Norma's Needleworkz

Monday, March 26, 2007

PLOS week 5, etc.

As a general rule I like to begin with the TAST for the week and then go with the PLOS and hopefully find something previously stitched that goes along with what I've learned for the week. First of all, last week started off with a OOPS! Sharon lost track of the day of the week and that just seemed to throw everybody off..... at least it threw me off. But no big deal, after all she is recovering from surgery and the healing process can sometimes throw us off schedule.

Then I had trouble getting started on my PLOS as I couldn't figure out just what I wanted to do for the week and lo and behold when updating my blog I entered the pics in the wrong order. Do you think this could be a Murphy Week? You know the week where everything that can go wrong does! So let's just start from the top with the pics and go from there .......

Since I've been learning about 'Direction' and 'Movement' in PLOS, I thought an EGA correspondence course completed in 1988 was a good example here. The border, in particular, shows both direction and movement but that is still an aspect I need to work on in cq embroidery especially using my own ideas. It is fairly easy to follow someone else's design but putting my own ideas to work will continue to take practice.

Now this needlepoint piece was also stitched while an EGA member and although you can't see it, in the black section to the left of the Bargello rose, I have stitched my initials and the year using beads. This piece had a painted background and used several techniques, such as weaving with rayon ribbon as well as lacing with the ribbon. Movement and direction are also a big part of this piece. Several of the stitches used are typical of our cq embellishment stitches, such as cross-stitch, and a leaf pattern.

As a general rule I don't place my COH (ChainsOfHearts) swaps on my blog but 'linear', dimension, movement, direction, and shape were covered in lessons four and five of PLOS so this is what I stitched this past week. After blogging I will put the hearts in my COH swap album.

As I said in the beginning of this post I had a really hard time getting started on this weeks PLOS lesson dealing basically with "Direction" and "Shapes". And, again, because of the dark background fabric this photo is not very clear. I started out with one needle using two strands of two different greens DMC floss and layering the Fly Stitch. I also stitched a second Fly Stitch sample using a single strand of a different set of two DMC green flosses in the same needle trying for a different greenery effect. For my purple free form flower I used a #5 dark purple and a #16 shaded purples perle in the needle at the same time. Now I had used the different colors of floss in the needle at the same time before in some of my counted cross-stitch work for shading effect but using two different sizes of threads was new and my purple flower turned out really neat. For the two 'buds' I stitched Colonial Knots with the two sizes of threads and then used a single strand of Caron's Watercolors for the greenery.

Sharon talked about stitching different shapes together so ........ using magenta #5 perle I stitched a small square and then using turquoise #8 perle I stitched a small triangle over top. Directly underneath I used the same colors and stitched a triangle over a triangle. I want to try more of this technique. For my last example I used a light rust #5 perle and stitched the Cretan in a fairly close, elongated stitch. I then couched the Cretan with a Herringbone #8 turquoise perle. Across the top I used three strands of a dark green DMC floss in a detached chain tied down with a three wrap French Knot. Across the bottom I stitched a cross-stitch. It has taken awhile Sharon, but I'm beginning to enlarge on the basic stitches.
Although there is only one last week in this class I have enough information and ideas to keep me busy for a long time. The PLOS class has been my first online class but it won't be the last. Even after the completion of this class I will have more work to do on my sampler as I left plenty of room for additional stitching. Thanks Sharon for a great class!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

TAST week 11; PLOS week 4; Blackwork

Linda, a stitching friend of mine, and I did some thread swapping and so all this week's TAST sample stitchings were done with threads in that swap. I still have some threads to do more stitching, Linda! This week's stitch, the Up and Down Buttonhole was not a new stitch for me but some of the things I did with it were. The first sample is stitched on 18ct Aida and I tried doing a half circle. This was really too small a segment to get a good perspective and I used four different colors #8 perle cotton. The second row is just the basic Up and Down Buttonhole in #8 perle lime green. Then I used the same color and size thread for three rows of the stitch adding #8 purple detached chains in the open spaces. Next I used Caron's Watercolors in back to back rows and the last sample on this fabric were single back to back stitches in #8 perle.

The second sample is stitched on 18ct. linen and the first row is stitched in the Watercolors thread. Next I stitched a row of yellow and purple flowers using Detached Chain and Colonial Knots. The bottom row is a line of short and tall stitches in #8 perle. The vertical row was stitched with the fabric turned so I stitched with the short side facing me. I really like the vertical look of this stitch and somewhat makes me think of a Greek design.

This sample is stitched on a scrap of my PLOS linen (25ct) and I really had fun playing with these patterns. The peach base is #8 perle stitched as opposite rows. The lacing is done in a #12 perle burgandy and would have been more effective if the base rows had been alternating but I just wanted to see what opposite rows would look like when laced. I also used #12 perle and wrapped the outside. Very colorful. The next row is sort of a wavy line of Up and Down Stitches back to back done in the #8 lime perle. I used purple #8 in connecting Fly Stitches and also added two rows of running stitches in the open spaces. Can't wait to try these two patterns on a cq square somewhere. The next row is sort of a meandering Up and Down Stitch ...... very uneven, but then that is what I intended. The last sample here is stitched with Caron's Watercolors and shows possibilites of a border. Two rows of Running Stitch were also used here.

This last sample is stitched on poly/cotton muslin. I don't have much luck making curves or circles on evenweave linen so I drew my designs on this fabric. The center of the circle looks like a Buttonhole Stitch but when worked with a #12 perle it is the Up and Down Buttonhole. Alternating Up and Down on the outside circle with Colonial Knots (#8) on the inside and Pistol Stitch (#12) on the outside. The arc is stitched as in the first sample, also using four colors.

The thread colors I chose for PLOS week four don't show well here at all but they work well on my sampler. I think if I had chosen to work with the white linen the stitchings would have been more virbrant. Because this weeks lesson dealt with density my first thought was of Blackwork. Now it has been at least 15 years since I've done any Blackwork so I thought I'd work a little tiny sample and I used a royal blue #16 perle which worked well. Beside that I tried the Ermine Stitch which was a totally new stitch for me. The base Straight Stitch is done in a magenta #8 with various sizes of Cross-Stitch worked in a mercerized purple approximately #5. This purple is a thread left over from a needlepoint project so was not labeled. Under the "Blackwork" is another totally new stitch to me - Knotted Beaded Buttonhole which was also stitched with a #16 perle. Directly under this stitch is the Arrow Stitch worked in Caron's Wildflowers "Sunset". The last stitching is also worked in Wildflowers "Sunset" as a Buttonhole variant and enclosed with a Running Stitch. The Running Stitch was needed to set the Buttonhole Stitch off. This lesson had me look at contrast, scale and density in a whole new light and I want to try some of the other things from this lesson.

Thought I'd share two of my Blackwork pieces here. This first piece was a Bucilla kit that I completed in 1990 and entered in our local ANG/EGA Counted Thread competition where it was awarded a third place ribbon.
This last piece was an EGA Correspondance Course that I actually finished! When this class is finished I think I just might pull out a WISP Blackwork piece and see about finishing it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

TAST week 10; PLOS week 3; Crewel

This week's TAST Challenge stitch was totally unknown to me, so I just played a little. But before I could do the Barred Chain Stitch I first had to practice the Twisted Chain Stitch. My first sample for this week is stitched on 14ct. Aida and the first three rows are worked in Caron Watercolors. I used a single strand of this overdyed fiber which is about the same as #5 perle cotton. Row #1 is Twisted Chain and row #2 is Barred Chain. Row #3 is also Barred Chain but with a long "bar". For Row #4 I worked the Alternating Barred Chain in #5 perle (rust color). Row #5 is Barred Chain stitched in Madeira blue metallic and was interesting to work with. Row #6 is stitched in a varigated 2mm silk ribbon also using Alternating Barred Chain. For row #7 I stitched the Alternating Barred Chain using a sinlge strand of overdyed silk thread. One of the things Sharon mentions in her stitch of the week notes and emphasizes in her PLOS lessons is to experiment with various threads and I have worked diligently in trying to carry that assignment out. The silk threads I'm having a little problem with but by working with shorter lengths I'm gradually getting the hang of using them.

I really didn't do a whole lot with the second sampler in this group. Here I used pink 18ct Aida to try curves and a circle (which is really very uneven LOL). I did a small design inside my lopsided circle using straight lines and detached chains. Here I used mostly #8 perle although I did use a single strand of overdyed silk thread on the red twisted chain. The green row on the bottom is stitched with Caron's Watercolors showing a variance in length of the stitches. All in all I must say this stitch was very enjoyable.

Week 3 of my PLOS lessons - I can't believe this class is half over. There is so much to learn, so much has been presented that I am overwhelmed, yet at the same time I can't believe that I'm doing all these exciting stitches and using such a variety of threads. This week our lesson was on "lines" so I tried working in lines, even a curved line LOL Basically I just did some Chain Stitch explorations. The first "line" is vertical and I used 2mm purple hand dyed silk ribbon in the Cable Chain. The second "line" is 5 rows of Running Stitch and 5 rows of offset Running Stitch in #5 perle and laced with a single strand of silk. For "line" 3 I used a segment of 100% silk waste yarn from Nepal and couched with Herringbone using Sulky #40 gold...... very interesting. For "line" 4 I stitched a row of Detached Chains and an offset row of Detached Chains in #8 purple perle laced with Caron's Watercolors. For "line" 5 I stitched two vertical Chain Stitch Cable rows with #5 perle peach and double whipped with purple #20 crochet thread. I surprised myself with this stitch and can't wait to use it on a cq somewhere. The last "line" is a slight curve stitched with a #5 slate blue in a Chain Cable. I added #8 perle slanting Straight Stitches and French Knots in purple. I love these two colors together. I am surprising myself with some of my color combinations. For this lesson Sharon is teaching us how to look for lines in various media. She also told us about how crewel embroidery is an excellent source of linear stitching. Soooo, I thought I'd share some of my crewel pieces.

