Thursday, February 23, 2006

Estrella and Next Projects

Whew! Estrella was dusty. How dusty was it? No rain in over 130+ days. The water pipe to the area of the park was broken for months prior. We had dust storms. We had minor wind the whole time and a little major wind (30 mph) one day. EVERYTHING was dusty. The fighters had it the worst - they have to lie down when they are "killed".

That said, Estrella was what a good vacation should be -- a mind altering experience. The run up to the event was hard with the husband having to work - Friday evening, all day Saturday, all day Sunday and part of the day on Monday to get a project finished. We went to the Cyprians ball and out to dinner first, but we were both so tired from the prior week, we left at 10:30 pm to go home and crash.

Opted to do the drive in one fell swoop - 12 hours on Tuesday. Celebrated Valentines Day at midnight Monday night since we were both up packing. Long drive, but it allowed us to dawdle on Wednesday - lazy morning. Breakfast at TJ's. Arrive on site after the land rush and with Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte in hand. Pre-reg meant that we were done with registration in less than 5 minutes. I bunked my stuff and hung out through the event with the Hooded Hare in merchants row since it was near to A&S. Husband was able to stow his fighting gear with the Oerthans (thank-you!). The Oerthans had a great presence - over 20 and the rapier group looked fabulous. The also made arm bands for all the fighters and anyone who supported the West on the field. Pout - since I didn't fight I didn't get one.

Taught Goldwork on Thursday, More Metal Thread on Friday, and Blackwork Filling Patterns on Saturday. 7 hours in all. Had 11-12 students in each and a couple opted to take all 3 classes. Think I infected a number of them with the goldwork and blackwork bugs. It really felt good to have so many really take to the techniques. A couple of the students already understood the technique, but I was able to give them some help on technique nits and challenge them with a couple more advanced bits. Teaching in the wind and heat is tiring and unfortunately I didn't have enough energy to take classes. Did get to schmooze with some of the other teachers and attend the Goldworkers Tea.

The downside of hoteling is the lack of socializing in the evening. We left site usually around 8ish. The real parties and bardics happen later in the evening so, missed out a bit.

Sunday was the Artisans Display. I put out The Project (dress with beaded collar and sleeve), the couched gold piece (front piece for my German), the dyeing - bonework - broaches - linenhose from the Poppy Run, the pearled hat, and several of the embroidery teaching pieces (voided work, Egyptian pattern darning, Icelandic Pattern Darning, German brick stitch, blackwork filling patterns). It made for a very full half table. The display went for about 2 1/2 hours and it was non-stop people. I received lots of compliments and a few little tokens. People seemed to like, in order, the linen hose, the sleeve, and the couched goldwork the best.

Monday was the 12 hour drive back. Long but it was better than trying to drive back even part way on Sunday. All in all Estrella was a vacation. We felt like we had really been away. I feel renewed in my teaching and gratified that people really like my work - my art. It is really hard for me to see myself as an artist, but sometimes I'm beginning to feel that I get there.

Now off to do my next column and 3 new bits - the online Crazy Quilting course (I could easily loose myself in this with all the wonderful ideas and eye candy from Sharon Boggins - In a Minute Ago), the Crazy for Color workshop on Saturday for my EGA group which is also Crazy Quilting - still need to pick my threads and extra fabrics to take, and Tuesday's EGA program on decorating clothing - remember the jeans of the 70's - its back - Dolce and Gabbana $3000 - class free!

Saturday, February 11, 2006


This week has been a heavy work week. I had forgotten how uninspired I get when I'm spending 12+ hours a day on work. It is really hard to fire up the brain cells to be creative or to get the fingers back to stitching. Part of the finger thing is taking so many notes during the hearing. My hand is tired from writing all day. So enough whining.

This is preparation weekend. Next week is Estrella. Need to prepare the materials for the 3 classes. Will take extra since I said I would repeat a class if there is a waiting list. Last year Anne and I took to making special arrangements to be the first (or at least one of the first 10 in line) to get the classes we wanted. There were lots of disappointed people. Don't know how well received the Goldwork classes will be, but I don't want to have people disappointed that they missed out on a learning experience.

