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07/21/10

  02:49:00 am, by Airycat   , 724 words  
Categories: Needlework, Quilting, Hand Embroidery

A Whole Bunch of Stuff

Such a literate title! &amp;#59;&amp;#41; First item on the list is that I added some photos to the Needlework Photoblog in the Quilting section (here). "Machine (I think) pieced" means I just don't remember and I can't tell without opening it up, which I don't plan on doing.

I am thoroughly enjoying my GIMP For Textile Designers class with Sharon B over at Joggles. I have spent much more time playing with GIMP than on any kind of needlework, this past week. I suspect that will be the case until the class is over.

While I was at Joggles, I ordered a couple of basic Zentangle books and some pens. I've been wanting to do Zentangles for ages and ages. I tried one on my own and it just didn't look right to me. I'm sure that part of the reason was that I was using colored pencils, not the micron pens. After I did my first one with the book, I realized that the one done with pencils didn't have enough contrast. I haven't tried shading on either type, yet, but I know they will look even better then. This fits on the needlework blog, because I'm hoping to make a Zentangle suitable for embroidery -- machine and/or hand.

I'm going to Zentangle the hand.

I'm way behind on all my blog reading. I really don't know how people with a ton of "friends" manage to keep up. I know that ADD and all its distractability exacerbate the problem, but it still annoys me that I can't do everything!

Talk about distractability!! I got to my third blog, one I got to through stitchin fingers (Puncetto lace ? my sad first attempts), and that was the end of blog reading for today! (Tuesday) I saw only about half of the video before I was interrupted to do something for my husband, but that was enough. I remembered when I was doing some shisha stitching (except on a shell, not a mirror) that I thought "This could turn into lace." So, without even consulting the video again I proceeded to try making a bit of lace. I can't say my attempts are perfect, far from it, but it did work!

The first one, I attached to a card, which created the loose thread at the top. Other than that and the fact that I couldn't see the threads very well, I think it came out well. This was crochet cotton, but I lost the wrapper, so I don't know the size.

For the second one I thought I'd try a circle and finer thread, so I used a single ply of some 4 ply bamboo yarn that I bought to play with. (I love the silky feel of bamboo!) Much harder on the eyes!! When I tore these two from the card, this one unraveled. I don't know if it was the way I attached it (since the other did not unravel) or if a thread broke when I pulled.

So I did the third one with two bamboo plys and no card. It was easier than I thought it would be without the card to anchor it. I wanted to keep going, but the thread was too short. (I'll definitely need to look up how to add a thread.)

The fourth pic is another rectangle (top on right side), or maybe a shell, made with one ply bamboo. With a lot of patience and perhaps a magnifier in addition to my stitching glasses, it can be done.

All of these are buttonhole/blanket stitch. I'm sure some kind of pattern would help. I did figure out that I should count the stitches. That was enough on the rectangle, but I was not adding enough stitches for the circle, so it doesn't lie flat.

Lest you think these are large items, here's a another look at all four.

I really enjoyed doing this and have a few ideas to play with it again.

Well, maybe this hasn't really been "a whole bunch," but whatever else I was planning to write is gone, now. I watched a movie with my son between the time I started and finished this and it's past my bedtime ... again!! [OH! I remember what else it was, but I'll make a separate post tomorrow (I hope) about that.] All pics are clickable for larger view.

07/15/10

  09:17:00 pm, by Airycat   , 607 words  
Categories: Needlework, Chitchat, General Sewing, Clothing, Sewing for the Home

This 'n' That

After I did the tablecloth (previous entry), I got to work on my curtains. I got the first pair finished! :good: Have I said my name is procrastination? That pair was waiting for hems and rod pockets for months! I had hoped to get the second pair done by Monday, but, have I said my name is procrastination? Again, it's the hems and rod pockets to be done. Then I have four floor to ceiling shades to do. Here's the finished pair.

Hmmmm... this could use that distort button I learned about in GIMP class.

Actually, I don't know how much is procrastination and how much is distraction. There are so many things to be done!

On Monday I was in a frenzy of cleaning. Frenzy for me, anyway. I know some people clean like that regularly. I had to replace the filter in the vacuum, and in typical me style, it took forever to get a new filter. It was so nice to see the family/sewing room floor again! Three cats and a dog have a remarkable ability to change the color of carpeting -- and furniture -- fast!

