Monday, May 15, 2017

Gone to Seminar

As of today, I will be away for seminar. This means the blog will not be updated till I get back next week. My bag is packed or at least the essentials are ;)

I will try to post on my Instagram account as always. You can follow along here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Flowers Blooming

Flowers are popping up everywhere in my stitching.

Sadly I can't say the same about our spring here. The snow melted and we got a lot of rain causing certain problem areas to flood. The situation is so bad that a state of emergency has been declared and troops have been deployed to help evacuate. We're lucky that we live far from the water so we haven't been affected, but some of the places we often go to on the weekend have. The video below shows the Pierrefonds area in Montreal.

Since the weather was so horrible, I took the opportunity to get as far ahead with my beading as I can. I got all the dark navy and teal flowers done. All that's left are the light and dark topaz, and the garnets to do. I've been trying to stitch some leaves after each flower, but I'm going to run out of those very soon.

There are 5 days left till I leave for seminar. I'll need to start packing soon. I also need to figure out what stitching I will be bringing for the 4 hour flight. I really should consider taking Bramble and the Rose.

Friday, May 5, 2017

UK Stash

A few months back my sister came to me and said she was going to England for vacation. This was very sudden and unexpected. The worst is I couldn't even join her as I'd already planned on going to the JEC. She asked if I wanted something from there and I told her: YES! She had already offered to pay for the Alison Cole cyber class, but I told her to forget it. She can get me my birthday gift from the UK.

She didn't have a lot of time, but I kept hoping she would be able to go to Hampton court to visit their gorgeous gardens and... hopefully get me something from the Royal School of Needlework. It was getting closer to her time to get home and she still hadn't gone there. I thought it wouldn't happen until I got this video from her:

She really did go :) She even called me while she was there and we video called so she can show me the shop. It was awesome! (I have the best sister) Thank you Lindsey for helping her pick out everything.

My sister remembered I wanted the goldwork fox kit by Becky Hogg <3 It's lovely to know my family actually listens to me when I ramble about stitching stuff lol. She also got me a seat frame with clamp which is perfect timing for the summer. I'll finally have a hands free frame that I can use outside.

Lindsey was kind enough to slip in these pretty pamphlets of the different exhibitions the RSN held. I love the one with Mary Poppins.

The kit is really adorable and comes in a lovely gift box, there's even a coupon inside to get a rebate on the next kit. I'm thinking the badger but I wonder if it's too similar to the fox in terms of technique.

The kit comes with the instructions.

At first glance they seem to be very good. Lot's of illustrations to help along the way.

The kit comes with everything, including the hoop to stitch and display the final piece.

The pattern is already transferred on the fabric and the felt so you can just start straight away. The piece is actually smaller than I expected, but aren't they always!?

My sister really wanted to get me a pair of scissors or some sort of stitcher's tool. For example look at this stilleto. But I was very good. I already had my goldwork scissors and mellor, what I was really missing was a pair of nice tweezers. While she was waving her camera around in the store I noticed these. They are uncle bill's sliver gripper and have been mentioned multiple by other embroiderers as the best tweezers. I haven't used them yet but I will be taking them with me to seminar and will give them a go there.

At this point I've accumulated quite an arsenal of stitching tools. I think at this point the only thing I might still need is another pair of tweezers with a flat tip for goldwork. I really should put all my main tools together in one case that I would always carry with me to classes.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Talliaferro Challenge - Finishing

Now that my piece is finished, I had to actually "finish" it. My guild Virtual Threads is participating in a group exhibition for seminar. The theme was "Project Bags", so I decided to turn my beaded project into a pouch. I looked around the Internet until I could find instructions that don't use a sewing machine and found this one.

I was going to try and find a nice contrasting fabric for the lining but in the end I used the same one I used for my stitching.

The instructions seemed easy enough. Before I started beading, I looked at the instructions to figure out how big the fabric needed to be. The pouch is made by folding the fabric in half and sewing the edges closed. This meant that whatever my design area was, I needed a little extra at the top for the drawstring and then double that size. For the lining, I cut out a piece exactly the same size.

The back of the piece for those curious. The hoop marks only show in the backing fabric and that gets hidden with the lining so I didn't bother ironing it.

Before I can sew the edges together, I needed to fold the top and bottom to make a channel for the drawstring.

The front.

Folded the entire piece in half with the design in the inside and started hem stitching.

I wanted more room at the bottom, so I decided to go with the variation and stitched a line through the bottom corner.

I realized later that the inside of my pouch is not the neatest. Because of the instructions I used (and the fact I don't have a sewing machine) I couldn't hide the edges. So if you open up the pouch you can see them and this fabric doesn't help (the edges fray). It still looks pretty.

For the drawstring, I got a satin ribbon in a lovely blue. Here it is in good lighting. I decided to call it Turkish Jewels. Once I have a few Japanese bead embroidery phases done, I want to restitch it to see if I can do a better job. Especially on the "eyes".

This is the last post on the Talliaferro Challenge. There are 12 days left till seminar so I don't think it's a good idea to start anything new right before leaving. So for the next little bit, it will be all about stitching beaded flowers and leaves unless I make good progress on one of the older WIPs.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Flower Beading

I spent most of the weekend recuperating from my work week, but I did get some stitching done. I'm surprised by how slow the progress is. Each flower takes about 15 minutes for me to stitch and I've been getting distracted a lot. My sister was in the UK and she would call me to face time to show me where she was and what she was doing. She came back really late last night (I was asleep by then) with lots of goodies for me to share, so I can't wait to get home to go thru them.

