Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day 24 - Art Every Day - Some progress on Tahlia's postcard

I have done some embroidery along the center strip of fabric and have added some pearls to it.  Then I made a couple of flowers above it.  The one that looks like a snowflake is stitched with fly stitches, has a sequin in the center and some beads along the outside.  The other two are made of sheer ribbon with a pearl in the center.  On the lower left seam treatment I did some spider web roses. There is a tan stem like swirl done in wrapped back stitch. I also added some stitching around the roses - bouillons, chain and buttonhole which I like the look of.  On the upper right I stitched my name and location. The light is poor tonight and I needed some shadow to be able to pick up the embroidery I did on the shiny strip.  If there is too much light, it shines too brightly for the embroidery to be seen.

Day 23 - Art Every Day - Back to knitting

Knitting is what I actually want to be doing these days, but I have several projects that I need to finish so I can move on to some new projects that will be opening themselves up to me rather quickly! I didn't get much done, but I decided to switch to some smaller needles and am still practicing the Austrian Block Stitch. My knitting seems too tight for my liking and I'm not sure how to loosen it up.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 22 - Art Every Day - Pieced a postcard for Tahlia

Tahlia is another person who I owed a "Snowball" to.  In her case she wanted a postcard sized CQ made in my style. Tonight I pieced her postcard in some special fabrics that I someday want to do a larger piece in. This will be a nice prelude to it. Next I will go about embellishing it. There is a line on the bottom left corner fabric that doesn't exist - the light picked up the slightest wrinkle and magnified it.  Hmmm.

Day 21 - Art Every Day - Finished Nicki Lee's Snowball

Hope she likes it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 20- Art Every Day - Tangles

I bought my grandgirls some tangle notebooks, pens, and zentangle books for Christmas. When I pick them up from school we all do tangles and zentangles together. Here's some tangles I did today.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 19 - Art Every Day - Crazy Quilted Snowball

I decided I really needed to get this snowball done.  I've owed it to Nicki Lee for the longest time - she probably thinks I forgot about her. I don't think I'm done yet - I will probably add some beads or something. I'm pretty happy with how the little seahorse turned out.  He looks better in person.

Day 18 - Art Every Day - Photography

My husband and I went on an 8.8 mile hike today and when I returned I didn't have a lot of energy for much but eating and sitting in front of the tv.  I did take some photos of our hike, none that turned out extremely well, but it it my art for today!

Day 17: Art Every Day - some days are for seeing what others have done

So today I looked at a book I got from an Interlibrary loan that I checked out.  This is a large reference book on Queen Elizabeth's (the one from the 1500's) wardrobe. She was the daughter of Henry the Eighth and Anne Boleyn who was executed when Elizabeth was 2-1/2. Elizabeth was a milder ruler than Henry although she did execute her half sister Mary who wanted to steal her throne.

This book has numerous examples of Elizabeth's extravagant dresses which were normally covered with embroidery and trimmed with bobbin lace. The workmanship is worth studying.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Day 16 - Art Every Day - Basting

Last night I was watching Downton Abbey again and needed to find something I could do that didn't require great concentration.  I need to get the Barbara Kershaw "Liesel" pillow case project done by August for a correspondence course I'm taking with the Embroidery Guild of America (EGA), so it's important to do a little whenever I can.  Here is a link to a picture of the final project in the Schwalm technique that I'm just learning in this project:

I am also signed up to do this sampler, also designed by Barbara Kershaw:
I am not on a time schedule for this one, so it will have to wait!

Here's my photo of my basting stitches so far:
This fabric is white white, so any color in the photo is simply distortion.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 15 - Art Every Day - More Knitting Practice

Well, one thing I have learned is that learning to knit and watching Downton Abbey don't mix!  I am still ending up with more stitches than I started with and having to rip, rip, rip.  I can't keep track of where I am without focusing every minute. So here is the bit I stitched and it still doesn't look as it's supposed to.  I think I will pull it all off and have another try.  Part of the problem is that I did too many of the first two repeats before I switched to the second two repeats.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 14 - Art Every Day - Played with Stash

