Archive for the ‘Needlework’ Category

Mom Penny Memorial In Progress

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

I put the memorial penny piece for my mother on hold. Just wasn’t in a place to work on it.

Mom Memorial Knit Piece

I needed to full the piece, stitch the pennies into the triangles, and add coded dates to years that had special events.

Mom Memorial Stacks of Pennies

The silver colored penny is from 1943 and steel.

This morning I fulled the knitted piece, now waiting for it to dry.

Also ordered a box to house the piece. I have been looking for a box and last week found this one.

The images are from the Etsy shop Superior Vintage Goods.

The patina and hardware wowed me.

Box Closed

Box Clasp

Box Hinges

I love the dovetail joints.

Box Open

The interior looks really clean. Relieved I will not need to line the interior. I like the idea of the knitted piece resting next to the wood.

Wool, wood, and pennies are lovely together.

The box should arrive next week. Hope to get all of the stitchwork done before it arrives. My parents’ wedding anniversary is the 11th. It would be great to complete the piece for one of Mom’s special days.


Bitterest Tears Work in Progress

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Decided to change the orientation of the blocks from horizontal to vertical.
Moved the brown border with the code (Loss and Regret) to the left side and the 2 columns of star stitched brown blocks to the right side.

Bitterest Tears

In the process of stitching 3 columns together to make a strip, which will result in 7 strips. When the task is completed, I will stitch the 7 strips together. Four strips done, 3 to complete.

Working with batches of 3 is easier and more manageable than stitching the entire piece together 1 column to the next.

Bitterest Tears Tan Yarn

It took approximately 18″ of beige yarn to stitch the blocks together. Or roughly 1″ of yarn for each square of each block.

Should be able to start stitching the strips together later this week.

Need to decide how best to attach tree wrap to back of the piece. Leaning toward using a tie technique similar to the one my grandmother used when she made quilts.

The piece will have three layers of material: the stitched roofing felt, hardware cloth, and tree wrap, so reference to quilting.

October 17 Progress
Completed stitching together 7 strips of 3 columns.

Bitterest Tears

October 23 Progress
Piece completely stitched together and wrapped the edge with tan yarn.

Bitterest Tears

October 24 Progress, the Border
Originally thought I would loom knit an i-cord for the border, but after several attempts I didn’t like the results. The two that follow are the best of the rejected results.

Border

Cream Border
R1 KKP, R2 KPP, R3 KKP, R4 K

Border

Tan Border
R1 E Wrap Knit, R2 Flat Knit

The loom knitted borders are too bulky and fussy. I suspect the solution will be to use a strand of wire and wrap it with tan yarn.

While I am thinking about the border, thought I would attempt using a sewing machine to stitch together strips of tree wrap. The tree wrap will be tied to the back of the piece, similar to how quilt layers are tied together. Rather than having the knot on the front of the piece, the knots will be on back, the tree wrap side. The result should be a simple and clean cross stitch at each block connection.

Wait, what did I just write? A knot at each block connection. How many knots will I tie? There will be 15 for each column, 20 for each row, or 300 for the body of the piece. There will also be 17 for each side and 20 for top, 20 for the bottom, or 74 to tie the border.

That is all before I get to the really fun part of apply a salt solution with the hope of adding crystals to the pieces.


Bitterest Tears Project in Progress

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Sunday I spent the bulk of the day in the studio working on the Bitterest Tears piece. Saturday decided to add a border to the piece, notion of how blankets have a binding at top.

Bitterest Tears

Didn’t visually feel right, so I opted for 2 rows at the top and 3 on bottom.

Bitterest Tears

Bitterest Tears Final Layout

Bitterest Tears

The 2nd brown row at top has the word, loss in code.
The bottom 2nd and 3rd rows have the code for the words, and regret.

Bitterest Tears

Row 1 Stitch for Dots, Row 2 and 3 Dash and Spacer, Row 4 Decorative Row

Used the same dot, dash, spacer stitches for the code for entire piece. There is an addition of a row of a decorative star stitch that frames the body in cream.

Odd that I am on the flip side of regret after doing so many pieces in the past with no regret and forgive yourself in code.

No Regrets

No Regrets code is wrapped around the circle.

Forgive Yourself

Forgive Yourself code is knotted for use as prayer beads.

Regret and Grief
I suspect it has a bit to do with the loss of my sister and mother this year. Even when you intellectually know death will soon end a life, it is still a shock to the system. It changes everything. Every day I wish I could have had more time with the two most important women in my life. Grief is my constant companion. Perhaps I should give it a name.

My hope is that when I complete the penny memorial for my mother and the Bitterest Tears piece I will have worked through some of my grief.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Quote Used
The Harriet Beecher Stowe quote used for the body of the piece–the bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

The quote is from Little Foxes: Or, the Insignificant Little Habits Which Mar Domestic Happiness. Been carrying the quote around for quite some time, so decided I should read the book.

Found the book as a free read on archive.org.

