Monday, January 30, 2017


january... my beautiful slow month

i've said it before, i'll say it again, january goes at it's own pace; not too fast, not too slow, just a lovely long month of regrouping
i think for that reason, and for today, i'll say it's my favourite

february drives me mad because it's just too short, so i will enjoy one last day of january before i let the world catch up with me

 i've been stitching away like crazy but haven't got a lot to show for it - mostly embroidery... a little quilting but nothing finished yet so pictures will come in a few days

in the meanwhile, welcome to my white world...

 i'm making a series of sample cloths, each one showcasing the merits {as i see them} of a stitch or technique

above is my bullion knot cloth
flat bullions separated by yellow french knots
loopy bullions with beads
loopy bullions within clusters of french knots and beads
flat bullions with french knot clusters at each end
{it took an effort to have them not resemble dog bones too closely!}
and one long seam of plain loopy bullions tumbling all over each other

above is my hexagon cloth - a solid white one with embroidery on top, and two open ones, one with embroidery and the other with a gathered fabric insert
that gathered bit of fabric wasn't intentional but i made such a mess of the insert that it bubbled up and would not lie flat - the more i tried to fix it, the worse it got... i was almost ready to cut it out and try again when the idea of gathering it occurred to me - now it's my favourite part of this sample

fiddly fun

little clusters of loops, knots and beads destined to be tiny handmade buttons - these are so addictive
if i had meters of silk i would do nothing else but make hundreds of these 

 methinks a button cloth sample will soon be forthcoming...

the last is my appliqued circles and web stitches sample cloth

this one is my favourite - favourite to do, favourite to look at

there are still many web stitches to add, and at least one more tiny appliqued circle before it's finished

 as each one is completed i have a little book i'm putting them in, each on it's on page, tied in place at the top with white embroidery thread, the bottom left free so the reverse of the work can be peeked at

the left-hand page will have the annotations: what i did, why, how etc. etc. and in the end i'll have a little reference book, a book to look through when in need of an idea or a dose of inspiration

stitch diagrams and colour photographs can only inspire a girl so much... having pretty little samples to touch, the gleam of the silk, the glint of a bead, how a stitch lays on the cloth or stands proudly above it... that's what fires me up

as if all of that hasn't kept me busy enough, the stitch sampler below is my play-cloth

 basted off sections on one larger piece of white silk - here is where i try things out, learning the ins and outs of a stitch
practicing, over and over
and in the case of the web stitches - over yet again

quiet and gentle this handwork is...
peaceful even
each time i take up my needle, the cares and woes of the world float away, and for a little while i find myself in the vicinity of peace

Monday, January 2, 2017

everything's coming up roses...

a new year - i hope it and every year to come is wonderful for all of you

i really do love a new year - i think because my birthday's in spring... i'm all about renewal, growth, beginnings - i prefer beginnings to endings, which might explain why the words "once upon a time" still bring a smile of delight to my face

it feels hopeful somehow, unsullied, a promise, a way of marking off and measuring not just time but life itself

it's a pause, and a re-set

three years ago, on new year's day i started writing in the morning what my creative plans for the day were - i still do it each and every morning
i don't ruminate over past or present hurts, don't try to figure out why i am the way i am, or am not, as it were... 
just what it is that i want to make, how, why, when, what works, what doesn't - it's a creative journal that more often than not would probably read like a drudge 
{any guesses as to how many times i've complained that i had the bad luck to be born on a 24 hour-a-day planet???}

 every so often my writing brings clarity though, and ideas, and i'm up from the table like a shot, over to the work table, gathering things before my latest and greatest escapes me...

a couple of years ago i started writing a list of twenty-five things i'd like to make/work on, choosing five and then only doing them until they're done

i still do it... i've learned to balance the list and also to break down projects into various stages, both help to keep me from getting bogged down - it's a brilliant strategy which i will never give up

when i first started it there were those who thought it too confining, too limiting, not allowing for creative freedom
for me it has been exactly the opposite - it gives me more creative freedom than i could ever have thought possible and has taught me more than anything just how long it takes to make things
it lets me choose deliberately what it is i want to do with the time i have

 my current list has me back at my embroiderer's ledger for one

stitching together bits of fabric, lace and paper
tiny ribbon rosebuds

 hundreds of french knots

using scraps of paper, snippets of ribbon, a tiny tea rose

lace cloth with rose fabric reverse applique

roses, roses everywhere

i'm in girly heaven!  
i hope wherever you are, whatever you're doing, that it brings a smile to your face and gives you a happy heart...