Category Archives: 2009 Finishes

Well, it’s been a long time…

…and yes, another post is starting that way, woe is I.  🙂 However, all of us have lived through times when life throws a few curves into our path so ‘nuf said.  Anyway, to sorta quote a scary movie from long ago…I’m back.

It is spring here in Minnesota and, while the last few days have been beastly hot, mostly it’s just glorious.  The kind of glorious when I can’t wait to be outside…

The most amazing thing about spring to me is all the different colors of green.  Everything from chartreuse to deep olive and even teal.  The fragrance of cherry and apple blossoms wafting on a breeze only adds to the magic.  It is this time of year that makes winter only a distant memory.

Have I been stitching whilst negotiating curves?  Well, in finest Midwest parlance…YOU BETCHA!  In fact, I have a finish to share today.  This is kind of a special finish in that up until I put that last stitch into canvas, it was my oldest living needlepoint work in progress.  It is a JINICE kimono and was my first attempt at charted needlepoint (with a drawn outline) and I started it in the early 1990’s.  I know, I know…some of you were BORN in the early 1990’s :-).  What can I say except I have the attention span of a chipmunk some days.  But eventually I get there and today I have this to show:

Jinice Kimono

Jinice Kimono

I also took some close up shots:

Jinice Kimono-Upper left

Jinice Kimono-Upper left

Jinice Kimono-Upper Right

Jinice Kimono-Upper Right

Jinice Kimono-Lower Left

Jinice Kimono-Lower Left

Jinice Kimono-Lower Right

Jinice Kimono-Lower Right

The border is six strands of floss plied, re-assembled, then laid. It was a time intensive project, but I love the way it looks.  The metallic around the outside of the kimono itself  is a heavy braid that is no longer made and was DIFFICULT to work in that it almost refused to lie flat as I was couching it down.  The background is not what was charted.  The stitch guide calls for a diamond shaped running stitch in a metallic decorated with beads.  For me that was too busy, given my desire to have the kimono be the focal point.  So I put in a very simple tone-on-tone (actually cream wool on tan ground) repeating (diaper?) pattern that suggests a bit of motion. The color choices are also my own. The compensation of the aqua wool in the upper part of the pattern was a…er…a challenge. 🙂 I think the most interesting part of finishing the piece was to see the progression in my skills over the last 20 years.  I did leave the parts originally stitched intact…because I value knowing and seeing that my stitching has improved.

I also just finished another session of Japanese embroidery class with Kay Stanis (fabulous teacher-teaches silk and metal work at many venues…TAKE A CLASS from her if you have the opportunity!). I am still working on Phase I, but it went so much better this time, simply because I had time to spend on specific motifs rather than getting so much information all at once.  I felt much less overwhelmed and bamboo leaves and I are even starting to be friends. 🙂 I hope to finish this phase in the next three months and start Phase II in August.  I really love the challenge of this discipline.  And I love the results. But after a 9-4:30 class four days in a row, I was exhausted.

Class was also a special treat this time because one of the sisters who was fighting cancer last fall, is well on her road to recovery and was able to start Phase One.  She is a joy to be around…and I had the added advantage of being able to listen to all the instructions all over again. My notes are much improved.

I don’t have photos yet, but will share them when I finish my bamboo leaves!

Just as an FYI, I am taking down my stash for sale page for a few weeks.  My stash room badly needs organizing and I haven’t gotten through it yet.  I will put a revised page back up as soon as I figure out what I have to sell/trade.  Thank you for your patience with me. I will also be adding a number of new volumes to my library over the coming weeks.  I am in a constant state of collecting and right now my interest seems to be in historical costume, couture embroidery and tambour work. So if any of that interests you, stay tuned.

I have to head for work shortly so I will draw this post to a close.  I hope all of you have a wonderful day filled with stitches and very few frogs!

Blessings,

Julie

Advertisements

I am feeling guilty…

…not because I’ve neglected to post in a couple weeks…although that would certainly be valid, given my goals.  No, I’m feeling guilty because I’m having a…well, an adulterous relationship.

Okay, you can all start breathing again…especially you, Mom. 🙂  No messy  confessions about my personal life are about to be revealed. This is, after all, a stitching  blog…a G-rated stitching blog.  So, suffice it to say, stitching forms the crux of my confession tonight.  To whit… my relationship with my needlework has changed.  How? Well, for many years, I have been faithful to my world of linen, canvas, silk and floss… monogamous as it were.  I did anything and everything that could be done with a blunt-tipped tapestry needle:  needlepoint, Hardanger and counted thread.  Happily unaware of other temptations, I plied my art (pun intended).

