Cayce Zavaglia – Artist

My sister Donna has returned from a two week visit to NYC and she just sent me photos of some astounding embroidered portraits done by the artist Cayce Zavaglia.

Embroidered Portrait

Step back and you see the portrait. In the gallery, step close and you see the craft – a gazillion stitches using silk, cotton, yarn threads to create tone, depth, texture. I can’t imagine how long it takes to complete one of these portraits – perhaps months?

In any case, if you’re interested in learning more take a few moments to watch her at work:

Spectacular.

Lace – Crochet & Tulle

Today’s highlight was our visits to Tuomo and Panicale to see two very different sorts of lace. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of the (mostly elderly) women at work but we did get to meet one crochet lace maker and I was able to buy two small pieces which I intent to frame.

Crochet Lace Table Runner

Crochet Lace Collar

The hand work is simply magnificent – done with extremely fine crochet cotton and very fine steel hook. My maternal grandmother and her sister Rose both did crochet, but their work was not nearly so fine or elaborate. I crochet, too, but I’ve never tried such intricate work. I looked at it for quite a while.

The second type of lace is sewn with needle and fine thread through tulle.

Information On How The Lace Is Made

The Lace With Paper Template Beneath

Tulle Lace Christening Gown

[Note: Wi-Fi here is intermittent so I’ve learned to publish as I go.]

My maternal grandmother and her sister Rose both did beautiful crochet work but with a much heavier thread. I, too, crochet well but usually with wool. I will have to try some fine cotton to see if I can manage something this delicate – I imagine it could take years of practice!

And then the lunch.

Restaurant On The Lake Shore

I’ll promised myself I would eat sensibly today so while the others ordered full course meals, I ate some of the antipasto, and ordered a salad. I tasted the meat and fish meals – a forkful but that was it. The food, again, was delicious. Even with the meagre lunch I ate my evening meal consisted of half a pear. I could face no more food.

 

More Florence

Sheila and I decided to return to the Piazza Del Duomo again, via Bus route 22, but this time we wandered toward the river through the galleria and leather market.

The Galleria

The Leather Market

The leather goods were sumptuous – I couldn’t resist a pair of bright turquoise lined leather gloves. Sheila was drawn to the handbags.

After browsing through the leather stuff we headed toward the Uffizi. It was one in the afternoon and the Piazza was packed with people (and pigeons).

Piazza Near The Uffizi

There was no point in attempting to enter the Uffizi, the lineups snaked the length of the building. Instead we strolled toward the Fiume Arno and the Ponte Vecchio.

Il Ponte Vecchio

It was interesting to see a heavily armed presence guarding the route:

The Military Presence

The two soldiers in an armoured truck on one side, two young soldiers with assault weapons across the road from it. A determined van driver however could have mowed down many pedestrians before being stopped, the moving crowds were so dense.

Lots of interesting shops on the side streets:

A Glass Shop

I loved the array of colours and shapes on display in this one. Don’t know where the glass was made (quite likely in Venice).

After a number of hours strolling in the sunshine we headed back to a bus stop and back home. We ended the afternoon with some gelato from a shop near our B&B Hotel.

At Gelateria Barroccino

This young man (didn’t get his name) makes wonderful gelato – many flavours, different ones each day. I’ve tried straccitella, nutella, and today cioccolatto.

We ended the day by having dinner with the other women in the group, including Linda who has organized the trip. Tomorrow we head out to Umbria and the alpaca farm, a long winding trip planned to take most of the day. Looking forward to whatever comes next.

A Winter Walk

A friend and I took a winter walk in Shubie Park this afternoon. It snowed this morning but began clearing around 2:00 so we decided to brave the weather and did the canal walk for a short distance.

The Canal

Cold enough for the snow to remain on the branches; the walking not too slippery underfoot with just enough snow on the paths for decent traction. Lots of people and pets were out enjoying the not quite sunny afternoon.

The ducks are used to being fed by visitors so groups of them paddle quickly to wherever they see people stopping to enjoy the view ever hopeful some food will show up. Unfortunately we hadn’t brought anything to feed them.

(BTW these are colour photos, the shadows lightened a tiny bit.)

 

Charm Pack Quilt – 1

A couple of weeks ago my physiotherapist handed me a Northcott charm pack with blue/turquoise fabrics – forty-two 5″ squares in 10 different coordinating colours. Not enough to make a quilt on it’s own. I went through my stash pulling out blues and turquoise fat quarters, half-yards, and scraps to cut another forty 5″ squares which would get me closer to what I’d need for a good-sized lap quilt. This quilt isn’t for me – she wants it to use in her new house.

