Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New projects for the Holidays

A couple of weeks back I mentioned getting some crafting-needlework magazines as a reward for surviving yet another conference. They've been an inspiration!
This magazine (cover above) and the article on strip pieced ornaments (below).
I decided to make an angel and went shopping in my stash.  I found enough whites and near whites to make it up.  They left theirs plain but I plan to embellish mine with crazy-quilt style seam treatments. This week I went stash-diving again and found tiny sequins, beads, and threads to begin the embroidery.  I have some sheer gold fabric that I'm thinking about using for the wings and some gold for a halo.
Stitch with the Embroiderer's Guild is one of my regular indulgences. I have a subscription and each issue is chock full of great ideas. Some, like the cutwork lantern on the cover, I may never make but it's really interesting to read how they did it.
In the issue above, I spied the design below.  It called for a DMC fiber I couldn't find, so I substituted Kreinik braid (in a high luster gold). They stitched the dots in perle, I'm using rich red silk. Their linen is a dirty linen and I believe the fiber is a sage metallic. I kind of went a slightly different direction.
Right now, my design is a rather crumpled mess, so please use your imagination here.  I do like working in hand.  (If I'd have been thinking, I would have stitched the satin stitch dots first in a hoop and then stitched the metallic chain stitches. I wasn't. And I don't want to smash the metallic in a hoop, now, so I'm stitching very carefully. I still prefer that to a frame.)

The linen is a piece from the Mary Frances stash...a nice soft green.  I backed it with a sheer batiste in white (hence all the green basting stitches you see).  The sheer doesn't change the hand of the linen but it does provide some extra support for the metallic threads and the surface stitching. 
I've completed all of the gold chain stitch and begun on the padded satin stitch red dots. This has worked up incredibly fast.  A bonus is that when I bought the threads (a couple of weeks ago at The House of Stitches in LaPorte), I found a frame there that will work for this. I expect to have it done and framed very soon.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Busy at work

I haven't been able to catch my breath lately with all the events, meetings, workshops, and mailings. I have gotten some fun things done, albeit slowly.
 Some progress on the red fagot-stitch scarf.
 And a few more rows on the Leftie Shawl.  I love the way the colors pop!
 Cathy at Homewood Guild taught us how to make rickrack roses. Aren't they cool?  She offered the project as a rose how-to only or as a purse project that incorporated the roses.  The purse was really cute but I didn't think I'd get it finished so I didn't get it. Now I'm not sure what I'll do with these guys.  The pink rose is about the size of a nickel.
 Mary Frances passed a way a few years ago and some of her fabric stash made the rounds recently. I selected these pieces (plus one more, which will feature in another post).  Mostly linen or lugana but a piece of canvas and some small pieces of linen twill for crewel.
The seasons are rushing by. I took this photo on Tuesday, the 22d.  On the 23d I woke up to an ice encased car--I had to chip the windows clear. And I drove home though a sleet storm. It's been calm since, but a portent of things to come.  Christmas is two months from today!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A bit of Japanese embroidery

Last Thursday was our monthly meeting in Hyde Park. I was the only one to make an appearance. I decided to take advantage of the quiet time and I set up and stitched for an hour or so.  I had two loose gold strands I wanted to couch.  I thought working with gold on koma was hard! We had taken these strands off the koma, with enough to finish the row and sink the threads, so that I could finish the circle at the end using the koma. 

I did what I intended and then took some photos. 
Here's my working setup, showing my new dedicated goldwork scissors, a gift from Rosa.  Gold threads can damage scissors and I knew I should have a dedicated pair, so I was thrilled to get these.  The two folded papers were how I protected and controlled the loose gold strands as I worked. I kept them folded inside. 
 I took a closeup of this leaf because, while I plan to take it out--it's too thick and fuzzy from wear, I like the way I stitched it. So now I have a guide for stitch and color placement when I redo it.
This is my workbox, packed ready to leave (except I have to fit in the clamps, used to hold the frame on the stand). 
I took a bunch of other photos, just to enjoy.
The new camera does better closeups. Here you can see how my couching stitches are totally not bricked like they should be.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Finished shawl!

