Willing Hands Needlework Design

"She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands"
Proverbs 31:13

Welcome to my blog! I created this blog to keep you updated on my teaching schedule, designs, new designs, kit availability,
works in progress and other stitching related activities. From time to time I'll also be adding extra info about goings-on in my life.

To see my current teaching schedule, teaching pieces and retired designs, click on "older posts" at the bottom of each page.

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fun with Finials

This is the new toy I mentioned in my last post.  I hope that you weren't expecting another toy for the Toy Chest Etui because that's not what this is!

My friend Marty ( who inspired the napkin ring pin cushions ) has done it again.  At our EGA meeting this week she showed us a pin cushion that she had made using a wooden finial from a craft supply store.  She made it from instructions in a book by Blackbird Designs and hers was painted black, then sanded to make it look old and the pin cushion part was a floral design stitched on linen.  It was wonderful and it set my brain to spinning so I stopped by A.C. Moore on the way home and bought up all of the finials they had.  My first attempt is pictured below.

But first a little background...

Years ago, before I started my needlework design business, back when I had more free time, I used to make decorated eggs using the Ukrainian wax-resist method.  It involves drawing the design on the egg with beeswax and then dipping it into dye, drawing more and dipping in a different color, and so on until the design is complete.  This is the same method used to make Batik fabric.  The photo below shows some of my eggs.  Most of them are duck eggs but there are also some from geese, peahens and swans.

When I saw the oval section of the wooden finial, it reminded me of these eggs so I thought it would be fun to decorate the finial to look something like the eggs.  I used acrylic stencil paints and then antiqued the finial to tone down the colors and make it look old.  Finally I sprayed it with satin finish polyurethane.  I stitched the linen for the pin cushion in a pattern and an overdyed thread to match the painting on the finial.  The stitching is done on "Platinum" Belfast linen and is worked in an eyelet variation stitch using Gloriana's Summer 'n Smoke silk floss.  Finally, I glued a matching trim around the linen to cover the edge of the finial.
( Anyone who has been in one of my classes knows that I hate to use glue in finishing needlework, but sometimes there's just no way around it. )

As I look out of my windows at the ridge just to the west, the trees are in all of their autumn glory so I'm thinking that my next finial will use fall colors.  The one pictured here is a gift for a friend.

Many thanks to Marty and to Blackbird Designs for the great ideas and the inspiration!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A New Design - Finally!

I haven't written anything here in quite a while - it has been a very busy summer and fall with lots of travel.  But now I'm back with a new design!

Some of you will remember the whirligig which I stitched in 2004.  I used to carry it around to workshops until it started to look a little frayed and the poor dragonfly sitting on the 'summer' blade was about to lose his wings.  It is pictured below.  A lot of stitchers wanted to do this design but Mike Fraser of Sylvan Treasures, who made the stand, wasn't interested in mass producing them.  Can't say that I blame him as it was a complex piece of engineering and he did a magnificent job.

Four Seasons Whirligig

In 2005 I took some of the bands from each blade and came up with "All Year Square" which has been one of my most popular designs.  It's pictured further back in this blog under Current Workshop Designs.  For years I've planned to take the full design from each blade and make some sort of box, and now I've finally done it, though it's not exactly a box.  It's a French etui and is pictured below, opened and closed.  Since "All Year Square" is a 2 inch cube, this piece is called "Tall Year Square".  The inside houses a pin cube, wool felt needle page, scissor holder, tool holder and rings for floss as well as a scissor fob.

Spring and Summer Panels
Fall and Winter Panels
This is a very colorful piece which uses 6 colors of linen, 5 colors of silk Dupioni, 6 colors of pearl cotton and around 30 different overdyed silk flosses from Gloriana Threads.  It has stitching on the bottom and also on the inside of the lid, though they are not visible in the photos.  It also has beads, pearl buttons, cords, tassels and barrel buttons - those double ended tassels on the corners of the lid.

The charts for this piece are already done so once I write the instructions it will be available as a workshop - next year.

PS:  Look for another new toy in the next few days!