Monday, August 29, 2016

Eyelets Begone!

I was under the weather all of last week. I always catch a cold at least once in winter and once in summer. For some reason, I though I dodged the bullet this year as summer was almost over and I didn't catch a cold. But no such luck! Anyways, I have a rule: If I'm sick, I don't stitch. Especially not something as sensitive as cutting fabric.

I managed to get one corner on Fandango done last Wednesday, just before things started going really bad. Once I started getting congested I was KO'd for the rest of the week.

I spent a lot of it sitting outside soaking in the sun, and hopefully some vitamin D to beat my cold. However, I'm not one to sit around and do nothing either. For some reason, an old WIP sprang to mind. It was both boring AND safe :)

Yup, I took out Fantasy Lace and knocked out all the remaining eyelets =D No more eyelets! Which means I met my goal on this project for this year. I actually had half of the border left to do and was able to knock out the longer side in 5 hours and the smaller side on Sunday. I think with my state of mind, it was easy for me to zone out while stitching them, as I was already half asleep anyways. Here's a picture in case you forgot how big the piece is.

By Sunday I was feeling much better, enough that I felt safe starting the hem stitch border on one of the smaller sides.

I didn't get much done. The instructions were confusing (or my brain was still addled) and took me a while to start.

Monday morning, finds me much better with a slight cough that will take a while to go away, but I can now safely go back to working on Fandango.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Four-Sided Stitch: Check!

Yesterday I put in the last four sided stitch on Fandago :) I was in too much of a hurry to take pictures to wait for sunlight, so the pictures aren't that great.

There are two rows of four-sided stitches that go all around the border. I didn't want to have to go around twice, so I stitched them both at the same time. Boy, was I glad when both rows met up with the starting point.

There are also four four-sided stitches on each corner of the small squares. Here is what the small squares will actually look like once they've all been stitched up.

 Another look at a section with more four-sided stitches.

Now that that's done, the next step is to go around the entire border again this time with the Italian hem stitch. This will be the fourth layer and will involving drawing thread.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dentelles et Broderies en Lumière

Over the weekend we decided to take a mini road trip to visit Quebec city which is 3 hours away from our home. We left Friday after lunch and came back on Saturday night. I was in charge of navigation and on the way there we kind of took a little detour ;)

La Guilde des Dentellières et des Brodeuses are celebrating their 25th anniversary and decided to hold an exposition of recent works by guild members. There was lacework, embroidery and tatting. Many of the pieces were the members own creation, while others were based on designers' patterns. There were even a few antique pieces that were passed down.

I was able to take pictures, but I was told it has to be for personal use only. So I can't really post them here. If anyone is interested in seeing them I can share a link to my personal album, because I know how annoying it is to hear about a fantastic exposition and not be able to see it for the simple reason of not living near the area. However I will share three pictures of my favorite pieces.

The guild had decided to print a catalog of all the pieces that were displayed fro 25$ and it was well worth it. It is very well made and the work is just gorgeously photographed.

Friday, August 19, 2016

WIPocalypse 2016 – August

This month's theme is: Have you ever read any fictional books that involve embroidery? If so, give us some recommendations? Can't say that I have.

I'm moving things around. I'm going to start with the stuff I did do, and you can ignore the ones I haven't touched >.<

There has been some steady progress on Fandango. I finished the satin stitch pyramids and satin stitch bars that go all around. I moved onto the next layer in the border, two rows of four sided stitches. I've been stitching both at the same time so I wouldn't have to go around twice and I've finished two sides and am almost done with the third one. It's safe to safe that I will finish this layer before the end of the month and then I can move onto the next step.

I've also started working on two more projects. Hana beaded fob by Merrilyn Whittle from Inspirations issue 91.

And Fleurs de Sakura by Annie Penin.

No update on Bramble and the Rose.
No Update
Ink Circles - The Bramble and the Rose
Still hidden away poor dragons.

No Update
Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons

Nothing to see here either :P
No Update
Satin Stitches - Donna's Fantasy Lace

I didn't touch Sfilati Fantasia.

No Update

Monday, August 15, 2016

More Weekend projects

Saturday brought in more rain, so I decided to put in some time on Fleurs de Sakura appliqueing some leaves.

The leaves are "stitched" using a piece of green organza. The organza is pinned to the fabric and then an outline of the leaves is stitched using a back-stitch.

When the leaf is completely outline, the pins can be removed and we back-stitch the leaf again this time with beads. We didn't completely outline the leaf with the beads, just enough that it will glitter.

Once that's done, the organza is carefully cut out. I had to be very careful when I did this, so that I didn't accidentally cut my fabric or my stitches.

I think I spent about 3 hours and got 3 leaves done. The leaf that's between the two branches was a little tough since it's stuck right against it. I have two more leaves in this olive green and then a whole lot more in a darker green.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the teacher on that missing pink thread. If I don't hear back from her I will take the scrap piece of pink thread I have (lucky I kept it) and try to match it at the store.

