Norma's Needleworkz

Sunday, November 25, 2007

TAST, Class and Misc.

My first week's assignment for the encrusted class is complete. Last week I posted my naked block and this week I have embroidered all the seams. Some of the seams have less on them than others as I've planned to add beads in various places. The other naked block has yet to have any stitching as this one is really a practice piece to learn how to expand and develop seams and all the other goodies needed for a fully embellished square. For the threads I've used #8 and #5 perle cottons, overdyed floss, silk ribbon and silk cord. The white flowers are silk ribbon and the pink flowers are the silk cord. Both flowers were formed using colonial knots. This week I am to add motifs.

In order to get the hang of the Chain Braid Stitch for TAST week 46 I took a hint from Sharon's encrusted class about a sampler and pulled out a piece of Salem cloth that I was trying a little bit of designing on. I pulled two threads and began working the stitch. It was really a very tricky stitch and my results are quite uneven but I do believe I have the jist of what the stitch is supposed to look like. The Salem cloth is a 28ct. linen and I used #5 DMC perle to work the stitch. I'm not sure I'll use this stitch.

Oh, boy! TAST week 47 - the Thorn Stitch was a humdinger of a fun stitch. In fact I had to make two samples. The first one is worked on 14ct. Aida and two shades of green #5 DMC perle cotton and I "decorated" the left hand tree with a gold star and red balls to resemble a Christmas tree. I should have made the star a little larger but I used #8 yellow DMC perle and the ornaments were French Knots stitched with #3 DMC perle. The lower sample was stitched on 24ct. linen with #16 perle to give the look of fern leaves. This is a definite "to do" stitch!

The other week I went on a day trip with some of the seniors to a little Mennonite community. There were three stores we visited; a cheese shop (lots more than cheeses), a bread shop and an antique shop. I didn't purchase any cheese but did purchase some dried sunflower seeds and some dried pineapple pieces. In the bread shop ... which smelled heavenly .... I purchased a loaf of whole wheat bread and in the antique shop I spotted a bobbin lace doily for $1.75 that will be a wonderful motif addition to my cq vest now that I'm getting ready to embroider the seams.

Seeing the pleasure I receive from my stitching, my eldest son has decided he wanted to try his hand again .... the boys all learned basic embroidery skills on a sampler begun by their father at his mother's knee. So #1 son is stitching some Christmas presents and I wanted to show off some of his work.
This is his description:
The intent was to make a "vine" without any leaves or flowers, yet have the appearance of a fall "flower". The hardest part was that the shirt material is a fairly loose cotton. I started with a dark hunter green linen thread for the center and used a stem stitch. This was followed by a double strand medium brown cotton embroidery thread, satin-stitched to outline the green. I continued with a single strand cotton pink running stitch and finished with a medium gold double strand cotton in a satin stitch.

Didn't he do a nice job? Somewhere in my cedar chest is the stamped sampler my hubby and sons stitched as children. I don't think the sampler was ever finished but next year I may try to locate it and frame it "as is"!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

TAST, Snowflakes and more

I missed posting last week due to the death of my brother-in-law so I have some catch-up to do. The first thing I want to share this week is my latest TAST challenge stitch which is for week 45 and is the Pekinese Stitch. This was a new stitch for me but I enjoyed it very much as it really was not difficult for me. I used 18ct. Aida and my first segment is found on the right hand side at the top. I worked a single backstitch foundation row using Anchor #20 crochet cotton in a bright blue with the interlacing stitch worked in DMC #5 soft lime green perle cotton. Just under that is a double backstitch foundation again using the bright blue #20 crochet thread. This time the interlacing is done with a gold DMC #5 perle cotton. Directly under that is a grouping of three rows of double backstitch, a space and another three rows of double backstitch all worked in DMC #8 deep red perle cotton. The interlaceing doesn't show up well in the pic as it is a #12 orange perle cotton. Then I used a DMC #5 dark gold perle cotton for the woven portion. On the left side I tried a "little" bit of movement in single rows of backstitch using DMC #5 purple perle cotton and the interlacing rows were DMC #5 color wine. My last sample was totally using Sassa Lynne overdyed perle cotton color Serendipity. I worked a single row backstitch, interlacing, skipped a row and stitched a single row of running stitch, skipped a row, then another single row backstitch with interlacing. I have really had so much fun learning many new stitches with only a couple giving me some problems. Life also gives us problems and it is how we handle them that make us strong and with that in mind I have managed to complete all the stitches I've attempted that caused me problems.

Many of my friends have already completed Sharon B's Encrusted class so I decided to try that one .... I seem to be a glutton for learning. This last week we were to sew our square to be embellished. I don't often sew lace on as I piece the square but I do have a piece of my hand-dyed lace to go on my original square. There were several things I learned in the first lesson and I'm trying to carry out the instructions given to us. For instance, it was suggested to draw our colors from a "focus fabric" ....... I had never thought about the term "focus fabric" as I just generally picked up fabric pieces one at a time until I found the combination I liked. Although the center piece was my original focus fabric, as I began adding other pieces I think the flower print in the lower left corner could well be the focus. At any rate these are my favorite colors.

Then I thought I really need to work with some different colors ..... not necessarily colors I'm comfortable with. Soooooo I decided to piece a second square and again the center piece is my focus fabric. I think I did real well with these colors although what looks like a dark red in the lower right is really a soft rust silk from an old blouse ..... hey, I'm learning to recycle fabric LOL One of the things that Sharon told us in that first lesson was that you could break up a long line with a piece of lace. I found just the perfect piece of cluny lace that I had dyed back in the summer when I began experimenting with the Ozecraft dyes. Lesson #1 is complete. Now on to lesson #2 which is printed out and I've started reading.

Somewhere along the line between other things I do I'm working on my 25 motif challenge for my tatting group (HBT - Here-Be-Tatters) and here are my latest pieces. Ooops! the pics are in the wrong order. Oh, well, no need to swap them now! The first piece I did was the large medallion. For the past 50 years I have made new ornaments for our Christmas tree and with this being the first Christmas since the death of my hubby I wasn't sure I even wanted to continue that tradition. But he was so proud of my tatting and bragged to everyone who would listen about how his mom had taught me how to tat ..... so this red "snowflake" is for him. It took almost two loaded shuttles to complete and since there was some thread left over I did the smaller "snowflake". For these I used DMC Cebelia #20.

Generally each fall the local senior center, where I teach, holds a bazzar and I usually have some of my needleworks for sale. The next two pics show some of the crocheted snowflakes I was preparing for that sale. The sale was held on the day of my brother-in-law's funeral so I did not participate. I have a good start on next year's items unless I sell them beforehand or use them on my own tree.

Remember to take time this Thanksgiving and be truly thankful for all your blessings. Until next we meet Peace and Blessings to you all.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Two weeks of TAST and latest lace dyeing

After three tries I finally got this photo in the right place LOL This is TAST (TakeAStitchTuesday Challenge) week 43 and the stitch of the week is the Drizzle Stitch. A totally new stitch for me that I will be using when I get around to doing Brazilian Embroidery as this is a very dimensional stitch. I really had fun with it and found out how important it was to have a pin cushion handy to hold the needle while wrapping. For this stitch I used 18ct Aida and the Drizzle Stitch flower and buds were stitched with #12 perle cotton and I added Colonial Knots in #8 perle for the center of the flower. The main stem and bud stems as well as the detached Lazy Daisy leaves were stitched with two strands of DMC floss. The right uppermost single Drizzle Stitch flower was worked with #5 perle cotton and I added two Colonial Knots in the center. The bottom Drizzle Stitch flower was also stitched with the #5 perle and I added the Drizzle Stitch in the center. It really was an easy stitch to do.

Now week 44 was another matter LOL The Zig Zag Spanish Knotted Stitch proved to be a bit of a problem. For this stitch I used 14ct Aida and Caron Watercolors single strand. I think I would have had better luck using a smaller thread on a larger count fabric. The top two samples were stitched following Sharon's (inaminuateago) directions. And for the bottom sample I used #5 perle and the directions I found in Jo Bucher's "The Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches and Crewel". Those directions did vary slightly. I liked this stitch but definately need more practice.

The other week I experimented with dyeing some small swatches of 18ct Aida. I haven't used them for stitching yet but I will ..... maybe soon ..... who knows! Anyway, a couple of months ago my son purchased some yarn on ebay and wanted to know how it would look if I dyed it red. Well, since I needed some red silk ribbon I decided to give it a try. You really can't see the yarn but it is the fourth piece from the top. The yarn is Reynolds Chanteuse 100% virgin wool (made in Switzerland) and the original color was white. This is a fingering lightly nubby yarn. I began with Cherry Red Ozecraft dye and everything in this photo was run through the dye once. Because the silk ribbon was not the color I wanted I had a couple of drops of Bordeaux (more of a blue/red) Ozecraft to the Cherry Red, added the three sizes silk ribbon and the two pieces of lace above the ribbon for another shot at obtaining the shade I wanted. Voila! I was very happy with the results all around.
This next photo shows motifs, laces and another piece of the Reynolds yarn dyed in the Cherry Red/Bordeaux mix. Several of the motifs and pieces of lace went through the dye bath the second time. The third item from the right is not lace but some fine crochet thread wrapped on a toilet paper roll that I had previously drip dyed several colors in which the results were disappointing. Soooooooo, into the red dye bath and this time I was pleased with the results. I have since wound the crochet thread onto one of my floss bobbins ready to stitch with. A good week.