Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The News from Here

I'm still working on my St. Therese piece. I didn't make the deadline to submit it to the tea towel show, but I underestimated the amount of time it would take to complete. It has taken many many hours of embellishment, but I think I'm getting close to the end.

I spent last week at my parents' house. My mom has been sick, but she's doing much better. Here she is with one of her cats, Baby.
My sister called me last night to say that mom has gained 5 lbs since she left the hospital 10 days ago, so she's doing much better.

Here are her other two cats, Junior and Bella. Junior is about 18 or 19 years old and Bella is about a year old. As you can see, my parents have color coordinated cats. They're all black and white "tuxedo" cats. Junior is actually named for another black and white cat, Buster, that they had many years ago.

While I was at my parents' house I helped mom to clean out some drawers and closets, and of course I came away with lots of goodies, including these Vera napkins and place mats. I really love her designs. They have held up well, I think, and the graphics are very fresh.
I have also finished knitting this vest from odd balls leftover from other projects and culled from thrift stores, including Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Germantown worsted, and Lamb's Pride yarns. The pattern , "Dineh," is from a very nice book by Cheryl Oberle called Folk Vests.

My primary goal right now is to finish St. Therese. Then I'll be surveying my quilting UFOs. I have the urge to piece right now. I'm ready to set aside the embroidery for awhile.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Embellishment Sponge

St. Therese is starting to feel like an embellishment sponge. No matter how much I add, I feel like she needs more. I've added two kinds of vintage handmade lace, ribbon embroidery, buttons, and now beads. I'm going to add seam embellishment to the spaces on the sides between the inner row of lace and the border.
I had put buttons around the central image, but the transfer is not wanting to lie flat, so I took them off and I'm going to try flattening it and anchoring it down with strategically placed beads.
I think the image also looks less cluttered .
In the hankie part I've made silk ribbon flowers over the flowers printed on the hankie.
These same silk ribbon flowers are also now "growing" in the tea towel portion of the piece.

Since I've joined the hankie and the tea towel together and since I've done the ribbon embroidery there's no more ironing allowed on this piece. So I'm embellishing very carefully so as not to wrinkle anything. But she's still asking for more: more flowers, more beads, more embroidery.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I bought a new bike to get around without the car a bit more. (Gas was $4.55 here today.) It's a Schwinn Roxie, it has seven gears and an hand break. It's like the bike I had as a girl, it's very retro and cool, if a bit of an old lady bike.
I test-drove Roxie with Michael, his son Arjuna, and Arjuna's girlfriend Alyssa, who came for Memorial Day weekend. We cruised on the pasture and farm land that borders my neighborhood.
Here's a pretty view of an inlet of Humboldt Bay.
The landscape is dotted with the occasional old house, ancient barn and windswept trees.
There's a working dairy right next to my neighborhood, and cattle are also grazed nearby.

The bike is pretty fun though Alyssa (who commutes by bike in San Francisco) said riding Roxie is like driving a sofa. Today I rode to Michael's house and only had to walk up two of the steeper hills. Two old folks on bikes passed me on the first one.

St. Therese

Thank you for all your encouragement on this piece. Judy S. asked about the transfer. There are two kinds of transfer sheets that are readily available at fabric stores. One kind is specially treated white or light colored fabric that you run through your printer. When you peel off the backing you have an image printed directly on plain fabric that feels and drapes like regular fabric.

The medium I used here is the other kind of transfer. You run the sheet through your printer and you get an iron-on transfer (you have to remember to reverse the image before you print because the transfer is a mirror image of your original). I like these transfers because you can apply them to any fabric, and I like the effect of combining them with different prints. These transfers, however, add what is essentially a layer of plastic to your fabric, so they are stiff and don't drape. Embroidering over this transfer requires a bit of special handling. Because the needle leaves tiny holes, I probably can't rip anything out without marring the image. I also can't use a hoop, which would probably leave a crease.
I'm embroidering over some of the original images on both the hankie and the dishtowel. I've added iron-on interfacing to stabilize the towel, and I'm embroidering the hankie through a piece of white cotton because the hankie is very thin. When I'm done with this, I will add embellishments, including silk ribbon embroidery, which I'll add over the white flowers in the hankie.
I'm almost done with this part of the embroidery. Here are a few pictures of the parts of the dishtowel that I've embroidered.
These close-ups are a bit deceiving. When you stand in front of the dishtowel, the embroidery is barely perceptible.
I'm hoping that the viewer will be drawn to this piece by the embellishments, and that the embroidered prints of both textiles will be noticed after closer examination.