The Last Thirteen for Fourteen

I know this is not about stitching. But it’s important. To me at least.  (Jeff would say it’s my abominable Liberalism coming out.  I prefer to think it’s compassion and common sense.)  And I  believe it would be important to many more people if they actually thought about what’s going on.  I hope you will agree.  Actively.

When I was a young woman during the Mayflower Madam scandal, I read “The Happy Hooker” by Xaviera Hollander.  I really enjoyed the book and thought, “Gee, that’s not such a bad profession.  Sure would be easier than nursing. You do the more fun wifely “duties” and none of the stinky socks and dirty underwear, have more control over your life, decide who does what to your body, and it is possible to make decent money if you do it right.”  I know—the stupidity of youth.  That was only one side of the picture.  Anyone who has seen news stories and documentaries about the sex workers in India know how much worse it can be.  We all decry the treatment of those women.  Even self-righteous politicos would agree those women have a horrible life.  Trump would probably hire them all into his clothing sweatshops factories.

But what about the women, men, girls, boys, maybe even your next door neighbor—straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, etc.—in sex trade occupations right here in the USA?   Prison inmates are treated better and do NOTHING for our society.  I believe sex trade workers offer a valuable service and should receive a fair, taxable wage, just like any other American.  They should be able to organize to get good health insurance.  More importantly, they should be treated better and be represented by the judicial and political system.  This group of people are Americans just like you and me.  The “moral-majority” should be a little less moral and a lot more compassionate.  In my book morality includes caring for others and having an obligation to help stop suffering wherever you see it.  Even if the sufferer has the dirty fingers and clothes of an auto mechanic, or has AIDS, is a bad driver, or a spoiled rotten kid suffering from “affluenza.”  (But not pedophiles–sorry, I just can’t…)

I am re-blogging this article because it’s something all people–especially women–should think about objectively–not religiously (but if you do, remember the “Beloved Disciple” was a whore and Jesus loved her!), not politically, not socially. None of these biases–just as a human being not wanting to harm others. Marginalizing sex workers and criminalizing prostitution DOES DO HARM. For one  thing, human trafficking in the Gulf Coast and other areas is a major problem and it not uncommon for young people to disappear without a trace.  (I-10 is a major trafficking thoroughfare from the Atlantic coast in Florida across the US to the Pacific Ocean in California and is a result of dealers providing the demand for illicit “product.”)  If you have ever been a victim of sexual abuse or spousal abuse (male or female) you also know of the harm I’m talking about because the system/people treat you the same way  they treat so-called “sex criminals.”  Like you’re scum who had it coming or asked for it.  (This I know from personal experience.)

So read this article.  And remember one day you or a loved one (maybe your son or daughter) might have to turn a trick to make the rent.  (I can hear it now, “Never,” “Not me,” “I’ll just help John-boy with his meth addiction—until I just can’t  stand it anymore.”)

P.S.  If you don’t like what your read here, that’s okay.  But this is my blog.  And I don’t tolerate bigotry on any level even though I’m bigoted against crackpot fundamentalists of any ilk.  Disparaging remarks will not be approved.  I know.  How undemocratic.  Go ahead and link to this and rant about how horrid I am in your own blog or Facebook or something if you need to!

If you agree maybe you could reblog and suggest people think about things.  Or talk to a few people about this injustice in our communities.  When we’re open and talking reasonably and honestly the world can be better.  (Yes—I’m still naive and overuse the em-dash!)

The Honest Courtesan

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.-Thomas Paine

Every Friday the 13th I ask my readers, especially those who are not themselves sex workers, to speak out for decriminalization of prostitution.  This is the third such occasion this year, but it’s also the last one for 14 months (until September 2013), so I want to make it a good one.

Though roughly 10% of modern women have taken money for sex at least once, the great majority of such cases are informal and the payer an acquaintance; only about 1% of women actually work as hookers at some point in their lives, and less than a third of that (just under 0.3%) are thus employed at any given time.  That’s a pitifully small minority, smaller even than the fraction…

View original post 1,208 more words

Name That Blog!

