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
From Go-Quiz.com

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.