Norma's Needleworkz

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Surprise! Surprise! After being absent from posting to my blog for several months, this year is starting off with two posts in one month. In my last post I mentioned and showed some of my tatting thread exchanges. The next day the last exchange arrived and so I had to share that one also. This exchange of beautiful yellow ribbon, some blue tatted flowers in #80 thread and pink #80 thread, plus earring findings and crystal beads arrived from Nicaragua Chile and took two weeks from mailing date to arrival date. I love tatting earrings but have never used crystal beads in the process, so am looking forward to this new experience.

Aha! Two more bobbin lace bookmarks. I mentioned in my last post about making a bobbin lace bookworm using #20 crochet thread. This one is made of blue and red threads ..... just the colors one of my granddaughters requested. The other bookmark is basic Torchon ground lace worked in two shades of green #8 perle cotton. I have to tell you the first time I attempted the Torchon ground pattern I used two shades of #80 tatting thread and the pattern said to use "half stitch". I remembered my teacher said that half stitch is not a good stitch for the outside edges .... you need some twists to firm up the edges. Well, instead of "listening" to my teacher, I followed the directions in the book. Well, when I finished and removed the bookmark from the pillow I ended up with a mess of threads and into the trash it went. I tried again, this time using the #8 perle cotton and using "cloth stitch and twist" for my outside edges. I probably could have had good results using "cloth stitch" but I wanted to be sure this one worked. I was very pleased with the results the second time.

One of these days I'll learn how to add the coding for any of my groups I mention within my posts, because I'd like for my friends to visit and see what we are about. One of my groups StitchMAP has TEASER contests every couple of months. They are fun and educational. The silkies in the photo below are my prize for participating.

Yipee!!!!! A second WIP completed. I knitted these socks in December (2009) but left the toes to be grafted .... my least favorite part of knitting socks. Well, this afternoon I broke down and finished the toes as I want to wear these socks this next week. My next pair of socks will be done from the toes up and I really like that method whether I'm using two circular needles or one circular needle. It is soooo much easier knitting socks on circular needles rather than with five double-pointed ones although I'm a pretty fast sock knitter when I get started on the double-pointed needles.

Tomorrow I begin a new adventure at the senior center where I teach several times a week. For the next five weeks I will be teaching 7 girls ages 8 to 10 how to knit in an after school program. I've taught children before but this a first at the senior center and I'm really looking forward to this class. We will be doing simple garter stitch projects ..... a headband and a purse. If they catch on quickly we might even get to do a stockinette bracelet. Then there is always the garter stitch discloth done as a square instead of on the diagonal.

I think I have a couple of shots left in my camera and must remember to take some photos of the girls "at work". Back at ya in a couple of weeks ..... ta da!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Out With the Old and In With the New

An appropriate title I thought to finish up some "old" bits of stitchery before beginning a new year of stitching.

Oh, about 25 years ago I was a charter member of the local quilt guild as well as the state quilt guild (gave memberships up when hubby's health began to deteriorate). During the time I was a member of the local quild we had some very nice workshops with well known teachers. This first photo is the result of one of those workshops. Can you see the idea of fall folliage trees????

We had to cut strips 1 1/2" wide and then in appropriate lengths to piece a picture of a favorite scene. Fall is one of my favorite seasons and so I pieced a scene as viewed from I 64 on Afton Mountain on the way to visit a sister-in-law and her family who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. The idea of showing this as well as the next photo came about because on one of my groups .... StitchMAP ..... there was a thread about fall stitching. I had completely forgotten this piece and so had to go dig it out. Thought I'd share it here with the idea of possibly making a cq wall hanging sometime in the future. My StitchMAP sisters were very enthusiastic about this becoming a cq piece. I'm just not ready to work on it yet.

This piece was also a local guild workshop and was pieced using Jenny Byer fabrics. Since this is supposed to be a ship (flowered print) in full sail I can really begin to see a sea cq ..... wonderful possibilites here. Just have a few WIPs ahead of this one but may begin working on this one in a month or so.

From time to time I do a few commissioned pieces such as knitted Christmas stockings. This is the back of the one I did this year.

And here is the front.

In 2008 I was asked to complete a Christmas stocking that had been started by a knitter that had died during the year. The lady I knitted the stocking for was so pleased with the end result that she asked me to do this one for 2009. I have been commissioned to do two for this year.

Do your see all my thread goodies? On my HBT (Here-Be-Tatters) group I participated in a thread exchange. We were supposed to send 10 yards of a thread to five (or possibly six) people along with a favorite pattern or other small tidbit (no tatting involved). Several of my swappers sent beads and the little snowman tin (had fudge in it) is such a handy size to carry a shuttle, some thread and small scissors. It will fit in my purse just fine!!!! Several sent more than one thread and as you can see one swapper sent a full ball of thread. I also received several patterns. All the threads I received (except for the ball which is one of my favorites) were new to me and I'm looking forward to trying them all! This was really a lot of fun and I look forward to doing this again.

Previously I had shared some decorative "braids" in my bobbin lace that I was playing with on my own. This is the last of those braids, number 7, and I used DMC size 50 thread. The pattern is found in INTRODUCTION TO BOBBIN LACEMAKING by Rosemary Shepherd. This is one of two beginner books I'm trying to go through on my own as my teacher has in mind certain things she wants me to learn and I'm eager to try everything she wants me to do. What I'm doing for myself is using a variety of threads and fully grounding myself in the very simplest of patterns. I still need to build up my self confidence where bobbin lacemaking is concerned. Some techniques I try I go full steam ahead because the fibers are comfortable to handle. To make true bobbin lace you need very, very fine thread and I'm a bit hesitant .... no, I'm a whole lot hesitant when it comes to those very, very fine threads .... they sometimes need a magnifying lamp to even see them!

Just the week after Christmas I decided to try a different beginners book and even add beads to some bobbin lace.
Bookworm bookmarks .... hee, hee! Can you see their "beady" little eyes? According to Beginner's Guide to Bobbin Lace by Gilian Dye & Adrienne Thunder "this book describes the techniques needed to lead you step-by-step, through simple pieces that will give you practice in handling the bobbins and introduce you to a range of stitches." Well I knew the basic stitches and have had practice in handling the bobbins but this book uses a wide range of threads, such as size 8 perle cotton for the bookworm bookmarks, and even some yarns. The projects in the book that call for yarns don't seem to be calling me to do them. Using size 8 perle cotton makes the lace very dense .... even the half stitch "worm" on the right and to me bobbin lace is airy ... so the remaining pieces in this book that call for size 8 perle cotton I will use lace weight thread instead. BTW I'm not wild about using size 8 perle cotton for bobbin lace making .... a little too slippery, slidey for me although it does have a nice finished look. I also did one of these bookworms out of size 20 crochet thread (not shown in the pic). The thread thickness is about the same as the 8 perle cotton but the end result is consistant with a densely woven fabric .... not lacey looking at all. These bookworms are for my granddaughters who love to read.

My first completed needlework piece for 2010! This is a piece I really had some "fun" with. The first time I worked this piece I really had trouble turning corners and so asked my teacher if I could do it again.

This time she wanted me to play with the patterns and no two sides are alike .... a great learning "example" for my notebook. I still have to work on the finishing. The first time I had my teacher to guide me and this time I tried it on my own reading directions from my "textbook" The Technique of Bobbin Lace by Pamela Nottingham. The finishing was really fiddly to do but I wanted the piece off my pillow so that at my next lesson I'll be able to start something new. I don't know what my next piece will be and I have a few bobbins to empty. Guess I'd better get started on them.