Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Empathy & Gloves

I have been reading Amy Wilson's blog  and chuckling at the title of her latest post, The @#$%unplayed piano. I say chuckling as the heading is totally showing her frustration at finishing complex pieces. But I also have total empathy for her as I know how annoying it can be and how finishing can be so darn difficult in respect to the standards you set yourself and the desire to do all those stitching hours justice. The blogger community is great for reminding you that you are not alone out there.

I look at finishing small projects and the frustrations and wonder just how on earth am I going to do justice to the finishing of a 17th century casket and mirror frame let alone all the stitching to come before that. Oh well, it just doesn't pay to look at the bigger picture or too far ahead, baby steps!
Baby steps it feels like I have been making in my needlework progress this week, but it is progress.

I have finished the tent stitch on the Rose Glove and have got quite some way towards completing the Elizabethan Knitting stitch for the background. Just need to do above the tent now. It's looking lovely, sparkly and blingey. I must say that working with the 6 end silk gilt thread hasn't been too horrendous. It really is quite flexible and I am not wasting much. I still don't think I would ever want to background a casket in it, too slow and laborious and supply of these specialty threads is always precarious

Rose Glove - CoC Thistle Threads

I  have made some progress also on the Floral Glove. There appears to be a bit of a glove thing going on this week! I have couched the Elizabethan twist 2% around the Rose and it's leaves and couched down the AGT 1451 around the central arabesque.  Looking good. I want to try and finish the carnations before 1st December so I am still up to date with this lesson. BUT I also have a doll to make for my daughter's 7th birthday so not sure if it's going to happen.
Floral Glove - Thistle Threads
The postie delivered me some goodies from the Essamplaire this morning. Yummy but very BIG projects. Into the stash they go but Margriet had 20% off so I just had to have them. They are Frances Cheney (1664) a whitework sampler and 17th Century Lady Needlework.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

My Projects Are All Calling To Me For Attention.......

I have so many projects I want to work on and so many WIP's. I have been juggling all this just fine but now things feel like they are starting to close in. With spring gardening, school finishing for the year in about 5 weeks and then 6 weeks school holidays and then we are the venue for the family xmas celebration and so need to sort my menu and supplies, I am feeling like the walls are closing in! Organising xmas presents for kids also takes loads of time. Thank goodness my siblings and parents all agreed to stop present swapping.
Whilst all those in the northern hemisphere are hunkering down spring here in the southern hemisphere creates loads of extra garden work and much less time for stitching.

I have however, of course, managed to achieve some results this week. I have finished all the tent stitch words on the May Your Hands and started some of the interesting stitches that I have not done before. I completed the grassy mound in long armed cross stitch and have started the border under the word scissors in 4 sided stitch. I have moved the work to  a frame now as I need to do the satin stitch in the saw tooth border. It's feeling awkward though as is a larger frame with all the pieces on one piece of linen. I miss working in hand!!!! 

The Grassy Mound

May Your Hands - Thistle Threads

My gorgeous helper - Louis
I received a few goodies in the mail this week. Adding to the 'stash bank' as no foreseeable start date on these lovelies yet.
I ordered this mermaid themed sampler and threads from The Inspired Needle. The sampler is a Just Nan and the threads are all boxed up and tied with a bow by access commodities. I just need to order the linen for this now.
 Sirens of the Sea - Just Nan
I also received two patterns I ordered directly from Giulia Punti Antichi

Mary Queen of Scots Needle Casket

 A Canadian Journey - Sewing Necessaire
And of course I also received my kits for two of Amy Mittens outstanding creations. The fabulous sampler The Final Soliloquy and the Secrets of  a Queen I Purse.

I did manage to do a little work to continue on with creating all the pieces for the Kereru Wall Quilt. I finished and cut out one bird and stated the second. Still getting the hang of this machine embroidery and thinking about shading. Good practice for getting my brain to start thinking this way for eventual stitching of my own casket in who knows how many years time. I wonder how far down the chain I am now for receiving my flat top casket from Thistle Threads!
Oh and I nearly forgot. I also received my order from Traditional Stitches. This one has taken a while to supply. I love the Nantucket Letterbox and the pattern was one from Sue Hillis sometime ago but I just love it and seem to have fostered a love of mermaids from doing Amy Mitten's Mermaid Needlework Treasures. Speaking of that Amy has released the first instructions for completing the mirror. I have to go source some distilled water. Why is there always something weird you need with these things that you may never use again. Mind you having said that I might use this technique on the 17th century mirror I will one day work on from Thistle Threads oh and maybe a casket mirror. So excellent Amy. another technique so well described that I can take to another project.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Learning New Things

 My needlework focus this week has been mostly towards completing all the words on the May Your Hands. I have the pillow book to finish. Takes ages as it is tent over one and slow going but the script is lovely.

May Your Hands - Thistle Threads

I made what feels like unsatisfactory progress on completing the snail tape measure from the Mermaids Treasures. I got it all constructed and laced up but everything seemed to interfere with finishing this so it's still showing it's skeleton! Hopefully I can get it done this week before Amy posts the mirror finishing instructions.

