Saturday, November 30, 2019

Bee, Myself & I in November

I almost missed it! Got kind of distracted with finishing things and planning new things. πŸ˜‰

Bee, Myself & I is for selfish sewing, created by Carla over at Granny Maud's Girl. It's an opportunity to be gently held accountable for any kind of sewing you want to do for yourself, not for someone else, and without any deadline other than one you might set for yourself. My selfish sewing tends to be of the needlework variety, embroidery or needlepoint. I've been filling in background around this Pumpkin Head design by Kirk & Bradley. I believe this is what it looked like at the end of October:

Now it looks like this:

Good progress! I've come to a point where I need to pay more attention so I can blend in a darker shade of purple. It's been very pleasant to pick this up and do patches of basketweave when I didn't feel like doing anything else. I probably won't get as much done in December between my sore sitter and Christmas preparations. But that's okay!

All of the cotton floss I used in this piece was hand dyed by Nancy Turner over at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. The photos just don't do the subtle color variances justice. She'll be having a series of give aways to celebrate Christmas so if you haven't been over to visit her yet be sure to do so in the coming days. 😊

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Uncomfortable Stitching

Wouldn't you know it, a week before I have a lot of handwork to do I take a short spill and land on a hard surface on my tail bone! Not a serious injury but painful to sit on. Or to avoid sitting on as the case may be. And most of what I'm working on has to be kept under wraps for the time being. I can share a couple of sneak peeks though.

Turns out there's nothing like a black binding on a dark quilt to pick up all the loose dog hair floating around.

I'm really looking forward to running this quilt through the washer and dryer once all the stitching is completed. That usually does a great job removing the remaining fur. I only hope I haven't stitched too many right into the binding!

I've started a little embroidered ornament too. Not quite sure what direction this is going to take however.

I dug into my perle cottons to stitch this outline. I think it was size 8. So part of the debate is whether to continue with the perle cotton or revert to stranded floss. And whether to fill in the heart with decorative stitches or a word or image. So many decisions!

For those of my readers who live in the United States, let me take this opportunity to wish you a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving. A lot of people spend the day watching football games. We'll be watching some of our favorite old movies before and after (and probably during) our annual feast. πŸ˜‰

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Second November SAL

I may be one of the last members of this SAL group to get my post up this time around. I have progress to share though! 

When last you saw this pillow cover I've been working on I believe it looked like this:

Now it looks like this!

I am very close to a happy dance for completion. πŸ˜€Of course, with Christmas coming up this project may fall by the wayside between now and our next check in on 15 December. There's binding to be applied to and then sewn down on a gift quilt that has to be shipped. That may end up being my hand sewing for the foreseeable future. 

Getting those tulips stitched made a big difference in how finished this looks.

Oh! I missed one of the gold stars!
Probably missed its' counter part on the other half of the pillow too...

My biggest challenge with this piece has been to choose colors for the various elements. The cover is printed in a variety of colors but I found that more confusing than helpful. A couple of them were merely lighter or darker shades of the same hue. Once all of one shade had been stitched it was hard for me to know what the lighter or darker version was meant to be. And I've made other color choices along the way, using my own preferences over the suggested hues. Of all the versions of this stamped pillow cover that are stitched mine will certainly be unique among them!

To see what the other members of this Stitch Along have been working on - we all work on our own projects, not the same thing across the board - you can click on their names below. If you'd like the motivation that comes from being gently held accountable you can leave a message with Avis. 😊

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Piecing and Stitching

Just a quick update on a couple of current projects.

For what is most likely to become a medallion quilt, more flying geese:

I have enough to go all the way around, I just have to make some decisions about which geese go where. I made an effort to use up a couple of the prints I'd used in the first round of geese. I succeeded in using up two of the yellow background fabrics. Now it's a question of achieving some kind of balance among prints and values. There may be a couple new Shoo-fly blocks for cornerstones too.

