Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Twist Festival 2018

The Twist Festival was held this weekend. For the first time they decided to hold it over three days instead of just two, starting on Friday at noon. Since I had work, I joined Patricia to help out with her boutique Atelier de Penelope after work. Hurrah for half-day Fridays!


When I showed up the boutique was already set up. I think I prefer this year's setup over last years. We had more wall-space to hang things up.





The festival is really fun as I get the chance to meet stitchers and fiber artists. This year their was a great influx of young fiber artists as well as young stitchers-to-be. I had a great dinner with Annelise of Mamie Lisette, Natalie Dupuis of Sew By Hand Montreal and Patricia just talking about embroidery and it's future. Annelise spoke about bringing back embroidery in the classroom. Wouldn't that be great?


Remember this piece that I saw at the Dentelles et Broderies en Lumière exposition? I got the chance to meet the lady who stitched it.


A stitcher came to our booth carrying this lovely tote bag from Mexico that was stitched using a luneville hook. The technique is called gancho which translates to hook in English. The colors just popped against that black. Check the link here for more pictures.


I also had the pleasure of meeting Monika of The Olive Sparrow. We had met her at her booth and she mentioned needing needles to embroidery her doll's eyes. She came to visit our booth with her two girls Nissy and Tamina.


Patricia and I got the chance to hold them. I got Tamina, she's so soft and cuddly. The dolls are made of 100% cotton and wool and she dresses them using recycled materials like wool sweaters and antique lace.


I was very good this year and didn't spend a lot of money. I resisted buying wool even thought there were so many pretty colors. I bough 100% wool felt from Monika's booth. These will be great for goldwork. I also snagged some pins by Twill and Print, they were just too pretty to pass up. I plan on turning these into needle minders.


Just because I was away all weekend didn't mean I didn't get any stitching done. In between customers I took out the sashiko panel I had bought back in June. I like doing this as it helps customers who want to try out this technique, to see it in action. It also picks the curiosity of the ones who don't stitch and they usually come into the booth to ask questions.


Last night I wasn't up to stitching anything too complex so I continued working on it. It's a very relaxing technique. I finished all the outline that will be in white. I'm still trying to decide how I will stitch the inside but there will definitely be color.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

August TUSAL



Not much to show in my jar this month. It's mainly the felt and sewing thread from my seminar class. Ignore the white thread at the top. Those are from this year's attempt at knitting. Let's just say it was still unsuccessful. Most of my stitching this month went into my Japanese embroidery piece and the ORTs are all gathered in this Sajou tin.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Japanese Embroidery Phase 1 - More Leaves

This weekend I worked on leaves. I put in nine more bush clover leaves (14 leaves to go).


I decided to change it up on Sunday and worked on the chrysanthemum leaves. I'm loving working with flat silks. It's such a pleasure to work with, I can see myself stitching with it full time. Just need to build up my stash of silks.


The piece is really feeling empty on the right side. I need to figure out those pinks, the last time I put them in they were wrong and had to come out. I also really should finish the elements that are almost done, like the chrysanthemums and valerians. That way I can tick them off my list.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Japanese Embroidery Phase 1 - Part 6

The weekend right after coming home from seminar we had a our monthly Japanese embroidery meeting.

Added the first three layers on the lattice

We've decided we will hold a Japanese embroidery stitching retreat in October right after Thanksgiving. There was also talk of maybe bringing a teacher in the spring to do phase 2. Now, I haven't been stitching as much as I should have on my phase 1 piece so I feel like I'm falling a little behind. It doesn't help that I had so many projects to finish before seminar. But now that that's over, I can finally spend more time on my bouquet.

I've decided that from now till October, I will be spending 90% of my stitching time on my piece to try and get as much of it done as I can.

My setup at home
With the pressure at work, I've only been able to work on it on the weekends and on Wednesdays. So far, I've stitched the weft of the second valerian. This will be covered with a lattice later.


