. This is the last of my 2011 Crazy Challenge pieces and is another example of a poor fabric choice on my part. In real life, this special edition Alabama Clay linen from Silkweaver ends up looking like camouflauge against the bright Thread Gatherer fiber. Normally, it looks like a dark neutral and no where near as military! Happily, this is a mistake I don't make too often. I'll probably restart this on a pale neutral background but use the same fibers. I have a number of fabrics I am considering but am leaning toward a very soft buttercream shade.
. This should probably be on the class projects list as it was an on-line class but it was in my current stitching bag when I compiled that list and so ended up on the WIPs list instead. Ultimately, I want to finish this piece as a shoulder bag with a zippered top and a lining with multiple pockets. I visualize it as a sort of lightweight "organizer" bag. The photo below shows the basic ground. And the photo to the right shows a detail of the encrusting that I have started. By the time I am through I should have embellished all the patches with either surface and raised embroidery, beads, buttons and charms.
This is a really ambitious project for me. If I get it done this year, it will be a Christmas gift for my mother: the colors are perfect for her decor. In the more likely event that I have to carry this project forward into 2013, it will have to be a Mother's Day gift. There is a flower motif and a bud motif. I am stitching them on alternating squares and have stitched 3 of the 16 squares so far. So there is a long way to go. But we are talking huge stitching here [at least to somebody accustomed to 36 and 40ct linen] and it goes rather quickly, once I am in the groove.
One reason I'd never make it in the highly competitive world of designing is that, for me, designing is more process than product. Once I have solved the puzzle of effectively realizing my inspiration on linen, I lose interest. Still, I'd like to finish this piece and incorporate it in a Crazy Quilt Square or some other multimedia project. I call it "beach find" because the centers of the pansies are actually fragments of oyster shells that have been polished by the waves of the Chesapeake Bay.
Another of my own designs, set aside for the simple reason that I hit a boring patch. The bargello of the back shows gaps where you can see, in real life, the linen threads between the rows. So I started backstitching between the rows with several strands of blending floss: a nice effect but ever so boring. Once that is done, I have only one small task to complete on the front: couching a fairly Thread Gatherer fiber to represent a sinuous snake wending it's way around the nests. Since there is really very little left to do on this, I made it my WIP goal for this month. In the face of all the other more complex projects on the August goals list, I thought it would be the most doable.
I have charts for all my children and my husband and myself. To give you an idea of just how long I have had the charts, I am stitching it with Needle Necessities Victorian Christmas floss. And I have charts for the names of several pets, one of whom has been dead for three years. I do not have charts for my grandchildren, though, as they were born several years after the original purchase was made. Even if I get this done this year, I'll hold off presenting it to him as package trim until I can get a companion ornament stitched for my daughter-in-law, Christina.
This is a design from a British magazine. Just the other day one of my British followers commented that "In the UK a complex design is one which features large blocks of colour (yawn!)." This design certainly lives up to that description. The boredom with repetitive fill stitching is likely what made me set this piece aside in the first place. My plans for this involve making it into a sturdy tote, suitable for the beach or poolside. The fabric is not actually quite this bright a blue; it is more of a navy blue. The odd thing is this is an outdoor photo and I'd expect the color to be more true in a photo taken in natural light.
This comes from an old needlepoint hardcover, c1972, called The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry by Joan Fisher. It is a sampler of sorts since I am using different stitches for each distinct element that makes up the owl design. I am using wools and wool blends from Thread Gatherer and Rainbow Gallery as my main fibers but will probably use some silk or bamboo floss for texture and contrast somewhere along the line. Basically, I am following the general geometrical outline in the book but choosing my own stitches and colors as I go along.
- T. Wentzler's Logo Dragon. I set this aside for two reasons. The scroll rods on which I stretched the piece are clumsy and cumbersome. And I really don't care for the YLI silks that I substituted for the DMC. YLIs were the very first silks I ever purchased, long before Belle Soie was available and before I even knew about Splendour, Glorianna, Thread Gatherer and Caron. They just don't compare with what's currently available on the market. On the other hand, I like the chart and have done a fair bit of it so I may as well finish. Still, I suspect this will remain the last piece on my list. And it may even turn into a re-start. I find I am getting fussier as I get older and have no problem starting over if I don't like how a project is going.
That's the lot. Now that I have pulled them out, I want to work on them all immediately. As I handle them I hear again the siren call that made me start each and every one of them in the first place. But looking at them, several things become quite obvious. One, my tastes in stitching is nothing if not eclectic. If you were to look for a common theme, technique or material among these projects, I doubt you'd be able to find much. About the only thing the projects have in common is that they all appeal to me on some level. Two, I am doing a bit more designing of my own, usually incorporating mixed media and found objects. In fact, I find myself saving all sorts of oddities with a notion that they might come in handy in my stitching projects, e.g.: an oval shaped tear drop in jade with an open center from an unmated earring, the tiny lockable chest from a "prayer" bracelet given me by a student who obviously thinks I am holier than I am, the sea glass and polished shell fragments collected while on vacation and such like things. I wonder how many other long time stitchers end up doing a spot of amateur designing. Is it part of the natural progression? Once you reach a certain level of skill, do you just naturally want to translate all sorts of ideas into textile art? Third, I am clearly a serial starter and I need to exercise a little more self-discipline if I am ever to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Realistically speaking, I will never be able to enjoy the use of the planned handbags and totes or be able to present my planned gifts if I don't get into the habit of finishing a project or two every so often.