Archive for the ‘TIF’ Category

Readers of my blog will know that I participated for about half the year in sharon b’s Take It Further Challenge.  However, with the cross-country move and especially being back in the pulpit again, I had to drop out.

Today I found that Sharon has a new challenge for 2009 that I might be able to manage.  It’s called Stitch Explorer and will involve a new stitch or style of stitching each month.  I don’t think I’ll try to do projects per se, although that certainly seems possible.  I think I’ll try to do a sampler instead.  I can’t tell for sure from the rules, but I think that will qualify.  Something to keep my hand in stitching while working, studying, and playing with other fibers and fabrics.  

I’ve been focusing a lot on knitting lately and need something to pull me back out into the wider fiber realm.  This should do the trick.

The picture for today is of some beautiful orchid plants that I gave my staff members for Christmas.  I hope they enjoy them!



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More Hexagons

I’m a little late posting today because I’ve had another long, intense work day and still have a meeting this evening.

I am definitely having to learn how to balance keeping up with my blog, making space for fiber/textile work, and fitting in my job, too.  To say nothing of bicycling, walking Mishka, and spending time with John that isn’t work-related.

My sister made a great comment yesterday suggesting I do a mandala with the four areas of my life:  Pastor, Wife, Mother, and Artist for the TIF challenge.  It has me thinking.  Not sure which media to use.  I’m hoping I can do some looking through my stash and maybe squeeze in a fabric shop visit on my day off this week. 

Here are two more of my hexagons from the SnW workshop:




And here are Jeanette’s blocks.


She didn’t think they were going to turn out, but after some wrestling with her machine to get the tension right she put these three together.

I think they turned out just as interesting as all the others.  They have a soft water-color sort of look to them.  It’s just another example of how different these can be.  As earlier noted, I’ll be showing more blocks throughout this week. 

I’m still working away on my Aspen Grove Shawl, but probably won’t show another picture until I’ve finished the second section.  I think I have about 16 more rows.  I thought this section would be a little easier than the first, but other than the fact that every other row is straight purling, this section actually takes a bit more concentration to make sure the yo’s (yarn overs) that create the lace are placed properly.   

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Sharon posted the August Take It Further Challenge yesterday and it’s another “challenging” one.

The theme is balance:  How do you find balance in your life?  The color palette is quite interesting, drawn from some threads that Sharon recently purchased.


The theme is one I think we all struggle with, and actually, part of the reason I began this blog was to help me maintain balance so that I would make space in my day for the things that are important for me besides work.

I’m still pondering what medium to use for this piece.  I still have the problem of having to travel a distance for supplies, so I have to know what I want before I make the trip. 

I think these colors would make a very nice crazy quilt block, but I haven’t done any crazy quilting in a really long time, so I’ll be considering that along with other possibilities.  I also would need to think about how I would use a CQ block since, as usual, I’m trying to make useful and practical things this year.  

I’m off this morning to the quilt guild Whack & Stack workshop and am looking forward to a full day of playing with fabric.

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A TIF Sabbath

I’ve decided to take a July–seventh month sabbath from the Take It Further Challenge.  I was behind checking the assignment this month and I’ve had absolutely zero inspiration with respect to either the color palette or the theme.

I guess I shouldn’t say zero, because I read something last week that gave me some ideas and I was going to go back to it, but I have searched in vain and cannot find it, nor can I remember what it said. 

I tried doing some doodling/sketching to try to get some ideas flowing but just couldn’t come up with anything reflective of “Halfway Mark”.  I’ve even checked to see what other people are doing, although I usually wait until I have at least a start so as not to be influenced.  But not too many people have posted any results so far.

I have come to the conclusion that my halfway mark is a sabbath month–a time to rest (or cease/stop as the Hebrew means) from TIF projects.  

I did get one doodle that I like and think has potential, although not for July TIF.


I’m sure I was influenced by the Knock-Out roses that are blossoming so profusely alongside my screened-in porch as I was sitting there watching and enjoying some much-needed rain on Wednesday evening. 

Fortunately I took these pictures on Wednesday morning before the rain battered the blossoms.  A ruby-throated hummingbird thought they looked pretty good, too, and flew over just long enough for Mishka to see it and scare it off from behind the screen. 



I think this doodle could be a nice monoprint with embroidery embellishment.

I’m going to keep working on getting my workroom in order so that by the time August rolls around I may be more prepared for the next TIF project.   

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A few days ago I was happily knitting along on my Aspen Grove Shawl, congratulating myself for having gotten 56 rows into it without any major tinking or frogging.  Big mistake!  Because what did I then do?  I accidentally pulled a bunch of stitches off the needles.  Being lace it was impossible to get it back onto the needles correctly.

After tinking back about 8 rows I am now starting forward again and have completed Row 51 of 181 rows.  I am promising myself not to become complacent again.  I am working this shawl without a lifeline so far and am trying to proceed carefully enough not to need one.  The pattern just isn’t that complicated, it just needs care and patience.

Therefore, it doesn’t look much different than last time I posted a picture, but here is one, nevertheless.


I am loving this yarn, though.  It’s much bluer than it looked on the hank, which I like, since the yellow tones that don’t look that good on me are acting more as highlights. 

I finally got a chance to look at the July Take It Further Challenge.  I’m pretty stumped with this one.  The colors aren’t speaking to me and the theme, “Half – Way – Mark” isn’t either.  With less than half a month left to complete it, I may have to skip this one. 

But I still may try.  I’m thinking on it anyway.

Although it’s hard to think about half-way-marks when I’m at the beginning point of so many things in my life right now.      

We’ll see what happens. 

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Last night a woman from my church called to ask if I had been doing a lot of online knitting.  I didn’t quickly catch on to what she was asking me–remember I’ve not been online lately.  Then she asked me if I knew two people whose names she gave me.  It took me a while but I figured out that they are people I’ve been corresponding with on Ravelry

When this couple said they were moving to Emporia around the same time I was, I recommended the woman from my church as a real estate broker.  They received the same recommendation from someone else, so they called her, and she had just spent the afternoon helping them locate some possibilities for a house.  Hopefully, they’ll choose something close by so we can get to know each other face to face.

Then my friend told me about someone who used to live up the street from me and it turns out it is the mother of someone who commented on my blog a few days ago.  Our world is getting smaller and closer, and perhaps more friendly.

What a blessing it is to have new friends all over the world through things like Ravelry, online classes from places like Joggles, and the Take it Further Challenge.  Getting to meet some of them face to face is like whipped cream on the top.

Here’s a picture of my finished Branching Out scarf made from alpaca laceweight yarn from Victory Ranch in Mora, New Mexico.  I still have to block it, which I know will bring out the leaf pattern more clearly. 


I have two similar size balls to the one I used left over, so I’ll have to think about what I can use them for.

It’s great to be back online keeping in touch with all of my friends.

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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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