Burrrrrrrrr: Ann Strite-Kurz More catching up…

ED Note: I was out of my blogging phase when I stitched this and so pictures are incomplete…I am trying to be better now that I am back to blogging about taking pictures as I stitch. But sometimes I get carried away and forget…

After I finished Mr & Mrs I took a couple weeks off and just did knitting or Kumihimo…anything without beads. But one day I was looking through my stash and came across this piece. I have always loved it, it is an adaptation of a Charlie Harper print and I love Charlie Harper prints.

Ann-Strite Kurz (https://www.annstritekurz.com/ ) has always been one of my favorite teachers. If you read Ann’s resume it is very impressive…she is one of those teachers who has forgotten more than some of us will ever learn.

I own many of her books and I follow her article every month, Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways, in Needlepoint Now (https://www.needlepointnow.com/). Our guild had her teach an applique class one time and I loved it; I still use the techniques I learned in this class.

I love her work but was never able to get into one of her classes at ANG national seminars…My luck of the draw never seemed to work and most of her classes seemed to go to lottery.

Somewhere along my stitching path I had acquired one of Ann’s teaching pieces, Br-r-r-r-rdbath, (probably a stash sale or someone gave this to me). It has been one of my favorite pieces for a long time and had been waiting it’s turn in my stash, so I pulled it out…time to do an Ann piece.

Ann’s books are so well written that I knew her instructions would be no less and they were everything I expected them to be…excellent. Ann’s instructions and diagrams are some of the best. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into…I was looking for a fun easy stitch but this was going to be a learning piece. But you know what I have always loved this piece so it became my at home project.

First you basted guide lines on the canvas and then I started the design…

First you stitch the Smyrna outlines (dotted lines in picture)…then you started the border designs. The borders (A & B in picture) are truly a lesson in “Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways”! If I remember correctly, there were at least four steps to each border and then BEADING. Remember I said I was trying to avoid another beading project? Well at least you waited until the design was completed to add beading maybe I would recover from the Mr & Mrs beading.

 

Then I started the design part of the piece and every area was a review of a previously learned skill or an adaptation Ann has created to enhance this design (area C the birdbath.)  I loved stitching this piece…okay maybe love is a strong word but I liked the challenge it presented. The leaves (D in picture) became a challenge for me and then I decided, this was my piece and I was stitching it for me and so if the leaves were giving me a fit I needed to adapt and overcome. The leaves became my change to the piece; I had stitched the first two (D in picture) as instructed and was having a devil of a time, so the rest of the leaves are my adaptation of the instructions. This was my fun relaxing piece and I was keeping it that way. I’m the only one (and now you too) that notices that the leaves are a bit different …but then aren’t all leaves in nature different?!

 

The body of the bird was a relaxing stitch, nothing I didn’t know how to do. But the wings were my next challenge. I love the look of Blackwork but it is really a technique you have to study to be really good at it. Ann’s instructions were wonderful and easy to follow. I made a couple mistakes but Blackwork is a technique some spend a lifetime perfecting. If you would like to pursue this technique, there are several books written about this technique. Here are the ones I have in my library:

Ilse Altherr; Reversible Blackwork, Book 1 and Blackwork & Holbein, Book 2

Becky Hogg; Blackwork RSN Essential Sitch Guide.

Marion Scoular; Why Call It Blackwork?, Folio of Blackwork Patterns

Ann Strite-Kurz; The Heart of Blackwork

Leslie Wilkens; Blackwork Made Easy;

Jane Zimmerman; Blackwork Embriodery Patterns, The Art of English Blackwork

By the time this piece was completed and I was ready to start the beading, I had decided that I would add the sequins (you use a bead here to attach the sequins) but the border was going to be sans beading. I liked the look and I was not into that much beading again.

So here is another project under my belt and it is also in a ready-made frame. I really do like framing  pieces when I can do it myself, and then they don’t end up in my to finish later pile. So another project is completed but I still have more to catch up and then maybe by summer I will be back to finishing projects or sewing.

BTW, if you really love Charlie Harper designs, the Meredith Collection (http://themeredithcollection.com/) has them in needlepoint;  you can see them at The Meredith Collection: http://themeredithcollection.com/collection/charley-harper/needlepoint.

