Just Saying

Are you participating in the Good Reads 2016 challenge?  I am.  And already I’m ahead of schedule.  Woohoo!  That’s good ‘cuz who knows what the year will bring to interrupt my love for reading.  Although so far, nothing has ever been able to do that!

I just finished a little book written by Austin Kleon entitled Steal Like An Artist.  It’s subtitled:  10 Things Nobody Told you About Being Creative.  I enjoyed it so much that I read several parts out loud to Jeff.  (He just loves when I do that!)  Especially the parts about having multiple projects going at one time.  Kleon calls this “Practicing Productive Procrastination.”  PERFECT!  I have this down.  I’m an expert in this and can teach others a thing or to about PPP.  Chances are good you’re an expert at this, too!

What I liked best about this book wasn’t even in this book.  It was Kleon’s promotional blurb about another book he’s written about self-promotion for those who don’t.  (If you’re interested, it’s called Show Your Work .)  Here’s what I liked:

Use your network instead of wasting time networking.

Share something new everyday (but don’t turn into human spam).

Be open, generous, brave—an artist others will steal from.

—Austin Kleon

I really like the bit about becoming “human spam.”  I have been deleting my subscriptions to blogs where the author has become that yucky (?)meat.  This especially includes blogs where so much advertising and self promotion makes the page time out!  Two bakers whose names I won’t mention (okay, one is something about Grandbaby Cakes) have almost no new content on their blogs.  Just information about book sales and book tours, yada, yada, yada.  Unsubcribed!  Same thing with White Threads (Vetty Creations on FB).  She occasionally has something useful, but if the content isn’t about her latest book, it’s a query about a topic that you can be sure is related to research for her next book!  Bye, bye!  I’ve even taken breaks from Mary Corbett at times when she’s promoting a new kit or doing an infomercial for some nice but not necessary product.

While I’m constantly considering whether particular newsletters represent human spam or not, I can tell you that there are certain bloggers who I will NEVER unsubscribe from.  I will not extol their virtues here.  Suffice it to say they are artists who I steal from to support my own creative engine.  If I’m just scanning my emails, I save theirs for later so I can savor every thought and picture.  They are the ones I dote on.  If these blogs aren’t on your list they should be:

I know I’m leaving someone out, but can’t think who right now.  When I think of it or more I’ll just post a sticky note and you’ll know what it’s about!  Which blogs or newsletters will never be cancelled by you?  That you think everyone would just love?  That isn’t human spam?  (By the way, I also have knitting, quilting, lace making and cooking blogs to live by as well.  I can list them if you want?  Would love to know about your other must read blogs, too!)

Oh, and I’ve been “working,” too.  I’ve started developing the schema and collecting ideas for images for the Confessions of a Pagan Nun sampler I want to make.  The author, Kate Horsley, gave me permission to use my favorite line from her book!  This is the line:

Use words to please, to instruct, to soothe; then stop speaking.—Kate Horsley

And, of course, stitching and knitting.  (The links are not showing up with the pics, let me know if you want to know where to find these free patterns.)  Started to tangle, too.  Take a look and maybe drop a line my way!

Whole Lotta Stitchin’ Goin’ On

Thursday, September 27 PM

I’ve been stitching and been stitched on in the past 24 hours! Maybe I should back up a little.

Monday, September 24

When I was at the laundromat the other day, I practiced a few TAST Week 38 Drizzle Stitch.  I was glad to hear that this Brazilian Embroidery stitch is often stitched with rayon threads.  I just happen to have some rayon floss and some metallic floss that I hate stitching with.  While it is pretty and shiny, it is unruly and knots and slips about and is hard to keep threaded.  I was thinking about giving it away.  But that seems kind of cruel.  I thought about sending it to Fireside Stitchery so they could sell it on their E Bay service, but I kept thinking that is the coward’s way out.

Thanks to the Drizzle Stitch and other Brazilian Embroidery stitches, I have found a way to use these threads and take advantage of their lovely sheen and sparkle!  Unfortunately, the sampling I did at the laundromat, was not exactly “pretty,” so I didn’t photograph it to present in the weekly TAST review over at Pin Tangle.  I thought maybe I would just incorporate it into a sample I work up for other TAST challenges.

Who knew the opportunity would come so quickly!

Tuesday, September 25

Every Tuesday Sharon Boggon announces the new stitch challenge, hence the moniker “Take a Stitch Tuesday!”  This week was no different.  The Week 39 challenge is the Knotted Buttonhole Stitch.  And, like every week, I start thinking about where I might see a similar shape or pattern in nature or in general.  I think about where it might have fit into previous stitching I’ve done.  I consider what colors and thread textures would really stand out with this stitch.

