Posts Tagged ‘cross-stitch’

Thread Brain: A Story

August 23, 2017

I was in the midst of creating small projects with odd scraps of aida cloth and embroidery floss when I was inspired by an article about the human brain. There was a simple line drawing of the brain in the magazine. “Self,” I said, “that would go well as a cross-stitch.” I charted a design on graph paper, then did the stitching, which was a first for me. There was room left on the scrap of aida cloth, so I stitched in the words Thread Brain. There was still room, so I added another line: A Story.

Now I have a title and cover art, but what comes after that? Since I have yet to come up with a story in words, I decided to continue a story in thread. I have lots of leftover floss, so I made a multi-colored field and stitched an outline of a brain.

There is room on this scrap of aida cloth, so I’m making another image, this time of the two hemispheres of the brain.

I have no idea where this will lead, but I’m keeping my fingers occupied and using up the odd bits and pieces that clutter my sewing room. That’s good enough for now.

Luck and wisdom!

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Quiet-time Activities

July 26, 2017

I’ve had a quiet week, not entirely by choice. I’m still fighting off some bug or other, and my creative energy level has suffered. Even reading was more of a chore than I wanted most days, so I pulled out my travel kits and did some cross-stitch. I’ve shown you this square:

Oriented to be Christmas ornaments

You may recall I couldn’t decide if this depicts Christmas ornaments or shooting stars. I decided to explore stars and came up with this:

A star chart, grid-style

The grid reminded me of plaid, so I made this:

Stars on point

After all that, I decided I liked the Christmas ornament idea, and made this:

Strings of lights

Keeping my hands busy helped me accept the fact that I need to rest until I’m entirely well. I can’t guarantee I won’t go stir-crazy if I don’t start feeling better soon, but for the moment I’m content to be creative with quiet-time activities.

Luck and wisdom!

Upgrades – Gift or Curse?

July 12, 2017

Some wretched app on my cell phone absolutely positively had to schedule an upgrade last week. My phone reacted poorly, and I lost all my photos, my Instagram connection, basically anything I actually use. Curses. The good news is once I accepted that I would be without a phone for a while I stopped thinking about it and began to appreciate the gift of time. The hours I  might have been on social media turned into a lovely period for handwork.

I finished the cross-stitch thistle that went off the rails a couple of weeks ago. Now that it is done, I’m actually quite pleased with it.

The next project-in-progress was inspired by some trees I saw on a family trip to Montana. The trunks were straight and tall. I started embroidering lines to represent them. I may or may not add the canopy after I’ve grown weary of laying down straight lines in varying widths. Someone asked what this piece was going to be, but I didn’t have an answer. For the moment, it is simply a bit of beauty to occupy my hands and entertain my eyes.

I still don’t know if upgrades are a gift or a curse. My current phone is toast, so until the new one arrives I’ll be living the unconnected life. At least I know that I can go back to the way life used to be if necessary.

Luck and wisdom!

Cross-stitch For Those Who Can’t Count

June 28, 2017

I love cross-stitch, but I have the worst time following a pattern. Despite having a decent education, I can’t count with thread in my hands. I have the same problem with knitting and crochet, but since I have friends and family who knit and crochet beautifully I don’t mind not mastering those arts. Cross-stitch is different. I refuse to be beaten, even though I often am.

This pattern is beautiful, and as it happened I had floss in the appropriate colors. Don’t ask where it came from. One day I rummaged through my floss box and found several lengths of pink, green and brown tied together. Last week, I decided to give following a pattern another try.

Things started out well enough. I told myself this time would be different, this time I would get to the end of the project and every stitch would be in place.

Oh, how the universe laughed.

By the time I realized how far off the mark I had gone, I was too invested in the project to abandon it. That’s when I had an epiphany – the reason I love cross-stitch is that the pattern can be altered on the fly if one has the courage to seize the needle. So that’s what I did. I soldiered on, inserting colors where I wanted them, adding a leaf, adjusting the shape of the stalk. By the time I finished I almost regretted doing this project on a scrap of aida cloth with a nasty stain and a line of embroidery that refuses to reveal why it is there. Almost, but not entirely. I’ll cut around the design, maybe fill in the background with a cream or very pale green. It might end up on a card, in an art quilt, or on a tote bag. Wherever it goes, it will remind me that even for those who can’t count, cross-stitch can be fun.

Luck and wisdom!

Start With One Cut

July 8, 2015

I’ve been avoiding the sewing room. The combination of no immediate deadlines and too many potential projects to choose from sapped all my creative energy. I felt as if I had stumbled into a candy shop just after finishing a wonderful meal – I wasn’t hungry enough to choose anything. The longer I wait to start a new project, however, the harder it is to do. “Self,” I said, “grab the fabric at hand and start with one cut.”

Scraps  and stuff

Scraps and stuff

These scraps sat on my design wall for months. I thought they might look nice together, but didn’t know what format to use. Art quilt? Craft project? Book cover? Tote bag? I decided to start sewing and hope a purpose presented itself.

I cut the class sample and bordered the cross-stitch

I cut the class sample and bordered the cross-stitch

Purpose did not appear, but the need for more fabric did. Situations like this are why I have the scrap bin under the design wall.

A good ending waiting for another beginning

A good ending waiting for another beginning

This is where I am now. It is finished enough to move off the design wall. I might embellish it. I might submit it to the Progressive Party for them to work some magic. I might put it in a very safe place and forget all it about.

Luck and wisdom!

Scraps and How to Make Them

November 20, 2014

The first step in making scraps is to have a plan. I had a plan for the last two days, then stuff happened and I ended up with scraps of days. The people who created the kit I just finished also had a plan, a reasonably good plan, but I ended up with scraps anyway.

