Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bobbinlace and Bookmarks

Today I worked on the same bobbin lace pattern.  It worked out better but I am still missing where to pin and get confused on the stitches.  The lace was made with size 70 crochet cotton making the lace delicate even wispy.  Slowly I am understanding how the pattern and stitches work together.  Here is a picture.

Sad looking but a bit better than yesterday.

I also made some bookmarks out of odds and ends left over from projects.  I've been going to make bookmarks forever.  Finally getting rid of the boxes of paper leftovers.  It also is recycling!  They will go in books we are swapping through www.paperbackswap.com.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bobbin Lace Edging

Spent the day working on a lace edging from "Bobbin Lacemaking" by Doris Southard.  The pattern is from Lesson 2 page 46.  Well all I can say is at least I tried.  I thought my sewing skills were my weak point but after the mess I made of the lace edging I hit a new low.  So here is the 6.5 inches of lace I made, warning be prepared to laugh.

Well I'm not quite sure what happened.  The first part of the pattern I was completely confused.  First I thought that this pattern would use the same worker threads across the pattern but it doesn't.  But that didn't stop me from trying insanely to force the pattern to use the same worker pair.  Then at the open part of the pattern I tried to work the lace across rather than in sections.  The lace looked so bad that I just started the third section.  This time the pattern made a little more sense.  I think that I understand the pattern now but the first section actually looked better even though I did it wrong!  The tension was to tight and I actually bent some of the lace pins.  But the lace was a good experience and I needed to try again so I cut some 70 crochet cotton and set up the pillow again for a fresh start tomorrow.  So we will see tomorrow whether I really learned anything today!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Quiet Sunday

Today was very quiet, most Sundays are around here.  Lee goes off for several hours and that gives me time to relax.  In fact I slept during the afternoon. 

I was looking at the butterfly wings again and realized that they don't match.  My eyesight has been terrible lately and only after resting today could I get a good look at the wings.  Definitely not good enough for the Herb Robert stumpwork.  In fact I am thinking of buying some silk sewing thread for the stumpwork floral and make the butterfly from a picture of a real butterfly.  Of course the historical stumpwork pieces were lacking in realism.  Butterflies the same size as animals and such.  But I would like to make at least one realistic butterfly or moth.

Today I have been looking at the book "Stumpwork and Goldwork Embroidery".  I think it is the loveliest of Jane Nicholas's books.  The projects are highly stylised so I probably won't do any of the projects but I do love looking at them. 

Last night I set up the bobbin lace pillow so I could work on it today.  Trying to learn the whole throw and half throw today.  The half throw was a bit hard to learn but I did.

Cloth Stitch.

Whole Throw.

Half Throw, Cloth Stitch and Whole Throw samples.

Tonight I am setting up the pillow with the first lace edging.  So tomorrow I will try to make a 12 inch piece of lace.  Now it is time to rest my eyes again.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stumpwork Butterfly Finished and Bobbin Lace Bookmark

Outline being embroidered over 26 gauge wire.

Finished Butterfly is 3/4 inch by 1 inch.

Wings finished and ready to apply to pincushion.

Today was very quiet.  It gave me a chance to finish the blue stumpwork butterfly.  It came out really nice, changing to sewing thread gave me a lot more control of the shading.  It got a little fluff on it that wouldn't come off so I embroidered over the area and that actually worked.  Together the wings are 3/4 inch by 1 inch long.  There are hundreds of stitches in the butterfly and it took a lot of hours to make.  Now just to decide how best to display it on the wood elf pincushion.  Lee kept me entertained by reading to me while I stitched away.

I have also been practising  the cloth stitch and have made a nice bookmark.  Also I read for a time from the book "Beginner's Guide to Bobbin Lace" by Gilian Dye and Adrienne Thunder.  The book is about Torchon bobbin lace.  Torchon lace is worked on the diagonal and I rather like it.  But as always I jumped ahead without to much worry about the basics.  I've gone back now and realized I really need to start at the beginning of this book also.  I would like to be able to make spiders.  But for now I need to practise the whole throw stitch until it is easy to remember.  Having the spangles on the bobbins has made it so much faster to work and to know when I have made a mistake.  Anyway here is a picture of my cloth stitch bookmark.  Very simple looking but I'm proud!

