Archive for the ‘hand embroidery’ Category

I wasn’t totaly happy with the turtle from my last post.  With all of the detail of the leather shell, the simply stitched head and feet just looked wrong.  Wasn’t sure how to go about fixing it and then I remembered I had some extremely soft beige leather, but it was the wrong color.  How do I go about altering the color without changing the hand of the leather?  Oil pastels?  Maybe.  Then I remembered the clearanced sample pack of Shiva Paintsticks that I snagged ridiculously cheap.  Please let there be a suitable green in the package.  Sure enough there was a celadon color in the pack so I cut a small piece off of the leather to test.  First I applied color from the paintstick and rubbed it into the leather with my finger.  Then removed the excess using a scrap of cotton cloth.  Voila!  The perfect shade to use for turtle skin. 

The picture below shows the original color of the leather with a scrap from the paintstick tinted piece on top.

leather- turtle body

The leather is really soft and flexible which is what made it perfect for cutting such small pieces for the head, feet and tail (the feet are only about ¼” wide), but the flexibility is also what made it so frustrating to stitch.  Using the tiniest, sharpest needle I own and one strand of floss, the stitches going down through the leather from the top weren’t too bad, but coming up from the bottom the leather wanted to stretch without the needle piercing it.  After a lot of cursing and perseverance all of the turtle’s extremities were attached.

There is a noticeable improvement in the turtles’s looks and I’m happy now with how he turned out.  His eyes are a little large but they were the smallest seed beads I had, that weren’t black.

turtle - modified

Oh and I’ve decided that the name of this piece is “A Crazy World”.


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There has been actual stitching done around here the past couple of days.  Managed to do a couple of seams, a ship and a turtle.

Seam detail

The above seam is staggered running stitches woven with contrasting thread and the addition of X stitches.

Ship and seam detail

Decided that every ocean needs a ship made of herringbone and cretan stitches.  The seam detail at the top is a new addition.  I’m trying to keep the contrast down between the seams and the background since they aren’t meant to be the main focus of this piece.

We were watching the sharks version of “Mythbusters” the other night and they kept seeing sea turtles, so I decided this piece needed a turtle also.  I tried stitching the shell but wasn’t satisfied with any of the results and the fabric was beginning to look a little worse for wear from all of the unsewing.  Frustrated, I leaned back in my chair and looked up at the shelves above my table and spied the container marked leather.  Surely in that collection of bits and scraps there was a piece that would work for a turtle shell.  I found a large piece of olive green leather that I had purchased cheap, due to it being slightly damaged, and a turtle shell was born.


Had a 40% off coupon for the bookstore burning a hole in my pocket, so yesterday I ventured out to shop on the Saturday before school starts.  I know, crazy, but I had a coupon.  First was Sears to check out some bedding they had advertised.  Didn’t find anything I liked, but they were also having a summer clearance sale.  All of the marked down clearance items were an additional 40% off.  Lucky me managed to snag two tops and two pairs of pants, suitable for lounging/pajamas, and spent less than $20.

Next stop, the bookstore.  I picked up the latest Vogue Knitting because of these mittens and then snagged their last copy of “Stitch” which is one of my favorite embroidery/needlework magazines.  Being a British magazine it is often hard to come by around here and can’t afford $70 for a one year subscription.  Okay, I still have this coupon in my hands and it can’t be used for magazines, so I’m on the hunt for a book to buy.  Don’t want to use it on something I may or may not end up liking and only read once.  Then I remembered Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Been reading rave reviews on recipe sites and blogs, I love bread, there’s no kneading required, what more could I ask for?  Plan to mix up a batch of brioche today then will bake it tomorrow while I can jalapenos.  Yes, we are being overrun with peppers of the hot persuasion.  Tomorrow I will put the peppers, some onions and carrots in jars, cover with hot pickling vinegar, process in a hot water bath and have more than enough jalapenos to last through the winter.  That is, if I can keep them all from being given away.

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The worst part of the slow withdrawal from prednisone are the days of zero energy and often days that are so bad that you can’t even think.  That describes Tuesday of this week.  It took all of the energy I could muster to walk in the kitchen and spread peanut butter on a piece of bread, first I had to stand there a while trying to remember where I keep the peanut butter.  It got a little better as the day progressed and I even managed to get a “Helper” casserole in the oven for supper.  Yesterday was even better and today I feel almost “normal”.

The rambling above means that I haven’t been stitching.  I did come across an old round robin block of mine.  I had added a printed image to the unembellished block before it made it’s rounds.  Then when the block returned home no one had touched the patch containing the print.  I started stitching a rose trellis then got sidetracked and the block has been languishing in the UFO pile.  When I came across the block the other day I suddenly had visions of maybe wisteria? running up the left side and over the top.  I think I’ll gather the threads, etc.. for this and keep it all together, then on days when I’m running on empty I’ll have a project next to my chair that’s all ready to work on.

garden lady

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Yesterday was for stitching, listening to Joni Mitchell and dreaming of soft tropical breezes, instead of the actual furnace fueled winds of a 106° day in Oklahoma.

beach houses

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Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. – Twyla Tharp   

Island girl - Upper left

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The title of this blog post pretty much sums up my style of needlework.  No matter how much I design and plan ahead of time, when it comes right down to stitching, something takes over and I’m just along for the ride.  As an example: The two circular motifs of the chevron stitch that I did for week 5 of the TAST stitchalong.  Originally I just planned to do the two motifs without the faces but the blank centers just didn’t look right.  Then I just started doing chevron stitches in the centers that turned into faces.  I think the face on the pink and blue one looks a little sinister and I can’t decide whether the “sun” looks more scared or constipated. 🙂  Maybe chevron faces aren’t the way to go.


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I’ve fallen behind on the TAST stitchalong.  Yesterday I did get in a little stitching and worked on week 4’s Cretan Stitch.  I get bored just stitching a simple line of stitches unless it is on a crazy quilt project, so I tend to start playing which is how it went yesterday.

cretan stitch

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