Sunday, December 05, 2004

Lots Happening But Little Stitching

Can't believe it is already Dec 5th. Despite the cold I've been running fast - finished my next column just before Thanksgiving and did a proof of it last week. Then along came guests and food and food and cooking and food and cooking. Not really complaining. It went well and I love the food and family feeling of Thanksgiving. The cold has hung on and on, but most days I've managed to get stuff done.

My honey took me to the holiday Gem and Jewelry Show. There is one in Sept and one in November so it makes it easier for him to find gifts for me (big grin). This one had lots of neat textile things for purchase so did the rest of my 12th Night shopping too.

This last week has been running fast between Jury Duty, annual doctors appointments, car servicing, and trying to rent and prepare for renting the building I just purchased. Only 3 units, but.... This was my first foray into Jury Duty. I didn't get chosen but did have to sit through 2 days of jury voir dire on a case I'm sure I would have been bounced for too many apparent (not actual) bias/conflicts. The people watching was really quite interesting, but I was on tender hooks while waiting. You see - I am supposed to hear a case this week and the jury case was supposed to go for 2 whole weeks. Being an arbitrator assigned to a case is not sufficient as a "hardship" cause under the law, so I waited. -- FYI the origin of the term "tender hooks" is a mispronounciation for tenter hooks which were used since early history to stretch/square up cloth.

With the building, I've been doing a lot of typing, preparing all the forms needed to rent/lease the units. I could have purchased some predone, but I didn't feel that they were adequate for my needs -- so says the former regulatory compliance officer. So type or stitch. I'd rather be stitching, but...

I've also gotten a jump on my plan to put stuff up for sale. I'm feeling crowded with the too much stuff syndrome so have begun the weeding process. Of course not the STASH, but other stuff that needs to go to new homes. Ebay is the main focus for this venture, but there will be other avenues for some of the large and specialty pieces. But it all takes time. Lots of time.

Hope to do some stitching this week. My next column is percolating and I need to get it done this month. Sigh - never enough time to play.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Stitching for Sanity Sake

The holidays have set in with a vengence along with the cold season. Husband brought home a cold last week and this weekend was my turn. He was a grumpy bear all week - a sweet grumpy bear, but a grumpy bear never the less.

This week is the holiday luncheon and officer installation for my EGA group. Since I will be VP - Workshops, that includes me. I'm baking tonight to take my contribution - a cake which dates back to the Civil War. Called a Plum Cake, it has no plums. Instead it has molassas, raisins and currents. It is yummy and rich.

Then we are into the turkey days with the relatives arriving. It will be small, but enough people to do all the trimmings. I think Thanksgiving and Passover are my 2 favorite holidays. Of course both revolve around family and food.

To keep sane I've been working on the Crazy Quilt Bargello. It isn't what I'm supposed to be working on, but... it keeps me sane.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Slowly Getting the Little Tasks Done

It seems to be a rule of the universe that it takes forever to get through all the paperwork and little details that appear. Moreover it seems like the little gremlins of this world take great delight in piling more and more paperwork and details onto already overloaded desks. Slowly I am working my way through the piles of accumulated stuff on and around my desk (sigh). Have finally posted the last 2 handouts from my classes on my website - Shading and 3 Raised Stitches. Of course the usual caveats apply - they are not complete in themselves having been designed to be used as part of a class. That said - enjoy!

I'd rather be stitching, but it seems I need to either stitch or do typing - the nerves and muscles seem to complain otherwise (drat!). Now back to more paperwork -- all those almost year end tasks.

Monday, November 15, 2004

2nd Column Hits Newstands

It is a wonderful feeling to be in print. It is a type of validation, whether deserved or not, that is hard to beat.

My 2nd column in Needlepoint Now is hitting the newstands now. Apparently the first column was well received and I hope the 2nd will be as well. I'm finishing up the next one and will have it winging its way off tomorrow. Then on to the next one.
Do let me know what you think. It is hard writing in a bit of a vacuum.

As for my current stitching, all work and no play makes Sabrina very dull. October went by very quickly - what with the prep for 3 classes, including one new one from scratch. Then long hours of work for the last couple weeks. I'm feeling in need of a creative fix so will do a bit on the Crazy Quilt Bargello piece this week. Spent some time last week choosing colors and patterns for 2 sections.

Now back to work on the column.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

1 Year Anniversary!!!

A year ago today I started this blog - my first blog. My friend and mentor, Linn Skinner nudged me into blogging. She had started her blog The Embroideress and found the feedback to be very supportive. Since much of what I was doing was not in the mainsteam, as it were, she thought I would also find it helpful. It has been very helpful and supportive. So to all of you who read this blog and periodically comment on my journey through the modern world while I promote historical embroidery -- a very big thank-you.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Having Fun with Goldwork Too

Yesterday I taught at my local EGA - Basic Metal Thread Embroidery and Bullion Basics. Had 6 for the class and managed to hook them all. A couple of the ladies had materials or kits but had been afraid to try them, but after the class they seemed gung ho to go play. One lady is a designer and I can't wait to see what she develops with the Metal Threads; she is sooooo very creative.

I've also let myself in for some work. I've agreed to be our local workshop chair. It seems they have liked my classes and are looking forward to some creative workshops.

So left the meeting feeling good. They also were very pleased with my article and several had actually gone out and bought the magazine. Needless to say I'm flying high. Now to buckle down and write the one for the Jan/Feb issue. Fortunately the project is done.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Having Fun with Blackwork

Spent the last couple evenings getting ready to teach this morning's class on Blackwork Filling Patterns. I love teaching this class as it really is one where you see the light bulb go on in people's eyes as they begin to understand the concepts and make it their own.

There were 16 in an ANG class today - all very experienced stitchers. Some had done blackwork before. A couple had taken classes from Ilse Althaer (?sp) on making Blackwork Reversible. And still the light bulb went on in these stitchers' eyes. It was so VERY rewarding. They came away from class thinking that Blackwork is fun! Hurrah - more converts. A couple even stated that they intended to finish the project -- high praise indeed -- so I'm riding high

Tonight is switching gears as tomorrow I teach beginning Metal Thread Embroidery with a bit of bullion basics thrown in for good measure. Of course putting the kits together is so much fun with a new kitten around.

Monday, October 18, 2004

You can lead a horse to water

It seems that this same theory holds true with needleworkers. They have been asking for classes on more advanced stitches, but no one showed. Spent large portions of last week doing up the handout for 3 raised stitches. Oh well! Yes I'll post the handout sometime this week - for the audience at large.

Yes the trip pics are up on the personal portion of the website. Spent several days doing a quick and dirty travel log with pics - including the costume and embroidery pages.

This last weekend was October Crown. A bit wierd as the site we use also was used by the CDF (California Forestry Dept) to fight a nearby forest fire. We had smaller space allotment than usual, massive modern lighting all day and night, helicopters flying in and out, and collie dogs in trainging for another group - dogs barked all day. A number of the off duty fire fighters came over to check out our group and its doings.

We came home with a kitten - 12 weeks old, from a friend whose cat had a litter. The husband has said we should get our present male cat a kitten so... Tomorrow the vet and when we get the all clear then we will do the introductions. Meanwhile I need to find a way to put all my fiber arts stuff away. I am sooooo spoiled as our current cat could care less about needles, thread, yarn, etc. He will act as a fabric weight and loves wool, but other wise is an embroiderers delight. I can see lots of challenges ahead.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

I played hooky

Went on a wonderful 2 week vacation and didn't do any needlework. I really played hooky!

