Saturday, June 30, 2012

TAST 15: Stem Stitch (plus lots of other things)

I finished this over a week ago:

(Get it? Stems out of stem stitch.)

I have strange issues with stem stitch. Like, I tweak it so it looks a little more like I want. A few years ago Kim was working on a really intensive embroidery project. She had decided against stem stitch because of some issue, and I said strange, I don't have that problem; I just change it thus and so, and she gave me a Look (we may have been on the phone, I don't recall, but I'm sure there was a Look) and said, "That's not stem stitch."

Anyway, when I started this one, I decided to change the stem stitch so I had a wide stem. About halfway down, I realized I was not doing stem stitch. It was satin stitch. So I was VERY CAREFUL and did the skinny stems really using stem stitch.

Lovely examples at Pintangle.

I have spent some time off and on with this old fabric painting/embroidery sample. At some point I picked it up again (Needs To Be Finished) and realized it was boring because of the colors. Added orangey red; much happier. (Need to re-start TAST soon, before I lose more ground in my catch-up.

I did some painting - these are stages one and two of my Vision Board, started during the Midsummer Muse teleconference with my favorite Muse. I need to finish up this weekend, but I will have to visualize very hard to channel sun energy because it is totally overcast with intermittent sprinkles and I am wearing a sweatshirt in order to be warm enough to have the windows open. My bare feet are on the chilly side, but not past the threshold where I need to give in and wear socks.

[this is one of those times I get really annoyed at blogger; it keeps rotating the picture]

I made the little spirally squiggles mainly because I intensely needed to use the shiny watercolors. I was sorry after I did because I soon discovered they are definitely in the way.

Last weekend, I went to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon and had to bring some yarn home. It made me inspired to finally get the white warp finished and off the loom so I can weave ORANGE:

(Purple and green had to come along with orange.)

I cranked through the plain weave, but then I had to do something cool for the end - and wove twelve narrow tabs. It was time-consuming: two hours to weave three inches. The start was the slowest because I had to pay very close attention so that I did not accidentally join them together. Eventually it occurred to me that there were 24 selvedges instead of 2; not really a problem in 8/2 cotton, but it could be a challenge with finer threads. There were lots of tension problems for the last bit of the warp, but I didn't agonize over it, and as I hoped, it seems to have evened out after washing.

The tabs make me very happy.

Marking out the spaces:


Making progress:

Nicely-posed, nearly done:

Off the loom:


Sunday, June 10, 2012

TAST 11, 12, (13) *AND* 14

Bioluminescent crinoids at midnight:

Since I thought of a great title, I had to prepare the flimsy cloth properly - lightweight stabilizer is ironed on the back, and it helped a lot. That is the Take a Stitch Tuesday 11: whipped wheel. I'd done wheels before, but hadn't thought of partial wheels. They're kind of a pain because of having to finagle the turns. It would have worked way better in perle cotton; I used four strands of DMC instead of two for the tallest one, and it helped a little.

TAST 12: barred chain and alternating chain

Not inspired much by this one; it's more about the exciting colors. I think it could be good worked very tiny to make tangly bushes and vines.

TAST 13 was a catch-up week. There were two mini challenges - to make a piece using 3-6 of the stitches covered so far; I originally wanted to, but now it is much more imperative to catch up. I'm kind of fixated. So I will do the second mini challenge: share tips on how I manage my time and space.

To which I say, HAH.

It is easy to get sucked away and not do anything - one of the reasons I'm doing TAST is to have a source of external motivation, so I work on stuff. And I've been wanting to do finite things, so I have at least the illusion of progress. I get more done when I have a plan - I sometimes avoid working on things because of the danger of getting in my good mind place, because that is dangerous after work. ("Whoah, it's HOW late, and I haven't even had supper?!")

I don't have family to plan around; work can be draining. There's a lot of creative stuff I lack energy for...a good reason to eat and sleep and exercise.

