Norma's Needleworkz

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Portuguese Stem Stitch & more

TAST week 34 .... where has this year gone! Here again is a new stitch for me and once I figured out what I was doing wrong it was easy to do. How can anyone go wrong on this easy stitch? Well, leave it to me to find a way LOL This week my sample is worked on 14ct Aida and I used two weights of DMC perle cotton. On the far left I used a deep red #3 and the bottom half of the stitch is done incorrectly BUT I like the result very much. It has the look of braided rope ... the kind my sons used when camping as Boy Scouts. The upper half also has a nice rugged texture but tighter. With the turquoise #5 I worked in 3 sets of 2 stitches over a wider spacing and then 3 sets of 2 stitches over a narrower spacing as with the deep red; then I tried again with the turquoise what I had attempted with the deep red only stitching correctly this time. My last try with this stitch (at this time) is to attempt curves such as may be found in forming leaves. I need to practice this stitch more but it was an enjoyable one.

I joined another Yahoo group this week .... this time a tatting group. Tatting is a technique that I have enjoyed for many years but while searching out what the web had to offer in the way of patterns I came across several terms that I was unfamiliar with soooooo sought out a group of kindred minds. After a couple of days with the HBT (Here-Be-Tatters) group I decided to sign up for their 25 Motif Challenge. This means that over the next year I need to make 25 different motifs which can include jewelry, laces, critters or anything else ...... they don't all have to be like the wreathe/snowflake that I did for my 1st Motif.
Yes, I know there is a piece of lace showing, but that was done last week, before I knew about the HBT group so it can't really count ..... at least I don't think it can. These were tatted with Finca #16 perle cotton by Prevencia ..... one of my favorite threads not only for tatting but for cq seam treatments. Both the lace and the motif are two of my favorite "quickie" tatting patterns. During this challenge year of tatting I will be using threads new to me and in fact there were several mentioned on the HBT site that I am unfamiliar with and may get to try some of them. I will be working some favorite patterns as well as trying some new patterns especially those with the "unfamiliar" terms that caused me to join the group in the first place.

Someone new on one of my lists was asking about the Sunbonnet Sue 'sane' quilt pattern so I decided to post a couple of pictures of the top I made for one of my granddaughters. As a child my favorite quilt was a Sunbonnet Sue made for me by my grandaunt (my grandmother's sister). I especially liked to snuggle up with it when I was sick. The granddaughter I started this for just headed off to college last week and I started this when she was much younger. The actual pattern was traced off the original quilt and I decided to do something different. The first thing I did was applique the girls onto a much larger square. Then I added some simple embroidery flowers ..... remember this was some few years back and I was not into crazy quilting. The next thing I did was alternate the direction of the girls. On the original quilt one row of girls faced right and the next row faced left. Each of the rows I did have a left-right, left-right facing. I have the same number of squares as the original which was made for a single bed thus the background squares, which were muslin, and the narrow sashing (which was blue) are much smaller than what I've used. My background squares are a soft pink with pink baby gingham as sashing and solid pink set-in squares. The backing will be the baby pink gingham. I wanted lots of space for fancy quilting so I made my squares 17" (which finish 16 1/2")

This is a close-up of one of the "Sue's". It doesn't show up here but there is a lazy-daisy stitch flower as well as a row of cross-stitches on each bonnet. The flowers were all done free-hand and I used only lazy-daisy and outline stitches. Like I said, this was before I became addicted to crazy quilting.

On another of my groups someone mentioned that Karen in Ohio did beautiful dried flower greeting cards and so I thought I'd share the very precious one I received from her three months ago at the death of my hubby. I call it "my comfort card". I also received "comfort hearts" from many of my stitching sisters in the COH (ChainsOfHearts) group that helped me through those first very numbing weeks. Right now the hearts and card are in a binder where I look at them often as well as show them to others.

