A stitch: playing with the alphabet

December 30, 2008

Perhaps this is an old idea I returned to last night. I was thinking about the stitches I’ve been focusing on this year and trying to unwind from work. So I doodled with a little stitch that looks like an “A”. Of course, I couldn’t resist adjusting things from there.

Here is a quick step through:






Here are thoughts that came to mind on using it.




Now turning a corner, I want to draw attention to a new blog, I’ve recently started following. Anne Stradal of The Cape Stitcher has just finished a series of posts on transferring one of her father’s pen and ink drawing to a needlepoint canvas. Anne has given many helpful comments and tips in these posts. I’ve gleaned much along the way in addition to the delight of seeing the print come to life in needlepoint. Many thanks, Anne. I’m looking forward to your next project.

Best wishes to all for the new year. Many thanks to all that take time to swing by and visit the QM blog. And special thanks to those of you who have kindly taken time to write a comment. Although I’ve not always been able to acknowledge each one this year due to some family situations, your encouragement has come through. I appreciate it very much. And I have learned and gained much especially from the insightful comments on beauty and design.  I’m still working on the design project so those comments are continuing to guide my thoughts in many ways.

Here, there and about

December 27, 2008

I’ve been having a little time to stitch on a few things.

Sometime last year I joined the Shining Needle Society(SNS) and took a class and signed up for another in starting in early 2009. Gay Ann Rogers has a SNS classroom and I’ve been following the conversation she had started there with her Mystery in a Corner project. At Christmas she had a project on color to kick off the new term of classes. I decided to try some of her experiments and did as she encouraged throwing in a few of my own.


Jeanne at Just String has done a fourth in her Stitch Studies series, excellent posts. Many thanks Jeanne. My heart goes out to you and I’m praying for you and your the little one on the way. Jeanne is currently is in the hospital awaiting the baby’s birth. 

Here are some of my practice bits from her teachings on the detached buttonhole stitch variations.


Sharon b has a new challenge, Stitch Explorer, launching January 15. Please do consider joining in. I think it will be a rewarding experience. More people joining in will make it all the richer. Reading through the comments on her post, I’ve been so excited about those involved whose work I know and those whose work I’ve just found by following their link. I’ve updated my Sharon b’s challenge page.

I plan to be more involved in this challenge than in her TIF challenge where I’ve been having a great time doing the design but a terrible time doing the stitching. I don’t think any one of the twelve is entirely stitched and over half of them are not even started. It has definitely been a stretch for me to design more self-reflectively as many of these monthly challenges have seemed to set me off in that direction.

The closest words I find to express what I mean is to say that I generally design to say something  or show something in contrast or comparison. These monthly challenges have made me consider designing to bring something hidden to view in a more expressive, emotional way. My design teacher made me do exercises on using lines to express emotion, but all too much they remained just school girl exercises. Sharon’s challenge has allowed me draw on some of what I learned there and use it.

I’m thankful for that and what was gained in spite of having so much trouble staying focused and gathering sufficient time for TIF. Having done the color exercises in the past day or two, I’ve been wondering how much I missed by not doing that part of the TIFC. Perhaps I’ll have an opportunity for a focus on color in this upcoming year.

Beware: sporadic blogging

December 19, 2008

Sporadic blogging has hit the Quieter Moments blog as the holidays approach, family situations encroach and my work hours change. I’ve been stitching or playing depending on how one looks at things. But my much of my time has definitely been swallowed up by various issues and I’m feeling the energy drain.

Here’s a few of the postable stitching samples.



I’m still working on two large  unpostable projects; one, blackwork and the other, hardanger. The hardanger is slowly progressing and the blackwork is moving right along.

This is the first time I’ve done blackwork with so many colors. I have nine colors involved including some with very little contrast to the fabric. I wish some of what I’m picking up in these exercises would translate in to useful thoughts on other projects.  I’ll have to wait and see.

Trials and tests

December 10, 2008

Still working on couching, spiral trellis and detached buttonhole stitches. All I have is trials and tests. Need a lot more practice to get up to speed on these stitches.

Do you ever see something in your doodles after the fact that you didn’t see at the time? It is cold and foggy in the valley so perhaps that’s why I was thinking of a nice hot cup of tea or chocolate while snapping the photo. When I was stitching, it it was rotated ninety degrees counter clockwise. 

The last drops all tumbling out.


School girl exercises.



Couching…oops day dreaming too much

December 8, 2008

I enjoy couching threads. From thin threads in patterns to fill up an area quickly to thick threads to form a line or border, I have fun with it all. The piece I’ve just been working had a number of experiments on couching thicker threads.

