Friday, March 30, 2012

Free week in TAST, catch up! Felted piece


Wow! What a wild week! This past tuesday, snow, 90 kph winds! And yes, there is a road out in front of my neighbours house!

The day after. Have you ever seen Sepia snow? lol The strong winds blew all the snow off the farm fields behind the house and then attacked the top layer of red iron rich soil and threw that around. You end up with a sepia world!

Well, I have finished my felted piece. If you remember from a previous post on this blog, I tried to combine two lessons in one. I wanted to try a needle felted wool art piece but I also wanted to use it to practice my TAST stitches. Well, I got a bit carried away the last few days.

I really feel like I need to explain a bit before posting photos. We have learned a number of stitches so far, but I found that not all were suitable for felt. The thread easily got caught up in the fluff from the felt no matter how much I tried needle felting the felt. I probably ripped out more stitches than are in this piece.

After applying all the stitches I could, I felt the whole piece still needed something so I decided to add a few beads, JUST TO ONE AREA. Boy, did I ever get carried away! I thought I was did great but then I took photos of the finished product and thought... OMG, what was I thinking??? Before looking at the felted piece, I have to say one thing. The blues in the photo are much much richer than they are in real life. They are also much shinier looking. I tried adjusting all sorts of things using the limited photo software that I had to try to make the photo more realistic, but this is the best I could do. The finished felted piece with TAST stitches:

I will show a close up of this section first as I want to provide an explanation of what it is.

When I first did this section, I wanted to practice the whipped wheel so took a button that would fit inside the circle and then started the whipped wheel on top of the button in the hopes of giving it some dimension. I got so much fuzz in it became difficult to work with, and once I got to
the edge of the button, I didn't know how to proceed. You can just make out some fuzz in the photo above the button below.

I cut the whole thing off and pondered the situation for a bit. After searching around the house, I finally decided to use the cap from a bottle of water. I just took a hammer and a nail and punched a hole in the top so that I could put the needle and thread through. I didn't care that it was off centre as I felt that would just add more interest to the piece if the off centredness showed up.

But the same issue arose when I began the whipped wheel. I kept snagging wool in my threads. Again, more pondering. Had another AHA moment and got myself a sheet of printer paper and cut a hole in it the size of the bottle cap. I put it over the felted piece and did my whipped wheel!
And it worked wonderfully as shown below! I used this same colour design that I used for Sharon's Sumptuous Surfaces course as I thought the colours would work. I added a number of different colours to the whipped wheel, before finally using the whipped wheel stitch to add the orange fuzzy yarn.

This next section wasn't overly challenging and I wasn't going to do anything to it, but after adding beads everywhere else, it looked a bit naked so I dressed it up a bit with purple beads. It was a bit of a challenge because there was a plastic circle under all that thick thread but I just bent my beading needle and got as close to where I wanted the bead to be as possible.
Turned out pretty "dressed up". LOL

This is the tamest section in the whole piece. I thought a bit of normalcy might be a good idea!

I didn't add too much more to this since the last photo I posted but again, with all the beading on the project, it was looking a little bland, so I dressed it up a bit with some bugle beads and seed beads.

This last section probably has the most hours spent on it. You wouldn't believe what I tried couching and stitching onto this section. I ended up removing one couched yarn from what I originally had on there and adding the beads. I tried just about everything and didn't like anything I did. Kept cutting it out. I like the way this section looks but the photo unfortunately does not do it justice. It looks a mess. The bugle beads are red and gold and there are lime green glass beads in there as well. I buttonhole stitched a bit of green fuzzy yarn onto it too just to give some unity to the piece.

When I started this felt piece, I really thought it would be a throw away piece. I would learn to felt, throw on some practice stitches and throw it in a corner out of the way when I couldn't do any more on it. I like what I ended up with though and won't be throwing it into a corner!

If you have another minute, the Sunshine Deli (link above) has a cute poem about Percy the Pig.

Well, time for a bit of relaxation before bed.
Hope you are all enjoying yourself and talk to you later!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Don't want your blog stuff to end up in Pinterest?

Sharon Baggon was kind enough to post some info on her site about blog stuff possibly ending up in Pinterest. If you have concerns about that, you can check out Sharon's site at

or if you use Blogger like I do, you can do directly here:
If you follow the Blogger instructions step by step, it was pretty easy to do. First thing first, SAVE YOUR OLD TEMPLATE! There is a button there that you can click on that says "SAVE TEMPLATE". Good luck!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Behind in Tast, Felting and other goings on

Time sure does have a way of flying away on you... It's been an incredibly busy couple of weeks.

