Thursday, January 31, 2013

Drat, I forgot my stitching

As I mentioned in MulticoloredPieces, I've been spending time at the hospital for a loved one. For two days, I was unplugged and (drat) I forgot my stitching. Fortunately, I carry a small sketchbook with markers in my purse for such occasions. The view from the 4th floor of the hospital:
It was a bit surprising to see vacant lots in the middle of Tunis.
 I had a fair amount of time to stare out the window and work in detail.
Hospital beds are fascinating contraptions. This drawing brings good memories because my loved one was no longer in the ICU, but recovering comfortably in a private room.

Here's the thing: I have conflicted feelings about drawing and paper. That is, sketching for any length of time makes me impatient. Admittedly, it helped keep me calm for a couple of days and I will look back on these sketches and be glad I did them because they record a part of my life. They help keep memory keen. However, these sketches demonstrate that my drawing is rather constricted, and I just don't see any artistic crossover into fabric. Consequently, I feel unsatisfied--gotta get back to fabric...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Making a Mess, 2

Inching forward on the Wing Cloth. Layer 2 added:
Layer 3 contains some interesting faded streaks:
I've never tried the extreme needle turn with this method before. 
I'm working from two central triangles that form the base of the wings. Should be messy...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Abstracted Pomegranate, 2

Added soft greens, then decided they should have a dark side and light side too, reflecting the shading of the circle. Here I can see the crossover--laying down "tiles", mosaicking in fabric.
Grayed greens suggest gentleness to me. Nothing brash, the complement, just surrounding and supporting. I had no intention of making "eyes" within the circle so I may correct that impression. Or I may leave it...
A community of color...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How Others See Us

I will always be dazzled by internet technology--it's magical. I help Gd1 (first granddaughter, now 10 years old) with her homework most evenings. The other day she was sick at home with a strep throat, but, getting better having been thoroughly medicated. So I asked her why she didn't get out her sketchbook and draw something.
This is the view from Skype. Yup, Gd1 was in that magical box looking at me and decided to draw me while I sewed.  When she had finished drawing me, I asked her what she was going to fill the background with and she said clouds. I said, "Well, that's a nice idea, but look at all these amazing stacks of fabric behind me." Much more interesting, in my mind. She ran with the idea. Then we discussed shading. She also included my pomegranates in front of me with needle and thread--and the lamp.

I'm rather tickled by this drawing for a variety of reasons, one of them being that I can't do this myself. That is, I am unable to see myself and have never tried a self-portrait. Don't know why, could be hidden issues of self-esteem--I'd rather not analyze it. Maybe, I should give the self-portrait thing a shot, however. I like the view from the magical box....

Friday, January 25, 2013

Abstracted Pomegranate, 1

I've never "wasted" time with making samples or test pieces as every project tends to be big, dense, and demanding for me. However, having the Textile Sketchbook/Journal has opened the door to more possibilities that can be worked out rapidly (relatively).

While working on the pomegranates, I just felt like laying down threads in all those beautiful colors just for the sake of laying them down. So I picked a journal page with a soft gray/green (men's shirt) fabric and added a couple layers of newsprint underneath for stabilizer.

Here's the lineup of threads--6 of mine and 5 colors from my mom's collection (Thanks, Mom). I decided to add her wooden spool threads into my collection (instead of keeping them hidden away in a plastic bag) and use up the thread. What a palette I have now!

Just can't resist adding the pinks.
Thinking in terms of simple shapes, circle and triangles; abstracted pomegranate.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stitching Pomegranates, 9

 Finished the pomegranates of another section.
This is a bit like kids in a family--they all kind of look the same 
and yet each one is different and unique.
Just one left to go and I can start on the leaves. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Making a Mess, 1

I just say to myself, "If I don't like it, I can cut it up".... So I took the plunge and partially appliquéd the beautiful dark pink/burgundy fabric to the center.
Couldn't manage to follow the lines of the central "nine-patch" like I had wanted to...just didn't work for me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On My "Design Wall"

"Design Walls" are over-rated. I used to have a whole wall for design, but all it did was collect "stuff." Therefore it looked ugly. And as I don't have an attic or a basement, I needed storage space.

Now I just use the floor, or pin stuff onto my fabric stacks. Here's what's been pinned up for awhile.
Figs. Pieced background is leftover from the Wild Boars. For the time being, they float in the air. Note to myself: figure out the shadows underneath the figs.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Gate, 2

A couple more thoughts on the Gate page. I found the top tree line too dark because it would get in the way of the decorative touches on the gate.

Added another layer.

Worked on the rusty part of the door. Found myself just wanting to lay down thread, beautiful colors of thread.

Ultimately, I could have worked just on the door and left the rest stark, with just the drawn sketch lines.

This distorted fairly badly, too.

Adding the words remains an adrenalin rush for me:
so fast with a machine and so many possibilities of bizarre results.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Gate, 1

We've had enough nice weather over the last few weeks to paint gates.
So gates are on my mind...started with a sketchbook page that already had fabric sewn to it. Got the vague form of a sketch in pencil then used a black permanent marker (like a Sharpie).

Started adding fabric...thoughts about rust.

Shadows. Challenge to myself: speed is of the essence here.

To sketch: to make a rough drawing of something.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

More Auditioning

While ironing shirts, I auditioned a few more fabrics for the Wing Cloth, 
changed things around, auditioned a few more.
Can't help myself. Given the "plain-ness" of the land and sea, I turned to my fancy fabric stacks. 
Liking this better. Still craving pink...
So the two pinks on the left are cottons. The center pink is a sumptuous brocade, possibly my favorite fabric of all time, however, a bit stiff making it hard to work with. The dark pink is woven, not printed. The beige is a heavy silk and the brown another woven fabric that has some shine. I used to occasionally happen upon formal dresses at the flea market during the summer for cheap. Now, prices have risen steeply.
Just LUV that pink brocade....

Friday, January 18, 2013


Still trying to figure out the center of the Wing Cloth...
Let's see, how does it go? A dark, a light, and a zinger?
 I might settle on this combination. Not sure about the dark gray-blue.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Medallion, 2

Finished gluing the first medallion on this paint bucket.

This particular design requires time because so many pieces have to be trimmed and fit into place. The rows at the top appear deceptively simple (meaning, a pain in the neck to do).

Mosaicking is forgiving. The cement covers holes, bumps, dents, etc. Once the metal ridge is covered in cement, it becomes another design element. I'll add black coloring to the cement.

And then it's just a plant container...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stitching Pomegranates, 8

Adding pinks into the pomegranates. Only two more big sketches to sew then I can start on the leaves, which will go faster as they get much less stitching.
And once again my blog has kept me focused, and moving forward. Great tool.

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Right Side, 2

I've been working on this for the last couple of days 
while I try to decide what to do with the center of the Wing Cloth.
I miss doing the extreme needleturn. I could probably do it for hours on end. The adventure grips me! Ahh what will happen if this goes under this and over that? And maybe I'll cut a hole over here and another one over there.........

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stitching Pomegranates, 7

Sometimes Usually after finishing a consuming project, I feel emptied and unfocused. It's not that I get dead ended or blocked creatively (I only have 5 projects going on at any one time, with a dozen others already backed up and several ideas waiting to come to life), it's just a sort of uuummmfff feeling.

Cleaning something clears the cobwebs. So I cleaned off my sewing table last night where a huge stack of snippets had piled up beside the machine. Couldn't even find the table. Put all the snippets in a plastic bag, which hangs on a hook sticking out from my shelves for fabric. Out of the way, yet conveniently close at hand.
Then I lined up my threads and got back to my pomegranates.
The machine and I were one.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Peek

To clear my head after living with the ancestors for a number of days, I took a day off and went to a beach town with a friend. No! Well, surprisingly and very uncharacteristically, yes. So here's a suspenseful peek into a future post.
What a lovely design...I was dazzled. It was an excellent day off.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stitching the Sea, 3

On with the French knots.
I do like French knots. This corner of the sea looks finished. Time to move on....

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Coming Up for Air

After being submerged with the ancestors, I'm coming up for air...I finished the genealogies and set up the Picasa Web Albums for old family photos. Still some work left, but the major part is in place.

So this photo tickled me. My grandparents took a trip to Texas in 1943. They saved up ration tickets to exchange them for gas coupons and drove south in December (good choice considering the blistering cold in northern Minnesota). So here's my grandmother picking grapefruits...with her mink-trimmed coat.

Why is this interesting to me? Because history repeats itself--two days ago I was picking grapefruits for market and mine looked every bit as good...but I hardly had a mink-trimmed coat!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Idea

Maybe I should not have said "no" to my idea of translating the tile medallion mosaic to fabric in the previous post. It has been irritatingly insistent in my mind.

Ok, ok. I'll at least get the idea recorded here and then it will quietly simmer on a back burner and stop tickling me--hopefully.

I've been thinking about this old design for a few weeks, ever since I started putting order in my sketchbooks and photographing them. Also because I haven't got a big maze piece to work on, which is sort of bothering me. So, this design has twining needleturn appliqué around three circular forms. At the time (1996, ouch!), I thought the mariner's compass design would be good for the circles, but now the mosaic medallion seems better.

Or maybe one mariner's compass and two tile circles....

Now, maybe I can have some peace?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Medallion, 1

Liking the irregularity of pieces in this medallion as I build it from the inside out.
The combination of soft blues and greens might be good for my big project of four very large pots that will (someday) sit in front of the house. I have enough tiles of blue and green, just have to buy a box of the mixed tile.

And I'm wondering how this would translate into fabric. A dark green as a base fabric....... No, no, no, I can't start another piece! A bit of discipline here, please.

Because I find the internet magical, I think it must be Santa who generously increased the Picasa web album space allowance to 5 G. Struggling to write the Mount Everest post on MulticoloredPieces and resize photos, I realized that I could finally finish off my huge project of old family photos and my mother's genealogy files in order to make all this available to family members on Picasa. The historian in me says that this is important and if I don't do it, no one will. So I am once again embroiled in the world of my ancestors and spending at least six hours a day on the computer working on old photos. However, I see the light at the end of the tunnel--I will be so glad to wrap this up, and yet, I am honored to do it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stitching the Sea, 2

Slowly, slowly I continue to lay down the stitches.
Maybe I'll add French knots and/or thread beads here and there.
The irregular movement pleases me no end and contrasts well with the strait stitching of the land.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Excavating, remembering. While working on putting order into my past sketchbooks, drawings and watercolors (to start the New Year right), I found this forgotten card, titled, "Pear Blossoms in November."
Precedents to my textile sketchbook pages. Nature does odd things occasionally, however, the pear blossoms came in November twenty years ago.  This year they came in December.....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Stacked Squares, 4

This side of the container went tipsy. Rather had fun with it.

Thinking about working on a circle design for the next container, maybe medallion-style.