Norma's Needleworkz

Sunday, July 29, 2007

TAST week 30 Buttonhole Wheel & Seasonal Swap

One of the pieces I worked on this week was to piece and stitch half a 'finished' size 8" square for the CQForNewbies Season to Season - Fall swap. As you can see I haven't quite finished my half but I am working on it. The gorgeous deep red hand dyed lace at the top was received as a goodie from a swap on another list and the lace at the bottom, although it looks sort of white is in reality a medium blue and is one of the pieces I've dyed. The seam I've stitched is worked in Ginnie Thompson Flower Thread, which is one of my favorite threads. Next I have to load the photo onto the home page photo album set up for this swap and finish my half. Not sure yet what I will do.

For my Buttonhole Wheel TAST stitching this week I worked two samples. The first one you see is worked on muslin colored polyester and the left hand "flowers" are my first attempt at this style of flower .... I think it is called foxglove. The stem is a chain stitch worked in a deep green #5 DMC perle with the pink flowers stitched in DMC #8 pink perle. In my hubby's desk drawer I found a small packet of templates ..... he was an electrical engineer designing motor control panels for GE for over 40 years .... these small templates are just the right size for many cq designs and I used one of those designs for the triangle shape of the pink flowers. The design on the right was drawn with one of Carole Samples templates and is one of my favorite seam treatments. Usually I work the whole seam in one color but I've just received some Sassa Lynne threads and really wanted to try them out so I used two different ones for this design. I must say I was delighted with how smoothly these threads stitched and have to tell you they have moved to the top of the list of my favorite threads.

I wish you could see this last sample in person as the colors are just gorgeous. Here, again, I used the Sassa Lynne threads for the hollyhocks and the greenery at the bottom is stitched with #5 DMC perle. These flowers are stitched on 28ct cashel linen and this design is one of my favorites so far in the TAST challenge. It is also my first attempt at hollyhocks.

Right now two of my loves are vying for my attention. About 25 years ago I became involved in genealogical research spending sometimes 20-30 hours a week traveling to county courthouses and genealogical libraries. Wonderfully fascinating. When my hubby retired and became ill I had to postpone the traveling part and went to the web to research (not near the fun nor satisfaction). Then when his illness grew worse I gave the research up altogether including attending family reunions (which we'd been attending since before we were married) and switched to my other love ..... needlework. It is family reunion time and I've begun participating again in the sharing of family history and in a few weeks I hope to again begin visiting courthouses seeking those elusive bits of family history. I have written and published two histories for my mothers' side of the family and now I need to concentrate on my hubby's surname. It was his desire that I write his family history as well so that will take some of my stitching time until bad winter weather sets in. Since it is the middle of summer right now I have several good months of research time ahead of me.

Although I am supposed to be participating in Sharon's newest class Sumptuous Surfaces the desire to get back to my research is stronger and I must follow my heart. At least I will have all my notes so that when I can stitch I will have the information I need. Also the forums will provide me ideas, inspiration and answers. It is a class I will complete, just not in the designated six weeks. Right now I just take one day at a time.

Monday, July 23, 2007

TAST Arrow Stitch

The Arrow Stitch for week 29 of the TAST challenge was a fun stitch to do and although I didn't stitch more than the one fabric sample lots of ideas came up as I stitched. For instance, in the empty spaces of the diamonds on the bottom, beads could be placed, tiny SRE flowers could be stitched, even tiny silk flowers could be sewn there. This sample was worked on 18 ct. linen and the three shades of brown in both the wave and diamond patterns were worked with #5 DMC perle. On the left side, the dark green arrows were stitched with #5 DMC perle and the lighter green was stitched with #8 DMC perle. The single rows on the right middle section were stitched in burgandy with #8 DMC perle.

Other than the Arrow Stitch not much is happening in the way of stitching right now as I am trying to spend time developing my design for Sharon's (inaminuteago) newest class on, Sumptuos Surfaces as well as work on a piece for my grandaughter.

