Sunday, January 20, 2013

Catch-Up, January IHSW, and WIP Review

Well, it's been a while.  Not for stitching, just for blog posting.  So it's time for some catching up.

My Phase 1 Japanese Embroidery project was completed during a 5-day workshop in November with Shay Pendray.  I was so glad to be able to finish it there, as I would never have been willing to glue (yes, glue!!!) the back of an embroidery piece without proper supervision.  The glueing went off without a hitch, thankfully.

Seasons by Jennifer Ashley Taylor, completed November 10, 2012

My travel project then became my main project as I tested out my newest purchase - a Millennium Frame and the Necessaire Stand from Needle Needs.  Expensive - yes, especially after you get slapped around by the exchange rate from US$ to the GBP.  Ouch.  However, it is TOTALLY worth it.  The Millennium Frame takes about 2 minutes to get your fabric set up and drum taut.  And I mean taut.  No more saggy sides with scroll rods.  No more stitch clips to try to fix the saggy sides.  It's a wonderful thing.  As Ferris Bueller says; if you have the means, I highly suggest picking one up.

From Sea to Shining Sea by Little House Needleworks, completed November 22, 2012
Next to be done was the free sampler in 13 installments (several years ago) from Papillon Creations.  You got to pick 4 floral colors, 2 greens, and a bead color and stitch it from there.  I did the specialty stitch version, however there was an all cross stitch one available as well.  When the project was current, people posted their progress to the Papillon Creations website with their color choices, and they are still available to view.  Very cool to see how they all turned out so differently, and I enjoyed working on the bright spring-like colors during the blah days of a Michigan December.
How Does Your Garden Grow by Papillon Creations, completed December 26, 2012
So this was supposed to be my last finish for 2012.  Not quite.  So it became my first finish for 2013, and another "Try Something New" project - Japanese Kogin.  It's pretty simple to do - it's pattern darning, or straight stitches.  This was also a lesson in not judging a book by its cover, as the imported kit had English on the outside of the package but absolutely NONE on the inside.  Thank goodness for clear diagrams!  All it needs is hemming, and it will be ready for display.

Kogin Table Runner by Olympus, completed January 1, 2013
Over the last few years, I've had a goal of reducing my WIPS.  And I've done a pretty good job at it, going from 13 or so down to 7 or 8 this year.  It doesn't sound like much, except that most of my long-term WIPS that sit around for years tend to be BAPs.  Really, really, big BAPs.  So here now, is a confession of what's still sitting out there waiting for attention.  For the most part, these are great projects that I enjoy working on - that I sometimes get bored with, distracted away from, or just plain sick of working on for a while.  I'd like to see a couple of these finished up in 2013, but we'll see how my short stitching attention span goes.
Love, love, love it.  But it's been hanging around for several years.  I orgingally had to put it away when Miss Alex became mobile, and seemed to think that my stitching stand was her own personal jungle gym.  So away it went, and I concentrated on smaller projects that could be hidden away quickly from curious little hands.  The owner of those little hands is now 6, so I have no excuse to hide this one away any more.

Egypt Garden Mandala by Chatelaine

Here's another one that I adore.  Beautiful threads.  Beautiful fabric.  Algerian eyelets by the hundreds that really pissed off my tendinitis.  So away this one went to rest my poor wrists.  A couple of years ago.  And hasn't made it back out yet.

White Nights in St. Petersburg by Chatelaine

I love the way this one looks, but for some reason I am completely unable to put more than 5 stitches in it at a time without getting bored.  I tried getting it out again at Thanksgiving-time this year with the same result.
Give Thanks by Glendon Place

 I enjoyed working on this one too.  Can't remember why I put it aside.  Dang.

Royal Persian Bloom by Talliaferro
Love my Chatelaines.  But the ones that repeat all four sides can be, well, repetitive to stitch.  So this one got a break for a while too.

