Friday, September 30, 2011

the avocado and eucalyptus reveal...

A while back I experimented with 2 avocados and some cloth. The colors achieved are nice but not worth all the trouble I went to with the avocados. When I unwrapped them I was unable to tell one from the other. I had turned one inside out but didn't mark it. I don't really keep track of how I do the dyeing. I'm just playing and if I had to keep track it would take the fun out of it for me. Here is a photo of the 2 pieces of dyed silk. Click on the images for a closer view.

cloth wrapped around avocado pit and embedded in shell

I also experimented with eucalyptus leaves bundled around copper pipe. It all started back here . I really like the way these turned out.

the light color is linen and the dark one is silk

love the green from the copper pipe

wish I could get those string marks throughout the piece

And here are the latest pieces I've worked on for Karen's embroidery class.

chinese knots made with silk velvet

funky puffs
Only one more week left until the end of Karen's wonderful class. If you think you're interested in a class with Karen, keep watching her blog for new classes being offered.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a winning streak...

During the past few weeks I have won 2 blog giveaways. I seem to be on a roll. I was very excited to win Nat's giveaway of a beautiful sashiko bag and a gorgeous book on kimonos. And then I won a lovely stitchery from Emmy's  blog. I haven't received the stitchery yet but I am so excited to be able to have one of Emmy's pieces. She does such beautiful work.

Nat's giveaway--she also sent me some beautiful indigo cloth pieces and some silk thread
I've been working away on the embroidery cloth with all the new techniques I'm learning in Karen Ruane's class. Here are just a few photos of the last few things I've stitched.

inside of a pocket that will hold the corner of one of my mom's hankies

outside of the pocket with lace edge of another of my mom's hankies. 3 pearls from my mom's necklace are stitched onto the lace.

we learned to make chinese knots yesterday

Monday, September 26, 2011

Creating Lace...

I spent a wonderful weekend learning all about Romanian Point Lace from an excellent teacher, Bart Elwell, who came from Tulsa, Oklahoma to teach several of us from the Austin Lace Guild. It was a fun weekend and I learned so many new needle lace stitches that I am bursting with new ideas. Romanian Point Lace is made by first creating a crocheted braid which is stitched down to a pattern and the needle lace is done in all the sections formed. What's really great (for me) is that the needle lace stitches can also be used in my embroidery pieces. Here are some pictures showing the group of us and some of the teacher's beautiful work. Click on the images for a close-up view.

some very happy lacers

Bart made this piece in honor of the marriage of William and Catherine

Bart's Black Eyed Susan

Bart's orchid

Bart's peacock sitting on the table
 I am working on the Black Eyed Susan in some wild colors. I'll post it when it is finished. We did a lot of learning in the class and practicing new stitches. Four of the students had taken a class with him before and made good progress on their pieces. I spent most of my time trying to learn as many new stitches as possible.

When I came home from class, this reflection of an old piece of my grandmother's crocheted lace showed up on the kitchen cabinet. It is tacked to a small window in my kitchen that is close to the ceiling.
 Lots of the stitches I learned are going to show up in the embroidery work I'm doing in Karen Ruane's class. Will post some of those pictures real soon so please come back.

Monday, September 12, 2011

stitching on this and that...

Was stitching a patchwork feather to send to Jude for the Magic Feather Project and, while I was stitching, the ghost of the bird appeared. It will be in the mail tomorrow.

September's feather for Jude

The embroidered pillow is stitched and just needs to be stuffed.

The last lesson in Karen's class was ruching. I just did a small section to learn the technique. Not sure yet where this piece will be used.

ruching with web stitches and french knots

Friday, September 9, 2011

keeping busy...

The fire danger in Central Texas kind of got to me yesterday and I was feeling very unsettled. I've let it go and am back to myself today but ready to evacuate if it comes to that. There aren't  any fires real close to me right now but they are popping up everywhere without warning so we must be vigilant. There are so many people all over that are in far more danger than I am and I wish the best for all who might be fighting the elements all over the world. Thanks so much to all of you who showed concern.

Lyn of liniecat sent me some wonderful ostrich feathers and a peacock feather to add to my collection. I love seeing and feeling all the different textures, colors and designs.

ostrich and peacock feathers. and you can see I have been stitching on my Magic Diaries cloth.
Experimenting with ruching as instructed by Karen in her last embroidery lesson. It's just pinned and will be dramatically changed with some embroidery added.

white ruching cloth ready to be embroidered
I've had some eucalyptus leaves soaking in vinegar water for a couple of weeks and made some bundles this morning with linen and silk cloth wrapped over copper pipe. They are boiling right now and I will then set them outside for a few days before unwrapping.

eucalyptus leaves in vinegar water

leaves bundled over copper pipe ready for boiling
Click on the photos for a closer image.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cross Stitch Magic

A continuation of all the wonderful things I'm learning in Karen's class...

cross stitch on cloth using waste canvas

cross stitch on a vintage hanky that was dyed with avocado skins

damp stretching my sampler piece to remove all the wrinkles
My sampler piece will be turned into a small pillow. It measures about 9" x 10".  I'm anxious to try the cross stitching on some of the silk velvet that is on the next piece I prepared.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

a new background piece prepared...

Since I decided to use my first piece in Karen's class as a sampler, I prepared a new piece ready for stitching. I will continue to use the sampler piece to try new things. The new piece is made up of linen, lace and silk velvet. The linen and silk velvet were initially white but were dyed with the left over liquid from the avocado bundling I did over a week ago. That pink liquid sure did go a long way. I have used it 3 times for dying small pieces of cotton, silk and linen.

new background piece with silk velvet, linen and lace. the linen is a pale pink and the silk velvet a dusty pink. couldn't get the true color in the photo. it measures 10" x10".
Here are some more pictures of the sampler piece with all the techniques learned so far.

measures 6" x 8".

that web stitch has become my favorite. I have placed a bead at the center of each web stitch.

I think you can see the center bead in the web stitch here.

I used a variegated pink and white perle thread here for the web stitch.

Friday, September 2, 2011

a thoughtful gift and...

Back here I posted a video on the Cosmati Pavements at Westminster Abbey. Lots of you  became interested in doing more research. Karen T. actually went to Westminster Abbey and saw them in person. Unfortunately no picture taking was allowed. She purchased some beautiful cards that were being sold in the shop and sent some to me since I was the one who peeked her interest on this topic. I was so surprised and so appreciative. Thank you so much Karen T. for your thoughtfulness.
postcards, puzzle card and info from Westminster Abbey

wanted you to see that one of the cards is a puzzle

Last Monday, I posted about my experiment with avocado bundling. The liquid remaining in the pot was pink so I dropped a few pieces of white cloth in the pot. The silk organza turned brown and the linen pieces and the lace did turn a pale pink. The pink is not showing up in this picture.

silk turned brown; linen and lace a light pink
 I've been enjoying Karen's embroidery class and worked on one section of the piece I posted last time. I'm pleased with the netted lace look, that is just a blanket stitch done through the loops, and with the french knots but not really pleased with the whole look. I need to plan better next time. I'm going to try and run a ribbon through the loops on the pink strip because it really doesn't blend with the pink in the checkerboard. It only measures 3" x 5" so it's just a tiny section of the whole piece.

And just did another section. Much happier with this than the one above.

web stitch, french knots, buttons
Saturday update:  I've decided to do this piece as a sampler since I'm learning new things and am not ready to design a piece that will please me. Once I experiment with all these new techniques and stitches, it will be easier to put something together.
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