Archive for the ‘Needlework’ Category

Thoughts, Words… In Progress

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Today I cut 330 plus pieces of hardware cloth for my Thoughts/Words… piece. The extra pieces are to replace blocks that are not quite right. Sometimes when trimming a block it is possible to break the joint. A broken joint can result in shredded fiber and make it difficult to bind the block. Also, the wire is sharp and can cause wounds.

Hardware Cloth

My gloves don’t appear too damaged.

Gloves

This is how I had my hand taped. I kept adding tape when areas felt a bit stingy. The clear plastic tape on my palm is a horrible product. It gets sticky and leaves a sticky residue after it is removed.

Hand Taped

The tools that I use to cut the hardware cloth and the removed tape.

Removed Tape

And a few blisters.

Hand Blisters

My palm tonight after a day working, making dinner, and washing dishes.

Hand This Evening

Not as annoying as a month after hand surgery. Apparently, when you are told to work as much as you feel up to, they really mean an hour a day, not 6-8 hours per day.

Blue Hand

The result was the inability to work for nearly two months. And certain activities are still challenging. Last week I had a steroid injection to break up the scar tissue. After the bruise and sting went away, my hand is behaving more like a healthy hand.

I really should have spread out the repetitive cutting of hardware. Funny how when you get in the zone, you just keep working.

So, tomorrow I will spend part of the day cutting and perforating 330 pieces of roofing felt. Maybe begin assembling the blocks.


2019 Anniversary Piece

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Each year I make an anniversary piece, somewhat of a 3-D greeting card.

2019 Anniversary Piece

2″ x 5.25″ x .75″
1/4″ Hardware Cloth, Wool, Metal Washers, Pennies

2019 Anniversary Code Blocks

Hardware Cloth .25″ X 1.5″ x .25″
Undyed Wool–Brown Dots, Tan Dashes, Cream Spacers.

The background pieces make the code 0527.

0 is 5 Dashes; 5 is 5 Dots; 2 is 2 Dots and 3 Dashes; and 7 is 2 Dashes and 3 Dots.
3 Spacers are placed between each component of the date. Two vertical lengths of cream yarn were inserted through the blocks and bound into the frame.

This is the first time that I stacked code pieces. I really like the result. What if instead of a piece that can be held in your hand, the scale is 5 or 6 feet? Could use my stash of rope in place of yarn. Something to think about.

1983 Penny

2019 Penny


Watch Yourself and Salt Residue

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

I was rearranging my studio and ran across a beautiful salt residue from a patina used on metal bits.

Salt

Salt

Salt

I used the salt solution on metal bits from a broken veg steamer that I planned to use in the piece Watch Yourself.

Watch Yourself Parts

Why Watch Yourself? Steamers in use are too hot to touch, so be careful. Also the addition of mirror gives the viewer a peek at what they are doing.

The code on used in the piece is based on a combination of Morse and Celtic Tree Code that I used in a previous piece.

Watch Yourself Code

A salt solution was used to add some rust.

Watch Yourself Patina

Watch Yourself Patina

Watch Yourself Patina

Watch Yourself Patina

The other materials in the piece are mirror, linen, and jump rings.

Watch Yourself Patina

To Complete–application of wax, build a cedar box, nail the assembled piece inside the box using existing steamer holes.


Who is left to connect me… Patina

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

I decided to assemble Who Is Left… and then patina the bronze safety pins and welding rod. I am hoping for the addition of a weeping green, but the wool limits what I can use.

The patina is a solution of dissolved kosher salt in white vinegar.

I folded and rolled the piece in the solution. Then hung it to drip dry.

Who Is Left Vinegar and Salt Patina

Who Is Left Vinegar and Salt Patina

Who Is Left Vinegar and Salt Patina

Who Is Left Vinegar and Salt Patina

Bronze Dagger, Vinegar and Salt Patina Used on Upper Portion


This is a fun little piece that has been on the wall of my studio for several years. It is part of my Cleanse Your Palate series.

Soap Cup

The series is based on negative words and the punishment of washing out your mouth with soap.

I made cups of dried plant materials and fiber. Made silicone molds of the cups.

A clove glycerin soap cup was pulled from each mold.

The wood used for the shelf is from an old garden swing. I carried the wood around for a decade before it found a home in the cup series. The oxidized wire was found in my dad’s shop. Perhaps I learned to save everything, just in case, for some day, from my dad.

