Monday, February 11, 2019

Weekend Stitching

This weekend I finished the first mermaid on my Mirabilia piece. I unrolled the frame a little so I can take a picture. She's still missing beads but I'm leaving those till the end. There is a lot of Kreinik in this piece. I'm finding that I'm not having as much difficulty stitching with it as I used to. It might come down to my having more stitching experience now.

On Sunday, I worked on getting my lattice done. I didn't have any trouble undoing it, but I was still having trouble with the measurement. Despite my being careful I still started off measuring 1.8 cm but after wards started measuring 0.8 cm again. Not sure what was wrong with me. I had to undo it again a second time, but it worked on my third attempt. My second cloud is officially done. 

Now I just need to get that third one done. It's the biggest one yet, so it will take some time to finish as I'm limited with how long my twisted strand can be. Since we're incorporating a strand of gold, our silk can only be as long as our gold strand, which is about 18-19 inches long. I can twist 4 strands in about 30 minutes and then use them up in half that time. So very slow going.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Japanese Embroidery Phase 2-3 - Homework part 2

This Sunday, I worked on the blue cloud called shippo. This one is covered with twisted silk. Very simple, but that small area eats up a lot of silk. I always twist at least 6 strands at a time, stitch until all of them are used and then repeat. With this cloud, I would sometimes be able to put in two stitches before the strand became too short to continue.

I can't remember how many strands I needed but I did finish an entire spool of thread. Each spool contains 60 meter of thread. So a lot of silk.

One side effect of dry skin (the curses of winter) and constant twisting, is that your palm starts to hurt. I couldn't figure out why my right hand palm hurt and was overly warm until I looked at them. Luckily, I had just twisted my last thread for the day and could take a break.

The last step on the cloud is putting in a lattice on the cloud. I think I might have been tired by this point, because straight off I could tell something was wrong but couldn't figure out why. There were too many lines.

It's only after emailing my group and taking a step back to think about it that I realized what the issue is. First off I wasn't doing the lattice the right way, I was putting it in the way the lattice was put on the wrapping paper from phase 1. They should be done the way the valerians are done. Second, the distance between lines is supposed to be 1.8 cm, I've put them in 0.8 cm apart. Lesson learned, never stitch when you're tired. Especially something as complex as Japanese embroidery.

So the goal this weekend is to get this fixed and finished. If there is still time, I'll continue the last cloud. This one has twisted thread, so I'll need to make sure to moisturize my hands this week so they're ready to work on Sunday.

Friday, February 1, 2019

January TUSAL

The first TUSAL report of the year. The jar has bits and pieces from a project that I started after the new year but hadn't shared yet, but the majority is from the Mirabilia piece that I'm working on, Mermaids of the Deep Blue. I haven't taken a progress picture of that piece in a while. I really should, as I'm almost done with the first mermaid.

My stitching time is still limited, but I did finish restitching the purple cloud on my phase 2 piece last Sunday. This Sunday, I'll be working on the blue shippo cloud.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Japanese Embroidery Phase 2-3 - Homework part 1

I'm semi back from hiatus. Things are much calmer at home but it's still very busy at work. Now I'm playing catch up with progress posts.

Before the holidays, we had a frame up session with my group and setup our new pieces so we'd be able to start our pre-work.

I wanted this to be an official 2019 piece, so I waited till January 1st to start. First step was to outline the fan's edge.

From there I jumped right into the first cloud, called sayagata and didn't look back. I loved stitching on this fabric by the way. There are little "valleys" in it that, if followed properly, means your stitches are all straight. I didn't need to put in any guideline stitches as I did in phase 1.

The next day I found an email in my inbox. Someone from my group saw my pictures and questions started to arise on whether my fan edge was properly stitched. I had some design lines sticking on the edge. The fan is outlined with three lines of #5 gold so we tried to see if they will be covered with the final outline. But just in case, I sent an email off to my teacher and kept going while I waited for her to reply.

To protect the silk from snagging, temporary holding stitches are put in. I really enjoyed this process as it appeals to my technical side. At this point sayagata is ready for class.

I still had some time in my day and I started working on the second cloud called shippo.

I took a break for a few days to work on another start (more on that later). By the time I took the piece back out to continue, my teacher had gotten back to me and confirmed that my edge was incorrect and would have to be redone. I couldn't figure out how to redo it on my own (this is why you need a teacher) and still have a nice curve so I decided to start working on the third cloud.

Fast forward to last Saturday when we had our monthly meeting. I spent most of the morning figuring out how to fix the fan outline with the help from my group. If you look at the image below on the right, you can see where the curved edge should actually be. It's not a small amount. Which meant, I had to redo the purple cloud.

Since we were discussing redoing sections, I brought up the straight edges of the fan and whether we should be covering the guideline. We shouldn't, so I added redoing the peach cloud as well. I wasn't very happy with my stitching anyways so I didn't mind redoing it. It looks much better now.

I didn't waste time, the very next day I started unpicking sayagata. Luckily my back was very clean which made the process painless. What was painful was scrapping all that silk thread. Because of the creases it was unusable.

Back of sayagata cloud
I'm halfway thru restitching the cloud. One more session I think to finish the stitching and put in the holding stitches. However, I'm not done redoing sections. I plan on redoing the blue one as well as I'm not fully satisfied with what I did.