This has been and is continuing to be a year of "firsts" for me. First of all I signed up to do Sharon B.'s TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) Challenge, then came the hardest first .... hubby's death .... and a month later getting through birthdays - his and mine. But last night was a very pleasant "first". Several weeks ago a member of one of the orginazations my hubby belonged to called and invited me to dinner and a play (the lodge does the dinner/theater each year at no cost to individuals). I said yes. My hubby was a 32 degree Mason and a Moose Lodge member and one of the mandates of these orginizations is to "watch over the poor, the widows and the orphans".

Mind you, I have never in my life attended a live theater production (although I participated in one my senior year in high school). The evening began when I left home about 4:45pm and arrived at the Moose Lodge. I did not know a soul there but sat at a table of very nice and friendly ladies several of whom invited me to join the women's orginization (which I declined as graciously as I could). We had a nice buffet and then prepared to travel out of town to the Attic Productions theater located about 45 min. away. The theater seats about 450 and it was a full house. You see here the program and my ticket stub. A very, very enjoyable musical in two acts entitled From Sea to Shining Sea written and performed by local talent. It was a historical play covering the founding of Jamestown, Virginia (400 years ago), the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the role that Fincastle played in the history of Virginia. The Lodge provided van transportation for our excursion and I arrived safely back home a little before midnight. A very good time was had by all.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Glitz & Glamor, etc.

Well, I think it is time I showed off some of my beautiful Sassa Lynne threads. If you haven't tried them you are missing a wonderful treat. They are some of the nicest cotton perle threads I've ever stitched with. But I didn't use them on any of this week's stitcheries. For one reason, I like to drool over them awhile as I contemplate how I want to use them LOL

TAST week 33 was the Scroll Stitch. It was a new one for me but not too difficult. The wine rows across the bottom were stitched with #8 DMC perle. All the other stitchings were worked in #5 DMC perle. I just "doodled" with the stitch this week. I did attempt a beaded paisley as I'm trying to work more beads into my stitching.

I mentioned the other week about participating in a Glitz & Glamor postcard swap on my CQF/Crazy Quilting Friends group and that I had to step outside the box to do this. Well, there she is. The photo does not show up the red sequined background fabric. In fact, the photo makes the background look lacy. Those white spots are really sequins that caught the light wrong. The piece of lace across the bottom looks like ribbon is woven down the middle ..... but there is no ribbon LOL .... I let the background speak for itself. The rose motif is wired ribbon and the leaves are wired velvet. The rose is stitched onto a crocheted motif and no, I did not make the motif. I received it in a motif swap on a crazy quilting USA based group that for some reason I've lost contact with. It is so weird how that happened. Because I switched over to DSL I had to unsubscribe and then re-subscribe. The unsubscribe worked just fine, but for some reason I couldn't re-subscribe. Perhaps it is time to let that group go, but I really enjoyed the sharing and of course that is where I met some of my Yahoo friends which in turn has me right here doing "out of the box" things, writing a blog, editing and adding photos and taking on line classes.

Well, I liked my swap postcard so much that I just had to make one to keep for myself. The only thing is I didn't have another rose ribbon motif ...... but I did have a peach crocheted rose with crocheted leaves on a crochet base ..... and no, I did not make this motif either although I could have. This motif was also received in the same motif swap as mentioned above. Is it any wonder I'd like to keep in touch with that group. I think I'm beginning to get the hang of making postcards and I expect I'll be doing more swaps. That's it for this week. See you next time!

Monday, August 13, 2007

TAST week 32 and another postcard

This week's TAST challenge stitch Crested Chain was worked on #14 Aida first with #5 DMC perle in a bright blue. It shows upside down on this sample as I worked the right hand design upside down from the blue. Sharon suggested working this stitch with a large thread and spacing so the top lefthand bit was my first attempt and the lower lefthand was my second. Then I turned my fabric around as I wanted to attempt doing this stitch in a curve. Since I started a little too close to the edge I ended up with a 'wave' which is in a sense a gentle curve. For this part of my sample I used Caron's Watercolor. For my first attempts I followed Sharon's step by step photos. The next day when I stitched the 'wave' I didn't even look at the photos and was very comfortable working the Crested Chain. I think I'll enjoy adding this stitch to my cq.

