Sunday, November 30, 2003

Now for Something New...

Well, got tired of doing the blackwork bands and since the husband won't start on his shirt for a couple weeks, I have a bit of time ((not)). The sweet man went to Aaron's to get me a matte board for my next project - goldwork on silk gauze. They don't carry a variety anymore and don't do framing in shop. You place your order and wait a week ((sigh)). Don't think I like the idea of not being able to talk to the framer myself. Too many intermediaries and it won't be done right and then... So I'm waiting on my matte board - which will be cut to order.

Decided to try something I've been itching to start, but been a bit afraid to - a real Reticella piece. I've done the linen 32 count square bit, but not a real piece of linen from scratch. I have a lovely piece of 22" by 2 yards that I got in a remnant bin for $1 as it had a stain. A little Zout and stain gone after washing. So took it down from the stash and went in 3" from one corner. Marked with a purple erase marker (couldn't find the blue ones - the "borrowers" must have them) a 2"x2" square. Then back stitched all around - doing 2 threads per stitch. Well, at a guess the linen is around 50 ct and not even, but it won't matter once the square is secure. I am using 80 DMC which is also sold as tatting thread -- strong, fine, and twisted tight. Today is satin stitch the border over the back stitch. Then we cut out the center linen. Finally broke out the Dazor - I really need it for this part. If all goes well, tomorrow is doing the pattern of 4 squares to make a "flower" within the space. Then I need to decide whether to hemstitch, fray, or just roll the hem on my new napkin :). Of course, I may get crazy and do one or 2 additional squares to make it a set flowers in the corner or do a "finished edge" reticella design on one corner.

Good day to stay inside and stitch. It is gray and raining outside and there is ice skating on the TV.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Lucet -- Done

Taught 2 classes - 4 1/2 hours on Sunday on the Lucet. The basic class had 4 students and the intermediate had 3 -- 5 students total for the day. Lots to do and say. With the lucet, a tool for making cording or trim braid, the mechanics are the key. Good mechanics make for good cord.

I surprised myself and got the handouts done a couple days in advance. Actually had time to think about the how of teaching for a couple days :) The husband made me lucets to teach with which made the classes work well.

Spent most of yesterday and part of today working on an article on my historic smocking findings. Will post it all on the web eventually. Of course, I disagree with many people and don't find smocking in the places they do. It will make for lively debate and we will agree to disagree I hope. I truly believe that educated minds can differ which is a novel thought for some people.

Now back to the blackwork. Almost halfway through the first cuff. Preparing a new thread for stitching just before I put the work down, really helps me pick it up again the next time, I am finding. Focus Focus Focus....

Sunday, November 16, 2003

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Sometimes it is really hard to focus on the projects at hand. I want to try it all. Yes, like most people I have a lot of UFO's (for the non-embroidery people - Unfinished Objects/projects). Some I may eventually finish, others were just a "let's try this". There is so much out there to learn about and try.

Am almost done with the husband's collar. He has promised that as soon as I finish the collar he will begin making the shirt. Yes he makes his own shirts and most of it is done by hand. His handwork is better than mine for regular sewing. Guess I'll have to finish the cuffs then or else he won't finish the shirt for 12th Night.

I'm looking forward to 12th Night. Lots of happenings and some of which I am running. I have tons of gifts to make since a lot of people have helped in lots of small ways this past year. I'm getting creative though and will make batches of stuff: bath salts - 2 types - lavendar and fighter soak. And then some decorated candles. I've been pressing and drying pansies from the yard. I may make up a quick batch of beeswax cakes in the form of rose buds, just in case I need more gift things. Lots to do.

Then there is a large display and I want to "show" some of my work. Guess I'd better get some projects finished to show a "body" of work. Yes I'll post pics - but probably to my website (see links) since I can't post here.

Time to focus again. But after I do the handout for my 2 lucet classes next weekend. That will make 9 SCA teaching engagements this year and 4 EGA -- with half of the classes being new. Surprised me when I did the math.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

A Good Mentor is Worth a Million

What a weekend!! I had the pleasure of having Linn Skinner at my house for the weekend. I learn so much from just talking with her, not to mention having her give me hints on my stitching. She has the magic touch as an embroiderer - taking the mundane into the realm of artistry. She has the magic touch as a mentor - giving support and ideas that help me grow. She has the magic touch as a person - I am a better person for knowing her.

Now I'll rework the Elizabethan design cover, get started on embroidering the German Renaissance dress front piece, and work up my notes from the Smocking class into an article. Not to mention finishing the husband's blackwork collar.

The class went REALLY well. I accomplished what I set out to do -- make people think about what they are seeing in portraits and woodcuts. Does smocking exist pre-1600? Maybe depending on your definition of smocking. The technique part of the class went okay too - but then I had a wonderful class assistant .

Monday, November 03, 2003


Husband did it!!!! Now I can add links not just refer to them in the text. Pics will have to wait for a bit.

Have been prepping to teach a class on Historic Smocking this weekend. We will look at all the pictures, paintings, etchings.... I can find dating before 1600 and determine if there is really smocking. My feeling at this point is that there is embroidery on top of gathers, some back smocking - more by accident than design, and the beginnings of Italian Shirring. The handout is over 100 pages - whew!! Then the class will learn some basic smocking stitches. Looks to be fun, but full 6 hours, and I have 20 registered for the class. If I have any energy left I will probably do a version for my website eventually.

Now to relax with more on the husband's blackwork collar.


I'm a non- tech person trying to do a techie job. Grumble - I want to do things with this site, but...........grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Guess I'll have to ask the husband. He can spin the code, so check back for more neat stuff when I can get him to tackle the dirty job.

Now back to stitching -- a much more calming activity

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Blackwork Again

I've torn myself away from the beading - which is VERY addictive. For several years I've promised my husband blackwork collar and cuffs and now I've finally gotten a real start. I'm doing a german pattern and my husband will, hopefully, make the shirt up for 12th Night to go with his waffenrock. It is an easy pattern, but takes several passes as it is made up of 3 lines of stitching. Fortunately it is geometric and so I can look at what I previously stitched and don't have to keep looking back at the diagram. Also, it is a true reversible design, which many are not. Although the back won't show it is nice to know it could.

The pattern is from Bronwen's Blackword Library which is a wonderful resource. Boy, do I hate charting stuff from old pattern books.

It feels good to finally be doing this project as it is truly a labor of love for a wonderful man who will appreciate it. I told him it wouldn't be perfect, but it would get done. His response was "I'll wear it out with pleasure anyway".

Have included the URL for my needlework site if anyone is interested. Like all sites it is a work in progress.