Wednesday, September 26

I’ve found a button that would go very nice with the thread I want to use for the Knotted Buttonhole Stitch.  I’ve been enjoying using the DMC Color Variations perle cotton and will use it yet again.  I had just finished hand stitching the lining of Katie’s Stocking to the stocking and was about start working with the Knotted Buttonhole Stitch when I went outside to try to catch my neighbor before she closed up for the night.  Almost immediately I found myself slanting towards the ground and hugging the propane tanks to avoid falling to the ground. It felt like my leg was wedged into the trailer hitch.   The pain was incredible.  The fact that I could stand suggested the leg was not broken.  But the amount of blood I could feel pouring down my leg suggested this was more than a bit of a boo-boo.  Jeff had a good description of the wound, it looked like someone took an ice cream scoop and dug out most of the front of my leg.  All the ER doctor would say is, “this is really a challenge.”  He said it more than once.  It took over two hours for him to stitch the leg back together.  There are 35 stitches on the inside and I don’t know how many on the inside just to try to get the top closer together.   Luckily, Dr. McClung was up for the challenge.  He even listened to my stupid jokes/stories.  Knowing some are sensitive to such images I’m not posting the pic, but if you want to see the Doc’s wonderful stitching, you can click on the last hyper-linked text.

Blue Badge of Courage

Vintage button surrounded by Knotted Buttonhole Stitch and Drizzle Stitch fringe all attached to grey fleece.

So, Knotted Buttonhole stitch.  I ended up making a badge for myself.  It is a combination of my attachment series and my patch series of stitch samples.  It has not only the Knotted Buttonhole stitch, but also the Drizzle stitch to make the little fringe at the bottom of the button.  It’s to congratulate myself on surviving what was akin to surgery without anesthesia or pain medication until the actual stitching began and Lidocaine  was injected into raw tissue.

It’s about all I can accomplish at this point.  It’s taken me three days just to write this post.  And I’m ready to go back to bed now.  I’m not supposed to be up and about as there is every danger that the stitches will tear through the thin skin, especially since quite a bit of the subcutaneous tissue sloughed away during the injury.

So, I’m going to bed.  You may not hear from me for a couple weeks.

Pistil Stitch Pomander Patch

TAST 2012 Pistil Stitch Challenge

TAST 2012 Pistil Stitch Patch with Pistil Stitches, and French knots on Organza and muslin

Pistil Stitch Pomander Patch—say that five times real fast!

(Aside:  I do love alliteration!)  The Pistil Stitch is this week’s TAST challenge where one can learn the stitch or, if familiar with it, go crazy using it.  As you can see I didn’t get crazy with it, but I did mess around a bit.

You will not see the Pistil Stitch in a lot of my work.

Mainly because I don’t love making French knots.  And as you know (or can see), the Pistil stitch is basically a straight stitch which is finished in a French knot. Fancy name for two not so fancy stitches.

But patches…you will begin to see more of.

From me, at least.  It is my latest way to make my TAST samples functional.  (The other two—so far—are the TAST 2012 Sampler and the TAST Attachment Quilt Blocks.)  For me, it is important to have an end product.  I don’t need any more bit and pieces of stuff to collect.  I know!  What are patches but more bits and pieces?!  But these are bits and pieces with a future.

I have been making some clothing and sorting through fabrics in storage.  As I find a piece that is too small to do something useful with, I consider if it would make an interesting background for an embroidery stitch of some sort.  If the answer is, “yes,” then I have added the piece to my trailer embroidery fabric stash.  If the answer is, “no,” then I ditch the piece of fabric.  All part of my seasonal reorganization for on the road crafting.

When I have collected a few patches I will begin to stitch them together to make a patch-worked wall hanging.  I already have two patches.  The background fabric in the following is a scrap of leftover binding I made for a kaftan I made for Jeff.  (One day I’ll get him to model it for a photo!)

Cast On and Sheaf Stitch

Poppy Field–Cast on stitch poppies and sheaf stitch stems

The patch I did this week has a scrap of muslin leftover from the lining of Katie’s Christmas stocking.  The bow is made from a scrap of ribbon that my best friend used on a birthday gift she gave to me years ago.  The orange organza is a remnant that I couldn’t pass up at JoAnn’s.  I mean, really—it was on sale and I had a card for 10% off the sale price, too!  I picked up a couple other remnants the same day.  You’ll see them sometime in the future I’m pretty sure!

