Creative Dry Spells

I think I can safely say I have suffered from “Creative Dry Spells” in all forms of my artistic endeavors. It is like being in a depressed mood; you know it will pass but it does not make it any the less painful. They are not fun, nor can you talk yourself out of them; the best thing to do is ignore them for a day or two and then try to work thru them or just do something else like cleaning (ugh) or cooking. Cleaning should convince you to be creative real quick and cooking can be creative also yummy if you bake or make desserts.

I read somewhere (probably another blog but I forgot to write down whose blog) some ways to get the creative juices flowing again. I have adapted them to needleart thoughts:

  1. Spend some time with your stash
  2. Finish a UFO or several
  3. Practice a stitch/technique you haven’t mastered or would like to learn
  4. Look ahead to projects you must finish:
  • Designers/teachers have deadline
  • Finishing deadlines
  • Work under pressure
  1. Just keep active.

Sometimes any of these are easier said than done depending on how “dry” you are feeling.

Sometimes spending some “me time” with a cuppa and your favorite needlework books and/or magazines can help. I love my books and looking through them may give you an idea of something to stitch, a technique to try or maybe you will just relax and look at the pictures.

Sometimes no matter what you do nothing speaks to you; then it may be time for some artistic needlework enhancement. In other words, a trip to your local needlework shopS (sometimes it takes more than one). Going to your favorite places is good for two reasons:

  1. It may spark your creative juices with something as simple as a new thread for that project you saw in your stash. You may find a new canvas that speaks to you and if all else fails…
  2. You are at least spending time with other creative people and this is good. They may remind you of a canvas you have at home that you were really dying to stitch just a few weeks ago. They may show you a new technique they are working on, a new stitch, a new thread, or maybe just give you a smile that will brighten your day.

And if you are lucky enough to have more than one shop in your area you have that many more chances to get those creative juices flowing…whatever it takes to spark those fingers. And if you are really lucky, maybe you can sit and visit with others. You don’t have to be stitching something, you can just visit. I visit a group(s) and not everyone is stitching needlepoint, some are knitting, some are stash enhancing, and others have just come by to visit.

And we learn from each other and the more diverse and wide our circle of creative friends is the more we learn…there are no limits to creative thoughts. Attending guild meetings, having stitch-ins, maybe just going for a cuppa and stitching there. Just think for a minute about threading a needle; you know people who:

  1. Thread a needle with the end going immediately through the eye of the needle
  2. Bend the thread over the needle and then thread that bend through the eye of the needle.
  3. Pinch the thread tightly between their thumb and index finger and saw the eye of the needle onto the thread
  4. Wet the end of the thread and place thread through eye of needle … or
  5. Use a needle threader.

None of these are wrong, None is better than another…it is what works for you. But if some needle artist is having trouble threading a needle just being around other needle artists may give her the idea she needs to thread her needle. I know that is pretty simplistic but you get the idea.

If you don’t want to tempt you credit card, watch a love flick, visit an art gallery, visit a park, just take a walk. Anything will do to keep you from sitting and brooding about the “dry spell”.

I have two artist friends that seem to ward off  dry spells by drawing every day; they have notebooks of their works. I am not that disciplined and that’s probably why they make a living at their art and my art just keeps my sanity.

One of my friends tries to go out and about every day to see inspiration. He will draw and paint in his notebook people and places around him. Recently at an art fair, I ask him if I could see his journal and he shared it with me. He was in a mall at an art fair, yet found the time to capture the other artists around him. Each entry has the day and date of the week (he told me it was like his day planner). Not only was there an image of his fellow artists but a small drawing of the type of art they were showing. WOW! I spent several minutes looking through his diary and it was such a privilege; I felt like he not only trusted me very much. He had let me see into his soul; it really was a special moment. I did not read his thoughts but just looking at the pictures he had drawn. I left his booth maybe not inspired but feeling sooooo uplifted.

My other artist friend is a former art professor and he lives close to his former university. You can visit him anytime he is in town and he will listen to you and then in his own magical way give you some thoughts to ponder. He never gives you “his answer” because then you would not be working through your problem. Once a week, when he is in town, he holds “tea time”; an open date to just visit with others of like mind, have tea and discuss whatever comes up, such an enlightening way to give so much insight into so many things. It is no wonder all he asks is for you to RSVP your attendance; these events are attended by friends, former students and students who have heard about him through their professors. And even though it may be a crowded place on occasion, you always come away feeling inspired and more than that hopeful, optimistic.

