Monday, December 01, 2008

Quick weekend update - oh the food!

Tue was my EGA chapter meeting. I gave a presentation on the Region seminar experience and my 10 day in Louisville (Headquarters, Board meeting, International Embroidery Conference and National Seminar). This will be my traveling show when I visit other chapters in the Region as Region Director. Then came my first installation where I presided over the installation of new officers. As always it is the holiday potluck as well. HMMMM good! My contribution was a plum cake (civil war fruit cake with raisins, currents, molasses and brandy).

Raced home via the supermarket to beat the inlaw arrival. W's father and wife from LA. Off to Cafe Gibraltar - our favorite local restaurant. Wallu in coconut jalapeno sauce. Chestnut Squash soup (vegan). Petrale Sole over potato dumplings in wine caper sauce. No I didn't have any dessert.

Wed was a lazy day. Boys went hiking with younger brother. Vicki knitted. I made a silver double weave viking chain about 3" long in silver. Added end bits and a blue with metallic bead and into a circle form. It will be come a pin. I am teaching in February for my mother in laws local art group. They do a lot of jewelry, bead and other glass work so the viking weaving is a natural for them. Wednesday dinner was sushi since crab is no longer an option for me.

Thursday up early for the parade. Made Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Then turkey dinner for 6 - rolls, fruit salad, crudite, creamed onions, mashed potatoes, stuffing (in and out of bird), brussel sprouts, gravy, and turkey. Orange and whole berry cranberry courtesy of W's dad. Appetizers - eggplant and tomato tapenades courtesy of W's brother and wife. THEN our neighbors came over for dessert which they brought - carrot cake from Humble Texas, pumpkin spice cookies from Draegers, and cranberry bliss bars from Starbucks (yes I keep the left over bars).

For the dinner I used a mix of plates, silverware, serving dishes, and glasses. The table cloth was the traditional one from the '60's. There were items from great-aunts/uncles, grandparents - both sides, my mother, my aunt, and Will. Since the last of my close family passed away 8 years ago - it was time to do a bit of integration and celebration.

Friday - saw the inlaws off and then off to the Gem and Jewelry Show. W bought me some beautiful earrings. Don't know where I will wear them, but (sigh) the man has good taste. Managed to find all the bits I needed for projects. Hooked up with Aurelia for the show. Dinner post with her and husband at Chevy's. Needed the margarita (top shelf) by then.

Saturday - off to Brion and Ysa's for "fighter practice" and socializing. It turned into a lazy day since no one showed to fight. Ysa made a lovely dinner from left overs. Boy can that woman cook! We brought cheese and home made almond short bread. Will finally got his pumpkin pie fix.

Saturday evening W's pager went off and all day Sunday was spent working (poor guy). But that is why we stayed "home" for the holidays - just in case. Made matzah meal pancakes for breakfast. Dinner was Turkey dinner redo.

Stuffed!!! Now back to the diet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Bit of This and That

Realized that I have not been posting regularly, but did want to update a bit on my projects. With the Region Director position, I find myself spending easily 20 hours a week at the job. As such, I find myself more interested in reading and relaxing in a mindless manner rather than stitching. It was an expected side effect.

If I have a "get it done" project, I set aside time in the afternoon to stitch. For example, I am now working on a pearl and coral gollar which I'd like done by January. It is a large project, about the size of the beaded sleeve. I try to do a couple hours every day on it.

I won't start sewing on a project if the evening is late - 9ish or so. By then I am too tired to focus tightly on the project and still relax enough to sleep. My default is spinning. Don't need to really think hard to spin.

My other done by January project is a small swete bag. It has seed pearls. Yes real seed pearls. I need good light to do it. About half the pearls will not go on the #15 beading needle. I am using nymo since the light colored silk threads I have are too fat for the needle. The project is relatively small and has become my traveling around project. I also work on it some evenings.

The last burning project is a folding ort box. ANG put one out to their chapters a couple years ago. My EGA chapter ladies wanted one. The box is similar to the folding origami ones. It presents some design challenges. 1/4th of the design shows on top - or a piece of the lining shows on top. The sides of the box only show when the box is "up". The bottom of the box shows. You have the choice to line the box or not. I am using this as a design exercise for my ladies. They are choosing their own colors and patterns. I am providing a default pattern. One class is layout and one class is construction. They will do the stitching in the intervening 2 months. I am pushing to have mine done by next week and yes I am lining mine with suede cloth.

