Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fleur-de-Lys Sampler ... continued

I have not stitched on this piece at all since my last post but continued working on this today.  The band between the two needle-woven bands is a lot of fun to do but quite laborious and intense.
Lots of variations on buttonhole bars, faggot stitches and satin stitches create interest and texture.
Here are pictures of the area I worked on today:
Fleur-de-Lys Sampler - some more progress 

Buttonhole bar variations 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fleur-de-Lys sampler - update

The last few days I have been working on the Fleur-de-Lys sampler a few minutes/hours at a time... things are going slower than usual, but I am glad I picked this sampler back up again.  I enjoy the variety of stitches - it is a lot of fun.
So I have made progress - slow but steady... have placed all the bands, finished stitching the top most band,still have to finish all  the cut-work, withdrawn the threads and set up the initial grids for the needle-weaving bands. 
Here are some of the pictures of my progress...

Established bands and then started withdrawing threads and stabilizing the area

Stabilized bottom band - ready for needle-weaving

Top band in this area - still have to finish the cut-work and center area
- lots of fiddly, careful cutting required which is a bit of a challenge with the shoulder issue  

All the bands established and the way the sampler is right now...

Most interesting to note how a frozen shoulder affects your stitching tension...
usually I do not have to pay much attention to this anymore - it was almost second nature to pull the threads evenly each time irrelevant of technique or thread type. These days I had to pay constant attention to this and sometimes without warning my shoulder would 'take over' and things got pulled too hard... the result was breaking some of the linen fabric threads (40ct. so quite thin) ... so I got more 'experience' in repairing those areas ... more physical therapy never hurts. 

It feels good to be able to do 'something' even if it means working through the pain...
This is a beautiful sampler of interesting bands and I am glad I rescued it from the UFO drawer.   

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Focusing on ... UFOs

Want to really stitch but am not sure if I should tackle 'complicated' things yet... so, I decided to look into my UFO sampler drawers (UFO = Unfinished Object) and retrieved the following multi stitch band sampler that I remember enjoying stitching years ago.  For some reason it got set aside and I've decided to get this finished up now.  It is a sampler by Page Dorsey from The Samplar Workes and she had graciously given me permission earlier this year to blog about it.

So, this is the stage I left this sampler years ago :  

Fleur-de-Lys Sampler by The Samplar Workes
The Song of my Needle
Fleur-de-Lys Sampler by The Samplar Workes
The Song of my Needle

Fleur-de-Lys Sampler by The Samplar Workes
The Song of my Needle

Fleur-de-Lys Sampler by The Samplar Workes
The Song of my Needle

I hope to continue with this and complete it now...

Thanks to all of you for the kind words about my monogram attempt.... also for the good wishes for my shoulder.... mind over matter ...  hope to post my progress shortly!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Man plans - God laughs.... or just moving with the flow...

Well, just re-read my last post ... we were in Ireland a few years ago and I just realized that perhaps Yeats made up a poetic place and called it 'Innisfree' because I remember seeing the islands of Innisheer and Innismore, not Innisfree... will have  to research this a bit more...but the poem is still one of my favorites - the idea of finding and carrying a quiet place all our own within us at all times is something I try to be aware of.

I had made all sorts of plans and was actually well on my way of finishing up one of the submissions that as always has become larger than it needed to be to fulfill the MC requirements... but that was also okay because it would be a nice thing to have in the home.  Just as things seemed to be going well I noticed some pain in my right shoulder at the beginning of May... ignored it for a while until the pain got worse and stopped me from doing anything - at work or at diagnosis was a 'frozen shoulder' or 'adhesive capsulitis'.  Well, all plans came to an abrupt halt, and I am now keenly aware that I have to fully focus on exercise, flexibility, and movement also - seems to be a big issue as I get older.   Being Indian it is somewhat ironic that my body is telling me to do Yoga - something that a lot of family members always did and do ;)  Things are improving and I have regained some range of motion... keeping occupied by visiting places and putting mind over matter has helped; watching Wimbledon and World cup events have kept me distracted from focusing on the pain too much.

