Another Hobby Blog

Sunday, January 29, 2012

TAST- wk 4, CQJP-Jan, and BJP-Jan progress

Week 4 of TAST featured the Cretan stitch. I wasn't sure I'd be able to make enough variations on this stitch to make a postcard interesting, but I surprised myself!

The line at the top I started out just varying the length and compression of the stitches, and then realized that it was reminding me of an EKG or a seismograph reading, so I played around with that idea a little, trying to get it to be more accurate. (This stitch also reminds me of fish bones or snake vertebrae.) I can see that it has great potential as a filling stitch, but didn't really want to play with that idea very much this week-- other things had ahold of my time.

Which brings me to CQJP! I definitely put myself at a disadvantage by waiting until January started to start piecing together my block(s). I've only had about a week so far to stitch (instead of four weeks), and I feel like I need at least a week more. My stitching time during that single week was also impacted by the snowstorm, power outage, and stray cat, so I really should be surprised and pleased at what did get accomplished!

This wedge shape is a difficult one to photograph efficiently. I have to settle for a large photo in which you can get a general idea but can't see detail and then supplemental detail photos.

Since the stray cat impacted my life and schedule so much this month, I decided to commemorate him with a decorative patch. I used a scrap of the light green silk that I had used for piecing the blocks together. I inked the design on with a rubber stamp that I found at a thrift store and a "Stazon" brand ink pad. Then I used single-strand silk floss reclaimed from an old silk sweater and hand-dyed to the color I wanted to outline his features and add some fur. His whiskers are DMC metallic gold- single strand doubled over in the needle, and the brown of his eyes is DMC floss. When I finished stitching the cat, I traced an oval around him, used a heavy-weight thread (handquilting cotton) to stitch a running stitch line over the oval tracing, and then turned the edge over and buttonholed it a stitch at a time to keep it in place. When the buttonhole stitching was complete I trimmed the excess allowances, and I ended up with an applique that was very easy to handle. I blind-stitched it to the block using the same thread I'd used for the buttonholing-- which I believe was a fine Perle cotton marketed for tatting.
Again, the stray cat takes most of my stitching time! Ack! ;)

I used several of this month's TAST stitches to further accentuate this block. I decided that I did not want to limit myself to only using the featured TAST stitches of the month, so you will also find bullion stitches, chain stitch, and other explorations with thread and needle, but I definitely did find ways to incorporate feather, buttonhole, and Cretan in the stitching I've done so far. I still want to add some fly stitch, and I have plenty of room still to do that.
I will still be adding to this block for the remaining three days of the month! (counting today).
I will be leaving the bottom patches of this wedge blank because that is where the peacock's body will overlap the tail fan, obscuring any stitching that I do there.

(You can click on the pictures to see the detail better, and use <"ctrl"> <+> to zoom in -- at least on my browser that works.)

Because of the wedge shaped blocks, I decided to stitch all of my blocks together before beginning embellishment. This makes transitions between blocks easier, but makes the thing as a whole more cumbersome. I also decided that because of the wedge-fan shape I would start from the center of the fan and work outward. This will help keep embellishments and beads from previous months from snagging threads as I continue to work each month. I hope that these decisions will make the project as a whole a little bit easier!

My BJP seems to have wandered, and apparently I didn't think to photograph it right when I finished it, so I will have to add that update in a supplemental post. :P

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