Husband and I spent lots of time in museums in Washington DC. Don't remember when I walked soooooo much. Ended the 1st part, on my birthday, with going to the White House in the AM, the Library of Congress exhibit on 350 years of Jewish Life in America in the afternoon, and Cirque du Soleil's Varekai in the PM. It is good to have a flexible mind.

Then off to visit friends in Alexandria via Mt Vernon. Wonderful house in old town, good food and company. Got our cat fix too. Then off again to Colonial Williamsburg. Lots more walking. Spent serious money on this trip on books - clothing, textiles, and cookbooks. The DeWitt Museum has wonderful drawers of textiles including samplers and other embroidered items so guess I did at least look at needlework on the trip.

Finished off the trip with a visit to horse country and another friend's home which is styled as a Regency Country House. She has taken an old "ranch" and rebuilt it into a working farm. It is completely organic and supports an English style tavern. It is also one of the largest farms for shire horses Ayrshire Farm.

I'll post pics to the personal website soon - if anyone is interested.

Finally readjusting to being back and the time change. Spent the day working on my handout for the class for October Crown - 3 Raised Stitches (Detached Buttonhole, Trellis, and Hollie Point). Yes I'll post the handout to the website after the class. For those that have a raised eyebrow as to whether Hollie Point is Elizabethan - Digby says it is, but others disagree.

Now to wind down with The Three Muskateers and some basic sewing stuff - yes sometimes you just need to do the repair work too.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Getting Ready for Vacation

Time seems to run sooooooo fast thesse days. I had planned to use August to catch up on my stitching projects. Instead it became recover from A&S. I'm finally feeling like being creative and work, which has been little to non-exisitent for the last couple years seems to be on a large up-swing. Soooo I've had to be "professional". While I'd like to think that I'm professional in the way I think and do things, having to put on the outward trappings is another thing altogether. Getting up early - putting on a full face of makeup - putting on panty hose - putting on the "suit" - putting on real shoes (pumps versus clogs) - getting in the car and driving through traffic... Then being there in the room 110% to hear the case. Most of the time I multi-task. It is something I'm good at. However, when I'm hearing a case - the others in the room wouldn't understand if I brought my needlework along. Oh- well. 2 cases later...

Did a little more weaving. Good relaxation on the evenings when I'm home from working. I promise pics soon. Did some research into a lacis project. I may take the test project with me on vacation. It is a lot of set up which is suitable for sitting around in the evenings that we aren't out and about or when we are staying with friends. Did a bit of prep for a set of blackwork collar and cuffs for me. I will take the frontispiece for the German with me to do, but will probably also take the collar and cuffs - repetition is good and relatively mindless work.

When I return I need to prep for the 3 classes I'm teaching in October, finish my surface embroidery project (the radish book) and do the next installment for my column. The first issue with my column should be hitting the stands about now - Sept/Oct issue of Needlepoint Now. Hope they made all the last minute fixes on the citations. Yes it is REAL (big grin).

PS my phone now has the email and phone numbers from my computers address book - now to do the final updates to my Palm. It works!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Coping with the Modern World

"Toys" are supposed to make life easier. I suppose in the long run they will, but for now I'm doing a lot of weaving to combat the frustration of trying to make my toys work together. Strange how all the creative energy gets eaten when dealing with picky little details.

Tonight was a big break through - my phone and my computer communicated. Yes Bluetooth technology really works. Some day I'll have my phone and a portion of my email address book on my phone. Yes I'll still have the Palm/Treo, but since the email and phone both are through the phone...

Part of this is trying to get ready to go on vacation. We have 2 weeks in DC-Alexandria-Colonial Williamsburg - Virgina coming up fast. Meanwhile I have "real" work coming fast too. Sigh -- not a lot of time or energy to play with my needlework.
It always seems that you have to do so much to get ready to go on vacation and then catch up on the return side. I sometimes wonder if vacation is really worth all the trouble. Most of the time my needlework is my mental vacation.

Need to think about what project to take with me on this vacation. I have no doubt that if I don't take a project, I'll wish I had, but if I do, I won't get a lot of time to stitch.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

I am not a Techie!!!! Frustration Abounds

I really hate it when my computer and other related gadgets eat up all my patience and energy. I know it will be worth all the work in the long run, but in the short run, frustration is the nature of the day(s).

I finally finished moving into my Mac G5 with OSX. It really is another animal. Not the old Mac although it will run OS9 (thankfully). Not a PC. The new Unix base means that the husband understands most of the computer better than I do (sigh), but he still can't answer the Mac specific questions.

It hasn't been an easy move although it could have been harder. I was able to transfer over all the old files. I can even read them either with new software or under OS9 and old software. The wierder bit has been moving into an updated and revised calendar program and NEW email program.

In theory at some point I will have my cell phone, PDA and computer all talking to each other. BUT I need to go through certain gyrations first. The most seamless was the Palm PDA stuff. Then moved over all the email stuff. It is all there, even the Address Book (hurrah) - just not organized -- all 300+ addresses. So more work in the weeks to come, reorganizing everything.

It is hard to believe that it was 20 years ago that I got my first MAC. They were cutting back at work and I was only to have 1/6 of a secretary. I said okay, but I want a MAC and training -- which I received. Now my cell phone is more complicated and more powerful than my first computer.

Okay - I'm coping. But it really is an energy and time sink -- not to mention the tendonitis; so no stitching. Maybe I'll warp the loom and weave a bit more and watch the Olympics tonight. Need to give the brain a break.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Tired but pleased

The weekend went well. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Nothing went quite as planned, but it all worked anyway. About 10% of the classes failed to materialize but I was able to replace about half of them even last minute. People were incredibly generous with their time. We actually had almost enough people to help put things up and get them taken down in reasonable order. Yes the husband was weary, but he had help this time.

Got my new garb done in time. Vikings are very comfortable and linen always is a joy to wear. Since I was very busy and running around lots, comfortable was good. Yes I'll do pics soon.

Friday was set up. Had all but 1 classroom pavilion up by dark. Dinner was easy -- premarinated chicken wings on a disposable barbecue - 8 x 11" approximately. Managed to cook all the pieces and still had good coals left. Jicima, carrots and snap peas are good snacks as well as made for a good healthy dinner. Husband then went off to stand guard, in his new tunic, for the vigil. I went along to visit. We really didn't need to eat dinner since they had a wonderful medieval food feast for the vigil.

Saturday - up at the crack of dawn, well almost. We opened the class registration at 8 am and the line was long. We did manage to get most people through the line in the hour before classes started. My deputy is VERY good. Court went well. About half the demos cancelled so having court take part of the demo time worked out. The day ran fast, but people were happy - laughing - and lots of positive energy. We had LOTS of entries in the competitions - hurrah! It was hard to find 3 judges for 8 competitions, but some of the judges really gave of their time and did multiples. I was very grateful.

The evening was the feast put on by and for the new Laurel - a Hawaiian feast complete with entertainment. It was a real mind bender to see medieval style garb done in Hawaiian prints. Good food, wonderful entertainment, fun people. I was tired but got to sit back and enjoy. There was a glitch in the evening competitions, but we got it handled.

Sunday dawned clear which is good. There is nothing like packing up wet canvas. The morning classes went off well and they were well attended. Court was well attended and reasonably short. Several people received awards and we recognized all the competitions entries. We managed to get everyone packed up and off site by 5 pm. Then home. Husband unpacked half of the moving van Sunday night (yes we borrow a 25' van for the event - 3 pavilions, 10 tables, 20 gallons of water, ...). I collapsed after a shower.

