grimes color work

I’m blown away by embroidery artists who re-create photographs with thread. I’ve attempted to begin working on that skill on a photograph of Peter Gabriel a couple years ago. It wasn’t working, so I put that project down. I recently came across a review for this book online and bought it immediately:

colour-book

I’ve put what I’ve learned from it into this photo of the amazing Grimes:

grimes

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long time no blog

Hey-o! Lots of exciting updates ’round here.

1. I have sold my first pieces of wall embroidery. These lovelies went out to a couple friends the other week:

I'm like so what I'm drunk

I’m like so what I’m drunk

They’re the same; one is showing off the felt backing I placed on it.

Thanks for the inspiration, r. kelly.

2. I have my own domain name! melissareiss.com is all mine.

3. I scored big at Savers the other day with this amazing find:

CA RAISINS

Yeah- California Raisins bedsheet set (minus the fitted sheet, though). Now what shall I do with it (other than the pillowcases, of course… those are definitely going on my bed)?

Improving upon

stitchfull

I’ve been working on improving my coptic stitch.

Above is the binding of the latest journal I made for myself. Since making my last coptic stitch journal, I practiced the binding stitch on a few other book projects. I never was really satisfied with the way the two end stitches looked- as if I was missing an important step. Finally, what I was doing wrong clicked.

compare

The book on top is my current journal; the one on the bottom is my new one. See how the last row of stitching on the left looks like a broken chain? I realized I wasn’t looping the needle around the correct way.

restitch

…so I re-stitched my journal. And it looks much better. I also added eyelets in the covers so it looks nicer.

And now, for pictures of my new journal…

instajournalmontage

For the front cover, I used a scrap of embroidery that I didn’t really know what to use it for. The fabric is from a pair of pants I made into cutoffs. The lyric comes from a song by my favorite band, Circle Takes the Square.

Along with different patterned pages throughout, I incorporated pages of song lyrics within the book, too. These are printed on regular printer paper with is smaller than the other blank pages, with gives the book a bit of texture. Here is lyrcis to Who Stole the Soul by William Elliot Whitmore up against a patterned page and followed by a blank journalling page…

lyricspg

And here is a close-up of the embroidery on the front cover:iknowitsallbeencropped

Besides the eyelets with washers not properly fitting the thickness of the covers, I am very pleased with the turnout! I also discovered that I far prefer binding with hemp cord (which I coat in beeswax) over waxed cotton cord.

Gaslight Anthem- finished!

GAFINALYay, it’s complete! Overall, I’m pleased with how this one turned out. This scan here is not super flattering, but neither were the cell phone pictures I took of it so I am posting up this image.

The Gaslight Anthem is a superb band. Yeah, they get compared to Bruce Springsteen, like, ALL the time- because Brian Fallon’s voice has a degree of raspiness and their songs are typically about young(ish) love and sort of finding yourself- oh, and they’re both from Jersey- but I could think of worse comparisons. I don’t think there is another rock n’ roll band out there right now like them. For those unfamiliar with the band, I’d suggest starting with their second album, The ’59 Sound. Here’s the first track off that album:

Brian has like, two other side projects which are just as fantastic as GA’s music. Everything this man touches musically is just golden.

exterior embroidery

Ok, the weather is finally nice enough in Wisconsin to sit on porches (comfortably).. with this, brings the joy of embroidering outdoors.

exteriorembroidery

And I can watch all the haps on the bike trail, too…

(This particular piece is almost done)

minotaur take two, and a question for you

After the less-than-ideal result the first time around, I wanted to re-do the little Amnesiac minotaur on a patch for my bag. I procured some lovely linen remnants in a couple different colors from the craft store the other day and wanted to make use of them immediately. I met up with a fellow rad stitcher I met through my blog who happened to live in the same city as I (!), and I stitched up my patch in one afternoon (and in between two mimosas)

minotaur2

This brings me to a question I’ve been pondering myself lately, and I beg to ask of anyone who might be reading this: if you could go back in time to a re-live a previous decade SOLELY FOR THE MUSIC CREATED during that time, which decade would it be?

Mine, without a doubt, would be the 1990’s. Why?! Well, I was an impressionable youth who listened to whatever shitty music was gracing the mainstream radio airwaves in the 90’s and I would like a re-do. If I was coming of age in, say, 1989, I could have voiced my teenage angst through grunge (first wave) and DIY hardcore and punk (when grunge got weak). Then I would have started smoking and listening to Radiohead break through and caught a bunch of their shows. Then, later in the decade, I could discover Neutral Milk Hotel come out of a wonderful succession of bedroom-recorded tapes in a cohesive collection of friends. Simultaneously, Riot Grrrl would have resonated with me when it was still a movement.

I was at least lucky enough to have a brother five years older whom I stole CDs from, notably 90’s rap and hip hop (Mase, Puff Daddy, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G) as well as Live’s Throwing Copper, and Green Day’s Insomniac– my favorite of theirs to date.

Enough of my self-indulgent fantasies- which decade would you choose and why?

coptic stitch journal

578

The other material for making things I love besides fiber is paper. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt a thrill with something as little as a blank notebook.

Awhile ago, I pinned a beautiful photo tutorial by Kate Elliott on a coptic bound book. Nearing the end of my current journal, I set out to use some of the decorative scrapbook papers I have laying around as well as a portion of a $2 pack of heavyweight acid-free paper I bought some months back.

I have made small practice books out of construction paper using this lovely stitch, but not a “full-size”  (roughly 6″ x 9″) journal. All in all, I had it stitched up in a few hours tonight and am very pleased with the turnout. There are minor mistakes that do not interfere with the functionality of the book (I guess I was more out-of-practice than I thought), and I know what I did wrong and how to correct them next time. Also, I don’t think I’ll need to purchase any more pre-made journals as I have for the past eight years. I think this journal cost me less than four dollars altogether.

I snapped a few photos of my progress:

584 586 588 590 592 594 596 598

The edges are nice and uneven, and the back cover is half a centimeter longer than the front, but I made it all myself and enjoyed the process very much. Click the link above to check out Kate’s bookbinding tutorials if this is of interest- they are very thorough!