Blackwork Bow Tie: TAST Bonus Challenge

Blackwork Black Tie

Black Tie Nap

This week there is a break in TAST 2012 to give stitchers whose lives have gotten really busy a chance to catch up.  After all, if you get frustrated and so behind the challenge might just become another UFO!  And Sharon Boggon is all about setting people up for success!

For those who were up to date she offered two bonus challenges.  One of them was to create some “Bling,” some eye candy to inspire others using from 3 to 6 of the stitches from the challenge list to date.  For some reason “Bling” hit me.  And when I think of Bling I think “Black Tie.”  And, with my interest in Blackwork, my mind obviously jumped to Blackwork Bow Tie.  Here is what I quickly stitched up (based upon a sketch in my Studio Journal.)

Blackwork Bow Tie

TAST Week 13 Bonus Challenge: Blackwork Bow Tie

I have used these stitches:

I will be posting more details later this week on my blog, Blackwork Lessons, after I create a clean copy of the pattern and directions.  Followers of Blackwork Lessons and The Shop Sampler who leave a comment requesting a copy of the pattern will receive it, gratis, of course!

Take a Stitch Tuesday 2012 : A Meditation Sampler Emerges

Whew!  Didn’t think I was going to catch up on the Challenge.  This week the challenge was the feather stitch, another member of the buttonhole stitch family.  I think it is one of my favorites.  It’s great to use to make seaweed, or branches and twigs, or vines of all sorts.  (Please, please check out these links–the artistry is incredible! The first is a Sharon Boggins project and the other two are Week 3 participants The Smallest Forest and CrazyQstitcher.)  It would also make cool ripples in the water or in clouds.  I used it to make–of all things–feathers!  I also decided that since this is a sampler, there’s no reason I can’t put some “verse” in it.  Instead of the traditional Proverbs or Psalms that little girls of old would be trying to learn, I decided to add some reminders of Buddhist ideas that I want to keep front and center in my brain.  Truth be told, stitching is a kind of moving meditation for me.

For some reason unknown to me, I immediately thought of angel wings when I thought of feather stitch.  (Maybe it’s because my thoughts fly all over the place when I meditate!)  So I googled “images of wings” and got lots of ideas for how to proceed.  At first I thought I would put a pair of wings on either edge of the bottom of my year banner.  After I got started, I decided that–like most things I plan–I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew.

I also was finding that the wing wasn’t showing up as nicely as I would like.  When Jeff couldn’t identify what it was without me telling him was a real big clue!  So I kind of put a heart under the wing, sort of like a tattoo.  Here’s what I ended up with. (As always, click image for larger photo.)

The whole sampler so far

Sampler so far

Close up of winged heart

Winged heart close up

I used two threads for the wing:  YLI Ribbon Floss Shimmer Blend #101 Icicle Super and Weeks Dye Works Overdyed Cotton #1086 Icicle.  I was going to use Weeks Snowflake, my favorite white thread of all time, but the bluish cast of the Icicle worked better with the YLI.  (Another color way I thought about using was using the Snowflake with Rainbow Gallery’s Treasure Ribbon PR10–those two have a more pinkish cast to them.)  I used Anchor cotton floss #13 for the heart and filled it in with a stem stitch.

The text was something I threw in to help me remember something I’ve read three times and keep forgetting.  I thought if I stitched it, it would stick in my head a little better.  In Zen Buddhism, students may use Koan’s to help understand their lessons and enhance their Path.  In Tibetan Buddhism, slogans are sometimes used in Lojong practice, phrases to help one train the mind and open the heart (see the embroidery connection!) and thus live Buddhist ideals on a daily basis.  The first slogan is “First, learn train in the preliminaries.”  I kept forgeting what the distinction between the four preliminaries were.  Now I know!

(Having a human body that does not live in extreme poverty, disease, etc, thus is free to pursue enlightenment makes a human body a “precious human body.”  Impermanence speaks for itself.  The futility of Samsara, is about the futility of chasing pleasure, perfection, or other “Earthly Illusions” as it never leads to happiness, only a desire for more or dissatisfaction of some sort.  Actively considering the cause and effect nature of Karma helps one to make choices that are healthier for self and others.)

Greetings, Fellow Stitchers!

In September of 2010, Jeff, Jojo, Taz, and I began an adventure.  Jeff started a blog on his website to chronicle our travels.  I wanted to do the same, but wanted the journal to be different from his.  So begins The Shop Sampler!

I’m a stitcher, as you may have read in my other blog, Blackwork Lessons.  I am also a painter who hasn’t painted in a long while.  Living in a 27 foot trailer, I don’t see myself painting anytime soon.  But I stitch!  And I adore the historic samplers that girls used to create to learn their letters, numbers, bible verses, document events, and show their skill to potential beau.  Insert lightbulb here!

The plan is to paint a sampler using the fibers and stitches and colors favored by the owners of Local Needlework Shops I visit during my travels!  I started the process in October.  My next post will speak of that visit.  But first, here’s the plan.  When we stop in a new location and I we’re there long enough to get out my stitching stuff, I look for needlework stores in the area.  I check my budget to see if I can afford to go into the shop.  You know there is no stitcher who can walk into a shop and buy only one skein, reel, card or any other measure of fiber!  I never seem to get out of a shop without it costing me between $20 to $60 minimum!  (How well would you do?!  Tell the truth!)

So, if I’m able to afford a little trip, I go to the store.  I browse.  I look at EVERYTHING.  Sometimes I bring a shopping list and gather those goods.  If there is a class going on, I check it out.  I visit with folks just sittin’ and stitchin’.  In doing so I find out who the owner or manager is.  Who the teacher is, if there is one.  Then I tell that person about my project.  I ask about their viewpoint on the state of the world of stitching.  I ask them about their favorite fiber.  And then their favorite stitch.  Then I ask them to pick out their favorite color in that fiber and tell them I will find a way to put that fiber and that stitch into my sampler and ask if they mind if I write about my encounter with them on my blog.

So far, I have to tell you, it is fun!  It is a joy to watch when the shop keepers are picking their favorite fiber and color.  You know exactly why they are in business and how they stay in business.  They touch the strands of silk and wool and cotton.  And ooh, and aah over the vibrant colors.  Typically, they go to the newer fibers, the new loves, but are then torn over not choosing the old loves.

Try it!  Go into your LNS and ask the owner, not to help you pick out what you need for your next UFO–come on, now! you know it’s true!–but ask her or him what particular card of Splendor, or spool of Kreinik, or of all the fibers in the shop, what is his or her current love.  And how should that love be expressed?  On canvas?  Congress Cloth?  Linen? Etamin?  What background would show the blush of true love to its best?  Should it be a bold statement with four plies or a simple, single thread wrapping the ground fibers?

When you do this, you will remember anew why you love this art, too!  So join me in this journey.  See the world anew.  I probably won’t post daily, maybe not even weekly, but at least once a month you’ll find me here to tell you another love story to help paint The Shop Sampler.  Please share your love stories and let the Sampler grow!