Perhaps the first pages explains the title–

…the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

… those unsuspected, unwatched, insignificant little causes, that nibble away domestic happiness, and make home less than so noble an institution should be.

Project Description
There are 16 blocks horizontally and 21 blocks vertically. Each block is a 9×5 (2.25” x 1.25”) piece of ¼” hardware cloth. The piece of brown material stitched onto each block is roofing felt. I love roofing felt–its color, texture, and fragrance.

I used a rust promoter solution on the hardware cloth that may have weakened the metal. Some of the blocks became crazy red. Decided not to use those in this piece because I wanted to limit the palette to brown, cream, and grey.

Bitterest Tears Blocks

Planning to stitch the blocks together with the brown wool yarn used for the top and bottom borders. Then apply a salt solution to the entire piece. It should integrate, age, and perhaps even visually bring to mind the salt of tears.

Pretty sure the piece will need a frame/box. Not sure if the frame/box will be part of the piece or act as a frame for an artifact.

Anzen

Anzen is part of my Tools for Rent Series.

When I cast the bronze daggers I debated how best to display them. Some of my thoughts–weapons are often beautiful, weapons are designed to cause damage, the use of a weapon is violent. But if the daggers are bound into the interior of the box, potential violence could be controlled. I decided to bind each dagger into their own box.

The boxes were constructed of raw cedar fence. Cedar has a lovely fragrance. It also brings to mind the numerous times I opened my mother’s cedar-lined hope chest. I chose cedar because of the arbitrary value placed on a woman based on the contents of a wedding chest. Not unlike the arbitrary value placed on works of art.


Work in Progress–Mom Penny Memorial

Friday, September 14th, 2018

The memorial piece will have a penny dated for each year of my mother’s life.

I have a stash of pennies, but did not have one for each year from 1930 to 2018. Found a coin shop in town that had reasonably priced pennies to complete the piece.

Stacks of pennies

Interesting that 1943 is a steel penny.

1943 Steel Penny

Memorial

Loom Knitting Pleated Pattern with Undyed Wool

Memorial

Today will have completed 35 rows of 89 rows for the pennies. Will need to knit a bit more for overlap.

When the loom knitting is done, the pennies attached, and important years indicated, a box will be made of cedar as a home for the memorial piece.

Previous Penny Project Post

Tim 50th Birthday

Normally I would work all day to complete a project. But I have to limit my (repetitive) working time to five rows per day. I had surgery on my hand in June, with some working too much too soon complications. Developed scar tissue with extreme sensitivity. Still working to gain back finger strength and manual dexterity.

Dash enjoyed helping with my favorite desensitizing therapy.

Desensitizing Therapy


More Ants on Flowers

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Tadpole

Ants on a Pandorea jasminoides Flower

Noticed a few pods, so I snagged them.

Pods

Previous posts on Pandorea jasminoides pods use as an art material–

Accustomed to Being Invisible

Invisible Stitched

Changes

Changes


2017 Anniversary Piece

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Each year I make a piece for our wedding anniversary. This year marks 34 years. Crazy, where does the time go???

This year I used hardware cloth and self striping sock yarn to make 35 squares, one for each year. Each square has the same background stitch of gray yarn. The dots of the code are in orange and the dashes are in yellow.

2017 Anniversary

Left side was original design.
Right side is the stitch layout used for each square.

2017 Anniversary

Detail of 2017 square and how the piece is attached.

2017 Anniversary

Square for each year of anniversary bound together.

2017 Anniversary

Completed and framed piece.
Chalkboard paint and purple chalk application for an aged appearance.

Usually I make my own frames. This year I ran out of time so I purchased a frame. The frame is too deep for the piece. Also, it was difficult painting the frame. The glass was fixed in place and could not be removed. I taped it up, but the internal frame that holds the glass in place was white and could not be painted. And it could be seen. I used a black permanent marker on the glass. Definitely not good craftsmanship.

Making a frame with the proper depth will be necessary.

Placing pieces in frames, rather than directly on the wall changes how the pieces are view. I like the idea that you can see and touch the pieces, but a bit of protection might be in order. It has been difficult keeping pieces free of dust and in some cases insects.

Framing pieces, if done properly, just might give the feel of artifact. Need to think on it and make some frames for some of my work in progress. Live with them for a time and then decide if framing is a good for the work.


Courtyard Wallpieces

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Over the weekend I made two wallpieces for my courtyard garden. The wallpieces will break up the wall while acting as trellises for vines.

Courtyard Wallpiece

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wall has a step design that makes it difficult for spacing. I tried equal spacing between and around the wallpieces, but the edge of the right wallpiece hit a step in the wall that visually wasn’t working.

I moved the pieces to 3 feet from the corners. Still didn’t feel right.

Courtyard Wallpiece

I am leaning toward placing the wallpieces centered with the wall steps. In the center of the wall is a Cordia boissieri (Texas Wild Olive).

Cordia boissieri

It is small now, but should eventually fill the space.

