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Friday, June 29, 2007

Kimono background and leaves

The background and leaves are done on my kimono canvas! As I mentioned in my last post about the kimono, the leaves were stitched in basketweave. The red background is stitched in burden stitch with two ply of dark red Accentuate for the couched thread, and 2 ply of red Splendor for the top stitch.

I'm now working on finishing up the flowers. Those that are pink in the middle and white on the outside are being worked in long and short. The white-only flowers are satin stitch across the short direction of the petals (as in Japanese embroidery). I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to use on the blue ones - the one at the bottom and those on both sleeves. I'm thinking of a really lightweight stitch with one ply of silk to let the shading of the paint show through, but I'm open to suggestions!

After the flowers are done, I'll move on to the gold swirls and outlines.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Canvas(es) for Sharon G. class

When I first heard that Sharon G. would be visiting our ANG chapter, I immediately thought of a canvas I purchased at Threadneedle Street outside of Seattle. One of the major things I noticed when driving to the shop were that the trees on the hills were so very different from our woodlands in New York state. This canvas is designed by Mindy, and though it was September, not winter, when I purchased it, I knew the evergreens in the piece would remind me of Seattle.

Anyway, I know that since this is an abstract, I have a lot of leeway in how it's stitched, but I don't know how to start. I thought about square Rhodes stitches in the border, but what about those squares that are partially one color and partially another? Variegated threads? What about the trees - just tent stitch, or should I stitch the background over the tree painting, and then add long stitches in for the trees? I could probably find stitches enough for the larger hillside areas, but I'm open to suggestions!

So, I was all set to bring the Mindy canvas to the Sharon G class, but then my LNS owner decided to bring some of Sharon's designs in. I could resist just seeing it on the internet, but in person, Tuscan Spring called to me. I was in Tuscany last May, and this canvas brings the countryside back so vividly! (Although I can't figure out what the purple puffy things are in the foreground. The hills, villas, and poppies I understand, but not the purple puffballs. If you have a guess, please leave me a comment!) Since I have stitched a total of 2 painted canvases (including the in-progress kimono), I am absolutely clueless on how to start this, so I'm going to bring this to the class.

I would appreciate any and all suggestions for either of these canvases!

Thanks again to the website of Needle Nook of La Jolla for the great pictures of these canvases.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

WIP: Red Kimono

Next month, our ANG chapter is hosting Sharon G for a two-day canvas embellishment class. In this type of class, every class participant brings out a hand-painted needlepoint canvas, and the teacher helps the student evaluate the canvas to figure out what stitches and threads to use.

We had a similar class with Brenda Hart in August of 2005. The canvas I brought to that class was a red kimono by Sophia Designs. The unstitched canvas is shown here (thanks to Needlenook of La Jolla's website for the image). I thought I should try to finish this piece before starting a new one with Sharon G!

I've been working on this canvas on and off since the class, trying to figure out what stitches should go in those areas not suggested by Brenda. In one case (the leaves), I tried her multiple suggestions and eliminated them one by one. Thursday night I decided that since I had so little basketweave in this piece, I should use it for the leaves. In her book Needlepoint 101, when talking about painted canvas, Ruth Dilts expresses the opinion that "Every Piece Must Have Some Basketweave or Continental Stitch In It." I don't know if I'll always find this true, but this piece needed some restful areas because there are so many other textured stitches in it.

I started the basketweave on the leaves last night. For the leaves inside the navy areas, I'm using a new Rainbow Gallery thread called Panache. It's a round rayon thread a bit smaller than Patina. The rayon gives a slightly different sheen than the surrounding silk. I'm shading the green leaves with 3 shades of Splendor and one of Soie d'Alger. I've still got a bit to go to finish all the leaves.

The entire canvas stitched so far is shown below. There are lots of small areas that still need to be stitched. I'm saving all the gold swirls and tassels until last, and in some cases, I'm stitching over the gold swirls. I'll be couching Japan gold thread over all the gold lines, and it's easier to couch over already stitched areas than to try to compensate around the couching.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Goldwork Heart II

This post could have been titled "I didn't have to ask for an extension!"

When six of us from our ANG chapter decided to take the (now retired) group correspondence courses (or GCCs) of Goldwork Heart I and Goldwork Heart II by Michele Roberts, we decided to meet monthly to encourage each other along. Since the LNS owner (let's call her "A") is one of this group of six, we meet in the back room of her shop. Last night was our monthly meeting night.

I walked in with the heart not much further along than on my last post. I had the outside channel filled in, and half of the next channel. Last night as I filled in the second channel and started on the third, "A" says, "I bet you're going to finish that tonight." I admitted it was an unlikely possibility.

It astonished me that by 9:00 (our normal leaving time), I was filling in the middle of the heart, and just had to finish the little "legs" at the bottom (which are supposed to look like the continuation of the folded over outline from the top). "A" wouldn't let me leave until I finished!! :-)

So, after a total of only about 10 hours on the heart itself (the background took much longer), here it is:Again, the only thing I (intentionally) changed on here from the original was the background.

Now, I'll just take it off the stretcher bars and pop both pieces in the mail to the instructor for critique - by the original due date!

Monday, June 18, 2007

WIP status

Ok, I've been neglecting my blog! I have been stitching a bit, though.

