Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Playing Catch Up

With little Leo complete, it's time to move on to another of my sea of UFOs.  Near the top was Tricia Nguyen's goldwork masterclass.   The most recent installment of instructions and background information was Month 14. . . while I had just completed Month 1.  YIKES!  So I stocked up on ink for my computer printer, dug out my sampler thus far (silk work done. . . but nothing else), and got to it.

Happily, the next couple of months' worth of lessons were not too taxing, so over the past week, I've managed to complete Months 2 and 3.  (Each month, instructions are posted on new goldwork stitches plus an essay on the history complete with fabulous up-close research photos of key historic pieces.)

Here's the sampler with the Months 2 and 3 gold (and silver) stitches in place.   As you can see in the picture, in some places the sample of goldwork is just worked rather randomly on the fabric. . . while in others the goldwork is incorporated into the silkwork motifs.

And here's my doodle cloth showing samples of the goldwork stitches (from L to R) chain stitch, twisted chain, heavy chain, four-legged and eight-legged spider stitches along with lengths of the two threads we're using. . . Benton and Johnson 371 (thicker) and 340 (thinner).

And here are several close-ups showing how the goldwork stitches fit into the larger motifs:

Four-legged spider stitches in geometric motif

Heavy chain stitch (in thinner thread) as spines of the leaves

Queen stitches in thinner gold as accents in geometric motif

So, I'm making progress!  Yea!  But Month 15 is due out later this week. . . so I better keep stitching before I fall back another month yet again.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Little Leo's Ready to Roar

Major Happy Dance time here with little Leo the stumpwork lion finally complete!  Here he is, looking quite pleased with himself on his sunny grassy hill...and ready for his closeup.

The big addition in this post is Leo's elegant wreath.  This was another one of the "so that's how they did it" moments. . .as I've seen lots of similar wreathes in historic pieces and tried to figure out exactly how they were constructed.

The process isn't terribly difficult, but it was time consuming.  Step one was wrapping silk or silk perle purl around pieces of parchment. . . folding the silk covered parchment into shape, and tacking the finished leaf-like shapes into the wreath outline.  The photos below show the wreath in process.

The last steps were scattering sequins around the flower outlines and adding a jaunty tuft to Leo's tail!  I'm still pondering whether he needs a little butterfly or flower to keep him company. . . or possibly just a sequin or two scattered around him.  But those details can wait. . . probably for quite a while. . . because there's still a lot of work to do on his companion, the little mermaid who has been waiting patiently while Leo took shape.