Thursday, September 26, 2013

Japanese Embroidery

How to top an awesome vacation?  Take off more time for Japanese embroidery!  This one was a bit tough, though, because I was working around the studio classes.  So work, stitch 9-4, work, sleep, repeat. Worth every second!
 Here's a classroom scene on the first day. We set up in a local apartment.
Here's my Phase 2 Fan piece at the start.
 And here's the fan at the end.  Not a whole lot to show but I learned loads. 
 I worked mostly on the gold fan blade, which is slow. I learned I was couching too far apart and the row I completed was much nicer than my previous ones. I also learned the next step and how to complete it.  

I also planned and stitched one of the cords that go behind the fan, that read loop near the bottom, above. It's hard to see here but it's silk and metallic, metallic, and then the same silk and metallic.  Now I have a guide for the other cords.
 I also worked on the circle of gold at the base of the fan.  This photo shows me I need to ease one row in a bit better.  It shouldn't look raised.  And I worked on improving my tie-dye stitch in the top fan blade. I was following the book but nothing is better than having a teacher's guidance.  That little green leaf at the top right--that has to come out. I did it early on and it's all fuzzy and it's too puffy.  So, two steps forward, one step back as usual.
One of the students is showing her piece, adapted from a traditional design, to a visitor. We had several visitors come, which is great.  Our class was bigger than usual this year, with two new students.  I loved it. We had two new students so I got a good review of the basics. There were three pretty advanced students, so I could see what was coming. Another student near my level was working one step ahead of me. 

So now it's really back to work. Students are here, in orientation. Classes begin Monday. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Last vacation

I like it when vacations linger in my here's a bit more.  On our way home, we stopped in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the Paine Art Center and Gardens.  We went there to see a Chihuly exhibit, but ended up with so much more!

No photos were allowed in the house.  A shame because the Chihuly glass was really interesting, but also because up stairs, on a bed, there was a gorgeous, very fine Victorian era Battenburg lace bedspread.  It was beautifully done and in perfect shape. On it was a lovely satin trapunto pillow and coverlet. The coverlet had faded areas from being folded too long or sun, but both were otherwise in good condition.  There were some other nice textiles in the rooms, but those two were the winners.

Outdoors, in the gardens, however, we could snap away to our hearts' content.  There were weddings going on in the gardens, but we managed to keep clear of the crowds and still have a nice stroll. 
This is the house from the back.  It was rather sad, a huge house that was never home. A lumber baron and his heiress wife began it with high hopes, then were stopped by the depression.  In the end, they spent their lives creating the house and gardens, bit by bit, but never lived there.  Once they realized this, they made plans to turn it over to the city as an art museum. The house was partially furnished, with amazing wood paneling, a carved staircase, linenfold paneling (which I'd always heard of but never seen up close). 
 I don't know what this plant is, but it's kinda cool.  These look like seed pods.
 Can you see the dragon fly on the stem of the bud?  I didn't until after I took the photo--serendipity!
This is an amazing idea--a garden kaleidoscope.  Each eyepiece (there are three) looks onto a different part of the plant and provides a kaleidoscopic image.  As the plant moves in the breeze, so does the image.  It was really fun. 

We've been back over a week now and are still talking about the things we did and saw.  
This week I'm combining work with Japanese Embroidery--my teacher is in town for studio. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

More Vacation

We worked hard on this trip to break out of our usual patterns. I brought my knitting and my sketchbook, but no needlework. (I had it gathered and packed but decided to leave it home.)  We did not visit any needlework stores. We kept shopping to a minimum (and skipped the bookstores, too).  On our second day in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.), we visited waterfalls and drove from Munising to Grand Marais, about 50 miles.  The road was through the forest and sometimes along the shore of Lake Superior. It was curvy, twisty, hilly and we were generally the only ones on it--hubby loved driving it (although he wished he was in a sports car).
 This was taken from Miner's Castle overlook.  Eventually we walked out (and up) to an overlook just behind the "castle." It was a stretch for my walking but a lot of fun.
 Then we went to Munising Falls--an easy walk through mossy woods.
 The Pickle Barrel House Museum wasn't open in Grand Marais, but it was still pretty cool. It's been a tourist attraction since it was built in the 1920s for illustrator William Donahey as a summer home.
 He was the creator of the Teenie Weenies (who lived in a pickle barrel). Some are depicted on a barrel outside of the Pickel Barrel House.
On our way out of town Friday morning, we stopped at Wagner Falls.  In a bow to tourism, we stopped at Muldoon's Pasties and Gifts and I got a pastie for breakfast. It was really good, but huge and kept me full all day long (which was the point--they were brought to northern Michigan and Wisconsin by Welsh miners who needed hearty sustenance for working underground long hours).