My second postcard is slightly 'over-sized' but since it is a sample and will not be mailed that is okay. For my stiffening I did use Pell-Tex. That stuff is expensive but there was about one third of a yard on the bolt and I got it at 'remnant' price. I added more beads (on the ouside of the lace on the lefthand side) than I'm used to working with and couched a metallic cord down the plaid ribbon shown on the right. Because of the beads and button I made sure my ironing board had thick padding before I attempted to iron on the Pell-Tex. I finished the edges with my serger. I may be ready now to do my Glitz and Glamour postcard for the swap.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I've been tagged!

Yesterday I was surprised by two very special friends who presented me with the Nice Matters Award. The first to tag me was Susan. As I read what she had to say it brought tears to my eyes and made me realize just how important friends can be in good times and through difficult times by words of encouragement. I'm not sure I know what I'm doing but my dear, dear friend Maureen B. tagged me next. The last few months of my dear hubby's life were cheered greatly by the jokes that Maureen sent almost daily. As much as I would like to tag them back my instructions said I had to tag 7 other very special friends. That is really an impossible task as I've found so many wonderful people that have been both inspirational and encouraging especially these last few months. There is an old western 'proverb' "to ride the river with" .... it means just what it says a friend who will be there when you need them ... my friends:
Bear who with many troubles of her own always has a cheerful word and delightful sense of humor. You gotta love that gal!
ktj a Buddist, recommended to me a very Christian book on the dying that was written by hospice nurses and was a great source of comfort to me. She called often and kept me and my group friends up to date while I was without a computer.
Sandie who figuretively gave me a shoulder to cry on.
Catherine what can I say, another Aussie with a most delightful sense of humor.
Gerry always generous with praise and encouragement.
Melissa is one who not only helps with her talented fingers but goes beyond the norm to find information and sources to answer questions or solve problems.
Rose Ann such a delightful gal ... we have more than cq in common tee hee.
Now I need to let them know they've been tagged as being very, very special gals.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

TAST week 31 and my 1st postcard

Well, I tried something a little different with this week's TAST stitch. The poly-cotton fabric I had used before, but for this week I was trying to stitch the Cast-on Stitch and felt like 'normal' fabric would have better results rather than linen. Being a knitter I felt like this would not be such a hard stitch ...... well it wouldn't have been if I'd used different thread LOL I started out with outline stitch in a a single strand of pale green DMC Rayon floss to sort of stitch a picture. Next I stitched some French Knots with a single strand of brown DMC Rayon floss ..... so far so good. The lower Cast-On flower was worked with a single strand of DMC Burgandy Rayon floss .... not to good a completed flower. So for the upper flower I used DMC #8 perle cotton in a wine color trying to sort of match the other flower in color. This one was a little better but still not what I wanted. I added Colonial Knots in a #8 gold DMC perle cotton. I need some more practice with this stitch using different threads. Also the fabric should be larger in order to use an embroidery hoop. I think everything would have been better if I had used a hoop.

Aha! One of the groups I'm on - CrazyQuiltingFriends is preparing to do a series of postcard swaps. Now I've not done a postcard and have seen some simply gorgeous ones on quite a few of my favorite blogs ...... sooooooo I signed up. I've printed out several tutorials, the first one from Catherine, Calidore's Garden Ramblings, and the second one from Rose Anne. Sorry girls, I don't know how to had your links in here. Catherine and Rose Anne have been very encouraging ..... so you can see above the result of my very first postcard. I think I might do another practice one before I actually begin the postcard for the swap I signed up for as it will take me out of my comfort zone as far as the theme goes.

This last pic is my half stitched Season to Season Fall Swap for the CQForNewbies group. Earlier I had only done the piecing and added some hand dyed lace. So to finish my part out I added a beautiful hand-dyed motif cut from a piece of lace received from a very special friend. Added some feather stitching in several fall colors among the leaf print. I also added a fallish red star button on another print. I'm leaving lots of space for someone to finish up with as little or as much as they wish. Hmmm wonder what I'll stitch next week!