Another Hobby Blog

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: a little bit of everything

Hi, friends!
I apologize for missing my posting times last weekend and the weekend before-- I was traveling. I thought that I would be able to get internet access at some point during that time, but it didn't turn out that way.

Back home now, back to my own keyboard! Yay!

 I also thought that I would get a lot of stitching time while I was traveling. It didn't work out that way either! Ack.

 My mind has been on other things. My bunny, dear companion for the past six years, got diagnosed with bone cancer. Trying to coordinate his treatment plan with my vet (who was boarding him for me, thank goodness!) while I was traveling was an interesting experience. So now we're hoping for the best, monitoring his day-to-day status, and preparing for the eventual (but hopefully later, not sooner).

Enough of that! My grandmother is doing well, at least! :) So here's what I managed in my stitching:

I finished the bullion bumblebee on Shelly's RR block. 

I gave him irridescent tatted wings. :) They turned out really great! A lot of metallic and shimmer threads are very difficult to tat with because either they are too thin and/or fragile, or because they are shimmer wrapped around a core and the loop-closing process shreds the threads. This irridescent was, I believe, one of the Kreinik braided threads sold for embroidery. It works suprisingly well!

And I sent the block off in the mail for the next stitcher to work on. Also received the next RR block to start working on. :)

I had three birthday swap projects to finish up and mail while traveling:

a postcard for Melody

I forgot to take my own picture before putting it into the mail. Fortunately, Melody took this delightful picture, so I have something for my records and to share! I actually thought that I had forgotten to write the address on the back of the postcard, so I am absolutely delighted that it even got where it was supposed to!

an Artist Trading Card (ATC) for Judy

There's a little bit of everything in this one-- crossed chain, u&d buttonhole, herringbone, some tatting, whipped wheel on pistil stitch spokes, and finally some cast-on stitches! Several of the fabricss I used for this one came from my grandmother's scrap-and-quilt stash. Let's just say that my grandmother and I have very different color sensibilities! She seems to have loved yellowish browns, acid greens, oranges, and all of those colors put together. The 1970s were kind to her, I think!
It was a bit of a challenge working in this colorway for me, and I'm not sure how I feel about the red and blue as accents against the orange and green. hmm.
This one was especially interesting to stitch on this week because I did the finishing work (backing and binding) before I traveled, and before I did most of the stitching. Fortunately, I'm a fan of the scoop method, so it worked out pretty well for me.

ATC for Marja

The background fabric is a handwoven leftover from a university project back in 2003. Since my collection of threads was pared down for travel, I opted for a simple triad of red, yellow, and blue for the colorway, and relied upon the stitches for textural interest. There is a rose made of cast-on stitches, a tatted flower made with a modified tatting technique that I worked out while travelling, a crocheted daisy tacked on with a star center, and a whole bunch of French knots. 
This one and the postcard were still raw-edged, so I had to pick up some background fabric on the go, and do the finishing work by hand.

I guess that's where September went! When I get a chance to look at the pictures as I'm typing about them, I realize that I did a lot more stitching than I give myself credit for. Especially when you consider the handwork that doesn't really show (like stitching the border around the pc and the atc by hand).

I did get a wee bit done on my peacock CQJP, but am still very far behind, and unlikely to get much finished in the next two days.

I played a bit with a couple of knotted Basque stitch variations. They were more interesting to do than to look at, I think.

I did some more tatting and added it to the block. Tatting turns out to be a pretty easy thing to do on an airplane. It's small and it doesn't take large arm movements (that might annoy the stranger sharing the armrest), so that's what I did instead of stitching during the flight.

I created this unique little combo-stitch that I like quite a lot! It's a fern stitch of four legs spaced very close together, anchored by a pistil stitch. I think it looks like little chicken footprints. A very odd, alien chicken, maybe. I think it would be very nice with a bugle bead or a seed-bead combo on the long float of the pistil stitch. :) Must try that out now that I am back home with access to my beads again!

and my crowning glory seam treatment for this week:

Now THIS is more like my colorway! Heh. The picture washes it out a bit and doesn't show the sparkle of the metallic, but I think you get the idea. This color combo could probably serve as emergency lighting in a power outage. ;)
I started with a base of fern stitch in metallic purple. Then I remembered that I still wanted to do a decent exploration of cast-on stitch. I added a row of fuschia cast-ons, and then came back and added a row of smaller orange cast-ons to overlap them. So cool! I really liked how that turned out. As if that wasn't bright enough already, I added the bright yellow pistil stitch accents.
I love it.
I really really love it.
It makes my heart sing. :)

Well, that's what happened to September.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import; CQI RR for Shelly

Wow! Is it nearly the middle of September already? I can almost feel the weather changing! Soon it will be cold and windy and wet here in the Pacific Northwest. I'd better soak up the last of the sun before it hides for the winter!