When I get caught up on some of my stash, I will add to my collection here.

 

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

 

ttfn…sue

Advertisements

Catching up- Knitting

Okay I have looked over previous blogs so I think I have a handle on this things I may have missed posting over the last year…I’ve been taking pictures and I’m going to start with knitting.

Two years ago, some friends and I took crochet classes. I knew how to crochet but had never officially be taught. (See blog https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/5015/) I learned that I knew how to crochet, but now I can read a pattern better AND that I was not counting my chain stitches correctly… I always was a stitch or two short.

 

But knitting is a whole different story! I am a complete novice at this and I think I may even be knitting challenged. This is not my first trip down this learning curve…in fact I think it is about the millionth time I have been down this road. But last year, some friends and I took knitting lessons. We bought a book, had instructions and ended by stitching a dish cloth for out final. While I understood and could follow along I have never been completely comfortable knitting. I have friends that can watch TV, carry on a conversation and knit…THAT IS NOT ME! Knitting requires my undivided attention and then some.

I have progressed past the knitting dishcloth stage. Not because I think I am much beyond this stage, but really how may dishcloths can you have? And my justification is that if I don’t push myself no one else will either.

My first project after the dishcloth was Rally flags for Christmas for my husband and son. If the rally flag looks like dish cloths on steroids; that’s because it is a large dishcloth with a handle ( It was in my begging book). Okay this was a joke for my two baseball watchers, they kept putting holes in my blue tea towels so they could swing them arounfd their fingers to rally the baseball team (Like the team or anyone but me could see them.)  And I figure if they don’t use them I will just  have two more dish cloths.

Then I decided to try a scarf from that same beginning book. I enlarged it by a couple repeats and made it longer. I wanted to use up the yarn I had from an old crochet project. It was not a good choice because the year was multi colored (two colors) and nubby. It was hard to see the pattern and hard to see my mistakes AND there are several!

But still I am persevering. My knitting friends have suggested this knitting site: Knit Purl Hunter (http://knitpurlhunter.com/blog/) and to start with the book: Building Block instructions.  Again I made the mistake of buying yarn that is either heathery or multi-color and it is difficult to see the pattern of the block used in this book. I am only on block 4 but have decided to  preserver and when my friend Nancy comes back to KC for the summer I will get plain yarn and we will do this together with our other knitting friends that would like to join us…maybe just to laugh at me because I am sooooooo challenged at knitting. And since I am only on block 4, I may be playing catch up with all my knitting friends by the time summer is over.

Block 1

Block 2

Block 3

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s it for the knitting…in a year: 4+ dishcloths, 2 rally flags, a scarf and 3 completed  blocks toward a throw. I will not stitching a Peruvian sweater or any sweater anytime soon… But I am committed to getting better; I better be committed, I already have a stash of yarns and Santa even left me knitting needles. So, I will keep practicing but there are other things I would rather be doing. It is just a challenge, and I will conquer it…

someday!

I am off to needlepoint or bead ….and practice knitting too.

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

 

ttfn…sue

A new book: Raised Embroidery by Kelley Aldridge

So last week I spent sorting books and the same week received a new book.

I love books. They are like friends to me; some are close friends and I wouldn’t part with them and some are acquaintances. And like friends they have different interests; some friends like goldwork, some like stumpwork, some ribbonwork, others like beading and color or design. But even with their differences, they all have creativity in common.

And my newest friend is from the Royal School of Needlework (http://www.royal-needlework.org.uk/) libraries, Raised Embroidery by Kelley Aldridge.  Kelley’s first statement in this new book is: “There are already a number if excellent books available on this subject, written by some very talented embroidery artists, but this book is about exploring new possibilities.”  I like that!

While the material in this book is basic, the inspiration just jumps off the pages. The photographs are clear and concise and the information is presented in a clear and orderly fashion.  I learned how to wrap an embroidery hoop which I have never seen in any other book and I love the little blue boxes with hints…hints always make a task so much easier. And I have always referred to this technique as stumpwork but Raised Embroidery is more accurate as it incorporates more techniques to give a three dimensional look to your needlework.

But my favorite thing about the book is the new needle artists she introduces with pictures of their work, and in one area she mentioned a ceramic artist that inspired her.  I spent some time google-ing these artists and was introduced to more artists that will inspire me to continue my study of Raised Embroidery.

