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Monday, June 28, 2010

Hardanger: Studying possibilities

In my last post, I was debating what to stitch in the yet-undefined areas of my pastel hardanger piece. Thanks for the great comments!

Rachel agreed that I definitely couldn’t use any raised embroidery for a runner. Thanks for pointing out the issue with vases tipping over.

Pat suggested that I fill in the spaces with kloster blocks, and not do cutwork at all. A valid idea, and not one I had considered before!

Sylvia suggested small cross stitch roses for the tiny areas near the center. I’ll consider this, but these are really small areas. I’d need a design that covers no more than about 10 threads square. (Oh, and Sylvia, the overdye I’m using is Watercolours on 25 ct. It’s more like a pearl 5 rather than an 8 or 12. Though there are a few alternatives you might use. That’s another post!)

Yvette and Sylvia both liked the suggestion of opening up the end areas and filling them with needleweaving. I really think this would balance the open areas near the center, so I’ve charted a few possibilities.

First, my symbol key:

Option 1:  This one worked really well for the diagonal portions, but I couldn’t find a filling stitch that flowed with these for the top of the section.

Option 2: This time I started with the top, then had issues with the diagonal areas.

Option 3: After moving the divided branches around, they seemed to flow into a dove’s eye at the top.


It’s probably pretty obvious that I’m leaning toward Option 3. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hardanger progress and a dilemma

You’re all getting tired of hearing it from me, I’m sure, but can I just say what a joy it is to be able to stitch in hand again?

Over the past week, I finished the planned cutwork areas of my pastel hardanger piece! Don’t think it’s done yet, though, because there are a few small areas that still need to be defined. See the areas marked with an ‘X’ in the picture? I’m still figuring them out.

I originally thought that I might put some surface embroidery there, like bullion knot roses, but I’m reconsidering that plan. Bullion knot roses are dimensional, and since this is a small runner, shouldn’t it be relatively flat?

Then I thought I might put cutwork in those areas to balance the large areas of cutwork near the center of the design. However, there’s one major flaw in the placement of my kloster blocks. Check out the larger picture below.

See the black lines? These show the potential cut lines in that small diamond. The area isn’t symmetric. Generally diamonds like this are designed such that you can have an open area at each corner of the diamond. If you look at the two other small diamonds bordering this, you’ll see the same problem. This layout is awkward when it comes to determining a fill for cutwork.

I think I’m going to take out the kloster blocks marked with the red lines and use the entire area for cutwork. There will still be a couple of points of this area that can’t be cut, but that should be less awkward with the larger area. I’ve got to make a few sketches and see how it would work.

What do you think?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Finish: Plum Blossoms

Yes, you read that right. It’s really done! Endless background and all!

Design: Plum Blossoms (an EGA correspondence course)

Designer: Margaret Kinsey

Technique: Rozashi

Ground fabric: Ro (a Japanese fabric)

Threads: silk, metallic, and silk/metallic combo

Stitches used: All vertical stitches (which is the nature of Rozashi)

Stitching timeframe: I have no idea when this was started. I posted about it being in progress back in December 2007, so I’m guessing maybe 2005? Finished Wednesday, June 9, 2010. Pathetic.

But it’s done in time to send it in for evaluation! Hooray!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Almost ready to give up

I have been stitching for at least an hour each night on the background of my Rozashi piece, Plum Blossoms.

Wait. Let me back up. I originally took this course through either my local EGA chapter or through the CyberStitchers chapter a few years ago. This year, CyberStitchers decided to offer it again, so I re-registered, thinking that might give me the motivation to finish it and send it in for evaluation.

Being that CyberStitchers has members all over the world, managing correspondence courses is a little more troublesome than in a face-to-face chapter. A coordinator is assigned for each course, just like in a “normal” chapter. That coordinator is the main contact between the teacher and the chapter. The difference is that in a normal chapter, the interactions between members and the coordinator can happen in person. Not so with a cyber chapter. All of those interactions (distributing kits and instructions, collecting finished pieces, and redistributing pieces back from evaluation) have to be accomplished via mail. The mailing times (student to coordinator, coordinator to teacher) have to be considered.

So, when does my Plum Blossoms have to be done, you ask? Umm… well… it’s due to the teacher (Margaret Kinsey) by the end of the month. Yes, this month. June. Which means that the coordinator wants them by June 15. As in 10 days from now. Which means I’ve got less than a week to get my butt in gear and finish this thing.

Then again, maybe I don’t. As one of my stitchy friends pointed out, I could just send it in incomplete, since there’s more than enough finished for evaluation of each technique.

But I know myself. If I don’t get it done now, using this deadline as motivation, it will likely come back from the evaluation and go back into the WIP pile, maybe seeing the light of day again in a year. Or more. And it will still look like it does now.


That said, I’m really sick of it. Maybe I’m supposed to be getting into some zen place or something with the repetition, but all I know is that I keep stitching and stitching and not seeing much progress. Does anybody enjoy stitching background like this? Why? Can you give me hints as to how to approach it so that it doesn’t seem like a chore?

Of course, I’m not at all sorry I decided to try Rozashi. As I’ve said before, I believe that everything you do with needle and thread improves everything else you do with needle and thread. I encourage anyone who’s at all curious about various ethnic techniques to try it. I just hope you’re able to find more enjoyment in stitching background than I am. :-)

Gotta go. I have background to stitch.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Finish: How Great the Blessing

I can hear some of you thinking, “Didn’t she post about finishing that sampler a couple of months ago?”

Well, yes. I did.

But it wasn’t framed then.

Here you go.

Again, this is:

Design: How Great the Blessing (with a few minor changes)

Designer: Catherine Theron

Ground fabric: 36ct linen

Threads: silks, primarily from Hand-Dyed Fibers/Vikki Clayton

Stitches used: cross, smyrna, queen, oblong cross, chain, satin, slanted gobelin, tent, four-sided, leaf, lazy daisy, upright cross, long-arm cross, and cross over one. There may be one or two others, but that’s what I see right now.  :-)

Stitching timeframe: Started in a class April 2009, finished in February 2010.

The simple frame sets off the design. Nothing more was needed. Thanks to my LNS owner for great framing consultation, as usual!