Embroidering My Stamps on Cloth

I’ve been having a lot of fun carving my own stamps since my class with Jane LaFazio. I decided to make a stamp from the wave pattern I used for my last needle lace design. I’m thrilled with the results.

The carved stamp is on top of the needle lace pattern it came from. Ink stamps and needle lace results surround.
The carved stamp is on top of the needle lace pattern it came from (you can see the needle holes if you look closely). Ink stamps and needle lace results surround.

I’m digging the rubber stamp carved “chatter” inside the waves – I tried to let this flow while I was carving instead of doing a full excavation. (There were so many unintended puns in there that my fingers got sparked off the keyboard for a second. Unintended y’all, I promise.)

Close-up on the wave needle lace. I love the shadows at the top of the waves. I was really going for motion with the different thread choices.
Close-up on the wave needle lace. I love the shadows at the top of the waves. They add to the motion of the ocean (couldn’t resist – I’ll try to stop).

I especially like seeing the end products next to the pattern. So different when it’s transferred to ink on page vs. needle laced. If you’re digging that, wait til you see what’s next!

This is my first embroidered stamped pattern...I learned a lot.
This is my first embroidered stamped pattern…I learned a lot.
close-up on the shiny thread...and spooky eye
close-up on the shiny thread…and spooky eye

So I really like metallic and silk thread…and they’re very finicky. I think Seahorse Dude is kind of gnarly as a result, which makes sense when you think about his time underwater in the ocean…moving on…

WIP
WIP – loving the direction of the daisy chain stitches
Finished product - yay metallic thread!
Finished product – yay metallic thread!
Turtle gets a close-up...he's on the move!
Turtle gets a close-up…he’s on the move!

Earlier today…I was getting a smog-check on my car next to a craft store…so I spent my time wisely.

Super cool frame idea (way too much $$ for purchase...even with a coupon)
Super cool frame idea (way too much $$ for purchase…even with a coupon)
And a close-up on our favorite wave (pre-embroidery!)
And a close-up on our favorite wave (pre-embroidery and in a borrowed frame!)

It’s fun to see my rubber stamp patterns come to life in stitching!

Crafting/Sailing Away…

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WIP: Crochet Blocking

In my free time (ha!) I’m working on the Crochet Along (CAL) I mentioned earlier. It’s a fun color palette, soft yarn, and a supreme challenge working through a pattern from a new crocheter every week (we get a new pattern each Wednesday with the plan to work up four squares – I’m two weeks behind everyone else so far – so, right on target!).

It’s the first time I’ve taken crochet blocking seriously…though there was that crazy crochet snowflake season when I realized they would only work as possible presents/snowflakes when they were blocked and starched. It involved the stove, a bulls-eye target-looking printout from the internet, one trillion pins and some unfortunate craft bead dye-bleeding (which looked as tragic as it sounds – those snowflakes are in the pile called “Never Throw It Away Because You Might Want to Use it Some Day”).

So that was traumatic and I vowed to never block again. Except on week two of the CAL I was turning out some fun trapezoid shapes that didn’t seem destined for any afghan pattern I have ever seen (or would want to crochet), so I decided to block.

Here's what everyone looks like all blocked up (they clean up nice!).
Here’s what everyone looks like all blocked up (they clean up nice!).

Here’s what the unblocked rascals look like:

You can see the sideways madness that drove me to blocking.
You can see the sideways madness that drove me to blocking. Upper left square is missing the border stitch, making him the first cousin to the right upper square. Both of which are aspiring to the stolid nature of bottom left and right squares…we can do it…with some water and pins!

NOTE: It’s taking longer than I thought for those squares to dry…or maybe I need better blocking techniques. I’m expecting company soon so I unpinned those blue squares this morning to try to clear the area…and they quickly started shrinking right up. Hmmm…. re-pinned those suckers post-haste and am considering heat treatment. Nah – too extreme. Will unpin again soon and hope the gods of crochet connection will solve this problem for me.

Sewing on…

Art Quilting: In Progress

This weekend I took another wonderful class with Jane LaFazio and I’m having a great time finishing my small art quilt. Following Jane’s suggestion I took this opportunity to commemorate a fun trip in an art quilt. My family was fortunate enough to visit Turkey a few years ago and I *just almost* finished the scrapbook from the trip. So I raided the box of leftover souvenirs and I’m creating this art quilt as a final homage and memory creation of that travel experience.

