Monday, March 23, 2009

Voided landscape

As I looked out the front window this afternoon I discovered my very own voided landscape. The mower man is currently indisposed so the grass and edges have not been trimmed this week and this is probably why it fitted the bill. Normally the mowing and trimming needs to be done each week at this time of the year - it may have to wait at least one more week this time.

There is something very tactile about grass of this length. This will probably be as much as I can contribute to the month's challenge as my Ziggy embroidery is a slow project to be savoured and decidely unrushed.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My voided Ziggy

I am committed to three biscornu and have begun the first - this occupies my weekday stitching time. However I need a change from crossstitch so have given myself permission to spend the weekends with other embroidery projects.

I decided to do the Stitch Explorer challenge for this month. Voided work appeals to me very much.

A birthday gift from my daughter was a copy of Lump, the dog who ate a Picasso by David Duncan -a marvellous book of photographs of Picasso with Lump.

The book enthralled me since the photographs could have been of Ziggy, a dachshund that my children gave me as a birthday gift in 1982. Ziggy was the light of our life for twelve wonderful years. We never managed to train him but, naturally, he had us very well trained. It is amazing how much we still miss him after fifteen years.

The next part of the narrative comes with Mabel McAlister's book and her wonderful series of cat embroideries. A dachshund has such a wonderful shape - totallly recognisable, and even I can manage a likeness. So I have been having a wonderful time designing the series - no doubt it will change many times but that is half the fun!

While I intend to use his full shape for some of my embroideries I decided to start with his head.

I outlined the head in stem stitch and then started the pulled thread background.
This certainly can't be finished in another week, but I have made a start.

The fabric is 32 count linen and a lens and lamp is needed for the Chinese stitch and eyelets in #12 perle. As you can see, I have done about a square inch! A good day's work!

The pulled thread work in closeup.

I could not imagine why anyone might call a dachshund, Lump. After some hunting I discovered this piece from the NYTimes. Yes, definitely, a rascal! That fitted nicely!

Today's effort was not worth photographing. Hopefully by next Sunday night I will have enough to share. This is some crewel embroidery. I have read a number of books but could not decide where to begin. I love the traditional tulips, pomegranates etc but really wanted to practise stitches and design on other shapes and eventually came up with fish.

All I managed this afternoon was the outline of a tail with split stitch, plus some long and short stitch . Can you believe that this is the first time I have ever tried split stitch?

It is one of those stitches that I look at and feel assured will be easy. While it is not as easy as it looks on paper I eventually managed to finish that first small shape and feel that by the time I have done seven more I will be happy with my split stitches. This will not be the only new stitch as I have not done any couching or laid work previously.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another day in the city.

No textiles to show this week - life has just got in the road. However I visited the City on Tuesday and remembered to carry the small camera - so I do have some photographs to share. On the way to the bus stop we were almost deafened by a couple of very raucous rainbow lorikeets. While they are so colourful they are also very noisy drunks! Lorikeets and parrots were very plentiful in our garden on the mountain and, while we do see the odd one here in town, there are not nearly as many. On Mt Tamborine the birds were very happy to harvest any fruit we managed to grow, except maybe the citrus, and sharing was not part of the deal as far as they were concerned . All our stone fruit had to be ripened under nets. Even green olives were not safe from the king parrots. Nonetheless I miss all those birds very much.

This is the Brisbane City Hall, a beautiful building which is currently falling apart. Hopefully it will be repaired (there seems to be some discussion at the moment on whether or not it is a reasonable thing to do) . I do feel since it is part of Brisbane's history, it would be very sad to do nothing about the problem. For many years the City Hall clock could be seen from all over the city - not so now - one can manage to see the clock face from only a very few vantage points, but at least we can hear the chimes! (If the traffic noise is not overwhelming). This year is the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Queensland as a separate state - just a youngster, really!

I love these lamps on the front of the building.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Who Needs a Spiral Buttonhole?

Exactly! I cannot imagine why I imagined spiral buttonhole was the only thing for the centre of this piece. After unpicking two attempts and washing out the pencilled circles I decided that wrapped wheels would fill the space quite adequately. I enjoy wrapping wheels and maybe, one day, I might, after masses of practice, manage to enjoy a spiral buttonhole!

This is my third drawn thread square - do I now stick with this format of 4 inch squares? or do I try something different? Decisions, decisions!

What is next ? Paula has loaned me two books on crewel - I want to make a start on that soon. Perhaps I should begin to stitch one of the three biscornu that I am committed to make? Maybe some cutwork? I have an idea to use for the Stitch Explorer Challenge for March. I am having trouble in sticking to my resolution to start and finish one thing at a time as there are so many exciting projects calling.