So, I think I will be off to look at my stash and maybe it will trigger something.  I hope you are not having a creative dry spell but if you are, join me by going through your stash and let’s see what happens.  I really hope you can just go stitch and have fun.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue

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Love your canvas

While I am getting my thoughts together for blogging I am also in charge of our local guild stash sale. I like to think of it as we are sharing our stash…I’m sure some of the canvases will come back to visit us at another stash sale down the road…wouldn’t it be funny if the original owner re-purchased it 😉 . We have these stash sales to fund outreach programs. A couple years ago we funded an exhibit to bring in new members.  These funds will go toward another exhibit or possible paying to have a website built for our guild.

Folded Canvas

Folded Canvas

While going through the stash that is accumulating at my house I came across a canvas that has not been treated with loving care; it was stored folded. Please do not fold your needlepoint canvas and especially if it is congress cloth; the folds will not come out. I have unfolded the canvas, but as you can see in the picture the canvas has been stored this way so long that the weave of the canvas is distorted. I have heard people say they iron canvas to get the wrinkles out but this poor canvas has been folded away so long that I am afraid the folds will never disappear. It will be like a badly distorted canvas that has been stitched without a frame and after some years no matter

180216 needlepoint folded with outlines

how well it is finished will revert back to the distortion. And maybe this wouldn’t matter as much if it were a decorative piece you were going to move to another less viable place after the décor of your house change. ( Oh please don’t tell me you would send it to a thrift store…my heart would break after all the time and love you have put into the piece.) But if you stitched a chair seat that was to be a family heirloom, a folded canvas could be a disaster. It might revert to the fold and heaven forbid, the canvas threads might be weakened enough that after repeated use the canvas would break (Another heartbreaking issue.)

The preferred method is to store your canvas is flat in a box so it is protected from dust and dirt until its turn to be stitched. I have a friend who hangs her canvases on skirt/pant hangers with plastic over each; she says it makes it easier to look at them. I even heard a story that one stitcher stores her large canvases between the mattress and box springs of her guest bed (maybe she doesn’t have a lot of visitors.)

rolled canvas

Another method to store large canvases is to roll them; canvas before it is painted comes in large rolls. I think I would occasionally unroll and re-roll from the opposite end so one end does not become a tight roll or even crimped.

So my message for today is: Please treat your canvases with TLC. Don’t fold or stuff them in a bag for a later time. Canvases, especially painted canvases are expensive, so please treat them carefully.

And I won’t get started on whether you should stitch your canvas on stretcher bars or not…that’s a whole other blog.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue

Olympic Rings

While watching the Olympics this week-end I remember I always stitch the Olympics rings for someone during the Olympics…guess I’ll stitch a couple of these for my two great grandchildren.

I have a chart for this. I will post here but if you can’t get a good copy send me an email and I will send you the PDF files. I can’t sell the design but I can give it away.

 

 

Hope you like these and if you want to read about the other posts I have written on the Olympics…here they are:

https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/olympics-needlepoint/

https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/olympicrings/

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue

 

Feb 8th: Feast of Hari-Kuyo

Bloggers and diary writers are left brained.

No apologies, no excuses…I am just totally right brained and when my left brain does click in I don’t think about blogging. I do get messages that some of you out there are still reading my blog and I thank you.

Today I got two emails from a friend in NC, Pam B:

Greetings from NC.  I first learned of the Festival from your blog.  This year I shared it with my local ANG chapter and they too were charmed by the idea.   I am wishing you well and remembering happy stitching times…

and a second email:

Yes, please do get back to your blog!   I miss it and I know that others do too.   I actually had it set up to send me an email when you had a new entry and I often refer to it for how to’s and encouragement to learn new skills.   No guilt — but do come back to us!

 Thank you Pam, it jolted me into the present and a whole bunch of guilt. I have really been remiss in sharing with all of you my stitching friends.  I am sorry and will try to do better.

2018 well loved and used needles

I had been stitching last week and broke a needle, so when I put it in my broken needle bottle I remembered Feb 8th is the Feast of Hari-Kuyo.  I even had the thought that this would be a good day to try and start blogging again. So today when there were two consecutive emails, the first from a Temari friend reminding us that today was the Feast of Hari-Kuyo followed by the second email from my friend Pam. I decided to stop whatever I really wasn’t doing important and to blog. (yes, it does take me getting hit by a two by (four) email to get my attention).

