Wednesday, May 31, 2017

EAC Seminar 2017 - Rock, Needle, Scissors - Part 2

Today's post is all about stash :)

First off! The EAC was selling some old books from their library. They were 2$ each! It wasn't exactly advertised. While on our way back to the residence I spotted a lady carrying the book in the middle and asked her where she got it from. She said she got it from Seminar Central where the EAC had a table selling swag (I got a fold-able bag). We quickly got ourselves there and I was lucky enough to get my own copy of that same book. I found a second book on pulled thread embroidery and the one at the top is a Japanese book on Kogin embroidery. It's very similar to Swedish weaving.

Patricia from L'Atelier de Penelope was using merchant night to launch the addition of Giuliana Ricama magazine to her shop. She allowed me the chance to pick out the ones I wanted, I got three of them. Now I'm really antsy to get my hands on the fabric to start stitching.

So merchant night comes and we're all eager to get in and start shopping. But when the doors finally open and I start making my rounds, it didn't look like they had a lot of things that interested me. There were a lot of local artisans selling wool and ceramics and there were booths from designer that specialize in canvas embroidery. This isn't exactly a bad thing as it meant I won't overspend, but still. Alison Cole had a table as always and she had my order all ready to be picked up, but it was madness actually reaching her. I made three turns of the room stopping to chat here and there, and still had to wait a good 15 minutes in front of her table before I could speak to her.

This order is staying closed until the fall. It's fabric and metal threads for some goldwork projects I plan on stitching this year.

I ended up adding a goldwork kit to my bag from her and a kit from my teacher Jette Roy Finlay-Heath. I wasn't planning on buying an Hedebo kit as hers are quite expensive, but I fell in love with the design and since nothing else caught my eye I decided to splurge.

With what was leftover of my money I got some Au Ver à Soie silks to play with. The green and purple pack are soie ovale which is a flat silk while the other two are soie perlee.

It's not as impressive a haul as last year's but it will still keep me busy. Next post will be about my last two days at seminar.

Monday, May 29, 2017

EAC Seminar 2017 - Rock, Needle, Scissors - Part 1

Seminar was a blast! Last year everything was new and I was very nervous going in, but this year it was all about meeting friends again and also making new ones.

My class kit all ready to start
I flew out on Monday so we would be there a day before registration day. We find that it worked out quite well last year. It gave us the chance to unpack and relax. Many people come in even earlier for meetings, but there is an even bigger crowd that comes in on the Tuesday and they all want to get checked-in and settled.

We booked a two bedroom suite again this year. It comes with a private bath. Unfortunately, no kitchen. Instead every floor had a shared kitchen area as well as a study lounge. So lots of sitting area to meet up in.

The lovely view from my room! The sun comes out early in St-John's waking us up. Not to mention the birds that you can hear outside. I've woken up many a morning at 5:30. It's no wonder I came home exhausted.

Tuesday morning we woke up early to get some breakfast. After wards, my roommate Fran had to go to an ACRAM meeting. It's a three hour meeting where the Atlantic and Central region chapters of EAC meet. I didn't have to go as there were representatives from both of my guilds attending but it was very interesting all the same. They went around the table and each guild representative had to give two good points that happened to them this year as well as one thing they would like to improve. The one point to improve that kept coming back was how guilds can attract young members. Which was very funny since they had what is most probably the youngest seminar attendee actually sitting in on the meeting; namely me :) I was sitting, quietly stitching on Roses and the Bramble.

After the meeting, it was registration and a rush to submit our exhibition pieces. This years seminar packet contained a lot of goodies: an origami ORT box (purple chevron), a needle-book made from a paint sample card (mine's blue), flower beeswax, some threads, a fob, needle threader, some patterns and the seminar pins. I love the puffin one!

After wards, I don't have pictures, I spent the rest of my afternoon helping Patricia the owner of l'Atelier de Penelope setup her boutique. I did it last year and it was a lot of hard work, but also fun to get a peek at all the products she brought with her. I always enjoy spending time with her, we talk about the latest products and books. We even went shopping for table clothes and baskets. Later that night we had the opening reception. We had a harpist entertaining us. (you need to open the post in your browser to watch the video).

