So close! – SAL Update

September 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Embroidery | 11 Comments
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The Afghanistan project is still eating my time, but at least I got two of the three remaining motifs done. Before:

indian_pillow_20160904

Today:

indian_pillow_20160925

That should be doable till next time, I think.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Wendy, Lucy, Jess, Sue, Kate, Debbie Rose, Christina, SusanP and Kathy.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

After the Finish – Documenting the Project

September 18, 2016 at 7:19 am | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 2 Comments
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So, once a quilt is finished, in this case my Mexican Bird, the work tends to be almost, but not quite completely done. At that point of time my worktable tends to be a mess: left-over fabric, design sketches, photographs I’ve been working from, and samples all lying around. There’s way too much work in there to throw it all away, and those are the physical artefacts of making this particular quilt. So, what do I do with all that stuff?

First, the samples:

mexican_bird_samples

They still have raw edges that need to be cleaned up, which I take care of with zig-zagging around the whole thing. To put them away in a folder, I take a strip of strong cardboard, fold it in half and catch the sample beween the layers, attaching the cardboard to the fabric with enough space to punch a couple of holes in the cardboard:

mexican_bird_samples_finished

Now I collect all the paper, sorting out what I want to keep:

mexican_bird_papers

There’s the photograph I took, the original tracing on transparent paper, and the smaller copies of that I used for working out the colours and other details.

All of this goes into an A3 folder, where it lives happily ever after together with all the other finished projects.

mexican_bird_documentation

I’m now free to clean everything else away and start with whatever’s next!

SAL Update – Paisley Pillow

September 4, 2016 at 8:54 am | Posted in Embroidery | 9 Comments
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I didn’t get terribly much done since the Olympics finished, since I am primarily working on the Afghan embroidery project that also includes a lot of handwork.

Before:

indian_pillow_20160815

Now:

indian_pillow_20160904

Let’s see if I can finish those last three motifs till next time!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Wendy, Lucy, Jess, Sue, Kate, Debbie Rose, Christina, SusanP and Kathy.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

Mirror Images the First

August 27, 2016 at 8:01 am | Posted in Lace | 6 Comments
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Remember the Afghan Embroideries I was so excited about a few months back? I’ve been sorting out ideas for what to do with them for a while, and have already finished a part. The challenge I want to submit the hopefully resulting quilt to is to create a “tablecloth” using at least three of the embroidered motifs.

My mind immediately jumped to the classic white damask tablecloths my mom still has and uses occasionally. They’re white, and if they’re very fancy, decorated with whitework embroidery of some kind. So I wanted to contrast the colourful embroidered triangles with different kinds of whitework motifs, mirroring the embroidery with something similar but different.

Here’s one possible layout I came up with, having paper copies as stand-in for the whitework, and my white table surface pretending to be a white damask tablecloth:

Afghan Tablecloth - Possible LayoutBy now, I’ve finished the first motif. I made it in needlepoint lace, an old favourite of mine. You can find a tutorial how to make this kind of lace right here on my blog.

Here’s the finished lace motif:

Afghan Tablecloth - Needlelace Motif

I want to keep the sense of playfulness that I get from the embroidered motifs, which I’m finding quite difficult. The needlelace may have given me more freedom than other techniques I’m currently tackling.

And here’s the needlelace again together with its inspiration:

Afghan Embroidery and Needlelace Motifs

I’m currently trying to figure out what exactly to do with the other motifs, which isn’t easy, and since there’s a deadline involved, I’m trying to make progress.

Flowers – and an Eye

August 20, 2016 at 8:08 am | Posted in Embroidery, Patchwork | 4 Comments

I have finished embroidering the French knots on my Mexican Bird project, and was wondering if the flowers need a little extra as well. In the original painting, the pink flowers have a white highlight in each petal:

Mexican_Bird_web

Since I painted the petals with a flat pink, maybe I should try to recreate this in embroidery? So I took my sample and started to experiment:

Mexican Bird - Test embroidered flower

From left to right:

  1. Nested chain stitches – doesn’t scale large enough
  2. Outlined in backstitch, then worked over with a horizontal satin stitch. Visually the right effect, but too heavy and way too slow to stitch.
  3. A bunch of straight stitches – not strong enough for me
  4. A dense herringbone stitch – going in the right direction
  5. Back to chain stitch, working them close and opening them up, I think this looks best visually.
  6. Another try for something similar with a feather stitch variation, not dense enough I think.

So, if I’m doing anything, it would have to be with number 5. Since the colouring is a bit different on the real quilt, I decided to try this out on one flower:

Mexican Bird - tryout for flower

I saw that it’s very hard to get a consistent form out of this, and looking from a distance, the effect just isn’t there against that pretty light pink background. In conclusion, I decided that putting in all the work needed to fill all the flowers wouldn’t make enough of a difference to the impact of the quilt to be worth it. I took the sample stitches out and called the quilt finished.

Oh, not quite finished! My bird’s still missing an eye! I had decided very early on that the eye is the perfect size for a spangle and bead solution, so now I just had to figure out the colour. Diving into my bead stash, I tried out different possibilities:

I’ve made my choice – which one would you choose?

SAL Update – Progress!