On my Picnic Hampered! from Kathy Fenchel, I've been stitching daylilies and the blanket, and have also finished covering the plastic washer that's going to become a tire swing. Remember how the tree is one of my goals for the month? Well, I haven't been working on that! :-)

Last Thursday I picked up a really cool thread from the LNS that will make a great rope for the tire swing. It's from Rainbow Gallery, and is one from their Backgrounds line. Ok, I actually picked up two: BG3, or "Natural Flax", is what I'm thinking of using for the rope. It's shown on the right in this picture. I also picked up "Natural Linen" (or BG4) which might make great dry grass on the right piece! (And yes, I realize that linen is made from flax, and that calling one thread "linen" and the other "flax" doesn't make much sense, but I didn't name them! :-) )

I realized late last week that my two Goldwork Heart GCCs are due at the end of this month! I checked with the other members of the classes, and nobody else wants to turn theirs in for critique. So, I contacted the teacher (Michele Roberts), and she granted me an extension until mid-August. With this hanging over my head and other GCCs waiting in the wings, I decided to put the picnic away and work on Goldwork Heart II.

If you recall, I've already finished Goldwork Heart I, and, as of Saturday morning, had the background done on Goldwork Heart II. Saturday night I padded the heart with felt and got the outside row of couching laid in. On Sunday, I finished the rows of couching the pearl purl (see this post about goldwork threads), and started filling in the outer-most section. It was amazing how much was accomplished in about 5 hours total!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

GAR mystery: Music Room is done!

Last weekend I pulled out my mystery sampler from Gay Ann Rogers. I had a feeling that the new window was on its way, and wanted the borders around the new area complete before the chart arrived. The borders were done on Sunday, and the window chart showed up in the mail on Tuesday. This month's installment is the Music Room.At our sit & stitch tonight, we were trying to guess what some of the other rooms might be... a kitchen? a library? a nursery? a bathroom (with a clawfoot tub and pull-chain toilet)? Everyone's looking forward to seeing this progress!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A museum visit

I can't believe I haven't posted since Saturday. I might post a couple of times today and tomorrow, to share the projects I've been working on. But this post is about a museum visit!

On Saturday, my EGA chapter visited a local museum and was treated to a private showing of 40-50 samplers. This is about half of their collection, and they had to get them out of storage. Some of these samplers have not been seen by the public in over 15 years, and most have never been displayed as a museum exhibit, and are not terribly likely to be put on display in the near future. They were great! Those that had not been displayed before were not even under glass, so we had the opportunity to study them closely without worrying about glare. If I were an outsider, I probably would have laughed at 25 women bending over tables, with their hands behind their backs and noses a couple of inches off of whatever was on the table!

While I'm discussing this museum, I have to advertise for it (though I'm completely unaffiliated!). The Strong Museum was started in the early 1980's from the personal collection of Margaret Woodbury Strong. This woman collected thousands of dolls and toys over her lifetime (and a few samplers, apparently, as well).

As an example of Mrs. Strong's collecting skills, one of our members said she had known her from a button collecting club. The curator said they had sold off many of her buttons, but kept a "representative sample" of over 7000 buttons!

Anyway, when I went to the Strong Museum 20 years ago, I just remember cases after cases of dolls. A few years ago, the museum went under a drastic change in mission, and is now known as the Strong National Museum of Play. If you are ever in the Rochester NY area with your kids, you have to take a day (or two) to visit! Oh my gosh! After I had looked at each sampler at least three times, I wandered over to the "Reading Adventureland" exhibit. The best way I can describe it is as a reading playground. There were different sections for various genres: detective stories, fantasy, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, pirate stories, etc. Each section had activities for the kids to try. For example, in the fairy tales section, kids could put on a royal cloak, sit on a throne, make their own crown. In each section, a variety of books were available, to read (while sitting on a throne, if desired!) or to take home, since these were part of the local library system. I got lost in this exhibit for an hour, enjoying all there was to see, and probably would have stayed longer if we didn't have lunch plans! I didn't get to any of the other exhibits, but if they're anything like this, it would take a few visits to get through it all, especially with kids!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Arcadia complete

I finished on Thursday, but finally have a chance to post. Here is Arcadia! This was a lot of fun to do. Jim Wurth designed it such that opposite sections on the outer border have the same sequence of stitches, but in slightly different colors and in different directions. This gave an interesting learning experience to see how just changing the smallest thing can have a big impact. You might be able to see a bit of the outer sections in the close-up of the middle.

I really like the center section, too. That might make a good ornament on its own!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

All but the beads...

Well, after the weekend I slowed down. I've only been able to stitch about an hour a night for the past few days. So, now I just have to add 5 beads to the middle of each Jessica stitch (the little circles) to finish Arcadia...I'll finish up tomorrow night during our Thursday sit-n-stitch at the LNS. I'm also bringing along the Gay Ann Rogers mystery sampler to get the borders prepped for the next window.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Zipping along on Arcadia

Thanks to "Itching to Stitch" for the comment on my last post - it gave me the title for this one! Arcadia is moving along nicely, due to alternating rain and humid heat outside and nice cool A/C inside!

Arcadia - more progress!

Here's what it looked like when I picked it up yesterday morning. While these areas have lots of layering, they're not that difficult. I'm always curious to see what the end pattern looks like in a section, so I have a hard time putting it down!

I did finish the last four outside sections yesterday, but didn't take a pic. I hope to share one after work today.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Arcadia borders complete

Here is Arcadia as I left it last night (ok, very early this morning!). I made quite a bit of progress on it today, and will take another picture in the morning.

Friday, June 1, 2007

May recap & June goals

It's a new month! Here what I accomplished relative to my goals for May:

  • Complete GAR mystery window 1 - DONE!
  • Complete the background on the goldwork heart - DONE!
  • Start GAR mystery window 2 - Started and finished!
  • I probably won't get to start the next Jim Wurth installment that comes out the week of the 15th, but we'll see. - Nope. I didn't get the kit until yesterday!
For June, I'd like to:
  • Complete Jim Wurth's Arcadia (started yesterday)
  • Start and finish GAR mystery window 3.
  • Get the tree done on Picnic Hampered! (started at seminar)
  • Work on Examplar IV
  • Work on Goldwork Heart II

My stretch goal is to finish Picnic Hampered!