Goodness! Has it really been over two months since my last post? I'm chagrinned. I haven't been doing a lot of stitching. It's been somewhat sporadic, with bursts of energy followed by stagnation. I'm not sure why, although I have been reading a lot. In fact, I spent most of August reading because I managed to borrow four (or was it five?) books from the library (having intended to just pick up one that was on hold) and had to finish them all within three weeks. Yikes! I managed to get them all back on time, but I did end up quitting one after about 100 pages because I just couldn't get into it.
On to the stitching news.
I made pretty good progress on "Stella Polaris" for a few weeks, before getting bogged down with the double fan doubled stitch. It wasn't the under, over, under, over, then go down (or is that over, under, over, under, then go down?) that got me so much as having three threaded needles going and keeping track of what went over or under which color. I tried doing this stitch at my Tuesday night stitching group and had to quit early on. Then I never went back to it. As it turned out, I was psyching myself out about this. Once I applied myself on Tuesday last week, I managed to complete the first of four large diamond areas containing this stitch. Huzzah!
I'm very happy with how this is turning out and hope to press ahead and finish it up in the next few weeks.
The last week of August was wonderful! I attended my first ANG National Seminar, held in Philadelphia this year. It was a drivable distance, so I and two friends decided to make it our first but we hope not last. We spent five days immersed in the world of needlepoint, surrounded by hundreds of people who understood our fascination with threads, canvas, and the artistry of needlework. If you have the opportunity, you simply must go at least once in your life!
I took two two-day classes, leaving a day free between them. The first class, I and my companions all took together. Toni Gerdes taught her stunning design "Carnival," the beauty of which wasn't truly apparent until we got in class and opened up our kits. The threads and canvas were stunning in shades of pink, coral, yellow, blue, and green, all pulled from the Caron Collection Carnival Watercolours. This is where I am after the two-day class and a couple of short stitching sessions:
Even this picture doesn't do justice to the colors of this piece. Our canvases had the outline drawn and several key points marked by slightly enlarged holes. This made it so much easier to get right to stitching, since a great deal of counting was eliminated. Thank you, Toni! She was a great teacher, giving us many great tips and explaining things thoroughly (sometimes more than once). Note the large diamond-shaped area in the upper right portion of the canvas. Does that look familiar? It should. It's a variation on the double fan doubled, and I'm sure that doing this one finally made it clear to me how to do the one in "Stella Polaris."
The other class took me out of my comfort zone. "Purple Mountains and Golden Wheat" is a beautiful landscape designed and taught by Lynn Payette. I learned how to iron! Seriously, the whole first day was spent ironing Wonder Under onto lots of little rectangles of sheer fabric in a range of purples and golds, then figuring out which fabric would go where to create the mountains and fields of wheat that formed the base of the design, cutting each piece to match the drawing on the Congress Cloth, and finally permanently fusing the fabric to the cloth. I didn't actually finish this up till the next morning. This was what I took the class for. I wanted to learn how to do this, how to visualize and then execute the effect. This is what I had done at the end of the second day:
Probably doesn't look like much, does it? Let me put the viewfinder included with our kit in place.
I think that's a little better. As you can see, I didn't get very far with the stitching. I did learn a great technique for beading that keeps the beads firmly in place along with how to make a cord from rayon (shudder) floss. But I spent most of my time creating the landscape base. Lynn is a very interesting and patient teacher. I feel like I really learned a lot about the process of creating this piece and hope to implement the technique in other projects. Will I ever finish this? Probably not. But you never know.
Btw, here are the completed models for both classes.
As you can see. I have a long way to go. I do hope to finish "Carnival," and you never know, I may get inspired to finish "Purple Mountains."