I’m participating in WordPress’ Blogging 101 class. The current task is “naming your blog.”

Of course, my blog has a name so I could just say that task is done.  Frankly, I don’t like my blog name any longer.  It doesn’t seem to fit, is too limited.  I do love the tag line “and other challenges.”  Maybe the tag line makes the space lacking in the “shop sampler” idea which was based on just one project defined one stitch/color/shop at a time.

So…what?

When I go back over what I’ve written about, the topics tend to fall within the realm of cross crafting, WIPs, mindfulness, and writing.  There is a connection to resources/community as well as some personal stuff.  I certainly have other interests.  For example, a very strong interest in black work embroidery, reading, and baking lower on the glycemic index.  I “suffer” with an “attachment” to food as reflected in disordered eating and really try to practice mindful eating and exploring a Buddhist (or Eightfold) path.  Right now while my Jeff is so sick, I’m learning everything I never did in nursing school about auto-immune responses and disorders.  (All these new Biologics!  Yuck!)  I have become almost an expert on Miniature Schnauzers.  I have taught Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” (and the follow up) a number of times.

How do I sum all that up in a simple, memorable name and line?!

So far everything I’ve come up with has been an active domain name owned by not me—even when translated to French.  Well, there are two translations that are available domain names:  Parcours Créatif (Creative Journey) or Le Chemin Créatif (The Creative Path).  But should I really confuse folks with  accents aigus?!  And do they fill the bill adequately?

I kind of like:

  1. Creating.  Living.
  2. Living.  Creating.
  3. Creating = Living
  4. Living = Creating

But then there’s Ivory Castle Creations.  I used to make music tapes for friends to introduce them to my favorite music, mostly women musicians (long before Loreena Mckennitt and Sarah McLachlan were mainstream) , classical guitar, and real Celtic music (Nahoo, Mouth Music, etc.)  I labeled them “Ivory Castle Mix 1 or 2 or…on and on.”  So Ivory Castle Creations is like an off shoot of that.  Someone even created a logo for me based on the tag line, “it’s not the drop so much as the ripple.”  This quote came from one of my Artist Way students who saw THE Point of how one change in one’s world changes everything via the ripple effect!  The Ivory Castle part came from a fellow nurse who would tease me about slumming in the real world (acute psych unit in a local hospital), when my real existence was the Ivory Tower of academia while I was pursuing training in Marriage and Family Therapy in College Park, Maryland.

So…what do you think?

I can’t find the poll function on the tool bar (and what happened to spell/grammar check?!), so I’ll have to outline the current options I’m considering.  Tell me what you think is fitting!  I just can’t decide!

  1. Creating.  Living.
  2. Living.  Creating.
  3. Creating = Living
  4. Living = Creating
  5. Ivory Castle Creations
  6. One of the french choices
  7. Keep it the same

Happy 2016!

happy-new-year-2016Here’s a question for you.  If I write it will you read?

I’m thinking about blogging regularly again.  Been thinking about what I want to accomplish and what purpose blogging serves me.  Initially I had grand plans to design patterns and maybe even go into business.  But smarter artists than I are struggling and even quitting.  Back then my writing was about connecting with others and offering something to develop a potential business base.

To that end, I used to compulsively check my blog stats, just like checking my weight (yeah, I’m eating disordered, too).  I would get soooo disappointed when my numbers wouldn’t go up (or my weight would go up!)  Or people might look at a post that I worked really hard on and not offer a comment.  I even started to read some of the spam comments! (Really, really horrid.)

I’m not there anymore.  Writing is for me.  Something I enjoy.  Just like all the crafts I do.  I enjoy it.  It relaxes me.  It speaks to my desire/need to be creative.

