Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Goldwork progress

Day 2 

Laid work. I really like it - slowly and methodically covering a shape with neat rows. For this lobe I place the couching stitches in rows across the shape. Double pale mushroom pink stitches over a doubled fine twist. It fills rather quickly, until...

 ...those ends. Folding each thread back and stitching it down. That is when I wonder if laid work really is such a good idea.

 I am sure it takes me at least twice as long as the actual embroidery. Turning it back over...

... it is worth the effort. 

Happily Stitching,
Anna x

Monday, January 26, 2015

Goldwork progress

To get the goldwork piece moving, I have set myself the challenge to stitch one lobe shape each day this week.

Day 1

I would normally complete any silk embroidery before beginning the metal thread work but I feel the outlines and sizes of these shapes have to be quite accurate for the design to work, so I am making an exception and stitching from the outline inwards.

 Choosing colour for the satin stitch. The one to the right is too dark and 'flat' and the one to the left too golden yellow. I like the freshness of the top one and the peppermint green through it might work really well...

... nope. Completing the padding stitches it was pretty obvious it was too bright and stark.

Once stitched the 'too dark' mushroom pink, looks pretty good.

So fare so good. Now let's see if I get much done today.
Have a lovely week.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Where the week went

It seems I blink and another week has passed.

I never keep a big stock pile of any of my kits, in fact they were all rather depleted so much of my time last week was spent stoking up because - drum-roll -  yesterday I had my first ever trading table at the Embroiderer's Guild of South Australia Summer School Market day.
The main reason I haven't done this before is because I am a chicken and didn't feel I had enough to offer - well it filled the table quite nicely. It was great fun and a fabulous opportunity to catch up with a few people I had not seen for some time.

What I was most excited about sharing with those passing by and stopping for a chat, and now you was the red flyer in the left corner. This ...

... I will be running the first short course in hand embroidery at the TAFE SA Adelaide City Campus in term 2. This is amazing and I can't wait to get started. I love to teach and I have often wondered and wished that textile students here had the same opportunity to study embroidery that I did in Europe, but there was nowhere. I am really not very brave or good at putting myself out there, but I really, really, really want to do this - so late last year I took a deep breath and contacted TAFE. I am completely blown away by how quickly the took they idea on board and we will be up and running in May!
It is no secret that I love stitches and, in short, this first course will be a fusion of good, 'old-fashion' sampler stitching mixed with individual creativity. We won't be making 'stuff' as such, more like a portfolio of samples for future reference. The main purpose is to get to know stitches, how they work and what you can do with them. It should be great fun.
The bookings are not open quite yet and I promise to fill you in as it happens, but to begin with you can download the flyer Here.

I did manage a bit of time out one morning to make a little bit of progress on the goldwork piece - just one more lobe (don't know that it really is a lobe...).

It was nice and I am going to try and do one each day this coming week... We'll see how that goes. Today, is simply too beautiful, the garden is calling and I am quite convinced that a few hours of fresh air and garden dirt will do me good.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Anna x

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

up row ...

... down row
We netted the vineyard on the weekend - good exercise. We managed to get the whole vineyard done over three days, nets clipped down and all. I think, no, I know that is a record and it is so good it is done. Now we just wait (and pray) for good weather and a good harvest...

Hope you are all having a good start to the week. I am super busy getting ready for my first (little) fair ever. It is a little bit daunting, but I am sure it will be fun.

Enjoy your week,
Anna x

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fresh glittering start

My table is a mess, but there is nothing quite like spreading out in organised (?) chaos to make choices...

I am so much happier with the change of fabric colour and finished stitching the padding (late) last night. Then I couldn't help myself but had to see how the glitter of gold would look and so, promptly set about attaching the first small piece of kid leather in place.

I am not really a big fan of kid leather. There is something about the super smooth and reflective surface that I find often steals the show from all other stitching. I don't know if you can use the word 
'overpowering' but that is a bit how I feel about it. 
Anyway, these shapes are quite small and looking at it this morning, I thought if I could only tone it down a notch it would work - perhaps working some colour into the outline by using a slightly heavier and coloured thread for the couching? 
So I (this is where the organised chaos comes in) promptly emptied my collection of metal threads out onto the table to look for the best option for the outlines....

...and bingo - Copper twist!! Why didn't I think of that before? It is super duper perfect, a bit of warm tonal colour and so very beautiful against the silk.
My only wish now is that it was easy to photograph better so that you too could see the colours properly - but I just had to show you right away.

Back to my needle,
Anna x

Friday, January 9, 2015

Stitching before stitching

Guess what I have been doing...

... I have been stitching on a sampler. Not a 'pretty to be framed' kind of sampler but an 'experimenting with techniques, threads and combinations, doodle cloth, before getting stuck into the real thing' kind of sampler.
Ever since my trip to Copenhagen, I have been really keen to do more metal thread embroidery again. Design ideas have been taking shape in my mind and I have finally sat down to sketch up a few ideas.

I have a couple of drawings, but this is the one that I have started working on - or rather stitching samples for.
I know what I want to achieve and I have a few ideas for how to get there. It will be small selection of filling techniques, not necessarily a different one in each shape, in fact I want to repeat the same three or four techniques. The fascinating thing when working with metal is the impact of light and reflection. The appearance of the shapes and stitched pattens within them will differ as the angle of the threads will reflect the light differently depending on the direction of the stitching.
Or so is the plan...

Goldwork is one thing I will do samples for before starting the actual embroidery. I obviously don't embroider the entire piece, just enough of each part to test stitches, techniques and combinations. As soon as I know I am on the right (or wrong) track I move on. Experimenting with ideas on the final piece is not really an option. Unpicking mistakes, yes, but making big decisions and changes... 

... like realising, that no matter how much I want to be able to make beautifully, neat, sharp turns at really sharp points to avoid having to neaten all those pesky ends is not an option! Isn't it funny how, even when we know a short-cut won't work, we still have to try just to be sure? Well, I do anyway and as you can see, it doesn't work.

When the ends are taken to the back individually the result is so much neater. It looks almost like a little braid. This is quicker to stitch but results in the vast amount of tails on the back I showed earlier and they will all need to be sewn down and secured one by one. Just as well this is just a sampler where I don't need to bother with the back - oh how I love magic tape. If only I could use it to hold the ends on the actual piece.

This little shape has even more ends (sigh). The metal treads a couched in parallel lines along the shape and the tails taken to the back at each end. The smoothness and evenness of this filling will sit really well amongst the previous two, somewhere for the eye to rest. I do think it will need just a single layer of felt padding though.
I still have couple of options to try out before starting on the actual piece, and it might seem like a lot of stitching before I begin stitching, but I am confident the effort will pay off.

Besides I was really not sure about the colour of the silk for this project. In fact, I have decided that this won't be it. I want something more cheerful. Despite the sparkle, goldwork can easily appear heavy and I want this design to feel light, and pretty, and elegant, so the choices of colour and stitch are going to be rather important if I want to get it right.

Who knows what colour it will be when you see it next.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Anna x

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Looking ahead

I hope you have all enjoyed a safe and happy holiday season 
and had a nice start to the new year.

We have had 
a fabulous time with family and friends, 
a sad time 
(saying goodbye to our dear old dog, Tess)
and a relaxing time
(between jobs - the vineyard is busy this time of year)

I am still in some strange kind of holiday mode.
Looking ahead, 
I have much to look forward to.
Lots of stitching and other exciting projects in the pipeline.
But I am determined to take it all in and enjoy every moment.
It is so very easy to get carried away with what might be
or dwell on what was.
This year will be about enjoying the moment, 
the little things
and make it count.

Anna X