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El Segundo Blue Butterfly



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December 14th, 2014

2014 - Year in Review

El Segundo Blue Butterfly
--- Updated Dec 21 with more Completed Needlework and books read (Yayyy!) ---



Dancing Dragon - Original - Opus Anglicanum; begun Sept 2007, finished March 2014, entered in Shoreline Stitchers' Showcase, 2nd place Silk and Metal.
Needle Artist In the Sea - Original - Elizabethan Canvaswork; 2 different ones, one on Congress Cloth, one on Linen; Started in March, finished in August; Taught in Sept. to Needle Artists chapter of ANG.
PunchNeedle Sunflower - Melinda Toppenburg; punchneedle embroidery, started in July, finished in August
Lepidoptera - Lynn Payette - mixed media, started Sept 2006, finished Sept 2014
PostIt Note Holder - Saxon design, Kim Griffin program - Brick stitch, Oct start and finish
Marcus Arms Redo - original - gold work - begun Feb 1, 2013, finished in Oct 2014
Wounded Bag Fix - original - Elizabethan Raisedwork - Bria ripped it Sept 7, 2013, finished repair 2014
Fiat Lux –Or Nué appliqued onto black velvet; original. The Hubble Space Telescope as book cover; begun May 8, 2013; sent in for the EGA Challenge with a Twist program on August 2013; completed Sept 2014
Superbowl of Stitches 2012 project of Needlework box - Margaret Bendig - started Oct 2014; completed Dec 20, 2014.

In Progress

Crocus, Clover and Jewel Beetle - Jane Nicholas - stump work; started 29 Oct 2014
Flip Flop Ornament - Nancy Cucci - canvas work; started 13 Nov 2014
Rambling Clematis - Alison Cole - stump work and gold work; started 22 Nov 2014
CA Dogfaced Butterfly - Alison Cole - stump work; started 24 Nov 2014
Portrait of Elizabeth I - designed by Gay Ann Rogers. Started in April 2011.
Polychrome Coif - raisedwork, begun in 2004, refound in September 2011
Thread Forest- designed by me using the techniques from the Catherine Jordan class, started in April 2011

Entered in Shoreline Stitcher's Showcase Exhibit

Elizabethan Lozenges Sampler –silk and metal thread sampler of Elizabethan stitches. It won 2nd place in Original Master
Dancing Dragon - silk and Metal thread; won a 2nd place in Original Master
Blackwork Anthology - counted thread; again a 2nd place, in Original Master


Writing Projects Completed

Completed projects total 33 articles, booklets, presentations, w/ 231 illustrations, 288 pp, 55,829 words
Jan-Sept: EGA National Seminar booklets, charts, talks, prep for Oct classes; 197 pp., 25,552 words
Feb: Fingerloop Braid handout, OCC; 8 pp, 2,468 wds
May-Aug; Needle Artist In the Sea instructions; 15 pp; 4504 wds
Apr-May: Coptic knot work articles for KWHSS Proceedings (4 articles); 27 pp, 9827 wds
May: Romanesque Letter Knotwork in the St. Albans Psalter for KWHSS Proceedings; 8 pp, 3041 wds
Sept: Knots and Dots: The Evidence (updated), published in Tournaments Illuminated; 6 pp, 2151 was.
Nov: GCC Proposal, accepted; 2 pp, 539 wds
Dec: Sweet Bags, sweet meats; 8 pp, 2796 wds - Cora Ginsburg agrees with me :-)
Dec: Whitework Coif M.79.84.3 and Casket M.84.46.9 for LACMA; 5 pp., 1681 pp

Writing Projects In Progress

Elizabethan Lozenges Stitch Sampler Booklet
Tales from the Danube about the Viking River cruise
The Dog Ate My Needlework
Coptic Knotwork in Textiles
Byzantine Greek Knotwork Examples
Romanesque Letter Knotwork in the St. Albans Psalter
Names on Ogham Stones
Great Stones Tour of Britain
Bully Dog Tales & Fall Down go Boom – the story of Bria
The Scribe's Chair
Spiral Sprout GCC Text


