Norma's Needleworkz

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

PLOS week 1

This last week I began my Personal Library of Stitches online class with Sharon B. and I am finding it a wonderful experience. My first online class! I chose to stitch a full length sampler as I am already working on individual stitch samples with her TAST challenge. For this sampler I chose 25 count Dublin linen as I prefer a darker background for my 'intense' samplers. I really need to take some photos of my samplers hanging in my home to share online although I do have a mixture of dark and light backgrounds. I guess it really all depends on what type of sampler I'm doing.

I have read lesson 1 several times and each time I learn something new......... well, isn't that what taking a class is all about? For the most part all the stitches were new to me. For the Guilloche stitch I began with a #5 perle in turquoise and added #5 magenta for the weaving. For the top and bottom rows as well as the French Knots I used a single strand of DMC purple rayon floss. I tried a #5 perle but found it was too heavy a line for my liking. Beside this stitch I did a variation using #5 perle in purple. Under the Guilloche stitch is another variation although it is what I have previously done and called Wrapped Running Stitch. Sharon mentioned in her notes that the Portuguese Stem Stitch is preferably done in a straight line across the fabric but that she preferred doing it up and down. So I tried it both ways. First in turquoise and then in a dark purple, both with #5 perle. In the space under my first variation I want to work this Portuguese Stem Stitch either in a circle or a wavy line to see the effect. On either side of the purple Portuguese Stem Stitch I stitched a Feather filling. On the left side in a medium dark blue Ginny Thompson Flower Thread and on the right side a pale lilac #5 perle, filling the spaces with a yellow French Knot stitched with EdMar Lola. I did not try the Chain Bar as I really haven't decided which thread or color to stitch with. But when I do it will go in the space next to the pale lilac Feather filling.

Some of the things I've learned this week:
1. Need to work on understanding color better.
2. Need to really "step out of the box" and experiment (that's why I began the TAST challenge).
3. Paler shades don't show up well on dark background in photographs.
4. Real life, face to face, my colors look well together and I am pleased with my stitching.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Band Sampler Round Robin

Several months ago I added yet another Yahoo stitching group to my ever growing list. This one The Stitching Post has going a band sampler round robin. Samplers are one of my favorite ways of not only learning new stitches but an opportunity to work on colorations. So I decided to join this round robin. For my sampler I chose a pumpkin color linen. Normally I would have chosen a natural or raw color linen but if I'm going to do something different (RR) then I'm going to do something different - like the background color LOL My design is very simple and uses four DMC floss colors. I'm one of those stitchers that prefers to let the fabric/threads/design "talk" to me so each sampler that comes my way may or may not have this design stitched thereon.

This is Misa's sampler and I'm the first of the group to stitch on it. She chose a white linen and used red, white and blues in perle cottons. I worked the same design on hers as on mine but I used a DMC varigated red/purple with blue tones floss. Keeping within the boundaries of her design I chose not to count the stitches (25ct.) my design needed but, as for my sampler, began the design in the middle and worked outward. Thus my design has no beginning nor an end.......... makes me think of God's love for each of us........ eternal. Misa, I hope you like what I've done here. Shortly Misa's piece will be on its way to the next stitcher.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

TAST week 8 - the Fly Stitch

I really had fun with the Fly Stitch this week. My first sample is stitched on 25 count Dublin Linen and in the first column I started out with #5 perle in a pale yellow in an upright stitch. The next group is stitched with #5 rust with the stitch lying down, and then again in the upright with #8 perle in gold. The bottom three rows were all stitched with #8 in various ways. In the middle, the top leaf is in #5 perle and the bottom leaf in #8. I wanted to see the coverage difference in the thread weights. Don't you just live my Christmas tree? Turning my fabric upside down I began with a dark green #5 and then over-stitched in a light green #8 to give some 'natural' shading. I used #8 red perle for the Colonial Knot 'ornaments' and topped the tree with a gold star button attached with #5 gold perle thread.