I had been reading the first email that had a link to Wikipedia Hari-Kuyo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hari-Kuyo) first and was researching this: “Threads of the five Buddhist colors were used with the needles”. I brought up a sight that listed these colors and their meaning:

Five Main Buddest Colors: “Pancha-varna in Sanskrit” means Five Pure Lights

Order of colors (Blue-White-Red-Green-Yellow) should be either top to bottom or left to right. In top to bottom order, it is to spread good fortune, peace, sympathy and wisdom.

Also look at chart on Five Wisdom Buddas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Tathagatas)

ED NOTE: Can you tell how deep I get into things…no wonder I never have time to blog…

Meanings:

Blue: Purity & Healing

Buddha: Akshobhya  “Immovable One” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akshobhya)

Represents consciousness as an aspect of reality.

Body Part: ears

Element: Air (sky & space)

Meditation: helps transform anger into wisdom

White: Learning & Knowledge

Buddha: Vairocana

Body Part: eyes

Element: water (air & clouds)

Meditation: cut delusion of ignorance to wisdom of reality

Red: Life Force & Meditation

Buddha: Amitabha

Body Part: tounge

Element: fire

Meditation: transforms delusion of attachment into wisdom of discernment

Green: Balance & Harmony

Buddha: Amoghasiddhi

Body Part: head

Element: nature (water)

Meditation: transforms jealousy into wisdom of accomplishment

Yellow: Rootedness & Renunciation

Buddha: Rainasambhava

Body Part: nose

Element: earth

Meditation: transforms pride into wisdom of sameness

These are my needles wrapped for Hari-Kuyo

needles

After about an hour into this first email tangent I returned to my emails…and there was Pam’s email. So I figured it was a “sign” and so I stopped reading my emails and finished wrapping my broken needles so I could blog about all this. I wrapped them in the five Buddhist colors. I put them in a pot in the back yard to bury when the ground thaws (winter and cold here.)

I took pictures, took time to semi get my thoughts together and voila, “Here I am” So now that I have started blogging again, I am making no promises. You can see from my desktop I have way too many irons in the fire and I just seem to juggle everything I want to do to keep my nose above water and I can get carried away on a tangent at a moments notice. I am going to spend some time looking at my blog and seeing where I left off and filling in some of the blanks. In a nutshell, this past year I have:

Not enough time…

*Finally learned to knit…I am a novice at this and have not progressed very well.

*Took up needlefelting, although I have not given this as much attention as it needs

Both of these art forms need practice and I just don’t give them the attention they need. But I do have a small stash to help guilt me into keep trying.

*Taken up beading and I do like this hobby in fact have now expanded

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

my stash to include beads

*Kumihimo both with and without beads.

*AND of course needlepoint. Needlepoint will always be my first love.

*Temari I still like these and need to make them more often

*And various other projects/ideas that are in my stash on buried on my desk.

& more stuff

*And last but not least the finishing of needlepoint I have neglected too.

As I said, I will go back and spend some time looking at my blog to see what I have been neglecting to share and to share some things I have been doing. I am not making any promises as to how often I will post but I do hope you will check back every now and then to see what I have been up to and what I am doing now.

Thank you Pam B for the kick in the backside…

And Thank you ALL for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue

P.S Dee hope you got an update! And thanks again for reminding me I was neglecting a nice part of my life.

 

Spinning plates and other things

Here I am again; behind…I have so many irons in the fire I look like one of those circus people spinning plates. I move from plate to plate and get nothing finished, BUT  I haven’t dropped a plate… yet.

“Well, that is stopping!” she said with her cold 1st cup of coffee sitting in front of her. You know you need to post when one of your followers (Thank you followers) writes you to be sure her notification of new posts is working.

So today I’m going to show you one of my spinning plates in action…Between my knitting classes, beading (Kumihimo and straight beading classes), and needlepoint I joined Two Temari programs and thought I could keep up. In the process of doing my Temari I pulled out my Temari notebook and…

Yet another thing to do!  My Temari notebook is in a sad state of affairs. It has my original Temari instructions from back in the 80’s. I hand drew all my Temari then.

Then I discovered my computer program, Canvas and re-wrote some instructions in the 90’s and early 2000.

And off and on (mostly off) I have played with yet again rewriting instructions. I am not big on the Japanese terminology in my instructions, but I have two references I keep handy to help me.

And so I started re-re-doing my Temari notebook. So far I have 21 pages done (first 3 pictures below)  and 3 Temari reference pages completed (last picture). My general instructions will be that general and my reference pages will show the specific instructions for that Temari. I guess as long as it makes sense to me, that’s all that matters but I would like to think someone could pick up my notebook and stitch a Temari of their own too. Maybe someday I will offer to let you all read it.