Jane taught us how to incorporate paper and cloth into our base quilt, then we began embellishing each quilt square in anticipation of putting them back together again. Here’s a few shots of my WIP…(I’ve wondered more than once how this will all come together, but I’m seeing it now and getting more and more excited with each finished square and re-working of the pattern).

We'll start with squares I think are close to finished
We’ll start with squares I think are close to finished. I captured the city of Foca in this map segment because it was a favorite for us. The beads are from a bracelet we found on the street there.

 

20160501_163045
Museum ticket, beads, cloth, various threads (the first name of our guide appears in this quilt block “Marina” – her last name is on another block.) First I tried a new zig-zag stitch across the bottom in crewel yarn that I didn’t really like so I wound up the thread with the stem and outline stitch around the feather (better)…then worked up the beads with some metallic thread (they’re cool – turquoise inside and copper around the edges)…and wound up back on the weird zig-zag stitch with more beads. I think it comes together pretty well…it took some time though…

 

The paper at the top of this quilt square is from a bag of nuts we bought at a wonderful store on the coast of Turkey. A whole store dedicated to dried fruits and nuts - so yummy!
The paper at the top of this quilt square is from a bag of nuts we bought at a wonderful store on the coast of Turkey. A whole store dedicated to dried fruits and nuts – so yummy! More embellishment is probably in store for that bottom piece of material…we shall see what happens after I attach everything. This piece of paper makes me very happy in this quilt. It might get center billing…

 

We have another patch of blue here that may or may not get further embellishment. I enjoyed bringing the scroll pattern down into the green on this one, and the red thread is a variegated gift from a class member - so it needed to jump on board. :)
We have another patch of blue here that may or may not get further embellishment (it doesn’t show in the picture but the material is silk with blue on one side and pink on the other – the sheen is amazing). I enjoyed bringing the scroll pattern down into the green on this one, and the red thread around the “Turqui” logo is a variegated gift from a class member – so it needed to jump on board. 🙂

 

Unfinished Business

I thought this one was done in class, but it's starting to look like it needs some more...
I thought this one was done in class, but it’s starting to look like it needs some more. (The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts was wonderful and highly recommended.)

 

Lots of options here...the bracelet is an example of Turkish crochet called "oya" that I bought there.
Lots of options here…the bracelet is an example of Turkish crochet called “oya” that I bought there.

 

Last quilt square that hasn't been finished. This is another oya piece I bought there - looks to me like it needs a little needlework closet to hang in...
Last quilt square that hasn’t been finished. This is another oya piece I bought there – looks to me like it needs a little needlework closet to hang in…

I’ll share finished product when I get there.

Making and crafting to my heart’s content and hoping the same for you…

Excited About What’s Next: Classes and a CAL!

I have WIPs, I have Done Stuff and I’m signed up for more – yippee!

Signed up for More…

Through a friend I made at the Art and Soul Retreat (who doesn’t live locally) I found an artist and teacher who DOES live locally – right here in San Diego!! I’m beyond excited and even though she offers online classes that look awesome, I’ve signed up for three in-person classes to learn some new skills.

Artist and Teacher Jane LaFazio

Jane LaFazio teaches lots of cool skills I can’t wait to learn!! (her website, her blog, her teaching schedule – including online classes you can take from anywhere!!)

I’m signed up for these in-person classes over the next month:

  • Stamp Design & Carving
  • City Block Art Quilt
  • Abstract Collage with Gelli Plates for Mono Printing

These are some art techniques I’ve been wanting to learn more about so I’m delighted and thrilled to have the opportunity to take some all-day classes with an artist. Of course I’ll share pics of my learnings!!

Done Stuff

At my last machine sewing class I made a small zipper bag. I love first attempts because of their history…and yet, so much to learn about elegant machine zipper stitching…it’s kinda wrinkly…

My first zipper bag (complete with trick cover-up stitching on this side)
My first zipper bag (complete with trick cover-up quilting on this side…which is now my favorite side because that feather stitch is cool!)