Bobbin Lace Cloth Stitch Bookmark.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bobbin Lace Adventures

If Alice can fall down a rabbit hole then I should be able to do the cloth stitch!  What a wonderful way to start the day.  Having a pillow setup and ready to practise on.  I've been trying to learn bobbin lace since I was 25 and didn't even know what it was called.  The teacher didn't know how to do bobbin lace but she knew what it was called.  She also couldn't teach stumpwork but I've started learning it with the help of some fantastic books.

Spangling my bobbins was the best thing I've done to learn bobbin lace.  The spangles do a lot to keep the bobbins from rolling away.  It is also easier to see where I am in the pattern.  The cloth stitch starts by moving the matching bobbins over each other and then ends with matching bobbins back together.  It is so much easier.  Perhaps tomorrow I will try another stitch.  I've met a few people who have actually learned bobbin lace and they all told me the same thing, follow the book 'Bobbin Lacemaking' by Doris Southard.  I've always gotten impatient and tried skipping ahead before I know the stitches.  Then I get frustrated because I have to keep looking at the stitch instructions.  So I will keep making the cloth titch until I dream making it!  I'm really determined to learn this time!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spangling English Bobbins

Today Lee and I went for a walk at a small local park.  It was a nice walk and Lee took pictures.

We walked half a mile before I got tired.  There was a lovely breeze from the ocean that kept us cool even though it was a cloudless day.

Today I decided to get out my bobbin lace pillow and practise making the cloth stitch.  It came out very regular but the threads had to be coaxed a bit.  The only problem was when I wound the bobbins.  The working pair was wound incorrectly and I ran out of thread.  So I was going to wind them again and start with two yards this time.  All I managed to do is get the bobbins wound because I suddenly wanted to spangle my bobbins.  After more than six years I finally took the time to make wire and crystal loops.  I may need to change how I made the loops.  Guess I will see if they work tomorrow.

Pretty crystals and even a cat!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Worked on Stumpwork Butterfly

Today was a quiet day.  I worked on several things.  Cut out more hearts to make paper flowers and worked on the second half of the blue butterfly.  Learned one thing today, don't lay embroidery on something fuzzy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hammered Copper Pendant

Today I was looking at one of my favorite wire books called "Bead on a Wire" by Shariyn Miller.  One of the projects is a abstract pin.  Mine came out more abstract then pin!  When I didn't have enough wire for a pin I made it into a pendant.  I can never decide whether I like the look of the hammered metal or not.  I do like it but it seems unfinished.  Perhaps some beads wired into it would help.


Had a sudden inspiration and added a hanging piece of 18 gauge copper wire with a leaf shaped copper bead and a beautiful round malachite bead.  A small copper bead was added at the end  and then the wire was hammered and twisted.  Now I need to make a copper chain.

Original Pendant

Copper and malachite added.

Copper and malachite added, second view.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two Months of posts and Fibulas

It is hard to believe that I have been posting everyday for more than two months.  Certainly I would not have bet money on it!  Forcing myself to craft something everyday seems very strange.  But it has helped to keep me busier and that is important.  Anyone reading this blog may have noticed that I tend to jump around going from one project to another.  It actually makes sense for me because my sight and hands vary greatly from day to day.  In fact I can hardly read what I am typing today.  Like a bee I just work on one project and then flit to another and as long as it makes honey in the end it is all good.

But that also means way to many craft supplies!  Some days I dream about only doing one type of craft and being really great at it rather than knowing how to do many things at a mediocre level.  On the other hand it does give the cat lots of places to hide!  Every now and then mount craft supplies rumbles and sends an array of bits and pieces sliding down it's slopes!

