Sunday, March 30, 2008

March TIF challenge piece is finished!

Well, this started out as an exercise in using the colours suggested by Sharon. My original intention was to do a series using the same design but different fillings - blackwork and needlepoint as well as pulled thread. Foolishly I thought I could produce one a week! What a joke! This was only completed today.

While I steadily counted the threads on 32 count linen (using a magnifier) I thought about Sharon's theme challenge - "Do you ever notice the small moments, the details in life?" When you get to my age you appreciate these small moments even more - well I find this is so. Just the dew on the grass each morning is exciting. I could go on for ages. However it occurred to me that counting threads is definitely a metaphor for noticing those small details. So I decided that, while I did not manage to produce the series I had hoped , I had satisfied both sections of the challenge for the month.

Back to the embroidery - I think this could be used as a flap on a small bag. The pulled thread work is done in Gutermanns polyester machine sewing thread. The pink is ringed back stitch, the green 3-sided stitch and the deepest purple is a stitch that I did when I thought I was doing step stitch! It never ceases to amaze me how inept I am at following instructions. I had read the instructions for step stitch in Moyra McNeill's book so carefully. Then followed a day spent stitching one of the shapes before referring back to the book. Absolutely no resemblance to the one in the book! However I liked what I had done (and, besides, unpicking pulled thread work in doubled sewing machine thread is not for the fainthearted!) so decided to leave it as it was. The outlines are perle cotton in stem stitch except for the dark purple which uses 3 strands of 2/20 cotton weaving yarn. The yellow stitching is crested chain in 3 strands of stranded cotton.

Biscornu finished

Actually my biscornu (my February TIF challenge) has been finished for some time - all that was missing was the photograph. Now there is no excuse for losing a needle! In the meantime I have almost finished a needlebook that will match. This is in addition to another biscornu which is intended as a gift for a little neighbour.
I was very happy with how the two sections joined up. I followed Elizabeth's (from Quieter Moments) instructions - some time ago she gave a very detailed account of how to use back stitch for just this purpose - thankyou Elizabeth. It provides a very sturdy seam - I can't imagine how I might have improved it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pencil doesn't scan easily - however here is my basic idea for a series of samples. One I didn't mention previously is using the shapes for needlepoint stitches. While I feel happy with using rice stitch in two colour for the largest shape I am not sure that I won't need to try out some stitches elsewhere beforehand to get some idea of what might work or else I could be in for some unpicking.
Did I happen to mention that I loved these colours? Any more ideas on how to use the same design and same colour palette?
As you may have realised the theme has been filed away for future consideration - another stash - "Themes for future use"

Week's progress

Thankyou to everyone who commented on my fabric. I have put it back in the stash - there is enough fabric for a light jacket (what other sort of jacket do you need in the subtropics?)and after it is made I can consider what to do with the leftovers.

This week once again I cheat a little by trawling my cupboards and coming up with this ancient piece of fabric marbling. The actual colours are closer to TIF shades than show up on the scan. It seems that I urgently need some help with my scanning and photography - especially when one realises that my photos aren't nearly as close in colour as the scans.

However, for what it is worth, I feel this fits quite nicely with Sharon's colours for March TIF Challenge.

On the subject of colours while I quite agree with some of the chosen DMC numbers that I have seen on blogs I have spent considerable time with the DMC thread chart and have decided that the deepest grape (the far right hand side shade) is just not available in DMC. However, as I mentioned in the last post, I do have a cone of 2/20 that I can use. Also since my first piece is using pulled thread I have chosen to use Guttermans machine thread and these are 893, 925, 718 and 575 - the latter is a deep grape shade.

As I have done so little of the pulled thread I have not bothered to scan it yet. Hopefully by next week there will be enough to show and tell. I love pulled thread work but since this is on 32 count linen I can only work in good daylight and with my magnifier. Also my eyes need a break every half hour so the progression is slow.

For some days I spent ages messing around in my journal. The aim was to produce a design that could be used in a variety of techniques. I would also like to use the design for blackwork . The interesting part of these 'sample' pieces is that I have always considered both pulled thread and blackwork to be work in monochrome and here I am attempting to add colour to the mix. Maybe I will also manage to produce a third example in crewel embroidery.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

TIF Colours for March

Wow! I am so excited -I love the colour palette that Sharon has chosen for March TIF - it is a favourite of mine.

I went to my fabric stash - this is a stash of my own handwoven fabric, not very large but all off my loom! - and found this double weave fabric that is a wonderful match. The fabric is woven in 2/20 mercerised cotton I have shown the threads used. The warps were Cherry and Grass and the wefts, Marine and Cream, according to the yarn chart. Once again I marvel at how wonderfully colour mixes in woven textiles. When I am designing I get a fair idea of the final colours using the software; however they are rarely the same as in the actual woven fabric. This is, in part, due to discrepancies with colours as they appear on the computer screen and colours in real life and, in part, due to my inability to reproduce the colours in exact RBG numbers. More often than not I am agreeably surprised with how the first few inches turn up.

Now a decision needs to be made - embellish some of this fabric using the theme "concentrating on the fine detail" or make another embroidery in those wonderful grape and green colours.
I have finished my biscornu from last month's challenge and will publish a photo in the next day or so.