I used to do a lot of flying for my job with the Council of American Embroiderers and to visit my daughter who lived out of state. I would often gaze at the ground and see such wonderful patterns and colors and wish that I could replicate them in stitching. But when I tried, everything became so flat and antiseptic.
Then one day I was invited to spend an afternoon with several others at my friend Debbie Brunner’s house, to learn about hooking which I had never done. I told her I had no supplies but she said not to worry, she had everything. She told me to bring some favorite yarns and a variety of crochet hook sizes and a wooden needlepoint frame about 14″ x 14″. She offered me a choice of colors of wool roving to go with the yarns I brought and after firmly tacking the linen piece to my frame she showed me how to start.
I quickly found that a needlepoint stand or sit-upon for my frame was needed as you work with two hands, one holding the fibers on the back of the linen, and the other used to poke your hook through the linen and pulling the yarns up through to the top. Once you get the rhythm it goes very quickly. My first attempt was the maroon yarn in the lower left-hand corner. I found I was pulling the yarn up too close together and it distorted the linen backing. So I simply pulled them out from the back and started over. It’s easy to make corrections.
I like to start with the wool roving. It is the heaviest and makes the biggest statement in your work so you don’t need much. I am also a beader. I designed, taught, and made jewelry for years so had a vast supply of beads. Also, my dearest friend owned a bead store in Sarasota so I had a ready supply of colors and shapes to draw from. I loved the effect of adding a little flash to the soft matte look of the yarns.
This was a perfect way to stitch the lovely landscapes I saw on my trips.
From this close-up you can see the variety of yarns and ribbons I used, but the color tones all work together. I believe the corner stitches are French knots. The yarn was heavy and fuzzy so it went well with the roving.
This piece was mounted on the matting to make it even more three dimensional.
The backing is heavy linen. I’m searching for the exact thing I used and will post when I find it.
Fibers are wool roving, chenille yarn, ribbons, fabric torn in strips, and beads. If you have a good yarn shop near-by you are in luck. There are so many wonderful yarns in gorgeous blended colors and textures that you can’t help but be inspired.
Window Seat to St. Louis ~ Autumn
9-1/2” x 13”
15” x 18” Framed
Then my daughter moved to St. Louis. I had hoped to be able to see the famed Arch from the plane but it doesn’t go near it. So I had to be content with the river.
You can see the river in the upper right corner as it moves down. I created some interest by widening it and then used amethyst chips to fill. I had planned to fill it with just the chips and over and over I kept trying to fit them in but it would just billow up like a balloon. The chips wouldn’t nest together and I was becoming agitated. I had ripped it out for about the 4th time when the phone rang and I set the frame down and threw the chips onto it in disgust and left. When I returned I looked in amazement at how the chips had perfectly arranged themselves when I threw them down. They lay beautifully flat but with spaces between them and I happily filled them in with 11/o seed beads that matched the bugles that made up the rest of the river. Torn silk fabric in orange, more beads and chips and some really hairy yarn used in the corners. I think it gives a nice Autumnal feel.
Fibers are wool roving, hairy yarns, fabric and some ultra suede torn in strips, bugle and seed beads, amethyst chips.
Window Seat to Pittsburgh ~ Winter
14” x 14”
20” x 20” framed
When my daughter and family moved to Pittsburgh the terrain changed. I was in my usual window seat in the plane, but was disappointed that there was so little color. It was winter and there were only shades of black, white and gray. But when I began designing this piece, I knew I didn’t want to work only in those colors so thought about purple as a shade of twilight and early evening. Even some of the roadways and fields had a sort of mauve shade to them.
This is the upper left corner with crystal chips for ice and white wool roving for the snow; some black plaid ribbons to indicate dirt and slush and more black roving to show barren hilltops.
The lavender ribbon is something I made myself. I couldn’t find any fabric or ribbon in that color so I took a piece of silk I had, mixed up some very thin acrylic paints in those colors, splashed them all over the fabric and when dry, I ironed it then tore it into strips.
This is where the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. I was so happy to have found these wonderful bugle and seed beads in the same mauve shade, but with just enough red to give it some life.
As a side story – when I took this piece to my EGA meeting for “Show and Tell” a lady came to me afterward and complimented me on interpreting Pittsburgh. She said she had lived there all her life until she retired. “You even got the fountain at Point State Park,” she exclaimed. “Where is that?” I asked, dumbfounded. “Why here, these four pearls. It’s just perfect.” I thanked her profusely, but would have been embarrassed to tell her that I didn’t know there was a fountain there and I certainly would have stitched the pearls into a circle, had I known.
The river was actually not this pretty a color. You know – muddy. More like the square beads I used, but that didn’t give a feeling of movement as well as the bugles and seed beads did. Oh well. . . . . . .