           

I have since come up for air and realized that some things must spin slower. I bowed out of the two Temari programs I signed up to participate in and have become just a lurker on these sites.

My knitting classes are over but I am still knitting…I bought yarn so I have to knit it. Right now I am working on a scarf…it has a few boo-boos but you only learn from your mistakes.

I am only going to beading classes every other week. It really is not an organized class, just a get-to-gether and learn. I do go to a class the 1st Sat of the month and will continue that.

I also am keeping up with needlepoint and go to a stitch-in on Wednesdays at local shop. I have just been doing this every other week too.

I have decided that my attention span is low…I go gung-ho for about two weeks and then I get bored or frustrated and I’m off to another project. I am self-diagnosed ADHD and will just have to learn to live with my erratic behaviors. I have decided when I get frustrated I am going to back off let it sit (right in front of me as not to get lost in the shuffle) and then come back to it another day. I will conquer this Temari notebook.  I have files on my computer of most of the temari I have made so I just need to keep at it.

And to my blogging friends, thank you for putting up with me I hope I bring you a smile or two and maybe even an insight now and then.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue

P.S Dee hope you got an update! And thanks again for reminding me I was neglecting a nice part of my life.

I’ve Done it Again…

The reason you haven’t heard from me is I’ve done it again…I’m expanding my needlearts learning.  Last week I took a knitting class, kumihimo with beads class, a beading class, made another temari ball, wrapped 3-4 more to stitch in the next couple weeks, and yes I needlepointed too. I know I should concentrate on one project at a time but I love them all and can’t pick just one…so I’m just going to have to figure a way to sleep less, cook less (love these too), general household duties (don’t like these so much)  or maybe I could just clone myself.

And I am sorry but I think my blog suffers the most. I really am going to have to get in a habit of stopping here. Last week in a magazine I finally had time to read there was an article on how to have a successful blog and I guess I’m never going to have a successful blog by their standards. I am supposed to find a niche and stick to it…and we all know that isn’t going to happen. I have too many things I want to learn and do. Then I looked at the name I gave my blog nine years ago “sudukc’s needleart & other musings… A place to see what I am doing or not doing”; I must have known then that this is an eclectic place. It is mostly about needlepoint because that is my primary love but it is also about any kind of needle art because they are all fascinating to me. So, thank you for finding my musings interesting even if they are all over the place and sporadic at best.

I used to think I knew my limitations, and I do know that I love quilts but I am never going to make my 13 quilts…For those of you who don’t know; history or folk lore says that before a girl got married she had to make 12 quilts, the 13th quilt was made and quilted by friends and family when she was about to get married. And anyway, I’m already married, too late. But I know too that I am not a large quilt maker; I tried it, and even though I love them and they are beautiful but it is not me. I like smaller projects and there are plenty of them for me to try.

Last week I was beading at Florilegium with Gretchen and I said I wish I were as creative as she is. Gretchen tried to convince me I am and just need “to do”… After I got home I really thought about this and I think I am creative…just maybe spread too thin. No matter what project I pick up I can think of 4 or 5 other things I want to do in the technique I am working at the time. I have decided to write them in my Stash Idea book, or if they are in another book or magazine to mark and keep for after I catch up. It’s like stash…only I’m not buy the canvas and thread (well I still am buying needlepoint canvas and threads but that’s a paragraph or two down.) I’m going to think of this as stash ideas and when I want a project I will just look at my Stash Idea book, purchase the supplies and go for it. I probably could check around the stash already purchased for some supplies, but we all know I’m going to be short something.

So here’s what I’ve been up to these last few weeks…

These are the beading projects I have in the works…several fobs, a herringbone learning piece, several other projects to start…I also have marked my books with more stash ideas…I do believe my bead stash is growing.

 

Now I am combining my kumihimo with beading and starting that too.

 

 

And I am bound and determined to learn to knit…no Peruvian sweaters in my future but I do want to learn how to knit. I can crochet and have tried knitting several times before but I never seem to get the hang of it. I am bound and determined to learn this; it will not get the best of me. And I know practice is the best teacher so I try to do 5 minutes every day. I don’t go back to classes for another week, but I hope then we start a project and I have a goal in site.

Like I said last post, I belong to two Temari discussion groups online and they are having stitch-a-longs. And since I have been a lurker for these past few years I have decided to try and participate. I’ve done two so far and have two more in the works. I also try to keep an info sheet on every Temari I make (another to do), never know I might want to make another. I think it is difficult to write exact instructions for Temari because each ball is a unique size. I can only approximate the size of the balls I make and I like them about 30 cm, give or take and larger. I find for me the larger balls are easier to work on.

