Norma's Needleworkz

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

TAST Challenge Completed and more

At last I can post the final TAST Challenge stitches. They have been completed about a week but this is the first opportunity that my son could photograph my latest stitcheries (is that a word?) At any rate, week 51 was the Chained Bar and I used 14ct Aida for my fabric choice. The top sample foundation is three rows of DMC #3 perle cotton in a pale green and the Chained Bar was worked with DMC #5 perle in a gold. The bottom sample has a six row foundation again in the pale green with the chain worked in DMC #8 blue. A very interesting stitch.

For week 52 I decided to use up a couple of odds and ends in fabric for the Spanish Feather Stitch or sometimes known as Spanish Knotted Feather Stitch. The first sample worked on blue #14 Aida with DMC #5 deep burgandy is not stitched correctly as to me it looks more like a rope ladder .... but I found it very interesting to stitch. The second sample is stitched on my favorite fabric throughout this challenge year .... 18ct Aida. I used DMC #8 perle and just totally relaxed with it not trying for any particular design or rhythm. A truly fun stitch. My stitch journal is bursting at the seam with all the wonderful ideas that have developed from this challenge year. Thank you Sharon of inaminuteago for a year of fun and hard work. Some of the stitches proved to be difficult but I managed to do all of them.

Back in September of this year I purchased some vintage silk threads at an antique mall and on the HBT tatting list I belong to quite a few members have turned out some absolutely gorgeous pieces tatted with silk thread. So I decided to give it a try. An open skein had been wound onto one of the larger old wooden spools so that was the thread I used. Although the color might not look it in the photo it is a gorgeous amber. The little piece at the top is one of my favorites as an earring pattern but since I'm working on a 25 motif challenge with this group I figured I needed something a little bigger so I picked up one of my favorite books Tatting Patterns and Designs by Blomqvist and Persson and chose one of the "star" patterns ..... I think it looks more like a snowflake than a star but then I didn't design it LOL The middle pattern is not according to the directions ..... what I did was look at the picture, then read the directions once and started. Oh, my, I forgot to keep checking the directions and when I finally decided it was time to check the pattern .... well, it wasn't coming out quite like it should so I stopped and decided that somewhere it will fit into a bit of crazy quilting. The bottom motif is the one being submitted as #11 of my 25 motifs so I'm almost halfway.

A recent discussion on the Here-Be-Tatters group has involved a shuttle called the "pumpkin seed" shuttle. I had never heard this term but the description fit the one that my grandmother had given me. There are two antique celluloid shuttles in the photo above and the top shuttle is the one known as the pumpkin seed shuttle. It was purchased by my grandmother prior to my mother's birth in 1913. It is not the oldest shuttle I have but it is the first of my antique collection and I do use it. As you can see the lower shuttle is thinner and longer and I purchased it from an antique dealer and I am working a project with that one. The only one of my antique or otherwise shuttles that I do not use is a tortoise shell one that is very fragile.

A few years back I became interested in Enterlac knitting .... it looks like weaving using two colors. So I knitted me a "Christmas" cap. Okay, it has three colors, but only two are used in the weaving LOL Everyone loves my "Christmas" cap and always ask where I bought it .... they seem genuinely surprised when I tell them I knitted it.

This was supposed to be a year in which to finish WISPs (works in slow progress) but because I took several classes from Sharon B as well as the TAST Challenge I really didn't get many of my WISPs finished. This is one I did just complete. I used the eyelash yarn, single strand on a #6 circular needle and knitted me a very soft scarf. Have already started on another WISP.

My last post for 2007 ....... HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR 2008!

