Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Paris Pillow Relaunch

A few days ago I received a package from Hand Dyed Fibers with my linen of the month, a few colors for a new project I'm going to start stitching soon (which I will write about in a day or two as I need help picking colors) and the always highly anticipated detritus bag of floss. Here is the floss from the detritus bag: I love the coral and the pinkish one and the variegated at top is really cool, but I must admit to a bit of disappointment with the black/gray. It wouldn't have been that bad if there was just one skein but there is two and that is a heck of a lot of black! Honestly, I'll probably never use it. But out of four or five detritus bags I've received, this is the first one that mildly disappointed, the rest were pure fab.

After sitting with my crapty Paris pillow for quite sometime, wondering if I should proceed to make it into a pillow or proceed to toss it in the garbage, I decided to embellish it. I have taken the variegated floss from above - I'm not sure what colors it is, green, coral, pink - and put some Algerian Eye stitch across the top. I'm using four strands of floss and let me tell you, four strands is very difficult to thread . One little sucker always decides to hang back and chill!

Here is my progress so far:Kind of cute though I'm wondering (the crapter always second guesses themselves!) if I should have stitched half over the postcard, half above the postcard. I think I probably should have but oh well too late for that.
I'm currently looking through Judith Baker Montano's Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool for other stitches to add to the piece. I'm a big fan of the classic Feather Stitch but I need something interesting for the corners. Any suggestions?

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Long Due Note

I haven't posted anything in quite awhile. Out of town guests, other obligations, laziness and the need for sleep have all kept me away. Add to that my utter lack of crapting for two weeks and really what do I have to talk about without going into personal foibles?

I have, however, read two books: Mrs. Lincoln, a biography of Mary Todd Lincoln by Catherine Clinton, which was interesting and Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which was stunning. If you haven't read it, read it. It's intense, sobering and I don't want to give anything away but at the end it had me doing something that rhymes with nobbing. Truly a classic. Also a classic: the movie UP. I really enjoyed it and also nobbed a few times here as well.

So even when I'm not crapting I'm usually pretty good about stitching. I usually find time everyday to at least do a little bit, but I failed these past two weeks. I've gotten in kind of a rut on Faith Hope and Honor. I'm so close to finishing, you'd think I'd just go ahead and steamroll my way through, but those couple of broken threads (mentioned in earlier post) have really bummed me out and put a damper on my progress.

I did take out one of my WIPs, Monet's Giverny Garden by Jane Greenoff. This was a chart from Cross-Stitch & Needlework's May 2008 issue. I'd started it sometime after receiving the magazine and made quick progress but then came upon a section that is one over one. One over one, for those unfamiliar with cross stitch, is literally stitching over one linen thread instead of two. It's a nightmare.

But, having just been to Giverny and forgetting about the one over one, I pulled out the piece and started to stitch but quickly gave up. It's just killer to see what the heck you're doing with one over one and making it even worse in this case is that the floss for part of it is practically the same color as the linen. Oh my eyes! I had no idea what I had stitched or what I needed to stitch. So I ripped it out, which let me tell you, ripping it out is probably harder than stitching it. But this frustration and agony was why it took me two weeks to return to it. I'd sit across the room from it, staring at it, loathing it. I felt like it was heckling me - you can't do it! You can't do it! Finally I broke down. I feel tremendous guilt if I don't do something while watching television. So I gave myself permission to skip the one over one until the very end. So I did the half Algerian Eyelet and the stitches below those and here is my progress:
The picture is blurry isn't it? It never looks blurry on the camera! Anyway, so the one over one are four lily pads that fit in between the blue half Algerian eyelets. I counted the rows in between those two lines of blue about a dozen time to make sure I haven't miscounted. Each time it was the correct amount but being a crapter, I'm convinced that it's probably wrong and I'll reach the end of the piece and realize that it is all utterly and completely wrong! I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Drawing -101

I've decided to teach myself to draw. I have no ability whatsoever, which has always been frustrating because I get the concept of drawing and I can see the lines or shapes involved in objects but I can not get my hand to put down what my eye is seeing. There is a total disconnect. Now, I have tried to teach myself in the past using the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. I've owned this book for some fifteen years, have started it at least three times that I can remember and always stop by about page 50 because, quite honestly, I get bored.

I pulled out the book again and picked up where I had a bookmark stuck from the last time I tried to do it. I really couldn't bear to do that upside down drawing or other stuff again so I began with pure contour drawing. And after only doing two exercises I'm very close to putting the book down again. I can't go as slow at Ms. Edwards wants the budding drawer to go. I get so fidgety. But I did persevere and here's my first exercise:
The exersise was to draw your hand without looking at the paper. You were to follow the lines of your hand moving very slowly. It looks like a hand, I'll give myself that but probably the fattest hand in existence. Here's the real thing:
Not as chunky. I've also done the second exercise which was drawing a flower without looking at the paper.
It started out okay but fell apart. I tried my darndest to really get into it and at certain points I felt like I slipped over to the bright side but it only lasted a few seconds. I'm so impatient and I've no ability to turn off my brain. I can not stop thinking. I'm not saying I'm thinking of anything particularly deep and meaningtul, usually it's about noting more complex than when I'm going to have my next snack, but still it is an intrusion. I also have crazy floaters in my eyes so the more I try to focus the more the floaters zip by and distract me.

I will try and keep learning. I'm telling myself just 15 minutes a day. I really think I could be a decent artist if only I could draw. Anyone else want to do the book with me?

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Crapter's Lament

"I can not believe I just did that!" The crapter's lament. A line I have howled on more than one occasion and for the record just screamed three times in the last half hour.

Why? Because I finally got around to ironing my transfer down on my pillow case but instead of reading and following the instructions, I started to pull back the transfer before letting it cool. Luckily, when I wasn't able to get the paper to budge too much, I decided to look at the instructions (novel idea!) and stopped. Still, a bit of damage was done:
The little corner is flawed, but what could I expect? I wouldn't be a crapter if it came out looking good. I'd be Martha Stewart. That was the first "I can not believe I just did that." The second concerned the fact that I did not trim the transfer. I had copied the image to fill the page and though the instructions (which I read when I first printed the image a few days ago) said to trim the paper I, obviously knowing more than the company that produces the transfer, decided to ignore it. The result:
Ah, that's one pretty border around the border! Okay, you know I can live with that, I can - what crapter couldn't? - but "I can not believe I just did that," issued from my mouth for the third time when I noticed this:
Super! It's peeling off the fabric!

I had such hopes for this. Not that all is lost, but should I start again or should I just proceed? My intention was to make a kind of photo corner to sew over each corner of the postcard, so that would cover the first ICNBIJDT but the tacky border and the truly tacky peeling? I guess they warrant a re-do but boy do I hate the waste! Any suggestions on salvaging this monstrosity?