Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

Slow progress continues on the 17th century pastoral panel.

I'm still avoiding completing the tree trunk. . . moving on to work on some of the acorns.  Here are the first three completed.

The bottoms of the nuts are in ceylon stitch, while the caps are in a woven technique working the silk thread over and under a trellis of vertical linen base threads.

The right hand acorn shows the cap with the linen base threads in place.

And here is the "weaving" step in progress:

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Rather Troublesome Leaf

Let me digress briefly to bemoan the travails of surface embroidery for those of us who are counted thread stitchers at heart.  Ah, the comfort of knowing exactly where the needle is supposed to go. . . and the stress of having to decide exactly where to place a stitch.

Behold Exhibit 1, the latest leaf in my pastoral panel, the yellow and green one on the lower left:

According to the instructions, this leaf was supposed to be a similar shape to the ones above it, with scalloped edges on either side.  Sadly, the pattern -- in indelible ink of course -- didn't trace exactly that way on the fabric. . . . and the lower part of the upper leaf was way too close to create a scalloped edge along the top.

Since there weren't too many options available (assuming I was NOT going to rip out), I tried to make it look like the top of the leaf might be folded back, obscuring the scalloped edge.

Right now, it's still kind of bugging me, but probably once a little more stitching is done, my annoyance will move on to other things!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Another Leaf

A little progress to report -- one little striped leaf (the one at the lower left):

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Where the heck. . . .??

. . . have I been?

Well, the year plus absence would seem to warrant some wild and exciting story.  Not really.

In addition to a great big ol' stitching slump, DH and I completely lost our minds and contracted for a big house renovation, scheduled to start in August - September 2015. . . and take about four months.
Need I say that things did not turn out exactly that way?  Heading into September 2016 we're moving into MONTH 10 of our 4 month project. . . still with no real finish date.  Grumble grumble.

In any case, my stash was carefully packed away last July, and since construction began in November the house has been generously festooned with deep dust.  But I was determined to eventually start stitching again. . .. so I had a plan.

This spring, I signed up with The Essamplaire for an on-line course that began in June -- by which time our renovation (according to schedule 4 or 5) was SURE to be done.  I had wanted to take this class in person several years ago, so decided to go with it.  Just the thing, a brand new project -- no unpacking of stash required -- ready to start in June!  Wonderful!  Here's a photo of the piece.  Looks like fun, right!

Well, delay is my life these days, but in mid-August, enough construction work was done that dust could be kept at a reasonable level. . . and I actually started stitching.

The first step was to stitch the entire tree trunk -- using detached buttonhole in green and yellow silk to couch silver thread return.  As shown in the photo below, I have at least gotten a good start on this. . . although there is one big side branch to go.

Stitching that big branch got a little tedious, so I jumped ahead and stitched three of the leaves -- two in multi-color detached buttonhole, the third in multi-colored stem stitch - and one little acorn.  Here's what's done so far:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Playing with Dolls

I wanted to post some photos of a super fun little project I completed earlier this year.

Each January our EGA chapter hosts a workshop that does something requiring a needle and thread. . . but usually a little outside of traditional embroidery.

This year our guest teacher was beading instructor Cathy Helmers, who taught a 3-dimensional beading class.  You can see some of Cathy's work here.  We could choose either a little fantasy animal (called a snootie) or an art doll.

The stuffed fabric doll and snootie forms were premade (complete with the cabochon doll face), and we were each allowed to select from a great selection of fun beads.

I chose the doll was thrilled that I completed her over the winter.  Here she is in all her glory:

Back view (love the wild and crazy hair!):

And here's a super close up that shows the underlying fabric.  Deciding what to do was a challenge for me (at heart I'm a counted thread embroiderer).  But I'm really happy with the large diagonal motif across the front and back.  I think the brown textured beads were the key here.  They provided EXACTLY the right amount of color and texture contrast.  And I went all out and added the tiny pearls all over where there were little white dots on the underlying fabric.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Taking Stock

After getting the stitching on the ground fabric completed, the next steps involve attaching various detached elements to create the final picture.  I'd long since forgotten exactly how much had been done on these small elements before the project went into the great big WIP pile.

I was happily surprised to find that most of the nine required pink petals and over half of the woven detached sepals were complete and ready to go.  Over the past several days, I've made the rest of those elements. . . most of which you can see on my little embroidery hoop below.  The petals are made of wire couched and then bottonhole stitched to a ground, then outlined with split stitch, followed by two layers of satin stitch.  The final touch is the five straight stitches in light pink.  I will cut the individual petals out as I need them to avoid the danger of them getting lost.  The sepals are just wire wrapped with silk thread. . . over / under / over / under until the required length is reached.

I've started the attaching process, and two additional buds are almost complete.  Completing each bud involves working two woven sepals on the ground fabric, then inserting three detached sepals. . . covering the bud with light green satin stitch, then finally working three wrapped lines over each buds.  The remaining three buds / flowers are flowers beginning to emerge from their buds, so in addition to the green sepals, they will have one or more of the little pink petals.

Next goal:  Complete the plant and get ready to move on to the butterfly and bugs.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Week of Leaves and Stems

I'm trying hard to climb out of my stitching rut!  Step one was finding something ready to go. . . all in one place . . . and near the top of the WIP pile.

I'm really happy with my choice -- a Jane Nicholas piece that was taught at our EGA chapter as part of the fall 2013 International Teachers Tour.

During class we worked through different techniques. . . but not many parts of the design were actually completed.  Starting back up, I wanted to follow the correct order of stitching.  And that meant jumping right in to working the background leaves and stems.

Day 1 - This photo is pretty much as the piece stood at the end of class.  On Day 1, I did complete the leaf of the bottom right and added the central stem.  The bud you see on the left was a sample of about a half dozen techniques that will be copied in 5 more buds and flowers, and the little blue blob is made up of blue and black detached elements that have been attached to the ground fabric and will eventually be a little lady bug.

Day 2 - More leaves and stems are in progress.  Each leaf consists of three steps:  a split stitch outline, which is then filled in with satin stitch padding stitches, and finally covered with satin stitch. All three steps are evident in this photo which shows where I stopped on Day 2.

Day 3 - It took 3 days of work, but the leaves and stems are now complete!

Day 4 - Moving forward, it's time to start work on the bases of the buds and flowers.  The one bud on the lower left was mostly done in class, but now looks MUCH better with its top layer of light green satin stitch.  I had also traced the padding layers for the other buds in class, so stitching those in place was also fairly quick.  Yea!

Going forward, there's one more bud to pad, and then I need to take inventory on how many little pieces are actually complete and ready to go. . . and how many still need to be made.   But I do have a nice glow of accomplishment for the week!