Thursday, November 30, 2006

Avoiding temptation

Last night I wanted to tackle four more stitches from SharonB's class. I was so tempted to go back toward "the grid" and do some nice neat straight lines. I'm thankful I remembered one of my largest personal goals is to use this class as an aid to get "off the grid". I did find myself counting threads twice. I'm headed toward felt where I have nothing to count.
Thanks again, Shay, for the royal blue ribbon and fuzzy thread. I enjoyed using these once I got brave enough to try them last night.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A finish to this page?

This page is hopefully done except for triming the edges and stitching it into the book binding. It basically finishes lesson 3 and goes into lesson 4 of SharonB's library class. Lesson 4 concerned a number of stitches that were new to me along with information about texture and density. I began to experiment with that in this piece. Since the previous posts on this I've added crested chain stitches in 5, 8 and 12 perle cotton at the lower right quarter and a variety of buttonhole stitches. The rest of the stitches are those that came to mind while trying to vary texture and density. I still have a few more of those buttonhole stitches I want to learn. So I hope there will be a second page for lesson 4.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More of from Queen Stitch Sampler

I decided to post a bit more from the queen stitch sampler. I just picked out some of the small olive green borders. These were so fascinating to me as I stitched them. Just look for the fly stitch and you will see how they are put together by deleting parts of the queen stitch, changing the size or angling and/or changing the position of the tie down stitch.

I've been busy stitching other things and have done some more work done on the 4th week of SharonB's class. I conquered the crested chain stitch from lesson 3 last night. Not ready to photograph yet. My design class has been taking up my thoughts the last few days. Thankfully, I've made some progress there. Some of my favorite things to do, too! Playing with geometric, natural and man-made grids for patterns. I want to linger over these spots and bypass others. But I have a good teacher who won't let me slide. And as we all know by experience some of the things we dread the most to do become, in time, old favorites. I think I might be saying that about the crested chain some time next year.

Is anyone else thinking about goals for next year? One capital purchase for me is a scanner! I'm so tired of fooling around with photos when often a scanner would take care of the job quickly. Of course, I must conquer the camera for many other reasons. Unfortunately, not everything can be put under the cover of the scanner! In the meantime being without a scanner is forcing me to take tons more pictures and that can't be a bad thing. Eventually, I will learn.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

A flower or two later

I read lesson 4 while still working on this lesson 3 sampler for Sharon B's class. Despite my purpose to keep the lessons separate, what I read crept in. The upper left is the cable chain with a variation or two. On the upper right there are French knots, fly stitches, a couple of chain stitches and anything else that came in handy.
The bottom is primarily an experiment with chevron stitches running vertically. And then between the beads a blue silk ribbon couched by detached chain stitches. There are straight stitches on the left side of the beads to fill in the "v" of the chevron stitches.
I think this still needs some finishing touches even if I don't fill in a great deal more of the lower right. There is still so many stitches I want to try from lesson 3 that I'm going to have to give some thought to the finish.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Lines and a flower

I've had fun stitching in between design class work! No fun with photography, however! Great notes on lesson 4. Thank you so much SharonB! I might be a year or two in putting everything into practice---no, I think I should revise that---may I never get done experimenting with the concepts you have been writing about. I do hope by practice to gain more skill with them.

I was impressed by the diligent way that Sharon has gone about her own study. It is evident in many ways in this latest lesson. I know that many are reading these notes along with me. I'm enriched and learn from watching my classmates use these stitches and concept, too. Thanks to you all!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cable chain stitch

Yes, my attempts at this stitch are limited to a very small area! And can I read and follow directions? Not well. Lines 1-3 and 5 (left to right) are before I discovered that page 22 of SharonB's lesson three presented a very different stitch than I saw on my fabric. I sure did get good laugh and the right way is certainly easier. The last line is composed of two cable chains in blue and I tried to lace them together with peach. Everything else probably plain from the photo. I really enjoyed this stitch once I learned how to put it together. Just wish I had more time to stitch but my design class is calling. I have a ways to go before I can begin stitching for it.

