Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Going Home"

I'm not really sure how to begin this, except to say that it has been like waking up from a beautiful dream, and trying hard to keep sleeping so it won't stop. I returned to Austin last night from a week long visit with my #2 son, who lives just north of Tallahassee outside a beautiful small town called Havana. Four acres of enormous pine trees - complete with owls and magnolia trees and big camellia bushes in full bloom. It was raining and freezing cold the whole week, but it was a visit to restore the soul. (We also had a fine fireplace with plenty of wood to burn) The picture is of my son Charlie, loading wood north Florida style - a man on a backhoe keeps it neatly piled, and the way to buy is to keep a notepad with the number of armloads one loads into the car. I don't know if it is because I am an artist - but I have always said that this region, of all places on the planet, is the one that literally feeds my soul and fuels my creativity - and I have sorely missed it in the 14 years since I left. I insisted that he and his wife take me to Panacea, which is my very favorite of the little coastal fishing villages just south of Tallahassee - and of course I had to stop at the classiest "tourist treasure" shop we could find. (there aren't but three there, as it hasn't been found by the tourists yet.) This is the front of "Linda's store," - a very classy spot with a fine mixture of gorgeous and tasteful antiques and totally tacky tourist stuff. This was her last day in business, so she helped me out with a big bag of seashells I had promised my grandson, Jake, - and told me he doesn't need to know they aren't native. I think they are all from Indonesia. (it isn't seashell season in north Florida.) We laughed and made memories here that I will never forget! On the side of this building is a big mural depicting a mermaid - lighting wasn't good due to cloud cover. As I said, this region causes me to want to get out the watercolours again and start painting - I saw a picture on every street corner and some in between. The little house across the street is vacant and very colorful - and I am threatening to run away to Panacea and live in it. Wonderful thought!! The next installment will be pictures and descriptives of Hook Wreck Henry's seaside cafe - a friend of my son's from high school has opened this wonderful establishment - gourmet cuisine in a seafood shack setting - right on the water, with it's own fishing boat. When they were in high school, I never expected that they would turn out so well - educated and productive and still friends. They were very imaginative in their mischief and misdeeds!! I felt more love in the hugs from these guys, and laughed more than I have in many years. I'll do it again maybe in the spring when the dogwoods are in bloom.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Close-up of the Pelican

Well - I'm still not as adept at this as I would like to be - I lost the close-up on the previous blog - so here it is!! That bright white band with the "jewels" is kind of distracting, but it will be easier to stitch, as the settings are metallic gold.

The Pelican of Piety - a prayer kneeler

The time to write this, I have decided, is before I crash due to total fatigue of body and brain, and before the onset of some serious PPD.
This prayer kneeler is for a friend, who is also a parishioner at my son's church, so I was pleased to have it do. Louann brought me the pictures several years ago, but I haven't quite had the nerve - or the time - to really concentrate on it. But now it is done!! She took the pictures herself a number of years ago - she said, judging from the style of the mosaic, probably somewhere in eastern Europe.
The lighting and the color are difficult to see, so I had awful trouble getting the paint mixed to suit me. The Pelican was noted in medieval times to pierce it's breast to feed it's young when food was unavailable - therefore, it became a symbol of Christ's Passion and the Eucharist. I would love to go there and see that vaulted ceiling with it's magnificent mosaic!
This symbol is seen in Christian art elsewhere, but many times is mistaken for a stork. This one is new to me! The close-up should show more detail on the needlepoint rendition of the picture - the challlenge here, of course, was putting it onto a 15" x 30" piece of 13 mesh canvas, and making it feasible to stitch.
I had to eliminate a great deal of the detail of the mosaic, as it would have just looked like a busy mess on this size mesh. The white bands were left that way, as they will be stitched in dark gold thread - and we decided it would be easier on the eyes to just leave it white. I'm actually very pleased with it - which is unusual for me.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Web Pages!!

