Sunday, 29 July 2012

Tast 2012 Week 30

You know the expression 24/7 (and I am not thinking of July 24th) when something goes on for the whole day every day of the week. Well, I would like to say that I have been busy 25/7 but that is an exaggeration so let's be truthful. I've been fully occupied 23/7.
Family members, whose middle name must be SUPER-ACTIVE-BUSY-WANT-TO-SEE-AND-DO-ALL-THERE-IS-TO-SEE-AND-DO are here to visit, and it has been great fun, but tiring. Naturally I have had VERY little time to stitch so this week's entry of the Oyster Stitch is a work done in haste:

Also I find I have a lack of thread. I brought very little with me and am shocked at the cost of DMC in Sweden. In Japan I can buy the same for a fraction of the price. Why?

To all my blogging friends, please forgive me for not having had the time to read and comment recently. I strongly recommend you to head over to Pintangle and follow the links in the Comments there to see what the others have made. Great stuff to behold, I am sure!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday

Slowly I am adding stitches to my CQ block. Here I made three arches of Basque stitch with seed stitches inside.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

More 'sloyd' - mer slöjd

The embroidered birthday cake I made was to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Swedish Folk Craft Movement. Slöjd, or Sloyd in 'Swenglish', has become very popular again after having been considered a dusty old hobby of elderly folk for a very long time.

There are three special exhibition here in Stockholm and I have already reported on my visit to the first, the one on weaving and craft as a school subject.

Now it is time to tell you about the second exhibition I went to. It is held at Liljevalchs and you can read about it here in English.

There are three things worth seeing; the leaves, the modern craft and the open workshop.

The Leaves have been decorated in may different ways by 2000 'ordinary' people. Some leaves were quite unique. Here are a few photos:

This one by Åsa Westman was my favourite. Isn't it beautiful?!

Among the modern craft there was this folk costume with a funky twist. Please note the sleeves with tattoos!

Finally the open workshop where anyone can try out anything. Yours truly is putting in a few TAST stitches in the table cloth!

It was a day of great fun!

I want to add just one more photo for Carolyn Foley at Caro-Rose-Creations who is interested in and knowledgeable about Swedish folk costumes (among all her other interests) and blogged about a postcard with a lady dressed in a Dala Floda dress. There was this jacket at the exhibition:

Saturday, 21 July 2012

TAST2012 Week 29

This week the name of the game is Basque Stitch, a form of the lovely twisted chain stitch. I have seen lots of wonderful interpretations of it on Sharon's blog Pintangle.

Right now my stitching must be done in short and sweet sessions and I came up with the idea of making a birthday cake with burning candles.
Let's celebrate the 100th anniversary of HEMSLÖJDEN! Long live FOLK CRAFT!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Building stash

I have been hunting things to add to my stash and book collection.

First I found a school textbook for needlework, published 1963, that took me down Nostalgia Lane. Although very thin, it is full of information ranging from subjects such as different kinds of fibres, the washing and care of clothes, the colour wheel, wardrobe planning as well as embroidery stitch instructions and clear illustrations for how to mitre a corner. What a book from the early 60s lacks, is inspiration. Skill and knowledge were more important than creativity. These days the focus is likely to be on encouraging free form, and clear how-to instructions are seen as unimportant. What we actually need is the combination of both.

My next find was this lovely braid/ribbon that I picked up in a charity shop:

I hope you will see it on my WIP sooner or later.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Work In Progress - Made on Holiday

I'm on 'holiday', i.e. busy visiting family and friends, so time for stitching is limited.
However, I have made a wee bit of progress on my CQ block. So this is what I am reporting to Sharon's Work In Progress Wednesday.

I made use of last week's TAST stitch and added a row of Up and Down Buttonholes. (Sorry, but my photographic focus seems to be on holiday, too!)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Woven or embroidered?

I went to an exhibition featuring Swedish weaving. There were many examples of beautiful things. What struck me, an embroiderer, most, was the look of some items.

This is a colourful example of weaving that makes you think of  KOGIN, Japanese running stitch in patterns.

Another section of the museum displayed needlework in schools through the ages.

When I saw this blue needle case I had to smile - it is just like mine, rough, in simple stitching and with initials, and well used. How many girls made the same case in the early 60s?

Charming illustrations: 
Get used to stitching neatly from the start!
It makes you happier
than if you do it sloppily.
The work gets tidier.
Sloppy work makes no one happy.

These days 'sloppy' work is called free form and is highly thought of. It makes many people happy! How times change!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

TAST2012 Week 28

Time for the lovely Up and Down Buttonhole stitch in Sharon's Take A Stitch Tuesday project. Head over there to see the stitch and the other participants' fantastic work.

Pressed for time I rushed this and made only half a face!

The substitute

As I told you before I will be shelving my bias tape quilt for some time. No, it is NOT turning into a UFO, I promise. Simply for practical reasons I will have to put it aside and work on something else, something smaller. The substitute is this crazy quilt block:

My latest work on this CQblock is the lace in the top left corner. I will try to post the progress on Sharon's Work in Progress Wednesday every week.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Summer's busy bee

Summer is a time when I get very busy filling my social calendar. I make visits to friends and family, I  look after visitors and I travel.
This means a lot of time usually allocated for needlework, and blogging,  gets spent on other things. It is not practical to carry a big quilt, Work In Progress, with me, nor have it out when people come to stay. This means I will switch from the Bias Tape quilt to a smaller CQ block to work on for a while.
Also my TAST embroidery will take the shape of a sampler for some time. I am looking forward to doing something with the Up and Down Buttonhole stitch, aren't you?

Drawing tools at the ready!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

TAST2012 Week 27

Have you heard of, or seen, the Bonnet Stitch? A lot of my fellow TAST members seem to have, and judging from the excellent work they have made, they have taken to this stitch. I have enjoyed looking at all the circles and curves used in making sunflowers, fans, Mandalas and shisha mirror work among many other innovative ways to use the Bonnet stitch. Why don't you have a look at the links on Pintagle?

So what about me? Well, I was a newbie to this stitch and didn't manage to get my head around the Bonnet for some reason. Maybe I have had too many other bees in my Bonnet (!) to sit down and work out a nice design. Or should I put the blame on the drenching humidity of Tokyo's rainy season; the thread tangles, the fingers get slippery with moisture and I've spent more time protecting the embroidery from perspiration dripping from my brow than actually stitching.

Anyway, do you remember my TAST2012 Week 26 (The Palestrina stitch)? I embroidered a leaf based on the cap of a Swedish folk costume. The cap also has a long 'beak' of lace and looks something like this:

So what is the best way to use the Bonnet stitch if not for a bonnet, ha, ha? Here was my chance to make lace for that beak!

I used an ordinary Japanese cotton sewing thread #30. Luckily, lace is often a bit uneven and 'rough', so my poor stitch quality this week will disappear in the mesh!

It is easy to see that I didn't warm to the Bonnet Stitch as I have added a lot of other stitches.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday or ...

I am still working on the ricrac border.
On this border there are four central blocks in grey (the yellow strips weren't long enough for the border so I added a block piece of grey). These areas stand out like a sore thumb so I wanted to add something.

Following the instructions from Sharon's tutorial I made some ricrac roses. They are awesome, but I am not sure that they belong on this quilt. Is this Work in Progress or A Waste of Time?

Are they too high? Should I make them flatter? What do you think?