Monday, September 16, 2019

Really Late Update

I meant to post these last week but got busy. My guild's exhibition was coming up (it was this weekend, more this in a later post) and I wanted to submit the Tree of Life. It needed to be stretched and the back covered first though. So I spent a few evenings working on that.

On nights when I didn't have much stitching time, I would work on Hedebo Starburst. By putting in a 30 minutes here and there, I was able to clear up two corners and am halfway to getting a third done.

When I have more time in the evening, I would work on beading the mermaids. I'm slowly making my way up to the middle.

What I've really wanted to do was work on my Japanese embroidery, but it's not something I can just work on at the spur of the moment. It requires a full free day and those have been very rare this summer. I finally got a free Sunday two weeks ago (it was raining all day) and I sat down to rework the woven effect leaf. I decided after speaking with the group that I can do better. You can see where the arrow is pointing my mistake. So I spent a few hours ripping everything out.

I was only able to get this far as I ran out of the blue. Luckily someone from my group had a spare reel so I'll be able to work on it this weekend (crossing my fingers).

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

August TUSAL

As I write this today I'm realizing I haven't posted in almost a month. I really need to do better. It's not like I'm not stitching as you can see from my ORT jar. This month I do have a legitimate reason, I was in Calgary for two weeks for work (yes, there were some stash purchases made) and then when I got back I caught a cold and was out for a week. I'm just starting to get back to my regular schedule now.

I do have some progress to share with you. I've started working on the drawn thread portion of my hedebo piece. It's very slow right now as I'm unwinding fabric thread and taking it to the back. I'm going to be doing this for a while.

I also completed all the stitching on my mermaids and have started putting in beads.

There are so many beads in this piece, I'm loving it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Tree of Life by SewbyHand

My friend Natalie who owns SewByHand has been very busy this year creating new designs. I'd been eyeing one of them and so was ecstatic when she asked me to be a tester in exchange for a kit.

I filmed this un-boxing back in March, sorry I'm really late in sharing on the blog. On the plus side, I finally figured out how to combine videos. I've started using the Video Editor on Windows 10 from their app store and it works very well.

(click on the post to see the video below)

The fabric is called clothe of gold and has a lovely shine to it having been woven with a metallic gold thread. It also has a weight to it and is very thick. It's mainly used for ecclesiastical embroidery in Europe. Using a hoop would have damaged it. Luckily my RSN slate frame was free.

As the fabric is very thick I had two options for transferring the design: prick and pounce or tacking. I went with tacking to avoid damaging the precious fabric. 

Once all the design lines are in, I carefully removed the tracing paper. This transfer method takes a long time but it's accurate and non-permanent. If I decided I wanted to omit one of the swirls, I just remove the stitches.

I got the chance to try a new padding method, using mat boards instead of felt. I needed to be very careful to get my edge nice and square.

I also got to play with this beautiful metal plate and DMC's diamante thread. This thread has been on the market for a few years now, but this is the first time I've used it in a piece.

The piece has a lot of couching in it...

and plunging, my nemesis. 

Once it's finished the couched metal thread creates lovely swirls.

The ground is covered in beading and chipping. Natalie includes a lovely palette of colors in browns, gold, black and dark purple, in different shapes. There are bugles, drops, Tila beads and seed beads. And it all glitters when the light hits it just right.

She provides suggestions on how to stitch the corners, but this is left up to the stitcher. It took me forever to figure out how I wanted to do mine. I wanted something that was square to really close it off but I didn't have enough of the square Tila beads in the kit. It finally dawned on me to create a square shape going round and round using the bright check purl included in the kit. I put in a drop bead at the center.

Here I have a lovely piece representing the art nouveau movement. If you'll notice in the picture above, my gold plate already started changing color. This makes it blend even more with the diamante thread. I can't wait to see how my piece will change as it ages with time.

Natalie has already started teaching this piece in Quebec and her students are well on their way to almost completing their trees. She will also be teaching it at EGA seminar 2020 in Boston. Sadly there are no kits left for sale, but she will be making the pdf instructions for students who would like to stitch it using their own materials.

Thursday, August 1, 2019


My ORT jar looks a little smaller than last month but I did get some stitching done. I've been splitting most of my time between stitching outdoors on my hedebo piece and stitching on the Mermaids.

The center of my hedebo piece is all finished (love those eyelets), I've moved onto the border. I'll have to go around twice, but when it's finished it will form a star pattern.

I've completed the skin on the second mermaid and started on her hair.

I have more to share, but I will leave that for a separate post.

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.