Jan: OCCEGA – fingerloop braiding
May: Finished Bess Stitchers – teaching the Elizabethan Lozenges Sampler
May: class on making tassels at ESB EGA
June: KWHSS – taught class on Romanesque Knotwork in St. Albans Ms.
Aug: gave Winning Ways talk (piloting it) to ESB
Sept: NeedleArtist In the Sea - NAS ANG
Oct: Winning Ways talk, Fingerloop Braiding (1 day), Sweet Bags (4 days)
Nov: Bouchercon - part of historical fashion show; Robin B. was panel moderator

Classes Taken

Crocus, Clover & Jewel Beetle - Jane Nicholas stumpwork, 2 days
Rambling Clematis - Alison Cole - stump work and gold work; started 22 Nov 2014
CA Dogfaced Butterfly - Alison Cole - stump work; started 24 Nov 2014

Officer and Organizer Positions

Region Representative, El Segundo Blue EGA

Books Read

This year I read 26 books so far, an average of 1 every couple weeks, which is the same as last year. Sixteen were fiction, ten were non-fiction.

Life Events of Some Note

Mar - Crack my right ankle almost where it broke last time, by falling on some dogs at Zoom Room.
April - Marta and I accept Mike's interest in Dad's house in payment of his debts
June - found Bria a new home after she started peeing in our bed again. We cannot keep her busy enough, clearly.
June-July - a three week vacation in London, Scotland, and Ireland, traveling with Mary Kridler, Dave Parks, Beth Wolf, and of course, Hubby= Yamil Kiwan.
Nov - Crack my right arm - head of the radius bone, by falling in the Kaiser Embergency Room parking lot.

December 13th, 2014

The week after EGA Seminar, I took a class from Jane Nicholas. This was a stump work class of the above name - two days long. The ground fabric is white satin. We got one petal done, the beginnings of the clover, and the beetle. I spent some time after the class was over to finish the beetle wings (elytra). The wings are worked in Or Nué technique. I have finished the beetle!

Time spent: 12 hours in class, another 8 hours or so afterwards, for a total of 20 hours so far.

The first picture is what we had done by the end of the workshop.
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And this is what I finished afterwards.
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And the two days before the butterfly class were two days working on a stump work and gold work piece called Rambling Clematis, also by Australian Designer Alison Cole. This also has only two days worth of work, and lots more to do yet. It is worked on black satin.

We made and wired petals and leaves, stitched a dragonfly with gold purl and wire screen, wrapped stems and anthers and twirly bits as well.

Time spent: 12 hours. (with splint on stitching arm)

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Took a class just before Thanksgiving with Alison Cole, on the California Dogface Butterfly. It is, apparently, the state insect for California.

The class was two days long, and was mostly spent stitching. Since I had a cracked arm, my stitching was slower than molasses. But here is what I got done in two days of class (approx 12 hours).

The kit included the silk fabric with the design printed on it. We have to attach the wire around the edges of the wings, and then cover the silk with long-and-short stitch worked in silk thread. There is also a piece of green cotton for us to completely cover with stitching for the leaf that the butterfly has landed upon. Oh, and that has the butterfly body attached, as well.

This was a two-day class with only a few techniques - attaching the wire, covering the ground with long-and-short, a little bit of padding, making antennae, and final assembly. Now I just need to do it.
Time spent so far: 12 hours.

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October 9th, 2014

Hubby's Coat of Arms.

The ground fabric is silk dupioni fabric. The Cedar of Lebanon tree leaves were worked with two colors of silk-wrapped purl, the trunk was made of Access Commodities silk gimp, and everything was couched in place.

The striking eagle is outlined in gilt pearl pearl. The body and leg is filled with chips of gilt bright check purl. The flight feathers are gilt #5 smooth passing thread worked in a Double Chain stitch. The meat of the wings are the same passing thread worked as needle weaving over yellow felt. The underside of the wing also has a row of #20 gilt paillettes next to the flight feathers. The beak is a gilt-on-mylar flat thread used in Japan for weaving gold into fabric.