Am I sad I had to undo all the work I did over the holidays? No, not really. While I was working on these sections, I received a lot of comments from social media which I took notes of for next time. It just means I'll be able to apply them now. Redoing sections also means I get to put in more practice time, so I will just get better. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

On Hiatus

After the new year, I had one more week off and I started a few projects. However I haven't had time to sit down and write any posts. In fact since coming back to work in the new year I haven't been able to put in a single stitch. Work has been crazy and my hours have increased, so by the time I get home my eyes are too tired to do anything. I have some stuff happening at home as well, which cuts into my stitching time as well.

As I mentioned I do have some updates to share and I would like to share them with you but it will have to wait for things to calm down and get back to normal. It might be a few days, a week or a few weeks. Just right now, things are up in the air and I felt I should post something on here to let you know in case you haven't heard back from me. I know I got a few emails in the last two weeks that I still haven't replied to. I didn't forget you! I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Goals

I did okay on my goals for 2018 despite the fact I didn't really work on my older WIPs. I was at least on point with my major goals.
  • TUSAL posts same as usual ---DONE
  • Stitch Hanabatake by Margaret Lee (Japanese bead embroidery) ---DONE
  • Stitch Japanese Landscape by Mary Brown (Goldwork) This one needs to be finished in time for Seminar ---DONE
  • Stitch on Bouquet from the Heart of Japan (Japanese embroidery) I want to make some sort of progress on this piece every month ---DONE
  • Start Hedebo Starburst by Jette Roy Finlay-Heath (Hedebo) ---DONE, I did start this piece but haven't shared yet as there isn't much to see yet. Lots of borders and prep.
  • Learn tambour beading ---Not even close
  • EAC Design course ---Way behind. I've only completed lessons 1 to 3 and haven't even started lesson 4.
  • Older WIPs. I'm putting these back in because they still need to be done. I'm hoping I do better this year.
    • Complete at least one page of Ink Circles' Bramble and the Rose ---One page is sort of completed, so I will mark this as DONE
    • Stitch the stonework on Teresa Wentzler's Tracery Dragons ---Not even close
    • Stitch the hemstitch border on Donna M. Olson's Fantasy Lace ---Not even close
    • Finish Katherine Drummond's Romantic Rosebuds ---Not even close
    • Finish Annie Penin's Fleur de Sakura ---Not even close
This year's goals will be:
  • TUSAL posts same as usual but this time I will do it on the last day of the month
  • Complete phase 1 Bouquet from the Heart of Japan (Japanese embroidery)
  • Complete Mermaids of the Deep (cross stitch)
  • Stitch on Hedebo Starburst by Jette Roy Finlay-Heath (Hedebo)
  • Start and keep up with the phase 2-3 piece Hiogi Fan (Japanese embroidery)
  • Stitch Blackwell Roundel by Jenny Adin-Christie (metal and silk work)
  • Stitch Russian Domes class (goldwork)
  • Stitch Colour wheel by Sew by Hand (Or Nue)
  • Work on completing the EAC Design course (lessons 4-8)
  • Learn a new technique
  • Older WIPS. I'm putting these back in because they still need to be done. I'm hoping I do better this year.
    • Complete at least one page of Ink Circles' Bramble and the Rose 
    • Stitch the stonework on Teresa Wentzler's Tracery Dragons 
    • Stitch the hemstitch border on Donna M. Olson's Fantasy Lace 
    • Finish Katherine Drummond's Romantic Rosebuds 
    • Finish Annie Penin's Fleur de Sakura 
I've added in a few new projects for this year, but as usual you never know what may come. I'm going to try very hard not to purchase any new kits as I feel like I already have too many, but again you never know.

No major trips this year, but I hope to attend the EAC seminar. This year it's hosted in Victoria, British Columbia. This is another city I've always wanted to visit as I've heard it is beautiful.

I signed up for a 2 day class only as I wanted more time to tour Victoria. Crossing my fingers I get my first choice. The plan is to fly in a few days earlier and drive around, nothing has been set in stone yet. 

I was hoping to go down to Atlanta this year to take phase 2 in Japanese bead embroidery at the JEC but it came down to choosing between it and starting phase 2-3 in Montreal. So that will have to be pushed again to next year. That's all I have for plans so far.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Looking Back at 2018

Looking back over this year I managed to finish 7 projects and two crochet. I didn't manage to finish with 12 as I was hoping. In fact my numbers went down but I was working on some very complex projects this year.

I made two amigurumi gifts this year for two friends who were both expecting over the summer.

I didn't do as much whitework as previous years, spending most of my time on goldwork and completing four pieces.

Still in love with beading. I hoped to do more this year but Hanabatake took the bulk of my time. It still needs to be finished into a case though.

I still have some WIPs leftover as always. I never did cleanup that section, instead I added my bouquet which I hope to finish this year. I've put in some progress over the past few days and finally figured out those cords, but there is still lots to do.

I also added a new Mirabilia piece to the list in the last month. I've been putting in a few hours every day so it has seen some progress.

To keep with the tradition, I will be stitching on Bramble and the Rose on the last day of the year. There is still hope I will meet at least one more goal this year.