Just recently Mary Corbet posted more alphabets on her blog and I noted that she also seemed to be struggling with all of the great plans we make and envision...blogging does take up time and I always marveled at how some people blog so regularly. So during the Men's Wimbledon finals I printed out my initial... picked up the simple cotton cloth I was using to cover my current project (a 99cent handkerchief), pulled out a skein of DMC cotton floss and transferred the design without much thinking and measuring onto the fabric... mind you all this 'arbitrary' but determined activity is not at all like me!!  I usually pull out all possible threads and fabrics, all possible books on a topic, look at stitches and possibilities, study and think and then 'act'... but I was tired of not being able to stitch, tired of not being able to put my mind beyond the pain, and  also tired of all the fanciful monograms and whitework ideas that have been on my 'someday list of areas to explore more'. I also used a hoop because it was a matter of conserving energy - tried out both my hoop with clamp as well as my sit on hoop assembly after a very long time and realized that they are not bad at all for such projects!

So here are the results of this very spontaneous project  -  I now have a 'fancier' cover cloth... but most of all I was able to stitch!

My Interpretation of my Initial - Alphabet posted on

Closeup - My Initial - Alphabet posted on

Everything took a bit longer (two afternoons), had to take a lot of breaks, had to make the thread shorter in the beginning but I kept making it a bit longer as another form of exercise.. pushing myself just beyond the point of pain to 'unfreeze' this darn shoulder...

What I did on this was mostly by memory about whitework monogram techniques - I used almost one full skein of DMC white (B5200) thread; decided I wanted some padding... memory told me that usually padding in monograms was traditionally done with running stitches (staggered/bricked lines of running stitch)within the letter... so that is what I did - I used 3 strands of floss, outlined and filled the space.  Then I used 2 strands of floss in a diagonal satin stitch to stitch the letter, vertical and horizontal satin for the flowers and then stitched  the stems in a split stitch for the stems and then covered them with what they call a trailing stitch - basically a stitch like a JE/metal couching stitch but placed closely together covering the split stitch  outline.  I could have used a chain stitch or stem stitch - initially tried just the stem stitch but it was not too distinct, so then decided to just do a split stitch and trailing stitch.
 There are a few things I would have done differently by using various patterns and texture, adding other techniques, using a thinner needle, different threads etc. etc. if my shoulder was 'normal'  but this was a good exercise to work different types of satin stitches and gain some insights .... and the result is that I now have a monogrammed cover cloth !  This cotton fabric like I said is just  a 99cent handkerchief!  So this project cost me about $1.50 but gave me the satisfaction of finally tackling a 'monogram'... instead of thinking of my more complicated design using expensive linen and a variety of threads and putting it in the 'some day' pile.
And even though the process was a bit painful, my needlework proved to me once more that I was able to now focus on things for some hours at a time  in a controlled and focused way and so gave me a gauge as to how to structure my day at work and at home... just a different way to pace myself for a short while until my shoulder get better... and it will because the exercises are already working.

So, this was an example of Carpe Diem - a spontaneous decision after reading Mary's post in the middle of an amazing Men's Tennis Final.  I sent a picture of it to Mary to hopefully cheer her up and let her know that her blogging activities are not going unnoticed ... having a lot of ideas and interests is much better in my opinion than having none at all !  Sometimes we all get carried away with 'fanciful' ideas but sometimes 'simple' stitching is just as effective, important and therapeutic!

..... I mentioned earlier that blogging takes up a lot of time... well, I just spent an inordinate amount of time uploading two pictures here... but for some reason today it is a challenge!...let's hope the pictures show up ...

.... well, I finally figured out the issue on posting (I think) - Internet Explorer 11 is apparently an 'unsupported' browser in the 'blogger' arena... so I am re-posting again using Firefox...wish me luck!