Friday, July 31, 2009

A thread painting stitch along

Mary Corbett over at Needle 'n Thread is posting a long and short stitch "class" over the next few days/weeks. Here is the link for the first post. The side bar on the right has the post listing for each mini lesson so far. You still have time to stitch along. I plan to!

Long and short stitch is also known as thread painting. I can't wait.

a thought

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my whole will, all I have and all I possess.You gave it all to me; to you, Lord, I return it.
It is all yours: do with me entirely as you will. Give me your love and your grace: this is enough for me.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Granito leaves

I revised the tutorial for the granito leaves with new pictures and revised directions.

An embroidered needlecase

My SAGA chapter quickly needed a chapter program so I jumped in and said I would do it. What could I do that I that would work up quickly and I could write instructions for quickly? I made a sweet little needle case using the teeny tiny eyelets, bullion loop flowers and granito leaves tutorials.

These are all elements that I posted tutorials for here for my legions of faithful readers. So sometimes there is a value to having a blog. I took new pictures for the granito leaves, I will edit that tutorial later today or tomorrow. And speaking of pictures, I was able to "write" the directions using photos instead of drawings.

For the materials, I used some linen left over from some previous projects, a piece of lawn in my stash and some left over doctor's flannel. Check with your favorite heirloom supplier for similar supplies. I think it worked up kind of sweet. I do realize that my embroidery "design" ( use that term loosely) is not 100% centered, but I was okay with it as a class sample.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Seeing your passion everywhere

It is kind of like when you are on a diet, all of the commercials are about food. I see embroidery everywhere. When we went on our trip to the beach we stopped by my old stomping grounds, Spring Hill College.

One of my favorite things on the campus is and has always been the Sodality Chapel. Of course I am as old as dirt and fondly remember when it sat behind Quinlan Hall at the edge of the woods. Just a beacon of serenity that was always open, sitting at the edge of the woods. Loved it. Well the only thing constant in life is change. In 1987 the chapel was moved it to its present location and it has a very pretty garden around it. In those gardens are some statuary. One of them is a statue of St. Ignatius, go figure, a Jesuit college having a statue of Ignatius. :) I had seen this statue before but never noticed the "embroidery" on it. We think that only with a needle and thread can we replicate the intricate embroideries of times past. Wrong, even a stone cutter can remind us of the simplest of beauty around us. Notice the bullion fringe at the end of the stole. How beautiful the broderie anglaise must have been on the hem of his surplice. There is even the look of entredeux. You never know what you will see if you look around.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What did you do this weekend?

I went on a road trip! No my hair isn't that blonde and my DH's isn't that dark. Oh and we don't have a convertible either, but you get the picture. Besides how can she read that map when it is stuck up in the air? And obviously this photo is fake because her hair isn't blowing, the map isn't flapping and her husband isn't hollering about her inability to read the map.....oh but I digress.

I went here. And saw all 255 rooms I am sure of it. Thank goodness the weather was story book magnificent. That 100+ year old monument to wealth and ingenuity covers a LOT of real estate and has no air-conditioning.

Went to this part of the estate and saw

HUNDREDS of these. They have over 250 varieties of roses.

Went here and had one of these delightful concoctions to start afternoon

refreshment that also included

these as well.

We toured this and sampled some of these. We then crawled back to the hotel after dinner.

The next morning we traveled to here, listened to some Blue Grass

and rode this.

During our trip we watched people do this. Brave folk if you ask me. After our train ride we drove through the mountains some more

and we passed this. It is actually a covered DRIVEWAY! This leads to a private home. How cool is that? We couldn't boldly and tackily drop in for coffee, the driveway was gated as well.

We drove some more, and decided to trek UP a half mile trail so that we could go DOWN these, to

get to here. It was beautiful. It had a down side though, you know that lonnnnnnng staircase we went down?

Well we had to go back UP, this is just about one fourth of the stairs to the observation deck. See how tiny my DH looks? That is a long way to climb. No respite for the weary either, the resting bench that was half way up? Other people were resting on it when we reached it. DANG!

Drove through Highlands NC on the way back. CUTE! I am making plans to go back there and HERE is where I will be staying. I was too enthralled to take any pics while we there. Lucky for my husband that we got there late on a Saturday evening so the SUPERB shopping had already closed.

The next morning, I woke up and drove back home though here. I stopped here to see the last site of magnificence on my trip. You don't have to wonder if there is a God when you stop in places like this.

I wonder if these people are going

walk to Maine? I don't think so.

If you are tired just think, I did all this in less than 72 hours. I was TIRED! But it was worth it. And for the first time in forever, I did not pick up a needle all weekend. What did you do over the weekend?

note: If you click on each of the highlighted links you will find out more about my road trip and the places I went.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A finished UFO

How many UFO's do you have squirreled away thinking you don't have time to work on them? Well if you are like me you have dozens. And dozens. We were having TV service done today and they needed to get into my sewing room. AGGGHHHHHH, I forgot until this morning, so I was in there furiously trying to clear a path for the guy.