I also sorted out and disposed of two boxes of "stuff." (After watching a couple of Episodes of Hoarding: Buried Alive I'm trying to be better about not saving unnecessary things.)

And I started the laundry... which leads to the relevant aspect of housework.... mending. I forgot to get a picture, but I patched Alex's jeans and did some machine embroidery on them. He didn't want anything too strong, so we decided on an outline of a tree that I got from www.sewterific.com. Both of us liked how it came out. I'd get a pic now, but he took them with him to Portland. I have two more pairs to patch.

Over at stitchin fingers a while back Sharon asked everyone to show their needle cases. I've never had one, but I was inspired by looking at them. The first part of that was gathering all my needles. I have so many!! I keep finding more. They were in pincushions (sometimes buried), in thread spools, in paper folders and in my cross stitch bags. I don't know where else. At first I put then on pieces of the fabric that I'm using for my blessings sampler. Not so good. That frays too much. I found a piece of batting and they work nicely there. Now I need to design a cover for them. Currently they are "bound" with safety pins. &amp;#58;&amp;#41;

Regular sewing needles
More regular sewing needles, different sizes

The top two rows are quilting needles, sizes 12 and 9, I believe.

I think the sideways needles are for beading. They are very fine.

Sharp point embroidery needles
Blunt point embroidery, craft (and possibly upholstery) needles
Upholstery needles
Temporary binding

Gosh! I have a lot of needles.

I really like the idea of keeping all my needles in one place. I think I'll make one for my random knitting needles and crochet hooks, too.

All of that (laundry, mending and needles) took me through Tuesday and into about half of yesterday. After that, I spent most of yesterday playing with GIMP. Just playing. I didn't even get to my lesson. I need to get ink. My printer won't print if one cartridge is empty. I hope to work on the lesson a bit tonight, but I need to watch the clock. I get so involved that I end up staying up all night. I was supposed to go to Portland today, but going to bed at 5 am and not sleeping well kind of blew that plan. So I will try tomorrow.

07/10/10

  12:24:00 am, by Airycat   , 514 words  
Categories: Needlework, Sewing for the Home

Transformation

Several years ago (before 2000, but I don't know exactly when) my mom got an older quilt that had been made simply by sewing two fabrics to batting. She decided she wanted a duvet cover instead and she carefully removed all the batting by opening one end and pulling all the quilt stitches out. She did that here in Oregon while visiting my sister. That was as far as she got before she had to return to NY.

When I moved here in 2004, my sister gave me a lot of fabric she didn't want, plus a lot of mom's fabric, since she would be living with me. This past week, mom said she didn't think she really wanted any of the fabric. She'd rather paint than sew. (I've never known my mom to sew much at all -- curtains, simple draperies, and an occasional chair cover --but if she could do it without sewing, she did.) Anyway, I was looking through the box and spied one I thought would make a lovely tablecloth. It turned out to be her "duvet."

Actually it would make two tablecloths that would look great in my kitchen. I checked it against the wall color and against the still-unfinished-curtains. Although the pattern is totally different from the curtains, the colors match exactly. Woohoo!

So today I worked on one of the tablecloths. I took the floral design and this is what I ended up with:

I just love it! I also made six napkins. I have enough for more, so I may make two more, but maybe not. Six is all we can fit at the table at this size and the cloth won't cover the table if it's expanded. I may use that fabric for another project instead. Don't know what, yet.

Here's a closeup of one of the napkins:

This is a photo of the teapot that was part of my inspiration for choosing the colors in my house:

Pretty much all the same colors!

I hope to do the other tablecloth (yellow check) by the end of next week. Maybe even tomorrow. I also want to get my curtains and shades finished. It has taken me forever to do them and I haven't even half finished. The other project I had hoped already to have finished is the cushions for the outdoor chairs. I don't know if you can see them in the second photo, or not, but they are old and drab and splitting along the seams. I have a gorgeous red hydrangea outdoor fabric for them. It would be nice if I could finish all these projects by the end of July. My workspace is a lot more comfortable now.