Spent the better part of Monday finishing the unpacking and cleaning up. The rest of the week has been catchup. Yes I warped the loom again and am working on more trim. Will probably pick up a needle tonight - it is mystery night on PBS - good stitching time.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Running Fast Again - Weaving Soothes the Way

It is time for that last minute rush toward Arts and Sciences weekend. As mentioned before I am in charge of this large event with 100 classes, 8 competitions, 12+ demos, plus entertainment and a whole lot more this coming weekend in Monterey California. We expect over 300 people and lots of hoopa. We borrow a moving van to get all the pavilions, tables and stuff to the site. Spend all of Friday setting up for it and the first wave of people with pavilions for classrooms and and and... Then Saturday 8 am is class registration and 9 am starts the classes.

I am teaching as well. Yes I'm crazy!!! The class is one I've done before on shading, but will be lots better since I've done a class with Linn since then. We will do a bit with split, long and short, and couching. Talk about defining edges with split stitch or back stitch under and stem stitch and couching over. We will talk about angle and flow to accent. Then if we have time we may experiment with multiple threads - twisting 2 together to make one of an in between color.

Spent the weekend making new garb. Husband wants to do some early period stuff so I was making a Viking outfit and he was making his "colors". He is part of a war unit and one of the members will be elevated to the highest arts level (Laurel). The unit willl be standing guard during the lady's vigil and all the unit members will be in their colors. He only has a ratty over tunic for his armor so... he made himself a nice tunic for the event (yes he sews :)

As mentioned I've been doing some inkle weaving to relieve the stress of doing all the mind numbing detail work to make the event happen. I've woven 4 - approximately 3 yard pieces so far - black, green, cream for a new wool Viking for me, blue & red for husband's new early period tunic, blue & gold -- my first piece, but too yellow for what I had in mind so will need to do another (sigh) in a more goldy tone, and wine, peach, cream for my new linen Viking.

Will spend most of the rest of the week attending to details and juggling all the little last minute bits that make for a super event. Hope I remember everthing. It seems people like my events - "they are well planned, run well, people have handouts so they know what to expect - where & when, and they are fun". So now I have a reputation to live up too (drat!!! :)

Next week collapse and catch up on embroidery.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

You know you are addicted when...

You know you are addicted when, you spend over $100 on fiber - in 10 minutes.
You know you are addicted when, you would rather weave/embroider than do anything else, including eating chocolate.
Okay -- getting real, you postpone the chocolate until you have a break in the weaving/stitching, then eat the chocolate, clean you hands and return to weaving/stitching.
You know you are addicted when, you can't wait to get back to weaving/stitching and you've just had the best.....

I'm having fun with the new addiction, inkle weaving. It takes as long to warp the loom as it takes to weave the piece. Of course the piece is only 1" wide approximately. Finished the piece I warped at the war. Warped another pattern for the husband -- trim for his new outfit. Finished it. Now that is pressure. He has to make the garb now :) Will warp the loom again tonight for trim for my new outfit. It is also a practice thing. The more I do, the more even the weaving. Fortunately the patterns and yarns are forgiving.

Actually with all the prep for my big event (html - blech!, phone calls to suppliers, confirmation letters, emails, etc.) the weaving has been a big relief - it is soothing and doesn't stress the brain cells which are already really tired from attending to all the details.

Yes pics soon of all the trims. Then on to learn the brocaded patterns. Yes it really is an addiction.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Tired but happy

The war went well. Not too hot, not too windy, not too cold (most of the time), not too many mosquitos, ...and no injuries. Our group fielded 10 on the war field - 8 heavy and 2 lights (archers). The event was about 1000 strong with lots of merchants (very dangerous). We ate very well - (d) fresh caught Pacific salmon baked on the grill, (b) breakfast burritos, (d) Guiness Stew, (b) pancakes, sausage, bacon, (d) 4th July b'que with all trimmings, (b) fresh baked goods. My classes had students that were really turned on to learning blackwork and surface embroidery. Most of the other classes went well as well. The competitions worked and we had a fair number of entrants.

I took a class in inkle weaving. While weaving on an inkle loom is 18-19th C rather than medieval, the method of weaving in the same. You can do card weaving on an inkle and get a better tension. I've been wanting to learn inkle weaving for years, just never had the time, the loom, and interest all at the same time. The instructor was very good and by the end of the class I was warped and weaving. Spend part of the last 2 nights doing some weaving and am finally finding my rhythm. Being a thread control freak, I keep going back and tightening the weft thread, until I'm satisfied, but the patterning is getting even.

Sigh - another addiction.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

In the midst of chaos...

Running fast preparing for the West An Tir War over the long weekend. For us it will be unusually long as we will drive up before and stay an extra day. Husband wants some time just - AWAY. As I mentioned before, I'll be running 3 contests and now teaching 3 classes. Lots to prepare for. Of course I haven't done a long event in years so there are the last minute problems of where is...something died and so now I need to sew a new one...

So what am I doing - taking a break. Some people have said I'm a force of nature. Here is what the arch villain personality test says:

I took the most accurate villain personality test

created by:
The Arch Villainess Gracie

Next column gets FTP'd tomorrow. Need to buckle down and do the next one when I get back.

Have a good holiday

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Time Marches On

Haven't felt like blogging lately. With the death of Martha Schmidt on June 8/9th, whom I saw, took classes from and made special arrangements for next year and followed by the death of a dear friend on June 19th, it has been a bit hard to feel creative.

I've been putting all my efforts into preparing for this weekend's Collegium class on Sideless Surcoats. It has been 20 years since I've taught this class, so no prior handout or notes. Had to pretty much start from scratch. Then there is all the wonderful research and books that have come out in the last few years to incorporate. The handout is 12 fully loaded pages of graphics with a little commentary and yes I'll post it on my website next week.

Then it is prep time for West An Tir War. I am coordinating 3 competitions and giving 3 classes. I've had less than 1 month to get it all together and the teachers are not jumping up and volunteering. Needless to say, I'm filling in more than I probably should to make sure it looks like a full track.

So back to focusing on finishing the handout. Need to finish my canvaswork furnishings column too next week (sigh).

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Catching Up

The last few weeks have been so full. Everything that needed to happen happened. Nearly everything that should have been done was done. So now is the time for catching up.

I promised you some pics of some of the current needlework, so here goes.

When things get hairy I work on the Crazy Quilt Bargello. Below shows the last couple of steps. I'm really enjoying the cottons and silks from Dinky Dyes that Linn turned me on to a couple months ago. They have filled several needs in this piece.

Awhile back I came up with the idea of doing a tin topper. When Linn teaches Goldwork at my house, I've made chip boxes from Altoids tins. For those who do not do Goldwork - Chip Boxes are felt or similarly lined trays or boxes which are used to hold or catch the bits of bullion used in doing chipwork. These are 1 to 2 mm pieces of bullion that you clip from the bulk pieces to make chips that you then lay like beads. Since this is for my chip box, I felt it only right to show different metal thread techniques. Then since I like the Elizabethan look, why not take the look and do it with some modern twists. The result is below.

The metal threads are couched with silk. The threads are novelty threads and twists from Benton and Johnson. The butterfly wings are laid silk with 2% very fine gold thread couched down. I have yet to do the butterfly body and the bullionwork on the leaf. Of course everything is from the perspective of the snail.

