Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Inch by Inch...

Here is the latest progress on my lavender Blue Celtic Knot. I am having trouble getting the right lighting but I have added the next three bands around. Two are in Caron Water Colours Abalone and the outside band is in DMC Perle Cotton # 5 - color 327. The next band to go in will be in Caron Water Colours Delphinium which is a very pale blue with hints of pink. I am about 40% done and I am really enjoying stitching this one. I discovered today that if my lengths of DMC Perle Cotton are too long by the time I get toward the end it has lost its sheen and gotten fuzzy from rubbing against the canvas each time you make a stitch. I have been using 36 inch lengths so I am going to cut them in half and use 18 inch lengths. It makes for more starts and stops but there will be less wear on the fibers that way. I had to take part of it out and redo it because it looked so fuzzy so it is probably better to have more starts and stops. You learn as you go.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My first projects with yarn

One of my goals for the year was to learn to knit. I started by taking an evening course ( 4 lessons) through continuing education at the local high school. I wasn't satisfied with what I learned there and took out a series of lessons on DVD and bought a learn to knit book from Michaels. With these tools for guidance I made my first project, a stegosaurus scarf for my daughter.   I used Classic Shades by Universal yarn which is a wool/acrylic blend in colorway 707. You won't find this yarn in stores like JoAnns or Michaels. I was on a trip with my husband and went into a knitting store and found it there.

I have now moved onto a prayer shawl for my sister in law. I am using the same type of yarn but in colorway 702. This is a simple knit three-purl three pattern using number 10 needles and 81 stitches cast on.  I am getting lots of practice equalizing my tension, counting, adding another skein of yarn and correcting mistakes. When I  have a chance I will add a picture of how the shawl looks so far. I have completed 112 rows and am about 20% done.

I also wanted to learn to crochet. I decided to look up local knitting shops and it turned out one of them has classes in knitting and crochet. I took a half day beginning crochet class and then went home to practice. I decided to make a lap throw for my dad. When I took the class I selected yarn for the class that I decide to use for the throw. So I went back and bought more skeins of yarn.  Now I am also practicing my crochet techniques. I tried to make a granny square and I did not like the way it turned out so I doing this lap throw with double crochet only.

I am so happy I found this shop. they are very helpful, have a beautiful selection of yarn and wonderful instructors. The classes are also very reasonably priced. I will go back for more lessons when I am ready to learn more techniques of crochet or knitting.

If you are just getting started a useful website is Ravelry ( There are forums for help and the ability to keep track of your projects in your own project notebook. I have also invested in an app for my iPhone called KnitBuddy which helps me keep track of all my projects needlework projects.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week End Progress

Over the weekend I got to work on Lavender Blue Celtic Quilt. I finished the helix, the light blue border around it and the purple border around that.  This is a fun piece. The purple is DMC #327 perle cotton #5. The rest are Caron Water Colors in Abelone, Delphinium, and Night Sky.  This is stitching up quickly. I just haven't had much time to work on it. If you want to see the before picture it is in this post.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Stitching Bloggers Question - June

Each month Lake Stitcher  will pose a question for each of us to answer either in your own blog or as a comment on her blog. You may also post your answer as a comment to my blog if you choose.  This month the SBQ is:

Tell us about something that you have stitched or plan to stitch for any father in your life.  Maybe it’s for your father, your father-in-law, your children's father, your grandfather, your godfather, or someone who was or still is an important father-figure in your life.  Why did you choose this particular piece of stitching?   Tell us the story behind it.

The only father I have done any stitching for is my husband. I have done four pieces for him. The first one I did for him was in recognition of his favorite pastime for the last 9 years, golf. When my husband undertakes to learn a sport it becomes a consuming passion. This is what happened when at the age of 50 he decided to give up his every day basketball league in favor of a sport that was less demanding on his joints. Our 11 year old son had just been to golf camp,  introduced him to the sport, and a local legend was born. In recognition of his passion for playing golf and becoming good at it I stitched him a small design called "I love Golf"from an issue of Just Cross Stitch Magazine. It was his father's day gift in 2004.

  And because a simple one part question is never adequate, let’s go some more:
Often times we identify our love of needlework and our skills with our mothers or grandmothers or other women.  It’s understandable because often they were are first teachers or role models.  Now let’s think about our stitching life as it relates to our dads.  Is there anything about our approach to stitching that we can recognize as traits of our fathers?  For instance, does your dad (or any other important man in your life) have an approach to one of his interests that you can observe and think, “Hey….if I substitute the word “needlework” for “fly fishing”, we’d be pretty darn similar!”  So tell us about it.