My oldest son gave me a computer and a web page for Christmas about two years ago - to keep Granny busy and out of the dance halls, I'm sure - and off the telephone whining and demanding attention from in-town children. I had never even looked at a computer before, so just learning to turn it on was a major triumph - and then came the internet and setting up a web page and learning to use a digital camera - to take pictures, put them into the computer, and find them again! Anyway, I have spent many many both screaming/frustrating and happy/contented hours and days at this activity - BUT I could write a book about what I had to learn, as I knew NOTHING about doing a web page, and made many mistakes. I finally, in one of those serendipitous occassions, found a most wonderful web host - a man with the patience of a saint and an expertise that is incredible. His wife is a needlepoint designer also - so looking up her website from curiosity one day is what pointed me in his direction - and in addition, I found a new friend in Tish, (Happy Heart Designs), with whom I can gossip about the industry. whine about slow days, and generally scheme, plan, giggle and collaborate. The picture is of Steve Watkins - a portrait by his wife. He is a paramedic in his spare time when he isn't wrangling with our needlepoint sites (I am a dummy, and I'm sure extremely frustrating to work with.) and digging a 4 acre lake on his farm. But the point of this is Tish's web page - it is, without a doubt, the best I have seen. It is colorful but simple, as are her designs - and soooo easy to navigate. There is a new feature on it that you must see - click on "finished pictures," and you will see a book with pages that turn as you click on the rolling edges. I go often just to play with that, besides looking at the delightful canvases. (I'm featuring two of her beginner pieces in my March/April article in Needlepoint Now). I have a lot of people ask about starting a web page - who are like I was, and haven't a clue where to go or whom to ask or even what questions to ask. I highly recommend this service - Starnet Services - take a look!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A New Challenge

No picture today - but I wanted to call attention to the new links I have listed. I was discussing with a good friend last night the need to stay creatively stimulated so that the boredom of routine doesn't set in and slow us down in mind or body. I had watched Sharon B's TAST - Take a Stitch Tuesday - with much interest, but not inclined to do it myself, as that isn't my field. However, as I have gotten more and more involved with watching the Art Crazy Quilters (at the top of my list, Allie's in Stitches, of course), I have been so tempted to "convert" and start working on Crazies. Her label she has posted now on her blog pushed me over the edge, and I decided to go ahead and sign up for Sharon's "Take it Further" design challenge, starting in January. (The links are on the sidebar on this blog.) My hesitation has been that there are only so many years allotted to us in a lifetime, and, as this is a new endeavor for me, I would have to start at the ground floor as a total beginner - which doesn't suit me these days. HOWEVER, I recall about five years ago, after my aunt for whom I had been primary caretaker (Alzheimer's) left us, I kind of crashed - and thought maybe I needed a therapist. Then thought that might be dumb, as I knew what the problem was, so spent the money instead on a series of pottery classes at the local art museum. I had never had time for ceramics in college, but had always wanted to learn. - I had to do something, and decided this might be fun. Well. It was. I can't remember enjoying anything so much - met wonderful friends whom I still enjoy outside of class - and, although I wasn't really very good at it, I absolutely loved it, and would sit in the floor of my kitchen until the wee hours making "mud pies." I realized that I was doing this creative and therapeutic thing just for myself - didn't have to be concerned with marketing trends or pleasing anyone but myself. No commercial aspects to it at all - and after nearly forty years of designing needlepoint for commercial marketing, this is a treat!!
The gist of this, in a nutshell, is that remembering the feeling of contentment, accomplishment, and joy I felt with the pottery for several years, will probably recur with this design challenge of Sharon's. I'm anxious to get started - and so looking forward to it. Check it out for yourself if you haven't already!! All of us need a good challenge of some sort to keep us sharp, alert, and creative. P.S. If you are so inclined, also click on "Ceramic Stuff" on my list of labels and see some of my masterpieces - most of which were created at home in my kitchen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Faberge'" Ornament in Needlepoint