It is 4" wide, 5" tall. The patch is padded with 3 graduated layers of felt laced on a ph-neutral mat board, then backed with dark blue upholstery velveteen.

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October 5th, 2014

EGA meeting on Wednesday last was to make a paper keeper for a pad of sticky notes (post-its) with a couple square inches of bargello for decoration. I decided to do a German Brick Stitch design instead of bargello. But the more she talked about Bargello, the more similar the two seemed to be.

Bargello is worked vertically over 4 threads at a time. The patterns here were over 4 threads, with occasional bits of 2 and 6 thread details to make the pattern happen.

I'm capturing here some stuff I wrote, and learned, on a Facebook thread wherein I posted a picture of my finished product - so I can find the info again.

German Brick Stitch - small project from my EGA Chapter. Everyone else was doing bargello, I opted for the patterned German version of the technique. Design is worked on 18-count canvas and is my own color choices based on a pattern charted by Maggie Hallenberg - pattern identified as Coronation of Mary 2 0436. Thank you, Maggie! It is glued to the cover we made in the meeting for a cover for a stickie-note pad. I chose the colors in the needlework to complement the colors of the paper cover.

I do not assume that bargello is SCA-period. The chairs in the Bargello museum that give the technique its name are said to be 17th c., which is just a bit late. It is apparently based on Hungarian embroidery (of unspecified date). My suspicion is that the Saxon / Westphalian / German patterned brick stitch and the Hungarian embroidery that is said to be the source of bargello are from common origins, lost in the mists of time. But the above pattern is datable to SCA-period, which is why I chose to work it instead of bargello. But both are worked in colorful silks using vertical stitches usually over four threads, in locations in close proximity to one another, so I suspect they are related - just not provably so.

One person posted a link to a very flame-stitch-like-filling: http://p-ec2.pixstatic.com/525559eadbfa3f0d7b00026a._w.520_h.370_s.fit_.jpg

and to Parham House hangings http://www.countrylifeimages.co.uk/Image.aspx?id=5d6e18aa-2999-451d-88d9-3e51b50c9314&rd=2%7C+textiles%7C%7C1%7C20%7C196%7C150

where it says, "The needlework on its canopy, headboard, backcloth and bedspread dates from 1585 and the curtains, pelmets and valances were worked in flame stitch embroidery in about 1620. Pub Orig CL 27/07/2011"

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September 30th, 2014

Last week - was it only last week? - I picked up a piece of needlework I had started in 2006. I took a class at ANG National Seminar for it - Lynn Payette's multi-media class, Lepidoptera. It was very close to complete, and since I was done with all my "must do" stuff, I picked it up. I finished it that evening, after Thursday's Stitch and Chat North meeting on Sept 25th.

And then I was overwhelmed with "Gotta frame it and get it on the wall NOW" feeling, plus "I've framed things before, I can do it again, and it will be less expensive and overall take less time." HA! and I repeat, HA!

The designer had included a "window" page in the instructions - figuring that we would or should hide a bit of the edges under the mat, and one can play a bit with where the butterfly sits in the composition. The recommended size for the piece was 3.75" wide. The designer had a taller recommended "window" on the piece, at 6.5", but I opted for a slightly shorter version, closer to the Golden Ratio, at 6" high. And that put me, with a 2" mat all around, looking for a deep 8" x 10" frame.

I stopped by Michaels Hobby store that afternoon and looked through their collection of deep frames - I figured I needed one at least an inch deep - and I also wanted a mat. I found very little at that size, but for $19, they did have a set of three plastic frames. Not great, but acceptable, and the spacer to hold the glass was molded in one piece, looking reasonable. So I got it.

I then went over to Aaron Brothers, a couple blocks away. I found the exact right mat - right size, right color, covered in fabric with inset of wooden framing in a bronze tone paint. Absolutely perfect! So I bought it - $29, but so perfect.

Went home, finished the embroidery. Cut out a piece of foam core at 8" x 10", played with the mat to figure how to center the piece, and carefully laced it into place. Piece plus mat - Perfect! This do-it-yourself framing - not too bad! Have mostly paid others to frame stuff lately, but this was going to work out.

