I love accidents when your stitching and a light bulb goes off then it’s…. “Now why did I not see that before and boy it is a nice way to do this!” Accidentally tracing some of the elements for Alison Coles “Victorian Elegance” …upside down… the wires were reaching out to the center of the hoop which caused no end of frustration. Yes, I tried the twisting around the pencil and covering them and that was just fine…But…then purely by accident “of course” they would get caught on my “needle minder”. Just so much magnetism! This usually happened as I was starting the wire wrap around the shape then to be couched down. Just as I was about to do my twist with the pencil I realized I could just send the wire up to the “needle minder” and “voila” it stayed there with all the magnetic glory and out of the way “in the middle of the hoop”! I am thrilled to find another way to keep the wires out of the way! Sure I will use any method depending on the element to keep those pesky wires out of the way. Happy to have found another “idea” to help and another way to use the “needle minder” ! If I ever do another “Stumpwork” piece I hope I will remember this trick and maybe..just maybe… I will trace all my elements upside down!!!! Love it!!!
When one is working on a stumpwork project wires go haywire. You are using them for shaping a leaf or other wonderful objects to add to your embroidery. The ends are long! Remember these wires will be pulled to the back later on..Whilst stitching a number of objects for stumpwork these wires catch the thread, then fray and basically drive one nuts because it stops the lovely thread from sliding through the fabric with ease. (Made me think of the scene in “Sleeping Beauty” where the Prince is hacking through the thorns!) Now here are my two solutions to the problem. (By the way knots happen too!) I am sure there are many other solutions out there but so far this works!
First take a pencil or other round object and wrap the wire around it like so….
Next press it flat gently near the object one is working on.
Then you can either place a piece of “Glad Press and Seal” over the the wire or you can use “Painters Tape”..just to hold it in place and keep any thread you use from catching whilst one is working. Ahhh…blessed relief! Mainly I use the “Press n Seal” when I have a whole bunch done and want to protect the stitching and then the painters tape when I am working on one so now “that dag nabit” wire is no longer in the way. Now I can move onto the next object! As for leaving any kind of residue since you trim these out your good to go. I have used “Painters Tape” for many years and have yet to have it cause any problems for me. I still am careful where I use it so my go to is still the “Glad Press n Seal”. These products are just tacky enough and have found there to be no pulling on any of the stitching that I do. What is nice though it will just grab the “hairs” that might get on ones project and also some of the bits of loose threads left behind.
Sad news which can always make one reflect… a very wonderful friend passed on suddenly and stitching time has stood still for a couple of weeks. Tam commented on this blog quite often and we had many laughs together as I knew her personally through my sewing journeys which encompasses about 20 years. Her humor just made me lose it (it went both ways!) Will miss her wonderful spirit!
To share a bit also to move on…next week I have the opportunity to sit and stitch with “Alison Cole” from Australia. I will share as the class goes on if I can. It is a two day class and we will be learning about how she approaches “stumpwork. I thoroughly enjoy seeing others approach to a technique. I have done some but am always up for learning and seeing how others do their stitching as we all glean from their insights and then apply to our stitching what works for us!
Lots of “padded satin stitching”. The challenge is to keep the satin stitching all going in the same direction. The first part was the padded center of the flower which was nice to do. What the photo shows below is that even though there are “5” different “split stitch” lines of color around the center I needed to add more. We all stitch different so when I got to the outside part I had to add a extra line or so to fill in the area. Maybe my tension is to tight or I am just a “small stitch stitcher”!
Next is the finished portion ..again I am pleased how this one turned out. I still think I need better glasses!
And now for a picture of all that I have finished so far! The month of July has been a bit hectic for me and it has been sooooo…relaxing when I have had some moments to sit and stitch.
It is years ago now that I purchased a “bunch” of Jenny McWhinney‘s Mini Kits…I am in the process of finishing up all of them. only two left… after ” The Little Goat, Wash Day. Here is what I have stitched so far…great kit for a quick project and some listening to music or watching an “old movie”! I started these over 5 years ago…sooooo…that is a long time now…Most if not all are still available on her website. You can click on her name above and it will take you right to her “new store” and “website”.
Love the fuzzy front leg! Now for the ones I have finished…the pictures are below…of course it is hard to believe I did them all and enjoyed stitching everyone of them…I was only disappointed at one point after I received my first kit..I found out that Jenny had come to our area “after the fact” and I missed it!!! I heard she was very interesting!!! This was a number of years ago now and hopefully we will have her back again sometime. Her kits are a bit unusual…I had to do a bit of deciphering…depended on the photo “a lot”. There are “scans” of the individual areas to be worked on. Also the tracing is definitely not the same as her picture of the embroidery on the front of the package. One thing though is Jenny says “that you do not have to match sitich for stitch when doing shading as long as you use the color guide and color areas approximately the same.” The affect achieved is similar.
Just as a quick note…”Fire Pinks”grow wild in my backyard during the summer months and I have always been drawn to them because of their growing in the heat of the season. They are not a clumpy flower just usually one stem and a few buds and flowers. I think the cultivated ones have more together in a clump. It is always been nice to take a walk in our woods and spot one of these in bloom!
Today is the day to work on finding the ribbon I want to use for this project. The plan is to stay with some red/pink color variations…with deep green for stems and yellows for the centers. Not a real happy camper so far.. Tested some of my ideas and they were a “bust” in my opinion…(no pictures) Need to feel pleased about the choices. Understanding now that it will take me some time to truly decide how to proceed with this project. I need to sleep on it some more.