Alhambra Garden by Chatelaine
I love this one too, but soooo much blue and soooo much yellow.  I have to take breaks on it every once in a while.  It got some attention earlier this year, and it's calling to me again so it will most likely get some more attention this year.  Enough to finish it?  We'll see.
Twister by Patricia A. Spencer

My current WIP, my new guilt-free start for the New Year.  So far, I've been able to work on it straight through without putting it aside, but gosh that's a lot of blue and white.  I'm working towards the bottom to get all that out of the way so when I get to her arms, head and hair it will be like a reward.

Winter Queen by Mirabilia

My other current WIP, for my Phase 2-3 Japanese Embroidery.  I'm plugging along with the pre-work part of the instructions.  I won't have another class until March, so I can do a little bit at a time.
Hioge Fan by Japanese Embroidery Center
And since this blog has the little kid's name on it as well, you should see the little gem that she created on New Year's Day.  Give her a pile of paper, a pair of scissors, and some scrapbooking adhesive and she makes a meal!  Carrots and celery with ranch dressing, a Capri Sun, a plate with macaroni and cheese and a sandwich.  Complete with silverware wrapped in a napkin.  Fun!





Friday, September 28, 2012

Eastern Bluebird Finish!

Yay! All done! I'm pleased with the result, though I can see some areas for improvement. I enjoyed working on this little guy; he was a quite a challenge since I hadn't done surface embroidery for years. I've got a couple of Trisha Burr books, so I can read up and try another one. Eventually.

Now back to my Japanese Embroidery homework, which needs to be done before my class on October 13.

Monday, September 17, 2012

IHSW and Some Finishes

So this weekend was IHSW, and again it nicely coincided with my Japanese Embroidery class. So at the very least I got some guaranteed stitching from 10-3 on Saturday.

As for my class, I had my "homework" done, and I was ready to learn new things. Here's where I'm at now.  The green pine trees had been completed, and I'm now adding the lattice and diagonal holding stitches.  The red maple leaf is new, and a challenge as the stitches change direction as they move towards the tip of the leaf.

Seasons by Jennifer Ashley Taylor

I finished Autumn Dusk a couple of weeks ago. I've also completed Spring Morning and Winter's Eve in this series, with only Summer Afternoon to complete the set. They are all very enjoyable to stitch and go pretty quickly.

Autumn Dusk by Chatelaine
I also finished two huck/Swedish weaving towel kits from Nordic Needle last week. Very easy, quick and fun. And an extra bonus - I did a little hemstitch on the ends. Very pretty, but too nice to use as towels in our house as I'm not willing to subject them to the sort of abuse they would face in our house. So they have been promoted to magnifier cover (so I don't burn the house down since my lamp is by the front window) and project cover.

Sunrise Windbreak from Nordic Needle

Blue Waves from Nordic Needle

Now, for my new start. I've been dying to start it ever since I got it in my hot little hands, and since I just finished up two long-standing WIPs, I figured that I now had the perfect excuse. It's crewel, which I really have never done, but the stitches are basic surface embroidery which I am pretty familiar with. Transferring the pattern - not do much. I tried taping the fabric to a window a d tracing it with a water-removable ink pen. Not so good. Tough to do on such a large pattern, and the pen lines were....well, blobby. Ick. So I washed out the lines to try again. A couple of days later. This time I bought some transfer paper and drew the lines on instead of tracing. Much better, but the lines were very light and rubbed off very easily. So I then went over the lines again with my pen. Ah, perfect. Except for the cramping hand and sore shoulders.

Cramped hand bedamned! I had to start this puppy right away after all that trouble even though it was late. So here's where I'm at now. It's going to be a long haul, but there is a huge variety of stitches to keep me interested.  And I've seen pictures of this beauty finished, and it's wonderful to behold.

Royal Persion Blossom by Taliaferro
And I also worked a little on Eastern Bluebird.  He's an intense stitch, and I had set him aside for a while, a little frustrated with my long and short stitch skills.  But he's looking so much better with his beak and beady little eye that I may just finish him up before going back to my Japanese embroidery homework for the month.

