Temari: Emerald Isle

Been a while since I posted a temari! This is one I did as a test pattern for Barb and only finished to the point of being able to see what it would look like finished on one side before I got distracted by other things. But I was looking for something to work on while watching TV last weekend and found it waiting patiently in my WIP bin.


Emerald Isle is one of the “Challenge Designs” from Barb Suess’s Temari Techniques (pg. 153), featuring a C10 marking, solid hexagons, continuous triwings, and layered kiku herringbones.

Illuminated Letters

One of the perks of teaching for the folk school is getting to take a free class for yourself later that year, which I finally got to do this past week. I signed up for a calligraphy class on illuminated letter decoration and gilding. The emphasis was very much on the decorative patterns and learning to use a variety of media for color application, rather than actual letter forms, so it was open to people of all levels, which is good, because I haven’t practiced any actual calligraphic writing in forever.

Things I learned: Celtic knotwork is a fun brain puzzle, I have apparently been drawing Gothic ivy leaf vines all my life without knowing it was an Official Calligraphy Technique, and laying gold foil is way easier than laying real gold leaf.

Media used: Microns, gel pens, fine-tipped felt pens, brush pens, watercolor pencils, gouache, gold foil, gold leaf.

Also, I realized I hadn’t been at the Campbell in the spring before, as the temari class is usually held in the fall, and while we did have a lot of rain, it was also very, very green.


Art in Bloom 2019

We went to Art in Bloom again this year, once again conveniently scheduled around my birthday! I posted a few of preliminary pictures off my phone on Twitter, but here’s the full set of “best of” pictures from both my real camera and my phone. (We went on Saturday this time, which meant peak crowding, alas, but I still managed some decent shots.)

Do you have a favorite? Mine was the next-to-last one, the modern painting with all the stripes, which was, amusingly, directly across from the painting that was paired with my favorite floral interpretation last year.

Happy Spring Equinox

It’s spring! (Or so the calendar says, anyway.) It may be a bit gray and rainy today, but I did change over the temari display from late winter blues and whites to springtime colors and flowers. Hopefully the weather will get the hint soon.

Some Meditative Cross-stitching

As you may have noticed, when I get into a hobby, I tend to get into a hobby, and while I do love that deep dive state of learning as much of a thing as I can, eventually I do reach a point where it gets a little, well, exhausting. After a while, every new project ends up being a big project in an effort to keep building on past skills and expanding new ones, and I recently got to the point where I needed to just not do that.

As it happened, I had also just reread a favorite story, in which one of the main characters owns a craft store and tells a customer that a Dimensions cross-stitch kit is a good choice for their kid with many hobbies, because it comes with everything needed and they don’t have to commit to more than just that one pattern, and it reminded me I had a cute Dimensions kit in my needle arts project stash box that I picked up on a whim years ago. This seemed like the right time to finally do it.

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil tree frogs and Janice’s thread organizer

For such a silly little kit, it ended up being weirdly emotional, because I also ended up using the thread organizer I inherited from my aunt Janice. Most of own cross-stitching floss is on cardboard bobbins in plastic organizer boxes, because I’ve been doing really complex Teresa Wentzler patterns for the past, I dunno, twenty years now, and those all use too many colors to ever come in a kit. But for this? There was just a single length of each of a dozen colors, and while I could have just left them all laid out along the edge of a couch cushion, I realized I had the solution.

When Janice died, she was in the middle of cross-stitching a gift for my other aunt, and my uncle asked if I would finish it for her. The wooden thread organizer she was using, with a magnet in the end for needles, has been sitting in my stash box ever since, with the threads from that project still attached. Given that I was going back to the basics of the craft, and that Janice was the one who taught me my earliest needlepoint, it felt fitting to finally use it.

There really was something deeply satisfying about doing a project that I could finish completely in just a week of evening stitching while watching TV, and I got a bit of bittersweet happiness from Janice’s continuing presence in my life.

Christmas 2018

We’ve had a very low-key holiday season here this year, but I did put out all the Santas and little trees, plus the Christmas sampler temari. Seasons’ greetings from the new tansu in the front entryway and the nonfiction bookshelf in the living room.

Happy winter holidays to all!