Archive for the ‘black jacket’ Category

The “year of living on the edge” continues. While I’m dealing with Ernie’s “transition” (Charlestown-speak) to the care center (and breaking down in the process), I had an occasion to celebrate.

A few weeks ago I received this invitation:

Ara, you may remember,  is my Nigerian friend. She’s been in America as long as we have lived at Charlestown, and she works here. In 2009, we both participated in the Charlestown mini-triathlon.

In January 2010 Ara, her boyfriend, and two sisters took me to a movie theater to see Avatar. It was my first time in a movie theater in 20 years. And to see Avatar in 3-D! What an experience. In fact, when I said the experience had been too overwhelming and I wanted to see the film again, they took  me a second time. Since Ara and Yemi had already seen Avatar twice, this gave 12-year-old sister Ebun a chance to see the film a second time, too. Ara and Yemi saw another film. So much fun doing that with Ebun.

Last spring Ara and I were teammates in the mini-triathlon, and Ara won the gold medal as fastest runner.

The invitation was to celebrate three special events–Ara’s graduation from nursing school, her 23rd birthday, and her sister Ola’s 21st birthday. Ara already has a baccalaureate degree, and she aims for a doctorate in nursing. Last week she became licensed as an R.N. so we were celebrating that, too.

As soon as I saw the invitation, I began thinking of what I could make for Ara and Ola. I blogged about that but can’t link to it.(Why?)

How to make a fabric card the hard way

Here’s the finished card.

Of course, I signed it. And I added the edging after this scan.

Here’s Ola’s card.

I finished it at 3:30 Saturday afternoon–just in time!

Not only am I not good at piecing. I am even worse at edging. I have repeatedly put heavy stitching or beads too close to the edge, making it very difficult to finish. For Ara’s card, which was too stiff and resistant for me to stitch through, I added three rows of gold Raj cord.

I used Tacky glue and this tool

to painstakingly apply narrow strips of glue to the edge of the card. It took three hours.

For the edge of Ola’s card, which had lighter backing, I thought I might be able to do machine stitching. I made myself a practice piece with the same materials and tried it.

With more practice, I might have been able to do it. I also tested hand stitching at the bottom and I could do that. But I couldn’t use the sewing machine because after I cut the card to size, there were beads too close to the edge. This is how I buttonhole stitched the edge.

It took four hours. I have friends who can machine-stitch the edge of a fabric card in a minute or two. If there’s a quick, easy, simple way to do something, I am incapable of it. If it’s slow, hard, tedious, and time-consuming, I go for it.

Here are some details of Ara’s card. A grid made using waste canvas.

Raised chain stitch

Some details from Ola’s card. A seam treatment

Beads, beads, and more beads

While I was working on these cards, Ernie had two brain attacks and admission to the care center became urgent. I was a wreck, and by Friday I was very sick with severe cold/flu symptoms. On Saturday I had laryngitis and couldn’t speak. But I was determined to show up at the gala and present the cards to Ara and Ola.

Of course I was going to go. This was my first opportunity to wear my black jacket and the earrings Nina made for me to wear with it.

Never mind the black eye. More stress, I guess. Doesn’t hurt.

I arrived early for the party. Ara and Ola with some other early guests.

This was definitely a party for their friends. No other 73-year-old great-grandmothers there! Me with Ara and Ola.

I managed to stay long enough to dance a little, then home to bed. Sorry I missed the real partying.

I feel honored to have been included among Ara’s and Ola’s friends.


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Black jacket finished

At last I’ve finished this project which I began in January.


Initially I had planned to put silk ribbon embroidery between the S shapes, but now I and two others think it looks finished as is.

Here’s the shell I’m wearing with the jacket and pants.


For the collar, cuffs, and pockets, I couched wavy lines of copper purl and copper metallic braid with amber seed beads in each wave.


Here I tried to get away with a different size copper purl when I ran out of the purl I’d been using. When that didn’t work, now that I have a car, I drove 2.5 miles to the excellent shop, The Stitching Post and got what I needed.

Wrong size purl_edited-1

When I ran out of the amber beads and could not get more from the online site they’d come from, neighbor Kathy told me about a bead shop in Catonsville, Precious Stones, also just 2.5 miles away. I took one of the amber beads with me and showed it to the owner. She led me to a display wall of bead mixes and handed me a vial in which I could see plenty of amber beads. While there I noticed a table display of unusual buttons. I had already decided to replace the black button on the shell with something copper, but I sure didn’t expect to find just the right button there.


The button is attached with four of the amber seed beads. The neckline is the couched copper purl and metallic braid.


Now all I need is a cool weather occasion to wear the ensemble. Oh, and earrings to go with. I think I’ll have to make them. Back to Precious Stones.

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Since I can’t post about the project I just finished until after I give the gifts next month, I’ll just show you what I’m working on right now.


I’m trying to figure out how to embellish the collar. Here I’ve done some experiments on the inside of the collar, which I will remove. I needed to see the effects of some of my ideas.


I’ve decided to use copper pearl purl #3  for the wavy line. Not the bugle beads. Not the cotton pearl #5 French knot. I think I’m going to put a French knot in the center of a silk ribbon fly stitch. And maybe a bead on the other side of the line.

To do this I’m going to have to do what I definitely do not want to do—open the collar so the stitching will be hidden when I close it again.

Where will it end?

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Ss done

Originally uploaded by jowynnjohns

Thursday I finished filling in and outlining the last S shape on the border of the jacket. Seventy-two hours so far, with lots of interruptions for driving practice, entertaining family, taking care of Noah, shopping for a car, and sitting/standing in the ER.

Next comes copper pearl purl and bugle beads on the collar, tops of the pockets, and ends of the sleeves (cuffs?) Don’t yet know how I’ll shorten the sleeves.

Meanwhile, another interruption–graduation gifts to be made.

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Three shapes filled

Three shapes filled

Originally uploaded by jowynnjohns

Three to go. I have the silk ribbon I need and I’ve ordered the copper pearl purl. I had just a few inches more than enough to outline these finished shapes.

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A few days ago I completed filling in the first S shape on my jacket.


When I began working on these shapes, I intended to make them as similar as possible, adding the same element to each of the Ss. But as I began filling in around the larger beads and the feather stitching, I realized that I can’t really do that. First of all, the transferred shapes are not identical, and secondly, I need to see how the effect develops as I add threads and beads.


A last minute decision, after I had done all the filling, was to sharpen and smooth the outline with copper super pearl purl. That looks like this:


Here the end of the purl has been stretched, as it is for couching down. For comparison, that’s #5 DMC variegated cotton pearl thread shown with the metal thread. The super pearl purl is slightly finer than the #5 cotton pearl.

Now this is up close and personal.


It took over 12 hours. I forgot to start keeping track of the time I spent at the beginning so I don’t know exactly how many hours went into filling this S.

Five more to go. And each will be distinctive, unlike the others.

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Since I last posted about my jacket embellishment project, I’ve begun filling in the S shapes with beads and stitching.


As you can see, the bottom left shape is still empty. I ran out of the silk ribbon and had to order more. Meanwhile, I’ve been filling the other shapes by adding one element at a time to all of them. (I hope I can retrace my steps when the silk ribbon gets here.) I’m sorry the next shot is fuzzy. I took lots of pictures with different settings, with and without flash and this is the best I could do.


So far, in addition to the silk ribbon feather stitching, I’ve added coppery iridescent bugle beads, large gold glass beads at the tips, heishi shell beads held in place by a coppery seed bead, and stitching in variegated gold DMC cotton pearl thread. Here are the materials.


Onward. I wonder whether we will have mail delivery today…..

No mail.

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