Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still Lesson 3

This is just playing with the elements of design using stitches I have learnt in this Lesson 3. However as a design I have to admit it is a disaster! Nonetheless I am documenting it with my other samplers because it has certainly been a learning experience.

There were a variety of threads used for this stitching -ranging from a 2/20 mercerised handdyed weaving leftover to perle3 in cottons, a handdyed fine woollen yarn, and some medium sized linen thread.

I don't enjoy couching very much - I have trouble in persuading the thicker 'thread' to lie just where I would like. These exercises indicate what is needed to be practised when the class finishes. Many of the stitches still require an instruction sheet beside me while I work.

I look forward to Sharon's challenge for 2008 - - to be inspire me to continue the voyage I started this year.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chains all round!

I have been wanting to stitch a paisley teardrop for some time. I also needed to sample chain stitch curves. Crested chain looked like a stitch suitable for outlining. The fabric was the second piece of synthetic felt. This was a mistake as I discovered that the felt does not take kindly to unpicking! It doesn't do anything obvious, just gets thinner and thinner! However I persevered and this is the result. As well as crested chain, the stitches used are chain, twisted chain and cable chain.
The threads varied from DMC perle 3 to Finca perle 12, as well as a couple of weaving yarns, pink threads in 2/10 cotton and a linen of the same grist.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chain, chain amd more chain!

Lesson 3 is concentrating on line and how it can be stitched. This sampler is my attempt at a number of different chain stitches.

Starting from the right : Chain stitch; Heavy chain stitch; Feathered chain stitch; Cable chain stitch; Open chain stitch; Zigzag chain stitch; Twisted chain stitch; Threaded chain stitch; Zigzag cable chain stitch; Knotted cable chain stitch; Rosette chain stitch; and Whipped chain stitch.

And that is not even the complete set of chain stitch!!! The thread used was perle cotton in weights from 3 to 8. It could be instructive to repeat this exercise in woollen yarn.

I am unhappy with my tension but am sure that that can be rectified with practice.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Waltzing Matilda

Quite some time ago I wove some double weave using a name draft with the words "Waltzing Matilda" as its basis (the top scan).
The fabric is quite a narrow strip as it was woven for a sample exchange. However since it was quite a long warp I decided I could make a vest using this fabric for the vest fronts and wove another double weave in checks in the same beige and white yarns (2/20 mercerised cotton) for the back.
However there was still a fair amount of fabric left. I had kept it with the intention of 'doing something' with it eventually. Well that day eventually arrived - for a short section, at least.
In our Personal Library of Stitches lesson 2 a design exercise was to use fabric from our stash with geometric designs in which points dominate and examine what happens if one embroiders on it with stitches from this lesson. Handwoven is often a good example of such a fabric and I chose this one.
I did want to try the embroidered circles with longtailed lazy daisy but on completion I have decided that maybe I got carried away. It may have looked better in a lighter tone thread! Never mind! There is ample left to repeat the experiment after the class has finished. Now it is onto Lesson 3 with its emphasis on "line"!

Friday, November 16, 2007

On the Grid!

The fabric is Aida (stiffer than a board, especially after felt!) . The threads are all Perle cotton except for two rows of stranded cotton floss - the palest pink is 2 strand and the row below is 6. The perle varies from DMC 3 to Finca 12.

The red stitching is my Chevron practice - nothing very exciting - I need to think of something more adventurous.

The remainder of sampler 4, Lesson 1, is cretan , a stitch that I can see has tremendous possibilities.

Now I really need to concentrate on Lesson 2

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cretan Stitch

This is certainly not well stitched but it is worth keeping until I can find time to repeat the exercise or try something else to improve my Cretan stitch.

It was also very difficult to scan.

Lesson 2 arrived today and it looks so interesting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nothing to show for today

I have no photos or scans - however I have learnt something. I had kept a pile of used Colour Catcher sheets because they had interesting colour patterns. The thought was maybe I could use them for embroidery. Definitely not a proposition for hand embroidery. A real pity as the mottled dye effect was just perfect. I tried some Portuguese Stem Stitch. The needle tore the fabric unless the stitch was enormous and probably would still have done so if I had pulled the stitch. I had joined two sheets with a machine zigzag seam and that was not a problem so maybe I won't throw them out yet as machine embroidery may work. Not sure but worth a try.