This Christmas design is filled with lines as the outline of each letter, except the "o", is done with the Backstitch. The "o" is done in Chain Stitch. Other stitches on this piece include Satin, Detached Chain, and French Knots. For some reason I did not date this piece.

I did this piece in September 1978 and it has foam padding to give dimension. This is stitched in Satin, Straight Stitch, French Knots and Outline.

My first piece of crewel and was a Bucilla Kit purchased at a half-price after Christmas sale and I completed it in 1968. Satin, Stem, Chain, Straight and French Knots were used as well as a couple whose names I don't remember. These are all traditional pieces in that they used crewel yarns and were stitched on linen fabric.

This last piece I would call contemporary in that it is stitched entirely of DMC floss using from one to eight strands. It is also stitched on silk fabric instead of the traditional linen. This piece, entitled "Two Sisters", is my favorite and I completed it in 1998. Buttonhole, Stem and French Knots are among the stitches used. Thanks to Sharon and others whose blogs I visit, my stitch vocabulary is expanding as well as learning to use a variety of threads. I'm breaking "out of the box" color, dimension, and idea wise which is the main objective (IMHO) of this class.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

TAST week 9; PLOS week 2 and Lemonaide

The standard Cross Stitch, only this week some fun added in. Most of the threads used this week were the #5 perle and my first little sampler was stitched on 14ct. Aida. "Plain" horizontal in red, then long arm in turquoise. The next I grouped to show possible use as a border. The base done in #5 green perle as a Smyrna Cross with a gold #8 cross-stitch on top although the gold does not show up here. The pink is the cross-stitch with a straight stitch added. Naturally I had to do a double row of vertical cross-stitches. The bottom left shows the simple cross-stitch in two colors - gold first pass and the green for the second pass. The last sample of this group shows a very large red cross-stitch with a smaller upright cross-stitch in gold.

The second sampler is stitched on 25ct Dublin linen and I began with a very large heart shaped button stitched down with #5 gold perle using three passings in each direction (all three passes to the right at the same time and then to the left). Also in each hole I added a Colonial Knot. For the stem I used an overdyed thread approx. #5 perle and stitched using the Portuguese Stem Stitch that I had learned in my first weeks PLOS lesson. The long leaves were stitched using the traditional Stem Stitch. The button makes me think of a bright red tulip - come on Spring!

This last sample was stitched on 18ct. Aida and I began with a chain cross-stitch in the green #5 perle. On the reverse this stitch becomes a right diagonal buttonhole stitch. The stitch on the right top is first stitched in pink as a cross-stitch with a blue stitched across the corners. The next pattern down is a pale purple base overstitched with dark purple and upright cross added...... this was another interesting stitch. The red is again the 'plain' cross-stitch with a straight stitch added but this time stitched on the diagonal. In the middle I stitched upright crosses in dark turquoise #5 and added straight lines in a light turquoise #8. You have to look real close to see the light lines but this is really a pretty stitch. On the bottom left I used Caron's Wildflowers, a varigated and the way I stitched it was to first make an extended cross-stitch and then go back and cross each arm which makes it look like four cross-stitches. I then added an upright cross in the middle. I really like the way the varigated thread worked here. My last little sample is just alternating large and small cross-stitches.

Well, I just had to show off one of my favorite cross-stitch pieces. This was stitched with Ginny Thompson Flower Thread on linen and is in a nice frame. It took several tries before we got a photo without glare although there is a bit at the bottom.

My second week lesson in my PLOS class. Its not complete but I did try several things that I had not done before. My triple chain butterflies are all different sizes and I used bugle beads for the body and seed beads for the head. I'm still trying to incorporate beads in my cq work. Directly under the butterflies is a version of the double fly (one small one just above the larger one) using red, hot pink and rust flower thread and added a single strand of turquoise silk for the upright cross. Beside it I tried Sharon's design almost. I used purple and magenta #5 and added for a third color Caron's Wildflowers varigated and then stitched four heart shaped beads. Beside that is my woven star using a single strand of Encore, a matte cotton approx. #8 perle. Next to the bottom row is an upright cross with straight stitches in aqua #5 and beside it is an aqua upright cross with red straight stitches. The last row is a crown variation. Here again, I used #5 aqua perle as the main color with one strand of Styf Francis overdyed rayon doubled and added French Knots with the rayon thread. This was my first time using this rayon thread and one thing I learned is not to use this for French Knots ..... they did not turn out neat. After the class is over I may go back and use a different fiber. Right now I'm just trying to sample different things.

Now the other week I showed you a naked "Ugly Square" that I accepted as a challenge. When I showed the square to my hubby he commented "Man, they sent you a lemon!"............ so I've decided that my finished square should be called "LEMONAIDE" and this week it will be on its way back to join the rest of the "Ugly Crew". Not everything I did shows up but I included some of my hand-dyed lace, thread, butterfly, fan and a dragonfly motif that I also dyed. I included some gold jewelry findings, a button, some sequins and beads. There were lots of little holes that had to be covered up and it did prove to be a challenge and it really looks prettier than the photo. Wonder what next week will bring?