Thursday, December 20, 2012

Three Things Thursday


Three lovely pictures from the following Flickr streams:
1. 1971 Zenith Color TV-38, 2. Silver and Gold Felt Ornament, 3. embroidery floss

Here's a few lovely pics from my Flickr faves that have been inspiring me of late. They belong, respectively, to retro-space, wildolive, and Pumora. This color palette has been on my brain for awhile now - funky, jewel-ly brights with a happy, retro feel.

Sheesh, guys - it's been awhile. This has been one of those years that starts off fast, and just speeds faster and faster as it careens into the end. Through it all, I have tried to stay mindful of the goals I set at the beginning of the year, and I'm happy to report I'm not far off. The only difference is I've done a lot less documenting of the things I've made and done. While I wish I could do more, the demands on my time just don't allow it all to happen.

I think my favorite month in terms of crafting was February - I had clear goals and the luxury of time, and just plugged happily away at things. The year just got more and more crowded as it went on, but I still got a sizeable amount of things done.

My goal for 2013 is this: thought. I'd like to stop and consider more, to give myself reasonable time to unplug and think. To tie in with that, this post on Design for Mankind really spoke to me.

How are your holidays? How did your goals for this year go? I hope everyone out there is well and happy and crafty. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stitching Saturday: Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

detail of the face
detail from Angel of Autumn

I have carried many angels with me in my moves, life changes, and travels for the past 14 years. They are Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum's angels, and they have tagged along for the ride as I moved from college, back home, to New York City, then back home to Texas again.

Angelica was begun in my second year of college - I'd say it was 1998. I'd just lost someone very dear to me, and maybe this was what inspired me to begin a project of such impossible scale: thousands of tiny stitches on 32 count linen, with beads, metallic threads, and 1 over 1 thread stitches. I hadn't even worked with linen before. Had no clue what a beading needle was! Personally, I think I was a bit crazy to even attempt it:


About a month ago, I pulled Angelica out of the box she'd traveled in, almost finished, for 14 years. So you might notice a few discolored edges and a spot or two.

I had worked on her little by little, growing at turns discouraged with the task before me. Then, rather inexplicably, when all I had left to do was finish the beading, I folded her up and carried her around NY for another 6 years.

face and bead detail

All it took was a few turns with the beading needle to remember why I'd almost abandoned her. :) But I refused to give in now, so close to the end, and I finally finished her!

I thought it was weird that I'd so randomly unboxed her - why, after all this time? Then I popped over to Marilyn's site for a quick visit and saw with great sadness that she'd just passed away.

hand, with hand for scale
This is 1x1 stitching, by the way. I remember almost pulling out my hair in the process. :)

I'm too old to believe in coincidences, and I've had too many loved ones pass to the other side to think that they do not nudge us at times to finish what is left undone.

So I picked up the 2 other angels I'd left incomplete (yes I'd started 2 more without finishing the first - bad crafter! :) and I vow that this is the year I'll finish them.

Angel of Autumn

Angel of Autumn

Angel of Spring

Angel of Spring

Here they both are after 8 hours of additional stitching:
after about 4 hours of stitching Angel of Spring, after 6 hours of stitching

Yes, I know it's almost impossible to detect my progress. :) It's very easy to get discouraged working on projects at this scale - Pam just finished her own huge cross stitch project (it's AMAZING) and that gave me a little nudge of encouragement, too.

If you've never visited Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum's site, Told In a Garden, I highly recommend it. You can easily see her training as a fashion artist in the way her designs move. That, and the detail on her faces is simply out of this world. I know frilly dresses are not for everyone, but I think that anyone can appreciate her artistry. But more than that, the words she left behind, the things she found important, what she chose to commemorate, these are all things that speak volumes to me about the kind of woman she must have been.

And, if the Angelica images look familiar to you, you may have seen them on the DMC Threads blog - where they appeared in a tribute post for Marilyn.

So there we are, what I've been stitching lately! I've also been working on more Wee Little Stitches (pics soon) and have made a bit of progress on my blanket. Have any of you ever stitched any of Marilyn's designs? Or maybe just something incredibly huge that you thought you'd never finish? :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Stitching Saturday: August is Over!

cross stitching + knitting

Hey guys! I thought it was high time for an update on all my shenanigans -for those of you who haven't dropped your subscription out of sheer boredom. ;) I have been knitting and cross-stitching like a fiend lately!

Up above you see where I am on the Super Easy Baby Blanket from purl soho. I was so inspired when I saw their photos that I picked up a whole mess of yarn, hitched up my circular needles, and started stitching.

Of course, there's no fancy yarns to by found in this blanket:


It's all I Love This Yarn, which I think of as the slightly classier second cousin of Red Heart. It's cheap, soft, and awesome, and there's boatloads of colors at the local Hobby Lobby.

Here it is unfolded, and looking sherbert-y:


I can't believe I've stitched so much, and I'm sad to say I stitched my way through the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and I am series-less, again. I'll just have to comb Netflix with sad eyes.

On to my other current obsession, cross-stitch:


I cooked up this doofy pattern on my own, but I am by no means the first to stitch such a sentiment:


I'm just the first to say "fricking" instead of well, what people really say. I thought it cuter and doofier. I'll probably share the pattern in my Flickr stream later this week in case anyone wants to stitch it. I used the girliest colors and motifs I could find, to give the sarcasm its full effect. :)

Also in my stitching queue is this pattern by Katie Kutthroat - Needles and Pins:

also in the works

And this pattern by Meredith - Hardcore Stitch Corps

in the works

I'm thinking of going with a different border- maybe one of these lovely borders:


These books were just one of a billion goodies I recently scored when a friend gifted me with her sister's stash of cross-stitching supplies.

It was like a trip back in time, the wonderful booklets, piles of 14 ct Aida cloth, a huge container of floss, carefully labeled in tiny plastic Floss-Away baggies, and this:


My knees went weak when I saw this - one of the original DMC color cards, with actual bits of floss in it! It's like comic books for stitching dorks. I've been wanting one of these for so long, and to have a vintage one - wow. 1986. It was a good year for everything, including stitching. :)


Did you notice my mini scissors? No? I'll show them to you again. Eep.


Lastly, I'll leave you with my favorite - the awesome Golden Girls pattern I stitched, by Wee Little Stitches:

latest stitching

You can find that adorable pattern in the Kitschy Digitals Store.

August was a pretty good month for stitching, eh? Hope all is well with you guys! :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stitching Saturday: What I've been up to

my narwhal so far

I've been stitching steadily away on the June Stitchalong pattern (designed by the awesome Corvus Tristis). I'll admit I was a bit intimidated by the design - it's complex and beautiful and I wanted to do it justice, but I wasn't sure how...

I started off by tracing it onto a white twill cocktail napkin - I'd say it's about 13 x 13 in:
just starting

I decided to go light on the colors - using a very pale off white for the top of my narwhal and a slightly darker beige for the bottom. I used very light blue (almost white), sea foam green, and light teal for the waves:

Of course, then I was looking at a very light image - with very little to distinguish one shape from the next:

I wanted to add texture, but I didn't want it to take FOREVER, so out of laziness, I took 2 strands of sea foam green and started stitching thin diagonal lines - for a sort of hatching effect. And I decided I loved it:


Next, I tackled my narwhal - I am a dud about fill stitches, having never really used them before, but I used 2 strands of the same off white floss and went nuts. I left gaps where you can see the fabric underneath and laid my stitches down haphazardly, on purpose - I wanted to create a nice, rich, random texture like fur:


Next, I tackled the horn, stitched in a light gold color:

So that's where I am so far! I've stitched at least an hour a day for the past week and a half - but it's gone much faster than I thought, and I hope to finish by Friday...


Here's the other thing I've been doing - preparing for a free craft class I'll be helping my sister with. I used the Purl Bee Flower Charm template, and flowers from the Purl Bee Winter Wreath template.



I have been a cutting machine. Each night I've come home and cut for a few hours - looking at and playing with those sweet, brightly colored shapes is truly addicting. It's a good thing I'm so addicted because the class is large, and we'll need quite a few!