I'm busy at work with conferences--I ran one last week and have one twice the size next week.  With several events to follow and then yet another conference.  So I'm working long hours, going home and doing nothing in the evenings.
I did do this last weekend, though.  I worked Saturday, but was home Sunday and it was a lovely early fall day.  So I decided not to wait for my new blocking wires to arrive and to go ahead and block the shawl.  Here it is all done.  I can see from the photos my "spine" is a little angled and my edges not perfect, but I didn't notice until seeing the photos. 
 Here's a closer view.  It was a very pleasant afternoon.  We got a tent floor from Cabella's and that worked wonderfully.  I had picked up T-pins at a Jo-Ann's notions sale early in the summer.  I washed the shawl and rinsed it well, wrapped it in a towel and squeezed, and then pinned it out.  I believe the display shawls had points on the lace edge, but I couldn't see where to pin it--until I was taking the pins out, then I saw the pattern better and if I'd used every other pin on those edges, I think I'd get points, too. But I like this just fine.
 After the shawl was pinned, I got out a lawn chair and sat outside in the early fall weather.  I wrapped up as it got chilly, but it was mostly sunny and nice.  Hubby took a bike ride and then changed the oil in the car. I sat and read, knitted a bit, and lazed about. 
I've worn it every day this week. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

An almost finish and a start

I've finished the knitting on the Lavish Lace Shawl. I've begun calling it the Dunes shawl. Here it is in it's current crumpled state. Next step--blocking. I have foamy things to use to block it on and have ordered blocking wires. Now I need a sunny day. (I'm going to have to do this outside.)
And I've begun the "Leftie" shawl. I'm calling it the leaf shawl.  Here are my colors and my first leaf. On the model, the colors really popped on the black.  Since I've taken this picture, I've made a leaf in each color and am getting the pattern down.  It's really easy and I think the effect is cool.
Here's the pattern cover.
Last weekend Hubby and I went to the Lubeznik gallery in Michigan City for their current show. It made us think, which I love.  We also had some nice conversations there and other visitors suggested a nearby restaurant, Panini Panini.  So we stopped in.
Hubby follows a very strict diet, so we're very careful about where we eat out (most places are impossible).  Panini, Panini was very helpful and made him a custom salad that I was told was great.
I indulged in pot roast with caramelized onions and brie. Oh, my! It was yummy. The service is interesting--paper covered planks. It's right on Franklin (Rt. 421) on the east side (near the Walgreens). Close to the outlet mall (and Lubeznik's). They have sandwiches, quiche, and pasta and were very busy when we were there. I also got an awesome (huge) coconut macaroon to bring home.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mystery design project

Last night was the reveal for my EGA chapter's design challenge. Early this year we were given a piece of evenweave and a sheet of instructions with some fibers looped into holes along one side. There were orange and green pearl cottons, gray and tan floss, variegated green, red, yellow floss, a fuzzy brown thread, a bit of gold, and a few beads. Our challenge was to make a project of our own design using at least a little bit of each fiber. We could add one fiber and one embellishment.
I decided I did not want counted, nor did I want flat.  I played around with options and on a trip to the Inspired Needle shop in Lamont I was inspired by a book on mini biscornu. I filled pages of a notebook and several sheets of graph paper with ideas and thoughts and this was the end result.
I left the bottom plain. The photo above shows the "extra" fiber I purchased, the only extra I got. It's the same color family as the variegated floss but it's glitzy and thicker.  These flowers are double chain stitches--one inside the other. The center is a circle of the fuzzy brown couched in two places, filled in with knots in the same thread as the petals.  For the bottom dividing lines, I used the fine gold thread to couch perle cotton.
I mainly used chain stitch (and detached chain).  I used up all of the variegated, all of the orange and all of the green. I have some brown and gray floss left.  I also used up all of the fuzzy brown in the tree trunks. I stitched the trunks in rows of the light brown floss and then used a blunt needle and wove the dark brown from side to side behind the stitches.  It mostly shows at the edges, but it does peek through a bit on the trunks to add some depth.  The leaves are the variegated, green perle and gold thread. 
I used the beads to cover the stitches that pinch it in the middle. For the seam, I counted backstitched the sides, front and back and then whipped it together.  

I really enjoyed doing this challenge and was totally wowed last night by what the others did. A gorgeous Pisces design, a very personal sampler, a lovely floral motif, a small banner hanging, a gorgeous box top...everyone who participated did something lovely.  And very different and personal.  I know pictures were taken so I expect them to appear soon at the chapter blog, Flying Fingers Plus.