Norma's Needleworkz

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Ugly" Quilt Blocks and Bobbin Lace Update

A recent newbie to the CQ4Newbies Yahoo group commented that her first attempts at piecing cq squares were "ugly". Lesa, the list mom commented that one of the other members had purchased some really "ugly" blocks at a yard sale. These blocks were farmed out and when the blocks were finished with embellishment and returned they were set together and made a definitely not ugly wall hanging.

The top photo is also using "ugly" pieced squares that were picked up at a yard sale and given to me. When I first saw them I thought "what on earth can I do with these?" I laid them out on a white bedspread, spacing them as if they had sashing between and the result was garish. Then I placed them on a blue bedspread, again, as if sashed and the tone was a bit subdued but still not the color choice for setting them together. Next I laid them out on the plaid fabric that looked like it had been pieced. Voila! I liked the result .... the "ugly" squares were definitely toned down but still exciting in their own right. This is a full size quilt and will be traditionally quilted as I'm sure that was what the maker had intended. In looking at the squares it seems to me the fabrics are post depression .... say, 30's to early 40's.

Here is a close-up of one of the squares. I haven't quite been able to place the pattern. In fact, I think it was photographed upside down LOL I'm thinking the blue is a flower in a yellow flowerpot. What I'm trying to say is that what may look ugly to begin with can change into something quite pleasing after a bit of attention.

I won't be quilting this anytime soon as I have quite a few WISPs to take care of first, second, third, etc., etc.

Now I had not planned to show my bobbin lace progress until my first actual piece of lace was completed but I couldn't wait. Since this photo was taken, I've turned the second corner and am almost halfway through the design. It will go in my sample book.

Here is a close-up of my work in progress. There are a couple of errors, but then, this is a learning piece. My teacher is well pleased with my work and has noted a big improvement in my tension .... Yeah!

Right now I'm using borrowed equipment but I am acquiring unspangled bobbins of my own. A Christmas gift from the husband of my teacher are the four handmade wood bobbins on the left of the pencil. I put the pencil in to show a comparison dimension. The dozen wood bobbins on the right are ones that I purchased. Half are totally plain and half have carving on the end. I bought two packages of those. When these are spangled (weight added to the bottom) I will have 14 pair which is not quite enough for my next lesson. So I ordered another dozen, but this time some plastic bobbins (which I'm currently using) to do a comparison test to see which fiber of bobbins I prefer working with. There is no way I will ever acquire the number of bobbins my teacher has (several thousand) .... after all she has been doing this type of lace for more than 20 years. One of her current projects uses 144 pairs .... you always use pairs of bobbins in this type of lace making.

It has taken me about 20 years to actually get up enough nerve to try making this type of lace. The first type of lace I did was crochet, then tatting, knitting and finally bobbin. I love lace making and enjoy seeing all types even if I don't know how to do all the different ones such as needle lace. I probably won't try needle lace, I just want to get good at bobbin lace.

Monday, January 05, 2009

A New Year with beginnings and endings

I guess I ought to start off with the endings LOL The only New Year's Resolution that I make is to "finish" one WIP before beginning something new and so that is what I've done. This odds and ends hat was started in 2007 and then put aside until last week when I pulled it out and finished it ... it will be among the items I will make this year for the fall bazaar held by the senior citizens. If by chance it doesn't sell then I will place it among the items our church will wrap for Christmas presents for a low income housing unit sponsored by the Salvation Army. This past Christmas was the second year we have provided light refreshments, singing of carols and gifts for about 108 men and women who basically are forgotten by society. What a joy it is to bring a bit of cheer into the lives of these men and women.

Another WIP completed. This seed stitch scarf was not begun by me but I did complete it last week. Quite often estate stashes are brought to the senior center and the needlework items are given to me. For instance a daughter who did not knit nor want to learn brought her mother's incomplete items and fibers to the center and I have been busy going through them and dispensing the best I can. Among the items were two wide striped extra long neck scarves and they were among the gifts to the unit I mentioned. I've also completed several lapghans that will be given to a local nursing home. I'm not showing pics of them as they were completed a couple of months ago. I usually wait until I have at least six items before going to the nursing home.

So already I've fulfilled my New Year's Resolution and the new item I've started is a Prayer Shawl. At the moment I am the designated person in charge of establishing this ministry at church. Mainly because on my own I've made and given several of the prayer shawls to hurting church members. Since I've just begun the knitting I'll not post a photo. We will hold a brief meeting to establish guidelines such as when and how often to meet, where to meet and decide on materials to use on Sun. Jan. 11 right after church before a group of us begin our Bible study. This is a most rewarding and fulfilling ministry.

On an earlier post last year (I'm not sure just when I posted) I shared information about a band sampler round robin that a small international group of us are working on. The first photo shows Mandy, the owner's, stitching worked in Blackwork. The next band is incomplete as that stitcher had to drop out due to life taking a rough turn. The bottom section is what I've stitched. The top portion resembles Blackwork but is counted cross-stitch. I worked 7 sections. Section 1 is cross-stitched with Ginny Thompson Flower thread (100% cotton) and then the top and bottom of the section is back-stitched with Stef Francis 100% silk thread. The main design is also stitched with Ginny Thompson Flower thread. One strand of this thread equals two to three strands of floss. Just below this is another row of cross-stitch using two strands of hand-dyed silk floss by Vicki Clayton in a beautiful green that compliments the Ginny Thompson green. The next section is long arm cross-stitch using Sassa Lynne hand dyed perle cotton. The next big section is back stitch Greek Key pattern worked with a single strand of hand dyed silk floss also by Vicki Clayton. I finished the band with another row of long arm cross-stitch using the Sassa Lynne thread. The Greek Key pattern doesn't really show up that well but is a compliment (IMHO) to the main design.

I tried to get a clearer photo of the Greek Key backstitch pattern but it just wouldn't show up that well.

There is a couple who attends the line dance group with me and they are always bringing me some kind of needlework. Just before Christmas they brought a bag of latch-hook rug/pillow kits ... some finished and others unfinished, several pieces of counted cross-stitch work ... some finished and others incomplete, a very nice kit, and a box of 20 vintage crochet pieces and one doily edged with tatting. The doily shown above is a jersey type fabric that is poor quality, holes already appearing, so I want to figure out a way to removed the tatting and put it on a piece of linen which I happen to have.

The photo above shows some of the vintage crochet pieces. After washing and sorting, I hope to frame several of the pieces so they may be hung and enjoyed. There were several items I have yet to figure out how they are supposed to be used LOL

Here are two more pieces of the vintage needlework, with the top piece folded over on one end. This piece I will use as a table runner and there is another runner piece in the box. I may make the bottom piece into a bell pull and give to a daughter-in-law. Haven't quite made up my mind about that yet.

Oh, a bit of organization (thanks to an Australian stitching sister), I have started a spreadsheet on my desktop to help me keep track of WIPs. I don't have too many listed yet as I've just started locating them. As you can imagine they are in various sorts of places. At any rate this will keep me busy quite sometime and I may not start too many projects this year . Until next we meet have beautifully blessed days.