Mom always says, "never cut a knot, always untie it. If you can't figure out how to untie a knot, you'll never figure out how to solve your problems."

Monday, December 17, 2012

cheer for the holidays

Wanted to wish all of those who drop by, a warm and joyful season.  I've been stitching away without completing too much however, 

this is the piece (well, one of the many UFO-WIPs) I'm working on at the moment.  The text is in process.  It will read, "two sided story, once told."  It's stitched on an old vintage quilt.  The heart is made from some scraps of fabric samples.  It needs work on the edges as well but it's nice in the hand. 

Last week Karen Ruane's "embroider, embellish, create" class EEC had it's last on-line lesson. (The link is the the flickr group so you can see how wonderful the work was from that group.) 

My cloth is not completed.  It's a piece I'm working on for my mum.  I don't know if I'll get it ready for the upon gift day but her birthday is in January (she'll be turning 92) so by then it should be put together. 

Here's where it's at - the pinned stage:

and the last little piece I'm stitching upon now:

This work has been very different for me.  First the colour is white, for the most part. Also, there is a lot of "fancy" stitch work going on.  But, as different as this is from the things I usually show - it is closer to a picture of my mother - soft, vintage cloth that has known something of life - and hopefully representing the beautiful life that I see in her face. 

Well, happiest of holidays - and until the New Year - thank you. 

May I be a better blogger in 2013.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

another long absences brings you a show and tell:

Happy November 5th.  Guy Fawkes day for the Brits among us.
And yes, I've been away again but keeping busy.

Here are a few show and tells of what I've been up to.

My sister sent me a sweater set to embellish.  So far only the "shell" is done:

It's a basic little paper  pieced triangle with some embroidery added.

I also made a needle case.  I've been  admiring the ones that others have done, for example: Deanna at eclectic-meanderings (scroll down a bit),  and so was inspired to try and make one:

This is the cover.  It reads needles pins.

This is how it looked while being assembled.

And the interior for all those tools of the trade.

I also started playing a little with my version of a sampler.  Practicing my stitch work basically.  It has now become one long long sampler fit enough for Dr. Who  (almost.)  I think I started it in anticipation of Karen Ruane's currently running class, Embroider, Embellish, Create. The sampler is growing and going.  It probably about 7 feet long at the moment so I'm showing it to you in two parts:

And I still have all my other WIPs going too...you see I really do stitch while I'm away.

I'd also like to take the time to remind everyone to keep positive thoughts going to all the storm victims out East.  In particular for Jude and her family and neighbors.  The word is that she is doing okay but still thinks it will be another two weeks before the power comes back on.  The days are getting colder and shorter so let's keep hope alive by donating to a relief fund to bring needed aid to the area.

Hopefully I'll be back sooner then later.  Stay safe and warm.  Thank you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WIP:wednesday, nothing finished/a lot started

I can tell the days are getting cooler.  My kitties are starting to snuggle - and it is comforting and warm but they also think my thread is a toy...

Nevertheless.  I feel like a squirrel putting away her inches, paper pieces and base cloths readying for a long cold winter.

So without delay: what's awaiting the needle.

This exercise was to try and piece together an oak leaf, the subject of most of my work this year, using paper piecing into shaping the "patches" together.  First I created the drawing and made the template which I them cut to use for paper piecing..

I then stitched it to a base cloth and coupled it with an outline of the leaf.  It too is divided (pencil lines) into a nine patch which will just be stitched.  

Here is another version of a nine patch...just using triangle templates and the leaf for inspiration.  The 90 degree angles are fine to stitch but the 45 degree angles - well, it rhymes with stitch (the word I'm thinking of.)  This is just a little sampler to try out ideas. 

And now for the true nine patch inch by inch method.  Some are tacked and basted and some are just pinned.

 And just in case there is nothing else to do, make more paper pieces.
 I'll keep the progress reports going. Still working on my other projects too: the jacket and a few more patches for holes I've been finding in my jeans...and embellishing a sweater for my sister and the owl is still hooting, "what about me, what about me...i'm still waiting to be finished....what about me...."

Keep warm if your weather is getting cooler - Oh, my October already!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

tuesday preview

Hello Lancashire, Leicester calling...

