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.

Other threads and a detach cable stitch

November 28, 2008

About all that is going on with the detached cable stitch variation are a few experiments with various threads. I don’t know why but recently I’ve been more willing to experiment with alternative threads. Some times I’m unraveling threads to get extra textures. I’ve been pulling threads out of an old blanket and some scrim. And then, too, I’ve making threads out of fabric strips; so far these have not been pleasing me. These experiments have been with quilting weight cottons. I think I need to go to semi-transparent fabrics.



I’m feeling very restless in my stitching work at the moment. I’m stitching on a blackwork sampler. But it is not my own design and that is far from my norm. It is teaching me some things about how things must be designed for blackwork to be reversible. It is based on a old sampler, but I’m taking my liberty on the arrangement of the various motifs.

There is a great series of stitch study posts that Jeanne at Just String launched. This one is the detached buttonhole stitch. Previous to this one she did a post on the spiral trellis stitch both well worth reading. If you haven’t already seen them, do take time to swing by. I’d like to get my needle and thread and follow right behind her examples.  Many thanks for these excellent posts, Jeanne!

Details and detailing

November 24, 2008

I’m not a person who enjoys finishing my needlework project into some practical object. I love stitching, but the finishing involves all these little unseen details that need to be attended to. However, since Christmas and giving gifts is on my mind, I’ve been paying attention to the details that allow corners to be square, seams to be flat and “wear and tear” spots to be re-enforced.

While I was working with this item. I was noticing some of the details that I’m almost unthinkingly willing to put into a design. For instance, the one over one purple stitch on the top border.



Here I wanted the center flower on each outer border to stand out more than the other two. So I added a fly stitch to each outlined rice stitch. I’m not sure if that succeeded.

Another detail factor is consistently crossing all the cross stitches.  I accomplished that but failed to consistently weave the little white pyramid shapes along those same borders. That catches my eye in the wrong way just like an unsquared corner.


I’ve been stitching a blackwork sampler in all the spare moments I have. Details abound in this piece. It’s almost a game to see if I can find the main trail, take each side turn at the right time and turn around to backtrack before I go too far down those side trails.

Now where is something I can stitch and forget about details?

Of special note

October 29, 2008

I wanted to mention some posts of special note by Bernadette over at Color, Line and Texture. She was involved in SharonB’s 2007 TAST challenge and has now had an opportunity to post about her work. It is a stunning piece. And I’m so glad it is available to others now.

I was privileged to see most of this last year as Bernadette stitched through various portions of it. But it’s breath taking to see it as she’s now been able to document it. If you haven’t already visited her blog and seen it, please do pop over to see the posts. The first is here. And this and this post contain more details. While you’re there do see her other on going work. She’s been involved with SharonB’s TIF challenge for this year and recently posted about progress on her October quilt block.

Many thanks, Bernadette for sharing a treasure with all of us.

Knotted diamond stitch: day 2

October 24, 2008

I’ve been having fun and struggles with the knotted diamond stitch. As the samples below indicate I haven’t hit my stride in controling the tension on the thread. Looking at the photos when was preparing the posts made me realized how much I need to practice situating the knots, too.  Despite all that I’m excited about what this stitch can do. The texture is wonderful. And I want to try more couching experiments.

In the photo above I switched to perle 8 and 5 cotton. It is has less play than the pima cotton and is easier for me to work with. However, the samples below are all pima cotton.

This photo below shows a double diamond pattern. I like the broad line.


I have so enjoyed the discussion on beauty. All of the comments are ending up in my journal with my own notes. And I want to read more on the subject to explore it further. If anyone has suggestions for good books or essays, I’m taking recommendations. Thanks very much.

Next scheduled post: Monday (us, west coast)

Knotted diamond stitches and more thoughts on beauty

October 22, 2008

I’m on my way to learning more about knotted diamond stitches thanks to Julie, Carol-Anne and Mary Corbet. Samples are below.

And I’m learning so much as I think about what people have been writing to me in response to the last post on the concept of beauty. Here is a link to view the comments. As I was listening to what was being said, I threw out some more questions in an emails to a couple of people.