 The purple and blue chrysanthemum stitched in flat silk. I really love stitching in flat silk.



I've heard that the bush clover leaves get annoying after a while as there are just so many of them.

I actually find them quite enjoyable to stitch, so I don't mind them as much. Still, I wouldn't want to have to stitch all 31 leaves at the end. What I'll start doing is whenever I don't feel like working on a major element, I will work on those.


I had started this orange chrysanthemum in class back in October. Later on I realized that I didn't stitch it properly. The petals are stitched one at a time with self padding underneath. We are not supposed to travel between petals. As you can see, there is a mess on the back of the fabric.

All of it had to come out. I did manage to save some of the twisted thread. I ended up using it for the padding under the petals.

I've been posting images on Instagram and received a lot of questions about the silk used in the piece. On the left you can see a reel of silk. This is how it comes when we buy it from the JEC. A lot of times, we'll use it as it comes from the reel: flat. And other times we'll combine multiple threads together to create a twist or even split a single thread to create multiple twists. The beauty of this is the stitcher can decide how thick or thin and how tight or loose the twist should be.

I have one more chrysanthemum to stitch this time in white (next to the blue one). I'm still trying to figure out HOW it's supposed to be stitched as it's not mentioned in the chart. I asked for advice on Facebook, just waiting to see what the majority says.


Now remember back in April when I lost one of my needles. Well, I was playing with my cut strands (because they're really soft) and my fingers encountered something that was hard. I look in the tin and spot something metallic and thin. It seems I might have thrown out my twisted brown silk with my needle still threaded on it. Good thing I don't throw my ORTs! It's the last place I would have expected to find my needle.

Here is an overall view of the piece.


There is still lots to do even on the elements I have already stitched. The only things really done is the blue iris and the bush clover leaves, if you don't count the stem.
  • The wrapping paper has two more layers on the lattice
  • The Valerian flowers have a lattice, as well as knots along the edges
  • The chrysanthemums have a few stitches in the center, as well as knots

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Fundamental Whitework Techniques by Jenny Adin Christie

In my last post, a showed you this book by Jenny Adin-Christie that I had bought at seminar. I really liked the contents of it and thought I'd share a review so you can check it out.


A video review seemed to have worked well last time, so I did another one. If you're reading this post by email, you will need to open the post in your browser.


A few things to mention, the Internet archive I mentioned is actually called the Antique Pattern Library.

Second, Jenny used interesting shapes for her demonstrations. This really helps when you're trying to figure out how to tackle specific curves. I'm so glad I bought it, as it's an excellent addition to my library of embroidery books.

And thirdly, I took another look at the RSN website. As I mentioned in the video, the whitework class is available as an elective if you are taking their Diploma program. This is after you've completed the Certificate program. So if I were to want to take this class I would be first going through the Certificate program; so that's crewel, silk shading (forgot that one), goldwork, a choice between canvaswork or blackwork. After that I would have to sign up for the Diploma program and complete the applique, advanced silk shading, advanced goldwork, a choice between canvaswork or blackwork (again). Once that's done, I can decide to take whitework as my elective. So all in all I've very glad I found this book. I'm not saying it's the same as taking the class at the RSN, but for now this will do.

For copies of the book, you can contact Jenny through her website. She had a limited amount at seminar since she had to ship them to PEI, but she might have more in the UK.

Friday, August 3, 2018

EAC Seminar 2018 - Bridging Stitches Stash

I just realized that I forgot to mention I finally visited Atelier de Penelope's shop in Quebec city. We made a special pit stop on our drive to PEI. It took three years but I finally made it. The place is packed with so many embroidery materials. I wish she wasn't so far from where I live (about a 3 hour drive). Patricia had recently re-arranged the shop and now there is a class room section at the back of the shop. The day we came there was a group of ladies working on the EAC Deerfield class. I really envy them, so lonely stitching at home.

