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i am a creative person. mother to a daughter who is an active young woman and a constant blessing in my life. i hope that you enjoy your visit here and that you will return often.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TAST week 17 ~ wheatear stitch, 15 minute challenge and a give-away~!!~

i have two clematis plants. one of them is white, stays rather small and blooms fairly early in the summer season and the other one is a deep purple color, grows to great lengths and blooms all summer long. i have no idea what either one of them is called. possibly some research is in order . . .
this is a shot of the white one. the buds and new growth have begun to form on the viney stems of last years old growth.
last year it bloomed profusely for it's short time and i realized that my habit of cutting the plant back every fall (which hadn't gotten done as usual) wasn't a good idea as i was stunting it's growth/bloom possibilities every time that i did it.
so now i know; no more fall pruning of this white clematis.
i would like to add some more clematis to the garden. maybe this summer . . .

this post is a combination TAST, 15 minute challenge and giveaway.

i once again met my own personal goals within a challenge framework. so i'm doing a quick dance of joy as well as celebrating by offering three of my photo note cards (of my choice) as well as a few extra surprise goodies. if you are interested in winning i would like you to leave a comment on this post telling me what you think my theme/challenge for april was. you don't have to get it right, you just have to take a guess within your comment. if you happen to have an idea for a future theme, feel free to share that as well.
i'll  draw a name/winner on May 10th. 
the cards were made by a company called snapfish. i think they're pretty nice cards.

over at sharon b's pintangle the stitch for week 17 with TAST is the wheatear stitch. i don't recall ever working this stitch before so i was interested in giving it a go and seeing what it would do. as i was thinking about how to approach the stitch (in relation to my christmas stockings) i happened to visit this blog. Masha was also new to the stitch but she had very nice examples of her experimental work. she commented that the stitch reminded her of a combination of seaweed and fir branches and as i read this i had a creative aha moment and decided that i would like to explore that idea.

so i sketched a bit . . .

after a while i decided that it was worth getting out a needle and thread to try to see what i could do with that.

i found a piece of scrap muslin and not wanting to 'waste' my time and effort i backed it with a thin postcard sized piece of batting with the intention of finishing whatever might happen as a usable piece of mail art.

the orange running stitch that you see is basting so that the muslin didn't wiggle off of the batting. you can see a bit of batting in the upper left corner because the muslin didn't entirely cover the batting (a space left open for future fabric/embellishment on the piece). 
 in my effort to make the stitches look continuous (like a 'branch') i failed to pay attention to how it should be formed. it's actually considered a detached or stand alone stitch but if one 'stacks' the wheatear stitch it can be made to look like a continuous form.
i was not quite completing the stitch before heading into the next stitch. it wasn't the look i wanted and it wasn't the correct way to do the stitch.
the stitch is formed first by making a fly stitch and then a chain stitch is formed and used as the catch portion of the fly stitch with the stitch being completed by a second catch stitch at the base of the chain stitch.
in the shot at left i have shown a single wheatear stitch but i have elongated my last catch stitch.
this elongated version was great for the look i wanted. it helped create a looser looking series of stitches when one was stitched directly below/behind the next.
it was looking more and more like a fir branch all the time . . .  i learned that i could also lengthen out the arms of the fly part of the stitch and give things an even looser, more organic type of feel. the less i tried to make 'perfect' stitches the more organic it tended to look. i was liking it~! so i kept on stitching.

eventually i added some fabric over that corner of batting that was initially left uncovered.
and stitched some more . . .

so now i have a very well started postcard and absolutely nothing on the christmas stockings (for the second week in a row).

i'm not even sure that it looks like fir branches at this point . . .
maybe a pine cone would help . . .

there are some wonderful examples of what can be done with this stitch. Maureen's work is beautiful and creative.  Claudia did a floral arrangement and a sea themed piece that is gorgeous.  All Kinds of Needlework did some whimsical windsocks with the wheatear. Lisa has created a mandala like work that turned out nicely too.
if you're interested in embroidery there is some real eye candy as well as good instruction within these links.

so now it's on to Kate's at Life in Pieces for the 15 minute challenge . . .
no detailed report card for me as i feel that i'm boring my readers to tears with that. i'll just sum it up by saying that i managed to get my challenge done on 6 out of the 7 days. on tuesday i completely forgot. i stayed up quite late and as i was falling asleep and going through my day in my head i suddenly had an 'oh sh@#' moment and knew that there was nothing to be done about it as it was already past midnight. oh well. no A+ for me this week.
i did accomplish some work on the hexie path basting and actually sewed a flower and path unit onto the growing top. and i spent quite a lot of time on the TAST/wheatear stitch.
all in all a decent enough week.
if you're needing a little encouragement to get your sewing time in on a daily basis this is a great challenge to take on.

recent gifts include:
  • hearing from my daughter frequently
  • big bunches of bright yellow daffodils
  • daily walks with my wonderful husband and the dogs


  1. Wonderful embroidery! I love to see how your pine needles evolved! Would love to see the finished work! Congrats on the 15 min challenge achievement!

  2. Last month's theme was water or water drops or dew...something along that line. April showers bring May flowers:)

    I love what you did with that stitch!!

    I said that swear word in my blog post today! I think it was a first for me! tee-hee!!

  3. Beautiful stitching. I've never seen that particular stitch, but it does look like sea weed or a fir branch. Even if you didn't get it on your stocking, it takes a bit of effort to try something out first, so I'd say you had a great week. Even missing a day, it looks like you were busy with all kinds of projects.

    Thinking back to last month's posts, I'd say your theme was a variant of "new life" as a lot of your pictures were the buds of flowers.

  4. Water - I'm pretty sure there were water droplets in all your April photos.
    My DH went by as I started reading this post and he said 'neat, does it say what that is?' He liked your clematis shot. They are beautiful plants. We have a purple one that blooms profusely every spring. We've moved it around and neglected it and it still blooms.
    By itself I think the stitches look more like seaweed, but if you add a pinecone that would make it look like a a fir. Looks like a fairly versatile stitch - different - and very pretty, especially made with the pretty green thread.
    Enjoyed this post!

  5. Yes I too look forward to seeing your Christmas stocking- completed or not- it's fun just seeing the progress on a piece...
    I'm happy to enter your giveaway again this month. My guess on your theme is water droplets (or raindrops) - or April showers..???

  6. Hopes for a good show from your clematis plants this summer, Libby - the camellia in my garden is unusually still in flower, after an unpromising start, it has produced bloom after bloom! Love that stitch! Lesley x

  7. I think the theme was drops of water? or dew? They were all lovely.
    Have you every tried just dead heading your clematis? I do this and then I get more blooms just like with any flower.
    Your sketch is so pretty and the stitching is even more lovely!!

  8. Your wheatear stitchs are lovely. I think your they look like a sprig of rosemary ("romarin" in french). This plant growes in the south of France. It is useful as a flavoring in cooking, but also as a medicinal plant. Is it growing in USA too?

    ps: of course, I do not participate to the draw.

  9. That green stitching is gorgeous, Libby Q!
    Hooray for the dog walks!

  10. Libby thanks for sweet comment on my book, your stitching for TAST looks so beautiful, love the way you used the wheatear stitch. Have a nice and creative week.


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