Monday, July 22, 2019

Exposition at l'Acienne-Lorette

This year I was invited to exhibit with a group of stitchers from Quebec city who decided to hold an exhibition near Quebec city. It was organized by my friend Patricia of l'Atelier de Pénélope in collaboration with the city of l'Ancienne-Lorette.

As it's only about 3 hours away, I decided to drive down and spend the weekend with Patricia. Three days of nothing but embroidery. Heaven! Patricia has a huge personal library at home and I got to spend lots of time in it. For the exhibition, I brought with me three pieces to submit.

Bouquet from the heart of Japan © JEC
Beaded eyeglass case © JEC
I thought about bringing a piece of whitework but I figured I'll limit myself to techniques I'm sure no one will have seen.

We had a great turnout as the ladies did an excellent job with advertising, including getting an article printed in the local newspaper. Usually most visitors are friends and families, for this exhibition there were many strangers who had heard about it and decided to drop by. However, there are many still who either couldn't make it or lived too far. So for all those who couldn't come, we made a video. I hope you enjoy it!

(click on the post to see the video below)

As far as my current projects are concerned, I'm still stitching when I have time. Mainly on the mermaids and hedebo piece, I just have less and less time to blog about it. It's come to a point where I will need to start scheduling a time slot for "administrative tasks", as otherwise you'll never see anything here.

Monday, July 8, 2019


I'm really behind on my posts as things are getting very busy at work. I usually write my posts during my lunch break, which leave more time for stitching when I get home, but recently I haven't been able to take long ones. So I'm going to use this post to both share a picture of my ORT jar and my progress on two of the pieces I've been working on.

Outdoors stitching has started. I'm making some progress on the center motif of my hedebo piece.

During the week, I've been working on my mermaid piece for about half an hour to an hour a day. I've missed my sister's birthday, but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to finish it before the end of the year.

The skin takes forever to stitch as I'm working 1 over 1, so I have double the amount of stitches to put in. To speed things up, I've been practicing two handed stitching. It works really well if the strands is not too long. Now I just need to be able to do the same on non-counted fabric.

(click on the post to see the video below)

Friday, July 5, 2019

Framing with a Shadowbox

As my Goldwork Pineapple is so small and I was on a tight schedule, I decided to frame the piece myself. I definitely wanted protection for my piece which meant some sort of glass, but I didn't want to squish my stitching. The nicer solution would have been to use a frame with double mat to lift up the glass, the easy solution was to use a shadow box. I went to my local Michael's and found a size that would work perfectly. It only comes in a pack of four, but I was able to split it with a friend.

First step is measuring the inside of the frame.

Use those measures to cut out a piece of mat board.

To my shock, my measurements came out spot on. This would be amazing in normal circumstances, but in this case I need something a little smaller to make space for my fabric.

I trimmed the edges on the top and on one side to create that space. Just enough wiggle room for the piece to sit comfortably in the box.

I don't want my embroidery to come out flat, so I glued a piece of batting to my mat board.

I laid my piece on the mat and put the shadow-box over it to get an idea of what it will look like once completed.

At the last minute, I decided to do something I normally never do and that's sign my work. I usually keep the pieces I make so I've never thought of signing any of them. So for the first time ever, one of my pieces is sporting a signature. It's nothing fancy, just my initials and the year. The heart was completely accidental. I put in a line that I had to quickly convert to a heart so it wouldn't look weird.

Next step was the stretching. Luckily the piece is really small and the fabric big so I was able to get this done pretty quick.

Once it's been stretched, it's ready to be popped into a frame.

In my case, I needed something to stick my piece to the back of the shadow-box. I wanted something with a little height to push my piece forward. I found this double-sided tape by Scotch. It's not archival quality and non-toxic. If my piece was embroidered on silk, I would never use this but in this case it was okay.

My piece is ready to be gifted and I even wrote a little message for her on the back. My friend really liked it, I'm happy to say. I have a video of her opening it and I will always remember the look on her face when she got her first look at it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Goldwork Pineapple

Sorry for being so absent, I do have an excellent reason for it this time. I've been working very diligently on a piece but I couldn't share anything until it had been gifted. See, my friend's daughter really liked the golden snitch I made for her mother's birthday and asked if I would make something with the same gold thread for her birthday, which was coming up. Not a brooch but something she could hang in her room. After thinking about it, I asked if she'd like a pineapple as I noticed she always wore a necklace with a small pineapple charm. It's a great subject to stitch in goldwork and I've never made one, so I figured it would also make an interesting challenge.

I looked around for a stock image of a pineapple that appealed to me and used that as my design outline.

To give you an idea of how small it is, here is a picture with my hand next to it. I'd already put in the felt padding for the leaves.

I wanted the pineapple to have some dimension and had to really think of how I wanted to do the felt padding. I didn't want it to come out flat, so using a single piece of felt wouldn't have worked even if I put in padding underneath.

So I decided to do it the hard way and individually pad every little cell. The cells in the middle had three layers of padding while others had two or even one if they were along the edge.

