Sunday, December 3, 2023

Assisi Embroidery

 This pattern is from Modern Folk Embroidery called Fancy an ABC. I brought it because I loved the look but decided that I was never going to stitch the whole design. So.....I picked  part of the design that runs down the right side and tweaked it just a bit and stitched it.

I used a 56 count Seraphim linen in the color Antique Lace which has a bit of a green tone. I stitched it with one strand of Soie Surfine thread.

The technique is called Assisi. You stitch the background and leave the design open so you can see the linen.

Even on that tiny of a linen it is still 3 1/2 by 10 7/8 inches.

I love the way that it turned out. I needed a piece that required just stitching and no decisions.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Parham Owl and Progress on Needlework Casket (Kist)

 I have just finished another piece from the fabulous Jenny Adin-Christie. Her designs are wonderful and so creative. This one is the Parham Owl. It is an etui that has a pin cushion, and thimble holder under the head and the wings are needle holders.

Here is it perching on a stump. I am trying to find a creative way to add some grass around it. I think I know what I want it to look like but we shall see. 

I finished the head first and then the wings. The threads are not the usual ones that we go to when we have a design to work on but really enhance the look of the parts of the owl.

I am back at work on my casket. I have finished the designs for the slope and parts of the body. I needed to get the work that I had finished off of the slate frames so I could use them for the next section. So I glued the paper to the embroidery and then to the casket. It really is a "leap of faith" experience to brush glue on the back of embroidered silk fabric, stick it to paper and then have to wait to see if you did it right.  Anyway, it is on the box now and makes me excited to add more embroidery.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Pink Robin and Magnolia


This embroidery from Inspirations Magazine (issue 109) is called Pretty in Pink. It features a lovely magnolia blossom and a pink breasted robin from Australia (petroica rodinogaster). Who knew a robin could have such a vivid pink breast.

It is done in a technique called silk or soft shading. This allows the colors to shade from one into another without a sharp line where the colors change. It is a bit difficult to do but when it works the effect is glorious. 

The first time I saw it in the magazine, it reminded me so much of my friend Lynn, so I stitched it for her.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Whole Bag - Daffodil and Pomegranate - Petal Bag

 It is finished!!!! 

I love it when a design comes together and turns out the way that I imagined it would. Of course, it is not perfect, but hand work never is.

Daffodil Panel

It was quite an adventure figuring out how to do the edge of the daffodil cup and make it look seamless.  The center of the pomegranate is filled with tiny garnet beads, so it glows because of the way that the light bounces through them. The butterfly is tiny, but I managed to get several colors of silk and silver thread into the wings.

After I finished with the stitching, I needed to lace the embroidery onto the plastic shapes. When both sides were finished, I whip stitched the two sides together. 

The final step to get the petals ready was to couch Grecian gold cord around the whole petal and hide the ends of the cord.

When all five of the sides were finished, I carefully sewed the sides together. Which was an exercise in stitching into tight places. I tried a curved needle but finally ended up with a size 12 sharp that had a little bend to it and was able to sew them securely.

By this time, I was so close to being finished that I didn't even take any more pictures. 

The bag for the center is formed from two circles of gold silk with eyelet holes in the casing for the draw strings, and a plastic pentagon between the two layers for the bottom.  The centered pentagon was sewn to the bottom of the bag on the inside.

Last, I covered a pentagon with white silk for the outside of the bottom and sewed it in place.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Rose and Pear - Petal Bag

 I like the way that the rose turned out on this panel. The rose has both padded and dimensional petals, and the pear is padded silk shading over 3 layers of felt.

As I was working on the different panels the next stage was to add things like pearls, acorn caps and blueberries over the embroidered flat or padded elements on the fabric. 

Next to be stitched was all of the detached petals, leaves and other parts. They needed to have the pattern traced on another piece of fabric. The wire was basted down and then I colored the wire and fabric with a Copic pen.  This was done so that when I cut it out, any of the fabric threads that I couldn't quite get cut off would disappear and if the wire was not completely covered it did not show.  I used various techniques to fill in the shapes. A few were padded with string but mostly they were just stitched and shaded.  After all of the stitching was done, I put a very thin layer of acid free glue on the back so that they were more stable when they were cut out.
The ends of the wire were either just inserted into the fabric or wrapped with silk to make a stem before they were put into place. The ends on the back were bent down, couched to the lining fabric and then trimmed off. At this point the flowers, leaves and other elements were carefully bent to the required shape. 
Finally, I added flower centers, any other small details and then the gold pearl purl and spangles to the panel. Time to celebrate, the embroidery was finished. The photos at the start of each of the posts are of the finished panels.
Now all of that work was done, I could start to put it together.  I picked a soft gold silk taffeta for the lining and the inside bag. The stiffening is a combination of 7 and 10mm quilt template plastic. I wanted something that was thin but rigid and would not get crushed. For most of my small, shaped boxes or houses, I use comic board or Skirtex® to create the shape. I could not do that with this piece since the petals flex a little and if board gets bent it will stay that way and mis-shaped petals would spoil the whole bag.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Poppy and Acorns - Petal Bag

 This is the Poppy panel of the petal purse. I thought that I would do a six petal poppy to go with the acorns. A number of embroidered poppies have only four petals, but others do have six. The acorn caps are detached buttonhole and the nuts are a couched gimp.

The fabric that I used for the background is a Dupon silk in off white.  I ran the warp from side to side so that the more distinct weft with the slubs runs up and down. I mounted the silk with a white cotton backing in stretcher bars to keep both layers of fabric taut while stitching.

To transfer the design to the fabric, I placed a tracing of the design on tissue paper on the silk and then thread basted through all of the layers with a pale gold silk thread. Later I carefully tore off the paper so that the design on the silk was there but not too bold. It was easy to cover or tear out as necessary.

When the design was on the silk, I could finally start the embroidery. I mainly used satin stitch or soft shading with added stems of outline stitch. During this step I also added the flat elements of the design like the couched gold tendril and the snail. The snail is silk covered bullion wire that it couched in a spiral.

It was fun to be able to start the color embroidery after all of the work getting to this point.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Corn Flowers and Strawberries - Petal Bag


The second panel of the Petal Bag features Corn Flowers and Strawberries.

As I continue on my stitching journey to finish the bag, here are a few more of the steps from thought to completed article.

Once I decided on the basic shape of the bag, I started on the drawings of the sides. It is pretty rough now but lets me know where I want to place the flowers, leaves and other bits. It is at this stage that I go back to my research to figure out final shapes of flowers and leaves. I try and get the number of petals correct and look at colors.

After the design is refined, I pick colors and decide what elements will be stitched on the base fabric and which ones will be cut out and added later. I try to make enough notes on the drawings so I can remember what I intended to do.

I have a wonderful selection of Chinese silk threads. They are a filament silk that is 2 ply and slightly twisted so they are easy to use as is or split when I need a finer thread. I mostly used them as they came with from the skein. There are 100 colors and each color has 5 shades. In some of  them, the color range is a bit more evenly graduated but it does give me lots of colors to choose from anyway.

Each skein is cut into meter long pieces, then braided and folded in a paper to keep it from getting tangled.

After the drawing are finished, I make copies so I can make a mock up of the bag. If the piece is three dimensional then making a roughly finished object will tell you if it is the size and shape that you want. It is much easier to change the drawings than to try to tweak  the stitched pieces.

I decided that the bag would be too big in the size that I had drawn so I made it smaller and then made another mock up and really like the new size. It was much better so I rescaled all of the drawings in the new size.