October 9, 2011

Z is for Zillah

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 9:13 am by Pam

Ever since I finished my N is for Neville piece over a year ago, I’ve been wanting to embroider more of Edward Gorey‘s Gashlycrumb Tinies. I immediately decided on my second favorite part of the Gashlycrumb Tinies, Z is for Zillah, simplified the drawing to make it easier to stitch, then promptly forgot about it.

And then, about a week ago, a former teacher and current internet friend informed me that Panopticon, the art libraries interest group I co-chaired during my time at Simmons GSLIS, was looking for submissions for their art show. I emailed a few pieces over to the coordinator, and she said she especially like my Neville. I thought a matching pair would look so much better than a couple of mismatched pieces, so I jumped into production on the Zillah piece and managed to stitch it in only a couple of days. Much like my Neville piece, I started stitching at Starbucks, where no one except one little kid looked at me twice.

I won’t be able to make the exhibit opening next week, but I hope to stop by the next time I’m near Simmons to take a peek. The exhibit will be up until the end of the spring semester and is in the GSLIS Tech Lab. Maybe there’ll be some pictures on the Panopticon site.

This project also served as a nice reminder to work on short projects every now and again. Right now, I’m in the middle of two fairly large projects, and I vacillate between procrastinating on one and procrastinating on the other. Banging out this piece in a few short hours gave me the sense of accomplishment that I needed, and now I’m feeling slightly better about those other two pieces.

Oh, and I also taught myself the scroll stitch for the design on the wall. Yay for learning new stitches!

October 9, 2010

Be Excellent To Each Other!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 2:01 pm by Pam

Have you heard that there’s a potential third Bill and Ted movie in the works? I’m a huge fan of the original (and yes, the sequel had some decent moments), and the news got me thinking about just how great a movie Excellent Adventure is. One of my favorite moments is when the boys meet the princesses and play around in authentic armor. Bill accidentally pushes Ted down a flight of stairs, and when he gets down to the bottom of the stairs, he finds another knight pushing a sword through Ted’s armor. No worries, though – Ted rolled out of the suit as he fell down the stairs.

I found this suit of armor clipart and gothic font online, and I love how the design looks so serious, especially when you consider what the words say. The armor is done in back stitch and French knots (a little satin stitch, too), and while I had originally intended just to outline the letters, I went with satin stitch instead and am very happy with the outcome. (My satin stitch abilities also got about ten times better while working on this piece alone!)

What’s your favorite Bill and Ted quote? Because I could quote “the two great ones” all day…

September 14, 2010

Phat Quarter Movie Swap

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:49 am by Pam

August was time for another Phat Quarter swap, this time themed around movies. I had so many ideas that I was having a hard time narrowing it down – One of my favorites like Donnie Darko? Zoolander? Or one of my favorite classics like La Voyage Dans La Lune? Metropolis?

In the end, I decided to go a little meta and stitch something about going to the movies. The 1953 animated short “Let’s All Go To The Lobby” is so classic that most people can recognize it (at least recognize the song). I took a screen shot from the video and fussed with it a little to make all the characters and expressions clear. (The front guy also has a lot of swagger in the video, so I stood him up a bit to line up with the others.)

I chose a fabric that looked a little like an old theater curtain, but since it was so dark, I had to draw the pattern on a piece of tear-away stabilizer (I did this before my doomed embroidereading piece, and thankfully this came out much cleaner). I feel like I learned a lot on this piece, and I can even see my own learning curve on it – the first character I did was the popcorn, and I screwed him up enough that he looks like he’s on a diet. My satin stitches aren’t perfect on this, but they’re better than they were at the start!

I also learned to love French knots on this piece. The popcorn is all French knots, with two stands of pale yellow and one of white for a butter-drenched look. I added them in a kind of a 3D effect so it would look like real popcorn, and I’m thrilled with the results. (Here are details of the candy bar, the popcorn, the candy box, and the soda.)

My piece went out to Smallest Forest, who creates some really gorgeous stuff. In return, I received the above piece, inspired by ET, from Helena Puck. Isn’t it cute?! She blended blue and gray floss to create a more moon-like color. I also love the idea of a hanger for display! So easy to make and yet it looks so graceful – I’m totally stealing this idea 🙂

All of the Phat Quarter movie swap pieces are here, if you want to take a look (and yes, you really do want to take a look).

