Blackwork Discovered

pandoras-box

Before you think, what a terrible job of framing, it’s not framed yet, but still in the Q-Snap.  Last year, I rekindled my interest in Cross Stitch, and that soon led to Blackwork. If you’re not familiar with Blackwork, take a look here, or Google “Blackwork embroidery”. Although the name comes from the fact that long ago, it was stitched with only black thread, today’s Blackwork is vastly different.

I loved the uniformity of it, it’s relationship to Cross Stitch, and all the intricate “diaper”  (or filler) patterns.  Curious as to why the stitching within a section was called a diaper pattern, I found this definition:   

    Definition of diaper

  1.  1:  a fabric with a distinctive pattern:a :  a rich silk fabricb :  a soft usually white      linen or cotton fabric used for tablecloths or towels

  2. 2:  an allover pattern consisting of one or more small repeated units of design (as geometric figures) connecting with one another or growing out of one another with continuously flowing or straight lines.

Examples of diaper patterns:diaper-patterns

I happened on Blackwork Journey, Elizabeth Almond’s site, and could not believe the fabulous pieces I saw there.  Imagine my delight to find she had oodles and oodles of free patterns I could try.

Never one to start out small, I discovered she was soon hosting a new Stitch a Long (SAL) called Pandora’s Box.  I joined it, and the photo at the top of this post is the result!  This was a case of where the “the journey is as enjoyable as the destination”, as I thoroughly enjoyed the creation of the piece.  Now to get it framed.

Next Blackwork related post will be on the SAL just started!

Back to Needlework, Crafts, Health and the Things I Love

Since settling down in a permanent setting (from RVing full time)  and then retiring in April of 2015, you’d think I’d have more time to work on the things I love.  But as is always the case in life, time flies regardless of how much time you think you’ve got.  I am trying to make a concerted effort to spend time on those things now, and perhaps blogging about them again will keep me more accountable.  It will take a while to get the blog to the point I want it, so if you are getting updates by email, I apologize for all the many revisions I may be making during the next few days.

Beading Challenges

How time flies!  We spend our winter months in Yuma, AZ (for more on our travel lifestyle, see our travel blog at Traveling Square Dancers (we no longer are able to dance, but I kept the blog name).

I work quite a bit on crafts, but don’t always have time to write blog posts.

For the past year or so, I have concentrated on beading as my craft of choice.  Since last August, I have created several items for various bead group Challenges/BeadALongs.  Some are described below.

Seed Beads and More Challenges

As Administrator for the Facebook beading group, Seed Beads and More, I create and issue Challenges for the members.  As we are relatively a new group, with all levels of beaders as members, the challenges are still covering the basic techniques of working with seed beads.  When there is time, I complete at least one project for each challenge.

For the Loom Challenge, I designed this bracelet.  I later designed Bitty Bead earrings to match.

644749_634397316576017_915115239_n  my bittybeads

Another project that found its way onto my loom was this Hummingbird pattern by Celia Martin.  I loved watching it take form on the loom, but ran out of of the white Delicas.  I now have the beads, and plan to finish the mini wall hanging this summer.

2013-05-12 - Loomed Hummingbird

This simple leaf and daisy anklet was made for the Challenge, Daisy Chain.

Simple Daisy Anklet

The Beaded Bead Challenge provided opportunity for lots of variety.

IMG_2435IMG_3366Art Deco Earrings   Patriotic Spirals

As I continued to play with pearls, they seemed to take on a shape of their own.

IMG_2830   Cubic Pearls

But these teeny turtles proved to be the most fun.  I gave the earrings to a granddaughter who loves miniatures for her birthday.  Look how they can sit on a penny, and only cover half the surface!

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Details on my tote bag for the Embroidered Challenge project are in a previous post.  I also started a freeform embroidered bracelet that I have yet to finish.

IMG_3503Bead embroidered Tote

A Diagonal Peyote Challenge had me playing with various Russian Leaves patterns.  One of my favorite beading projects is making Russian Leaves earrings in different variations.

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IMG_3469IMG_3472green russian leavesIMG_3952 IMG_3328IMG_3973IMG_4491

Another challenge I had a great time with was Square Stitch, when I beaded this 3 D Lizard from a pattern by Jill Oxton.

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The last Challenge before summer break was Herringbone.  Playing with a combination of herringbone and peyote, I came up with my Sand Dollar Earrings.

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I combined the Seed Beads and More Herringbone Challenge with the current Seedbeadersters challenge of Color to use up what I considered my “ugliest” beads…some vintage mauve irregular shaped seed beads.  By adding blues and greens and adapting a pattern from Bead and Button, I created a bracelet that began to appeal to me a little as it developed, but would never have been a favorite.  A granddaughter visiting on the day I finished it loved it, so it went to a good home.  I did enjoy exploring the technique of embellishing as I stitched the herringbone background rather than adding it later. Vintage-look Bracelet

Seedbeaderster’s Projects

I also participated as often as I had time in the Seedbeadersters (our sister Facebook group) BeadALong.  Seedbeadersters moved from Yahoo Groups to Facebook this year, and like Seed Beads and More, has grown rapidly in membership.

These two lattice bracelets were stitched as entries for the Seedbeadersters BeadALong in August.   The group administrator, Carolyn DeGroff, provided the original pattern.  I eventually added bar clasps to them both.  Seedbeadersters is the sister group of Seed Beads and More on Facebook.

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This original design, Native Feathers,  in 2 drop peyote, was another challenge project.

2 drop peyote

Carolyn also provided this Mystery Bracelet Pattern for December’s BeadALong.  I love the finished project!

2013 Seedbeaderster's December Mystery Bracelet Bead-A-Long (1)Designed by Carolyn Cross DeGroff
Beaded by Anita Adamson

Bead Club Monthly Challenge

For one of its challenges, the Bead Club Monthly Challenge chose the Oglala Stitch, a new stitch for me to explore.  The stitch forms a ruffle and I loved working with it.  My first stitching with it resulted in a Christmas ornament, and the next a tighter ruffle barrette.

Oglala Ornament   Oglala Lace Hair Barrette (2)

I made this CRAW pearl cross from a old beading book pattern for one of the group’s challenges.

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The gifts I made for Christmas were also posted to the Bead Club Monthly Challenge, Holiday Inspiration.

I created cards to hold the ornaments from the pattern, Berry Wreath Ornament by Robin Cowart, for our grandchildren.

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For my female co-workers, I usually make earrings.  This was my choice of patterns this year.  The first is from a pattern by Beading4Perfectionists for Beaded Bead Caps, and were very popular with the ladies.  The second, for a co-worker that likes larger, flashier earrings is Sassy Senorita Tassel Earrings by Off The Beaded Path.

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January’s Challenge was the Chenille Stitch, another stitch new to me.  I created these earrings. The pattern creates a “bumpy” texture, resembling the bumps on the chenille bedspread so popular in earlier days.  The color combination I used on the left really caught the eye of some of my Texas acquaintances, who called them Bluebonnet Earrings.  The Bluebonnet is Texas’ state flower. I made several pairs to sell while in Texas for the month.

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Beading and more – August at Bluewater

Much of my last post was on using the Challenge fabric from our Cactus Gardens Quilt Challenge.  You may have seen the photos of the shirt (post below this one).  This month, I used some of the fabric that was left over to sew a tote for my Bead Buddy Save n Go Jr.  This has become my favorite and most used beading tool.  I have the original larger size as well, but find myself reaching for the smaller.

However, when taking it with me, I’d always have to find a zip lock bag large enough for the beads, beading thread, etc.  Then, I’d discover I needed my pliers or some other tool I’d left behind.  My answer was to design a tote bag for the Bead Buddy. The black fabric is a brushed denim-feel fabric.   I placed a reinforced zippered pocket on each side for the beads and tools.  The inside is lined, and the handles are one strap encircling the bottom for strength as well.

