Sea House Warming Hut: Guest Books, A Sunset… and A Big Butt

Remember this photo? Barbara W. had sent a marvelous gift box of thoughtful miniature wonder, and I was inspired by the open butterfly book ( by Jennifer Hatt of lookingglassminiature.com) to make a guest book for the Warming Hut.

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The page spread is set in 1.5 point type :)

I logged myself in twice, in blue and black ink.

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I call these cheater books, because the pages don’t open or turn, but I did glue the signatures.

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I was going for a Moleskine notebook sort of look with black covers. I also made an open sketchbook with pages being ruffled by the wind, as well as a closed volume. There are no more photos of the process, though, as my husband called me outside to view the rather spectacular sunset. Here is a photo of him taking photos of the sky :)

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That’s the Pacific Ocean, looking pink as bubblegum :)

Anyway, there are the three books I made. I used a thin silk cord to make the page markers. And doesn’t the Peacock rug look splendid with the poppy-colored furniture?

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Instead of making a stand for the guest book, I made this today:

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A big cigarette butt. It’s 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in diameter and about 24 inches (61 cm) long (unstubbed). I am especially happy with the “tobacco” — dried up leaves from my tomato plants, preserved moss, black tea (Yorkshire Gold) and paint, and a lot of glue.

(I volunteer with Pacifica Beach Coalition. This butt will be part of a display to build awareness that cigarette butts are *not* biodegradable. Did you know that cigarette butts discarded in parking lots, along sidewalks and in street gutters miles from the coast inevitably make their way through storm drains, creeks and rivers to the beach and the ocean, where they continue to leach toxic chemicals? Yuck.)

peacock rug complete

modern miniature peacock rug

After completing stitching and staring at it for a while, I trimmed the edges of the silk gauze to about a quarter-inch (6 mm).

modern miniature peacock rug

I washed and gently blotted it mostly dry, then pinned it into square(ish) and left it to dry overnight.

modern miniature peacock rug

The raw edges are turned to the back, corners mitered, and the edge oversewn exactly one row of the 49-count silk gauze with a double strand of Gütermann silk. I pondered the binding color at length, and finally chose the darker gray.

modern miniatures peacock rug

This is what the back looks like, and shows the combination of tent, basketweave and snarled stitches. Mistakes were made. Many were corrected, but some were discovered too late. Kind of like life.

modern miniature peacock rug

I fused featherweight interfacing to the back, to protect and seal the raw edges. Note to self: dust your build floors more often!

modern miniatures peacock rug

And here’s the finished rug, inviting you in to the Sea House Pavilion for a cup of tea or a glass of wine. It’s a great place to watch the storm blow in.

in no particular order

peacocks_120214Peacock rug getting there! Just the remaining green background left to stitch. Then blocking and binding.

(Finished size will be 4.625 x 3.125 inches (11.75 x 7.9 cm), 227 x 153 stitches, Gütermann silk on 49-count silk gauze, from a design by Roger Fry, as charted by Melinda Coss in Bloomsbury Needlepoint From the Tapestries at Charleston Farmhouse.)

Then I’ve been playing around with Kris Compas’s current tutorial for an upholstered parsons chair, using this great cotton stripe from a thrift store shirt. Other than (endless) work on the Peacock rug, I think this is the first miniature building I’ve done since I packed everything up to move in the summer. (The cording is made from three strands of DMC floss, and is more true to scale than using all six strands. In case you noticed.)

parsons_chair_120214

Penultimately, here is my first repeating pattern!

fish_seaweed_00

The color palette is a combination of hues drawn from photos of the ocean and from the persimmon tree in Soquel. The simplicity is perhaps underwhelming, but this represents hours and hours of work. Onward!

And finally, I did go back to the indie dollar store and buy up all the boxes of Prang KantRolls.

allthecrayons

Mostly because this:

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it’s that time (again)

Yes. We are moving. Well, actually, packing in preparation for moving.

Yes. We are moving. Well, actually, packing in preparation for moving.

