Archives

New new life…

Here are the two newest additions to our household…

twonewcropAs you might be able to tell, I’m being hissed at quite seriously here…

IMG_0307crop

My yellow girl, Noodle, had two (surviving) very dark babies. Her first didn’t make it. She is turning out to be a better mom than I had expected, aside from the mishap with her first. Chances were 50/50 she’d end up like one of her mothers, the one who left all 11 kittens to be nursed by her sister, poor thing. But so far these two have been nicely plumped up, cared for and cleaned.

As for Olive, her kittens are the calmest, happiest, FATTEST babies I’ve ever seen…

IMG_0315

Sweet Olive kept Noodle company throughout her delivery Saturday, so spent extra time nursing her own. You can see by the size of their bellies this worked out very well for the kitties.

They are going to be so much fun. Unfortunately, I will miss a whole week of them since I am headed to LA Friday for a workshop. *sniff*

Work on the giant doily is nearing completion…

IMG_0318

Gorgeous, eh? The colors look so nice in the sun. I wanted to get a pic so I can mark it up and see how I want to finish it. I’d like to add more color with the finishing touches, provided I have enough pink and purple left over.

I started a new walnut dye pot this weekend and muted some floss…

IMG_0316

I’ll work on getting the rest of it carded, asap. In the meantime, I have a ton of gardening to do before I leave…and a long to-do list to write up for H.

I am hoping to come home to most of my plants alive and thriving, as well as ducks and cats well cared for. I have to admit, H is not thrilled to be wearing my hat for a whole week, on top of work. But, his mom loves ducks, lives only 2 blocks away and will hopefully help with the duck sitting. Today they are doing really well being outside on their own. It is such a relief, as I have a lot to do inside, as well.

I hope the beginning of your week has been lovely…

IMG_0320

 

 

 

 

 

Thread beads and blue…

Over the weekend I did a bit of dyeing. Not all of it was successful, but I do like these pieces…

IMG_0178

IMG_0179

Those beautiful marks are made with rubber bands wrapped around the outside of the fabric. I’d like to repeat the experiment sometime with the fabric wrapped around a vegetable can and held on with rubber bands. I think it would turn out beautifully. These lines almost look painted to me.

 

A couple of blue silk moons in there, too.

I had a lot of fun stitching thread beads onto Aubergine and Green…

IMG_0176

IMG_0175

I found it really helpful when changing colors, to keep the non-working colors to the right, doing all but one wrap for a bead and then putting that color to the side. When I was ready for the next color, I’d finish the last wrap stitch in the unfinished bead and then come up to the point next in line. Does that make sense? Maybe everybody already knows to do this.

Also, The Mountain has grown again.

IMG_0177

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

 

 

Cold again…

It was cold again today. Too cold for me to want to do much of anything outside.

Which is just as well, because I had a lot to do inside.

All I wanted to do was sit and stitch, but that didn’t happen for quite a while.

Dyed items turned out ok. I like violet.

IMG_0116

IMG_0118

I stuck those bits and pieces in after dyeing my Coldwater Creek jacket. The jacket dyeing was mostly a success. It’s certainly not orange any more.

IMG_0113

Here are both versions so you can compare.

When you look up close you can see how they dye is mottled and did not spread evenly. I think I’m ok with that. I like mottled things. If it bothers me, I’ll try dyeing it again.

A new Prairie Girl emerged yesterday.

IMG_0119

I quite like her.

A lot more stitching has been done on this one, but I will save that for next week.

The first dandelion made an appearance today.

And the duck’s tails are starting to feather out.

Lots of emerging…

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

Cabins and dreams…

Last night I finished my second log cabin piece, as inspired by Jude’s latest works.

20170223_140305

20170223_140317

 

It’s been fun to put them together. I had enough fabrics from last year’s dyeing efforts to make each swatch a different fabric. The two lightest colored pieces were dyed with mulberries. The others were dyed with Rit. Maybe I will make some more blocks like this as I have lots of dyed fabric and I like how the pieces look together. You can see a bit more detail of the stitching here…Jude’s seam stitching and invisible basting methods used as decorative stitching…(I know, I need to get a good camera!)