This sampler is stitched on Salem Cloth and all the stitchings were done in Genny Thompson Flower Thread with the first one done as a whipped stitch. Reversing the colors I stitched an interlacing motif. I really just played around on this fabric. If the flower at the bottom had a tassel instead of a stem and leaves , I think it would make a pretty little fan. Other stitches in the flower motif include Straight, Back, Detached Chain and French Knots. You can see that I also used Detached Chain and Straight Stitch in the two larger designs.

Just to see how things looked on 14 count Aida, I repeated several of the same designs from the Salem cloth sampler but also made some changes in several of them. It is a little hard to tell, but the 'flower' on the top left is four Fly Stitches with three Colonial Knots for the center. I did other stitching this week but I'll share that later.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

TAST week 7 and a challenge block

Last week there was a problem with getting a good picture of one of my Chevron stitch samplers. Well this week it is visible. This sample was stitched on 19ct. Cork linen and the first sample was stitched in #5 green perle. I also used #12 purple perle and 2 strands DMC brown. The second sample was stitched with 2 strands DMC in three shades of green and the third sample zigzag is in #8 perle. The 'box' around the red #5 perle Colonial Knots was stitched with a back stitch using Caron's Wildflower thread.

Week 7 is probably everyone's favorite stitch - the Feather Stitch - I know it is one of mine. The first sample was stitched on 18 ct. raw linen and the first row is done with Caron Wildflower thread. The second row is Closed Feather and is stitched in #5 bright green perle with the same Wildflower thread as Colonial Knots. Do you get the idea I prefer Colonial Knots over French Knots? The reverse side of this pattern is very interesting as it forms a bright green backstitch and the way I stitched the Colonial Knots formed a Herringbone. This was a pleasant surprise for me. The next two rows are the same stitch only using a magenta #5 perle and a turquoise #8 perle. I just wanted to see what a side by side thread difference showed. The next row I wanted to show the Briar Stitch so used a #20 black crochet thread. I think it worked real well. The last pattern on this sampler is stitched with #8 perle and I used ribbon floss for the Lazy Daisy. I had not "interviewed" beads before but for this row I tried small white pearls which I did not like and then I tried white seed beads which didn't work either. My third try worked and so I added purple seed beads.

For this sampler I used 22ct Hardanger in a rust color. The first row is stitched in #8 perle gold. For the detached chains and Colonial Knots I used some of my hand dyed crochet thread, probably #30. The second row really presented a challenge for me as it took several tries before I finally got the 'over/under' weaving look I wanted. The base stitch was done in a wheat color #12 perle and the top stitch was done with 2 strands of a dark green J & P Coats floss. I really like the looks of this combination. Well, I just had to try for a little more movement so for the third row I used Caron's Wildflower thread. I think maybe the stitches could have been closer together but still it looks okay.

For the last sampler of stitches I used 14ct. Aida and the first row is worked in a lilac crochet thread with green #8 perle French Knots on the right hand side and a #20 crochet thread for the Detached Chain and Straight Stitch flowers. The second row is stitched in a blue #20 crochet thread. For row three I used a solid red #8 perle and the Detached Chain stitches were made with a varigated red and black #12 perle. The last row was stitched with overdyed thread and a #8 varigated red perle for the Colonial Knots.

A few weeks ago I joined another crazy quilting Yahoo group - CQForNewbies. I am really having a fun time with this group. So right off the bat I jumped in to work on an "Ugly Block Challenge". I decided to show first some of the things I am 'auditioning' on this block. Some of my hand dyed blue lace and a blue fan motif. The white flower motif came with the block for me to use if I choose and I do and there is a dark green with gold thread motif that I received in a baggie swap. You will have to wait to see the finished block.
The naked Ugly Duckling block that I hope will turn into a pleasant Swan.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Knitted Lace

Today I wanted to share some of my knitted laces. This pinwheel doily, which measures 9 inches in diameter, is knitted with #20 DMC Cebelia cotton and is the piece I teach beginner lace knitters although sometimes I start with one of the cotton lace "dish cloths" which are square. It really all depends on the expertise level of my students. We begin with a crochet hook and a special technique that eliminates a large center hole, then move on to using double pointed needles and finally a circular needle. The edging is crocheted into the knitting stitches for a bind off technique.

