Thursday, October 25, 2018

Student award and Faith, Hope and Charity

One of the magazines that I love is Inspirations. It is published out of Australia and is full of fabulous projects. I rarely stitch any of the projects but they are so much fun to look at and be inspired. They put out a newsletter that has featured several of my finished pieces. In fact, one is coming out the next issue. It has been fun to see them published and share with the needlework community.  In issue #160, I was looking at the award winning pieces from the "seminar" that they hold called Beating Around the Bush. I found much to my surprise and delight that one my my students, Elma Haley won a first place for the Jewel Box Bag. I taught it at the Embroiderers' Guild National Seminar in Asheville, North Carolina in 2017.  It is great to see finished pieces from my students. She did a fabulous job with the stitching and the finishing.  Great big congratulations to her.

Some progress has been made on Faith, Hope and Charity. It is fun to see the slow but steady progress that I am making. Emphasis on slow... as far as I can tell I am about half way finished. Yea!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Celtic Harp take two...

After being inspired by Jenny Adin-Christie's harp, I finished my version of the original harp and posted it to a page to share it with fellow embroiderers.  I received some feedback about violating her copyright since I had looked at her kit. I don't agree but rather than anyone think that I would do that and since I was not happy with the proportions of mine anyway. I took it apart so that version of the harp no longer exists. 
I was aiming for a Celtic version of a harp so back to the drawing board with the research photos. I decided to go for a truly Celtic shape with the strings ( needles) on the slant.
 A few more mock-ups and the Celtic harp took shape. I really liked the proportions of the new harp. I kept the sound box with the embroidery since that was exactly the shape of the one that I liked the best. The new shape was great but a bit plain.

A friend of mine said that one of her teachers told her that you need to stitch something three times to get it right.   So...number one try was my reproduction harp. Enter the dragon, not Welch since she is not red but a very Celtic dragon anyway. She perches along the neck and winds her tail around the column. Number two try, I stitched part of the dragon, cut it out to apply it to the harp and it fell apart. Well the third try finally worked out like I wanted it to. The dragon is perfect and so is the harp.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Frog Purse

For a number of years I have been working on and sharing with you the bits and pieces of my Casket - better known and as the Cabinet of Curiosities. Not content to stitch just the class pieces I have been adding other fun pieces by my imaginary Scottish stitcher  - Katherin Boswell.
One of the fun things that were created during the 17th century were small purses in the shape of a three dimensional frog with a bag inside of the body. A number of them still exist in museum collections.  They are totally useless except to make you smile; they might hold a coin or two but not  much else.
A group of us are studying and sharing all kinds of embroidery techniques. We decided that we would make a frog purse. Mine is a common English frog with an interesting difference. A Scottish variety of the frog can be a peachy tan instead of the more common tan/green. It is made of needlelace with covered wire legs and a rust silk bag. I used a lucet to create the drawstring.
One member is doing a bright pink frog and another is doing brightly colored Caribbean tree frog.

Here is an example of one of the antique ones.

This is the front of mine...

And here is the back

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Celtic Harp

 In the spring Jenny Adin-Christie designed a small harp needlecase that was modeled on one that was the inspiration for a poem by William Wordsworth called "On Seeing a Needlecase in the form of a Harp'. I fell in love with it and then very foolishly didn't order it. I could not get it out of my mind so........

I thought that I would create my own version of it. How hard could it be, after all I have designed and stitched lots of small things.  Very hard actually... Designing from a photo and getting scale correct is almost impossible. The one thing that helped was knowing the approximate size of the needles. My harp is 1.34 times larger than the photographs that I could find of the harp. The size was dictated by the length of the longest Tulip needle that I could get. It is 90 mm long. The ones on the harp are from Tulip and so I went to their website and looked up all the different needle lengths and then ordered a bunch of them. I ended up using some Tulip needles, but others are from China and still others are from my stash. I was also able to take a peek at a kit so that clarified shapes somewhat.

Not wanting to reproduce the embroidery or the color, I decided on a piece of pale old gold Duponi silk and gold threads. The theme that I picked was for a Celtic harp. After looking at several zillion photos, I decided to use a dragon, tree of life and an interwoven band on harp with a curl at the top. The gold threads that I picked were #4 gilt smooth passing and Gilt 6-End Silk. They were a beautiful bright gold that matched the gold beads, pearl purl and spangles.

Here is the dragon with spangles and the design for the base.