The surface embroidery bit is of a radish. The drawing is from a 16th C German herbal. The threads are silk and are done in long and short and stem stitch. It will be the cover of a handmade book. This was created for a friend who has had a year long running "gag" about radishes and the book of the virtual gardner. It just had to be done (insert very big grin). There is more to do on it and it will be done after the next big war (July 4th weekend).

I've up dated my webpages, see link on sidebar. Part of the update is the current version of the stitch database - all 30 pages of it currrently. It very definitely is a work in progress. Lots more to do before I reach a point where I am willing to let it be. However, it will be awhile before I reach that point.

Now back to working on my handout for next weekend's class - Sideless Surcoats. It is rare that I teach anything beyond needlework anymore. I haven't taught this class in almost 20 years and of course there was no handout then and very little research. The world has changed since then and so I need to do a lot of catching up.

More soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Dual Personalities - or having too much fun while being tired

This comes from another blog. Sabrina is my "medieval" name/persona and Robin is my mundane name (formerly a kick ass VP at BofA HQ and currently a part time Arbitrator/Mediator/Facilitator.

How to make a Sabrina

1 part mercy

5 parts crazyiness

1 part leadership
Stir together in a glass tumbler with a salted rim. Serve with a slice of sadness and a pinch of salt. Yum!

How to make a Robin

3 parts mercy

5 parts courage

1 part ego
Blend at a low speed for 30 seconds. Add lovability to taste! Do not overindulge!


Personality cocktail

For those of you who know the husband - this is way too true

How to make a Will

1 part success

3 parts humour

3 parts joy
Layer ingredientes in a shot glass. Top it off with a sprinkle of emotion and enjoy!

More tomorrow when I'm more recovered.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

One Thread at a Time

Not much happening beyond stitching and database input. I hate stitching to a deadline and never feel that I'm doing my best. I've given myself permission not to finish by Wednesday and that seems to help. The book is done - all handbound. The stitching is for the cover. If necessary, I'll "present" the 2 pieces and then take them back to finish. (sigh) I am enjoying doing the silk shading - one thread at a time. Some parts are better than others, but the whole looks pretty good. I'm using Strathaven linen which some say is really close to a historic linen weave. It has a nice hand, but would be a bit course for fine clothing. The primary silk is Needlepoint Inc as I could get a number of different and wonderful greens. I'm also using a bit of Caron Waterlilies and Soie Crystal - they are a bit finer and do not cover as well, but I had them in the stash.

In between, more database input. Tomorrow I'll take what I have and organize it into a pdf for the class. Not my most favorite task. Thursday is cooking and packing the car. Friday we drive to site and set up. Saturday I wear 4 different "hats" - consort (my husband is fighting in the lists), Guild Minister for the West Kingdom Needleworkers Guild, Kingdom Arts Minister, and camp frau. Sunday is more of the same and then we pack up to come home. Needleworkers is hosting A&S and the display should be pretty good. I need to decide what if anything of mine to display as well. Thanks to Linn, I have some goodies and surprise prizes and thank-yous. We also have the class Saturday (What stitches are period?), a meeting, and a court presentation. Sunday my deputy is doing a class and we have to get a number of evaluations done for our Apprenticeship Program. One lady is even sending me her items from Alaska.

Now back to the database (boring input, fascinating reading)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Musings on Technical Aptitude and Stitching

Have been spending nearly all my "work" time on adding to my stitch database. While not a "formal" database, it is a listing of extant items and the stitches/techniques used on them. I'm finding that I'm horrible at maintaining any sense of continuity in the way I do the data input. It is almost as frustrating to me as following a chart or counting threads. This leads me to wonder about different abilities and how they relate to stitching.

When I teach blackwork bands, I find that stitchers with a math or engineering background catch on really quickly. When I teach surface embroidery, especially with bits that need to be random, the more social science/art stitchers catch on quicker. All seem to be able to overcome the "obstacles", but enjoyment and ease of learning seem to be affected. Perhaps some Ph.d student will some day create an Aptitude Test based on stitching. Who knows, stranger things have happened.

Am off to reward myself with some surface embroidery - lots of long and short and stem stitch on a drawn design.

PS The weekend of ceremonies and celebrations went well; even with 2 and 3 parties/events packed into each day. The husband is, in his words "DONE"!!!!!!!!! and the graduation only proves it. Thank-you all for your support and congratulations.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Tired but content - warning long

It has been a fast week - again. Linn and Libby came up late Tuesday (5/18) and of course we stayed up late talking -- after decorating the dining room with all the store goodies. Since they were on their way to CATS and bring all the booth stuff, we just had to have a preview.

Wednesday was the Goldwork Class. 16 ladies tightly packed into my living room learning the joys of Goldwork. Think Linn hooked most of them as they want an advanced class in the fall. I stitched along and got to raid Linn's thread braid box. I've been working off and on, on a tin topper for my "chip box". It is coming along and the couple little extra bits put a lot of pizzazz into it. Yes pics soon.

On Thursday Linn and Libby toodled off to CATS to set up the booth - what was left after the 16 ladies had their way with all the goodies. Linn's thread winders are "to die for". I can't wait to see what else she is able to import.
Linn had left me with a task - to do a series of Make It/Take It classes for the booth on Saturday and Sunday. Sooooooooo.....with Linn's permission I used the basics from her website lesson and put together a handout. Then put materials together for the classes. This on top of returning the house to order and packing for CATS.

Friday off to Santa Clara via my dress makers. Had decided I needed new garb for June Crown. I will be on display a lot that weekend and I just can't be seen in the same old thing (tongue firmly planted in cheek). I had ordered some wonderful royal blue linen a while back and some great handerkechief weight linen for an underchemise. Managed to get them washed earlier in the week. Grabbed the buttons, husband and I had found a couple of events ago that had little tudor single roses on them. Then off to get the cotehardie done and then class. Managed to get the additional chairs dropped off at the booth, checked in and got to class early (since I was class helper it was a must). Shuttle Tatting - 4 hours of it. I'm not sure my fingers were made to do it. If I control the thread like I crochet, I can make it work and get a reasonable tension. Think I like Needle Tatting better, but shuttle is really portable. The reward was a lovely dinner at a really good sushi place with Linn and Libby. Then back to the room to stitch the model for the MITI.

Saturday was SHOPPING and doing 3 MITI sessions of 1 hour each. Had 9 students over the course of the day. Think I've successfully converted them all to blackwork (insert evil laugh). Then off to Overdying Threads with Catherine Jordan. The knowledge gained in the Crazy Quilt class really paid off. We dyed a couple dozen skeins of Anchor cotton floss, several yards of silk ribbon, 3 types of linen and 2 types of canvas. I definately am a child of the 70's - I tended toward the tie-dyed look. After 3 hours of class, back to the room to wash them all out.

Up early on Sunday for Martha Schmidt's 4 hour class on Insertion Stitches. Class started at 8 am and check out was 11 so.....Learned lots. Martha is an excellent teacher. It seems I have readers out there. Meet 2 of them in the class (Annette's Acre & Whiz Gidget) - HI! The web is a wonderful thing. Then back to the booth to teach. Unfortunately no one showed. Sunday was really quiet. For that matter the whole show was quiet and classes small - it seems the organizers forgot to ADVERTISE!!. Packed my car with booth stuff then off for my last class with Martha on fancy edgings with Hemstitching. Called the husband on the way home and put in the Chinese Take-out Order. Home with Linn and Libby and dinner all done. Time to crash and burn, but not before rumpling the cat.