The plastic frame didn't fit. The corners each had a molded plastic triangle for the little toggles that held the back on. I was not going to cut up the beautiful mat to fit into a cheap plastic frame. Also, the spacer was not at all adjustable, and was too thick to allow me to fit the half inch of mat plus piece-on-foamcore. Oh well, I can use cheap plastic frames for flatter items, or give them away. Can't return them - I've already disassembled one.

So I go back to Aaron Brothers. They've got a frame sale on, and presumably a large selection of frames. A salesperson intercepts me as I head for the frames. I don't have my piece with me, I have its dimensions, though. I tell her I'm looking for a deep frame in brown - perhaps a shadow box. She takes me to the Keepsake boxes. There are 8" x 10" ones, but they are 4" deep. That is awfully deep. She tells me that is all they have in shadow boxes in the size I am looking at, and I don't see anything better in that aisle of keepsake boxes. I pull another of their fabric mats, and hold it over the opening. It doesn't quite fit, but the plastic envelope that encases it appears to be the problem, not the mat - it appears as if it would fit without the envelope.

So I agree. The keepsake box is too deep, but seems the closest I'll find, and it is $32. I ask about the sale - she pulls out a coupon for 50% off, and uses it so I only pay about $19 total.

I take it home, try to put my artwork inside. The foam core was cut about a quarter inch too big to fit. So I unlace part of the back, trim the foam core back (with scissors, not a blade, since I didn't remove the embroidery fully, so the edge is a bit rough, re-lace it, and put the artwork in the bottom of the box. It is still a tight fit, but it works. Then I put the mat in, It is a very, very tight fit. So tight that the mat buckles slightly. It is about a sixteenth of an inch too long. I hold up the box. It is too deep, and the mat is not flat. I'm getting into a bad mood - this was supposed to fit.

So I take the mat, the artwork, and the box back to Aaron Brothers. It is only a couple hours after I bought the box. I tell the salesperson, "I'm having a bad day. I bought both of these here, and they don't fit together. Can you make my day better?"

She takes them all to the back, while I wander the store. On the end cap of the aisle with the keepsake boxes, the side away from the front, are some deep frames. They are wood - black, white, or natural pine choices. They are 1.5" deep. They are $17. The glass is at the front of the frame (many of the deep frames put the glass at the center or even very close to the back). The inside of the frame has grooves for the four rotating clips on the backing piece to move into, to hold it all together.

She comes back with the mat board, now trimmed by a quarter inch. It fits nicely inside the too deep box. I thank her for her help, but after some waffling, I decide to return the keepsake box in favor of the deep wooden frame. She gives me the $0.56 difference in price. Hunh? What about the half-price sale? Oh, right. It helps that this time I printed out the coupon. So I give her back the $0.56, and get $9 or so in change.

The raw wood frame needs attention. I find spray gold paint in the garage, and spray it all over. Let it dry. Sand and spray again. Let it dry. The gold color is too bold. I find some brown fabric stain in my supplies, and brush it on over the gold - good! It brings the color down, but the gold behind gives it life. Excellent! I let it dry overnight.

The next morning, the brown stain is still not dry, and I take off fingerprint-shaped bits of it. Not good. Rummage around the garage and find some maple-colored wood stain. Better! I brush that on. Yes! It looks right for color, and dries reasonably.

Eventually the stain is dry, and two coats of spray Verithane (with sanding between) completes the frame preparation.

I assemble it all - the frame crushes the butterfly wing when the backing is put in as designed, with the rotating clips in the grooves within the frame. Oh, and the top of the mat, and the art underneath, is a quarter inch too short now. It does not go all the way to the edges. The massive keepsake box interior was NOT a full 8" x 10". So my artwork fits that box, not the new frame.

Well, how about a spacer between the glass and the mat to give the wing more room, and incidentally hide the gap at the top? I figure I need a quarter-inch-square-cross-section length of wood strip to cut up for spacers. No such luck at Michaels or at Home Depot. I search for it on-line - cost would be about $2.50, plus twice that in shipping, and take several days to get here. Oh, and that extra space at the top of the mat - maybe just put an extra deep spacer there, and have the mat butt up to it. Yeah, that'll work.

