Saturday, 28 September 2013

TAST #83 Siennese Stitch

Take A Stitch Tuesday is a way to learn new stitches initiated by Sharon of Pintangle; click here to learn more.

#83 of the TAST stitches, the Siennese Stitch, is easy and fun to do. I made a row in two shades of grey and then individual stitches in horizontal and vertical position.

These stitches make me think of all the Tokyoites celebrating winning the bid for OS2020. Arms stretch up over their heads, accompanied cries of Banzai! It translates into 'Cheers!' in English although the kanji (Chinese characters) 万歳 means 10.000 years. Will the event last for 10.000 years? Is it a 10.000 years' wait for the games? Will taxpayers need to pay for the event for 10.000 years? Or will the good feeling, the legacy, last for 10.000 years? Let's hope for the last meaning! Banzai!

Friday, 27 September 2013

A knitted sweater

It has been a long time since I made a 'project' with a TAST stitch - I used to both add a few rows of stitches to the sampler, and then make a picture or something.

When I was working the sampler for Raised Chain Stitches versions 1 and 2, I thought they would make a nice knitted look, as they resembled the Knit and Purl knitting stitches. A project started forming in my head.

In summer, a good friend gave me this book:
In spite of the title, the book is mainly about stumpwork portraits, and has a different approach to that of this excellent book, that I have enjoyed using for so many years:

Here was a great opportunity to try out the new book, and 'knit' a sweater with the two Raised Chain Stitches.

First I made the face. I chose to make a male face, a first for me. This involved paler, beige lips, bushier eyebrows and adding ears. Maybe the biggest difference was how the eyes are worked. Instead of the version by Fay Maxwell, where Detached Chain Stitch and French knots are used, Jan Messent's method is worked in Stem and Satin stitches:

Next came the 'knitting'. I first made a paper pattern for the three parts:
I selected a mustardy shade of Anchor #8 Pearl:
and a piece of scrap fabric I had no other use for. I drew the body and the two sleeves with iron marker (charcoal pen):

The foundation stitches were worked in narrow rows:

If you want to learn the two different stitches please go to Pintangle and the instructions for Raised Chain Stitch Version 1 and Version 2.

The finished result is here. Version 1 in blue and Version 2 in mustard:

Dressing the man involved cutting out the parts and appliquéing them to the background fabric.
I also made a book for him to hold. As I have never written, let alone published, a book, I thought this was my chance, hence the title 'Stitches for Life' by Queenie Patch.
The hands were the trickiest part, and after failing making them according to Jan Messent's method, I had to do them 'my way'.

The most enjoyable part was the knitting. I know it's not very neat, but doesn't it look like a well used, comfy, hand knitted sweater?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WIPW - Does this qualify as progress?

First of all, WIPW stands for Work In Progress Wednesday, and you can read about it here.

What qualifies to report on 'Work In Progress Wednesday'?
Well, if shopping is a kind of 'progress', then I have to report that I have bought wadding for the Kafferepet quilt. At least a small step towards completion!

Finding wool batting in Japan is hard, buying such from overseas is expensive, so the choice is between cotton or polyester wadding. Both are sold in pre-cut sheets, but usually the width is 90 or 100 cm, and the length 100 cm. I find it an awkward size; if you want the quilt to be 1m square you have NO margin whatsoever. Should you need, say 60 x 60 cm, you have strangely shaped left overs. Stitching together lots of these odd pieces for a new quilt is a kind of patchwork craft in itself!

This time I followed Julie Fukuda's advice and went to Yuzawa-ya to buy thinsulate from the bolt. It is 130 cm wide and I got my 110 cm cut, (and the little bit left on the roll for free). It appears that I will have some strangely shaped left overs anyway!

Now for some REAL progress. I have let the TAST #56 Sailor Stitches sprout on the cushion. You see them on the left.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Harvest Moon

Claudia, this is for you.

In the beginning of January I blogged about this wall hanging of the the first sun rise of the year.DSCN5043.JPG.jpg

It is a actually a two sided quilt with the harvest moon on the back.

We enjoyed the beautiful full moon the other night.

 (The three smaller 'moons' underneath are the headlights of aeroplanes flying in to land at Haneda Airport. Pity about the electric power lines cutting the cloud in two.)

Anyway, I took out my two sided 'kakemono' moon quilt and displayed it in our 'alcove'.
The moon is made of two layers of machine lace and sits on a piece of dark navy velvet.

I also displayed some tsukimi dango. Mine are just ornamental and made of fabric, but the real things are Japanese sweets made from steamed and pounded rice, shaped into balls and piled neatly onto a wooden stand, called san pou.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

TAST #82 Spanish Feather Stitch

I've been very late in posting my TAST stitches recently so now I have to ask you:

Ain't I quick? I've already filled my sampler with two rows of the TAST #82 stitch, Spanish Feather Stitch!

This stitch is not new to me, I've tried it several times before and always disliked it strongly. Once I even wrote in the margin of  my  '100 Embroidery Stitches', a small booklet published by Coats Craft UK with Anchor Embroidery Stitches. 

