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

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Hey Blog Buddies,

Just a quick update to let you know what I've been up to this week.  My rotation?  Noooo, but I've been thinking about it.  A lot.

I signed up for a class at Guild this coming Tuesday called "Colorplay" and we had prework:  pick a variegated thread with three distinct colors (not just 3 shades of the same color) and pick three contrasting solid colors from different families; cross stitch the outline of a small (approx. 3") square using the variegated thread on every other stitch; pick one contrasting solid color to fill in the missing stitches; use this same technique to make an off-center cross inside the square; use the same solid color and start at the top of the plus going down diagonally to the right to the next leg of the plus, hop the line, and go down diagonally to the left, etc., until you have a diamond.  Fill in the diamond to the inside, then to the outside, using all your colors at random, and sometimes skipping a line letting the ground show through.  Confused yet?  It should come out looking something like this:

For my variegated thread, I chose DMC 4215
containing blue, violet and pink.
For my solids I chose DMC 699,726 and 3341
(green, yellow and a salmon-y orange).
The yellow isn't quite so bright IRL,
so the piece isn't as irritating as
it is in the above photo!

What's next?
I'll find out Tuesday!
Stay tuned!!

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend.
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The April IHSW: One Almost-Finish and A "Finish"

Hey Blog Buddies,

I ran around a little this weekend (International Hermit & Stitch Weekend, for those of you who may be wondering what IHSW is), but I did get some stitching done--more stitching, in fact, than either of these two projects might lead you to believe.

First is Grandma's Roses, the canvaswork project from the Nordic Needle Retreat:

(the "before" photo)

I got everything finished except for
the bullion-stitch roses in the corners.
(I can't figure them out.)
A member of our Guild, moonsilk stitches,
is going to give me a short bullion-stitch tutorial
after the next Guild meeting.
Isn't it wonderful to have talented friends?
That large, flashy, silk-ribbon rose in the center
is a woven spider web stitch
and was actually pretty easy to do!
I wasn't muttering to myself while doing it
the way I was while doing the "twirled" rosebuds
on the outer border.  Oy!

Next is my "finish":

(the "before" photo)

This is the Naversom project from the Retreat.
I've finished everything but the ground stitch--
those are the 'shaded' areas you see between
the purple arrowheads and the borders on the narrow ends.
It's worked in a linen thread that's
extremely close in color to the ground.
It is supposed to be stitched in all unworked
areas of the ground! 
(I guess that's why they call it the ground stitch!!)
As I was stitching these areas,
it was next to impossible for me to figure out
what I had already stitched and what I hadn't.
(I was highlighting every 3 or 4 stitches in the instructions.)
The two small ground-stitch areas on either end
add a nice symmetry to the piece!
Therefore, this project is "finished"!
(Please don't tell Debi...)

Go to Joyce's blog for the links to the
121 other Hermitters
to see what they've been up to the past few days.

Hope you all had a fun weekend!
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WIPs from the Nordic Needle Retreat

Hey Blog Buddies,

As promised, I'm sharing the WIPs that followed me home from the recent Nordic Needle Retreat.  Here are the classes in order:

The  Strangest Class...
...was the Naversom class.  Naversom is a traditional Swedish stitching technique that involved mounting the fabric to a piece of birch bark.  The front side of the piece was toward the bark to keep it clean while the stitcher was out in the field tending her animals.  Therefore, the entire piece was worked from the back, and the stitcher never saw the front of the piece until she was done stitching.  To read more about Naversom, go here.

To give us an authentic Naversom stitching experience, our teacher (Debi) mounted our fabric onto stretcher bars and then taped a piece of paper over the front!  This meant that you had to work the stitching in a sewing motion rather than stabbing the needle from one side of the fabric to the other.  It also meant that you couldn't put your non-stitching hand behind the fabric to guide the needle to the right place.  I soldiered on with the paper in place for about an hour and a half, and then I took it off because I was impatient at the slowness of the stitching.  (We were allowed to take the paper off, and most of us did!)