I've also done a bit of scanning - there's a poll on VTF so you can vote on the Days of the Week vintage pattern you'd like me to scan next. So far, creepy lambs are in the lead... ;) So, in short, busy, busy, busy!

I managed to squeeze in a movie night to see Moonrise Kingdom, which made me re-fall in love with Wes Anderson (we were on the fritz after Darjeeling Limited). Hilariously enough, I'd just purchased a pair of super-sharp Fiskars that were in my bag and I was itching to use, and well, scissors figure pretty prominently in the film. Wes Anderson peeps, you will not be disappointed.

Hope all is well with all of you! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday: Costume, Character, and Film

I was clicking through the pages of a 1918 book called Handicraft for Girls, and was struck by the chapter on Wardrobe. If you read Feeling Stitchy, you'll see that Lia just started a series of posts based on a project in this book, and I was curious to see what the other chapters might say.

I LOVE books that were written in other time periods. I think they have something to say in particular to this generation that moves at such a frenetic, fast pace. I love the care with which they write their sentences - they're all crafted so elegantly and are such a pleasure to read, even when you're smiling at their seemingly outmoded sentiments.

So here's a few quotes from the Costume chapter that I found fascinating, and I completely recommend a readthrough of the whole thing. :)

In the selection of one's garments there are a number of points which must be taken into consideration, such as health and comfort, cost, fitness, color and style, as well as beauty.
It has been wisely said that the best dressed woman is she of whose clothing one is unconscious, whose dress is neither conspicuous from extreme style nor too noticeable from a total disregard to the custom of the times. Good taste demands that one be not overdressed. Street and business suits and young girls' school dresses should be plain, well made and neat, of subdued and becoming color.
Before sewing machines were to be found in every home and ready made clothing in the stores styles did not change so rapidly. Commercial conditions now make it to the advantage of a great army of people that the styles in dress change often and radically. The manufacturers of cloth, the wholesale merchants with their agents, the retailers and their numerous clerks, wholesale garment-makers and their many employes, pattern-makers, dress-makers, milliners and the manufacturers of all minor articles of clothing are all benefitted by this oft recurring change in style. This condition has come about so gradually that we hardly realize to what extent we are victims of trade-tricks. It is not necessary nor desirable that woman should enslave herself to follow all the vagaries of style.

Whenever I want to really sink into wardobe talk, I pop over to Chris Laverty's blog, Clothes on Film - I love the way he breaks down costume in delicious detail, and his analysis of costume as a means to move a movie forward and express a character's mood and personality. If you're at all a fan of 60's style or Doris Day, you'll love the piece he did recently on Pillow Talk.

Chris also did a post recently on a book by Liz Gregory called Sew Iconic, and the description he gave left me salivating - it apparently has a breakdown of tons of famous, iconic dresses in film, and accompanying "patterns" so that you can (maybe) reproduce them yourself...

I can't rationalize buying a book on sewing when I can't do anything more than basic handsewing. But I may break down and order it anyway, as it's just as much about iconic films as it is about costume.... :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Flashback Friday: My vintage transfer blog

sweet deer

Those of you who know me well know that I have 3 blogs. :) I edit and blog for Feeling Stitchy, I have this blog, and I have a blog dedicated to vintage transfers, called Vintage Transfer Finds. At this point, the average human being has fallen asleep. Enjoy your nap, those peeps! For the rest of you awake folks, I'll carry on. :)

When I first started blogging at VTF, I loved my vintage transfer blog - I used it to minutely catalog and categorize my large collection of old transfers. Over time, I've shared there less and less, but as the blogging world so often does, other nice peeps were inspired by my blog and have filled in the gaps, sharing their own vintage transfers and stitching on Flickr.

My friend Bethie is doing a guest post on VTF this Saturday, so in an effort to clean house, I blew the cobwebs off my template and tinkered away. I un-archived a whole mess of free patterns, which I'll be sharing there in the weeks to come.

nice spices

VTF is a mirror for my soul - painstakingly catalogued, full of weirdness, bad puns, and ephemera.

