiration.  We experimented to see which pens, pencils and coloring media we liked best. 
We ended the day stitching on projects we brought.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Girlz Day!

This week we had an rather impromptu Girlz Day Out.  World Embroideries and I headed up to the western suburbs for some needlework and other shopping. The weather was nice, if brisk, and we had a lot of fun.
We started at Designer's Desk in Geneva, IL. Most of these fibers were in the bargain basement. The glitzy skein was not a bargain basement pick--it was a splurge at $8.00! I think I'm going to add it as my one fiber in my EGA chapter's mystery project.
After Designer's Desk, we headed up the street to a lovely Victorian house full of goodies: The Paper Merchant. I love the color they chose.
Our yummy sushi lunch was just delivered here. Serendipity happened and we got to meet my sister for lunch. It made my day! I really like relaxing in the serenity of Matsuri restaurant.
After lunch we walked a few doors to The Spice House where I stocked up on a couple of things, including my indulgence in candied ginger.
We left Geneva, talking about all the things we should go back and see another time...there's a lot to see and do there. We made our way to Lamont and Inspired Needle. This is a shop I'd heard a lot about but never made my way to before. It was full of interesting things. I love needlework shops where each time you turn around you spy something really cool.
I fell in love with this little pinkeep.
I made it that evening--how cool is that?
Isn't it sweet?
I got materials for the ANG Blackwork Peonies workshop by mail.
And I found this really cool book of tiny biscornu. I do best with small projects and this fits the bill.

I had a great time just playing all day and came home revitalized and inspired.  You can read more about the visit on World Embroideries' blog.

I spent the last couple of evenings whipping the edges of fabrics--for the Talliferro design I won recently, for the peonies, for the NANI mystery sampler, and for the peonies' sampler/worksheet. I also gathered up my materials and supplies to teach today. World Embroideries and I are reprising our class on the many ways to get designs onto fabric for NANI.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


 Recent snows must have kept me in a Christmas mood. I completed another ornament.
 And finished a more springlike collage postcard.
 I recently found some recipes from my Aunt Addie, written by my mom. I think I kept them because of the handwriting--couldn't have been for the recipes. They're not things I'd be likely to make.  I collaged this one with a bit of map but it looked boring. I remembered some cording from my sister and added it--outside of the plastic cover, glued down well.  I think it helps.
 I stitched a bit more on my cross stitch project.
I haven't begun working on this yet--I just joined the ANG workshop by mail project and joined the Yahoo! group and printed out the pattern.  I knew I didn't have the fabric in my stash but I'd  thought that after collecting floss for the last 40 years or so, I'd have the floss. I did have the pearl cotton called for for the practice sampler and the pulled work. But I couldn't find a single skein of either the rose or the green floss.  Oh, Gee...I guess I'll have to go to the needlework store to buy some. I'm so very sad to have to make a trip there!  (We went yesterday!)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winter Walk

Last week we had a big snowstorm. Wet, heavy snow.  Saturday was gray but clear and I took a walk around the neighborhood, with my camera for the first time in ages.  I thought this leaf, melting into the snow, looked kind of like a butterfly in flight. Thoughts of spring.
Already the snow was melting from the edges (by tomorrow it will be mostly gone).
What first caught my eye in my neighbor's yard was the reflection in the larger ball. Then I noticed the smaller ball and then the lovely patina on the bird bath.  The longer I stood there, the more I saw.
This is the catalpa tree in our back yard.  The moss didn't show up too well in the photo. We really love this tree.
Nothing springlike about this view of the park at the end of our street.
This is what I did most of the weekend.  Sorted through piles of books to select some to disperse.  We have way too many piles around the house and I want to make room.  I've enjoyed them and now it's someone else's turn.  If you're looking for books on Hardanger, filet lace, doll clothes making, old and new clothing (including heirloom sewing), please send me a note.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Winter Wonderland

It's been cold and snowy in Chicago (we got about 9" Tuesday). I took advantage to stay in and play a bit. I'm trying to finish up things that have been hanging around (or get rid of them). A couple of years ago friends and I organized the programs for Homewood Embroidery Guild and we had a theme of fun and games. Our last project was Artist Trade Cards (ATCs) using playing-card themed fabric. Ummm, I finally finished mine.
In my defense, I had made one as a sample before the class.

That got me into a playing mode. I'd had some fabric prints of collaged children hanging about. At some point I had fused them to background fabric (some of which I had painted). I also had some post card "blanks"--post cards with an attached clear sticky-back front. They were made to attach your photograph to send, but I decided if I was careful, and flat, I could use my children to make cards. It was fun and I used up the few I had. I remember I found them in a closeout many (many) years ago. I'm pleased I finally used them.

This one is still in progress here.
And I spent some early-morning time working on my Three Happiness Japanese Embroidery design. I've now finished all of the bamboo leaves, plum blossoms and pine needles. Today, at our monthly Japanese embroidery meeting, I stitched the plum branches. I now need to stitch the vein in the bamboo leaves (you can just barely see the gold thread where I started before realizing I'll have to find some couching thread) and the bamboo itself. I'm really excited.