Tuesday, December 30, 2008

6th Day of Christmas

So the Wise men found the house where the baby lay.


I had a wonderful vacation day yesterday. My daughter and I went to a shop on Belmont and Clark, "Toguri" a shop of Oriental gifts. There was a section with Japanese groceries, books covering Japanese language and other Japanese cultural interests, cards, origami papers, paper lanterns, Japanese fabrics and some obis and kimonos, all kinds and shapes of paper lanterns, and a big section with Saki and sushi sets. A lot of the pottery was gorgeous. And they had Origami and Temari books!


It was almost as much fun as exploring in a foreign country!


I found more Temari books than I could afford there! I bought four of them, and I will be going back (or at least sending my daughter there for me). I sat and studied them; I am so excited! I think they have all the titles that are available. I got Cosmo 6, Cosmo 5, Shin Shu and Temari for 4 Seasons.

We had lunch at Ann Sather and shopped at a couple of used book stores. Then we went back to my daughter's apartment and spend the afternoon hanging out. I read my new books, and we talked and had tea. I had a cup of Key Lime pie tea. It was better than the Carrot Cake tea from the same company.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

4th Day of Christmas

So the Wise men went to Bethlehem.


My Christmas present from DH was tickets to see Screwtape Letters at the theater. DH was convinced that he would sleep through it, and the weather was iffy, but we had a wonderful time. We ate at an Irish pub (I had shepherd's pie, and DH had meat loaf). We had hoped to eat at Tango Sur, an Argentine restaurant that was on the same block as the theater, but when we poked our nose in the door we heard "at least an hour wait" so we didn't.


The show was excellent; very stylized, but still very faithful to the book. It only lasted 1 1/2 hours, and DH didn't nap! The bad weather held off until we got home, so all in all it was a very successful date. I hope we can go to the theater together again.

Friday, December 26, 2008

2nd Day of Christmas

Magi from the east came to Jerusalem. "We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."


Opening presents is a lot of fun. The headwear has been de rigueur since our daughters were little. C didn't participate this year, because she has a new haircut. She looks so grown up!



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day!

Christ is Born, God with us.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Advent, Day 24

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Advent, Day 23

Here are a couple more angels. These are also MarBek angels; I used to wait for them to be published every year. They kept getting bigger and more ornate, with more specialty fibers, and I kept getting less and less time to work on them. I have files full of angel patterns that I have not stitched.



Since I bragged about Flickr yesterday, I guess it is only fair to say I just about had to show you my unenhanced pictures today. The editing software didn't want to work at first; I have to tell you, it was ugly!

This is my latest Temari, and I lost sleep over this one. It is a c8 division, which is then divided into 2 overlapping tetrahedrons (there are 2 sets of 4 triangles making a solid shape). I figured it out from a picture, but only after marking it once, beginning to stitch, and then pulling all the stitching off the mari. I think I was on the right track, but the first triangles I stitched were uneven. I was trying to use some DMC d'or thread, and it shredded, so this ball is marked with an inconspicuous pink #8 perle cotton. The finishing stitches are done with DMC #5. I am going to look at this one for a while yet; I think it may still need some bling. I might try to outline the inner and outer edges of each triangle with some metallic.


Jake (the dog) got a hold of it when I was out of the room; my family realized what a disaster that would be and rescued it. Thanks to their quick thinking there were only a couple of threads that needed to be adjusted. Thank you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Advent, Day 22

More angels! These are the angels from my tree skirt.


This is the Tapestry angel.


This one and the next are by MarBek.



I always planned to fill the 55 inch diameter circle with angels, but these are the only four patterns on there so far (and I haven't added any for at least 10 years).

My friend from Moonsilk Stitches gave me a felted ball to try Temari on. It was very nice and soft, but I was afraid it was too soft to stitch on, so I wet felted it. It felted up very quickly, and got firm after only 5 minutes (or so) of hot water, soap, and agitation; of course then you have to wait for it to dry. I was still afraid of distorting it too much with stitching so I picked a very simple pattern, almost just a c8 marking with DMC #5 perle cotton; what really dressed it up were the additional stitches to secure the bands. It was lovely to stitch on; the needle went through the felt as smooth as silk.


I just wanted to mention how much I love using flickr for my picture account. The pictures I post here do not look anything like the pictures that come out of my camera. They have all been cropped and have had the exposure adjusted; some of them have been straightened, and there are all kinds of fun effects that I've just barely glanced at. I used flickr for free for several years, but now that I've been using it for this blog I upgraded to a "pro" account. There's a lot of fun stuff there to play with too!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Advent, Day 20

And more angels:



There is supposed to be a red one too, I wonder where that went off to?

(Happy Anniversary, Mom!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Advent, Day 19

Multitudes of Angels!


These two are from the advent calendar I made for my daughters when they were little.


This is my Christmas stocking. My dad stitched it for me several years ago.

Here's my latest Temari, it's a simple one, but it still took me 3 nights to finish it. I copied the pattern out of my Japanese Temari book, but I changed the colors. It is a 5 point star s5 division. The detail of stitching down the outside intersections really adds a lot, I think. It is a Styrofoam base mari, wrapped with cone thread. The stitching is with DMC #5 perle, and the marking with DMC spool metallic.


This ball is a little too large for this pattern; too much of it has been left unstitched. That is another balance thing I will have to continue to work on.

This side was an experiment, and I like how it turned out. The white center is a "tri-wing" pattern, except it is stitched with 5 points instead of 3. Then I did the green star, tucking the stitches under the white to emphasize them. It still looked a little unfinished, so I just stitched around the outside in white.


This is what we are dealing with in our area this morning. Ice is coating everything. It looks beautiful on the trees and bushes, even though it is very hard on them and a lot of branches break. However, ice on the roads is no fun. I saw one accident, and another different car in the ditch on my way in to work (late) this morning. Ice on the wires isn't fun either. Our lights were flickering this morning; hopefully the ice will melt before it does any damage.


The excitement here today is that the ice is sliding off the metal roof in sheets, we can see it through the clerestory windows. It sounds like a roller derby or a bowling alley!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advent, Day 18

Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host!




According to C.S. Lewis angels have colors we can't even imagine, not limited by the spectrum of light our eyes can pick up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advent, Day 17

An angel of the Lord appeared to them and said to them "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news. Today a Savior has been born. You will find him in a manger, wrapped in cloths.


I do apologize for the fuzzy picture. I keep trying to get too close.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advent, Day 16

Shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks at night.


This shepherd's robe is really cool. The pattern called for tweeding your thread, combining a bright color with a shade of green; but I was stitching on 22 count, using one thread. What to do? It was sheer luck that it worked out the way it did, but I did 1/2 the cross stitch with the bright color, and the other with the shade of green. The reason I say it was luck, because it turned out that all the bright colors were underneath, and all the green was the top leg, without planning it that way. When you look at it closely it looks like woollen fabric woven with a colored warp and a green weft. Sheer luck!

Here's the Temari I made on Sunday. I'm showing you both sides, because they are different. It is a s16 division; cone thread for the base, DMC perle #5 for the stitching, and DMC spool metallic for the division. The first side showing was done with 4 sets of kiku overlapping, giving the nice chrysanthemum effect. The second side was done with 2 sets of kiku, only overlapping once. The petals look much pointier and the whole effect is much less complex. The color and pattern were inspired by a picture in the Mary Woods Temari book.


I wish my orange and red had been closer in value, I think it would have looked better. I'm excited to try this pattern in many different color combinations.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Advent, Day 15

And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by.


The bowl/vase I keep my Temari in is overflowing. I will be sending some away to new homes this week.

100_0717 100_0716

This is the Temari I finished on Saturday. It is a c10, with cone thread for the base, DMC spool thread for the marking and for additional stitching in the hexagons, and DMC perle #5 for the stitching. There are 12 pentagrams, and 20 hexagrams. You could probably call it a 32 center Temari. I saw the picture in the Japanese book I got, and was able to follow the pattern from the pictures and diagrams. If I had to do something differently, I would make my pentagrams and hexagrams with 4 rounds of stitching instead of 5. Some of the corners are a little squeezed together.


This is close to the arrangement of hexagrams and pentagrams on a soccer ball. I have always looked at soccer balls with interest, but was never able to understand the geometry of it, but I feel like I have a much better understanding now. I could stitch an actual soccer ball now if I wanted to, but do I want to, that is the question. If P were still playing soccer, I would probably have much more of an incentive.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Advent, Day 13

Here's Hannah bringing Samuel to live at the temple with Eli.

I love the flowering trees, and of course, another angel in the clouds.

day 12

This is the last page I have done in Mary Beale's Advent calendar. We will have to look at some different Christmas stitching for the rest of Advent.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Advent, Day 12

Here's the battle of Jericho. The city was fun to stitch with all the different colors. I do apologize for the stray thread on the lettering.

day 11

I've been tagged by Karol of Rosebud Stitching (Hi, Karol!). Here are the rules:
1. Link your blog to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules.
3. Tell six quirky yet not boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
4. Tag five other bloggers by linking your blog to them, and lastly
5. Go to each person's blog and leave a comment for them telling them they have been tagged.

1. I used to be fluent in Spanish, but I'm not any more.
2. My brothers, sisters and I were all born in different cities, and only one duplicate state: Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Oklahoma.
3. I am not a neat person. www.flylady.net helps somewhat.
4. I don't like olives or pickles, but I do like broccoli, asparagus, and artichokes.
5. I would rather not stitch on canvas, and I dislike aida fabric.
6. I have to be very careful not to get car-sick. I don't do a lot of stitching in the car.

If you are listed on the side here of blogs I read, consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advent, Day 11

Rahab was King David's ancestor; I always wonder if the phrase "scarlet woman" comes from this story. She used a scarlet rope to help the Israelite spies and they eventually used that rope to save her when the city was destroyed. (She was a "scarlet woman.")


This Temari went very quickly. I was going to use two shades of green, but after the first one was stitched the next one did not look good next to it. It's not a very big ball, so this little bit of work looks good on it. It has cone thread for the base, it is marked c8 with Kreinik #16 braid in the 091 color (silver and black) and has perle #5 for the stitching. It's the second time I've worked this pattern, and I really like it.


I did discover something about the making of Temaris though. All the books say "secure your marking threads." I was trying to take stitches under the base threads when I marked the balls, but a lot of them were a little "loosey-goosey" and I wasn't doing all of them. Well, I read a suggestion yesterday about using your base thread to secure the marking threads. You don't have to hide it while you are stitching, because it is the same thread you are stitching over; you can't see your travel to each intersection. So because of that hint I secured all the corners on this one, and the difference is amazing. I don't think you can see the difference, but the stitching went much more smoothly and quickly, and feels a lot more secure. I will be doing that from now on on all my balls.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advent, day 10

Here's another one with angels in the clouds; pouring out manna from his basket. Again, the face doesn't show too much expression, but I still like him.

People have been asking about this pattern. It is still available here. You can get it as a downloaded chart too, no waiting to start. The chart is hand-drawn, and I had been avoiding starting Mary Beale charts because of that, but once you get going it's no problem. After I'm done I may have to start on the stockings.

day 9

Here's the Temari ball I finished last night. Please excuse the soft focus, I was trying to get more of a close-up. I am pleased with this one. It is a c8 with cone thread for the mari (base) and DMC perle #8 for the triangles and DMC spool metallic for the marking. (I was encouraged to notice that in the picture showing the pattern I was following the squares were not necessarily square either. The squares you can see in this view look pretty good, but they don't all look that good.)


I have always enjoyed geometry, and in grade school I would play with my compass and make flowers and designs. That interest, my enjoyment of puzzles, and my passion for threads and colors seem to all have come together in Temari stitching. I have at least half a dozen designs in my head that I want to work on, and I keep finding more. Who knew!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Advent, Day 9

I forgot one of the pages! This is actually the 7th one in the series, Moses in the bull rushes. (His sister is watching over him.) I really enjoyed stitching the water. I thought it would take forever, but the pattern was very regular and easy to pick up. I get a kick out of all the bugs on this one too. I can imagine the Nile was pretty buggy at the time.

day 7

I made this Temari on Saturday. It is one of the simplest patterns, but this is one of the ones I like the most that I've made. The colors make me think of peppermint, so this is my "peppermint Temari." It has cone thread as the base, DMC #5 for the stripes, and DMC Spool metallic in pearl for the marking and the herringbone on the obi.


It's not even monochromatic! I can't guess what a ball is going to look like when I pick out the colors. Some times the colors I pick work, sometimes they don't! I am getting excited about the ball I'm working on now, hopefully I will be able to show it tomorrow. (Rust and blue, and the colors seem to be working.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent, Day 8

Here's Moses parting the Red Sea. This one went very quickly.

day 8

At my guild Christmas party last Tuesday I received an Indigo Rose kit from Marj; and I love it. It's a biscornu; it came with a little stool and everything you need to finish it. I love the colors, Caron Waterlilies Frangipani and Flamingo. (The separate cross stitches remind me of the dots candy (that you had to eat off the paper) from when I was a kid.) I do think my tassels need a haircut; they drag on the ground. But isn't that button just perfect?


It took me several times to get a good picture. On a white background the tassels disappear, on a dark background it becomes overexposed... what to do? Well, my chair upholstery is neutral, try that. Voila!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Advent, Day 7

More Angels! I always loved this story growing up. It 's just too bad there are only 2 angels on these ladders. Jacob looks comfortable with his head on a rock, doesn't he?

day 5

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Advent, Day 6

This is the story of Isaac and Abraham, but I like it that it does not have those two people in it, just the gift of God for the sacrifice. (The sun does not look too happy, does he?)

day 4

Friday, December 5, 2008

Advent, Day 5

This is the third day for the Advent calendar, even though it is the 5th day of Advent. This is Abram and Sarai (before they became Abraham and Sarah). The faces are so small there's not too much room for any kind of expression.

day 3

I bought some fancy new pins with colored heads to use when I make Temari balls, and I decided I wanted a new pin cushion to hold them. I wanted a big one, so I used a CD as the base, and some felted wool fabric. It is filled with wool roving, and has a feather stitch vine with detached chain stitch and french knots as the flowers. I really like the colors, even though it is not put together perfectly evenly. I could probably use more practice.


You can see that the pins are very fancy.