Friday, September 27, 2019

Two stitches forward...

... ten stitches back.

I sat down yesterday afternoon, thinking that with a solid few hours of stitching, I might finish my Very, Very Berry bird. I had finished the bird, stitched all the berries and started work on the branch and leaves - it was coming along nicely.
But then, I sat back and looked at it...

... it was turning green!
It was starting to look too much like my Dawn Chorus which I love, but I don't feel the need to repeat.

In my mind, I want this little panel to be more blue than green I have a beautiful piece of fabric in my stash which is part of my inspiration.

I had started stitching the leaves blanket stitch in shades of blue-grey and then added fly stitch veins over the top using the same yellow-green that I had used for the bird's body. I then continued the yellow-green in stem stitch along each side of the stem to outline it.
I like the way the stitches work, but...
.. the piece was definitely turning green.

I was quite sure the only way around it was to rip out all the yellow green. Which of course would mean I had to pull the legs out also because the toes are stitched over the top of the branch... SIGH.
... I promptly put it away to sleep on it.

So this afternoon, before 'attacking' the whole piece, I added a different colour, a pale green-blue for the veins and along the branch and that was much more like the look I was after.
Another bigger SIGH and out came the rest of the leaf veins + the stalk for the berries in the birds beak and the three below - they were too green also.

If you scroll up and down and compare the picture above with the one a little further up, you can see just how big a difference a single makes. Isn't it crazy.

I am now pretty much back to where I started but I feel much, much better about it now. I think, the rest of the leaves and berry stalks are done, the overall feel and colour will be just as I was hoping for. Fingers crossed, there won't be too much more 'reverse stitching' on this Very, Very Berry bird.

Next big decision is what to do with it? Any suggestions?
I had thought of a project pouch, but then again, I do need a wallet for my 'stuff' and passport when I travel. Hmm...

We are heading off to the beach for a couple of nights, just to catch our breath. It will be really nice to get away for a few days of R&R. I am not sure yet what I will take to keep my hands busy (if I feel the need). There are plenty of lovely walks and the weather is looking promising, so I may not do any stitching at all. We'll see.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Best Stitches,
Anna X

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Colour & Kits

It has been a quiet week for me stitching wise, with my needles sitting idle for the most part, with time taken up by all sorts of other 'stuff'.

Firsty, I had the most fabulous weekend with a regional embroidery group in Pt Pirie, 3 hours north of Adelaide. I was teaching crewel embroidery which I always love, but with the added twist playing with colours. Mostly I will teach from one of my kits - well most kits start life as a class project - but this time, I didn't include yarns and everyone had to choose their own colour scheme. I have learnt that for many stitchers, choosing colours can be really daunting, so it is nice to be able to help and encourage people to be have a go.

Autumn Gold embroidery design
We were using the design for Autumn Gold, notes were printed off in black/white and the group didn't get to see my version until after they had all chosen their colours. Oh and what colours..!!! It so exciting and so much fun to see the many different variations (sorry - forgot photos) from delicate & pretty,  daring, dynamic, vibrant, muted.... reds, pinks, greys, golden yellows, blues, greys and black....
Everyone made great progress over the weekend and seeing the designs taking shape in so many beautiful shades was just delightful for me.
The group has promised to send me pictures of the pieces as they finish. I really, really hope they do. I get so excited when stitchers add their own personal twist to my designs.

Back home, we have been busy making kits, both for coming workshops in Canberra and Tasmania but also for the SHOP.
I suddenly realized I had completely forgotten to put the latest Goldwork kit, Tulip Moon on the shelf - That is now done.
There is only 4 kit sets to start with. I do have another 4 very close to ready, but I am waiting on one of the needles to arrive so I can finish them.

This project is only little (7.5cm / 3" in diameter) so it is very manageable. I designed it as an introduction to the technique, so it is stitched with some of the easier goldwork techniques.

I had a little, turned wooden pot in my stash and popped my piece on the lid. I do think this is my favorite goldwork piece to date... I always feel like that when I finish, but this one I am particularly happy with.

On another shop note: Sadly postage is getting more and more expensive and there is nothing we can do about it except: I am offering FREE SHIPPING for orders over AU$100 until the end of September.
Why? No reason - just because I can!

