Thursday, May 16, 2019

Needleworld 2019

Nadelwelt or Needleworld is held every year in Karlsruhe, Germany It is a wonderful show that showcases all forms of needle work and textile art. They also hold a variety of classes for every type of textile art—hand-piecing, machine quilting, fabric dyeing, and the list goes on. Last year I (Kara) took a hand-piecing class from Emer Fahy of Ireland and thoroughly enjoyed learning a new skill. This year, I wasn't able to get into the fabric-dyeing class I wanted, so I just went with a friend for the day. 

While the show is not very large, there are some lovely exhibits from all over Europe. Some are individual exhibitors, and others are year-long challenges. Hopefully, you will enjoy a few of my favorite sights from the show!

These beautiful coats were the first exhibit.

The next exhibit showcased quilts made for a challenge using Afghani embroidered patches. You can  read more about the project here.

Metamorphose, Coral Reef
Marie-Christine Hourdebaight, France

Hope Springs Out of Darkness
Monique Riganti, France

Love Your Planet
Delores Alarcon, France

You can purchase different embroideries.
What would you create?

The next exhibit highlighted a challenge to create a block every day for 30 days or in some cases even a 100 days!

Andrea Esser

Dr. Monika Kirk

Detail: Eulenblicke

Kräuter, Blüten, und Blatter
Uschi Zywietz-Rogge

30 Tagge, 30 Erinnerungen
Susanne Fuß

This next exhibit was created by Kasia Hanack and was one of my favorites!

Detail: Libelle


There was a wonderful exhibit that highlighted the embroidery heritage of the Alsatian region.

And the last of my favorite exhibits was by Elena Lorenz. Her embroideries were so tiny and beautiful!

For scale!

There were more exhibits but these were my favorites. Hopefully you enjoyed a little glimpse into a this lovely European needlework show. In addition to the great show, there was a giant hall full of vendors. I may have bought just a few items...😀

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ramblings from a Fiber Fanatic

I (Teri) love fibers—cotton, wool, silk, velvet, linen: I love it all. I enjoy exploring different textures and methods for manipulating the various materials. Below are a few samplings of some newly acquired fibers that we are hoping to play with for our newest project. We may just find that we have garnered some fun experimental experiences, but who knows? It will indeed be fun to explore.

Wool thread
Alpaca roving
Chenille threads

Scrumptious silks and velvets 
Wool and angora roving
More alpaca

While appliqué and embroidery are my passion, I am not averse to learning something new. Hence, my venture into the world of hookers. 

Rug hookers, that is.

I had been admiring some of the hooking work at Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks, where I teach our Block of the Month wool appliqué class, In the Garden. I wanted to give it a try, but I needed to start with something I knew I could handle with success. The perfect project was a mini log cabin trivet—a kit with everything I'd need. Since the pattern was all straight lines, I was able to get a rhythm going, and I finished the piece while my husband was watching football one Sunday over the winter.

Getting started with the first row.
Twill tape stitched around the border
would later be turned under and mitered
to finish the piece.
Progress; I worked from the outside of the squares
toward the inside—the opposite of piecing a log
cabin block.

My finished log cabin trivet is about nine inches square.
What a fun way to play with colors and "stitch" without really having to think too hard. It was a perfect way to while away a long afternoon of football. But as you might guess, it was just enough to give me a taste. And yes, I wanted more. I wanted to try something a bit more complex. I waited a while to see if the urge might pass. After all, did I really need another hobby? Or—was it just an extension of my already existing passion? (I can justify anything if I try hard enough.)

At last, I settled on a pattern based on an antique fraktur. I have a strong Pennsylvania German heritage, so I grew up seeing these designs, and I am quite drawn to them. The design I chose was simple but elegant, and I was eager to choose my colors. It was originally hooked in two colors, and I thought I would follow that course; however, as soon as I began stitching, I realized that I needed more contrast in my color values and would have to add a background color. So back to the wool shop I went to pick out the background. The design and the hand-dyed wool is by Dyeanne, available at Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks

Outlining in brown was hooked first. I did one side of the design
and then moved on to the other side, hooking the motifs.

I outlined the motifs with the background wool, which I had cut
into various size "noodles." 

I started with the narrowest noodles and worked to
the wider strips as I moved toward the border.

I chose whatever size noodle best filled my space.

When I had gotten all the way around the birds, I thought it might
be wise to jump out to the border and then come back to fill in the
remainder of the background. And I needed to hook a different color for a while.

Kathy, the shop owner, had shown me how to do the technique
with the alternating colors (I think she called it beading),
so I thought that might be a good way to bring the colors
from the center into my border. I followed the pattern
with the red for the first round, then did the round of green
and brown, and finally, another round of red. 

After the border was completed, I filled the rest of the
design area in with the background color. Then I had to
figure out how to finish the piece. 

Initially, I intended to use a matching gold yarn to whip the edges. However, I had plenty of the hand-dyed red noodles in the largest size and decided that using the red would be a perfect way to frame the design. I steamed the piece, and voilà—it was finished! And . . . I can officially say that I am a hooker.

I love the way the piece turned out, and I love the colors of the wool that I chose. I did not set out to choose typical Pennsylvania Dutch colors, but they are surely reminiscent of many designs that I have seen. And I confess, I have stitched quite a few things with this color palette. There are so many places that this would fit in my house, I haven't yet decided where it will reside.

Ironically, I must have frakturs on the brain, as Kara and I are working on a new wool appliqué design based on fraktur motifs. We are only in the beginning stages of this pattern, but it has been fun for us to work on it. 

A cutting board that my great-aunt gave me over 40 years ago...

...with this sweet bird.

The welcome sign at the market in Philadelphia—
more birds. 

And then there are the frakturs that are less fanciful and more elaborate, like this one that commemorates my great-grandparents' wedding, in 1903. It hangs in my home above the quilt that my great-grandmother made. (You can read about it in our post, What's your story?)

Well, I have rambled on...and on. I hope you have stayed with me for the duration! If you are still here, you might just have enough interest to read the story of my discovery of the above-mentioned wool shop and a lovely tale of a fraktur-inspired embroidered kitchen, both linked below.