 

I have toyed with Raised Embroidery over the years; my first attempt was my stitching doll. She has all sorts of techniques on her: her hair is couched doll hair that I added after I put her together. Her apron is needlelace and her hands are stumpwork and I added sewing embellishments for her to hold.

 

 

 

Many years later I did leaves for the cherries on my heart (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/a-heart-for-all/), the feathers on my shuttlecock on my Nelson Art Gallery piece (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/nelson-atkins-museum-of-art-needlepoint/) and most recently several different areas on the Wicked piece (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/melissa-shirley-wicked-fun-stuff/) were raised work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So with my new book and new ideas fermenting in my brain (Thanks Kelley for the idea of small projects in a large glass bowl) I will pursue one of the techniques on my thimble (instead of bucket) list.

And if you would also like to add a book to your library for inspiration I recommend Kelley Aldridge’s Raised Embroidery. It has techniques and projects but the pure inspiration is the best! The title says so and it’s true. And be sure and Google the people mentioned in the book too; they have more inspiration to share.

 

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

ttfn…sue

Books, not worth the effort

Don’t you hate to waste time? I do. I spent the morning sorting books, taking pictures, cataloging them, and researching them; only to find that 1/3 of them are worth my time to list online and that is no guarantee they will sell. I’m thinking about just putting them in a neighborhood garage sale this weekend and then what’s left taking to Half Priced Books for credit…I can always spend money here.

Since I have the list assembled, if you are interested in seeing just drop me an email (sudu@kc.rr.com) and I’ll shoot a PDF list back to you. I am not going to put a lot of effort into this but if there is something you can’t live without, let me know. BTW, this is first come, first serve and after Thursday they are garage sale bound.

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

 

Catagories: Books, etc,  life in general, needlepoint

Tags: books, needlepoint,

Kumihimo Braiding

Let’s begin to catch up…

My friends and I love a shop in Weston, MO; Florilegium (http://florilegium.com/). The owner Gretchen is wonderful and so creative. You just want to spend time with her hoping that the excess creativity will fall off onto you. And Cathy the shop manager is the sweetest person on earth; she always has a smile on her face and never seems to get rattled when we all descend on her at once.  It is the most fun, creative, relaxing place on earth! Go explore the website and you will get a feel for the place. But like I’ve said before…If you fly into Kansas City airport, make sure you have a three hour layover and make the trip to Weston (maybe 30 minutes north of the airport)…maybe you should just spend the night at a Bed & Breakfast in Weston…there is so much to do there but Florilegium will captivate your heart if you are a needlework person or just a creative soul. Also make sure you are here the later part of the week…I don’t think they are open on Monday-Tuesday and maybe Wednesday…but you can call and if someone is going to be at the shop, they will let you in.

But back to the catch up…My friend Nancy and I drove up one day for something to do and Gretchen taught us her method of Kumihimo braid. It is really an old technique, and of course many cultures have a braiding techniques also . Kumihimo braiding can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. Like any technique the more you practice the technique, the more proficient you become. I have seen people who do these braids and never look at the pattern. They are really good and get the count down perfectly; they can start and stop anywhere while making their pattern and never mess up. There is a rhythmic method to the patterns you make and can be very relaxing once you get that rhythm in your head.  I have to really concentrate if I am doing a pattern design; I have to stop at the end of a round so when I pick it up again I don’t mess up the pattern. I think that is why I like the Gretchen methods of Kumihimo best, but I will always be a novice.

KumiSq01b
But of course, Gretchen had made it fun and easy and we were hooked. We came home and taught it to all our friends (One person even made a cording to use to finish a piece of needlepoint.)

 

Nancy collected supplies for us, we had round and square Kumihmo boards; you use the round disk for round braids and the square disk makes flat braids, they also come in different sizes for small and large braids.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou need bobbins to roll your looooong lengths of yarn on (save bath tissue cardboards…they make good bobbins for large yearns and large amounts of yarn).  So we have bobbins

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

We collected yarns of all types and have a bag of these too.

