Another Hobby Blog

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: CQJP progress

It's been a very slow week. I got three seams done. That's all, just three seams. They're good seams, but that leaves me with a lot of work to do still before the end of the month! Ah well. Celebrate what IS, right?

I added needle-woven picot leaves to my line of bullion roses, and then surrounded them with an abundance of French knots in a variegated perle thread. I added a line of tatting, and I added a row of crenellations in green DMC floss using a single strand each of three colors of green. I worked the row over a scrap of aida cloth which I then removed afterward by pulling the aida out one thread at a time. It worked great in some ways: it was quick and easy and kept my stitches very uniform, and the aida was easy enough to unravel when I was ready to remove it. But it also caused my row of stitches to be looser than I like (because of the thickness of the aida), so after I removed the Aida I had to readjust the tension of the row. Since it was just straight stitches that wasn't too hard to do except for the two places that I split the threads and couldn't draw the excess past that point, so at those points I just hid the excess on the back and couched the loop to keep it from escaping back to the front again. Also, I somehow managed to get a gap in one of the stitches despite the use of the Aida! argh. Oh well. Stuff like that happens.

This coming week I might accomplish even less-- there is a huge dance workshop weekend coming up, so I will have no time at all to stitch after Wednesday. That leaves me a total of 5 stitching days remaining this month, and a whole lot of stitching to accomplish. If it weren't for the supportive community of fellow stitchers here on the blog and in real life, I might have already gotten distracted from this project! So thank you for helping me stay focused. :)

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: April reveal and early May progress

Oh dear. Another week slipped by!
Okay, so I did a bunch more work on April before deciding that I needed to set April aside and move on to May.
Here's my reveal for April:

And some detail shots:

A modified wheatear made with fly and chain stitches. The thread is a hand-dyed silk carried with a thread of irridescent Sulky thread.

The hibiscus outlined in buttonhole and chainstitch with a stamen of cast-on stitch and French knots.

From left to right: 
Row 1 --(in the upper left corner)  a row of cast-on stitch flowers with french knot centers, augmented with green lazy daisy stitch leaves.
Row 2 --The purple row is TAST stitch crossed blanket (crossed buttonhole to some)
Row 3 --A row of metallic threads in feather stitch augmented with french knots. The thread that looks bright white in the photo looks like subtle grey  under most viewing conditions, but it is reflective and so in low light conditions it bounces back available light and gleams. In this picture, it is bouncing back the light of the flash. Come to think of it, this would be a great thread to use for angels' wings or halos. :)
Row 4-- whipped chain stich with the purple whipping couched down at the points.
Row 5-- tatting made of silk 100/3 thread that I picked up at Threadneedle needlework shop. I've been spending a lot of time tatting while I drive back and forth to visit family. It is easier to carry than my needlework, easier to work on under distracting conditions, and less heartbreaking should I forget it somewhere or spill something on it. hence, you will probably see a lot of tatting show up in my CQJP wedges over the next few months!

I added gold French knots to my original wheatear seam. The thread I used is Sulky's holographic gold machine embroidery thread.

More of the Sulky holographic gold machine embroidery thread, this time used as staggered running stitches to give one of the larger patches a more dynamic feel.

I'd like to add more to April (and March) but time keeps slipping forward, so I'll settle for just chipping away each month in its own time right now and maybe adding filler when I get all caught up or at the end of the year . o O (whichever comes first. Yeah, right.)

Four seams so far on my May block:

A row of boullion roses in a Caron Impressions (half silk, half wool). It's a lovely thread to work with! So soft and enjoyable to the fingers. I think I'm going to get more of this thread in various colors and run some overdye experiments at some point. . o O (like I need another project!)

This line of lollipop trees is what happens when I remember that the TAST stitch of the week is half-chevron, but I don't recall what chevron was, nor do I recall the instructions for halving it. I made a long backstitch, came up in the center of the stitch and created a perpendicular line terminating in a French knot (three wraps). I used a variegated thread, working the short lollipops in one direction, and the taller lollipops on the return to intersperse the colors.