I’ve decided I’ll write when I have something to say.  (See “blogging without obligation.”)  If  I have nothing to say, maybe I’ll just post a picture of where my needle(s) are sitting and what string is attached, like the following:

Cecelia Baby Blanket

Cecelia is a center out baby blanket pattern by Berroco. I’m adding rows and making it as a shawl.

Dimensions Ornament

An ornament I did real quick this year.

That’s my goal for the year. 

I’ve lost my dogs.

RIP my babes

See you at the Rainbow Bridge, Taz and Jojo

 

 

 

 

 

Our Vet not only sent sympathy cards, but made these paw casts, and made donations to Auburn Vet School in our girls’ names.

 

 

 

 

 

My Jeff is sick.

He has this rash everywhere—palms, bottom of feet, in his nose, and most likely internally, too.

Not Jeff, but like Jeff
Not Jeff, but like Jeff’s (Jeff has better legs!)

It’s called Leukocytoclastic Angiitis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2016 I WILL be calm and submissive to my needs for creativity, health, beauty, peace, and loving-kindness.

I hope you’ll read what is here.  I hope you’ll like it.  I hope you get something out of it.

February TUSAL

It doesn’t seem like it’s been so long since I posted my January Ort photos for the Totally Useless Stitch Along (TUSAL).  No matter—I still have added quite a few snips and strings to the container.

Remnants of stitching history

Kind of pretty aren’t they!?

And then I dropped the container in the dogs’ bed, so everything got shaken up and turned around!

February TUSAL

What was the top is now the bottom!

But here’s a new one for you.  I have a good number of orts still on the fabric!

Orts in progress

All the color you see represents orts not yet in the jar!

I was working so diligently on a model that Sabine Taterra-Gundacker will soon be posting as available at her sensational e-store, European Reproduction Samplers.  This one is a reproduction of the sampler created by Martha Stone in 1840  when she was young, but exact age not certain (that I know of.)

It is a simple but charming design representing two young girls in their fancy dresses with what were typical toys of the time.  A couple cupids add to the charm.  And the whole thing is surrounded by a continuous strawberry border.  I’m thinking the girl didn’t clean and cut up too many strawberries because her color gradation is backward.  And the right side and the left side are not symmetrical—that kind of bugs the perfectionist in me.

But for heaven’s sake she was just a kid!  Imagine yourself at 7 to 9 years old and no pattern to stitch from.  You sit down with some fabric and thread and “color.”  When you think if it that way, this kid was a prodigy!  Shoot, many of us adults don’t do as well!

Original Martha Stone sampler

Photo from European Reproduction Samplers.
This is the sampler Sabine is creating the chart from.

The hard part, well actually two…

The first hard part was not correcting what I perceive to be her mistakes—changing the gradation of the berries and making the border symmetrical between berry groups.

The second hard part was realizing after 17 hours of work that I made a mistake back in hour two of work.  I was off one stitch.  It affected the left and bottom borders, one that I had already completed and the other had a good start on.  So, I started unstitching.  (Some call this frogging because you “rip it, rip it, rip it!”)  The more berries I ripped out, the more uncomfortable I was with the idea of continuing with the fabric.  The red thread (DMC 304) was discoloring the white fabric slightly.  Because I really thought it would show, even just a little, I started over completely.

See how red runs

See how they run!

But the new work is looking beautiful and I am happy with how it looks.  I am triple checking my count because I don’t want to go through this again.  And I want my piece done when Sabine is ready to post the finished instructions.  So, I’ve set all my other work aside temporarily.

Martha Stone coming along

So far, so good.

Don't like running colors or threads.

I don’t like running colors or threads…this is the back

So why did this happen and how can you avoid doing the same thing?