I am always amazed and startled at what my children have "snagged' from digging in my boxes and closets and drawers. I'm still in residence in the guest quarters at my daughter's house, and was inspecting the Christmas tree this morning - and found this piece I had long ago forgotten about. It was an experiment of several years ago to see if I could pull off a totally round tree ornament. This involved buying a package of 4" styrofoam balls and cutting quarter sections out of paper to make them fit the size and shape - and this was the result. At that time, my favorite design source was the book FABERGE' AND THE RUSSIAN MASTER GOLDSMITHS. (love that book, as it goes waaaay beyond the eggs and into the realm of the cloissone' enamels and different styles.) I had just finished a needlepoint stocking cuff with the design taken from an Art Nouveau style tea service by Faberge' - and as the colors were perfect for Christmas, went ahead and drew the template for this ornament - and actually got all four sections completed. You can't see from the picture, but it really sparkles and shines with silk threads, beads, and metallics. The quarter section shown flat is to illustrate the shape necessary for this round ball. My favorite finisher, Vikki Pinson, is so good at this, she actually got the botton and top "jewels" to match up in the right places - awesome!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bargello and 4-way Florentine

Looking back at things I stitched several years ago always seems to be a process of "evolutions," as one thing tends to lead to another - or in this case, recall things we did almost 40 years ago, before we had the wonderful novelty fibers for needlepoint - the shiny, sparkly, bright colored stuff. Starting with a small project for a friend who wanted something inexpensive to hand out as promotional "freebies" for her new shop, the ornament with the small heart in the center ( done in Caron Watercolours overdyed cotton and solid DMC perle cotton) led me to return to investigating the 4-way Bargello I used to enjoy. The Bargello was one of the first things I learned in the early 70's, in which a color pattern was stitched onto bare, white canvas - enchanting, as it was almost literally "painting with a needle." These small ornaments are stitched onto canvas with only a few marks for guidance, as I am lazy and don't like counting, and won't stitch from charts. Very very simple to do - and also inexpensive, as they don't involve painted canvases. ( I know several women who made these ornaments two-sided.) The blue and white one is mine, and the multi-color rendition was stitched by Janet Perry of Napa Needlepoint - wonderful and unusual colors she used on her version - and I am delighted to see someone use her own creativity and color choices on the designs. The threads I used were mostly things already in my stash - and if they weren't, it was a fine excuse to go shopping for more. As this work progressed, I added beads to a few, of course - and there were even some with silk ribbon flowers in the center. The white areas of the red one as well as the blue, could have been done also in bargello, but I like the look of basketweave incorporating glittering seed beads - the Sundance color 250H, which are clear crystal hexagonal beads for extra sparkle and iridescence.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Egg and I

In the classic on design by Owen Jones (1856), THE GRAMMAR OF ORNAMENT, Diaper Pattern is defined as a "series of equidistant (parallel) interlocking lines - vertical, horizontal, and diagonal." By moving these lines and sets of lines around, the variety of pattern possibilities is almost unlimited. Needlepoint canvas, due to its evenweave construction, is ideal for playing around with it - and also, taking great liberties (artistic license) with creating flowers, leaves, and "jewel" settings within the resulting boxes and lozenges. In the early 70's, when I first started playing with this, I stuck to the traditional, inspired by Maggie Lane's use of it in her Oriental pieces - Buddha's Path, and other trellis and fretwork type designs. I used a lot of caning and latticework in my own designing, as well as the "plaids" in the Imari porcelains. Anyway, I decided a few years ago to resurrect this, inspired by the wealth of wonderful fibers and beads and metallics available now for special effects - but when I pulled these things out of a box for use in an upcoming article in Needlepoint Now, they were all Christmas things, which won't do for a magazine article in March! Sooooo - I drew an egg - a kind of springtime looking "cloisonne' enamel" type egg. This is such an easy thing to stitch, as it is counted for symmetry, and marked on the canvas with a Pilot Permanent Pen - then outlined with Kreinik metallic braid. Then comes the fun part - the painting with needle and thread in filling in the color areas. I have used simply DMC floss and Renaissance shimmer (for the jewels), along with Ribbon Floss from YLI for the background. The flowers and leaves are beaded with my little technique to make them look solid. When this one is done, I will dump out my stashes of sparkly stuff and do a different design. The gold and white round piece was an evening bag, with beads on the designs within the lozenges. Outlining was done with Ribbon Floss instead of metallic braid. In addition to these, I have stitched tree ornaments, Kissing balls, mini-stockings, and evening bags, as well as using Diaper Pattern for subtle backgrounds on pillows and other more traditional pieces - great entertainment, and striking results!! but now on to more EGGS!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Rewards of Motherhood

