she's a threadhead

FOR HOLDEN

Oh my. What a whirlwind of a time I’ve been having! After working my tail off for a company for the past few months, this weekend I was unceremoniously let go. It’s rather heartbreaking – I loved working there, loved the staff. But, the management made their choices and because I’ve been working as a “casual employee” I have no rights. It’s a total bummer. But, luckily, I’ve been able to console myself with my embroidery.

And LUCKILY LUCKILY, this city is filled with beautiful people, who love handmade things. One of whom, commissioned a birth chart similar to the one that I made my goddaughter.

IMG_2312

This birth chart was made using both cross stitch and back stitches, taken legally from a variety of online resources. IMG_2311

The canvas used was 18 count Aida in Navy, purchased from Maria at Stitch-It Central. The thread used was DMC Ecru purchased in-store from EweKnit in Toronto, Ontario.

IMG_2310

Similar to the previous birth chart I’ve made, the information include the child’s name, birth date, height and weight at the time of birth. As well, I included the weekday rhyme from A. E. Bray’s Traditions of Devonshire and the star sign, month’s flower and stone as well as the designation in the Chinese Zodiac.

IMG_2307The creatures included in this birth chart are little owls perched on a branch, sparrows swooping down in flight and busy little hummingbirds. I thoroughly enjoyed stitching the sparrows and hummingbirds, although I found the owls quite taxing and the visual effect was not as pleasing as I hoped. I doubt I will reuse the motif in the future.

IMG_2295

Similar to the previous birth chart I made, this piece was hand sewn over two dowels. This method is very effective for larger wall hangings.

Please let me know what you think – particularly about the owls! The customer was more than pleased, but he doesn’t know needlework like you folks do! 

If you’re interested in commissioning your own birth chart, send me a message using the “Contact” page. My rate for the custom design & execution of these birth charts is very reasonable! 

OK – I’m back to filling out job applications, joy.


WIP – SUNSET

The last time I posted about this project, it was still in it’s infancy. I had a lot of fun reading folks’ guesses as to what it could be. Some people thought it could be a full moon – just in time for Hallowe’en, someone guessed it could be a minion and even a wheel of cheese! Followers of my Instagram figured it out pretty quick though, it is certainly a sunset.

IMG_2281

This project was worked on 18 count Aida cloth in Navy, purchased from Stitch-It Central. The canvas has been swell to work with, although next time I may choose a lighter shade as stitching dark-on-dark is very tiring on the eyes.

IMG_2279

The DMC colours used in this project were #791 (Cornflower Blue dark), #743 (Yellow medium), #742 (Tangerine light), #741 (Tangerine medium), #740 (Tangerine), #761 (Salmon light) and #793 (Cornflower Blue medium.) The threads were purchased from my LYS Eweknit, in Toronto, Ontario.

IMG_2280

I had the most fun stitching the “sunset” portion of this piece. The gradient involved four shades of orangey-yellow. I wasn’t quite certain how this would turn out, as I made the pattern using MacStitch, and had no real-life samples of the threads to be sure. How do you think it turned out?

IMG_2287

I know this image comes off as rather bland. Don’t worry though, this isn’t the project’s final form – I have a bit more tinkering to do.


STREET SIGN

As most fans of douglust know, I moved this summer. It was a big transition. I’d lived in that house for two years, and I believe that my creative soul flourished with all that space and such interesting people. After moving, I was feeling sentimental. Toronto has been my home for nearly seven years and in that time I’ve lived in 4 houses and with almost 50 people. I need to a way to commemorate this time and those houses as I continue to wander through life.


IMG_2254

I designed this project in response to that need. Toronto’s iconic street signs have always cheered me up. They’re unusually shaped, and vary in colour throughout the neighborhoods.

IMG_2248

The first version that I did of this project was with DMC 310 on 14 count Aida fabric. In the process of stitching I loved how it came together, fulfilling my sentimental needs. When the project was finished I wasn’t too sure what to do with it. I resulted to gluing it to a piece of cardstock, which ended poorly. I really don’t like how the fabric warps as it folds around the rectangle shape.

IMG_2249

The second version of this project I completed using DMC 310 again, however this time it was on 10 count plastic canvas. I adore how this turned out. Being able to cut away the excess plastic makes the street sign even cuter!

I have high-apple-pie hopes of whipping up a few more of these bad boys for my old roomies, but, alas the plastic canvas is slightly difficult to work with (it only fits smaller needles, which are a lot more pokey) and the progress is slow.
If any fans of the Big Smoke want to make their own version, the pattern is now up for grabs in my new Etsy shop. Which will be in development over the next few months! No, I’m not a huge fan of Etsy, but with the amount of time I dedicate to designing and creating patterns, I feel it’s justified to have a space to attempt to sell them. If only to keep folks from copying my work.

Have you made a project to commemorate a home? Share it with me!


LAST LINKS OF SUMMER

Although douglust.com has been on haitus, I still managed to pull together a few threadhead delights for the end of summer.

I’m really glad to be out in the working world, but I’m still sort of pissed off that my guidance counsellors never told me that I could get a degree in stitchin’, so, I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon this insightful look into the Royal School of Needlework. It’s a little outdated, but nice for those of us on the wrong side of the pond.

While I was working in the working world this summer, I was very lucky to receive the opportunity to view the ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. I took my kiddos there one rainy day, and it was the highlight of our trip. I personally appreciated the samples of beautiful 18th century embroidery and they were enthralled with the videos demonstrating the use of cochineal in dye processes. If you’re also on the wrong side of the pond, and close to Toronto before May 2016 – you should certainly make an effort to go and see it. The exhibition is included in the cost of visiting the Museum & on Tuesdays it’s free for Canadian post-secondary students.

Before I started working like crazy, I had a couple days to myself. I seized the opportunity to work on my commission, to hang out with a cute boy, and to visit the Textile Museum of Canada and see the exhibit Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol. It was pretty cool seeing some of Andy’s fabric prints in person, I enjoyed finding out about underappreciated female textile designers that fleshed out this historic time in the art world, such as the Folly Cove Designers and Zandra Rhodes. This exhibit is very inspiring, and I hope to go back with my sketchbook to capture some of the magic, as photography is forbidden. Although I’m not sure if that will happen as it closes the 4th of October!

If you’re not in London or Toronto, you can still avoid getting a cramps from winding all those bobbins by trying this new method of wrapping string around plastic cards. I would give it a shot, but… I don’t own a drill?

Have a great weekend!


123STITCH.COM

In light of the recent news about Michael’s, I thought now was as best of time as any to share my recent experience of 123Stitch.com. I did a similar review of DeSerres, when I ordered thread for my first Christmas stocking.

IMG_1705

To begin, my need to order a large stash of supplies came from my recent commission. Like I mentioned before, I wasn’t truly aware of how large the aida canvas was going to be, I ordered based on the dimensions that were listed in the pattern. This is 123Stitch.com’s biggest strength, the website is designed for people who craft. You can easily navigate through their selection of fabrics to find the correct thread count and size. Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 9.36.42 AM

I also ordered over 50 DMC threads, in specific colours as needed for the project. 123Stitch.com was great for this too, as their Thread tab has a convenient DMC Floss Quick Ordering bar which allows you to add individual colours and their quantities without having to browse through the entire catalogue.
Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 9.41.09 AM

While these online conveniences are fantastic for individuals who need a variety of canvas sizes and thread colours. This shopping experience did have some drawbacks. For one, 123Stitch.com is an American site and thus, all the prices are listed in US Dollars. I really have no right to complain about this, because it is very clearly indicated on the checkout form. However, I was still surprised when the charge appeared on my credit card as $10 more than the current CAD to USD conversion rate. I don’t know the value at which 123Stitch.com converts CAD to USD but it is clearly more than Google’s. With this price increase and shipping, the threads cost $0.97 each, which is expensive.