(click on the post to see the animation below)


My youngest sister was with me. I've bough her a few mill hill kits that she has stitched over the past few years. She always comes into my room to see what I'm working on and asks me questions. So she walked around the shop with me and asked what everything was. Think I can convert her?

While browsing, she spotted a framed Mirabilia design that she liked and said it would look nice hanging in her room. I offered to get the kit and stitch it for her birthday. She was generous enough not to give me a deadline ;) I already have the fabric picked out, I'll place an order in the fall.


Onto stash from seminar. What I usually do is put cash in an envelop and that's my budget for merchant night. This year was a little different as I kind of blew my entire budget before I even made it to seminar. How do you ask? Jenny Adin-Christie was coming to teach and she was bringing kits to sell. I contacted her ahead of time for her catalog and after lots of thinking I settled on two kits. Her kits are priced in British pound. As you know our Canadian dollar isn't doing very well, so with the currency conversion they're very expensive. Since the cost was so high, I didn't want to pick a kit that would teach me nothing.


The first kit is a large embroidery workbasket. There is a smaller workbasket, but I decided on the larger one (go big or go home). I've always wanted to learn the layered whitework technique they teach at the RSN. Unfortunately, it's part of their certificate course as an elective class. Which means I have to first go through crewel, canvaswork and goldwork. That's not going to happen, so this is a good alternative.


The second kit is a goldwork design called Blackwell Roundel. It has some beading, silk work and shadow work and a silk organza. This is a design that was taught at the Bath Textile summer school and based on the decor of a Room at Blackwell House. Click on the link above for more details and to admire the beautiful art nouveau wooden frame designed for the piece. By the way, that (very expensive) frame is available for purchase if you want the same finish. I think I'll have to settle on a wooden box.


The next three I bought at merchant night, and yes I did exceed my budget. The first is a book written by Jenny Adin-Christie on the Fundamental Whitework Techniques (review coming soon!). The other two are wooden beading trays. Jenny had a whole table of wooden embroidery tools. Now, I have beading trays but these are made of a beautiful wood AND have a magnet at the bottom so you can attach it to your fabric. Anything that will prevent me from dropping beads is awesome.


Tanja Berlin also had a booth and I placed an order for some embroidery tools, no kits for me. I got a pounce with the powder, a pair of purple scissors, curved needles and an etui. I've had my eye on this case for a while. I actually wanted the one in blue but it's not available anymore, so pink it is. I'll be using it to store my goldwork embroidery tools. It even comes with a velux pad to cut metal thread on. You can see it on the right all setup for my class with the small beading tray.


Alison Cole always has a booth. Last year I bought a ton of goldwork materials which is where most of my budget went. This year I only got books. I had realized I didn't have copies of her goldwork books The Midas Touch and All That Glitters so I took this opportunity to get them and have Alison sign them. I also got a reel of #3 gilt smooth passing to play with.


The next two books were impulse buys. Karen Torrisi is an embroiderer from the UK who teaches beading. She was at seminar for a tambour beading class and had brought beads and luneville hooks for sale. I spotted a kit or two. She also had copies of her book for sale. It's a project book of beaded hand bags. I spotted a few that I liked.

The second book is Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th century. The great thing about helping setup Atelier de Penelope's boutique is I get to put aside things I find as I unpack. The book comes in two volumes and contains images of pieces from Kyoto Costume Institute. The pictures are beautiful and would be a great source of inspiration.


During class, they usually hold a giveaway. My number was selected and I picked this pencil case put together by Nordic Needle. I like how you can open the case in different ways. It contained packets of needles in different size, perle cotton and some beads.


I'm very satisfied with my haul, now just need to plan a schedule on when I'll start my new kits (on top of the other kits I already have). Look out for my post reviewing Jenny's book and let me know if you'd like a peek at the other books I got.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

EAC Seminar 2018 - Bridging Stitches

This year's seminar was a little bit different from the previous two. For one, instead of flying in we drove all the way to PEI.


