Sunday, April 22, 2012

French Knots

When my friend Catherine gave me the lace Madonna I used in last month's block, she also gave me these two small medals, which the merchant gave her as a gift when she bought the lace medallion.  These are images of St. Francis and St. Clare, and I added them to this month's block using shisha embroidery.  The medals are surrounded by some fern stitch and French knots, this week's challenge stitch.

The image of St. Francis has birds flying over his head.

These accents fit nicely into the block.  I see I'm going to have to step it up a bit to fill the remaining empty space before the month ends.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More TAST and April CQJP

The middle of the month was getting very close when I finally sat down to  work on my April block. 

Once I began I got in the groove.

In the top left corner I feather stitched a vintage robin patch.  The seam treatment is herringbone stitch accented with lazy daisy and straight stitch.

I put on my big girl pants and tackled the whipped wheels, the TAST from a few weeks ago.  This composition also has the stem stitch for this week's TAST. 

The leaves are woven picot stitch from Pat Trott's book Three Dimensional Embroidery Stitches, which has a lot of great floral designs I'll probably dip into again.  These cool little leaves are detached, which adds to the textual element.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Brief Aside

All I've shown this year on the blog is embroidery, but I have kept the knitting needles going behind the scenes.  I'm perhaps a bit obsessive as a knitter.  I like its rhythmic nature, plus I get to wear the results.

Lately I'm especially enamored of garter stitch.  The repetition is meditative: it's knit stitch on both sides, and no purling, plus the fabric made by knit stitch is thick and cushiony.  I knit this shawl from a free Ravelry pattern: Kay's Tess D'Uberville Shawl by Kay Meadors.  It's blissfully mindless knitting, and I used leftover fingering weight yarn from the Faire Isle vest I made for my mother last year.  The color changes synced up nicely with the increases in the pattern.  I've noticed that I have a minor fascination with stripes these days.

When I wore this shawl to work, one of my colleagues was very complementary and also let me know that her birthday was coming.  I was happy to take the hint and to reward her enthusiasm for knitwear.  Over the Christmas holiday I made her this shawl, the Ridge and Furrow Triangular Shawl by Sue Grandfield, also free on Ravelry. 

Although not entirely knit in garter stitch, the ridges are garter.  This shawl was made from some reclaimed raspberry tweed wool, and the stripes are made from a skein of Noro Kureyon, a beautiful Japanese yarn with long color repeats.    My colleague was very happy with her shawl.  When she wears it to work she stops by to show me.

I decided to make myself another shawl with some leftover wool and alpaca blend yard that I had in my stash.

The pattern, 22.5 Degrees by Martina Behm, is also free on Ravelry. 

I've made this pattern before, but this time I made it extra long to wrap around my neck.  It's a garter stitch feast, soft and drapey. 

I'll return to the embroidery needle next week.  In the meantime, I'll curl up on the couch with some knitting.  Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those who are celebrating this weekend.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

March CQJP

My March Crazy Quilt Journal Project block is finished.  I had left about half the block for the last few days of the month knowing that I'd have extra time to finish up.

This seam is a combination of Maidenhair stitch with Lazy Daisy and beads.

I used two bird charms that came in the swap box that's making the rounds between some of the Tuesday Stitchers group members. 

I finally stitched the morning glory motif in the upper right corner, but tearing away the stabilizer distorted some of the satin stitches.  I pulled them on the back side to straighten them after I took this picture. 

This lace Madonna motif was a gift from my local friend Catherine, who brought it to me from Assisi when she went to Italy last year.  She asked me if I was going to use it in this piece, and at first I said no.  I intended to save it, like a lot of very special things, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it really needed to go in this project.  Assisi, of course, is the home of St. Francis, and Catherine's gift is one of the inspirations for this whole project.  This very special accent is appliqued down and accented with French knots and Lazy Daisy.

Thanks again Catherine for your thoughtful and inspiring gift.

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...