Sunday, December 28, 2014

Katherin and Faith, Hope and Charity

Usually during the month of December I take a break from designing retail patterns and the day to day teaching that I do. I take the time to stitch and work on some of the things that I want to do not the ones that I have to do.
Designing something new is not a thing that can be forced; although I have found that one thing does lead to another. Once I start with one new patterns others follow.

One pattern that I have been working on for years is Faith, Hope and Charity by James C Christensen. It is one over one on 32 count linen and I am hoping that I live long enough to finish it. I do want to but can't and don't want to work on it solidly until it is finished. So I stitch on it in fits and starts. If I had known when I started what I know now, I would have dyed the linen shades of spring green and just stitched the figures.

I have been working on the doll - Katherin. As much as I can, I am trying to dress her as she might have been dressed in 1670. I have been hand stitching all the clothing and using fabrics like linen and silk that are period appropriate. Creating a reproduction outfit of any size is always a balancing act. you can never totally get everything perfect.
This week, I stitched her petticoat and covered her shoes. Although I do know how to cobble a shoe, starting from scratch was more than I wanted to do in this scale. So I used some gold brocade and silk ribbon to make her shoes look more up to date for the 17th century.

Her petticoat is linen with a ribbon waist band. The ribbon worked well  because it would fold to the correct size with out adding too much bulk.

I do have more pieces planned and am excited to work on them but for now the retail designs are calling.  Once it get the designs finished and the stitching started, I can come back to Katherin.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quilt for Christmas

Years ago I found the pattern for this quilt and fell in love with it. I bought some fabric, dyed another one and found things in the stash to make the quilt. I started on the background, which I pieced by hand, cut out many of the pieces for the applique and promptly got too busy to work on it. I thought of it many times over the years but the hand applique always discouraged me. Many years later, I tried machine applique. I don't love it for some things but for others it works great. So with that in mind, I dug out the quilt and recut the applique pieces and stared putting it together. Life got in the way so it was put away again. Several years ago, I got it out and finished the applique.
Flashback to many years ago in another life when I sewed uniforms for restaurants that wanted a very custom look. I bought 7 bolts of fabric that one of them wanted and made way too many ruffled skirts and blouses from said fabric. I ended up with about a bolt left and kept it because: one.. I am a collector of fabric and two.. it was a nice Christmas plaid with red, green and a touch of metallic gold.

The stored Christmas fabric was perfect for the back of the quilt, so it was put together and machine quilted. Nothing very fancy but with all those tiny pieces it took a while to do. Now it was ready for the binding and a rest in the pile of works-in-progress, after all the holiday season was over. This year I got it out, purchased the binding fabric and finished it. Or so I thought.... found out that I still had to do the had embroidery like the eyes, bows and lots of other "stuff".
It is now finished, mounted and can be enjoyed.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


I have been working on several of the small pieces for my Cabinet of Curiosities. I have finished two pincushions and the glove. I have the scissors sheath stitched but have not yet finished it. As part of the "story" of the casket and it's maker, I am dressing a porcelain doll in the dress of the period. It is about 1670 for the girl that stitched the box and all of the things in it. The painting that I have will have to be of an older sister or cousin that is her mentor.
I have been doing research on the clothing of about 1670 and have discovered that many of the portraits are of women in very casual settings with their dresses looking like they didn't quite finish dressing.

I wanted a more formal look and so here is my inspiration.

 I took the corset pattern from Norah Waugh's book on period clothing.

 Here is the chemise. It is fine linen stitched with cotton threads and ribbons for ties.

 Here it is on the doll. One of the sleeves is tied but the other is left loose for the picture.

 Here is a close-up of the sleeve. Period fashion had the sleeves
 of the chemise showing with ribbons or pearls wrapped midway
up the sleeve to gather it.

The corset is 2 layers of linen with the top layer of pink silk. I stitched it with white linen thread and pale gold silk. I wanted to make it as authentic as possible but the stiffening reeds that were used would not be in scale. I thought of using pine needles because it would have looked right but I was afraid that it would break and be too thick. is stiffened with strips of plastic. I did make an ivory busk for the front of the corset.

Here is the back showing the channels for the boning. I thought that doing the eyelets for the laces might drive me nuts but it was worth it.

I think that the corset looks great on the doll. So Mistress Katherin has her first two layers. Next comes the petticoat and perhaps a bum-roll. Have to do some more studying.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Santa of the Forest and the Tassel

Santa of the Forest is finished.
After stitching on this piece off and on for 15 years, I was able to finally get it finished and framed. It is stitched on 36 count natural linen with 2 strands of DMC cotton thread. I did have a few problems with the colors. Since I started years ago, at least 1999, the colors of at least one of the threads has changed a bit. When I began the 489 red was a medium dark but true red. Now it has quite a bit of pink in it. Usually that would not matter a lot but since I stitched about half of the piece with the old color then ran out-- that was a big problem. I finally found an Anchor color that almost but not quite matched. It is close enough that I am the only one who will know where the different threads are used.  I am pleased with the embroidery and know that we will enjoy it for many years. I usually  do not stitch pictures like this. In fact I have only stitched three large ones from Lavender and Lace. Turns out that all three of them are Christmas pieces. I do have a couple of smaller ones that I want to do. I put one called Emma's Garden on stretcher bars so that I can stitch on it between other projects.
This time of year, when I can, I usually try to finish some things and relax without the pressure of new designs. I have wanted to assemble the tassel that I bought when we visited the Declerq shop  in Paris. Finally I got busy and did it. It took parts of 3 days but I am pleased with the finished tassel. I learned a lot but mostly that you need to be generous with the threads. A fat tassel looks much better.
Tassel finished

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Santa of the Forest and Katherin

I have been working on Santa of the Forest for quite a while. Actually more than quite a while, as I was looking through the bag that it was kept in I found a receipt from 1999. I have always like it; am glad that I am getting back to it and am getting close to the finish. Here is a photo with the white part of the beard stitched.