This past Friday and Saturday I finally got back to using my sewing machine and was able to complete a baby quilt top ..... another scrap quilt that I do from time to time for the local crisis pregnancy center.

This morning I did piece my 8 1/2" square for the fall "Season to Season" swap for the CQ for Newbies group. This is a swap partner deal where you piece and then embellish only half of your square. You swap, embellish half of your partner's square and swap to get your own square back. There are lots of stitching opportunities developing in the various groups that I belong to but I have to remember not to over extend myself. Perhaps next week I'll be able to post some of the things I'm working on .... we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, July 16, 2007

TAST week 28 Sheaf Stitch

Just a brief update this week as I was trying to concentrate on Sharon's newest class Sumptuous Surfaces. This week's stitch Sheaf Stitch was really a fun one after last week's Bullion Knot. Although I didn't work but one sampler piece of fabric I thoroughly enjoyed the Sheaf Stitch and can see lots of possibilities. I stitched on 14 ct Aida and used a single strand of Caron's Watercolors; first in shaded rusts and then in shaded greens. The first stitch on the upper left somewhat reminded me of a spider and so I did the same grouping twice more with each stitching slightly smaller .... the smaller stitchings didn't remind me of a spider, just lonely sheaves of wheat tee hee. Across the bottom I tried varying the length of the stitches and a suggestion of a butterfly seems a good posibility. Just playing with the green thread I like the possible border arrangements. If I hadn't run out of thread on the far right design I would have stitched a fourth 'sheaf' and completed a square with lots of possibilities. Sharon, I really had fun with this stitch.

Sharon's Sumptuous Surfaces online class is all about design and I've been mulling ideas over in my mind, now if I can just get my choice to work. We'll see what happens this week with both the online class and TAST.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

TAST Bullion plus old and new Needlebooks

My feeble attempts at the Bullion Stitch and I really need lots of practice with this one LOL Anyway on the 28 ct linen I just stitched some 'petals' to form a little star flower, well two little flowers. I used a shaded purple machine embroidery thread. I also attempted a Bullion Rose with the same thread - that's the little purple blob on the upper left of the fabric ..... oh, my, was that a disaster! So I decided to use a #5 perle magenta to attempt the rose and I do believe I made some progress but I still have a long way to go to gain some measure of control of this stitch. Oh, I don't mind if you laugh at my flowers 'cause I did.

For a second try at the Bullion Stitch I used #18 Aida and began at the bottom ..... a lot of times I do things out of order just to be different. Anyway I tried some side by side stitches (that's the group of three double stitches) worked with #16 red perle and then I tried a 'flower' of sorts using the same thread and added the stem and base straight stitches with the Bullion petals. Makes me think a little of a dandelion in bloom. At the top of this sample I used #8 green perle and tried some leaves on the left and a zigzag pattern on the right. If I had used blue and stitched a little differently I could have made some birds flying (maybe?). At least I had a go at the stitch.

This little hanging tasseled piece was stitched with EdMar threads back in 1990 while still an EGA member and where I had some guidance. There are two Bullion stitches at the center of the major flower and I thought it would be nice to show some proper Bullion stitches. Just goes to prove I really need lots of practice with this stitch.

Again, while an EGA member I made my first needlebook (also dated 1990). And I'm only showing these because on one of the groups that I belong to they just did a needlebook swap and I wasn't ready to join in on that but did want to show mine. The Blackwork design is stitched on 32 ct linen.

On the inside cover I used a safety pin to fasten the little baggie which holds a needle threader and a little rubber gripper. The 'pages' are of white felt and as you can see this needlebook is heavily used. I have four pages in this one with the first two pages for my tapestry needles (of all sizes) and the last two pages are for my embroidery needles including my milliner's.

