Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pat Mazu Miniature Stocking finished...

I just did the finishing on this little miniature stocking. It is backed in a textured velvet and lined in red silk dupioni. The twisted cording is made from white, two shades of red, and a gold metallic. Very fun! Design by Pat Mazu and is in the ANG Chapter Project Booklet.

Royal Santa by Amanda Lawford #2

The trunk is completed:

I've started on the cloak. It is stitched in one strand of Appleton Wool in a Diagonal Beaty Variation. One day progress:

Two day progress (canvas is dipping as I didn't remove from sidebars):

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Works at PNB

On Sunday Victoria and I went to see "New Works" at Pacific Northwest Ballet. This is the first ballet where I actually felt "ho hum" about the performance.

The first ballet was called "In the Garden".
Music: Richard Strauss (Tanzsuite aus Klavierst├╝cken von Fran├žois Couperin, AV107, 1923) Choreography: Mark Morris
Costume Design: Mark Morris

I really enjoyed the music. The costumes were black and brown and just so bleh. I know that plainer costumes are meant to allow you to focus on the art of the dance but I find myself just redesigning them in my imagination.

Sadly, there was an AWFUL woman sitting next to me, on the right. She and her friend chatted throughout the overture. I shot them the evil eye. She wore a jangly charm bracelet and kept fidgeting around with it. Again, the evil eye. She removed the bracelet. Then, she picked up her enormous purse, placed it in her lap, and opened up a bag of Doritos. Cool Ranch, as I recognised the bag and the smell. Then she ate the entire bag. She ignored my evil eye, as well as the glares of the people in front of us.

When the intermission came Victoria and I got up, spoke quietly to the usher (who incidentially always covers the same spot so she recognised Victoria, at least) and moved up to a box. I LOVE my regular seat so I was irritated. Victoria was freaked out about the box and kept talking about earthquakes.

The next ballet was called M-Pulse.
Music: Cristina Spinei (2008)
Choreography: Kiyon Gaines
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

It felt like two acts, or movements, within the one piece. I was then distracted by watching the orchestra, and they are just fabulous to watch. We can't see them from our regular seats but in the first box you can look directly down on them. They're funny, too - you can see them quietly whispering when they're not playing. When the dance ends and the applause is going on and on they are standing around or packing up instruments. When the conductor goes up and bows on stage they make no notice that the applause is for them as well.

Anyway, back to the dancing, the first movement was percussion and the second was instrumental. The lighting was really fabulous - dancers in squares and then moving in and out. Very fascinating how it plays a central part.

Next was Three Movements
Music: Steve Reich (Three Movements for Orchestra, 1986)
Choreography: Benjamin Millepied
Costume Design: Isabella Boylston and Benjamin Millepied, assisted by Larae Theige Hascall
Lighting Design: Brad Fields

This was my favorite piece of the afternoon. The costumes were gorgeous - teal and purple and floaty while still allowing you to see full leg movement. The pieces build on each other without being repetitive. Very fun and full of energy.

Another intermission (coffee and looking at the glass art with Victoria).

Last was One Flat Thing, Reproduced
Music: Thom Willems (2000)
Choreography: William Forsythe
Staging: Ayman Harper, Jill Johnson, and Richard Siegal Scenic
Lighting Design: William Forsythe
Costume Design: Stephen Galloway

We'd seen this in March. I enjoyed it back then and thought it was so vibrant. It was still full of energy but this time it just seemed to drag...

One last note - Hallie noted to me how she thought the dancing looked sloppy and she didn't know how they would be ready in time... I thought so as well. I don't know if it's part of the choreography to have one person off by a half count or if they're just tired from too much Nutcracker rehearsal... but it wasn't the precision you'd expect. This all said, I can't even do a cartwheel anymore so there you go. :-) Victoria's favorite piece was 3 Movements.

Royal Santa by Amanda Lawford #1

I can't remember if I've already discussed this needlepoint design. This piece is called "Royal Santa" and he is painted and designed by Amanda Lawford. The design is about 30" tall. He is so gorgeous and I love him!

Anyway, Royal Santa came to me in April of this year. Out of all the beautiful canvases I've sold for Denise the Wonder Organizer on eBay this is the only one I bought for myself. :-) The lady who owned him originally took him as a class so there were little itty bits of the piece started. There is a binder stitch guide and a huge bag of threads, all beautifully organized. I love it when it's ready to just jump in!