My SharonB "Roses" blocks have been on hold, along with my CQJP peacock and my BJP mandalas so that I can work on this:

This is Shelly's block from the Crazy Quilting International round robin swap. I'm the first person to work on this block, so it was naked when I got it. All embroidery and embellishment came out of my needle. Whee!
It's kinda hard to be the first person to work on someone else's block: I have to set the mood for the block and I need to remember to leave a fair amount of space for everyone else to work, but not slack on my own share in the doing so! There are three more people who will stitch on this block, so I'm just about done with my share, I think.
I wasn't entirely sure what to do with this block at first. I enjoy working with prints, so that wasn't the issue, but the color scheme is one that I don't work with very often, and I'm not entirely sure I understand the aesthetic of "Country French" which is what Shelly hopes for.

The first thing I stitched on the block, just to get it going, was the little blue line at the bottom left hand corner. The stitch I used reminds me of Fleur d'Lis, so I thought it would be a good choice!
By the time I'd finished the foundation of that first seam (it expanded with additional blue detatched chain and yellow detatched chain and French knots later), I knew that what I *really* wanted to do was enhance the vine pattern on the chicken print fabric.

Isn't it precious? I used a silk thread and a wrapped stem stitch to outline all the vine curls. It barely shows, and I like it *SO* much! I love the delicacy of it, and I love the subtle textural surprise for the carefully observant. I also like the way it adds a little shadowing in changing lighting conditions.
Then I added some bugs. For the chickens to eat, of course! There are ladybugs and little gnats and maybe a caterpillar or two. I thought about adding a snail too. -- maybe I still will if there is time before I send it to the next stitcher.

The rooster at the top of the patch, where it seams against the center pear patch, was chopped in half, so I embroidered a head for him, and a little caterpillar for him to snack on. :) I cannot even begin to describe how pleased I am with the way this chicken came out! He's stitched with a nice soft silk thread, too, so he is incredibly pettable! I just hope he doesn't get too dirty from all the touching!

Well, after stitching the bugs in the garden, I wanted to add a little spider and web! I think he turned out pretty nice, though he does steal the eye a bit-- partly because of his size and partly because he is so dark. I think that once the rest of the stitching on this block happens, though, that he will be just strong enough to hold his own. At least I hope so!

Shelly mentioned in her letter that she likes tatting,k and you know how I love to do it! so on the seam above the spder, I added a stripe of tatted trim that I tatted up just for this block. :)

She also mentioned that a sunflower might be nice, so I stitched a nice silk ribbon sunflower on the lower right of the block. It's my first significant attempt to work with silk ribbon, and I'm pleased with how it came out. I'm not sure it looks exactly like a sunflower-- it might also look like a daisy, but I like it anyway, and I hope she will too! The center of the sunflower is filled with French knots all in one color but of several different sizes (larger on the outside ring, smaller toward the center, like sunflower seeds). I think I've had my fill of French knots for awhile! ;)
To the right of the sunflower is the start of a bullion stitch bee! once I get that done, I might be ready to send the block on to the next stitcher! ...or maybe I'll get a chance to add that snail. hmm.

In between all of that stitching, I added some blue detached chain stitches and yellow detached chain stitches and yellow French knots to my Fleur d'Lis line, and the TAST sheaf stitch on the line above the chicken patch. :)

It sure was nice to take a short break from my CQJP peacock and my BJP mandalas and my Roses cq blocks! I feel re-energized and excited about stitching again! :) Maybe it was because I was working on a different colorway that pushed me outside of my norms, or maybe it was because I get to send this stitching away when I'm done with it and don't have to look at it again! ;)

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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: end of August

Well, I didn't get much done on either my "Roses" blocks or my Peacock. I also didn't get my August BJP started. Ack!
Instead, I spent my time assembling new blocks. I'd signed up for a CQI new participant's round-robin exchange, and the mail-by date for the block was Sept. 1.
I thought it was going to be easy to just stitch-n-flip a block together, but when I sat down to my machine, that isn't quite what happened! Instead I ended up getting carried away with curves and compositions, and made 2 blocks that I couldn't part with! Ack! I just had too many ideas of what needed to happen to them that I couldn't in fair conscience send them out to be worked on randomly. As soon as I realized that, I set them aside, unfinished, and started on the next block. (photos will need to wait until I complete the assembly of the blocks, I think. I took pictures of them in half-finished stages, but they aren't going to be that interesting yet.)
But this is the third one, and I'm happy to send it out. :)
Now to get working again on my handstitching!

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