We spent most of the weekend stitching current projects. Laurie started and nearly finished a Huckwork baby afghan. Huckwork is a Swedish surface weaving done with yarn on Monk's Cloth, a soft, layered cloth that's easy to work with -- and the needlework doesn't show on the back! Huckwork goes quickly, as long as you count correctly on the first row.
Sue worked on a beautiful counted-thread "housewife" piece by Betsy Morgan (Willing Hands Designs). I keep thinking it's Hardanger because it includes eyelet stitches, but there is no cut work on this piece! It looks like a long, narrow band sampler on the outside but is designed to roll up to carry around your stitching tools and threads inside. She's stitching it in variegated silk floss on linen. I'd never be patient enough to do such beautiful work! It's amazing.
Here's the cover of Betsy's book and Sue's work in progress:
A close-up of Sue's work:
Isn't the shading amazing?! Sue uses a laying tool so all the threads lay flat to show off the stitches and shading. She says there's a reason I can't find a web site for Betsy:
She may not have a website because you can only take her pieces when you take a class from her. She gets hired for seminars and by guilds, then you can get her stuff. You really need her, because of the idiosyncrasies in her stuff that she tells you in person, then you write your own notes so you remember. Plus her technique for joining from the outside is pretty nifty – you need to see it in person – then have her watch you do it so you can complete the project later.This kind of beautiful, detailed work is way out of my league! I used to like complicated pieces but now that I have very limited stitching time I stitch mostly small, simple things that I can actually finish. I really admire Sue and others who have time patience and dedication for such amazing and time-consuming projects!
I only took one class this weekend:
Deb Koch of Stitches N Things
When I wasn't doing that I started and finished cross-stitching "Frosty Whiskers" by Mosey N Me:
I stitched the piece on the right but used a light pewter gray instead of light blue for the background. This was one of the few times I've stitched on linen instead of aida cloth and I really like it! The linen is a finer even weave cloth than aida; this linen was 25 threads/squares per inch so I stitched over two threads/squares. This makes the three-quarters stitches much easier and neater. I'm very pleased with myself for starting and finishing two projects in one weekend!
I enjoyed meeting the designers and admiring their work. Their classes looked really cool but I already have so many projects to work on! Here are the classes I did not take (descriptions adapted from the Stitches 'N Things web site):
Betsy Stinner of Earth Threads
The "Amish Basket Stitching Smalls" kit included a basket handmade by an eighty year old Amish woman. Stitchers made the "smalls" to go in the basket: a needle book, wax container, and scissor fob. The class also included a lecture on the Amish people and their way of life presented with Power Point. (I love the irony of that!)
Catherine Strickler of Indigo Rose
Students in "Kate's Necessaire" class made a cool caddy for needlework tools. When closed, it looks like fancy book. When, open it has pockets for scissors, a laying tool, and needle tin. It even has a tiny pin cushion!
Students in this class learned how to make, bead, and finish/assemble a "biscornu" (pronounced "biss-kor-noo" or "biss-core-new"), a French adjective that means "that which has an irregular form, with projections" or "complicated and bizarre." It's also called a "tuffet" (yes, as in "Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet"!). It's a tiny cushion that can be used as a pincushion, ornament, scissor fob, sachet, or whatever else you can think of. (In our house it would be a cat toy.) The kit included buttons and beads for the top and a magnet for the bottom. I wasn't interested until I actually saw these! They are interesting, attractive, and look like a lot of fun to stitch!
As always, it was fun and inspiring to see what all the other stitchers (about 40 in all) were working on. I saw lots of cool needlework, made new friends, and am very glad we went! I'm already looking forward to the next camp in October.