Monday was a slow start. Linn and Libby went off to ship stuff for the Rockhome (?sp) show and me to shop for Monday nights dinner party and Tuesday luncheon. Then back to set a formal table and do dinner. Good food and good friends. Husband did all the handwashing of the china and crystal after and Linn and Libby pitched in to dry. I felt a bit guilty, but it was a lovely evening.

Tuesday Linn taught Blackwork Ornament 4 at my EGA chapter. I had made a molded tuna salad and sherry cake for the May luncheon. Then I stayed around to for the afternoon class in Hair Pin Lace. Really cool technique!. Linn and Libby headed home for a couple days well deserved rest.

Well not a lot of stitching, but learned lots. Off to work on my stitch database and column between loads of laundry. This weekend is all the inlaws and family. The husband is finally graduating after 5 years of night classes and the brother/sister inlaws are celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary. Lets see - 4 dinner parties, 2 luncheons, a barbeque... Hope to find time to stitch for sanity sake.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Still More Fiddling To Do

Well we have a new template and most of the fiddling is done to get to work close to right. Still have more to do, but need to concentrate on other things. So your patience in overlooking the nits will be appreciated.

Been working hard on my next column and getting my database of stitches fuller. Since the next column is on needlepoint, I've been going back and forth between working on the column and inputting. Keeps me from getting too bored, but all the typing is aggregavating some tendonitis which is interferring with my stitching (drat). I hate to pace myself.

On another note - it seems my reputation of being "a force of nature" is spreading (grin). It is easy to get people to do what you want if you ask them to do what they want to do.

It is Friday, so it is Mystery night on our local PBS - 2nd Sight, Campion and more. Stitching on Friday night is a good thing. The husband has promised to join me and work on finishing his shirt -- yes the one with the blackwork bands.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Blog Woes

Tried to take advantage of the new layouts offered, but they didn't work right. So....back to the old style, but..... Fortunately I kept a copy of the code. I AM NOT a techie and in fact really dislike dealing with the technical aspects of anything. This is really quite funny (it is that or cry with frustration) as I am in the process of moving into a new computer. (sigh) Will have the husband try and "fix" it all tonight. Until then stand by. Your patience will be appreciated.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Its May Its May - the lusty month of May

In case you don't recognize the lyric, think Camelot.

Beltane was HOT - I don't do HOT (+85-90 degrees). Court was long but really neat things happened and friends had a pavilion nearby so I could watch, but be in the shade. My entries didn't win, but they were yummy - everyone that tried them said so. Eventually I'll post the recipes to my website. Didn't get a lot of stitching done, but did get to spend time with friends from afar.

Been planning out my next steps for the month- another column due, June Crown is coming up and I need to get a couple projects done to show in the display, plus get more work done for A&S, plus some mundane things -- the husband is finally graduating (party needs to happen), all the inlaws are arriving, Linn is coming and doing the Goldwork class (almost full) & a blackwork class, going to Stitching Festival to take a couple classes and maybe do a Make It/Take It, and I finally broke down and am moving to OSX on a new machine. So the month will be very full.

But wait there is more -- fun. There must be fun. I am so looking forward to having Linn and Libby - always fun. Lots of work on the house and garden -- finally getting some things done that have been weighing heavy. It feels good to do the things that make the house a home. The yard is full of wonderful roses and the sweetpeas are beginning to take off. The yard is full of its critters - frogs, dragon flies, monarch butterflies, birds of all sizes and types that I've never seen before, and an occassional visiting cat (drives our Pete "the cat" crazy). Life is good!

Tonight I'll reward myself with stitching on the Crazy Quilt before moving on to the surface embroidery project - more on that later. It is mystery night on TV - 2nd Sight, Campion and then a fun "B" vampire movie - Kiss of the Vampire. Good stitching time.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Running Fast Again

Last week was soooooooo fast - How fast was it? It was sooooooo fast that it blurred into this week that has been just as fast.

Did get all the html and pages done last week that I needed to, but no tambour homework. Went to the class anyway and the teacher was very forgiving. It seems that for most of us the stars were aligned on fast trak. Managed to get the tambour stitch to work well as embroidery, as a bead attachment and as applique before the class ended. Unfortunately I need to put it away for awhile.

This week has been running almost tooooo fast. Did managed to do something fun (see my Musings column) and went to the local EGA meeting. We had a lady in to talk about the Royal School of Needlework and her experiences during a very intensive 8 weeks of training. Don't think that is the route for me.

Next month is Linn's Blackwork Ornament class for our EGA group. It is right after CATS ( My tambour class mates got hyped on my comments about Linn's goldwork class and so we are having a special Goldwork class just before CATS. Been getting a good response to my class announcements - everyone is excited that Linn is coming.

Meanwhile, I've received confirmation that my column is a go. I'll let you all know when it is to be published when they let me know. Guess I need to finish the 2nd column soon - next week's assignment.

This weekend is my SCA Beltane event - a coronation event. So drag out the good clothes, cook up a storm (just for fun I'm entering 2 dishes in the Wooden Spoon competition - theme is From the Pasture and we are camping at a sheep ranch - you can guess what my dishes are), prepare for guests, haul out the camp gear.... So back to cooking - 2 dishes down and 2 to go. Stitching -- I'll take it with me, but it looks like a full weekend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Ready to Go on Strike

All this html is getting to me. It is sooooooo literal. Good thing I have my Crazy Quilt Bargello to keep me sane. I've been doing lots on it. Haven't had the energy after all the html to do the Tambour homework yet (sigh) - guilt.

Monday, April 19, 2004

A Tambour Report

Well - I'm told that once you learn the process it is very fast. You can't prove it by me - yet. Tambour is using a crochet hook to make a chain stitch. If you are "embroidering" it looks like chain stitch on top and can be used to outline, fill, applique, etc. If you are beading, you work the beads or sequins on the bottom which is the right side of the fabric, and the chain stitch shows on the back side of the fabric. Since you are working with a tiny crochet hook and it is a 2-handed process, you have lots of places for problems. Think I found them all (grin).

Much of class was set up - creating a muslin frame for the work fabric and then putting it into a scroll frame - with tacking all 4 sides. Then came the actual technique work.

We have homework. I'll try to get through it all. I'm not sure what project I'll develop for next weeks class. As usual I thinking about a rose.

Class was fun. A chance to learn something different with people I know. 3 of them are top level historic costumers - 2 I've known since the 70's and the 3rd is the lady who matched me with my husband. One is a costume and design phd student and historic costumer. One is a more fun and fantasy costumer. And other is also a historic costumer. The teacher is a couture dressmaker with about 20 years experience who also does some reproduction and conservation work.
Now back to the mundanity of html -- it never ends.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Something New

One of the ladies at the Reticella class mentioned that there was going to be a special class on Tambour embroidery on the 17th & 24th. My immediate reaction was that I had other things scheduled -- supporting my husband's war efforts. When I mentioned the class to him, he said I should go since the "war" events weren't really my thing and he knew I would enjoy the class. I called and they could fit another person in so on Saturday I am off to learn another form of embroidery.

18th C embroidery is not my thing, but collection 18th and 19th C embroidery tools is very much my joy. I have a tambour set and sewing box. While I won't use it in the class, I will take it for "show and tell".

Also received my Stitching Festival confirmation of classes. In May the Stitching Festival comes to a nearby town and I have signed up for 4 classes. I'm learning that while 7-10 classes may be fun, I'm too exhausted to really enjoy. So I will take shuttle tatting (took needle tatting last time), making overdyed threads (we get to be messy), an edging class, and a 2nd class on insertion stitches. When I'm not in classes I'll hang out at Linn's booth some and shop and and and...