And I have been needlepointing too. I have a secret project in the works…I’ll show it to you soon. It is a gift and I want it to be a surprise. I am finished stitching and just have to get it finished and given then I’ll share. I am also working on a small take-a-long project but just haven’t taken pictures. This project I only stitch on when I go to a guild stitch-in, stitching with friends or to my weekly stitch-in at local shop.  I also am gathering stuff for another nest project. Nest projects seldom leave home; they are larger projects and require a stand and light.

You know I was just thinking, if I ever win the lottery (guess I should buy a ticket) I’m going to have a studio and call it Stash Studio or Creative Corner. I am going to have all kinds of my favorite stuff. I’d really like to live above the studio and whenever I want (day or night) just go down and play. When the lights were on, my friends or anyone could drop by to stitch too. I would never want for any stash, it would just always be there…okay so this is a dream but wouldn’t that be great.

I hope you all are staying cool this summer. To my Canadian friends, “Happy Canada Day” yesterday and to my USA friends have a safe and happy 4th of July. I’m off to redo my herringbone sampler, then I think I may tackle another beading project or two and then I’ll stitch and watch a movie this evening. And oh yes, NeedlePointers arrived today ; so I need to stop and look at this too.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue

 

This week I played with Temari Balls.

I belong to a couple groups online and one is doing a beginning study. While I have been doing Temari Balls for a long time, I do not consider myself anything but a beginner. I think in order to advance you should work at the art regularly and I am sporadic at best.

I can do most of the simple divisions and some of the complex divisions. I am not at all familiar with the terminology, especially the Japanese terms that true Temari artists use. I call a ball stitched with spindles and “spindle Temari”; while a true Temari artist calls this “Tsumu kagari.”

But I like to keep my beginning skills up and so every now and then I join in rather than just lurk all the time. If you would like to explore the two sites I frequent most, here they are: they just recently changed web hosts and I think you have to ask permission to join but that should not be a problem.

Temari Challenge for Everyone: https://temarichallenge.groups.io/g/Main

Temari Talk Companion group to Temari Kai (see below)  https://talktemari.groups.io/g/main

 

And here are the Temari sites I explore most:

Barbara Suess: http://www.japanesetemari.com/index.html

Temari Kai: http://www.temarikai.com/

Temari Obsession: http://www.npcdesign.com/index.html

This study (Beginning Basics) appealed to me because it was the perfect opportunity to explore some concepts that I had been tossing around in my head while also honing my beginning skills and practicing stitching  a spindle.

In my Temari Ball mind I have wanted to play with DMC #3 and #5 perle cotton to see the differences in making a ball. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore this concept.  I learned that two rounds of stitching with #5 perle is about equivalent to 1 round with #3 perle. It is kind of an eyeball adjustment and a judgement call but at least I have an idea now.

 

In the past some of my spindles seem to pop out of place and now I know why. I was not allowing enough space between the stitches. I have decided that a good rule of thumb for stitching spindles is that there should be at least the diameter of the thread between stitches. And if you lay the thread where it should be placed you can see where to take the next stitch. Following these personal observations, my Temari spindles turned out very well.

 

Another thing I gleaned from this study is that if you are using more than two threads of the same color from one source, make sure they are the same or at least compatible. I used #3 and #5 perle in three colors: the white and dark blue were the same but the light blue was two different colors (even though they were the same number). When placed next to each other under a bright light, one had a blue-green cast while the other was a true blue tint.

 

I also experimented with stitches at the pole points. This one I used a Smooth Spider Web stitch.

I also tried using a double silver thread and twisting it in the needle before stitching. Both of these experiments worked fairly well.

This was a fun experiment and I considered it a great learning experience, so  I am going to try and continue following along and practicing…never know I might consider myself an intermediate Temari Ball stitcher when I get.

I am going to get back to needlepoint and I have been stitching. I’ve been stitching on a secret project but I did take pictures and so when it is completed and given as a gift I will post all about it. And as a matter of fact going to do another one as an experiment. More later.

Would also like to get back to finishing needlepoint as it is mounting up. And I haven’t told you everything I did last summer and this summer is already about half over. I made a list of things to write about and I don’t think I’ve covered more than a couple….see how I get distracted. Okay off to finish another non needlepoint project….but next week I will share needlepoint.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue