Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mary Wigham, Stitching


I have been working a little more diligently on the Mary Wigham sampler.  First I have a few comments to say on the sampler itself.  I got the chart free from Needleprint.  I thank Needleprint as I really liked the sampler the moment I saw it.  The only photo of it though was just a small photo on the web site.  You did not get a photo of the completed sampler when you downloaded the chart.

I found what appeared to be errors in alot of the motifs on the chart.  After correcting 2 or 3 errors and coming across more, I realized that the errors may just be how Mary Wigham stitched her sampler so I did not make any more corrections.  It would be nice though to have a full photo of the sampler to see how it was stitched but I guess there are fears that someone else may copy out the chart from the photo and sell it.

In any case, there are errors but I left them in.  I think I am about two-thirds done.

Before I took it off the Q-snaps to photograph it, I had to laugh.  I start a new motif, or a motif within the motif, with a "waste-knot".  There are a ton of examples on how to do a waste knot if you "Bing" it or "Google" "waste knot".   I think the proper way to do a waste knot is to put it in so that it lays in the direction you will be stitching so that as you stitch, you stitch over the waste knot thread, if that makes sense.  In any case, I make my waste knots away from my stitching, allowing for lots of thread to thread my needle when I am ready to stitch it in and when I am in the mood for tucking them all in, I do a bunch at once. If  I take care of the waste knot while stitching each motif, I am in a hurry and make a mess of them.

A photo of my waste knots on my stitching.
The stand I use to hold my Q-snap, is something the husband of a friend of mine made for me.  It works wonderfully and holds the stitching very well.  I can use the stand as a table topper, and yes, it does swivel backwards and forwards.  The wooden part that sits on the table top can also be put under your leg so that you can stitch while sitting in a chair or recliner.  The side bar extends upwards a fair amount to bring the stitching up. To hold the extra fabric at the top and sides, I purchased some inexpensive hair clips from the dollar store.  The hair clip also holds my pattern as I stitch.  The needle minder in the upper right sits on my fabric and was something I made following instructions in a Cross Stitch and Needlework magazine.

And I don't mind at all showing what the back looked like before I hid the waste knots.

One thing I noticed though is how I end my thread.  I believe "they" say to just stitch it under a few threads on the back of your work and that's it!  Well, I have a real phobia about the "few threads" part.  I tend to weave the end of my thread almost through the entire motif to make sure it is securely fastened!  I'm sure that in a gazillion years from now, future Archeologists will be unearthing these strange things from the ground.  Fabric long disintegrated, but these masses of woven threads all bundled together!  What a puzzle that will create for them!

I am really looking forward to completing the Mary Wigham sampler though.  It is becoming not so fun, though I admit when sitting with it every day, now that the weather has cooled, it is going quickly.  Even though I have a million projects on the go, I am thinking of seriously started the 16 Square Pulled Thread Sampler from Kathrin's Blog (from Gitta).    And yes, I am only behind about 30 stitches in Sharon's TAST.    Oh dear!  Anyone have anymore lifetime's out there!!!???

In the meantime, some of my stitching and felting has won a few ribbons at our yearly fair.

I forgot to post how I finished off "The Pebble".  The instructions said to do a ladder stitch to join the front with the back.  Having never done this stitch before, I knew it needed a bit of practicing when I saw the instructions for it.  First of all, it is a horrible stitch!!!  LOL...   secondly, it just didn't work for this piece.  I had to take such small stitches, and it was not easy working around the bulk of the front and the back.  The needle just didn't get to where it needed to be to do the stitch, so I did a very basic "I can't remember at the moment what it is called" stitch!

And also, my first piece every completed in Sharon's online "Sumptuous Surfaces Embroidery" class.

Finally, the Three Sheep won as well.

Well, that's it for me!   Blueberries are well on their way here on the island.  I am going into town to see if my 10 pound box is in yet!

Don't forget the ladies at the "Deli" above right!  Judy Cooper is back from vacation and has shared an amazing list of blogs with us!

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep. - Scott Adams

Off to make mistakes!