This is a photo of a painting that I was going to name after one of my ancestors. The original is actually from Italy in about 1660. When my father asked me for a picture that he could paint for me, I picked this one because it is really sweet and of a girl of about the right age for my Katherin but it is from 1660 and Katherin needs to be from 1670. So the painting will be her sister or cousin.
My father was born in 1923 and at 91 years old he still does fabulous things.
I have had fun deciding on her story and how she came to stitch a needlework casket. I am going to do some fun pieces to fit in my casket.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

French Iris and Dotted Swiss

I finally finished the shaded silk embroidery of the French Iris.  I love how it turned out. Every time I stitch a new piece I learn something new.
 I also finished a new teaching piece that is mostly for finishing. The stitches are fun but not too difficult but every piece features a different type of finishing. It is called Dotted Swiss because of the fun raised dots on the surface. I found some white dotted Swiss in my fabric stash to use in the etui and smalls. One side of the pieces has some color and the other side is just all one color but lots of texture.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

French Iris and Pumpkins

 I have been working on an embroidery of Iris in soft shading. It is coming along a bit slower than I wanted but I am liking the result. I am using flat silk for the stitching in shades of purple and green. The inspiration is a picture that I took in Bayeux in France.
These glass pumpkins are from the Corning Glass Works store. I was near there teaching a class in a beautiful forested area. It was fun to see all of the glass in the museum. Some great ideas for designs.  In the store they had many bushel baskets of glass pumpkins. I just had to bring a couple of the darling little ones home with me.
I am trying to work on several embroidery pieces at once and am actually making some progress on all the them.  It is fun to see them grow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mistress L Sampler

Sometime when there is too much going on in my life, it is hard to get my mind to think creatively enough to design anything. When that happens I usually just work on one of the projects from my stash. This one is the newest of the stash projects and it is finished. The sampler is called Mistress L and is by Lauren Sauer. She also gave us a pin cushion and scissors fob.
Lauren encouraged us to make some changes so that I what I did.
This is the first of the projects for the Cabinet of Curiosities so it is dedicated to Katherin Isobell Boswell.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Japanese Beading

Late last April, I took a beading class with Mary Alice Sinton. It was Paisley on Parade. She came to Salt Lake to teach us how to start Japanese Beading. I have loved the look of this form of beading for years. Every time that I saw Mary Alice at a seminar I have tried to"borrow" one of the purses that she brings to show. Since I pick them up with her watching, I never get away with one--- so, I thought that I'd better take a class and learn how to do my own. Since it was a basic class the technique was not too hard, plus since it is based on Japanese Embroidery, I already had a head start.
We started with a piece of beautiful fabric and added beads to accent the design.
Here is the fabric.

Here are some of the intermediate steps of the beading.

This is the finished top.

Here is the finished Paisley on Parade box. Enjoyed the technique. I also have a purse started but that is a project for down the road sometime.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Trip to italy and France

We were able to take the trip of a lifetime to Italy and France. I went with my husband and two oldest daughters.  It was all so wonderful and my family took such good care of me.                                  We started in Venice and ended up in Paris.  Everything looks like it belongs on a postcard. I could spend days showing you what we saw but will post just  few things.
 Not only is the scenery beautiful but I saw designs in so many places.
We visited the Lace Museum in Burano.  It had not only lace but other types of embroidery in the collection. I thought that the Assisi in red and white was a great design.

I really don't have words to express just how beautiful the lace was.

We visited Florence where these doors are located. Then we ended up in Pisa at the leaning tower.

Here is an Urn at the Vatican that had such wonderful carving.

Finally in Paris we visited the Declercq Passementerie shop. They have been making tassels and trims since the 1852. My family made fun of me and the fact that in Paris I wanted to visit needlework related places but I went and had a great time.

I am trying to decide where and how to use some of the designs that I found on the trip.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Flowers for a embroidered garden

I have been working on some dimensional embroidery flowers. I want to use a number of flowers for the Cabinet of Curiosities and these are the start of my garden.
The flowers are  Mariposa or butterfly lilies. They grow wild in the foothills and desert areas of western states but are very hard to grow in a garden. They are one of my favorite flowers.

The white one is a Sego Lily

worked in AVAS and the pink one is a Trailing Mariposa that is stitched in Chinese silk.

I designed and stitched a group of three Sego Lilies and really like how it turned out.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Corinithian Column - finished

It is finished!!! Finally Corinthian Column is finished. It took longer than I thought to do but it was fun to do and I learned so much. Here is the whole piece finished plus some close up pictures of parts of it. Now comes the challenge of trying to find a frame that is deep enough to work.

Here are the tops of the leaves. They are worked separately and then attached when the surface work is finished.

You can see just how much the top area is padded and sticks out from the surface.

Here is photo of the floor frame that I use with my slate frame. I now have it by a north window so the light is great. It has been in several places in the house but now it has a permanent place by my stitching chair.