Sunday, November 20, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 30

Hi everyone! I’m writing this post really early — it’s actually November 8 as I type — because I’m headed out on vacation and won’t be bringing Great Wave with me. Do I wish I could tell you I had finished it? Yes. Have I? No. 

Here’s where I was last time, just starting to stitch the crest of the wave:
 

And as of right now, I have finished the backstitching apart from the title and signature area at the top left of the image:


It’s true, like everyone said last time, the backstitching really makes the piece!

I made the mistake, a moment ago, of counting all the tiny French knots I have left to do. I’m afraid it is many more than were in the bottom of the piece. How many? 278. They’re so tiny — just one strand of floss — I keep asking myself if it’s “worth” it. But I know it will be. 

By the time you read this I’ll be on my way home, giving me a full three weeks to get those pesky French knots done.

Looking for some crafty inspiration? Be sure to check out the projects my fellow stitchers are working on. They're all different and all amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, AJCathie, LindaHelenConnieCindy, and Mary Margaret.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

13x13, November 2022 edition


Hi everyone. Welcome to the second installment of my 13x13 project! In October 2022 I pledged to make the Raven Ornaments Mosaic Kit by Northern Whimsy Studio.  It was my first time attempting mosaic in a very long time. The kit was perfect, and the instructions were nicely detailed. So I’m happy to present the result:


Let’s be honest — there’s one that I managed to forget to leave space for a hanging hole: 


That said, I’m really happy with how the little fellows turned out — they’re small — only about 3x5 inches. 


But I do like the look of them, and managed to hang one (the one with the hole…) on my Halloween tree. 

Now, what’s my next project? I have several Halloween kits from the fine folks at Mill Hill Beads. Moonlight Ghost apparently is set up as a magnet, but I see no problem in turning it into an ornament. 


This little Moonlight Ghost (and his “treasure”, a star…) will make a super cute addition to next year’s Halloween Tree. I’ll check back in on December 13 to share my progress as well as my next spooOOooooky project!






Sunday, November 6, 2022

Suminagashi class with Robert Mahar

 It’s been a couple of weeks since I took this class, and I’m sad to say I haven’t made the time to either go back and do more, or even write this post up. But I enjoyed this class so much I want to spend the time (and hopefully inspire myself to get back to it!).


My favorite local shop, Monster, also hosts a busy number of creative classes. I’ve taken a few — a block printing course where I made an amusing stamp or two:


A patch embroidery class where I ran out of time but really enjoyed it:


A map embroidery class that I can’t wait to tell you about:

And this: suminagashi. 

Suminagashi 墨 流 し or “floating ink” is the process of marbling plain paper with water and ink. Like many things, the simplest version is incredibly easy… but I can imagine it taking years to really master the art. 

Lovely Robert Mahar, on whom I have an artist crush, was offering this course. It felt like the universe was answering a request — I wanted to work with him on embroidery, and I also wanted to learn how to make suminagashi. And there it was, a class at my favorite store, on a weekend where I was home. Perfection. 

I was a little nervous about it — would I be able to make the patterns? Would mine turn out nicely? But Robert was soothing and encouraging and enthusiastic… and did I mention if felt like magic?


A little tub of water, two paintbrushes, and some oily ink or paint. You put one brush in each hand, soak up some ink in each, and then just touch the tip of the brush onto the water, You alternate the touches — left, right, left, right — creating concentric rings. Moving air, a slightly bumped table, nervous hands create some motion. And then, you have this. 

The ink floats on the surface, looking a bit pale and transparent. You can see the shadow of the dark rings on the bottom of the white tub of water. 

Then you take non-glossy paper and gently lay it on top of the water. You can actually see it absorb the ink, which lets you know when you can pick it up. And then, this:


I love seeing the ink as well as the print — now it changed, slightly, when I imperfectly lay the paper to pull the print. So satisfying!

The act of dipping the brushes in the water, watching the rings form, changing the amount of ink on the brushes or the time you left them in contact with the water and seeing the effect that had on the rings. It was soothing and fascinating and completely, totally magical. 

After pulling a print, you simply brushed paper towel across the top of the water bath and started again. I played with colors (not traditional in Japan, mind you, but fun as they were available) and feared that they weren’t very vibrant … until I pulled the prints. 




