I love it all: embroidery, canvaswork, quilting, crochet. So much to do, so little time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Long Distance Information, Give Me Memphis Tennessee

Good Afternoon Dear Readers,

This past week, DH and I took a short road trip to Memphis--just a brief getaway to somewhere a little warmer than Northern Illinois.

We were pleasantly surprised to find many of the trees were flowering, and the grass green and growing.  The temperature was in the upper 70's when we arrived.

Beale Street has juke joints everywhere...

...and its very own Walk of Fame.

We took a music/history tour led by Gary Hardy, a musician in his own right.  Many songs were interspersed during his running commentary.

We visited Sun Studio....

... where this guy got his start.  His first record released by Sun was "That's All Right, Mama."  We did not go to Graceland.  Maybe next time.

But let's not forget about the ducks.  If you look closely, you can see them swimming around in the little pool under the planter.  This is in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel.

They spend most of their time here, on the roof of the hotel.  But at 11:00 a.m. every day they are paraded down to the pool in the lobby.

And at 4:00 p.m. every afternoon they are paraded back up to their rooftop digs.

They even have their very own duck master.

We spent some time at the Cotton Museum.  Memphis is the largest spot-cotton market in the world, and for years was the center of the worldwide cotton trade.  When I asked "Why Memphis?" our docent said that it was because of its location on the Mississippi River, and the fact that it is situated on the 4th Chickasaw Ridge.  Memphis never floods.

This is how they kept track of prices before the age of the computer.

On our way back, we stopped at Giant City State Park in Southern Illinois.
Unfortunately, by this time, the temps had plunged back into the 30's.

You may be wondering if I took anything to work on during my down time.  But of course!

I had started on this blackwork piece before I left.  It's called "Greenpiece" by Elizabeth Almond, and will eventually have two shades of green along with all the black.  The overall size of the design is 118 stitches by 118 stitches, so it is going to take a while to finish.

Here is my one little finished square.  There is a lot of backstitching, as you would expect from a blackwork piece.  Most of the squares will be embellished with beads after all the stitching is completed.

Experiencing three seasons in three days was a little too much for my system, I guess.  I came down with a bad sore throat the day we left Memphis and am still feeling pretty miserable.  I guess I'll have to lay low this week and just work on Greenpiece--as if I needed an excuse!

Hope you are enjoying the weekend.  Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Tatted Treasure and The March Bookmark

Good afternoon Gentle Blog Readers,

OMG!!  Have I taken up tatting now, too, abandoning my hardanger, cross stitch, blackwork, crocheting and my little lady in needlepoint?   Uhhh.....   NO.  I was gifted with this adorable little tatted embellishment/ornie by GF Lelia.  I love, love, love it!  Thank you, Lelia.  You can see her latest tatted treasure here.

It is much pinker in real life.   It probably looks bigger in this photo than it really is.

That's a quarter on the right--somewhat overexposed.  I'm not that good at "fixing" things in Photoshop.  These photos were taken outside, and it was beginning to spit rain, so the photo session came to an abrupt end.

Mr. Goldfinch was eyeing me warily from his perch on the feeder as I was taking snaps of my stitched stuff.  I'm sure he thinks I'm nuts.  His feathers will look much more like the color on the bottom of the feeder in a few weeks.

And now for the March hardanger bookmark:

I like the color of the fiber.  It's Rainbow Gallery Elegance, Silk Pearl #8.
It's not quite as bulky as DMC #8, but not quite as light as DMC #12.

Here is the openwork part of the bookmark:  wrapped bars, woven bars and adjoining wrap.  The "teeth" really show up if you're not doing tone on tone, but at least I haven't cut any of the fibers.   Yet.

I'm still working on my little lady, too, but all I'm doing is weaving the 1,749 canvas threads attached to the purse into the back of the piece.  (@#$%^&*@!*%!!!)  I have no photos to show of that.

Thanks, as always, for visiting with me, and Happy Vernal Equinox!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm Confused...

