A New Leap – Fibers

Here are the fibers I used for the background.

image by Carmen CS
image, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

The top one is the heavy thread I used for the trees.  Next is a loose spun thread used on the darker meadow areas.  Finally, the lighter meadow areas were stitched using a silk with flames, which means tighter areas and looser areas.  Laid down with long stitches, these fibers show off their irregularities to make a rich background that looks complicated while actually being fast and easy to stitch!

Prayer: Father, thank You that our irregularities make us unique, beautiful, fitted for individual purposes in Your world.


A New Leap – Background Stitching

Rather than leaving the background openwork, I decided to do some fancy stitching with different fibers to make a scene for the leaping lamb.

This was done freehand, using different variegated textured threads.  I stitch the trees first, then fill the landscape in around them and the lamb and Joy.  Fun and quick, as the stitches are long.

image by Carmen CS
image, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the beauty we each can bring just working in the background.  I pray for those who work quietly to know that they do Your work.

A New Leap

Recently our pastor and his wife left for an encouragement trip to missionaries in the Philippines sent by our church 20 years ago.  20 years in the field!  Perhaps this is normal, but I didn’t grow up in the church and it seems extraordinary to me!

He asked the church members to send cards of encouragement.  There was just enough time for me to stitch this piece for them.

Missionary Joy by Carmen CS

Missionary Joy, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Prayer: Father, please bless this family which has devoted so much of their life to your service and service of your people.  Bring them an ever closer walk, unexpected joys, long worked for successes, wisdom for their path.

Leap for Joy – Improving the Lamb

This is the design so far.

Leap for Joy-even-lighter by Carmen CS
Leap for Joy-even-lighter, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

But while I’m happy with the body and legs, the head needs some work.  It’s time to switch to another photo for the head.

Lambs play by Will Palmer
Lambs play, a photo by Will Palmer on Flickr.

This lamb’s body position is not as interesting, but the head is lovely.  This kind of compositing from multiple photos can be very useful.

Leap for Joy-final by Carmen CS
Leap for Joy-final, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Prayer: Father, help them to bring together the best parts of their lives to make a joyful whole!

Favourite Movies – Amazing Grace

I first saw this movie last year, and it immediately shot to the top of my favourite movies list.

Amazon.com: Amazing Grace: Ioan Gruffudd, Romola Garai, Benedict Cumberbatch, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Rufus Sewell, Youssou N’Dour, Ciarán Hinds, Toby Jones, Nicholas Farrell, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Jeremy Swift, Stephen Campbell Moore, Bill Paterson, Nicholas Day, Georgie Glen, Nicholas Woodeson, Tom Fisher, Richard Ridings, David Hunt: Movies & TV.

It’s about William Wilberforce, a Christian who was central to getting slavery outlawed throughout the British empire.  I knew almost nothing about him before seeing the movie.  Before our Civil War, he fought for human rights.

The movie is an amazing historical drama.  It’s beautiful, and inspiring.  Wilberforce suffered from chronic illness, and struggled with an addiction to painkillers given to him because of it.  But he did not succumb to discouragement.  He was an amazing fighter.

The movie has  joy,  humor, trouble and  triumph.  It highlights love, faith, seeking one’s way and then sticking to it once it has been found.

Leap for Joy – Color Balance

Although the design used the colors visible in the original photo, I want a whiter lamb.  The time to adjust the colors is after the basic design is complete.  Then, global color replacement can be used to make different versions.

Leap for Joy-lighter by Carmen CS
Leap for Joy-lighter, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

This is the first step lighter.  It’s still a bit dark.

Leap for Joy-even-lighter by Carmen CS
Leap for Joy-even-lighter, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

This looks pretty good.

Leap for Joy-ghost by Carmen CS
Leap for Joy-ghost, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

This one is just silly.

So the best version is the middle one.

Prayer: Father, please bring your light into this family’s life!

Leap for Joy – Designing the Lamb

Remember this project?  I got stuck for a while, but now it’s moving again!

The next step is to design the lamb.  Using the photo as a starting point, designing is a balance between the granularity of the grid, the limitations of distinct colors, and the complexity of the photo.  It’s not something that can be done automatically.

Leap-for-Joy-Design by Carmen CS
Leap-for-Joy-Design, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Prayer: Father, we are lambs looking to our shepherd for care.  When we get it, we leap for joy!

Favourite Movies – Signs

A movie about rediscovering faith…

Amazon.com: Signs: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Clifford David, Lanny Flaherty, Rory Culkin, Babita Hariani, Cherry Jones, Patricia Kalember, Marion McCorry, Paul L. Nolan, Rhonda Overby, Kevin Pires, Michael Showalter, Ted Sutton, Ukee Washington, Adam Way, Merritt Wever, Greg Wood: Movies & TV.

One of the cool things about M. Night Shyamalan’s movies is that they are often not about what they seem to be on the surface.  Or at least, not just about that.  Signs is ostensibly an alien horror movie.  But it is so much not just that.

It is a movie about faith.

About its loss.

About its rediscovery.

About how hard it is to live without.

After the death of his wife in tragic circumstances, Grahame is determined not to believe any more.

But under pressure, what happens?

Sharing God’s Beauty

June 2 Flower Offering by Carmen CS
June 2 Flower Offering, a photo by Carmen CS on Flickr.

Prayer can be combined with many crafts, not just needle crafts.  This year I planted a cutting garden so that I could share God’s beautiful flowers with others.  This shows an arrangement I just delivered to my church for Sunday, which will then be share with a shut-in or someone else visited by church members.  I could have done this as a chore, even a beloved chore, but I viewed it as a prayer opportunity.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the beauty and richness which surrounds us.  Please help those who enjoy these flowers to remember who made them and all His love.  If they are experiencing challenges, help them to remember the light which always surrounds our darkness, if we will just raise our eyes.  If all is well, help them to remember to turn to You always!