Snail tape Measure - Amy Mitten

 I ended the week with a trip down to Cottage Flair in Ngongotaha, Rotorua to participate in an art quilt course over the Saturday/Sunday. Dianne the tutor is lovely as is Jill who owns the shop. Dianne works for Pfaff which is great as I have the Quilt Expression 4.0 and with all these new techniques it was great to have someone on hand who knows your machine as features get used doing this that you never knew you had. I did the course with my Mum this time as she was keen and only lives about 10 minutes down the road.

The quilt is a 3D art quilt featuring five Kereru (native wild pigeon), Cabbage tree (native with white flowers, Puriri tree (native with red berries) and Karaka tree (native with yellow berries). There were so many new techniques in this class it was really rather mind blowing and I didn't finish even one pigeon. We kinda jumped around learning all the technique. We have scheduled a finishing class at the end of March to give us all an incentive to finish all the bits and to not let this become a very expensive WIP. The background needs to be pieced together and quilted before all the applique is applied.  

This is what the finished quilt looks like - the goal!
This is my partially machine embroidered first pigeon. To start the process a photo is obtained and then it is printed onto iron on transfer paper. It is then ironed onto Gygli stabiliser and a sandwich made including a piece of polyester, calico or quilter's muslin etc along with a piece of tearaway which means you don't need a hoop. Then whip your rayon embroidery threads into you machine and start embroidering in free motion. Most definitely need to practice, practice, practice to get this looking authentic and pay close attention to shading. After the embroidery is finished you cut out and seal with tiny amounts of fabric glue and shade the white edges with dye pens and stitch on with straight stitch.
We also worked on creating the authentic looking moss covered Puriri tree branch in the lower right corner. First you use a double layer of fabric with vlisofix or heat n bond in between so it sticks. Then you start layering up one side with all sorts of random greeny type wool fibres. Then you sprinkle the tiniest amount of bond powder over the wools and place a hot water soluble bag over this and iron under a heat proof sheet for a while until it semi sticks. Then you free motion randomly all over the bag. I haven't done it yet which is why the photo is shiny but you need to then dissolve the bag in super hot water and it will come away and voila you have a mossy/lichen tree branch.
The cabbage tree branch in the lower left uses a different technique. You place a piece of fabric magic on the back of the fabric loose and free motion in this case a random brick pattern all over the fabric magic. The take it over to your iron with steam on and hover over the fabric magic and watch it shrink into this amazing bark like texture....cool!
We also had some instruction on the leaves but I didn't actually make any to photograph. What you do is trace them onto vliso, iron on to fabric and cutout. Place the cutout onto a doubled piece of washaway which holds it steady. Then stitch down the vein which will then hold it in place before satin stitching the edges etc. After that you can cutout and some will be vlisod onto the quilt and others left semi attached. Apparently the vliso stays sticky enough even after washing out the washaway.
The red berries are little felt balls cut in half and stitched on and the yellow ones are machine embroidered onto either a transfer like the pigeon or fabric and then attached. The white flowers are wool/silk fibres placed between two layers of a hot water soluble bag and free motioned into circles then cut out and stitch on to the branches which are made like the leaves and detached.
Whew - what a lot of info to take in - need to do some to stay fresh!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Thank Goodness

I have finally completed all the cross stitch for the saw tooth border on the May Your Hands. What a mission. Still working with the 3226 grey but doing the words now in tent over one.

May Your Hands - Thistle Threads 

May Your Hands - Thistle Threads
The Needleworker's Pocketbook is coming along real slow. I am only working on this one currently when the girls are at swimming so is only about 1hr a week. Still it is progressing although I am working on the eyelets now so takes a while but love the lacey effect.
Needleworker's Pocketbook - Amy Mitten
The Mermaid Treasures has moved along somewhat. I have completed all the stitching since Amy sent the additional threads and have made up two of the pieces. The little fish needlekeep/pinkeep is so darned adorable and the scallop shell thread holder has turned out real neat. Amy's finishing instructions are soooo detailed that the finishing process is nowhere near as daunting as it could be.

Mermaid Treasures - Amy Mitten
Mermaid Treasures - Amy Mitten (scallop shell back)
Mermaid Treasures - Amy Mitten (scallop shell front)
Amy posted a new tutorial this week to start on 21st December at the winter solstice although it is the exact opposite down here south of the equator. Of course I have signed up. It is called 'Casket Keepsakes' and we will be making two bellows shaped casket smalls. One is a pin keep and the other a thread winder keep. Neat and hopefully we can assume we might have a new course for all four seasons if we are lucky.
The1st of the month rolled over again and I received four more lessons from Tricia for all the courses I am taking. Takes a while to do all that saving and printing out. Need to do the next bit for the floral glove first I think so I can stay on track with at least that one.
Margriet at Essamplaire also posted the next lesson for the casket. I haven't done anything on that lately as trying to finish up the very time consuming Mermaid Treasures. I need to plan some time for this project as I do enjoy it.
I did make a start on another small for the Cabinet of Curiosities, the 'Rose Glove' so I can try the background in gold thread technique, but haven't taken a photo. yet Next time!


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