I’m not sure how I feel about stitching zippers. I need to stitch more to have a valid opinion. I’m slightly afraid of stitching more…and so I must. (P.S. My attempts in class to stitch a button hole sent my sewing machine to the hospital, but good news! It’s fixed and ready to sew another seam…and zipper…and, uhm, gulp, buttonhole? I better check youtube first…)

I want to add that I took my tote bag to the local pet store on tonight’s dog walk (along with my zipper bag, which carried my credit card, DL and phone) and everything fit in my tote bag for the walk home: big bag of dog food, other sausage things we add to his food and my zipper bag). I want to make a million more…tote bags. 🙂

CAL (Crochet-A-Long? never typed that out before)

I’m happy to be part of a Crochet Along offered by Scheepjes.

I love this colorway
I love this colorway

This pattern is inspired by a blogger who I happened to find as inspiration in early 2015, and I’m happy to commemorate her contributions in this CAL. The colors are blueish-green and yummy and I can’t wait to get started.

Found on a Dog Walk

We found this tiny creation on the sidewalk y’all (thumb included for size reference).

We found this tiny creation on the sidewalk y'all (thumb included for reference).

At first glance it might look like it’s made from a paperclip (that’s what I thought), but it has a silver tag that suggests soldering, so now I’m intrigued…and inspired to write a haiku (lucky you!)…

treble

It was on the ground
Silver treble and bass clef
Left for me and you?

WIPs (Works In Progress)

OK – enough poetry posturing. It was fun while it lasted and I’m going to save that little silver creation for one of my future art works. (I think it might get sewn onto my “City Block Art Quilt”!)

In the meantime, I’m off to work on my newest needle lace pattern…

20160411_193127
I tried variegated thread and a larger pattern on the brown leaf with mixed results. Now working the surf pattern with metallic and silk threads…digging it so far… pics to come…(sorry for poor lighting)

Let me know if you have any cool zipper bag patterns I can try and/or if you sign up for the CAL.

Kumihimo bracelets…WIP

These are fun and fairly quick to work up (despite the fact that I’m not done yet…need supplies…and rest 🙂 ). Aside: I’ve found it challenging and sometimes tiring to learn new techniques in new media every week. It’s been a great way to spend my sabbatical, but I definitely couldn’t jump around like this on a regular basis.

So first, the semi-end products:

20160326_175123
These need a variety of finishings: end caps, magnets, tassels. I’m liking the silk cord (two on left) more than the silk ribbon (bracelet on right).

 

This is what the ribbons looked like *after* I distressed them with water and *before* I wove them ever so tightly into that third bracelet on the right.
This is what the ribbons looked like *after* I distressed them with water and *before* I wove them ever so tightly into that third bracelet on the right.

Turns out I am a tight weaver coming out of the gate. It doesn’t seem to matter what project – if I’m weaving I’m pulling and holding things tight. I don’t think this is a good strategy all the time…so I’m working on it. In this case, there was a weight pulling the bracelet down through the loom, so I should have just let it do its’ job. I didn’t realize this until the end of the first bracelet (which was the silk ribbon one). Also, I’m not a fan of the big beads that line the ribbon bracelet…I have skinny wrists and these seem pretty big in scale for me. The smaller beads I could use on the silk cord (which is called “rattail” for enquiring minds) suited me better. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what size cord I used in the store to fit inside those beads (p.s. I still had to cut the ends of the cord at an angle then glue them into points before stringing on the beads…not the easiest part of the project.)

Here are some close-ups of the process, in case you’re not familiar.

Here's the disk needed - apparently these come in other shapes and you can make many different patterns.
Here’s the disk needed – apparently these come in square shapes as well and you can make many different patterns with each shape.

 

These cool plastic spools hang off the loom with the beads attached.
These cool plastic spools hang off the loom with the beads attached (they flip open/closed). The shiny thing in the middle is my highly technical weight (it’s a large metal nut, from my teacher). I like that they look like rudimentary flying saucers when they’re on the loom.
Here's a small beginning
Here’s a small beginning (I think I already accidentally missed a bead placement at this point…ah, first projects!).
Here's more bracelet - getting ready to remove it from the loom.
Here’s more bracelet – getting ready to remove it from the loom.