Still having fun with the Crazy Quilt Bargello. Put in a couple Ogees. Linn gave me some of the Dinky Dye silks and they are wonderful. The cottons aren't bad either.

Now back to webbing the 100 classes for the Arts and Sciences event in July (blech - html).

Monday, April 12, 2004

Keeping Promises

Okay think I figured out the camera, Photoshop, writing in html in style sheets and other geeky stuff enough to post a couple more pics of some of the work I've been blathering about. I am not a tech person and so I don't make any promises about this working.

The model for the article is a voided band bookmark. The pattern is from a historical model book. I stitched it in a limited edition Gloriana thread in double running and cross stitch. I wanted it to be something an experienced stitcher might find fun to do and the newer stitcher something easy to do. It was an interesting balancing act.

My brain candy is the Crazy Quilt Bargello. Spent some more time stitching on it this weekend to recover from the Reticella class. Think the class worked well except it took 5 hours instead of 4 and even then they had lots more work to do. I think they all walked out with a feel for the method of working the technique and the style if nothing else. Want to make a couple changes to the handout then will post it on my website (all 3+mgs of it).

-- stitching renews the brain - I am convinced --

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Paperwork Stitching Paperwork Stitching - which would I rather do?

Spent yesterday AM writing reports and doing general paperwork. All I could think of was - "I want to get back to stitching". Spent the afternoon working on the Reticella handout. Decided I really needed at least some diagrams. The stitch diagrams are all from the web - with citations. Then used Canvas to create diagrams of the piece. I had already done the "pattern" piece that you put on the needle pillow and stitch over, so added letters and numbers to it - in various versions, to show the order of stitching. So the handout is done - all 12 pages.

Unfortunately it is 2.7 mg even as a pdf - large numbers to get the detail in the jpgs (sigh). Tech alert - it is too big to mail to husband at work to get copied. Nor does he have a way of taking a disk. So last night - 11 pm, husband created a space on our server where I could put it and he can get to it to get the copies done. Normally I'd have printed the copies myself, but my equipment doesn't have the fine resolution I want. Oh well!. I will post it on my website next week if anyone wants to look.

Then I got to have fun - my reward for being good. Spent part of the evening doing the model stitching. Also did a bit more on the Bargello piece. Had decided that one color REALLY didn't work so had taken it out. Courtesy of Linn I had a Dinky Dyes silk that was just perfect. Took the section in a completely different direction than I had originally planned - but it works. Hurrah.
Yes I know - pics. I promise soon.

Now back to the "paperwork" - actually building the class listing in html for the July event - 100 classes in a weekend plus about 10 demos, plus 8 competitions, plus a play, plus.... Yes I'm running it :)

-- Sabrina (renewed by stitching)

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Filling my mind with Reticella

I'm on Reticella overload. Spent the better part of Sunday and yesterday immersed in reviewing my books on Reticella. The 10 page handout is mostly done (hurrah!!). The bibliography is over a page long! I am spoiled though - I spend my money on books. One book is actually a huge oversized 2 volume set of the Elisa Ricci's Old Italian Lace. There were 300 printed in 1913 and I have #217. The photos and tipped in prints are WONDERFUL. On many I can see each stitch. I makes me feel much better that my piece is a bit flopsy (another Linn-ism) even with using the needle pillow. Ahhh total immersion.

Have "designed" the class project by looking at and decontructing one of the pieces. There are a couple ways to do it, but I think it is one I can present to novices. It has every thing I need to teach - make the base square, satin stitch overcast edges, figure 8 overcast "brides" with picots, single thread "brides", buttonhole covered brides, and a section of detached buttonhole. Have decided to be nice to my students and bought them 28 and 32 count Irish linen and 12 pearl cotton. I originally was going to really make them work with 36 ct and 80 dentelles. Now I have 3 days to make the model :).

Feels really good to be immersed in needlework (sigh). Well almost immersed - spent Saturday gathering more information and classes for the be A&S weekend in July. Need to get the website done next week. A friend also tapped me to teach a section of her college class on ADR - so it will be a "professional" night next Tuesday in front of 30, hungry for information about Arbitration, students. Fortunately I have done this before. The overheads are done and the talk only needs to be updated at bit.

Now back to finishing the handout. It is hard to explain in words what would be easier in pictures - but I don't have the luxury of time. At least I'm stitching.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Hurrah! Model Done!!

Finished stitching the main part of the model on Wednesday night. Did the fiddly bits (a Linn-ism) last night. The husband did the scan and today I uploaded the whole package to the managzine. Now the waiting begins. It feels great though to know the first, and thus, probably the hardest one is done. The next article is sitting in my brain. The charts are mostly done and the model is about 1/2 hour from being finished. But before we go there we need to finish the Reticella class handout.
Guess I better decide what pattern I'm going to teach.

I plot out the process for teaching first. Determine the key points to cover. The handout is more a brain dump of bits I want them to remember and a guidebook for the project. I've learned more about desk top publishing than I ever wanted in the process.

Have really gotten into Adobe Acrobat. It can do wonderful things. Once I have the handout finished I put it into Acrobat. This makes it a smaller file and easier to print. I can also set permissions so the copy that gets uploaded to the website is read/print only.

Also need to finish the smocking article. I have it partially written. I need to decide whether it should be web or document on web. There is lots of interest right now and lots of misinterpretations running around. Part of me feels the need to put people on the right track - at least make them question what people are saying as absolutes.

Need more time. Anyone have some time I can have?

Monday, March 29, 2004

Finally Close - & more running in circles

Spent lots of time this weekend doing the model stitching. It takes bloody forever and of course I found a mistake and now need to fix it. If it was just for me, I would not bother, but since it is supposed to be in a national magazine... (slow grin - yes I'll post details when it hits the streets -- sometimes the best "revenge" is just to ignore the rest of the world and do your own thing).

The husband was wonderful this weekend. He decided he did not like the fact that I was frustrated with my blogs and so not having fun with them. He spent a couple hours last night "fixing" my blogs. He is a programmer, but not familiar with CSS - but through trial and error he did it. Hurrah!

Will be teaching Reticella on April 10th. Since I have 6 very hungry students coming, guess I better get the handout done. Started this weekend pulling books and information. I get a bit frustrated as lots of reticella is identfied, but it is more by style than strict definition. I keep finding that when I do research - you get generalizations based on the style of something rather than the actual stitching or needlemovements. So the first thing is always to define what I'm talking about. Of course not everyone agrees, but at least I can focus my words.

Always wish I had more time to stitch. There is a couple fun projects pulling at me, but need to get stuff done that I've already committed to do. So, back to clearing my desk so I can focus.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

My new Blog

Today I started my alternate blog - a non-needlework one. I've tried adding the link, but it if doesn't work Musings. Enjoy

Friday, March 26, 2004

Model Stitching - Blech!!

Warning grump mode on --
Why is it that when you have finished working on a piece, you are tired of it? I'm tired of it and I'm in the middle of stitching the model. I hate being picky to make sure I follow the pattern. It is borrrrrrrrrrrrring to do counted cross stitch - yes I know some people love it. That is why I did this piece, but that does not mean I have to enjoy it. Yes I'll enjoy the finished version. It looks really good already, but I'm not enjoying the process. And there is nothing good on tv the last few nights/afternoons to take my mind off of it. I need to stitch in spurts. When I stitch for long periods of time I get tennis elbow (sigh). Guess I'll put in Pride and Prejudice - 6 hours. At least the dialogue will be interesting - the words in most of the programs lately hasn't been. ---
Grump mode off.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Good Friends and Lots of Info

It was a great weekend. Linn came up to give a class in Or Nue. Blew the students away with the wonderful pics from Libby of Cats Paw Designs. Totally eliminated all the myths that we had been taught about Or Nue and gave us a great understanding - thread by thread of how it really was done in the Middle Ages.