This sort of thing makes it all worthwhile - all the years of being mother to six active, healthy, intelligent, energetic, hungry, dirty, etc. etc. children. and the best part of all is, Granny didn't have to clean it up!! He (Seth, age 2) was helping his mom mix icing for a cake. I asked my daughter if she could maybe mix more frosting so I could get more pictures - but she declined. I can remember considering picking mine up by the ears to transfer them to the bathtub - or sending them outside to play in the plastic wading pool after I had filled it and added "Mr. Bubble." My mother told me this was slovenly - but I thought it was rather clever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Needlepoint PAISLEY

I goofed a little bit on the Paisley evening bags - had the picture size set for smaller, so they don't really show up - I did that, apparently, to minimize the disgusting effect of my work space. (Actually, it's worse today.) Anyway - Here is #2 painted on white canvas, where the details show up a little better than on the black one. Also - we have "rubies" across the top instead of "pearls."

Evening bags in needlepoint!! PAISLEY

I was motivated to do this after looking at Rengin's blog - which I found via Allie's in Stitches, of course. There is another CQ heart ready - but this is more interesting to me, as Rengin's beautiful Paisley shawl struck a chord. One of my favorite design motifs. My good friend Marilyn, whom I have trained well what to look for in her world travels, brought me gorgeous books from her last jaunt to India (without the kids this time), dealing with Textiles of India - and PAISLEY! I painted an evening bag flap for her - which nobody has stitched yet, as I put it on black canvas, and won't touch it myself. Then had to go on and do a few more - and put the same designs on white for a change, where they started to look like Christmas stocking cuffs. HMMMM. Idea. The two black ones have a definite shape with the curves and the point - so would be lovely as an evening bag front - but the white one, the third of these designs (also done in black) could be turned over and made into a glittering stocking cuff. Lots of possibilities for beads, etc. and other glittery stuff.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Creative Chaos

I can't possibly compete with the "big mess" champions, as I have only had six months in my new quarters to spread and create proper chaos. "Orderly chaos" is my preferred term for this. Most of my things are in boxes in the garage, and the pottery supplies (mud pie makings) are in storage - but I have done a fair job of it, even with the handicap of only two rooms to trash. The shelves with the plastic boxes are on shelves over my computer - which is almost buried in scraps of note paper. The book shelves contain the more important of my books that are work oriented - then more above the computer beside the boxes. There are two more chests of drawers not showing - full of threads, yarn, beads, all that good stuff. And where are my clothes? In boxes in the garage, or in heaps under the bed. The jar of paint brushes is sitting on my beloved big double wide filing cabinet - on which also sits my printer.

Beads and Animal Skin

and more playing with beads!! I finished the little starfish - a "jeweled" mini-ornament I made for my friend Vikki last year but never finished. She wants to do a nautical tree with it. Cute!! Also started on a piece she wants to use for the crown of a hat she will show with her finishing at the Dallas needlepoint market in April. Beading those leopard spots is blinding, but so showy/gaudy/flashy - I think the term used to be "pizazz." It will make a striking hat when she finishes, complete, probably with a net veil.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Art Crazy Quilt

Michaelangelo said "I am still learning." and isn't it wonderful to still have so many things to learn?!! I have just finished looking at Allison Aller's blog, which I do each morning to enjoy with my first coffee, and was amazed to see that there was no real "Art Crazy Quilt" division in that Houston Quilt Market. My article in Needlepoint Now for this month, just out, deals with that subject - and as I wrote it, I asked Allie for a definition or two and comments. I have shown this piece before, but not since I blocked it and got it into better shape for the photo - nor have I shown the corner of the finished quilt from which I took the design. Beautiful thing to inspire a needlepoint designer. Anyway, here is what she told me - and what I used in the article: "I am told that the quilt world is divided into two camps, "sane quilters," who essentially work with cotton fabric and the quilted surface, and the "crazy quilters" who will use any fabric, and whose work is, by tradition, seldom quilted. Their surface is covered by hand-work. There are traditionalists and innovators in each camp as well." I asked Allie to define for me the term "ART CRAZY QUILT," and her answer was this: "A contemporary exploration of the traditional crazy quilt. Fancy and unusual fabrics, embroidery, and random piecing are combined with three dimensional embellishments, beadwork, and ribbonwork of all kinds and materials to personally express the artist's vision." Great!! So here is the picture of my piece in needlepoint - as well as it's inspiration: The quilt is called " Summer Mandala" - you can see it in progress from beginning to finish on her blog. I have already started on the next one, which as I remember, is on the top left of this gorgeous thing. I believe the same thing happened in the needlepoint world in about the mid 80's that Allie describes in the quilt world - just too much going on with the addition of wonderful varieties of fibers - and beads and all kinds of things, and now I feel like I'm tilting at windmills trying to get a bit of order and good taste back into the design part of the industry, as I have lately seen some rather awful (in my opinion) things going on for apparent lack of anything new to do. Some of it gets into the realm of stretching the capabilities of a medium beyond its limits - forcing it to do things not inherent in its nature. I don't know what to think.!!! I'm hoping that the crazy quilt renditions will allow stitchers free reign to use and enjoy these things, but keep them within the realm of "orderly artistic chaos"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Crazy Quilt for Christmas (in needlepoint)

I have been digging through boxes, and am a bit startled at the volume of these things I'm finding that I never got around to finishing. This was made several years ago when I first started (again) playing around with CQ in needlepoint - but before I found the art crazy quilters. It had never occurred to me to do the seam treatments, as I was more concerned with silk ribbon flowers and stitched in rickrack and leaf and flower "lace" trims. Anyway - I worked all day on this, and it's done! I'm beginning to have a bit more confidence in just starting at some point with thread in the needle and "freehand painting" on top of the needlepoint without any guidelines other than a sketch or a photocopy of the canvas pre-stitching. It never turns out quite like I envisioned in the beginning, so is usually a happy surprise. (Sometimes the result is not so happy, and a few minutes of ripping out is necessary - and a re-do to get it right.) Removing surface embroidery only takes a few minutes - unlike the needlepoint background. By stitching vines and stems and tendrils, etc. on TOP of the stitched "fabric" patches, (using stem stitch, fly stitch, chain stitch) one can achieve a much smoother line or curve than by stitching on bare canvas. I have tried it both ways. The "ferns" on the giraffe patch were created totally freehand with Caron Watercolours, an overdyed cotton that is gorgeous. On the animal skin crazies, I like to have at least one nice, plain patch on which to put pretty silk ribbon flowers - in a nice spray with fillers of french knots and leaves. On this mini-stocking, I used the Rainbow Gallery "Petite Very Velvet" thread - which in basketweave, looks just like a velvet patch. I really enjoyed, on this one, also using the Kreinik metallic ribbon, which I had been unaware of until a short while ago. It is so much nicer on the upright stitches on the leaf trims~! The bottom picture was taken before the silk ribbon roses and other flowers and French Knots were added - just the "bare bones."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Before and After

Digging through a box of UFO's in the crazy quilt category, I found several needlepoint pieces that I had stitched, but put aside without the embellishment - which is what brings them to life. Soooo, since I have now learned to use the flat bed scanner that is part of my new printer, and actually find the pictures again, I thought it might be interesting to show a before and after - that is, before embellishement, and then after it is done to demonstrate how the surface embroidery brings them to life. Part of mine include "built-in" trims, as lace, ric-rac, and whatever else I can figure out. This heart actually could stand by itself without the surface embroidery, but I think it is really enhanced by a few silk ribbon flowers and the seam treatments - especially the fly stitch between the pink and orange patches. This is a great little exercise in embroidery stitches that I had forgotten. The chenille needle makes it much easier, too - as the tapestry needles we use for needlepoint are just too blunt to make it easy. This scan was made even before the beads were inserted - the bare bones of the intended "masterpiece." Only the "fabrics" are shown, plus the bit of orange flower "lace" that is composed of smyrna crosses for "bumps" and texture. The finished piece has a few flaws in it that I will probably change - like the raised spider web. I don't like it - it's messy, and somehow just doesn't fit. Otherwise, it will do fine, I think. Using the orange beads with the pink patch was interesting - I used, of course, Sundance beads - and the surface reflective quality picked up enough of the pink to make them blend nicely. Pink beads wouldn't have been nearly so interesting. On the green one, where I wanted a diagonal effect, I just used the offset diagonal mosaic, and in the spaces left (I had to turn the canvas to make them go in the direction I wanted) I used the #250, which are totally clear - and applied them with DMC floss in the same color as the silk background. It looks great, and is a lot subtler that it would have been with green beads. Now - on to the next one!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beginner Canvas for an Old Stitcher

I discovered these little canvases several months ago, listed as "beginner" canvases on a web page new to me, called "Happy Heart Designs." (Tish Watkins, designer) - and I kept going back to the site to look at these and other ones that were so appealing, although it has been almost 40 years since I was a beginner at needlepoint. Then, about a month ago, stricken with a terrible case of PPD (post project depression) I remembered them and begged Tish to send me two for my own use and enjoyment. I can't remember when I have enjoyed anything as much - simple, bright, small, and I had free reign to work out new techniques and stitches. Anyway - here is the result. I also thought it would be fun to see what Tish herself did with them. Her husband is a kind and patient man (my web host, as well), and sent me pictures of them for this post. Apparently Tish decided to make round ornaments with them - changed the background color, and cut off the leaves and just made a narrow background around them .
I used mine as well in my January/February article for Needlepoint Now - as I wanted to call attention to what many have forgotten - SIMPLICITY!! Basic good design, great colors, and flat areas for just enjoyable and inventive stitching.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More Crazy Quilt!! (in needlepoint)

It's been a while since I have had time to work on this, but I have now been able to practice seam treatment stitches - and am rather pleased with it so far. This is the upper left corner with the diagonal leaves, and my practice with fly stitch "weeds." A little bit of the silk ribbon herringbone is showing, with the Kreinik French knot "bead" effect. The patch with the white dots (bare canvas) will have seed beads after I finish the silk ribbon embellishment. This next segment is on the lower right corner - I especially like the way the fly stitch looks between the pink and the orange patches - It prompted me to cut a heart template opening in a piece of copy paper, and move it around over the canvas to do some heart shaped pieces for beginner efforts (mine too.) The light purple chevron on the purple patch is done with Spark Organdy by YLI - new to me, and very interesting. The heart shape in progress is the first one I drew with my paper template in place - and I am enjoying working on it, and can finish it in good time, I think. Next is the last close-up image for this piece - I worked hard on the chain stitch, which I hadn't done before making curves - especially interesting was the use of the Watercolours by Caron Collection - a gorgeous overdyed cotton. (This was also used on the diagonal leaf trim.) There is a lot of the Kreinik braid on this canvas, as it is available in wonderful colors - both solid and variegated. I have only just now discoverd their metallic ribbon in the same colors, but more flexible, so easier to use for this purpose. The company has generously sent me a package of both sizes to try on my models - exciting!! - and a great excuse to start new designs.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A "Jeweled" needlepoint fish

I found this fish in my grandson's room where my daughter had put it for a bit of cheerful color - on a high shelf where he couldn't grab it, of course. I made it for her many years ago and had forgotten about it. I think it was my first foray into using novelty threads and beads, etc., to create effects - and a piece of costume jewelry was the inspiration. As I remember, I just painted the colors areas as flat - and then drew squares where I wanted the "rubies" to be. - the rest was a simple matter of stitching with shiny and sparkly threads and inserting beads!! Those green things are "emeralds" made with Rainbow Gallery Frosty Rays. My friend Vikki Pinson did the finishing for me - made it as she does so well with a slightly padded surface on a stiff back with a little easel for standing on a table or shelf. I really like the clever addition of the "sailor's knot" she made with the surrounding cording. This first little experiment has led to lots and lots of other experiments with beads and "jewels" - an evolution of techniques. Lots of fun! At the time I made this piece, I didn't know that the fish could be made just fish shaped and finished to hang as an ornament. I am still learning, it seems.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Needlepoint Crazy Quilt Block - Finished!!

I think it was Beau Brummel (Stewart Granger played the part back in my young, impressionable years, when he still had gray sideburns and a devastating smile) who said "Haste is the enemy of perfection." I was in haste this afternoon to show this piece I have labored over for so long - and haven't blocked it yet. It is quite crooked - but that will work out fine later.
The original block is part of the border of the beautiful creation now called"SummerMandala." (Allison Aller's quilt, of course) I had to take liberties with both fibers and stitches in trying to recreate the look of the fabrics - and also on the embellishment, as I am limited to what can be done with a chenille needle and my ability (or lack of it, as I am a beginner with some of these things) to embroider on top of finished needlepoint, which is thick and stiff. I did have the joy of dumping out my stash and using things long forgotten - or threads I hadn't been able to use yet - like the YLI Spark Organdy, which was used to make the little blue French knots on the lower right. I was rather pleased with myself in the execution of the stem stitch veins in the leaves - as it was done freehand, and I followed the original drawing I made without being able to make marks on the leaves themselves. Also new to my experience in stitching is chain stitch - so I am also liking the upper left green patch with the gold flowers, as it was used to join them. The flowers themselves were smyrna cross "bump" stitches incorporated into the stitching and not worked on top. It's late in the day now, and I am really tired, as I have been pushing a deadline to finish this - so I will avoid the customary and expected PPD by eating a huge bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup - and finding a good movie to watch. As Scarlett said, "tomorrow is another day."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Needlepoint "Floral 9-patch" block

There will only be one most post showing this block, but I wanted to show the great progress, after many pricked fingers and agonizing over stitches and fibers and all those French knots and stem stitches. I promise, the next time I do this, it will be finished, nicely blocked, and ready to photograph. Even that leaf that is barely begun. It's beginning to be no fun at all with a deadine pushing. The next picture is a close-up of the upper left corner of the piece - I had trouble deciding what to do on the seam, as Allie's treatment was a bit heavy for me to accomplish in needlepoint - but I loved the unexpected color, which this thing sorely needed. I like, in needlepoint, the way the same thread looks so different in value by using different stitches. The leaves and the patch with the little gold flowers are the same thread - one of the beautiful Soie Cristale silks by Caron Collection. The third shot is of the lower right corner - and shows the bead treatment in an attempt to get the "look" of that fabric on the original. I like the purple YLI ribbon floss on the corner - and intend to put a few more light blue/purple French knots there. Whew!! What an exercise in stem stitch, French knots, chain stitch, and buttonhole. I am hoping to have a Parson's table made for displaying this thing under glass - kind of shadow boxed like we used to do. I couldn't see framing or making a pillow with this one. I am seeing the fly stitch thing looking white - but it is a pale green silk ribbon. The light was a bit crazy this afternoon (or was it me?)