While I was out looking for contact cement at Home Depot (for the other finishing project), I looked at their molding selection. I bought 5' of quarter round, thinking it might work. Nah, not so much. $2.50 wasted.

Monday I take out the foam core, a blade, a ruler, and start making strips. I tried 3/8" spacer and 1/4" spacer and 1/2" spacer. The 3/8" was perfect. And a 7/8" one for the header strip, to hide the gap, worked fine. I assembled everything - the wing had room, the mat looked fine, well, the frame did not fully hide the quarter inch wide foam core bits. We're looking down at foam. Not attractive. Could cover it with fabric!

Go look at my stash. It is a very large stash. I selected several - most were not right. The one that was the right color was a chocolate brown piece of unknown fiber content that I'd bought in high school, and started stitching an elaborate medieval street scene on, in wool threads, using a variety of crewel stitches. Was I ever going to finish this? No. It looked like something a novice stitcher had started and never completed. And it was big. So I decided to take the covering bits for the spacers off the bottom of this ancient textile. I did. Then I hand stitched the covers for the spacers, and put them in place. It looks great! But the bottom one is a little long. Force it into place. Friction is my friend.

Then I turned it over and tried to put the back on. It does not have the grooves available for the attached clips. So I duct taped it into place. The clips stick out so that when I add the hanger, they will hit the wall before the hanger does. The clips must go. But they are riveted in place.

This morning, I looked at it again - the whole thing looks great except that the bottom spacer is now bent out over the fabric mat. Not a lot, but not acceptable. Looks like I get to take it apart again, trim or replace the foam core length for the base of the piece, and replace the backing cardboard.

For something "quick and easy" this has sure turned into a very long, involved process.

Cost: $29 mat + $10 frame + free foam core + on-hand paint, stain, verithane, and fabric is about $40 for stuff used (and if I had printed out the Aaron Bros coupon earlier, the mat would have been half price).
$20 for unused plastic frames + $2.50 for unused quarter round wood = $22.50 for stuff I bought and did not use.
Unknown amt. of gas going from home to each of Michaels and Home Depot and 3 times to Aaron Brothers.

time spent: Thursday - Monday, continuous except for large chunks of time waiting for paint to dry.

Still not quite done.

Here is the result so far:
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September 29th, 2014

Finishing Fiat Lux

El Segundo Blue Butterfly
This project had been lost in my library / sewing room for almost a year when it resurfaced a couple weeks ago when I was doing some deep cleaning  & furniture replacement.  It had been sent to the EGA Challenge chairman for critique in August of 2013, since it was specifically designed and worked for that program.  I got it back, put it away, and had not seen it since.  Yay, found it!

I put it back on stretcher bars. But now I couldn't find the 1940s era hardcover book I was going to cover. Hmm. And hollowing out that book sounded like a lot of fussy trouble. Alternatives?  I went to the local Michaels and found a book box that was not only just the right size, it was even deeper, and fit both Kindles I have into it. With their leather-like protective cases on.  No brainer - buy the book box!

But the book box was deeper, and the velvet was not long enough to fit over it all.  Hmmm. I could add a black linen bit on the back, documenting the constellations and the name, and... more trouble than it was worth.  I could cut it down the middle and put the back on the back, the front on the front, and add a leather spine piece.  That had possibilities.  So I got some thin black leather at SAS Fabrics, a local "fabric by the pound" store that also carried leather scraps. $2 worth of leather scrap was more than enough. A separate spine means I should put the title of the piece on it, my name as author /designer, and the date.  So I mocked it up in Adobe Illustrator, using a very readable, bold font.  Then I flopped it, and printed it out.  Attached the flopped version to the back, and used a pin to put holes in the leather at every angle.  Then I joined the holes with gold thread to spell out the title.  Did the same with the date.  Then did something similar but not quite as fussy with my name. Removed as much of the paper as I could easily, and cut it out.