I didn’t really do much to manipulate the inks; though one can use air or “combs” to move the floating ink. Each print was pulled, then layered with paper towels to keep them separate. I took them home damp but was thrilled when I saw that the yellows remained so vibrant after drying. 

We also printed on some silk hankies — slightly too large for the inexpensive bins we used in class, so they have an un-printed edge. 



(Not the best photos — but these are very pale with subtle patterns and colors.)


It’s been a couple of weeks since I took the class, and as I said earlier, I haven’t gotten back to playing with this technique. I’m thinking about printing on linen and embroidering over it… or printing on card stock and then block printing over it to make Christmas cards, etc. I’ve been working on some paper craft projects lately, so I think I’ll make some “notebook covers” on heavy card stock. 

(Now I’m antsy to get my inks back out — mission accomplished!)



Sunday, October 30, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 29

Hi everyone! Not sure where the last three weeks have gone. Last time I had finished the stitching and started on the backstitching. 


I've been finding it surprisingly tricky and very slow going, since most of the backstitches are partial stitches -- into the middles, across, say, one and a half stitches, etc. I stitch a few, then have to stop and mark up my chart so I can keep track of where I am. 

That said, I've finished the bottom half of the piece, and gotten a start on the cresting wave. 
 

I do love the look of the backstitching, but you can see, I think, why it's taking me so long.


In the next three weeks I hope to finish the backstitching and at least get a start on the literally dozens of teeny, tiny French knots. Wish me luck!

Looking for some crafty inspiration? Be sure to check out the projects my fellow stitchers are working on. They're all different and all amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, AJCathie, LindaHelenConnieCindy, and Mary Margaret.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

My new project: 13x13


I love Halloween. Every autumn I start stitching projects to decorate, and I love setting up my glass pumpkin patch and my Halloween tree. 

I really need to do something to holidazzle that thermostat!

In October 2020 I stitched several Mill Hill "calavera" ornaments:


In the last year I've picked up and stitched a number of ornament kits -- and I'm always looking for more. But rather than leave it to a frantic stitch-a-thon in the autumn, I've decided on a project. I plan to stitch (or otherwise create!) one Halloween ornament for the next 13 months, starting now and running through next October. 

On the thirteenth of each month I'll post the completed project, as well as a preview of my next project. 

This month I stitched "Nevermore" by Satsuma Street. I love this designer's patterns -- such a great use of color. And every year they publish new Halloween patterns and kits, even though as of right now everything is sold out. (Because they're amazing!)


Now, what's next? I think I'm going to try something new: the Raven Ornaments Mosaic Kit by Northern Whimsy Studio


I haven't done mosaic in years and years. But I love these little ravens. I am slightly worried that they'll be too challenging, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. 

And before you ask, I've got more than 13 projects waiting for me. Call it a problem, or an opportunity!





Sunday, October 9, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 28

Hi everyone! Last time I was alllllmost done with the stitching. So close!!!


Well, I'm thrilled to report that -- cue ecstatic happy dancing -- I've finished the cross stitch portion of the project!


I even started work on the backstitching, which is proving more difficult than I expected. I've never done backstitching that wasn't mostly "into the holes" -- maybe the occasional half, but mostly following the stitching lines. 

But this is much trickier -- most of the stitches are partial stitches -- into the middles, across, say, one and a half stitches, etc. It's challenging and I find that the only way to keep track is to mark on the chart every few stitches where I am. 


That said, I've gotten a lot of the bottom left done -- the wave curls are the most complicated. 


I think that, by our next check in, I can have the bottom half done, and hopefully a start on the top left. Exciting stuff!

Until then, why not check out the projects my fellow stitchers are working on: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, AJCathie, LindaHelenConnieCindy, and Mary Margaret!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 27

Hi everyone! I keep just moving across the pattern now, and I am definitely in the home stretch. 

Here's where I was last time:


And here's where I am now:


I'm sooooooo close to having the stitching done -- you can see the light blue stitching and the "hard edge" -- all that's left, apart from a handful of blue stitches at the lower right, is to fill in the area with creamy white stitches.


That means there's less than a column left to do! (I thought I might get there before this check-in, but nope...) Yes, there's a ton of sloooooow backstitching ahead of me, but by our next check-in I will have kicked that off.