The other project is my fabric book for the Stitch at Home Challenge for the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design. This is one of those stretching projects we undertake from time to time. I know what I want to do, basically what I want it to look like, I just don't have confidence in my ability to pull it off. I'm sure whatever I manage to do will be fine. It's a matter of overcoming my Perfectionist tendencies.

I have these "pages" set up for the eventual book.

My plan is to embellish most of the pages, but maybe not every single one. Each page will represent the type of emotions or discoveries I've experienced through writing three pages in a spiral bound notebook every morning.  This is the page I embroidered today. (It has not been pressed yet.)

I back stitched over two of the words already on the fabric (adding my own exclamation mark) and then free handed the flowers and leaves. They are not meant to be any specific variety, just an indicator of happiness.

I don't want this project to get lost among the other projects I have going or to be sidelined by Christmas so I'm going to try to do at least a page a week. Y'all can help keep me accountable. πŸ˜‰

Friday, November 15, 2019

Scrap Happy in November

On the 15th of each month Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden invite us to show what we've done with our scrap materials, whether they're fabric or paper or something else altogether. My scraps are nearly always fabric. I turn them into patchwork blocks which then increase the inventory of my Parts Department. Every once in a while I delve into the Parts Dept. and produce a quilt. Since last month I've only added to the Parts Department.

I don't know how many of these mini Trip Around the World blocks I've made since last month but here are the newest six:

I need one more in order to make a 60" square quilt. I may not stop there though. Maybe I'll make 20 blocks for a 60" x 75" quilt. As there's no specific destination or purpose for this project yet we'll just have to wait and see. πŸ˜‰

One day last week I went through the box I keep near the cutting table into which I put offcuts and remnant pieces. I managed to cut quite a few scrap patches that day. So far I've made these blocks from that cutting session:

These have been built between the seams of other projects I've worked on:

Those flying geese units have not been sewn together, they're just loose 3" x 6" (finished) units at this point.

The Eve quilt (see previous post) has been set aside for the time being as I work on one of those secret projects that come up at this time of the year. It's a pretty controlled quilt, which is making me want very much to break out and make a wild and crazy scrap quilt. Maybe for Scrap Happy Day in December I'll have put together a quilt top out of the Parts Department. πŸ˜€

Here are links to others who may or may not have a blog post up featuring their use of scrap materials. If you'd like to participate just leave a comment on Kate or Gun's blog.

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEva, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, 
JanMoira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerry
ClaireJeanJoanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwenConnie
BekkiPauline and Sue L

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Eve and Her Fabric

This panel was given to me years ago by one of my sweet sisters-in-law. It's 12" square.

I have tried multiple times to do something with it. Long time readers may remember one or two of those efforts. Like this most recent one:

I always wanted to do something scrappy with/around it. The arrangement of my scrappy Shoo-fly blocks in the photo above didn't satisfy me enough to continue with that plan. All the other attempts failed too. So it got put away - again.

Lately I've been itching to do something with flying geese. I have geese for a version of the Remixed Geese pattern that are waiting to be assembled into a quilt top but I'm not ready for that struggle yet. I don't exactly remember the thought process that occurred but when I pulled out the Eve panel this time this is what happened:

Black flying geese laid horizontally highlighted the panel nicely. Then it seemed to need a dark frame.

That's just about all that's left of a print Quiltdivajulie shared with me. It's actually straighter than it looks in the picture.

The obvious next step was more geese.

I even got in a few scrappy Shoo-fly blocks. 😊And after that, another frame of black.

And thus it stands at the moment. It's only about 42" square though. I want it to be at least 60" in every direction. Guess it's time to make more geese!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Stitch at Home Challenge

I learned about the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design (what a mouthful!) a couple of months ago via the Fiber Talk podcasts. I was especially intrigued by their Stitch at Home Challenges because, obviously, stitching at home is what I do most - as opposed to taking classes in public or traveling or anything much outside of my home. I couldn't pull anything together for the challenge that was in place when I first learned about the School although I did have an idea I would have liked to have brought into existence. The new challenge, however, is right up my alley. The theme is Healing and Reflection.