Charm Pack with Quilt Backing Fabric

I thought about a lot of possibilities – finally decided to do a disappearing 9-patch. I didn’t want to invest a huge amount of time executing fine detail – setting up a 9-patch didn’t take long, cutting the blocks into quarters went quickly, arranging the resulting blocks is now my challenge. Because I didn’t think the blues/turquoises had enough life, I decided to use a golden yellow (with hints of blue) as an accent colour. I placed the yellow blocks at the centre of the 9-patch so they were all cut into quarters when I spliced the 9-patch blocks. Here is my current layout:

Disappearing 9-Patch using Charm Pack

Not big enough for a good size lap quilt – so far just a 5×7 array. The question I’m deliberating right now is whether to extend the quilt with a narrow border in light blue along with a wide dark border (I actually bought a second charm pack, in case I didn’t have enough for the quilt center – I could use the charm pack squares to piece an intermediate 2.5″ border then finish with a wider dark border). Or, I could add sashing between blocks/rows and space out these elements – but what colour to use for sashing?

I have to keep thinking about this – not sure what to do,  yet.

Oh, and I came across some appropriate backing fabric for half-price so I picked it up.

As I was leaving the physiotherapist’s office Tuesday, I noticed the additions to the tree in her yard. I think there’s a pottery studio in the garage – used by the previous owner – these faces bits of the potter’s work (top face missing it’s left eye).

Faces

Amaryllis 2 2018

I got a second amaryllis for Christmas – so far the first stalk has completely bloomed. There’s a second stalk well on the way and I think I’m seeing a possible third stalk peeking out….

Amaryllis 2 2018

Crazy weather – it snowed last night, then turned to rain, then the temperature dropped well below freezing leaving black ice patches. I haven’t been out yet today, but just about to venture forth.

It’s All About The Pink – V

Just finished the pink quilt  – I bound it in the same fabric I used for the wide border. In the end I left the narrow border alone – I began stitching the leaf motif but two repeats of the stitch and I stopped and picked it all out – the stitches weren’t quite even and it just didn’t look good.

It’s All About The Pink – Completed

That’s likely it for sampler quilts – while I enjoyed creating the 63 different blocks, most of which I’d never constructed before, the task is time consuming because each block had to be cut out and pieced individually – couldn’t streamline the process.

The back – because the quilt top is so busy I decided to simplify the back insert – I used large pieces broken up with strips of accent fabric. The quilting shows on the back – you can barely discern it on the quilt top.

It’s All About The Pink – Back

Another winter scene: Friday, after the storm – with ice pellets and freezing rain the night before – a beautiful sunny day, if cold, and the trees, shrubs, plants, grass – all sheathed in ice – a beautiful sight. This small tree made me stop and capture its image as I was leaving the pool after my morning exercise class. I tried capturing other photos but there was so much vegetation covered in ice that the images weren’t worth keeping.

Sheathed In Ice

In The Midst Of Winter

In The Midst Of Winter is actually the title of a recent book by Isabel Allende, but it’s apropos for today – snowing quite heavily right now, has been snowing all day. Expected to turn to rain during the night – the roads tomorrow will be horrendous, I’m sure. And I just checked – I have nothing on my calendar for the day so I can stay home and work on the quilt.

“In The Midst Of Winter”

18 blocks embroidered/quilted yesterday, 25 completed this afternoon. That leaves 20 for tomorrow. Then I will need to stitch the narrow border and embroider the wide border – who knows, I might get all of that done by afternoon.

I tested a number of decorative stitches for the narrow border – I’ve decided to use # 8.4.29 on my Pfaff Creative Icon – modified to 20mm width, 55mm length – that should complement the overall embroidery design – because the narrow border is pale I think I will use a variegated light grey thread (Aurifil 4060) which won’t show much. The pink variegated thread I’m using for the quilting would stand out too obviously.

Stitch for Narrow Border

Yesterday, I dropped into one of my local sewing/quilting shops. At the counter there was a clay magnetic tool holder in the shape of a flower – I thought about buying one, but I knew I had a number of rare earth magnets on my fridge at home so I decided to see what I could create.

Wearable Magnetic Tool Holder

Wearable Magnetic Tool Holder – II

When I’m quilting I use three tools – small scissors, fine tweezers, and a self-threading needle (for burying thread ends at the start and finish of each embroidery). While I’ve always kept them close at hand on the sewing table – actually having them on my person means not having to look/feel for them at beside the machine. I’ve been wearing my improvised tool holder today while I worked – definitely useful. The holder isn’t large, but an adequate size and strong enough to hold my tweezers and small scissors. The padding allows me to store the needle while I’m working so I don’t have to hunt for it among the other stuff beside the machine!

Construction: I started by cutting out a 6″ square of fabric and batting, a circle from the lid of a plastic kitchen container. I taped one rare-earth magnet to one side of the plastic disc, then cut the fabric out in a circle (3/4″ larger than the plastic disc), stitched a running thread around the edge, pulled it taught and finished off with another smaller covering circle tacked over the back of the padded one. Then I embedded the second magnet between two pieces of clear plastic, taped it in place, cut out a circle of fabric and stitched the edge together. The second magnet is slipped under whatever I’m wearing to connect with the magnet on the larger, padded disc which gets worn on the outside.

So back to work on the quilt tomorrow.