Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a happy Thankgiving holiday, with plenty of blessings to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dr. Who

No stitching to show this week. Still working on some Christmas gifts. I did get the quilt fabrics washed and my sister guided me as I cut the first squares.  

This week's been focused on Dr. Who and the special Fiftieth Anniversary! Last night we went to the movie theater with friends to see the big 3-D extravaganza.
It was wonderful and awesome and we had a great time. The crowd was great--many wore costumes. I loved the Tardis dress with the light as a hat. Hubby's Fourth Doctor Scarf was complimented many times.  (I smiled like I made it but I didn't--it was made by our sister-in-law for him.)  

The movie was wonderful. We really enjoyed it. There was the usual post-show show, about the making, which we always love. I hope you get a chance to see it (or download it from iTunes).

Now on to Thanksgiving... We plan to visit Brookfield Zoo on Thursday and then have roast chicken.  Our family gathering will be on Saturday. I can't wait! What are your plans?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Project

I've decided to blame it on my sister (not that she deserves it in any way, except by too much inspiration).  She makes these really cute baby quilts with squares in really sweet fabrics. I had offered to make a friend who is expecting twins (yikes!) a couple of flannel blankets.  I'd planned to get a square of nice flannel and edge it with crochet. But then I saw the luscious fabrics in the quilt shop (Bits and Pieces in Crown Point, Indiana), and remembered my sister's pretty quilts and...
 With the very patient help of the ladies at Bits and Pieces, I came home with fabrics (and backing and binding) to make two pieced baby quilts.  (big Yikes!)  The two colors on the bottom will be the backing for the quilts. The darker blue on top the binding for both.  And the pieces in between will be the 4" squares.
I plan to piece the two quilts with a different arrangement but both will be squares.  My sister has generously offered advice and some assistance.  The last time I made something pieced and this size was in about 1980!

So I'm a bit daunted but excited too. I love the colors.  I hope the babies will.  

They're coming in January (as is my knee replacement surgery) so I have a deadline.

I didn't get any farther than the fabric purchase so far. I didn't get any stitching at all done last weekend. I worked on Saturday and we spent most of Sunday without electricity (and some of it hunkered down in the basement as the storms passed by).  We were among the lucky. Other towns were flattened.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Busy at Work

This has been a crazy month at work and I've been letting the stress get to me. Never a good thing.
I've been trying to work on an ornament for a gift. (which is why it's just a taste here) It's counted cross stitch over 1 and I really can't count. I realized about 1/3 of the way through that' I'd miscounted the design. I was able to redesign it to end up the right size, but, really! This is a pretty simple design to screw up!
This is another sort of screw up.  A short while ago Mary Corbet talked about The Craft of Embroidery, by Alison Liley (that bit's important here) on her blog. It looked great, so I went on-line and ordered it from a vendor in England. Waited patiently for it to arrive.
This is what I received.  Not quite the same thing. I double checked the order. I'd ordered the book by the correct author. The vendor was really nice about it and told me to keep the book, their mistake. And it's a nice book, just not what I ordered.
I tried again, but no copies were to be found. So I ordered it from the library (which is easy since there's a research library in the building where I work).  Which is how I got the photos from it above and below.  Since it was interlibrary loan, I've already had to return it, but I did take some notes and copy a page with a stitch I want to try. And gathered some inspiration along the way.
And the book I still have--it's got some pretty cool ideas, too.  The page below are simple sketches for things to do with variations on one stitch, something I enjoy.  The most obvious difference between the books is visual style--and while I love the look of the early years of the Twentieth Century, I have to say as a child of the 70s, I'm quite comfortable with that visual style, too.
The newer book is a bit more freely experimental, but both talk about design. The Liley book does have more of a textbook focus, which I like. But I also know that no matter how much those exercises and notebooks appeal to me, I'd never actually do it. And I did notice that I own all of the books in her bibliography section--so I have plenty of inspiration at hand.

Friday, November 8, 2013

And another finish!

When I'm doing something for someone else, I tend to over think it. So this project, begun last May (here), was set aside while I thought and planned.  I finally decided that I needed to just begin and do it.  So I did last weekend.
I had gathered all of the materials together so I dug them all out from the piles--brown rice hulls from World Embroideries to add heft to the doll (they're used for the center of temari balls), some fiber fill, the half doll and a bunch of silk ribbons.
I had already stitched the skirt to the base and fitted it with a circle of foam core board for stability. So it was really mostly a matter of putting it all together.
After auditioning a bunch of ribbons, I finally decided to match the ribbon to the painted circle on the doll's chest, just below her hands.  I think it contrasts nicely with the eau de Nile color silk skirt.  I had one long piece of handpainted lightly variegated silk ribbon so I used that for the waist bow (used to disguise the stitching anchoring the skirt through the holes in the doll's torso) and the trim on the skirt (kind of a spaced-out coral-knot stitch).  

She's ready to head off back home now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I'm Going!

This weekend is the Fine Art of Fiber show at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. It's a bit of a trip for us--way north of the city and we're south...but it's worth it.
Fine Art of Fiber
All textile passions are covered in this combined show of the Illinois Quilters, Inc., North Suburban NeedleArts Guild, and the Weavers Guild of the North Shore. My husband likes going, too--if he gets through the exhibits before I do, he can always wander outdoors in the amazing gardens.  And if the weather's bad, I'll find him in the conservatory adjacent to the exhibit. 

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Yes, plural!
My first finish was the strip pieced ornament.  I found a home for one of my rickrack roses.  Her face is an orangey fabric covered with batiste, the fabrics are mostly cottons, the stitching mostly white perle cotton, although there is a bit of gold around her face and halo (gold ribbon floss). Tiny sequins with clear beads (SJ Designs size 14 glass seed beads) decorate her scarf.  The wings are gold tulle on a base of white felt.  She was quick, easy and a lot of fun. 
I also completed the embroidery for the swirl tree.  The tree is chain stitch in Kreinik Braid #8 and the red is silk (12 stranded, but I forget what brand).  On pale green linen from Mary Frances's stash.
I damp blocked it because I didn't want to use a linen-hot iron on the metallic thread.  It looks better now that it's not all scrunched up!

I used the tent flooring I got to block knits and it worked fairly well.  This takes more tension and the "board" curved a bit in the drying, so it didn't get quite as stretched as I'd hoped.  The way to go is definitely lacing it onto a slightly oversized stretcher bar frame.  It's a total pain to do, but the results are so worth it.
I pin mounted it to a lightly padded foam core and popped it into the frame.  I didn't lace it, just left the pins in the edges (nickel placed, so they shouldn't rust). The fibers and the frame came from House of Stitches in LaPorte, IN.
To finish it off, I used some Japanese design wrapping paper to cover the back.  Voila!