I will be doing a WIP Wednesday but in the meantime:

There was a hole that needed plugging.  Only three hexies with a little kantha like stitching.  Your modern day boro.  If you are old enough to remember Nancy Sinatra's "these boots were made for walking..." you can hum the quote in the picture to that...

So til tomorrow...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

not much to say!

Most completed piece from last week - the piece from Karen Ruane's: Extended Embellishment

This is a piece of scrim that has had FME: free motion embroidery done on it with a sewing machine then wrapped and embellished with embroidery stitches.  The piece isn't actually complete yet but the main section is.  The "framing" and "edge" work still has to be done. 

The other things that I have been working on is causing my fingers to get sore and achy:  English Paper Piecing:

I am basically practicing making little hexies and 9 (1") patch pieces.  I'm hoping to use these as elements on a base cloth (perhaps the one I started - see last post) - using traditional quilt elements but interpreting then in my own way - embellishing and stitching - something in that boro style that is inspired my Jude's work. 

The other thing that I've been doing is hunting and gathering...as the days cool down things start falling from the sky and it's time for me to find shapes and save dates for my winter's inspiration (mood board?) images/imagery.  I still have all my oak leaves from last year in a box.  These will start a new box:

I'm also gathering real material (cloth) for a new class with Karen Ruane that will start in November:

This is real vintage lace gifted to me by my sister.  She got a bag of cuffs and collars a while back from a friend who had removed them from garments from an elder relative that must have passed or was cleaning her closet of old dresses.  Some of them are very fragile and I'm not sure I'll be actually manipulating them but how wonderful it is to hold and have these things (fellow stashers will understand!) 

And speaking of stashes aka our own messes:

 I am quoting here from Karen Ruane's blog post (hope it's okay Karen.) 

 Karen had posted a picture of her work table:
http://karenannruane.typepad.com/karen_ruane/2012/09/unpacking-virtual-boxes.html captioning it, "what's on my table?" and from this grew a flickr group: (karen's quote)
 "Sara has started a new group centred around tables, the stuff we have accumulating on them. As you know my own table is always covered in junk!The group has the potential to grow into a fascinating archive of images and the more contributors the better. To sign up or browse then just go here"

So without further ado I proudly present my table (aka mess):

Cheers  for this week.  Thank you for stopping by. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

what i did during my summer vacation

My show and tell of what i did during my summer vacation...
finishing, starting, returning...

Jude Hill Contemporary Boro class came to an end...or a new beginning. 
I started taking a few on-line classes with Karen Ruane...still a beginner.
Returning to cooler weather, autumn/fall, milder things and Jude's diaries...
with November Karen will be starting her Embroider, Embellish Create:

So this is the show and tell:

the pieces below were created as part of Karen Ruane's Ledger class: 

a very fun class that actually took a lot of time.  it was based on creating/finding ideas from elements in your surroundings and extending them in stitched form.  a great tool for brain storming. 

currently i am doing also another class with Karen - Extended Embellishment: 

another example of me trying to step outside my box to use other colours that i normally might not consider using: pastels, white, and cloth that i wouldn't have even thought about: silk dupioni and scrim (one of my new favorite toys)  you can see my decorative types of elements that i might never have tired if Karen hadn't been standing over my shoulder!  

I also did work on the things that I had started in Jude Hill's Contemporary Boro Class:

Again, the class is still going on for many of us as we are continuing under her influence to create/recreate/mend/bend our thinking about cloth.

the boro jacket is what i first started.  it is all stitched together, most of the element that i will add are finished awaiting assemblage.  

the second object i was working on is finished.  it is the linen shirt i reworked.  i altered the hem: shirt-tails to a straight hem.  altered the collar from conventional to a stand up. it went from 5 buttons to 4 and added a patched placket on the buttonhole side.  i also made a strip of cloth patches to use for a trim on the sleeves.

these are the projects that kept my hands busy indoors.

my outdoor project - the garden is just about spent.  i will start the clean up for fall, keeping most of the greens and hoping to overwinter them if we have a mild winter as we did last year.

summer is usually a difficult period for me but so much has to be done, in and out of the house, especially now since there is only myself to manage the care of two households.  weeds are really quite welcome to hang about though.  during my sister's visit, last week in july - august week one, we did turn a new bed and cleared a lot of bramble.  but it has started showing it's weedy little head since we've had some rain in the last two weeks. very little rain and hot hot days really made this a odd growing season.