While there I unearthed this little pincushion project. All it needed was was to be stitched together because the silk ribbon embroidery had been completed ever since our SAGA chapter had a workshop with Jane Briscoe in the spring. How long did it take? 30 minutes exactly. I know this because I did it while I was on the phone, when I hung up the phone it told me I had been on the phone for 30 mintues. So even if you don't think you have time, try it. You will surprise yourself.

There are a few stitches I am not overly pleased with, but overall it is a sweet little pincushion. And now it is finished. Take that UFO pile!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just a couple of thoughts

I am allergic to grass so I never cut it, rarely sit in it, but I can surely appreciate when someone else cuts it. So, when they cut it to look this cool you have to give a shout out for it. I found this picture on flickr, so I am sure there are better official pics of the super job the grounds keepers at Busch Stadium have done for the MLB All Star game this week. How cool is that? For those not familiar with the St. Louis skyline, that is the Old Courthouse and the Gateway Arch cut into the field. You can't tell from this picture but the view from home plate looks out to the Arch. So it is cool for these two landmarks to be replicated in the field. On TV it looks really cool to see the field against the backdrop of the real Arch.

And then Laurie has posted an swesome article about the health benefits of sewing. Go check it out.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just a quick stitch Wee Care gown

I needed to see something finished. I had smocked a Wee Care gown last week in the car on the way to Springfield. I grabbed it yesterday and stitched it up real quick. Took about an hour to stitch together. When you are working on something that feels like it will never be done, like a linen daygown, you just need to see some results.

Our SAGA chapter has Wee Care workshops where we assembly line Wee Care gown kits. Sometimes in our hurry we make boo boos. I didn't pay close attention when I pulled out this Wee Care kit that the pleating took a little wonky path. So, the neckline has a little cow lick on the right. I don't think it will be noticeable once the gown is on. If I had noticed to begin with I would have re-pleated it. ::sigh::

But, it is sweet and done and I feel like I finished something.

Videos from Children's Corner

Lezette Thomason has given us all a gift. If you have ever tried to stitch a CC Jeffrey you might do what I do. I always end up stitching the bottom legs of a lined Jeffrey three times before I get it right. But Lezette has done a series of video demonstrations of their most frequently asked construction questions. Thankfully for me, they included the Jeffrey. Go take a look, they are fabulous.

Children's Corner videos

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pulled thread on linen, tutorial

Bunny said she wanted to come stand over my shoulder and watch me do pulled thread. Well any and all are welcome, just give me a heads up so I can run a rag through the bathrooms. Until then this is the best I can do.

Jane asked if I got up in the morning and started pulling threads or if I cleaned up the kitchen first. I laughed right out loud. Because there are dishes in my kitchen sink right now. No I don't get up in the morning and pull threads. If I did, I would probably be done with all nine diamonds by now. I can do one diamond in about an hour and a half. That doesn't include the netting and darning. So here is my attempt at a tutorial, I think it should really just be a story in pictures. Not sure how tute like it is.

First off the method that Mirella uses is to mark your area with thread. This diamond will be 17 squares by 17 squares done in groups of three threads. These particular diamonds I started from the bottom up, using my drawn thread for the hem as a my point of reference to measure from. Mirella just pulls one thread up and across to place her marking thread, I found if I withdrew all three I could see better. So my center lines are marked by stitching a thread over and under every three threads. Where you see linen on top of the thread is where you clip. Mirella says that the marking thread tells you, "Don't cut me!"

The outer points are just one "square." I don't clip those threads until I have the diamond finished. It worked better for me to always have that bottom reference point and I mark each one with blue marker. Again so I could see. It is easy to lose your place when doing pulled thread on 1300 weight linen.

You have to train yourself to see the diamond in your minds eye. I found that if I worked in the left bottom quadrant each time I could "see" better. I rotate my fabric for each quadrant so that each time I am working in the same direction. The above picture if what you are going after.

So you are stair stepping up the side of the diamond. When I used to do cross stitch or even when I picture smock I talk to myself, "up one, out one"; " down one, out two" So for this pattern it is always up one, out one. I mark with a pin the bottom of the row I am going to pull. This keeps me from pulling too far. Ask me what a pain in the neck that is! Then you get to "learn reweaving" as Mirella calls it.

Then I mark where I am going to clip with another pin. On top of that pin is where I clip. (Try balancing a VERY sharp pair of scissors, the fabric and the pin while you try to take the picture!)