August 15, 2016 at 9:05 am | Posted in Embroidery | 8 Comments
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I returned a bit late from vacation last night, so I may be a bit late in showing you my progress. But I think it may still be yesterday somewhere next to the date line.😉

Vacation and the Olympics in combination mean that there’s plenty of stitching time, though. So here’s my progress on the Indian pillow:

Three weeks ago:

indian_pillow_20160724

Today:

indian_pillow_20160815

I managed to finish the border and started in on the paisley motifs in the center. Given that there’s a week of Olympics on TV left, let’s see how far I can get next time!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Wendy, Lucy, Jess, Sue, Kate, Debbie Rose, Christina, SusanP and Kathy.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

A Finished Box and a new SAL Project

July 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Embroidery | 10 Comments
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Today I don’t need to pretend that the Rosebud Box is finished, because it finally is, and I can even show the inside!

rosebud_finish_open

And another view of both the box and the lid:

rosebud_finish_open_top

So, with that out of the way, I needed a new SAL project, and it’s quite different from the last one. Here’s the state it was in when I pulled it out of the WIP pile:indian_pillow_before

It’s a silk pillow cover with a printed embroidery pattern on it. I fell in love with it because of the paisley patterns when I found this in the remainder bin at a needlework shop in France a few years ago:

indian_pillow_package

For the price tag, I couldn’t resist. But of course there were reasons why it ended up so cheap. It’s not because of the material, which is nice. Have a look at some of the flowers in detail, you can see the silk shine:

indian_pillow_detail

But you can see the problems in this picture as well: The pattern is printed in dark ink and not very clean, so as much as I try, I won’t be able to hide all of the ink under stitching. In addition, it’s printed on a fully finished pillow cover, French seams and all, and you can see how close to the edges I’m stitching there. While I can use a frame in some places, in others I pretty much have to do without. And I have to navigate everything through the opening at the back, which is big enough for that, but still. I have thought of undoing the seams and putting them back together when finished, but with silk, I don’t think that would make anything better.

I still like the design enough that I’m going to finish it. It’s pretty simple stitching with just two thread colours, and a combination of satin stitch, stem stitch and some back stitch. The little motifs work up pretty quickly as well. Here’s where I’m today:

indian_pillow_20160724

Three more flowers done. Since this is a pretty portable project and vacation time is coming up, I hope to be able to show you substantial progress next time!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Wendy, Lucy, Jess, Sue, Kate, Debbie Rose, Christina, and there’s two additions to the list today: Welcome to SusanP and Kathy.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

Finished? – Not quite!

July 17, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Embroidery, Patchwork, Quilting | 4 Comments

My Mexican Bird project is progressing nicely. In fact, I took a picture a couple of weeks ago that I could easily sell as the finished quilt:

Mexican Bird with Binding

The machine quilting is finished, and a nice pink binding added, but I’m not quite there. If you look at the picture of the painting this is inspired by, there’s lots of white highlights:

Mexican_Bird_web

I’ve added the tiny feathery lines with machine quilting before binding the quilt, and I’m now working on the stronger lines in some of the leaves and the dots between the stems and the leaves:

Mexican_Bird_Embroidery1

The spiral on the leaf is worked in chain stitch, the dots are done in French knots. Here’s another area where you can see both:

Mexican_Bird_Embroidery2

While the effect is subtle when seen from a distance, I think it really makes a difference, here’s an area where the dots are still missing for comparison:

Mexican_Bird_before_Embroidery

I’m also thinking about highlighting the centres of the petals of the pink flowers, since they are a bit flat currently. Lots of TV stitching ahead!

The Rosebud Box – Almost There!

July 3, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Embroidery | 8 Comments
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I didn’t think I had even the slightest chance at a finish, but after yesterday’s soccer match including extra time and penalty shootout, I was almost there. So close that we could pretend this picture is of the finished box:

rosebud_finish13

Unfortunately, when you lift that box, the bottom will fall out, but I’m sure that’ll  be fixed at the next soccer match at the latest.

The construction was almost as fiddly as I expected, here’s the story in pictures:

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The little plastic clips you see in quite a few pictures are marketed for quilters, but I never found a good use for them till now. They’re indispensable when trying to construct something like this box, where you’re short a few hands all the time.

So,  some more pictures of the really finished box next time, and a new project!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Wendy, Lucy, Jess, Sue, Kate, Debbie Rose. There’s also a new member to check out today, welcome to Christina!

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

The Rosebud Box – Embroidery Finished

June 12, 2016 at 5:44 am | Posted in Embroidery | 12 Comments
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As predicted, I managed to finish the embroidery part of this project since last time:

rosebud_20160521

And here it is finished and photographed in decent light:

rosebud_embroidery_finished

Per request, I also managed to take close-ups of the flower sprays. First, the top of the box:

rosebud_top

Second, one of the sides:

rosebud_sides

I also got a bit of a start on the assembly, but I’ll include that in the next post. I was asked for process pictures, and I’ll try to get some. Unfortunately getting decent light for pictures in my apartment just got more impossible then ever, since there’s scaffolding in front of the south-facing windows that will stay for the rest of the year.

And a little service information for WordPress Users: I was asked why one couldn’t click on the pictures for a bigger version anymore. I didn’t know, since it used to be the standard when inserting a picture. After some experimenting it turned out that nowadays I have to add the link with the link button after inserting the image. Should be working again on the last two detail pictures!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Wendy, Lucy, Jess, Sue, Kate. There’s also a new member to check out today, welcome to Debbie Rose!

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

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