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life resumes, photos

Well, it's been a few weeks...    Where do I start?

What a difference a year makes!   Last few years, our summers have been horrible.  We never really had a summer quite honestly as it was just a long cold wet spring that became fall.  Last summer my sister arrived from a 2,000 km drive with her two daughters in the middle of July and our temperatures had not hit above 15C yet!   And it just rained and rained and rained prior to her arrival.  Though it got somewhat better after she got here, not by a whole lot.  The summer continued like that but I admit we had the most glorious fall.

This year has more than made up for the last few summers.  To the extreme really.  It has been a very hot dry summer to start off with and then about 3 weeks ago it turned humid.  Today, we have our first serious rainfall in a few months and conditions will be much more comfortable after that.  Temperatures with the humidex were in the mid 30's almost every day, not cooling off much during the night as there was little or no wind. This long spell of hot humid weather is unusual for us as we usually get cooled off by ocean breezes so needless to say, very very few houses on the island have central air or air conditioning!

Anyways, Mom has been and gone and we had a lovely time.  She is getting on in years and needs the help of a walker or rollator to walk.  She managed to get around quite well on her own, leaving me to remain splayed out in my recliner numb with the heat and humidity while she sat in the back yard listening to the birds and enjoying our "cool" temperatures.  You see, she comes from Southern Ontario, where the summer has seen temps in the high 40 's C with the humidity!  

I have done absolutely no stitching whatsoever!   I did pick up the Mary Wigham sampler the other day in the hopes of stitching while a small fan was blowing on me, but, the fabric was dampish and almost swollen in the humidity and the floss struggled to get through it so I left it for a drier and cooler day.

So what to talk about?  Well, I thought I might think on something I've noticed lately.  My husband and I like to go for drives and walks and so there is alot of opportunity for picture taking.  What I've noticed for about the last year or so is that when I have taken a photo that I especially like, I take a big breath and expel air when I have finished taking the photo, as if something quite extraordinary has happened.  I'm not sure I can explain what this breath is all about, but know it feels very satisfying and it is a good thing.

It usually comes when taking a photo like this.....

It was taken on the Homestead Trail at Cavendish National Park.  It's hard to explain what I feel at a scene like this.  The colour of the grasses are glorious and are made even more spectacular against the blue of the water and the sky.  It was such a lovely afternoon, not a soul in sight, nothing to hear except seagulls calling over the water and singing birds in the trees.  When I look at the photo, I can remember the smell of the grasses and seaweed in the water, and the salt in the water.  Taking the photo was like trying to capture a moment in time and keeping it forever. 

One of my favorite things to try to photograph is light and shadow.  There is something about the light and the dark that fascinates me.  These are two examples.

If I am not taking photos of the leaves, dark and light, in the summer, then it's tree trunks in the fall and winter.

The most satisfying photos are the one that come from a dramatic scene, the light and the dark.  The dark sky behind the light lighthouse, the sun shining in the distance through the trees, as seen below.

I have to admit that I haven't attached the best examples of my photo works.  I don't even know how many I have but I will admit to owning 3 external drives to hold them all!

When I sit as a passenger in the car, as my husband drives, or as I walk trails, the cliffs of our island, I am attracted by the colours around me.  If the scene before me is not dramatic because of light and dark, then it may be dramatic because of the colours, usually complimentary colours on the colour wheel.

I hope to capture that same excitement in my stitching and sewing.  I keep my colour wheel with me always and hope to create something dramatic and moving.  I am always turning my colour wheel back and forth to see what might be the best colour to use for what I want to do next.  But, sometimes, you just have to go with your gut.

I sit here now, the sun having gone down, listening to the rain gently falling to the parched ground.  Our grass has long since dried up and I'm sure I hear it joyfully laughing, lifting its arms up to capture as much of the rain as it can.. Perhaps a little melodramatic on my part but it has been a long hot summer and I am feeling a bit melodramatic and out of sorts! 

I hope to get back to stitching soon and perhaps bring a bit of sanity to my next post!

Hope you are all well.