TAST 2012 Pistil Stitch Challenge

TAST 2012 Pistil Stitch Challenge

A better look at the pistil stifches

Closer view of the Pistil Stitches

When the wall hanging is completed, I will assemble the posts that tell about the provenance of the “bits and pieces,” the patches.  That might make I nice little gift-y, or even a blog give-away.

Or maybe I should just make the individual patches blog give-aways?  What do you think?

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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?!

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?

Stitch Challenge: TAST OR Math?

There are a few stitches that challenge me more than others.  And Sharon Boggon from Pin Tangle’s Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) has included more than one in her weekly challenges.  This week in fact!  The Knotted Cretan Stitch is lovely.  I love the texture.  I don’t love the math.

I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if I drew lines on the fabric rather than counted threads.  But the threads ARE lines so it really shouldn’t matter.  Actually a basic line of Cretan (or chevron or herringbone) stitches isn’t a problem.  The problem is when I try to layer them.  The second layer takes a few minutes to figure out my new count and placement.  But the third and fourth are killers.  It feels like I’m using my left hand instead of my right.  Is this a Right Brain vs. Left Brain thing?  Can anyone tell me how to make this easier?

I can fold egg whites into a batter without loosing a molecule of air, but I struggle beyond belief with multiple layers of these stitches.  I can take the sugar out of a recipe and make the item taste like a thousand calories.  I love the texture of  layered stitches.  And when I look at other peoples’ work, it all seems so lovely and effortlessly layered.

I know it’s about multiples.  That’s kind of like permutations—right?  Could someone please write a blog about this for we mathematically challenged stitchers and send me the link?  Or will this not really matter when I pull my antique crazy quilt out of storage and start the embellishments that were never done?

One thing I have learned this week with the Knotted Cretan is about when to end the thread if you didn’t start with enough.  End at either far end of the stitch (A or D per Sarah’s pictorial tutorial.)  Bring the new thread in at the point where the stitch will be bisected, the middle point, the C point if you use A-B-C-D notation for a stitch.  If you end your thread in the middle, you have to introduce the new thread in the same space and it looks messy.  Thank goodness I DID learn something.   Everything else was kind of accidental!  But I DO like what I did and think I could recreate it.  What do you think?  How would you further embellish this?

Knotted Cretan Stitch in four threads and different lengths

Knot sure what I did here!

Oh, and I played with threads.  This is the first weekend for picking strawberries here so I was thinking about fruity colors.  Colors related to cherries for the bottom two rows.  Grape and watermelon for the top two.  I was going to add something for blueberry, my favorite, but pooped out.  There’s a variety of silk, stranded cotton, and perle cotton in this sample.  Here’s the cast in order of appearance:

  • DMC Perle #5 3042
  • Weeks Dye Works floss #2262 Watermelon
  • Caron Wildflowers #081 Black Cherry
  • Caron Waterlilies #149 Cherry Cordial

Half Chevron Stitch, TAST Challenge, and the Meditation Continues

I looked many places to find tutorials on the Half Chevron Stitch.  It is not a well documented stitch.  If anyone has any info on how this stitch was developed I would love to know about it.

I did, however, see numerous blog posts about the half chevron.  Most were in reference to the TAST challenges.  Interesting.

My approach to this stitch was to consider additional “notions of attachment.”  One person has commented on my play on words.  I’m not sure others understand the intended stitching pun!  I’m sure all stitchers understand sewing notions and things we use for attaching to fabric.  But I was also alluding to notions meaning ideas and the attachments I meant were the attachments that impede spiritual progress in Buddhism where attachments are considered the root of all suffering in life.

image of shakyamuni buddha

Buddha

For years, indeed decades, stitching has been a meditation for me.  It began when the only stitching I did was counted cross stitch.  I came to see that each stitch was the equivalent of one breath.  One half the cross is a breath in.  Completing the cross is the exhalation.  Maneuvering the thread and positioning of the hand and work is the space between breaths.  And in this way, each embroidered piece is ALIVE!  Then when you give that piece away, you are giving a very real part of your essence.

Part of traveling a Buddhist path is to look carefully for any impediments along the way to reducing suffering in the world and ultimately reaching a state of enlightenment.  There are so many ways of accomplishing this.  One of the things that is a chronic problem for me on the path is attachments, things that keep me stuck in one place, things that make me feel too strongly in one direction.  I have been successful to a large extent in giving up my emotional attachments to “things.”  For example, when the box holding my bone china collection fell in the storage unit last summer, Jeff apologized for a week as he had heard the tinkle of breakage when he grabbed the box.  I had a moment of profound sadness.  But only a moment.  I felt the feeling and then it was over.  Jeff was more upset than I was.  This summer we will open that box and toss out what is pointless to hang on to as we continue to downsize.  It will be work.  It will be a job.  That’s all.  No drama.

