Jessica

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big burlap wip
If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Flickr, then you’ve been seeing some photos of this large burlap sack I’ve been working on. The above photo doesn’t show the full thing even, it’s a big sack. I’ve been using this thick string, my big plastic needle and various motifs from some books I have collected over the past year or so. The idea is to make it sampler-like. I’m working without a real plan, just with some patterns in mind that I’ve liked and wanted to use. And I am trying to stay roughly on-center. There’s also a second side to this sack, and I have plans to do that as well. At the moment, I really like the idea of keeping the bag in-tact. Though I reserve the right to change my mind!

A little extra bonus: the bag smells like coffee beans still.

 

Fair warning, this post is going to be photo-heavy.

I frequent our quarterly library book sales and am always finding cross stitch patterns and this time I found a (falling apart) 1978 Better Homes and Gardens embroidery book. It’s got some interesting projects (like this blanket and pillow that I tweeted about earlier in the week), but most intriguing was this stitch diagram in the back:

diagram

A quick google around convinced me that I wasn’t really going crazy, this was something that I actually hadn’t seen anywhere else before.

I had to try it, and frankly, that diagram left me with a few questions on how it was supposed to work. I know I haven’t technically done a closed herringbone, but I really like it open (and it seems easier to describe and show), but basically the more closed the herringbone stitch, the feather stitch gets more closed as well.

So here we go. I will show you the stitch worked in a single color, and then again worked in two colors.

herringbone with feather step 1
First make a herringbone stitch.

herringbone with feather step 2
Then come up at the outside of a full cross to start the feather stitch.

herringbone with feather step 3
And start feather stitching, going under the cross and over the feather stitch (if this is confusing, wait for the two color pictures, that might help).

herringbone with feather step 4
Here’s the second feather stitch in progress.

herringbone with feather two colors
Here’s a look at making the feather stitch with two colors.

herringbone with feather stitch overlay
And here they are all done.

Really, it makes sense while doing it.

And because I can’t help myself, I did some experimenting with thread widths and stitch widths on paper.
herringbone with feather stitch overlay on paper

vacation with stan and betty - detail

I’ve been working the last few days on this little piece (it’s less than 7″ wide) featuring my paternal grandparents. There are some parts that I am really happy with — my grandfathers’ hair and hand — and other parts that I wish were better. I don’t normally do things twice, but I am thinking I might be more satisfied if I go a bit bigger.

vacation with stan and betty

Eventually, I can see myself collecting all my little family-based pieces into something bigger. Still not sure what exactly, but something.

Over the holidays, Bridgeen of Cherry and Cinnamon and I worked out a little private swap. (If you remember, our artwork was in a show together out in Seattle.) Her work is pretty amazing. I love how the Internet facilitates exchanges of this type, and I also love waiting for an opening packages!

Being that I’m still completely obsessed with stem stitching in very pale icy blue/greens, leaf shapes and french knots, I made her a little wintery tree piece from one of the embossed pages in the front of a poetry book. A bit like a plant growing out of the embossed seal. And how great is that embossed detail? It was one of the reasons I ended up buying this particular book.

embossedwinterytree

The color is a bit hard to capture on camera, but I used DMC 3756 which is very light and ever so slightly blue.

She sent me a completely awesome portrait of Paul Rudd (because I adore him). Read her post here about it!

I don’t know why I waited so long to try silk threads. In a bit of an impulsive moment, I picked up one pull skein at the local shop one night. In the piece here, I used two strands of Au Ver a Soie Soie d’Alger (color number 1812) and I love the results.

winter branches
winter branches detail

I think that this little experiment was pretty successful, and I will definitely be using more silks in the future.

 

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