Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blue Birds progress

I got a reasonable amount done on Nicola Jarvis' Blue Birds yesterday. Because the birds are a mirror image of one another, I always complete the same sections on each bird every time I stitch to make sure they are as identical as possible.

The bright yellow bellies and blue striped legs are finished, well apart from the outlines. I was a little concerned at one point that I would not be able to do the fine detail of the pattern justice, but Nicola's direction of working a few of the elements in satin stitch and the rest in stem stitch worked a beautifully. I can't wait to add the finishing touches of sparkling beads!
After hours of using yellow, I was so keen to see how beautiful the aqua tail feathers would look. I got so carried away and kept stitching ignoring the early signs of a sore back. Today I am paying the price for that.

I did have great plans to get my sewing machine out this weekend and finish a few bits and pieces but my back had other ideas. It has refused to let me do anything that requires me to lean forward or sit in a fixed position for any length of time (I did try) so that just didn't happen. I had hoped to have more to show you today, but never mind.... there is always next week.

Happy stitching and don't forget to check your posture...
Anna x

Friday, February 22, 2013

Finished in February

I have long had a fascination with William Morris and often look to his and other Arts & Craft designs for ideas. A little while ago I bought a small piece of fabric from the 'Morris Meadows' range by in In The Beginning fabrics.

I loved the mix of colours - a bit 'out there' for a William Morris inspired print. I picked the colours out in shaded crewel wool (sorry am totally in love with that yarn) and over a few nights of having nothing much to do - a kind of 'in between projects' moment, just playing with stitches. The small flowers for example were meant to be berries and the result is a case of 'I wonder what happens if I don't complete the pinwheel?' They worked out rather cute and I might just use them again some time.

I mostly do my crewelwork on ivory 45 count linen and not linen twill. Both fabrics are fabulous to work with, but I like the crispness of the ivory and often struggle to get the colours of my yarns to work well with the natural linen colour of the twill. I do wish they would make this fabric in ivory. This time though, the colours worked perfect on the twill.
Anyway, as with so many other pieces, it has been laying around for quite a few months waiting to get finished and it finally happened.

You can't see the lining - it is, of course, the 'Morris Meadows' fabric.

Happy stitching this weekend,
Anna x

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tulip patterns

Yesterday my sweet 'baby' boy turned 18...

...the baby is long gone, but when he for a few moments forget to be a suitably grunting teenager, he is still lovely and I know that one day the grunting will subside. In the meantime I just continue enjoy it when he forget to grunt. We had a really nice morning together after which he took off to celebrate with friends and I had the rest of the day to myself - that was lovely too!

 I finally managed to get the patterns for two of the three new projects I showed you a little while back ready on Friday night - does that count for 'Finished in February'? The patterns are for the pincushion and scissor case and it is a good feeling to have 'done and dusted'. I have popped both patterns up on Etsy. I have named them 'Tulipa' and these two are the smaller projects. There is a larger one yet to come...

I had hoped to have the full kits ready this weekend also, but putting the kits together always take a little longer than anticipated. My favourite part is sorting the all wool and putting in on cards...lovely - but for now I need to spend a couple of hours this afternoon working on the Blue Birds...

Happy stitching,
Anna x

Friday, February 15, 2013

Just stitching

I have had a couple of lovely days... just stitching.
I know I declared February the month for finishing things, but I have started The Blue Birds by Nicola Jarvis, mostly because I was itching to do it but secondly - and rather importantly, there is a deadline for this piece to be finished in time for the exhibition later in the year.
 I know many stitchers who finds preparing a new piece of embroidery a real chore, but I rather enjoy the process. It is kind of part of the bigger picture. I was lucky that Nicola had already drawn the design of the birds so it was really just a matter of framing it up. The piece is rather wide, wider than I had expected and my lovely slate frame was not quite wide enough. Shame - I love it. Never mind. Lucky I had a roller frame which is perfect in width and I think it will be just fine.
The berries were fun... knots, knots and more knots.... more to be added later, but for now this is where they are at.
 The leaves were a delight to embroider. I have done a lot of crewelwork lately and it is so nice to work with silk for a change. Those lovely, smooth, shiny threads.
Overall the central motif is coming along quite nicely. Now for those beautiful birds...

I do have things to finish this weekend, but hopefully there will be time for more...

Happy stitching,
Anna x

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Finished Daisy

It is finished...

... the Or Nué Spring Daisy can be ticked of the list of things to be Finished in February.
Working the last few rounds of laid gold, without any shading, went really quick after all dense colour on the petals.
I had seen a detail picture from an old ecclesiastical vestment on Needle 'n Thread some time ago. It was of a flower with an amazing centre stitched in check purl, looped and piled up into a soft dome. I thought it was fabulous and have had something along those lines in mind for the centre of my daisy ever since I started it.

I hadn't saved the page (of course) but Mary was (as always) most helpful and dug it out for me quickly. Isn't if fantastic? There is something exquisite about old goldwork - it has a patina that I just love.
To define the centre I added a ring of tiny little spangles first. I wanted to incorporate a bit of green into the circle, so rather than 'just' stitching them one with straight stitches or beads, I decided to try little pistil stitches - that was fun.
I started the bullion loops - they looked ok, big and 'fluffy' - but as I filled the centre, it just wasn't right. They looked odd and somehow detracted from the delicate petals - so out they came...

... shorter lengths of purl (#6 rough purl) and larger distance between the exit and entry points to that the loops are sitting more flat. It closer resembles the centre of the flower on the vestment but I have left the a bit more open and spaced so that green silk underneath shows through.

It has been a learning curve and is by no means perfect, but overall  - I am happy. Will it go in a paperweight as planned - no, the thick glass doesn't do it justice and I would like it to have a bit of space around it. I like space - I have some ideas but for now it is going into the 'what to do with later' pile. Will I do Or Nué again? - Absolutly! It might be slow and methodical, but it is ever so rewarding.
Hope your weekend was full of sunshine.
Anna x

Friday, February 1, 2013

Finished in February

February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March. 
Dr. J. R. Stockton

If that is going to be long enough to finish the pile of UFOs we all have hidden away is another question. Possibly not, but I will try and get at least a few crossed off my list. 

The Or Nué Daisy is first on the list (of course). I managed to spend quite a bit of time on it today and it is getting oh so close. After weeks and weeks of 'just fitting a little bit of stitching in here and there, I was in heaven. Needle in, needle out - for hours on end. I really, really, really wanted to finish the laid gold but despite not getting dinner ready out until well after 8 o'clock (no one complained) I didn't quite get there....never mind. 

This is another piece which involves metal threads that I would dearly love to get finished. To be honest I haven't touched it in 6 months or more. There is still a bit to do on this one, but I do think that it is next on the list.
I am really glad to see that the 'Finished in February' group on Flickr already has some members - and one of you beat me to uploading the first pictures... well done!

Hopefully I will get something finished over the weekend. There are a couple of little things that need to be constructed. Not my favourite thing, but I am determined to get them Finished in February. 

Happy finishing,
Anna X