Finally, my biggest complaint about 123Stitch.com was the length of time for the delievery. I was very anxious to begin this project, because it is a commission. When I ordered from DeSerres it took 4 days to arrive, this is understandable because their warehouse is in Montréal. 123Stitch.com was shipping from Utah, and it took over two weeks. Again, I’m not sure if I have a right to complain about this because I knew they were an American company. But, when you’re anxious to get started on a project, waiting a long time for materials is the worst.

In conclusion, I don’t know if I’ll be ordering threads from 123Stitch.com again. I ended up having to wait a long time to pay more. However, unless I can find a Canadian seller of large canvases, I will probably from the site again.

Where do you get your stitchin’ supplies from? How does timing & cost effect your choices as a consumer? Any great 123Stitch.com reviews?

Have a great weekend!


META POEM ONE

This a poem that I wrote about/for Wednesday’s Sophisticated Boom Boom. The Sophisticated Boom Boom is Toronto’s only late night rock n’ roll poetry reading that takes place every 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Ossington, 61 Ossington Ave.

Reading a poem is a challenging thing,
Do I want it to laugh? Do I want it to sing?
Should I be looking in beds for lines that are horny?
Or looking in fields for rhymes too corny?

And I’m searching for something that makes me feel right,
Word patterns that come in the pits of the night.
Or sentences which surface, hot in the shower,
and leave me in wonder after over an hour.

Forget about reading one of my own,
I’ll just share some Plath off of my phone.
But she’s so well known for her head in the oven,
I doubt the Boom Boom would be up for some Ariel lovin’.

I’ll pick out a sonnet by one of the Greats,
e.e. cummings, bp Nichol or maybe some Yeats?
Are these too obvious? I just don’t know,
fuck this. I’m done. I’ll stick with some Poe.

BUT what will they think with their beer glasses on?
Do I need to snap my fingers and break into song?
Should I lower my voice, or make it quite loud?
Will I feel better with my back to the crowd?

And if they get up to go for a drink
is it because they think that I stink?
Am I talking too fast as I mumble and blink?

So I’ll take a deep breath and read without fear,
and when it’s all over you can buy me a beer.

by E.A. Douglas

Have a great weekend!


SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM

Wednesday was the launch for the ZINE NO.2 created for the Sophisticated Boom Boom, here in Toronto. The Sophisticated Boom Boom is a monthly poetry night that I co-host with my good friend, Nick McKinlay. Mainly Nick hosts and I do all the silly stuff like making sure he’s on the ball and that we’ve got a featured reader. My other big role is being the design/layout editor of our zine. Here’s a photo of us shortly after we’d finished assembling all sixty-seven!

11025931_10152876045743952_7330311881474751010_n

 

This edition of the zine contained content from fifteen different contributors, as well as several haikus submitted to the Anonymous Haiku Jar™ that can be found at the monthly evenings. The cover was done by the superbly talented Nicholas Di Genova.

The night was a huge success, we had so many friends and fans show up to support us and many of those individuals shared their words and poetry during the open mic. As well, we sold quite a few of the zines!

BoomBoom_08 (1)

BoomBoom_02
BoomBoom_05
BoomBoom_06 (1)
BoomBoom_01
BoomBoom_03
BoomBoom_04
Top to bottom: Brock Dale & I chatting and selling zines; me writing notes during the Open Mic; me reading my toast to the host with the most, Nick; Marc Blouin sharing some words; an overhead view of the zine table; Bethany G. Lee, our featured reader for the night; Nick McKinlay being a terrific guy with a drink and a toque in one hand.

All of the event photography was taken by Christopher Clarry.

If you’re interested in purchasing a zine, you can pick one up at the next Sophisticated Boom Boom. The second Wendesday of every month, at the Ossington, starting around 10:30 sharp.

Have a great weekend!