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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 100!

Kia Ora!  (Hello in Maori)

Today is the last day of The 100 Days Project which I wrote about in the post below.

I have had a wonderful time doing this project and managed to keep up with it even while teaching and traveling in Australia and New Zealand for the entire month of October.  I filled the entire piece of linen and have a 2 1/2 inch border all around the stitched area for framing.

In the process of doing this project, I quickly realized that 10 colors of floss was not enough so I added three more - gray, brown and lavender.  One of the last motifs is one I designed just for the project - a Kiwi bird with an egg sitting in a leafy nest.  Since the project hails from New Zealand, I thought mine should have a related motif included in it.

On that note, on my last day in Queenstown, before flying home, my daughter, sister, niece and I all got tattoos!  Getting a tattoo is the last thing that I ever thought I would do, but my daughter talked me into it.  I got a small Kiwi bird on the inside of my wrist as a memento of all of the wonderful visits I've made to New Zealand.

Today, on the last day, I stitched two tiny motifs to fill in a couple of empty areas and then added my initials and the date.  The completed project is below.

Now I have to come up with an idea for next year!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

100 Days Project

Greetings fellow Needleworkers!

I'm just back from a month long teaching trip in New Zealand, where I taught 3 classes at the national conference for the Association of New Zealand Embroidery Guilds in Auckland and then did a five city teaching tour of the country.

At the conference, which was held at the club house of a thoroughbred race track in a suburb of Auckland, I was thrilled to be a member of the faculty which included Jane Nicholas, Owen Davies, Christine Bishop, Allison Cole and Allison Snepp among others.

The teaching tour took me to cities on both the north and south islands where I met lots of very talented and dedicated needleworkers and stayed in the homes of some lovely women.  I got to see sampler collections in the archives of a couple of museums and even woke up to snow one morning.

While at the conference I learned of an ongoing project out of New Zealand which caught my attention and fascinated me.  It's called The 100 Days Project and its purpose is to inspire creativity by having you commit to doing one creative thing each day for 100 days.  It can be anything that you want to do - draw a bird, photograph a tree, write a poem, sing a song, etc.  I decided to sign up and commit to stitching one blackwork motif every day.

The project kicked off this year on August 24 and will end on December 1.  It runs on New Zealand time which is 16 hours ahead of where I live so I'm actually working a day ahead and began the project on August 23.

I've cut a large piece of 36 count Ivory linen and have chosen 10 Gloriana silk flosses for the project. The only other planning I've done is to create a file with lots of blackwork motifs to work from.  Some of them are hundreds of years old, some were created by other current designers and some of them I designed myself.  I'm not doing any composition or planning any placement for the motifs except for leaving 6 threads between each one, both horizontally and vertically.  I'm simply getting up in the morning, choosing a motif and stitching it.  At the end, I'll have a very large spot motif sampler of sorts.

This is a major commitment of my time, given my travel schedule, which include teaching at Beating Around the Bush in Australia in October.  But I'm determined to stick with it.  If you'd like to follow the adventure with me...

Go to 100daysproject.co.nz.  Under "Current Projects" click on "sort by - name A to Z" and scroll down to my name in the "B" section.  You'll see a photo of me and my name.  Click on the photo and it will take you to my project page where you can view each day's effort.  I'd love to hear what you think of my project and the whole 100 Days Project in general!

                                                               Motif from Day One

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet

Happy Spring and Happy belated 2016 stitching friends!

It has been a very long time since I posted anything here.  2015 was taken up with an insane travel schedule and this winter was taken up with travel and surgeries.  Happily, I'm fine and back to work - at the moment I'm putting together about 150 kits for a conference in Auckland, New Zealand this summer which will be followed by a 5 city teaching tour of that gorgeous country.  In between all of the above I've managed to produce a new design.

A bit of background...last spring I did a 5 city teaching tour of the South - Charlotte, NC, Athens, GA, Atlanta, GA, Hilton Head, SC and Richmond, VA.  Along the way I had a couple of days off and on one of them I stumbled on a small antique mall on a country road somewhere along the NC/SC border.  There I found a wonderful leather sewing kit which probably dates to the 1920's.  It had all of the original tools which were made of celluloid, as well as French cardboard thread winders, lots of cards of buttons and a packet of needles at a price of $25!  Needless to say, I snatched it up.  The inspiration for the new design began there with the leather folding wallet type format of the sewing kit.  But what to stitch on the outside?  What theme?

That problem was solved by a student, Lori Doty of Livermore, California.  She attended my annual classes at Elegant Stitch in Modesto and one of her stitching tools sitting on her table was a scissor sheath worked in multicolored black work on the front and white work on the back.  It was lovely and definitely Elizabethan in style.  Lori graciously allowed me to photograph it and it set my imagination on fire.  This was last October.

I spent months playing around with adapting traditional blackwork patterns and developing some of my own and the result is the design below.  A little Bargello found its way in as well with two very traditional patterns.

The photos below show the piece folded closed, the entire outside opened up and the entire inside opened up.  The silk lining fabric is my favorite acid green color but I will also have red and blue silk lining options for those who aren't fans of what my friend Lucy calls "slime green".  The design is worked on 32 count ivory linen with DMC Pearl cotton and Gloriana silk flosses.  The "smalls" are a scissor fob, two octagon shaped thread winders and a needle book with wool felt pages and silk satin ribbon spine.  The design is largely worked in my favorite stitch - double running (Holbein), but may also be worked in back stitch.

This will be a two day class and will be available as of January 2017.  The kit fee is $180.

I hope that you like it!