For my box, I am doing a bargello flame pattern 4:2 with 6 steps. This works well as the basic box size is 2"x2" with an over 2 satin border. I am working on 18ct canvas but congress cloth would work too. I chose 18 ct since the threads I had at hand worked better on it for coverage. I can double or triple the thin threads and the thicker work quite well as singles.

I have realized that I enjoy the design process, but not the stitching process. Doing each of the 5 blocks is boring once the initial one is done. I may vary the others a bit. Perhaps 2 of 2 slightly different patterns for the sides and something a bit different for the bottom.

Yes pics on everything at some point. Now back to the computer to read 26 newsletters and sets of minutes.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Workshop Goodness

I have a loose goal of taking classes from all the major teachers. Thus, when one is teaching in my backyard, I try to attend. Vima de Marchi Micheli is one of the longtime teachers of Italian embroidery. She travels to Italy every year. She works with lacemakers and embroiderers to help them document, revive and save, their various styles of needlework. Vima mostly does lectures now, but she was giving a lecture and 2 day workshop locally last week.

The lecture was the fund raising luncheon for the Santa Clara chapter of EGA. I said a few words as Region Director. Need to get people on board for 2010 National in San Francisco and to help with membership outreach in the area. Vima did a fabulous lecture with slides showing lots of different types of Italian needlework. She also had a few pieces from her collection to show (yes with white gloves).

I had heard her lecture about 5 years ago, but somehow this time it was both more interesting and more understandable. I guess I've been learning:) Lots of things became clearer when she spoke; things that when read were confusing.

Thursday and Friday was a workshop of Amelia Ars. Amelia Ars was an arts revival movement. The piece was a combination of reticella, drawnwork, and surface. While the piece was designed on 18 ct. canvas (need to make it interesting to the canvasworkers), I did it on 36 ct linen. They used pearl cotton #5. I used linen 80/3. After 2 days, prework, and homework, I still had only small amounts to show for it. Good class. Learned lots and was able to up my game in working the lace methods. Think the linen piece will become my whitework learning sampler.

Near the end we got into making tassels. In Louisville, I watched her ladies make tassels and purchased some materials. I came home and have been working on a tassel. Fun!!! Pics soon.

Wish I had more time to sew. This RD thing eats time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Finding Inspiration

A couple weeks ago the Chihuly exhibit was at the DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park. I've always liked blown glass and his work in particular. It is hard to describe what I find special in his work, but I find all of it to be eye candy.

One of the items on sale in the gift shop was a 365 day book of Chihuly. It is filled with pictures of his work and comments from him about creating - what inspired him, what he saw, what he hoped to create, what he hoped to evoke.... There in that one book is probably one of the best "classes" on creating "art" that I have come across. The book will reside by my desk so that on days when I do not feel like an artist, I will have the tools to help fan the flames of inspiration.

I will leave you with the link to his website -- .

ps Amazon carries the book - search Chihuly and 365.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Louisville - EGA National Plus IEC and more - Long

The trip to Louisville went by very fast. There was a lot to do and absorb. Sorry I didn't manage to post during the trip.

First off - going to Louisville requires changing plans. For me this was in Chicago and included changing concourses and several flights of stairs carrying heavy carry on luggage. I am glad I kept it all with me as there were thefts with "cabin checked luggage" from another flight.

Lovely hotel. The Hyatt really went out of their way to do everything to make every one's stay special. We were on the 4th floor near the elevators which made for easy movement most of the time. The hotel was filled to capacity between EGA and the triathlon in town.

HQ is around the corner and 1 block from the Hyatt. Spent the better part of Wed and Thursday there in meetings. Did manage to visit the galleries and library. The exhibition, Through the Needle's Eye is spectacular. I had lots of reservations when I was stitching on the National Tapestry project, but the final is very moving and well done.

Thursday evening, Friday, and Saturday was the IEC - International Embroidery Conference. It was great to see Linn, meet Joanna and Sally, and spend time luxuriating in a slightly more rarefied atmosphere relating to needlework. Unfortunately, Edward Maeder was absent in person, but he did send his talks. I was also disappointed in C. Trostman's talk - it was all regurgatated reading and had no enthusiasm. Sally gives good lecture, so enjoyed the one on the 17th C embroidery. Pam G talked about creativity and how to engender it. YES!!!!! Enjoyed seeing the work of the children around the world. It restores my faith in the next generations when it comes to embroidery.