July 8, 2010

All Glory To The Hypnotoad

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 6:17 pm by Pam

When I asked my brother what image he might want embroidered to hang on his wall, he immediately said “Hypnotoad.” I have to admit, that wasn’t what I expected him to say, but I was happy to comply.

For those who might not know, Hypnotoad is a random minor character from the alive-again Futurama. As his name implies, he hypnotizes crowds with his crazy eyes. My favorite Hypnotoad moment, an extra from one of the Futurama movie DVDs, is here:

I did a quick online search to find a Hypnotoad image and was overall unimpressed. I felt that no matter how I did this, there would be no way I could get the eyes right. But further searching led me to this picture, a Shepard Fairey-inspired Hypnotoad, and I knew this image could convey all that is Hypnotoad, even without the sound.

The final piece is 8×10 and has roughly 6 billion stitches in it, mostly outline stitch and back stitch. If I ever say I want to make something this big, completely filled in, again, please slap me.

April 25, 2010

Self-Winding Yo-Based Toy

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 10:28 am by Pam

Do you ever have a day where you see something and immediately think that you HAVE to have it? Usually, it’s stuff that’s easy to obtain – food, clothes, books, etc. But images?

A few months ago now, I was watching an episode of The Simpsons with friends (The Color Yellow, in which Lisa researches her family’s place in the Underground Railroad). The episode has been pretty well panned since airing, but I loved it – I laughed out loud more during this episode than I have at most recent Simpsons episodes. In the middle of the episode, Milhouse disputes Lisa’s claims, and uses his distant relative’s journal as proof. Flashback to a very-Milhouse-looking boy reading “Mr. Thomas Jefferson’s Marvelous Inventions.” The page he had open was for a Self-Winding Yo-Based Toy, complete with copy about the wonderful things it can do.

From first glance, I was smitten. I loved the design and the simplicity, the old-time feel, the cross-hatching – all of it. I wanted this on my wall. I tracked the episode down on Hulu and took screenshots of the image, then set to work.

I crayon-tinted the fabric, although looking at it now, I probably would have been better off doing some sort of fill stitch for the black areas (I’m quite happy with how the yo-yo itself turned out). It was very detailed work, especially the lettering, but if anything, this taught me patience 😉

By the way, the lettering, which is my favorite part, reads “This device, which will astound that natural scientist, delight the wizened crone, infuriate the feeble-minded, can be manufactured with a mere six months of whittle-work and hemp winding. It can perform tricks most unnatural, including exercising the hound, oscillating the infant, and lunar cannonading.” A close-up shot of the stitching is here.

March 23, 2010

Sneak Peek

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:27 pm by Pam

I started this piece almost a month ago, and I’ve been working on it in fits and starts. I am totally in love with it, though, and can’t wait to see it hanging on my wall. Maybe by next week?

March 2, 2010

I’ll Eat You Up I Love You So

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 11:24 am by Pam

My parents have three kids and three grandkids – they’ve read a children’s book or two in their days. My mother has always said that Where the Wild Things Are is her favorite, especially the line “I’ll eat you up, I love you so.” When the movie came out this year, our family was firmly divided – about half of us really liked it, while the other half (including my mother) thought it was awful. For her birthday last December, then, I thought I’d try to take that sour taste out of her mouth with something from the original book.

As December rolled around, I found myself struck with a mild case of the swine flu and no desire to leave the couch. Perfect time for some stitching, no? So I settled in with plenty of fluids, 4 seasons of Supernatural on DVD, and a plan. Just a few days later, I had finished stitching this design. I couldn’t be happier with how it came out. It’s done almost entirely in back stitch, with some straight stitch on the tail.

I ended up sewing this into a pillow, and it matches the couch perfectly. The back is a deep blue stretchy crushed velvet. It’s sewed on in two panels, overlapping at the middle, for easy access to the pillow itself. I’m not so good at sewing things shut, so I thought this was a good way of making it look a little more polished.