The top line (peach color) is a stitch I like to call "Fleur-de-lis" when it's done in a thread and to a proportion that will hold a nice curve. In this case the thread was much softer, so I got sharp angles instead of the circular look that made me call it Fleur-de-lis to begin with. I still like it in this form, though. Again, I terminated the ends of the tallest stitches with French knots. That was one of the TAST stitches recently, and since I haven't been able to work on my postcards, I seem to have gone overboard with including them on my CQJP this week!
The purple line is a weird little experimental line of stitching that I can't recall how I did. I'm going to need to look at it in full sunlight with a magnifier and see if I can figure it out again or trigger my memory. It involved some interesting wrapping and knotting of the light purple thread (somewhat inspired by Palestrina and Basque knotted stitches, but worked completely differently ) and then some whipping and couching and knotting with the darker purple thread. I put it in that location because there was a deep wrinkle in the cloth that I could not press out. That's the beauty of crazy quilting! You can hide wrinkles and mis-joins and fray spots in the fabric, and all sorts of things by clever embellishment!

Well, that's it for this week. May your needles always be smooth and your scissors always sharp. :)


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Sunday, May 06, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: CQJP, TAST, etc

Well, according to my stitching progress, it is still April. :) I haven't begun working on May yet, but I'm almost caught up with the things I didn't get to finish in April! First of all, there were two birthday ATCs that I finally got into the mail yesterday. One birthday is on May 6 and is in the UK, so that one will almost certainly be late. The other is in the US and is onn May 12, so it has a reasonable hope of arriving on time.
Despite taking these photographs in natural lighting (or possibly because of?), the colors are very wrong. The middle stripe of that second atc, for example, is actually a really lovely shimmery deep purple almost black, but in the photo it looks like dark denim. Go figure. And the line of green feather stitch next to it is not just pale green, it's make-your-eyes-bleed-neon green!
Seriously. That was the first line of stitching I applied to that atc, and boy did I regret it! I had to keep looking at that intense contrast (neon green on dark purple) for the rest of the stitching, and while it wasn't TOO bad in incandescent lighting, it almost gave me a migraine under natural light! Argh!!

 Another point of interest on that second atc is the lower right hand corner half-circle. It started out as a seamline of herringbone in varigated floss, alongside which I added some bullion curves. Then I used the bullion curves as a foundation row for buttonhole stitch netting (in a varigated red-white-paleblue thread-- I don't particularly like how the varigated thread worked out colorwise). The net wanted to stay all flat, so I had to use couching stitches to pull it open. That looked pretty lame, so I added two rows of chain stitch in a graceful curve around the couched edge. Now I think the combination turned out pretty neat! But boy did I think it sucked every step of the way until the very last!! :)

 There's not much to tell about the first atc. Except that the diagonal row of stitching just to the right of the central floral motif is a weird little combination of blanket stitch and chain stitch. Two blanket stitches in opposing directions, then a chain stitch.
As I was working the line, I started wondering how it would look if worked in the "magic" method (two threads of different color in the needle, and working one thread as the active thread each time, letting the other thread pull to the back without getting caught in the tensioner, like for magic chain). On the chain stitch the uncaught thread nearly disappears (if you go back down a few threads away from where you emerged) or does disappear entirely (if you go back down through the very same hole you emerged in), but on the buttonhole/blanket stitch I think that the uncaught thread would travel at a diagonal line, creating a little triangle of two colors. I'm thinking I might try it on one of my random samplers, or maybe on my CQJP at some point and see if what result ends up looking like my expectations!

 As for my CQJP, I chipped away at a few more seams:
I managed to work a line of wheatear, for which I developed my own working method that does not match any of the tutorials I've yet seen: I created the two diagonal barbs first, but instead of making them two straight stitches, I worked them as a fly stitch with a tiny tail. Then I worked the chain by starting from the pointy end a stitch-length away from the fly, and then weaving the curve of the chain underneath the barbs of the fly stitch before finishing off the chain stitch at the pointy end again. Another fly stitch secured at the pointy end of the new chain, and repeat as desired. It took awhile to get the rhythm established, and the resulting line definitely has "character" -- in other words the angles and spacing aren't particularly consistent!
I don't mind much. I can cope with it. :)
No, really. <twitch, twitch>

I also tried "crossed buttonhole" (IMHO, should be crossed blanket, but don't get me started!), and that was a real letdown of a stitch for me, TAST-wise, because it is one of the variations that I explored when we looked at buttonhole/blanket stitch back in January, and it will (perhaps) be a particularly limiting stitch to work one of my postcard samplers on. :P ... but I'm way behind on those postcard samplers at the moment, so I'm not sure whether I will try to catch up with them or not! I might just start folding the TAST stitches into my CQJP and just leaving it at that for awhile, or I might start up with the TAST postcard format again, but start up with the newest stitches and let the lost ones be lost for awhile. 

 And then there's the outlined flower worked in a combination of buttonhole and chain. :) 
I only have about half of the April wedge done this week, so I'm going to have to think creatively if I want to get May completed on time!!

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