Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pearl Butterfly Lesson 3

This lesson was very anti-climatic. It passed by so fast :|

In lesson 3, we learned how to stitch with a different type of padding.

This is used for the body of the butterfly. By the way dressmakers carbon I used was too faint on this fabric. It was okay for the wings, but the body wasn't visible at all under the artificial light. So I ended up having to retrace it with the white gelly roll pen.

Here it is all couched down.

We got to play with Whipped plate this lesson.

 I've seen videos of embroiderer's from fashion houses using this type of metal before so it was a lot of fun trying it out myself. I will have to see if I can find the video again to share with you.

It looks fabulous under natural light. Unfortunately all these were taken at night under artificial light.

I ended up working the body upside down. I found couching the whipped plate easier going up than going down. No idea why.

My butterfly is getting shinier!

This lesson we also started applying the majority of the Swarovski pearls.

These are couched down very similar to the way they do it with Japanese Bead Embroidery. Although I would make one adjustment for next time which would make it more secure. In Japanese Bead Embroidery, they string the beads on a doubled thread and couch down the line using a single thread. It makes it much more solid. I wish I thought of that on Saturday when I did it :P

So lesson 3 is all done :( I'm really sad I'll have to wait another 2 weeks for the next lesson. I'm going to try very hard to work get some progress on other projects and not start something new. Really really hard. I do have a project I've been tinkering with. It will be my first foray into designing my own pattern. I'm still finalizing all the details but I found that I'm really enjoying the process. I will be writing posts for sure to share with you, but I will most likely not publish them until after I come back from my vacation in April. The only hint I will give you is this: SFSND. Let's see if any of you will recognize the acronym :)

Monday, February 27, 2017

WIPocalypse 2017 – February

This month's theme is: What is your favorite stitch other than the standard cross stitch? (bonus points if you provide a how-to link or diagram it on your blog post!) I think last year I said satin stitch. It's still my favorite, but recently I've come to appreciate the good old back stitch and couching stitch. You can do so much with it especially when you start using beads or gold threads and cords.

I did very well this month :) One night I took Bramble and the Rose to a guild meeting, so there is a tiny bit of progress here. See if you can spot it.

Ink Circles - The Bramble and the Rose

No Update
Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons

No Update
Satin Stitches - Donna's Fantasy Lace

I was asked to come to a Stitcher's Rendez-vous :) On Sundays there are music concerts in the hall we use for guild meetings and there is a room visitors can come to before the concert to watch demonstrations from our embroidery guild and the spinners and weavers guild. It's a way for us to promote Embroidery and the guild. I decided to take Romantic Rosebud and managed to get some progress on weaving some leaves. It was really fun, I hope I get asked to come again.


Kathryn Drummond - Romantic Rosebud

Three updates in one post! While waiting for the next Pearl Butterfly lesson, I took out Fleurs de Sakura and got some more leaves appliqued.

Annie Penin - Fleurs de Sakura

Speaking of Pearl Butterfly, this is a project I've been working on a lot this month. If you want to see what it looks like click here for my previous post. Tomorrow I will be posting my latest progress from the weekend. 

February TUSAL

I'm always late to post these things when it lands on the weekend. I've done lots this month and many of the threads in there I can't tell you what its from as they are either secret projects (yes I hide things from you :P ) or gifts that are still waiting to be given. So here is a side view of my ORT jar as a sneak peek.

Hopefully I will be able to share them very soon. In the meantime, I have a WIPocalypse post to write, as well as my update on Pearl Butterfly and many more things that happened over the weekend. I will try not to overload your feeds all at once ;)

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Embroiderer's Little Book of Hints and Tips

At the last guild stitching meeting, we were talking about embroidery books and Natalie of Sew By Hand (you should check out her page, she has lovely original designs) mentioned wanting to see Alison Cole's The Embroiderer's Little Book of Hints and Tips. This made me realize that no one ever actually reviewed this book. So here it is.

The book is really handy. It's nice and compact so you can bring it along to classes if you wanted to.

Alison signed mine =D 

Here is a peek at the table of contents pages. The book covers everything from materials to getting started.

There are sections on general embroidery and both Goldwork and Stumpwork which are Alison's specialties.

My favorite is the Oh, No! section. We've all had those moments. In this section Alison covers how to fix the more common issues she's encountered during the classes she's taught. She even has sections on preparing for classes, what to look for when framing your pieces and even how to properly photograph them.

Through out the books there are little squares giving extra hints.

The great thing about this book is the paper. More often the paper is really shiny and it's really annoying when you want to add notations in it. If you use pen it takes forever to dry and rubs off making a mess, pencil isn't any better because it slips too much on the surface. This little book has excellent paper for writing. You'll forgive me if I don't demonstrate as I like to keep my books pristine :P These pages can be found at the end of each section so you can add in those new tips you discover along the way.

The very last section of the book is on needles. Here you can find images of all the different types of needles that we could use and the multiple sizes they come in. The pictures are the actual size of the needles so you can easily match an unknown needle and figure out which one it is.

More pages for notes can be found at the end of the book. This book is really a work in progress because new tips are found all the time as stitchers try out new things.

I really love the back cover of the book :) The colors are so vibrant.

I'm really glad I bought this book. It's almost like having Alison in the room with me when I stitch on her Butterfly.

