Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BJP In Transition!

The BJP is in transition for me. 

First, I am not going to name them or even think of them as a "month" project.  I will think of them and refer to them numerically.  This is #4.

I recently decided that I wanted to get back to sewing and hand stitching. I long to mess with fibers again, mainly embroidery and crazy quilt.  Its been at least 20 years since I did that kind of needlework. Man am I rusty! But it feels SO good to use a needle and thread again.

So the transition is from a bead encrusted page to a smaller size more fiber thread work page.

So, here is the story.  The square is 3 x 3 white wool felt.  I used colored pencils to color the square then glazed it with textile medium.

The story:  This is a memory of a place at the beach in Michigan City Indiana where I was raised.  When I grew up there, it had not yet turned into a tourist town.  Not many people from Chicago had summer homes there. But (back in the 30's Al Capone owned a gated estate on the Lake Shore).  Anyway, from my early teens until I moved away when I was 19 I spent almost every summer day at the Lake. I love the water and the sun.

What I learned:  My embroidery skills are just so rusty.  But they are coming back.  I worked at keeping even stitches.  For the first time I used metallic thread in an effort to show the sun reflecting off the ripples in the lake. I love the look, but hate working with this thread.

I'm going to continue with this smaller size page.  I'm also going to continue to play with thread and beads for the rest of this year's pages. I'll be eager to see my stitching skills improve with each new page. I used to stitch really pretty embroidered pieces especially on clothes.

The picture is not that great, but this square is really pretty in person!!


  1. I think this is pretty! It's very peaceful looking. I have the same feeling about getting back to doing embroidery. I used to do a lot but in the last 10-15 years I've done very little. But when I sit down & start doing it, I always wonder what's kept me away so long.

    I love the metallic thread in this - you can see the sparkle in the picture!

  2. I like it! Had never thought of using colored pencils to color wool...but I like how it came out. I know what you mean about that desire to play with fiber and threads...I haven't picked up a piece to stitch since I closed the shop...and that's been three years now. It feels strange and a relief at the same time. Most definitely need to investigate this bead journal though, seems lots of my blogging friends participate, and this is a great piece to see in the mix!

  3. It's really charming Carol, both the story and the small fibre artwork. It looks like a cosy, a warm memory, something to smile at when the sea gets a bit rough. I do like the idea of naming it #4 too, much less pressure. cheers, kaite

  4. Carol,
    It is wonderful and I love it...brought back the summer ocean to me and loved the memory. Sun on water. It does not get any better than that!

  5. Metallic threads are one of my love-hate items too, Carol! So aggravating, but so pretty. During the spring, I started reintroducing myself to embroidery this a case of great minds, or is there something in the air, do you think?

  6. I remember being asked 5 years ago to help with a fundraiser for my dog club & boy did I complain when I realized they were doing a cross stitched quilt. I did CS for over 20 years & it was hard to think about going "backwards" in my mind, but it was relaxing to have my old "friend" back.

  7. This really drew me in, Carol, in a number of ways. First, refreshing your stitching skills is an inspiration. Coloring it with pencils was so basic an idea that it's genius. I have to ask though, what does "glazed it with textile medium" mean? It's my inexperience working with some things that doesn't know what that is. About your decision to switch gears for the BJP project, you go girl! I haven't quite decided to do that, but I'm feeling a little burned out on what I've been doing. I love that you made this a scenic, and a pretty one at that.
    I don't like working with metallic thread either, but it was worth the effort to get the water sparkle. I don't want to steal your thought, but scenic is really calling to me now. ;)

  8. I hate metallic threads! I love the sparkle but I have always had trouble using them whether by hand or machine.

    I like your piece and the direction you are taking. It speaks of growth and learning what you like. Great story too about your lake history and your embroidery history.

  9. Love this Carol... nice peaceful feel to it..

    Love, Deb

  10. Lovely piece and I like the idea of just numbering them...looking forward to seeing where this transition leads you!

  11. What a summery childhood simplicity this has! And I do not mean that in any kind of derogatory way, Carol, because I ADORE how tiny & minimalist this is...such a delightful feeling that I want to go to that place and dip my toes in that shimmer.

    Your words sound *excited* about your new path - excellent! I'm also in love with stitching at the moment so I can absolutely feel the pull you are talking about. You will not stay rusty for long, I'm sure of it!!

  12. i really like the different shades of color you have on the felt. the effect of the metallic thread in the water is great, but i know what you mean in that it's a pain working with it. i like your transition. anxious to see where it takes you throughout the year, especially since you say your skills are a little rusty. i bet you just blossom!

