Thursday, January 28, 2021

Daily Stitching and a Challenge

 This week I concentrated on using capital letters in a quarter inch grid, using alternate squares. I think I got some interesting results and some cool tassellations and secondary patterns. It doesn't work with all letters of the alphabet, but I'm trying a few more next week. I am still doing only straight stitching.

K  This is one of my favorites. I love the patterns it formed and it looks different each time you give it a quarter turn.

L With a little spike in the intersection. 

L  Turned on its side and three contrasting color spikes at the intersection. Whoops it wasn't until I saw it just now writing this that I see that I missed one of the L's spikes. Can you see it? I will fix it.

I  I like the basketweave look that it achieved.

 A  No having to guess this one. I think it is more interesting on its side.

M  Another favorite with the tallessations formed. This one looked good turned any way.

Y  No guessing this one either, but I still like it and it will look good turned on its side or upside down.

I was trying to outline the circles with a back stitch and I was never happy with the way it looked and usually picked it out and just did a simple running stitch. But I went on Youtube and watched a couple of videos on the stem stitch. I like it so much better and that's what I'll be doing for now.

All finished squares on my design wall. I am not sewing anything together yet because I want to mix up the designs. But so far, so good, I think.

My FiberWorks group has started another monthly challenge. Last year it was collage and this year we are inspired by Anne Brook, a charming hand stitcher from the UK.  There are several videos on Youtube. She gives you many options and I am making a 6 inch book with the pages made from batting. I am giving myself a guideline for each month and for January I said "only straight stitches". For some of the pieces I let the fabric tell me how to stitch and took advantage of patterns on the fabric. We were encouraged to use a consistant color scheme throughput our book and I chose blue, white, and gray. It was  rather labor intensive and I worked on it in bits and pieces but I did enjoy it. I have already started February, which is Dots and Knots. I 'll show it to you next month.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Daily Stitching and Tools of the Trade

 I've been faithful in keeping up with my stitching, in fact I'm a little ahead.

Least favorite of the week. Look at that wobbly outline and I don't like the color combo. I don't know why the background looks like it has wavy lines, because it doesn't. For some reason all of the squares using this fabric has the same lines.

Favorite of the week.

I know I said that I was only going to use straight stitches until I had exhausted the possibilities, but I couldn't resist putting French knots on this one. That little blip of blue on the French knot in the center is some blue marker that did not come out. I spritzed it again and it came right out.

I know that there are some super stitchers out there that could do these without any marking, but that's not me. For designs that are in a grid I drew a quarter inch grid with a blue wash out pen. I don't draw the designs, just the grid, to keep me on the straight and narrow.

I especially like this six inch, very thin, C-Thru Ruler

This marker is terrific. It makes a very fine line and comes out with a spritz of water.

I sent away for these plastic circle templates. The largest one is three inches, the perfect size for my four inch squares. They are so much easier to use than my former hand cut circles from template plastic and they don't get lost on my work table. 

And, yes, I made some more masks. I thought I was done and now I really am. Our regional Hospice, a charity I support, is putting on a new children's wing. A youth group is selling masks to raise funds. I do not know what they are charging, nor do I care. I know someone who has made over 1,000 masks. I can't imagine. I think I've made 70 or 80 and that's enough for me.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Daily Stitching

 After dyeing the fabric I wanted to make sure that all of the fabrics would play nicely together. I put several squares up on my planning wall, some embroidered and some not and thought that yes, they are compatible. I will be doing a lot of tweaking and rearranging when it comes to assembly time, but that's a long time from now.

I spray basted the fabric to washed flannel and I have cut out 180 squares. That should hold me for awhile, if I persevere that long.

But another thing that I noticed was VALUE. Even if the thread was a contrast in color, as in medium gold on medium blue, the thread was not visible at more than two feet away. These little squares will be sewn together when finished and I want every design to show up. With that in mind I will now use a dark color for the embroidery.....dark blue, dark green, dark rust, or burgundy. The last three that I did this week use the darker colors and they look much better. I also changed from two stands of floss to three strands, a little harder to pull through, but looking much better.

Another thing that I decided this week was to use just a straight stitch with as many variations as I could until I switch to other stitches.

I think I should get extra credit for this one. I spent the better part of a lazy afternoon watching CNN making  all those tiny stitches, but I do like the results.

The cold weather and endless hand washing are wreaking havoc on my poor fingers. And embroidering is not helping. The skin on the tip of my thumbs especially is splitting and bleeding. I use hand lotion and slather my hands in Aquaphor every night and wear cotton gloves to bed. That helps a little but I was still having too much pain. Then I remembered what a friend who has since moved away used to do when hand sewing and it works! Two layers of good old adhesive tape. It works like a charm. It doesn't matter if I have to wash my hands and it doesn't leave a sticky residue on my nail or finger. This will be a staple in my embroidery kit.

Linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Daily Art

 As I said in my last post, I am going to do daily art. I decided to make four inch squares with a circular design in each. So far so good. I was able to make one every day. Some take longer than others and as I go along I may have to allow more than one day to complete one, but I still will be making art every day. 

I started with a simple Running  Stitch

Laced Running Stitch

Double Laced Running Stitch with the same color lacing

Alternating Running Stitch

Double Laced Running Stitch with two different colors of lacing

Running Stitch with grid

Running Stitch with diagonal grid

Parallel Running Stitch with double lacing

As I said last week, I knew I would not have enough of this blue fabric with rust marks. We had a good snow fall so I did some snow dyeing last Monday. The blues were perfect, but the rust color came out very pinkish. So I did another batch with the now melting snow. I used a different rust dye, but I still got a rose color. I think it's pretty so I am going to use it, too. Since the blues are the same, I think it will look alright. 

I like this green (much greener in person), too. Not the color I expected, but it plays nicely with the blues and it's a keeper.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

New Beginnings

 One of my blog buddies, Kathy Loomis, has been doing daily art for years and she blogged about it here yesterday. Another blog buddy, Linda McLaughlin, has also been doing it for years. Much to my dismay, she is no longer blogging, but you can see all of her past years here. Her blog takes a long time to load, but it is worth the wait. 

I have decided to hand embroider circles on four inch squares, using many different stitches. I went through my stash and found these hand dyed fabrics that I think were parfait dyed. 

They are much lighter in person. I don't know why the blog aways makes things look darker, even though I have lightened them up in Photos. Same thing with fabrics below.

I know I don't have enough of those hand dyes and found this luscious hand-dyed-looking batik and thought it was the perfect compliment. Thank goodness that I decided to see how easy it was to needle before cutting it up. Wow, I could hardly get a bare needle through it. Lesson not use batik for hand stitching. It is much too dense of a fabric. Now I see why it is so good for masks, of which I will be sewing some more for a charity.

Fortunately I was able to match the colors in my hand-dyed to my sample book and I know which colors I used, so I am going to do some ice dyeing later this week and hope I get some agreeable fabrics. 

I pulled these. embroidery flosses from my thread box. 

One more thing for the end of the year. You've heard about my Santa tree, which is coming down today. Boo-hoo! I will miss it and all of my Santa friends. Here is the statement Santa for 2020. I saw it on a pop-up ad and it looked like it was glass. I was so disappointed in the quality. It is not glass, not even resin, but a cheap looking plaster of Paris. Next year it will go towards the back of the tree as a reminder of this not so great year. I'm so looking forward to a better 2021 and hopefully, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrated with family and friends. 

Happy New Year! 

Linking up with Off the Wall Friday.