Then using a tapestry needle to pull with I withdraw my threads from the fabric down to where my "stopping" pin/needle was placed. Remember my bottom square of the diamond I didn't clip yet. So imagine that blue mark as one square. When I pull the threads on the right side of the marking thread I will have three squares across. I will increase the same way until I reach the middle of the diamond that will have 17 squares. Eight on either side of my marking thread.

Lori wanted to see how to use the do-lolly. As you can see in the pic of the do-lolly it has a needle threader looking side and a "hook" side. I come through the fabric at the bottom of my pulled thread row with the needle threader wire. I use the "hook" to pull those threads through the wire loop. (Sorry I just didn't have enough hands to hold everything and take a picture of the hooking action.)

Then I pull those threads to the back. Mirella leaves all of hers on the front. I found myself having a more difficult time "seeing" where I was if I left them on the front. So I pull them to the back.

Here I have pulled three more rows in the quadrant. I pull first the vertical then pull the horizontal threads out to the outer square for each row. Again I got lost if I pulled all vertical rows and then tried to go back and pull the corresponding horizontal rows. It sounds time consuming to watch each row, but like everything else you get in a rhythm and it goes more quickly than you expect.

Here is the first quadrant pulled with

the threads pulled to the back. (There is a boo-boo in there. Can you find it?)

I do an extra little step that helps me keep my place. I tack down those threads on the back to 1) keep them out of the way and 2) to protect them from shredding as I handle the fabric. If I keep them from shredding, then IF I have to reweave they are in decent shape to do so.

I have turned my fabric so I am again working in the lower left quadrant,

and again

until all of the quadrants are done. This diamond has already been back stitched around and the netting done. I will take pictures of that process next time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

And the linen continues...

Are you beginning to feel like this is the project that won't end? Kind of like the switchover to DTV (or other recent non-stop coverage I am sick of.) Well here is the next installment in the linen daygown. I have 5 squares netted. 3 completely embroidered. I need to get crackin'! I want to enter it in the fair. I also need to get some smocked things done for the fair. YIKES!

I kind of hit a snag, I lost my do-lolly. ( I did not purchase it at the link provided, but it gives you the info you need to find it at your own cross stitch, needlework shop.) When I bought this trinket about 12 years ago, I admit that I bought it just because Eva Lou did. If she bought it, then I needed to buy it. You know how that goes. I am pretty certain I didn't pay $31 for it. I have taken it out on occasion but never really thought that it was a necessity or could get the hang of using it. Well it has become a necessity for this project. Thanks Sarah M! I finally found it in the crevice of the sofa. The sofa I don't sit on. Not really sure how it got there, but it has been found. You would be amazed at the other stuff I found too!

A couple of parting shots. This past weekend we made a fly by trip the new Lincoln museum and also his home site. We didn't make it into the library. We will have to go back for that. Our family are museum people anyway, but as far as museums go, this one is whizzbang!!!!! Really done well. And since it is the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth they have even more going on. If you get to Springfield, IL it is well worth it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The land of the free.....

“We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.” Robert J. McCracken

We are blessed to live in this country. It may not be perfect, it may need to see some changes but it is a the greatest place on earth to live. We enjoy freedoms other countries only dream about. We have so many opportunities here and even when we are not at our best, our worst is so much more than many people in the world ever will attain. Be proud to have been blessed to be an American.

I have been blessed to live in many places in this country.I have seen fireworks in small hamlets, in country towns, cities, even the nation's capital. By far the best fireworks are the ones that happen right here among 100,000 people lying on old blankets, tablecloths, their shirts ,the baby's blanket but all together under the Gateway Arch watching the fireworks being framed by the awesome steely structure. I hope you have a chance to wave a sparkler, eat a hot dog and watch awesome fireworks as you reflect on the privilege of being a citizen of this great country.

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. -Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Linen daygown part 2 of 100

Well I have been working on putting holes in perfectly good fabric as my husband calls drawn thread work. Which if you think about it is true, but I don't like to think of it that way.

You can see in the diamond on the right I am in the process of stitching the buttonhole border. (My needle is just parked there.) Then I will do the net darning on these two squares. Boo-boo'd around one of the diamonds pulling too far but I was able to reweave that tiny bit. Whew.

I have been working on "pairs" of diamonds so that if I do mess one up, I only have to adjust one other diamond instead of all of them. The next two I will work on are the two diamonds that will be opposite each other on the front. It is actually going faster than I expected. I will try to get a picture of just the threads drawn out, before I bundle the grid. The order of work on each diamond is, you mark it with the threads as seen in this post. Then you withdraw the threads to make your holes. Stay stitch around the diamond to help stabilize it. Next you bundle the remaining threads to make a grid. Buttonhole stitch around the edges, and last do the net darning. On all eight diamonds. It is not until all of that is done that you do the embroidery then construct the gown.
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