Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dressing - Drifting on the Breeze WIP

More progress on my floating man....
Last you saw this fellow he looked more like some crazy stick-insect gone terribly wrong.

The first pieces of 'clothing', the lower sleeves have been added so that I could finish the padding of torso and he is slowly bulking up and looking more like a person. Of course he does still need a head!

It was a similar thing at the other end. I had to complete the lower legs before the padding for the pants could be added. I didn't want to use satin stitch for the socks so instead opted for stripy socks in raised stem stitch. This is such a awesome stitch for raised smooth shapes and great if you want the colouring along the length instead of across. It is a bit tedious, but so worth the effort. 
With the socks done, I could complete the padding and now the fun part of dressing the figure can really begin. 

Pants first. I didn't set out to make stripy pants, but was more thinking of using a different shade for each leg. I have no real plan for colours and patterns (as usual) only a vague 'feeling' of how it will look. Working that way can be a recipe for a lot 'reverse stitching' but so far so good - the stripes seem to work.

Each trouser leg is stitched individually. You can see where the small one was before it was taken off the card. To make a needle lace piece, you first place a cordonnet around the shape.. This is a doubled length of thread that is couched onto a firm surface (I use card covered with plastic film) to form the shape. It is kind of a support frame for the needle lace.

The the needle lace fabric can be stitched onto the cordonnet, usually some kind of blanket stitch. I primarily use a corded blanket stitch for clothing because I like the dense look and firm finish.
Each little stitch is worked into a stitch in the previous row, trapping the laid thread.

It is quite a therapeutic little stitch once you get going - a little like knitting or crochet, just back and forth in even rows...
I did not think things through when I stitched the first leg from the top down. If I had started from the bottom, I would have been certain that the stripes would match.....

Although these pieces are small, filling them rows and rows of little stitches does take a bit of time and I have to set this one aside for today.. perhaps tomorrow???
It would be nice if this little person had his pants on before I leave on Friday.

Best stitches,
Anna X

Monday, August 1, 2016

Body building - Drifting on the Breeze WIP

There has been a bit of progress on this project.

One of the things I really enjoy about raised (or stumpwork) embroidery, is thinking ahead and working out how I am going to lift certain parts of the design and how to layer the various elements.
It is not really as complicated as it may sound, but a matter of trying to 'see' your pattern in layers..
With 'Drifting on the Breeze' the clouds are at the very back (I am already thinking about how I am going to stitch soft, fluffy clouds...). Next is the short part of the scarf - over the cloud but behind the figure. That is going to be completely free, so if I did that now, it would be in the way and most likely get damaged before the piece is finished. So although it is towards the back, I will add that later for practical reasons.  
That brings me to the figure - resting his head on his hands... 

I won't need to make hands this time... but I still need to make some nice round arms. 

I prefer to use thread to pad of long, skinny shapes. You can get a much firmer, more rounded shape than if using felt. The other advantage is that you can gradually make it smaller, by trimming a few threads at a time.
I am using a perle 5 for this - mostly because I have plenty at hand. To make the thread easier to manage and shape, and to give it some body, I run it over beeswax several times, until it is quite stiff and firm.

The thread is then bundles up until I have the thickness I need for the fattest part of the shape (the upper arm). It then gets couched in place.
The bundle is rather flat over the upper arm, but there will be felt going over the top of that part to form the sleeve.
The wrist and lower arm is covered with overcast stitch. I am not sure yet just how much of it will show, but better safe than having to fill it in later.

The excess padding threads gets trimmed back. They will come in handy as a bit of extra padding behind the head later.

The other arm is done the same way - it looks as if he is playing peek-a-boo 
I padded the legs the same way as the arms. The only difference being that the last few thread tails were taken to the back at the toes (and ankle). They look way too skinny but again more will come on top. 

I started to build the body with felt. It needs probably another two layers, but when I got to this point, I realised I will need to finish the lower parts of the sleeves before the felt padding can go on top.
Time for the first, tiny pieces of needle lace....

Happy Stitching,

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Drifting on the Breeze

It has been, and still is, freezing cold, wet and windy here in Adelaide. As much as there are things that should be done outside, I have been hibernating, waiting and hoping for warmer weather, 

Ever since I finished 'Over the Hills', (forever ago) I have had other fun and friendly characters finding their way onto my scribble note pads, waiting patiently to one day come to life in stitches. I have a million (well maybe not quite) things I could and should be stitching, but I think it is time to get one of the characters off the notepad and bring him to life in stitches.

The blank 'canvas' is ready to go - except of course it is not canvas, but silk, backed and stabilised so it can support the stitches.
For these types of pieces I don't put any of the design on the front. One reason is that with no marks to cover, I can make changes if I want to, without having to worry about hiding any lines. The added advantage is, that these stitches will hold the layered fabrics firmly so that they won't shift.
I draw the pattern on the wrong side of the backing fabric before I stretch that and the main fabric onto my frame. (If you want to try this, keep in mind, this should be a mirror image of the final embroidery.)

To transfer the design to the front, I then stitch along all the design lines with fine silk. This may sound a bit tedious, but I don't mind this stage. It gives me time to ponder how to stitch the finished piece. I can vary the size and spacing of the running stitches for the different elements. If there are lots of overlapping elements, I may use different colours for each, so the lines will make sense and not just look like a confusing mess on the front.

If you look closely at the picture above, you can see that the waves are drawn right across the everything else. This is another advantage of this kind of design transfer - you can draw in 'layers' so that lines are continued behind others parts.

The wavy, blue lines, are part of finished piece. I was trying to work out how to stitch a breeze, and up with the idea that perhaps, just perhaps, faint, broken lines could be the answer. They too are stitched from the back but I have kept the running stitches stitches quite short on the front so they become wavy lines of dots. Is that what breeze looks like, I wonder?

It is ready to go. It doesn't look much yet, or make much sense, I know. There are waves, a blank 'blob' in the middle and some bumpy hills at the bottom.

If you look closely, you will the see the 'blob' is the outline of a figure....

... and here he is 'Drifting on the Breeze'. This is going to be so much fun.

Happy Stitching,
Anna X