Norma's Needleworkz

Monday, April 30, 2007

TAST week 17 - Running Stitch

Back in 1989 BC (before computer) I decided I wanted to learn some different embroidery stitches and purchased Jacqueline Enthoven's The Stitches of Creative Embroidery Revised and Enlarged Edition. It is one of my favorite books. Little did I know that one day that book and the beginning sampler would play a role in my stitching part of Sharon B's Take A Stitch Tuesday Challenge. This sampler is stitched on 25ct. linen using #8 perle cotton for the first two rows and three strands DMC floss for the last three rows. The middle row is whipped with the DMC gold thread that comes on a spool.

The first sample that I actually stitched for the challenge is worked on 18ct. linen and the first left hand row may be a little hard to see as it was stitched with a single strand of a needle neccesities thread in a zigzag pattern. The pattern is repeated with two strands of that thread and then I stitched a pyramid in the same thread using the two strands. This is the first time I've used needle neccesities and I like the way it stitches. The top right hand pattern is stitched with #20 black crochet cotton and the magenta pattern is also stitched with #20 crochet cotton.

My final sample of the Running Stitch is worked on 14ct. Aida with the top band stitched with brown #5 perle in a Double Running Stitch. It is woven with #5 pink perle cotton. The second row is again just the plain Running Stitch worked in #5 copper (perle) and wrapped with #5 green perle. The third band is worked with #5 red perle and I added blue iridescent seed beads. On the bottom row the left hand band is stitched with #5 light green perle and woven with three strands dark green Caron's Watercolors. The final band is stitched with #5 burgandy perle in an arrow type pattern. For lots of wonderful inspiration and stitches please check out Sharon B's

Monday, April 23, 2007

TAST week 16 and some WISPs

Week 16 of Sharon's (inaminuteago) TAST Challenge is a familiar one - the Palestrina Knot. I was introduced to this stitch some years ago during my brief sojourn as an EGA member. This first sample is stitched on 14ct. Aida and I used only #5 perle cotton threads. The vertical row just to refresh my memory. After stitching the green threads I thought this would be an excellent sampling of "seaweed" if worked in silk threads.

The second sampling is still incomplete. It is stitched on 18ct. Aida with the 'rambling' worked with Caron's Watercolors using a single strand. The green is stitched with #5 perle cotton and then I added a Spider Web Rose worked with 7mm silk ribbon.

This farmhouse and the schoolhouse in the next photo are the last of the buildings for my under the Christmas tree village. They were plastic canvas kits purchased a number of years ago and both buildings were completed this year. Only the schoolhouse was a true WISP as it was begun several years ago and just set aside. The farmhouse was a start and finish for this year.

Shown with the schoolhouse is another of my WISPs. Many people give me odds and ends of yarn which I use in various projects such as "Caps for Kids". Sometimes they even give me their UFOs. The next two photos show some of those other peoples UFOs that I finished this year. Among the items given me back last fall was a bag that contained two children's scarves and six hats that needed finishing. Several years ago there was a tv breakfast cereal commercial that said "give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything" and I guess people figured if they gave their UFOs to me I'd be like Mikey and finish them LOL I have passed the word along "No more UFOs" I need to get my own done ggggg

All these hats and scarves will be given to one of the shelters about the time school starts in the fall. I may even have more to go with them although at this time I'm concentrating on knitting or crocheting afghans for one of the local nursing homes as well as some things for myself and family members.

Until next time, may you have only stitching joys!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

TAST week 15 plus an older piece of embroidery

I like it when I'm introduced to new stitches by Sharon (inaminuteago). The Oyster Stitch is definately new to me and so I tried several threads to view possibilities for its use. The first sampler is stitched on 26ct. linen and I used a single strand of blue silk and it worked out nicely. The second stitching is the vertical row worked in Caron Wildflowers and then I stitched a horizontal row with #8 perle cotton and a second horizontal row with #20 crochet cotton. At the bottom is a flower stitched witn #5 red perle cotton. I really prefer this stitch in the heavier thread for better dimension.