This doily measures 14 inches in diameter and is knitted with 18th Century Crochet cotton in ecru. The pattern calls for a double pointed needle beginning but I prefer to use the special crochet technique which eliminates a large beginning hole. Then I move on to the double pointed needles and finally to a circular needle. I do use markers (either the thin plastic rings or contrasting yarn) to seperate my patterns so that when I make a mistake I don't have to take it all out LOL

This is my first lace knitted piece and is a sampler. And you thought samplers were only done with needle and thread! Back before there were printed knitting patterns little girls learned their laces (used for petticoats, hankies, pillowcases, etc.) by copying from their family knitters, be it a grandmother, mother, or aunt. This sampler that I copied was made by a 10 year-old girl in 1870 and is preserved in a muesum. There are twelve patterns in the sampler and she cross-stitched her name across the top. To follow suit, I cross-stitched my name and date across the top. This young girl, named Bernadin, was a German immigrant and she would have used steel knitting pins (douple pointed) to work with.......... so I used the steel knitting pins that belonged to my great grandmother. I have the knitted bedspread my great grandmother made and put together in panels. We are so lucky to have such a wide range of knitting needles. The double pointed steel knitting pins were also used to knit her children's socks and the first pair of socks I knitted (argyle) were done with those same knitting pins. Bernadin edged her sampler with a knitted lace pattern, I chose to leave mine plain and backed it with a burgandy tone on tone cotton paisley and added bell pull hardware to hang mine. Bernadin's sampler would have been stored rolled up in a drawer to be pulled out whenever she needed a lace pattern. I like to look at mine as it hangs in my sewing room over my quilting frame.

This is a 100% cotton worsted weight summer afghan that I made several years ago and is usually found draped across my wooden rocker in the living room. Taking a picture with this on the rocker really didn't do it justice so I decided to try 'showing' it this way. This is a pattern that would make a lovely narrow spring shawl.

My most favorite piece of lace knitting and the one I get the most compliments on is this lace shawl. It is knitted of lace weight mohair, acrylic and nylon yarn, on double pointed and circular needles size 8. It measures 72" in diameter, is very light weight and very, very warm. I wear it to church. Again, I started with a crochet hook to eliminate a center hole. It is not bound off but the wide border is knitted sideways making a bind off as I went and the beginning and ending edges were grafted together. Grafting is the technique used in weaving sock toes together for an invisible seam. The most recent lace knitting I've done is a Christmas tree snowflake ornament shown in a previous post.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

TAST 5 and 6 plus a cq square

For some reason my photographer's camera was having trouble with my favorite piece of the Chevron Stitch group so it will not be seen at this time. This top group of stitches is done on pink Hardanger fabric with the first pattern stitched using three strands of DMC floss. It really looks like a honeycomb to me. The second stitching used #16 green perle as the bottom layer and #8 brown perle as the top layer.
Pattern number three uses #16 navy perle with a single strand of DMC red floss done in Algerian Eyelet (I had no idea that stitch would be the next week's challenge). The fourth pattern uses #8 perle in pink and green with a single strand of DMC brown. The flower bud was made with three strands of DMC and I used the Colonial Knot. The last pattern on this sample was done with three strands green DMC and a single strand of blue DMC.

This sampler was done on 18ct Aida and although pattern number one and number two look very similar there is a major difference. For these two groups I used Caron Wildflowers and the lower group has a wider and taller spacing. The diamond pattern is stitched with two strands DMC for the diamond, Lazy Daisy and straight stitches. A #16 bright pink perle was also used for some of the straight stitches as well as the Colonial Knots. The last pattern was done with three strands DMC; the Colonial Knot flowers with four strands and the flower stem in #8 perle.

My first sampler with the Algerian Eyelet was stitched on 28ct Quaker Cloth in a grey shading. The first row was stitched over two with two strands of floss. The second row was stitched over four with two strands of floss and the triple clusters were stitched with two strands of floss over six threads. I used a varigated green for these stitchings. The magenta eyelet also used two strands of floss and was stitched over eight threads. Although I could have used beads on any of these stitches I chose not to do so.