Let me say that most of my stitching during my stitching life has been when I lived alone with no television and no pets.  NO DISTRACTION!  It’s a lot like meditation.  Very easy to be peaceful and calm when you’re isolated and have no interruptions—when you have total control of your environment.  Not so easy when you’re folding clothes in the laundromat on a Sunday afternoon.  Not so easy when you’re walking down a sidewalk of Washington D.C.  when all schools in the country have sent their school children for their spring trips.  Not so easy when your dogs are barking (i.e. screaming) at strangers walking by or jumping on your knee indicating it is time for a walk in the wilds.  Not so easy when your partner decides—just as you get that empty mind thing going (i.e. counted the 30th  stitch of 42)—it’s time to talk about where we want to retire!

It is time to learn to meditate/stitch in the middle of living.  It is an incredible challenge.  But that’s living.  It’s a challenge to walk and chew gum.  It’s a challenge to move from left to right brain in milliseconds.  It’s a challenge for a vegetarian to live with someone who doesn’t eat beans, cheese, or rice!  These are the sorts of things we choose to and that also that we must do sometimes.  And we do it.  And I will learn to stitch with distractions, just like when my monkey brain jumps into the calm pool I can get it to sit still.

In stitching terms, this mean I must:

  1. recognize I’ve been distracted
  2. determine when the distraction began
  3. go back to where I was at in my stitching when the distraction began
  4. recheck my work
  5. when I pick up my work anew, recheck from the beginning to ensure dealing with my distractions didn’t distract me further previously and contribute to unrecognized mistakes!

It’s all about recognizing, accepting, and assuming one’s place at the baseline to continue.    Pretty simple.  Right?!

Until then, there’s the Totally Useless Stitch Along.  Which is a lovely piece of art in progress.  (And so, not so totally useless!)  And when my jar is full, all those scraps will be turned into Prayer Flags!  More on that later!  Until then love the froggy green!

Scheduling Time For Creativity

If you read through my last post, you’ll know I’m on a mission to be more organized and focused on what is important to me this year.One of the tasks I gave myself was to create a schedule that allows me to take care of everyday living ‘stuff’ as well as attend to all my creative babies.

DONE!

For a week I timed my normal daily household chores.  Actually there are still a couple things to add to the list, but they shouldn’t grossly impact on the schedule I’ve come up with.

Schedule your stitching time!

Schedule your stitching projects!

To see what I’m working on, click on the names in the following ledger.  Next week I’ll show you my progress.  I spend 2 to 3 hours on the pilot and at least 1 hour a day on the other project.  I’d say about 4 to 5 hours total stitching time per day, whether it be in the car, in bed with leg up, at the laundry, or in my seat.  As soon as I get my materials, I’ll have to add my Stitching Buddhas class to the schedule, but I’ve got that penciled in in my head for now.

Presents Presently is a year long project to complete birthday and Christmas projects in a timely, organized, and enjoyable manner and speed.  This is what I’m working on currently.

  1. Christmas Countdown…I want to do two more this year
  2. Erna Schuppelius…I wish to complete this just as Erna did with crocheted edging done in thread and ribbon weaving.  This is to be a birthday present.   I’m using Week’s Dye Works # 2271, Peony, 1 strand over two threads of  almost sheer Irish linen.
  3. Keyhole Shawl…This will be either a birthday or Christmas gift depending on when It is completed.  I am knitting it in Red Heart Collage yarn in Rose Dust color.

Pilot is a pattern in progress that I’m stitching for a designing friend.  When I have permission, I’ll show you the work.

Attachment to Guilt Can Kill Creativity

Cast On and Sheaf Stitch

Poppy Field

I’ve been feeling pretty guilty these days.  I don’t like feeling that way.  And why do I feel guilty?  Because I committed to participating in Sharon Boggon‘s Take A Stitch Tuesday at the beginning of the year and back on Week 24, I got hung up and have not been able to catch up.  Look at this list of stitches!  There are 12 of them!  Do you get overwhelmed looking at it?  I do!

(Note:  Click on the stitch name to go to Sharon Boggon’s Tutorial page for the stitch)

Not only that, I’ve started yet two more projects which means I’m adding insult to injury! (Project 1 & Project 2)
And then there’s all those UFOs!