The very next day, we woke up early eager to start our class. We were in the science building and it took a while to get used to the campus and how to get to each location. This year classes were scattered among 3 buildings so we couldn't exactly visit each other during breaks. this was a HUGE bummer. Anyways, I picked a spot somewhere in the middle right of the classroom right next to the window. I brought a lamp with me, but I much prefer natural light. Turns out I picked right, since our teacher, Jetta Roy Finlay Heath, was using the projector and was constantly turning the lights on and off.

Fran, Clare, Pauline and I were all taking the same class together again. The biggest surprise was meeting our teacher from last year's seminar Barbara Kershaw, this time as a fellow student.

The rest of my kit
Jetta had a display at the back with some of her designs. They were all so pretty.

This is the piece that we were working on. It's called Hedebo Enchantment.

Day one was all about satin stitches and the square stitch. We ended the day with a TON of homework to do for the next day. Most of it was needed to be able to do the cut work in the border. The entire time we were there, I don't think any of us ever finished our homework the day before. We were always staying up late to stitch and then coming in an hour before class started to finish in time for the day's lesson. It wasn't just us either, you went on any floor at the residence (we took over about five floors) and chances are you would find a group of stitchers sitting together and working on their assignments. It was very fun because even if we couldn't see each other during the day, we could catch up at night.

Day two, we took out our scissors to do the cutwork. I got the chance to try out some of my new tools which I brought with me. The pineapple pin is a stitch marker made by Floss Candy. The pineapple is just the right size to hold in hand to remove fabric threads. I also got the chance to test out the tweezers my sister bought me. They are so much better than my old ones. You don't have to exert a lot of force when you are pulling and the grip is very comfortable. I'm looking forward to using them more.

At the end of day two, we had Merchant night, a night we were all very much looking forward to. You will just have to wait till the next post to see what I bought ;)

Friday, May 26, 2017


I'm officially back! I actually got home on Sunday night but I needed time to recuperate. As you can see from the top of my TUSAL jar, we were very busy at Seminar. So busy that I needed to take a break from stitching. But that's over now and starting tomorrow I will be back at it.

If you're curious to know what I ended up taking with me for the plane ride. I did indeed take Rose and the Bramble, but I didn't even do any stitching on the plane. I did stitch on it on registration day at seminar. I tagged along to a meeting during seminar that my roommate had to attend and put in a few stitches there. I got a tiny bit done in the lower right corner.

I will be posting about my experience at seminar, I just need to get myself organized. So look for those posts next week :)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Gone to Seminar

As of today, I will be away for seminar. This means the blog will not be updated till I get back next week. My bag is packed or at least the essentials are ;)

I will try to post on my Instagram account as always. You can follow along here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Flowers Blooming

Flowers are popping up everywhere in my stitching.

Sadly I can't say the same about our spring here. The snow melted and we got a lot of rain causing certain problem areas to flood. The situation is so bad that a state of emergency has been declared and troops have been deployed to help evacuate. We're lucky that we live far from the water so we haven't been affected, but some of the places we often go to on the weekend have. The video below shows the Pierrefonds area in Montreal.

Since the weather was so horrible, I took the opportunity to get as far ahead with my beading as I can. I got all the dark navy and teal flowers done. All that's left are the light and dark topaz, and the garnets to do. I've been trying to stitch some leaves after each flower, but I'm going to run out of those very soon.

There are 5 days left till I leave for seminar. I'll need to start packing soon. I also need to figure out what stitching I will be bringing for the 4 hour flight. I really should consider taking Bramble and the Rose.

Friday, May 5, 2017

UK Stash

A few months back my sister came to me and said she was going to England for vacation. This was very sudden and unexpected. The worst is I couldn't even join her as I'd already planned on going to the JEC. She asked if I wanted something from there and I told her: YES! She had already offered to pay for the Alison Cole cyber class, but I told her to forget it. She can get me my birthday gift from the UK.

She didn't have a lot of time, but I kept hoping she would be able to go to Hampton court to visit their gorgeous gardens and... hopefully get me something from the Royal School of Needlework. It was getting closer to her time to get home and she still hadn't gone there. I thought it wouldn't happen until I got this video from her:

She really did go :) She even called me while she was there and we video called so she can show me the shop. It was awesome! (I have the best sister) Thank you Lindsey for helping her pick out everything.

My sister remembered I wanted the goldwork fox kit by Becky Hogg <3 It's lovely to know my family actually listens to me when I ramble about stitching stuff lol. She also got me a seat frame with clamp which is perfect timing for the summer. I'll finally have a hands free frame that I can use outside.

