Thursday, August 29, 2019

Doodle Stitching - WIP Before Dawn

It has been a great week, for many reasons, but partly because I have spent more time stitching than I have in a long time and have made great progress on my little doodle piece since I showed you the piece last week. This is where it was at:

BEFORE DAWN - work in progress
Since then I have stitched hundreds of tiny French knots (no I am not counting, just guessing) and filled in two of the three remaining dots...
I used chipping to fill these last few, adding some lovely sparkle. A bit of bling never goes astray, does it?

BEFORE DAWN, chipping detail
I then repeated the purple burden stitch in the area at the top, adding satin stitch along one side and, again, defining the area with gold threads.


I changed the line along the left-hand side of the next shape slightly and added more gold. I would normally always add the metal threads last, but since this is not planned at all, I have not allowed the width for the metal along the marked lines and since I want the metal to 'sit down into' the embroidery, I need to have them in place before filling in.

The area on the other side of the purple burden stitch is filled with satin stitch using the darker shade of green. It doesn't show all that well when photographed, but it sits like a smooth pane of coloured glass in a lead light window.

When I am not sure about a stitch or colour, I will work just a bit of each to test it out so that there is less 'reverse' stitching if it is not right. Making things up as you go, results in a rather messy looking work surface at times as you can see above.

BEFORE DAWN - running stitch filling top left.
The second to last section of the background is filled in the same way as the pink area on the other side. I use very long running stitches, only picking up a single fabric thread between each stitch. By off-setting the points where I pick up fabric, I achieve a relatively smooth and solid ground, that - and this is a big plus - if pretty quick to stitch.

The plan is to fill the remaining area with close rows of stem stitch, in the same way at the large green wavy shape. I am thinking of using the pink but shading it off into tan and off-white, but seeing the narrow strip below, I am not so sure...

BEFORE DAWN - Work in progress

By the way, someone asked how big this is. It is just under 10cm (4") square, so not big at all.

I had hoped to have Before Dawn finished by the end of the week, but despite good progress that is not likely to happen. Never the less, I am really happy with how much I got done in the last few days.
I hope you too have had a good week and can look forward to a relaxing weekend ahead.

Best Stitches,

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Doodle Stitching - Padded Satin Stitch dots

I have finally finished the satin stitch dots on my little square piece doodle stitching. You might notice there is still a dot to be stitched here and there among the finished ones, but I have plans for those… any guesses?

BEFORE DAWN - work in progress
I am filling the spaces between the dots with French knots - close together around each dot and  spilling over the background stitching. It is my hope that the texture of the knots will make the smooth dots look like colourful bubbles floating across the background. Time will tell if it works, but so far I am happy with how it is looking.

I have tried to make my dots as raised as I could, firstly because I just love the smooth domed shape of satin stitch dots but also so that the dome of the dots is higher than the the French knots.

I very, very rarely use multiple strands for satin stitch but instead stitch layer upon layer with a single strand so it is not a quick job, but I find it results in a more smooth and firm domed shape than if I stitched just a single layer of padding with a much thicker thread.
If you are not familiar with padded satin stitch dots, this is how I do it:

Outline the circle with split stitch (or split back stitch). This will help you get a nice, firm and smooth outline on your shape.
Straight stitch padding
1. Start the padding with a few straight stitch in the middle of the circle. You can work these back and forth instead of having long stitches on the back.
2. Place the next layer of straight stitches in the opposite direction to the first. These stitches are only slightly bigger than before.

3. Continue to add layers, each at a right angle and slightly bigger than the previous.
It is not super important that these stitches are perfect since they will be covered.
4. The final layer of padding is placed just inside the split stitch outline. The needle should skim the outline as it passes through the fabric - this will help stabilize the edges of the shape.
TIP: The final layer of padding should always be at a right angle to finishing layer of satin stitch. If you know what direction your satin stitch should be, you will need to keep that in mind when placing your padding.

Satin stitch
To get a nice shine on your final layer, always start a new thread for your satin stitch. You would normally use the same thread for the padding and top layer, I just changed colour so it is easier to see what is going on.
5. Place the first stitch across the middle (or widest point) of your shape. It is so much easier to get the right stitch direction across a wide section than it is at the very end of a shape.
6. Stitching to one side, cover one half of the circle with satin stitch. It is important to work systematically across the shape - if you try and go back to fill tiny gaps, you are likely to get a lumpy and uneven looking result.
TIP: I use the tip of my needle to feel for where it needs to go - it should touch both the outline and previous stitch.

7. Return to the middle and cover the second half of the dot the same way.
TIP: You kind of need to be 'a stitch short' at the end to avoid your circle turning into an egg.
If you look closely at the last picture, you can just see the outline stitches underneath. If I went to cover it up with one more stitch - it would turn oval.

As much as enjoy doing dots, I am pleased they are done. I am almost halfway through the background stitching now and just want to finish that, so I can finish the French knots, so I can finish the piece and move on to something else. I really do get rather impatient once I am well into a project - patience may be a virtue, but it is not really one of mine LOL.
I am hoping to get a bit more work done on the doodle stitching background over the next few days and hope to show you a bit of progress next week.

Talking about being patient - do you remember this one??

STRAWBERRY FEAST, Raised embroidery kit
I cannot believe it is months since I finished it and I have only now managed to get the kits for my Strawberry Feast in the SHOP this week. A few of you had contacted me for the kit, and I truly appreciate your patience.

Best Stitches,
Anna x

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Out & About

I had another little trip away last week - this time to Queensland.

SONNET Goldwork Embroidery Kit
 I started with two days teaching Goldwork in Rockhampton. I was welcomed by the most spectacular sunset and a group of utterly enthusiast stitchers. For many, SONNET was their first go at goldwork and (I think) a few people were a wee bit aprehansive. This is a super difficult project, but there is A Lot going on. You can see a bit more detail from back when I stitched it HERE. Everyone got really stuck into it and after the two days everyone were doing a great job and were well underway.

From Rockhampton, I made my way back to Brisbane to teach a two day crewelwork class at All Threads Embroidery
SCARLET GLORY Crewel Embroidery Kit

We were stitching SCARLET GLORY which is quite a substantial project to get through in just two days – but WOW, everybody worked so hard and got so much done! 
One of the participants had asked if she could change the colour scheme. How exciting!! I love it when stitchers make my designs their own and it is brilliant to see how different a design looks, simply by changing a colour palette.
I prepare all my patterns and kits in a way so that colours are very, very easy to change or substitute so away we went and changed all the burned reds and oranges to a brilliant scale of peacock blue and purple.  I can’t wait to see how this beautiful combination takes shape.

I had not been to either of these places before and had a fabulous time. Thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome and at home.  

I didn’t take any stitching with me on that trip because I knew I would have very little stitching time, so I have only done a little bit more on my doodle stitch piece.

I have almost finished the satin stitch dots and have done a bit more work on the background areas: Happy with the shaded pink on the edge – not sure yet if this will be the upper, lower, left or right… the green is coming along very, very, very slowly. Row after row of stem stitch. I want the finish to be really, really flat and love the finished look of this, but boy oh boy is it slow going.

The area between is also now on track now, after a bit of reverse stitching. I am using burden stitch and in the first go (above), I had placed the foundation stitches vertically and used stranded cotton. It just didn’t look quite right, so out it came...

...Second go (above), I placed the foundation stitches horizontally using a metallic gold. I am much, much happier with this. Still not sure I will use the dark mauve/purple for the whole area or grade it. Time will tell….

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend,