Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TAST Week Five Herringbone

This stitch is a happy one to work with, and I show you how it's incorporated into one of my ongoing embroideries. I'm not making a stitch sampler, unlike quite a few TAST participants, and I'm not using an evenweave or counted stitch type of base, but rather working freehand, with no prearranged lines and no weave to work with. For me this is more fun,but I admire enormously the accomplishment of a lot of the other participant work I've been seeing, too. For me,the unexpectedness of freestyle is what attracts.

Speaking of which, if you want to see a few quick studies I ripped out this week in monotypes, go here

Monday, January 30, 2012

Unofficial Embroidery goes on...

The gauze piece is coming along. I've used up all my silver metal thread now, and I'm going to see how color works into this as I go, before rushing out to get more silver thread. I'm getting the rhythm of embroidery now, so that the curves are more the way I hope for them to be, always a plus. It's so different from other forms of artwork, faster in some ways, much slower and more deliberate in others, and always governed by how long my hands will hold out.

Here are a couple of detail views of part of the work to date. It will eventually bet stretched like a painting and hung that way so the creases you see will be gone. I'm working it on a frame, but the fabric tends to take on the impression of the frame, so I have to take it off as soon as I stop working.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Undisputed Embroidery

Meaning this is just one of the big pieces I'm working on freestyle, no predecided design in mind, let the thread lead the way, no challenge stitches involved. Yet. After Tuesday maybe there'll be a new intro. Meanwhile, this is a piece of polyester gauze, metallic thread, under way.

This piece is about three feet each way, but will be on stretchers smaller than that once I see where it's going. It will be a hanging wallpiece, stretched like a painting.

Here's a detail on the frame:

And off showing more of the design:

The process for this one is to let the random dyeing suggest the shapes and meaning of the stitches, so a sunflower starts to appear here and a tulip there, and ferns over there and so on. The landscape will reveal itself as I go.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

TAST Week Four Cretan Stitch, I think

I included this in one of the current silk pieces in process, but had a difficult time seeing the difference between this and other previous stitches in the series. Perhaps this was my execution,but what I did, though I like the look of it, seems not different enough from say feather stitch, or even running fly, to merit its own title. But this is just me!

I show two views of this piece here

You'll notice I took some liberties with it here and there, too, since I am not a fan of rigidly adhering to stitch patterns. For my taste, I like to see more of a flow to the thread, a bit of a life of its own!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The origin of the TAST challenge

To go back to the Pin Tangle blog, where the challenge originated, go here

TAST Week Three Feather Stitch

This variation on fly stitch went well with the general feeling of the brown silk panels, so I applied it to the second one now in progress, as you see. Pix are shot from two different angles, to try to bring out the general effect.

Feather is one of those annoying stitches that make you take away the number you first thought of, if you follow me, since it asks you to reverse your thinking alternately with your preferred hand movement. Interesting, once you get the hang of it -- again! it's one of those stitches, also that you can easily forget if you haven't made it lately.

Here I've applied it irregularly, in the sort of windblown effect you get in nature, at least that's the idea. You can see the interesting contrast with the more rigid lines of the buttonhole stitch from a previous TAST week. And lazy daisy gets in there, too, so if that shows up in a future week's challenge, I can point to this and say, aha, you saw it first here!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

TAST Week Two Buttonhole Stitch

This is part of the continuing embroidery stitch challenge posed by Pin Tangle, this week being buttonhole stitch, or blanket stitch. In fact I disagree with her definition, which equates buttonhole exactly with blanket, gosh you'd never think embroidery of all things would be controversial, but blanket stitch travels one way, no twist at the top, to avoid uncomfortable edging on a blanket, while buttonhole travels the other way, with a twist at the top for reinforcement at the edge of the buttonhole. There are a number of variations on this, and probably a number of opinions, too, but this is what I learned in convent high school from our master embroiderer, teacher and amazing needlewoman Miss Harris, who probably had a first name, too,but we were never in those days, admitted into such intimate knowledge!

The original challenge is to learn, or enlarge on, a stitch each week for its own sake. But I was already under way with several large embroideries, so I've decide to incorporate Pin Tangle's challenge into my own, and use her stitch suggestions as part of the design I'm already embroiled in!

I show you part of the work off the hoop, for a bigger view

and on the hoop

showing it more taut and visible. Much more will be done to this area before I call it finished. But, as a believer in collaborative art, I'm grateful to Pin Tangle for the TAST challenge!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Design Ideas in Nature

Feel free to use these! as design ideas, I mean, don't swipe the pix themselves. I saw these on this afternoon's walk in the local wilderness area. Mild day, but there was ice lingering, too.

The geese flying overhead are just a reminder of how the whiteness looks dark against the bright sky, and bright against the dark clouds, the sun picking out the light in their feathers.

And tree roots, wonderful idea for drawing, painting, stitching, printmaking...

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I joined a huge group of embroiderers in doing a challenge posed by Pintangle, great Australian embroiderer, the challenge known as Take a Stitch Tuesday, aka TAST. Each week she poses a new stitch either to learn if you are not an experienced embroiderer, or to work from and adapt and generally play about with if you know the stitch. This is the first week of the challenge, presenting fly stitch, which already appeared in the current works I'm on, so I figured okay to show the pieces and let viewers spot the fly stitch appearances!

These were fabrics I hand dyed before working into them with thread, painting with a needle, and there's a lot more to happen before they're officially done, but this is just a peek at the progress so far. With any luck they will be part of the exhibit of fiber arts I'm putting on in June. The silk piece is one of three to hang vertically from a rod

and a detail

and the cotton fabric piece will be mounted on stretchers like a painting, for exhibit. Here's a general image

and a detail of the beginning work