Saturday, January 28, 2012

TAST Weeks 3 and 4

Just popping in to add my week three and four progress for the TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) Challenge run by Sharon from PinTangle.

Feather stitch and variations
The feather stitch is one of my favorites. I like the airiness of it. I must confess though that I haven’t used it very much. I tend to stick to a few basic stitches in my work. That is changing as I work on my other projects. Here is what I have for the feather stitch (left to right). Single feather, double feather, chained feather, closed feather, Spanish knotted feather, and maidenhair stitch. My favorite of these is the Spanish knotted feather although it doesn’t show that good in the photo. As I’ve stated before I am left-handed and sometimes have trouble figuring out how to do the stitch. The advice given by others especially right-handed embroiderers does not work very well for me. So I have to experiment and as you can see from my samplers I don’t always get it right to begin with. The other thing I have noticed in the written books that I have is they don’t always tell you how to end a row. Again I don’t do my best when I am trying to follow the holes in the weave of the cloth.  

Cretan stitch and variations
This week we were given the Cretan stitch to play with. I did the basic and a few variations. Included in my sampler are the Cretan stitch, open Cretan stitch, Scottish Cretan stitch, knotted Cretan, and raised Cretan. I really like these last two. I had some difficulty with the Scottish one so will have to practice it some more. You can work it as a single stand alone stitch or in a group. The end of the sampler shows my practice using the Cretan stitch on a sort of leaf shape and then the bottom has an open Cretan filling stitch which I like.
I haven’t used these stitches on an actual piece of work yet like I did the fly stitch and the buttonhole stitch. I plan to use the first four stitches on my first crazy quilt block for the CQ challenge. It’s due up by Tuesday so I’d better get to stitching. Be back later with the results of that plus some WIP’s to show you.

Happy stitching!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Popping In with TAST

Just popping in to add my week two progress for the TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) Challenge run by Sharon from PinTangle. The buttonhole/blanket stitch is one that I’m familiar with. I have used it on the crazy quilt block I started in Sharon’s online class. No it isn’t finished yet but I haven’t given up on it. I tend to bounce from project to project putting aside something I’m working on when I’m not sure what to do next on it or I’m just tired of it. The elephant block is hanging near my stitching work area reminding me I need to add some more to it.
Elephant Crazy Quilt Block

Meanwhile I started a CQ (Crazy Quilt) block a month challenge which I have cut the base fabric for and am busy collecting my fabrics for January, mainly white and blue for a snowy wintry day. And as if that isn’t enough I’ve decided to take another online class in embroidery given by Karen Ruane. So I’m playing catch up with that one. As the work progresses I will add photos and notes about them.

Here’s my buttonhole/blanket sampler so far.
Buttonhole Sampler
On the sampler there are a variety of variations of the buttonhole stitch. There are more variations but I am not a fan of precise stitching (well I enjoy looking at it but not doing it) so I tend to stop working on the sampler and go to my doodling instead. You’ll notice on the white on white piece that some of the stitches are closer together than others and some are shorter than others. I like the organic look this gives. I would love to here your comments on my work.

Buttonhole Doodle
And here is my random work using the buttonhole stitch on one of my wandering doodles. I used white floss and a creamy white background to test out working white on white. While doing this project I realized that I needed to hold my fabric sideways in order to stitch. The sampler was started trying to do the stitches top to bottom (or bottom to top) vertically in other words. If I work horizontally they turn out much better. I am left handed and often have to try different ways of doing embroidery stitches until I am happy and comfortable.
Sorry I haven’t come up with a name for this piece yet.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

12 In 12 X 2

This year I’m working (still) on my UFO’s (unfinished objects). Last year I joined Fabric Fascination in trying to do 52 – one a week. That didn’t fare too well partly because of our major changes and partly because very few of them could be completed in a week. So while I still have a lot of UFO’s (and the list is growing as I unpack!), I decided to try for one a month. Hence 12 in 12. Judy also decided to trim down to 12, here's her blog. We’ll see how it goes!
Why the times 2? Well I also decided to get more experience with crazy quilting (CQ) so I joined a block a month challenge. So besides 12 UFO’s I’m also going to attempt 12 CQ blocks. I think I’ll work a month theme for these. I’ll post my progress as I go along.
Here’s a few more items I completed in 2011:

First there is the chair. My daughter wanted a vintage rocking chair for the nursery and she bought one from a sweet little old lady. The chair was over a hundred years old and needed a little work on it (or so we thought). First up was the cushion cover which was a brown plaid that was torn. She asked if I could replace it. So off it came. Well there was this pink fabric under the plaid. So off it came. Then came the original covering in black. Off it came along with the horsehair, batting, straw, springs and even a black spider.  Unfortunately each layer had been tacked on top of the previous one. All those hundreds (yes hundreds!) of tacks took their toll on the wood. I felt it was really unsafe, especially for a newborn and his mother. So eventually my daughter’s father-in-law Willie (who loves to work with wood) took the chair and rebuilt the bottom. He supplied me with the wood seat to cover. After putting on a very thick nufoam cushion I sewed some more yellow and white canvas together to match the curtains in the nursery and gave it back to Willie to assemble. Now I’m in the process of making a cushion for the back of the chair out of beautiful bumper pads made by Marilynn’s aunt Betty. (She decided not to use the bumper pads in the crib so we are repurposing them – pictures coming when I’m finished.)
Next came the camel who was attacked by a little black dog who shall remain nameless. Both eyes were ripped out and the stuffing was falling out. I stitched them together and using black floss embroidered new eyes.
Then I took up knitting again. After giving away a mountain or two of yarn to my Hawaii neighbor’s granddaughter (she loves to crochet and her grandma who was raising her couldn’t afford to buy materials for her), I still am finding yarn as I unpack my craft supplies. I haven’t knitted in years but I actually enjoy it. So my grandson Jaden got a new blue and white striped hat to wear. (The pattern is from Charbridge Knits www. It’s a little big on him but he’s growing fast.
Then I needed a gift for Aunt Betty. I knew she collected roosters and hens for her kitchen and when I spotted these napkins that had some red stitching around them I thought they would be perfect for some embroidery. I finally found a rooster design that I liked and modified it for my stitching. Some satin, back/outlining and of course my signature the French knots plus some chain stitching all done in a variegated red pearl cotton thread. One was finished in time for gift giving the other three are ready to be turned over now. Now I know she is not going to use them as working napkins but she keeps her table looking so nice with place settings that she may use them as part of the d├ęcor. Or we could stitch the four napkins together and make a tabletop. Anyway I love the rooster and will modify it some more and then offer it for sale in my new shop once I get it opened. More about that later!
Finally one more thing to talk about. Besides all of the above I'm folowing the TAST challenge (Take A Stitch Tuesday) run by Sharon of Pin Tangle. She posts an embroidery stitch each Tuesday (well Tuesday in Australia) and then we use it on a sampler and/or in some form on a project.
The first stitch was called the fly stitch. I've used this stitch before. First I did some sampler stitches. I really don't like working on cloth where you can count the threads, it's too organized for me!. So after doing that for awhile I decided to try and use it on one of my doodles. Now normally this stitch is a stand alone one or it can be used as a filler or border stitch. I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to use it as an outline stitch. So first I doodled a small design and then I started stitching. Normally with my doodles I outline the design using black thread first and then start working the interior sections. So I threaded my needle with black floss (2 strands) and took off. The result was kind of surprising because of the lacy effect. Here is my stitching ready for framing. The name of this piece "The Flight of the Dying Fly"!
Happy Stitching!