I had books (surprise, surprise, surprise) in my library and so I did a study of Kumihimo and even took yarn and stitched different braid patterns for everyone to see. Books in my library: (NOTE- all my books are without beads, but if you check Amazon.com there are lots with beading…it seems to be a big thing right now)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kumihimo Japanese Silk Braiding Technique by Catherine Martin,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACreative Kumihimo by Jacqui Carey,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
and Braids by Roderick Owens.

 

I like them all but the last two are my favorites because they have color pictures of the braids.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nancy even indulged me with and authentic Kumihimo stand. It is beautiful and I use it when I am not braiding to hold my current project or it just sits in my studio to remind me of the fun times friends have together and are always pushing our creativity to learn new techniques.

And even though I am a novice and will OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAprobably never be a more than dabbler in this technique, I knew I was hooked when I had a lunch box and bag for my supplies. In my lunch box I keep a pair of working scissors, a tape measure, weights, the different disks I have and my current project. In my bag are different sized bobbins, some sample braids I have made to see patterns and the yarn for these sample braids.

I enjoy making the braids for projects, but I will tell you this method takes more yarn and time than making a twisted cord. The advantage to this is you can make a pattern braid or just a braid using many of the threads used in a project. Remember when you are planning this that you will need threads that are available in skeins; cut threads will not work. And if it is a large project you may have to make a couple braids to complete project.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I made a braid for a Christmas present and it turned out to be too large for the project. So saved it, and I am planning on using it for cording on a pillow I just finished stitching.

 

Here are some other braids I’ve played with:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the one I finally made for gift I made last year. It is just #5 perle cotton.

 

This is my pink flat braid I started with Gretchen at Florilegium.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I am not sure what I will do with this when complete but it would be cool appliqued to a jacket or used in a crazy quilt design some way.

These are samples I have made of design patterns using suggested colors so I could follow the pattern.

I have my bag and supplies and when inspiration strikes I will be ready to begin. I think it would be interesting to make several Kumihimo braids and then braid these braids together to make an thicker Kumihimo braid to use and a garland or intertwine in a wreath…I can even see making a Kumihimo braid to use at a lanyard for a cool bead or even a beading project. I even see making a braid to couch in needlepoint…oh so many ideas so little time.

Needlepoint will always be my first and main love but I think in order to expand or creativity we need to explore other techniques. It doesn’t mean we will ever be as adapt as the person who loves their chosen technique; but at least we will be able to recognize it when we see it and we will have at least a passing knowledge of how it is done. And sometimes in just knowing the method, inspiration will strike and we will be able to adapt one technique to our chosen method of stitching and make something really creative.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today or do whatever your chosen technique is!

ttfn…sue

Do I have Stash?

Someone asked me if I had much stash and how I stored it… Well yes, but not as much as some others I know… but I do have my fair share…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince I do several needlecrafts I have a large overlapping stash…(my DH calls it my mini Hobby Store…This is from a man whose workbench and area looks like a hardware store after an earthquake..don’t tell him I posted this picture!)… mine is very well organized even though it does take up a large portion of our home. I dabble in any needle art, but my favorites are needlepoint, temari, needle felting (new), knitting (learning), crochet and sewing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a library…it has all needle related books.  I have a stitching area in here but seldom use it.

 

In our office I have a stitching chair too, but use it mostly for selecting threads. I have closet with threads and beads; these are stored on wire shelves in plastic boxes and drawers. Most are stored by type (i.e DMC #5 Perle, DMC Floss, Kreinik #8 Braid, Rainbow Gallery silk, Silk and Ivory etc….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWithin the box or drawer, it may vary as how I store each thread: DMC and Rainbow Gallery Silk are stored by number, some Rainbow Gallery, Silk & Ivory and all Kreinik and beads are stored by color.  All threads and beads are clearly marked by number as well as who produced it and name (if applicable.) It is whatever I find works best for me and the particular thread or bead.

My general supplies are stored in clear plastic containers or bags and marked in my master bedroom closet: I have painted needlepoint canvases, cut plain needlepoint canvas
yarn (for knitting a & crocheting), leftover yarn from crochet projects is wound into bases as I go to desired sizes) I use this bases not only for temari balls but also for needle felting balls. When I’m making a temari, I chose the ball and wind with sewing thread.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My sewing threads are kept in the sewing area with finishing supplies for finishing needlework.

