Monday, February 28, 2011

And now, a pink biohazard pillow, in progress

To me, the biohazard symbol is thing of great elegance.

How can something that warns us against such menace as medical waste be so lovely, with its graceful circles and arcs?  Oh, Dow Chemicals, you employed a talented designer back in the 1960s.  (I’m sure he smoked and drank scotch in his office to get through his days.)

I’m trying to stitch it up in pink on a simple quilted pillow top that I made in colors that cheer me. 

My first attempt to transfer the biohazard symbol onto the dark fabric center, using a white, washable transfer pencil on my light box, failed. I just couldn’t make out the image well enough to use it as a guide to stitch.

So I traced the image onto Sulky Solvy, and taped that onto the fabric. I’m stitching the outline through the Sulky Solvy, which isn’t as pleasant as stitching through fabric alone.

Stitching is a visceral experience for me and It just feels slightly naughty to force the needle through the plastic film… but it is kind of fun, too. I love the little pop sound that the Sulky Solvy makes with each stitch.  Delightfully strange, kind of like the biohazard symbol.

Friday, February 25, 2011


link to us!

I am SO HONORED to have had my work featured in my TWO favorite embroidery blogs this week.  Astonished, actually.

Nicole, an AMAZING embroidery pattern designer and stitcher (whose own blog, Follow the White Bunny, is a huge source of inspiration) posted about my Turntable piece on the Feeling Stitchy blog on today!  I've bought Nicole's patterns from her etsy shop and they are just beautiful and, to me, have the quality of gorgeous children's books illustrations.

You can see the post here:
feeling stitchy: You spin me right round...: " a Woven Spider Wheel stitch, performed here beautifully by Olisa! Olisa made this awesome turntable embroidery for a recent Phat Q..."

And on Wednesday, Beefranck of Mr X Stitch fame posted a stitchgasm of my Little Hans embroidery on the Mr X Stitch blog!  Holy Frijole!

Mr X Stitch is the edgy wonderland of the embroidery arts blogosphere.  And Beefranck's fabulous cross stitch patterns turn traditional motifs on their heads with her dark wit and boundary-pushing messages.

You can see the link here:

Heartfelt thanks to Nicole and Beefranck for being so kind to me as I embark on my embroidery adventure. I'm HOOKED on stitching.  I think about it night and day. I'm so very grateful to them!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Turntable Embroidery Lands in New Zealand!

My turntable embroidery arrived safely to the warm and fabulous Jo in New Zealand.  Yippee!!

The Phat Quarter Music Swap (on flickr, sponsored by the Mr X Stitch blog) was a blast and I strongly encourage others to join in future swaps. This was my first time and I was just blown away by the gorgeous, creative pieces that the participants created.  Check out some of their work here. 

This piece was so much fun to stitch up. Inspired by The Record exhibition at the Nasher Museum (for which I recorded the audio guide), I sketched up several turntable and record designs in my sketch book.  Just doodles. 

However, I was insanely unrealistic about how long the piece would take to stitch. The finished piece is framed in a 9”x12” (23cm x 30 cm) frame. What the hell was I thinking?! For two whole weeks, I was stitching every night after work for a few hours and all day long on the weekend.  I’m not kidding.   

My neck and shoulders became mine fields of knots.  I developed freaky calluses on my finger tips.  I drank lots of booze in an effort to relax my muscles.  I listened to several hours of the “Stitching and Junk” pod cast from Mr X Stitch, which is hysterical and kind of rated R. Good times! 

But it was so worth it to make something for Jo.  She is such a good soul… so kind, so supportive and so creative.  It’s especially nice to make something when you know the recipient will really understand the work that went into it. 

And I really pushed myself, playing with color and stitches.  My favorite stitches have to be the woven spider wheel stitches that I used for the volume button and other buttons.  Jo said that they make her want to push the buttons! I want to make a whole piece of just these woven spider wheel stitches.   

And I really like the effect of the back stitch fill stitch on the record itself.  Although that is what took the longest to stitch. 

The back

OK, enough excitement here from me.  I’m a freaky geek! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm an Oak - Stitch/sketch self portrait

I've dreamt many times about finding my face in hidden places.

Momentarily frozen in the desert sand or scraped into the paint of a peeling, city shack.

The most amazing and frightening dream was that I stumbled on an injured deer in a forest and she had my face.

My self portrait sketch became my face trapped in the bark of an oak.

I want to make more of these portraits with more careful stitching.  Stitching is such a slow process... it was fun and freeing to approach this piece as a sketch. I made large, looping split stitches to outline the bark.  I took a little more care with my face, but I didn't sweat each stab of the needle like I normally do.

But still, the process is slow.  To get more detail, color and shading for this image... that will take even more time.  I can document the deterioration of my face for the next 30 years.

This is exciting.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First attempt for thread sketches, self portrait

I'm making my first thread sketches for my self portrait based on the photo in my previous post

I've already learned so much.  The same aspects of my aging face that annoy me in my 3D life actually excite me in terms of drawing and stitching.  The nasal-labial folds, the little lines under my eyes, the small bump on the bridge of my nose and that weird little dimple in the middle of my chin... these things actually make my face more interesting.

I find myself thinking that, without these imperfections, I would actually kind of have a boring face!

This is just a sketch.  Using 2 strands of DMC black floss on light gray Kona Cotton (backed with white muslin.) Lots of details to add, still, in single strands of floss. Feeling oddly grateful for my little wrinkles.

I'm disappointed that it is so hard for me to blog during they work week.  By the time I get home it is so dark and, while I can work on stuff, it is hard to photograph.  As Spring comes and the day light lasts longer, I will hopefully overcome that.

In addition to the self portraiture, I'm hoping to start a Springtime Biohazard series.  Oh, when will I win the lottery!?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Self portrait sketches in pencil then stitch

Sent off my piece to New Zealand this morning for Jo from the Phat Quarter Music swap.  I've never worked so long and hard on a piece as I have on that one.  I just hope that Jo likes it.  I'll post photos once it arrives safely in New Zealand.

I've just been amazed by the awesome embroideries that have been exchanged in this swap.


Now I'm feeling a little adrift.  I want to try some embroidered self portraits.  Here is an image that I want to translate into stitch.  I'm just doing pencil sketches and next I'll do thread sketches.

This is fun.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

On feeling demented... Phat Quater Swap piece nearly done

WOW, did I underestimate the amount of time and work this piece would take when I was designing it!

Chalk it up to being a newbie embroiderer. I've been stitching for hours and hours every day after work and all day yesterday and I'm nearly done.

No complaints here, though, because I've really pushed myself with this work, both in terms of the design and the stitches.

And I'm happy to be sending this off to Jo in New Zealand when I'm done.  As an embroiderer, I know she will appreciate all of the work I've put into this piece and the love I've snuck in with every stitch.

But I feel horribly guilty that I haven't sent it yet.  The other members of the Phat Quater Music Swap are sharing their photos of the amazing pieces they've received and I feel like a total slacker for being late.  (I was obviously clueless about how much time it would take.)  I'm having a blast, though!

But damn, right now I need another beer and a painkiller!