Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Stitch By Any Other Name 

Stitches wind up with a plethora of names as they pass through centuries and cultures. One of the most diverse is the group of names used for what I prefer to call Double Running Stitch. I think it is the most practical, down-to-earth name for a stitch that has been variously known as Holbein stitch, true stitch, line stitch, square stitch, punto scrito (writing stitch) or Spanish Stitch.

For an article with a good discussion and the author's interpretation of this stitch as reflected in a Portrait of a Lady in White by daBrescia (c. 1540) see Kathleen Epstein's article Concernynge the Excellency of the Nedle Worcke Spanisshe Stitche in the January/February 1995 issue of Piecework.

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That was a great article- one of the inspirations for my career of obsessive thread-counting! :-)
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oldies but Goodies 

The Embroiderers' Guild (UK) has uploaded several articles from past issues of Embroidery to their site.

They include quite a few illustrations and this is a good place to gather a few articles by the great and good of embroidery.

I'll download some articles from those issues I don't own but I have a yearning to hold the oldies in my hands. Amongst other activities, I read the ads for books I NEED and pick up quite a bit of of a feel for what was popular in the day by reading product ads. The letters to the editor are always a good read as well. I just finished re-reading a copy of the Summer 1965 issue as it came out of the box and found an interesting letter concerning the issue of early quilting history as "depicted" in an illustration found in Schuette. Hmm!! always something to tease my imagination.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Take It Further - May 

I've been thinking a good deal about Sharon B's May challenge to take it further.

One of the ways I try and make sense of what I do is by defining what ever it is, as clearly as I possibly can. I think most people do that. The way I see it is if you can’t talk about what you do, or haven’t taken care in how you think about what you do, how do you expect others to respect the way you spend your time? Or how do expect people to respect what you make?

OK there is a few questions in the passage above but this month the challenge question is what do you call yourself and why?

Answering the question is easy. I'm an embroideress. But how to convey that concept in a finished design. I want to demonstrate a continuum of skills achieved, techniques explored, phases finished and ignored - you get the drift. It struck me how evocative a patchwork quilt is. If you've worked on it yourself or had it made out of family fabric scraps, every patch brings back a memory. So, my present plan is to scan and print on muslin (calico in some worlds) images of some of my embroidery from childhood, through life right through to present projects. I then plan to cut patches from these fabrics and hand piece them and add a bit of quilting. I thought of a nine-patch but have just about settled on a log cabin. Perhaps a bag made from the final project.


have you seen the lap rug with "bag" built in - you just fold it away into itself. you could also use the bag to hold the current project. hugs, S
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More than you ever wanted to know about color. 

Donald Johansson's Colors On the Web is another one of those "get lost for hours sites". Many sites and publications have great explanations of the color wheel but leave a mysterious feeling about hue, value, saturation and a few other concepts.

Lots of good information for web designers including all the hexadecimal numbers and the colors considered web-safe for older monitors.

I can see thread choices and fabric choices for quilts being a handy use for some of the gadgets here.

You do run into Google ads all over the place but it is well worth putting up with them, in my opionion.

A great site for those of us who like to collect color info.


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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dingbats Forever!!!! 

I adore dingbats. If you've not run into them, you may fall in very strong like when you first play with them. They are great for decorating edges of publications, punching up fliers and brochures and spicing up correspondence.

They are often found bundled with a font set and are little works of art.

Now if you want to play and play and play with dingbats, try out Dingbats-UK

The usual waiver applies - I am not responsible for the hours you spend there.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Don't Blame Me 

Don't blame me if you click through to the MICHAEL site and get lost in one museum or another's online resources.

Why didn't I know about the Egypt Centre when I was in Swansea. Guess I'll just have to go back. The sites vary in size of graphics, number of items and ease of use but what a nice shopping list.


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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sneaky, Snakey, Stringy Things 

When I left California many, many moons ago some of the boxes of embroidery/craft stuff just got all tossed together and sealed up. I was really in the worst throes of my bad back saga and just getting on the road was a superhuman accomplishment.

Is it any wonder that I am now straightening out masses of threads and yarns. You do realize that if you give threads half a chance they immediately start sneaking about and tangling like mad. In this respect they are like their cousins-thrice-removed, computer cords and cables. How do they ever get so entwined? I need my terribly organized friend here who doesn't stitch a lick but gathered all my scattered DMC one time, got it all onto bobbins and boxed up in numerical order. I always start out great but then I have a bit of this or that out and then another bit and I put something down half finished with the threads bundled in it and then don't take the time to put everything back all nice and tidy. Maybe I will improve now that I don't have to go to a dayjob anymore. Keep your fingers crossed and tell me you believe in the thread fairies folks.

All these sneaky thingies are also related to the concept of wire hangers making whoopee in dark closets and reproducing at an alarming rate and the socks which commit fratricide on their twins whilst in the washing machine. How easily I am defeated by supposedly inanimate objects.


When you are ready to tackle new threads and knitting, let me know. I pickup some fun fibers for socks at Stitches West. Lots of sock patterns too. I've been waiting to send them until you can enjoy them.
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

How Do You Manage? 

As I was packing up books for this last move a friend said "well it will be easier this time because you can pack them all in alphabetical order just as you have them on the shelves here." No my dears, those pesky needlework books have to be packed by dimensions. First you create at least three piles --- large/overlarge, medium, and small. Then you start to fit them into small boxes fitting one or two large books at the bottom, starting to fill with medium books and then tucking small books in remaining available space.

They came out of the boxes just that way this time and went directly on the shelves. Later I'll get them whipped back into order by author's name.

Some of my friends put their needlework books on the shelf by technique (i.e. blackwork, drawn thread, goldwork, etc.) and this is the method I followed for years. But as the number of books grew and the number of quirky books grew by leaps and bounds, I began shelving by name of author/editor/publisher. With a decent database it makes things manageable for me.

Now when it comes to fibers, I sort by type (wool, silk, metallic, gold, cotton, linen, etc.) If there are a number of threads by one manufacturer then they get a container(s) of their own. I know some folks manage their threads by color - but when does blue end and green begin. I'm easily confused.

As to ground materials it is by material (linen, cotton, silk, paper) and then sometimes broken down into weave (Aida, evenweave, mono canvas, penelope canvas, silk gauze).

Buttons go in tins - everyone needs a button box or two or three. Charms go in a drawer of an organizer, braids, cords and tassels get stored together and lace is grouped together.

Needles go in plastic boxes with a cobalt blue dresser pin tray which belonged to my grandmother and mother holding an assorted pool of needles that have escaped from somewhere. These are the needles I use day-to-day.

Arrgh. I'm always open to suggestions from others on managing all this STUFF!

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frantically waving here - great to see you back

I sort my books by technique

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