It felt good to get out and walk the .5 miles to the Brown for the IEC. We also discovered a very good sushi restaurant which really helped me keep to foods that work for me.

Sat evening was the dinner cruise on the Star of Louisville. We managed to get stuck in the mud but did pull free in time to pick up the remaining passengers. There were about 50 of us. Dinner was quite edible, the conversation fun, and the views interesting. Think we did better than those that went on the Belle cruise later in the week.

Sunday I started with Bellflowers in Rozashi with Margaret Kinsey. I LIKE Rozashi. Lightly twisted silk on silk gauze done in stylized patterns of an upright stitch. The key is making even holes as you stitch. The "beauty" is in the holes not just the lay of the silk. My pulled work techniques held me in good stead.

Raced back to the room to change for the Legacy Reception and Opening Reception. Talked with some ladies from east and west coast chapters about seminar and EGA. Of course in all of this I was trying to learn about other areas and their ways of doing as well as promoting the National Seminar in 2010 (San Francisco).

Opening banquet was seating by Region. The favor was a bracelet with a 50th Anniversary charm. Food okay. About 900 attended the evening. The guest speaker was Marion Scoular who talked about her beginnings in embroidery, her training, and teaching. I will never forget how to swear Marion style -- SPINACH!

Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday I signed up for Renaissance with Marnie Ritter. I had originally signed up for Goldwork with Michelle Roberts but her classes cancelled. I am so not a counted canvas person. Love the colors. Learned about some new threads. Learned some fun patterns. Frogged lots!

Attended lots of meetings and events -- Annual Meeting of Members, joined NETA and attended its meeting, Teachers Showcase, the Auction, and Merchandise day. Spent $$$ between the bookstore, the merchandise emporium, and the Merchandise day. Found books that are not easily accessible, fibers I hadn't seen before or I need for upcoming teaching gigs, and then there were the ladies from Italy. Vima had brought over a lacemaker and a weaver. Their goods were for sale on Wednesday. Could not resist some pieces in the style of the perugia linens. The Assisi pieces and the reticella pieces were too expensive for me to justify - sigh!

Wednesday was my needlelace Rose class with Jane Ellen Balzelweit. Only 8 in the class and she was lots of fun. We used silknpearl from Thread Gatherer - fun thread, fun technique. Someone in the class was very sick, in considerate, and proceeded to spend the day sneezing and coughing (yes I came home sick).

The live auction was a hoot! I restrained myself and didn't even get a bidder number. They had a professional auction house running it and Judy Jeroy as commentator. It was so much fun that the auctioneer was laughing so hard he had tears running down his face.

Closing banquet was by chosen tables. Our gift was a pair of in expensive stork scissors in a leather case with EGA in gold tooling. The speaker was the bugler from Churchill Downs. He had done the call to post in the opening banquet too. He was fun and entertaining.

Flights home were uneventful. My books made my carry on HEAVY, but I managed to make it home with everything. Many used the UPS booth provided by the Seminar. Thanks to my roommate for putting up with me for 13 days. For the final good news - I lost 3 pounds!

Monday, August 18, 2008

TaDa The Butterfly

Been watching the Olympics, prepping for Purgatorio/Pelican celebration, EGA Louisville trip, return to teach at IKINS (Elizabethan Raised Stitches - 4 hours), step up as EGA Region Director, and teach the October program for my local EGA chapter. They wanted an Intro to Goldwork -- hence the butterfly. Sorry for the lousy picture. He is about 3" tall.

The basic butterfly is part of the Callaway challenge - fyi.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Art Meme - Long

Meme from a friend on LJ

Do I do art? It has been a long hard road for me to think about what I do as art. When other well recognized artists liked my stuff and I started to be paid for my creations, only then did I begin to see myself as creating something that can be called art. This is a big hurdle most of us face as hobbyists.

1) What drives you to create? Also, what inspires you and your work?
I create because I need to. I am unhappy in myself when I don't. Inspiration comes from many sources - nature, a new thread I want to use, some new technique I want to try.

2) Were you formally trained in art or self taught? Do you think it has helped you or hindered you?
Primarily self taught. It hindered in that I needed skills to do needlework. Taking classes filled the need. However, most of my design is self taught. In class I might learn how a painter would look at something, but applying it to needlework, has been primarily me with lots of outside influences.

