Couching My Yarn, As Opposed to My Words

Haven’t been very inclined to write due to a plantar fasciitis flare-up; if you’ve never had to deal with this, count yourself lucky.

Have made headway on the the prickly pear piece, the one that started as a sample to try out school glue as a resist. Here are the 2 panels; the one on the bottom has been couched with silk yarn and silk cord, to outline the prickly pear pads. The one on top still shows the white resist lines:

Here you can see the couching better: it’s just a zig-zag stitch using polyester transparent thread (nylon thread is also transparent, but will yellow with age) over either hand-dyed thick silk cord or  silk/cotton yarn:

As explained in the previous post, the pink fruit-shapes are not couched with yarn, they were outlined with silk yarn using a bobbin-drawing. Here’s the back of the fabric, where I tied lots of knots–once zig-zagged down, the ends of the yarn or cord are brought to the back of the piece courtesy a nice big needle, the size of a darning needle, just sharper:

I sewed both panels together; once I’m done couching all the shapes, I’ll put some batting and backing underneath, quilt it, then trim so that there’s only prickly pear, no sky or anything. Then I’ll zig-zag around the edges, add silk cord where needed, and put on a sleeve. This will have a very non-traditional binding!

Here’s a better view of the overlap between the 2 panels, you can see where I top-stitched them together.

Hope to get more done soon! I’ll have one foot in a bucket of ice and the other on my sewing machine pedal. Of course, if I get things confused I’ll risk electrocution….for the sake of art I suppose I’d be willing to make that sacrifice. It would at least be a good story! Told posthumously, but still good.

Bobbin Drawing

I dyed some more yarn and organized it in an old condiment storage bin from my parent’s restaurant; here’s the yarn with the recent glue-resist project of prickly pear cactus:

Here, I put tearaway stabilizer on the back of the prickly pear, and outlined the pink fruit shapes so I could see them; then I simply sewed over the line I’d drawn around the fruit…..

…knowing that my bobbin thread underneath was actually yarn. It’s a silk/cotton yarn, so it’s fingerling weight, but I doubt I could get anything heavier in the bobbin case. I have an extra bobbin case; I’ve adjusted the tension on it (very simple turn of the tiny screw with a tiny screw driver) and I use it for this technique  called “bobbin drawing”.

So, while there’s just a simple thread outline of the fruit on the back of the piece, the bobbin thread–the yarn–is on the front.

I’ll bobbin-draw all the fruit, then couch yarn around the cactus shapes.

Boston Photos: I Miss Being Back There

As I mentioned previously, I had a lot of fun at Fenway Park last week; the big fat girder was a bit of a problem, but not really when you consider I paid for bleacher seats to get in!

John and I got our photo taken by a very nice fellow at the ball park.

I’d met John right before the game at the Park St. T-stop; I don’t know the T that well, but I do know it’s the subway stop I try to avoid because it’s ancient, cramped and always in a state of repair. But outside is the placid Boston Common, where I waited for John. I’ve long wondered who gets to live at the very top of these cool old buildings with trees and gardens on the rooftops:

While thinking about this, I observed a lost-looking fellow in 18th century costume:

The next night we attended a fund-raiser in Dorchester for our 2nd cousin, Pat Tranford, who has melanoma. Pat has great stories about growing up across the street from CCN news anchor John King–you’d never know from his bland voice he’s from Dorchester. Unfortunately, if I repeated any of these stories I think I’d have CNN attorneys forcing me to shut down my blog, and after that suing me for everything I own. Pat is such a sweet guy. It was a crowded hall, I just stayed at my table buy my aunt Mary was up and about getting in everyone’s photos and meeting friends and distant kin; here she is with Nancy O’Neil, and unknown O’Neil or Tranford, Katy Miles nee Tranford, and Mary’s daughter Megan, with whom I stayed.

The next night Megan had some family over for dinner. Here’s John with Aunt Mary, trying to remember the words to I’ve Got You Under My Skin.

Lots of fun. Looking back to my next trip back!

An Afternoon at Fenway Park

My brother John took this nice photo of me last Thursday at the Red Sox game. The last time I was at Fenway I was 10 and my dad took me and my younger brother; and we left in the 8th inning when Boston was down 5 runs to Baltimore. I really loved watching baseball on TV as a kid. I think the basic idea of the contest was really clear to me, then; but my team–Boston–always lost. It was impossible to feel good, really, about being a fan; but I feel better now, as I still have all my baseball cards and they’re worth something!

Last Thursday’s game reminded me of those days; Boston was shut out 11-0, what a spanking to remind me of how it used to be. It was fun to be there, though. There really isn’t anything like it.