Monday, December 17, 2007

TAST, Class & Some Christmas "stuff"

Only two more weeks of what has been a most fun and educational year for me - the TAST Challenge!!!!! Of course there were a couple of stitches that presented a real challenge, but most of the stitches were delightful to work .... like this Berry Stitch! Again I stitched on 18ct Aida and the example on the left is worked with DMC #5 perle cotton and the sample on the right was worked with two shades of 4mm ribbon and I added a bead for the center. The stitch is easier to see in the perle cotton but I did enjoy working it with the ribbon. Maybe next time I'll use two different sizes of ribbon ...... narrow for the inner portion and wider for the outer portion ...... I don't know if it will work but it might be worth a try. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained LOL

Ahhhh, I really hate to have the encrusted class end as I've learned sooooo much and have been very challenged. Several years ago when I first became involved in crazy quilt stitching my only reference point was a quilt made by my hubby's grandmother. The seams were embroidered with wool, as well as any solid pieces ....... flowers and other items found on the farm - a rooster, for instance. So adding beads, buttons, charms, etc. has been a very slow process for me. The one corner I had trouble with on this square (the upper right) I finally decided needed some of my tatting ..... so I tatted one of my favorite earring patterns in a #30 thread ..... I made three of the pieces and added oat beads (which I'd not used before) and tiny amber glass beads, and a silver angel head charm. But where I placed these items left a bit more "space" than I wanted. I searched my collection of tiny flowers and found one that encorporated the softer colors that would not take away from the tatting but yet fill the space. In my button/bead trail I used TAST week 49's pistil stitch as I felt the area needed a little greenery and I didn't want leaves LOL In the center piece I added a hummingbird charm which I thought gave a completeness to that area. In the area of shaded ribbon roses I auditioned several gold charms - butterflies and dragonflies - but didn't like the result, so instead, I added dark purple seed beads to the "seam" embellishment just below. I probably could add some beads within the purple chevron stitch area of that embellishment but for now I'm leaving that area alone. In the lower right hand corner I did add some green "grass" and a gold butterfly charm which I think "completed" that area. On the whole, I am very satisfied with the end results. Thank you Sharon Boggin (inaminuteago) for making such a wonderful class available. I will be learning for many years to come!!!!!!!!

Last week I told about receiving a very precious Christmas card from a special friend in Pennsylvania (KTJ). For some reason the gold beads are not showing up to outline the beautifully stitched monogram in the left hand corner. I have always wanted a Christmas sweater (just haven't knitted me one yet) and the way the design shows up (at least to me) I have a very lovely "sweater". Katie may have meant this to be a warm flannel nightgown for the cold winter nights here ...... see how my imagination runs tee hee! I am enjoying looking at and studying my lovely postcard. Thanks sweetie!

Aha! At last I've finished the purple and pink knitted ripple afghan for my youngest granddaughter for Christmas. It was the only gift I made this year. She will be 7 years old on Dec. 28th and several months ago she mentioned she would like a purple and pink afghan. It took several weeks of looking before I finally found enough "same dye lot" skeins. It is larger than it appears as I just draped the afghan on the recliner in order to get a presentable photo.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

TAST, Class and More

I'm a little behind in updating my blog for this week but better late than not at all LOL. Anyway, the TAST Challenge is winding down and I will miss the stitch challenges of each week that have been so capably led by Sharon B. of inaminuteago. These two samples illustrate the Pistil Stitch which is the stitch for week 49. The top example is stitched on 14ct. Aida using #3 DMC perle cotton as just random stitches. Then I stitched a blue flower and added gold #5 DMC perle using Colonial Knots for the center.
The bottom example is stitched on 18ct. Aida using #5 DMC perle cotton as stamens for button flowers. The stems and leaves were also stitched with #5 perle cotton using Outline and Detached Chain stitches.

The Encrusted Class of Sharon B's that I'm taking has really added much to my crazy quilting. For this lesson we were given guidelines on adding beads, sequins, buttons, charms, etc. Up to this lesson I've used very few buttons, or sequins and just slightly more beads. So I decided I really wanted a "button trail" and since Sharon suggested buttons and beads could be used effectively together I did just that. I think I still want to add something else in that fabric section. There is a "vine" of "stem stitch-ribbon roses" near the top that also needs some more work. This is the first time I've stitched the "stem stitch-ribbon roses" and I found them delightfully easy to make using 2mm shaded silk ribbon. I also used 2mm green silk ribbon as straight stitch greenery. The upper right corner is still empty of embellishment and I still have another lesson in this class although I may just fill that corner before the last lesson comes my way. There is so much information in Sharon's classes and I highly recommend them. I also learn from others in the classes. Every time I try something Sharon suggests other ideas pop into my mind ...... I think that is one of the purposes of her classes .... to inspire as well as to encourage.