This is the front garden frangipani - the one with the amazing fragrance.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Next Step

A good day! I have managed to find enough time to stitch the outside of the square - well, I think it is finished but, then again, maybe it isn't. My choice of stitches has not included anything new - this time there are pulled eyelets and layered chain. I would have preferred something other than chain but it seemed to be the best fit in the end.

Last week I decided to shoot some photos of the pink frangipani hanging over the back steps. There is also a red frangipani in our tiny back garden. These are both very beautiful, but, sadly they lack the perfume of the white frangipani in the front. Just before sunrise, my usual time to collect the newspapers, the fragrance is almost overpowering. I can never work out why darkness increases the perfume of flowers.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Some Needleweaving

Not exactly finished but the basic needleweaving in the drawn thread section is done.My progress is, as ever, very slow but, nonetheless, enjoyable.

I am happy with this work - I had so many bundles of loose threads along each side of the square - why would one do something sensible like calculating in advance? So the problem was - what could be done with 15 bundles? - and this is where I finished. Is this called designing? I hope so.

Some of the marking threads are visible - I have become completely paranoid about miscounting early in the piece (and, even worse, later in the piece) and, in this case, not ending up a with real square so I thread mark every 10 threads in both directions. I started to do this with my second piece of Hardanger and found it wonderful not to need to unpick frequently. One can wing some things but definitely not Hardanger!

Another photo of the parking station from yesterday - I feel there is at least one embroidery in this. The pattern on the concrete is so very interesting and I love the rhythm of those stairs.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Not much lavender but some old lace!

I went to the City this morning and carried the compact camera. I found a few of the buildings that were part of Brisabane when I first arrived more than 50 years ago. The city has been almost rebuilt since then but a few of the old buildings can still be found.

The People's Palace is now overshadowed by taller, more modern buildings.
I still love its old lace.

The old Brisbane School of Arts - the middle floor of which housed the City Library for a number of years has its lace petticoat and the ground floor well hidden by the greenery that has grown so quickly.
This was definitely not here in 1952! The multi storey carpark on Wickham Terrace has the dreariest interior but a most interesting facade. Dreary interiors must be a given for most carparks, I guess. I always find them very depressing places.
Now some real stitching to finish off. My (quite awful) experiments with Edith John's Spiral Buttonhole . I had a great deal of trouble with this but think I eventually worked it out.

The jewel colours of this DMC perle appealed to me in the shop but when I try to stitch with it on calico I wonder why. Perhaps it will look better on a dark fabric - I hope so.
I have been toiling on with another square of drawn thread work - this time it is more or less to my design. I would like to add a spiral buttonhole to this piece - but not in this thread and after momre practice!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A mixed bag

Can anyone believe it would be possible to knit two pairs of woollen socks and have absolutely no recollection of doing so? While I possibly have a slight excuse – we have cleaned out and sold a house and relocated as well as coped with some major health changes in the interim -nonetheless I find it incredible that I could do this. Especially since these are the only socks I have knitted in my life. I know I have done no knitting since 2004 - I guess the socks were parcelled up with the rest of my unfinished knitting ( goodness knows what I can do with three almost finished jumpers that will no longer fit my grandsons.

Here is the first pair and maybe the other pair can be finished today.

Now I can't wait for winter – (it is still 33 degrees here, Centigrade)! These will be just the go for those early morning walks - soft woollen socks.

It is no wonder I try to keep my embroidery pieces small and to finish one piece before I start the next! A good idea but not always followed!

I really wanted to finish this hardanger sampler before the end of February but my wrist is playing up at the moment and it is impossible to stitch for more than an hour at a time.

There were no mishaps with the cutting of threads – something for which I am very thankful. The picots are definitely not the best – I do need practice. I should have taken Yvette Stanton’s advice. She suggested that one should practise on scrap cloth until perfect – however I decided that this was a practise sampler and, of course, fools rush in....... The instructions are good but I feel I am missing something. I would like to have an expert hold my hand until I acquired some skill but maybe practice will make perfect!

A second UFO has hit the dust!

The other finish is the mounting of a crossstitch picture, one of two that I stitched in 2000. The chart came from an Anna Burda. I stitched these, a sampler, a picture for my daughter and two birth samplers (also from Anna Burda) for my older granddaughters. The gifts were mounted and framed - however I had never managed to do anything with the other three until yesterday when I put this one in a frame.
** The order of the entries in this is dependent on the order of the photos - I originally had the socks at the end but somehow managed to lose the photograph and when it was reloaded it was at the beginning and I am not quite up to changing its position