Lindsey was kind enough to slip in these pretty pamphlets of the different exhibitions the RSN held. I love the one with Mary Poppins.

The kit is really adorable and comes in a lovely gift box, there's even a coupon inside to get a rebate on the next kit. I'm thinking the badger but I wonder if it's too similar to the fox in terms of technique.

The kit comes with the instructions.

At first glance they seem to be very good. Lot's of illustrations to help along the way.

The kit comes with everything, including the hoop to stitch and display the final piece.

The pattern is already transferred on the fabric and the felt so you can just start straight away. The piece is actually smaller than I expected, but aren't they always!?

My sister really wanted to get me a pair of scissors or some sort of stitcher's tool. For example look at this stilleto. But I was very good. I already had my goldwork scissors and mellor, what I was really missing was a pair of nice tweezers. While she was waving her camera around in the store I noticed these. They are uncle bill's sliver gripper and have been mentioned multiple by other embroiderers as the best tweezers. I haven't used them yet but I will be taking them with me to seminar and will give them a go there.

At this point I've accumulated quite an arsenal of stitching tools. I think at this point the only thing I might still need is another pair of tweezers with a flat tip for goldwork. I really should put all my main tools together in one case that I would always carry with me to classes.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Talliaferro Challenge - Finishing

Now that my piece is finished, I had to actually "finish" it. My guild Virtual Threads is participating in a group exhibition for seminar. The theme was "Project Bags", so I decided to turn my beaded project into a pouch. I looked around the Internet until I could find instructions that don't use a sewing machine and found this one.

I was going to try and find a nice contrasting fabric for the lining but in the end I used the same one I used for my stitching.

The instructions seemed easy enough. Before I started beading, I looked at the instructions to figure out how big the fabric needed to be. The pouch is made by folding the fabric in half and sewing the edges closed. This meant that whatever my design area was, I needed a little extra at the top for the drawstring and then double that size. For the lining, I cut out a piece exactly the same size.

The back of the piece for those curious. The hoop marks only show in the backing fabric and that gets hidden with the lining so I didn't bother ironing it.

Before I can sew the edges together, I needed to fold the top and bottom to make a channel for the drawstring.

The front.

Folded the entire piece in half with the design in the inside and started hem stitching.

I wanted more room at the bottom, so I decided to go with the variation and stitched a line through the bottom corner.

I realized later that the inside of my pouch is not the neatest. Because of the instructions I used (and the fact I don't have a sewing machine) I couldn't hide the edges. So if you open up the pouch you can see them and this fabric doesn't help (the edges fray). It still looks pretty.

For the drawstring, I got a satin ribbon in a lovely blue. Here it is in good lighting. I decided to call it Turkish Jewels. Once I have a few Japanese bead embroidery phases done, I want to restitch it to see if I can do a better job. Especially on the "eyes".

This is the last post on the Talliaferro Challenge. There are 12 days left till seminar so I don't think it's a good idea to start anything new right before leaving. So for the next little bit, it will be all about stitching beaded flowers and leaves unless I make good progress on one of the older WIPs.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Flower Beading

I spent most of the weekend recuperating from my work week, but I did get some stitching done. I'm surprised by how slow the progress is. Each flower takes about 15 minutes for me to stitch and I've been getting distracted a lot. My sister was in the UK and she would call me to face time to show me where she was and what she was doing. She came back really late last night (I was asleep by then) with lots of goodies for me to share, so I can't wait to get home to go thru them.

© Copyright - Japanese Embroidery Center
I was hoping to stitch all the navy flowers but that didn't happen. Right now I have 23 flowers out of 52. I still have long way to go and after that many, many leaves to stitch. I really should start plugging away at those. Wouldn't do to leave them all for the end. My bead mat has been great for that. I usually pick one color of flowers to stitch and will set up the beads for the flower centers and the leaves so I can easily switch between the two and not waste any time pulling out beads.

Here is a close up of one area that is almost done. All that's left here is to stitch 3 beads in the space between the leaves. These will form a triangle. Once I have a bigger area stitched, I'll attach some to show you what it will look like when it's done.

© Copyright - Japanese Embroidery Center
On another note, first: I've missed WIPocalypse for April. I won't be doing a post for that as I haven't worked on any of my WIPs. I'm hoping to do better next month, we'll see. Second: there are 13 days left before EAC seminar =D