In planning for Estrella, I was pondering -- Is it a really a vacation if I'm working/teaching part of the time? At least I want it to feel like a vacation. To that end I'm going to try to do something fun every day starting today. Today is the Cyprian's Ball -- English Regency Dancing event with lots of waltzing and flirtation. Tomorrow - who knows.

Also this week is the start of In a Minute Ago's class on Crazy Quilting. I'll follow the class, even if I can't start with them. I'm taking my laptop. There are 4 Starbucks in Goodyear Arizona. 2 are in Safeways (that seems to be the new trend) and 2 are full service with WiFi. A real convienence when traveling; not to mention that it guarantees (or at least almost) that I can find a soy latte. Many places I need to go to a grocery store and carry my own non-dairy creamer if I want it in liquid form; which works and tastes better.

Now where did I put the 28 count linen? Maybe I'll take some of the play threads and bits as well. Hmmmmm

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stitching and Catching Up

So far for 2006, everything seems to be on delay. The column which normally is due on th 1st of the month (odd months) was delayed for The Project. When I did the column all was quickly done, but the stitching on the project for the column. I had forgotten how dense the stitching is on the German Brick Stitch pieces. Finally got the piece to the point where it could be photographed - 100 hours and it is really only half done (for a 3.5" x 7" piece on 28 ct.).

Jan 14th I had the opportunity to attend a class with Phillipa Turnbull. She is one of the "royal embroiderers". One of her recent commissions was the Queen Mother's bedspread. Her forte is crewelwork and her work is fairly true to the original jacobean style. Her kits are on a linen twill which she has especially woven for her. The wool was lovely Appelton yarn. The shop had "sit on" frames for us to use. Of course I bought one even though I had bought a prior one from Grip It -- this was better ergonomically.

Phillipa is a lovely person and a very patient and good teacher. We did stem stitch, long and short shading, and some laidwork. While the stitches are familiar to me, working with wool is always a different experience. For one thing the scale is different from working with silk. She also had us trying to do the one hand over, one under form of UK stitching. Considering that I've been stitching 4-8 hours a day for 3 weeks (1 week at that point), my hands were not happy with trying the new accomodation. I will try again, but after I give my hands a rest. Phillipa also had lots of good hints for starting and stopping the thread. Some work with silk, but the loft of the wool hides the surface starts and stops better. I think the area that made the most difference to my stitching is the use of the long and short stitch. She had lots of tips on direction and correcting problems. Now to remember them all.

Paper- Paper - Paper
Beginning to settle in as President of my EGA chapter. I really don't have time for all the nits so am very fortunate to have a partner for this year who will help with it all.

Feeling buried with paper - trying to find the top of my desk again. Managed to get the apartment rented - one tenant moved out the first week in January. So more paperwork. Having a home business, rentals, teaching and working part time generates lots of paperwork. We easily fill our paper recycling bin (2'x3'x2.5') each week -- and then I have to do filing... and....(blech) - I'd rather be stitching.

Had a night out with my honey/husband - a real date! We went to dinner at a new turkish restraurant then down the block to hear the Chieftains at the refurbished Fox Theater. Met up with friends for dinner. Good conversation, good food, good music! Need to do that more often.

Next -- off to Estrella war (Goodyear Arizona). I'm teaching 2 goldwork classes and blackwork filling stitches. Hope to take some good classes too. We leave on Valentines Day so need to be creative about my gift to the husband... hummmmmm. Come back to finishing the next column so need to finalize the plans for it. Meanwhile I have a couple arbitration cases to hear in Feb and 2 big ones taking all/most of March.

Am treating myself to 2 Crazy Quilt workshops in February. One is through our EGA chapter at a local quilt shop. The focus is on color and crazy quilting the medium. Then starting on Feb 16, is the online class with Sharon Boggins - In a Minute Ago blog. It will run for 6 weeks. Her work is so over the top, but not fussy. A hard balance to meet. I love her new fabric "postcards".

Now back to the paper side of life...