Archive for the ‘Samplers’ Category

I have finally gotten just a little bit tired of knitting socks.  That doesn’t mean I will stop knitting them.  I just won’t work on them as totally as I have been. I’m still working away on the Cable Ribbed Socks that I started earlier this month, but I’ve made a mistake somewhere and it will take a bit of work to go back and figure out what happened.  That’s what I get for knitting on tiny needles with dark yarn in low light.

It’s time to start on some lace and that jacket I’ve been wanting to do. 

I’ve also been wanting to do some garment sewing ever since I got my new sewing machine almost two years ago.  So when I was in DC I went to GStreet Fabrics in Rockville, MD and chose a simple top pattern and some great printed cotton fabric.  I used to make all of my clothes when I was in my twenties, I even made my wedding dress!  But once I started quiltmaking, I kind of stopped doing garment sewing.  ‘Just Halloween costumes for Larissa and a few miscellaneous things here and there.

I have become so fed up with what’s available in ready-to-wear, that I’ve decided to make some small steps toward making my own clothes again.  Of course I have much less free time, techniques and materials have changed, and I am way out of practice.

So, although I found myself looking at the lovely patterns for tailored suits and dresses in the pattern books, I held back and chose something that would be easy to sew and require little, if any, fitting — a top to wear with jeans.  It’s not a style I would normally choose for myself, but I thought that change might be fun also.


The pattern is New Look 6677 and the top is very retro looking — like something I remember from the 60’s.  ‘Don’t know how it will look on me, but I think the techniques for making it will get me back into garment sewing quite easily. I’ve picked up another pattern for a simple dress and jacket I want to make in linen, but I’m waiting on fabric until I see how this project goes.

My other new project is to begin a band sampler while participating in the Stitch Explorer 2009 challenge on pintangle.  I bought some beautiful pale green linen at The Lazy Daisy in Raleigh (my first visit there) and also found a lovely variegated perle cotton that was on sale.  I’ll add other threads and fibers from my stash.


The first stitch exploration is chicken scratch which is usually done on gingham.  But this is about exploration, so I’m doing it on 32-count linen.  

The fabrics are prepared, now the task will be to work in a few minutes here and there on each, along with everything else.


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I was able to put the final stitches into my blackwork snail trail entitled “Making Tracks” this morning.  The June Take it Further Challenge was to think about the stories our stashes tell and the possibilities for future stories.

I used threads and linen from my stash in colors drawn from the challenge color palette to stitch across the month accompanied by our travel from New Mexico back to Virginia. 

I used a snail trail quilt block as the framework for a blackwork sampler as it symbolizes for me a time of travel and transition that has at times been much slower than I would like and has had many steps to it.   

This piece will be used as an inset in a pillow top and will be a reminder of this time of travel and waiting.


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Wow!  I am truly amazed.  Sometime very late Saturday night my blog received its 10,000th visit. 

I would like to give some special giveaway to celebrate, but being in transition, I can’t right now.  So I’ll be picking out another milepost in the near future on which to do that.  It will probably be some of my hand dyed fabrics.  So stay tuned. 

I started this blog on December 4 of last year, expecting that a handful of people might view it occasionally.  I have been so surprised that so many people have visited.  Thank you to all of you who take the time to take a look at what I’m doing and writing about, and especially to those of you I’ve gotten to know through your comments and my visits to your blogs.

I will be very glad to complete the snail trail.  While I do enjoy counted thread work, it’s not my favorite technique, and this piece has been much more intensive than I expected.  I shouldn’t be surprised, though, because most pieces I design end up being more difficult to execute than I expect.


Just one more section to go.  I might be able to make the deadline!

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I was able to complete the second corner section of my blackwork snail trail yesterday.  The “story” these corners tell is of waiting with varying degrees of patience.


The other two corner spaces will mirror these across the diagonal.  As I see the picture I’m thinking the brown corner is a little too dark for the rest of the piece.  I’m hoping it will balance better when the opposite corner is put in.

Making my way through these last corners of stitching is much like the waiting we’re doing to get into our house and get to work.  Both require a great deal of patience, which I don’t always have.   

I’m anxious to complete this piece by the end of the month for the challenge, but it does require quite a lot of patience to keep at it.  Normally a piece like this would take more than a month to complete and other projects could be worked on around it.  I have worked a tiny bit on some other things, but this one really requires most of my attention to stay on schedule.

We went for a walk yesterday along the Lower Appomatox River Canal.  It was really much too warm for a long walk, but we did manage part of it.  Mishka kept wanting to stop and rest in the shade. 

We walked to where we think the canal system starts on the river.  It is no longer in operation, and we climbed up on the lock mechanism where I got some interesting pictures.







This is part of the dam at the beginning of the canal.  We think this is where the water was raised and lowered to move barges along the canal.

We walked the tow path where barges would have been towed along by horses or maybe oxen.

I’m not sure what they used here.





It was fascinating to study the gearing mechanism that was used on the locks.


These are actually quite large.











This gear is two to three feet across.



I think old things like this make cool pictures that can provide inspiration for work in fiber and textile.  I especially like the texture.

Can’t you see something pleated in mixed media from this?


Not sure what I’ll do with these, if anything, but they’ll go in my design source file. 

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The first corner section of the snail trail is completed.  Three more to go.


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Another section on the snail trail was completed yesterday.  Now I’m moving on to the outer round of triangles. 


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In our travels yesterday we took the Jamestown Ferry across the James River from Surry to Jamestown.  It was a beautiful day for the fifteen-minute crossing.


The Williamsburg,


the Pocahontas,


and the Surry, which we rode.  The landing at Jamestown is the site of the original Jamestown settlement.  We didn’t visit Jamestown on this trip, although we have in the past.  I understand a lot of new things were put in for last year’s 400-year celebration. 


I caught this great blue heron on the pier at Jamestown posing with a navigation light.  The bird was as undisturbed by the ferry pulling in as was the light. 

I’m continuing to make progress on my snail trail blackwork project for the June Take it Further Challenge


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