Eastern Bluebird by Tanja Berlin


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August IHSW Report - Super Late!

Ok, so I started the post on time.  Really.  I just didn't publish it.  Oops.  Well, enjoy anyway, and I'll save up my latest progress pictures for the next tardy update.  :)

Wow. What a weekend. It all started with.....

A haircut on Friday after work. I made the appointment, and was so happy that I got in so quick. Except for the fact that I was driving right straight through the Woodward Dream Cruise. Brilliant! I left work and traffic was backed up the minute I got on the highway. Add the usual loads of construction, and it was ugly. But I got to look at a lot of cool cars on the way. Made it on time, but it was close. And it took up my whole Friday evening.

Saturday from 10-3 was my first Japanese Embroidery class! Yay! Shay Pendray is, of course, a wonderful teacher. The class went by so quickly and I really enjoyed myself. Even the part that sounds the most intimidating, twisting my own silk, was enjoyable. I'm looking forward to continuing on with more classes.

Seasons by Jennifer Ashley Taylor

Immediately after my class, we headed to Toledo to help my sister move. She has been in an air cast for a month and will now be having surgery, so moving herself was out of the question. We got it mostly done, and my parents stayed to help clean up the last little bit at the old place. We got home at 1:30a.m. Ugh.

Sunday, or laundry-catch-up day, I got to work on Autumn Dusk. I've made some good progress since I finished Ashley's Roses.

Autumn Dusk by Chatelaine

And yesterday, some stitchy goodies in the mail! Sashiko and Kogin kits!


Monday, August 6, 2012

And A Finish!

Ashley's Roses with her happy recipient (once framed). I finished on Thursday after thinking I would get her done each of the previous three days (don't you just hate that?).

I love beading, so I was excited to get to that part. Except I didn't realize just how FEW beads were on this one. I was so happy about the beading, and poof! I was done - after how long it took me to finish the bouquet and the roses above Ashley's head, it was sort of anti-climatic. :)

I seem to be in a WIP-slaying mode as I decided to work on Autumn Dusk next. I didn't even get the first motif completed before I set it aside, so it's almost like a new start. :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

July IHSW - The Hermitting That Wasn't

Again. So all the progress in this update is before IHSW. This Saturday was the last day of Ann Arbor Art Fair, which was not to be missed. No purchases for us this year, but we went with my parents and I was able to get my mom her birthday present.

I'm still plodding along on Ashley's Roses, or as Miss Alex started to call it, Ashley's Armpits. She found it hysterical that you would stitch those. Of course, my explanation that Ashley would look just silly without them was met with even more amusement. Ah, the refined sense of humor of six-year-olds. :D

I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this one, but this last bit is really dragging. I can tell I'm ready to be done as my brain is already churning, trying to decide what to work on next. Another WIP? Something new? Who knows, as I will most likely change my mind quite a few times before I'm done.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paltry June IHSW

A hermitting weekend where I can stitch? Ha. I had hoped to make some progress....on something. Instead I spent my weekend busier than ever.

I had been working on Ashley's Roses ever since I finished up the Mini Mandala. I had started her a while back, but put her aside after I got tired of all that white and grey. This time I managed to persevere, and I've got the bottom half of the chart completed except for the beading. I may have put in a total of about 40 or so stitches over the weekend, but finished the blue-green gingham and the backstitching on Monday. I should be able to stick with her until she's done, then she will be framed up for Miss Alex's room.

But the big excitement....I have signed up for a Japanese embroidery class! With Shay Pendray! Oooooo! :) I've been looking for new techniques, and Japanese embroidery really jumped out at me. It's so beautiful! But you really can't just go out and grab yourself a kit. Instructors and classes are few and far between and I thought that I might have to suck it up and go to Georgia to the Japanese Embroidery Center for a class. Not exactly convenient with the job, kid, and all. When lo and behold, an Internet search resulted in me finding out that Shay Pendray teaches Japanese embroidery classes at a local (to me) shop! Yay! I'm so excited, and will probably remain so until my first class in August.