I had hoped to finish the butterfly today but I'm doing a terrible job at embroidering today.  So instead I decided to make a fibulas, actually I made three.  They are easy to make but I wanted practise before working in silver and amethysts.

The first one I made was two large so the next one I cut to 10 inches.

First Fibula using large ceramic bead and crystals.

Close up.

Smaller 10 inch fibula using blue crystals.

Amethyst and silver fibula for gray shawl.

So now I have a pin to close the gray shawl that I crochet.  Not much for the day but maybe tomorrow I will get that butterfly finished.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stumpwork Butterfly Revisited

Today I spent some time picking up and putting away supplies and tools.  It is an unending cycle of dragging out supplies only to return them when I can't find just the right thing.  So that limited my time of actually making something today.  Sometimes I think that I would be much better off with fewer supplies to choose from and it would be a lot easier to organize.

Yesterday I started sewing a blouse but I was having difficulty with getting the smocking dots even.  So this week I will look into the transfer sheets, Clover makes them.

So when I got tired I started working on the stumpwork butterfly.  The last wing I started just didn't come our with good shape. 

Just doesn't look like a butterfly wing!

There was a nice butterfly pattern on page 63 in the book "A Perfect World in Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork by Di van Niekerk.  So I roughly sketched it out on the fabric.  Then turned the fabric over and sketched it again so I have a right and left wing.  I've never seen that trick in a book but it helps me make matching wings. 

Embroidering over the couched wires in black thread.
It shows embroidering over the doubled wires.

Friday I had purchased Gutermann polyester threads in colors 10, 212, 218, 227 and 230. One issue with the butterfly was that it was so small that even one strand of embroidery floss was thick for it. So as an experiment I bought the thread, which I didn't believe would work. What a happy surprise when the thread proved to be so strong and didn't fray going through the fabric many times. It also comes in many shades of blue!

The long and short stitch starting with
light blue at the point of the wing.

Next I started playing with an unorganized long and short stitch shading the wing from light blue to dark blue. At this point I decided that I wanted heavy black lines so it resembled stained glass. After stitching the pointed inner wing I stitched the black areas thicker, surrounding the upper oval shapes with black thread. If I do this again I will make the ovals a different color for a bit more contrast. To make the next wing I just turn the hoop and work from the back side.

In progress pictures.

Size of butterfly wings next to thumb.

Finished wing.

Hopefully I will make the second wing tomorrow.  I am thinking of adding the butterfly to the wood elf pincushion.  Still looking for something to hide the arm joints.  Also I want to make miniature french beaded flowers and may put the butterfly on one of the flowers.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Now for a Laugh

I promised some laughs on this blog so yesterday I bought a pattern, McCall's 4091 extra large.  It has two basic designs for a dress and blouse.  The pattern is supposed to be large and comfortable.  So I messed up and got the extra large pattern.  I am a small person but I like loose clothes.  Because I don't sew I thought it would be best to use the largest size.  Very silly of me and a bad start at the project.  Taking out the instructions it looked simple enough but when I cut out the pattern it was huge!  The pattern was 72 inches across the body!  So with such a bad start I came up with a few ideas to save the project.  First idea was to use some dollar store fabric!  It didn't seem so bad when it only cost $4.00 in fabric.  Next I decided that instead of trying to cut the pattern down to my size I would make it fit by smocking!  The pattern is so large on me that the blouse comes down to my knees,  So the blouse will now be a dress!

The pattern only has three pattern pieces, front, back and sleeves.  It uses cording to gather at the neckline and wrists.  It took me 2 hours and 30 minutes to lay out and cut the fabric.  I rested a lot between cutting the pieces out.  Finally I had it done and sewed the shoulder seems.  Next I got out the book A ~ Z of Smocking to see how to pleat the fabric.  The book also helped me to decide to smock it before sewing the side seams and to smock the waistline only.  If I'm right it should be loose across the chest and flattering around the waist.  Guess we will see!  The fabric is a light weight open weave with purple flowers on a light purple background.

