Friday, May 31, 2013

May 2013 Project

It took me a little while to decide on a theme. I wanted to do something that reminded me of the softness of spring. New leaves, new flowers, the warmth of the sun as it gets higher in the sky each day, the sweet songs of the birds as they mark out their territory. There are always lots of ideas to choose from, but this time it ended up being the cherry tree that got my attention.

This is a free embroidery project that I let develop. I had an idea of a tree.

I used some painted strips of linen for the grass. I pulled out some threads from each strip, so they looked a little grassy.

For the tree I couched down some wool yarns. I wasn't quite sure the best way to do the branches, but I ended up unraveling the yarn at the ends. They are a little loose at the ends, since it was impossible to stitch down where they thinned down.

For the leaves I cut up bits of a specialty yarn and just sewed them down irregularly.

You can see the details in the closeup photo:
This project was fun. As I said, I let it develop freely. No pattern lines or templates. I told myself not to pick out any stitches as I went along too! Everything is as it was stitched. It's good practice in moving past perfectionism.

Cherry blossoms
Sparrow with nest material

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I've tried something a bit different with this project.

I was reading somewhere about someone with a site where you can leave your secrets anonymously. The site doesn't matter, but it got me thinking about the subject of secrets. We all have them. We try to bury many of them deep down in dark places, but often they lie just below the surface, covered by a thin veil. Sometimes people that know us can see through the veil.

Secrets, some of them are necessary for peace in our relationships and emotional and physical survival. They are not always "bad", sometimes they are silly like little beauty secrets. But some of them are sores that continue to burn us and are a  heavy burden to carry. Unloading them on others can be a relief.

Another thing about secrets is the fascination. We love to find out secrets about others. But have you ever stopped to wonder why? Is it make us feel better to know someone has things to hide that really only show that they are human?

Anyways, to the artwork. This is a great example of how painting is helping me with my needlework. I would have never thought of this sort of project otherwise.

This is one of my favorite ways to work to paint. There is freedom in it. And there is something else. I learn about myself and the world. What I do is to think of a subject, a thought, a feeling, something and without words, I get out the colors and brushes and just paint what comes. It is a little surprising sometimes what comes.The analysis of secrets above came after the painting, by the way, not before. I don't think I could have put those things to words without letting my brushes and paints go to work first.

When I looked at the finished painting, I just though the swirls were a little flower-like. I suppose we often associate gardens with secrets. Not just because of the Secret Garden book, which I haven't read since I was a child. The idea must be older than the book, but I have no idea, really. I added the bits of white paint around the edge later because I just felt the painting felt too open with out it.

So with this painting, I decided to try a needlework. I tried making some swirls in various ways, but I didn't like them, so I went with more traditionally-formed flowers. (The painting reminded me of them, as I said!)
As you see I have added a border around it, but there is some fabric left hanging to the left. This is because I am hoping to make some kind of fiber book. I have no idea what the "best" way to assemble one is, so I will make it up as I go, and I might need the extra fabric.

The lock and the key I added mostly for fun, but they are in keeping with the theme. I'm finding that I really like adding layers and textures with yarns and stitches. I will continue to try new ways to use the materials.

It's time to move to this month's journal project. I have some ideas, so I had better get to work!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bee Purse

Finally, here is my bee purse!
And the beehive side:
It's a little work to sew these frames on, but it isn't hard.

This is part of my effort over the past year or so to take the embroidery "off the wall".  Or perhaps in my case, out of the box. I have 3 boxes now. It's starting to feel a little silly with the boxes, but I have made a lot of projects that need protecting. That's all fine, but what I have done here, is taken an embroidery and made it something you can interact with, and that's the key. A little purse is just one possibility, there are many more. I will keep looking for other objects that I find interesting to construct.

Time flies, it's hard to believe May is here. May is a busy time for the yard, but there is always time for more projects! And I'm writing it down, since I have already committed to it in my mind, but I have decided to run another summer stitch school. I'm not sure if it will be like the previous one or a little different. I have a few weeks to decide, but as I said, the commitment has been made!!