Friday, July 15, 2011

Wynken, Blynken & Nod

Wynken, Blynken & Nod one night, set off in a wooden shoe... sailed on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew. "Where are you going, and what do you wish?" the old moon asked the three. "We've come to fish for the herring fish that live in this beautiful sea!"

Have you heard this story before? It's been one of my favorite lullaby's since we sang it in choir when I was in high school, yes I was a choir geek. Surprised? President of the club in my senior year, actually. Hehe... yeah...

This was what I chose to embroider for my partner, Nicole in the second half of the Phat Quarter Embroidery Books Swap. I decided to use the cover art from a copy of the book that I owned, illustrations by Sheilah Beckett. This is another picture heavy post, I hope you don't mind.
You can enlarge any of the pictures by simply clicking on them.

 Here's the cover, my inspiration
I've had the idea to stitch this cover art for some time, but never had a reason to do so. When I saw that Nicole was my "send to" partner, I knew right away what I wanted to make for her. I weighed this carefully, I always want my partners to get something they really like and want, and I almost didn't do this piece in favor of making something she'd suggested, but I couldn't shake the feeling that she would like this. I've been a fan of Nicole's work and Follow The White Bunny since I began stitching two years ago and I felt that while different from her work, this had a familiar vibe, whimsical, but not silly, and pretty and thoughtful, but not overly sweet. That's my kind of style too! 

It starts with a tracing.

Then some simple outlines and some hair...

I for the hair I used mainly stem stitch for all three children.

Next, some colorful fish...
 I used rayon floss, in a stem stitch to outline, and filled with a rainbow variegated open fly stitch to make "scales".

Next was the mast, and some flying ribbons... (and Doctor Who - I'm utterly hooked!!)

I decided a plain mast was too boring, so I quilted on a crescent moon and a hanging star

And more hair touch up after the mast was appliqued and secured with a blanket stitch.

Next came the net. The text of the poem says that the fishermen three have "Nets of silver and gold", so I had to make our little boy a silver net. This net had me quite tripped up. I actually stitched it twice, I snipped out the first version entirely. When I completed it the first time, I released the tension from the q-snap, and something went wonky with the stitching, the Kreinik thread I used got wavy and looked strange to me, other people said it looked fine and I should leave it alone, but I just couldn't. It bothered me that much. After a day or two, I  started again, this time with success! The tension was much better, the net kept its shape when I removed it from the hoop.

Lastly was the waves, oh the waves! I consulted Nicole's tutorials for some pointers here...
(Somehow I managed to miss pictures of these until after I'd done the color tinting.)

I used many different colors here, chosen to match the color of the water in the illustration as possible. Lots of different kinds of stitches here as well, some gleaned from Nicole's own website. Fill stitches aren't yet a strong point of mine, but after this project, I think I rather like them!

Next was the color tinting, I used color pencils for this, it was fast and easy and gave an immediate, dramatic effect.
Subtle skin tones and a slight blush to his sweet cheek.

Warm flush across the skin on her face, neck and hand...
Color added focus to the center of the piece.

Every body got a bit of color, even the baby and her bear...
Can you see Baby's collar? This is the tiniest text I've ever done!

The color tinting was the last step before hooping up this piece. I painted the hoop a soft dove grey/blue and added a layer of frost over it so it had some sheen and was smooth to the touch.
Before hooping, I layered a fluffy piece of quilt batting so that the finished piece would be soft to the touch and stand up off of the hoop just a bit more. I was really pleased with the effect.

Ready to see it completed?

Pretty close to the cover art, I'd say!

Nicole received her piece a couple of days ago, and I'm so happy that she likes it! It's now hanging on the wall of her living room among other very beautiful embroideries, so far from its orgins in California, all the way to The Netherlands! Nicole also featured this piece on Feeling Stitchy this morning!! I'm so honored to see something I've made featured there!

I'm so happy with the way the finished embroidery came out, there are a LOT of different stitches and components that comprise this piece, satin, stem, blanket and back stitches, open fly, French knot, brick and chain stitches, couching, applique, quilting, color tinting, rayon, metallic and Keirnik threads and many, many, many hours. Everything but the kitchen sink, basically. I gave it everything I had.
What'cha think friends? Did I do ok?

I'm Going To Hogwarts!

It's must be true, I have my acceptance letter and everything!
I've been holding out on you guys with this nugget, I've been waiting for today. What's today, you ask? Well hello, sillies! It's the beginning of the end, the premier day of the last Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II!
This mind blowing piece of embroidery is what I received in the most recent Phat Quarter swap, the theme this time was books. Naturally, my favorite book of all time is Harry Potter. My partner for this half of the swap is the Crafty & Devious, Gemma! She made me an embroidery of epic proportions and sent it to California all the way from Australia!
I almost wept when I opened this letter. Seriously, I had to put it down and take a few laps around the house. It's addressed to meeeeeee! Meeeeeee!
You guys! Would you look at this?! Gah, all that metallic floss! I'm gobsmacked, every stitch is perfect! Just under the Hogwarts 'letterhead' is the name of the most loved Headmaster of all time, Albus Dumbledore, along with his title which Gemma stitched in gold, silk floss, it's gorgeous. If you're not familiar, here's Professor Dumbledore's title in it's entirety:

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorcerer, Chief Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confederation of Wizards)

This picture is for scale, I know it can sometimes be hard to tell the size of things when you see pictures on the Internet. This piece is large, 8"x11"! Epic indeed!