I didn't work on the fairy quilt again. This time it's because I took my machine into the shop. I was going to use the Husqvarna, but that would mean rewinding all my bobbins because the two machines don't use the same size. Since I have these other projects to work on, I figured I'd just wait for my own machine to work on the quilt.

07/07/10

  01:53:00 am, by Airycat   , 465 words  
Categories: Needlework, Chitchat, Fairy Quilt

A Feast!...

...A veritable feast, I tell you! I saw Alice in Wonderland, and loved it and followed Susan Elliott as she did her inspiring AiW CQ block, but OMG!! I saw The Lion King tonight and it was indeed a feast for the eyes for anyone who loves color and fiber/fabric! (and costuming, puppetry, dance and music) I sat entranced through the whole thing. People most often talk about the masks and puppet parts of the production, but the costuming as a whole is magnificent and masks and puppets are only part of the costuming.

The sad part is that it was all over and gone so fast. My sister rushed us out the side door so I wasn't able to even consider getting a book. I don't know if they had the kind of photos I wanted, though. I'm going to look online to see if there is a good picture book.

I have to say that reading all the blogs about fiber arts that I have been reading these past several months definitely made me more aware of these things. Talking with my son's gf, who is a costumer/puppeteer, during the intermission was enlightening, too. Front row (!!!) didn't hurt, either! &amp;#58;&amp;#68;&amp;#68;

I also 'discovered' a new (to me) voice -- Phindile Mkhize (Peen-DEE-lair m-KEYZ-zair). I looked her up on YouTube



All I can find are these phone recordings and they all sound a little tinny to me compared to her live voice, but it will give you an idea. If anyone knows of an official recording by her, please let me know. She really is awesome.

I got my fat quarters sorted. I think it's reasonably clear to see what color each stack is.

Before I got all the stacks put away, I went down and I removed the vinyl from atop the fabric -- put there to protect the fabric from the cats -- and there was Ruby, under the vinyl! I guess it was cosy for her there. I didn't have my camera handy. Wish I had. However a little while after the fat quarters were put away, she was back.

On the fabric for the fairy quilt, of course.

Emily gets up there and knocks things off the table. I don't think Llyan gets into things at all. Except for being a grouchy, hissy, scratchy cat, she's a good girl.

Finally, I got started on my fairy quilt again, today. I did not get much done. I cut out five small pieces.

Then my sister showed up and by the time I settled down after she left, she was back again to take us to dinner and the theater.

Now, it's about 2 am Wednesday, so I won't be doing any sewing tonight... except maybe a tiny bit on my Blessings sampler before I sleep.

07/04/10

  02:22:00 am, by Airycat   , 1346 words  
Categories: Uncategorized, Needlework, Chitchat, Cross Stitch

Reorganizing Update and Thinking "Out Loud"

I wanted to have some lovely new photos to show you my lovely, reorganized work space. That's not going to happen. It's kind of hard to show something that doesn't yet exist. I have made some progress, though.

One thing that happened is that I had to clean out cupboards a bit more than I expected. Today I didn't get to work there at all. I slept too late and then had to take my mom to Wal-Mart for her meds and then do grocery shopping. She was fast, for her, today, but it still takes too long as far as I'm concerned. I really dislike grocery shopping.

And we had to get heavy stuff, so my back aches from packing, lifting and loading the car. Iqbal unloaded the car, thankfully.

Since dinner (if you can call a sandwich dinner), I have been reading needlework blogs in the Google reader. Normally I like to go to each site, but I'm just too far behind and the reader is faster.

Anyway, I do have a couple of "improved" photos. The will give you a view of part of my stash, if nothing else.

The area went from this:

to this:

by Friday afternoon. Then it moved on to this:

by dinner. After dinner it became this:

The piles on the left and in the center of the table are more or less color sorted. I say more or less because sometimes it's hard to classify a color. When does a red shift enough to be called orange or purple? At what point does pink turn into peach or red? How do you decide what color to call one that is evenly balanced with three colors? When do teal and aqua turn to blue or green? And since I didn't have an aqua pile, which one do they go into to start with? I did manage to get the purples and blues back into the cupboard, but by then standing so long had taken its toll on my back. I will work on it tomorrow a bit if I get up in time. (I have to make the macaroni salad for dinner, so we'll see...)

