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Saturday, July 21, 2012


My TAST sampler has travelled coast to coast!  I am presently in CA visiting my dad, and I have so enjoyed stitching in his lush garden.  It has been sunny and warm (not like those 100 degree plus we encountered on our trip.

My up and down buttonhole stitches are pretty basic and don't need further description.  Note the circular motif in the upper right is part of the bonnet stitching from the previous week.  The squiggly line of Basque is made from two Caron threads, single strands of Watercolours and Wildflowers in ambrosia.  Juxtaposed I think they make an interesting variation in texture.
 Here is detail of the next two lines of stitching.  The first motif is simply two rows of slanted Basque stitch, one looping down, the other up.  Both threads are #5 cotton perle.  The top is solid, the bottom variegated.
I think it may be hard to see, but there are three threads in the second motif.  I wanted to figure out a way of alternating up and down stitches in one pass without threads travelling all over the place.  My first idea was to create columns of straight stitches through which the basque stitch thread could  move from top to bottom .  Awkward.  I still liked the idea of the columns and thought I could lace threads which would fill in the gaps.  So here's what I did.  Using a #5 pearl (light blue) I stitched the columns.  Then, in a luscious, hand dyed, tone-on-tone blue, silk/wool thread from New Zealand, I worked the basque stitches continuously from left to right and quickly found I didn't have to turn the fabric.  The individual stitches looked a little odd, like T's with a jaunty top.   I finished (and hopefully  made a cohesive combo) by lacing with a #3 pearl in lavendar.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


The Palestrina stitching is to the right, the long, curving lines, and in the lower left going around the circle of cable chains.  I realize the colors are not yet interplaying, but they will as I work  future stitching and embellishing.  What I did attempt to do was add finer threads so the buttonhole wheels didn't get lost among the bolder stitches.  I got as far as adding a few cable chain fillers in pink floss and raspberry silk.  I'm not sure you can see from this picture but I whipped the light blue line of Palestrina with the lighter teal in an attempt to better integrate the colors.  What you're seeing here represents one corner of the background fabric, so there's plenty of room for, um, improved balance.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Meanwhile I stayed current with the last 2 TAST stitches.  I worked these on a piece of cloth from previous experimentation.  If it looks familiar it's because I used a piece for the last TAST challenge.
It's a remnant from an old cotton, damask striped bedsheet.  I rusted it, let it mold and then painted with the same dyes you see in my Aida samplers.  The bronze markings are Shiva painsticks over rubbing plates.  It's a nice change to get away from the evenweave fabric.  This I can hoop if I need to and have the liberty to spiral and curve to my heart's content.

Buttonhole Wheels

Cabled Chains


No excuses here.  I've been lazy all spring.  When we got back from the beach in April I immediately dyed more Aida cloth with the genuine intention of stitching right along.  I think that was a respite week, so instead of stitching I knit and read.  That evenweave I'd left in the laundryroom to dry overnight remained there until about two weeks ago when I determined to get my embroidery act together.  Since I had 8 weeks of catch-up, it seemed prudent to keep the stitching short and simple.
Here it is and taking up about 2/3's of the third Aida piece.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Barred and alterrnating barred chains are worked with a regular chain stitch between twisted chains.
I found myself wanted to skip the plain chain stitch but realized I'd just be working twisted chain.  It was slightly awkward for me to make the transition between the two stitches, but after awhile I was able to establish a rhythym, although the twists required a bit of manipulation to match the regular chain loops. 

I know these stitches are open to lots of possibilities like length & placement of the bars.  The bars themselves are perfect for couching and lacing.  If you look at my double row with buttons, you'll see I took good advantage of the regular chain stitch and wove the yarn through it as well as the bar.  That's a #5 perle foundation.

To the right of the "Barred Chains" I worked two parallel lines of barred chain.  It's delicate and hard to see because I used only one strand of floss.  I like the potential here to create further design between the lines.

As to the vertical chains -- well, I  was experimenting with irregular placed chains, a zig-zaggy effect.  Once again I felt limited by the Aida cloth.  I know I might have had more fun with spirals and circles and freeform on plain fabric.