He is so large that I'm working on a lap stand. This is my first piece on a lap stand and it's working out well. The piece is so heavy there is no way I could hold it up.

The first thing I stitched was his skin on his face. This is Soie d'Alger silk floss.

Then back down to the bottom to work on the treasure chest. The gold scrolls and silver and completed with Kreinik metallic. The black is Trebizond Silk or Caron Impressions. The wood slats are Caron Watercolours. Right now I'm working on the wood of the chest. It is in four different colors of floss.

Last night's update of the wood treasure chest:

I have no idea when he'll be done. No goal setting for me on this one! Maybe next year? :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pat Mazu Miniature Stocking...

Yes, another one. :)

This one is backed in grey ultrasuede fabric and lined in purple silk dupioni.

Frame Weight Finishing...

This square design was finished into a frame weight. It could also be used as a pin cushion. The weight has a 1" side like a box cushion. Red velveteen was requested and it matches the red tassel in the design. Custom twisted cording accents to top edge in colors that match the background and the velveteen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The sun is shining! The sun is shining!

So I should probably go out and rake leaves. Instead I'm going to do the dishes, go to the gym, do homeschool lessons with the kids, and work on some needlework finishing. Maybe the weather will hold...

I finished the stitching on my Christmas stocking. I'll finish it into a stocking in the next couple of weeks. This week was busy. We went up to Vancouver on Monday and saw the Aquarium there in Stanley park. Then we drove over and saw Brad's grandmother inthe nursing home. She looked really lovely and healthy. The girls were well behaved and Travis behaved like a small child in a nursing home. (Lots of running, spilling water, loud talking.)

Wednesday our homeschool group went to a glass studio. The older children did glass blowing and the younger children made a tile with glass to be fused. Both Victoria and Madeline made a fused tile. Victoria's art is incredibly unique. She considers herself an artist and truly, her work stands out. I can look at a dozen (or 30) pieces and spot Victoria's work. This held true at the glass fusing!

After the studio we went up to Madame Fifi's teahouse and had lunch. All the kids were very well behaved and the girls enjoyed having their own table with their friends.

We then drove down to Bellevue for ballet. I stopped on the way to buy Victoria a pair of pants (three is not enough for winter) and then to ballet. After ballet a quick stop for dinner at the grocery store deli and then on to swimming. They did great at swimming - Madeline has finally crossed the hump she's been stuck at and is now improving again. I talked to the swim team coach and we've scheduled a try-out for Victoria for swim team. She would start in January if she gets on.

After we got home the kids bathed and I photographed a bunch more ebay auctions. I sent out invoices for sold things (which I'll mail tomorrow). We watched a show (Chuck) and then went to bed and read (Angela Knight book) and fell asleep around 1 a.m. I was totally wiped out. TOO busy of a day.

So, from this I've learned that ballet, dinner, and swimming on every Wednesday are fine, because we do that every week and it's ok. But tacking on the extra stuff ahead was just too much. It was a one-time thing, and was a great deal of fun, but just too much. It's the same reason I don't like to travel with kids... they just can't go and go and go, and if you're there visiting you want to see everything anyway, right?

Anyway, time to head to the gym! :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm still here...

Winter has settled in over the Seattle area. Rain, rain, more rain. This has been a very wet summer, fall, and hey, winter is looking like a lot of rain!

I've been busy listing stuff on eBay:

There is a professional organizer in the area. She calls me when she has needlework to sell for her clients and usually I swing by and pick it up. This last batch, she had to deliver, as it wouldn't have fit in my van. So, some is listed and more is coming.

The children are doing very well, albeit Travis is coming down with something. He started sounding wheezy on Wednesday afternoon, that night wasn't the best, last night was pretty bad, so tonight will probably be terrible. The third night of croup is always the worst but then they get better. He's such a healthy child aside from RSV as a baby and the yearly croup.

Victoria is keeping up with her lessons and both girls have settled into ballet. Madeline has a new swim teacher and she's wonderful - hopefully she'll pass trout sometime this year! She's been in level three for over a year now.

I have gotten some stuff done around the house. I fixed the patch on the back wall and Brad hung the curtains. I bought a new hook rack for the red bathroom and Brad hung it. We don't have a towel rack in there now but we never used it - this way they can hang their robes and it will look nice. I also painted all the baseboards and touched up the paint but it already needs to be touched up again.

