Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I was ready to start my peacock embroidery when I read a call for submissions for the Mad Tea Towel Party.

I've had this tea towel stashed for years, and the call inspired me to clear my work table and design a new piece. My mom, who has an excellent eye for the supplies and ephemera that I love best, but who doesn't sew or craft herself, gave me this Irish linen towel. The roses inspired me at first to do another Madonna, but after looking for images on the web, I chose instead an image of St. Therese of Lisieux, who you can read about here, here, and here.

I transfered the image to a vintage hankie, which will be attached to the top of the tea towel.

I'm really happy at the way the image is overlapped by some of the flowers.

Because linen wrinkles so badly, I'm going to embroider the towel and some of the hankie separately, and then join them together.
Of course there will be embroidery and embellishments. St. Therese's mother was a lace maker, so there will also be lace.
Using a household item like a towel and a personal object like a hankie for St. Therese's icon is consistent with her view that there is grace in the simple and the everyday. I am also happy that the roses in both objects are objects associated with her designation as "the little flower."

Here is a quote from her writings that seems to fit this composition especially well:
"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pomp and Circumstance

The academic regalia is hanging in my room, a sign that another school year has come and gone. We had graduation this weekend, so after I wrap up some odds and ends and turn in grades, I'll be done for the summer. There's always some work-related project to do during this otherwise down time: reports, new course preparation, but otherwise, it looks like smooth sailing from here on out.

So here's my fantasy schedule for the summer:
Get up early and write. I've got some academic essays I want to finish.
Walk to the gym twice a week and take a yoga class.
Finish some UFOs.
Work on my 12x12 bird series.

Things will intervene. You notice I didn't include housework or cooking in my schedule, but I can dream.

I haven't been totally idle in the needlework department, although I've had the same unfinished scrap quilt on my design wall for months. I've been knitting, and I crocheted this little bucket purse for my mom for mother's day.
I've also stocked up on silk threads from ThreadArt, an ebay vendor, in preparation for my next 12x12 bird project.

This project is actually going to be a pair of images, the goddess Sarasvati (Saraswati) and her peacock. I got these images from one of those free Dover downloads. They are captioned "Goddess Sarasvati and her peacock; second folio from a Chitrakathi series, northern Kanataka." Here's Sarasvati:
I felt it was fitting to make an image of Sarasvati, as she is associated with wisdom, language and learning. I love that she looks like she's climbed a tree, but from what I've been able to tell of her story, she is usually portrayed in a lotus. I'll have to decide weather to render all those fan shapes a tree leaves or as lotus petals.

The peacock is very ornate and folkloric and I'm going to embroider him first.
Both pieces are going to be embroidered to a pair of white damask napkins. Sarasvati is portrayed as white-skinned, so I intend to outline but not fill in her body and face. I've drawn the peacock on tear-away stabilizer. I usually use water soluble stabilizer, but I didn't want to wet the silk threads. I imagine using beads on both pieces.

As you can see, I'm ready for the summer to begin. I think Louie is too.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...