Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Past classes and UFO's

I can't believe just how fast this summer has gone.  I have told people that the only thing that I miss about the pandemic was the days and weeks of having nothing on my calendar. How that has changed this year. My mother told me that I needed to learn to say "NO" but, but but..... There are so many things I need to do and others that I just want to do, so.. now we are back to figuring out a schedule so I don't run around like crazy and nothing gets done.

Our Embroiderers' guild has a UFO challenge in the chapter. Unfinished Objects that linger in the back of the closet or drawer that keep calling our name. I am pretty good at getting rid of the ones that I no longer want to do but there are still a number that I really want to complete.

In 2002, I attended an embroidery symposium at the Peabody Essex Museum and took several classes. One, which I occasionally think about as I look at the box but it is not on the to-do list. The other one was a class from Shay Pendray and is a Japanese embroidery of a bunch of grapes. I have always wanted to finish it but.. you know how it goes. Other things end up on the top of the pile. I decided to pull it out and finish it. It is not very big and did not take long and now I am not sure what to do with it but it is finished.

Here are the grapes

and here is the small pouch that we got at the symposium. Which is how I knew when I attended.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Sewing tools/ pear shaped and a Fiber Talk Podcast and/or Youtube interview

 For years I have collected sewing tools and thought I ought to share some of them with you. This group is all pear shaped.   Three of them are wood and the other is vegetable Ivory.  

This is the same set open. From the left front, a pin poppet, behind it is a a thimble holder, next to that is a tape measure and finally a pincushion/thimble holder. The pin poppet was meant to hold pins in a enclosed secure case that went in the pocket. For years women's clothing was at least partially pinned together and if you lost a pin then this little case held the extra ones that you needed.  The thimble case is beautifully carved wood and helped keep track of your thimble. The tape measure is painted wood and the cotton tape is printed in inches. The case on the far right is one that my father carved for me. I saw one like it and so he made this one. I lined it with velvet and left a place in the center for a thimble.

This is the last tool that I could not resist. It is a Vegetable Ivory pear measuring tape that is carved and pierced. The tape is red cotton marked in centimeters.  It has Mar del Plata written on it. Often small sewing tools were made as souvenirs. This one was for a city in Argentina. 

One day several weeks ago I got a message from Gary L Parr. He does Fiber Talk as a podcast and on Youtube. He and Beth visited with me for an hour about all sorts of embroidery related topics. I was not sure how I would do but he is a wonderful host and so easy to talk to. We also talked a bit about embroidery tools and I mentioned that I had a pincushion with a chicken wishbone. Kind of an odd thing but I have seen many of them for sale.
Also on FlossTube at:

Friday, April 2, 2021

Background of Faith, Hope and Charity

 This has been the never ending project. I started it in about 2008 and worked on it sporadically for  the next bunch of years. I would work on it and then put it away for a year or two and get it out again. About 3 years ago I decided it was time to finish it. I have stitched on it usually 2 weeks a month and the progress has been slow but steady. I have posted some of my progress on the blog. Finally the background is finished. Who knew that there were so many light spring greens.. I have saved the halos, hair and faces for last. I want to put metallic gold in the halos so I figured that if I did them all at the same time it would save time. I will also need to change some of the colors used in the faces. The original charted colors in the flesh tones was too bright and garish. The detail in the stitched version is amazing and no photo will ever show just how it really looks.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Antique samplers and Great Grandfather's Painting.

 Over the years one thing that I have resisted collecting is antique samplers. I don't stitch reproduction samplers because I just don't. Many of them are lovely but with the limited time I have, they have not been things that I choose to spend my time on. I have loved collecting antique needlework tools. I still enjoy taking classes and buying threads: silk threads, gold threads and lots of others. 

Well, now I have three samplers so I shall probably have to call that a collection. It is not going to grow a much if at all. With limited wall space, I prefer to hang my father's oil paintings, prints that I love and my own work, but this last sampler will be hung at least part of the time. It is fragile enough that it should not hang full time.

The oldest sampler was stitched by Jane Bates in 1791. She was 11 years old when she stitched her sampler. The sampler was purchased in Cumbria. That is a county in the north-west corner or England. The owner bought from the "estate of a lady" and told me that the old samplers usually stay in the family. So perhaps with some work I can find out more. 

Here are photos of the front and back. The colors have not faded much but the moths have eaten parts of the background.

This is the back.

The second sampler was stitched by Ann Donaldson who was born  on July 6, 1824. She listed many different initials but did include the name of REVd  EDW MOISES and E J Faill on the second line of her sampler. It is my conjecture that she was educated or lived at a charity school run by the Reverend.

The final sampler is from Germany and stitched by Helen Trager. I have reproduced this one and an adaptation. The pattern is for sale in several retail outlets. I purchased it from Helen's great niece and she gave me quite a bit of information about her Great-aunt. It is red on white fabric.

My Great-Grandfather, James Morgan Waterfall, emigrated from England in the 1880's. He painted a number of pieces but the only one that I know of now is this one of seals on some rocks. He signed the back: J Waterfall 1901. He painted others with ships in full sail that I would love to see.  He was a ship repair man in London but became a shoe maker here. He was so good that people would travel from miles around to have him work on their shoes. 