It’s no wonder I’m having “bad food days” and “bad brain days”!

So how does one get past this block?  Well, my Mother, the inveterate no-nonsense Vermonter, would simply say, “Knock it off!”  The Buddhist translation is: “become free from your attachment to suffering!”  Begin by accepting that you have this feeling.  Then you are free to release it.

I’m releasing the guilt by taking action—by considering what I have accomplished and determining what I CAN do to accomplish what is left to be done.

First:  I have color coded the word “Week” in the following list.

RED= Completed, yea!
GREEN= Completed & posted about earlier
Black= Yet to be done

Here are photos of what I have been doing with the exception of a Caftan that I created for Jeff, a dress I’ve cut out for myself, and Blackwork Lessons details some of what I’ve been up to as well.

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And Second:

Wow!  There are only four more stitches to go on the list and I already know where I’m putting them.  I’m going to layer three of them along the Linked Double Chain at the bottom of the TAST 2012 Sample.  The Up and Down Buttonhole stitch will become the rays on the sun in the “Sunshine and Lollipops” piece.  How about that!

Finally, Third:

There!  No longer attached to guilt!   I feel so much better!  How about you?!

Return to TAST 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve done any Take A Stitch Tuesday stitching.  I’ve been designing my flag for the Prayer Flag Installation next month.  And working on a Christmas project for my youngest great-niece (a Shepherd’s Bush Stocking!)  I’ve determined it will take a minimum of 175 hours to complete this project for her.  I’ve never figured out my time in a project before, always just done an approximation at the end.    You should try to calculate your stitch per minute some time.  Your stitching will take on a whole new value for you!  You will be awed by yourself.  AND SHOULD BE!

While I have not stitched Sharon Boggon’s TAST selection for this week, the Pekinese Stitch, I have stitched it before.  And here it is:

Pekinese Stitch on CyberPointers Ruby Ribbons

The Pekinese Stitch
AKA
the Chinese Stitch, the Forbidden Stitch, the Laced Backstitch, and
the Blind Stitch

While I was a member of the cyber chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild, I participated in the project to celebrate ANG’s 40th (or Ruby) Anniversary.  The final, framed four panel piece will be auctioned off at the National Conference in Philadelphia later this month.  The project piece was called Ruby Ribbon and was based upon a ribbon patterned quilt block, something like  Celtic knotwork.

One quarter of the quilt block is represented in each of four panels to make a whole block when appropriately arranged.  (I’d show you the block but can’t due to copyright issues.)  Each of the four panels was divided into 144 squares (12×12 grid) about 1.5 inches each.  Participants were told what value of what color to use in each block.  Then it was up to each stitcher to decide what stitch to do (there were to be no duplicate stitches!) and what thread to accomplish the goal.  The colors were different values of red, white, grey, and black.  It was kind of nice because you could sign up for a block based upon what threads you had available in your stash so it would not be cost prohibitive to participate in the project. Last I heard, CyberPointers was working on compiling directions for the piece to be sold as a fund raiser for the group.  Keep an eye out on their web site store page to see the completed piece and to get the pattern if you like.

My Pekinese block was supposed to be a Dark Grey, akin to DMC 413.  So I just used DMC 413 for the backstitching.  Then I used Rainbow Gallery’s Fuzzy Stuff in #19 for the lacing.  It gave an incredible texture, fluffy and soft.  Here are a couple photos of the block in context with several other blocks I stitched near the Pekinese square to give you an idea of how textures and shades worked together.

Pekinese Stitch, French Stitch, and my own padded combination stitch

Padded Stitch Combination in Black…Watercolours Midnight and Kreinik black
French Stitch in Very Dark Grey…DMC # 3799
Pekinese Stitch already described

Fern Stitch in Grey done in DMC #414
(The smidgen of red was stitched by someone else)

I really enjoyed the effect of the stitch, but using the Fuzzy Stuff was a bit of a challenge.  I would, however, do it again.  This was a great choice for Santa’s beard or stuffed animal representations or animal fur.  I look forward to using it some more in some of the Buddhist images I’ve been sketching on muslin to embroider.

