Work in progress

After I completed one sampler for Personal Library of Stitches, my daughter Nan saw my post about lacking inspiration. She suggested that I make something for her new studio. I asked her what is her favorite color and what other colors does she like. She said, “Purple. Green, blue, and red.” In my thread stash I chose those colors, to which I added yellow and gold for brightness and contrast. Then I matched up the threads with some cotton fabrics from my stash.


Meanwhile, I was thinking of a theme and and it is “Celebration of Dance.” I decided to make a wall hanging like a banner, and it will be about 20″X10″. I tried painting these colors on a piece of cotton, but the colors were not as intense as I wanted. Next I played with colored papers for design ideas.


And finally I cut out the shapes from fabrics and fused them to fine linen as the ground fabric. I’ve stretched the linen over cotton backing on stretcher bars. This is the first layer of what I expect will be a multi-layered piece with lots of textured stitching, beads, and other materials. I’m going to put crewel filling stitches over the patches. So far, I don’t know what comes next, but I want to suggest movement. I’ve printed the photo so that I can play with pencil for ideas to fill the spaces around the patches. Meanwhile, I’ve also gone back to Sharon Boggon’s course, “Sumptuous Surfaces” for inspiration. This much I know, it’s going to be vibrant.


A sampler

Lacking inspiration for another project, I am re-doing Sharon Boggon’s course, “A Personal Library of Stitches”. For each lesson I intend to make a sampler. Of course, inspiration may strike at any time and I give myself permission to interrupt my coursework. Lesson 1 is on borders and the featured stitches are chain, chevron, herringbone, Guilloche. straight feather stitch, Cretan, Portuguese stem, and running stitch. I used the Guilloche stitch for my outer border, to frame the sampler. The threads are cotton pearl #8 and #5, gold metallic thread, and a heavy rayon  Edmar thread used in Brazilian Embroidery. The fabric is Aida. See the results below. Click on the image for a closer look.



Yesterday I finished this crazy quilt wall hanging and hung it outside my apartment, in the hall.   Outside apartment

This project began in 2005, when I first conceived the desire to create a series of embroideries on the theme of the S shape. For several years, I had been thinking about words that described my life as it had become–housebound and very limited (at that time); and all the words began with S. In fact, I began a Mind Map to collect my ideas as early as 2004. At the time I got the idea to make embroideries using the S shape in the designs, I was listening to Bach Partitas, and I thought I would like to make a stitched “partita”–a set of variations on a theme. But it was not until 2006 that I got to work on the idea seriously.

By this time I had 14 S words that I wanted to make embroideries for. When I have in my outer life silence, simplicity, solitude, slowness, stability, study, and stitching, then in my inner life I have satisfaction, self-sufficiency, serenity, softening, spaciousness, spontaneity, and synchronicities.    These words define my spiritual life. To them I could add Spirit/Self.

The design process began on paper, late in 2013,as participation in CQJP 2014. I wanted to see how 12 blocks with black seam treatments would look. I made myself some blocks with colored pencils on paper, cut them out, and tried out arrangements. Next I chose fabrics and hand-basted 12 CQ blocks. I photographed and printed them and played with various arrangements.  I also began to make notes for seam treatments. Paper-blocks                          Pieced Seam-treatments-on-paper              On-paper
Basted-block From several sources, I found S’s to transfer to the blocks, first on the printed paper blocks, then on to the fabric blocks

In January  last year, I chose the threads and beads I wanted to use and I stitched a trial block.  See it below. (I’m having a helluva time getting WordPress to put pictures where I want them. I used to be able to drag them where I wanted them.)      January-trial-block

Work-in-progress. It took  me until the end of  the year to finish embellishing the blocks. It took  me until a few weeks ago to know how I wanted to finish the piece.  The border was once a velveteen skirt. Because I’m not skilled at constructing a quilt, I chose to mount it on padded foamcore. I covered the back with black cotton quilting material.

IMG_4487I’m fairly happy with the finished product.  Yesterday a neighbor knocked on my door to tell me how much she liked it. We spent about 15 minutes talking about it, as she asked me questions. Having done crewel embroidery many years ago, she recognized some of the stitches.

Now, what next?


Yesterday I drove to Ocean City, three hours away. I got there by 11:00 and walked the boardwalk, almost end-to-end, and back again, about two miles. It was a perfect day, not too hot, sunny and clear. I walked down to the water’s edge. On my walk, I saw LOTS of YOUNG people and no one near my age. What a treat! Though I had left my camera at home, I took some pictures with my phone. Not great, but enough to give you some idea. And to prove I was there.


For lunch I went to Fager’s Island. That’s where Ernie and I always had lunch upon arrival at Ocean City. Twenty years later, the restaurant has changed a lot, gone upscale, with white tablecloths and much more outdoor seating.  I had a Bloody Mary, followed by a humongous vegetarian sandwich. Good food, tastefully presented. Fager’s Island is on the Assawoman Bay side of the peninsula. Here’s the view from my table.


As you can see, the sky was blue with puffy white clouds. With no traffic delays, going or coming, I got back home at 4:30, after stopping for gas. A lovely outing. All day, I saw NO people of my age!

Family visit

Lauryth and BeauCaleb and AuroraAurora's oysterBeau's oysterRachelFamily

Grandson Caleb and family were here at Cbarlestown for the past week.  Granddaughter Rachel and her fiance were at Michael’s house for the weekend. Here are shots of Caleb with Aurora and Lauryth with Beau at the Inner Harbor. Next are shots of Aurora and Beau having their first raw oysters. They loved them! Next is some of the family at Michael’s house with Rachel in the foreground. And finally, Caleb’s family in the guest apartment. We had a wonderful time with them here.

Beau with her bag

Beau received the bag and book two days ago. Here she is with the bag loaded for an outing at the park.


Blogging and stitching

Having gotten out of the habit of frequent blogging, I’m finding it hard to get back into it. I’ve shown you the work-in-progress on Beau’s bag.  It’s finished and I’ve mailed it off to Vashon Island–the bag with the Kate Greenaway book inside. It just fits. Here you can see the front and the back. I stitched the CQ blocks to a ready-made canvas bag. The front has alphabet letters and critters on the patches. The back has numerals and flora motifs. On both sides I included shisha, thinking Beau would get a kick out of the tiny mirrors.

Front Back


Now I’m working on a sampler–just something to keep me stitching, as I’m still finding it hard to do so every day. Here’s Guilloche stitch for the border. It’s funny how putting a border on it makes the sampler feel more important–worth trying to do it well.


Counting threads is not my favorite stitching technique, but I like the even stitches it produces. This sampler is on Aida evenweave fabric.