For my second sampler I used 14ct. Aida and the #5 perle. The flower center is stitched with two strands DMC yellow floss using French Knots. For the stems I used #5 green perle Running Stitch and then a single strand of Caron's Watercolor to whip. The Straight Stitch grass was worked with two strands DMC floss.

Quite a few years ago when I was involved with our local quilt guild (I was a charter member of both the local and state guilds but life has a way of changing things.) we would often travel to North Carolina for quilt symposiums. Naturally we stopped at any quilt shop along the way ...... On our return from one of those symposiums we stopped at the largest quilt shop I had ever seen and during our shopping I discovered Folkwear patterns. I just had to make this dress with hand embroidery. The pattern is known as "GAZA" a traditional Israli pattern and I used waste canvas to stitch the embroidery using traditional colors. The designs and colors all have special meaning. Although the dress still fits I am unable to wear it due to pain in my left arm that prevents me from raising that arm as high as I need. The dress is made of 100% cotton broadcloth and I used #3 perle cotton for the embroidery. Some of my favorite patterns are Folkwear designs as they incorporate needlework of various types. Anyone interested can just type in "folkwear patterns" on Google to see what is available.

I am not quite up to par for posting as yesterday tragedy struck at a major college just 35 minutes from me. A student at Virginia Tech went beserk and shot to death 33 students and at least one faculty member as well as wounding another 21, several of whom remain critical. Some of the wounded have been treated and released from local hospitals. We hear of events like this happening but always to other people in other places. When it hits this close to home ...... it comes as quite a shock and we just have to remember that not all people are good and terrible things do happen in our world. A gentle reminder if I may .... all parents hug your children, tell them you love them, do things with them, let them know how much you care. Pray for our world!

Monday, April 09, 2007

TAST week 14 - The Bonnet Stitch

Not very much to show for this past week's stitching on my TAST samples. This is another brand new stitch for me and I had to go to Sharon's (inaminuteago) stitch directory for how-to information. The top sample is stitched on 28ct linen with #5 perle dark green, single strand of red silk, and single strand bright blue silk for the left side. On the right I tried working a curve with #12 overdyed perle and under that I used #12 purple perle. I really had a difficult time with this stitch although the overdyed portion looks like I'm finally getting the hang of this one.

This second sample was stitched on 19ct Cork linen using #8 bright green and wine perle threads. I tried doing some short and tall stitches with the wine and really don't know what I ended up with although it looks a little like some Hebrew lettering. When I tried couching over a piece of my hand-dyed grosgrain ribbon I felt more comfortable. I think I need to use this for couching until I am more comfortable with this stitch. If I'm doing it correctly it has the look of a twisted Fly Stitch on a Buttonhole base. Wonder what the next stitch will be?

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Gathering at Eastertime in Australia

About eight months ago Brenda, from Texas, mentioned the idea of visiting Australia and I, living in Virginia, jumped on the band wagon as wanting to come along. The ball started rolling and several of the Aussie group found the gathering idea a delightful one, so the plans began. One of the things we decided to do was to make a crazy quilt square for each other. Ideas of likes, dislikes, colors, etc. were passed back and forth and the stitching began.

Several days ago some of the Crazy Quilting Friends began gathering in Australia at the home of our hostess, Sandie. I say 'our' because initially I had planned to be a part of that group. But life has a way of changing plans as my hubby's health initiated his becoming a part of hospice and as he continued to decline I had to back out of attending. Since my squares were completed, lovely Brenda offered to take them with her, and so I mailed them to her. A part of me did make it to Australia to be with the other girls. I think this is the day they will be exchanging squares so I'll share the ones I made with you. Naturally I will begin with the one for the hostess, Sandie. Now everyone knows that Sandie loves pinks and things Victorian. Well, Victorian things are still new to me as far as putting them into my cq. On each of the squares I made I put something that was special to me. On Sandie's square I put a piece of my tatting, some hand-dyed lace and a piece of my grandmother's crochet which is almost 100 years old.

The rest of the squares are not in any special order. This second square is for Maureen B. who likes all things cream. Soft pinks and peaches give a little oomph to creams and so, Maureen, I hope this works for you. I did dye the angel, which I think Maureen is, and the fan is hand crocheted but was not made by me.