  13. I love it - the feeling of a summer day by a lake - it is all there. Hand stitching is so satisfying.

  14. I love this Carol -- and you've done a beautiful job on it. As you might know from my blog I'm veering away from encrusted beading also and getting back to my roots of embroidery (not on my BJP) but on my other work. I'm loving it even though I have to pull out the book to remember how to make some of the stitches. I love your story and you've certainly created a peaceful looking scene.

  15. yes it is peaceful looking. Nice work, I hope you continue to enjoy working this way. Me, I have been moving more towards beads and hand stitching, there must be something in the air that is causing all this slow cloth stuff.

  16. The picture of #4 is very pretty if you haven't seen the piece in person... It conjures up all sorts of summer, fun, swimming, sunshine in Minnesota memories for me! I love it that the stitches aren't so perfect... gives it that "honest" and "playful" feel, just right for the thought behind it. I'm playing with felt and thread embroidery too... more than ever on my June piece which I just posted tonight.

  17. Although I realize that a BJP project is primarily a journal of *your* feelings and experiences . . . you really struck a chord and pulled me in with this summer water scene :-)

    It brought me back to many glorious mornings on the lake, before the crowd would arrive for the day, when I would drift peacefully on an inflatable raft. The sound of a chirping bird, an incredibly bright blue sky, the sun glinting on the water like a lacey blanket of diamonds, the subtle movement of the raft as the currents nudged it this way and that - all these things and so much more come to mind as I view your #4 piece.

    Thank you!!! :-)

    Crystal xo

  18. It is everything you create is. Can't wait to see the rest. Make sure you let me know when sign-ups for BJP are.


  19. I like your new look and your decision to do more stitch work on your pieces. It seems to me that if we find something that feels good, feels right...we should turn in that direction and explore what's there. This is inspiring you and that is when real honest art is made, I feel anyway.
    This is an honest, light, uncomplicated, and straightforward piece...
    You go girl!
    Debi Wirth

  20. Miss Carol...i love this piece. As I am just learning to embroider and have never worked with metallic thread i love to see others that are. Funny...i live with in walking distance of Lake Erie and never thought of it looking this good! lol. sending you big hugs and waiting to see where you go with this. beth

  21. Thanks for explaining how you did it. I never thought of colouring felt before. I have used metallic thread - and it's really nasty to use, isn't it? But your finished piece is lovely - and the reflection on the water works!

  22. Hi Carol! Thanks for your comment on my blog. Both Borders & Barnes & Noble get Creative Beading magazine, but may only receive limited copies. Hope that helps!

  23. Well, I just love #4 and what you have created and stitched! I enjoyed hearing your story and the memories of the beach. I think you nailed your memories in this piece and the metallic thread showing the shimmers in the water is lovely! I know metallic thread is a pain to stitch with, but the results are so pretty.

    Carol, I'm really looking forward to seeing your progress with hand stitching and working with fibers. I think it is wonderful that you are following your hearts desire! XOX ~Lisa

  24. Carol, this is so, sooo pretty! Your stitching is beautiful, and I love those beaded reflections. I like using metallic thread too, but you're so right about it being hard to work with! Can't wait to see more or your stitching and beading! Have a fun, creative weekend! xo Paulette

  25. This does look like a relaxing day at the beach. I think your stitching is beautiful. It's creates just the right effect. Colored pencils! Brilliant!
    Marty S
    Crackpot Beader

  26. Congratulations on being true to the bjp journey. So many lock themselves into a prescribed approach. I very much admire your taking your journal piece where your soul is telling you to go.

    I truly believe in honoring beginnings. Or, for you, re-beginnings...

    I have all the first pieces of anything I've ever done. The only piece I don't have is my very first one when I was 9 years old. My grandmother gave me a stamped pillowcase for cross stitch and I was in love. I worked on it non-stop and took it to my Dad and showed him what I had done. He flipped it over and noticed that the back was full of knots and tangled was a mess! He told me that a sign of beautiful needlework was when the back looks as good as the front.

    I threw it away and spent many years mastering my stitching and taking care that my back was beautiful. Now I'm old enough to make judgment calls and I don't care too much. Dad doesn't even remember telling me that.

    It may have been harsh but I also think it was a defining moment for me as a young stitcher. I knew where the bar was and I strove to reach it.

    I am absolutely delighted to see you re-enter the world of embroidery. I can tell already that you will shine in this new place. You obviously have something to say that only can be said with thread.

    This first message also looks like the beginning of the world to me...the creation story...God said, Let there be light... a dome in the middle of the waters...etc.

    Can't wait to see what's next. I missed you! xox Susan


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