Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Only God Can Judge Me - The Results Show!

First off, my apologies to everyone who entered and everyone who has been waiting to find out what happened. A little "real life" got in the way and, well, we know how that goes (Northwest?). So before something else stops working, the kids start whining about wanting to eat for a second time today or I get carted off to the hospital we better start talking results. By the by, I was just kidding - I only get an ambulance to the hospital when I am at work.

In full disclosure I put all the pictures I received in a slideshow and my two-year-old Kadie picked one at random...or whatever random is to a two-year-old. A big congratulations to our winner, Quilterina! I think the spools of thread spelling words is pretty neat, but what do I know. Here's what she says about it:
"those spools spell peace grace love and faith. they twist into a black spool on my front shoulder that unravels to spell compassion with a sewing needle piercing my heart"

She sent a link to pics of her getting some cover-up work done with a patch-work heart and some other stuff going on and it was pretty awesome. In no particular order here is another entry I received. Becky sent a couple of pics of her embroidery and button tattoo done by Frank McManus at the Brass Monkey Studio in Harrisburg, Pa. You know how you have your links that are in every email you send and for a lot of us that's a link to our etsy store?! Becky is one of those and who doesn't love a nickle's worth of free advertising. Check out her store.

Up next (on the D.L.?) is rainbowsweetstitch. This was "done by Tom Kenney from Classic Electric Tattoo in Frederick, Maryland". So if you are there, go see Tom. And for what it's worth: I have always had a thing for the idea of a woman with a couple T.I.E. fighters and Yavin IV for her tramp stamp. Embroidery scissors on your shoulder...not bad, either!

Last but not least. Though further then most...somewhere in the upper-middle range is the always-fucking-awesome Giggly Mama. I don't know but I am seriously thinking that this may be the most...simple? Not in design or execution, it's amazing. But it seems sparce in such a beautiful way. It makes me wish I had a hoop on my arm too. Here is what Mama says:
My life long pal and tattoo artist, is Scott Osburn (Facebook | Scott Osburn). He tattooed this embroidery themed tattoo on my left arm. He freehand tattooed it, no pattern before hand. :)
Awesome job, Scott! If there were a runner up prize it would probably suck so don't feel bad. Remember the piece I did for MY tattoo artist? Well, I promised the winner of this gig a matching piece. I decided to do it in a different color scheme and it's a funny story. I was gonna do blue and red on the border. I couldn't find the blue I wanted and the baby was sleeping so I could not run to the store. I found the orange and purple sitting next to each other in the first drawer I opened and figured: What the fuck!?! It's coming to you, Quilterina, deal with it!

Thank you, ladies. In all honesty, this has been a blast. Getting in touch with people, getting touched by in people. All of it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

There's a Real Cool Club on the Other Side of Town: My Adventures in the E.G.A.

The Embroidery Guild of America. Immediately your mind is filled with old women sewing the same fabric for the last two decades, sitting with their backs to the door not interested in getting out or letting anyone (or anything) new in. Not so.

The Camellia chapter of the EGA meets at my local power utility offices and quite honestly could probably be mistaken for a woman's 12-step meeting except for the lack of coffee. Naturally, I was a little nervous. I am male, young(er, 30,) then anyone else I saw walking in and there is the fact that these ladies know their stuff...more then I do for sure.

So I was completely taken back when it was all "hello's" and handshakes. Everyone was very welcoming. Charlie is in charge of new memberships and a perfect welcoming committee. She explained the groups policy on visitors and how the meetings kind of go.

I was sat next to Marge and Carol and I didn't catch to much of what happened in the meeting after that. We talked about stitching, little known floss makers they like to use, and they even taught me the quick-cheat version of railroading (this is where you put your needle back through the two threads of floss, or between the tracks, so they generally lay side by side). This has been worth the trip already as I did not have, nor did I have any interest in buying, a laying tool.