Until then, why not check out the projects my fellow stitchers are working on: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, AJCathie, LindaHelenConnieCindy, and Mary Margaret!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 26

Hi everyone! I kinda can't believe that this is my TWENTY-SIXTH check-in on this project. That's a loooooong time. Clearly the speed of my progress has varied, with some check-ins having shown a lot of progress, and some not so much. Nevertheless, she persisted...

Here's where I was last time, when an enforced rest kept me seated and stitching: 


And here's where I am now:


Another full column completion, along with much of another column! 


That means that I only have a bit more than two columns left to do (the last "column" is only 3 stitches wide). Of course, now that I'm moving more steadily -- and able to walk 2+ miles at a time! -- I'm stitching less often. But I also know that, when I feel close to a finish, I'm like a horse who sees the barn, and I speed up. I know that there's a ton of sloooooow backstitching ahead of me, but I think I will be mostly done with the cross stitching by the time of our next check-in in three weeks. 

Until then, why not check out the projects my fellow stitchers are working on: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, AJCathie, LindaHelenConnieCindy, and welcome back Mary Margaret!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 25

Hi everyone! The good news is that I made a lot of progress on my Great Wave piece in the last 3 weeks. Here's where I was last time: 


And here, happily, is where I am now:


I finished the cream on the previous two columns, and did another two full columns!


Now, you may be wondering how, in the peak of summer, I've gotten so much stitching done. Well...


Knee troubles had me cancelling weekends away and spending a lot more time on the couch. But let me back up a bit. 

My knee started hurting at the end of March. I didn't do anything -- that is, I don't remember hurting it. But I woke up one morning after a run and could barely bend it. At first I figured it would just get better if I rested it. But after three weeks it was still painful and keeping me from going on my long walks, so I tried to see my doctor. Unfortunately, the first "non-emergency" appointment was 7 weeks later. 

In the meantime, I self-referred myself to an orthopedic surgeon, who I was able to see only 3 weeks later. He said, well, insurance won't cover an MRI until after I complete 6 weeks of physical therapy, and it might just be "runner's knee", so I should start there. 

I've had runner's knee before, and knew that this wasn't that, but tried to get into a physical therapist. That took 4 weeks to start. So, finally, at the very end of May, I got in to see my doctor and the physical therapist on the same day. 

Again, I was told that I should just do PT and after 6 weeks we'd be able to get an MRI. So I dutifully did the exercises and hobbled around. One Sunday afternoon I was on a short walk in the neighborhood by myself, and all of a sudden my knee was so painful I couldn't put any weight on it. I was three blocks from home and had to call my husband to come and get me. 

Luckily, I had just been approved for the MRI two days before, and I was able to get in to have one on Monday evening. The results came back on Wednesday, and all of a sudden my case was an "emergency", and I had a torn meniscus. 

A friend of a friend recommended a different orthopedic surgeon who happened to have an appointment on Friday. Doc said, yep, that's a bad one, but he had openings for his surgery schedule the next Tuesday. I went in, had the surgery, and have been feeling better and on the mend since then. 
 

It was an all too common story -- long waits for appointments, insurance approvals, etc. But to be honest I got really lucky with my surgeon and I'm happy to be on the mend. As long as I take it easy I'll be running again by the early fall. 

Of course, that probably means that my stitching will slow down again, but it will be worth it!

By the time of our next check-in, in three weeks, I hope to complete one more column. And be able to walk 2 miles at a time. 

Until then, why not check out the projects my fellow stitchers are working on: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, AJCathie, LindaHelenConnie, and welcome back Cindy!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 24

Hi everyone! Just back from camping (yay!) which means this is late for a lot of the group, but still only late afternoon for me. This weekend we camped at Beacon Rock State Park, where we enjoyed the trip up to the top of the rock, and the mosquitos enjoyed feasting on me. Great Wave stayed home again, of course, but I did finish these cute camping pillowcases:

yep, I really need to work on my French knots ... those bears look possessed!

I made a little progress on Great Wave, but it just hasn't been getting my attention. Here's where I was last time:  


And here's where I am this time; all the blues of the next two columns (plus a little extra)... but none of the foamy white:


And, as you can see, there's a LOT of white left:


By the time of our next check-in, in three weeks, I hope to fill in all that "foam" and keep moving across the pattern. 

Until then, why not check out the projects my fellow stitchers are working on: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Cindy, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Renee, Sharon, DaisyAnne, AJCathie, Linda, and Helen.