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I’m pleased with the results.

There was also a little time for beading.  I made these for fellow volunteers.

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The Bluewater Storm idea came as a result of Volunteer, Kathy.  Each time she draws gate duty, an unexpected thunderstorm seems to pop up.  I decided to see if I could design lightning coming from a cloud.  The others are for Hazel, also a fellow volunteer.  We have been exploring beading ideas together this summer.

I finished two bracelets I had started some time ago.  This one is a Ndebele weave, using size 15 cylinder beads.

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This bracelet uses some black beads for the center that I found at a yard sale.  I love the look of these beads in the center.  They are rectangular in shape with 1 hole running the length of the center.  I’d like to find more, but am not sure what type bead they are (tube was unmarked).

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These earrings were a result of playing with design.  They are size 15 beads as well, stitched with a thin Nymo.  I love their “drapy” feel.

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Our next Challenge on Seed Beads and More, chosen this time by the members, is Beaded Beads.  This pendant was made by a pattern by Natalie S. Perlen.  With her permission, I republished her pattern as a pdf file.  It is available through the Challenge Link Page.  If you have not joined Seed Beads and More, and love to bead, please join… our group is all about sharing and we’d love to have you.

Beaded Bead1-001

I also made these to use as earrings.

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Art Deco Bitty Bead (1)This pattern was made available by Carolyn DeGroff for the Challenge, Art Deco Beads.  I’ll make another and create earrings from these as well

And that’s it for my August handwork.  Another month gone by… doesn’t time fly??

July’s Beading at Bluewater Lake

2013-07-06 - NM, Bluewater Lake State Park -008We have agreed to volunteer at Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico for the summer.

We’re loving the weather, hiking areas and solitude of our “off time”.  We hike for an hour or more each morning, then enjoy the mountain coolness by sitting outside until lunch (we’re at 7400 ft elevation).  It’s a perfect time to bead.

I’ve been working on various projects this month.

I made two pairs of earrings for a friend (and her friend) in Texas.

Earrings, Red for Texas

I also made the Cowboy boot earrings in Red, White and Blue for our Granddaughter, Lissa, who is graduating from Army Basic Training at Fort Jackson this week!!  Go, Lissa!

Cowboy Boot earrings for Alyssa

Then there were these items:

Misc beaded items  

The bracelet in the center was so much fun to make, I made another using delicas and 13 hex cuts, pictured below.  The earrings are made with size 15 hex beads.

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But my biggest project has been the “Quilter’s Challenge Project” from our park, Cactus Gardens (our winter home).  Before leaving for the summer last spring, our leader issued a challenge:  Take one yard of this fabric,

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and use it as an integral part of a sewing project.  It’s beautiful fabric, but a little hard to decide how to use it effectively.  My husband said, it would be really nice on a western shirt, and the idea began to take shape in my mind.

I purchased a brown shirt, the shade of the background in the fabric.

IMG_2074Then I ripped the seams where I would insert the fabric yoke, along the collar, down the front about 8”, the shoulder seams, and the top edge of the sleeve seams.

Using the opened portions of the shirt, I cut the challenge fabric in the shape of a western yoke, for both the front and back of the shirt.  I then resewed all the seams.  While working on the project, and going through my bead stash at the same time, I came upon a beaded butterfly I had made years ago that really seemed to match the fabric, and decided to incorporate it in the design.  That led to adding a beaded fringe, and then I decided to embellish the buttons.  Here is the finished result.

Challenge Shirt 1

I placed the butterfly on one side of the collar .

Challenge Shirt 2

This is the fringe and button embellishment.

Challenge Shirt 4

I completed the shirt by adding plackets so the sleeves could be worn at three quarter length.

   Challenge Shirt 3

I have enough fabric left for a second project.