Sakura Cherry Blossom Doily – 桜ドイリー

Found this lovely free Cherry Blossom doily or coaster pattern through Crochet a Little‘s fb page, March 11, 2014 posting. Chi-sa-ko, is the original designer of this great little free charted crochet pattern.

IMG_0308Perfect timing for Ohanami, cherry blossom viewing season here in Japan and around the northern hemisphere. Chi-sa-ko states in the pattern she used approx 4g of Aprico thread in the Salmon Pink colorway. A Hamanaka crochet hook size 3 will provide a finished size of approx 11cm across.

Warning: As easy as it looks to crochet, there is one stitch (or stitch combination) that I have never seen before and my search throughout the internet did not bring anything to light. Nor did my Encyclopedia of Crochet by Donna Kooler. A bit difficult to search when one doesn’t know the name of the stitch. It’s a Decrease3DoubleCrochets(dc3tog US) with a DoubleCrochet(dc US) on top so it looks like a vertical stitch combination. I’ve included a short instruction video for those who have not seen that stitch combination before either:

I grabbed the first Sakura appropriate lace thread in my stash which happened to be a Daruma brand #20 thread and a size 2 hook to make mine right away. Once I figured out how to do the unique stitch combination I finished 2 in super quick time and

IMG_0309attached one to a felt backing to create a coaster.  Now that I know I can complete it so easily, I’m curious to see how it will look in the recommended Aprico thread, which Chi-sa-ko states means “Sunny Day” in Italian. Off to my favorite yarn store to find it!

You can check out an entire year’s worth of floral-themed doilies that were designed by Chi-sa-ko. It looks like each month there will be a new one released.

Mamebon 豆本 – Mini Art Book

Finished my first mini Art Book! A nice little mamebon, which means bean-sized book in Japanese. At a small 6cm x 6cm when closed you can see how it compares to a 100yen coin:

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It opens to a length of 16cm…

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The mini modern map piece measures 10cm in diameter with the hand-embroidered old sailing ship about 5cm in height.

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The back cover:

IMG_0300Thank you for looking!

Migration? Navigation? – Embroidery & Fabric Art Book

This time I’ve chosen a modern map as a base for my latest Art Book, juxtaposing it with an old world theme titled, “The World is Flat.”  *Update: The more pieces I complete in this project the more it speaks to me, whispering that this is not a good title. Words such as, migration, or navigation feel like a better fit this project that covers the movement of people and animals around the world.*

Using a map of western Mexico that includes a bit of Baja California and the ocean for variety,

IMG_0289I’ve hand embroidered an old world, Aztec-style design of a compass rose onto the map in deep turquoise, gold and lapis blue colors.

The best part of this project is I’ve been able to use materials already in my studio stash! A thick upholstery fabric for the book body, coordinating threads, maps and glue mediums. Over the years I’ve collected a large stack of beautiful maps and feel like I’ve finally found a use worthy of them.

IMG_0290 A Chain Stitch Spine.

IMG_0291 The book cover includes a pocket to hold the map edge, for a pen, or other navigational tools.

IMG_0292It all folds up into a neat roll approx 25cm x 11cm using a bit of natural  string and strategically placed buttons to wind it closed for safe keeping.

Testing, Testing…My First Art Book!

This is a post of fun with mediums, stitch work and mistakes. Lots of mistakes!

Using the theme of a creative octopus filled life, Tako Life, in which tako, 蛸, is octopus in Japanese. I picked up a meter of a lovely linen/cotton blend fabric and set about determining a good size and shape for my book. 25cm high and using the full 100cm length I thought I was being smart and could create four books from each 1 meter piece. As you’ll see in the following layouts that 25cm is just too high, it leaves way too much open space for the elements I want to include.

IMG_0283I pushed on to see what more I could learn.

The title is hand embroidered on the cover page, there is a thin layer of quilt batting added to the front cover along with a piece of cardboard for durability but not enough of either. That mistake will be corrected in my next Tako Life Art Book. It may be another mistake but I would really like to overstuff that cover!

After printing the photos I wanted to use, I immediately placed them in my new book using Liquitex Matte Medium not using any forethought as to how they should be framed within each layout. Oops. Being a bit sloppy with the medium I now have hard, crusty “frames” around each photo. They are clear so it doesn’t seem too bad but really is not a look or texture I’m going for.

This did give me a great opportunity to test those fancy stitches my simple Singer Sewing machine offers and I’ve tested most every one of them at varying stitch lengths and widths. I feel most of them worked in the way I’ve tested in my Tako Life Art Book except for the thick black zigzag stitch. It seems like an overused texture and not very creative.

IMG_0284I improved on the machine stitching in some areas by adding hand threaded colors into the embroidery project photo frame, and used a sharpie-type marker instead of thread to frame the Stuffed Yakiimo photo.

IMG_0285For looks I added the chain stitch onto the spine, it would interrupt the layout of the inside pages if I pushed it though all the pages. Using hand embroidery work to provide the charted crochet edging pattern is a look I’d like to continue in the next Tako Life art books.

In the meantime, while I wait for more printer ink to arrive, I’ll still be playing with more mediums using paper and fabric and whatever else that’s fun from my studio stash!