Small spots

June 7, 2008

This is a quick glance at part of a small spot sampler that grew out of my experiments on interlacing herringbone and cross stitches this week.

Close ups of the Celtic flavor I tried to insert in some of these experiments.


Breaking some of the barriers

June 6, 2008

In the work yesterday some of the barriers to going forward with this stitch came down as I explored Celtic ideas based Anne Gailhbaud’s perspective. Many thanks Anne, that comment sent me in just the right direction.

You won’t see to much of the Celtic flavor in today’s post but more tomorrow. I have now a small spot sampler started with these stitches.

Here is an expansion of thought in stitch.

And flattened


More traditional


Still working

June 5, 2008

Patience will sooner or later pay off but persevering is tough work. Thankfully, friends show up just at the right time.

Anne Gailhbaud encouraged me via a comment that has sent me in a new direction of exploration this morning. We’ll see what key that may hold for solving some of these problems. Many thanks, Anne.

So far the only presentable work on the cross stitch form are these experiments that follow. And you may well laugh with me because this looks much more like a detached herringbone stitch than a cross stitch. I attempted to draw a quick picture of what is going on with these little stitches.  

Above: to the the left two stitches mirrored. To the right attempts at borders or edgings.

Above: two stitches mirrored with a form from yesterday’s post between.

Above: giving up and doing what ever I could think up.

Troubles with interlacing

June 4, 2008

I’m definitely having my problems learning some of the interlacing work on the herringbone and cross stitches. I have a lot of worthless samples and all that I’m posting show some of that struggle. I know from experience that I have to keep pushing through the barriers.

I keep thinking I should try beading to fill in some of the spaces between the stitches above.

I was attempting a curve here, but the spacing in the middle fell apart on both ends. I need to make the herringbone form smaller. Eight threads was to small and this at twelve was too large. Ten has to be the right compromise.

I’m looking forward to trying out some other types threads, too.

May and June TIF plus …

June 3, 2008

May TIF This is my design for the SharonB’s May TIF. Her question was roughly what do you call yourself and why. My answer is that I think of myself as an explorer. I wrote this is 2006 and my thinking is still close to this basic. How did I ever get pulled into counted thread needlework on a linen ground? The opportunity to explore some of God’s simple shapes with a needle and thread caught my attention and keeps my interest. Stitches, color, design, pattern, texture that all plays apart in it. Is it the most important thing in life or in my life? No! But it is a part shared here. When I read Sharon’s post the only image that came to mind was a compass such an might be on an old map. But it didn’t convey needlework to me. Finally I thought about the twin pointed needles that are made with the eye in the center so you don’t have to turn the needle around in going back and forth between the top and under side of the fabric. I had to stylize it to get it to work as a compass. The design means to convey that when I have a threaded needle in hand I’m prepared to explore in any direction. June TIF I don’t have the full image for June’s TIF challenge. I thought as I touch the fabric or thread and begin to work with it, a story begins to come out and talk to me. I can very easily do a lot of exercises to explore a stitch but when I begin to work on a piece it’s like an unfolding story. I’ve tried ten or fifteen small sketches so far everything is rejected. I have one image in my mind that I can’t seem to get drawn out in any reasonable way. I’ll have to see what happens as the month progresses. Plus… a response to a comment. I’m so thankful for all the comments I receive. They keep me encouraged and meeting more people whose work I’m not familiar with. Some time as with the comment I received yesterday from Leena, they send me exploring. Many thanks, Leena. As she mentioned the Indian embroidery called Kutch uses a pattern very similar to the English interlacing and Maltese cross. There is a video here. And very good instruction here. Many thanks to Bhavani Harikrishnan at Needlecraft.

Orphan works and …

June 2, 2008

I know readers familiar with my blog have been seeing various notices and updates on the orphan works bill. This morning there was more breaking news on the situation.

Please note another organization is working to defeat the bills the United States congress is considering concerning orphan works. For any one in the Washington DC area, they are planning lobbying events to protest and inform our representatives that the way these bills have been written remove significant rights we have enjoyed under our present copyright laws as well as placing a significant burden on us. Many thanks to Wheat Carr for this additional update on the situation.

If you live in the US and haven’t expressed your opinion to your representatives, please consider doing so. Here are links at another organization, Illustrators Partnership of America, that will help you to understand the issues involved and provide easy access to your representative and senators. This opportunity may fade quickly. Since the way these laws are written skirt violation of international copyright law by rhetoric only, persons outside the US may also wish voice their opinion.

Now to turn a corner.

