Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Excitement

 Last Christmas I was given an Amazon gift card. We've been in a paring down phase and so I decided to wait until I found just the right, very special book to purchase. I finally did.
I generally buy books that teach me how to do something I don't know how to do. This does not have any stitches, diagrams or instructions. Perhaps because I've been overworked and am not stitching right now, but I'm really enjoying the gorgeous illustrations. I've already learned new things from the text, on the development of the Arts & Crafts style. Arts & Crafts Embroidery by Laura Euler was published in June this year by Schiffer so it's very new. I took a risk--I hadn't seen any reviews of it. But it's not too much of a risk--like many others, I love this style.
I've just gotten the book and am just getting into it.  It covers Arts & Crafts in England, Scotland and the U.S., with big names like Morris, the Glasgow School, and Stickley prominent.
The book also provides a history and context for the style and the designs. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Back in the Saddle--for a while at least

I feel rather like one of those athletes who retires only to come back right away. My surgery's been postponed until January (my surgeon had an accident and emergency surgery), so I'm back for a while. It's a bit odd--I'd disengaged from so much in preparation and I'm finding it hard to step back on the merry-go-round.
The two-week long Summer School in Law and Economics was awesome, exhausting, fun and very hard work. We had food, fun and fourteen hour days some days.  I didn't participate in everything--I don't know how the students managed.
I saw some old friends and made many new ones. (I learned how to use my iPad to take photos, my first is above.)
Now I'm trying to find my desk under the piles of paper that accumulated.
I received some lovely gifts from the students, including this embroidered butterfly good luck tassel from China and a checked shawl from Thailand.  (I've already used the shawl in our unseasonably cool weather recently.)
I did not do any stitching, nor much of anything, really, during the last month.  I did occasionally pick up my shawl and stitch a row. It's hard to tell without it being stretched, and it's now too wide to stretch, but I think it will be really pretty. I'm on ball three of five, so nearing the half-way point.  The simple lace pattern is great for tired nights--especially with all the markers I'm using.
I missed you all and am catching up gradually with your blogs and with Facebook.  I had just settled into Olde Reader only to learn they're going away now, too.  I've exported to both Digg and Feedly to see which I prefer. Right now I'm leaning toward Digg.  I look forward to catching up with everyone.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pillow done--and blog hiatus

I finished the ring-bearer's pillow over the holiday weekend.
I'm pleased with the overall result. I hope the happy couple are.

The pearls were a compromise when I couldn't find what I wanted for the seam. I like them now that it's done.  It certainly was easy.
I'm still not quite sure about the corner berry dangles. I added them last and with separate threads so they can easily be removed with no sign showing.
The same for the ring ribbon. Once untied, it will just pull out.
I made the holder ribbons a bit more secure--but they can be cut off at the pillow, under the pearls, and no one will know they were ever there.

This will most likely be my last post for a while. Right now I'm managing a two week summer school for 80+ East Asian professors and Ph.D. students. Once that's over, I'm getting a knee replaced. I may be out and about, but I don't see me doing much picture taking for a while.

Thanks for reading. I hope to be back soon.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New project

Last week at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Festival I got the kit to knit a shawl--Lavish from Mia Bella in Highland Park. The shawl I have on the needles is from them, but it's more complex and takes a lot more attention than I believe this one will.
The designer ordered the colors from darker tan to lighter and then lighter blue to darker.  It made me think of the dunes in Indiana.  When I look at the dunes the sand bars often show through the water so I'm thinking of reorganizing the colors to mix them up.  My new order is above.
And here's the start.  It's a pretty simple eight-stitch repeat lace pattern, so I should be able to knit it without too much difficulty. But after you knit halfway across, you reverse the pattern--so it certainly won't get boring, either. As long as I have eight stitches between the markers, I'm good.  It's hard to see lacy knitting until it's blocked. I smashed this on the scanner to try and get an idea of the lace.  

A picture of the pattern and original color organization is here.