3) Do you have a ritual, quirk or superstition that influences you and the way you create?
I create best in my corner of the world.

4) What media do you work in the most? Do you have a particular brand that you love working with? Why do you use them?
Embroidery is my primary medium, although I love the Encrusted Crazy Quilting (see, and nearly all things string. I love silk threads - the touch and the sheen. I love a good needle and buy them constantly. I have a lots of embroidery scissors - one for each project - they are just fun and I need excuses to use them!

5) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? And now?
I wanted to work with the law in a corporate environment. Did that - got the tee shirt. Now I want to be free to play with all things string.

6) If there was one style of art that you could take up, what would it be?
Dance. I love dance. I'd really like to get back to it.

7) Do you think the internet, technology, media, etc, are helping or destroying the art world?
Helping. Look at ATC's. Look at the spread of information. I can, and have, helped embroiderers all over the world. It is why I maintain a website with the information that I would have liked to have had when I started. It is my way of giving and the internet made it possible.

8) How do you deal with creator's block?
Put nose to grind stone and do it. You can only create so far in your head or on the computer. Everything changes when you put needle to fabric. If I really can't get it going, I'll look at lots of websites and books with similar concepts or themes to get the juices flowing. I also try to always leave the needle threaded with the next thread. Then I only need to sit down to stitch. It is already to go.

9) How do you prepare for art shows where your work will be shown?
With a big deep breath. Everything is collected in one place 24 hours before. I add in anything that I think might make it show better - table clothes, something to raise the angle, etc. I try to prepare for all the variables before the set up. Once I am set up - I let go and try to enjoy the interaction.

10) At what point did you realize that creating was going to be a large part of your life?
About 5 years ago. I offered to help a mover and shaker in the field with getting pictures for a presentation. I didn't know she was a big wig, I just knew she was missing resources for a lecture and I knew about the resources. She turned to me and asked me to write a series of columns for her magazine. I said sure. It turned out that I wrote 18 columns over 3 years and it was a magazine with an international circulation. Part of the columns were projects for the readers to do.

11) What was your worst experience with art?
my own fault - not being fully prepared to teach

12) What was you best experience with art?
having people like and appreciate my art - each time is special

13) How would you define your style?

14) What does your workspace look like?
jumbled - I tend to work on the couch. I try to spread the key elements and tools on the coffee table or a tray on the coffee table so I can just grab the next thing I need without a lot of thought. I know part of my mind is working on the design and it works best if I don't try to over think.

15) Aside from art what do you do with your time?
Arbitration and Facilitation, work on administration for a not-for-profit, work on my family history projects/books, spend time checking up on friends on LJ, doing various forms of re/enactment and dance, and spending time with my wonderful husband and felines.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rambling on Designing

The project is for a 2 hour Introduction to Goldwork Technique class for my chapter. They wanted something to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of EGA. They chose Goldwork and then they looked at me to provide the class (grin). Okay it is now deadline time since I need to publicize the class and set prices.

When I give a goldwork class I give each student an Altoids Tin lined with craft felt. This gives them a place to put their precious bits and a chipbox. On one of my tins I did a mini garden scene with bugs. It always gets a positive response.

In thinking about what techniques I want to cover I think I'm going to give them a butterfly design that will fit on the tin, if they want. I can have them do couching of Japanese Gold #5 on a band on the wings. Perhaps couch a circle or 2 of passing on the wings. I'd like to try to get the #50 and EGA on the wings in some format. The body will be raised with a layer of felt. I am thinking some variation on bullion work for the body - laying purls with chipwork for the head.
I'll do the butterfly and then see if I need to add something to the piece -- ie if there is too much open space. I may need to add grass or a plant. It would be fun to do with a bit of the green metal thread from B&G. I may have them outline the wings with a piece or 2 of braid from Bill Barnes too. Hmmmm.

The model needs to be done asap. Guess I know what I'll be doing for the next couple days.

PS I now have my IPhone so I don't have to take a laptop to Louisville. I can do all my email and such on it. It is addictive. A friend refers to hers as her "boyfriend". I so understand.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Adventures in Dyeing

How cool is it to spin, dye and knit/weave your own yarn??????? Way cool and lots of fun too!