So I need to glue on end caps, use O-rings to attach magnets and put on tassels. I have the teacher’s email address if things get weird. 🙂

I’m looking into buying spools of this silk cord because I feel like I can’t get enough of this kumihimo weaving. It’s very meditative and I really enjoy it. Plus I love finishing projects within a few hours/days (so different from usual crochet projects).

 

Crochet Mandalas

I read a post last week about mandalas by a blogger friend that got me thinking (check out this Hooked! post for an amazing mandala by Amy Le Pelley…she made a clock out of a mandala y’all – genius!!). She also talks about doing a mandala in off-white colors for a baby gift – which also strikes me as genius (patent pending for Amy!!).

She encouraged me to post some pictures of mandalas I have sewn, so I staged a photo shoot today (after several evenings of: “Damn, it’s too dark to take good pictures now. Maybe tomorrow morning…” followed by wash/rinse/repeat until today – breaking the cycle and following the light!).

These are all sewn following this pattern by ZootyOwl (Thank you ZootyOwl!) and using Finca Perle No. 8.

My 1st mandala - mounted on a hoop
My 1st mandala – mounted on a hoop (this involved math and I don’t want to talk about it. Also: I look at this while I brush my teeth every night – highly recommended to get through that 2 minute brush the dentist thinks we’re doing each night.)

Forest Green

My 2nd color scheme,  based on the colors of my walls (e.g. I should crochet one for each room!)
My 2nd color scheme, based on the colors of my walls (e.g. I should crochet one for each room!)

Poor things aren’t blocked yet – they’re stuck in WIP mode and I stretched them across a stepping stone for a photo shoot.

I used to have a room in blue...so I started this color path (still on the hook)
I used to have a room in blue…so I started this color path (still on the hook)…

And now for something completely different…

Uhm...I tried a new color path and suffered the consequences. I still don't know what to do with this...
Uhm…I tried a new color path and suffered the consequences. I still don’t know what to do with this (it might look worse in person. Most people who look at it in person say, “Oh…hmm…” )…apparently it matters what colors one uses, and in what order…I continue to learn this lesson.

 

Cross Stitch Progress: We Have a Ducky!

There’s only a week to go until my art retreat, which coincides with my deadline for the cross stitch project as well as a lot of work-at-work to get ready for being away. So I’m already tired and ready for some shut eye but got some good progress in this weekend on the cross stitch.

Yay for outlining!
Yay for outlining!

I’m regretting my choice to bust my thread stash for this because I didn’t have enough of some key colors, which slowed things down. Plus I didn’t always guess right (proven by a run to the thread store for extras – I forced myself to compare each thread color to see how far off I was). There are only a handful of colors that don’t match the pattern palette, but I think my choices will work out. We’ll spend just one sentence talking about how much stitching and unstitching I did on Sunday. (That was it.) I learned not to work too far ahead with a color just because it’s on the needle. I can only count so far on blank aida cloth apparently.

But a fuzzy ducky head feels like progress indeed. Maybe I’ll get up early and do tonight’s stitching in the morning (…prolly not…).

Cross-stitch progress

It’s a slow crafting week here as I get ready for some time off from work (that always requires prep, planning and the dreaded IT documentation).

I’m imagining a present for Marge that involves some of the buttons she gave me attached to aida cloth with shisha stitches. More to come on that (I’m going to try sketching out my design first then creating it in stitch – working on creating my own patterns.)

And here’s my progress on the hooded baby towel:

Cross-stitch so far
Cross-stitch so far – I can see ducks and bubbles, but I’m not sure what’s happening in the middle (even from the pattern)

I can see some shapes forming, but I’m questioning some of my “in-stash” color choices and I’m also out of some of the main colors I randomly assigned. I probably should have bought the yellow’s, at the very least – there’s a lot of that color. But I still have faith that the outline stitches will bring it together (plus a trip to the store for more thread!). WIP for sure!

It’s really hard for me to continue on free form patterns not knowing what the outcome will be – I get kind of hung up on the intended end result and whether this path will actually get me there. I think that’s a first hurdle to overcome – probably best achieved with lots of experimentation.