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Saturday evening while I was stitching the word "herringbone" for week three of SharonB's PSL class I thought about how much I like making up simple lettering. I have no idea about the fancy alphabets with flowers or other decorations nor the beautiful scripts that I sometimes see. But for quick use such as I need I think about the letters' similarities and the first letter I stitch in a particular group becomes the prototype for the rest of the letters in the group. This way I can stay consistent without making up a full alphabet or pulling out a book and copying a pattern from there. It must come from first grade training. I had a teacher who invented or retold a wonderful story about making the number five. Years latter I found that same story was also embedded in my sister's memory, too. I think she may have gone over all these letters with little stories as well. Perhaps all teachers of small children have a stockpile of such teaching aids.

Since the capital B is similar in many ways to the following letters: D, E, F, H, I, J, K, L, P, R, (S), T, (U, X, Y, Z). The letters in ( ) may be included in another group. C is similar to G, O, Q, (U) . M, N, (U) , V, W, (X, Y) make up another group. Sometimes I will split this group and do M, N differently from V, W. I may also do S and Z in a separate group by themselves or let them fall in the B group. Another group suitable for S is the C group. I let A stand by its self and make it up once I establish at least one other letter. I don't included it with the group with V automatically. This is because of the weight and spacing around this frequently used letter does not always please me if done in the same manner as V that is used less frequently. I use the same principles for lower case letters, too, although the groups vary a little.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Just getting started on SharonB's PSL Lesson 3

Sorry for the bad picture; still gray here. I did make a reflector by covering some foam board with aluminum foil. It provided a great deal more light. But then I had trouble avoiding shadows and all sorts of other things.

This is very much just the initial stage on the herringbone stitch. I wanted to try this stitch on a curved line. Several things caught my attention and I want to try in a more formal version. For instance, the two small herringbones over each edge of the larger one with the beaded center. In the open top area I want to try turning some corners. However, I have to balance my time so carefully with my design lesson and go on immediately to some of the various chain stitch lines. I've always resisted this stitch, but Sharon's examples make me want to conquer it. I'm thankful for two days off work this week. Of course, some of it will be filled with Thanksgiving activities, but I hope to put a significant dent in all the stitching I want to do, too.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

The latest on points...

and not finished yet. I added to make certain areas fuller and taken away what no longer seemed to be functioning. I think I need to take out or move in closer the dark blue star above the ribbon near the top. I'm disappointed with this in some ways but have learned from the exercise. The very purpose of taking a class! It seems to me that in this piece the points have not become focus points but just a means of creating a line.

I've started a week #3 sampler for SharonB's PSL class using the herringbone stitch. I may have been too rash in trying to back off the grid this time. I don't know if I can tame it or if I can make the lines flow satisfactorily. Pictures tomorrow, I hope. It is very foggy and gray here. I did learn how to make a homemade "reflector" for picture taking. I'm going to give that a quick try tomorrow morning. It should help both inside and outside pictures.

I've been busily working away on my design class assignment, too. One portion is to take a shape and exploit it. It is very similar to what we do when we explore the variations of a stitch. I love this kind of experiment. It forces me out of the ruts of my own making.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

More on Lesson 2 for SharonB's class

After stitching on the points page for lesson 2 last evening, it was so encouraging to wake up this morning to Jo's advice to not rip and keep going. Thank you, Jo! I turned the ribbon at the top and filled in more and switched the flowers to the other side of the ribbon at the bottom of the page. I'm not sure if it is done yet, time will tell. After playing around editing the picture, I think I need to fill in still more. Sorry the picture is poor--a rainy day here in the central valley of California. I need to hide some heavy thread lines, too.

I read lesson 3 last night, too. It is such a full lesson Sharon delivers every time! I'm so thankful that I decided to try and move away from the strict grid that counted thread had keep me on and take this class as a means to that end. I've tried to do some of that "off grid" work in every lesson. The lines in lesson 3 may be the toughest for me to break away on so far. I am glad that Sharon's lesson showed examples of "off grid" work. I might have to think about it for a while longer and reread the notes or I may just have to plunge in and start practicing.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Work in progress for SharonB's PSL lesson 2

Had a bit of time to work on the second page for lesson 2 last night. I ripped out one of the three remaining rayon points and basically started over again on this. Looking it over this morning, I think I still need to rip out a lot more and stitch a lot more of something into this. I still want to go back and embellish the picture of the swing in the tree from week 1 with the butterflies Sharon showed us in lesson 2. And now lesson 3 is here! Special thanks again to Shay for the threads and her post on lesson 3 that is encouraging me to press on.
This special six weeks of time is flying by and I'm barely scratching the surface of what Sharon's provides. I've just finished touring all the beautiful work that has been posted by classmates. It is so inspiring!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Color study again

Color is part of lesson 6 in my design class. I've been reading and re-reading the chapter and then starting back at the beginning of the text and looking at every picture just to see color principles in action. It has been enjoyable and enlightening, too, since many principles are fresh in my mind now.