Maeve came down from Olympia to cook and hang out. We ate well. Played lots. Learned even more. And never stopped talking except to stitch all weekend. It was a great weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Running in 5, no 6 different directions at once

Ever have those days where you want to do 5 things, need to do 4 different things, and only get 2 things - not on either list done. Well it is not that bad, but it feels that way. Lost in a sea of confusion. So what do I do - I stitch. Not what I'm supposed to - the model. But I've been stitching on the Crazy Patch Bargello piece. Fortunately it is a big piece and I can work on it for awhile longer.

Crown was good - even with the frustrations. We had 8 guilds do stuff, plus the competitions, plus, plus..... Generated lots of interest and saw lots of light bulbs go on in people's minds. Feels good. Crown was hot - in the high 70's/low 80's, but it felt hotter. Didn't cool much at night either. Was invited to attend a feast - a 25th anniversary. Laughed a lot. Good food. Lots of old "friends".

Tonight Maeve comes down from Oregon - hurrah. She is one of the people I really enjoy being around. And then tomorrow, Linn Skinner arrives. We will toodle around to a couple of the LNS before heading home via a gourmet food store or 2. Maeve is a fabulous cook and has offered to cook for this weekend. Nothing scheduled for Saturday, but on Sunday Linn is giving a class on Or Nue. Several of us are really excited about this. While the technique is basically couching gold thread down with silk, it is the placement and coloration of the silk that makes the picture while the gold gives it the "omph". This was done primarily on church garments in the middle ages. For pictures check out the Golden Fleece vestments. I'm so looking forward to having 2 of my favorite people here for a long weekend.

Watched a program with Barbara Sher last night. She talks about finding out what makes you happy - testing everything with a Happiness Index - 10 = bliss. Then identify what about something makes you happy. Once you have idenitifed those items, you can then fashion your life around achieving more of them. And yes there are always obstacles, but there are also ways around them - and let your friends/acquaintances help. Think I"ll give it a try.

Many years ago, I saw a quote/goal that I really related to. I wrote it down, printed it out and put it where I could see it every day. 3 years later I had met my goal and then some. Wishes do come true.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Model Stitching

Grumble Grumble Grumble - decided I didn't like the original piece I graphed for the model - too much detail for the Voided Work to look right. Found another one I liked better. When I originally graphed it, I did it without corrections for the "registration" being off. So spent time with the dratted graphing program (yes I am still using the old one - haven't had time to learn the new one, much less on the husband's PC) fixing the registration so it is the mirror image it is supposed to be. Then off to stitch the model.

I want the piece to be something the magazine's audience will want to pick up and do. Something that looks like fun, is easy, and practical -- result - a bookmark. Actually a commercially available aida bookmark so all you have to do is the stitching. Also I'm doing it in cross stitch - not my favorite thing to do. Not a lot of fun - but needs to get done. Hope they print the article after all the hard work.

Meanwhile off to March Crown (SCA event) for a long weekend. Of course, since I'm doing stuff, it is a 3 ring circus - well actually 6 pavilions worth of stuff to be coordinated. The weather is cooperatating. The field was under 2' of water after the rains, but it has been dry and even hot the last 10 days so expect it not to be muddy -- and the site has real grass.

Back to model stitching - no more procrastination.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Paperwork - Why Does It Always Have to be Paperwork!

It seems like the paperwork never ends - it is tax time so there is that paperwork. I run a needlework guild, so there is that paperwork. The mailman brings a box full of paper every or everyother day - not a small box, but a 3" x 10" shelf worth - time 2 - the PO and the house mail which is a block away. It was primary time so there was all the campaign advertising. And the list goes on. I'd really like to find my desk some day.

Been trying to stitch each evening on the bargello sampler. It is fun stitching, but hardwork designing. Of course it isn't what I should be concentrating on, but...

Did manage to get one column written - I'll post here when it gets printed. And then there is the work of getting all the graphics together - not paperwork, but system work. I'm not sure which is worse. It does make it hard to be creative.

Now back to work - I'd rather be stitching.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Stitching makes even having a cold better

Why is it that having a cold makes the brain function like it is slogging through a fog? The cold finally hit this weekend. We didn't go dancing - something about trying to do a waltz when the head is already spinning.

Have spent most of Friday and Saturday working on my Bargello Crazy Quilt piece. Spent time pouring over books of patterns. Spent time playing with color combinations. Spent a little time stitching last night. We put in Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean. Husband has also come down with a mild version of this nasty cold so we sat and stitched. I on my bargello piece and husband on his shirt - the cuffs are now done! Of course Pete, the cat had to provide his contribution to the efforts as well. Nothing is ever complete in this house without cat fur -- very fine white or black fur.

Now to spend some time combining colors and patterns as I plan out my next moves on the piece. My head is spinning with ideas. Think I will use purple and rose as the primary colors to compliment the guest bedroom. Have almost decided to do only 4:2 patterns as I'm feeling that doing a Hungarian Point pattern in it will make it too busy. I am thinking of doing a couple small areas and repeating the pattern, but maybe not the colors. This is supposed to be a sampler and it will give me an idea of how the pattern works with different color schemes, but still provide some continuity. Ideas. Lots of them.... Now off to make some decisions and stitch.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Lots Going On - little stitching

Haven't been blogging lately. Too much running around. Some fun. Some not so fun. Went to the Antique Show with a girl friend - good time and spent too much money. Well I really neeeeeeddddded the 2 19th C Vernis fans.

The SUV died when we were going to the war practice last weekend. 3rd time is the charm. Spent lots of time researching options. So went this weekend and bought another. I hate car shopping!

Its tax time......lots of paperwork prep (sigh). It is nice that I have it too worry about, but sometimes it is a pain in the ....

Had an idea for a voided work (not just Assisi) bookmark. Found a pattern that was the right size - 9" at 14ct and the right number of squares wide. It charted like a dream. Began stitching it. At 14ct to get adequate coverage you need 3 threads. It looses too much detail. Back to the drawing board.

Today was brain candy day. Class with Susan Hulme and Beth Gardner - Crazy Patch Bargello - see example. I understand bargello, but we really got into color theory. Now some of the things I do or have problem with make sense. It was lots of fun. I will have to post pics soon.

Tired now. Set up for the Craft Expo this evening with the wonderful husband and will "man" the booth for the first shift tomorrow am early. The basket people are back and can pick up an oval upright basket in the same style as the round ones I like. Happy stitching.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Do a little each day

I once read a series of suggestions of how to get oneself motivated to stitch daily. The one that appealed to me has 3 parts: (1) you don't need to do more than one thread length each day, (2) always leave your needle prepared to do the next thread length (ie finish and then prepare the needle for the next time), and (3) don't beat yourself up if you don't do it.

With that in mind, I've been playing with the threads and beads of the Sandra Murray velvet piece. I have one pillow done and the better part of 3 to go - someday. Maybe today - maybe not.