This second eyelet sampler is done on 19ct Cork Linen and the first pattern is done in #5 perle. The second pattern uses red, gold, and red again in #5 perle. The three eyelets were double stitched using a #12 perle. I really enjoyed stitching the red and gold star and can see lots of possibilities here. I was really challenged in stitching the overlapping "stars" done with #5 perle in burgandy. I'm really trying to break away from my normal color choices.

This sampler has room for another variation when I decide what to put there. These two patterns were stitched on 14ct. Aida. The top pattern of interlocking stars was stitched with a varigated thread. It was one I bought several years ago but didn't have a label, only a color number. I seperated the strands and worked with only one. The bottom pattern was stitched half with #5 green and #5 maroon perle.

Here is one 12" crazy quilt square that I may have finished the stitching. The large white portion has two of my free-form flowers. They were stitched with several sizes of threads and various stitches. This was my first "out of the box" design and I really enjoyed the stitching. I have used double-sided 1/8" satin ribbon for a Colonial Knot seam treatment, at the rooster's tail. The vine in the upper left is stitched with silk ribbon and I also used Colonial Knots in silk ribbon for the buds. I did dye the flower and leaf motif. The bright pink heart was also dyed by me and I attached it with bright pink beads. That is one of my crocheted doilies in the upper right hand corner. The flower treatment in the lower right hand corner was done with waste canvas using one of Pamela Kellog's (kittyandmedesigns) 100 days designs. Below that is a "fancy" yarn couched with a single strand of floss using French Knots. The monogram is stitched on 18ct Aida and attached via Buttonhole. Other seam treatments include the Herringbone, several variations of Buttonhole and detached chain, etc.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Early? or Late?

I don't think blogger is going to let me add the rest of my pics so guess I'll have to add them at a later date along with some of this year's completed Christmas items. Every year for the past 50 I have made at least one new ornie for the tree. Some have been given to the children and grandchildren and of course I can't use all of them every year. The first photo shows a few counted cross-stitch ornaments including two that are beaded; the butterfly at the top left and the stable with star on the bottom right.
More counted cross-stitch including one in a cathedral windows quilt pattern. The angel at the top has a "gold" needle in her hand. Several different finishing techniques were used including braid (top right), and fringe (on the tree at bottom left).

Here are some miscellanous techniques: top left - spool doll, top center - battenburg lace, top right Brazilian Embroidery. In the middle - some call it chicken scratch but I was told it is Teneriffe Lace. There has been a big discussion on the name of this technique on one of my lists this past week and I've discovered several other names for my gingham ornie thanks to one of my Aussie friends. Bottom left is candlwicking and bottom right is drawn thread.

The two really small pieces in the center are petite point (the lower one is done with Balger threads) and the others in this photo are Bargello.

These next three ornaments are knitted......... yes, the snowflake at the top is knitted on size 0 needles. Santa has fringe for his beard with a jingle bell at the tip of his stocking cap.

These next two photos are all Hardanger......... sorry the gold one on the bottom left of the top pic doesn't show up very well. The red design also doesn't show up and it has a scalloped border.

The pink angel is very, very easy to do and I used a varigated thread on the pink hardanger fabric. The bottom left has a Santa face worked on it and thus the lace part is his beard.

This photo just did not want to work well for me at all. You can see a really good pic of the angel on the tree. These ornaments are all pulled thread and several have counted cross-stitch worked on them.

These five ornaments are wood with cq seam treatments over the ribbon in the center of each. This was a kit given to me where you applied the ribbon and embroidery over the wood center and placed it in a frame. I really need to re-do this photo as these really are pretty.

These four are Blackwork.......... only I used red threads with the ones on the left and blue threads with the 'pillows' on the right. The top one in the embroidery hoop frame has a satin back and ruffle; the bottom red one is totally reversable.

A few more of my tatted ornaments. The one on the top right has a rose center. One of the names in the Old Testament for Jesus is "the Rose of Sharon".

More tatted ornies........ the long thing icyclie one is tatted of Balger braid.

At last we come to the bottom of the tree. The four buildings: farm house, church, post office and dry goods shop were done in plastic canvas. There are two more buildings in this set and they were WIP's in Dec. 2006 but I have just completed them so I need pics of them. Under the tree is the fan pattern tree skirt I knitted several years ago. There are some ornaments hanging I do not have other pics of as they are dimensional and a little harder to photograph like the gold knitted bell on the bottom left, the red satin ball in the center with tatting on the top and a beaded house with Santa on top under the Hardanger tassel.

