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?!

The Bullion Stitch, Not To Be Confused With Bouillion Cubes!

I have to wonder if I have ESP.  Last week when I posted about French Knots, I mentioned I much prefer the Bullion Knot or Bullion Stitch.  And what do we have for this week’s TAST Challenge?!  Yup…The Bullion Stitch.  I decided to make a spray of wisteria on my Sampler.  The Bullion Knot is perfect for such drapey flowers.  I’d be interested to hear from you what other flowers this stitch would be good for.

Swag of wisteria in Bullion Stitch

Yet another Spring Swag…this one with Bullion Stitch, Stem Stitch, and Chain with Bullion Stitch tip

It was interesting to look at the different tutorials available for this stitch.  Using my own Stitch Diagram reference page, I found Sarah’s tutorial to be most useful to me.  I really needed a refresher, too!  The last time I did bullion stitches was in (about) 1996 when I was determined to learn ribbon embroidery while I recuperated from surgery.

Sharon’s recommendation to use a needle whose eye outer diameter is the same as the needle shaft to the point is right on.   As she says on Pin Tangle:

People either love or hate bullions, but most of the problems associated with working them is that people use the wrong needle.

I recommend milliners or straw needles because most embroidery needles have an eye that is wider than the shaft of the needle. Milliners or straw needles have an eye and shaft that are the same width which makes sliding the wrapped bullion knot along the needle easy. Try it as it does make a difference. (Sharon Boggon)

She’s so right!  This is important because not only does the needle have to go through the thread you wrap or coil around the needle, but you also need to drag the doubled thread through the coiled thread, too.  I did not have the perfect needles on hand for this, so I tried to compensate by allowing the coils to relax as I wiggled the needle and thread through the coil.  I think that may have given me my little problem of the bottom-most coil being a tad loose.

I used three types of thread to work my bullions—a silk ribbon (the green), a rayon loosely woven ribbon (the darker purple on the left), and DMC #5 Perle Cotton (the light purple on the left and all purples on the right.)  It was definitely easier making the bullions with the cotton Perle.

Close up of chain stitch with bullion ending tip

The leaf on the right is a fair example of the Chain Stitch with ending done in Bullion Stitch. The Silk on the left leaf was somewhat twisted while wrapping the needle.

There are actually three stitches in my sample.  First, I made a “branch” with stem stitch using two plies of cotton floss.  Then there are the bullion wisteria flowers that I made with the Perle cotton and the rayon silk.  The green leaves are a composite stitch made up of a chain stitch where the anchoring final stitch is completed as a bullion stitch.  It gives a nice shape to the leaves, I think.  What do you think?  Come on  Don’t be shy!  I can take it!

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!

Take a Stitch Tuesday 2012: Update

I mentioned before that I’m participating in Sharon Boggon’s Take a Stitch Tuesday 2012 challenge.  For those unfamiliar with what this is about, every Tuesday Sharon shares an embroidery stitch with the group.  She gives detailed instructions on how to complete the stitch for those unfamiliar with whatever the stitch of the week is.

For those who have some experience with the stitch, she provides inspiration and a challenge to play with the stitch and see if you can use it in a different or creative way.  She gives photo examples of how she has used the stitch, often in one of her crazy quilt blocks or from one of er own stitch samplers.

We are now at the end of week two.  I struggled to get started as I needed to decide how I wanted to proceed with the stitches.  You could just work up a doodle on your collar.  Or you could stitch/paint a landscape.  Or you could do a crazy quilt block.  Or you could do a traditional sampler.  Or you could do a sampler like Sharon’s Sampler of all Samplers!

I decided to do a more traditional sampler.  We’ll see what happens over time.  I used the buttonhole stitch from the Week 2 challenge to couch some pearl trim into a square to place my start date.  I used the Week 1 challenge fly stitch to write out “2012.”  I’m using a 28 count linen for the ground.  The buttonhole was worked with Weeks Dye Works #1278, Holly.  The fly stitch was also Weeks overdyed cotton, but # 2266, Turkish Red.  I thought since I’m starting this in the winter, I’d use wintery colors and let the colors in future stitches reflect the passing of the year.

The results so far:

TAST Week One and Two stitches together

Buttonhole stitch border to couch strung pearls and fly stiched numerals

What do you think?  I kind of like it!

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!

Sharon B’s Worksheets: Stitch module 6 available at a special price for 7 days – Pin Tangle – Pin Tangle

Sharon B’s Worksheets: Stitch module 6 available at a special price for 7 days – Pin Tangle – Pin Tangle.

Just got an email regarding Sharon B’s  (Pin Tangle) latest stitching index sheets.  The newest module contains 17 stitches including some cool bead embroidery that would be great for crazy quilting and some other stitches that would be good for edgings.   Here’s the list:

Stitches in Module 6

  • Alternating barred chain
  • Alternating buttonhole
  • Alternating Cretan
  • Alternating feather version 1
  • Beaded Alternating feather
  • Beaded Cretan
  • Beaded double threaded stacked back stitch
  • Beaded double Pekinese
  • Buttonhole wheel
  • Chained Pekinese
  • Diminishing Pekinese
  • Double Pekinese
  • Double threaded back stitch
  • Double threaded stacked back stitch
  • Pekinese stitch

The special price of $5.00 is only for one week.

If you’re not familiar with Sharon’s Worksheets, her first four modules are available for free download so you can try out Sharon’s system.  I think you’ll like what you see.  Here is a link to the first four modules:  http://www.pintangle.com/stitch-worksheets/  This page will describe the sheets and towards the bottom are the links to each of the four modules.

Enjoy!