Sunday, November 30, 2014

Play Date

Last week my sister and I had a play date. 

It included some shopping, lunch out, and a craft project.  We'd been admiring some quilts made with confetti-like bits of fabric and I thought I knew how it was done, so we tried it out. 

I had learned the technique or layering fabrics, trims and embellishments with fusible web as a collage technique so we tried both.  The explosion of fabric scraps to play with is above.
 Here's the start of our collages.
My sister is much more organized than I am. My chaos is above.
Here's her finished collage. She's about to press on the top sheer layer to hold it all together.
She also spent some time working on tracing a pattern for nonpaper piecing. It's an interesting technique and I can't way to see the finished project.
Here's my attempt at the little snippets of fabric technique.  It was kind of addictive.
 And here's our final outcome for the day.  I have plans for my pieces.  Stay tuned.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fun, Quick Project

 Last week in Jo-Ann's I found some cute ornament kits on sale.
 The "fabric" is wood, with holes punched in it for stitching.  A little more complex than the stitching cards for children, but the same theory. And just as much fun.
I got two and completed them pretty quickly.  I mostly followed the directions for the Santa but not so much for the Tree.  I had plenty of thread.   I glued felt on the back and added ribbons to hang.

One tip: the wood is "burned" for the design. To stitch the white and yellow threads, I first cleaned the holes by pulling a needle with a thickish thread through each one.  On my first stitching attempt I didn't do that and ended up with progressively darker thread.  Otherwise they were fun and easy to stitch.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

We've already had our family gathering for Thanksgiving--it was wonderful. Nephew grown pork roast (cooked by his mom) and our usual eclectic potluck of dishes. We stuffed ourselves.
 My bother putting the finishing touches on dessert, with my sister, and my husband.
 Serving the Thanksgiving Beer. Brewed by my brother-in-law and closely watched by a friend.
My sister-in-law, sister and brother.
 The nieces and nephews.  We had them trapped behind the table and I was determined to get a good photograph of all of them. 
 Second try.
 Not too bad.  I don't recall what caught their attention.
Finally smiles!

I bought a turkey and groceries for mashed potatoes and stuffing this morning, to cook for us on Thursday for a second Thanksgiving celebration.

And my big excitement, tomorrow I'm going to see Porgy and Bess at the Lyric Opera.
I'm giddy with anticipation.  
I'm going to a matinee performance and will be sitting way up high. I'll let you know all about it next week.

Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend if you're in the U.S. It's my favorite holiday, a gathering of family and friends and taking time to pause and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Holiday Finish!

I was recently thinking about my friend Renee and how we used to go over the Just Cross Stitch Annual Christmas Ornament issue as she would choose designs to stitch for holiday gifts. I bought a copy of this year's issue and found a design to stitch in Renee's memory.  I'm not much of a cross stitcher, but I enjoyed this project
   The "one more stitch" motif seems appropriate.
While I had the brown linen handy, I began test stitching a design for Susan Johnson. I'm loving it. The circle will be about 6" when I'm done.  I'm using a 24 count linen with DMC coton a broider size 20. (Thanks to Jenny--it's wonderful to stitch with!)
I also got out the paints and painted the backgrounds for the Catherine Jordan trees through the Shining Needle Society.  I'm not terribly controlled about these things. Paint always gets away from me.  I was pleased to find that I could dip the undried fabric in water and the color would rinse out and I could start over.  The seasons I selected are: left side, bottom to top is summer, spring, autumn, and winter.  The right side is a second autumn. They're drying now. With everything, they got quite saturated.  Next I'll press them to set the colors and then I can begin stitching.
And here's my drip/blotting cloth. I always try to use fabric under my painting because I end up with an interesting piece of painted fabric. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Plugging along...

My new Sontag shawl is coming along slowly, a row or two at a time. I spent last weekend balling yarn.  While I only plan to add a row or two of the yellow near the outer edge, I decided to ball up all of this handspun/handdyed wool. (It was originally the flowers on the shawl of the planned sweater.) The skeins were loose loops that had tangled over the years.  Even now, after reballing some of them for better tension, they are kind of sloppy.  I figured if I didn't grit my teeth and do it all at once, I would never do it.  While I was at it, I balled several more balls of the blue Cascade wool and I found another ball of handdyed in a similar color, left over from a completed shawl. I added it to the pile. 
I also began work on the new Catherine Jordan trees pendant project.  
Step 1 is to get the pieces of fabric ready to paint the backgrounds. The kit included one set of cut-to-size fabrics and then uncut strips for the other pendants.  I cut a set of card templates for the openings (pinned together in the photo above) and then used them to trace my pieces.  I left the strips as strips and just cut out the openings. I need to paint the inner edges of the openings so no white shows, but the outside edges of the pieces will be hidden by the frame.  Now to dig out the paints!

It's been three months since my second knee surgery and I'm just about to finish up physical therapy. I'm still having some issues, but they're improving. I'm back doing morning walks with my friend, World Embroideries. And I'm still quite tired in the evenings.  Progress is slow, but as of today I have completed the cutting and weaving one-quarter of the way around the border of the Hardanger tablecloth. It doesn't look much different than the post here.