I wonder?  Is anyone else as far behind in TAST as I am?  I got hung up way back on the buttonhole wheel.  I’ll finish it, I promise!  It’s pretty bad when a stitching sample becomes a UFO!

Thread Storage Is Not For Sissies!

Whether your passion is embroidery, quilting, knitting, or mixed media, storage is a problem for any fiber artist .  But when you live in a space that is 27 foot long by 8 foot wide, the issue of storage is a problem whether you’re a fiber artist or not!  From the beginning of our time on the road I have been searching for the perfect solution.

Initially I had  been “alotted” the space under the bed (queen sized and 17 inches deep) and one half of the cupboard area over the couch (about 8 ft wide and 14 in deep by 14 in tall).

Since Jeff and I have consistently been trying to decrease the weight we carry in the trailer, I am now using about ½ the under the bed space and ¾ of the living room cupboard space.   This has taken a lot of work and a lot of honesty, not to mention a fair amount of growth in the realm of non-attachment—for both of us.  (The dogs refuse to make any changes at all!)

A couple of things have helped to make this downsizing possible.

  • I decided what projects I really want to have done in a year that could realistically be completed given my stitching history.
  • I picked a couple UFOs to focus on, keeping in mind if I finish them before the end of October I can always pull out a couple more.
  • Given these choices, I picked out which reference materials would be critical to carry with me.
  • Everything else was put in  the front of the storage unit and labeled very clearly for ease in sorting next spring.
  • I found a way to store all the thread that doesn’t fit neatly on floss cards (without spending a small fortune for some fancy new “System.”)  Yup!  I did!
My new thread storage system

My new thread storage system for items that will not fit into my DMC floss card boxes.

I found a photo album that has archival quality photo pockets.  The pockets are divided by acid free paper.  They are supposed to hold a photo that is about 4 X 6, so are perfect for perle cotton weight thread.  I labeled each pocket front and back with the thread company, thread weight, and color number. (Each pocket will hold two skeins.)

Photo album for 4 x 6 photos, perfect for Perle Cotton weights

Ends close to rings stapled to prevent escapees!

I also found archival quality pocketed storage sheets meant for the older, smaller baseball cards.  The little pockets are perfect for Rainbow Gallery thread cards, Weeks Dye Works flosses, and other smaller skeins of thread.  Again, I labeled each pocket with relevant info.

Smaller pockets for smaller threads

Intended for smaller baseball cards but perfect for my smaller thread skeins and cards.

I like this because it’s flexible.  As I add a color, I can take off the labeled info and rearrange as necessary.  I have loads of extra pages so I can add as my inventory changes.   And it’s easier to maintain my Excel inventory of threads.  Most importantly,  I can easily pull colors from different companies to create my color palette.

There are still a few oddball items, particularly spools.  Those I have in two boxes, one a tin for metallics and the other is a Shaker box (made by Allen Fannin) that I use for my balls of Perle cotton.

Prayer Flag Project Announcement

I know that many of you  who check in on this site work with a variety of creative media.   Given that, you may be interested in participating in a special event recently announced by the Prayer Flag Project:

CALL TO ARTISTS

PRAYER FLAG PROJECT

Give visual voice to your prayers by creating a prayer flag and submitting it to OMA’s Prayer Flag installation on view at Oceanside Museum of Art October 14 through December 31, 2012. Artists are invited to design a unique flag made of fabric and other materials that reflects their current and future hopes and dreams. Flags should be approximately 5” x 8” with a 3” sleeve on the top-backside of the quilt and must arrive at Oceanside Museum of Art by September 21. Please include your name, date and the desired prayer on the back of the Flag. It is suggested that the artist uses an iron on fabric label for this information.

