Sunday, January 30, 2011

Deadline? Oops...

Despite my stitching until new and strange calluses form on my fingertips, I'm not going to make my deadline for the Phat Quarter Music Swap.  Boo-hoo!  I'll have to ship my piece off to New Zealand next week.  But my lateness isn't due to a lack of effort! I think I was just too ambitious in terms of the size and the amount of stitching this was going to take.

But I'm really happy with how it is turning out.  It will be hard to give this up because it is my most involved embroidered piece so far. 

I'm so in love with stitching.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Turntable Embroidery Spins s l o w l y

Spoiler Alert for my swap mate Jo: Don't read any further!!

Making s l o w progress on my embroidery for Phat Quarter Music Swap sponsored by Mr X Stitch.  I chose a turntable because, as I blogged a few weeks ago, Rico and I have rediscovered the fabulousness of vinyl, thanks to The Record exhibition at The Nasher.  Thanks to Rico for taking these shots in the terrible winter light.

This design is based on various sketches I did of turntables.  My deadline to ship this to New Zealand is Jan 31st and I'm having to hustle to get it done. Stitching every night until my fingers are bloody and raw.

OK, that is a slight exaggeration.  But I'm stitching a lot, especially the back stitch fill of the record itself.  Trying to suggest the grooves of the vinyl, but we'll see how this turns out.

I really like the colors!  Black, red and two shades of gray which have fantastic names: Very Dark Beaver Gray and Very Light Beaver Gray.  The ground fabric is Kona Cotton in Cactus and, allowing myself to sink into true embroidery geekery, I'm using a Number 5 embroidery needle.  (I think I've finally found the perfect embroidery needle for me!)

I just had to share my absolute favorite flickr comment that Taff1973 left about the hazard sign on my Do Not Enter embroidery.  "I'm a departmental safety coordinator at my labs and once, a newbie said it meant 'No big hands!!'. I think I giggled for a week...."  I was just as confused about the image when I first saw it, too!  I was like, what the hell is this big hand??  And why isn't it allowed?!

Back to stitching... or I'll never get this sent off on time!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Inflammable means flammable? What a country!

So says Dr. Nick Riviera.

This is a piece that I stitched up about 6 months ago but never got around to stretching.  I stitched it on a single layer of Kona Cotton.

I can see so much more puckering and pulling in the piece, especially with the heavy long and short fill stitch in the flame.

I can see improvement in my more recent stitching. I put a lot into this piece, though, and I learned a lot.

It is a process, learning to stitch.  That's really all I can ask for.  Feeling oddly blah today.  Got to take it stitch by stitch.  Maybe I should watch some Simpsons and gather some more wisdom from Dr. Nick and his Upstairs Hollywood Medical School training!

Luna likes it. My sweet little high contrast puppy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Little Hans Cracks Heads

How to memorialize your little nephew Hans, all grown up and cracking hippie heads?

This is how. 

I'm not mocking riot cops, here, mind you.  I'm not praising them, either.  I was in a riot, once, in Paris in 1998, and it wasn't fun.  I hadn't intended to be in a riot and I did not like the dudes with the masks and the sticks.  But this piece isn't about the politics of dissent or peaceful demonstrations gone wrong.  It is just about the image.

I found this crazy sign on a website somewhere while researching hazard symbols and fell in love...

Stitched it up on this fabric that, to me, looks the the wallpaper of sweet, alcoholic Aunt Hortense (not a real person)...

And this is what I got.

Satin stich is hard!  I used it for the outline of the face mask and I need more practice.  I really, REALLY love the spiderweb wheel (a.k.a woven circle) stitch that I used for the face mask bolt.  I want to use this stitch all of the time, now.  I stitched a decorative border around Hans with fern stitch, which I also really enjoy.

Today I had my fiber arts group, String Thing, in the morning, and then crafting with Juline and Katherine later this afternoon.  Yippee!  I have a kernel of an idea for a little project that I may feature in the etsy shop I share with Juline (that I've been neglecting horribly.) We'll see if these dark little objects make it from my mind and sketchbook into reality. And whether they are worthy of putting up for sale. 

Ah, Hans...  what a cold, hard hunk you are...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Phat Quarter Swap, Oh My!

Cold and ice, be damned!

THE most fun, exciting new project of this week is taking part in the Phat Quarter flickr group swap. Phat Quarter is the flickr group for the Mr X Stitch blog, which is one of my favorite embroidery blogs.

This is my first swap with this group and I'm geeked!