Okay back to West An Tir War. Bjo Griffin of Griffin Dye Works gave a workshop. The idea was to do yellow, red, and blue. The yellow I really don't remember. We started with one light yellow/gold and then redid the pot with a stronger yellow/orange.

The first red was a reused pot from the day before which had been a yellow. The red also was an unknown and the result was both light and muddy. The next red was a cochineal - got to love the bugs. We did a batch plain then with soda ash to make for a more purple red.

The blue was indigo crystals. Because of all the unknowns this form was chosen and worked very well. So here is my batch of fibers -- my own spun wool, 2 weights of wool, 1 she brought, a wool with a mylar thread, silk ribbon, silk - raw, tussah rough, tussah smooth, and floss. Yes some are overdyes and some are dipped into 2 pots.

Bjo left the bugs for me and another lady to take and use. I brought mine home and did another pot of red. This pot was a bit light and shows the result of having been in contact with the soda ash. After washing the them out, I clipped them up on a tomato trellis to dry. I left them out overnight. I found them strewn across the yard. Guess the birds and other wild animals had fun playing with the wool. They left the silk. Hmmmm

The next day I reheated the dye pot and overdyed some commercial cotton floss. The white and ecru took a little of the dye. The greens browned nicely, but so did the yellows. The grays became almost maroon. The bright blue became a wonderful rice blue.

So now I have more stash. I am thinking that my homespun needs to become a knitting or naalbinding project. We shall see. I have the lighter red, a cochineal red, and an indigo. However, now is not the time to play unfortunately. I need to prep for Purgatorio and the ceremony :) and then Louisville.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

West An Tir War News & Pelican Alert

Finally recovering from the war. I've posted all the news that is fit to print and then some on my LJ page. There are 2 posts: War and my offer to join the Order of the Pelican. The later for those not in the SCA, it is the highest service award in the organization. Very nice to be asked to join. I'll post pics of the projects soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

EGA-Regional Summary Report

Back from the Regional Seminar at Asilomar -- Stitchers' Ottersea. Yes we had fun with the name. We also made and sold otter frame weights that are just tooooo cute for words. I designed a tin topper or name tag as well for sale. Apparently they sold well enough so I'm pleased.

I also functioned as the "Spotted Otter". In SciFi and Costume Cons you have hall prizes - you are spotted in the halls wearing cool stuff. For this event we set themes for each of the main days. I then spotted people and gave them a "prize". I also took their name for the newsletter and took their picture for the website. It seemed to go over well IF we gave people enough advance warning on the theme so they could plan their dressing for the next day. It was fun to "make people's day". I also was really happy to help promote the concept of wearable art.

Asilomar itself is lovely. The rooms are better than a cheap motel. The food is decent. They manage to feed lots of people quickly. They were able to make the necessary accommodations for my diet for all but one meal - very good for a 6 day stay. The conference rooms worked well. Even the dark ones had a fair amount of natural lighting and plenty of indoor lighting as well. You still wanted to have your own light for isty-bitsy work. I took my new mini-light which can sit or clip on. It was enough light, but not great. It's size is great for travel and it will be adequate for the national in Louisville in Aug/Sept.

Our first night we had a first person interpreter who does Julia Morgan. It was FABULOUS! She is an architectural historian in real life and did an excellent job of channeling Julia.

I took 3 classes. Sat/Sun was Lily with Lynn Payette. It was lots of fun and VERY creative. Learned lots about shading and shadows. Her background is in art and it was really helpful to hear about the mechanics of determining how to choose the focus, shading, choosing colors to emphasize, etc. The class was in Directors Cottage - only 6 of us so we had a blast while working hard. She is a good teacher, just not a traditional one which suits me just fine.

Monday was Snake Misses Eden Too with Sara Zander. It is a beaded piece. The key thing I learned was circular peyote. I think I finally "grock" peyote! It has lots of stitched beading and fringe. I may even finish the piece. There were 14 in the class, and it usually is a 2 day class. Lots of fast paced fun even if I had to take out the first several hours work and redo it. It was/is worth it!

Tue/Wed was Nocturne with Kay Stanis. Metallic thread on black congress cloth - but you paint it first. You were to bring maple leaves - I brought some of our Japanese Maple, but others brought a variety of leaves. You use acryllic paints to create a "pounce" of the outline and other accents like fully painted leaves or other things to enhance the the canvas. Then you design the stitch and thread placements. I truly wish I had some stuff from my stash. She gave us jaceron #3, Japanese Thread #1, and some Kreinik #4 and #16 braid - gold and copper.