20170223_140331

My first moons were pretty messy…but I like their mysterious quality.

I’m not sure exactly how I want to proceed now. I didn’t touch these fabrics for months for fear I would mess them up. Now that I’ve got a couple of quilt pieces put together, I’m afraid I’ll mess those up. I think other stitchers understand the dilemma. That’s one reason I’m doing the word cloth, trying to ease up a bit on the idea of perfection and give myself freedom to explore and experiment. I think it’s working. Here are a couple shots I took yesterday when working outside.

20170222_141004

20170222_140944

Here’s an example of an experiment, the cloud. I wasn’t yet stitched in the photo above, simply drawn.

My first stitching efforts on the cloud were ugly and didn’t look cloud-like. I had tried two layers of stitching trying to make this work, so I removed one, left the other, and took out the gray I had been trying to use to make it look more rainy. Using white, I simply stitched over the previous stitching (ala Jude’s wrap stitch) and it worked. Nice and puffy.

20170223_143619

The raindrops are extended French knots. They work, too.

The sun was shining when I got up, now it’s clouded over. I missed the sun for sleeping. I have been so sleep deprived…for years…that I’ve decided if I can sleep, I will. Lately that has meant 10 or so hours each night, sometimes divided up into two sections, sometimes divided by a couple hours of being awake. I have the luxury of time these days, if not money, so I have decided to sleep.

My dreams of late have been wonderful…there have been some beautiful, caring men (sorry, H!), involving lovely encounters. Each night before I sleep, I have been telling my Spirit I want peaceful, calm dreams…and they have been. (Working with your own Spirit REALLY works!)

Last night I was traveling, in England, then I was riding an elephant on a wildlife preserve. I had such a fine view from my perch and the steps of the giant I was upon rocked me gently. There were gazelles and zebras and wide, grassy fields. I stayed quiet as we passed a herd of rhinos, not wanting to provoke the dangerous beasts. When my elephant deposited me safely beside a high fence, I waited until the rhinos were calm and not looking before I dashed to the other side and made my way over a fence and out of the preserve.

Later, I was among a large group of stitchers at some kind of retreat. One very friendly lady approached me. She had her work in her hand, which I recognized from a nature scene piece I had seen on a wall. Her style used large circles of that old fashioned stretch polyester my mother used to make pants out of. The piece she was working on had many brown circles with a larger circle at the bottom in dark orange for the sun. The circles were puffy, as if filled with batting. The lady stitched as she talked…she was open to hearing gossip of any kind or talking about whatever…she babbled on, happily, and was a care-free spirit and good-natured, despite her penchant for gossip.

When I woke, the sun was out, but now it’s gone. But, here it is again…the sun…

20170223_143630

20170223_143639

 

 

 

 

Adventures in blue…

I am trying to make friends with blue. It’s not my favorite color.

One thing I have noticed from Jude’s work which has made me appreciate blue, is it has a tendency to make other colors that are not blue better.

I had wanted to continue with my stitching projects and had been gaining momentum, but then this happened…

20161229_161055

Of the two sizes of hands available, mine was the only one that would fit between the toilet and the wall for a fixit issue. An hour and much wrenching using vice grips on a slippery, decomposing poorly designed nylon nut later and my thumb was badly damaged. I felt like crying the whole time, but the toilet was half apart and it had to be done. At least the toilet works now and no longer moans.

Since I couldn’t stitch, I decided to dye. Even with one hand it was pretty successful.

I have not ventured into indigo dyeing and I’m not sure I ever will. But I have rit dye and have had a lot of fun playing with it this year. For these dye efforts I used Royal Blue.

I really like the reds, the ones that look like sunsets in smog, the blue on pink silks. It was a fun adventure.

I also learned that, like indigo vats, rit dye baths will poop out after a while. The last of my efforts did not turn out so well, but I still got plenty to play with.

