Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Tree of Life by SewbyHand

My friend Natalie who owns SewByHand has been very busy this year creating new designs. I'd been eyeing one of them and so was ecstatic when she asked me to be a tester in exchange for a kit.

I filmed this un-boxing back in March, sorry I'm really late in sharing on the blog. On the plus side, I finally figured out how to combine videos. I've started using the Video Editor on Windows 10 from their app store and it works very well.

(click on the post to see the video below)

The fabric is called clothe of gold and has a lovely shine to it having been woven with a metallic gold thread. It also has a weight to it and is very thick. It's mainly used for ecclesiastical embroidery in Europe. Using a hoop would have damaged it. Luckily my RSN slate frame was free.

As the fabric is very thick I had two options for transferring the design: prick and pounce or tacking. I went with tacking to avoid damaging the precious fabric. 

Once all the design lines are in, I carefully removed the tracing paper. This transfer method takes a long time but it's accurate and non-permanent. If I decided I wanted to omit one of the swirls, I just remove the stitches.

I got the chance to try a new padding method, using mat boards instead of felt. I needed to be very careful to get my edge nice and square.

I also got to play with this beautiful metal plate and DMC's diamante thread. This thread has been on the market for a few years now, but this is the first time I've used it in a piece.

The piece has a lot of couching in it...

and plunging, my nemesis. 

Once it's finished the couched metal thread creates lovely swirls.

The ground is covered in beading and chipping. Natalie includes a lovely palette of colors in browns, gold, black and dark purple, in different shapes. There are bugles, drops, Tila beads and seed beads. And it all glitters when the light hits it just right.

She provides suggestions on how to stitch the corners, but this is left up to the stitcher. It took me forever to figure out how I wanted to do mine. I wanted something that was square to really close it off but I didn't have enough of the square Tila beads in the kit. It finally dawned on me to create a square shape going round and round using the bright check purl included in the kit. I put in a drop bead at the center.

Here I have a lovely piece representing the art nouveau movement. If you'll notice in the picture above, my gold plate already started changing color. This makes it blend even more with the diamante thread. I can't wait to see how my piece will change as it ages with time.

Natalie has already started teaching this piece in Quebec and her students are well on their way to almost completing their trees. She will also be teaching it at EGA seminar 2020 in Boston. Sadly there are no kits left for sale, but she will be making the pdf instructions for students who would like to stitch it using their own materials.

Thursday, August 1, 2019


My ORT jar looks a little smaller than last month but I did get some stitching done. I've been splitting most of my time between stitching outdoors on my hedebo piece and stitching on the Mermaids.

The center of my hedebo piece is all finished (love those eyelets), I've moved onto the border. I'll have to go around twice, but when it's finished it will form a star pattern.

I've completed the skin on the second mermaid and started on her hair.

I have more to share, but I will leave that for a separate post.