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! :)