Monthly Archives: February 2008

February TIF

I confess – I’m not going to have a piece done for February’s Take It Further challenge.

I’m not even going to get one started.

I liked the challenge posed by Sharon B – what are you old enough to remember. I have some great (ok, reasonably interesting) ideas. But I truly don’t have the time this week.

The first day back to work after vacation was bad. The second day was even worse. I’m just swamped this week, and by the time I get home, I’m too tired to pick up a needle, never mind being in the least bit creative.

Did I mention that it is currently -11C (12F).  That alone is enough to sap any remaining good intentions.

I look forward, with renewed determination, to March’s challenge.


I’m back!

Hi – I’m back from a week in Havana. It was an absolutely fascinating week.

Most people know that Cuba has many old cars from the 50’s. That was my main image of the city before going there.  But I didn’t expect to be intrigued with the architecture – everything from Spanish colonial to Art Deco to Soviet apartment blocks (how completely awful!). The infrastructure – buildings, transportation, roads, everything – is crumbling and in desperate need of repair, and the economy is absurd (I’m trying to think of a better word, but at the moment I can’t), but the people were very friendly.

Here are just a couple of pictures.

View of “El Morro” – the lighthouse and fort at the entrance to Havana harbor.

Art deco building

Older house

Man repairing sewing machine (looks to be a sewing machine of my grandmother’s vintage)

Off for a few days

I’m off to find some sun … back next week.  TIF will have to wait while my fingers defrost.

Can this design be saved – part 2

Well, here it is. I added an initial “M” to the center of the piece. Whether it was that, or whether it was simply washing and ironing the fabric, it didn’t end up as bad as I’d feared.

The initial is upright, not on a slant.  I used waste canvas to do the initial, and a double strand of perl cotton to make the letter stand out a bit.  

This was one of those things to work on while watching mindless TV on a very cold night.

Remembering winter

I’m still thinking about Sharon’s Take It Further theme for February – what are you old enough to remember. 

At the moment, I’m remembering when winter was fun and meant snowmen and snowforts and hot chocolate – before it meant shovelling, and trudging to work, and coming home to find the plow has come through, and then more shovelling,.  If I did this in needlework, the piece would be grey – very grey, probably with some snarls and tangled threads and warped and grubby fabric.

Yes, it is very pretty outside in the morning when the sun hits the ice on the trees, and all the branches are outlined in light, and glow, and the snow lies on top of the bushes and last year’s garden, and the shadows are very deep blue against the snow.  But then the plow comes through, and there’s more shovelling.

Inuit wall-hangings

Elizabeth at Quieter Moments has posted some samples of Eskimo edging stitch.  This was a new stitch to me.  It is essentially a variety of laced running stitch.  I was curious about the source of the name. According to the book that Elizabeth consulted, it is a “reversible edging stitch used by Eskimos and Inuit to bind the edges of their sealskin clothing to make it waterproof.”

This brought to mind the Inuit wall-hangings.  These are generally felt applique with embroidery.  It isn’t a traditional art per se, but developed, I think, in the 1950s-60s.  I’ve never noticed this stitch specifically used (but I admit I’ve never looked that closely).  What particularly attracts me to these is the use of color and the images. 

There are a number of images of Inuit wall-hangings available online. Most of these are  galleries rather than from museums.  One site that I was able to find is the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre at the University of Guelph which has a number of these hangings.

 Here are links to the collection, and a couple of examples:

Irene Avaalaaqiaq – Fighting Women and Happy Spring Has Returned and Sometimes We Are Lonely

Victoria Mamnguqsualuk – Caribou Spirit Woman

February’s challenge

Sharon B. has posted February’s Take It Further challenge. It is “What are you old enough to remember?”

Interesting question. I can think of several ways to approach this. One is by thinking of major events – Sharon B. had the example of the first moonlanding. Other major events for me are things such as U.S. presidential elections, or the Challenger explosion. Then there’s the events linked to more personal history – memories from trips that I’ve taken, or places I’ve been. I remember when taking an airplane trip was fun and required putting on a skirt and dressing up (I was small then – my mother insisted). I remember when my youngest sister was born. I remember what I was doing when I received major news – good or bad. Then there are people that I remember – relatives, or people that I knew from school, or some that I encountered at one time or another.

I remember the first time I received a spam message on my email. This was the early 90’s – I can’t recall the year exactly. This was so novel, I remember all of us in the office I was working in at the time looking at the email and discussing it, and we were amused. Now, of course…..

One thing that came to mind is a very minor event – except that it was major at the time. I remember when girls couldn’t wear pants to school. I was in 6th grade, I think, when the dress code for the local schools was changed, and girls could then wear pants. (If you’re growing up in the U.S. midwest, walking to school in a dress wasn’t fun, even with snow pants and leotards underneath!) That first year, it was pants – no jeans were allowed – but of course, that changed rapidly. This is a small event, but can be linked to all sorts of changes in society.

I want to mull over this question for a couple of days.

She’s also posted the color palette for the month:

February color palette

I have to admit, these colors don’t do much for me. I much prefer January’s palette, with its purples. Not sure if I’ll stick to these colors.