The piles of green fabric on the right and the one at the bottom of the photo are those I'm using in the fairy quilt, which I will finally get back to when this mess is cleaned up.

It would be nice if I could get the whole room cleaned up, but one corner (a large one) is filled with my son's stuff and he won't be moving until August at the earliest.

It was fun to go through the fabric. About 98% of it is fat quarters from Keepsake Quilting. I get their Medley of the Month. I've had different ones over the years, I just switched to their scrapbag, which is skinny quarters, but more of them. Looking at each one was inspiring -- giving me ideas of what to do after the fairy quilt. Nothing really specific, yet, but the fairy quilt won't be done for a while, so it's good not to have something specific nagging at me. I'll keep getting my Medleys, but otherwise, I have no need to buy any more fabric for a while, because this is not even half my stash!! I have a ton of clothing fabric and home decor fabric, as well -- out in the laundry room cupboard and in plastic bins. Plus, some rolls of fabric my sister gave me are in the closet.

Another side effect of the cleaning was finding and putting together various WIPs and (since I don't know if there is a term for it) PWIPs (Planned WIPs). Well, the PWIPs are together separate from the WIPs.

One WIP I pulled out and hope to get finished fairly soon is a cross stitch I started years ago for my mom. In our house in VA, the guest room, the one she used when she visited (she didn't live with me then) was decorated with cherubs and flowers and I was going to hang this in there.

As you can see, it's not exactly ready to hang. If it weren't for those single stitches, it would be finished. They keep throwing me off because the chart uses a different color for them than for the full stitches. Poor thing has been folded so long, it's going to need a gentle bath when it's done.

I'm kind of frustrated. I want to be working on the quilt, not cleaning and reorganizing. Certainly not grocery shopping or housecleaning (which my house badly needs right now). I think part of me is worried that I will forget what I want to do if I stay away too long. And I have a bad history of taking forever to finish projects. I'd rather it were because I hit a real hurdle than because I got stuck doing other things and the creative energy died out for a while.

I learn a lot from my blog reading. I can't always put it into words. I'm not always sure I'll be able to give credit for inspiration, or necessarily even realize I need to, if I employ some of what I have learned. A lot of it is by osmosis from many, many sources.

Today I was reading about Elaine Lipson's Slow Cloth. I think I will need to reread that a few times. One thing I get out of it now, is that it's ecumenical. Any kind of needlework fits. I also like that it's not a particular project or even a particular way to do things, but rather the philosophy behind doing them. This so fits with how I want to do fairy quilt. I have plans for both machine and hand embroidery. I'm machine piecing it, but really want to hand quilt it. Anytime I see something new (to me), or see a different way to do something I find myself thinking about how I might do this in this quilt. Obviously, I can't do everything I've seen, but it all gets considered. This is my quilt and I'm going to do it my way, but I can easily see how Elaine's ten qualities of Slow Cloth fit in with what I'm doing.

Apparently a very lot of people associate Slow Cloth to work like Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth. Just as apparent to me, after reading several of Elaine's posts, is that it is only one example of Slow Cloth. I love Jude's work (all I have seen so far), but it's not what I do. At least, it's not the kind of thing I have in my head right now. I am inspired by it and possibly enough so that it will influence something I do, but whatever that might be, even if I might think of it as a 'spirit cloth,' I cannot now imagine that it will be like what she does... Unless it is an intentional homage or if I were to take one of her classes. It still wouldn't be the same, though. In the first place, she's way ahead of of me on the third quality -- skill/mastery. I also hope I would be able to bring enough of "me" to it that even wanting to do something like hers, it would still be different.

That paragraph didn't go where I thought it was going! I think that is what we all want with our work. I think it's what drives us. It's why I'm so much more excited about doing my fairy quilt than I am about finishing my cross stitch above, or even the idea of doing traditional quilts. And I'm not putting down charts or traditional quilts, 'cause I've seen many that the creator has brought some of her(him)self into. It just doesn't call to me, to my imagination, the same way. Which does bring me back to where I thought the above paragraph was going. I think this putting a bit of ourselves into what we do is part of what Slow Cloth is about.

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