Speaking of Pearl Butterfly, Lesson 3 came out yesterday so I will have lots to do this weekend. I finished one of my secret commissions (I will share more once it's been given to the recipient), so I can now spend the rest of the weekend guilt-free. This lesson, we're working on the body of the butterfly, stitching with whipped plate and adding pearls.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Finishing Homework

My main goal on the weekend was to make sure lesson 2 of Pearl Butterfly was finished. I had two wings left to stitch and by mid-week I managed to get one of them finished. I got home Friday eager to get the last one done, but things just weren't working out.

The stitches looked really off to me, I put it aside and decided to sleep on it. Saturday morning I still hated it and unpicked it all and left it alone for that day as well.

I had posted a picture on Instagram and got lots of advice on how to proceed (I love Instagram!). This meant that by Sunday I had a game plan. The advice that kept coming back was make guidelines in the stitching area. This helps you stay on track and get the right angles to your stitches. The next advice I got was Trish Burr's long and short stitch tutorials. These are great step by step videos showing you how to stitch all the different layers.

This wing definitely took longer than all the others. I stitched on it on and off all morning until I got it done. When it was finished, my sister looked at it and told me it looked better than all the other wings o.O

Lesson 3 coming out this Thursday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stash from Reflets de Soie

In honor of Aiguille en Fête, Reflets de Soie was having a 20% special on their website. I really didn't need more stash so close to seminar but I couldn't resist. By the way, their shipping offer is really good. Free international shipping for orders over 35 euros and the delivery is really fast. I placed my order on February 3 and received it on February 10.

I got two carpet pattern and a third pattern I've had my eye on. This third pattern is about the same size as Bramble and the Rose and would make a great accompaniment to it. When I finally get the chance to finish it :P

I decided to kit only one of the carpets just to make sure it's something that I will want to get into. We're talking stitching on 40 count silk gauze with one thread over one. The highest count I've ever stitched one over one is 32 count, so this will be a challenge piece for me.

The carpet I decided to start with is Kaiseri (the left most pattern in the picture above). I love the geometry of the second pattern, but the colors in Kaiseri just pop at you. Reflets de soie has two thread kits for this carpet: Au vers a soie's soie surfine thread or Sajou's Retors du Nord cotton thread. Although the Sajou's cotton is really nice, I decided to go with the silks. I love the shine of silk carpets, don't you? I can't wait to get started on this kit.

I wanted to make sure I had the right needles to stitch on this, so I also got a needle pack. Everything is so prettily packaged.

What's this?

Reflets de soie had included a little extra something in my package :) I love getting surprises like this. That needle minder is just perfect.

I really, really want to start this kit :| But I know I can't! I have to keep up with Pearl Butterfly, finish a baby gift for next week (so far I have a head, torso and one arm). I also have a cross stitch project I need to finish in time for my trip to Washington in April, not to mention my seminar kit should be coming in in about a month and I will be busy with that. I also don't have the right frame for it (as if that ever stopped me).

Side note: Another package came in the mail yesterday. This time books!

If anyone is interested, let me know which book you'd like me to show you and I'll write a post about it.

  • Beginner's Guide to Mountmellick Embroidery 
  • Schwalm Whitework: The Exquisite Regional Embroidery of Germany
  • Kumi Himo: The Essence of Japanese Braiding
  • Portuguese Whitework: Bullion Embroidery from Guimaraes
  • Goldwork Embroidery: Designs and Projects

Monday, February 13, 2017

Pearl Butterfly Lesson 2

We got snowed in this weekend! I dislike snow, except for the time it gives me alone time to stitch ;)

Saturday morning I got the chance to really start working on lesson 2 of Pearl Butterfly. For this lesson, there was more couching to be done this time with a gold twist thread.

The thread was really nice to stitch with and you can bend it this way and that much more easily than the purl pearl. This thread is one of the ones that need to be plunged into the fabric.

To keep things neat, I stitch one wing at a time making sure to plunge and clean up as I went so I wouldn't have any threads snagging. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the back to show you before I moved to the next step.

The final step of lesson 2 is long and short stitch using Au vers a soie silks. I've never stitched with this thread yet. I'd bought some when I was in Paris and I'm so happy I did. The thread is heavenly.

There was a lot of dithering before I started stitching. The last time I tried long and short stitch it didn't go very well at all. It was in 2013 at the Creative Festival and I couldn't figure out how to get my threads looking right. It was a very discouraging experience. I've since read up a lot on the subject and the one thing that stuck in my head (can't remember from where) was this: don't think of it as long and short stitch, think of it as long and longer stitch. And it worked! Maybe at the end of this project I'll finally have the courage to give needle painting another go.

I'm so happy with how it turned out. I still have the lower wings to stitch. This part, by the way, is very tiring. I can only do one wing a day and now that it's the work week I'm not sure how much progress will happen on it. Luckily I have two weeks to do it until the next lesson comes out.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Boring Week

Well this week has been kind of boring. I worked on a few things here and there but nothing I can share on the blog. Thank God Alison has released the next lesson for Pearl Butterfly a day early. The lesson has been printed and the first step done.

In lesson 2, we will be stitching with 2% gold 1 1⁄2 twist and embroidering the white sections of the butterfly with Au vers a soie.

Last night I only marked out the areas in preparation. Hopefully today I can start couching the gold twist. It's really hard to work on this at night. My craft light makes everything too shiny and casts a shadow, so most times I can't even see where I'm stitching.