Friday, August 29, 2014

"SH" sampler - continued slow progress

Been a bit erratic lately and not stitching as much as I would have liked.
So only some progress to report... lots of Montenegrin stitches going in various directions and setting up the next band. 
My plan is to get a fair amount of this sampler done in this upcoming week - let's see how things go.
Here is where I am with this at them moment:
Establishing bands and Montenegrin stitches

Blackwork - Holbein - reversible

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"SH" sampler and a new idea & practice project

Well, I did not make as much progress as I would have liked thanks to my erratic shoulder issues.
So, I do not have much to show....
however, I've had ample 'thinking' time though and it seems that I am coming closer and closer to making a decision regarding some of my activities.  It is interesting to note that the very thing that attracted me to a certain project or study years ago ceases to challenge me after some years.  Not because the challenge disappeared but more because my heart wants to do something different, perhaps because my skills improved/got added to and suddenly the very thing that intrigued me about a program is the thing I find constraining and limiting.  I am slowly realizing fully and consciously admitting to myself something that my heart was already 'murmuring' to me years ago but I was not listening to that little voice then because I was still convinced that it is best to 'finish' something once started....lately,  I am not so very sure about this idea and long held belief anymore... perhaps it is time for me to explore my own path... some of my own designs and ideas ...  let's see where all this leads me ... I have already come to a decision on this but want to wait a bit before taking action - it is best not to decide 'major' things when in pain and in a 'weakened' mode.  Perhaps, once I feel better, I will continue to find a way to continue all my activities at my usual pace and intensity.
Anyway, this is a small amount of progress on "SH" :
"SH" sampler - resuming where I left off years ago
Some of you may have read my post in other arenas that I am desperately looking to find (and purchase) fine cotton threads (DMC or Anchor Special a broder No. 20 and finer) ... I have an idea for a project... and it would be nice to work the project in the older, more traditional threads.  I have received some leads that I will follow up on but if any of you know of a place or have some of these threads in your stash and are willing to part with them, I would be most grateful.  I was eager to start working on some of the ideas and started a small practice piece this evening...  exploring areas and some techniques... this is just a start...
Exploring and figuring out ....


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Unearthing another UFO ...

I was really hoping to start working on my Japanese Embroidery and tried to do so last night... stretching my right arm as required is not yet possible...have to figure out how to work around my frozen shoulder and deal with the pain on the weekend in the morning not at the end of a day.
One good thing about this frozen shoulder episode is that I am getting less sleep than normal - the pain usually wakes me up and then getting back to sleep is almost impossible.
This morning I retrieved another sampler from my UFO (Unfinished Object) sampler drawer.  It is one that I had enjoyed working on sometime between 1998-2000 (will check my paperwork later)  but then had put aside for some reason or the other.
 So, here is where I had left off on my next sampler - it is "SH" 1683 reproduced by Margriet Hogue of The Essamplaire.  This is about one third of the sampler and this part is mostly Holbein stitch or running stitches usually called Blackwork.  I had stitched all the bands reversibly... figuring out the pathways to be able to do this is what I really find intriguing in this technique.   

Close up of "Back" of the band to date....

Close - up of the front of the last worked band

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Completed Fleur-de-Lys Sampler

I was able to complete the sampler today.  It had languished in my UFO sampler drawer for so many years and I am happy that I chose to finish it this time - it has a lot of interesting techniques.
So, here are the details on the materials  :
Chart : Fleur-de-Lys Band Sampler
            designed by Page Dorsey of The Samplar Workes
Linen : 40ct. Lambswool linen by Zweigart
Threads : Various Au Ver a Soie silks (Soie d'Alger, Soie Gobelin. Soie 100/3) and DMC Cordonnet  #100 in white + Mill Hill Beads

Last band completed

Here is the band completed - interesting to note how much interest can be generated  with simple stitches and pattern.
Last band is now complete

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Another band started

Slow progress but progress just the same...
last band of the sampler that needs to be stitched and after this I just have to cut the areas and finish the band above this.
Here is the progress on the needle-weaving and dove's eye band combination:   
Fleur-de-Lys Sampler - forging on - shoulder pain or not!
Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Completed Band

Finished up the needlewoven / dove's eye band so there is just one more band to go and then this sampler will be finished.  Here are two pictures showing the last band of this sampler:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Continuing on... Fleur de Lys Sampler

Sunday's progress :
Finishing the buttonhole bars in the thin band

Started on the bottom band with 'needleweaving' with Dove's eyes

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fleur-de-Lys sampler - Buttonhole band completed

It took a lot of time to complete this band but I enjoyed playing with the dimensional quality of the buttonhole stitch - have a new appreciation for the sculptural aspects of this stitch.  A lot of new ideas of what could be done with this basic stitch.

I just wanted to point out also that I am not necessarily following my 'usual' sequence of working this type of band.  Normally I work things differently but at the moment I am using this sampler as a form of therapy.  I am able to do some of the things because I am controlling the tension of the background fabric and do not plan to move the fabric until I am done with this sampler. If using a hoop or scroll rods or anything other than a slate frame I would not have been able to complete this band right now.  I normally do not cut and remove threads way ahead of time like I have done here - this was an exercise to see if I could do this type of work for a few hours to gauge what  type of procedures I could do at work.
So, please ignore my sequencing of things here and stick to the usual sequencing if doing such needlework : work all the surface stitches first (satin, buttonhole etc.), then work the cut work area one area at a time (to reduce distortion), then do any of the raised work or attach beads last after all the bands have been completed.
My shoulder continues to give me problems but I am determined to get past it - it is now 'fully frozen' and every movement causes exquisite, high intensity pain - no more nuances or avoidance of certain movements...good news is that the orthopedic surgeon says that typically this phase lasts for a week or two which is a blessing since none of the pain medications help me at all...  A number of you emailed me to ask how I am working, doing needlework etc.; I am paying attention to what I am doing but I cannot really come up with clear cut answers for you.  It is a challenge - each movement, each moment... pain is there if you are doing something or not so all I can say is that it is a matter of mind over matter... keeping my mind focused and keeping a positive outlook that this is a temporary condition and will improve in time is the most effective way.  I am learning that I have to pace myself, take frequent breaks, vary the intensity of my movements and also accept that sometimes I cannot do all the things I planned to do.  It is definitely affecting my work - I am not doing some of the things and delegating things - fine motor control is something absolutely essential in my daily activities and there are days when I have had to cancel all activities and just 'sit'.   I have a new respect for so many people I know who are dealing with 'chronic' pain. I am also learning more about the connection between mind and body - amazing how positive emotions can keep the physical state in perspective.  The flexibility exercises are most useful and more definitive than any of the other 'esoteric' things so far for me - the role of estrogen, certain foods etc. I found are not really helping me as much as I had hoped...the exercises are.

So anyway, here is the band completed:

Two bands of needleweaving left on this sampler... 
Have a great weekend!