This square is for Catherine and I used some of my hand-dyed cluny lace and experimented with using beads and tried some stitch variations that were new to me. The little scottie button is a play on her last name.

Hee, hee, this is the first square I did and it is for Viv. I'm laughing because I tried to make a pansy for the center and it came out looking like an iris, so ....... I added some thick cotton matte embroidery thread to complete the iris look. How did I do Viv? I did do the tatted butterfly which is worked in two colors and added some pink hand-dyed lace. Do you get the feeling that all these Aussie ladies like pink?

Ah, dear Bear, another of our gals that couldn't make the trip due to family illness. We're still having fun looking at al the picies aren't we? Now Bear does exquisite SRE and I'm just a beginner, but I did a daisy cause I know she likes them. The center piece has the most gorgeous butterfly and so I had to use it for this square. Now Bear does not like spiders nor their webs in any way, shape, or form, so for good luck on her square I tatted a shamrock which is also for good luck. Even found some tiny shamrock buttons to add.

Dear Julia, another of the gals who likes all things Victorian. To me that meant soft colors and dainty flowers. I've since learnd that the Victorian ladies liked bold colors and lots of lacy things. I did dye the lace and tatted the butterflies. But I didn't get very Victorian or did I? Hope this works for you dear friend.

This square is for Lady Brenda Ann, the gal from Texas, who started this whole thing. I don't know about the rest of you but one thing that came out in Brenda's posts was a vibrant, outgoing personality and so, that is what I tried to show in the square I made for her. I gathered some cotton eyelet that I had died pink and made a flower to which I added a ladybug. Lady Brenda needs a ladybug! The flower motif is hand painted and I added beads to the butterfly motif. Also dyed the lace.

Maria, I just know you and Brenda have had lots of fun together for several days before the gathering at Sandie's. Did you stay up all night laughing and giggling? I decided to try one of the ciggie silks here but there really wasn't a border to I had to applique it on using some fancy yarn and beads. I did do the tatting and dyed the dragonfly. Another little cluster of SRE roses. I'm not sure if they were stitched by Sandie or someone else.

Mary is another of the group who couldn't come and I didn't know how to rotate this square so it is not a properly edited photo. Sorry, Mary, both that you weren't able to be there and that this is not a proper pic. When I found out she likes to sing, and since I also sing, I just had to put some music on her square. BTW Mary that center piece is from my favorite silk skirt. The first piece of my own clothing that I cut up for cq. It still fit but was of a style that did not suit a grandmother tee hee! One of my favorite plants, Pampas Grass is stitched using one of the eyelash knitting yarns and I tried some SRE roses.

Andria, another who couldn't make it. The tatting pieces are my work Andria and the bouquet of SRE roses were made by Sandie, although I used some of the special yarn purchased from Viv and Mary to form a lacy edging around the bouquet. The butterfly in the center was received in a butterfly swap from another group.

This square is for Margaret. Her hubby is in the hospital at the time of the get together and she, too, is unable to be with the group. This all happened after I had mailed my squares to Brenda. Margaret, you will eventually receive this square. It has the first and at this time the only paisley I've stitched. I also hand dyed the blue lace and the dragonfly. Margaret likes dragonflies.

Kathy, from Australia and the States, is spending time in the states with her mom who is quite ill. Kathy is a beginning cqer and did not feel like she could do squares for the group. I made her a square anyway because I felt like she should have something to remember the gathering. I think right now she especially needs a kindness sent her way. Somehow Kathy, you will receive your square. It is very simple, nothing elaborate, just love involved.

Although this makes thirteen squares I just had to do one for myself. I dyed the peacock and used some beads on the tail. Even did a grouping of SRE spiderweb roses and couched some glittery yarn.

Maureen sent me piccies of all her squares which I will look at later today and I received a square from Margaret in the mail which I put aside to open today. I didn't peek Bear. Believe me it has been tempting to look at my actual square and the photos of Maureen's squares but I wanted to have that pleasure closer to the time of the swap.

