Friday, April 21, 2017

Tudor Place

While I was in D.C. my friend Donna arranged for us to visit an old historic home in Georgetown called Tudor Place. The house was built by a granddaughter of Martha Washington and a son of Robert Peter who was a prominent Scottish-born merchant and landowner and Georgetown’s first mayor. The house was designed by Dr. William Thornton, architect of the first U.S. Capitol and a family friend. It was completed in 1816 but additions were added later on. What is so special about this house is that it stayed in the Peters' family for six generations for a 178 years. Many of the pieces housed in the museum even belonged to George and Martha Washington from their time in Mount Vernon.

We started off with a short tour of the house. We had the place to ourselves as the house is closed on Mondays.

There was a box with what looks like bone needles for lace-making.

Even some old goldwork pieces.

The gardens in the back are beautiful. The house is available for rent to hold weddings and special events. No wines allowed though! Can you imagine spilling red wine on the carpet.

Donna didn't just arrange a tour of the house, but also a special look at some of the pieces in their textile collection. This is Grant. He takes care of the collection at Tudor Place and was kind enough to present different pieces to us and tell us their origins.

This is a sampler stitched my Columbia Washington Peters who was Martha Washington's great granddaughter.

A cushion seat needlepoint (out of a set) stitched by Martha Washington.

A silk stocking that belonged to America Peter. We think from the quality of the pulled stitches it is most likely French.

Ever wonder what your goldwork will look like in a hundred years? This piece came from a military uniform. They have another piece framed on display in the house (I had taken a picture of it). It was great to be able to get a much closer look at it. It looks like the leaves were stitched in something similar to the gilt rough purl I used in Pearl Butterfly for the s'ing. On top of that, there are spangles stitched with what could have been gold braid that has a core. Some of it is tarnished while in other places it looks like the braid wore off.

There were other pieces.

My favorite was this waist coat with embroidered olives. If I remember correctly, whoever this belonged to wore it for the Légion d'honneur award ceremony (I will have to look up the name) so the theme was very apropos. It's stitched on wool with padded satin stitch. Even the buttons were stitched. The colors were gorgeous and it was fun to examine it in person to see how it was put together. Too bad the moths got to it in some places.

They have many more pieces, but these are the only ones we got to see. Maybe next time I visit we can try and get a peek at the rest of the collection.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Talliaferro Challenge - Part 3

Last week, I had showed you how one petal looked stitched using the couching method.

Liking the look of it, I went ahead and stitched the other side which was a big mistake. The original plan was that the flower would have petals in two shades of red, the darker berry and the bright red you see below. I didn't particularly like the two shades together. I need to learn to do test pieces before I go full speed ahead. I would have realized that they didn't go well together if I had stitched a line of each color side by side.

So out they went. This was slow going.

Fortunately the ground fabric wasn't too affected since I'm stitching on top of felt. I can't say the same for the felt which had to come out.

Since the felt had to come out, I took the opportunity to add an extra layer of felt padding. I did feel that it needed it, so in the end it all worked out :)

Bi-cones were stitched back on with a circle of silver-lined seed beads. As I'm writing this today after having been to the JEC center, I wish I could redo these. I learned the proper way of doing them so they would come out nice and round. Next time :)

Here are my beads all strung up.

I used a pill bottle to control the strung beads but the komas I picked up would have been very useful here.

It's unfortunate the two red shades didn't go nicely together, but it looks great with just one red.

The rest of the petals were stitched like you would a satin stitch, curving along the lines of the felt. To help figure out the angles, I would use a silver Jelly Roll pen to sketch out the lines.

I followed the same stitch all throughout the flower except the center. For this section, I used the leaf stitch technique that was used in De Rose Vêtues.

I really enjoyed stitching the petals. It goes much faster than you would expect as the beads cover more ground than thread. Stitching each petal with beads going in different direction, makes the light hit them at different angles. This makes it sparkle even more.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Renwick Museum

While I was in D.C. last week, my friend Karine took me around to visit the attractions. We saw the monuments at the Mall (i.e. Lincoln memorial, WWII, Vietnam War,...) but we also visited a few museums. One of these was the Renwick museum. Below are a few of the pieces that attracted my attention. I don't know the meaning behind most of them, I just liked looking at them :)

This one is an art installation that was placed in a large room with nothing underneath it so people could lay on their backs and watch the colors change. The piece is made out of netting with fiber optics woven in to give the colors. I can't remember what it represented, but it was very pretty.

There were many fiber pieces, this one is made from crochet doilies.

This one is most likely machine stitched but I love the details in it.

We had to ask a guard what this was. Apparently it's a map of the D.C. area. I think the gray are major government buildings. All the red rectangles represent the houses that were foreclosed. Many of these houses are considered to be in prime locations and worth a lot of money.

I found this "quilt" fascinating. It's made out of tiny microfilms.

A woven piece.

This piece is machine quilted with different "fabric" weights.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Talliaferro Challenge - Part 2

Last post, my Trievaulx Blossom II was all outlined and had some felt stitched onto it.

I bought the felt from the fabric store and suspect it's most likely polyester. Not the same quality as the felt Alison put in her kits. Her's is wool and doesn't tear apart when you're cutting small pieces out. The one I got is painful to use but does the job.

Except for the really small areas, everything  has two layers of felt.

Here it is all covered with the felt.

For this project, I decided to do things properly. I figured I should use all those sketchbooks and markers I've accumulated and actually plan things out before I start stitching. I redrew the motif in pencil and then with markers "colored in" the areas. The key here was figuring out angles and how I wanted the beads to be oriented.

Each dot represents a bead with the black lines going through it representing the thread. I tried to use different techniques in different areas. Doing that will show different sides of the beads, meaning the light will hit it differently giving the piece dimension.

Here is my bead palette. These are 11/0 size beads and I even got some Swarovski bicones and an owlet crystal.

I started with the biggest petals. The bicones are going to be used here, the hard part was finding the center and have them be symmetrical.

The Swarovski bicones are surrounded by a circle of clear silver lined beads. I don't know why, but I kept imagining them there and it wouldn't budge. No one at home, who'd seen them, liked them, but it kept reminding me of the flowers from Alice in Wonderland that could talk ^_^

For the large petals, I wanted to try my hand at couching down strung beads. It's the same technique used in goldwork where you couch down gold pearl purl, but instead of metal threads you have beads. I saw the technique in the Japanese Bead embroidery book I bought last year and wanted to try it out.

The beads are strung on a really long doubled thread that's already been anchored in the piece at the starting point. Once I have all my beads, I used another thread of the same color (single strand this time) and made a stitch every two beads to anchor it down. In some areas, I would stitch in between every bead to get the curve just right.

Once I got to the inner layers, I started stitching from the outside in between two layers. Stabbing at an angle will force the two layers closer to each other leaving no spaces. The hard part was making sure there were no spaces in between the strung beads. I wished I had a pair of komas. I've placed an order for those with the JEC which I'm picking up today since I'm in Atlanta while you are all reading this :) They will be very useful for next time I use this technique.

Here is one petal all stitched up.