Monday, August 29, 2011

Trapping Threads

I admire those who keep their embroidery floss in an orderly fashion -- all neatly wrapped, labeled and organized by colors, shades and dye lot numbers.  Admiration or not, I have to admit that I am not one of them.

My threads are in glass jars above my work table.  These glass jars are filled to the brim with the various threads which make up my life and my work.  Each jar contains a collection of a color selection.  All purples together, all rose/pink/coral together, all greens together, all browns together, all rusts and golds together, etc.  Its really no way to work efficiently because with each project begun I must get down the jars that will apply to my color scheme and go through each skein of floss.

BUT - that's my joy: sorting, sifting, laying out the various color dye lots.  Laying out the shades in light, dark and in between, touching the threads and comparing them for density and shade.  Deciding what I will need to add to my 'collection'.  Last but not least - filling each jar to the brim with threads that I might or might not use in the future.  Sometimes organization is not necessary at all *smile*.

"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable". - Mary Oliver

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bird Song Pocket

I love vintage bird drawings and incorporated this Morning Dove into my latest petite pocket.

Again to my 'stash of stuff' where I pulled out these tiny metal birds to dangle from the bottom of the pocket.

I will admit to having several problems with this pocket -- things like working with the picture and the final stages of assembly.  Perhaps I've done enough  of these pockets that I'm getting a bit careless.  Perhaps the colors, which seem so subdued to me, did not fulfill my expectations...

However, I am on to the next one -- which I hope will be a bit more colorful and present a bit more 'energy'.

"Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom
How do they learn it?
The fall and falling,
they're given wings."

Monday, August 22, 2011

On My Own

As I recently mentioned -- copying someone else's design (Paul Klee for example) did not seem to work for me. I've been thinking about this over the past few days.

Although getting inspiration from others is a true gift -- copying a picture or even working directly from a pattern seems to take something away from my own creativity.  I am definitely a 'process' person - the process is what I love.  But along the way I've realized that creating the design 'on my own' is also an important factor for me.  There are a lot of punchneedle patterns from which I could choose.  It would be easy to start punching a pre-made design that has already been printed on the fabric.  It would be easy to go out and buy the threads that the pattern designer has specified - or even easier to buy a pattern that comes complete with the threads.  But for me, that would take most of the 'fun' out of it.

I don't consider myself an 'artiste' -- but I do like to dabble in the art of making original designs.  How much fun would it be if everything was there in front of me and all that I had to do was punch?  I love drawing the designs (sometimes over and over again) and picking out colors that seem to represent the design in ways that reflect my own thoughts.  I love having to run over to Sandy's X-stitch to pick up the colors that I run out of - or to find new colors to experiment with. 

In my past lives I have often used patterns -- I could no more sew a shirt or cross-stitch a picture without a pattern.  I have depended on the creativity of others all through my life.  I love it that I am at a stage now whereby I pick up a piece of paper and start to draw; I see a thread that I know I must incorporate into a design; I get halfway through something and completely change the whole pattern.  This is freedom and I'm loving it.

"There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself.  It is the only true guide you will ever have.  And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that someone else pulls". - Howard Thurman

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Star Gazing"

Here is a "Star Gazing" pocket.  Once again my 'stash of stuff' came to the rescue.  A rusty star, cut sort of cockeyed, was just the thing to hang in the center front of the pocket.

As you can see spirals worked their way into the scheme on the back of this pocket.  For the 'trim' fiber I used Wildflower's 'kelp' with those rusty gold tones that you see in kelp washed up along the shore and the aqua of the sea.
I think tonight, if the sky is clear, I'll step out into the summer evening and see how many stars I can count in the dark heavens.

"Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star". - W. Clement Stone

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ode to Paul Klee

In March our InspiredArts Guild chose Paul Klee's picture "Red Balloon" for this year's challenge piece.  The idea is that each member would design and create something of their own based on this picture. 

