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Friday, July 6, 2007


On Sunday, I finished all but the gold couching on the Kimono. I finally decided to use encroaching gobelin (1x2) for the blue flowers, then it was on to the gold! Upon reading a bit about couching in traditional Japanese embroidery, I realized I had to get a pair of koma. These are used to help control and direct the threads being couched, which are fairly lightweight and don't want to stay in one place without help! So, what's a girl to do when she can't progress with the current project when the LNS is closed? Start something new, of course! :-)

I've had Fantasy Remembered, an EGA group correspondence course by Luan Callery, waiting in the wings for a while. I traced the design on the fabric months ago! I've been hesitant to start it because it's stumpwork, and while I want to get better at non-counted work, I'm an engineer, so the exactness of counted work appeals to me! Anyway, I found I had the correct size stretcher bars, and got to work mounting and lacing the fabric as specified in the course directions.

The instructions are broken down by "sessions" for those groups that will be meeting monthly. Since I'm taking this through the CyberStitchers chapter of EGA, we don't have sessions, and we're on our own except for the Yahoo! group set up for the class. The first session consisted of working the stems in outline stitch and the tendrils in coral knot stitch, using Medici wool. I must be getting more comfortable with non-counted work (thanks to the goldwork hearts, perhaps?), because I actually enjoyed working this, and wasn't completely stressed out about it being perfect! I only occasionally had to repeat my motto: "It's just string... it's just string".

I finished session 1 in only a few days (I'm on vacation!), and have since moved on to session two - the flat and wired leaves. I've started the leaves on the ground fabric in outline stitch with 1 strand of floss. This is a bit more frustrating because the floss does not plump up as much as the wool, and is somewhat less forgiving, but I'm making progress!

Moving on... In the past week, I've made a few purchases. Last Thursday at the LNS, I came across Hillside Samplings' Be You to Others Sampler, and had to pick it up! Also, MIL and I went to a not-so-LNS on Tuesday! I purchased a new tote bag, some more Japanese gold for the kimono, and four sampler charts.

Yesterday, knowing that it was stitch night at the LNS, I thought about what I would take to stitch. I realized that both the kimono and the stumpwork would take a bit more concentration than a group stitch-in would allow. So, ignoring the many other already-started projects, I decided that I needed something fairly simple. (Note - I did not say small. I don't do too many small pieces!) So, I looked at my new sampler charts, picked one that was mostly cross stitch and would fit on one of the fat quarters I had, and could be started with threads from the stash! (You can see why this post is labeled Startitis!)

I chose the Be You to Others Sampler. This is probably the last time I'll call it that. When the ladies and I were looking at the chart last week, we noted the disproportionate size of the various elements in the picture. This was common to samplers in the nineteenth century, and while this isn't a reproduction, it has a historical feel. In particular, we noted that the squirrels under the tree on the left were nearly as big as Adam and Eve under the tree on the right, and were pretty tall in relation to the house. They almost immediately were dubbed "Teenage Mutant Ninja Squirrels", so this piece is now destined to be known as the Ninja Squirrel sampler amongst my stitching friends!

And so, the Ninja Squirrel sampler was started last evening. I'm using a 36ct linen from Lakeside in a limited run color. I received it as part of the fabric of the month club from Silkweaver a few years ago. The color is a light warm brown, though it's hard to see in the picture due to the camera flash. I'm using a single strand of silk over two, and found sufficient colors of Vikki Clayton's Hand-Dyed Fibers in my stash to at least start the border to make sure the fat quarter was going to be wide enough. The fabric is 18" wide, and the sampler is almost 14" on the 36ct. I started in the middle of the border, and ran it past the LNS owner/framer to make sure it was frameable. I didn't want to stitch more than needed and then find out I was wasting my time!

My apologies for the (really) long post, but I've been stitching a lot this week!


Kathryn said...

Congratulations on your new start. I have several projects I should start, but have anti-startitis. The finish on new pieces seems such a long way off! But I'm all for squirrels (and sheep), so bring on the mutant squirrels.

Jeanne said...

I have to work on my discipline to finish a few things! And I'll continue to share the progress on the squirrels and sheep. :-)