Friday, March 10, 2017

Feeling Stitchy Friday Instagram Finds

Almost every Friday I check out Feeling Stitch Friday Instagram Finds. I usually find something inspiring-a new artist, blog, or Instagram feed to follow. Today, I was busy at work so I did not take a lunch hour and consequently did not surf my favorite blogs to brighten my day.

At the end of the day I picked up my phone to move it and saw in my notifications that Feeling Stitchy mentioned me (me!!!!) in a comment. I started to read the comment and realized I was the Instagram Find of the Day. I went crazy (quietly as I was at work in an office). I ran--yes, ran-- to my friend's office to tell him. He was away from his desk. I ran back to my desk, quietly squealing, to call my husband. He asked me to repeat it slower and asked me what an "Instagram feed" is. (He does not have a phone or do social media.) He was happy for me and congratulated me. I called my friend, sent him the link, called my mom, sent her the link (will explain to her tonight how to access the link) and got back to work. Who else can I tell? Who else gets it?

I cannot begin to tell you how excited and honored I am to have Amy at Feeling Stitchy talk about my work. I feel like I just received the Grammy of stitching.

If you have not seen it... And thank you to everyone who has taken a peek at my work and started following me on Instagram. This is an amazing end to the week! Oh, and 91 is my new lucky number...

I am just putting the finishing border on a piece and will post it as soon as it is done.

Baci e abbracci

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017


I did it! I paid someone to frame my work. It was really expensive but I could not do it myself. Both the framer and the friend that went with me thought it looked better in landscape, so that is how it has been framed. I have to say it looks nice. Of course the cost of framing really makes the work jump up in price but if it does not sell it will look nice on my wall and I can enter it in other competitions. Now I just have to get in through the jury process...


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fabric Collage

I am smitten with fabric collage. I love it from beginning to end. No. 6 is the largest piece I have embroidered and it took 2 weeks to complete. It measures approximately 23 by 16 inches. There were so many times I wanted to abandon it. I loved it, I hated it, I was sick of it, I did not know what to do with it. Now that it is finished, I am pretty pleased with it. I worked on it the whole time in landscape. My husband, "the most interesting man in the world" (from the Dos Equos commercial with the guy who flips the painting in the gallery and then everyone sees it clearly), insisted that it looked best vertically. He was right. I am so happy with the outcome that I am going to have it professionally framed and enter it in the juried staff show at work. 

The fabric pinned in place.

During the collage process I started by taking my inspiration from a painting by Bill Scott. I love his work. His color, line and especially composition are beautiful, but I just could not make it work. I started from scratch at least 3 times then I took this photo so I could "draw" my embroidery lines on the collage with colored pencils to plan everything out prior to making a stitch. I could not be bothered. I need to just start stitching without too much of a plan. I knew I wanted to go back to the embroideries I was doing on a plain piece of fabric using the blanket stitch.


A lot of people seem to like this design (I've sold a couple) and thought I would like to work with it over collage. I also love this stitch in the round. So I started at one corner and worked my way up. I used more collage and raw edge applique for the circular blanket stitch centers.




It was a good experience to work so large. I tried new things because I had lots of space to play. The new piece I am working on is smaller. It is definitely easier to do the collage in a smaller area and I wanted to get something ready quickly because I don't leave the house without a project to work on. 

(Sorry, the colors are really pretty in person. The photos are not "true.")

Baci e abbracci

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Red No. 5

Moving right along with number 5 in the series. This one gave me some issues with the satin jacquard fraying and making a mess. I finally decided to embroider over part of it to stabilize it.


I also was able to use some yo-yo's that were made for another project (zip bags) over three years ago, but were never utilized because I did not like the way they were coming out. My plan is to make a pillow cover with the rest--someday. Like others, I see flowers in yo-yo's and added some stitching to the center to create a kind of black part of the floral disc. I like making yo-yo's and trying to make the flower my own.

My next project will be a break from the series to do something a bit more abstract to hopefully finish in time to submit to a show.

Baci e abbracci

Thursday, February 2, 2017

My Process

When I posted the photograph below on Instagram, 'stitchqueengem' asked me to talk about my process. I thought it would be easier to do so on my blog rather than Instagram.  



I've mentioned this book in a previous post, but will say again that Mandy Pattullo's book, Textile Collage was the first and only book on knitting, quilting, embroidery, or drawing that I read cover to cover. I had been trying textile collage as well as embroidery separately and was not pleased with the composition in the collage (because I was piecing on the machine and limited to joining vertically and horizontally) and was just 'OK 'with my embroidery. I had done some raw edge collage and raw edge applique and was pleased with those pieces but did not 'love' them. Something clicked when I read Ms. Pattullo's book and I again started doing collage with embroidery which led to pictorial scenes with flowers, much like the flowers I have drawn and painted, and using embroidery stitches from other work I have done.

I begin with a piece of muslin with a piece of batting on top. At this time I am working each piece of this series in mostly monochromatic compositions using scraps from my wonderful collection of itsy-bitsy pieces from my quilt-making and a collection of larger scraps from my and my friend's quilt-making. I am also incorporating some cut up clothing, and other cuttings from fabrics that I purchased for these collages. I try to stay away from my uncut fabric collection except for the use of the backing. I have been saving these scraps and clothes for years knowing that I would one day use them this way.

I arrange the pieces and pin them into place. I recently purchased applique pins and really like using them--they are short straight pins. Then I sew the pieces to the muslin/batting background with a matching sewing thread--basically using a tacking stitch as suggested in Pattullo's book referenced above. Then I embellish with flowers using applique and traditional embroidery stitches. Nothing fancy or complicated. 

I am truly enjoying the ease of creating these pieces as much as the final result--I hope that does not sound conceited. I am often hard on myself and do not like what I produce, always comparing my work to other people's work that I like and admire. 

I think the process is super easy and fun. 

Baci e abbacci

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Favorite Tools

It was my birthday the other day and I always use that day, week, month as an excuse to treat myself. I purchased the Louise Bourgeois book about her textiles, a spool rack, and a Roxanne Thimble.  I looked into the thimble a couple of years ago when I was hand quilting, but decided it was too extravagant and since I stopped hand quilting and moved onto doing things that did not require a thimble it was unnecessary. My favorite thimble was a Clover leather thimble, it fit like a glove, but it would eventually get a hole and become useless. So I did it. I went out to Macy's jewelry counter during my lunch hour and measured my finger and ordered the sterling silver thimble.

I admit it took about a week to get used to the metal "armour" versus the leather "second skin," but now I love it! I am so glad I made the investment. No other metal thimble ever fit correctly, they were too big or too small so I always went back to the leather. Now that I love my new thimble the only problem I had was getting the needle through the multiple layers of fabric in my collages. When I used the leather thimble, I would brace my first finger against my middle finger to do the job, but that shifted the silver thimble so I started using my first finger in a way that caused pain in my hand and wrist. 

Rebecca Ringquist, during her Creative Bug class, wears rubber finger tips from the office supply store. I have done this off and on, but I am inbetween sizes so again, one is a little too tight, and the next size a little too big. I also don't like my first finger tip completely covered as I have to remove the tip in order to thread a needle, which I do quite often (I like to choose colors while working so I don't pre-thread my needles which is what Ringquist suggests). Today, while embroidering on the train, I decided to cut off the top of the rubber finger tip. Voila! Perfect! Now I can grab the needle to pull it through the layers of fabric and thread my needles without removing the rubber tip.


My beautiful Roxanne thimble and my altered rubber finger tip.

Baci e abbracci