 

I also keep  a box and/or bag for each type of needle art tools/supplies:
I have a bag and small tin for knitting and crochet OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
tools…haven’t been in to this long enough to mass great supplies.

 

 

 

I have a lunch OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
box with Kumihimo disks, and weights.

Bobbins are in a plastic bag.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATemari has it’s own lunch box of tools.

 

 

 

I have plastic boxes with stitching tools for beading. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

Since I started needlefelting I purchased a set of rolling drawers. I store some supplies and  needle felting roving in here. I also have a plastic box for tools and a couple containers with tools I use.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut needlepoint takes up the most areas.  I have a couple stitching nests; each has a floor stand, light and comfy chair for stitching. One area has a set of drawers to keep extra supplies and dodads.

 

I have three bags of stitching tools; one large with seldom used tools, one small that I take to classes and seminars and one I use all the time. Not to mention my collection of needlework tools that I have blogged about before.

So yes, I guess I do have stash! I’m lucky I have a pretty good idea what stash I have and where to look. I can go right to it without much trouble.

I would love to take over the living room (we live in our family room) as an art area but DH has drawn a line in the sand, says he can’t turn around now without fearing for his life of being stabbed by a needle or pair of scissors…men!)

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

ttfn…sue


 

More on ribbon books

I am venting…

In my research of Ribbon work I found a couple books I did not own and so I purchased them (they were less than $10 and there was free shipping.) When they arrived I was happy I had not paid more for them. One was nothing but projects and the description did not say that, but I did not send it back,,, more trouble than it was worth and any way when you are a bookaholic , what’s one more book.  (Although I do promise that one of these days I am going to downsize when I find that round tuit again)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Left book best: The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery

The other book was pretty interesting Creative Ribbon Embroidery (book on right) and as I was going though it I keep thinking it looked familiar. The pictures and layout were enough different that I had to read a few pages before I realized I had read this before. That’s when I realized I had another book by this same author. And what do you know two books, same stuff one is just ten times better than the other.

And this does bother me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Color pictures of stitches vs b&w

These two books are night and day. One is full of color pictures and the other is not…all the stitches are in black in white and in fact most of the book is in black and white. The projects in the second book  have been condensed and are not shown to their best advantage. But the cover picture is new to the second book as well as the title is different

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

projects

suggesting different content. Then I went back and checked. Some pictures had been turned, some made smaller but it was the same book printed less expensively.  I guess both books are good, because I do like the first one (The Complete Book of Ribbon Embroidery ) but if you are investing (even though both were inexpensive, less than $10) purchased the better one. How do you know, I guess I would purchase the older copy in this case first

Don’t get me wrong, I have bought the same book more than once for a couple reasons”

I have about worn the first one out from use. I usually buy a second one to have for back up or if I have sentimental attachment to the first so I can keep it. My very first two needlepoint books I did this. I think I’ve told this story but it is worth repeating.

My mother gave me a needlepoint book in the 1972’s for Christmas. I was not a stitcher of any kind. I was an only child raising three little boys all under the age of 5 years…I was a mother in a foreign male kindom and did not speak a word of male.   I asked her what she was thinking and her response was, “I got it from my book club.  I forgot to send the card back that I was not interested, so I’m giving it to you.”  Thanks Mother. I put it with my cookbooks in the kitchen. WWho had time for needlepoint?  But the following spring a magazine ran an article on learning to needlepoint with six stitches. And that same month our youngest ended up in the hospital with an unknown ailment (turned out to be cutting teeth…my diagnoses that the pediatrician finally agreed after ten years was probably true). And I needed something to do to keep my sanity. So rather than learn just six stitches I had my friend go pick up my book and go  by the needlepoint shop to  buy me three colors of wool a piece of canvas. I had learned to needlepoint from my Grandmother and Mother but now I could do all these stitches too. The rest is history.  My first needlepoint book is still one of my favorites and my go to book when looking for a stitch.

And another  reason I have bought the same book twice is because I publisher changed the cover on the second printing. Not nice. So from that experience I Ann Coxcheck as well as I can before I purchase. My Ann Cox ribbon book states it is combined material from two of her other books and I happened to come across one of them and sure enough it has some of the material and enough not to warrant the second purchase. Thank you Ann because I think my book is the best of the other  two.

Sorry that this is my post of the week but I am venting.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue