I’ve missed you…

This morning I had my official “Survivorship Appointment” with my cancer navigator. It’s official – I’m a survivor! I’m cancer free and feeling great! Thank you to everyone who sent email, wrote comments and sent cards through the postal service – I’ve saved every one and read them repeatedly during my treatment and it helped enormously!

During the last few months, as sometimes things were happening faster than I could absorb, I found that picking up a needle and thread and stitching provided me with the perfect way to process the strong emotions that overwhelmed me.

Here in Iowa, we’ve had snow, more snow, even more snow, and then a blizzard followed by more snow. It’s just beautiful, especially on the trees in our woods that I look at from my studio windows. The piece below is for my City and Guilds course and was inspired by all the snow on the trees. I was fascinated by how snow covered parts of the branch and left other parts completely bare.

The branch is made from sharply creased linen. In the deep creases I couched twisted wool to highlight the crevices that were snow free. On the top is couched silk and wool threads to mimic the deep snow on the top of the branch.

I find is very peaceful to create stitched pieces that reflect the nature that surrounds me. It helps me feel grounded in my place and connected to the community in which I live, for which I am so grateful.

So what’s coming up on The Unbroken Thread? More pieces for my City and Guilds course. Work on a crewelwork piece entitled “The Queen’s Pomegranate”. Learning to stitch a sampler in a workshop with Amy Mitten in Madison Wisconsin later this month. A visit to the “Through the Needle’s Eye” exhibition in Morris, Minnesota this coming weekend. Hopefully finishing the Trevelyon’s Pocket class. More contemplative embroidering, taking time to create what my heart calls me to do, planning projects to teach so I can share the joy stitching brings to me every single day.

Oh!…And enjoying the snow!


Plans for 2019

As with all of us, the beginning of a new year includes ideas for what we’d like to accomplish. My plans for 2019 were pretty extensive; they included finishing my City and Guilds Course, launching the Trevelyon’s Pocket course, finally holding classes in my new studio, designing and embroidering a design that includes a lion from Trevelyon’s Miscellany, finishing the Queen’s Pomegranate design I’ve begun…and much more!

But last week I got some news that’s putting everything on hold.

In the next months I won’t be designing, embroidering, writing posts or answering emails. On Monday I’m having surgery and will be recovering for the next 4 – 6 weeks.

If you want details, here is a link to a letter I wrote to my students, readers and friends. If you don’t need or want details, I understand.

Look for me to be active again sometime towards the end of February/beginning of March. Until then, have a happy start to 2019!

A Beautiful Bowl

Over the past 3 or 4 weeks a project for my City and Guilds course has been sitting on my table, stuck in “Kathy has no motivation land”. The inspiration for the piece were leaves that had been caught in cobwebs on the back of a wooden patio chair. I planned, I cut and pre-assembled, but the fabric just sat on my table. I had zero motivation to do anything with it for weeks.

Then, two days ago, while I was waking up, I realised that my initial idea was really not very interesting – it had no movement – it was static and that wasn’t how I wanted this particular piece to be.

It was at that moment that the motivation came roaring back. Within hours I was at my machine (yes, machine dear readers – it’s a requirement of the course to do free machine embroidery which I admit to really liking!).

The resulting bowl captures the movement of leaves from a pile to that delightful swirl we all know happens in the wind during autumn.

Using a product called Solvy, I placed the wool leaves I’d cut out using my pinking shears, carefully in a swirly kind of circle. I set my machine up for free motion embroidery and was off, catching the leaves with the silvery thread as I stitched a cobweb.

Above is a photo of what it looked like when I was finished stitching. Not very pretty, I admit. Can you see the circles and spokes that I stitched to make the cobweb? No self respecting spider would be happy with this, but I was!

I trimmed the Solvy so I had a circle and rinsed the piece under warm water. Then I draped it carefully over a bowl on top of a plastic container, shaping the piece carefully against the bowl. It dried overnight.

The next morning, even before I made my first cup of coffee, I removed the bowl and took a look – it had turned out exactly as I hoped! I took some photos and especially like this one in black and white – it highlights the negative space.

Here is the bowl lit from underneath as it sits in a plexiglass box where it will be displayed.

I’ve sent all the photos off as well as photos of my sketch book pages (inspiration, process, time, costs, etc.) to my tutors. Here’s hoping this one is accepted as well! Either way, I am really chuffed with the result!