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Posts Tagged ‘embroidery’

Over the holidays, the unthinkable happened. My mom gave me her boxes of embroidery floss.

embroidery-floss-colors

These boxes are full of at least 100 colors of embroidery floss, each wound on a card with that color’s number written on it in my mother’s beautiful, perfect handwriting. I honestly couldn’t believe it when she gave them to me. These boxes were the possession of my mother’s I most coveted growing up. I know for some it’s a piece of heirloom jewelry or furniture. Nope. I constantly climbed in her closet to grab these boxes and sort through the colors.

Usually I needed them to make friendship bracelets, which my mom wasn’t crazy about. Yards of embroidery floss haphazardly tossed about in a braid that was quickly abandoned. More than a few times she asked me not to use her embroidery floss. I don’t think I listened. How could I resist all the colors, all in one place? Maybe those moments are responsible for my total love of color to this day.

Around age eight, my mom’s mom taught me to cross-stitch. That was also frequently responsible for my raids of my mom’s embroidery floss collection — including for a secret project when I stitched my mom a pansy, her favorite flower, for Mother’s Day. I did the work all in the safety of my grandmother’s motorhome that parked in our garage for months during the winter when they visited. I guess you could say embroidery floss tied the women in my mom’s side of the family together.

So, these boxes and I have a bit of a history. I’d say it’s one-sided — me coveting and using the floss at my own discretion — but I’m tempted to think the colors benefitted from my use as well. Who else appreciates five vibrant shades of red more than an eight-year-old, needing to make the perfect friendship bracelet?

I guess the answer’s me, over a decade later, reinvigorating my love for embroidery floss, and my mom, who has always shared her colors with me. I hope she knows how much these boxes mean to me.

colors-embroidery-floss

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list

List made last night to remind me why I shouldn’t spend crazy amounts of time doing stupid stuff online. Granted, I don’t have TV, and a therapist I once had recommended a half hour of mindless TV everyday — apparently it gets your mind to unravel — and internets are the closest thing I have. BUT. Now that I’m working longer weeks, I don’t want to be spending my time doing stupid stuff online.

real-book

Happy book that will get read! Good old-fashioned books. Hooray.

And my favorite detail:

going-for-a-walk

I basically live in a giant redwood forest. It’s a sin to not walk in it regularly.

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I just finished reading Lynda Barry’s What It Is. I like it. I like the way it’s making me think.

linda-barry-what-it-is

What It Is is part mediation, part story, part art book, part instruction manual. Using verbal narrative, illustration, and collage, it moves through the author’s journey as a creative person. She meanders through the meaning of things — image, creating, writing, expression — and how her relationship with creativity has transpired.

What really got to me was the book’s focus on being a creative person creating for someone else, caught in questions of “Is it good? Do I suck?” I found these questions all too relatable, remembering those moments when I stopped singing out loud, stopped drawing because I wasn’t one of the best artists in the class, or, conversely, kept playing music because I was “good enough.” Creating for me — and I think for most people — is rarely a self-focused activity; rather, it ends up being about feedback, approval, and status.

what-it-is-lynda-barry

Barry moves, at the end of What It Is, to a kind of guidebook geared towards getting the reader to write and create. The focus is not on an end point, but rather on writing as a way of relating experiences and images. I especially like her recommendation to just keep writing without judgment, and keep the pen moving, even if that means just writing the alphabet. The emphasis on here is on writing as a creative act, rather than a thinking act.

That got me thinking about my own relationship with creativity. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of embroidery — something about fabric and thread appeals to me as a medium for altering my physical environment. Everything I embroider, though, is someone else’s pattern (although I really love them). There’s wiggle room in figuring out colors and stitches, but even them I’m always looking elsewhere, researching “how to use embroidery stitches.”

jenny-hart-love-birds

Somewhere between second grade and now, my creative process stopped being about having fun, and became about what others would think. It stopped being a personal creative exercise and became recognition-based. It shows up in little ways, like only singing really loud when I’m alone (definitely not in front of my opera singer boyfriend), or feeling like I need a recipe to cook, or a pattern so that I can knit or embroider.