Good Morning Gentle Blog Readers,
In order to keep myself (somewhat) sane while I attempt to finish my little lady, I am doing small projects as well, and I have a finish to share with you today.  Normally, I do not choose designs with a saying, but this particular one seemed to hit home with me...

This is a Sisters and Best Friends design that I have had in my stash for several years, so finishing it is a very good thing.

The "itsy bitsy buttons" came kitted up with the chart, and I needed a beading needle just to sew them on.

The color of the fabric didn't reproduce too well.  It's a very nice mint green.  It was a scrap I had purchased--if I had had it cut to order, it would have been bigger.  I could have used more fabric on the top and bottom, but the sides are OK.  I'm thinking of sewing some muslin on the top and bottom to help out my framer.

I am still plugging away on my little lady, too.

I have finished all the French knots that make up her faux fur stole--just in time for Spring, I might add.

And, I am done "plunging" all of the unwoven canvas threads that were sticking out of the sides and bottom of her purse.  (I still haven't woven them into the back of the piece.  I have to have something fun to look forward to!)

We had an unwelcome visitor in our yard a few days ago...

Unwelcome to all of the sparrows, finches, chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, nuthatches and doves, that is.  They all disappeared when Mr. (Ms?) Hawk arrived.

I'm not a bird expert, although I do enjoy watching them.  From a quick consultation with my bird book, I am guessing this guy/gal is a Coopers Hawk.  They live year round here in Illinois.  Does anyone know if my guess is correct?

And here is a bird that I am able to recognize without a book:

The robins are back, and I spotted my first one yesterday, March 11th!  I don't care what the weatherman may say:  Spring has sprung!

Hope all of you are enjoying this early Spring weekend.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adventures in Plunging

Good Afternoon Gentle Blog Readers,

No, I haven't taken to unplugging toilets in my spare time--that job belongs to DH.  Instead, I am bravely attempting to finish The Uptown Stitcher.  She is the brainchild of Libby Sturdy, a local designer, who is more than a little diabolical.

"What is this?" you may be asking yourself.  Why, it's the outside of a purse.  Let me show you where it goes.

The green basketweave area above is the top half of the "lining" of the purse.  Ms. Sturdy told me and my fellow stitchers (in a workshop long ago) that we did not have to stitch the entire lining, as no one would be able to see it.  She then went on to explain that after we stitched the outside of the purse on a separate piece of canvas, we should unravel (unweave) the canvas and leave the canvas threads that were attached to the purse intact. 

We were then instructed to position the outside of the purse carefully over the outline of the purse on the main canvas and "plunge" (her word) all of the unraveled canvas threads down into the main canvas.  Heheheheheheheeeee!  That is my hysterical cackling.

Here is a peek at the reverse side of the piece, showing the plunged canvas threads in the back.   There are many more still to be plunged.  Once all the threads are plunged, they are all to be woven into the back of the design.  This may be the only time I ever take a photo of the reverse side of my stitching.  Notice how I cleverly used depth of field so that most of the stitches are blurry?  Heeeeeeehehehehe!  More insane cackling.

I have never done this technique before, and it is the main reason why this project has stayed a UFO for 8+ years.  However, I have some very smart and helpful ladies in my ANG group who are giving me pointers and moral support to carry me to the finish of this project--that and lots of California jug wine!

Here are a couple of more reasons for my procrastination:

Her faux fur stole (yes, it has to be faux fur if she is to be a friend of mine and be given a place of honor in my quilting room) is made up of dozens and dozens of french knots, not really that hard to do, but very labor intensive.  But, I'm over half done with them!  The turkeywork depicting lace at the collar, cuffs and hem of her dress?  Completed last weekend!

The design also calls for some free-form flowers to be made out of ribbon and positioned on the band of her hat--yet another technique I haven't yet tried.  But I'm going to be getting help with that from another one of my ANG friends.

So, all in all, I'd say it's looking good for this project to be finished this year.  Don't want to get more specific about time than that!

Thanks for visiting and thank you so much for the encouraging comments you've made.  They make my day.