My dad has been involved with electronics most of his adult life. He is meticulous and organized whenever he was building some electronic quizmo. I spent many hours as a teenager watching him work on the delicate small components and learned much from him about how to plan a project, collect your materials and tools, set up your work location, working carefully and precisely, and cleaning up when the project was done. Much of this knowledge applies very well to my needlework and I use it everyday. His other  axiom was "measure twice cut once" for household projects. This is a practice I employ in cutting fabric but also in checking my stitching where you often need to count twice before proceeding.  

Saturday, June 05, 2010

SBQ Project or Process Stitcher

I found this question on Just String but it is from Lake Stitcher.

Now….to the Question:

Suppose we say that there are two types of stitchers.

There are those who enjoy the “process” of stitching. They stitch for stitching’s sake and if something gets finished, so much the better, but it’s not necessarily the end goal. Primarily, it’s the application of needle and thread to cloth that makes them happiest.

Then there are those who are “project” stitchers. They move steadily through their projects, certainly enjoying their stitching time, but finding their greatest joy in the completed stitching.

If you had to pick one to describe yourself, which type of stitcher would you be? I imagine that we could all say that we fall somewhere in between, but really think hard about this and try to pick just one. And once you’ve decided whether you’re a Process or Project stitcher, tell us if your recognize that approach in other parts of your life.

My immediate reaction to this question is to say I am a Project Stitcher because I usually stitch a piece for some purpose. However upon reflection I realize how much joy I get out of the process. I love the change in the feel and weight of the fabric as more and more stitches are applied. I enjoy watching the design emerge from something vague and out of focus to a clear representation of the designer's vision. I look forward to the time spent in my stitching chair so I can relax. And as a process stitcher I don't mind having a number of projects on the go at the same time, moving from one to the other to enjoy different types of stitches and techniques as my mood dictates.

As for other parts of my life I believe I am the same. I have a process for most things that I do and I enjoy moving through that process. That goes for everything from creating a new lecture to cleaning my house. I am more focused in following through on my methodology and doing a project the way I want from the start than on the finishing of it. However, I am good at getting to completion but that is not the fun part.

Finishes and Starts

May was a very busy month both at home, at work, and in my needlework.
It was the end of the quarter so there was lots of grading. There was graduation to prepare for which meant practicing the pronunciation of over 100 names since I got to announce the graduates for the first time this year. Our fiscal year ends at the end of June so the budget has to be closely monitored. The faculty are getting ready to leave for the summer so I had to plan and facilitate our faculty retreat. At the end of the retreat I treated the faculty to ice cream, congratulated them on another successful year and waved goodbye as they headed into their summer break.
The busier I got at work the more I needed my needlework to relax me. I knitted and crocheted. I did cross stitch and needlepoint. I finished two projects, started two projects, and continued to make progress on others.

I finished a needlepoint Heart for my ANG chapter outreach project. I am new to needlepoint and this is the first project I have done without a stitching guide. I was really unsure how to go about it so I started to browse through Suzy's Portable Stitches ( an iphone app) which is also available in regular book format. I scrolled through the stitches trying to see what new stitch I could learn that would suit the shape of this project. What I selected is called the diagonal oriental variation. It allowed me to move across the heart from lower right to upper left on a diagonal I also picked a Caron Water Colour called geranium. Since it is variegated I was able to move from that through to a deeper color ( 815) in Perle #5 at the left hand side of the heart and use yet another Perle # 5 to stitch the pink ribbon in the middle.

I also finished stitching for a biscornu for my Cyber-Stitchers chapter. The chapter members stitched over 200 biscornu for a regional S-A-S that is happening later this month. I was happy I could donate one. I unfortunately was in such a hurry to get it in the mail that I forgot to take a picture. However the pattern I used was Teresa Wentzler's Beginner's White Work freebie stitched in ecru on a coffee colored linen just as it is shown here from her web site.

I started an lap throw for my father this month to practice my newly developing skill in crochet. I took a beginner class in April and decided to make this project with my new skill.

On Memorial Day weekend I also started a new needlepoint project titled Lavender Blue Celtic Quilt by Nancy Buhl from Nancy's Needle. This isn't a great picture but you can see what I accomplished in two days of stitching. I am stitching this on 18 count canvas in a light blue. The fibers are a combination of one # 5 perle cotton and four different Caron Watercolours in shades of blue, green and lavender. It was a wonderful month all around and I am looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish in June.