OK - does this count as Art Every Day?  lol! I know we all do it from time to time. I won these on ebay a while back.  These are Kensitas silks and  were put out by J. Wix & Sons of London in 1934 and 1935 in cigarette packs. It was a group of 60 of the medium/large variety and needless to say I did not pay the asking price that some are asking that sell them individually. I have seen them as high as $15.00 a piece. I paid about $1.21 per silkie. Yippee! These are actually embroidered and not just a photo put on fabric. I posted some close-ups so you can see how lovely they are. They are contained in paper envelopes and that's the image you see coming through the silky. Backed with a creamy white backing they'd be even more stunning. Most crazy quilters know them well and some have their own collections. Now I just need some fantastic ideas to showcase them in a quilt. I considered hexagons, but someone suggested they were being overdone these days. Any ideas? They are about 2 x 2-3/4 inch in size.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 13 - Art Every Day - Cutting linen

I signed up for a EGA class to sew a pillow cover using techniques of Schwalm embroidery.  I ordered the linen and had to cut one piece for the pillow cover and one piece for a practice piece. Then I put an edging around both pieces so it wouldn't unravel when I begin to stitch.  This is the type of thing I will procrastinate on for a month of Sundays so I'm glad it is done.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 12- Art Every Day - Tatted Angel

Day 12:  You may have wondered what happened to my tatted angel.  Well, I have made some progress on her, but accidentally closed a ring that needed to be joined to a picot on another ring so I had to try to open the ring again, which is NOT very easy on size 80 thread. I ended up having to cut it out and re-join the thread at one of the chains.  I made another mistake and couldn't bear to work on her for a while because my frustration level was elevated (lol!). So I put her down and here she lies. Now I am reinforcing to myself what I have found to be true for me.  ALWAYS try a new pattern in a size 20 thread, then move to a size 80 thread. Size 20 thread is greater in girth than the size 80 and is much easier to pick out when a mistake is made. I don't think it is as delicate and pretty as the size 80 is so I try and cut corners by not practicing the pattern first.  I'm just not that good yet.  Maybe some day I will be, but that day hasn't yet arrived.
So now at the bottom you can see where I didn't join the picots of the last chains of her skirt together on the left. By the time I noticed it was way too late to cut and correct in my opinion! It doesn't much matter to me any way because I will probably stitch her down to fabric and can join the two picots then.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 11 - Art Every Day - Crewel Embroidery

I went to my embroidery guild meeting this morning and  worked on this little sample of crewel embroidery.
I had already completed the outer petals and this morning I worked the inner petals.

Day 10: Art Every Day - Learning the Austrian Block Stitch

So I learned how to cast off and saved my little garter stitch sample for posterity.  Here's the link for casting off:

Now I have decided to try a few of the patterns (well at least one) of the stitchesthat Craftsy gave me to stitch the socks with.  Today I tried the Austrian Block Pattern.  To do it I needed to learn several little stitches: K1-tbl (knit one through the back loop, RT (right twist), LT (left twist).  I found youtube videos to learn them.  Here's my sample so far although if you ask me it doesn't look like much! My light was poor - believe it or not, this is the same yarn I've been working with. Maybe I'll get a better picture tomorrow.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 9 - Art Every Day - Learning Continental Style Knitting

I started to knit my gauge swatch in the round (never done that before) and realized I needed to practice knitting continental style knitting first. When I first knit as a 20-yr-old or so I used the English method and I want to switch.

When I was try to stitch my gauge swatch, I was using aluminum needles to stitch in the round and my stitches kept falling off. When I decided I needed to practice the continental method on the flat I switched to bamboo and I don't have that problem too much now. Casting on and the knit stitches were easy for me to do in continental style knitting, but when I started stitching the purls I felt like I was stitching with my feet. After stitching this many rows I have developed a style and rhythm, but I still am quite slow with the purls. I started with 50 stitches on my needle and kept picking up stitches so I realize I have to count every time after I do a row. I also dropped a stitch.  I can now recognize a knit stitch verses a purl stitch. I am under no delusions.  Learning to knit a sock is going to take a while.  (-;

By the way, I didn't pull out all this knitting terminology out of my extensive brain matter (ha ha). I learned it in my Craftsy class and through various on-line resources. Although the continental style was demonstrated in the Craftsy class it was not taught so I used these You Tube videos to learn:

Continental Style vs English Style:
Casting on Continental Style:
How to knit Continental Style:
How to purl Continental Syle:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 8: Art Every Day - Knitting

After listening to 7 hours of knitting original cuff-down socks on Craftsy, along with listening to many You-tube videos on continental knitting and various knitting stitches, I purchased some yarn and needles and am ready to stitch my gauge swatch.  Here is a photo of what I have started. 

