Friday, February 28, 2020

Mother Hen & Periwinkel

It is finished...

I finished the larger, original version of Mother Hen some time last week. I did flick a quick photo onto other social media, but I figured it would be nice the share a bit more detail with you here.

This is where it was at: I had embroidered all the detached pieces; The flowers, the leaves and the hen's head and wing.

The head is embroidered mostly in chain stitch. For this piece I have worked all the rows in the same direction - first in a spiral kind of motion around the head and then in rows down the neck. The pattern on neck formed by filling the spaces left between the cream rows, with a slightly darker colour.

The wing is embroidered using just two stitches: Blanket stitch (buttonhole stitch)for the larger feathers, blanket stitch wheels for the scalloped feathers and detached chains (lazy daisy) placed in a brick-like pattern to fill the upper part.
No matter how long I have been embroidering for, it never stops to amaze me just how much the appearance of a stitch can be altered by the size and placement.

Before I could attach the head and wing, I needed to complete the embroidery for Mother Hen's tail and body.
I had been in such a rush to get the smaller needlebook version finished that I had taken very few (if any) notes. At the time I was sure I would just remember how I did everything since non of it is really complicated but it turned out that that was not the case.
At least I had taken quite a few - if not beautiful then at least helpful - photos which came in really handy second time around.

The tail feathers are embroidered mostly in fly stitch, just as you would a leaf. To get the grading of colour when changing from one shade to the next, I skip stitches and then bring in the next shade into those gaps to avoid it becoming stripy.

Although the body is mostly covered by the wing, it still needed to be 'coloured in'. I wanted to do something that represented feathers but without actually stitching individual feathers or repeating the detached chain feathers of the wing. I ended up first covering the shape with a mixture of satin stitch and sort of long and short stitch - stitching midway onto the shape and then filling the opposite side afterwards. Originally I was only going to cover the lower edge, since the upper part of the body is covered by the wing, but it didn't work for the needlebook, where the wing can be lifted up and the felt would show underneath.
To conserve thread, all of this stitching was done in a back and forth motion so there is really very little silk wasted on the back.

To get a 'feather-like pattern, I then placed a couched lattice over the top and then couched it down carefully, so I didn't flatten the body. So far so good.

The week chickens are stitched entirely in detached chains - tiny for the body and quite long for the head, so the chain forms a 'satin stitch' like face and the anchoring stitches the fluffy feathers on top of the head.

After the hens head and wing was stitched on, I could finally complete her face with black bead for the eye... this is when I realised I had missed tracing the beak! No other way than to just 'wing it'.

You may remember, I mentioned here that I had embroidered a spare flower because I anticipated having to attach them differently to what I have done in the past. The flowers are not wired, so I had thought I perhaps would need to catch the edges of the petals together near the centre to gently cup the flower. As it turned out, I had not need to worry. The petals were rigid enough without wire, to raise neatly from the fabric when I pulled the stitches tight in the centre.

I still need to frame this Mother Hen & Periwinkle. I had toyed with the idea of inserting it into a boxlid but I haven't decided yet. For now I am working on the pattern and I am really, really, really going to try and have the kit for both versions in my SHOP before Easter.

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

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Very, Very Berry pouch

It has been a Very, Very Berry week in more ways than one.

I finally made the little Very, Very Berry crewel embroidery panel into a small pouch. It had been the intention all along, and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

The little pouch is perfect for carrying my embroidery bits and pieces when I go away. It has three pockets inside so that scissors, needles and other little bits don't just 'rattle around'.

I have long been using the Tulipa pouch when I go away, so I got it out and made this one the same way, using the cherry print cotton that gave me the idea for the design in the first place for the back.
I have not had my sewing machine out in ages and for the first time ever, managed to sew into my finger! No blood stains on the linen which is the most important thing.

It is really a few days since I finished the actual pouch, but I wanted to write up the pattern so that you can download it and make a pouch of your own if you want to.
You can download the FREE PATTERN HERE

Between stitching, writing and drawing to get pouch pattern ready, I did pick this beautiful bowl of wild blackberries. I always keep an eye out for them on my works and was not really expecting any this year because of the hot weather we have had. But mother nature can be so resilient.

Have a lovely weekend everyone,

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Back to the original Mother Hen

With the Mother Hen Needle Book finished, I have started back on the original, larger version of the design. You can just see it in the top right corner of the picture.

You will notice the larger design is mirrored to the needle book- or rather, I had to mirror the needle book otherwise you would be opening it at the tail of hen and that somehow felt and looked really wrong :-).

The larger version needs detached pieces for leaves and flowers, as well as the wing and head for the hen and I managed to finish all those elements this week.

I only need four of the periwinkle flowers, but I am going to try an attach them in a way, I have not done before, so I have embroidered four, just in case it doesn't work.
They are stitched in just two shades of silk (Au ver a Soie, Soir d'Alger 4912 and 4913). In the photo, the flower on the left still needs the blanket stitch around the edges.

The six leaves were a bit tedious. They have wired edges, so I can shape them later and are all stitched exactly the same way with the same colour combination.

I usually use a variety of greens for leaves, but for this design, I feel they all need to be the same. I am glad they are done now. At least they are quite small (as the pin for comparison shows).

I still need to embroidery the four little chickens, the raised petals for the two buds above the hen and the hen's tail and body. It is my goal to get it finished in the coming week... we'll see how I go.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Anna X