Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let the Fun Begin!

A famous author once wrote, "What's in a name?" A valid question, especially if the 'name' in question is an acronym like FFT!

Fanciful Fabulous Teapots?  

Frightfully Famous Terrapins?  
Uh, no.

Frivolous Fortunate Terrestrials?  
That would be a big N-O!

How about Fun Friday Tutes?!?  Yes, yes, yes!  It's time for the first Fun Friday Tute of 2015!

This first FFT is a miniature weaving project and everyone on StitchMAP can participate in the making of the project and sharing their photos. If you are not a member of MAP, feel free to participate and share a photo of your finished project with us by emailing it HERE. We would love to share your photos, along with those of our member's, here on the blog after the closing date.  The instructions for the project can be found HERE.

The charm of making this project is simple . . . use up some scrap floss and make a darling piece of jewelry (or a zipper pull, scissors fob or maybe even a book mark), while learning (or reviewing, as the case may be) some basic principles of weaving. It doesn't take much time or effort to make the small version demonstrated, but you could expand upon the idea and try these variations once you have done the small one:
  • Change the width and or length of the weaving
  • Change the fibers to some other type - larger weaving should equal heavier fiber perhaps
  • Mix the fibers up - one for the base and one or more for the weaving
  • Add additional colors in the weaving
Four things Shari recommends when taking on the project (in deference to the needle-arts): 
  1. Strip your floss and lay it back together before threading your needle, so it doesn't twist and will lay fuller and smoother.
  2. Specifically use a tapestry needle so you don't pierce the loom threads as you weave.
  3. Whip that closing edge before adding the jump ring.
  4. Use the proper jeweler's pliers to open and close the ring if you have them. Here is a wonderful YouTube video on opening and closing rings of all sorts:

Now that you have all the information you need, try your hand at one (or two, or three)! Closing for this FFT is February 6, 2015, so you have two weeks to upload your photos to the 2015 FFT Album located on StitchMAP.

Happy weaving!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Farewell to Tom Russell

photo credit
It is with tremendous sadness that we report the loss of StitchMAP member and mentor, Tom Russell. Tom passed away suddenly on Sunday, January 18th, in Arizona.

The Quilt Show, on which Tom was once featured, shared the following:
Tom was a shining star in our midst, with abundant creativity and kindness.
His show #1101 is now open for all to view this beloved artist and man. He will be greatly missed.
Tom was an active member of the StitchMAP design team, always willing to help and offer his talents.  His contributions and advice will be greatly missed.  His love of color, texture and the movement in his designs brought life to the projects he worked on for "his ladies". We were blessed by his generosity, imagination, kindness, inspired by his zest for needlework of all types and graced with his friendship.

Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to Tom's family and friends. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A New Year

January, the first month of the year, seems to be the month for self-evaluation, resolutions, goal-working and change. I'm sure many of us have gone through (or are still going through) that process with regard to our personal lives, so it should be no surprise that some of those same processes are going on in the life of StitchMAP!

First, a major change in the membership approval process. No more will new members have only ten days to complete and return the group questionnaire before having membership revoked. Settings have been changed so that completion of the questionnaire is not required for you to view group photos, participate in chats, join in with your opinion on Talk Shop Thursday topics, peruse the links, files and such. However, in order to participate in StitchMAP Classes, Challenges and Swaps, the completed questionnaire must be returned. You may also participate in Fun Friday Tutes and the Trivia Teasers (but you will NOT BE eligible for the associated prizes unless your questionnaire has been returned and your contact info is on file). Not a member of StitchMAP? It's easy -- click on the picture of the little girl stitching on the sidebar.

Change 2 comes in the way of a more complete Course Catalog! A brand new catalog has been prepared for 2015, filled with Courses, Challenges, LABS and Learning Modules -- all of which are designed to help grow and broaden your stitching skills and abilities! 

Connie K.'s finished journal cover
Fabric Weaving Course
Courses cover the fundamentals of the technique being offered. Each course consists of multiple lessons, with several exercises built into each. With Courses, one-one-one mentoring is assigned and the apprentice submits completed exercises to their mentor prior to moving on to the next. Several StitchMAP courses are prerequisite courses, teaching foundational stitches and techniques. Courses generally last 8 - 10 weeks.

Shari's Victorian Pin Cushion Challenge
Challenges are mini-courses that almost always result in the completion of a fun project. They consist of no more than 5 installments, and generally last 2-4 weeks. The purpose of a Challenge is to give a bit more in-depth attention to a specific technique, overall project concept, a series of stitches or finishing methods. 

Shari's Hex LABS - Celtic Knot
LABS stands for Learning to Build Skills. These StitchMAP offerings consist of multiple, more in-depth lessons on one or more combined techniques. Work done in LABS will result in a finished project(s). Lessons are presented one per month with subsequent lessons provide only if the prior lesson has been satisfactorily completed. LABS generally last 8-15 months.

Modules are a single text of instruction. They result in a finished piece of embroidery, but the project application is left up to the individual. Modules are self-paced. However, like the LABS, subsequent Modules will only be provided if the prior Module has been completed. 

One-on-one mentors are not assigned for Challenges, LABS, and Modules, however, mentoring advice is is available upon request to help you through any difficulty you might encounter with the new stitches, etc..

The 2015 Course Catalog, with details of all of the incredible opportunities available through StitchMAP, is posted in the "FILES" section on the group's site. 

A third change definitely worth mentioning is the blog! We plan on making weekly posts, keeping members (and would-be members) apprised on the happenings of the group and perhaps offer the occasional Teaser--and freebie--or two! We hope you'll check in often, making the most of all that StitchMAP has to offer. Your comments are always welcome -- what do you think of StitchMAP's changes?!