Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quiltin' and Stitchin'

It all started with this...Sharon B's Pin Tangle blog. Above is a small portion of her embroidery sampler. In 2009 it was 33 feet long and growing. Sharon lives in Australia and her embroidery is fantastic. I am so inspired by what she does, I feel the tug of embroidery once again.

It all started with this, but not really...I remember my mother pencilling Xs on white cotton fabric when I was a child. I would used three strands of embroidery floss and stitch over those rows of Xs. Nothing ever came of those rows, it was all about the process.

When I was in Girl Scouts, I remember being at my friend Gloria's house and working on a satin stich letter "S" which became part of a quilt we gave to our leader. The blocks spelled out Girl Scouts in green letters. That's all I remember about that, but I do remember thinking it was so beautiful. I wonder where that quilt is now? Probably it wasn't even quilted, it might have just been backed with fabric and meant for a bedspread.

Then when I was in high school my mother and I signed up for a crewel embroidery class.
It was taught by Thelma Verrill of Bowdoinham. Although we took our class at the high school, I believe she had a shop and sold wool thread and patterns. My mother and her friends went on to learn rug braiding from Thelma, too. From that early beginning they formed a Friday morning stitching group that met for many years. One woman in the group was the librarian in town and since the library was not open until 2pm on Fridays, that was a good morning to meet. For years after Fran left the library, the library still was not open on Friday mornings. I always got a kick out of that, I'm sure the future librarians did not know the "real" reason behind the library hours.

Which brings me to my interest in embroidery all over again, thanks to Sharon B's blog. I've been reading crazy quilt books. I just got a book through interlibrary loan and was surprised to see it is written by a woman here in Maine. It is called Crazy Quilting: the complete guide by J. Marsha Micher. I'm not sure where all this is leading to, I'm not really "crazy" about crazy quilts. I think it is the "craziness" about them that does not appeal to me, so I may have to come up with my own interpretation.

I also recently bought Judith Baker Montano's new book: Fiber Montage. In this book she combines her love of crazy quilting with her love of photography and shows how to create ink and watercolor images for a crazy quilt block or as a stand alone image to embroider and embellish. Oh, such fibery goodness!

In my sample above I have used yellow silk ribbon for the roses. Green silk floss for the stems and leaves. Pink linen thread for the "rosettes" with a white bead in the center. Lots of clear beads sparkle from the tips of the stems. I filled in with tiny purple seed beads sprinkled over the entire motif. Oh, and the dark dots? That is deep purple chenille thread/yarn done in the raised cup stitch. I used Sharon's stitch dictionary and Mary Corbet's videos as well as Fiber Montage for inspiration and directions.

The idea for my piece came from CQ online magazine. You can find the pattern here, which I loosely followed.


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