About an hour and a half up the coast, to Pacifica. Very excited for new beginnings, very sad to depart the Soquel hills and the superior Santa Cruz County climate.

Finding a new house (oh, and working) is why I’ve not been doing any building the last few months. But I have been stitching — sometimes late or in the middle of the night — on the Animals rug, and a new, smaller rug project: Peacock.

Peacock, designed by Roger Bell in 1913–14.

Peacock, designed by Roger Bell in 1913–14.

I came across this remarkable book, Bloomsbury Needlepoint From the Tapestries at Charleston Farmhouse by Melinda Coss. It is both great art history and charts of designs by Duncan Grant, Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell.

You want this book.

You want this book.

Roger Fry’s original 1914 design was worked on 10-count double mesh canvas, and measured 22 xx 15 inches (55.9 x 38.1 cm).

Roger Fry’s original 1914 design was worked on 10-count double mesh canvas, and measured 22 x 15 inches (55.9 x 38.1 cm).

My version is on 49-count silk gauze with Gütermann silk, 227 x 153 stitches, 4.625 x 3.125 inches (11.75 x 7.9 cm). And although I wish Gütermann had more and better shades of greens and blues (especially), this piece gives me the comfort and focus I need right now. Thank you, tiny needlepoint!

 

Animals rug: carrying on

animals_061414-2

Things being what they are, the Animals rug is pretty much the only thing I’ve been working on, and I love it (still). It’s been made somewhat easier with my acquisition of a Needlework System 4 stand, which I also love. I had a personal best breakthrough when I managed to stitch an entire flying saucer-paisley motif correctly (main border, left middle). Compare to the other two, and you’ll see the, um, variations. There are three more to stitch, so we’ll see how that goes.

The area below the blue birds is about to get very interesting, as I work the swirly-jagged yellow border reversed at the bottom. I think the terminal flowers might appear behind the blue birds’ tails. After I get that border in, I’ll be able to determine what else will go in the background.

Here’s a closer view of the center panel:

animals_061414-1

I felt very clever using the flower colors on the big blue birds’ tails. There is a garland of small flowers in the center shape with a yellow background, and I’m undecided what colors to work them in, likewise with the wing-shaped leaves.

Details: 49-count silk gauze, 281 x 398 stitches — well now a bit more (5.75 x 8.125+ inches, 14.57 x 20.63+ cm); DMC cotton and Gütermann silk. Original design by Natalia Frank.

 

Animals rug: all four corners

The perimeter is secured

The perimeter is secured

The Animals rug has been my project of choice lately, interspersed with work on the Great Green Room, the new build for the HBS contest, and ongoing additions to the Sea House Pavilion. Miniature needlepoint stitching is tremendously absorbing and satisfying, and I’ve been searching out pattern books from the library and used bookstores.

I got this from the downtown Santa Cruz Friends of the Library bookshop, primarily for the cover:

“…a modern breakthrough book in the technique of the ancient, joyful, and beautiful craft of needlepoint.” from the 1970 foreword by Clare Booth Luce

“…a modern breakthrough book in the technique of the ancient, joyful, and beautiful craft of needlepoint.”
from the 1970 foreword by Clare Booth Luce

Needlepoint by Design by Maggie Lane, 1970. As it turns out, the cover design is not included in the book, but there are several other motifs graphed — a fish, a stag beetle, a tortoise, a frog — that I look forward to incorporating in something, some day. Well worth the US$4 price.

Then there is this, Needlepoint Designs From Oriental Rugs by Grethe Sorensen, published in 1983:

“Perhaps, unencumbered by outer distractions, the mind’s eye turns inward to the world of color, shape and symbolism to which human imagination first awoke.” Grethe Sorensen, 1981

“Perhaps, unencumbered by outer distractions, the mind’s eye turns inward to the world of color, shape and symbolism to which human imagination first awoke.” —Grethe Sorensen, 1981

This book. This book is luscious. There is a great history and discussion of design elements, rich full-page photography, and well-drawn charts. I am daydreaming a simplified version of the cover’s outer border, without the squiggly bits, as part of the next major rug after Animals is done.

