Monday, 29 July 2013

OMG - What A Challenge

It really doesn't feel like I have progressed far in the last week until I look back at my blog and I can see I have made some inroads. That is the fabulous thing about a blog, it is like a personal electronic diary that you can share with others but maintain a log for yourself. I wonder what the stitching ladies from the past, of whom many would have kept journals, would have felt about the ease with which we can share knowledge and experience in the 21st century.

So all my efforts this week have been on the scallop shell for the Mermaid Treasures. It feels like slow going as it is over one tent on 32 count and the whole shell is filled. Super easy to lose where you are at so don't want to remove any basting until you have to as you WILL have to count to find your lost location! I started at the top and worked down in rows of a single colour in an arch or rainbow shape. I found this easiest as you can reference on the chart to where you should be from the previous colour although that being said there are a couple of colours throughout that are situated side by side and are near impossible to distinguish between when laid down on the oatmeal coloured linen.

I have left the old lace stitches and will fill them in as a 'background' after all the rest is completed. That means at least there is one colour I will not have to reference back to the chart for and it is the predominant.

During the week I started to look like I was going to run out of not only the posion thread but also the old lace so I have emailed Amy who is obligingly sending me some further threads as the poison is also used for lacing the scallop shell so I will be way short. Hopefully what she sends will be enough as there is a lot more old lace nearer the bottom of the shell than I thought. I don't know if the kit was short or I just stitch different but I didn't want to run out and stall the stitching so hopefully the threads will arrive this week.

Me efforts.....

I also signed up for the two new Thistle Threads courses 'Tudor Rose, and 'Abby Couzzens Family Register Sampler'. Thankfully though, these are not due to start until later in the year. I know I have signed up for too much but they may never be offered again and you can do them at your pace and I need all the learning & practice in a build up to the fabulous creation of a casket of my own design.
My brother's wife died at the weekend peacefully after battling illness so now I need to think about heading for Wellington for her funeral. I need to fly there and they are in the middle of an earthquake resurgence as they sit on a fault line so it is filling me with dread! I hate earthquakes and the disasters in Christchurch did not improve my hesitation.
Happy stitching to anyone reading this blog

Monday, 22 July 2013

Scallops And Snails - It's All About the Shells

Well, I have been back on the Mermaid Treasures this past week since the latest lesson was posted by Amy. Took me an absolute age, translated into several days to do all the backstitching....all that counting and undoing when you were out.......hooray that bits over.

Yesterday I started on the over one on the back of the scallop shell.The entire shell is filled in with tent stitch on 32 count. Really have to concentrate as lots of colour change to represent the real macoy so not the most enjoyable part of this project. Looking forward to completing this and starting on the scallop front which is less shell and another mermaid, cool.

Will take a while to complete this particular lesson  and I am facing the prospect of going back to work part time......sux!
No work on the Essamplaire casket while I do this one. Casket requires me to do detached needlework and so need to be amped up!
One more week of school holidays and then I need to start work on the memorial scrapbook album I foolishly said yes too as I really had got over scapbooking and sold a lot of supplies & tools already to free up space for my stitching passion.
I need more time, time, time.....
Went outside this morning and what did I see in the garden.....a daffodil.....but it's only July....what the ! is really warm today and does feel like spring but OMG global warming for sure as this winter has been so mild.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Leopards Got All His Spots

So, since finishing the mermaid mirror stumpwork last week I have been spending some time on the Essamplaire casket . Got my cute as leopard all completed and I am pretty happy with him. Then I worked on the satin stitches on the right flower along with it's mound and the grass. Need to do all the background work before the raised work so threads don't catch. The right flower will have  detached petals with the satin stitch underneath. Then I outlined the caterpillar with backstitch and moved to the left side where I outlined the moth.

The flower is filled with french knots which worked out just great when the thread is held tight before punching back throught the fabric. I have never been happy with my french knots in the past but then I have only ever done them with cotton so maybe silk is more forgiving. Once the knots were done I moved onto the leaves etc which are satin stitched.

Stitched some trebizond silk into the moth for padding for the raised work and now I am ready to attack the detached pieces of which there are many and that's just this particular
piece! But of course this is a longer term 2yr + project.

Couldn't face starting detached work  late at night and I have kids on school holidays for the next two weeks so put it down and made a VERY SMALL start on Amy Mitten's Needleworkers Pocketbook. Now that I have started that, of course, overnight Amy has posted the next section of the mermaid  treasures course which is the embroidery on the next section C so lots of work here and will need to make a start on that as want to keep on top of this particular course.

I am starting to feel like I am running out of time as I look like I may be returning to part time work. That will leave me only one day of the week to do all my projects and personal stuff....aaaagggghhhh why isn't a win on the lottery comming my way!!!!!!! I just want to dedicate the remainder of my days to learning everything I can about needlework :-)

Then of course I have three of Tricia's online classes from Thistle Threads starting 1st September.  Can't turn any learning experience down though as I build towards eventually designing and stitching my own penultimate 17th century style casket.

I also have another project to complete which is a tribute album to a colleague who passed away at my last workplace. She was only in her 30's and had immigrated to New Zealand from Ireland. Such a short time on this earth. I cannot bare the thought of not being allowed to live a full life to old age and the blessing of being able to complete my needlework goals. We have another friend who is only mid 60's and just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the second friend. It is rare to find a person not touched in some way by this tragic disease that robs from us.

Of course on a bright and positive note what would my time spent on needlework be without the company of my main man regal and just a bub at 5 - 6 months old.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Mermaid's Dressed Up To The Scales

Soooo thrilled with myself. I finished the mermaid for the mirror scissor keep. This puts me right up to date and waiting for the next lesson.

It was quite a journey though to get her scales, tail fin and waist frill needlelaced and assembled. The waist frill was challenging as firstly the stretched out pearl purl is VERY catchy on thread and then I misconstrued the mechanics of the antwerp stitch and so ended up with my very own style of 'botched antwerp stitch' which is not as lacey as Amy's but I was not doing it again after I realised and anyway I rather like it so it stays. Then assembling the scales found me short of scales to go under the frill at the top. I kinda suspected this would happen for as I mentioned in a previous post I suspected I have overstuffed. But not to worry, I just made a couple more scales for her in the Deadly colourway. She doesn't have the same slim waist as Amy's but then my waist aint as slim as it used to be either so maybe she is a more mature mermaid!

The waist chain in the Silver Smooth Purl is cool and I love the way it bends to look just like a real metal chain.

The comb, argh the comb! The beading needle in the kit does not fit the eye through the Silver Pearl Purl. Very annoying and I had no smaller needle. A trip to the local patchwork shop saw them out of stock of beading needles...aargh!!!  So wanting to finish this I decided to substitute and she now has a Gold Lizardine comb along with a hairclip to match. Couldn't help myself adding to the embelishment from my stash.

The sparkly trim and the beads really add a blingy touch and the Silk Wrapped Pearl under the cloud makes it pop. Love it.

Now for some work on the Essamplaire Casket.....

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Mermaid's Rockin The Grotto

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post. I delayed it cos I wanted to get my rocks finished and then I started on the mermaid body and didn't want to post until that looked as it should. The rocks were fun and I enjoyed the creating with the trellis and detached buttonhole stitches. Great to get some experience under my belt with these stitches so I can be confident by the time it comes to working my own designs for the Thistle Threads casket not to mention the Essamplaire casket which I haven't put a stitch into due to the pull of the mermaid. Amy's instructions are fantastic and although I need to think hard sometimes and blow up the photos on my ipad I mostly manage to understand and the result is not far from the mark.

Applying the wool roving and the material to the mermaid body was terrifying and it took me ages but actually in the end you didn't need to be too exact and the result was pleasing.Not easy to get the roving into the right places for the backstitching and she was a bit 'overstuffed' but the buttonhole around the edges rectified this.

The hair was fun once I got on a roll. I think I have pushed my coils tighter than Amy's but I don't mind as it tends to look more 'seaweedy' which is cool for a mermaid. She is pretty as a picture.

The relection in the mirror is cool although I can see the pointy bit of the tent stitch as the mica template was quite a bit larger than the tent stitched reflection. The smokey grey background just looks like the hair is in shadow so I am happy with the result.

Her face turned out pretty once the backstitching was completed although her boobies are not perfectly symmetrical but then neither are mine.

Mermaid's Rockin The Grotto
I started this course two or three lessons behind and just finished up to this point with one lesson to do (the scales) and then Amy posted another (attaching the scales). Still I am pleased with my progress to date and should be hopefully up to date by the time the next segment is posted. That's the goal anyway
So now I have started on the mermaid's scales. There are fifteen of them along with a waist frill and tail fin and I have done 11. Woo Hoo 4 scales to go and then the frill and fin.


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