Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This is exciting!  I've actually started stitching one of the birds.  I've decided to go with the Acorn Woodpecker for several reasons.

#1  They often are on the shed.  This means I can squeeze another bird into the scene.

#2  They have very bold, clearly defined markings.  This means I do not have to do long and short shading.  Which is great, because I am not very good (yet) at that kind of shading.

The colors were easy.  I needed black, white, red and yellow/creamy color.  I usually (by which I mean, in all 2 of my previous projects) work in silk, but I do not want to buy a $4 skein of silk for 2 strands, so sometimes I will be using bits of cotton floss from my stash, and that yellow creamy color was a good example.

I bought the white and the black from City Needleworks in San Mateo, I love her silks and her palette, very nice to work with.  I knew I would need a lot of those colors, so silk made sense.

The white is City Needleworks #1, the black is City Needleworks #3.

For the red I am using some Soie d'Alger left over from the Hummingbird and Honeysuckle project.  #915

The yellow creamy color for the throat was a little harder.  Since it was a very small area, and none of the other birds would need it, I did not want to buy a whole skein of silk.  So, I rummaged through my collection and settled on the yellowish bits of a varigated thread from Weeks Dye Works...Eucalyptus.

Very satisfying, and somehow irrevocable to have actually started stitching.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A project begets other projects, without fail.

I promise that a few of these posts will actually talk about the PROJECT, (which, in case you've just joined us, is to create a stumpwork collection of birds from my life list).

This is not one of those posts.  This post is going to talk about my bird books and my life list.  And possibly, why I bird in the first place.

Actually let's start with that one.

The woman in the picture, Debbie, is the reason I bird. ( I really like her husband as well.)  She has been my best friend since I was 18 or so.  And she is an avid birder.  I started birding because she was so enthusiastic about it.  I have been known to call her from road trips, describe birds to her and have her id them for me over the phone.  She's that good.

I now have bird books;  many bird books, from many trips, and I keep field notes in them.  Where I saw birds, when I saw them, who I was with (usually Debbie),  notes about the sighting, etc.

There are 2 problems with this.

#1  I have terrible handwriting.  My notes are hard to read, even for me.
#2  It is hard to have a cohesive idea of what I've seen when I have it spread out through so many books.

So the project that will be going on with the stumpwork project is to make a database of birds I've seen using google sheets.  Along with that idea, I have decided to turn a google form into an app on my phone using Appsheets, which, in theory, should allow me to add to my life list from my phone, while I am out and about.  There are some bugs, but I have a prototype version that I am testing.

I'll let you know how that goes.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Birdfeeder and the Birds

I have a backyard birdfeeder and these are my common visitors.  Black headed Grosbeak, Dark Eyed Junco, Chestnut Backed Chickadee, California and Spotted Towhees, Acorn Woodpecker, Band Tailed Pigeon, Stellar Jays and White Breasted Nuthhatches.

I want to stitch them all into my project.  Problem, I can't fit them all onto the piece of fabric I have.

I am using a piece of Legacy Linen that I purchased from Needle In A Haystack, discounted since it had a small fleck of dirt on it.  The piece probably has a 14 by 14 stitchable area.  Not bad.

But as with most sewing projects, the problem is tension.  Stumpwork works best when the ground (background) fabric is drum tight.  I own a 12 inch quilting hoop that is not too big to hold, and holds the fabric tight enough.

Stumpwork enthusiasts rave about slate frames...I read Mary Corbet's blog about dressing her slate frame, and I have decided to skip that.  You can click on that link to see what I mean.

So instead of having 196 square inches, I am working with 113-ish square inches, that is a big difference....

So, I put the sketches away....and decided to start this blog.  Hope you'll join me for a future post.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Project

I recently became obsessed with stumpwork.  This is a form of embroidery with dimensional elements added with the use of wired or padded elements, and incorporating a range of embroidery stitches.

Do not be fooled into thinking I am an expert.  I have done exactly 2 projects.  They looked like this:

This is a project from the Embroider's Guild of America , it was a stitch along, and I thought that there would be a video class to help out.  There was not.  The project was designed by Luann Calley, and her instructions, and her pacing in her written guide turned out to be fantastic.  I believe the class is no longer available, but if you find it, take it!

The second project was this one.

This is by Jane Nicholas and I got it from Issue #88 of Inspirations Magazine (there will be much more about this magazine later).  Here is a link to the kit.  Lacewing and Dogwood Kit.

I loved the hummingbird in the first one.  Stuffing the fat little bird body with stuffing made me a lot happier than it should have.  So, my girlfriend suggests that I do my life list in stumpwork birds.

And that is what this blog will be about.  I hope you'll join me.