Sunday, December 16, 2012

Meadow Bloom

It is finished! 

I did (almost) manage to finish last weekend and only needed a few very last stitches before I could block it today. Considering how much I struggled with this design to begin with, I am rather pleased with the finished piece. Especially the last flower above... mind you, looking at it here on the screen, I can see it needs just one last finishing touch - a row of white knots to complete the edge of the of calyx and to give it a bit of a lift ... then it is done.

I find blocking my crewelwork gives the best finish. I admit that it was a little scary the first few times I did it, but I don't think twice about it any more. I have a cork pin-up board that I have ruled a grid of lines onto. I cover this with a sheet of clear plastic. Then I pin the finished embroidery onto it, making sure it is straight and very taut. When you do this, always pin opposite sides from the centre outwards. Once it is in place, it is just a matter of wetting it completely with a sponge. After that, I press a towel down onto the work to soak up as much moisture as possible before I leave it to dry. It comes up beautiful and crisp, much, much better than you will ever get it with an iron.
All I have left to do now is to lace the embroidery onto card and pop it in a frame and it is done, ready for class display - well the 'easy' part is done, there is of cause still the instructions to write...

I usually try to be organised and take good notes while I stitch. I make a thread card of all the colours I use as well as record how much yarn I use, so that I can kit the project later. However, it is fare too easy to become absorbed in the stitching and when I begin to write, I usually discover I have left bits and pieces out here and there. I have tried to be particularly organised with my notes for this project because, even though I know I should write the instructions right away, I am unlikely to get the them done this side of Christmas and possibly not for a month or so. Partly because I am itching to get back to, and finish the Or Nue Daisy, but most importantly because my sister is coming to stay with us. It is ten years since we have spent time together and even longer since we have had Christmas together. I am so excited.........

Anna x

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Crewel progress

I have been embroidering madly on the crewel piece for the SA guild class in June. As I mentioned to you the other day, I have been struggling a bit with this piece but with a bit of perseverance I am finally beginning to feel good about it and thought I would show you how it is coming along.

When I design a piece of crewelwork I try to consider texture and the density of stitching as much as I do the colours. I like to incorporate lots of open stitches so that the fabric background becomes part of the design instead of simply creating a canvas to hold it. For it to work well you almost need to keep the fabric in mind as part of your colour and stitch pallet. 

The open spaces here are created with ladder chain, butonhole stitch, seeding and wheatear stitch. 
Someone asked me once if I ever unpick. Do I unpick? Absolutely! Especially when I work on a new piece of crewel. It is a shame that piles of messy threads doesn't photograph very well otherwise I could show you just how much unpicking this piece has been subject too. The reason for all the unpicking is that I don't leave anything unless I am happy with it. 

Although I know which colours and effects I wish to achieve for an area, the overall look changes with the combinations of thread colour and stitch and often the only way to determine what works best is trail and error. It can be a slow process, but it is such a good feeling when it all comes together and works. So fare I am particularly pleased with the top flower - and I only unpicked most parts once...... 

I would really like to try and have the embroidery finished by Monday, so it is just as well we are having a hot weekend here in Adelaide - no chance of me getting tempted to spend time in the garden for other than a bit of watering.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend.
Anna x

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas wreath

All my embroidery has been on hold for various reasons but I wanted to show you what a 'whipped' up last weekend.

I spent most the time in the vineyard summer pruning the Shiraz vines. They grow like mad this time of year and if we don't give them a 'hair cut', they get to big we can't get the nets on later - not to mention, that the poor grapes never would see the slightest bit of sunlight.

I was flicking through a magazine while had a bit of a break and saw this really nice Christmas wreath made from what looked like vine canes, still with the curly tendrils on them. I realised we haven't got a wreath and when I looked down the rows, all I could see was piles of grape vine canes. So I went and picked up a pile, ripped off the leaves and made this........

I just love those curled up tendrils that grab onto anything and everything it comes close to....

I know that in many parts of the world bright lime green may not be a colour your associate with Christmas - but we are surrounded by it, so I think it will look nice on our door. By next year it will be brown I am sure.

I left it to dry all week and hope to decorate it on Sunday ...... any ideas?