Remember in a previous post I mentioned how interesting and worthwhile it is to track your time on projects. Janet Granger has come up with a brilliant method. I have followed her lead and created a PDF of her grid format. You’ll find it in the Reference section here.

And look at her Celtic Autumn piece.   35 shades of autumn in the lettering!!! Incredible!

Janet Granger's Blog

This past weekend, I made a start on the Lavender and Lace Celtic Autumn design, in the alternative colours. I stitched all the hours I had available, and, including a couple of weekday evenings, I’ve managed 10 hours of stitching so far, and it now looks like this:

I’m stitching it on Zweigart ‘Platinum’ 28 count linen evenweave from Sew and So, with DMC stranded cotton (two strands). There are 35 shades in this design altogether, so the shading is really subtle in places, plus gold thread (I’m using Petite Treasure Braid PB03), plus five shades of Mill Hill seed beads. It’s very tempting to add some beads now, ‘just to see how they’ll look’, but I mustn’t get tempted too much, as I’m stitching this with the fabric on a rectangular rotating frame, and adding beads now will mean that I can’t roll the fabric up properly later. When…

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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?

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 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!

New Page on The Shop Sampler

I have created a new page.  You’ll find the tab for it on the top bar next to the other pages that are kind of integral to this blog.  I hope you’ll check it out now and then as, like the Sampler Sayings, it will be updated periodically.  Here is the text as I have posted it today:

Noteworthy Stitching Blogs

As I have been taking classes and participating in stitching challenges, I’ve come across some incredible stitchers and beautiful work along the journey.  Too many to include in a blogroll which according to the blog tipsters I read should be kept on the shorter side so your own work can shine.  So, I decided I’ve give these special people their own page on my site with a link to the latest work that they have done that is my favorite for the moment.

So, here are the “winners” (as they say on Dancing With the Stars) in no particular order.  Please, check out the work.  I know you won’t be sorry!

Check this page now and then as I’ll update it regularly.

◊◊◊

The Year of the Blog: 2012

New Year–fresh committment. I will be rotating posts daily across my four blogs so things will hopefully be more fresh. For The Shop Sampler I will be adding posts about Sharon B’s Take a Stitch Tuesday that starts tomorrow, January 3rd. I will also be sharing how Pin Tangle’s Studio Journal class goes. I see both of these learning experiences as tools for ultimately designing my “Shop Sampler.”

So far the majority of the colors chosen by shops are in the green range, so the resulting piece may be more abstract than representative of events and images from my travels. But that’s okay. And I happen to love green, too! The trick then will be to really work with texture and shading. Both of the Pin Tangle experiences will let me focus on these techniques to the extreme.

Just a note, while the Studio Journal class (beginning in February) does cost $60 and is limited in class size–for all I know the class may already be filled–TAST or Take a Stitch Tuesday is open to the public and free of charge. Click on the links for either of these events for additional info!

See you on Saturday. If you’re going to do either of Sharon‘s lessons, leave a comment so I can link to your photos!

Works in Progress

I’m all over the place these days.  I’ve got my three blogs I am trying to get beyond infancy.  Only one is ready to walk, Blackwork Lessons.  I’ve finally figured out just about everything I need for right now, except the tag and category stuff along with promoting.  My site for the dogs, Sight Sniffing, is really still waiting to be born.  I’ve gone through about four themes for that one, but I think the one I’ve settled on will work nicely.  Now just to get into content which will be mostly photographic.

I think the next step that is necessary for success is to develop a schedule of when I will sit down and update each blog so they each stay current.  It’s hard to do because I am so focused on blackwork and design right now.  That is not to say that I’m not doing other stitching.  I am.  But, I am committed to writing a book that will be called Blackwork Lessons.  And my head is wrapped all around what the book will look like and include as well as getting permissions from other artists to be able to include some of their work because no one can do it better.  Like the Skinner Sisters.

Nonetheless, I’ve started these three blogs and I must care for all of them.  I will start this one with an update on Works in Progress.  I am working on Carol Leather’s Blackwork Chessboard which is a sampler of fill patterns shaped into a chess board.  I am also working on Kathy Rees’ Amazing Color sampler.  Amazing is an understatement.  Just got the third set of instructions from the Shining Needle Society class being run by Robertson and Howren called Stitches For Effect:  Climb Every Mountain.  I have two name tags to complete for two ladies who will be instructors at ANG’s 2012 Seminar in Philadelphia.  Then there’s that piece I want to give to Mom for Christmas.  (It’s okay, still a secret–she only uses a computer for playing games!)

I’ve just downloaded a new (to me) software (open source) that will allow me to use the same system Kim Brody Salazar uses and describes in her blog, String or Nothing.  A little stuck right now, but tomorrow’s another day.  Today I started a database on my Blackwork Lessons Yahoo group to list symbols found in stitching as I came across a couple Mayan references while reading the HandEye newsletter.  Also wrote a note to self to start a database to include cool sayings I’ve found that would be great on samplers so I can finally throw all those little slips of paper away!  And I need to start a poll to see if the yahoo group wants to have an online meeting in October.  That’s when I had originally planned to unveil my own blackwork sampler creation.

So, I haven’t been avoiding you, dear Shop Sampler!  Just too disorganized to give you the time you deserve.  I’ll be better.  Promise!