Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Petit-point Kits...



 Old and New...

Some of you, Dear Readers, will recognize the completed piece of stitching in the above picture, which is the fourth seat of this pattern that I have completed! I have yet to start building the chairs themselves, a lovely set of Chippendale style dining chairs that came with the stitching kits. I will be making them all at the same time, so I need to clear some space on my messy worktable. But meanwhile, I was unable to resist the lure of starting another stitching project, and what better one than the smaller of my recent purchases at the Guild Show? The silk is 40 count, so it is on the fine side, but it was already stretched into a card frame and ready to begin right away.

Sorry about the dark photo... it was a gloomy day!
You can see right away the small size I am working with,
 and fortunately the instructions are large!
I was also very pleased that they came with both 
the symbols and the colors for the pattern
 printed on the same page.
So far in my stitching (being a relative newcomer to the art)
 I have only stitched from color printed charts.
But recently I have come across some kits
 that only have the symbols on the chart... 
and it seems daunting to my unaccustomed eyes!
Of course, these are older kits from the days before
 color printing was at everyone's fingertips!
So I was merrily stitching along on the new cushion
and making good progress...
as you can see below.... when I noticed a problem...

I had glanced again at the picture on the front of the kit
(which is a little blurry...)

And I thought it was odd that I wasn't seeing the pale pistachio green
 that I had been stitching in the part of the pattern where I thought it should be!

I checked my chart...

And I examined the threads....

There was only one thread on the group that could pass 
for the color I thought I was supposed to use... 
(because I was only paying attention to the color, not the symbols!)
And that was the light green there in the middle of the threads.
But when I looked at it's symbol... the "carat" on the green color
 and then looked at the chart again...

That "carat" symbol was nowhere to be found on the chart! 
It took me a long time to puzzle this out, Dear Readers!
The "light pistachio green" that I can see on the kit photo
 appears on the chart as very pale green with a circle symbol in it. 
It forms the outline of most of the designs...
But it has no corresponding color and symbol
 in the threads that came with the kit!
Somewhere in all this muddle I had to find a solution!
And eventually I decided that the stitching is too fine 
and I had already done too much with the "wrong" color
 to even consider un-stitching it all.

And besides, I sort of thought I would like the pattern better
 with the green in the lozenges the way it was on the chart 
rather than the lighter gray-blue color that appeared in the kit photo.
So we shall see how it looks once I am a little further along in the stitching!
And I really might have to find another small project
 to practice stitching that only has the symbols to go by.
I tend to see only the color in the chart!

But rest assured, Dear Readers,
I will be stitching Petit-point kits,
both Old and New
For years to come!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Heavens Above.....


 Going A Little Wild....

I Suppose, Dear Readers, that some of you would not be surprised to learn that the ceiling of The Lord's Council Chamber in The Castle would end up being painted a Midnight Blue, and that the Blue would need to have glittering stars strewn across the surface. Above, you can see the ceiling, (I know it is dark and difficult to see very well...) with the sturdy, ornately carved timber beams that support it. These beams were constructed a long time ago, but cannot be fastened in place until I complete the painting on the Map on the wall. This is because I need to be able to squeeze myself in close enough to see what I am painting, and this requires leaving the ceiling off for now. But I hope you will be glad to know I have made great progress on both the Wall Map Painting and on the Starry ceiling!

This is what the ceiling beams look like with the Flash turned on...
It is waayy too bright for my liking, 
but it shows in clear detail the varied carvings on each of the beams.
This came about because I simply could not make up my mind
 which carved pattern was most suitable... 
so I decided to use them all!
And in the end, it is so hard to see the beams
 that it really doesn't matter if they are all different.

Here I am adding the stars.
 I wanted to be careful to make them random.
It is a slow process, adding a tiny drop of glue
 and sticking one tiny star on each drop of the glue.

Of course, I had to keep testing it in place
 to be sure we could see the glittering stars at all, 
and to be sure there were enough stars, but not too many.... 

Gradually filling the Heavens with those beautiful glittering stars!

This is so hard to photograph! 
I promise you, the stars glitter beautifully!

Even in the daylight this is a dark room.

And once the stars above had been completed, Dear Readers, 
it was time to turn my attention to the Map!

And I forgot to take pictures until I had already made some additions.
I have wrestled with how much detail I wanted to add, 
and how much "realism" to include, 
and how much "Imaginary Medieval Monsters" should be there...
And in the end, I decided to stop thinking about it,
 and just add whatever jumped off my pen!
Which turned out to be quite a bit!

Starting with some Angels guarding the walls of Paradise...
Some Dragons and other Wild Beasts... 
and Sea Monsters and a Mermaid...
A Unicorn.... 
and a whole lot more Castles and mountains...
And color!

 Which isn't exactly easy to do!
Even with the ceiling out of the way
 and a clamp lamp shining brightly
I can't get my head and hand in very close.
(Which explains some of the strange details
 you can see if you expand the pictures!)

It is also rather hard to get the camera in the space
 and at a good angle to capture the details.
(This is what happens when you decide to paint
 on the walls of an already constructed building!)
I am assuming that the Medieval Artist.... 
whoever they were... had a fairly primitive style...

And as with many Medieval Artworks... 
where there were empty spaces ...
 there was ground for the Imagination to go a Little Wild!

That is as far as I got, Dear Readers....
And while it is not quite finished yet, 
I think I made good progress on the starry Heavens above...
and only went a Little Wild on the Map!


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The Guild Show 2021...