A few pieces from the series can be seen on my website, Girl Artist.


Who Is Left to Connect Me… In Progress

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Who Is Left

Safety Pins Used–263 small, 9 gourd. The knitted brown pieces are much thinner than the cream and tan pieces. Next time I should use the same stitch for all.

Who Is Left

Cut a length of bronze welding rod for hanging the piece inside box. Current Dimensions–10″ x 20″.

Next–Patina the metal and build a cedar box.

Who Is Left

As stated in a previous post, the quote is from Henning Mankell’s, Firewall.


Who Is Left to Connect Me to My Earlier Life?

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

The quote is from Firewall, part of the Wallander series written by Henning Mankell.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mother’s ischemic stroke. An event that changed everything.

Last year was a challenging year. My younger sister survived her third surgery for oral cancer, but while in recovery had an ischemic stroke. She did not survive.

Two months later my mother had an ischemic stroke. For a few weeks the prognosis was positive-negative, hopeful-no hope. Before summer I lost the two most important women in my life. The women who knew me when I was a child. We grew and changed together.

I am working on a memorial series. Typically I my series have 11 pieces. Several pieces are in progress but not quite completed. Partly the delay in completing work is the result of recovering from hand surgery. Still do not have my fine motor skill and manual dexterity in my dominant hand.

I using fiber to embroider on hardware cloth for my code blocks. Holding a needle for extended periods of time still causes hand and finger pain. Needed to figure out alternative ways for making things. Since I can loom knit, decided to give that a go. This will also be the first piece in a long time that does not have hardware cloth. It is a good thing to break a dependence on a material.

Who is Left…, will still have a metal component. The plan is to use safety pins to assemble the blocks. The safety pins will also add the possibility of green patina running down the piece.

Blocks
There are three colors of wool blocks: 41 tan for dashes, 51 dark brown for dots, and 52 cream for spacers. The 144 blocks will be laid out on a 9 x 16 grid.

Layout

Knit Pattern–Dash 41 Tan Wool Blocks

Cast On E-wrap
Knit E-wrap

R1 Skip, K5, Flat Knit
R2 Skip, K, S, K, S, K, Flat Knit
R3 Skip, K5, Flat Knit
R4 Skip, S, K, S, K, S, Flat Knit

Pattern rolls.

Knit Pattern–Dot 51 Dark Brown Wool Blocks

Cast On E-wrap
Knit E-wrap

R1 Skip, K, P, K, P, K, Flat Knit
R2 Skip, P, K, P, K, K, Flat Knit
R3 Skip, P, K, P, K, K, Flat Knit
R4 Skip, K, P, K, P, K, Flat Knit

Knit Pattern–Spacers 52 Cream Wool Blocks

Cast On E-wrap
Knit E-wrap
Only Knit Purl Stitches
R1 Skip, K, P, K, P, K, Flat Knit
R2 Skip, P, K, P, K, K, Flat Knit
R3 Skip, K, P, K, P, K, Flat Knit
R4 Skip, P, K, P, K, K, Flat Knit

Swatches

Knitted Swatches with Cotton Cord Separating Blocks After First Fulling

Blocks

Blocks for Code

Scraps

The scraps are random sizes, might be fun to stitch together to make letters in a different code piece.
Been thinking about learning to use my mother’s sewing machine.

Scraps

The blocks were fulled, not felted. Loops for pegs still visible.

Safety Pins
I ordered two types of bronze 3/4″ safety pins from amazon:

Household Mall 3/4-Inch Safety Pins, Bronze (1440 Pieces)

Firefly Bronze Metal Gourd Pin (1000 Pieces)

Received the Household Bronze pins. They are beautiful!

Safety Pins

Safety Pin Detail

Waiting to assemble the piece until I see the Bronze Gourd Pins.

10 April They Arrived…

Gourd Pin

Gourd Pin

The extra space in the curve of the pin might work better with the thickness of the wool blocks.

The safety pins would be lovely for use in the i-cord bowl series I am planning to make. The title is Collected Memories. Got the idea when going through my parents’ collections found in random drawers.

A few years ago I dinked around with the idea of i-cord bowls. Wasn’t the time to develop the work. Maybe I was waiting for bronze safety pins.

Brown Bowl with Safety Pins

Cream Bowl with Safety Pins

According to the email I received from amazon, I may not receive the gourd safety pins until April 12th. So, I patiently wait for the order to arrive.


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