A lovely pear waiting for a project

A lovely pear waiting for a project

The kit for this lovely pear was included in one of the many embroidery grab bags I bought at a silent auction. I’ve been working on it while watching TV at night, and finally finished it. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news for a craft supply hoarder is that the kit designers made sure there would be enough floss to finish the project no matter how incompetent the stitcher.

Too pretty to toss

Too pretty to toss

This is beautiful floss, and I’m not about to toss it. I am, however, exceptionally lazy and I’m not about to wind it on spools and file it neatly. Instead, I’ve been trying to come up with odd projects (and the key word here really is odd) that will use up the floss.

Plants for alien planets

Plants for alien planets

This will end up in my science fiction quilt series – just don’t ask me how or when. If I’m very lucky, I’ll be able to combine some of my quilting scraps with the cross-stitch, but I’m not holding my breath.

The never empty scrap box

The never empty scrap box

I guess what I really need is the inspiration for a blog post titled Scraps and How to Get Rid of Them Without Actually Making Another Quilt.

Luck and wisdom!

What I Did On Halloween

November 5, 2014

This was the Halloween without a pumpkin. Since the weather forecast was for rain all day, I figured carving a jack-o-lantern would be a waste of a good vegetable. Instead, I put out a staff from a weird costume one of the kids wore long ago.

Creepy - and the kids loved it

Creepy – and the kids loved it

This little paper tree resurfaced, so I decorated it.

And a jack-o-lantern in a paper tree

And a jack-o-lantern in a paper tree

During the day I almost finished a Halloween-ish quilt, but didn’t quite get to the sleeve.

Crows and bats and moons, oh my

Crows and bats and moons, oh my

This quilt may be displayed next year, if I can remember the very safe place I’m certain to store it once I attach the sleeve.

Last, and for the first time ever, I decided on a project I could easily put down when the trick-or-treaters came – which they did, because the rain came later than expected.

It almost glows in the dark

It almost glows in the dark

All in all, it was a great Halloween.

Luck and wisdom!

Self-help and the Studio

July 23, 2014

My daughter is moving across the country this week. It’s exciting for her – graduate school, a road trip with one of her dearest friends, all that stuff. Me – not so much. As happy as I am for her, I will miss having her and her dog at home. My usual response to these situations is ice cream and retail therapy (aka buying stuff I don’t need). This time, I’m doing a little self-help therapy in the studio.

Lani Longshore works in progress

We’re headed to a family reunion in a couple of weeks, so I will need some hand-work for the trip. I bought the lime green Aida cloth thinking to cross-stitch space ships and bug-eyed monsters. I have no idea where the project will go from there, but the panels are small enough to include in a larger quilt or as part of a jacket.

Lani Longshore sci fi project

I got this fabric from Carol of Quiltfever, a great quilting blog. The circles looked space-y to her, and I have to agree. I’ve been waiting for the perfect project, but I think using it to help get over being sad about my daughter moving is good. I have an article to inspire space-related fiber art, and an embellishment.

Such a cute face

Such a cute face

I got this necklace from Free Hippie Bohemian Jewelry on Etsy, with matching earrings. The charms glow in the dark.

The last item on my to-do list was to get the supplies for a decompression project.

Lani Longshore hat box wool applique

I always need a few days to remember what I do when I return from vacation. The wool applique was made by my friend Lori Vogel. I thought it would make a great lid for a round box, and I have a gray window scarf to use for the rest of the box. The only thing I didn’t have was the box. Of course, I can’t find the fabric at the moment, but I suspect it will turn up in the next week. I’m keeping some of my daughter’s furniture, including a bookcase that my husband has wanted out of the garage for the entire time she’s been here. If I’m not mistaken, I’ll be spending the weekend shifting enough stuff out of the way so my husband can install the case in the studio. Who knows what lost treasures I’ll find?

Luck and wisdom!

The Magical Thinking of Squirrels

June 11, 2014

 

In a past life, I must have been a squirrel. I keep burying treasures all over my sewing room and expect to find them, which is the essence of magical thinking. Since I don’t always receive the miracle of unearthing just what I need when I need it, I decided to try another version of magical thinking at the last guild silent auction. I put a small bid on every cross-stitch and embroidery package I saw, then walked away. If I won, it was because the universe wanted me to have it.

I won all of them.

Each package contains a random collection of floss, Aida cloth, a few patterns, and one or more surprise pieces (not all of which I recognize). I thought about hiding each package in a different part of the sewing room to increase the chance I would find some embroidery supplies when I need them. So far I’ve squelched my inner squirrel, but you can never tell. The lure of magical thinking is hard to resist.

My own version of a sampler

My own version of a sampler

Luck and wisdom!

 

Trees

December 4, 2013

When I was a kid, my father took up photography. One of his favorite subjects was trees, especially dead trees. I found out later that his mother also loved trees, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love trees. My tree fabric collection takes up an entire bin, and it is time to make some quilts.

 

While I have a collection of books and photos of trees, I noticed that the specimens in my neighborhood are pretty darn interesting. On Thanksgiving, I went out with my camera and came home with nearly fifty pictures from my six-block walk. My favorite shot is one you will never see in your basic tree identification pamphlet, because it is a grouping that nature never intended.

 

Lani Longshore palm tree

 

Yes, the quintessential California grove – evergreen, deciduous and palm growing together.

 

My tree quilt marathon will start early next year, once the holiday hoopla is cleared away. For the moment, I’m making up my own cross-stitch trees.

 

Lani Longshore tree cross-stitch

 

I leave you with a photo of fun with recycled trees – a playing card turkey made with a Skallops junior pack.

 

Lani Longshore playing card turkey