Sunday, November 25, 2018

All done...

... and nowhere to go.

I always keep a small stash of inexpensive, ready-made frames, so I have something to put my small pieces of embroidery into as soon as they are finished. I was so certain, I had a square frame that would be perfect for my little 'doodle' piece, that I didn't even stop to check - Big sigh, Big mistake!
As I mentioned last week, I am already late getting it to my brother for his birthday (no, he doesn't read my blog) and I really, really wanted to get it in the post before the weekend. I can still only stitch (and work on the computer) in short bursts of time, so Wednesday, I set my trusty egg timer and set to work adding the final details to the piece.

Some of you may have seen the progress of this small piece on facebook and Instagram, but I have just realised that I have not shared anything here until the picture last week. So, to start at the beginning - well kind of and in short:

I no longer take anything complicated with me when I travel - instead, I grab (literally last minute with one foot out the door) a handful of threads, a scrap of fabric, a needle and a small hoop and shove it into a small bag. Once on my way, I fill a small square with a 'doodle' drawing and spend my time away just filling in. I find it relaxing on the plane or after a day of stitching, to just stitch whatever I feel like without having to think about it too hard. It is all just playing with colours, stitches and textures while filling in shapes.

The interesting thing is, the pieces very quickly start to reflect the place I am in or where I am going and this one is not different. I was visiting my brother and we were enjoying a glass of wine and the view from his backyard, which backs right down to the edge of the water. After a long and unusually hot summer, the garden and the hills on the other side of water were dry and parched and it occurred to me that the small pile of threads I had thrown in my bag before I left Australia, were exactly (almost) the shades of water, the sky, the dry lawn and scrubs, and the hills in the distance. So, I decided I would give this piece to my brother once finished.

I just let the piece grow how it wanted to and as so often before discovered new stitches and ways to fill shapes on the way. Like the area below the yellow spiral - it is filled with pistil stitches of varying lengths so the knots fall randomly across the shape. The only plan I really had was that I wanted to add a bit of silver once the coloured embroidery was finished, so I left narrow gaps along some lines were the metal thread would go later on.

I chose two weights for silver couching thread and couched the heavier one (Jap T69) across the full width of the piece. It slotted neatly into the narrow gap I had left earlier.

The finer thread, went along each of the swirls.

And there, all done... and no frame to put it.

Lyndby 2018
Oh well, there is always tomorrow.
With this piece finished, I can move (swiftly) on to the next. Finalising colours for my new crewel project??.... getting started on the juggling jester???... and I really want to stitch some little Christmas trees???...
Whatever I start, it is undoubtedly going to be a busy week ahead.

I started today taking Tilly for a fabulous long walk 'around the block' in our neighbourhood and now that my trusty timer has beeped (more than once) I will turn off the computer, I enjoy the afternoon outside...

I hope you enjoying a lovely and relaxing weekend and to those celebrating Thanksgiving, I wish you a happy and safe holiday with family and friends.

Best Stitches,
Anna xx

Monday, November 19, 2018

It's a Juggle

Firstly - thank you so much for all the lovely and heart warming messages you have sent me. I am quite certain they have helped me recover.

I have a terrible habit of getting side tracked!!
A few months ago, while I was in the middle of packing class kits, I suddenly had an idea for a new raised embroidery figure and just had to sit down and draw this little fellow.

Despite being super busy preparing for Beating Around the Bush, I had managed to get the design ready. I started by resizing the sketch. It didn't need much but I want it to match the size of 'Over the Hills' and 'Drifting on the Breeze' so I had to scale the sketch down just a bit.

Over the Hills

Drifting on the Breeze

Since the clothing will be embroidered separately I then had to 'undress' the poor jester so that only the lines for the background and the position of his body will be transferred onto the main fabric.

I prefer not mark any design lines on the silk for my little people, so you will notice the main design is transferred as a mirror image to the back of the backing fabric below.

I then layer the backing fabric (calico or quilter's muslin) and background fabric (very pale yellow silk) and mount them onto my frame, nice and taut.
Once that is done, I work from the back, tacking along the design lines using a fine sewing thread the same colour as the silk. This transfers the lines to the front.

That was as far as I got. I was really, really looking forward to getting stuck into it....
then things got crazy and my neck and back gave way...
.... and not much has happened since. I have been absolutely itching to get back to it.

The good news is: I am finally feeling much better and am daring to start stitching again, YEAH!!!!
Before I can indulge in this piece I must finish another, very, very different project...

...a little piece of 'doodle stitching' (10 x 10cm / 4 x 4"). It was meant for my brother's big birthday in early November, but thanks to my back it is not finished... just as well he is not accustomed to getting cards and presents on time.

Happy Monday Stitches,
Anna X

Friday, November 2, 2018

Crewel & Colour

I have been out of action for almost 4 weeks now - needless to say; it is driving me crazy!!!
One thing is being too unwell to go to work, but being too unwell to do anything around home is just horrible, right?!

Anyway, I dosed up on painkillers this morning to just play with some yarn colours for a new crewel embroidery design. It is for one of my two workshops at The Embroiderers' Guild of South Australia's Summer School in January so I really kind of need to get moving.
In most workshops, the design is all planned out, colours and all but for this one the participants will be working using their own colour palette. I did a similar workshop for the Guild years ago using Jacobean Leaves and it was awesome to see the many beautiful variations of  colours people came up with and how it changed and personalised the design.

I know from experience that once I show my colour choices it makes for some people to visualise their own, so this post will be the only one where I share pictures in colour. 
I still need to stitch my version, to work out stitches and colour distribution, so I do have some decisions to make because I am not going to stitch this in all the colours of the rainbow as the first picture show (could be kind of fun but it is not big enough - LOL).

Laying in bed (which I sadly do a lot of lately), I suddenly had the idea that stitching the new design in my favourite colours teal and coral would work well. The colour scheme would be somewhat similar to the TULIPA bird, but in reverse - much more teal and less coral/orange and more teal.

Dusky blue-greens and terracotta is a somewhat traditional colour scheme often used for crewel embroidery. I find that if I choose shades of blue and reds with less black in them, I get a slightly more contemporary result. I liked the colours when I laid out the bundles to get a rough idea of the palette but then again...????

Looking at the original picture with the colour wheel it might be fun to do something really bright and chirpy... like my woollen Spring Sonnet blanket from Inspirations issue 68 (the pattern is available HERE).

It could be fun to do something really bright and fresh and summery...

While I ponder and decide on my colour scheme (I might well end up with something completely different) I thought, I could at least make a start by getting the pattern transferred and the fabric framed up. One flower, one stem...

... that is as far as I got before my body tells me that is enough bending over for now. Better than nothing, isn't it. At least I have made a start and it feels SOOOO much better having had a bit of yarn in my hands even it is only for a very short while.

Best stitches,
Anna X