Naversom is a pulled and drawn thread technique,
although it doesn't show up too well in this photo.
Debi used a 7-count Klostern fabric as the ground
because it has rather large holes.
This enabled us to skip the step
of removing the threads in the fabric
which we were told would have been
40 hours of prework!

The Most Challenging Class...
...was the blackwork class, for a couple of reasons:  going from 7-count fabric to 32-count fabric, and taking a complicated pattern and deconstructing it on the fly.  As a matter of fact, I was so slow in this class that I didn't even get to the deconstructing part at all!  (For some reason, the thread kept coming out of my needle.  I must have threaded the needle 20 times if I threaded it once!)  But I did appreciate the concept, which can be applied to any blackwork project in the future.  Instead of handing us a kit with a pattern, we were made to think about the patterns and how they might look on the fabric and how to shade using just one pattern (sort of "teach me to fish" rather than "give me a fish").

We were given a template with an oval to trace.
Then we had to find pictures of heads or other forms
and trace their outlines inside the oval.
(That was our pre-work.)
If you're wondering what type of head
is on the left, it's a dog's head.

I know I will use this technique in
upcoming blackwork projects.

The Most "Fun" Class...
...was the intermediate canvaswork.
My friend Cathy and I both took this class,
and we just had a fun, relaxing time,
giggling all the way through it.

This piece uses a lot of cool threads,
including a fuzzy Rainbow Gallery Very Velvet thread for the border.
The only thing I'm nervous about
are the bullion-stitch roses that go in the corners.

Technique I've Been Meaning to Try for the Longest Time
Huck weaving!
The class was on Sunday morning
and we had to catch an 11:45 flight,
so I had to leave an hour before the class was through,
but here is my start:

The piece will be a bell pull,
as you can see from the photo on the right.
And, yes, you just weave the thread through the fabric.
Monk's Cloth is often used for Huck,
but we were using Aida cloth.
It's a simple but fun technique.

Needless to say, my regular rotation
has gone on a short hiatus.

I'm looking forward to the
International Hermit & Stitch Weekend
which starts on Friday.
I have no clue what I'm going to work on,
but I would like to finish up the Naversom piece
sooner rather than later!

Hope your weekend will be fun-filled.
Thanks, as always, for visiting.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April in Paris

Hey Blog Buddies,

I'm ba-a-ck!  Didja miss me?  Didja?  Huh?  I was away on a little trip.  No, not Paris, although for many people, Paris is the ideal.  There's even a song about it.  I was lucky enough to find out at the last minute that there were still one or two openings at the Nordic Needle Stitching Retreat in Fargo, North Dakota!  My friend Cathy was going, and she alerted me to that fact.  The festivities in Fargo began last Wednesday with a Welcome Dinner and ended Sunday with a Farewell Brunch.  I'm so happy I was able to go because the Retreat was fabulous!

Each attendee got to pick four classes to attend.  Many techniques are taught:  hardanger (of course!), Brazilian embroidery, Naversom, Huck weaving, blackwork, canvaswork, pulled thread, Ukrainian embroidery, surface embroidery, needle painting, Wessex, and the list goes on.  Each class lasts a half day, so you have plenty of time to relax, stitch, sightsee and visit The Shrine (no, not the wood chipper from the movie--the Nordic Needle store!). 

There was also an ornament exchange, bookmark exchange, stash exchange, Stitcher's Showcase and many attendees brought edible goodies to share, so there was always something to nibble on, in the unlikely event that anyone got hungry. 

Roz' daughter Jess was the official photographer of the event.
(Roz is the owner of Nordic Needle.)
She never went anywhere without her camera...
...and she was everywhere.
You can see that she has an outgoing, bubbly personality.
Yes, I ordered the DVD with all the photos.

People came from all over for the retreat.
Many states were represented, as well as
Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Norway!
There was even a male attendee who was an accomplished stitcher!

I was lucky enough to be seated next to
this gracious lady from Norway at the banquet.
We had a wonderful chat.

