Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Project - Needle Mini-Book

It might sound crazy, but I like August in Phoenix ... I know, everyone around the country hears what our temperatures are and thanks their lucky stars they don't live here!  But if you did live here, you'd be feeling like the hot part of summer was beginning to wind down once August hit.

And you'd be watching the peppers get bigger, waiting for them to turn red - enjoying the bougainvillaea blooming everywhere - thinking about trying to make something with the prickly pear fruit this year - wondering what the heck to do with all that jujube fruit from the trees you planted when you read how wonderful jujube fruit is.  Seriously - does anyone know what you actually do with them?!

 It's the cat days of summer!

I think one of my favorite parts of August, though, is the monsoon.  Not the storms that knock down power poles for a mile or tear off roofs - but those are rare.  It's that every afternoon amazing thunderheads build up, sometimes ringing the entire valley.  And you wait, and wonder if it'll rain tonight.  It usually doesn't - but when it does the temperature drops, it feels wonderful, and everything smells amazing.  Deserts love rain!  The lightening shows are great, too!

So when I sat down to do some embroidery this past weekend and pulled out my old battered piece of felt I keep my needles in, and decided I really had to do something about what I pin my needles on, I had those billowing, purple, black, blue tinged banks of clouds on my mind.  I've been meaning to make one of those really cool needle books - you know, the ones that have a page for each type of needle.  Hasn't happened yet and doesn't look like it fits in the schedule anytime soon!  I decided a mini-book would be more doable and look a lot better than that piece of brown felt.

Tenzin Norbu, Liberation, 2008.  Stone ground pigments on cloth.
My mini-book is in a cloud shape - inspired by the Arizona monsoon thunderheads and the stylized clouds in Tibetan thangkas and paintings.  But you could pick out any favorite shape of yours.  Here's how I made mine ...

*white, gray, and blue felt
*embroidery thread - I used white and two close shades of bluish-purple
*felt glue
*patterns found here

1.  Cut out three of piece number 1 from white felt, one of piece number two from gray felt, and one of piece number three from blue felt

2.  Place pieces number two and three on one of the number one pieces, as in the photo below.

3.  Using white thread and an outline stitch (3 strands of thread), embroider swirls in pieces number two and three.

4.  Embroider around the edges of pieces two and three with a blanket stitch (6 strands of thread), making sure you sew the edges to the larger cloud.  Embroider around the edges of the front and back pieces using a blanket stitch (6 strands of thread) and leaving the top un-embroidered as show below.  I used two barely different shades of bluish-purple.

5. Layer front, middle, and back.

6.  Sew the top (sewing all three pieces together), continuing with a blanket stitch.

7.  Put your needles on the middle cloud.

That storm passed us by, but maybe tomorrow's will bring us rain . . .

Happy Creating!  Deborah


  1. I really like this! Thanks for sharing how to make one. I'm glad the storm passed you by but those clod pictures are beautiful.

    (Sorry if this gets posted more than once but I can't sign in with my Blogger account tonight for some reason.)

  2. That is very pretty and surely it will stand out and not get lost amongst the scraps. Your picture of the palms against the white clouds is absolutely beautiful.

  3. This is a great project! I'd love it if you'd find a moment to come on over to Craft Schooling Sunday and share this with me and lots of my readers from around the world. Plus I think you'll like the party, so hope to see you there!