© Copyright - Japanese Embroidery Center
I was hoping to stitch all the navy flowers but that didn't happen. Right now I have 23 flowers out of 52. I still have long way to go and after that many, many leaves to stitch. I really should start plugging away at those. Wouldn't do to leave them all for the end. My bead mat has been great for that. I usually pick one color of flowers to stitch and will set up the beads for the flower centers and the leaves so I can easily switch between the two and not waste any time pulling out beads.

Here is a close up of one area that is almost done. All that's left here is to stitch 3 beads in the space between the leaves. These will form a triangle. Once I have a bigger area stitched, I'll attach some to show you what it will look like when it's done.

© Copyright - Japanese Embroidery Center
On another note, first: I've missed WIPocalypse for April. I won't be doing a post for that as I haven't worked on any of my WIPs. I'm hoping to do better next month, we'll see. Second: there are 13 days left before EAC seminar =D

Friday, April 28, 2017

French Needle and JEC Stash

Since I was in D.C. for a sort of reunion with some of the ladies who were on last year's French Needle tour, I got the chance to meet up with Lisa the owner of the French Needle. She had us over for dinner at her house one night and was kind enough to show us the shop. There were so many things I wanted to bring home with me especially her gorgeous scissors, but I settled for getting these three kits.

Two kits are by Canevas Folies. Lisa has decided not to carry them anymore and has reduced the price of the kits. There should be some left in the Sales page. I also got this adorable little thread painted fox by the Bluebird Embroidery Co.

Months ago, I had placed an order for the goldwork kit for Lucy Barter's craftsy class. My friend Carolyn was kind enough to lend me her address so I can save on shipping. Lucky I bought it when I did, it seems the price went up. The kit comes in a lovely tin to keep it all safe, but doesn't come with fabric. I'm picking that up in May from Alison Cole. The plan is to start this piece in the fall, so I will show you the contents then.

I also picked up some lovely inspiration art and postcards from the museums we visited.

When we were at the JEC, we picked up our orders for class which included any tools we would need. I had purchased a full set of the needles with the wool felt for storage, an awl (this one came in very handy during class), and a pair of standard komas. Standard meaning they're not made of any special wood. You can see the other wood selections here, some of them are quite pricey.

Here's a close up of the needles. There is another longer needle at the back for lacing fabric. For our class we only used the M2 and M3 (M is for machine made). They are really tiny and very short. I'm really worried I might lose them, so I will have to be very careful. We used them for beading, but they are also used with couching thread.

We had the opportunity to do some shopping at lunch time. You could peruse all their stock which was at the back of the class. I was very good and didn't look at any of the fabrics, metal and silk threads. I'm no where near that level yet. For us beaders, they laid out their stock of beads for us to do some shopping. I tried to be smart in my color choices but couldn't help getting the berry and purple beads. The beads they stock are a combination of Miyuki and Toho beads, but their 3-cut beads are Czech not unlike the beads I bought for Hana. I was talking to one of the staff members and she mentioned it's getting harder and harder to find certain beads in Japan.

I took the opportunity to buy 3 sets of postcards: one to keep and two to send out to friends. And you know my love of books. These can be bought separate or as a set and contain traditional patterns for Japanese Embroidery.

They are not very different from coloring books, but you'll never see me coloring in them.

The books are pocket sized, so the patterns are small. They would be perfect for embroidery.

These also came back with me.

Unfortunately, I can't say they're mine :P A friend who does goldwork heard I was going and asked if I could pick up an order for her. These are a selection of some of the metal threads the JEC carries including a sampler card. She's already started playing with her new stash, you can see her progress on her Facebook page here.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Lots of long white threads this month. Some of these are from the pre-work for my seminar class Hedebo Enchantement, but the majority is from my Japanese bead embroidery phase 1 piece. I actually got a little bit more time to work on it yesterday. I stitched a few garnet flowers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Talliaferro Challenge - Part 4

Now that I was satisfied with my flower, the next step was the ovary(?). For this I wanted to add in more white this time in the form of a Swarovski sew-on crystal owlet. This is stitched down with two silver-lined beads.

For the actually shape of the ovary, I wanted to try out a technique I saw in one of my beading books which is a raised stitch using hidden beads to add volume.

Once the bead "padding" is stitched, this is covered with beads of the same color all around. I'm not a 100% satisfied with some of the angles, but you can't really see it from afar.

The berries were more of the same satin stitch beads. By the time I got to these, I'd figured out the best way to lay them so they would curve nicely.

Now onto the stem and leaf. I really love the silver-lined green bead.

The stem was easy.

The leaf needed more thinking. To ensure all the beads angle correctly on the leaf I couldn't just start on end and stitch. The empty space in the middle made it more difficult as well. So I decided to start at the middle and stitched all the way to the end. I later went back and stitched the other way.

It looks a bit weird where the edges meet at the top, but I really love how the furl of the leaf came out.

All done.

This makes it the last post on stitching this piece. The next post will show how I finished it into a pouch. By hand!