When traveling North and I thought that we were going to lose our truck and our lifestyle.  I was devastated.  Primarily thinking about the possibility of moving into a situation that would not allow me to keep my dogs.  I am INCREDIBLY attached to my dogs.  It is an extreme emotional response.  This is an Attachment that stands between me a living a life of Nonattachment according to Buddhist principles.  It is something I struggle with every day.

Safety Pins Attached via Half Chevron Stitch

Pinned: The attachment of addictions might look like this

Hence my TAST 2012 Attachment Quilt block that I have named Pinned, like pinned to the wall, pinned down. I began with the notion (and the idea).  Would it be snaps or pins?  With the half chevron stitch I decided safety pins would be the better choice.  After all the chevrons are spikey like the pins.  I tossed the pins and let them sit where they landed on my sketch pad within the six-inch square.  I traced the heads of the pins to capture the orientation.

Sketch for Half Chevron Stitch Safety Pin Attachment Block

Outline of how safety pins fell into place

Following the diagram, I attached the safety pins to the six-inch square of Aida cloth (14 count.)

Half Chevron Stitch Safety Pins Attached

Half Chevron Stitch Safety Pins Attached

Okay, now what?!  Color.  I decided to go with some approximation of primary colors since the attachments I have been meditating on are very basic, primal if you will.  Each of the three colors would follow a different path and end up where it began, the danger of all unexamined attachments.  See how messy it can get!  And those half chevrons, they look so prickly.

Safety Pins Attached via Half Chevron Stitch

Closer view of Pinned

Does any of this make sense to you?  Does it resonate with your connection to stitching?  Does stitching help you think or problem solve?  Or pray?

It Began on Interstate 65

Replica of I-65 sign

A French Knot For Every Five Times I Saw This Sign

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about our dreadful experience of traveling North from Alabama this spring.  That post was about where I ended up from a stitching/TAST perspective.  Just a reminder, TAST is Take a Stitch Tuesday, a weekly stitching challenge sponsored by Sharon Boggon of Pin Tangle.  While we were on the road the stitch challenge was French Knots.

Map Highlighting Interstate 65

Thank goodness we didn’t drive the whole of I-65!

I find french knots tedious.  I know how to do them.  I think I’ve stitched a million in my lifetime.  I prefer bullion knots.  They are less tedious and more interesting to look at.  Nothing was more tedious than driving on Interstate 65 this spring.  We picked it up in just north of Mobile, Alabama, followed it through all of Tennessee, and up to Louisville, Kentucky.  I have spent way too many nights stitching the tedious french knot into a sign all too (unfortunately) familiar to me.  Now I-65 is out of my system.  Well, mostly!

If you want to hear more about the trip, Jeff has done a wonderful job describing the trek.  He keeps a blog called OddEssay.  Normally he adds to the end of his entries.  But this trip warranted its own separate click.  I called it the trip from hell.  He is nicer than me and called it “Murder Hill:  The Trip No One Should Have To Travel”

If you are like me, you talk to the TV, to the dogs (and for the dogs), to the clock, and all kinds of things that don’t have conversational skills or abilities.   I also make up silly songs to familiar tunes.  When I sing the dogs think I’m happy and it’s time to play.

Lately, I  talk to our truck, offering her compliments and encouragement during our very short and focused trips to the grocers, vet, and laundry.  We are still waiting for our new engine to arrive.  I decided our truck, affectionately called Betsy (after Davy Crocket’s rifle—ask Jeff, that’s on him!), but also known as “The Beast,” needed her own song.  After all, I have songs for both of the dogs.  I’ll post them if you ask!)  Following is the song Jeff and I came up with in honor of Betsy.  Make sure you’re alone, then sing it loud and sing it proud!

Betsy, The Beast
by Jeffrey T. Elmore in collaboration with Julie Castle and the Girls

(Sung to the tune of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.)

Betsy….Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

She was born in Detroit in nineteen ninety-five,
Always served her Master, wherever he would drive,
She tackled Murder Hill, but couldn’t handle the weight,
Lost the piston lobe on cylinder eight.

Betsy….Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

For twelve hundred miles she gave it her all.
Pulled our home up every hill, no matter how tall,
But that half mile peak was just a bit too high,
Almost to the top, she collapsed with a sigh.

Betsy….Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

The last eighty miles, she was so ashamed,
Towed all the way home like some animal tamed,
They all thought she had died and could haul no more,
Till they went looking down at the new truck store.

Betsy….Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

When the sticker shock settled, their plans they rethought,
Betsy might be older, but she’s already bought,
Said, “We’ll get another engine, that’s what we will do,”
Then The Beast will haul again, almost good as new.

Betsy….Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

Happy travels, y’all!

Button, Button: What do you think of my crossed buttonhole stitch?

Button Button Six Inch TAST Quilt Square

Not sure what the final orientation will be, but I kind of like this.

The TAST 2012 Quilt Continues!

This time my six inch square is covered with crossed buttonhole stitch.  And what goes better with any buttonhole stitch but buttons.  That’s where I started.  Given the stitch, the attachment was given.  Even though the vintage or old buttons I’ve brought with me reflects only a small amount of my button collection, there are still a huge number of choices to consider.  Off to the sketch pad.

Studio Journal Sketch for crossed buttonhole stitch

A quick sketch thinking of button bands on a sweater

The buttons I brought on the road from my stash

A small sampling of my stash

Given the sketch, I knew I needed a variety of button sizes to provide movement and interest.  Keeping the buttons within a color family is also necessary so there are not too many variables to grab the eye.  I want the buttons to enhance the stitching not compete for top billing.  After trying several possible colors, I found my selection of red buttons gave the effect I was looking for.  On to the next variable—threads.

I played around with some threads in colors complementary to the buttons.  Again, it felt like there was a competition going on between stitch and buttons.  Okay, monochrome it is!  But that doesn’t mean the threads can’t sing a bit on their own.  I chose different textured cottons.  And then I played around with numbers of plies of the cotton.  Thus the variability and color intensity of the buttons is reflected in the threads.

As for the stitch, I have not done this stitch before, so I had to practice a bit as my brain worked to cross sides as effectively as the threads!  I used a DMC #5 Perle Cotton scrap from my stash.  I also decided upon DMC variegated cotton floss #115.  I love Caron threads and chose a stranded pima cotton (Watercolours) called appropriately Flame.  Another of my favorite threads is Weeks Dye Works.  Don’t you love the color name?  Louisiana Hot Sauce!

I would have to say of the variations in the crossed buttonhole stitch that I tried, the one that looks like cross stitches with bars was the trickiest.  Not sure why.  Maybe more practice will answer that question.  I have presented photos of different orientations of the block in my photo album at Stitchin’ Fingers

What do you think?  Like the block?  What variation did you try?  Like best?  Are you loving TAST 2012?  What do yo think the next stitch will be?

A Tisket, A Tasket, A Satin Stitch Easter Basket

I had so many ideas for what I’d do with Satin Stitch, the 13th stitch in Sharon Boggon’s Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge.  First I was going to do some musical notation for the song “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” but found it was copyrighted.  Then I was going to make a band of bunny ears in various states of awareness.  But that seemed kind of boring.

I also thought about not stitching at all because I have so many projects that have Satin Stitch in them.  But, this is not just about learning the stitch, it’s about challenging one’s self.  And truth be told, I hate Satin Stitch.  I’m always worried about coverage and pulling too tight.  I want it to be perfect.  I like using it in needlepoint on canvas or congress cloth because I use a laying tool.  For some reason using a laying tool seems kind of heavy-handed on linen.

Satin Stitch Easter Basket with Eggs
Satin Stitched Easter Basket

So, I challenged myself.  I tried to do a design that was 100% Satin Stitch.  I almost did it.  But then the handle and rim of baskets are often different in texture than the basket (or so I rationalized.)

I used DMC 3858 (2 ply) for the basket.  I wasn’t happy with the coverage so I increased it to 4 ply for the rim and handle.  The eggs were done in four different Caron Waterlilies.  The two furthest back I’m not sure which Waterlilies—leftover threads from other projects done long, long ago.  The one on the right front is 013 Peach Sherbet.  The one to the left of that is Tropic Seas.  The directions for Waterlilies says to use 1 ply for 22 count linen.  Since the Sampler is done on 32 count linen, I used 2 ply for the first egg I stitched, the one in the very back.  I didn’t like the coverage, so I used 4 ply on the egg in the front right.  That seemed kind of puffy, so I used 3 ply on the remaining eggs.  I think that was the best coverage.

What do you think?  What would you do to improve this little design and my Satin Stitch?  Please do leave a comment as I think I need to do more work on this, but am not sure what exactly is needed.  Help!