We made "samples" first; before painting the main cloth. We could also use these to try the stitches and threads. This is what I did primarily. I stitch slowly and I do so much that my stitching time is limited. The materials and to some extent the recommended stitches are not my vision of what should go in the sections of the leaves. As a result I didn't want to work on the main piece until I got home and could look at my books and stash. I will probably do the piece, just not quite as Kay did. Fortunately, she understood this. I did learn a lot about working with reverse coloration, as well as design and stitching tips.

The week also brought home to me that I really march to a different drummer when it comes to embroidery. I have a hard time doing someone else's design, so really need to be careful which classes I take and the mind frame I need to take the classes.

On the diet and exercise note -- I didn't loose or gain weight. I did eat the dessert and bread at lunch and dinner, and the afternoon treat. I ate full meals but only "over ate" once. I walked in date order 6872 (with heavy lifting up a flight of stairs), 7921, 7570, 7240, 7930, and 11443 steps (with more heavy lifting down a flight of stairs). Asilomar has hills and steps so walking was not on flat surfaces, although most of the footing was easy enough. Guess I need to start walking more around here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Just a very quick post before I head out to Asilomar - the EGA - Region seminar. I'm taking classes with Lynn Payette and Kay Stanis - Lily and Nocturne respectively.

As I've mentioned in the past our yard has frogs. We have been having a lovely frog chorus at night. We have 3 pond frogs - smaller than in past years. We have a few tree frogs although they have been hiding from me. We also have a lovely almost moroccan red patterned with stripes garter snake. Despite all this I've never done a frog before. So here is my first frog, actually done for a special project for a friend - the whole piece is about 5" square

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Running like mad trying to catch up before going off to the EGA Regional on Friday. Meanwhile, do drop by and let me know your perceptions on my Johari window.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I've been bad

Since most of my recent time has been spent on SCA stuff I've been posting mostly on LJ. You can find me there on another Broider Barones.

Life has been hectic -- too hectic. No time for stitching. It seems I really need to have relax time in order to stitch. Either that or a deadline. There doesn't seem to have been an in between lately.

I have been very bad on the stash enhancement side :) Costume Con resulted in LOTS of buttons. There was an antique/vintage button lady and another booth with a big double shoe box of large vintage buttons - 10 cents each. Think I have enough for lots of buttons on my CQ projects. Love the look of beads and buttons on CQ.

Joady of Hedgehog Handworks was there. I resisted most of the books since I've been on a buying spree lately. However she had lots of fun threads - soie platt, the new thread from Golden Threads - a silk and metal blend, "cheap gold couching threads from B&J, etc. I'm so bad that my meager purchases netted me one of her new cool tote bags. I've used her old ones to bits - large enough to hold a project on frame and lap frame, plus. Her new ones have a place for water bottle, outside zippered pocket for tools, and main pocket. Not a spacious as the old one, but a really good airport tote style.

I also went to Madonna Needleworks in Morgan Hill. The EGA chapter had invited me down to do my history of embroidery slide lecture. Since I was right there.... The store is primarily set out by color. The owner also was the one to introduce the "xmas lights" and made it really fun to play with the new threads. Needless to say another bag of goodies accompanied me home.

That all with the haul from Vanessa's going out of business sale (well it was 50% off....) makes my stash organization -- lets just say there isn't any any more.

The next few weeks include the EGA Regional Seminar in June at Asilomar followed by June Crown and West AnTir War. I am in charge of classes at the war. We are doing 3 tracks on 2 of the days and a solar on the first day's afternoon. I need to prep my classes (Bayeux stitch and then backup for a couple other teachers - wire work, viking embroidery, etc.) and get lots of my white wool spun for the dyeing classes. It should be lots of fun (all except the camping part :). There will be stitching and fiber arts. I'll try and check in time permitting.

Friday, March 28, 2008

March Crown Report

Just a quick note to catchup on the happenings at Crown. I participated in the Queen's Artisan's Display. I brought my black velvet german with the beaded sleeve (laid on table with green cloth), the red and gold german with the beaded bodice insert (Cranach style) - on the dress dummy, the pearl and spangle black velvet hat on form with gold caul under, and the couched gold and blackwork bodice insert. I did documentation for the couched gold. Everything else was documented in my workbook for the current gollar project since it is all Pearl Embroidery. I also brought the gollar in process. Just begun with the satin on the frame and outlined on the satin. I had one line of coral on it with the tail just pinned nearby. This allowed people to see that it is really a couched line of beads. I also put out my workbox and periodically demoed the process. Of course I failed to take a pic of the display.