The theme of the swap is very broad: Music.  We are free to create whatever we want, however we interpret this general theme. Forty stitchers from around the world will be making pieces and sending them to each other.  When I look at the work that has come out of past swaps... wow!  Some really beautiful, whimsical pieces are being created and shared.

I have been hooked up with two LOVELY stitchers and I could not be more excited about this.

by i_hear_noises

i_hear_noises (a.k.a. Denise) is a playful, inventive stitcher in Cologne, Germany.  I am lucky enough to be the recipient of a piece by her.  I love her wicked, embroidered handkerchiefs!  There is something wonderfully subversive about a pretty, flowered hankie inscribed with "bitch."

by i_hear_noises

Denise has extremely diverse musical tastes (Joy Division, electric and house music, Hip Hop and Motown!) which impress the hell out of me!  She is a university student studying English and social sciences.  I imagine she is a wild but super intelligent young woman.  Her tumblr site has fantastic music videos.  I have a feeling that she will be creating something a bit on the funky side, which I love. Lucky me!

I'm creating a piece for the talented stitcher jojobooster (a.k.a. Jo) in Parau, New Zealand, who sounds like someone I'd love to hang out with if only she didn't live 8,500 (13,200 km) away.

Jo blogs about crafting at The Unexpected Hug.  She has participated in Phat Quarter swaps before, where she made this gorgeous piece for an anatomy-themed swap.

by jojobooster

Jo is a Brit who has relocated to New Zealand.  I love this pillow she made for her mother-in-law that has Maori designs.

by jojobooster

And then she makes plush.... could I just swallow Jo up?! A plush maker who creates charming pieces like this ninja hugging creature?

by jojobooster

My only hope is that I can make something worthy of her wonderful spirit!

So, yeah, I'm kind of excited about this swap. Can you tell?  I have some sketches started and I have a pretty good idea about what I'm going to make, but I can't share it here, which is hard for me.

Taking this post in a different direction (sort of), Juline took me to a super duper fun, black & white themed art party this Sunday in a beautiful home/gallery in Chapel Hill.  The exhibition was from local collectors' black and white photography collections.  I got to see a Harry Calahan original print, which was very cool for me.  He was one of the first photographers whose work really captured my imagination.

Here is a photo of me (right) and Juline at the party.  The spinning light installation in the background is giving me ideas for my embroidered piece for Jo!  Things that go around and around... hmmm....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Do Not Enter! (Not really... Please enter)

I finished and hooped my Do Not Enter embroidery!  Yah!

I just love stitching up these signs.  I have a flammable warning sign finished and ready to stretch, too.  I'm still fairly new to embroidery and I find that the pieces with heavy fill stitch have a real tendency to pucker and pull. I've gotten a bit better in my most recent piece. I think that the trick is to pull the fabric really taut while I'm doing the stitching.  Hopefully future pieces will come out smoother.

The fabulous Juline took this shot of the sign in action in Italy this fall.  Thank you, Juline, for capturing this image out in the world, doing the hard work for which it was designed! I had initially thought this was a German sign, but it looks like it pops up in other countries.

Some details for the embroidery geek in my heart...

Thread: DMC, six strand floss in colors 310 and 321.

Stitches used:
Long and short stitch in for the hand
A kind of "brick" back stitch for the red ring
Back stitch for the figure
Chain stitch in black around the red ring.

Despite the message this embroidery depicts, I don't want to keep people way!  I actually want to bring people closer to me and my world (hence the blog) and get closer to other people's passions.  In 2011, I want to embrace the world... or at least some of the lovely folks in it.

So don't let this pushy, stitched little man keep you away from me.  PLEASE!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Riot Police Ahead - New embroidery in progress

I'm not sure why you would need a hazard sign to warn that Riot Police are out and about, but I found this wonderful sign design on a German hazard symbol webpage.

This is a new embroidery piece I just started.

The first attempt was on blue fabric with white floss, but I decided it needed something a little more friendly and unnerving, so I'm stitching it up on this pink and orange fabric I found in the clearance bin at a local quilt shop.  The selvedge says, "Bellbottom by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit, Westmister Fibres," which sounds like an oddly complicated name.

I bought tons of this fabric. To me it looks like the wallpaper of a wonderfully wacky great-aunt.

My first new project of 2011.  I really do love these hazard signs, even if I don't entirely understand them. I finished the Do Not Enter piece with the angry head and the big black hand. Now I just have to hoop it up for display. I'll post photos when I pull it together.

I suspect there are a lot of these pieces in my future.  Menace is all around us!  Nothing protects loved ones like an embroidered warning sign.