Then, along came the world-wide web and with it a world of gifted artists who shared their work freely. I started finding websites on quilting, crazy quilting, freestyle embroidery and knitting. Suddenly my familiar…and dare I say it…mundane tapestry needle and linen didn’t seem to be enough. I wanted excitement, I wanted new colors, new textures, new….new…va-voom!

So I caved.  I tried a new technique here, bought a little crazy quilting kit there. But up until now I’ve just dabbled.  In the last year, things have gotten a bit worse.  A bit more quilting here, a jot of knitting there, a class in Japanese embroidery (sharp! needle) and even one ill-advised (for me anyway) foray into the art of tatting. Still, I figured it was no big deal.  I could walk away any time if anyone began to get suspicious.

But now I’m afraid I am too badly smitten to continue to live a lie.  I’m in love…with knitting!  I love that I can see it when I’m tired. I love that I finish things the same year I start them.  I love that I can augment my wardrobe and the wardrobes of others (without muttering invectives at my sewing machine).  I love that it’s a texture and color fest every time I walk into my local knit shop. And, come to think of it, I love my local knit shop.

Could this be infatuation? Maybe but since I am still in love with a lace scarf that in the last 72 hours I have ripped out at least  7 times….it’s unlikely. I think I am well and truly besotted.

Anyone of certain age may remember a top 40 song from the late seventies; ‘Torn Between Two Lovers.  Yep, that’s me right now. I haven’t picked up my tapestry needle in almost a month.  At retreat last weekend, I did nothing but knit.  So…my stitching stash is calling to me…and I feel guilty because I am listening only to my cables and yarn-overs…and the sweet nothings they are whispering in my ear.

So, tonight what I have to share with you are photos of my new love. My beloved knitting…

My first finish for 2009:  A baby blanket for a very special young man named Colton:

Colton's Blanket

Close up

This was my first attempt at knitting with two strands of yarn held together.  I really enjoyed it and I feel pretty pleased with myself, as I’m very much a beginner. 🙂

Second, I am working on a sweater that involves cabling. I LOVE CABLES. I feel totally rocked when I look at this project and realize I did it.  Okay, so I wasn’t as rocked when I had to pull out several rows to correct a mistake and, yes, I did need help.  But ripping out in knitting, as in counted thread, seems to be part of the process.  The only problem is, I am much better at finding and correcting my mistakes in counted thread projects. Now, with mistakes corrected, I want to share my cable vest back. Notice the lovely color…my favorite color…never mind that I will probably look like a giant walking lime. 🙂 The shade on the first photo is much more true.

Cabled Gillet-started 2/2009

Cabled Gillet

I am almost finished with the back panel and plan to take this project on vacation with me.

And finally…just because I wanted a project on the other end of the yarn and needle size spectrum that would teach me more new knitting techniques, I started an ‘easy’ lace shawl by Sunflower Designs.  I’ve been working on it for 3 days and I’m now on the 14th row or so, but I’ve done those 14 rows oh, about seven times. (See above).  Still, I love the pattern, I love the yarn and I WILL GET IT!

Sunflower designs

Sunflower designs

By the way, if you want to try lace knitting or even just look at some gorgeous examples, go to Susan’s website.  She sells her patterns, her service is fabulous and her creativity is…well, incredible.  Treat yourself to this blog…it is a beautiful, calming experience. (Not to be confused with aforementioned experience had whilst ripping above pattern out for the seventh time! :-))

Deep breath…my dirty little secret is now out in the open. I am…yes, I AM a knitter!  I freely admit I have played the field and enjoyed it. But the truth remains,  I am also a stitcher and I will continue to be a stitcher. How could I give up my love of so many years? I can’t, therefore  I have to learn to multitask.

So please don’t give up hope…there will be more photos of stitching to come. And in fact, I have an idea of something that might help speed up the process:  Are there any patrons out there that would like to support me as I learn how to maintain relationships with multiple significant others?  (DH, if you’re reading, this is a metaphor…so don’t fret…you are still number one in my life! :-))

Sigh…I didn’t think so. So it’s off to work in the morning and both knitting and stitching will languish…left alone and unloved…as I satisfy the tyranny of the urgent (aka: the house payment, groceries and yes, even stash money.) But even as I grumble a little, I consider myself so blessed to have a job and to be well enough to work.  Nuf said…

Whew! I am so glad to have this confession off my chest. Now it’s back to my size 4 lace needles.  I hope this finds each of you well, happy and in stitches…knitting or otherwise.

Blessings,

Julie