At first I found this theme a bit overwhelming. There are so many possibilities, so many facets to this topic (which is why it makes such a good theme I suppose). But it wasn't long before I was rescued by something I've done nearly every day for the past 18 years: Morning Pages.

If you've read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron you'll know what I'm talking about. Her book is basically a self-help manual for stuck artists or those who don't think of themselves as artists but are besieged by creative urges. A friend of mine introduced me to the book and suggested we get together with a couple of other like-minded friends to work our way through the book. This was back before my MCS diagnosis. We were a small group, only four of us consistently as I recall. It was very helpful to have the group though. Without the accountability they provided I would never have done some of the exercises suggested at the end of the chapters. But by far the most valuable thing I took away from my time with Julia and her book was Morning Pages. 

Essentially Morning Pages is 30 to 40 minutes spent writing, by hand, first thing in the morning. Before there's been any input from the outside world to influence your thoughts or feelings. It can be a difficult practice to establish but I've come to rely on it for a variety of reasons. I write three pages a day in a cheap, 10.5" x 8" spiral-bound notebook. I vent anger or frustration, I come up with ideas for new projects or solutions for current efforts, I confess my fears and anxieties. There are days when it's hard to come up with anything to say and days when my pages are full of gratitude. Not only have Morning Pages and the Artist's Way helped me to feel more confident in myself as an artist, it's helped me to come to terms with my circumstances. In short, I dump or dream on the page and am healed in so doing. But how to represent that with fabric and thread?

I decided to make a textile book, a sort of replica of the notebooks I have filled over the years. There may not be a lot of needlework on the pages but this is one place where I don't feel the pressure to do more than is necessary. I have selected text prints from my stash to create the pages for my book.

Each print is symbolic of one way Morning Pages have helped me to heal. My intention is to use embroidery to clarify or label the pages.

Obviously I've used some ribbon and trims too. Most of the decorative needlework will be on the cover, I think. Right now I'm not sure what the cover is going to look like. That will come in time. Probably when I've finished with the pages. πŸ˜‰

Sunday, November 3, 2019

First SAL of November

This Stitch Along group checks in every three weeks. That means there will be two opportunities this month to see what our fellow stitchers are up to. We each work on our own projects, and we're all in different time zones. It's fun to see what needle artists are doing all across the globe. And to see how much we have in common. 😊

The last time we got together I'd been working on the foxes pillow cover.

I haven't touched it since. But what I have done is another sprig of embroidery on a dish towel.

This is the first corner I stitched - which has been shown previously.

And this is the opposite corner:

It's the same pattern, just reversed. I used stitches in different places as well as different colors. It's all done in hand dyed floss from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. That purple was hard to get a clear photo of so I'm afraid there are no detail shots for you. Those petals were done in the fishbone stitch. There are some fly stitches between the petals and the French knots in the middle of the flower. The pink flowers were made with a buttonhole ring and then straight stitch fillers. There's stem stitch in places, and wrapped back stitches, some fern stitching and more French knots. Now the decision is whether to move on to the next pre-stamped dish towel (from Mary Corbet) with a little more intricate design or whether to figure out something to put in the middle of this towel along the lower edge to tie the two sprigs together visually. Or I could return to the foxes. πŸ˜‰

Oh, and on another note, my name was drawn to receive a free month in Nancy's floss club! Woohoo! Happy dancing of a different variety. πŸ˜€ I really can't resist her floss for some reason. We don't have a local needlework shop anymore so there's no temptation in that regard. I didn't have the chance to get hooked on another line of threads before I took needlework back up again after some 40 years away from it either.

Oh, and on yet another note, if you're interested in my current needlepoint obsession check out this post.

To see what the others have been working on for the past three weeks just click on their names below. If you'd like to join us you can leave a note on Avis' blog. Welcome back Connie!

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, 
Heidi, Jackie, SunnyHayley, Megan, Deborah, 
Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie