Sunday, November 8, 2015

Delaware Inspiratons

This sampler is A Delaware Inspiration by Theresa Baird of Heart's Ease Exampler Workes.
I started stitching it last January as part of a stitch along for the Swan Sampler Guild. It is stitched on 40 count Pearled Barley by Lakeside Linen with a variety of silk threads. Some of them like Gloriana and Belle Soie were overdyed and others were just a single color.
Theresa sent us a post with the section that we were to work on for the next month. Some months it was relatively easy to get the stitching finished but others not so much. Sometimes life does get in the way of embroidery. I did leave out a couple of motifs, a fox and the holly leaves but did stitch the blue chickens that I was not sure that I liked when I started. The longer I stitched, the more the blue birds seemed to fit.
I just sent off a new pattern to Kelmscott for release later so this has been a productive period although I have spent more time at my parent's doctors that I wanted.
Now to decide what I want to start next........

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Summer and Needlework Finishes

Somehow this summer has flown by at lightening speed. It got filled up with trips and projects and just the day to day stuff of life, but piled one on top of the other in overflowing time consuming bunches of too much.
Ever had a time when you felt like you were spinning so fast that you might explode into thousands of tiny pieces. When we were children there was a spinner on the playground that if you got it going fast enough it would fling you off the edge.

 That is how it has been. I had a one month period of time when I was home only 2 complete days out of 30. The activities were all fun, a trip to Alaska, time at the cabin, a class and a quilting retreat, but spacing a bit further apart would have been better.
I did get a lot of stitching done at the cabin and even some on the trip so I have some pieces to share with you, so I'll try to catch up with some of the things that I have been doing.

Here are ones that I have been working on for several years.

I finished the small bits of the Hardanger Chatelaine many years ago but never quite got to the band until now.  The design is by Janice Love. I really like the green color of the linen and thread.

This over one piece is from a William Morris design called the Strawberry Thief. It will end up being finished as an ornament. Here's hoping that it doesn't take as long to do that as it took to stitch it.

The final long term embroidery project is from Trish Burr. It is a daisy that is done in surface embroidery.
It was fun to do and I like how it turned out. The way that the colors blend is quite lovely.

Our small quilt group has been working on a really fun quilt by Lori Holt. We love most of the squares but I wanted to add a few of my own. I enjoy doing sampler quilts because all of the squares are different. Here is the  original quilt and one of my squares. I decided that I needed a beehive so here is my design.                    

While we were quilting and shopping we went to Spring City to one of my favorite places. Joe Bennion does the most amazing pottery. The glazes just glow and the forms are elegant. I bought a couple of new pots from him.
I needed to do some revisions on a piece that I did for a fund-raiser a number of years ago and finally got them done. This is called Forgive the Follies and eventually should be available through Kelmscott Designs. It has some fun elements so I'm glad that it is finished again.

The most recent class that I took was from Betsy Morgan. She designed and taught a piece for the Swan Sampler Guild that features motifs from samplers with ties to Utah. It is called Pioneer School Girl Etui. The stitching is fun but not very complicated so it stitches up fast but the finishing did take more time than I thought it would, but was worth it. I added a few more pieces to the set to fill up the boxes. I used designs from the same book that Betsy used for my smalls. I have always liked the antique sets with the measuring tape, waxer, thimble and emery that match, so decided to add those and a needlebook to the etui.

 I do have a few more projects that I am working on so although things have slowed down, I am making progress.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Katherin is finished

She is finished!!!! Katherin is dressed. I was able to finish sewing her dress yesterday and today I  put the lace on it and dressed her. All of her clothes are sewn and embroidered by hand. Her dress is pale gold taffeta and the lace is hand made bobbin lace. I was able to purchase some lace fragments several years ago so I could cut them up to use for her collar, sleeves and cuffs.
As much as possible as I made her clothes, I  used historical patterns and techniques. However when I was putting her dress together that would not work. Pins were used to pin parts of the bodice to the stomacher and also fasten the skirt in place. Since pins that tiny do not exist, I assembled her dress with needle and thread. I have enjoyed all of the study, embroidery and the sewing that it took to put her together.

New projects are in the planning stage to do more things for my 17th century casket and accessories.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Aunt Helen, Katherin and collecting

In the past I have collected a number of things. I have a nice collection of sewing tools. This is a small wall cabinet that features some of them.

I started collecting years ago when they were very hard to find. My favorite material is mother of pearl but most of my things are bone and ivory.  I have a nice assortment of white on white embroidery, mostly for study and inspiration.
One thing that I had not collected was samplers. I love to look at them and stitch them but knew that the prices of the ones that I most admired were way out of my budget. On day a few months ago, this darling lady came into work and wanted to know what a couple of her red work samplers were worth. We looked them up on the internet (what did we ever do pre-google) and found that they were not that valuable. She was concerned because although precious to her, her family didn't care about them at all. I was able to purchase this one from her. Her Aunt Helen had stitched it in 1898. At first I thought it is not very old - like the samplers from the 1600 or 1700's, but then realized that it is over 100 years old.  I thought that it was so much fun that as I studied it, I decided to start charting it to reproduce. I then did an adaptation of it so stitchers can add their name and some period appropriate motifs to make it their own.  Kelmscott will be releasing it in May for retail sales.
Here is just part of the new part of the pattern.
Katherin's wardrobe has been growing slowly. I had finished the embroidery and made up the two pieces, the petticoat and the stomacher. Now I only needed to finish the dress. At this point I sort of came to a standstill because I had to think things through before I could go any further. Just how was I going to fasten the stomacher to the dress? If this were a real dress and all its parts, then they would be pinned together as the lady was getting dressed. Not having pins quite small enough to do the job, I had come to halt. As much as possible as I have been working on the clothes, I have used fabrics, patterns, techniques and designs that were period appropriate. Sewing all of the clothing by hand with silk and linen really added to the overall look that I wanted. At this point however, I decided to sew the stomacher to the sides of the dress and then sew the skirt onto the bodice.  Having made that decision, it was time to make a mock-up for fitting and to create a pattern. I started with the same dress pattern that I had used for the corset and altered as necessary to fit over all of the layers of clothes that she was already wearing. The bodice is lined with a very thin china silk and sewn with size 100 silk sewing thread. I gauged the sleeves so that the gathering looks like it should and sewed 26 very tiny eyelets down the back for  lacing the dress up along the back. It still needs the lace sewn along the edge of the sleeve and around the neck but the construction is finished. I was able to purchase some fragments of hand made lace to use on Katherin's dress. The scale of the lace makes it look like the heavy lace that was used at the time. The skirt is next, then the lace, ribbons and the finishing details.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Katherin's stomacher and petticoat

I have been stitching the designs on the fabric for a couple of the articles of clothing that my Katherin Isobell Boswell is going to wear. I finished the construction of the her stomacher and the outer-petticoat. I love the way that the blue-green goes with the shades of gold. I was able to find some silk ribbon that almost matched the silk fabric and was able to use it when I sewed the stomacher. All that is left to make is her dress - well first the muslin mock up and when I have the pattern created then I will hand sew the dress.

The plain edges of the stomacher will be covered by the dress. The ribbon tabs were used to pin the stomacher to her stays.

The petticoat is lined with pale gold china silk and fastens with a hook and eye. In my collection I have a number of hooks and eyes from the 1600's.

 Here are both of the new pieces together on the doll.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Katherin's clothes and an organized fabric stash

Those of you who know me know that I can't resist fabric of any kind. I love the feel of it and how it looks and drapes as I work with it. Among the other things that I like to do is quilt. Some of the fabric in my quilt stash is at least 60 years old. I have small pieces from the 30's, 40's and 50's but the larger of the older pieces are from the 70's.  It is always interesting to look at the way that fabrics change through the decades. I have had my fabrics tucked away in a set of deep drawers that although they held lots of stash, they also hid what I had from view and from memory. As I was getting ready to start another quilt, I would have to go digging deep in the drawers and hope to find the fabric that I wanted. This week we were finally able to finish the shelves for the quilt fabric stash. Now all of the cottons are folded and placed in color sorted bins so that I can finally see what I have at a glance. Now the pattern books, bolts and bins are together.
 I have been working on this cross stitch sampler for a few weeks and have finally finished the stitching but now that it is stitched.... it is not quite finished. I think that the colors are a bit too bright and I want to tone them down. So.. I am going to coffee dye it to give it a more antique look and soften the tone of the pinks. It was created as a teaching piece with a very specific purpose in mind. All of the stitches in it are either types of cross stitch or backstitch. Sometime you just have to take that leap of faith and forget the hours of work and make that change. We shall have to see how it works out.

We over dyed the completed sampler today and I rather like how it turned out. The linen in a wonderful warm color and all of the threads took  on enough of the tint of the coffee so that they are a bit more mellow and blend better.

 Here is the panel of Katherin's skirt with the embroidery finished and half of the paillettes added. I started with just a few but just kept adding a few more until it looked like it should. Embroidery from the 17th century was packed rather tightly, not a lot of open space so that is the look that I tried for. This is the petticoat  that will be seen  because the dress is open in the front.
 This part is the stomacher.. such in interesting name but it is a separate panel that was pinned on the bodice to cover the stays or corset.  Now I just have to take courage in hand and cut them out and construct the parts of the dress. The dress will be a plain soft gold silk taffeta so the details of the embroidery will really be the focal point.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Katherin skirt and cross stitch class

Just when you think that you have life organized and can get to some of the wonderful projects that you want to work on.... well life in all its messy glory laughs at you and gets totally in the way.
However I still have found a bit of time to work on  a few things. Some are  works in progress and others are new.
I have been able to work on Katherin's skirt and have nearly all of the embroidery done. Just a bit more on one flower and then some finishing touches.

The second piece is for a class that I am in the process of writing. This is my version of the required sampler. Hopefully all of them will end up looking different.  The class includes a number of kinds of cross stitches and the students will have choices of colors, bands and just which order they want them in. Should be a fun class and hopefully they will learn a tons of things.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Katherin's Petticoat

 This skirt was embroidered between 1610 and 1620. It is exhibited in the Glasgow Museum. I used it as the inspiration of the underskirt or petticoat of Katherin's dress. The original is a riot of colors with silver accents. The silver has turned black over the years so it does not sparkle like it would have when new.
 Here is the overall design for the skirt. Much of it will not show when she is dressed but since I don't know just how much will, I decided to make the design larger than I thought that I needed.
When I am working on my floor stand, I usually only stitch an hour a day.  Any more than that and my back hurts so it takes quite a while to finish a project. Plus there are so many other things that I need to work at and stitch on.
 Instead of the polychrome of the original, I am using a wonderful woad blue silk for the background. I have decided to use gold silk Soie de Paris thread in three shades plus a fine English metallic gold.
The thread is a filament silk so it has great sheen.
This is progress from day one. I basted the design on the silk and started the gold.
 Day two - Hour two
I have added a bit more gold and started the leaves. I am going to get the tendrils and leaves stitched before I start any flowers. I added the spool so that you could get an idea of the size of the work.
 Day three - Hour three
A bit more gold and a few more leaves.
Day four - Hour four
I feel like it is growing nicely. The needle is a size 13 so it is tiny but very sharp. I am just removing the paper in the area where I am stitching that day. As I get more done, I will cover up the embroidered area so that the threads don't get rubbed.