Saturday, January 24, 2015

"faith" and what???

can't believe it's been ten days since i did a blog post... last week was a busy one for me with classes and work and the week before even more so
back to normal now though, and still a whole week left in january

for some reason, for me anyway, january never rushes by - it goes at it's own pace and i feel as though i truly get the whole month

things always get different in february - perhaps it's "short month" syndrome...

anyway, in between all my teaching prep i'm puttering slowly at some techniques karen is demonstrating in "swathed in stitch"

working with cross-stitch letters on silk with waste canvas

in deciding on what letters to use i thought perhaps it would be easier if i had a word, rather than just random letters with no particular meaning
not one of those new year's chosen words - been there, done that - just a word to focus this piece on

and since i had already decided, against my nature, to just make samples to put in a ledger i knew i needed something that would help me focus on that
'cause i always seem to think if i'm stitching something, it actually has to be something when it's finished, like a bag or a wall-hanging or such
this time, i just want to do the work and mount it as a reference i can refer back to

so i chose "faith"
i need to have faith in the process and that through it i will get where i want to be
faith that if i do the work, the ideas will come

faith that even though i do not like stitching on waste canvas at all

at all

at all

at all

it will be worth it in the end

 and of course it was

i do love the results...

 my "f" seemed a little plain though so i got out some coloured pencils and began doodling a flower on my chart - i think i have it figured out but want to add two more green stitches, just enough to spread the flower out from the boundaries of the letter

 but i am thrilled all the same

transferring the letter tracings to my water-colour paper, thinking of what to do with this next, i decided if having a word was useful, then a phrase or a quote should be downright beneficial

so i scoured the internet looking for faith quotes - however, i soon discovered most of them are about the feeling of faith rather including the word itself

i did find one though

"all you need is faith and trust
and a little bit of pixie dust"

i like it a lot - it seems very "me"
thoughtful with a hint of sarcasm?
or realism???

regardless i do like it very much and now i'm thinking on pixie dust - for me it has connotations of little bitty sparkly bits

in the meanwhile i'm down for the count with a nasty flu so am doing very little - just some gentle stitching

and speaking of words, your little word-hearts are piling up and should be in your hands by mid-february

just in time...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

breaking the rules...

well, maybe they're more like guidelines...

just when i said i didn't do darts or facings - well, seems i can after all

four darts, two on the front, two on the back

60+ hand appliqued circles

and more french knots than i care to count

hand-made handles

facings all around

 it wasn't my plan to quilt it by hand - i really intended to do it by machine... in the end though, it begged to be done by hand

and even though it put me behind by three days, i'm so glad i did

i'm also glad of the facing - it makes the inside so very neat and tidy

and did i mention the piping????
i don't do piping either - but it seems that's another personal sewing rule out the window - i piped it and i love it

the interesting thing about all of these techniques is that they really aren't complicated - not even time-consuming

i'm puzzled as to why i resisted them for so many years
 i remember well my thirteen year old self getting frustrated beyond belief with zippers and facings - needles pricking, hands sweating, uneven stitches, ripping out seams over and over again, re-positioning, pinning and yet more pinning

trying so hard

 sometimes i was afraid i would ruin the fabric with all my un-picking and re-sewing

i even nick-named my seam ripper "jack"

fourty years later this bag went like a breeze - read the instructions... follow the bouncing ball

pin, baste, sew
you would not believe how much basting i did whilst finishing this bag

i basted the fabric to the handle, the handle to the bag, the piping inside the fabric strip, the basted piping strip to the bag, the facing to the bag - i basted all of that and then some
holding everything securely in place, those large stitches took barely minutes to do...
and from there it was zip ah de doo dah done!

i just might be a convert

Friday, January 9, 2015

all of everything...

writing in my journal the other day, writing of creative desires, it occurred to me what an endless list it seemed to be
expanding and contracting, year over year, one thing coming off, two more added on, wondering when...

i wrote then that i felt as though i wanted to do all of everything

 the little piece i am working on these days feels like something that has all of everything i like to do...

the pattern is "drunkard's path" - irregular shaped pieces forming irregular shaped blocks

i tried curved piecing and hated it - even by hand, with these tiny pieces, it's a pain
so i folded over the seam on the small pieces and appliqued them on top of the larger - much, much easier to do

this will be a small tube-shaped bag
the design is by yoko saito

once all the piecing and joining together was finished, the embroidery began
curving chain stitch over every seam

beginning with the straight ones...

followed by the curved
using cosmo embroidery floss for the first time - love it
so smooth, with a soft sheen
no tangling at all, none

 i've been embroidering over the seams of traditional patchwork for almost fifteen years
my stitches of choice were usually feather, cretan or herringbone, but i'm thrilled with how the simple chain stitch looks here with the hand-dyed thread... colour and stitch meandering along

 and now i'm at the quilting stage - tiny furrows, in random directions
curving, cross-hatching, straight lines and diagonal ones
adding yet more texture
adding strength

itching to remove the basting thread to see how it really looks

random shapes, piecing, applique, embroidery and quilting
this piece ticks all the boxes

nothing about it is perfect and yet in it's togetherness, in the sum of it's parts, it's everything it needs to be...