I've always been fascinated with changing times - with everyday values - what changes over the years, what stays the same - what's funny, what's cute, and that subtle shift each generation goes through that results in cute becoming creepy, and vice versa. The 40's, 50's, and 60's fascinate me - but so does this time period - where we all sit around on our butts reading our phones and pawing at our computers and iPads. :)

sassy señorita

I don't know how long I can keep up 3 blogs and 2 Flickr accounts (cough: not much longer, I think :) so you might want to hop over there and grab up some patterns. I revamped the navigation and have tried to make it easier to find all the patterns. Hope you enjoy your visit, and that you all have awesome weekends! :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Three things Thursday: Vintage tones

missmultitete b   v n132    toptailsport 24
All images courtesy of pilllpat (agence eureka)

This week's three things all come from the lovely photostream of pilllpat (agence eureka) on Flickr. I love poking around and looking at her cat pictures and her lovely trove of scanned French ephemera. I especially loved playing with the face and features in Photoshop and those fun top and bottom cards that you can print and rearrange to great effect. If you took the numbers off of them, they could also make a great memory game. (I loved memory games as a kid.)

Here's a color palette based off of that third image:

Also, this makes me feel like an old crank, but here are three things I don't like about the new Flickr - that automatic sizing to the largest size (the weird re-sampling and sharpening it does makes even nice pics look odd), the new Uploader, which is WAY too complicated, and the default lightbox view when paging through group streams. I can think of far more than three things, but the crank will stop there. :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stitching Saturday

monster in progress

Here I am! Up above you see my latest monster - hey, Linda, this book of knitted monsters you gave me has yielded TONS of knitting this year. I seriously want to knit every monster in this book. And I just might.

He's Gort, The Gym Bag Monster, in case you're wondering. In the book, he's striped, but I made him solid.

And all the others I've made striped. Go figure - I suppose I have a rebellious streak. :)

Also, that Red Heart yarn is PERFECT for monsters - squishy soft, a tiny bit bulky, and nice under the fingertips. I've already finished one cuddly monster with this yarn and this guy is #2. I just ordered a dream set of nickel plated needles from Knit Picks, but I've yet to try them - up above you see my trusty Addis, which I am officially in love with.

I'm starting to realize that this blog may become a monthly one, what with all the stuff I try to cram into my days as of late. Feeling Stitchy has been fun, crammed with events, new bloggers, and stitchalongs, my day job has been equally busy, and I even got to do a bit of traveling this month...

My beautiful niece was graduating from high school, so I made the hike to Memphis to see it. I loved Memphis - but being an unusual person, I was struck by unusual things - I LOVED the trees. They were so tall, so green, and so gorgeous - I don't have any photos that preserve the feeling of height and majesty, but it's a gorgeous city.

I had my choice between Graceland and The Memphis Zoo, and so I picked...

Memphis Zoo

Zoo. Of course - zoo. I go to one every chance I can get and I never tire of them. I loved the pyramid theme - and it was well-kept and lovely. There's an awesome Grizzly Bear enclosure that gives them full room to run, and it was fun to watch them play together. Certainly the liveliest Grizzlies I've seen yet in a zoo. I saw one cute lazy panda who really loved air conditioning (who doesn't) and tons of cute apes. I was really impressed by the amount of room the animals have to roam - in my experience it's a close second to the Bronx Zoo and San Diego Zoo.

house of mews

We also got to visit a curious little place called the House of Mews - it's a tiny shopfront crammed with cats. They all seemed happy and well-cared for, and there are oodles of cat lovers who come in to coddle and pet them. I loved how they hung out in little laundry baskets - I guess it gives them a feeling of comfort and a sense of their own private space.

house of mews

At my nieces's house, I found myself walking from room to room, admiring my younger niece's paintings:


She's 15 but already has a sense and feel for color and texture. I really loved this butterfly one, and just wish I'd gotten better pics of her other stuff.

Well, that's all for now - hope the summer's been treating you right! :)