Here is another square to illustrate favorite Bible verses or stories from the Round Robin that I'm participating in through the CrazyQuiltingSisters Yahoo group. You may not be able to see it very clearly but in the lower right hand corner I embroidered a butterfly and added beads to the upper wings. Then in the section above the tatted border (added by another stitcher in the group) I did a combination of chain stitches between two rows of buttonhole stitches. I liked the band so well using some Sassa Lynne threads that I did a second band the same and then added a simple lazy daisy flower with it. This completely filled that piece of fabric. Before taking Sharon's Encrusted Class I wouldn't have put all that on that piece of fabric .... and I do like the end result .... sure hope the owner of this block likes it as well. I did two additional seams on this block .... all worked on the right hand side of the block.

It has been my habit each year (for the past 50 years) to add at least one new hand stitched ornament to our Christmas tree. I wasn't sure I wanted to continue that tradition since this will be the first Christmas without my sweet hubby, but since he always bragged on my tatting I decided to continue. In an earlier post I showed two red ornaments .... one is on the tree and the other was sent to a special friend. As I will not hang our stockings this year I decided to tat a stocking ornament and it is on the tree. I hung it after the photo of the tree was taken so it won't show up on the tree.

This is the photo of this year's tree and with the exception of three ornaments (excluding the candy canes) everything is hand made. I still have about 100 of my hand made ornamaents that I didn't put on the tree.
The three exceptions are at the top. The family heirloom (from hubby's family) Victorian Santa, a dove from the floral arrangement given by Bill's sisters for the funeral and a gold violin. Hubby played both violin and viola and the violin ornament was purchased some years before his illness and became one of his favorite ornaments. Some of the stitched techniques include needlepoint, tatting, petite point, shadow quilting, pulled thread, Hardanger, smocking, blackwork, Assisi work, bagello, knitting, crochet, traditional quilting and of course crazy quilting. I guess that will do for this week ..... talk to you later.

One more thing .... yesterday I received a very special hand made Christmas card from KTJ in Pennsylvania. I'll show it to you next week. Have a wonderful week everyone!

Monday, December 03, 2007

TAST, Templates & Encrusted Class #3

The TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) Challenge is drawing to a close and I must say I have enjoyed the challenge and learned many new stitches. Sharon (inaminuteago) has issued a new challenge for 2008 which will take this year's challenge even further. I know it will be an interesting challenge but I have decided, at least at this time, not to follow through. I still have time to change my mind. TAST stitch for week 48 was the Knotted Cable Chain Stitch which I enjoyed working. My samples were stitched with Caron Watercolors on 18ct. Aida. I decided to expand a little and work a Buttonhole with the Knotted Cable Chain which I think looks really nice.

A few of my cq stitching buddies and I own Carole Samples crazy quilting templates. They are a really big help in spacing and designing combination stitches but I came across several templates among my hubby's things that are also a very big help in spacing and designing. The left most template in the photo above doesn't really show its capabilities but I used one of the circle templates for my Buttonhole Wheel Flowers in doing my third lesson for my encrusted class led by Sharon B.

I still have some open spaces on this square and part of those areas will include beads and buttons. I'm still in the planning stages there as those portions of this class have yet to be covered by Sharon and I'm trying to hold off using those items until they are presented. I haven't used too many styles of beads yet, mostly seed beads and I really want to try some different ones on this square. I'm also looking for inspiration on using shank buttons .... I have used two and four hole buttons with some success but want to learn more. I'm really trying to follow the teacher's instructions in these classes. I did add a dragonfly that I had dyed in one part of this square and am thinking of some possible charms. One thing I've learned in this class is to relax more and just go with the flow of what "speaks" to me. I did work a spider-web rose in the upper right hand corner but didn't like it so I took it out. I'm thinking of putting a spiderweb in that space although there is another type of rose that I haven't yet tried which might possibly fit better. I might just do some tiny roses along with the spiderweb. Any ideas anyone?