On our way home we stopped in Appleton, Wisconsin over night so we could visit an exhibit Saturday morning on our way home. More on that next time...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vacation Photos

This is the first sight that greeted us as we arrived in Munising, Michigan. Alger Falls. To the left is the town. To the right a short ways, our cottage.
Autumn color was just starting to appear inland. We could tell a difference in the color between our trip up and our trip home. Probably because it got very chilly.  It was 90 Tuesday in Green Bay.  Wednesday night in Munising it got down to the low 30s!
This is our cottage. A lot of space for two, but the only kitchen we could find available. It was great.
The first, and best, thing we did was take the Picture Rock National Lakeshore Boat Tour.  The agent at the Michigan Welcome Center really helped us by looking up boat tour times, informing us we'd move into the Eastern time zone on our way, and warning us that the weather was due to change and the waves were set to increase--which might cancel boat tours.
We got to the last regular boat tour.  The evening tour went out after us (in pouring rain) and then all tours were canceled during the rest of our time there due to high waves.  We just made it to our tour by the skin of our teeth--we caught a shuttle out to the boat and were the last to board.  

The new camera worked like a champ (Canon PowerShot).  I took about 100 photos just on the boat tour.
The Picture Rocks are fascinating. The colors are amazing.
This is a photo out the front window of the boat. They got very close in to the rocks.

We entered a heavy bank of fog and it poured rain on the way back to the dock, but the rainbow as the sun came out was wonderful and the perfect ending to the boat tour.
If you want to look, all of the photos are up on my Flickr vacation 2013 set.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Green Bay

So, yesterday we loaded up the car for a pretty impromptu vacation to the north country. We decided on Thursday and planned on Friday, shopped on Saturday (we need to bring our own food for hubby's dietary restrictions), and organized on Sunday.
On the way up, we stopped at Harrington State Park for lunch at the beach.  This is the view from our seat on a park bench. The day was hazy but warm and not rainy. 
Here's Dolly, who came along this year, playing in the woods by the beach.
And Hubby warning me about an attack by a huge mosquito while I was trying to take his picture.
We finally found out motel (Days Inn) in Green Bay, we fixed dinner and settle in.  Today we were up early to visit the National Railroad Museum.  The day was predicted to be hot (it was) so we wanted to do outside activities early.
This is a sign on a car from a Gratitude Train sent to the U.S. by the French after WWII.  The U.S. sent a large train to France, but it amazes me that the French had the wherewithal to reciprocate. One lady said she didn't have anything to give so she impressed her fingerprints into the paint. 
We took a train ride around the museum grounds.
This is the interior in a Pullman Car that featured the story of Pullman Porters.
And we saw a really cool exhibit of Railroad China. I thought of embroidery designs when I saw these plates.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Last night was the Homewood Guild's first meeting of the year. I missed it because I'm up in Wisconsin, on vacation. This was my summer project. We were supposed to make baby bibs. I didn't. I made burp cloths. I'd planned to make them into bibs, but the new "rule" of no ties or strings by baby stymied me. I need to figure out another way to make the neck.
I have two recent splurges. Below was one. The second took these photos.  For ages I wanted a set of interchangeable circulars. I'd always hesitated--I have a bunch of needles already. But I began watching eBay auctions and won one. I haven't used them yet.
I'm using my Canon SureShot a lot--especially now that we're on vacation.  One of my first shots was this picture across the living room of Reggie and Jane, gifts from a friend.  I'll be happy with the new camera once I've figured it out.

Friday, September 6, 2013

More Red

We spent some time last holiday weekend sitting at Wolf Lake, enjoying the breezes that were coming in from Lake Michigan. It cleared my headache up nicely. I brought my knitting.  I'm enjoying both this "each row the same" pattern and very red yarn (in the daylight it's clear that it's gone from an orangy red to a purply-red already). I've added a couple more inches since I took this photo.  It shows off some of the sparkles in the yarn.  

I'm still working on guild projects I can't show, yet. A couple are done, more to go...  One "reveal" is next week; the other not until October.

I'm on vacation next week so I'm not sure any posting will happen. We haven't planned it yet.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Holiday Weekend

Like most people I know, Labor Day Weekend signals the end of summer. Signs of fall are apparent, it's getting light later and dark earlier, leaves are beginning to turn, the air feels different. But I expect we've more hot weather in store.
I decided this weekend that I needed to be done with the reversible cable scarf. It's been my "go to the doctor" project for a long while now-over a year. So I sat and knit until I'd used up the yarn, bound off, and declared it done. It was fun and I'm glad I learned the technique. But done feels good.
So, I went outside to take photos of it Monday afternoon (they're below) and took a wander around the yard.  The passion flowers are prolific this year.  And long lasting--you can see above one has already fruited and another is blooming below it. Much of the rest of the yard is done blooming. The white star-like flowers are everywhere. I like them after they've seeded--each is a little black seed in a tan husk. I keep thinking they would make a really interesting embroidery with beads.
The passion vine went all the way up to the roof!  Not quite Jack and the Beanstalk thick but surprisingly strong. I love the leaves.
And here's the pink reversible cable scarf.