Boro Stitch

If I've calculated correctly I've had this textile for 13+ years. It's a block printed textile from India. I've been hard on it. It's been used as my bedspread. The sun has faded it in areas. My cat put lot's of holes in it as a kitten learning how to jump and retract his claws. It's almost used up but I wanted to get a little more life out of it.

I decided to make it my first Boro stitch project. I shared about Boro a little in my Sashiko stitch post. Boro is a Japanese mending stitch and oh did this need some mending. At first I thought I was fixing a couple large holes...

My first mendings on the piece are in the center and upper left of this image.

My first mendings on the piece are in the center and upper left of this image.

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But nope, tons of little holes from the years of use. In some areas this fabric is basically thread bare. It turned into the perfect project to explore this visible mending technique. My plan was to hang this as a shower curtain when I'd finished so I knew it would be forgiving to my novice skill level.

To mend something it's necessary to back the hole with a piece of fabric larger than the hole.

To tie off my thread I connected my back stitches securing my ends.

To tie off my thread I connected my back stitches securing my ends.

The back of my textile is very messy with these little scraps of cloth but in use they won't be seen.

The back of my textile is very messy with these little scraps of cloth but in use they won't be seen.

Perhaps my favorite little mend.

Perhaps my favorite little mend.

Mending, mending, mending...

Mending, mending, mending...

It ended up being a much larger project than I expected so I working on it every day for about 10 days. Sometimes for a couple hours, sometimes for 5 minutes. If you're trying this out for the first time I do recommend starting out with your smallest hole first before tackling the larger ones. I wish I had done that myself.

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Now it hangs in my bathroom totally transforming the tiny space! Because it's not backlit the mending scraps don't stand out just the boro stitches themselves.

New tangle: mmmForesty

When looking at this pattern I can only think in the language of Pee-Wee Herman, mmmmmm foresty. Perhaps it's because while prepping some of the art for this post I watched the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas special. On a side note my childhood came into clarity and I never realized how much Pee-Wee influenced my life! So in honor of the remastered DVD release I'm calling this mmmForesty.

Using different pen sizes allows the pattern to recede into the foreground.

Using different pen sizes allows the pattern to recede into the foreground.

This pattern follows a very basic stacking structure and can be used many ways in your Zentangle art. My most identifiable inspiration for creating this is the traditional Japanese pattern of Seigaiha. MmmForesty is a pointed version of that structure. Because the basis for its structure already exists in our world I've just documented here its construction for use in Zentangle. 

Some other tangles that have a similar visual look are; Bandola, Candle Glow, Feathers, and Flukes. Some of them derive their final state from very different construction such as All About V.

I first created this pattern in 2013 when I printed some gift bags using my Print Goco. 

I first created this pattern in 2013 when I printed some gift bags using my Print Goco. 

You've also seen mmmForesty here on the blog in use on my most recent Christmas cards. I'd really wanted to share the instructions before the holidays but ran out of time. Luckily it's still winter with many opportunities in the near future to cozy up with some tea and zentangle.

I used white colored pencil to add an icy feel to this tile.

I used white colored pencil to add an icy feel to this tile.

If you come across other uses of this pattern structure out in the world please share with me!

And if you're wondering what Zentangle is I've got you covered here.

 

Year of light

Happy New Year!!! 

With the entrance of 2015 I wrote a list with words and ideas that hang in the air from New Year's Eve into January. Every few months I make a new list to aid my calligraphy practice. It's helpful to have a go-to set of words for warming up the pen. I hope my lists can help you as well.

I always have a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet for practicing capitals. It gets a little tricky with some letters so you'll notice this list uses the year MMXV to solve for the "x word". And I couldn't help but arrange the words to tell a slightly poetic story.

Did you know you can see into the future? While researching words I went to wikipedia and learned that 2015 is the international year of light. It's more of a technical/science designation but I like the overall sentiment of the phrasing.

For search purposes here it is as text: Zero hour, Midnight, Ol' Lange Syne, uncork Proseco, celebrate new year kisses MMXV. Viva January. Bright early dawn. Acknowledge imminent future. Ritual testaments; wishes, quixotic goals.

And in almost alphabetical order:
Acknowledge
Bright
Celebrate
Dawn
Early
Future
Goals
Hour
Imminent
January
Kisses
Midnight
New
Ol' Lang Syne
Proseco
Quixotic
Ritual
Testaments
Uncork
Viva
Wishes
MMXV
Year
Zero

Merry Christmas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and a lot like my Christmas cards will be arriving late in the mail. While my cards were one of the first holiday projects I made this season they're the last to make it out the door. I'm checking my list (and addresses) twice. Soon my holiday greeting and paper tree will belatedly arrive at doorsteps.

When designing this years card I kept in mind the limitations of my small table top letterpress. I also wanted to incorporate my calligraphy to illustrate the card. I knew I wanted to send out a folding Christmas tree so the design of the card evolved from that concept. Of course it should be presents for under the tree. I'm very pleased with how it all printed.

It was not possible to keep a heavy inking consistent for the green of the packages so I knew I'd be letting the ink naturally fall off as I printed my cards.

It was not possible to keep a heavy inking consistent for the green of the packages so I knew I'd be letting the ink naturally fall off as I printed my cards.

Put the presents under the tree! To keep things less complicated I drew a pattern that could be printed back to back without worry of registration. And I cut all these trees out by hand (with x-acto) so I needed the pattern to be forgiving for that as well.

Put the presents under the tree! To keep things less complicated I drew a pattern that could be printed back to back without worry of registration. And I cut all these trees out by hand (with x-acto) so I needed the pattern to be forgiving for that as well.

I added gold elastic to turn some of my pop-up trees into gift toppers.

I added gold elastic to turn some of my pop-up trees into gift toppers.

Have a wonderful Christmas! I'm hoping to have one more post before taking a little break to enjoy the festivities.

Wintery wrap with Bay Bridge ribbon

How's your wrappin' going? I haven't even begun to wrap gifts for this year. Luckily I dug up some wrap photos from last year that I never had the chance to share with you.

Last year I was clued into a stash of vintage cellophane ribbon being sold at a local art store. According to the penciled note on the spool the ribbon dates to 1938. Perhaps that's why it's printed with the San Francisco Bay Bridge and skyline which would have still been a young landmark. Of course I bought it in a few colors. 

I meet lots of people who are a bit intimidated by gift wrapping especially this time of year. Well I was intimidated by this ribbon! Aged brittle cellophane is not easy to work with! If you're nervous about your xmas wrappings make sure to use supplies you're comfortable with. And remember that it's about the sentiment of giving and not how perfecting crisp your wrapping is. Any extra creative embellishment will add that thoughtfulness. 

Have fun and happy wrapping!

It's hard to tell in the photos but I used wire to float one of the snow flakes above the package.

It's hard to tell in the photos but I used wire to float one of the snow flakes above the package.

Wrapping paper is from a 2013 print promotion by Hemlock Printers.