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wallieces were made using simple Bargello embroidery stitches. Materials List–1 inch fence (41″ x 31″), coconut fiber rope, and sisal rope.

Courtyard Wallpiece Rope

Safety when working with fiber–wear a respirator, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt.

Coconut fiber is beautiful, but it is extremely prickly, dusty, and dirty. This is part of what I swept up.

Courtyard Wallpiece Dust


Again With the Casemaking Moths and Possible Easy Solution

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

I am in the process of cleaning and clearing my studio in order to have enough space to begin a new project.

While cleaning my work bench I found casemaking moths.

Casemaking Moths

Casemaking moth in a small bowl of cold wax test pieces.
The casemaking moth is in the center on the penny bound with wool.

Finding the casemaking moths brought to mind a recent conversation I had with an entomologist. I specifically asked him how to address the casemaking moth problem.

He said that an easy solution was to put my work in the my car. What would that accomplish? One of the ways to kill casemaking moths is to use heat. He also recommended tossing the stuff in a plastic bin with a few moth balls. I don’t recall which moth balls he recommended, naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. I would prefer not using chemicals.

But, it never occurred to me to use the heat in the car. That would be an easy fix, especially since most of my work will not fit in the freezer.

He mentioned that his wife had success killing an insect infestation in the wood horn of a recently purchased used saddle.

Previous Posts

It is Not a Pod…

What Happened?

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking Moth Damage–Alpaca yarn embroidered on harware cloth.

Tinea pellionella

A Perfect Environment for Moths


Would the interior temperature in a car kill moths?

American Veterinary Medical Association

AVMA Temp Chart

The AVMA credits–Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University,
for creating the estimated vehicle interior temperature chart.

Alternatives, A Washington Toxics Coalition Fact Sheet, Clothing Moths-Prevention and Control by Jennie Goldberg states–“High heat (in excess of 99”F for one week) will destroy all life stages of the moth.”

It appears that the interior temperature of a car will kill moths.
Need to perform some tests to find out for sure.


It is Not a Pod…

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

I am currently staying with my sister’s family in an old farm house in Maryland. When I took my morning walk, I noticed something odd. The fir trees at the edge of the property had what appeared on first glance, some type of pods.

Fir Trees

When I took a closer look it became clear that the “pods” were made by insects.

Bagworm Pods

Bagworm Pods

Bagworm Pods

So, who made them?

According to the Penn State Dept of Entomology it is the work of the bagworm moth,Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis (Haworth).

“This insect is most easily recognized by the case or bag that the caterpillar forms and suspends from ornamental plants on which it feeds. The bag is made of silk and bits of host foliage. These materials are interwoven to disguise and add strength to the case.”


It is unfortunate that the bagworm is destructive. The structures that they build are so beautiful. Apparently, it would be a good idea to remove them from the trees to prevent an infestation.

The description of the bag incorporating the surrounding material brings to mind Tinea pellionella, commonly known as casemaking moths.

Casemaking moths are very small. If you are not looking for them or not aware that they even exist. They can be mistaken for a bit of lint.

They are definitely not something I want in my home and studio since I am using natural fiber in my work.

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking moths ate a large portion of the fiber stitchwork of a work in progress.

Casemaking Moth

The photo was taken with my iPad. It is difficult to capture something that is so small,
but it is an example of a red case.

Casemaking Moth

Casemaking moth that was found inside one of my garden clogs.


Living With Bunnies and Birds

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

When you share a home with bunnies and birds, you must make loads of compromises. Bunny proofing means protecting or removing anything that can be chewed that is up to approximately 3 feet high, unless the bunny likes to climb on furniture. One of our bunnies runs laps on the back of the sofa.

It is incredibly difficult to bird proof a room. Removal of plants and anything that they might want to tear and shred is a given. But don’t forget about the thin iPad/iPhone power cables. They love to chew them.

One of my See a Penny pieces has been hanging on the dining room wall since I completed it in March of 2013.

See A Penny

Completed See a Penny piece prior to hanging in dining room.

Today I found one of the pieces of mirror on the floor. When I replaced the mirror, I noticed damage–

See A Penny Damage

and certain the culprit is either The Bird or Bob.

The Bird

The Bird

Bob

Bob

They both love landing and perching on the piece, but I didn’t realize chewing was involved.

I could attempt giving the birds a misting with water as a deterrent. Probably would not be a deterrent for Bob because he frequently takes a bath in Big Baby’s water dish.

Big Baby

Big Baby

Haven’t decided if I will be moving the wallpiece to a different location. Repair will be time consuming, but doable. The squares are constructed of roofing felt, tree wrap, mirror, hardware cloth, and cotton twine.

See A Penny

See a Penny, Squares Used for Code–Spacer, Dot, Dash

Slipping in a new square of tree wrap won’t work. They squares were perforated for ease of binding with the cotton twine.

So, what is the solution to prevent Elliot from chewing my shoe laces while I am wearing the shoes?

Laces

Repaired laces with embroidery floss.

Elliot

Elliot in the studio.