Monday, February 27, 2012

Adventures in NYC, Part 3, Stitching & Purple

Can we talk thread? Can we talk floss?

Detail of Tiny Great Curve, chain stitch in Valdani 12,
color  2 (charcoal).

While in NYC, I did venture out of Brooklyn and spent a glorious bit of time at Purl Soho, feasting on the threads and flosses.

Koigu wool needlepoint yarns.

The fabrics were wonderful, too (especially their collection of Liberty of London) but there are decent quilt shops in NC. The flosses and threads... those are harder to find.

Liberty of London fabrics, hooped near the door.

I can and do order threads online, but being able to paw through silk thread and bin after bin of Valdani 12 in every conceivable color in person... that is a special treat. And their collection of embroidery-worthy linens is not to be missed.

Wanted to spin this DMC cotton wheel!

Bought myself a collection of Valdani in greys and purples for my Tiny Great Curve self portrait. It is pleasure to stitch with this. I also treated myself to a spool of Trebizond twisted silk in a lilac for highlights on my latest piece.

Some of my supplies for the latest piece.

I didn't purchase any of the Liberty of London fabric because I'm anxious about money and storage in my apartment, but I did spend a little time fondling the bolts. I wasn't alone! Another woman was standing next to me, doing the same thing. "It's like silk," she said. And I nodded eagerly.

These bolts called to me. And to other fabricphiles.

Since being home I've been doing a fair amount of stitching and playing ideas. Making progress on my Tiny Great Curve piece. Still stitching words galore. Generally feeling very upbeat and creative. 

WIP, current state of Tiny Great Curve.

I only wish I could make it to Fiber Philadephia this weekend. The exhibitions of textile art look like they are going to be amazing! Alas, funds won't allow this. 

Leaving Purl Soho in my purple beret.

I think that the purple ground fabric of my latest piece has made me a little fixated on purple. I keep wearing a purple hat. And these beautiful purple hydrangeas are a constant source of inspiration.

From my squeeze. Excellent taste.

I keep them close to me, next to my laptop, in my tiny little bay window space, surrounded in my collection of Pantone color post cards.

Purple, floss, silk, art, time with Erin's beautiful family, stitch-speration, handwritten notebooks and marginalia, and stitching. These are all things that NYC gave to me on this visit. Will get back very soon. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Adventures in NYC, Part 2, Handwritten notes & archives

*And we remember strange and funny events, long ago and far away. Harlem is a police state with the voices of angels. Knitting in hand probably will change this.

Scrawl in my notebook.

Mash up of handwritten notes and marginalia in notebooks, manuscripts and scores by John Coltrane, Virginia Woolfe, Jorge Luis Borges, Jack Kerouac and Malcom X. All found at the Centennial Exhibition of the NYC Public Library.

Libraries rock. 
What we write in the margins and notebooks of our lives… treasure it. When you are exploring -- out in the world or through the portal of you laptop -- keep a notebook and jot and sketch and harvest, mofos.

My laptop with my new Nerd notebook,
from the NYC Public Library gift shop.

More NYC stitching adventures to come…

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adventures NYC, Part 1

Lucky me! Three days with Erin, Kevin & Maeve in Brooklyn. The Diego Rivera and Print Out shows at the MOMA and a wonderful, Centennial exhibition at the NYC Public Library. (Stitch-speration abounds.) Gorging on threads and fabrics at Purl Soho. Bouncing around NYC... man, it doesn't get much better than this.

"Super Duper Sound System" by Joshua Abram Howard.
(Read more about this N Brooklyn mural project.)

Erin is one of my oldest friends. To say I adore her is an understatement. She lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with her talented, writer husband Kevin and little gnomina daughter Maeve.

Erin & Maeve bring their auburn beauty
to the garden at the MOMA.

Three days in the generous company of her family, talking about life and art, eating Erin's phenomimal food... it is like heaven.

Me looking dwarfish in front of "Welcome to Greenpoint" by Skewville,
part of the India Street Mural project. 

Kevin is a writer, blogger and translator from Russian. And an all-around brilliant and funny soul. Kevin writes about art on his blog (New First Unexpected) A recent post is about the Diego Rivera exhibition at the MOMA, which we saw together.

"May Day Moscow, 1927" by Rivera.

I was also struck by Rivera's sketches from scenes in Moscow, especially the way he painted large groups of people in an unfamiliar enviornment. I enjoyed seeing the way he composed these quick paintings in strong horizontals -- sort of thick and heavy. Some of the sketches had more energy to their composition (he threw in some wonderful diagnonal frames) but the weightiness of the group scenes, with their flat lines and rows, spoke to me about the heaviness and gravity of the events themselves.

Collection of prints from the Print Out exhibition at the MOMA

We also spent some time at the Print Out exhibition, which showered me with stitch-speration and lead me to try to write in Chinese.

The circles in this piece give me chills when I think about
making them into raised, thread bumps!

And imagine a piece done entirely in raised spider wheel circles, like the circles from news print.

My sketchbook and some word stitching.

It is a cliche to say that in the city you are surrounded by powerful images, both intentional and unintentional. But it is true. I ate up all of the scenes and sounds and details and ideas around me. Devour them.

Random detail 1: Carved stone panel near the
front door of Erin's garden apartment.

Random detail 2: A ghostly leaf in my cappucino at Bowery Coffee in the Lower East Side
where a had a lovely time reconnecting with another NYC talented soul, Amy Vickers. 

I love my Durham home. I also love the city of my birth, NYC. I love my NC friends and life. I adore the visual gifts the natural world gives to us every day here in North Carolina. I don't love the strip malls. I don't love the parking lots. I don't love the beige work cubes. Getting away for even a few days... this helps me become less numb to the beauty around me.

Seeking your love of life, my peeps!

More to come... but for now I ask my NC peeps to share with me all that they find beautiful or sad or intense. Let's help each other make the most out of this gorgeous life. Every detail!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Lips, Stitched, Part 1

So, here is another take on self portraiture. These are my lips.

My lips, stitched.

The outline of the lips is chain stitch and the textured fill lines are in a combination of back stitch and chain stitch, in pearle cotton 5, 8 and 12. Had so much fun stitching this up, that I'm going to stitch up another pair and play with the textured stitches even more, trying different flosses, colors and line stitches. I love the idea of layering line stitches (feather, chain, etc.) to create a heavily embroidered surface.

I am truly happy stitch nerd... This is fun to me!

The world's cutest gnomina, Maeve!

Speaking of fun, headed to NYC this weekend to hang with my girl Erin and my beautiful, little gnomina, Maeve, seen here wearing a yellow kimono sweater I knit for her and the special gnome booties I made, too.

Lots of stitch-speration awaits!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A tiny portrait of my bare back

Working on little something just for me.

Self portrait.

This is a tiny version of my Great Curve design, stitched on pale plum Kona cotton. I'm using stem stitch and 310 pearle cotton floss. Pushing myself to get better at stem stitch, which I think is an elegant outline stitch that I've never been confident doing.

Word by Becky Wagoner, writing by me.
Love architectural terms so send me some!

I'm still collecting and stitching words like a banshee. I love the variety and themes of words that you're all giving to me. Thank you and please keep them coming!

Before taking a stitch.

Been working a lot at my corporate day job and I'm feeling weary. Siting in a beige cube, staring a a computer all day has lead to a strange feeling of disconnect from my body. This little portrait of my naked back is a reminder that my stiff shoulders and back have a shape and curve to them.

I'm hoping that stitching will help make it easier.