Please address or deliver Flags to following address

OMA Prayer Flag Project

Oceanside Museum of Art

704 Pier View Way

Oceanside, CA 92054

Artists are responsible for mailing and/or delivering their prayer flag. Flags will only be returned if the artist includes a self-addressed and stamped envelope. All other flags will become property of the museum.

From my TAST 2012 Sampler

Basic principles I try to keep in mind

I am trying to think what I wish to focus on in the flag I’m going to make for this .  Since Prayer Flags are a part of Buddhist tradition and since that is how I am so inclined, that is the direction I will head in.  Will keep you posted!

Drop a line if you are going to participate in this, too!

A Chain Stitch Sampler

Chain Stitch Sampler or Ribbons, Ruffles, and Chains

Chain Stitch Sampler or Ribbons, Ruffles, and Chains

This past week TAST 2012 is taking a “catch up” or get crazy creative break.  I focused on my Attachments Quilt Blocks (and UFOs) to create a sweet little sampler. Something I call Ribbons, Ruffles, and Chains.

I’ve been pretty good about keeping up, sometimes at the expense of other projects.  But I have no other serious obligations.  And, I see the TAST Challenge as well as the Stitchers’ UFO Challenge as a means to reestablish  discipline that has waned since leaving the Social Services Rat Race.  I’m looking at it as “practice,” as in meditation or spiritual practice.  I really want to create my own designs and stitch them instead of always enjoying the fruits of other people’s’ creative endeavors.  As a follower of “The Artist Way” for decades, I know there are many ways to get to the creative source in one’s self.  One of them is to engage in play.  Another is repetitive activity that frees the mind from clutter.  A very important way is to lose one’s attachment to perfection or preconceived notions of what is good or bad, pretty or ugly, worthwhile or useless, and so on.

I am learning a lot about that through the TAST Challenge.  Taking the Studio Journal As A Designer’s Workhorse really helped, too.  There are a lot of ugly images in my journal, but the images represent something quite beautiful in my mind’s eye.  I don’t draw well, nor do I have a whole artist’s studio at hand.  So my journal is full of reMINDers of things I want to stitch.  And some of my embroidery is not necessarily pretty either.  Case in point is the TAST 2012 Attachments Quilt Block I did with safety pins.  Even though no one will say, “Oh, that is so gorgeous, I must have it!,” the piece communicates exactly what I meant to say about attachments to unhealthy things.

Same thing with my Ribbons, Ruffles, and Chains sampler and/or Attachments Quilt Block. It is a reminder to myself that an abiding affinity to ribbons and ruffles and a pretty world is not only living with blinders on, but will keep your heart chained from the experience of compassion and the opportunity to relieve any suffering in the world.  Attachments make it hard to have a heart that is open to full life including true love.

The layout of the stitches on Chain Stitch Sampler

A schematic of the stitch layout
(click for larger view)

This block is also about practicing a stitch in an array of its variations. The Chain Stitch.  I had A LOT of fun with this.  And learned a great deal.  I even have a couple new favorite stitches.  I especially like the stitches in the lower right corner of the sampler.  Overall I used 11 chain stitch variations:  chain, twisted chain, barred chain, butterfly chain, wheat ear stitch, braided chain over one stitch, braided chain over two stitches, open chain, heavy chain, raised chain, and cabled chain.  I especially liked the tutorials at Sarah’s Hand Embroidery.  She has a section of nothing but change stitches that you can find in the right sidebar.  I’m thinking I’ll do another sampler with the variations that are not on this block.  Here is a schematic of the stitches I did use.

I hope these close-ups help you pick a few variations you might like to try.

Ribbons, Ruffles, and Chains Close Up Left

Close up of upper left corner of my Chain Stitch Sampler

Scan of lower right of my Chain Stitch Sampler

Lower Right Corner of my Chain Stitch Sampler

My favorites are the raised chain, the braided chain, the cable chain, twisted chain, and wheat ear stitch.  Which do you especially like?  Which one have you never done but will now try?