Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Little Lighter

I had intended to stitch the 'feathery' bits on the full motif before deciding what to redo but the 'heavy' stitching offended me so much that I ripped it all out.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The second attempt is not as light and feathery as I would like but this is more along the lines that I envisaged.

Happy Stitching

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Heavy, not Feathery

I’ve settled back into a routine of stitching each morning before I go to work and am fitting in between 15 minutes and an hour each day, as a result I am making steady progress with Pouchette. This complete paisley on the left hand side was one of the motifs I worked on while in Atlanta. At the time I was not certain about how to work the feathery parts surrounding it. In the end it was the persistent thought that they were 'feathery' that guided me.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

As I was working on the partial motifs on the right hand side, I experimented on those before returning to the original motif. First I beaded the 'feathers' on the underside of the top motif. I still need to complete the details around the curl.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Then I worked the 'feathers' along the top edge of the motif in the bottom right-hand corner. These did not work out the way I had imagined them. They are heavy and solid rather than feathery and light.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Progress Report - January 2013

The last paragraph of my progress report in December 2011 was "I already know that I have taken on too much and will struggle to meet all of my goals but there is nothing that I want to cut from my list! It looks like being a busy year."

It did not take me very long to decide that I did need to cut something from my list and that something was TAST. Even so, it was a very busy year!

At the beginning of the year Camellias was on Frame One. My aim was to finish this phase by the end of February but I had a far more important deadline to meet before I could progress with it. Camellias is by far the biggest challenge that I have faced in Japanese embroidery so far; I found it very difficult to get to grips with long and short stitch. Lack of time and greater lack of confidence caused me to doubt that I would meet my deadline; however I persevered and achieved my goal. I also overcame my anxiety about this technique.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The next piece to go onto Frame One was Queen of Flowers. Unlike long and short stitch, I was really looking forward to learning Fuzzy Effect at Phase VIII so my class in March was a far more relaxed affair than the previous year. As seems to be becoming a tradition, as soon as the class in Bournemouth was over, I put Queen of Flowers away to focus on other things. Apart from a few days stitching in the autumn, this piece has not progressed since then. I am not able to attend the Bournemouth class this March so I am not under any pressure to complete this phase by then but I would like to make a start on Phase IX this year, possibly in September. My aim is to complete Queen of Flowers by the end of August.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Embroidery Bridge Between East and West is still on Frame Two and has not progressed at all during 2012. I would still like to complete this piece but it is a low priority. I don’t expect to work on it much during 2013.

My first goal in 2012 was to complete Floral Melody; I completed it on the last day of January.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Frame Three remained empty for several weeks while I dithered about what to stitch after I returned from Atlanta. In the mean time I worked on a few smaller projects but eventually I put the Tudor and Stewart Goldwork Sampler on Frame Three and spent the next 4 months working almost exclusively on that. Although completed in October the piece is still on the frame. Taking it off and mounting it will remain a low priority until I need that frame for something else!

© Thistle Threads/Carol-Anne Conway

I resolved the dilemma of which frame to put my Phase V beading onto by purchasing a second 39 inch frame (Frame Five). No sooner had I finished stitching the Goldwork Sampler than I resumed work on the Pouchette. I am really enjoying beading at the moment and simply cannot find enough time for it.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Amazingly, Frame Four has remained empty for over a year but that is about to change. I have two projects vying for that position. The Oxford Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild are holding a members’ exhibition in early spring. I would dearly like to submit a piece for it this time but am already concerned that I don’t have sufficient time to do what I have in mind. If I started now, I might feasibly finish it but the second project I want to do needs to be finished by early summer and that too will be a time consuming piece. I don’t think that I can complete both by the end of May. It looks like I am going to have to choose between them unless I put the beading away and concentrate on these two projects but I don’t want to do that either. It is more important to me to complete the second project, so I think that I will work on that next.

I have a really exciting trip to look forward in the first half of the year and an equally exciting class lined up for the summer. It promises to be great year I just need to find the time to fit everything in (and not take anything else on)!

Happy 2013

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year, Amsterdam Style

For many years now, Jon and I have spent New Year in Amsterdam with his sister and brother-in-law.  There are many customs and traditions here that were strange to us at first but have become part of our traditional New Year celebrations.

Not least of these are the fireworks. Growing up in Britain, during my childhood and youth fireworks were reserved for Guy Fawkes Night.  As I began to travel this world, I realised that fireworks are not just for Bonfire Night but nowhere have I encountered such an outpouring of pyrotechniques as in Amsterdam at New Year.

They begin several days in advance of December 31 and gradually the occasional pop, bang and crackle increases in frequency.  Throughout the last day of the year the explosions can be heard across the city and as darkness falls the sky is lit up with a colourful display of sky rockets.  Then at the turn of midnight the city irrupts in a crescendo of noise and colour.

Wherever you are, however you hail the New Year, I wish you a Happy any Prosperous New Year.

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