Today it occurred to me that there was a nice piece of grey woollen felted fabric that could be useful for a sampler. Unfortunately it is too thick for the hoop I am using. I need to try some cretan without a hoop and see how it goes.

I have also remembered my stash of hand-dyed fabric that I acquired by virtue of an international dye swap 8 or 9 years ago. While some was used to make fabric boxes twelve months ago there are quite a number of interesting pieces still in the cupboard, just begging to be used.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sampler? 2

Not really sure if one could call this a sampler.

Felt and buttonhole stitch seem to be made for one another. I wanted to try some variations on buttonhole stitch and did exactly that -but not quite as I originally intended. Every stitch on this piece is buttonhole except for a few straight stitches and a lonely French knot! I just got carried away and enjoyed myself.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thread for Sampler 2

I have decided to use cotton floss, mostly DMC, for my second sampler which, at this stage, is looking at buttonhole stitch - of course, this is liable to change at any time.
I used mainly perle cotton, my preferred thread, for the first sampler. However, my range of perle colours is very limited while I do have quite a nice range of cotton floss colours, leftover from those cross stitch days. So I could find some really nice colour combinations. This is not a bad reproduction of the floss colours except for the greyed greens which look more grey than they actually are. I don't know how to improve this, unfortunately. Colour play is always fun - now I only need to stitch!

The Blackwork Sampler

Having got as far as adding my first sampler for PLOS I decided not to wait until I finished this piece - so here is the piece "under construction", so to speak!
I wanted to do some blackwork - mainly because I liked the way you could use the stitches to produce tonal variations independent of colour choices. I borrowed Pat Langford's book "Embroidery Ideas from Blackwork" from the library and knew I just had to own it. I acquired a second hand copy in good condition. Pat was such a wonderful needlewoman with tremendous design skills.
Blackwork appeals also because all the stitches are quite uncomplicated - the biggest problem I have is being able to see the threads in the fabric!
As a weaver I belong to the "fullsize" sample brigade - I never could see the point of threading more than was necessary and as the time went on and my familiarity with yarns increased I made fewer bad choices. I still have this mentality and decided that the only way I would try enough stitch variations would be to make a series of "fullsize" stitch samples. (Maybe PLOS will change my attitude to samples - I hope so).
Gumleaves seemed like nice shapes with which to begin. In my daily walk I spend a lot of time keeping my eyes open for suitable leaves - our parks are full of gum trees. This was a mixed bundle I collected, dried and traced around for the outlines. Next time I have a collection of Cadagi leaves and I think I could 'branch' out into other species for the future.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Something to show at last!

I do realise that it has been a long time between posts. However that is because I have not had anything to add. I have been playing with blackwork samples and intend to scan the first one as soon as I finish it. I had hoped to be able to do so before last Thursday when Sharon Boggon's new class began but didn't manage to do so.

The new class I am doing is Develop your own personal library of stitches (PLOS).

I am enjoying myself and have completed the first sampler . This started out to be an investigation of Guilloche stitch and some variations within the stitch - however as usual I moved in another direction altogether and the study of variations has been postponed to another day.

The Guilloche stitch was used for a border and as this was so braidlike I decided to use the sampler to see what other braids I could stitch. I am quite pleased with the result but do realise there is room for improvement in the execution of the stitches.

What did I learn?

I like the effect of the DMC Antique Effects in the Pekinese stitch but would avoid that thread in the future - it is difficult to thread - it is impossible to control when I stitch. My skills are just not up to that. Threaded Pekinese is very effective and would have been a much better border than the Guilloche - it could handle a smooth curve nicely . This was on this week's TAST.

I liked, no loved, the Guilloche but need to spread the stitches a little - the stem stitch is lost. I definitely will try the variations but probably not this week.

I need to spend more time with the herringbone and feather to see what other kinds of braids I can come up with.