It is snowing out. I woke up to another 2 inches of fresh snow over the 3 feet we already have on the ground. We went for a walk last night and it was cold out, but there was no wind and it was truly beautiful. The roads were clear and you could even walk on the salty pavement in most parts. Both Keith and I marveled at how much snow we have had already this year. It has certainly been more than we have had in a long time.
We took a drive to Yarmouth on Saturday. It was clear and sunny and it felt good to get out. We really didn't have to go, but Keith suggested it and I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to have a change of scenery and spend the afternoon together. I am kind of in between projects so it was a good time for me. We needed a few things anyway, so it was as good of an excuse as any. I love driving along the ocean in the winter. We came home on that road and the small rivers and lakes along the way were all frozen. In some places, the snow was so deep that you couldn't even distinguish where the shore began. I saw some skaters on the edge of one of the lakes. It was really pretty.
When we got home, Keith went over to his mom's for the evening to work on some things that he has going on over there. It was a quiet evening with just me and the cats, and I decided to do some finishing work on my "A Perfect World" embroidery piece.
It is hard to believe that I am almost done. I looked up the date of when I started and I see that on February 3rd I showed part of Panel 1. I had estimated that it would take me about a year to do, so I wasn't that far off. I am happy that even if I had to do things over on it or change things, it never was a source of dismay or anxiety in any way. It was a wonderful challenge and every step of it was fun. I found myself excited about using each new color of ribbon, thread or beads. I love color and I am afraid that after using all of these hand-dyed silk fibers, I am spoiled for life. The gentle variations in the shades of the ribbons and threads add so much to the subtle beauty of the designs. They are truly amazing.
As I posted the other day, I had finished up the 17th and final panel. There were only the four corner motifs to complete, then some odds and ends that I wanted to correct and finally the trapunto work that is done by outlining the trellis (which divides the panels) through layers of fabric and batting. I spent Saturday and Sunday evening working on the corners. The motifs were small, and I found them quite easy to do.
Even though they are simple and small, I found it took me several hours to complete them. The tiny black ant alone took probably two hours, as it is constructed of hundreds of French knots created using a single strand of silk thread. He looks really cool though.
When I finished the four corners, I had a couple of additional "adjustments" to make on the piece before I did the quilting.
For a while now, I was not happy with the wings on the dragonfly of Panel 1. Since they were created right at the beginning of my journey on this project, I don't think that I had the skill that I have now. They looks somewhat uneven and sloppy and they were not anchored onto the panel as nicely as I thought they should be. Since I created them, I have done several other pair of wings and as with anything, my skills improved. While I do have to stop myself from ripping out all the panel elements that I feel I could do better, I thought that this was an important part and after spending all the time that I did on this piece, I just couldn't let it be. So I removed the wings and re-did them.
The 'old wings' are on the left and the new wings are on the right. I even added a strand of metallic silver stitching around them and used the metallic for the vein lines of the wings. This to me looks far more pleasing and delicate.
And here is the dragonfly sporting his new pair of wings.
The changeover took probably close to 4 hours, but I felt it was worth it.
Another small thing was the butterfly in Panel 6. His delicate little antenna had become loose and had lost their shape from the handling of the piece. I believe that I had left them too long and they were subject to being moved around too much by putting the piece in and out of the pillow case that I stored it in. That was a quick repair though and only took about 10 minutes to replace. He looks much better now.
And finally, I needed to add in the stamen centers of the Freesia flowers of panel 12. After seeing the aforementioned butterfly antenna issue, I purposely left this task until the very end. The flowers look lovely with the yellow stamens applied.
As I tied the last knot and cut the final thread, I felt a sense of accomplishment. All that is left to do now is the hand quilting. I will probably begin that tonight.
If I wanted, I could have kept picking at it. I look at the early panels and think "I could do better now" and need to fight the urge to start pulling out threads and re-doing things. After all, this was a learning piece and there are parts of me that feel a great sense of accomplishment when I compare my stitching from the early panels to the recent ones. I can actually see improvements and the mere fact that I know that I could do better today if I were starting again gives me satisfaction.
No. It is best to leave everything else as it is. It tells a story.
I went to bed late last night – after 1am. (Late for me, anyway!) I have frequently done that on the nights that I worked on this project. More so than not, I didn't even get to begin working on it until after 9pm. Since I get up around 6am, that is at the end of a long day. It was funny how once I got going, I forgot the clock and forgot I was tired and became completely submerged in what I was doing. I never wanted to stop.
I will post a final update when everything is completely done. I am also going to take "nice" photographs of each element of the sampler, as well as a composite of the entire piece. They will all go into an album that I will make public. I am also thinking of making a slide show for my YouTube channel. That will be a project in itself.
Yesterday afternoon I worked on my patterns all day. I have a new wholesaler for my painting patterns, and I am very excited about that. I will talk more about it tomorrow though, as I have taken up enough time here this morning.
Happy Monday to you all! I hope you have a fabulous week!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"