Friday, June 7, 2013

Italian vacation recipe

During my vacation in Italy, when I wasn't walking, eating, sleeping or napping, I was either reading or keeping my hands busy. 


  • one 6" embroidery hoop
  • 21 pieces of cloth, each marked with 4" square
  • needles 
  • pearl cotton
  • thread snippers
  • thimble
  • stitch notes


Stretch a cloth in hoop. Thread needle with pearl cotton. Select a stitch. Stitch as desired. Rethread needle as needed. Rethread with another color as desired.

Use only one stitch per cloth. Stitch improvisationally without marking. Explore stitches: change stitch length, change stitch density, change direction,  overlap stitches.

blanket or buttonhole stitch
detached chain stitch or lazy daisy

chevron stitch
coral stitch
feather stitch
needle weaving

snail trail, unfinished


  • Some stitches lend themselves to variations.
  • Some stitches cover more ground. 
  • Not a large selection of dark value pearl cottons for the lighter cloths.
  • Harder for no. 12 pearl cotton to be effective against no. 5. Weight makes a difference.
  • Colors were chosen on a whim. Some combinations more effective. 
  • Build a bigger pearl cotton stash!
  • Preparing 21 pieces of cloth was overkill. 
  • Will use recipe again.

How do you handle weeks away from the studio?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bella vistas - Venezia

moored gondolas

April 25th - Liberation Day - was not a good day to arrive in Venice. It was a holiday so there wasn't anyone to guide us to the apartment.We picked up keys at the bus terminal and had an adventure finding our own way.

Though the agency's directions seemed clear enough, their map was unreadable. I had two city maps and found on the internet a good map for a nearby hotel with multiple routes marked. But maps are no guarantee. Even the best ones do not show or mark every single street. It took all three maps plus the cell phone's GPS to locate the apartment. Maybe we didn't traverse the most direct route, but at least we'd avoided sleeping on the streets of Venice.
the canal behind the apartment
Wayfinding in Venice is like being on that old television game show, Concentration, or playing one of those AARP brain fitness memory game. Deja vu again and again! I'd stop in squares to get re-oriented and often stopped in the same square again and again. Either pull the map out or take chances with a wrong turn. Often both. We were perpetually lost. And apparently not the only ones. We spent the days wandering around and window shopping.
typical canal
Because the holiday fell on a Thursday, it felt like half of Italy was in Venice for a long weekend. After squeezing over the Rialto Bridge and through St. Mark's Square, we tried to keep far from the maddening crowds. We found boat yards,
gondola boatyard
workshops where oars and oarlocks are made,
oar and oarlock totems outside workshop
and even a shop specializing in Venetian boat history and authentic model ships. Unfortunately, the latter was closed for the holiday but has a website worth perusing.

We took the vaporetto to the outer islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello.
 Murano canal
Burano color
Though the photos make the island look deserted, they weren't. Most everybody else were shopping.

Venice was the most crowded leg, but the last leg, of our trip. We had a great three weeks in Italy but were ready to go home. Ciao!