How much does our training and knowledge of a field or lack thereof color our ability to see the beauty of a piece? Is that factor part of what enters into our saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder“?

I think about other times in history when some cultures have had very distinct formulas for what is or is not beautiful. And it seems to me at times in some cultures it has been fashionable for the artist or maker to fly in the face of those formulas. How much is our concept of beauty influenced by our own times and the culture we live in?

I loved the way Lynn’s comment already brings out some of those considerations due to her studies. If you have additional thoughts please do add them to the discussion via a comment.

Now turning to the samples on the knotted diamond stitch, it looks like more practice ahead to get better control over the knots and tension.

Trying out different widths above and below.

Couching here and in the last photo.

Testing erratic lines.

Trying out a number of threads.

Second thoughts, panic and a question

October 20, 2008

I’m in panic mode because four of my samples from this summer are missing. I had them Saturday. But today when I went to get them for photographing…no where. This is one sample from this weekend. I’ll be back with a post on the topic once I relocate those samples that go with this one.

I’m having second thoughts on my “ugly” post from Friday. Maybe there are another few lessons from that piece that I need to learn. I received two comments about that piece and both touched on the appropriateness of that designation.

Perhaps I could say “disappointing” instead of “ugly” that relates only to my feeling about what happened with the piece. We have a saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe ugly is, too. Usually I don’t even think of whatever I happen to be posting in terms of degrees of beauty or ugliness. I’m not even sure that when I’m stitching something that I even aim at making something beautiful. Do you have any thoughts about the part beauty plays in your stitching and once it’s finished do you come to a judgement about the level of beauty achieved? Please leave a comment, if you do. I would like to think more about this subject and other people’s input is always helpful.

One of my other endeavors over the weekend was to learn the diamond stitch. I’d found it in a book and then went hunting on the net because I couldn’t make the knot on the left hand edge turn out well. And I couldn’t find an illustration of that portion of the stitch in step by step. If any one can clue me in about how to do this, I’d appreciate it.  Thanks very much.

Next scheduled post: Wednesday (us, west coast)

Knotting lines

October 6, 2008

Knotting lines with this experimental stitch has been fun.

I took the stitch “off grid” and then went back to stitching on the linen ground pictured above. Except for the photo below, its the ideas I worked out while using the non-countable gound that are showing up in this post.

Next scheduled post: Wednesday (us, west coast)

More than one way to make a knot

October 3, 2008

I thought I was experimenting with a pearl stitch based on a book of stitches by Mildred Ryan, but now I’m not sure if it’s the pearl stitch or not. Fortunately, there is more than one way to make a knot. And sometimes I’m not even sure I’ve made a knot.

Despite all my doubts about what it is, I’m fascinated with this little stitch. Here is how I’m making it.

I’ve broken the stitch down in to many still frames to make it understandable. But it works up as a very fast continual stitch once you have the rhythm down. And I’ve enjoyed it “off grid” as much as “on grid”. 

Here are some of the “on grid” experiments with it. Comparing the first photo below with the last shows the change in texture possible when varying how closely the stitches are placed to each other. It reminds me of something like a reverse buttonhole stitch more than a knot, as you may notice in some these experiments where the width of the stitch is increased.

Next scheduled post: Monday (us, west coast)

From my journal

October 1, 2008

I should be posting September’s TIF challenge today, if I was following my schedule. But there has been no such thing as a schedule let alone a list in my life the past two days. I do have the challenge pretty much done. It’s just a matter of harmonizing the two parts and snapping a photograph.

So in lieu thereof here are a few other things from my journal.

I’ve been busy working on filling circular shapes with embroidery patterns for maybe a month in some down-time minutes. And I think perhaps some of the cut paper work I’d done earlier in the summer has spurred me on to take notice of this shape I don’t generally like to work with in stitching.

Below are a more familiar shapes in my work, but my main consideration was color changes and angles.

I was dreaming up bargello patterns this summer and the pencil is one of the rough thoughts. The cut work is a failed experiment although there are some aspects of it that interested me.

More thoughts on patterns that I’d like to try in needlework.

If I’m on schedule by Friday (us, west coast), another post should appear.