We've been listening to Alice in Wonderland and now Through the Looking Glass. We just finished Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. It was very cute and OH MY it actually taught Victoria why she shouldn't talk back. I was amazed, as that wasn't my intention behind reading the book! Victoria finished reading the Harry Potter series last night. She was thrilled and was laughing out loud at the ending. Up next for her "fun reading" is Madeline L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time series, which I'd picked up at Costco. I've been reading voraciously the last few weeks to get away from the weather. I read the Sookie Stackhouse Dead Until Dark series, Twilight and Breaking Dawn, a bunch of romance novels (whoo whoo) and am now reading The Root of Wild Madder, which is about the persian rug industry. There are rug dealers in downtown Seattle so after I finish that one I'm going to take Victoria down there and look at them closely now that I know more about them.

Yesterday we went to the Burke Museum at University of Washington. The girls had a great time and it was a lot of fun. Lots of homeschoolers there. Since Travis is ill he stayed home with Brad. The girls helped work on a button blanket and put together wildlife puzzles, aside from looking at all the exhibits.

I haven't been stitching lately - I need to finish my stocking and I have a few things that need finishing. Off I go!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Learn to Finish a Miniature Christmas Stocking

Earlier this year I started using a different technique for finishing miniature Christmas Stockings. I needed a technique with less hand sewing so here is the result. I taught this at my guild last month so the verbal instructions have been tested, too.

These instructions are copyright 2008 Summer Louise Truswell. You may print one copy for your own personal use or to make items as gifts. If you'd like to reprint in a newsletter please contact me for a print-ready layout.

Early Christmas morning, we would sneak down the stairs and into the family room, trying to slip past Mom’s sharp hearing. Of course, our army of feet (six children!) would wake our parents, and they would usually enter the room moments after we had found the stockings. Each stocking had been lovingly sewn with our names, so it was very clear which stocking belonged to each child. We even had a stocking for the family pet, although it was a miniature size.

These instructions and photographs are for a miniature stocking. They will work for a large stocking as well. The stocking is lined. I highly recommend lining your stocking, as it makes it sturdier, in addition to keeping the needlework cleaner. You can skip the lining step, if desired. The size of the stocking is dependent on your finished needlework piece and you will need to purchase your backing and lining fabric based on that.

Materials Needed:
· Stitched needlework piece to be made into stocking
· Backing material
· Lining material
· Twisted cording for trim
· Tassel, if desired
· Sewing thread
· Scissors

Wash and block your needlework piece, if desired.

Layer the fabrics in the following order: two layers of lining fabric with right sides facing, backing fabric with right side up, needlework piece with right side down facing backing fabric. Cut all four pieces of fabric, leaving generous margins.

Lay the front of the stocking on a lining piece with right sides together. Sew a seam along the top edge of the stocking. Repeat with the backing fabric and the second piece of lining fabric.
Fold the lining back from the stocking and finger press in place.

Lay the front of the stocking and the back of the stocking together with right sides facing. Make sure that the top edges of the stocking are perfectly matched. If desired you may pin each side. You will be skipping two-three stitches there to allow for later insertion of the twisted cording.

The turning of the stocking will be done through a hole in the lining. Begin at the bottom of the lining fabric and sew the back and front of the stocking together by traveling around almost the entire perimeter of the stocking and lining. Remember to skip two-three stitches where the lining meets the backing and stocking. Finish your seam with at least three inches for turning.

Use a pair of sharp scissors to trim the seam by clipping corners grading the curves slightly. Don’t get too close as the canvas will unravel a little bit.

Turn the stocking right sides out. If needed, reach in with the eraser end of a pencil to push out the sewn edges of the stocking. From the outside finger press the seam down and gently shape into place.

Fold the raw edges of the lining fabric back into the lining and finger press in place. Use matching sewing thread to sew the seam closed. I use a narrow zigzag with a sewing machine.

Push the lining fabric down into the stocking.

Starting on the toe side, insert one end of the twisted cording into the space with missed stitches at the top of the stocking. Use matching sewing thread to carefully sew the twisted cording to the stocking. The sewing thread should sit down in the bumps between the different twists of cord. Sew the cording down around the toe of the stocking and back up to the top. Travel around the cuff of the stocking and back to the back. Loop up the excess cording to make a hanger. If you wish to add a tassel then loop it over the twisted cording hanger at this point. Insert the other end of the twisted cording into the space and sew closed.

Admire your finished miniature Christmas stocking!