Posted in hand embroidery

Shadow and Texture

In this post I am following up on the next steps for Spring Green.

Here is how the foreground looked after I finished piecing it.

With textile paint, I created shadows and deepened existing shadows.

It’s finally time to begin sewing. To start with, I added a layer of batting. So that the batting doesn’t shift, I hand-basted the two layers together, adding a few safety pins for good measure. Next came the embroidery. Using cotton twist and cotton floss, I outlined the rims of the pots with couching.

The two groups of pots nearest to the viewer got two strands of gold cotton twist couched with four strands of embroidery floss in a cross-stitch pattern. I matched the floss color to the fabric color.

For the flat of pots further from the viewer, I couched only one strand of cord, using three strands of floss and the whip stitch. This will create a bit of perspective.

I’m loving the texture that the thick stitches create. Now that I have finished couching, I will add the backing.

After that, I will throw on a bit of machine quilting, just to anchor the edges and define further the parts of the image. It will give me more time to consider exactly what I will do next.

Posted in hand embroidery

Randomly Practicing Stitches

I am in the process of working out what stitches in which colors will be embroidered on to my Spring Green project. The wacky sampler you see above resulted from my random practice.

Just in case you are curious, here are the names of the stitches.

Clockwise from upper right:

Fly stitch worked in columns, Detached chain stitch, French knot on stalks (yellow flower.) I have no idea what the top left stitch is.

The goofy face on the left: running stitch (black) couch stitch (green yarn) woven back stitch (mouth)

The seedling: Stem is stem stitch, leaves are satin stitch tied with back stitch.

Black line is coral stitch. The seedling is growing from a pot outlined in couched yarn and cross stitched. The leaves are chain stitches and stem stitch. I used paint and fabric marker to add the color.

I think that’s enough for now. Time to get dinner.

Posted in painting

This Week’s Watercolor Lesson

Springtime Cedar Waxwing

This is the second time I painted this bird, based on a photograph by Bill.

I’m pretty happy with my work. If I were to paint it a third time, I would choose a hot-press paper. It was difficult to get smooth washes and crisp lines on this paper. I would also use a non-granulating blue paint for the background.

I like the bird’s attitude. He is eye-balling the photographer, as if to size him up.

Posted in painting, quilting

Spring Green Progress

This past week I spent a good amount of time on this project. Since the background fabric is complete, I focused on the subject and the foreground. On Wednesday, I got out my fabric paints and created some terracotta and dark neutral colored swatches.

While the fabric was drying, I finalized the design layout. Because the foreground was the interior of a building, I decided to use the piecing instead of applique technique. The stitch lines would be straight and follow the lines of the greenhouse interior. Here is the full-scale drawing that I used to make the pattern pieces.

Next I traced each of the lettered sections, cut the traced images apart, pinned them to the fabric and cut each piece.

Following my decision to use a reverse-applique technique to replicate the little seed pots, I had made a template with elliptical shapes. I now traced these shapes onto the corresponding fabric pieces.

One of three sections that have seed pots.
Ellipses are cut out
Laying the cut-outs over the background fabric to check placement

Everything looked like it would fit. Starting with piece A, I sewed the pieces to each other in alphabetical order and stitched the resulting block to the background fabric.

Completed piecing.

My vision is that the bright green color glowing up from each seed pot symbolizes the energy released by the seed as it germinates. You know what I mean – like the way superheroes are drawn.

Here is an image of the project as it stands now.

I awoke several times during the night to ideas about the next step swirling around. I had so many of them! When I awoke early this morning, I could recall only a few. Too bad. I guess I could force myself to get out of bed when this happens, track down my notebook and write those ideas down. But I digress.

The next steps involve adding some final touches of paint, stitching down the raw edges of the ellipses and making the quilt sandwich.

I will also practice drawing and stitching the seedlings before working them on the real thing.

Posted in painting

Water Color Class Update

My ten week class in watercolor technique is almost over. For my first lesson, I brought an image of a back-lit, red poppy that I found on Unsplash.

The reference photo can be found here.

I chose this one because of its simplicity, and because it had a nice set of shadows across the poppy. Today I finished my copy.

I’m pleased with this work, and encouraged to begin painting more challenging subjects.

Posted in colorwork, painting

Spring Green

I like Spring. I like just about everything about Spring. It’s the time of year when we can sleep with windows open, the days are getting longer and warmer. The earth’s growing things burst forth with an abundance of new growth. Most of that growth starts out in a yellow-green color that I call Spring Green.

Photo by Pixabay on

This luscious shade can be painted with a mixture of lemon yellow and cool blue pigments.

Last spring, I was inspired by a post on Kate Davies’ blog showing a view from her garden shed. The weather was wet. There were big raindrops dripping down the glass. While the view itself was out of focus, it was radiantly colored – mainly in spring green.

It was so inspiring that I tried to capture the color sequence on a piece of cotton with fabric paint.