My scribble says: 'Fäster ej i tyget', meaning 'doesn't grab the fabric'. Well, of course it doesn't, as this part of the stitch is not taken to the back of the fabric!!! Silly me!
I guess what I wanted to say was that the thread did not lay flat on the surface but slid along the next stitch. I think even at one time I had to couch down some of the unruly 'corners'.

This time I had no such problem. Why not, I asked myself, and think it is because I have used Pearl #8 which has a good twist and behaves better than what I might have used on previous occassions.

Thank you Sharon for making me try the Spanish Feather Stitch again, mastering it and now liking it a lot!

For more of Sharon's TAST stitches, go to Pintangle.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

WIPW - too hot to quilt

It is Wednesday and here is my weekly Work In Progress Wednesday report.
WIPW is a smart way to make some progress on a needlework project. Read about it at Pintangle and see what others have made here.

As it is still too hot to quilt, I have not made any progress on the Kafferepet quilt. Instead I have added more stitching to the cushion.

I have completed the leaves on the circle with Up and Down Feathered Buttonhole Stitch. (TAST # 61)

I added orange #47 Berry Stitches to the previously made clusters of French Knots in the centre of the Half Buttonhole wheels. 

Then I made a Buttonholed Herringbone Square #53 in pink with a light purple Laced Herringbone Square #54 in the middle. Some French Knots and Detatched Chain Stitches were added.
Finally the circle has sprouted swirls of # 56 Sailor Stitch.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos; this piece of fabric must have been a chamaeleon in a previous life! What colour ARE you actually?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Why I can't manage with a simple weekend bag.

When travelling during the summer, wouldn't it be nice to have just a little weekend bag, a toothbrush and a change of undies, a book to read and a WIP embroidery?

Alas, I can't travel like that, firstly I'm away for much longer than a weekend, and secondly, there is the thing called retail therapy, stash building, new item testing, also known by another name, namely SHOPPING.
Then there is the  GIFT EXCHANGE.

Returning from Europe this summer I had all this in my bagage:
It is a god mixture of purchases and gifts. I am thrilled with the 16 parts of the needlework encyclopedia, Hemmets Handarbetslexikon, I had been wanting for such a long time (I already had the first 4 parts), the book on embroidered portraits, the hard cover exhibition catalogue from Broderande Berättelser, the vintage book on initials and patterns, there is the cushion and the bridal crown I found in a thift shop, the beautiful cross stitch my 'aunt' gave me, the lovely quilted envelope case with inscription made by a gifted friend, kumihimo bobbins, thread winders, lace, a miniature embroidery frame, a Lucet fork for braiding,  fabric, a beautiful brooch made from a pink metal zipper,  floral boxes (with more goodies within: lavendar smellies, bookmarks, stickers, tissue cases, ric-rac, soap...) and there is
thread, thread, thread, needles, needles, needles and the mystery package that can't be opened until Christmas.
And then there were my two quilts brought back from the Festival Of Quilts in Birmingham.

So now you know why I can't manage with just a small weekend bag.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

TAST #80 + #81 Raised Chain Stitch versions 1&2

What a coincidence that Sharon of Pintangle should give us two versions of the Raised Chain stitch for two consecutive weeks at a time when I was so busy. Perfect for me to post both stitches at the same time!
To learn all about TAST click here.

Here they are:
TAST #80 Raised Chain Stitch Version 1
This is worked on the last spot of my travel sampler.
The stitch looks a bit like the Purl knit stitch.

TAST #81 Raised Chain Stitch Version 2
I am now back to working on my usual sampler.
This stitch reminds me of the Knit knit stitch.

Wouldn't it be fun to make a stumpwork figure dressed in a sweater made up of Knit and Purl stitches = version 1 and 2 of the Raised Chain Stitch?
Before that I need to learn to use the same colour for the foundation stitch and the Chain stitch. Here you can see very clearly that the foundation bar is made with grey thread!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

WIPW - 5 out of 10080

Work In Progress Wednesday

is meant to be a 'report any needlework progress you have made in the last week'. (See Pintangle for mote details).

Now I am no mathematical genius, but I believe there are 10.080 minutes in a week. Out of all those minutes I have spent only 5 on embroidery, adding this single leaf to my WIP embroidery. TAST stitch #61 Up and Down Feathered Buttonhole.

This cushion cover was used as a travelling project, a little something to work on while in Europe this summer. Now that I am back in Japan I have been swamped by household chores and paperwork so very little progress has been made. Hopefully I will have more progress to report next week!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

WIPW - Fly(ing) Stitch

Work In Progress Wednesday has turned into a travelling project!
I think most of the stitches on this embroidery have been put in when I have been in on the go, either onboard a train or sitting on a station bench.

The latest stitches, however,  were added while flying back to Japan. So they ought to have been Fly(ing) Stitches, I guess, but I opted for two other TAST stitches; #67 Fancy Hem for the curve on the circle and #61 Up and Down Feathered Buttonhole Stitch for the leaves.

If you want to know what WIPW is click here. I list of all the TAST stitches are here.