Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Origin and Progress of a Species - My Blog and Others

Anne Stradal announced, along with her new post today, that her blog is now two years old.

(The Cape Stitcher) Amazing. I decided to go back to my own origins and see when I started mine. I had no idea what I was doing, but mercifully, I had "met" Allison Aller, who graciously pointed out the errors of my ways and helped me along.

Mine began on September 13, 2006. YIKES I had no idea how to do it. I didn't even separate it into paragraphs. I had already fallen under the spell of the art crazy quilters, and had stitched this small stocking for my older daughter, Marie. Four years later, I'm still mesmerized by this style, and continue to attempt to replicate those gorgeous things in needlepoint - the embellishment being almost instant gratification.

Originally, I didn't intend for it to be a totally needlepoint blog, and wanted to use a lot of the crafts I do, including my pottery - but gradually it became more needlepoint oriented.

Incidentally, these were taken from the first page of blog posts way back then - the one that shows Sept. 2006. You can click on that on the archives and see it from the beginning.

The next photo (taken with my first ancient second hand digital camera) is of two greeting cards I had used to make transparencies - the way we did it before the craft stores started selling something they called "transfer medium" and making it more expensive and complicated than it need be.

This was done with simple polymer medium. It was very enjoyable, and elegant decorative items were produced. I liked putting these onto candles, as when they were lighted, the light glowed through the picture.

I also put them onto glass vases (on the inside) and then backed them with gold leaf - gorgeous vases for dried plant material.

Today I was crusing around the blogs as I do each morning, and found that Kris of Kris' Color Stripes has changed her format, and is doing her colors a different way. They are perfectly beautiful the way she presents them, and easier to use, I think, to create our own color schemes for needlework.

Be sure to go see her HERE, and click on "colour files" on the left side bar to see what she will present every Monday. This is her very first one on the new blog, and I look forward to many more.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Needlepoint Now (We've come a long way!)

I'm still in the process of going through boxes in the garage, trying to find things from the big move - and dug out my Madeline's needlework bag I had given her several years ago. As she was the daughter of two lawyers, she actually had a will at the age of 13, and left me this lovely bag and its contents.

Now that it's been a little over two years since we lost her, I could go through it without shattering into pieces - and found the very first issue of Needlepoint Now that I wrote my article for. It was May/June of 2007. Funny thing - Carole Lake was my neighbor, but we never had time to meet for coffee at the neighborhood coffee place for a good giggle and gossip session.

Anyway, writing for this magazine has been a life-line that has held me together, as I told Elizabeth Bozievich not long ago - it's what has kept me going for the last few years, as it came at a time when great stress and crisis were beginning, and I was just recovering from a near fatal episode of heart disease - things like a son going to Iraq, and my children deciding I needed to move out of my house and into my daughter's guest quarters to be sure I had proper care. (I was not nice about that one!!)

To back up a bit, I think I was primed and ready for it when Joyce Lukomski asked me to do it, as I had spent recovery time playing with my new toy - the computer my son gave me. I was given two or three months time left on this planet, but put off exiting, as I found the art crazy quilters, and the wonderful world of blogs, and new inspiration for needlepoint design just everywhere I looked, as well as wonderful friends I never knew were "out there." - so had to put it off a while. (That was 4 1/2 years ago).

Then just when I was facing the big move 3 1/2 years ago, Joyce contacted me - and it has given me a continuity of purpose and the next deadline to meet, and the next project to work on - something organized and necessary on which to focus!! I'm ever so grateful this opportunity came along.

I lost my beloved granddaughter two years ago, and without the article to think about, I would probably by this time have fallen into a heap of useless rubble on the floor.

I was in my replications of crazy quilts phase in this first article, and Allison Aller, who had become my dearest internet friend (Allie's in Stitches) pieced a special square for me to use - but in the final proofing, the un-embellished one was shown. Oh well. It's a beauty even without embroidery.

I didn't realize until tonight, looking through the magazine, that Liz Morrow (Lizart) had a nice spread in that one. At the time, I had no idea who she was - this one is called "Flowers of Color," which surprises me, as Liz is normally thought of as the best of the bargello ladies. I do enjoy communicating with her by e-mail. (Love this internet thing)

The ads are different in the 2007 issue from the way it looks in this current issue - I think ornament designs are more plentiful and more vibrant, or something. (Elizabeth is doing a great job, as is the "ad lady" Sarah!)

Also, I was amused by this Kreinik ad, as it touts the "gourmet" metallics as the newest thing. How far they've come now with the Holographic series - and gourmet, yummy as it is, is old hat.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Nutcracker Suite and Other Fine Things!

Self indulgence is a good thing sometimes, and as I have had to make yet another change of address this week, I have been wallowing in self pity and decided to cruise the internet and place a few orders. Even a good move can be traumatic (this one was), as now I can't find anything and feel kind of disconnected.

I cannot find the little bag of the current needlepoint project, along with my thread clippers and needles - major stress!! It was to be for a new blog post. I have also not found the box containing my paints and brushes - withdrawal going on here. However, I have been looking at my favorite blogs again, and will direct you to wonderful things.

First, the contents of my mail box today. Quite a mood elevator, as it all arrived at the same time!! The soap is from Seventh Sojourn. (The link is under "good stuff" on my side bar as "Wonderful Soap") Here you can see Almond Kiss and Luxurious Lavendar.

There also was an "Angel" with a wonderful scent, but my daughter saw it and snagged it before I could make a picture. These soaps are not only delightful in scent, but are soooo good for the skin, and keep my hands from turning needles black.

The tea is Winter Dreams from Tea Embassy - also on the side bar under Good Stuff. It's a delicious loose tea I enjoy in the evening while I read. The Netflix is a movie I've never seen - don't know how I missed it, but expect it to be good - The Notebook.

Next, if you haven't already been watching, do go to The Cape Stitcher and see the development of the wonderful Nutcracker Suite ornaments Anne Stradal is stitching. Hers are different from what one usually sees "out there," as they are based on her years of experience with both attending from early childhood and dancing this great ballet - and passing along the Christmas tradition to her sons (now grown.) The text is as delightful as the characters! This one is "Coffe."

Allie Aller is now beginning a "house portrait" that she loves doing, and is just now almost ready to begin the embellishment - well worth watching at Allie's in Stitches. If you click to enlarge on her site, you can see how small it is compared to the other objects shown - the threads, etc.

Another blog I look at daily is Lisa Daria's "one painting per day." Her work is amazing and quite happy looking - it makes me smile.

The colors in this one are fabulous - one could certainly develop a grand color scheme from it for needlepoint! I may entertain myself tomorrow by trying to pull threads from my stash to match.

Sharon B. (PINTANGLE) is moving along with her Wednesday project, but it's already Thursday in Australia, so you'll have to scroll down a bit - the embroidery is gorgeous on this and worth checking each week. I look at her blog daily, as there is always something of inspiration and interest there.

Now I'm off to make some tea, watch a movie, and relax - tomorrow should be a fine day for energy to return, as we are finally getting a cold front in Austin tonight. I'm tired of heat and humidity!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Art in Stitchery

When I first started this post this morning (Wednesday in Austin) it was still Wednesday "downunder," and Sharon B. (PINTANGLE) had made a wonderful second edition post to her original one for "Work in Progress Wednesday," showing her progress on this beautiful thing.

I just checked on it, and now it's Thursday there, and she has posted yet another one of interest - lots of links to great things we all enjoy.

Anyway, the picture is showing the progress on the piece she showed last Wednesday, which gave also the inspiration and how she adapted it to a lovely piece of surface embellishment type embroidery. This is worth studying, and it even makes me want to give it a try.!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beautiful Surface Embellishment

This is a blog cruise to really enjoy, as Allison Aller (whose beautiful first book is ready to be "out" in February) just returned from the Houston Quilt Show with pictures of the art quilting represented there. (not all crazy quilt - lots of what I call "art quilts")

Allie's blog is one of the very first I found after I was given a computer and shown how to turn it on and off by two of my sons, (one of whom, my James, installed my internet and showed me how to do e-mail) and has been the mainstay of inspiration for my adaptations of art crazy quilt to needlepoint.

She also guided me, after we became fast friends on the internet, on how to "do" a blog, and made a gorgeous block for me to use in my very first article in Needlepoint Now - which was May/June three years ago.
The second picture is of a quilt named "Legendary Ladies and Fabulous Fans" by Barbara Warner. There is some genuinely beautiful art in this show, and Allie has several posts, and I think more to come.
The Quilt show has quite a variety of styles!! It's worth a look - and do give yourself plenty of time! I have found a tremendous amount of visual inspiration and methods for embellishing the surface of needlepoint in these CQ blogs.
I am not a quilter, although I have loved over the years putting traditional patchwork onto canvas for needlepoint, and now am mesmerized by the embellished CQ. I'm eagerly awaiting February and Allie's book - it's total Eye Candy as well as fine instruction! See her at Allie's in Stitches.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Different Sort of Bullion Knot!

I have never cared much for bullion knots for canvas embellishment - until I took my usual Tuesday Trip to Sharon B's TAST stitch this morning. (PINTANGLE).

She is calling this one "Kiko's Flower Stitch," and explains why, as she shows step by step how to make the stitch, and then form a flower if one wishes. I'm off to find a little something with a background already worked and try it out.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Doll, "Maureen"

Having decided to make the Irish angel part of the series of "ethnic" costumed dolls, Anne Stradal offered to stitch her for me after her wings were clipped and her halo gone, and is almost at the end of a beautiful job of doing so.
If you have missed it, and the progress in stages, be sure to go watch at The Cape Stitcher, as the finale will be shown in a few days.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Embellishing Ornaments

The term "enhancement," when speaking of the painted canvas, means making it prettier by focusing on certain areas to make them more prominent and the piece more attractive. This is done by choices of textured stitches and different types of threads. When overdone, it's just a big mess.

"Embellishment," which I'm seeing a lot of these days, is the addition of things on top of the already stitched needlepoint. I've enjoyed for a lot of years using silk ribbon embroidery, as well as decorative embroidery stitches with other threads for special effects - a result of studying the art crazy quilts.

The first picture is an example - it's "raised closed herringbone" from Sharon B's TAST, week 31. (Pintangle) I've been following this, but haven't done many of them, as I didn't have any needlepoint backgrounds ready. Hers, as are the other fiber artists' are done on fabric - but I wanted to use them for needlepoint, as they are really quite interesting.

The red ornament is one I had stitched a while back in a phase of PPD when I needed to keep my hands busy - a great time to get these things ready and waiting! I found that when I really don't want to think, but need to keep my hands busy (when I have a good movie to watch), if I pull out one of my "traditional" ornament shapes, I can have a background ready in a short time for embellishment - which I can then do when something comes along I want to try out. Notice the needleblending which shades from light to dark red!

Anyway, I flunked this one badly, but it was good practice, and as it's on the surface, it will be a breeze to take off and start over. I like the effect of the Kreinik Holographic braid and a bit of ribbon, but I don't like the vertical - so next time will do it horizontally.

The red, green, and white ornament is one I did a while back with a TAST stitch called "cloud filling" - It seemed just right for using the DMC Memory Thread and Kreinik Holographic braid. Very effective!!

I received my Needlepoint Now today, and saw many many ornaments in these shapes that were hand painted and offered with stitch guides, but are no more than just bands of stitches horizontally placed - very colorful and very interesting, but one can so easily put that onto canvas oneself. Most of us have plenty of stash threads for experimenting.

The shamrock project was a result of my PPD after the Celadon finish, but I'm about tired of that now and over it, so will hopefully resume painting a bit tomorrow and find something more challenging to stitch. I'll do the icing embellishment later. This is the shamrock cookie tonight - waiting for Memory Thread decoration!!