I hope the girls are planning another get together ....... Can't wait to hear how the classes went and how much stitching you all got done!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

TAST weeks 12 and 13; PLOS 6; plus WISP

Well, girls, I have a long way to go before I totally get "out of the box". I have reversed the order of my TAST stitches for weeks 12 and 13 for a reason. I really had problems with the Knotted Cretan and I need to practice this stitch more. My first sample is worked on 14ct. Aida with the first row stitched with #8 perle and the second row stitched with #3 perle. I tried vertical overlapping with #5 perle. Enough said.... you can see I need some practice.

On 25ct. linen my first row, which really turned out to be the best of all, IMHO, shows #5 perle used to couch a bulky yarn. The second row here was also stitched with the #3 perle. My final stitching, at this point, was worked in a #8 varigated ..... and really was a little better than my beginnings of this stitch.

Week 12 was Couching ...... one of my all time favorites. The first sample is stitched on 18ct Aida and the first row uses black rickrac for the foundation with flower sequins and seed beads for the couching. This one was really fun and I can't wait to use it on a cq seam. The second row uses satin ribbon with shank mop buttons for the couching. The third row is a wide rainbow colored grosgrain ribbon with 2 strands of DMC floss for the Herringbone Couching.

The first couching I did here on a poly/muslin foundation was with a piece of black chenille. I used a 12 red perle in a Buttonhole Stitch pattern. I like swirly/twirly patterns for couching and so for the second sample here I used a #3 perle with a single strand silk stitched in a Detached Chain pattern.

This is the second square of a crazy quilt hanging and fits into both the TAST stitchings and my PLOS class. In the upper left corner is a wired ribbon pansy (PLOS). I tied a sheer ribbon in a bow and just dropped it onto the square and pinned it where it landed. I used Colonial Knots to couch it down (TAST).
The large white flower is a wide piece of satin ribbon gathered in the center and fastened with Pistol Stitches stitched with Glory. The outside edge is attached with Buttonhole stitch (PLOS). Partially surrounding this flower is a piece of eyelash yarn couched with clear seed beeds (TAST/PLOS).

This sampler just does not want its picture taken LOL. This is the final week for the Personal Library of Stitches class and I have to say these lessons have gone a long way in helping me grow in my stitching knowledge and creativity. There is still very much I need to work with and there is space on my sampler for additional stitching. This last lesson dealt mainly with texture and to tell the truth it also went along with the TAST lesson on couching. To begin with I started this lesson with a short row of #8 perle purple stitched in Herringbone and tied (or couched) with a #5 magenta perle worked in Detached Chain. Directly under that is a #8 perle turquoise Herringbone tied with #5 perle gold worked as a Straight Stitch. Leaving a little space I did a reverse Herringbone in #5 perle green and tied it with #5 perle gold random sized Detached Chain Stitches. I used 4mm silk ribbon in Colonial Knotes for the center and a leaf stitch across the top. This was one of my favorite stitch patterns. Directly below this pattern I used two threads I had never used before - the foundation row is Rachellete and I couched it with a single strand of Cifonda silk in the Cretan Stitch. The middled section has a Buttonhole Wheel stitched in #12 perle with one row of Detached Buttonhole. That was a fun pattern to do! Directly under that is a Lazy Daisy flower again stitched with the Rachellete. I used a short piece of silk ribbon for a French Knot center and three strands of DMC floss for the Stem Stitch and Detached Chain leaves. For the last section, top row, I used a varigated 2mm silk ribbon and did what is known as glorified French Knots or Montano Knots and for the last stitching (at this point) I worked a Buttonholed Chevron in #8 perle. I'm not sure this stitch was done correctly but I do have texture and that is what this lesson was about. When the sampler is totally finished I hope to share a photo.

Aha!!!! At long last a WISP is now complete .... well, almost ...... I still have the turning seam to stitch and a finally blocking to do. This is a commissioned piece. It is a needlepoint Christmas tree skirt that was begun several years ago and the stitcher died before completion. Her daughter commissioned me to complete it. I did the white ribbon, the gold and red borders. If I had known how difficult the gold thread was to work with I never would have taken on this task. The white ribbon was stitched in the pearlized ribbon floss, the gold border in the DMC gold metallic skeins and the red border in #3 DMC perle. BTW it is backed in navy velvet.