I'm afraid that posting every day I'm exposing too much of myself! You will now see how I jump from thing to thing on a DAILY basis.  Ha ha.  I don't mind, but I'm sure others will have there say! I've been saving knitting patterns on my computer for ages when I don't knit. My daughter mentioned once she wanted to knit and I'd like to see that happen, but I can't help her because I don't knit. Yet. I'm not the kind of person who likes to start learning at the beginning with a small simple project (that I usually don't want). I like to jump in where it's difficult and a challenge and then when I can complete it I am very proud of myself.  lol!  I did knit some of a baby blanket when I was quite young.  I could knit, purl, and did some cables.  I recently started to knit a scarf to try and get back into it, but I chose some very difficult yarn to work with and so I got stuck and couldn't fix it. So, I decided to work with yarn that is a little less fussy, but chose a not so simple project to begin - socks.  I hope this project doesn't go the way of the scarf. I won't let the scarf failure deter me though, and hope to go back one day and fix it up (VERY pretty yarn).

I decided I needed lessons and looked around town to find them.  Quite expensive - $54 for 3 2 hr lessons, $25 for one 2 hour lesson,etc. My youngest daughter suggested I look online.  I found some great sites with nice resources and some nice videos for specific skills.  Fortunately Craftsy was offering a first class at a great bargain, so I took the class for $14, normally $39.  It is a great class so far with nearly all the detail I need as a non-knitter.  What I don't get through the class I found in on-line videos.  So far I have spent about 10 hours just learning, so it is a big time investment. The Craftsy class is more than I thought it would be.  I expected to have them teach me how to make one way of knitting a sock and I'd make it.  Instead it is like a sock designer course (well worth the $14.00).  She teaches you 3 ways of making heels and 3 ways of making toes.  She gets you started with some patterns too. I have 3 lessons left where she is going to knit a sock while we knit ours. I am set for a long time with knowledge to try a whole variety of socks. I will let you know if I am able to actually knit the sock after the lesson. Only time will tell. Lots of time. I look forward to the time when I'm able to just sit in front of the tv and knit a sock with a lovely rhythm to my work. I will make gifts for my family at Christmas. A handmade sock is a luxury to behold.  (-; But I will be patient with myself, take it slow, practice where I need to and enjoy the process.

To begin my sock knitting journey, I've decided to switch from the English way of knitting to the continental way of knitting.  So, my swatch is taking a while while I adjust to the new way of doing things.  I think it will prove to be a much faster way of knitting and they say my gauge will be more even. The purl is proving to be a challenge.  So, instead of stitching in my sock pattern I'm going to stitch knits and purls until I get a little more competent at it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Day 6 - Art Every Day - Cuff Down Socks

Lately, I've wanted to learn to knit socks. Craftsy offered a discounted class so I ordered a knitting class on Cuff Down Socks. So, I spent and hour and a half watching the first three lessons.  Full of information so far.

Day 5 - Art Every Day - Design Ideas

Here's some tire tracks I took a photo of while I was out walking. These designs could be translated into stitching designs or zentangles.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day 4 - Art Every Day - Tatted Angel

Today I shopped for groceries and cooked like a mad woman (green chili, beets with vinaigrette, broiled chicken so I'd have some to make chicken salad), so again I just had a little time in the evening to stitch. I would have gotten farther, but I made a mistake and had to cut it out. The up side of this is that I now feel more confident about fixing mistakes. I made another mistake too, but I went so far past it and think I can compensate for it (hope), so I left it in.  I'm pretty sure you can't tell where it is.  (-;  As you can see I got about half of the shirt done.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 3 - Art Every Day - Tatted Angel

I had a long hike today and only had a bit of time in the evening to stitch while I finished Movie 3 of the Narnia series.  I pulled out this piece of tatting.  Previously I had completed the chest, wings and the outline of her head.  Tonight I added the hair and started on her skirt.  I am amazed at what I can already do with tatting. I have tried twice previously to tat with little success.  I guess I learned enough to make it stick on the third try. Happy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day 2 - Art Every Day - Lace and Pearls Do-Your-Block

Elizabeth's blocks were stunning without embellishment. Here is my work on Elizabeth's block:

 Elizabeth sent a piece of irish lace with each block.  The tatting is mine.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Day 1 - Art Every Day - Tatted Trim

Vicki, from the blog "On the Curing Rack",, issued a challenge to post daily on what we accomplished in art.  Today I put 2 repeats on a piece of tatting I've been working on.  I've been trying to learn to tat and have decided to do 6-inch lengths of various tatted trims to get better at it.  This trim is done in size 80 tatting thread.