Back in January of this year I decided I needed a new needlebook just for SRE which I was really getting into the swing of working with all those beautiful silk ribbons. And this one is bright enough that I can't misplace it. I think I just might make a third one to use with my BDE stitching when I get to that .... hmmm, what do you think ..... do I need a third needlebook?????

For this needlebook I followed the directions found in J. Marsha Michler's the magic of Crazy Quilting second edition. This included using the 'antique' method of basting the fabric pieces. On the inside cover is stitched, at the top only, a piece of felt for used needles. The "page" is handstitched to the center with a pocket for new needles sewn on both sides. There is also a piece of felt on the back inside cover for used needles. I did not show this needlebook closed as there would have had to have been two photos instead of the one. I have received compliments on my needlebooks which is always a boost to the ego. Now to finish gathering my supplies for Sharon's (inaminuteago) newest online class Sumptuous Surfaces which begins tomorrow the 11th. I know I'll see some of you in that class. Can hardly wait to see what challenges that one will hold for me. See you next time.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Recent TAST Stitches

Catch-up continues with the Butterfly Chain. The stitching is on 28 ct blue linen and the first sample I did is shown on the lower left. The "butterflies" are worked with five strands of DMC spring green floss and the chain is with four strands DMC black floss. The "butterflies" would show up better if they had been worked larger but this was the first time I had tried this stitch and I tend to work smaller with something totally new to me. The top sample is stitched with #5 red perle cotton and I made the center stitch lightly longer and the third sample is stitched in #8 gold perle and tied with # 12 multicolor perle. I really need to work with this stitch more. It was interesting but I don't think it will become a favorite.

This sample completes my 'catch-up' stitchings. If it looks a little familiar that is because I had just started working with the Wheat Ear and the Crossed Buttonhole on the same sample showing it last week and decided to stitch more of the Wheat Ear instead of doing a totally separate sample. I did complete the #5 gold perle cotton to resemble a stalk of wheat. The #8 red perle cotton shows some side by side Wheat Ear with Running Stitches. The #5 turquoise perle shows a nice variation that would work well as a border or couching treatment. I did use some silk ribbon in two of the open spaces but buttons would work nicely here as well. For the last sample I used #20 black crochet cotton to try my hand at stitching bunnies which used a combination of detached Wheat Ear and Lazy Daisy/Detached Chain stitch. The bunnies look a little out of place but I thought they would be interesting to try. I like this stitch and can see some wonderful possibilities.

To bring me up to date is week 26 Half Chevron and I really felt like I was getting back into the 'stitch of things'. Since I enjoy working the Chevron I figured the Half Chevron would prove interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed working this sample on 18 ct Aida. The top sample is "copied" from Sharon's (inaminuteago) stitch dictionary and I used a #12 multicolor perle cotton and love how 'my' colors turned out. The middle sample is stitched with a varigated machine embroidery thread used to couch a piece of satin ribbon. The colors don't show up on the sample very well but the dark wine ribbon (looks red here) is couched with a purple/turquoise/blue thread. The last sample is again stitched with the #12 varigated as the top sample and was worked with the fabric turned sideways. This, too, would make an interesting border.

It has been a year now since I began my crazy quilt stitching journey in ernest by joining ChainsOfHearts and CrazyQuiltingFriends. It truly doesn't seem that long and next week marks the first anniversary of my blog. I have added several other wonderful groups including CQForNewbies and Hand Embroidery to my stitching list as well. The special friendships that have developed over this past year have made a very difficult year easier to bear and with your encouragement life changes are smoother. Thank you, my angel friends, for being here for me through the extended illness and death of my hubby. This past week included the first month without him as well as his birthday and my own and as anyone who has been through a time such as this the "first" celebrations are the hardest. There are many good things ahead for me as I look forward to growing stitch-wise with the rest of the year's TAST stitches (although the Bullion does intimidate me slightly, as I've only stitched one, many years ago) and I'm looking forward to Sharon's newest class starting on July 11th. See you in class!