Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Counted Thread Round Robin

This is part of a table runner making the rounds in a counted thread round robin I am in.  There are three offset rectangular shapes outlined on each end of the runner so what you are looking at here is one end.  I was the third to contribute to this piece.  Here is what was already done:
The first section done was a section of pattern darning.  Since it was open to any form of counted work this was a great idea - the colour looked very bold.

 The second section was pulled thread work which was another great idea - I would have thought it would be too difficult to do on this fabric.  It is Chinese silk and has quite a loose weave but as you can see it turned out very nicely.
And, last but not least, my own contribution to the piece which is a section of a blackwork filling stitch.  Not as adventurous as the others but done and off in the mail without being too late.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Neighbours and Squatters

 As I mentioned in a previous post, I am just getting used to being home again after working away for five months.  Being away that long, you can expect a few changes in the neighbourhood - folks moving in, folks moving out...
So, this is my new neighbour who has moved into the tree on the other side of my front yard.  He might not look like much here but when he spreads his wings and flies across the yard, he is pretty impressive.  I haven't got close enough yet to determine what kind of owl he is for sure but he seems to be making himself at home which is fine with me as long as he doesn't start eyeing up the cats or my little 5 lb Pom!  They aren't going outside unsupervised anymore.
Yesterday I met the newest addition - a muskrat!  It has been so dry around here most of the ponds have dried up so I guess he is adapting.  While I was sitting on my porch I watched him scamper across the front yard.  My heart did a little flip because at first he looked like a rat!  We don't have rats here in Alberta (long story involving a rat patrol, etc) so thinking you see one is a big deal.  I continued to watch him as he scampered around, then across the yard and under the porch.  
When my husband got home from work, I told him we had a muskrat under the porch and we both thought that was pretty interesting.  Later that evening though we heard enough noise from the cellar to realize it wasn't the porch he was living under, it was the house!  So, of course we named him.  And now that we know Muskrat Sally is down there we can hear him moving around all evening long, banging against the furnace vents. It remains to be seen how the new tenant works out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wonderful Hallowe'en Embroidery Piece!

 I received such a treat in the mail last week from my Secret Stitcher!  This is an exchange we have on EAC Virtual Threads, the online chapter of The Embroiderers' Association of Canada.  It is like a traditional secret sister exchange except, of course, we are all stitchers and that is reflected in the gifts we exchange.
I love Hallowe'en and decorate the house and yard every year even though we get very few trick-or-treaters coming to the door.
Isn't this embroidered bellpull to die for?  The front features three cross stitch pieces on a spider web background fabric. The back is pieced with so many wonderful Hallowe'en fabrics - I love it!
 The top section of embroidery is two adorable trick-or-treaters.  I love their little loot pails!
The second section is just as spooky - pumpkins, jack-o-lantern, bats and crows!

Then at the bottom of the bell pull this wonderful piece with dancing skeletons, ghosts and more!

I really wish I could take credit for making this but I can't.  Huge thank yous going out to my Secret Stitcher!  She really outdid herself with this and couldn't have found anything I would like more.  I LOVE IT!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Working on a Carolyn Mitchell design

Well, I am finally settled in at home again after a long summer working at the campground!  I have actual been home about a month now and it has taken this long for me to get used to being home again, catching up on some things and getting back to stitching again.  It feels very good to be home!
So here is what I'm working on...

This is a canvaswork project called "First Snow", designed by Carolyn Mitchell.  It is a workshop on Virtual Threads, the online chapter of The Embroiderers' Association of Canada, and the chapter paid for the teaching fees from the proceeds of a little silent auction we had at Seminar in 2014.  So, all we members of Virtual Threads needed to do for the workshop was to buy the supplies - who could resist?  
Carolyn is teachine this as a mystery project and what you see here is the first of three lessons completed.  

I am really enjoying this - canvaswork is so relaxing!  I have chosen to do this in silk threads instead of the cotton thread alternative and so far they haven't been giving me any trouble.  There will be pearls added to this section at the end so I am looking forward to seeing what that adds to the look of it.  On to lesson 2!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Do You See Designs Ideas Everywhere?

I am constantly seeing things that inspire me to try to stitch them - do you?  It seems like these ideas are everywhere around us and I am continually taking photos so I will remember them later.
This feature wall on the exterior of the Royal Albert Museum in Edmonton has me thinking of stitching the ancient pictographs of the aboriginal people of Alberta.

Perhaps a visit to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is in order to do more research!

 At the EAC National Seminar this year, the fruit trees at SAIT were in full bloom but early in the week we awoke to a spring snow.  The juxtaposition of the spring blossoms weighed down with a blanket of winter snow appealed to me - typical Alberta weather!

 What about the hinge on this door from the oldest builting at SAIT?  Don't you love the dragon?  I wish there was more of this kind of whimsical detail in modern architecture!

I think a thread painted magpie will be a project in the near future.  Everytime I see one of these birds close up, I appreciate the blue metallic sheen in their black feathers.  Can't you see this captured with lovely Kreinik threads creating the highlights?

So, what inspires you?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ramblings from the River

 There are a wonderful amount and variety of birds here by the river and I have been enjoying waking up to their song each morning.
 My first thought when I noticed all the shavings around the base of this tree was that the beavers had been at work again but not this time.
An obvious clue was this perfect whole in the tree trunk - obviously someone's home but much closer to the ground than I would have expected.
 The shavings were much finer than those left by beavers as well - amazing that all this was done with a small beak.  The inside of the hole is quite large and perfectly carved out.  I tried for a photo of that as well but it didn't come out.

 I think that the hole I found is the nest of a sapsucker.  I thought it was a woodpecker but my husband has corrected me and he is more of a birder than I am.
Looking at this photo, you can see why I usually think beavers when I see any wood shavings at the base of a tree.

 The beavers have been at their handiwork in spite of our best effort to wire as many trees in the park as we can manage.
 The beavers tend to take the tree almost down and then lose interest for some reason and off they go, leaving a very weakened tree that will succumb and fall during the next big wind.
 Yes, beavers have to live too but it becomes a concern when these trees start falling on the hiking trails or near someone's campsite.
 Even in a park where people appreciate a natural setting, the safety of hikers and campers must be considered.
One close call of a weakemed tree falling near a group of children was all it took to convince me that the beavers are a cause for concern.  Hopefully the wiring of the trees will convince them to move along the river a little farther away from the campers.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Very good read!

This one is a winner and I am happy to recommend it to anyone.  the curious incident of the dog in the night-time is written by Mark Haddon, who spent time working with autistic people.  The book takes the form of a journal of a boy with Asperger's Syndrome as he tries to solve the mystery of the murder of a neighbour's dog.  It provides insight into how this boy sees the world around him and how the autistic mind works - it is a revelation and one of the best books I have read in recent years.