That's Ann from New Zealand (with the
butterfly on her head) and Roz.
Ann is as zany as she looks.
She was in two of my classes.

This is Cathy with Terri,
who taught the Ukrainian embroidery classes.
Unfortunately, her classes were full when we registered,
but Terri is coming to our guild to teach
the technique this September!
(You can see some of the Stitcher's Showcase in the background.)

Monica Ferris came for a book signing.
She is the author of many mysteries whose sleuth
is the owner of a needlework store.

And did I mention the free stash?
Everyone got a bag stuffed with stash
the minute they checked in at registration.
There was at least one gift at every meal,
and there was a drawing for stash at every class.
At one lunch in particular, everyone got a large bag of stash,
gifted by Nordic Needle's generous suppliers.
Two of the prizes were packages of
what appeared to be at least 100 cards
of Rainbow Gallery threads!

Betty (that's The Uptown Stitcher's new name)
was speechless for once
when she saw everything I brought home:
magazines, leaflets, beads, threads, kits,
a tote bag to embroider,
a threadkeeper system with its own DVD,
and lots of other stuff.
You can only see the top layer in the photo. 

Of course, I also brought home
four new WIPs!
I will show them later in the week.

In the meantime, sing it with me:
April in Far-go
Stitching and eating,
Stash at each meal,
and every class....

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, April 6, 2012

WIPocalypse 2012 - April Report

Hey Blog Buddies,

It's the April full moon and it's time for another WIPocalypse update, so I'll get right to it:

First up is a finish!  I had a freebie Calico Crossroads chart in my possession...

(my "before" photo")

... since approximately the turn of the new millenium, so I finally stitched it up--and it's finish-finished!

I finished it as a bellpull.
The floss used for the lettering is something
I've had for a long time,
and the label has long since been removed.

Next is Rainforest Revisited by Needle Delights Originals.

Here is where I left off last month...

...and this is where it's at now.
I'm happy with my progress on this one.
There are 32 squares in all, so I'm over a third done.

Last is CT13 by Alessandra Adelaide, my swirly tree:

Here's where I was at last month...

...and here's what the tree looks like now.
It hasn't grown an inch over the past month,
but, like almost every other tree in this area,
it's sprouting leaves!
Many, many tiny leaves.
The leaves are bringing the tree to life,
but it's slow going and kind of tedious.
Some folks don't like to do backstitching--
I'm not a fan of this confetti-type stitching.

Well, that's it for this time.
If you want to check out all the other
April WIPocalypse posts,
go to Measi's blog for all the links.

Have a happy Easter, Passover, Equinox
or whatever else you may be celebrating.
And thanks for visiting!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Walk in the Rainforest

Hey Blog Buddies,

This was my week for working on Rainforest Revisited, and my goal was to stitch eight squares.  I'm happy to say that I accomplished that, even though the time devoted to it might have exceeded a week by a day or two.  But hey, it's my rule and I can bend it if I want to!  Following are the eight squares newly added to the piece:

This is probably the most "boring" square
in my opinion, although everything is relative.

The star in this square is constructed
very similarly to a waffle stitch.
It stitches up quickly once you get a rhythm going.

The rather zany variegated thread here is
a Caron Watercolour called "Burnt Toast."
I have never seen pinks or purples in toast!

Kids, don't try to stitch this one if you're tired...
The diagram alone gave me a headache,
but I like the finished product.

You can see every crack where the canvas shows
through in this close-up shot!
But it's not that noticeable to the naked eye
even 18 inches away...

Watercolours "Sticks and Stones" was used for the middle,
one of my new favorite colors.

This is the only square (so far) that has called for
metallic threads.  I like the sparkle.

Last but certainly not least is
another waffle-stitched star.
The instructions were to use
a 3-yard piece of thread(!) so that you
wouldn't have to start a new thread midstream.
This is probably my favorite square so far.
(My favorite keeps changing.)

I'll save the photo of the piece as a whole
for the WIPocalypse update on Friday.
Gotta have something new to show then!

Hope your weekend was fun!
Thanks for visiting!