My mother treasured it because she loved her Grandfather. It is dirty and need some restoration but I have hung it up anyway.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Tea Cups and other pottery

 I am a bit of a collector. Mostly sewing tools but also other things that catch my eye. I don't have to acquire many of them to form an actual collection of whatever it is but just one or two of something makes my heart sing. Sometimes the collection is just a set of photos on  Pintrest because one - I can't afford to own the original or two - what am I going to do with either one or multiples of  whatever it is. My granddaughter calls it "Oh Shiny". Kind of a magpie response to trinkets or treasures. Years ago my father and I took a pottery class together. It was fun and I enjoyed doing it but I didn't follow up with learning to do more with it, but it did give me an appreciation of good pottery. 

I have for years enjoyed going to Horseshoe Mountain Pottery and looking at his pots and purchasing a few of them over the years. Joe Bennion is a very interesting man, a fabulous potter and his pots reflect his personality. 

 Another potter that I enjoy does bowls, plates and cups and other things that have horses on them. They are celadon green and have horses on them that remind me of fat Chinese horses from scroll paintings.  Her name is Sharon Brown Mikkelson.

I even did a whole room  that was inspired by the colors of a bowl. The soft green and sandy/copper colors inspired my embroidered copper bugs and critters. In the installation of the light fixture something got dropped on the bowl but I glued it back together because it was one of a kind and I love it. I have thought of using the Japanese technique of mending called Kintsugi that uses gold lacquer but for now I like it just as it is with a little bit extra of a story to tell.

The other day I watched a video that showed some pottery tea cups being fired. I just had to look at the web site and found the most creative group of tea cups. I don't drink tea but they are the most perfect little bowls for a snack or just to admire. So I bought three of them. It was so hard to decide just which ones I wanted but several dozen small cups did seem a bit excessive, so I settled for three. The company is called Tenmokus. They are based in Hong Kong but the shipping was so fast that they were here within a week. The top one is called Sunrise and the other two are Jellyfish and Golden Drops. The packing boxes are so nice that now I need to figure out what to do with them as they are too good to just throw out.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Goldwork and a family heirloom

 Years ago my grandmother gave me a glass micro mosaic pin from Italy. I didn't ever wear it but did make a small silver box  and I used the pin as a lid for the box. Several years ago I discovered the jewelry art of Marianne Hunter and am so inspired by her creativity and her work. Much of what is does is in enamel and it is a very technically difficult type of  craft.

This is a pendant that she named Kabuki Kachina in Crimson Poppies. She has used a number of old jewelry pieces in her work including some micro mosaic pins. 

I took my pin and used many different couching and other embroidery techniques to design and create a home for it. I need to come up with a wonderful name for it like she does but so far nothing really fits yet. It is a mille fleur design so that must feature in it somewhere. 

I took the circular shape as my starting point and used many overlapping arcs to create my design. Then I needed to fill the voids with designs that complemented the colors of the pin and the shapes that I had created. It was fun to decide just how I wanted to fill in the areas and then add the outlines to balance the work. 

I think that I will make an oval box with this as the top.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Black work Jacket and Skirt

 A life time ago and in a galaxy far away one of my ambitions was to do graduate work in costuming and work in that profession. While I still love historical costuming, I decided that it was not for me - the long hours and the fierce competition would  not work well with family responsibilities. So I dabble in dressing a historical doll or two.

I have always loved 17th century embroidered jackets; most of them are polychrome but a few are black work. There are a number of portraits that feature the jackets. Perhaps the most famous of the jackets is one that was owned by Margaret Layton. The jacket and her portrait are exhibited together so you can actually see how accurately the clothing was depicted.

Several years ago I found a black work rectangle on Pintrest that I liked. I was able to trace the pin back to the original source. It was a 17th century jacket featured in Gift of Stitches Magazine. I found the site to purchase the magazine with both the design and the finishing. Any  miniature clothing needs to have fabric that is not too stiff or out of scale so now the hunt was on for just the right fabric for the jacket and all the other parts of the set.

 I started with 55 count linen for the stitching. A bit small but I wanted the jacket to be as small as I could make it. I used size 100 black silk thread for the stitching. The directions called for putting lace around the edges but leaving the jacket raw on the inside. I knew that once the jacket was finished, the inside would never be seen but just could not leave it unlined. 

A while ago, I was in China and bought some very fine pale pink silk and decided to line the jacket with that. I had forgotten just how hard it is to work on that scale but love how it turned out.

Of course a jacket needs to be displayed with a skirt - a 17th century embroidered skirt. Now the hunt was on for the perfect fabric. It had to be just the right color and have the correct drape. The design is adapted from historical sources and stitched with gold silk  thread with metal thread accents.

 Then it needed a dress form to put it on and the  proper underthings so that it would look right. You know how that goes - right down the rabbit hole.

The dress form...

The linen petticoat - front and back...

The bum roll - this is rather strange piece of clothing but it was used in that period and made the skirt hang correctly...

The salmon colored skirt...

The finally the jacket......

The front assembled with the gussets. 
The lined jacket.