Workspace: not soothing. I still don't like it much; I sometimes think my favorite thing is the tulip tree outside the least when it has leaves. But the organization is improving incrementally - organization aids production; I will work on things if I can just grab the ingredients. I don't mind rummaging in one drawer...but if multiple boxes are involved, I will not look. I will remain frustrated and not work on anything.

Summary: I will continue to work at planning, and at organization. Making art and projects needs to be a regular, normal part of everyday life.

TAST 14: satin stitch

Only the moon is actually satin stitch. The water is just long stitches. Satin stitch - would work better with slightly more thread (like a silk, instead of one strand of DMC) and a slightly looser weave. The long wobbly stitches would be better if this were mounted on a sturdy interfacing. But I like it anyway.

(See? One of the results of TAST is training me to focus on designing finite thingies. That is why I need to produce volumes of artifacts. One of these days I will excavate the final series of drawings I did for a class at OCAC - they are amazingly minimal.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

TAST 10: Running Stitch (and other tidbits)

Trilobite speeding through clear, still water:

I decided I had no actual desire to experiment with making running stitch decorative; I wanted to draw with it. I much prefer the samples that are pictures, especially when they are so fast - this is another one-day wonder! It would have been just as fast and a bit more satisfactory if I'd drawn the trilobite outline. (This seems to be a theme.)

Take a Stitch Tuesday has, as always, marvelous examples. I've tried the pattern darning before; maybe I'll do a threaded running stitch another time. I think that to be more inspired to do decorative seam things, I'd actually need some seams to decorate - it might work to pre-make a pieced item, and decorate it. (Not this TAST, however!)

The camera decided on the murky brown all by itself; actually, the fabric is a nice chocolate color. I love the camera, but I need to figure out some way to photograph my stuff how *I* want. NOT how the camera decides. It has to learn to like photographing art and projects as much as it likes photographing nature.

So, a recap of the first nine; with lots of colors, the camera is forced to acknowledge that what it sees is really what is there.

The delightful tulip tree (liriodendron tulipifera) outside my third-floor studio window:

I highly recommend this tree if you have room for it. Just don't plant it near where you park your car - it produces prodigious amounts of sticky sap and flings it everywhere.

And one more random tidbit: a tuber duck!

(If there are barnacle geese, there can certainly be tuber ducks.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TAST 9: Couching

I broke the chain stitch record - this one, start to finish, was done Monday night.

(Maya tuber glyph?)

Herringbone couches the top ribbon, and interlaced chevron stitch the bottom, which was basically not worth the effort to do in one color because it looks very much like herringbone. The spiral is a leftover bit of DMC Cébélia No. 20 I found on my table and plied. The weird glyph shape is more of the same, but two strands knotted together. I knotted knots together towards the bottom to make extra big knots, where the couching switches from buttonhole to fly stitch. (I think I'm a little bored with flat photography; yay macro.)

Astronomical aside - Venus transit observation today! Despite the recent eclipse viewing, I was not prepared for solar photography, so once again I just drew a picture in my little sketchpad. Labeling it was important, because the sketch looks like a circle with a dot on it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Technical Revelation

Earlier this evening, I wandered over to peer idly at the boxes stacked in the living room, wondering what to do next. Last weekend, I switched the boxes and the loom, moving nothing more than three times to accomplish this feat. A large part of the reason for that exertion was an effort to fool myself into getting interested in sorting papers again: make it look radically different, because different is interesting to artist brain.

Idle contemplation zeroed in on the loom. I don't remember quite how I folded it up to move, but it involved a wrench. I drifted over to the loom and contemplated further.

I found myself contemplating the little brackets that hold the treadles. They can be pretty irritating, because one or the other will swing out to the side, thus dropping the treadle contraption loosely to the floor. Aggravating.

But lo, then I revelated.

The original owner put it together wrong.

The bracket that's on the right should be on the left, and vice versa. So obvious in hindsight, and what a simple fix to avoid future annoyance!

EDIT: I was wrong. The brackets are too far apart if they are switched. I was able to tighten them more than I expected, and will just have to pay closer attention in the future.