Two, I was there for a two day class and so spent most of it away from the residence where seminar was held. Every evening I would come back for seminar events if any were held that night. I missed the reception and the AGM lunch meeting (I didn't have a ticket for either since I was signed up for a Saturday/Sunday class). So, if you looked for me I was away enjoying the charms of the province.

Green Gables
I was there all day on Tuesday for check in. I needed to register my presence and pick up my bag filled of goodies.


A close up of this year's pin with the seminar's logo.


I also dropped off my pieces for the exhibition. The rest of the day was spent helping with the setup of Atelier de Penelope's boutique. I took a video of the shop after it had been setup. You can check out the video here. I also took videos of the other boutiques: Silkworm StudioKimat DesignsFelicia Knock.


Wednesday night was Virtual Threads annual meeting. With every year, we have more and more members. It was nice to put faces to the names. We were celebrating Virtual Threads 5th year anniversary. There was cake!


A silent auction was held during the meeting. I was very good and didn't buy anything even though there were two Italian whitework book I would have liked.


To celebrate our 5th anniversary, a goodie bag was put together for members. The seashells and red sand were an excellent touch. A lovely reminder of Prince Edward Island. Chocolate was present as well but it didn't make it for the picture.


Thursday night was the night we were all waiting for: Merchant night! Here are seminar attendees waiting in line to go in.


The room was bigger than last year but it was madness inside. You couldn't even get to Jenny Adin-Christie's table. After I made my rounds and picked up my new stash (more on that later), I went through the booths again and took a video that you can see here.


Friday was a free day for everyone. Some attendees took a one day class while others went on a tour. We did our own thing and visited a few lighthouses.

Point Prim Lighthouse
Saturday was finally d-day. I'd been counting down the days till the first day of class. I came in early so I can snag a good spot. I dragged two tables near each other and used that as a stand for my frame.


We got the rest of our kit and got busy.

The first step was outlining and cutting our felt padding. We also played with a high count metal mesh. These were treated the same way as the felt. Sort of... I'll write a more detailed post later on these.

Homework was assigned, but I was very efficient and got it done before the day finished.


Because that night was the banquet. This is the first year I went to the banquet and didn't have to worry about doing homework afterward. We got a booklet with a list of classes that will be offered next year. I've already made my selection.


At the center of every table, there was a lovely arrangement of stitched smalls. Everyone at the table was able to take something home. I decided to take the Temari. I always wanted one.


They announced the winners of the awards. I received my award for second place in the EAC board challenge. I didn't even know there was a prize. This will go straight to my stitching budget.


Sunday morning, I woke up early ready to start class. Alison spent the day showing us how to stitch every section of the iris and then had us trying it out to make sure we understand. Here she is demonstrating how to stretch purl pearl.


I kind of did my own thing. One thing I dislike about classes is the constant need to jump around a piece as the teacher rushes to show us everything. I like to stitch a piece in the correct order. Luckily, I've a little experience with goldwork and was able to do just that. I spent the day stitching down the petals. I have one more left to do.


As soon as 4:30 pm hit, I received a message from my family asking me where I was. They were waiting on me to finish so we can start driving back home. It takes a long time to pack all your embroidery tools (something my family doesn't understand). Also, Alison had us walk around the room to take a look at each other's pieces so that took a bit of time. It was interesting to see how each person handled the petals.

One last stop before we left for ice cream at Cows! Did I mention the desserts in PEI we amazing? It must be the butter.


Overall I enjoyed seminar this year. Alison was an excellent teacher who is a master in her craft and I look forward to taking another class with her. The seminar committee did an excellent job with organizing everything. Being able to pick up my exhibition pieces Sunday during the coffee break really helped.

I did feel like I missed out on a few seminar experiences as not everyone was staying in the same residence. In previous years, everyone stayed in the same place and if you felt like a bit of stitching with company you just had to go to a lounge on any floor and there was usually someone there. Also, going to seminar with family meant I felt obligated to spend time with them. No late night stitching for me. I wonder how it will be next year.