I think I was successful. After I painted it, the piece languished on my design wall for a year. I was busy with other projects that had overtaken my attention. But with the coming of spring I feel inspired to return to the subject. The painted cloth will become the background of the art quilt. For the foreground, I will focus on seedlings.

Photo by Akil Mazumder on

This quilt will challenge my technical abilities as I intend to hand embroider the plantlets using wool yarn and/or cotton floss.

Slow Work is in my future.

Posted in knitting

Casting On a Cardigan

In my last post, I shared a picture of some tweedy wool-silk blend yarn purchased recently. After studying the swatch I made, I thought that it looked like a vintage yarn. This led me to remember the giant Vogue Knitting retrospective book that I received from my daughter last year. Perhaps I can find a vintage type cardigan there.

I had been wanting to make a pattern from this book but could never settle on any of them. Either the pattern required a massive amount of expensive yarn or the design didn’t suit me and my lifestyle. But I now had 1500 yarns of a classic tweed – more than enough for Vogue Knitting. And after carefully studying several likely patterns I chose this one.

Forestry Cardigan appeared in Vogue’s Fall 2008 magazine – an edition that was dedicated to Canadian designers. What a happy bit of symmetry! Fall 2008 was the very season I was re-introduced to knitting. This pairing was meant to be.

I like the coin shaped cables and the shawl collar on this design. But I don’t quite agree with knitting instructions. Vogue has us knit the two fronts and the back separately, and then seam them together. I much prefer knitting front and back in one piece. Also reviewers of this pattern on Ravelry cautioned about errors.

Ravelry: #11 Forestry (Old Penny Cardigan) pattern by Veronik Avery

With a bit of trepidation, I started on a sleeve.

It’s going brilliantly. I love the quality of the fabric this yarn yields. But! I am ALREADY playing yarn chicken! Only 3/4 finished with one sleeve and my first skein is but a hollow version of its former plump self. I’m flummoxed. I am getting the gauge required by the pattern, and for the size I am making I should have over 200 yards of yarn more than needed.

At this time I’m willing to trust the pattern and carry on. After all, this is a long-haul project. With a gauge of 20 stitches by 28 rows, there are a LOT of stitches to go before the end is near. I expect it will be Autumn by the time I finish. And in the meanwhile, maybe I can source one more skein of yarn

Posted in knitting

Local Yarn Shop Week

I’m told that this week is dedicated to recognizing our local yarn shops. While sadly, there are no yarn shops in my town, I recently returned from Wisconsin. While there I visited two very nice shops and scored these yarns:

In Madison, WI, Lynette Tucker opened her shop Sunset Yarns just last November. While only a few months in business she has done a terrific job creating a cozy and friendly atmosphere for yarn crafters.

Madison’s Neighorhood Yarn Store | Sunset Yarn

In addition to the labels typically offered, she carries locally produced yarns. I browsed these, which included Galpaca and Ewetopia. Home | GalPaca Farm

The Wisco Sock yarn by Ewetopia is one I have knit before, so I picked up one skein in colorway Superior. (as in, the Lake.) I love those soft, watery shades. I also got Berroco Remix light, which is made from 100% recycled fibers. The skeins of Vintage DK in a plum color will be used to make heavy-duty socks for my husband. I am hoping that the high percentage of acrylic in the mix will wear better and last longer than the typical wool-nylon mix.

Next stop was the quaint town of Veroqua where I shopped at the Ewetopia company store. All I can say is Wow! It is truly the yarn lover’s heaven.

Our Shop — Ewetopia (

In addition to their own label, other Wisconsin yarns and the standard yarn shop yarns are available. They also carry a selection of fleece, tools for felting and many books.

Since I had already purchased some Ewetopia, I was browsing for something different. In the back of my mind I toyed with the thought of another sweater for myself. When I came across the Cascade Roslyn ON SALE, I couldn’t resist it. Cascade is a company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. The Roslyn is a DK weight made from 65% wool and 35% silk. Its tweedy texture will be perfect to make a light-weight cardigan useful here in the warm climate of Oklahoma. I chose a leaf-green colorway that reminds me of Autumn.

Now to browse patterns and cast on. I foresee many happy hours in my future, with needles in hand.

Posted in knitting

Finished Object – Water Shawl

Today is the last day of March. I told myself that I would have this KAL done by today. Despite the difficulties of working on the road, the obstacle of my computer WIFI failure and the minefield of working on Someone Else’s Computer, I am ready. Here you see the blocked shawl hung up against a striped curtain.

My daughter agreed to model for me.

The temperatures here in Wisconsin dipped down into the upper 20th last night. At the time of the photo session, it was still only about 45 F. She professed that the shawl is quite warm.

I’m pretty happy with it. I did run out of the dark yarn and had to improvise a bit at lower edge, just above the lacey bind off. I have plenty of pink left. So I can’t call this a stash buster. But it is a unique and graceful design. I recommend this pattern for intermediate knitters.

You can find this pattern on Ravelry.

Ravelry: Water pattern by Sylvia McFadden