I'm framing this piece, it's going on the wall. For the rest of my life.

I've never been so excited to go to school, I can't wait for September! I'm excited to get to Diagon Alley and pick up my supplies. You know - wand, robes, cauldron, books and pet. Oo-ooh! What should I get, an owl? A rat? A kitty?

Wait. What? Hogwarts isn't real? Get outta town, of course it is!
right guys?

So! Who's going to see the movie this weekend? Did anyone go to the midnight premier last night? I'm excited to see this movie, it's been a long ride and I'm kind of sad to see it end, but also stoked to see the story play out.

 The saga isn't exactly over you know, there's a whole new world opening soon, have you heard of Pottermore yet?? OoOoOoh, looks goooood!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy Camper

Hi All~
I spent this past weekend camping in the mountains with my niece Ana, my mom, and her husband Johnny. It was such a relaxing weekend and provided me a desperately needed recharge. I've been feeling a little too tightly wound for the last several weeks and this camping trip was exactly what I needed to feel more like myself.
The mountains are unbelievably beautiful right now, so I thought I'd share some pictures. In case anyone is interested, this is Pi Pi Campground (Site #33) in the El Dorado National Forest, Northern California. Get yourself a nice glass of iced tea, I took a lot of pictures! I couldn't help myself, it's so pretty.
We camped near this meadow in full bloom.
A walk way built along the border between the river and the meadow and forest, goes on for miles...

Miss Hollywood ~ My niece Ava was there for one afternoon too, she loves nature walks.

I don't know what type of flowers these are, Lupine perhaps? But they are enormous and there are thousands of them in the meadow.

This hole is very old, it's an Indian Grinding Rock

 Gigantic dandelion wishes. I wished along with her...

This is a shot of our campsite from the meadow directly behind my tent. Reminds me that we are indeed very small.

After our walk it was time for a snack. Ava is trying to share her yogurt with me in this picture, I can tell you that 2 year olds with full spoons don't aim very well. I'm not sure how, I only looked away for a split second, but that entire spoonful ended up in my hair. It gave us both quite a giggle, who could resist that face?

These are the talents of the other women in my family. My sister-in-law Apryl made these tye-dyes, aren't they amazing? My mom made the ribbon rings which hang high in the trees. These two represent water and fire, eventually she'll make two more representing the other two elements of earth and wind. They're so pretty and the ribbons make a nice rustling in the trees. She was inspired to make these after seeing them hanging in the trees at the Renaissance Faire.



What's that? You've never seen a decorated camp site? Well then, you've never camped with my mom.

Here is the bunting I made for her birthday last year, along with a new yo-yo bunting (one of several) hung in and around our camp, or rather our "encampment" as we came to call it. Also - this is my new tent! Isn't it awesome? Oh, it's so nice to have a tent with a functional door instead of a broken zipper!

Large tapestries add color and pretty to our site and give a lot of privacy in a completely packed campground, we felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Here's how our encampment looked from the campground road

The trail leading into the meadow at dusk

Sun down and hazy, soft light filtering through the trees, lovely...

After dinner and dishes it was quiet talks and cozy moments near the fire.

It was a productive weekend for me too, I got a great deal of stitching done on these lazy afternoons while the others napped or read.
This is a small tablecloth I'm making for myself to put on my little table inside my tent. I'm a night owl, even when camping, and the new tent is big enough for a small table and chair where I can sit and read or stitch after the others doze off.

Ha! My mom just posted this picture on Facebook, she caught me stitching! Can you see me, sitting next to my tent? Lol...

The night before we left, I quickly I drew a simple the design out on some sturdy forest green cotton that I already had (pre-washed even!). What's funny is that I chose the colors before I left, and took only those colors with me. Little did I know that they were almost exactly the colors that would be blooming around me all weekend. This little table cloth will always remind me of this camping trip. I finished all of the stitching by the way, all in that one weekend too! I love it... I'm going to simply fray the edges and maybe add a contrasting running stitch near the bottom. I'll try to get a better picture to share tomorrow, I'm really happy with the way the embroidery turned out.

Anyway, this was my weekend, I can hardly wait until I get another one just like it. I love camping, it feeds my soul.

If you've made it to the end, congratulations! I know this was a long, picture heavy post. Tell me, do you enjoy camping? What's your favorite thing?