Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Back on the tools

After weeks of daily challenges, learning mountains of new 'stuff' and being slightly overwhelmed by a constant flow of completely new experiences, it is so, so nice to finally spend a day doing what I love most.

Since I haven't touched my embroidery or anything that relates to it for weeks, I thought I would do the sensible thing and start the day by writing out a to-do list. Lucky for me, task no. 1 included actual stitching - The Partridge in a Pear ornament needs to be finished. Yeah.

Last time I shared anything about the Partridge in a Pear project the detached pieces were finished but the main embroidery looked like this...

The pear is embroidered in a slight variation of raised stem stitch - instead of picking up every foundation thread, I only pick up every second and then off-set the pattern in each row. The difference is only subtle, but I kind of like it. 

Getting the slip (the body piece that was stitched separately) in place over the bird is a little fiddly. For one thing it is rather small, but also because the shape is highly padded. When attaching these, I often end up holding my hoop sideways so that I can get the needle right in close. The aim is not to have any fabric showing along the edges.

The last thing to do was the wing which I embroidered as a piece of needle lace. I like making these pieces - it fascinates me that you can create a piece of embroidery without stitching onto fabric.


First step is to create a cordonnet. This is basically an edge or outline of the shape formed by thread stitched onto a temporary foundation. I use card, covered with plastic film which doubles up as is also holds the tracing of the shape in place. 

Next the shape is filled with stitches that are anchored around the edge at both sides. For this I used a corded detached blanket stitch (buttonhole stitch) because it creates such a lovely firm and even filling - it kind of ends up looking like a piece of crochet.

Changing the colours to create the pattern and stripes on the wing is a little fiddly but well worth the effort I think. These shapes always look so messy while you stitch them with loose thread tails sticking out everywhere...

...but once it is taken off the card, and all the tails are tidied up, and it has had a little bit of press it looks half decent and is ready to be stitched in place. 

And so, one little fat partridge is done, ready to made up into a little pear-shaped ornament. Is it too early to say it may just end up on a certain kind of tree...?

As you know, I will be teaching this one at Create in Stitch over two Saturdays (28th Nov. and 5th Dec) There are still free spots if anyone would like to join in. Just call the shop to book a place.

Best stitches,
Anna X

Monday, October 5, 2015

Itching fingers

If you have been wondering why I haven't posted for ages it is simply because I have not touched a needle in weeks!
I cannot remember the last time I didn't put in a single stitch for more than two weeks. Looking at my program for what lies ahead, it will be a little bit yet before I can get back to the many projects and ideas that are floating around in my studio. Never mind, I will get there.

I have started a new job, you see. Well, a rather intense induction course for a new job. It is very, very different to anything I have ever done and I am completely out of my comfort zone. Although it is demanding and tiring, it is super interesting and I am loving it. Don't get me wrong, my embroidery and teaching is my first love and I would not give that up for anything, but since finishing on Inspirations magazine almost two years ago, I have been missing working with other people. Once the induction for my new venture is complete, the plan is to be able to combine the two and find some sort of balance. I hope.

I really don't like doing it but I have had to postpone the 'Partridge in a Pear' stumpwork workshop at Create in Stitch. I had to realise that I simply was not able to have the kits and notes ready the way I like them. I am waiting to hear back, but I expect the new dates will be 28 November and 5 December.

Next weekend is 'kit-packing weekend' for the 'Stitching in Spring' weekend (17-18 Oct) at the Adelaide Botanical garden. It will be fabulous I am sure, and I am really looking forward to a couple of days surrounded by fabric, threads, needles, stitches.

I hope you are enjoying more time with needle and thread than me!
Best stitches,