my short term plans are to finish the jacket (hopefully by christmas for my sister) and keep up the samplers of embellished stitching for the ledger i started...also putting down "subjects for a short story."  a reference to chekhov here,
meaning a place for noting ideas working out things, regarding cloth.

i have started a base cloth too for a new oak leaf cloth:
the weave is made from pieces left over from the shirt and jacket

and my continuing project of the oak fascicles is still on my list.  there is a current one in the works:

so, that is what i did on my summer vacation.  but now it is september, as the old song states: "see you..."

i hope to be a better blogger.  considering not having such long intervals between postings if i make them shorter...more like this is what i did today instead of what i did all summer.
mom's health keeps declining so my time is limited to sneaking in a bit here and there but stitching is my one great relief.  hopefully i haven't lost too many reader/viewer/friends out there and that my absence is forgiven.

thank you to my mentors and guides: my spirit guide and my "chipper" friend, who keep me grounded. and those who have stayed with me through my journey.

take care all and good stitching and or art making as each to their own finds a trail for themselves to follow.

dla mamusie.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


to talk about where i've been and what i've been doing.  cheers and thank you for standing by. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

when the stitcher is away

the gardener will play:

This is basically my vegetable garden.  It's an overview from my front porch.  I've been spending a lot of time cleaning up and getting things going.  These are "raised" beds, 4x4, using loosely the square foot garden principle. The hoops that you see are pvc pipes.  I use these to add shade with shade netting, soon to go up as it's been so hot or to add a little warmth with a cover crop fabric when things get chilly! I use clips to anchor the cloths.  It works quite nicely.

I will give you a little tour:

front and center two (four) beds: 
lots of kale, collards at various growing stages, thyme, sorrel, golden oregano, few different lettuce, and a mix for salads called ovation from johnny's seeds. 

the back section: more young transplants of kales, chard, and a huge lovage and sorrel patch...and my newly sown beans...i will reseed the beans several times alternating the spots so they grow at different stages.

next section which is a couple of 3x6 beds without the hoops is for tomatoes and my lettuce the first seedlings. i have some of my old favorite tomatoes and a new one for me...the seeds here come from territorial seeds, seeds savers exchange and a few other vendors.  and of course a garden visitor checking out things. 

this section is my newest where i have my warmer weather (much earlier this year vegetables): cucumbers (5) different ones which are being chewed on. seeds here come from baker creek, seeds savers, and southern exposure. i am growing my zucchini in grow bags this year, giving a try to not have my vines invaded by the old squash borer.  also there is a bunch of new seedlings of more chard and kale waiting to be planted.  the top left picture is for deanna = my slowly and not moving indigo seedlings! (oh and yes, i like garden critters - rabbits here but i also collect frogs) 

last two days of my lunch.  all from my garden except the carrots.  the top picture also includes my sprouts, a collection of lentils and greens from the sprout people.  i grow sprouts mostly year round...i don't do wheat grass in the summer however as i don't have a.c. and usually i have problems with mold setting in from the humidity.  must better when it's cooler! can't remember cold and cool anymore since we've been so warm so early. 

and finally, yes i have been stitching.  this is my latest project not quite finished but a peek at the center panel. 

this might become a piece for the boro class project over at jude's or my june cloth or both!

hope you have enjoy my little walk through.  i love to garden.  i grew up playing in our allotment garden in England.  we grew a lot for winter storage vegetables.  we didn't have internal plumbing so we had to use an outhouse. i remember once the potatoes were picked and stored i didn't like going to the outhouse at night because it was near the potato shed...i was never sure if the things that moved in the night were the potatoes rolling around and down the pile or four legged critters (mice).  we had chickens, rabbits, frogs, and crayfish! as pets and for eggs...hence my garden critter collection.  the innocent and happy times.  my parents gave us our own set of garden tools (reduced in size) to help out...but mostly to imitate their actions.  my father was the vegetable garden and my mom the flower lady. 

i am still clearing a back section behind my house - it has overgrown with raspberries and black berries. that is my current project and of course i tend to my mother's garden too.  mostly a rose garden. so this next one is for her:

the kitten is a little girl born on my porch. cafe latte. she has a eye infection so i'm watchful of her. 
see you soon.