Here’s my question: When did I stop trusting myself? When did creating stop being about me — that feeling of doing something awesome in the moment — and become about feedback and doing things “right”? I’m tempted to ask what it would mean to trust myself again, but I’m going to go even further: What would it feel like to trust my creative impulses? To just sit down with a tea towel and embroider all purple circles if I felt like it, or pick up my flute and just make some sounds, or trust my writing enough to actually do it and send it to people I love?

embroidery-heart-towel

I’ve come to the conclusion that my relationship with creativity isn’t going to go anywhere until I start trusting myself again, and insisting that I deserve to take joy in my creative process and that that pleasure is its purpose. I think that’s going to mean loving myself enough to give myself permission to not judge what I’m doing, and give myself the gift of letting go of that internalized critical voice. And I’m not talking love as in self-esteem “Yay, you’re great.” I’m talking about, hey, it would feel really good to take a half hour to just drink a cup of tea, write and doodle, so ok, ready set go.

So, thanks Lynda Barry! I’m looking forward to the journey I’m embarking on with myself.

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Mischief is afoot in the form of some secret embroidery.

embroidery-surprise

Stay tuned for further developments. Hopefully one of those developments will be the continuing improvement of my French knots…

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Apologies!

Hi guys. I feel like I need to apologize for the blog sucking lately. I guess, in my defense, there are a few reasons:

1. Sick. Everyone at my work has had the same crud, and I caught it. Yuck! I’ve been watching West Wing.

2. Haven’t been knitting, mostly because it’s dry. I feel like I get really sensitive to dryness in knitting — I don’t want to touch wool! Does anyone else have that experience?

3. Working late-night shifts means I’m not really cooking a lot. I should be, both for being healthier and saving money, but I just can’t get motivated. Step back on the taking care of myself front.

Anyway. I’m hoping this week will bring some change. I’m planning on lots of fun veggies for Thanksgiving to try to persuade my family of how awesome veg/seasonal eating can be. I have also been doing lots of embroidery, but some of those are secret projects…

Any recipes you all are excited about for Thanksgiving? Bring the linkage!!

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Hi… so… I know it’s been a while… but I promise… I’m still knitting.

Witness:

february-lady-sweater-sleeve

The February/October/November? Lady Sweater now has a sleeve. I’m really languishing on the second one (ain’t that the way?) but I’m hoping that scoring some buttons soon will inspire me. Goal is to have this done for the boy’s performance, which approaches quickly.

Also, making things up:

moebius-cowl-silver

A cowl in this BEAUTIFUL silver yarn I found, inspired by Cat Bordhi’s musings on the current state of our political/social climate. I’m hoping this will be something I wear frequently under my favorite purple pea coat, as a kind of reminder to see things fully.

And in the slowly-but-surely-things-for-other-people category:

striped-scarf-orange

I’m really digging how the colors work together. Yarn is Berroco Jasper something or other — more info next time I post on this, which will hopefully be a victory “It’s Done!!!” post. Anyway. Super fun yarn to work with, as the stripes don’t follow a regular pattern.

While I’m at it, here’s how I’ve been getting stitchy lately:

embroider-tea-towel-apple

The embroidered tea towel love fest continues, this time with a whole slew of fruits and vegetables from Sublime Stitching. All that’s left to do is the black!

I’m also working on acquiring more scarves, in an effort to work on a “personal style.” I guess this is a sign I’ve been watching too much What Not to Wear. But in all seriousness, I love scarves, because they are frequently inexpensive and can take an outfit from blah to hooray. I’m proud of this last find, which is blue and white, but has sparkles (OMG!!) in it:

sparkly-scarf-blue-white

Yum. Sparkles.

