Striped Socks From Leftovers

Completed these socks Friday evening. Again, the two socks came out a reasonably matched pair even though I didn’t really bother to align either yarn.

Striped Socks From Leftovers

These socks look nothing like the original socks!

Courage Of The Morning Sun

Or this:

Purple Socks

Yesterday I began another pair from leftovers – this time I’m not going to interweave the yarns as I have for the previous two pairs, this time I’m planning on knitting a variable number of rows from each yarn in largish stripes to see how that will turn out. It will have the advantage of not having to change yarn every two needles as I knit in the round.

Morning Conversation I

To begin – yesterday I completed Poppies – backing, hidden binding – all done. When I stand back from the finished piece, I’m pleased with how it turned out. I wasn’t sure along the way that I wasn’t going to scrap the whole thing, but after finding a fabric I thought would work as an outer border and overstitching some of what I’d done with blue embroidery thread, I feel the whole piece ties together. I’m particularly happy with the poppy centres – the texture there worked well.

Poppies – Finished

Today I turned to the second project – two men enjoying a sunny morning in the public square in Cortona, Tuscany. What captivated me when I took the photo was the gesture of the gentleman in the blue shirt – an absolutely Italian way of signalling I’m saying something important (and if you look closely at his other hand you’ll see a cigarette!).

Morning Conversation

When I laid out the piece, I moved the men from the left to the right side – it’s a balance issue – I felt the focus on the speaker was cut off when the men are positioned on the left – on the right, he’s open to the rest of us.

Morning Conversation – Underway

That move has meant I needed to reposition shop windows. In removing all the other people I’ve had to emphasize the hanging plant on the wall behind the men, the sign and tree bordering the left edge. I still have to figure out how to make the windows (without the advertising) work I a believable way. All challenges to be resolved.

The next steps, having sketched in details so I have a sense of where things should go, will be to fill in the large background elements – the sunshine and shadows on the pavement, the stone wall, the windows and doors,…

As always, it’s a matter of working from far to near, building up layers of fabric so the overlaps work. The last piece to be added will be them men themselves.

I picked out fabrics from my stash that I think will emulate the colour combinations in the photo. I will likely use marker on the grey grunge fabric to suggest the stone structure as a basis for thread painting detail. I’ve cropped the top of the shop windows so I don’t have to worry about store names, although I plan on placing the awning on the shop to the left.

The photo has served as inspiration – I’m not copying it exactly but by rearranging the elements I’m creating an image that feels more focused and balanced and less frenetic.

Poppies – Getting There

Made quite a bit of progress today – having decided to use the blue/green fabric for the border, I chose some blue/teal embroidery thread and overstitched in the dark green areas and while it isn’t sharp in the photo the stitching does tie in the blue of the border.

Thread Painting and Borders Almost Completed

Then I began working on the poppies – finished the centres, did some thread painting on the petals (may still do a bit more), added a bit of red stitching to the opening flower buds. Then I added the wide outer border and blind stitched the mitred corners.

Now I need to cut a piece of muslin for the back, and a couple of strips from the outer border fabric to do a hidden binding.

Poppies – Original Photo

Above is the original photo that served as inspiration for the textile piece. I think I’ve come close to capturing the vibrance of the poppies at the peak of their beauty.

Now to finish the piece and move on to the next one.


Poppies – A Better Border

I was at the fabric shop this afternoon to pick up some thread to thread paint the poppies – I didn’t have any good peach/orange red tones in my collection – I want to transform the blue-red colour of the appliqué to a more orange red, and while I was there I happened across a largish wall panel half of which was a blurred blend of blues/greens which I think will work better than the green fabric I bought last week.

A Better Border

I’ve pulled out some dark blue and teal threads from the collection to overstitch the dark green areas and connect them to the border fabric. And now I can get to work on the poppies themselves.

It’s hard to tell precisely what the colours are from the photo which makes the greens very green and the border blues more blue than they actually are. I do believe the tones in that border fabric as I see it in natural light will liven up the whole piece.

Finishing A Textile Art Piece

Evonne had a comment on “Poppies – Conundrum” with questions about the dimensions I use for bordering/framing a textile art piece. A couple of months ago I created instructions describing how I do the bordering/framing for the thread painting class I was teaching. I replied to Evonne providing a link to the instructions. I know most people don’t read the comments so here’s the link to how I finish a textile art piece:

creating borders

This is how Tropical Flowers looked when it was finished – a 1/2″ inner border, 1/8″ piping in contrasting colour (which I made), a wide outer border with mitred corners.

Tropical Flowers – Finished!

The process requires some careful measuring, first to establish the dimensions of the thread painted piece, then for determining the positions of the inner border, the piping, and the outer border. I find a heat erasable pen useful but it will disappear when you press each element so be prepared to have to redraw your lines. Drawing the lines in pencil works as well and the lines don’t iron out but be careful because you do have to stitch over those pencil lines or they will show and they don’t erase easily.

I also have found instructions for doing a “hidden binding” or a “pillowcase turn” to finish the textile art piece. I have used both depending on the piece, although most recently I’ve been doing a hidden binding finish since it keeps the muslin backing from showing when the piece is hanging on the wall.

Poppies – Conundrum

I have quite a bit of thread painting to do on the poppies – but I started thinking ahead to finishing the piece. I added the silk “matte” and a red piping to enclose the focus on the poppies themselves. I’ve spent quite a lot of time going through my stash, I’ve done it 3-4 times so far, looking for a bordering fabric that will tie the whole together and I’m coming up empty handed.

Conundrum – How To Border/Frame This Piece

I’ve laid a range of fabrics against the piece – black, dark grey, tan, light grey, blue, different shades of green, even shades red and peach – nothing looks quite right. Pale colours darken the poppies; dark colours make the whole seem brighter, but nothing I have seems to work to enhance the image. Everything seems to detract in some way.

Thursday a couple of friends and I made an excursion to Avonport Fabrics – an hour away from Halifax and there I found the Windham “Uncorked” fabrics in a variety of shades including this dark green. In the shop I thought I’d found “the right match” but when I got it home and cut strips I’m not so sure. The fabric blends the many shades of green in the image but it seems to overwhelm it. I’ve cut the fabric for a finished 3″ border/frame – perhaps it should be narrower – say just under 2 inches? That’s why I’ve got the black/tan/greenish fabric outstretched below – trying to see whether the darker fabric would liven up the image.

It’s a conundrum – I plan on thread painting the flowers with orange/peach shades to lighten the poppies and I may have to do more stitching within the greens, as well. Perhaps it’s just that green isn’t a favourite colour of mine and the contrast with the red of the poppies is too “Christmassy”.

At the moment I just don’t know what to do about framing this piece. Frustrating, because I want to get it done and move on to whatever is next….

A Wonderful “Face”

Ice Cave: “Near Coppermine Point, a face appeared along the rocky shore. CreditSebastian Modak/The New York Times”

This image arrived this morning from my sister: “I knew you liked faces in strange places.”

She came across it in a New York Times article about the beauty nature sculpts from the ice and cold.

It’s an amazing face complete with icicle eyelashes! I had to share it.