Light, Love and Cross Stitch

Light

I’m participating in a photography posting project for the next 40 days with another favorite (Texan) blogger I follow, Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks. The call is to post pics of light for the next 40 days and tag them: #40daysoflight (oh lookie – she’s here in SD tonight for a speaking engagement – fun!). So here’s today’s shot from my garden this morning:

Flowers outside my studio: "Beefsteak Begonia" (can you imagine?!)
Flowers outside my studio: “Beefsteak Begonia” (can you imagine?!)

The name of this flower surprises me anew every time I remember it – so seemingly incongruous. But you can see a glimpse of the huge green stem these things come from (in the background) – all xylem and phloem and really juicy. Then there’s the begonia leaves themselves, which are each bigger than your hand (I don’t care who you are) and are just as thick and juicy as the stems. So I get it. But still…what a name…

Anywho’s, the light was striking and I was happy to catch all those little yellow stamen/pistil guys perched among the pink butterflies.

Love

Today I got a fun treat in the mail from my bestie!

Dish towel, glitter stickers and LOTS O' LOVE!!
Dish towel, glitter stickers and LOTS O’ LOVE!!

God bless the postal service, for it brings us all the mistakes we make on amazon with a bottle of wine, all the impetuous ebay purchases (only do “Buy It Now,” the rest is way too stressful – tho I do know a Ninja Expert in this space), and (most importantly!!) FRIEND LOVE. Keep sending those snail mails, friends. Nothing beats a hand-addressed envelope from a friend in the mailbox to brighten things up. (amiright? canigetanamen?) P.S. To all my friends and family reading this, I promise to do better on this front. Ahem and amen.

And Now for the Cross Stitch!!!

This part actually includes love and light too, so it all works out! I’ve just started working on a present for a friend with a new baby and boy, have I messed this up in the past (remember the Mother Goose cross stitch blanket I started 100 years ago? That child is starting kindergarten in August and the blanket is *maybe* halfway done. It was clearly destined for an entirely different child. Maybe I’m involved in some time travel here…stories needle workers tell themselves…). In fact, I found that same pattern at the store this time around, for $45. Did I actually pay that and expect to get done in this century?! I noticed the other (simpler) patterns nearby were half the price. Ah youth (Or “yute,” depending on where you’re from – it’s about 1:20 in – such a fave.).

So I went to one store that had great patterns and no supplies – so I bought a pattern book for bibs, expecting to buy some bibs at the next store. Then I went to the next store, that had great supplies and so-so patterns – so I bought a blank cross-stitch hooded towel and a monkey. Let me explain.

Stuffed monkey with aida cloth bib (of course!)
Stuffed monkey with aida cloth bib (of course!)

So there’s THIS cute monkey guy, who’s actually going to sport the baby’s name on his bib without actually BEING a bib…get it? I don’t either, but I couldn’t imagine myself using a hand cross-stitched bib to feed my baby all the dribble that ends up spilling right back out. It’s a nice idea, but would they really use it? Would it turn into a hand-washing nightmare that never sees the light of day? I remember the drudgery and confusion that was high chair mealtime and I can’t imagine bringing a hand-stitched item into the mix. The other stuffed animal was a peacock, so clearly I made the best choice for the audience.

Then there’s the hooded baby towel. No picture of that yet because it’s all white and lacking stitching and a cute baby. But here’s the fun part so far: I decided to forage for the embroidery thread colors in my stash instead of buying “all materials needed.” So I may run out of some colors (and it kind of exhausted me to find the equivalents of everything that might/hopefully go together in my meager stash; then I got distracted by netflix again, this time: “Slow Learners.” I tried to work through it but the facial expressions needed tending to…so I lost another 1.5 hours). But here’s what’s happening tomorrow!

A little scrub-a-dub yellow duckie theme for the hood - should be cute!
A little scrub-a-dub yellow duckie theme for the hood – should be cute!

I also purchased some white terry cloth to sew into the hood, to cover up my ends and protect his precious little head. At the cutting table I had the brilliant idea to use the extra for a matching wash cloth. How cute can I make that?!?!?! First things first. And if the towel doesn’t work out (for this particular blessed small being), I always have the monkey…and the promise of more small beings down the road. Did I mention I have two weeks to complete? I CAN DO THIS (I’m so bad at estimating projects!!).