20161230_182531Meanwhile, stitching awaits…

 

 

Sun. Star. Book…

20161031_144751

Here’s my little SunStarBook. I worked on it this weekend. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Here is the inside of the front and back covers.

And the back cover…

20161031_144738

I mentioned in a previous blog I was working on making a drawing book for myself. I had purchased a very large artist’s pad with pages too big for me to use for my small efforts. I thought I would share my process here.

I began with cutting the big pages lengthwise and folding them up accordion style. Then I used my leather punch to put in holes for binding. I then used embroidery thread for the binding.

As it turned out, I didn’t make the binding holes big enough, so I had to redo the pages after I’d already stitched up the first one. I needed the larger holes because I stitched through several times to make it really secure. Plus, I needed room to add stitches for the inside fabric binding.

In my efforts to mold myself into a fabric artist, I’ve been working with my own Spirit. I’ve asked my own Spirit to help me find my way. I felt that influence when I went to the big fabric bin to find a suitable piece of cloth to work with. Without even thinking, I snatched up a scrap of black duck cloth/canvas. I knew instantly this was the cloth I wanted to use…and thanked my Spirit. The cloth still felt like it had chemicals on it, so I gave it a wash, dried it on the line outside and left it wrinkly when I cut it out. As it turned out, I really enjoyed working with the duck cloth. It’s woven and easy to get a needle through. It also gave the book the kindof of comfortable feel I wanted it to have, simple yet, well, artistic.

20161030_115516

I began with a tatted star. I made these a few years ago. I have one just like this somewhere I want to put on a jean jacket. It’s actually made out of crochet thread I dyed some time ago. I’m happy to use the tatted stars as it’s a pattern I copied from some antique tatting I found, rescued really, although the star shape was my idea. For the back cover I went with a sun made out of fabric I dyed recently, and I fashioned it with flames made out of satin stitch, or wrap stitch, as Jude Hill likes to call it in the way she uses it. I’ve seen a number of fabric artists make suns this way and find it very endearing. It was also really fun to stitch.

The masking tape is a trick I learned from my old quilter friend who is gone now. This was her method for easily marking lines by laying down a piece or two of tape, marking with a fabric pen, and then peeling up the tape. I simply stitched (running stitch) alongside the tape for one row, came up the middle between the two and down the other side. Then, I peeled off the tape and filled in the kantha (running stitch) rows.

I used a blanket stitch for the edges, which worked well for keeping the fibers of the duck cloth together. It tends to unravel easily.

20161031_144701

I really like how I used the orange kantha in between the variegated blue/purple. It looks like the sun is raining.

20161101_143353

I used Jude’s invisible stitch to tack the layers together when adding the backing. I developed a kind of mantra as I worked. It was a bit tedious, but I didn’t mind. The words helped me concentrate and monitor where I was in the stitch.

Down, up, invisible slide through layers…Down, up, invisible slide through layers…Down, up…

For the inside I used a 6×3″ piece of canvas to work as a fabric binding. It was to this I attached the covers.

Sun. Star.

The sun is a star.

Sun. Star. Book…

In other news…

We only had ONE trick or treater last night. The neighbors didn’t even bring their kids over. I’m not all that surprised.

The last two times I’ve passed out candy I haven’t had many kids. There are bigger, better neighborhoods who tend to go all-out and draw the crowds. Having gone out with the niece and nephew a few times I don’t blame parents for wanting to have the treating centrally located. I don’t blame the kids for wanting to get the best haul.

But one thing I like to do is buy like one bag of candy. Then I will mix it with a variety of toys. So, this year, I had a bag of tootsie pops and mixed in a bunch of super balls (the super bouncy kind) and some of those champagne poppers (party favor things.)

What did our ONE trick or treater take?

A big red bouncy ball and a champagne popper.

Who said all kids want is candy? Last time it was the same story. The kids went for the toys!

One a sad note, today I have to take my Spider down. It is, after all, November.