Using the book ideas I marked the fabric for pleating using a needlework ruler a friend gave me a long time ago.  So I hope to get it all marked and started smocking this weekend,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dressing up a Wood Elf Pincushion

The cats woke me up at 5:00 AM screaming at each other.  I'm ready to put them in a box at the grocery store.  They were 5 inches apart and my cat meant business.  I went out and stood between them and the white face cat backed down and tried to be friendly.  So I started working on the wood elf pincushion.

The quilting was a bit of work.  I can only work for 10 to 20 minutes at a time and then rest for 30 minutes.  It is slow making things but I am persistent!  The psychologist was insistent that I work on projects because creativity was necessary for balancing brain chemicals.  Or she thought so anyway.  Today I got the paperwork declaring me permanently disabled.  It usually takes 2 years and several appeals.  It only took them 5 months to decide on my case.  My private disability insurance only took 11 days to decide.  I'm thankful but I keep hoping that it is all a dream and I'll wake up and be better and able to do things again!  I am thankful that I can still do somethings.  And that I have Lee to help me.  Enough wallowing, back to crafting.

The leaf body had some problems.  The fabric I used raveled and the seams were to small.  I will have to redo the leaf body but I will find something to do with this one.  So early this morning I played with pieces of lace to hide the body and ceramic joins.  I took pictures to show some of the ideas I came up with.

Arms and head joined to leaf body.

This piece of lace was made by me practising bobbin lace.

This is a lace insert I purchased at the dollar
store.  It was dyed using a blue fabric paint

Back of pincushion with lace wrapped like a shawl.

Another view of insert.

Yet another view.  Reminds me of Time lords.

Small triangular lace edging.

Small triangular lace edging wrapped like a crown.

Small triangular lace edging as a collar.

Leaf shaped lace edge.

Another view of leaf lace edge. 
Even more like a Time Lord!

Another piece of dollar a yard lace.

Back view of dollar a yard lace.

Lovely lace edge.

Lace edge as crown.

Piece of lace I bought today.  It is netted lace
with a
design that looks like french knots.

French knot lace used as a sleeve.

It was fun wrapping the wood elf in different pieces of lace.  I like the pincushion even if it is a bit out of the ordinary.  I made the sleeves out of the netted lace and they came out perfect.  Now to decide how to dress her.  I am thinking of something simple and then decorate with a few seed beads and a bug bead. 

I also bought some sewing thread in three shades of blue and a black spool.  Those I will use to embroider the stumpwork butterfly again.  One thread of floss was just to thick to get the shading I wanted.  But that is for yet another pincushion!  We will see what I can come up with tomorrow!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Long Hot Day

It has been warm here today.  So warm that my muscles and nerves aren't working their best.  I checked the weather channel and it says it's 69 degrees.  Sometimes I wonder about the person that turns in the weather reports for Santa Maria!  It is definitely above 69 degrees today.  One year the weather channel kept reporting snow at the airport.  I live a mile from there and it has not snowed!  Any way I've been taking it easy and drinking a lot of sweet tea!

The package from Russia was so wonderful, I hope to swap ATCs with Victoria again.  I finished the angel card for the June swap it was the first Doctor Who ATC I've made.  Such a large choice of mini themes and so many different Doctors!  To bad I can't show it until it is received.

Last night I worked on designing a pincushion.  I had seen a pretty one in a "Sew Beautiful" magazine, issue 69 2000.  It is a doll pincushion that hangs on a Chatelaine.  It uses her face and hands but the body is a wide and pointed pillow.  There is a ribbon to hide the shoulder joining.  It gave me an idea for a wood elf pincushion.  Only the pillow would be shaped like a leaf.  So I got out a scrap of green upholstery fabric and I cut it into two leaf shapes connected in the center.  My concern was how to stuff it and keep the leaf shape.  So I decided to quilt it to a thin piece of batting.  Decorating and quilting it at the same time using three strands of embroidery floss.  Then I am going to sew it together and stuff it.  Then I will add the head and arms.  It should be cute!

Leaf being quilted.

Closeup of quilting.

Elf head.