Sunday, November 25, 2012

for karen....

lately my posts have been about christmassy things
not because i'm some sort of weirdo christmas fanatic

just that's what i've been working on for my sale so have not  had much of anything else to share

not a bad thing, but it gets a little tiresome, especially as we can get bombarded with it by retailers as early as mid-october

a few weeks ago i begged to be let in late to karen ruane's latest e-course

i was perfectly happy to sidle in through the back door and quietly take my seat - observing and studying to catch up with the class, getting ready to begin

 karen's "style" of work "contemporary embroidery" doesn't say the half what she does with needle and thread

we're taking old linens and lace, mixing them with new, embellishing with stitches of old, and adding new twists, all the while learning the best of the best of the disciplines of good needlework

my kind of wonderful
and then i hit my first snag...

i've not had great luck finding many vintage laces - I have a few that are working well, and was gifted with a pile of old linens which yielded several good pieces I could work with

so i sorted and washed and sorted again

 and commenced with the ironing
i love ironing
i adore it actually
it's like i'm communing with the cloth
(when i was a child my mom's friends would bring their ironing when they came for coffee and i would do it for them - yes, i'm weird - oh well...)

anyhow, the snag hit when i came upon the lovely napkin below
as i was ironing it (i iron, i don't press) i noticed how truly beautiful it was
the lace was handmade, and attached all by hand
hundreds of tiny stitches

the effort it would have taken to make this...

and while i can usually be pretty ruthless with most textiles,
knowing they can be re-invented into something new and beautiful, if someone has the vision and is willing to take the plunge, 
and that the flip side is they will languish in a drawer, in the dark, never being used, never seen, saved for "good"

 i just couldn't cut it up

so i set it aside and continued working my way through the pile...
and came upon seven more

a set of eight
too beautiful for words
and while even just one would take what i'm doing from good to stunning, i still can't cut into them

some day perhaps, but not this day

especially as i have no clue what i'm doing, and in possession of enough odd bits to manage just fine

 i've been cutting and pinning and basting away

 folding, re-pinning, and basting again

linen and cotton and silk
with a little lace

 and while karen works her perfection mostly in white
many of my linens are a creamy taupe

so i'm using muted shades of blue, grey and taupe

with a smidgen of white to spark things up

 working on an edging of french knots
first in one colour, now inlaying with a blended needle, two strands of one colour, the third is something else

tying the colours together softly, looking aged already

i'm stealing time here and there
minutes not hours
and counting down until two weeks from now when i can play with this all day

 now that i have finally made a start i'm off to the flickr group
to see what everyone else in the class is doing
i wouldn't look until i basted my first two sections as i didn't want to be influenced by what the other's were doing - i didn't want to wish i had what they have, to do what they're doing or follow someone else's path

but now - i'm ready to be inspired!

you should come to....


Suztats said...

Oh, I've been many times to drool over the beautiful work! I adore Karen's delicious embroideries, and have been hankering after her EEC class for over a year. Something always seems to I'm hoping early next year I'll get my chance.
I understand not wanting to cut into the napkin, especially when you discovered they were a gorgeous set.
Love your beginning. I think the creams and taupes are nice and warm and immediately look aged.
Happy stitching!!

FlowerLady said...

Oh my what inspiration this post is. I would have a hard time cutting up those 8 lovelies too. You did wonderful with what you came up with.

I love your color scheme.


karen said...

you are progressing beautifully and I love the way you have described your process.......thank you for this post....

Marj Talbot said...

You have made a great start - and all your own ideas without peeking. Good on you - love the colour choices too. I'm goingn to peek at the flickr group just for fun. Thanks for sharing.

Createology said...

Jillayne Dear as with all you do this is bliss. Your work is impeccable and unique. Not looking ahead at other's work is a great idea so your work is your own. This is a beautiful beginning. Your colors are soft and elegant. I shall love seeing your progress. You are amazing my friend...

Dorthe said...

Dear Jillayne ,
your post is so beautiful- I also love those old lovely hand embroidered thing- and the ones you show here are amazingly lovely.
Your own start is also wonderful,with all the sweet french knots, I hope you will soon have time finishing it...I also have no time untill christmas is over!!!
Hugs and smiles, Dorthe

FredaB said...

Jillayne I am so happy for you that you decided to take Karen's class. She is a wonderful teacher and such fun to listen to on the videos. Reminds me of some of my English aunties growing up in Toronto. Same accents.

You will do wonderful. I have taken both embellishing classes and the ledger class (which I didn't do too well in - my own fault) and am going to sign up for the Alchemy class in Jan.

I have my christmas cards ready to send you. Will mail them soon.



Michelle May said...

Karen's work is lovely. I have admired it for a long time. So great you are taking her class. What fun! :)

Mosaic Magpie said...

My heart was a flutter as I read this post. I can so remember this point in Karen's class. The "I hate to cut this" and the "I need beautiful linens to work with" stage. I also know that feeling of "Think of all the time it took to stitch this" and I am about to cut it up. It has always troubled me how families can toss aside needlework that has been created by their ancestors. Somehow the piece does not fit into their decorating scheme or "that old thing, who wants it". I will see linens at yard sales for .25$ and be thrilled I found it and heart broken at the thought of the time and care that it took to create it. All that work being tossed aside. I know we can't keep everything.
Now back to your is beautiful! The arrangement of all the bits is always try it 100 different ways and suddenly you will hit on a great combination. Then the stitching begins and your needle seems to have a mind of it's own. I am glad you are enjoying the class.