So on the next day I tested some “varigated” 4mm silk ribbon …the answer is a maybe “yes”. I like the look but will definitely have to tweak it as the ribbon is applied. Sooo here is what I did for a petal as a test with some pink varigated ribbon…am hoping to find some “hot redish pink” colored 4mm ribbon because I want to do this in a deeper redish also…below is a partial picture of Nicola Jarvis’s petal…then a photo of my idea with the 4mm ribbon. I am already thinking I might decide to hand dye some of my white 4mm ribbon to the colors I want…(psst..I get to play…!) I know all things will take time but I am enjoying the process. I am looking forward to doing some ribbon embroidery and I think this flower will lend itself nicely to this medium. Since I was testing for style and the piece of ribbon used was a remnant I didn’t press the creases out so just ignore that..
It has been a few years now, but when I was in Williamsburg, Virginia at a class with “Nicola Jarvis” I got up the nerve to ask her if she would draw a picture of “Fire Pinks” a native flower that grows on the property where I live. Explaining why I adore this flower is hard. It is a simple flower very bright red/pink. They also have been cultivated as they can be a pale pink to other shades of pink also. I would like to do this flower in red/pink as well as in the pale pink which is the way Nicola drew it for me…my thanks will never be enough for the drawing! I just want to do it justice in the creation!
First off…I can (in my head) see what it looks like in all detail but it will not translate to my hands. Over the years I have tried but just do not have the capability to draw what I see and that means just about anything! Below is just a hint of the wonderful drawing Nicola did for me. She asked about it a month ago or so …so I decided I needed to get my brain moving to stitch this flower…it is really pretty to me and I am excited to try my hand at taking a drawing and then to interpret it in thread or other fiber media (maybe silk ribbon). So here is a beginning…just a hint…
Gee…this is small…the first thing is to “pad” the outside basket shape with two different sizes of teeny tiny cut felt the smaller of which is below the larger one. Below shows the padding attached with stab stitches to hold them in place the same was done with the smaller one.
The basket itself called for “three” different stitches…the first one is “Woven Filling Stitch”which went over the padding and inside the upper basket. The instructions for this stitch are not in the book so I took to the internet and there is a nice video on one. Just type in the stitch you want and up it came…basically it is just vertical lines stitched first then the typical over under stitched horizontally…A tad hard in this small space..plus your going over a bump!
The second stitch is called “Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch”. The instructions for this are in the back of the book with really nice photos..(whew!) This stitch is used for the upper basket outline around the top.The stitch is a basic stem stitch with an added two wraps of wool before you take the next stitch.
The third stitch is (ta da!) the “Whipped Chain Stitch”. This stitch is a simple chain stitch and then taking the wool back and weaving it through the chains to give it a fuller/thicker look…Used here for the bottom of the basket and for the handles.
The last thing to do is fill the basket with the oranges which are really nice Mill Hill seed beads…I did like the fact green floss was used to stitch these down …thought it added to the defintion of the orange. Sooooo the basket is now done!
Changing the type and color of a stitch from what the designer has written in their instructions makes one sometimes feel like you are taking their hard work and putting it aside..Myself for one truly understands all the work that goes into the design from the concept, sketching, decisions on what stitches to use then each individual color/thread that is used for all the different areas of a design. Boggles my mind! So when changing a designers idea to what works for me I still get a twinge of “but it should have done it their way” guilt.
After having stitched for so many years whether handwork or machine embroidery….then with all the wonderful and fantastic teachers who have “encouraged” to take a chance and change a color or type of stitch because it makes us as students to step outside the box… Sooooo….below is a photo of the change of color chosen for the oranges. Much happier with the color..the thread used is a DMC perle cotton #5 varigated… and then using a light padding underneath then covering with a satin stitch. I like the effect the tiny cross stitch gives the bottom of the orange.
The leaves use a fly stitch ….same as on the front…one thing that gets very tiring at times is “leaves”so many of them! Enough said! We will see the full effect of the new colors when the tree is finished!
Better later than never…It has just been to muggy and hot to do much of anything…The title at least makes me feel Autumn is coming…Yes…I finally picked up the part of the back of the workbox and started to embroider the trunk of the tree with a stranded wool called” Gloriana Lorikeet”..I am pretty sure I have mentioned before that using all these different types of embroidery threads is a wonderful treat…now whether I like them or not…at least I have tried them..This crewel wool is “fine” and for the trunk of the tree you use two strands for the bigger part and then use one strand for the smaller branches. The wool is varigated and adds some very nice contrast to the trunk…The picture below shows just the main trunk and where I started again with the crewel wool (boy that just sounds hot!) . I separated the two strands so the difference can be seen.
The stitches used here are the “stem stitch and the outline stitch” alternating the two in rows…Are they precisely done?..Not sure…to much fuzzy going on…Trying to remember how to do these “supposedly” simple stitches has always been a challenge…For me I finally decided this was the best way “outline” means “O”ver and then stem is under. Now Over for me means above but I like the fact I can use the “O” in outline to remind me how it works! Pretty slick for my memory!
This is the backside picture from the instructions in the book “Home Sweet Home” Embroidered Workbox by Carolyn Pearce …”Autumn Orange”…Remember this is a small box …One day I will show just how small it is.
Just a quick update…I have been taking a brief break from stitching…I did work for a little while on the “Trevelyon Cap” and hopefully will show some progress on that shortly… My mind keeps saying ” I need to finish…I need to finish..let the fingers go stitching! My body says “cool, stay cool, I want to stick my head in the refrigerator”. As you can tell August is definitely not a favorite month of the year!