In the back of my mind I've been puttering with doing a voided work bookmark. Something simple that can be done on a commercially prepared bookmark. Linn got me started on Voided Work and I've decided that I really like the simplicity of the presentation. Think I've chosen a lily pattern that appears in several model books. I've charted the pattern and will stitch it later this week. I'm thinking about using an overdyed thread - a twist on the classic, but maybe not. Will play with colors tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

on strike! at least as far as historical embroidery - for the moment

Decided to give myself permission to have fun with my stitching. I've been much too serious lately with my stitching and research. When something is not longer fun then it is time to stop and take a break.

I finished the smocked needlecase from the EGA meeting class. Cute. Doesn't work well as a needlecase as the top is tooooooo top heavy. The lining and felt bit for the inside were also cut too small for the final piece. It was nice that they were provided, but since everyone smocks to different tightness (especially beginners), the lining and the felt should not have been cut to "match". Oh well, we all learn as teachers over time what works and what doesn't. I'm thinking that I should not say anything as the woman's feelings may be hurt (she is that type), but the teacher in me says if no one says anything, how can we learn our mistakes.

Am working on a Sandra Murray piece - Scrumptious Stitches - Kalidoscope. Took the class at CATS a year or so ago. It is silk embroidery on velvet. All really modern interpretation although the techniques are classic. Working with Trebizond and the Kreinik metallics are a real pain in the .... The kit has patterns for 2 "mini-pillows", with suggests for the remaining 2. We shall see what develops. I have one almost done. Guess I'll have to set up a page of pics of my "modern" stuff soon.

It is really nice to know that I can control the persnickity threads and fabrics. This is a major realization. In the last year or so, I seem to have passed through a major "ability" level. I can do stuff. I can get the worst threads and fabrics to work for me. It may take a few tries, but I CAN!!!!!!! Even more, I can look at something that isn't working, whether my stuff or someone else's, and diagnosis the problem AND find solutions. In giving feedback to people in my Guild, I am really pleased that people are coming to me to ask for help and they feel that I've given them quality help. Feels really good.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

So Much to do So Little Time to Stitch, But Wait there is more

Went to my local EGA yesterday. The class was smocking and even though I've taken classes decided to take another. Things are finally beginning to really make sense on the stitches - hurrah.

I opened my mouth and volunteered again (sigh). They desparately needed someone to do the set up for the local touring sewing/craft/quilting/embroidery expo. So I'll set up (with the wonderful husband - with strong back and car that can carry everything) and then go back the next day and sit table.

They also were taking sign ups for a Crazy Quilt Bargello Class with Beth Gardner and Susan Hulme. A 2 day class which uses bargello as a method for teaching color theory. I think I understand a lot about colors, but it never hurts to learn more. So went off to purchase the 40 DMC skeins it calls for, but couldn't find 3 (grump) even after hitting 3 stores. The class is either 18 ct or Congress Cloth. Since I have Congress Cloth at home, I'll use it even though every one else is using 18 ct. Also I have many of the colors in silk so may take some to substitute. It was very interesting picking out the colors - lots of "poison colors" in addition to the color runs. The class also calls for "a variety of metallics" so guess it is stash raiding time. Will have the husband put the fabric on the stretcher bars this weekend since they insist on using them. I much prefer to do needlepoint in hand and then do the blocking thing.

Also "volunteered" to be the back up teacher for the March meeting. They think they have someone, but no confirmation as yet. So thinking quick decided a voided work book mark would be just the thing - something people can have fun with, use, and finish in this life time. Now to design it just in case. I have commercial bookmarks at home that I pick up on spec for my blackwork classes. Prefer the 14 ct to the 18 ct for teaching beginners usually but will need to see what works best for the voided work. I'm thinking some of the leaf patterns out there would work well.

Our own Linn is the May class - one of her blackwork with metallic ornaments. I'm excited about her Thistle Sampler. Her Rose Sampler is one of my favorites, if I can only find the time to do it.

Still need to finish the Goldwork band and the accompanying blackwork band for my dress. Need to finish the Reticella napkin and do the class handout and model - April. Need to develop the Metal Thread Couching class on Coils and Tendrils - Oct Crown. Need to develop the 3 raised stitches class - Detached Buttonhole, Trellis and Hollie Point - Oct Collegium. Not to mention working on the stitch database - what stitch used how and when for the June Class. Think this will be a busy year.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Back from the Frozen North

We had a wonderful time in the very frozen north - Anchorage Alaska to be precise. The high when we were there was 0 degrees. Yes that is 0 degrees. Okay I'm exaggerating. I think it actually hit 8 degrees one day. Much too cold for this San Francisco native.

Good friends. Good food. Great bardics (sitting around singing songs, poems, etc.) Managed to infect 10 more people with my "goldwork" passion. All in all a good thing.

Came back to the stomach flu - not fun. No brain left and no energy for stitching. Maybe by this weekend I'll feel like stitching again.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

A Change In Plans - Alaska here we come

Our medieval group has a big event in Anchorage next weekend. We have very good friends there and have been wanting to visit. So...husband managed to get the all clear for time off work and 2 hours later the plans were made to go to Alaska.

Having made that change, then sent email off to others who were asking if we were coming and said yes. Then I needed to make good on my offer to teach one of the ladies basic goldwork. Now it seems I'm teaching a class of 10 on Saturday. Time to look at the handout which is 2 years old and revise it.

I've been wanting to do a fun modern piece with metal thread and laidwork - an altoids tin topper. Started in on Thursday and have been working evenings on it. Might even have most of it done to take as a show piece. Not what I'm supposed to get done, but its fun!

Now off to prepare to pack - 3 medieval gowns with all the accoutrements plus regular clothes. Hi today is 19 degrees so need to haul out the cold weather gear.
Now is that one or 2 suitcases just for me for 6 days?

Monday, January 05, 2004

12th Night - whew... I Survived!!

Sew Prep Sew Prep... right up to the night before 12th Night. Of course neither the collar/cuffs nor the gold piece was finished, but we put them out for display anyway. Received lots of good feedback on them. Here is a pic of the goldwork taken on Thursday - Jan 2 before I fixed a couple mistakes and did a couple more rows.

Husband managed to put the cuffs together and put in the collar, but the shirt was not completed. The blackwork looks really good if I do say so when incorporated into the shirt.

Went to the hotel on Friday afternoon after cooking all Fri AM. Made 2 batches of chicken hand pies (recipes on website) and a medieval chickpea recipe that is good hot or cold. Bought bread and dessert since I had spent Thursday sewing. Really need to figure out that cloning thing or bi-location.

Fri eve was confirming that all the tables and arrangements were in place for Saturday's happenings and dinner with friends. Then back to the room for more sewing. Up early Saturday. Breakfast in room. Then take 6 loads of stuff down to the event. Thank heavens for the husband and luggage cart. Set up the various display tables and our feast table. The rest of Saturday is a bit of a blur - court, hosting friends, answering questions, answering more questions, encouraging people to compete in the days events, getting the competitions judged, making court presentations, and THEN the display/prize portion of the event. It all went well and was well received.

People liked my goodies (candles and bath salts). The surprising favorite was the "Fighter Soak" - epsom and other bath salts with eucalyptus oil. Received some lovely gifties in return. I'm sure I forgot to give something to someone so will take a few of the leftovers to the next couple events.

Sunday - drive home and unpack the car. Today I'm finally feeling alive again. Plan on doing more work on the gold this week and maybe the Reticella piece. Received some validation on the "takes bloody long" part of doing the Reticella piece. A friend is doing a 10" x 2" cutwork piece and experiencing the same.