I have been wanting to venture out on some work with more raised stitches. This week’s study will focus on using crossed or herringbone stitches as the basis of the raised work rather than straight stitch that have been used in previous posts.  Oh, and I almost forgot the work I’ve been doing on couching since I’ve been reading more about the fuzzy technique in Japanese embroidery.

Here are just a few preliminary ventures with the herringbone.

I’m so excited to be working with pima cotton threads again. I’ve had far too much of 100/3.

Tomorrow I plan to address SharonB’s May and June’s TIF challenge.  And I’ve been going further and further with feather stitch experiments this weekend. Next week I’m sure some of that will be popping up in posts again. 


March TIF

March 23, 2008

As a girl growing up in Vermont, the leaves of trees held a certain fascination. After all the starkness of the winter, it was wonderful to see the greens of the brand new leaves in the spring. The leaves transformed the landscape in autumn. We pressed them and waxed them. When they fell, we raked them and played in the huge piles of rustling leaves.

Now I admit the leaves in the central valley of California are just now showing the greens of the new baby leaves and I’m pleased to see them. And yes, some of the trees do change color. Their leaves fall and I rake them. And this year I did press some. 


I find the shape of some leaf or another in my doodles so frequently.


But to me they don’t hold a candle to the leaves of the Vermont trees. Above all the leaves that are there, is the maple leaf.

In the spring before their leaves appear, when the days are warm and the nights are cold, the sugar maples are tapped. My dad made a documentary of one of our neighbors sugaring. We’d peered in the buckets to see the gathering sap and smelled it’s delicate fresh spring smell. We’d been in the steaming sugar houses when it was boiled down. We had poured the hot syrup on the snow and twisted the cooling ribbons on to  sticks to eat the hardening candy. But our family had never made any maple syrup ourselves.

However, inspired by Peter and Polly books my mom came up with a plan. We were going to tap a tree and make our own syrup. How my sister was left out of the project I’ve never been sure. But by the time we trudged down the hill that afternoon, this small event of putting the spout in the maple had become symbolic of what would happen if ever my mother and I ventured out to accomplish a project together. This event is the basis of my piece for SharonB‘s March TIFC project.

I’ve been scaling it down and limiting it to a very small size. Whether I will get it stitched by the end of March is dubious. But I’ve been having a great time playing with it.

This and that with a straight stitch base

March 22, 2008

Today’s samples are a mixed bag of some stitches that are beginning to be familiar around this blog. They are all based on a straight stitch.

Eskimo edging stitch


Raised chain band


Eskimo edging stitch turned into a filler


Raised chain band “off grid”


Herringbone ladder band


Herringbone ladder on skeleton continued

March 14, 2008

Yes, I’m still in school girl mode with my post today. But I did start on a couple of “off grid” doodles last night. Today’s samples show the work with a second herringbone ladder pattern on the same skeleton. And I did some more beading on the first pattern (directly below). 


I enjoyed the beading trials and my thanks go out to Bobbi and Emily for their suggestions in that area on yesterday’s post.



This next sample is the only this one with a lot of color contrast and the only one I liked–although the camera is distorting the colors a bit here in the photograph. A contrast in color is exactly what Bobbi and Emily were saying I needed to do. Good advice, ladies! I did try gold center beads, but ripped them out. I don’t think it was the color that was bad. It was the wrong size in comparison to the thread that was too much. 


The second herringbone pattern trials. First the one color one thread size trial.


Two colors two thread sizes



Different stitch same skeleton

March 13, 2008

Yes, I’m in a school girl mode of exploration. The stitch has changed; today’s samples are herringbone ladders. I’m using the same skeleton with a few variations along the way to accommodate this stitch.

Before I proceed to the samples, I want to say many thanks to Paula, Christine and Bobbi and for their comments on the question about the tiny tan beads in yesterday’s post. Many thanks ladies for your input. Total agreement, too!

Since I am studying the effects that beads have on the pattern presented in the stitching, the outside input is so valuable to me. I was thinking the beads detracted from seeing the staggered half wagon wheel pattern I was try to get across on the stitched line.

Knowing that the band looks more finished with the beads makes me realize I need to emphasize the half wagon wheel in another way perhaps a whipped thread of a different color will work. I can tell more experiments are ahead. However, I’m longing to do some “off grid” work. I wonder what mood I’ll be in when I finally have a chance to stitch for a few moments later in the evening.

On to today’s samples.





Back to the bead thing again for a moment. Look at the difference the placement of the beads made in this band. Now what would happen if I combine the two beading patterns? If I do that, then should I use a different size or color bead for the center?