Hana Beaded Fob Part 2

We had a horrible, depressing weekend here in Montreal, but because of it I was able to get a lot done. After my post on Friday, I went home for lunch (hurray for summer hours!) and then proceeded to work on Hana for the rest of the day.

The second part of the flowers are the petals. They're stitched in three layers by coming out a little outside the petal area, threading a combination of two bead sizes 11/0 and 15/0 and then plunging the thread underneath the center. You basically want enough beads on there and just the right length of thread, that once the needle is brought back into the fabric, the beads form an arc.

You don't want a really high arc because otherwise you won't be able to see all the beads and the fabric will show. It's very tricky. If you come out of the fabric too far, when you plunge that needle the beads will lay flat. If you do it too near the center it will look weird. And in some cases you have to use your judgment on whether you want to keep a bead or take it out.

Once you do the center petal (at the top), a trick I found for the outer petals was do the center layer first, then do the outermost layer and finish by squeezing in that last one. They mentioned using a tekobari (or laying tool) for this, but I just found it very awkward. I think I ended up using a bigger needle just to push the layers so I can see around them.

I do admit that some of the petals look better than others, but that's okay it still looks pretty. I just love how shiny it is and the colors that were picked for this project are lovely. I particularly like the blue and fuchsia.

Next step for Hana are the stems but I'm not sure when that will happen as the weather is supposed to be great this week so my time will be spent outside.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hana Beaded Fob Quick Update

Yesterday it was too hot to sit outside to stitch, so as soon as I got home from work I set up Hana for some stitching.

Not a lot of progress, but I got the chance to finish the centers of the last two flowers and start the petals on one flower. I will write a longer post next week once I've stitched more but I wanted to share a picture since I'd already posted this on Instagram.

By the way, it's pouring rain outside and I love it. I can't wait to go home and get more stitching time on Hana =D

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hana Beaded Fob Kit Cost

Jo had commented earlier today:

This looks fascinating! I really like the way you've explained each step. I would have thought the magazine could have put together a kit pack you could buy with everything in.

I thought the answer to this comment would be interesting for others, because up until this moment I hadn't actually calculated how much putting together this kit actually cost me.

Inspirations does have a kit ready made to buy. It costs 59.50 AUD plus about 16 AUD to ship to Canada. Converted to Canadian it would have cost about the same 75 CAD total.

A friend in the US had already offered her address for me to send packages to, which I gladly took advantage of. Let's be frank, shipping within the US is much more cost effective than shipping to (or even within) Canada. So I took advantage of the free shipping when I could. Artbeads was also having a sale and I saved a ton there as well. In the end, the entire kit cost me 42.06 CAD

So the lesson of the day, do the legwork and save your pennies for other stash ;)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hana Beaded Fob Part 1

Mid-July I received my copy of Inspirations magazine issue 91 and absolutely fell in love with the project on the cover. Now it might look huge on the cover but the final piece is tiny. It's a scissor fob! It's embroidered with beads using Japanese techniques. I've been thinking about learning Japanese Bead Embroidery for a while and this is a great introduction piece to see if I will like it.

There is no actual pattern that needs to be traced on the fabric, because the fabric IS the pattern. It took a while to track down the fabric online as I really didn't want to pay for Australian or US shipping to Canada for what amounts to a fat quarter. I finally found it here.

The beads were another issue. It took a week to figure out, but I ended up having to order them from three different sellers. All three were in the US, but luckily I had a friend who was willing to bring them back to me so I didn't get ripped off by the shipping fees. I've ordered from Artbeads before and like their services, and luckily they were having a sale on everything in store so I saved a bundle there. The two other places I ordered from were Beadaholique and Simply Beads USA.

The beads used in this piece are all Toho and easy to find except for the 3 cut beads. I couldn't find the Toho ones online in the size I needed (at least not in a reasonable amount, what am I going to do with 200 grams!?) so I ended up getting the Czech tri-cut seed beads instead which are pretty much the same.

All in all, it took 3 weeks to organize all the materials and I was finally able to start on Sunday.

Since there is no pattern tracing for the project, all I had to do to prepare the fabric is to back it with a piece of muslin. I don't have a sewing machine, so I had to do this by hand (very tedious) with cotton quilting thread.

Once I was done, I place my fabric on a hoop. Nice thing about this design, I don't have to worry about creases. It can stay in the hoop for the duration of the project since I will be cutting out the finished work anyways.

The first step is stitching what is called the life line. The life line determines the area that will be stitched. It was a little hard to get the diamond drawn right. I still think it looks a little crooked.