I did a couple of diagrams. The black lines represent the threads being couched. Oops! Update: Day dreams aren’t allowed when writing instructions. I woke up with a start, realizing I need a new diagram. It is coming soon!  Update: It is here now. The diagram below is the corrected version. To anyone who tried the original version and ended up with a frustrating mess, please accept my apology and forgive me.


The middle thread isn’t couched but threaded though the stitches numbered 3-4, 9-10 and 15-16.


Below is the same basic couching pattern for this experiment but no middle thread was used. It looks much more like the way the diagram above should look.


The second diagram is a Chevron variation that I’ve been using lately.


In this sample the stitching is mirrored.


In this next sample the stitching is more like the diagram but I caught it at a strange angle. I placed a small fly stitch above the flat part of the stitch. I would love to try beading the small place between the flats. And it would be easy to eliminate the small gap between the flat stitches.  Perhaps that’s why I like couching threads, there are so many options.


So much can be adjusted. I’m usually thinking about how much color from the couched thread I want showing up in the piece. I move stitches closer together or further apart based on that. Or perhaps I chose a thread that is very thin and matches the color of the thread being couched.

Next scheduled post: Wednesday (us, west coast)

Still dreaming

December 4, 2008

Perhaps I’m merely drawing air castles with needle and thread. Last evening I was adding a little more to my dream and thinking about what I could do with four threads and limited colors.


I decided I could couch threads and let a little more or less of the couched colors show through. I tried more needleweaving. With that, using two colors, I trying to allow the overdyed areas move into a third and then fourth color. I also wanted to vary the stitches while keeping continuity with the first block. You might catch sight of a couple of new stitches slipping into the mix.


I also tried more practice on the spiral trellis and detached buttonhole stitches that Jeanne has been covering in her stitch study series. Please do pop over, if you haven’t caught them already. Another post  in the series just came out yesterday. I love what I’m learning about these texture loaded stitches. Many thanks, Jeanne ! 

The photo below show that area in my work from last night. More practice is in order for me. 


No dreams tonight.  My break is over. I’m back to “school girl” blackwork and hardanger tonight. But I’m planning to return to this piece.

Dreaming with needle in hand

December 3, 2008

Dreaming with needle in hand sounds dangerous. But what I mean is that sometimes I wish to relax and day dream with needle in hand–a relaxed alert. That’s just the opportunity I had yesterday evening. This piece needs some more work but the photo reflects its current state. I’ve used a number of the stitches I’ve been working on lately.


Here is a close up of a variation of a half Chevron stitch I’ve been experimenting with. I’ve used it to couch a thread of pima cotton running through a tubular nylon thread. Directly above it are a tiny fly stitches.


Here is a close up of the tubular nylon thread. It’s threaded with a three ply pima cotton thread here. The nylon thread is very stretchy so this pima cotton goes through easily. As you can see there is plenty of room for expansion. The nylon is very light blue color, the photos unfortunately don’t capture much of how the light plays against the thread.


The photo directly above and also below show a variation of a detached cable stitch used to couch threads. Below on the right, I’ve filled in the area with slanted weaving against the couched threads. 


I’m stitching on two other projects–one blackwork, the other hardanger. They are monopolizing most of my attention at the moment. But yesterday and today I decide I needed to break away, relax and stitch to my heart’s content.

November – December TIF

December 1, 2008

Oops, where am I? I’m here stitching all manner of things I can’t show photos of today. We are having gray, wet fog in the central valley today. I was out raking leaves with the energy I could muster. I had time today to check on my bloglines and find Sharon b‘s December TIF. I do think my bloglines went slightly crazy. Today it says I’ve 3,671 posts to read. I can’t be that far behind.

And I was so delighted with Sharon’s concept of generosity. It’s a perfect month to think about this. For me it ties in with both Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.  I was thinking, what could illustrate that concept?

Probably because on my blackwork sampler I’ve been diligently removing all the handshaking motifs and replacing them with other designs, hands are the first thing that popped into my mind. Hands that give and hands that receive. Something pouring from one set of hands to another.

And then I happened to glance again at Sharon’s photo. She gave me the perfect solution. I’m going to translate the red ornament into queen stitches. The oval shape is an “O” for my November TIF where the design was to be based on typography. And the inside of the ornament represents two hearts with a funnel between them. Do you see it? To me it captures the idea of generosity–the pouring out of something good from one heart to another. I’m going to see where my sketches take me.