Meanwhile, I looked at the original embroidery. The applique edges on the solar panels were showing white linen where they had been folded under, so I added more gold couched down to hide the edges. The top of the near solar panel kinda dipped in.  It needed more support.  So I thought of this like trapunto.  I slit the muslin on the back, and carefully stuffed string into the part under the solar panel.  It isn't perfect, but no longer looks like it has been hit in a meteor storm.  Then I carefully restitched the slit in the muslin, so the stuffing wouldn't fall out.

The far solar panel looked slightly misaligned, but I decided that it was okay, and didn't touch it.

The edge of the Earth below also showed some linen, where the threads turned. So I made a twisted cord of a lighter blue than what was already there, and couched it over the gold edges. Much better.  But the atmosphere still looked too thin.  So I found more Waterlilies overdyed silks in my stash, in blues of progressively deeper hue.  I made more twisted cords, and couched them in place, from lighter next to the Earth to darker as it faded into space. Yeah, that was what it needed. The atmosphere has a good fadeout look, and is thick enough to be seen as a specific design element, not just an afterthought.

I needed to finish the constellations on the back of the book.  I was not sure where the beads I'd used might be hiding.  Also, if I cut the velvet for the spine, I'd need to cut right next to one of the stars for the Gemini constellation. Having one star bead on the spine, or under the leather for the spine, was not a good idea.  I finally decided to finish the dotted lines that defined the constellations, but to remove the beads I'd already put in.  Also, since I had not yet put in the gold twist around the back, that I would just leave it off. And the more I looked at star maps, the less I liked my placement of the line of the ecliptic.  So I took out the black line of the ecliptic, and put in a new arc to define it.  Couched that in place (used black Trebizond silk for the line - worked well).

Since the velvet was overlaid onto quilter's muslin for stability, it occured to me that I could glue the muslin in place and the velvet would still be free at the edges.  So I outlined the edges to be seen, and the extra quarter inch to turn over the edge, and then hand stitched a long zigzag between the two lines all around the front and most of the back.  We were binge-watching "The Roosevelts" on Saturday, and this was the perfect mindless thing to do while watching a history documentary.

Sunday, I looked on-line for ideas on how to bind books - not quite what I was doing, but very close.  One web site described how to bind a leather spine, and mentioned using a contact adhesive.  Good idea. Did I have any at home?  nope.  So I walked over to Target. No contact cement there, either, but there was Super Glue.  That should work.  

At home, I took the embroidery off the stretcher bars, trimmed it down to just the velvet, and cut the front from the back.  When I tried to glue the back to the book box with Super Glue, it did not work. I went to Home Depot and found contact cement there. So I spent the afternoon gluing the back first, then the front, then the spine to the box.  I didn't quite get the front stretched evenly, leaving the gold twist parallel to the spine on that side, but not so parallel to the edge on the other, but the rest seemed to work well. A little touch up, and it is done!

Time spent:  calendar time was 2 weeks. Actual project time was closer to maybe 30 hours, maybe a bit more

Pictures behind the cut.
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September 4th, 2014

Earlier last week, I finished the Needle Artist in the Sea Shell pincushion.  This version was worked on 25 count linen, and finished as the lid of a shell box.  The edging is fingerloop braid.

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August 6th, 2014

Looking back over posts, I notice I have not posted much on Live Journal this year. In particular, I did not document the completion of the Needle Artist in the Sea pin cushion that will be taught in Sept.  It uses two Elizabethan Stitches, Encroaching Gobelin and Ceylon stitch with Pair-Wrapped rungs, and that is the reason for the class.

I finished this in June, but due to travel and other commitments, have not documented it here until now. This is worked on Congress Cloth.  The design is adapted from an historical sweet bag that I know only from a drawing and a poor black and white photo.  Don't know its current whereabouts.

The materials are Needlepoint, Inc silk and Caron Waterlilies silk.  The latter is a variegated hand-dyed silk thread.  The idea is to pull out the dark portions for the outlines, and the lighter portions for filling in. And the whole looks like you are seeing her through water (at least, that's the idea). The cord is finger loop braided - 8 Bowes Bendy pattern, using a perle cotton that was dyed in a variegated pattern. The back is a piece of blue cotton.

I think she turned out fine.

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