It's almost 24 hours since I touched my needle and thread! A very unusual circumstance. Instead I've been doing preliminary designs that I will have to bring to the point of stitch-ready. In the past most planning has flown out the window while doing the stitching. We shall see how I fare this time. Since one of these designs has to be traced unto the fabric, perhaps I will succeed in sticking with it.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

SharonB's lesson 2

This is some of the lesson 2 work with many thanks to Shay for all the wonderful new threads that I've been using here. She sent me a lovely packet of threads, ribbons, trims. She really loaded me up with such a variety in thread thickness and shine that I've been like a kid and getting into everything. Another result of Shay's generosity is that I've been having several "first time to use" experiences.

I've never done work with ribbons; if ribbons were used it was for finishing not stitching. I found that I enjoyed working with ribbons for the french knots. I tried them for the berry and crown stitches, too. I'm not sure if I have the tension right. I would welcome any suggestion about that.

I'd never noticed rayon threads before. I love the shine. However, I found that I need practice before I have any skill with them. I think all that I managed to do on this tiny sampler was to thread them through the rows of moss stitching. I've been practicing on another page for points and shapes. I'm not sure if I will be posting that or not. It is still such a mess. There are a grand total of 3 rayon flowers I've not ripped out!

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Queen stitch

I was reading through SharonB's notes on lesson 2 Thursday evening. It reminded me of variations I'd tried to make with the queen stitch when I first learned about specialty stitches. At that time I'd never heard of the fly stitch. Now, I think of the essence of the queen stitch as a specific arrangement of the fly stitch. I'm sure I may learn more about it as time goes by. I've put up a few pictures as a reminder of those explorations with this fascinating stitch. I've two samplers full of the attempts!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Latest on lesson 1 from SharonB

These photos are the show the latest on lesson 1. I've got more space on my pages so I can't say that it is finalized. But I have read lesson 2 and must move along to explore there. Sharon's material is so rich!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

More on the feather stitch

Here are some more experiments with the feather stitch. I did a few rows with two colors because one of my goals for this year is to test using two differing threads within one stitch. I don't care how they differ--color, texture, size--but that they differ is important to me.

In the last image the contrast is not showing up well. On that line I wrapped a darker peach thread around the outside portion of the feather stitch on both sides. If you're wondering about the blue stitching, I stitched one row over another. I like the nest it makes, I need to try putting a bead or French knot inside. I'm not sure if I will end up liking it or not. I could always weave a ribbon or thick thread through it-- in or out of the openings or entirely behind it. I love alternatives!

The sixth design class lesson was in at the post office last night. My work is cut out for me! I've been busy with it this morning. But last night I got some work done on the chained bars -- the last stitch I set for myself to do in lesson 1 with SharonB. I just haven't had time to snap a picture. And I've got a few more experiments with the feather stitch yet to take, too! I'm so funny! I can hardly wait to download lesson 2 and yet I'm still lingering over lesson 1. For me learning takes time. I want to hurry on but I need patience with myself so that I have time to think and consider. Reading Sharon's notes helps me to do just that. And while I'm stitching I have time to relax and reflect on what I've been learning.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Trouble with a feather...

...with a feather stitch, that is. I had fun playing after a while. It just took time getting from frustration to fun. I still had problems turning the corners as you can see. Thankfully, this stitch is one from SharonB's class on a stitch library. I'm hoping to see some good solutions as classmates keep posting their work. The tall picture is an attempt at hollyhocks, one of my favorite flowers. Too many beads in the second section for my taste but I was too tired of ripping out to tackle any more. Well, there are numerous other problems with that section of the sampler, but sometimes I like to leave my mistakes as reminders of something I've tried, but couldn't accomplish. When I come back to it in a few months or a year or so and find I am able to work the idea out--what an encouragement it is!