Last time I posted, we had a huge unexpected thaw and there was some minor flooding. Well, after that flooding, we got just about the worse storm we've had all winter. It didn't leave alot of snow, about a foot or so, but the storm went on for about two days so it was hard to leave home because of bad roads. Just when we thought that winter wasn't done with us yet, we got a silly heat wave this past week. Totally unheard of for us islanders. We are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and usually surrounded by ice and/or very cold water so our spring is a very long time in coming but our falls are usually long and gorgeous. We may get the odd day of +10 or +15C temps in April or May but the really nice weather doesn't really come until June. This past week we actually had days in the mid 20'sC (almost 80F).

It was a time to start raking outdoors and catch up on laundry that didn't get done when the ground was too wet the last few weeks to do unnecessary laundry. We are out in the country and on a septic bed so when the ground is saturated, we have to watch how much water we are putting back into the ground. Add to the outdoor work, laundry, housekeeping, some very long drives and picnics in enjoyment of the weather and needless to say, there wasn't very much stitching done.

This past Wednesday, my husband and I and the dog took a long walk along Cavendish beach. Its always a shock to see what damage the wind and waves have caused during the winter storms. The dunes keep getting chewed p and knocked back.
You can see that there is still a bit of ice along the beach.

I am beginning to think that I have ADD. Attention-Deficit Disorder. I seem to be jumping from one project to the other, but in reality, I've felt for a very long time that I was destined for more than just cross stitch. I've been interested in art quilts and fabric manipulation for a very long time but just didn't know where to start. I seem to be flogging this point, but I really do have to thank Sharon and her online classes for getting the ball rolling. I just can't stop learning now!

I think I mentioned last time that I had tried to paint on some fabric. The fabric painting got started when I looked thru a book my husband got me for Christmas called "500 Art Quilts". Every once in a while I get the book out and look through it and on this one particular day a few weeks ago, I was totally awed by a quilt done by Sylvia Naylor. Particularly, it was her quilt Fall in a Northern Wood, which is similar to the quilt on her web page, "Fall in the Boreal Forest". I loved the lighteness and airyness of it, and I love the trees. Sylvia fabric painted the quilt and added some thread painting. I wanted to learn how to do the fabric painting and the thread painting and thought the best way to learn would be to try to duplicate what Sylvia had done.

I would have posted photos of my attempts at fabric painting but the colours were so light and faint that the photos didn't really show anything at all or the colours were all muddy. In any case, I don't really have any fabric paint and didn't want to add more supplies to my stash, so I decided that I was going to try to duplicate the quilt done by Sylvia in felted wool format. I figured I would learn to felt a scene and still learn the thread painting. The photo below shows my first attempt at felting Sylvia's art piece. I wasn't thrilled with some of the colours used but like with all things, I didn't have all the colours I wanted in the merino wool silk that I had.
If you compare my felted piece to Sylvia's painting you will seee that my piece is heavy and dark and I had a heck of a time trying to make the trees.

Some friends and I headed off island this past Friday to do a bit of shopping in Moncton, New Brunswick. We did alot of shopping at stitch and quilt and fabric stores, but did not have time to stop at a particular wool store I have wanted to check out for quite some time now. Along the way though, I took a photo of a sign that is quite common in New Brunswick but probably pretty scarce in other parts of the world. Be ware of moose when travelling at dusk or very early morning hours in New Brunswick!

Hubby and I headed back to Moncton on Saturday to the wool shop I wanted to see, London-Wul. What a treat!!! So many different kinds of yarns, wools, merino wool silk and felted art! I spent some time talking to Heidi who was so incredibly helpful and inspirational. I just can't wait to go back! Some of her art was hanging in the shop and was just amazing as you can see on her web site, link above in London-Wul. She is so talented!

I was so eager to get home and try out a few things I learned from Heidi that I took out a new wool base sheet and started felting the same Sylvia painting I had previously done. This is what I came up with the second time around. (I might add that I also came home with some merino wool silks, among other things)

Well, the next step was to try my hand at machine thread painting on the felted pieces. What can I say? I have a tendency to learn things the hard way and this project is no different. I learned that I should have waited to start the second felted piece after I had done some thread painting on the first piece. When I started to try to machine sew in the smaller birch trees, well, quite obviously, I had a heck of a time stitching between the larger trees! Lesson learned? Felt the background, machine stitch in all the little trees and shrubs and then felt the larger trees on there!!! DUH! I didn't get too far with stitching in smaller trees because I found it very frustrating not being able to get the tree shapes I wanted to sew. This is what I ended up with:

It was my first time ever thread painting, so it was some getting used to stitching with the feed dogs lowered, a darning foot and just guiding the felting along with my hands. As bad as it was doing the skinny little trees, it was harder yet trying to do some normal looking spruce trees without touching the larger trees on either side. So, big lesson learned there! Now that I have the second felted piece done, I think what I will try is to hand sew the red and yellow leaves on as well as the small trees and see how that goes. I will have much more control over my stitching if I do the hand sewing.