With these stitches I completed my second piece of sampler fabric, which includes Weeks 7-12 of  the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge.   You can see it below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


When in doubt, read the directions!  I know, I know, you're seeing some woven wheels there.  They are the ones I worked first, but sensed the spokes weren't ribbing.  I decided to leave them in the sampler as as a comparative reference and humbling reminder not to be so cocky.  I worked both 5 and 6 spoke wheels (they impress me more as stars), but they are awkward looking.  I think even tension with the wraps is essential.  I think I might have had better luck if I weren't using the aida cloth and if I were working a hooped fabric.  I personally prefer whipped wheels when they are densely worked with other stitches and embellishments as in Sharon's second example.  You can also see and learn if you check out Sharon B's Sumptuous Surfaces Class.

I was blown away when I viewed Sharon's spotlight on whipped wheels.  Well worth your time to take a peek at these incredible examples.  Wow!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


For this week's Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge, I'm showing variations of running stitch.
At the top you'll find three different pinkish yarns interlaced through 3 rows of staggered running stitch worked in pink silk floss.  Two of the yarns are about the same color, but the textures are quite different.  Next I used #5 perle cotton to make running stitch fillers in 3 orientations and varying stitch lengths.

A row of fishies was my way of demonstrating patterned running stitch.   I added some straight stitches in Kreinik metallic thread to emphasize where the tail meets the body and also the fins.  French knots represent eyes.  I used a #10 variegated cotton.  Were I to do it again, I'd space the fish a little further apart.

The blue rows use 3 strands of DMC floss in a middle blue and #5 perle cotton in light blue. Note that I randomly alternated which thread I used for the running stitches.   Row 1 is  simple laced running stitch, up/down - up/down.  Row 2 is simple whipped running stitch; the lacing enters the base stitch from the same direction each time.   Row 3 is the same , but whipped over 2 lines of running stitch.  Row 4 also uses 2 lines of parallel running stitch, and then laced twice in opposite directions.  Row 5 is a looped version.  The running stitches are again parallel but spaced further apart.  There is a good tutorial for these variations  as well as a visual stitch dictionary at Sarah's Embroidery; click on the picture for the tutorial.  You will have to scroll down to the running stitch family.  Row 6 is my knotted loop variation over 2 rows of stepped running stitch.

The final motif is worked in a single strand of Caron Watercolours.  I kind of followed a huck or Swedish weaving pattern by Deborah K Lauro as seen here.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


I have been nursing the nastiest cold the entire month of February.  I managed to post my weekly challenges on Flickr, but lacked the energy to blog.   I'll show the latest, and if you missed them you can catch the rest here.

 Yarns & strips of muslin colored with the same dyes as the background fabric are couched down with straight, herringbone & cretan stitches.  I attempted applications of Romanian,   Bokhara & Burden couching.  Mostly I just couched with freeform abandon and contemplated Creole Lady Marmelade enticing passersby to embroider.

A couple of notes.  The teal yarn was a tweed and the flecks wouldn't pass through the holes of the Aida cloth, so they look limp rather than taut and straight, which would have looked better with the Burden style patterning.  You'll have to look very close at the couched, orchid yarn.  It is actually structured.  Using a 1-2-4-8-4-2-1 stitch sequence, I used 2 strands of silk floss, also orchid -- a contrast color would have been preferable -- and worked Romanian on the left and Bokhara on the left.  The metallic stitch fillers, I realize, only confuse and detract from my purpose.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


I started with three rows of herringbone worked in a variegated perle.  In the middle and at the end of the rows are examples of herringbone overlayed on herringbone, which helps to tack down the longer base threads and add a different design element.

The next was a couching experiment gone, um, not as planned.  The yarn was an interesting bit, very kinky, which I thought would be a cool way to use irregular herringbone.  As you can see the yarn got straightened while stitching over it.  I triple wrapped the x's of the herringbone in a contrasting color since the yarn texture and color really got lost.  Note to self after examining the stitches in close up:
use the same hole coming up and going back.

The flower petals are herringbone stitches in alternating color with cretan stitches oriented toward the center.  At that point I could see it as a feather headdress and was tempted...  Instead I filled the center with French knots and added a single herringbone to form that thingy where the stem begins.

I have space enough on the fabric for one more week.  I can hardly wait to get the next stitch so we can see how the whole thing looks!

See the exciting work of other participants in the Take a Stitch Tuesday Flickr Group
We are in Week 5 of the challenge, not too late to join in!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WIP sweater

This is an interesting sweater I'm working on.  The design is Jill Vosburg's "Sea Glass" which you can see on her Just One More Row website.  I ordered it kitted in the "tidepool" colorway, and I'm finding the silk nice to work with.  This is the second or third project I've knitted from Jill's patterns, which are easy to follow and size customize.  If you follow the link you'll see details of  the Sea Glass sweater, which is a vertical rib.  The sweater is knit sideways and the pink edging you see is the provisional cast-on for adding a gusset to give a swing shape.

Monday, January 23, 2012

TAST 2012: Feather Stitch

I truly love feather stitch.  It meanders, spirals and can be linear.  And it's so graceful!  My favorite work with this stitch is the sampler I did for the original TAST.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

TAST 2012 - Fly and Buttonhole Stitches

I've been excited ever since Sharon B announced she would host another Take a Stitch Tuesday.  I did plan ahead so I'd be ready wherever I might be come January.  I started at my LCS with a DMC variegated perle that appealed to me.  I selected it in #10 and #20, the gathered floss and #5 perle in gradations from the variegated colorway, along with some Kreinik braid for sparkle.  At home  I found 16 ct Aida cloth and dyed it with some yellow, seagreen and turquoise I had on hand.  It turned out similar to some cotton I experimented with last year.  I decided not to burden my to-go stash with beads, figuring it would be an excuse (as if I needed one) to shop for embellishment goodies.
You'll notice some small skeins of yarn I threw in.  These are samples I get monthly from www.elann.com.  I've been subscribing for several years now and use the yarn for lots of different things including CQ and Scrumbling.
Waiting for internet mobility I started the sampler with the lettering.  The words stitch and 2012  worked with a scrap of yarn I'd brought along for  another project.  I untwisted it into single plies. 
For fun I'll be adding some pastel buttons to the big buttonhole.
The upper element is one of my favorite uses of fly stitch.  I make exaggerated flies, joining where I can, making odd shaped patches that are fun to fill with tiny stitches or beads; I worked such before using feather stitch. 

Friday, January 13, 2012


Our bed is situated between a wall of glass looking out to the beach and a wall of mirrors, so either way we awaken to a radiant sunrise:

On the days it's been warm I've enjoyed mornings on the balcony with a table where I can journal, read or knit.

That's my DH taking some sun while I play with my art stuff.  I came prepared with various art journals, mixed media materials for the first session, Doodles Unleashed of the Strathmore Workshop with Traci Bautista and stitching supplies in anticipation of Take a Stitch Tuesdays 2012.  I was a week late before I got internet connection, and then realized I had invitations for an online class with Lynda Monk re her fantastic new book Fabulous Surfaces and another mixed media event, a Webinar: My Journey with Maps Hosted by Jill K. Berry.  When I realized we'd be spending three months away, I had to cancel a class with Michael deMeng called Crusty, Crumpled and Cracked.  I'd missed it once before and was really looking forward to this opportunity.   Well you can't just take the whole studio and kitchen sink along!  I don't have Lynda's book with me, so I'm hoping her lessons will be available for when I get back.  I can't wait to try more of her techniques.  I have caught up with TAST and will show results in my next post.


I'll give the quickest account I can.  Great visit with daughter in NJ, wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with much to be thankful for since the day before we received news that an arrest had been made in our granddaughter's murder.  Lots of sightseeing and culinary goodies.  Our daughter is a culinary diva and works out of an adorable kitchen she's decorated with fiesta colors and chili peppers.  As soon as I got home I bought fabric with which to make her some fun aprons and other kitchen accessories.
Then we went on to Myrtle Beach.   

This was our view from the guest BR in my brother-in-law's condo. We enjoyed balmy weather, uncrowded venues and learned rentals for the winter are about a third to half what we used to pay in Florida.  The long and short of it is, we rented a condo from a friend of ours, and we are currently snowbirding in Myrtle Beach.  Our living room and bedroom look out to the beach, and from the balconies we can view the nature preserve adjacent to the property and North and South Myrtle Beach skylines from the respective directions.  Here I am celebrating our first day.

I'm wearing a hat and scarf I made last month.
While I'm showing and telling, here's a sweater I knit this summer and finished up to bring to Myrtle Beach.  Well, maybe March.