I can finally post a link to SharonB's blog for those who may read this and aren't familiar with it. It is Thanks to Linda for helping me with instructions on making links in these posts! Sharon's website and stitch dictionary are worth checking out, too. Links are at the top right corner of the blog.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

More from SharonB's class week 1

I've finished two stitches in the first lesson of SharonB's class and am onto the third. No pictures yet on the third. I'm not doing good on that at all. The stitches aren't forming correctly with some of my threads. I think I'm going to ripping out and re-stitch, but then again maybe I should leave it as a reminder to myself. Since the sixth design lesson is not in yet, I'm planning to make some progress by tomorrow.

Sharon throws out so many variations for each stitch! I love all the alternatives. And I'm seeing so many great pieces from other class members. It is inspiring to look around.

The stem stitch is basically the same as the one posted the other day. I've just used some finer threads and in one tiny section tried beading the twists. I'm not especially pleased or displease with the attempt. In case you're wondering why the crazy line angles. I did a picture of a tree with a swing in one of the branches. The beaded section of the stem stitch is the seat of the swing. You can probably guess the rest. The scattered beads are just my attempt to indicate flowers in the field and break up the blue lines a bit. As you can see I still don't understand much at all about sizing these pictures.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

The beginning of SharonB's class

I'd rather have a needle and thread in my hand and 'draw' on fabric than have a pen or pencil with paper. I have been like a kid on vacation with my next design lesson not in and time to work on SharonB's first lesson. I can totally relax and play. Her instructions and pictures are wonderful. And what inspiration from all the other stitchers in the class!

Naturally, even when I having fun I'm thinking about how it is turning out. For instance in the last picture. I think I would have been happier if have separated both the top and bottom line of running stitches by two threads each from the middle three. One thread of separation didn't give me the look I wanted. Then too, I wish had used bugle beads or stacked seed beads for the lines I wanted on top of the peach columns. And speaking of columns now I have some totally new ideas. I also got a wonderful idea about lacing from seeing Shay's work in the class. Two things now to implement and two and a half stitches to explore before Thursday.

I'm making book pages with stitch names for titles. Some one in the forum suggested the nun stitch for finishing edges. My "thank you" to that person, a great idea.

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Bits from lesson 5

These are bits and pieces from 'the last drop', a small design based on shapes and lines from drawings made for lesson five in my design class. I tried various things with my stitches to give an appearance of depth and mass. Once I started stitching, I couldn't stop, despite seeing flaws. The soft brown above the honey is an attempt to show the brown cabinet through the empty part of the glass jar.


A flower or two

Still can't do anything with new images from my design class. I'm giving up hunting and am on my way to the store tomorrow for a gizmo that connects the card from my camera to the computer! These are a couple of flower borders. The top one is very straight forward but the bottom more fluid and delicate. Looking back, I laugh at myself for putting them both in the same band sampler. Now, if they were in a small stitched piece where the contrast could be used on one side as compared to the other, I might be happier.

I'm having so much fun with SharonB's on-line class about a stitch library. I learned a new stitch and played with it. I had to leave it to begin to work with the second one before I explored even half of all the suggestions Sharon was throwing out. I decided on four stitches I want to learn this week so I have to pace myself to get through them all. Her website 'in a minute ago' is worth checking and the blog, too--daily. Sorry, I don't exactly know the procedure for giving you a link there if you don't already have it.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Finished off lesson five

Yes, it's in the mail. The fifth design lesson is history and I've learned a lot. Failed to comprehend a lot, too. It's all stitched, pictures are on the card and I can't find the gizmo to plug into the computer to get images edited and posted. A most challenging stitch for me. Usually, I love geometrical florals. But the design class keeps pushing me out of my comfort zone. I stitched a teacup and jar of honey sitting on a tablecloth with pitcher on a side table behind and a curtained window behind that. No, I've not gone into realism. It's stylized and there is an invisible hand pouring the last drop from the creamer into the cup. Now I can hardly wait to see what is in the next lesson.

Sharon B's stitch library class starts today; the perfect thing to cover the wait. I keep going further and further from my comfort zone. However, I prefer to think of it as extending my comfort zone. How far may one extend one's comfort zone? Is that a good choice? Or is there something to be said for keeping a smaller comfort zone and possibly going deeper in that one area? Am I wandering or is this a purposeful exploration?