And what about TAST? Well, with some minor flooding and the storm etc, I just didn't have time to work on it. Also, I was chomping at the bit to paint fabric and then felt the Sylvia Naylor scene. Also, when I read Sharon's notes for Week 11 "Whipped Wheel" stitch, I just had to join Stitchin' Fingers to see what on earth she was talking about when she mentioned "The people over on stitchin fingers who are working pebbles will have no trouble finding a use for this!" What a tease!!! lol Well, her bait got me! I joined Stitchin' Fingers and had to find out what "Pebbles" was! OMG is all I can say! So, again, no time for TAST, because guess what I am doing? Had to get some coton fabric, wash it, iron it and get the template ready as well as the items to be used between layers.

I'm a bit nervous. I am finding in my ripe old age, that when I am faced with something new and "scary" (not really but challenging maybe?) I tend to freeze up and need to gather up some courage before taking the first baby steps.

So what are Pebbles and what the heck am I up to in the photo above? I have been in the U.K. Embroiderers Guild web site on and off for a few years now. They in turn, publish a magazine called "Stitch". And I should clarify that I don't know if they actually publish it or are just connected to the "Stitch" magazine in some way. I have subscribed to "Stitch" off and on for a number of years. To have it shipped to Canada is quite expensive, and alot of the projects in it call for materials that are just not available here in Canada. In any case, I had already bookmarked two links from the "Stitch" site, but had forgotten all about them. This is one link, Encrusted Calico, which is what "Pebbles" is.

The other link is for a "Mermaids Chatelaine". Both of the two links involve the same sort of stitching and if you want to learn more, you can always take Sharon's "Sumptuous Surfaces" course. It was just about the best course I had ever taken in my life and I have enjoyed nothing more than working on the elements being taught and doing the stitching.

As far as the baby alpaca yarn and sari ribbon that I mentioned a few posts ago, I started that project one evening but... (Always a but....) This winter has been terrible on my hands. The tips of my fingers are cracked and my hands are dry and flaky and sore. Though I grease them up with petroleum jelly when I go to bed, it has just been too cold and dry for it to help much. In any case, I tried working on the project but the yarn and ribbon kept catching on my rough hands and so I finally gave up. I will continue when conditions improve! Actually, you should have watched me felting a week or so ago when the ends of the bandaids on my finger tips started to curl up and the wool felt kept attaching itself to the sticky bandaid! What a mess!

After that lovely two day "heat spell" there are just two small patches of ice/snow in the yard and the grass is starting to grow.

But I don't think it will be doing much more growing for a while. The temps are back to a normal 0, +2 or +3 C during the day and - 4 C or more nights. There are even snow flurries in the forecast for some days in the next week or so. In reality, we can expect snow into April and even May so I won't hold my breath for anymore warm days, tho I will add that the robins and gazillions of Canada geese have returned to the island, so it can't be all bad!

There is lots to do here so I better get my butt in gear and do something! Better catch up on my TAST first!

I am not going to post a poem today. I suggest you click on "The Sunshine Deli" above right and take a look at their site. The poems are delightful, entertaining and fun! As are the drawings! Well done ladies! Love the crocodile poem!

Have fun!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

TAST week 10 and weird weather but perhaps an early spring

Definitely did not get much stitching this week. First of all, I am back to the pool for morning swims a few times a week after 2 years of not swimming. All I'm going to say is.... ouch....
Surprising how much time that takes though, driving to the pool, changing, swimming laps and exercising, showering, changing, and then driving home. I would normally get a bit of housework done in that time and now, well, I'll just leave it at that... LOL

For anyone just here for the TAST project, I will post that photo first. I am trying to learn two things at once. Needlefelting art and TAST stitches which for the most part, I haven't done before. I have added quite a few of the TAST stitches to this piece but not all of them as my mind wasn't imaginative enough to think of how to do them. You will find examples of this past weeks running stitch in a few places on this piece.

Anyways, we were treated to an unexpected warm spell when the temps suddenly went up to 10C and the most tremendous winds blew in. We had a good 12 or more inches of snow across most of the yard with some 3 foot snow drifts. It is almost all gone. Just bits and pieces here and there, but it all went in one day. Good grief, what a mess!!! By 4 pm on that day, we still had snow and ice on the ground and it was blocking some of the melted snow from draining away from the house, so the house was surrounded. So out we went using whatever we could find, to dig away at the snow and chip away at the ice to get the water drained away. This isn't our house, but a house up the road from us. Photo was taken the morning after the warm day and as you can see, the ditch was full and the property was surrounded.
We were on our way to Cavendish National Park when I took this photo. At the National Park, the water rose incredibly in some low spots. To give you an idea of how much water there was from the melted ice and snow, I have two photos of the same place in the Park. The photo with the snow in it was taken last week, and the one with the high water was taken just this past friday.

I started taking some photos yesterday of a new project I was trying out but it just didn't work out at all. I tried water colouring onto cotton fabric to create a scene and then I was going to machine "paint" on it with different coloured threads and then add some hand stitching. The watercolour paints were way too light and it barely shows up at all.. Ummm should I mention that I ironed the piece to "set" the colour, using a piece of paper towelling underneath and unfortunately, the paper towel had a lovely sort of puffed design on it and that design showed up on the little bit of colour that did stay on the fabric. At least that happened on a piece that I don't care about and not a piece that turned out well.

There isn't really a storm or anything coming in but there is a bit of snow predicted for this afternoon tho it won't amount to much, if anything. In any case, it is affecting my arthritis and that of my husband so it has become a competition with us today to see who can out-moan the other with our aches and pains. Sounds pleasant, eh? LOL

Anyways, the Canada geese are starting to return to the island, warm temps are predicted for almost every day next week, and the end to this cold and snow is in sight!

If you have some time on your hands and like a good hearty laugh, you might want to read the short stories on this web page. They are wonderful!!!

Have a lovely day!

and todays little ditty:

The Goat

There was a man, now please taken note,
There was a man, who had a goat.
He lov'd that goat, indeed he did,
He lov'd that goat, just like a kid.

One day that goat felt frisk and fine,
Ate three red shirts from off the line.
The man he grabbed him by the back,
And tied him to a railroad track.

But when the train hove into sight,
That goat grew pale and green with fright.
He heaved a sigh, as if in pain,
Coughed up those shirts and flagged the train.
Author Unknown

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quaker Diamonds, Crazy Quilting

Its supposed to be warm today, about 10C or 50F more or less, but the wind is too strong for it too be very enjoyable outside. At least there is sun and some semblance of heat!

I have four brothers and a sister and we are all alike... Ask us what time it is and we tell you how to build a clock, so I will try to keep things to a few words today! Highly unlikely but a girl can try!

I finally got my Quaker Diamonds finished! What a relief! I even ironed it for today' s presentation! Not framed yet, but I have quite a few finished projects and not sure what will get framed.

Quaker Diamonds:
I'm sure most people know this but it never occurred to me to do this until I saw a friend do it to her stitching. Rather than pay money for 4 or more inches of border around your stitching area for framing, you can just leave 2 or 3 inches around the stitching area and sew some spare cotton or similar fabric around your stitching fabric. I used a Q-snap frame for my stitching so could comfortably stitch at the very edge of my stitching. I hope this photo makes sense and shows what I am trying to explain.

I also added a few more rows of stitching to my crazy quilt piece. I won't tell you how many stitches were put in and then taken out. But, I either like it or I don't and if I don't like it, I take it out.

That row of dark green along the top left of the block had a couple of rows of red beads in it but I found the beads a bit too overpowering so took them out. There is a purple ribbon at the bottom in the green area that I began to couch down but I do not like it. It is the third item I have tried couching down but don't like anything I have done so far. I searched through all my books and came across some silk ribbon work that I might use. I only did one small piece in silk ribbons about 15 or more years ago and very little since, so it is not easy work for me! I will see what comes of it.

This is a close up of some of the stitching. With each row that I stitch, I get a bit braver and do a little bit more complex stitches. At least they are complex to me. Most of the stitches, if not all of them, come from Sharons' notes from her Encrusted Crazy Quilting course.

I haven't done a thing with TAST this week. For week 10 we are to do the running stitch which seems to be fairly easy and basic but not too much comes to mind as to what to do with it.

I'm sure its happened to all of that when we have alot of fabric hanging off the ends of our stitching frames, we run the risk of stitching the end of our fabric to the back of our stitching if we aren't careful. Doing crazy quilting especially, I have sewn my stitches to the block and the hanging edge more than once! To help prevent this, you can get hair clips at just about any dollar store and either bundle up your excess fabric underneath the frame, or in the photo below, just pull it up the side, to hold it out of the way with a hair clip.

That's it for today....

Enjoy your day and if you have some sun, get out in it!

Todays words of wisdom: from Natasha Josefowitz

Tomorrow I will Change

Tomorrow I will change
turn a new leaf
become this new person.

I will exercise before breakfast
not eat cookies between meals
not fret over trivialities
not run about
getting upset
that I'm not getting
everything done.

Tomorrow I will change.

I say this every day.