Happy Stitching,
Anna X

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Wheat-Ear Stitch Chat

I love it when I discover a favorite new stitch combination by chance.
This is what I suddenly found emerging in my hoop yesterday.


Isn't it pretty?
It is wheat-ear stitch with a French knot placed inside each chain part.
I have used Wheat-ear stitch many times before as a filling stitch for feathers, leaves and flower petals. I like it, because it is a little fuller and more decorative than fly and feather stitches.

Samples of Wheat-Ear stitch

It is also relatively quick to stitch. If you are not familiar with Wheat-ear stitch, this is how you do it:

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Wheat-ear stitch 
is made up from a line of reverse chain stitches with little ‘ears’ added to each side of each stitch as you go.

1. Start with a stitch at the top of your line. You can vary the length of this stitch, depending on how you wish the top of your line to look - or place two stitches in a V shape.
Next, bring the thread to the front a little further along the line - this will determine the length of the chain part of the stitch.
Slide the eye-end of the needle under the stitch at the top without piercing the fabric.
NOTE: I always use the eye-end of the needle to slide under previous stitches to avoid splitting the existing stitches.

2. Take the needle to the back through the same hole as the emerging thread.

3. Bring the thread to the front a short distance from the chain stitch, near the top and take it to the back through the same hole at the base - this is the first 'ear'.
Repeat to the opposite side.

4. Emerge below the first chain and 'ears'. Slide the eye-end of the needle under the first chain and 'ears'.

5. Take the needle to the back through the same hole at the base and stitch the next set of ‘ears’ as before.

6. Continue down then line in this way, keeping the size of the chains as even as possible.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

I was about the outline the shapes, when I suddenly wondered what it would look like if I somehow added a different colour inside the chains and that is how the pink French knots happened.

I just love these, and wanted to show you before I added more stitches.

So what exactly is it, you may wonder...

It is the beginning of a new little crewel piece. Very, Very Berry. 
I have had it stashed away, only just begun for longer than I like to admit. I am really happy with the design, but I had started the wing and could not stand looking at it...

... it looked ugly and lumpy. So before I could start, I had to do some serious 'reverse stitching' and get rid of all the knots.


So much better. Now I actually feel like stitching it. You can see all the little holes left in the linen by the knots. I am not too concerned about those, they will disappear once the piece is blocked.

After working with fine threads for the past many weeks, it is lovely to be back to some crewelwork, with woolen yarns that fill the work quickly.

I am not sure I will get much more done on this for next few days. I am heading off for a weekend workshop in Pt Pirie, north of Adelaide on the weekend and am looking forward to getting Out & About to meet up with new and old stitching friends. Besides, today feels like spring has finally sprung in Adelaide, so I might just need to get out and get my hands dirty in the garden... bliss.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week and have a fabulous weekend.
Best Stitches,
Anna X 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

I finished Before Dawn

... well, I wasn't up stitching before dawn, I am not an early starter by any stretch of the imagination, but I finished the little piece of doodle stitching I have been working on.
When I showed you the piece a bit more than a week ago, it looked like this...

BEFORE DAWN - Work in progress
You may remember I was filling the last background area with close rows of stem stitch... it is oh, so very slow, but I really do like the look of the smooth almost woven look when it is finished.

BEFORE DAWN - detail
I was using the pink and adding lines of the same straw colour that I used for some of the dots for this section and I was not completely sure about these colours. Looking at it finished, I think it works - pink, but not too pink. What do you think?
Next was the last sparkly dot filled with chipping...

Chipping is a goldwork technique where a fine wire coil called a purl, is chopped into tiny pieces (sorry about the blurry photo). Each piece is about as long as it is wide, and yes - tiny.

They are then stitched down, the same way you would a bead. Each little chip in a different direction. When you use a check purl, you get this lovely sparkly finish.
With the last dot done, the only thing left was the French knots..

 A river of French knots...

... and, Ta-daaaa

BEFORE DAWN by Anna Scott
I have had it sitting on a table for a few days now, trying to decide which way it up and I think this is it.
This has been such a pleasure to stitch and as much as I wanted to finish, I (like always) feel a little bit sad and at a loss now that it is finished. Lucky I know just the cure for that...

... start something new!

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful weekend.
Best Stitches
Anna X