I was very excited about this because as I looked at the picture, and saw all of the very delicate shading used, I thought it would be a wonderful exercise for my punchneedle skills.  I determined to copy the picture by using thread and punchneedle.  Well, that didn't go too well.  I carefully worked on it -- but soon realized that it was becoming a chore, not a pleasure.  I didn't like the way it looked, disliked the heavy colors I'd chosen, disliked the disjointed appearance of it and certainly didn't seem capable of duplicating the shading.  Obviously Mr. Klee had no competition from me!!

And so I gave up my first try and decided to start anew.  This time I made up my own design.  I did keep the balloon and I also kept the idea of the 'boxes' that appear in the original painting.  Otherwise I was off and running with a new design, new colors and a whole new outlook.

I used the colors of coral, yellow and green with a darker rust thrown in for contrast.  This piece is larger than any others I've done at 8" x 6".  Amazingly, once I had thrown out my original idea and actually developed my own design the whole project went much faster.  Best of all I truly enjoyed what I was doing and loved seeing the design grow beneath my needle.

"Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see". - Paul Klee

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Leaf" Pocket

An autumn design in the middle of the hottest summer on record!  It felt good to think of cool, crisp October days as I worked with these fall colors.

The leaf is a 'find' from long ago -- again I'm searching through my stash to see what I can find that will go well with these petite pockets.

I'm thinking that dried flowers or branches will be a good addition to this Fall themed pocket.

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.". - George Eliot

Monday, August 8, 2011

A "Petite Pocket" Workbook

As you saw in my previous post, I am now working on 'petite pockets' which I hope to display at a show later this year.  Because I enjoyed making the little 'heart' workbook, I thought it might help to make up a 'pocket' book. 

This book began as a 4"x6" notebook which I purchased at a discount store for $1.  It is supposed to be used for recipes, but works quite well as a small, handy dandy reference book.  The size is good for me - it takes up little room on my messy work table and has a lot of pages.

I began by putting a cover on it (see the picture at the top) front and back.  Much nicer looking than the original cover.  Inside I have my own definition of what I am trying to create.  I moved on to putting a picture of the general pattern and wrote down my guidelines for preparing these pockets. I've included pages where I will list ideas, themes, color schemes and designs as I think of them.   As I go along I will include each piece - both the pattern design with notes and the final pictures with notes. Also 'stuffed' in here will be inspiration pictures - ideas I get from magazines or books or whatever.

When I make a punchneedle design -- I always have a copy that includes the floss number colors, the combinations (2 threads of one color, 1 thread of another, etc.) and the level that I punched that particular combination.  For my book I have taken pictures of this pattern, reduced it and put it onto a page.  I will now have a record of the colors I've used for future reference.

Lastly I take pictures of the finished project, put those into the book and then makes notes including the month/year that it was finished and notes to myself about what I liked and what might have gone wrong (hopefully not to duplicate that problem again). 

At the completion of each 'pocket' I will add to my little book - making it a bit 'fatter' with each piece.

"First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination". - Napolean Hill

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Working toward a possible craft show in December, my fingers are punching each and every day!

A collection of 'petite pockets' seem to be in the offing.  I've begun with this happy design.  I love the colors of green, coral and soft yellow and it was a joy to work with them.

As with the heart design, I will be using the center front to put in designs - some punched, some found objects, some miniature stitcheries.  I hope to stick something into each bag -- perhaps just some tissue paper or some paper flowers, or some candy... any suggestions will be more than welcome.

For awhile, I shall be punching pockets -- we'll see what I come up with.  Thanks for joining me on this part of my journey.

"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive...then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

Monday, August 1, 2011

Days Gone By

Just a thought to share today..

I was in an office the other day and I noticed a calendar hanging on the wall.  Each day that had passed was crossed off with a large 'X'.  As I sat there looking at it, it seemed sort of sad to me -- as if the person crossing off the days didn't feel each day was important, but thought of the day as something to get through, something that rated a big 'X' at the end.

Looking back at my life (at this point I have more days to look back upon than I do to look forward to) I think that each day, all by itself might not have been very important - but gathered together one against the other and moving ahead from one to another, each single day made up another notch in my life.  Some days were very significant (to me) and others probably not so much (even to me) but taken together I would say none of them deserved a big 'X'!

 "If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh


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