One thing I noticed was that everyone had something out that they were working on. I was so surprised and thought they would get in trouble...but that is sort of the purpose of the whole thing isn't it. I really was upset that I didn't bring anything to work on.

There was a group project that you had to have signed up for. They supplied the cloth and project, you were to bring floss and everything else. It was very cool. A finished one made it's way around the room and my camera stayed at home (sorry folks). It blew my mind the way stitching was being done here. So many techniques. So many new ways to play.

At the end I stayed and talked. I am going back and I am going to take part in the next project (I am a sucker for group things), and I think I am really going to like the whole experience. If there are any naysayers, try looking up your local chapter at www.egausa.org and give it a go. If you are in the Sacramento area, give me a shout in the comments or email at whateverjamesinstitches@gmail.com. And if anyone else has been to a meeting of the EGA or you are a member, leave your experience in the comments too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

But Can You Stitch To It?: Weezer - Hurley

Weezer has a lot to answer for. Their self-titled debut, lovingly referred to as the Blue Album saw non-stop play in my Discman in my freshman year in high school. The follow-up was everything I could have wanted at the time. I was moving past Nirvana but had only just started to find Bad Religion and NOFX. They both also established that ten seemed to be the perfect number of songs on a Weezer album.

Since then I have listened to every Weezer record and have my likes and dislikes with each one (mostly dislikes). But now comes the strangely titles, and even strangely-er covered, Hurley

Musically speaking it honestly sounds like it should have been the third album. The weird pop of the blue album is back and with it the out-of-nowhere screams and more obviously heartfelt lyrics that became the downfall and eventual rise of Pinkerton.

But Can You Stitch To It?
I believe you can. I can and have and will. So neener-neener! The first three songs are my favorite and they follow a musical slide. The rest of the album doesn't feel like a progression through songs so much as a Weezer radio show: "Here have some songs in no particular order". Sometimes this can kill a stitch session for me. Sometimes you just want to sink into the music regardless of if it's a symphony, Metallica's Black Album or a jungle sounds relaxation disc. Think I sound like a artsy jackass? Well, I do but I am still right. Go stitch to your favorite album on shuffle. I'll wait. Really, you like that? ... ... See what I mean. Your brain was caught off guard when the order was changed. For Hurley I think this isn't really a problem. Maybe due to the eclectic mix of material they have released, I don't know, but everything does sound like a Weezer song, so it all kind of mixes well even if it doesn't necessarily flow. The deluxe edition adds four more songs. Two I really like are the way-out-of-left-field "All My Friends Are Insects" and the live and acoustic "Viva La Vida"

All in all its a good album and an enjoyable listen. It touches a little on most types of "rock" music and when I was at Starbucks stitching and the album ended I put it on again while I finished the letter I was working on. That should say enough I guess.

Comments people! Have you heard Hurley? What did you think? What else are you listening to while you stitch? Post here or go have a go at a discussion on the new Facebook fan page!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting Ink and Giving Stitches

Okay, babies and gentlemen. We have a winner and they are...going to have to wait just a little longer! FACE!!!

In the meantime though, some of you may remember my cross stitch tattoo. For those of you who do not, here is a trip down memory lane. When I left I asked my artist, Nick, what he was into. First he mentioned G.G. Alin and finally just said the more out there the better. He had a lot of art in his little tattoo cave that he had done that was more traditional but inspired by modern times as well. The old-timey female boxer with the Stormtrooper helmet was a personal favorite.

Long story short I grabbed some old fabric I had around and using just black, gray and white I came up with this:

Also, I have been so taken by my tattoo and the response that I think it has become my little "signature" for smaller pieces. So whenever I think "Whatever James" is too much stitching for a signature I will just do this:

Does this symbolic representation of my name make me the "Prince" of cross stitch? I hope so because I want to Batdance!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

9/03/10: National Stitch In Public Day

I think it's only half about that and half that I just like being "seen"! Now turn of the interwebs, get out there and stitch where they can see you!!!