I received wonderfully positive feedback on the display. Sunday I did the class for 3 people on the design concepts of Pearl Embroidery on 15/16th German Women's Clothing. At least those 3 were really interested. Lots of people walked through the display and the Laurels did a field trip through on Sunday am.

Also attended and participated in the WK Needleworkers meeting on Saturday. It was followed by the Arachne's Web class on class ID and lace for clothing. My deputy Magdalena is wonderful!!!! Our Arachne's meeting was small, but short.

Long weekend, but good overall good. Now all I need to do is finish the project :)

2 "W's" for Aurelia

This notation has been on my calendar for months. W commented that it sounds like one of the mystery books that I read. In actuality it is the notation for me to do the goldwork letters - 2 capital W's for the project of the kneeling pillows for our Barony of Westermark. Aurelia is the name of the lady who was coordinating the project. The concept was to have each of the letters done like letters cut out of a newspaper; like they were for a ransom note. So here are my quick and dirty versions of the letter W.

They are about 3x3". The outline colors are the colors of the barony - red, purple, and gold.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Pictures as Promised - Quilt Blocks

As promised here is the quilt block that is the logo for our Regional Seminar at Asilomar - A Stitchers Ottersea. It will be the center of the 7x5 block quilt.

One of the blocks by members was not ready in time to put the quilt together so I did this block too. It gives you a better feel of what the other blocks are like.

Hope you like our idea for the quilt.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fiber and more

Last weekend was Stitches West - the knitting and fiber show. They expected 8000 at the Santa Clara convention center for the weekend. I don't attend the regular classes, but do take advantage of the "market" classes. These are 1 hour classes given on the market place floor. I took a bead knitting class (I could easily get addicted to working with beads) and a class on various ways to increase.

While increasing and decreasing sound basic, I really want to know more than the way to do it. I want to know the why and the how. Each way of increasing has a different effect, I want to understand the differences. As for the how, I really want to understand the path the thread takes and what happens when that path changes.

I had taken "classes" from several friends on the how to use a lucet. It wasn't until I took from a professional teacher that I really learned the "How". Once I understood that how, I could look at any stitch and not only do it, I could teach it. Hence my philosophy about learning fiber manipulation.

Last year I could barely knit -- well I had knitted as a kid and then revived the basic skill when I had dyed yarn -- needed to do something with the wonderful yarn. I've been doing some, not a lot, but some knitting this year with the idea of doing some felting. Haven't finished anything to felt yet, but it will happen someday.

I've decided that I am a fiber-holic. I love touching fibers. If it has to do with fibers, I want in to some level. That said, I purchased some tofutsies (soy and wool), some knitting needles, and another spindle for hand spinning. I fondled lots of yarn but in the end bought very little. The experience was still a bit overwhelming.

Meanwhile one of the local needlework and knitting shops is closing. I did some damage there on their 50% off sale. I stocked up on some of the lovely Gumnut wools from Australia for embroidery (something about having to embroider a couple Viking coats and hats...) and some silk ribbon for CQ embroidery.

Monday was a class with Joyce Lukomski of Needlepoint Now. One of the local EGA chapters was having her in for a workshop on Fabulous Filling Stitches. It was a 2 day notebook class (no project - just working on samples to understand the different stitch patterns), but Tuesday was my local EGA chapter meeting.

The chapter meeting was on Kumihimo braiding. I took in my murudai and set it up so others could see the movement. The class used the foam core round boards which are great for travel. Good teacher. Fun class. About 20 signed up for the class. Nice to see the resurgence.

We also debuted the Redwork style quilt our chapter is doing for the Seminar Fund Raiser. I'll have pics up soon of my blocks (frantically finished in the last couple weeks). Since the theme is a Stitcher's Ottersea we opted for all sea themed blocks. One of the members drew them out for us. I encouraged everyone to try out using overdyed threads as well as blue and sea color based threads. We have 35 blocks and the sashes and borders are sea themed fabrics too. The mix of colors is wonderful! It will hang at the shop where we met until the June seminar. I'll try to get a pic of the whole quilt too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Catching Up a Bit at a Time

Sorry for not posting for so long, but I haven't really been stitching. Did the training session for my EGA region officers. It went well even if it was over long. I'm learning more about training and powerpoint than I ever wanted to know. Now to clean it up and post it on the Region website. I was doing a rough calc of the hours -- over 300.....