The star on top is beaded. The Santa at the top left is an antique Victorian piece handed down through my hubby's family and the only ornament on the tree not hand made. You can see the pulled thread angel very well in this pic and just behind her on the right is one of my favorite beaded ornaments with a cherub on top. Above right of that ornie is one of the first ones I made (now 50 years ago). It is a plastic pear with a hole cut in the front. I added a bit of cotton inside to represent snow and put a small partridge on a limb inside as well and added glitter around the cut edge. You can see one of my crocheted butterflies and below that is an appliqued quilted ornament. By the way there were four dozen real candy canes on the tree as well. They are the individually wrapped ones. The last photo is "the whole" thing and I even learned how to rotate a pic with this one (and the other tree pics).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tatting On Board

Back a few months ago when I first joined a couple of the crazy quilt Yahoo lists - ChainsOfHearts and CrazyQuiltingFriends some of us on the CQF group planned to meet in Australia over the Easter weekend of this year. A lot of plans were made and two of us from the states were involved in the planning. I would be bringing my tatting shuttles and thread to demonstrate and teach some of the ladies who were interested. As things turned out I am unable to make the trip but there are several others in the group who are also tatters and will be able to teach. So for you sweet gals I'm not going to be able to meet this year I would like to share some of my tatting with you. The top picture shows some of my antique shuttles as well as a couple of those I use most of the time. The top shuttle, an antique one from France, also has some tatting attached to it. The next two shuttles are both hand made with the one on the right an antique shuttle made for a child. The left one was hand made for me from a rare wood. I have about two dozen shuttles that were made for me from rare woods around the world. The tiny shuttle on the left is antique sterling silver, the funny shaped one in the middle is also antique and typical of the shuttle designed by Lady Katharin L. Hoare who was lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Roumania in 1910. The next is a scrimshaw shuttle of ivory and was made in Japan. The two shuttles on the bottom are being used to make some two color basic lace...... this is what I had planned on teachng.

One of the fun items I have tatted for myself is this necklace. For a tatting shuttle I used a large yarn bobbin that knitters use in multi-color pattern knitting and rattail cord. Something you would not ordinarily use for tatting and the necklace took about 20 minutes to make. Who says you "have to go by the book"!

Here is my chatelaine that I copied from a Victorian tatting pattern. The stork scissors are antique and although you cannot see it there is a very special thimble in the tatted thimble holder at the top. There is a small "joining" hook attached to the thimble section. Victorian ladies wore these pinned to the waist of their skirts.

For this doily I used three shades of pink and is framed between two pieces of glass and hangs on a wall in my home.

The pink tatted angel is one of my Christmas tree ornaments and the butterfly is a Victorian pattern. The green linen hankie was found at an antique show and I added the tatting using shaded green #70 tatting thread. This is very fine thread and can be very difficult to work with but was the size thread I learned on.

Here are several more of my ornaments that didn't make it to the tree this year as I had them in a 'different' place. In other words they wern't where they should have been and I found them after Christmas.

When I was teaching tatting at an out of town needlework shop one of my students asked if she could tat a rosary for her grandmother. When I told her it would be possible but not in a beginners class she suggested we have another class to the shop owner who was agreeable. There are the required number of white pearl beads to make it an official rosary. Several in the class, but not all, made them. Some left off the cross attachment as they wanted only the necklace and medallian portion and only the one used the pearl beads.
Although this antimacassar looks white, it is a very pale pink and resides on the back of my pink velvet wing chair. Since it wouldn't show up on the chair my son photographed it on the black backdrop.

This is one of the collars I've made for myself. The collar is of linen with a shadow embroidery design on the front. Naturally being shadow work you cannot see the design, but it is there. I used a #30 DMC thread for the tatted edging.

Most of the time I use my tatting for motifs for my crazy quilting but every once in a while I do other things, usually Christmas tree ornaments as they are a big seller at bazzars. Just wanted to share with my very special friends some of my work. Hope you enjoy this girls!