Wednesday, June 21, 2017

In the Words of Scarett O'Hara

So. . . yet again. . . indecision has put a sudden prolonged stop to all stitching.  Attempts to diagnose the problem with the metallic thread and up and down detached buttonhole remain unsuccessful.  Aaarrggghhhh!

Hence, Scarlett's advice.  I'll think about that tomorrow.

In the meantime, I decided to move on to several new motifs that should be less problematic.

First is a multicolored red and yellow butterfly, done in stem stitch:

Then on to a strange oversized stem with two leaves and two round shapes that I assume are flowers of some sort.

The stem has a tweedy look achieved by using two different colored threads - green and reddish brown -- done in an attached buttonhole / blanket stitch.  To my mind it's a rather odd effect.  Here's that odd stem with one of the two leaves stitched with a chain stitch outline filled with detached buttonhole.  

Above it, you can see the chain stitch (actually reverse chain) outline for the second leaf.  

And here is the completed second leaf:

In both of these leaves, I used the temporary tacking technique for the buttonhole return thread as shown in my blog post of January 8, 2013.  Although the lines of stitching here are not as sharply angled as those in the other post, I am reasonably satisfied with the neatness of the buttonhole filling of these irregular shapes.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Will It Stay or Will It Go?

Remember those threads behaving badly?

Well, there's a whole other silver and gold acorn, but this one has a different stitch for the acorn cap.

Silver and gold acorn 1 had a cap stitched with the same wrapping technique as the acorns stitched with silk.  But the second one has a cap stitched in an alternating up and down detached buttonhole.

I find this to be a tricky stitch under any circumstances, but the characteristics of this thread (Access Commodities Tambour #7) made it especially challenging.   The photos below represent attempt 5 and I haven't decided whether or not I want to try one more time with attempt 6.

After several tries, I determined that an outline of the whole shape was the way to go:

I also had developed another "cheat" to help control the stitch and thread.  The photo below shows the first row, worked over a needle to help stabilize the thread.  Here you can see how the stitch is supposed to look, with a series of little bundles of two threads.  At this point, things are really looking good!

Here's the cap with several rows worked the same way.  . . . looking OK, but you can see how in the center rows, the little bundles are tending to disappear.  What's happening is that this metallic does not act like a wire in that it does not "crimp" into a shape that stays in place.  But unlike a silk thread, it does retain a lot of :"bounce" that makes it tend to bounce back out of the little bundles when the stabilization is removed.  So instead of a clear pattern of little bundled threads, it looks more like an overall pattern of loops.

Here's the finished shape. . . with the pattern of alternating bundles pretty well absorbed into the loopy texture.  

So, does it stay or does it go?   If I had a really good idea on how to keep the little bundles in place, I'd probably take it out and restitch it.  But so far. . . inspiration has yet to hit.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ta dah!

Here's the finished acorn. . . with a cap made of badly behaving gold thread!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Threads Behaving VERY Badly - or Why This is Taking So Danged Long

I'm back working on the needlelace pastoral panel, which is progressing as slowly as the proverbial molasses in January.

While taking a break from a fiendishly difficult trellis stitch leaf, I decided to move ahead with the remaining acorns.

All the acorn bodies are done in Ceylon stitch, which looks kind of like knitting, as can be seen in this photo of completed acorns stitched in silk.  A stitch diagram can be found  here.

The next remaining acorn called for the nut section to be stitched in silver tambour, and here's where things got dicey.  Metallic threads are notorious for obnoxious behavior. . . and that was certainly the case here.  This photo shows the kind of schenanigans you can expect (see the spontaneous kinked section towards the right).

Complicating things further, between the size of the stitch and the shine of the thread, it was almost impossible to see the stitches while working.  (Amazing now clear it all is in the blown up photos.)

In any case, after cutting out two unsuccessful tries, I decided that I needed help. . . which I provided myself by tacking down each stitch as I worked.  While VERY time consuming, this did make the stitched loops lie flat and stay still instead of kinking up and semi-floating above the fabric.  The photos show the individual loops tacked down as I worked, and the finished product with the tacking stitches removed.

So. . . cheating or not. . . the nut of the acorn is done!

Monday, January 9, 2017

A New Leaf for the New Year?

It's back.  After a holiday hiatus, I've started back to work on the needle lace pastoral panel.  This is the next to last leaf on the big central tree.  I had started the central section before the holidays, and today managed to get back to work and finish up this very crazy leaf.

That leaves one more leaf and a half dozen or so acorns yet to do.