Finishing up the quilt project for our EGA chapter. It will be our fund raiser at the Regional seminar. There are 35 blocks with "sea" related themes each done by different members of the Chapter. Rather than doing them in straight red or blue work they are done with colors and some overdyed threads. I did the logo for the seminar and need to finish the EGA logo on it now. Picky work. The other blocks are done. The quilt shop owner, were we meet, has volunteered to put the quilt top together and the store is donating the quilting - stitch in the ditch around the blocks and a seashell pattern for the sashing. It will be lovely and fun to see a project I envisioned come to life. I'll try to post a pic here.

Then I need to get cracking on making 2 "W's" in goldwork this weekend. Our local baronial kneeling pillows will be basically a crazy quilt of letters of the name of our Barony. Hence 2 - 3x3" goldwork W's for the first letter.

Then back to working on my queen's artisan project. More on that anon.
Have a lovely Valentine's Day. Whether or not you have a significant other -- tell those around you that you appreciate them. Speaking of which -- thanks for dropping by!

PS I redid my website over the holidays and it now contains most of my class handouts/information. Still need to add info and research but at least it is more up to date. Let me know if you have any problems with pages loading.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Comment Followup - Eliz Sweet Bag Project

The class was focusing on an early 17th C sweet (swete) bag. A picture can be found here.

While the class was not doing an exact reproduction, we were trying for the essence. The petals of the rose were started near the center with a bar. Then from this bar we did detached buttonhole. You could have done trellis stitch or hollie point so long as after the first couple rows the edge was detached and long enough to curl. In the last row we added in a piece of purl pearl - or you could have whipped the edge to add the purl pearl. If we had wanted to add additional petals they would have been started the same way and made smaller or completely detached and then added as you would in stumpwork.

The Burrell Collection, from which this piece was chosen, has a number of beautiful stumpwork pieces. Most of them were done in a satin or long/short stitch. Not quite sure why when they were contemporaneous pieces.

Hope this helps

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Threads Woven not Sewn

Took the weekend off from working on my presentation and went south to Paso Robles. My MIL invited me to join her art guild in a workshop on Tablet Weaving with Diana Brenna.

I have taken tablet weaving classes in the past, but was frustrated with the lack of tension and real understanding of the process. Yes I know I have perfectionist tendencies, but I really hate it when I can't get the tension right on a project.

The class was small - 8 of us and it was great! Diana is not only a wonderful textile artist, but a really good teacher. As an artist she creates full woven costumes with a wide variety of threads. Each has a tablet woven element. She was trained by Candace Crockett and other top names in the field. She has studied with nearly everyone who is in the field of tablet weaving.

Needless to say 2 days was not enough time but we did cover a lot. On Saturday we took a diamond pattern, 14 cards and 3 or 4 colors and warped up. We wove the diamonds, chevrons, spiraling, and plain weave. On Sunday we did double weave, card shifting, and creating an angle (or "v") for starting or ending. We also spent time creating our own design for 4 sided cards and 24 cards wide; with varied threading.

Most of the class wove on "c" clamps but I used my inkle loom. Think I want to make a couple modifications to my box loom before I use it, but I have a much better feel for getting the tensioning right no matter what I use.

Good weekend. Wish it had been longer. Want to learn more! However, back to the grind stone for now.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Historic Needlework: Samplers

Happy New Year - may 2008 bring you lots of stitching joy!

I've decided that as part of this column I should highlight some fun and interesting websites that deal with historic needlework. This is the first of this series (and yes I will tag them).

This Sampler website highlights a collection and tour of Scottish Samplers. There is information on the samplers themselves, on samplers in general, and a fun interactive/design your own "game". The commentator on the website is Naomi Tarrant who has several books out on samplers.

Samplers have never been my "thing". However after seeing the collection as the Burrell and seeing a number of them in their natural surroundings in a couple of Elizabethan country manor houses in England and Scotland, I admit to becoming fascinated. Enjoy!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tired - Wet - Wonderful 12th Night

Just posted my 12th Night recap over on LJ