It's not enough to just do the fob, for some reason a scissor case was in my head and it just stuck. I'm thinking I would embroider just the front piece and then the back piece would be finished with the same silk as the fob. By the way I still have to find a piece of black silk dupioni, so if anyone knows a good source please let me know :)

For the scissor case, I'm using a template from an earlier issue of Inspirations magazine that featured a chatelaine (issue 89).

Once the life line is stitched, I covered it by couching a line of beads. The beads are pre-threaded and then held taught to the side. Usually it's wrapped around a koma, a wooden spool with square edges so it doesn't roll. In my case I just used an eraser and wrapped by thread around it. This line of beads is couched down with tiny stitches between each bead using a another threaded needle.

The technique itself is very simple, but it was hard to stitch with black beads using black thread on a black fabric. I felt like I was going blind >.< and kept forgetting which bead I had just stitched. Once it's done though you have a lovely shiny outline. My diamond is a little crooked. I'm not sure how that will affect the finished piece, but I have time to decide whether I want to redo the left side.

The next part was stitching the centers of each flower. Each center started with a black bead which is then surrounded by a circle of couched gold beads. Again, I'm stitching with two needles. It's very finicky getting the circle of beads to lay flat so I can get my second needle set up for couching since it's so tiny.

At the end of Sunday, I managed to get seven flower centers done. Some are nicer than others, but I'm not going to sweat the details since it's a learning piece.

My final impressions at the end of the day, I really love working on it. The great thing about this technique, it's all worked from the front so I'm not constantly flipping the hoop to cut the thread. I'm also not always wasting my time starting and restarting a thread. I'm not sure if they do this with Japanese Bead Embroidery, but traveling the thread is okay according to the instructions as long as we do a pin stitch before and after. Which is great, but I'm sometimes questioning myself on whether I did that or not :P

I've been interested in this technique for a while. Ever since I first discovered the blog Threads Across the Web (which was even before I started this blog). I've already looked into the bead embroidery classes at the JEC in Atlanta, the first phase is a two day class. I emailed them and they will be offering classes in January. You never know, you might find me there come next year :)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August TUSAL

I have a nice bundle of thread this month. Pretty much all of it is from Fandango, that piece is receiving a lot of love. I've been working steadily on it through out the week.

I also bought the sewing thread for Fleurs de Sakura and sat down to put in a few stitches yesterday. Only to realize that I'm missing the pink thread :( It seems that the teacher forgot to put the number for it in the list of materials. So now I'm waiting on a response from her for the correct number. But in the meantime, I decided to work on the branch and the leaves when I can't sit outside.

Monday, August 1, 2016

World Embroidery Day - Follow up

I hope everyone had a great day on World Embroidery day and got the chance to stitch a little. Thank you to all those who commented. I did promise to write up about it, so here it is :)

As I had mentioned before, Annie Penin offered to teach us a bead embroidery design and about 15 of us met up at Societe Textile. Pretty much all the ladies knew each for years and years, having been taking classes with Annie when she used to teach at a shop. Many of the ladies are members of Les Brodeuses Quebecoises and we even had two coming in from Lévis.

 Annie had brought in her finished design which she had sewn into a pretty tote.

The fabric she used was one she found in France and is lovely. Any chance someone knows where I can find it?

The kit came with the design pre-drawn and all materials except for the sewing thread which I will buy tonight (hopefully).

We started off by sewing the outline of the branch with beads.

Once we had a good portion done, we could start couching down the tweed. This was very cool, I would have never thought of using fabric to simulate the texture of a tree branch. There will also be a mixture of spangles and bugles stitched on top of the tweed, but I haven't started doing that.

By the end of the day, we knew how to applique the organza for the leaves and cut around it. Annie used these very strange looking scissors do this that protects the fabric. Once I acquire a pair, I will share a picture. We also learned how to outline and stitch the flowers with the raffia, a very strange type of "thread" but it gives a really nice shine.

I'm looking forward to working on this again, but I can only work on it at a table since I need two hands, meaning this will be an indoors project. I don't know if I should be praying for rain or what :P

As these things happen, something accidentally ended up in my bag ;) These are two beaded flowers that Annie had designed. I think Annie will be feeding my bead addiction for a long time to come.

Not a lot of pictures were taken that day as we were all busy stitching (and talking) but I managed to find one on Annie's Facebook page. I'm at the back in pink with my head down studiously stitching.

I had a lot of fun talking to all the ladies. It was great to hear about their stitching experience. For example the ladies I was sitting with have all been tow Paris numerous times to attend the exposition Aiguille en Fête as well as take classes with Lesage.

Since it was so nice outside, I didn't want to stay inside.

In fact World Embroidery Day lasted the entire weekend for me. I took Fandango outside and stitched the whole day in the sun. I even managed to finish all the satin stitches! I've now moved on to the four sided stitch and there are a lot of them.

If anyone is interested in trying raffia, one of the ladies mentioned you can get some from the Container store.