Spec’s: 49-count silk gauze, 281 x 398 stitches — well now a bit more (5.75 x 8.125+ inches, 14.57 x 20.63+ cm); DMC cotton and Gütermann silk. Original design by the fabulous Natalia Frank.

animals rug: turning the third corner

We have turned the third corner!

We have turned the third corner!

Been spending quality time with the Animals rug again. And with progress comes change. I had been in a quandary over the outer border, and finally solved it by adding an entire additional motif to the length. I had also not been satisfied with the design of the bottom center panel, so adding just a bit to the overall length will allow me to flip the whole yellow flamey curlique border with the spotted doves and poppy pods around and put that in on the bottom, replacing the various sun and flower motifs of the original design. It will fit behind and under the larger birds’ tails. And on the outer border, I’ll flip the horse, elephant and the two stripey lions around, so in effect we have birds and animals coming and going. Or something. Makes sense to me.

This is the portion of the center panel I’m working on now:

The upper part of the Animals rug center panel

The upper part of the Animals rug center panel

And you can see I’ve made some other changes to the colorways and pattern as well.

Center panel detail with a few pattern and color changes

Center panel detail with a few pattern and color changes

Spec’s: 49-count silk gauze, 281 x 398 stitches — well now a bit more (5.75 x 8.125+ inches, 14.57 x 20.63+ cm); DMC cotton and Gütermann silk. Original design by the fabulous Natalia Frank.

back to the animals rug

Tiny stitching has resumed

Tiny stitching has resumed

Spending quality time with the Animals rug again. It had been supplanted by work on the Sea House Pavilion, then (and now) by the Great Green Room and the Baluchi prayer rug.

The center design is absurdly complex. Whereas the borders have independent motifs, the interior is all tangled up together, and I have a dozen threads going at once, which of course jumble themselves every other stitch no matter how cleverly I try to keep them out of the way. Part of the challenge, I guess.

Still. I love working on this rug and seeing it come to life. I may have coined a new term to describe those who do miniature needlework: needlepointilist :)

The reality check: 49-count silk gauze, 281 x 398 stitches (5.75 x 8.125 inches, 14.57 x 20.63 cm); single strand of DMC cotton and Gütermann silk. Design by the fabulous Natalia Frank.

Tiny Baluchi prayer rug: finished

Baluchi miniature rug

Finished stitching the tiny Baluchi prayer rug. Because I worked without a hoop, it was way skewed.

Blocking the tiny Baluchi prayer rug

Beginning blocking the tiny Baluchi prayer rug

I gently washed it with mild soap in warmish water, blotted out excess moisture on a microfiber towel, then pinned it to a piece of foamcore covered in cotton batting and old soft cotton sheeting, gently stretching and re-pinning it into square. Then waited impatiently for it to dry.

I trimmed the excess silk gauze to 3/8 inch and folded to the back, mitering the corners.

Binding the edges, with scary dinosaur fingers

Binding the edges, with scary dinosaur fingers

Using a doubled length of blue Gütermann silk (the outermost color in the border), I stitched through both layers, from back to front, with a few extra stitches in the corners to square them out. I cut a piece of Pellon featherweight fusible interfacing a bit smaller than the rug, and ironed it on the back. This both protects the gauze and stitching, and ensures that the rug lays flat. (And hides a less-than-elegant backside if you’re a novice needlepointilist like me :)

Inviting you into the Sea House Pavilion, in a magic carpet way

Inviting you into the Sea House Pavilion, in a magic carpet way

Not sure where it might ultimately reside, but I really enjoyed making it. As I mentioned in the first post, it’s stitched on 49-count silk gauze with six colors of Gütermann silk, with a stitch count of 81 x 126, adapted from a design by Meik and Ian McNaughton. Finished size is 1.5 x 2.5 inches (38 x 64 mm).

Now I can get back to the Animals rug!