 I Found Some Lovely Little Things...

The International Guild of Miniature Artisans once again held their Show last weekend and I was able to attend for the first time in several years. Last year, due to Covid, it was cancelled, but this year it was back at its usual venue not too far from where I live. Everybody was asked to wear masks and to keep a distance from others when possible. I hope you can imagine, Dear Readers, that I was excited to be able to attend! Above you can see a beautiful ceramic pitcher from "Creations by Lynette", a new exhibitor at the Show. Her ceramics are all hand thrown on a wheel and individually glazed. And some of her pieces are impossibly Tiny! She had a whole range of scales, even some for 144th scale!

I had to get more than one...

And a little vase....

Or two!

Most of the International Artisans were not able to attend
 due to travel restrictions, 
but I did find a beautiful box made by
Geoffry Wonnacutt, a British artisan of great skill.
Several years ago I was able to attend a class taught by him
 at that years Guild Show, 
making a George III Serving Tray with
 marquetry inlay and a standing rim.

I seem to be starting a collection!

And I must confess, Dear Readers, I succumbed to temptation...
And splurged on a Footed Silver Salver by Pete Aquisto....

And a Stunning Chocolate Pot to go with it...!
(Well, it has been a long time since I went to a Fair...)

I bought a few small kits as well...
A cushion in 48 count petit-point!

And a carpet kit by Phyllis Stafford, also in 48 count!
(I will have to work at this as the chart is in "symbols" not colors .)

And some furniture kits as well.

As always, there were many many items I had to pass by.... 
and ones I will dream of someday affording.
But I am so glad I was able to attend
 the Guild Show this year, Dear Readers,
and to bring home some
truly Lovely Little Things!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Traveling In The Time of Covid....


It's A Long Long Way To Go.....

I Took a Trip, Dear Readers, to visit my family in the Southwest of the USA. It takes four airports, three different planes, two car rides and fifteen hours give or take a few, over two time zones, to travel the 2,412 miles from my corner of the country to theirs! Sure beats a covered wagon train, but boy, it isn't a hop and a skip! And in the difficult times of the Pandemic, you need to get tested first and keep your mask on at all times except for brief moments to eat or sip a beverage. And then, when you get there.... stay outdoors and keep a distance from your loved ones! They rented a house for me to stay in and we ate meals on the porch! Lots of porches. But Oh boy it was Wonderful to see them all in person!

The view from my Mom's back yard dining terrace...
they had just finished their Monsoon Season
 and had abundant water this year.
It was as green as it gets out there.
This is the desert southwest, after all!

The early mornings are brisk....
we are waiting for breakfast,
prepared faithfully by my brother
 so I didn't have to go in their house.
Sorry Mom, I had to include a picture of you!

A few years ago when I visited, 
we painted her kitchen cabinets a lovely turquoise blue.
(This reminds me of a certain miniature kitchen...!)

By mid-day it is too hot on everybody's porch to enjoy a meal outdoors...

That's when I got to enjoy my solo lunch at the rental....
Yes, that is my apple....
(I avoid cooking whenever possible!)
There were some crackers and cheese to go with it.
I did not starve!

This is the porch at the rental house.
We all had a pizza lunch out here one day....
A vigorous dust devil nearly spoiled the meal
 as it went right over us blowing dust everywhere!
And another morning we had a pancake breakfast out here
 cooked by my other brother who also came down for a visit.

And up at my Dad's house, high up in the hills...
(they are on the continental divide above 6000 feet elevation here)

Afternoon tea in the shade...

Where lizards come to call....
yes, that is a living specimen!

 And yours truly touring the garden of a friend of a friend of my Mom's....
It was an amazing place for a desert!
They had a good monsoon season and the plants were sky high!
Yes, Dear Readers, it's a Long Long way to go,
 and over far too soon...

And it's four airports, three airplanes, two car rides
 and maybe only a dozen hours...

Because I am heading east over two time zones 
and we lose a couple hours...

Looking down from above the clouds!

Yes, it's a Long long way to go, Dear Readers,
Masked and distant and just not the same...
But I'm so glad I went
And saw my family again!

Monday, September 13, 2021



 Re-visiting the Stitching...

I have neglected to show you, Dear Readers, my current mini stitching project, partly because I have not found as much time to be stitching on it, and partly because I have been so focused on showing you the Castle painting process. But rest assured, that my passion for petit-point stitching has not waned! Before I had even completed the Aubusson style carpet, I had begun to stitch a series of chair seat kits also designed by Janet Granger. This pattern is known as "Strawberry Thief" and is loosely based on the pattern of that name designed by William Morris in the late 19th Century. The kits come with everything you need as well as the wooden chair kits, which I have not begun to work on yet. So far I have only been making the seat covers. Above, you can see my beginnings. I know... it doesn't show you much, but one has to start somewhere!

Here you can see most of the decorative pattern completed already... 
I was forgetting to take pictures too!

Here the pattern is finished and only the background needs to be stitched.

Here the background has been completed. 
One down, three to go!

Here's the second one under way.
And as sometimes happens when we are
 making something for the second time,
 and we think we know what we are doing, 
so we don't pay close attention... 
we make mistakes!
Can you spot the "ooops"?
Well, I caught it before I had gone too far to unstitch the mistake...
and restitch it with the correct color blue!
The wings are the darker blue,
as are those blossoms in the corners!

Here the pattern is done and the background begun...
And that's all I have to show so far, Dear Readers,
Just a little back tracking... and 
a good amount of stitching!