Friday, December 30, 2011

Wrapping up 2011...

Happy New Year of 2012 to everyone!  Hope all of your holiday celebrations were happy ones! I guess I need to wrap up my stitching year with some pictures of several projects finished up these last three weeks. Jo asked for a picture of all the tiny biscornu necklace fobs, so here they are....

The one for October is not so tiny, but hey, I like it!  My college class ring is beside the first one so you can see how small they are. I was working on the last one and got many comments at the stitching seminar, and a few people wanted instructions! Earlier this year I did do a tutorial on biscornu finishing so I hope that helps anyone who wants to try their hand at wearable needlework art. My final results for 2011 included 44 completed projects (2 were gifts), and 18 of those projects were also finished off as biscornu, ornaments or pillows. I still have 8 WiPs and 10 UFOs. For 2012 I am going to try and get 2 more WiPs completed, and attempt some designs of my own for the monthly biscornu series, so keep visiting!

On to the JCS Christmas at Williamsburg Needlework Seminar....this year was the 25th annual event for Hoffman Publishing, the publishers of Just Cross Stitch and many other crafting magazines. The event does lean in the direction of samplers and reproductions, but this year I took the class with Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks Designs. The piece is a traditional crewel Jacobean design of a strawberry motif for a needle book and fob. Barbara is an experienced surface embroiderer with training from the Royal School in England, and taught us some of the tricks of the trade. I learned that "crewel" refers to the type of thread used, which is usually plied wool, although any fiber can be used.  We basted muslin to the back of our linen ground fabric (and stitched right through both layers) to give more strength to the piece, which is meant to be used. She went over each stitch, from stem stitch to long and short, to split stitch, lazy daisy, bullion, tied fly, and satin stitch, and yes....french knots! Here is a close up...
The design is very lightly sketched on the linen for us in the kit, and blue dots of washable marker are there to outline the shape for finishing. I still have to remove them and assemble the two parts of the set, the needle book/scissor keep and a separate scissor fob.  I really enjoyed doing those yellow bullion stitches!
This is the completed front cover of the book (upside down), and will be stretched over acid free card stock (which she found at a comic book store!) cut into a heart shape. The hinge will be on the top edge. Inside is a fold of felt and a pocket for some tiny scissors. The back and the fob are here...
I actually added a strawberry to the back so my poor attribution would not look so sparse! The fob is folded and hem stitched with a bit of fluff. Here are some close up pics....

All that is left to do on this is to do the finishing!  The instructions are clear, and Barbara went over them in class, so I feel pretty sure I'll be getting it done soon! I would recommend her as a class teacher wholeheartedly, one of the best teachers I've had in fact!  Since I was in a "crewel" mood, I decided to finish up another embroidery piece from a previous class with Catherine Jordan. This is her Tree of Life Journal Cover, and I just had to finish up the back and hem it and it's now done completely and covering a tiny 3x4 inch blank journal! I put the title and year (in Roman numerals) on there as well as my initials hidden in the grass. This little journal is going to be saved for very profound thoughts indeed!

I was in need of an idea for my Mom for her Christmas gift (she is 87 and really hard to shop for!) so an exclusive design from San-Man Originals for the members of her bulletin board magically appeared (Thanks Sandy!) and insisted I stitch it!  I used opalescent fabric to give it a snowy sparkle and will make a little banner for her door this time for the new year, of course!
Now I am working on the 2011 Prairie Schooler Santa as my last project of the year...hope to finish stitching it by tomorrow.  I also have another picture I want to share...a few months ago I saw a blog somewhere, and the blogger was showing off her "flower frog" that she was using to keep her scissors safely stored away in.....and I just HAD to find this "flower frog" thingy, whatever that was!  Not a frog at all (tho' a flower frog FROG would be so appropriate for sewing scissors don't ya know!), but a glass bowl with a top that has holes for arranging short stemmed flowers like pansy blossoms. And, through the power of eBay, I found this lovely blue glass bowl and took this picture. Now I have to round up all the other little scissors to keep in it!  LOVE IT!

May everyone have a safe and happy New Year in 2012 and be sure to come visit me often!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lots of smalls to celebrate!

November was a VERY busy month, and December is looking the same, so I'm posting a Happy Dance catch-up today!  I'm going to try and keep them in chronological order, so here we go.....

Early in the month I stitched the Mill Hill Buttoned & Beaded kit for the Gingerbread House, which was a birthday present for my DMIL Helen. I have given it to her so now I can post a picture!
The red frame is also from Mill Hill....what could be easier?

Next I stitched the last of the Val's Stuff Kitty Kalendar series for December. Stitched on a Silkweaver Solo on hand, and very cute!  Now that all 12 are done, I've got to figure out a way to finish them, possibly with only one small frame to switch them out every month.

Next is my November tiny biscornu, a freebie pattern from the Alexandrina blog Matrioshka Biscornu, the Acorn Biscornu and Scissor Fob set. I made the biscornu tiny by stitching over one and adding a leaf button. It is about an inch and a half across.

At this point I was on a roll when it comes to smalls, and decided to keep going because the month had been so busy with Thanksgiving and all, and the teenage boy kittens were getting too interested in my large Chatelaine on the frame!  Next up, the 1989 Schooler Santa from Prairie I only have this year's 2011 Santa and beyond!

In a Christmas mood, I decided to get out the backlog of Just Cross Stitch ornament issues and stitch up a couple. These two are both from the 2004 ornie issue, Never Too Big, by Dragon Dreams....
...and Woodland Snowfall from Little House.  Hope to do a lot of ornament finishing in the new year!

Lastly, since I was going off to the JCS Christmas in Williamsburg Stitching Seminar I kitted up my December necklace fob and had it done in no time. The motif I used was from a pattern by Janie Hubble from the November issue of The Gift of Stitching online magazine. This is the smallest one yet, barely an inch across!  I added some beads and a tiny Polar Express bell to make it festive.

Now I am all caught up, and will post more later on the stitching seminar I attended with my friend Carolyn.
The class we took was with Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks Designs, and is a crewel strawberry needlebook and fob.