I’ve also been working at keeping two adorable dogs out of trouble. And this is my parting gift to you:

cute-dog-picture-hat

Dogs like hats made out of pillows. It’s true. Especially when said hats accentuate a condition known as Cute Wrinkle Face.

Over and out.

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Being a Lolcat for Halloween was really fun. Some people had no idea what I was, to which I replied, “Well, it’s this internet phenomenon… pictures of weird cats with silly captions… cats like cheezburgers…” and received questioning stares. But! Those who recognized my costume were really stoked.

Regardless, everyone loved the crochet cheezburger. That’s right. I crocheted a cheezburger for my Halloween costume.

Needless to say, this was a test of my crochet skills. Also of my stamina, as I was up until 2 in the morning the night before Halloween. I chose to crochet my cheezburger instead of knitting it because crochet offers more possibilities as a structural element — while knitting offers better drape for garments, I think, crochet is great for constructing an object because each stitch is a little bit like a Lego. Crocheted fabric is also stiffer, which means it holds up well in a toy.

All the yarn used for this was Cascade 220, my absolute favorite yarn. The yarn’s cheap, comes in a wide variety of colors, and is an all-around great yarn to work with. Also, I always have many colors of it in my stash.

So, today, I’ll post on how to crochet the top and bottom hamburger buns for the cheezburger (the correct kitteh spelling of “cheeseburger”). Tomorrow, I’ll fill you in on how to crochet the lettuce, cheez/cheese, patty, and tomatoes.

Here goes!

Top Hamburger (or Cheeseburger or Cheezburger) Bun

Piece 1 of Top Bun:
– Ch 3.
– Sl st to first chain to create a small circle.
– 8 sc into 3-ch circle. 8 st.
Increase: 2 sc in each sc around – 16 st.
– *2 sc in one sc, sc* around (you are increasing every other st) – 24 st.
– *2 sc in one sc, sc, sc* around (you are increasing every third st) – 32 st.
– Continue in set pattern, increasing 8 stitches every round, increasing the number of sc between each inc st until there are 6 st between each of your inc stitches – 64 st.
— To clarify, the last inc round you do will be *2 sc in one sc, sc 6x* around
– Work 4 round even
– Fasten off.
Piece 2 of Top Bun:
Same as for Piece 1, but do not work even rounds. Fasten off after last inc round.
Finishing the Top Bun:
– Embroider sesame seeds on larger part of bun using broken chain st (AKA lazy daisy st).
– Whipstitch top and bottom pieces of top bun together, leaving a small hole at the end through which to stuff — I used cotton balls!
– Pretend to eat your new bun.

Bottom Hamburger (Cheeseburger, Cheezburger) Bun


Proceed as though making Piece 2 of Top Bun.
– After finishing last inc round, do not fasten off; instead, work one round even but through the back loop only. This will give you a little bit of a turning row.
– Work 3 rounds even.
– At this point, cut out a circle of cardboard that is slightly smaller than the base of your cheezburger bun. This wil stabilize the bottom.
– Begin working decrease rows; on the first row, again work through back loops only.
Decrease: *(Insert needle into next st and pull through a loop that stays on your hook, repeat into following st giving you three loops on your hook; finish sc by pulling a loop through all three loops on hook, thereby decreasing one st but not leaving a hole in your work), sc 6x* around
– Continue to decease with one less sc b/t dec sts. When you are getting smaller, put cardboard in bottom. Continue to decrease until you have a very small hole — stuff the bottom bun at this point. Do final decreases until you are down to as few sts as comfortable.
Note: Pull yarn tight during these steps, as it will be a little bit of a struggle to decrease the circumference this quickly.
– Use crochet hook to close up final hole — this does not need to be neat, as it will be hidden inside your cheezburger.

Success!

Weave in all ends and pat yourself on the back. Begin to get excited about cheezburger fixin’s.

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