The interlaced band for the back of the harp was fun to do. All the over and under makes a great design. The tree of life for the front turned out to be a bit trickier than expected. Stitching with the Gilt 6 - End Silk was hard. It did not want to pull through the fabric, then all the branches of the tree used short lengths of couched #4. If I had asked a student to stitch this they would have called me all sorts of unfriendly words. But... with the beads it looks great so it was worth it. How about a coil of gold on the curve of the harp and then  going all down the side? Oh slight problem! Construction with a loose length of gold purl catches threads as you stitch. The purl could not be stitched in place until the sound box was put together.
Oh yes, construction.... Do you use glue to put the bits of fabric on the board or just lace them down. After several cut and paste sessions with paper I thought that I was ready. I both glued and laced and then re-cut board and laced again but was lucky not to ruin any of my embroidery. I used a gold wrapped bead from my stash for the top. It was left over from a project long ago. The rod has flat gold silk around it with wrapped plate spiraling down the length. The rod turned out longer than I wanted in the end. The mock up looked fine but by the time I decided it was to too long it was too late to shorten it. If I change the bead at the top it might work better but I will have to see how I feel about it later. With all of the design and work, the harp faces the same as the original. But the hard work is done and it does look wonderful.

Back panel of the sound box of the harp.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

While Rosy Cheeks Sampler update

Here are a couple of updates on a couple of things that I have been working on. First is Faith, Hope and Charity. If feel like my forever project but I am making some progress. I wanted to work out the dimensions of the whole sampler so I stitched the partial pages on the right of the sampler all the way to the top of the design so I could see the finished size. Now I only have whole pages left, all 27 of them.
 I am working on the While Rosy Cheeks sampler also. Here is a fun tree that is finished. I thought about doing spiral trellis for the fruit but decided that Rhodes stitches would work better.
 Here is the verse that the sampler if named for finished. Since it is over one thread I ended up using 100/3 silk for the letters. The linen is from Lakeside and the way it is finished shrinks it a bit. So now it is 42 threads per square inch instead of 40.

I have added a new pattern to my line of retail patterns. It is set of Quaker inspired pin cushions that includes instructions for finishing them. It has been stitched for a while but I finally got the the rest of the instructions written. I find it very frustrating when I purchase a pattern and they don't include the directions of how they finished it so I include them in my patterns. The pin cushions are big but have fun shapes.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Rose and Pomegranate

I don't know about you but most of us have a favorite designer or two. Their work has such a great look that everyone likes the pieces.
One of my favorite designers is Cynthia Jackson. She lives in Canada so I don't see her very often but have enjoyed taking several classes from her and we have taught at some of the same seminars.
The  pieces are American Ivy and Corinthian Column.
Last year  I was lucky enough to notice that she was going to teach at the national EGA seminar in the fall of 2018 and asked if I could be in the pilot class for one of the classes. She said yes, so I have spent a number of hours working on one of the pieces.  It is called Rose and Pomegranate and was adapted from a design created for Henry VIII and his first wife Katherine of Aragon. It is the Tudor Rose of  England and the Pomegranate from Spain.
The design is wonderful and I enjoyed working with the silk, gold and silver threads and metals.There was a technique that she used that was new to me and gives a fabulous look to the leaves where it was used.  Colored threads are couched over metal plate so that just some of the gold peeks through  the silk.

  I have featured Corinthian Column before on the blog,
This piece is called American Ivy and the technique is English Goldwork.
Some of the leaves are painted green leather and others are colored bullion.

I have finally started putting pencil to paper for my casket project. So as I start stitching, I will post some of the work. I am starting with the smallest bands on the lid and will work my way down to the larger areas. I am so excited to get started.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The TRIKET BOX is Finished!!!!

I finally finished the last of the projects from the Cabinet of Curiosities class from Tricia Wilson Nguyen.
It has been a fabulous journey of learning and discovery. I have always wanted to stitch a seventeenth century needlework casket, and Tricia's class is making that possible. I am not sure how many of us knew what we were getting into when we started but it has been so worth the ride.
My Gold Fish trinket box looks "fabulous" and I can't wait to get started on the big casket. I have ideas galore, a theme and a name. It will be Kathrin's Kist since she is from Scotland and an old term for a  box is a kist.

The gold background silk of my embroidery is on my box is some wonderful heavy gold Scalamandre fabric from a past project. Because it is such a strong color I decided to use a limited number of colors of threads on it.  I used antique Chinese gold thread for the couched lines plus Chinese and French silks and for the embroidery.
The fabric for the top is an ivory Duchesse silk. The green and blue are Chinese silk, the gold and ivory are French Soie de Paris silk. I threw all kinds of gold metallic threads into the design; English gold-work bullion and purls, Chinese gold thread, Japanese gold threads and French paillettes are all used together. The gold fish is padded so that it is raised above the surface of the box.
I was going to use a gold and white paper for the box but ended up using a hand made gold and green marbelized paper with a dark gold silk for the lining.
The gold braid is the perfect shade to match the gold silk and gold leaf feet finish the box.

Here are the flowers on the back of the box. My three daughters have favorite flowers and so I added them to the back of the box. They are a sunflower, a daisy and a columbine.
 This side of the box features pea pods and a potato flower.

I love daffodils and carnations so they are on the front of my box .

The marbled paper lines the lid to finish off the box.