As soon as I read about Julie at button button’s  August sampler featuring french knots, I knew I would have to join in. We had a decent vacation planned (that involved a long car ride) and I knew I’d probably have some time to do some embroidery, and I knew I wanted a project that was pretty portable (and well-defined).

french knots

french knots

While on vacation and in the car, I did about two sections of the sampler (the yellow and the red). But what’s really helped is putting the piece in my embroidery stand. Once I did that, the progress has really picked up. What also helped was picking a sturdy needle. I tried my smaller, thinner needles (they are 9s I think) to start and that was not a good choice at all. I bent about four of them on the red section alone. The yellow section used three strands of floss in one shade of yellow, and then I went back with one strand in a slightly lighter shade. I ended up slightly bending the needle by the end. The red section uses three strands of red and one strand of pink and the amount of pulling to get the floss through the muslin is what did in the majority of my needles. Switching (and I don’t know what size needle it is, but maybe a 7?) really made my life easier. I haven’t bent this needle yet.

I’m not sure that I’ll get done before the end of the month, but I am definitely going to try! I’m pretty much winging it — picking colors as I go along, and hoping that it all works out. (You’ll notice a slight color change in the purple section — I ran out of floss in the shade I was using and had to move to another one that was closeish to it. I don’t mind, I like being relaxed about this process.) I love making french knots. And I love doing it over and over and over again. It’s been really soothing to come home to this project and work on a section. I don’t have to think too much about it, I don’t have to worry about ripping a one of a kind piece of vintage paper and working on it lets my brain (which has been working overtime) chill out.

three together
I fell in love with the slightly sad illustrations, and the leaf shape. And now I need to put them somewhere so I can look at them all the time.

It’s been ages since I did any work on paper that I was happy with. It was what, February when I did a little chain stitched doodle? That’s crazy. I have been itching to get back to it. I started a little white doodle on a book cover, but it’s sort of languishing.

After an afternoon of messing about with a dictionary page — a piece that didn’t work out at all, I gave another book a try. This book is one I picked up at the used book store near my office. They frequently have their in the worse shape books out on the street for sale at something like $3 a book. I bought this one in late February. It is full of pretty bits — the cover, an inscription, and some embossed pages.

I’m always a bit timid when starting in on a page that I find particularly precious. But things would never get put on them if i didn’t just go for it so… First up is the inscription page.

White as a feather

One thing I always do is sacrifice one page in the book (at least) when I start on a new one — to do stitch and color-testing with. Paper quality is hard to judge — sometimes it’s more brittle than I thought — and the patina in each book is always different so colors are important to test. This book has a nice quality of paper and it holds up to a bit of tugging. I was itching to do a bit more feather stitching so after a quick test and a decision to stick with white I just went for it. I’m pretty pleased with it.

Next up, an illustrated plate page. I hardly ever work horizontally on paper, if ever. I used a slight grayish/green color on this page. It ended up being pretty darn beautiful, don’t you think?

Sunday Morning

 

Sunday Morning - detail

Three Lithuanians

Continuing with my fondness for old family photographs, I wanted to quickly stitch up something small — this is about 4 inches on each side (a little longer on the horizontal), based on one of my favorite photos.

annaonrightThere is a lot of nuance in the glances and the small details that has gotten lost in my simple lines, but I still quite like it. This photo is of my great-grandmother Anna and her two brothers: Mike in the center and Pete on the left. There’s another sister, Catherine who isn’t pictured (perhaps she’s taking it?). Evidently, I have a particular soft spot for photos of my great-grandmother. I do though, really love the smaller things that get glossed over in my stitched version, and am half-considering doing it larger.

(Also, can you imagine wearing tights to the beach?!)

 

yes! vacation stitching

Last week my family and I took a little vacation to Ocean City, MD. It was a very relaxing trip. I did a bit of beach sitting (under an umbrella, wearing a big hat, naturally), a good bit of beer drinking and a little bit of stitching. Sometimes I combined a few of those activities.

I feel nice and refreshed and ready to take stuff on. Perhaps I’ll finish up what I started the other day, a bit of white embroidery on a book dust jacket.

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