Last October, I attended my first Elegant Stitch retreat with Jackie du Plessis of It’s Fine-ally Finished. I signed up for this retreat a year in advance when I found out that the design was centered around a William Morris design called “Strawberry Thief”. I was introduced to William Morris’ style from my quilting friends years ago and have since been enamored with his designs/style. Jackie’s theme was called “Berry Thief” and the pieces she designed were centered around birds and berries, from the birds-eye maple shaker box, to the stitched motifs, to the overall design of each piece in themselves. I was fortunate to find out and attend this retreat because it was a one time only class. Jackie had a very limited supply of the William Morris fabric (made by Liberty of London), which is no longer produced/available and once it was gone, it was gone. She only had enough of the fabric for one class. Here is a picture of the model (sorry it’s not the best picture…I took a picture of the picture):
"Berry Thief" model
Don’t you just love the beaded berries on the bag pulls? The brown felted bird shown on the bottom is a thimble holder…the thimble fits in between the wings. The piece the thimble holder is sitting on is an ort bag, shaped like a nest. Next to that, is the Clover Cutter holder, made with a beautiful piece of black lace with a bird design. The center piece, with “Berry Thief” stitched on it is the needle and scissor book. And then there’s the button bag next to it and some other little odds and ends Jackie designed. Most of the actual stitching can be seen in this picture. Jackie’s designs and classes focus more on needlework finishing, then anything else, but I did learn some new stitches too. Still, it will still take me some time to complete all of the pieces. So far, I have the stitching for the scissor/needle book done:
Progress as of January 31st, 2009
You can see the Strawberry Thief fabric in the upper right hand corner. Isn’t it beautiful?! The border around each rectangle is done with a festoon stitch. It looks much like a four-sided stitch, but the sequence is done differently and the squares seem to have a slight slant to them, making it look a bit like rope. During the retreat, we did some needle felting. The pincushion is felted and then heavily beaded berries. Actually, the model was one giant berry, but the friend I went with and I decided we wanted three smaller berries on ours. Those of you who have done needle felting know how careful you need to be with those barbed needles…they’re sharp! You get that fast stabbing rhythm going and if you’re not careful, a finger can get in the way and you stab yourself. And there were quite a few band-aids handed out that day. Lucky for me, I was careful. I actually haven’t picked up this project since November of last year. I plan to be diligent about working on it now. I had so much fun at this retreat, I signed up for the next retreat this April with the theme “Millefiori” (again, taught by Jackie) and I want to be able to ask Jackie any questions if I run into any trouble with this project.
The next piece I’d like to share is the new project I started on New Year’s day this year. I joined the Shining Needle Society last year and they organized an on-line class with Merry Cox for “Americana Sewing Case”.
Americana Sewing Case as of January 31st, 2009
This is my very first Merry Cox class and piece, so I was so excited to see it offered. I have always admired her designs when I’ve seen pieces done by other stitchers. I have to confess that I am behind on my stitching. I’m still on part 1 (stitching the Montenegrin borders) of the class and I believe they are now onto part 3. But that’s the wonderful thing about an on-line class. I can go at my own pace and save all the information on my system until I need it. Though this project is not that big, so I expect I’ll have it finished this year.
On a different note, I came across a blog this week that showcases various craft rooms called Crafty Storage. Although most of the rooms pictured belong to scrapbookers/paper-crafters, there are some really great ideas for any type of craft room. Maybe one of these days I’ll post some pictures of my room on this blog.
I have been doing my part in stimulating the needlework economy. Here are some of my recent purchases:
They are “Growing Like a Tree” and “Time & Season” samplers by Moira Blackburn, “Shores of Hawk Run Hollow” by Carriage House and two French designs, “C’etait en Decembre” & “Fees de Noel”, from A Mon Ami Pierre. I few of these have been on my wish list for some time. “C’etait en Decembre” is a new release from A Mon Ami Pierre and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I have a few more orders on the way and will post pictures when I receive them.
I use to joke with my husband that I stock up on my craft supplies for retirement, but now I joke that I’m stocking up in case I loose my job and this becomes a prolonged recession. In reality, I don’t want either of us to loose our jobs. I really hope the country can pull out of this economic mess soon. There was a segment on 60 Minutes this week about the crisis in Wilmington OH, where most of the small town is now unemployed because DHL, the largest employer, has shut down. And now without DHL, the town is in dire straits. People can’t find work and therefore struggle to pay for basic necessities (food, homes, utilities) and many of the remaining businesses will likely close, including the local hospital. And this is just one small town in this country. It’s easy to overlook the impact of it all when it hasn’t effected you personally. I don’t personally know of anyone who has been laid off, but at the rate layoffs are occurring now, I feel it won’t be long. I fear it will get much worse before it gets better, but I do believe it will get better and it reinforces how thankful I am to have what I have.
I don’t mean to end on such a serious note. I was catching up on some blogs and found a wonderful reminder from Jeanne about how we need to remind ourselves now and then about what we’re thankful for. I am grateful for all the same things as Jeanne (substituting 1 cat for the 2 dogs 🙂 ). Thanks Jeanne!
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