Friday, 28 September 2012

TAST2012 - Week 39

There is balance in everything; last week's TAST stitch was not to my liking, but this week's one was highly enjoyable.

Knotted Buttonhole Stitch, as found in Marion Nichols' Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches, is the stitch for week 39. Check out Sharon's website, Pintangle for instructions, and don't forget to look at the links of other TAST participants amongst the comments.

Actually I have seen this stitch in two other books: A-Z of Embroidery Stitches 2, where it is called Blanket Stitch - German Knotted, and is worked towards you.
Also in Basic Stitch (Kiso no Stitch) by Sadako Totsuka, Buttonhole Stitch, Variation C. In this Japanese publication the stitch should be worked from right to left, and upside down!

I have found that if I can't 'get on with' a particular stitch it might be because I don't like the instructions in one particular book. Looking in other books, and I might discover an easier way.
However, in this week's case, Sharon's instructions were perfect for me.

Now, what design should I make?
Finally I settled for a circle and worked on curves inside it. To add some sparkle I placed a shisha mirror in the centre and some beads and sequins.
It has finally got a bit coolish and autumnal so I used a piece of brown batik for the foundation. I like batik for my embroidery. The marbled, freckled design adds interest without competing with the stitches.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday - Lace and embroidery

Yesterday I asked for help to identify some beautiful items I had picked up while in Sweden. Thank you for your interest and help. I now feel sure I should add them to my CQ block. However, for this week's progress report I will show you something else.

I have embellished a seam with some lace, which was a gift from a friend, Herringbone stitches in yellow, a few beads and a row of flower embroidery:

The flowers were made with the following stitches: Pistil, Straight and Lazy Daisy (double thread).

Look at what progress Sharon of Pintangle and the others have made.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

What are these ornaments?

 During the summer I collected a number of things to add to my crazy quilt block. Ribbon, lace, thread, braids, buttons... Among them are these ornaments:

I found them at a rural flea market on the Swedish island of Gotland, of all places. The other things on the same tray were old paper clips, rusty screwdrivers, snap buttons, bent tea spoons and small plastic toys, in other words real junk. These ornaments, on the other hand, with imitation diamonds, beads, goldwork purls and fine thread shone like the crown jewels! 
Wouldn't they be excellent for the CQ block? The price was, in my opinion, ridiculously low.

Since I returned to Tokyo I have tried to trace the origin of these items, but would like to get the help from visitors to my blog. Does anyone know where these ornaments are from? What are they called? What are they for? Would it be all right to put them on my CQ block, or is that in bad taste?

The 'pendant' on the left has two short red threads attached to each upper triangle. The 'brooch' on the right has a Velcro ribbon behind the upper bar. How and where should they be attached?

I am grateful for any help.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

TAST2012 - Week 38

The TAST stitch for this week is the Drizzle Stitch which is a cast on stitch, a bit fiddly and time consuming.

It is worked like this: After taking the thread from the back to the surface, you leave the needle standing upright in the fabric (a pin cushion underneath is a great help) with the thread removed from the needle's eye, you then cast on the loops, re-thread the needle, pull the  thread through the loops to the back and finally anchor the stitch.
Confused? I bet you are! Better check out these excellent instructions instead:  Sharon's or Mary Corbet's.

In my mother's collection of thread I found some reels of darning yarn for stockings.

Perfect to use for hair on one of my stumpwork portraits, I thought, and with the Drizzle stitch, wouldn't it be possible to make DREADLOCKS??!!

So I made my first ever stumpwork MAN:

Although he was fun to make, the hairstyle is not very convincing. It needs more of a tangle and 'felty' look. Moreover, the point with the Drizzle stitch is that it should STAND UP.

My next project was to use Drizzle in the traditional way - in a floral motif. I had to make a birthday card anyway so put together this one:

Then I thought I would play around with a scrap of felt and used the Drizzle with some other stitches:

After three rounds I must confess, the Drizzle stitch is not one of my favourites!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday - Buttons

For this week I have added a handful of small buttons on one patch in my CQ block. The pack with these pretty buttons was a gift I received from one of my friends in England. I was delighted to add them to my block:

To see what Sharon and other needleworkers have been up to,  go to Pintangle.

Friday, 14 September 2012

TAST2012, Week 37

After last week's break it is time again for a TAST stitch. The Pistil Stitch is a form of French Knot and resembles the pistil of a flower. I have often used it in floral embroideries but though I wanted to do something different.

In last week's summery of the TAST stitches I played with zentangels and made a bird.

Zentangles were such fun for this week's challenge I started scribbling lines on a piece of pink batik. The empty fields were filled with Pistil stitches.

The result is very abstract, not a flower in sight!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday - cerise and purple

It's Wednesday and time for the Work In Progress Wednesday report.

I have added a seam of stem stitches, (purple metallic), one of Open Cretan with added floral sequins and beads, as well as a line of Palestrina stiches in cerise. Not much but, enough considering the heat and slow motion here.

Monday, 10 September 2012

TAST2012 A Summery of Stitches So Far

When Sharon of Pintangle asked us participants of TAST2012 whether we wanted to stay on schedule or take a one-week break, I voted for a break. Not because I needed to catch up, but I knew I would have a hard time travelling back to Japan and getting used to my daily routines again.

For a long time I have toyed with the idea of making a summery sampler of all the TAST stitches. While packing my suitcase I found a linen serviette I had bought in a sale and took out a pen. Before I knew it I had started scribbling zentangles on it. I learned this kind of doodling from a previous post of Sharon's with a video of zentangles. Suddenly I saw the outline of a bird among the lines and knew what to do.

I put a handful of threads, a needle, a thread-cutter, an embroidery hoop and the serviette in my carry on luggage.
Once at the airport I started stitching, and then I just went on, in the plane and while waiting for connections. There was no stopping me until I hit that Wall of Heat once back here in Tokyo.
Here the nights have been soothingly coolish and my jet-lagged mind at its best, so what to do. Well continue to stitch of course!

My Catch Up Week has been used to create this bird, made up of all the 33 stitches we have used so far:

I will add more details in the surrounding with the stitches to come. 
Tomorrow is Tuesday and Week 37 of TAST2012. Looking forward to it!!!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dates for Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2013

It has taken a long time to find information about this major event in the quilting world. Don't ask me why, my poor computer skills or the slow workings of the organisers...

Anyway here goes: Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival will be held between Thursday January 24th and Wednesday 30th. This is considerably shorter time than usual, and I wonder how awfully crowded it is going to be this time.

Please see the official website.

Work In Progress Wednesday . cheating?

I am now back in Tokyo and have been busy with the move across the globe. That is why I am 'cheating' and will only show you a small detail of my CQ block that I actually worked earlier.

There are some Oyster stitches, Lazy Daisies and French knots. I bought the pretty sequins at Sew Creative at Wroxham Barns, Norfolk.

On the other hand, Sharon of Pintangle and all the others who post their progress there have been hard at it. Go to Sharon's Work In Progress Wednesday and look.