Monday, December 16, 2019

50 shades of green leaves

...bright green, apple green, grass green, olive green, grey-green, blue-green, yellow-green, khaki green, hunter green, jacobean green.......??????

I have a reasonably size stash of green silks, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is easy to get the right shade of green for a project.

I have a few favourite greens that I tend to gravitate to, shades of green, I know usually work well together. Getting the balance of greens just right is so important but for this project is was not quite as straight forward as I had hoped.
The background fabric is a quite yellow-olive-green, cheerful but not bright. It made blue-greens look more blue and yellow greens look more yellow and when mixing the two, well... let's not go there.

You can usually get a fairly good idea if a selection of colours and shades work, simply by placing them together onto the fabric, but with this lot, what seemed to work, did not work well, once stitched. After a fair bit of trail and error (read 'unpicking') I think, I eventually found a combination that works.                                                                       I have used: Au Ver a Soie, stranded silks: 3362 and 3714 for the stems and the centre veins of the leaves; and Madeira stranded silk 1311 together with Au Ver a Soie 1844 and 1603 for the leaves.  
Once the coloures were finalised I could get down to business and just stitch for a bit... bliss. 
There will be more leaves coming later. I got to this point and then realised I had done it again... 

The design is going to be too big for a comfortable two-day workshop. It is doable, but I really wanted something a little bit more manageable. So it was back to the drawing board to create a smaller version of this design. I will still complete this bigger one as well, but for the class, I will have an option for a more suitable project, teaching (almost) all the same techniques.

The next few days are going to be stinking hot in Adelaide, perfect for sitting inside, working on this. I had promised it to be ready before Christmas... I better get back to it.

Have a fabulous week,
Anna X

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

New Project in my hoop - Stems

I know, I should try and finish one thing at a time and I would like to finish my Merry Jester - but as I mentioned last week, I have a new piece of raised embroidery in my hoop.

I had a request was for: A piece of stumpwork, not too difficult with a cute animal.
It has takena bit of thinking and doodling on my part, but it finally came together and I am really looking forward to seeing it take shape.

I played with the idea of trying something different for the stems, but in the end decided to embroider them in whipped stems stitch, as I often do. I like the look of these stems - I think they are one of my favorite stems.

They lay round and raised on top of the fabric, like trailing, but so much easier to do.
I start with two rows of stem stitch, worked closely side by side. I don't align the stitches in each row - in fact you get a better finish, if they are off-set.

Then I whip the two rows together, placing the whipping stitches, closely side-by-side so they completely cover the stem stitch. The whipping pulls the two rows together, making the stem skinnier, higher and rounder.
There are much more detailed pictures HERE if you want to have a go.

For this design the stem cross over and under one another, so I completed one stem at a time to make sure I got it right.

I usually work my raised embroidery pieces on silk, but for this one, I wanted a print cotton in a light-ish shade of green. I was looking for something fresh and clean, not too heavy and overpowering, with a small, delicate, tone-on-tone kind of print. That should be easy to find, right?
Well, I think I found what I was looking for and bought the whole bolt to make sure I have plenty for kits later.

This is as far as I got, before realizing it was going to be way too much work for a two say workshop... So, a new, smaller version for the class is now in another hoop LOL.

I hope everyone is enjoying a good week.
Best Stitches,

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Hands On - It's a Juggle, WIP

I have made just a little more progress on the juggling jester this week.

I had made his hands last week, but only just found time to put a bit more work into his arms yesterday so that I can begin stitching the sleeves.

Hands are SO fiddly. They are made by wrapping fine wire with silk threads. First five individual fingers, that are joined and wrapped together to make the hand. There are some more detailed pictures HERE. Laying next to a toothpick, can see how small the hand are.


Putting the hands on the piece is fairly straight forward - I place them with the excess wire and thread tails along the arm and secure them. The wire and threads, double up as 'padding' for the arms.  I then added a bit more string for the arms.

I quite want my jester to be a bit long and lanky, but these wee, skinny arms needed some 'serious' padding and besides, I am thinking of some kind of puffed upper sleeves.
So I decided to leave the lower arms skinny and added some felt for padding and shape to the still-to-come sleeves.

Despite his hands being so small, they look a little bit big and out of proportion - I am hoping once the coat, hair and hat goes on, they will be a better fit. Fingers crossed.

Sadly he will now have to go back on the shelf for a bit as I have another deadline looming before Christmas. The brief: stumpwork, a cute animal, not too much work and not too difficult...
That should be easy, right?... After pondering for months and starting to secretly pulling my hair out of lack of ideas and inspiration, I am finally on my way and will have something to show next week.

I hope you have a fabulous week everyone.
Best stitches,
Anna X