Sunday, February 10, 2019

Getting the pants on... It's a Juggle WIP

After all the excitement around home lately we took off during the week and spent a couple of days at the beach. Sleeping, walking along along the beach, riding the bikes down for coffee, reading and simply catching our breath. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Although it was busy before we left, I did work a tiny bit on 'It's a Juggle'.
I have started working on the pieces for my jester’s costume. For the most part, I will probably be making little needlelace slips, but apart from that, I haven’t made any plans for how to stitch all the various pieces yet. I am really quite happy for it to simply take shape as I go. 
I am making the pants first and will need two needle lace slips, one for each leg. I draw the shape onto baking paper and then stick it onto very firm vilene with clear contact (plastic film). That gives me a firm ground to work on, and unlike card the vilene doesn't tear.

The thread I am using for these is Colour Streams, Silken Strands (42 Raspberry). I normally don’t use variegated threads much (I like to be charge of which colour goes where), but I love working needle lace with this particular thread. It is sold as a stranded silk but the individual strands are very firmly twisted, almost like a very fine Perle making it perfect for detached stitches. While working  my way, row by row down the leg I was trying to work out how to finish the edge around the calf.  It would be nice with some kind of decorative?, frilly? trim that will hang over the  top of his stripy socks.
I ended up trying to make overlapping rows of little triangles. They were fiddly and the first attempt looked terrible. I realised it was probably partly because the detached blanket stitch wasn't stable enough to hold the shape, so I pulled them out and started again. 
Second attempt is stitched using proper button hole stitch instead. This forms an extra little twist at the top of each stitch giving it more stability. I don’t have much experience with this kind of work, and had to reach for my trusty old stitch directory. 

The term buttonhole stitch is often used for blanket stitches placed really close together, but really they are two quite different stitches. There is a very good article on Nordic Needle that explains the difference between the two.

Getting the tension on these little 'suckers' even and consistent, takes practise and my effort is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I think they will pass. I was too keen to see how the piece looked on the Jester, so I forgot to take a photo before I put it on, sorry.
One leg down, one to go...

And that is as far as I got before we jumped in the car and headed down the coast.
I am not sure I will get much further this week. I really, really, really want to get the new crewel embroidery kit finished, packed and in the shop, but I do hope to get at least the other trouser leg done while I remember how how did it LOL.

I hope you all have a nice relaxing weekend.
Best Stitches,
Anna xx


  1. Hi Anna! I'ts good to read that you have taken some time off for awhile, taking some rest. It will do you good, rest is aways needed in stressful times.
    I've said it before but I'm amazed by your excellent embroidery skills, I haven't seen this sort of embroidery before. It looks a bit of 3D work, but then realized in embroidery stitches. It's done very clever and it looks beautiful already now. As always I do like the colorscheme of your work.
    Have a nice weekend (or at least I hope you've had a nice weekend, seen the fact that you live Down Under ;O).
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Hi Ilona. Yes it is always nice to get away - it is the only time I sit back and do nothing LOL. You are right that the embroidery is 3D. It is based on a style called Stumpwork which was at its height in the second half of the 17th century. Everything is created with stitches, using wires and other materials to create the raised effect. It is fiddly but fun.
      I hope you are staying warm an cosy inside.
      Anna X

  2. Oh, I do like the frilly pants and the striped stockings 😊. Hope the pump is sorted and that you managed to have a good time away.

    1. Thanks so much. Yes, pump sorted and I actually managed to flick a few pages in a good book... LOL

  3. So pretty! I love how you're working it out as you go along.

    1. I have never been good at planning too much.. which at times result in copious amounts of 'reverse stitching'

  4. Hi Anna, While SA is hot and dry we are having lots of snow in BC. We do not receive a lot of snow here on the coast so things seem to come to a halt and all schools have closed.
    Eastern Canada laughs at us as we do not seem to manage it very well.
    However it is a great time to hunker down and work on projects.
    The textured pantaloons with their frilled cuff look fabulous! No doubt you have now completed the other leg and I look forward to seeing the Jester attired.
    I always learn something when I read your blog. Thank you I appreciate being able to do so.
    Hope you enjoyed your time away. I love the freedom of riding a bike for pleasure to explore and of course to the coffee shop!
    Regards Janine

  5. Hi Janine - it never stops to amaze me just how much the weather affects what and how we do things. As much as I don't miss really cold winters, I do miss the 'hunkering down' bit.
    Sadly I have not managed any more work on the poor jester.. I have a few class projects and kits to get sorted so between that and work, there is really not much time left for anything... you know how it is.
    Stay warm
    Anna x

  6. I think this variegated thread is an excellent choice here. It adds even more three-dimensionality and looks just great. And the blue triangles are perfect! I love it.

    1. Thanks so much. Now that I have finished other work, I am hoping to (finally) spend some time on this again.