(click on the post to see the animation below)

I didn't want to pad the little leaves at the back, but I couldn't leave it white as it would look strange. After a quick color test on the edge of the fabric, I filled it in using a green marker.

I really like this picture as it shows the true color of the felt. For the leaves I went with a simple outline in pearl purl.

I did the same for the cells of the pineapple. 

To fill in the cell of the pineapple, I went through my stash of goldwork materials. I narrowed it down to a few things and created an intricate design.

Unfortunately, once I stitched it I really hated it. It was too fussy and not representative of my tastes at all. I prefer much simpler designs.

I scrapped that idea and decided to change direction. The birthday girl is born in June, which means her birthstone is pearls. Luckily, there is a bead shop near me that stocks Swarovski crystal pearls in the right size and color I'd need.

I've seen how beautiful bright check looks against pearls when I stitched Pearl Butterfly. Luckily I had a stash of it leftover from kits. By the way, all materials I used in this project, except for the pearls, are recycled from other project kits. So look through your stash of leftovers! You probably have enough to stitch a small piece.

After making this decision, I was very happy with how it came out.

I originally planned on putting in cutwork on the leaves with some green rough purl I bought from Turkey, but I decided to pass as I really loved how the leaves looked as they were.

This piece was a very quick stitch. From start to finish it took about 25 odd hours over 9 days. Even less if I don't include the time I spent dithering over what to do. In the next post, I will show you how I finished and framed the piece into a shadow box.

Thursday, June 6, 2019


I haven't been very good at keeping my blog updated all of May. Same thing for Instagram. I've tried putting in time for stitching but I've been fasting all month so by the time end of day arrives, I have very little energy. I spent many evenings curled up in bed catching up on reading while waiting for the sun to come down. The days I did feel like stitching, I limited it to simple cross stitch or whitework. This meant, my mermaids grew by leaps and bounds. I'm half way up the body of the second mermaid. Chances are high it won't be finished by my sister's b-day at the end of June but it will be done before the year ends.

I do have an update on the framing for my bouquet. I'm so happy with how it came out, especially with our choice of mat. We picked an outer mat to match the fabric as closely as we could get it. For the inner mat I wanted the same blue as the orchid as there just wasn't enough of it in the piece. The frame is an old gold, nothing too thick so as to distract from the piece. It's not up yet as no one has had any energy but hopefully this month it will be up on the wall.

Funny story, they had to frame it 3 times. The first night I took it home I found debris under the glass. I took it back the next weekend to open up and remove the debris. We confirmed all was good and they closed it up, but when it was presented to me I found another one. It seems like the glasses got "magnetized" and was picking up bits of fluff. So they had to undo it a second time. They got smarter and brought it out for me to do a final check before they closed it off. Lesson learned always closely inspect your piece before taking it home.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Japanese Embroidery Phase 2-3 - Flax-Leaf Effect

I've had a very slow two weeks, so I was very happy to wake up early yesterday morning with the urge to stitch. I think it had something to do with the sun shining brightly and that I didn't have to be at work on account of it being a national holiday.

I decided to take out Hiogi and tackle the flax-leaf effect paulownia leaf. I figured it should be a cinch since it was one I was already familiar with.

What I didn't plan on were my hands being so cold I couldn't twist my thread. It kept slipping, instead of twisting. I've tried washing them in hot water, clapping and rubbing them together. It would work with one strand before my hands became too cold again. I guess I have poor circulation right now.

Luckily the following steps didn't require twisted thread, so I was able to move along.

I wasn't a hundred percent sold on the colors initially when I saw them side by side, but stitched they look great. I'm really happy I don't have a stash of silks as I would have been tempted to change the color.

One more off my list.
  • finish sayagata cloud
  • finish shippo cloud
  • finish the snow flake in the upper right corner
  • finish the woven effect paulownia
  • finish the tie dye effect paulownia
  • start and finish the flax leaf effect paulownia
  • start and finish the separated single layer paulownia (low priority)

Next Sunday is my monthly Japanese embroidery meeting, so I'll have to decide what my goal will be. I'm not sure I want to start the last paulownia leaf, so it'll have to be either the shippos or the snow flake. I have the week to decide.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Not Much Progress

As much as I was hoping to get some stitching done over the weekend, very little happened. I did finish stretching my Japanese embroidery piece. I thought the framer would be waiting after me, but it turns out that I'm the one who will be waiting after THEM. It's fine though, I'm in no real rush.

I've tried to pick up a few of my projects over the past few days but I'm just not into it. I decided to stick to simpler pieces for now, like this hedebo piece. This is Hedebo Starbust by Jette Roy Finlay-Heath, a kit I bought at seminar in Newfoundland. There is a lot of pre-work to do in this piece so not much to show for now. I pull it out every now and then, and so far put in about 30 hours. It's a great piece to work on when I want to keep my hands busy but not think too much. Plus, not having to worry about changing colors is great. So it suits my current mood perfectly.