Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another stitchalong sample.

After deciding that I was not that excited by Festoon Stitch I was prepared to feel the same way about Frost Stitch - they are not very different, after all- and thought that it would probably be a week or so before I picked up the sampler again. However, while I was leafing through Mary Thomas looking for her version of Frost Stitch, I came across Back Stitch Trellis. She didn't suggest that it could be pulled but said that it is used in Jacobean work and was suitable for a light filling. I had to see what it would be like as a pulled version. The possibility of various shapes of varying sizes made it attractive I really like pulled thread stitches that easily allow variation - pulled satin and Algerian eye, for example.

I began with 12 perle in cotton and decided that the definition of the spaces could look batter in something finer. Then there was Isafil in the smaller triangle - a horrible thread for Pulled Thread work as it breaks easily. The Molyncke white machine thread for the small square performed much better. If I had not decided to preserve the monochrome idea I might have tried a Gutermans metallic machine embroidery thread - I think it look good .

Then there was the possibility of changing the number of threads in each block. The large triangle and the square are 2x2 thread squares while the smaller triangle is 3x3.

Now Frost Stitch will probably be next. It isn't in my edition of M.T. but I do have it in McNeill who says it was developed by a student who made a mistake in stitching Ringed Back - just the sort of thing I would be guilty of - misreading the instructions!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Treat for Friday!!!

Yesterday I had the most wonderful experience - Paula and Moo joined us for morning coffee. We had our mandatory 'show and tell' and I was the winner! I know that sounds as though I had something exceptional to show but no! I had the opportunity to see and feel Paula's wonderful book of fruit. She has blogged about this on The Beauty of Life - do go and visit.

I had studied the book on her blog and thought it looked very lovely - definitely the understatement of the year! It is a treasure, a piece of art, and, hopefully, a family heirloom. While the photos do show each page well, to really appreciate this beautifully integrated piece of beautiful needlework one needs to view it in its entirety. I think she should be very proud of what she has achieved. It goes without saying - I had a lovely morning.

Afterwards I finished the second section of my pulled thread sampler for the Stitchin Fingers . I am working through Sharon's list (well the pulled thread component) alphabetically. I know that Algerian Filling stitch wasn't there in the alphabetical list but I wanted to do that and I regard it as a version of pulled satin stitch. Also I have done Algerian Eye and Ringed Back Stitch in a number of different TIF pieces so I did not repeat those at this stage. Hence the Festoon Stitch. I did a couple of rows of this as illustrated in Mary Thomas, then reversed a row and joined it to the previous one. I tried joining the curved section to the flat section of the one aboved (both rows in the same direction for this one) and the bottom two rows consist of moving every second movement across and leaving a gap between. Hopefully the scan will explain better than my words! I realise that doing this sampler in monochrome is not assisting reproduction - however I made a conscious choice to do so as I want to have a sampler of stitching without the distraction of colour.
I have also promised myself to try to complete a section of this sampler each fortnight - we shall see!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August TIF challenge - balance in my life???

"What is balance to you? Do you maintain a balanced life? How do you balance aspects of your life? That is the challenge this month - balance." This was the challenge that Sharon offered to us for August.
Well, since I had done very little on July's TIF when August arrived I had plenty of time to think about the question. And think I did!
Balance! That was something I managed very well in the past - many years ago when I had 4 children living at home, I worked fulltime and still found time to do the chores around the house and time to spend in the garden and, even time to work on whatever craft appealed to me at the moment. Sadly now I am retired with only two of us to cook for - verylittle demand for my attention - I find that balance is something that no longer exists in my life!
How could I show this? I talked about it at length whenever we stopped for a cup of tea (why do I need more of these breaks than I ever did? Perhaps that is one reason I have less time than previously!) One morning it occurred to me that I have the balance of a yo-y0. I am totally rapt in whatever it is I am doing at the moment and everything else tends to suffer until I can't stand the mess any longer! Then there is no stitching done until I catch up.
have used algerian eye (the diagonal one came from Fangel's Danish Pulled Thread Embroidery (thankyou Paula of Beauty of Life for the loan). pulled satin and Algerian filling stitch as well as ringed back stitch. The threads are all Finca or Anchor perle of various sizes. The one exception is the yoyo filling which is metallic machine embroidery yarn (thankyou Grace for that hint).
As ever I am not quite sure I am satisfied with the end result. May it not have been better to have done the ringed back stitch in the variegated yarn with the other pulled thread in the natural? Also perhaps the outline of the hand and yoyo should have been a stronger colour. Ah well, there is always next time when I will give more thought to these aspects. Nonetheless I do spend hours agonising over colours for these challenges before I take a stitch.
I have recently picked up the A-Z of Bullion Knots so I have also been practising some of these on calico scraps. The results are very mixed up to date but it seemed a good idea to practise whenever I am at a loss.
A postscript - In this post I have also reached a milestone - for the very first time I have managed to add a hyperlink! Hallelujah!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pulled Thread sampling

As I have said a number of times - I really enjoy Pulled Thread work and the effect it can add to an embroidery. I have difficulty in deciding how a particular stitch in a book will look when it is acutally worked on the fabric. Since I have begun to use it as background in my little embroideries I have wanted to do a sampler to have as a guide. However in my usual fashion it was always something I would do 'one day'.
Then along came the stitchin fingers Stitchalong - here was the impetus I needed. I find the idea of stitching a sampler tedious (that was what I had so much trouble doing when I was in primary school - I hated that dirty piece of fabric covered with thread marks that caused me so much angst! Mary Thomas' stitch dictionary has an incredible series of pulled thread samplers so I decided to be a complete copycat and follow her illustrations. Here is the first example of Algerian filling - an interesting one, I think, that will be most useful when I want a subdued background.
When you look at some of the beautiful work done by Sharon and Mara (I wish I could add hyperlinks!) mine is very tame but I have no doubts it will be useful.
In between time I am looking at the TIF challenge for August (yes, I know the month is half over, already) and thinking about the theme for the month "Balance in my life"? How interesting! I am sure that I don't really manage much balance in my life these days so it is a challenge.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

July TIF Challenge

Hello everyone. I am so sorry that I haven't managed even one post in such a long time. I spent six weeks totally absorbed by Sharon Boggon's Studio Journals course. The course was, like all of Sharon's, a tremendous course but I was left with no spare time.
Over the six weeks I did very little embroidery but did start this piece. It is derived from two kaleidoscopes that I produced during the course. I became totally addicted to making these using .

The challenge for July was Half Way Mark - my interpretation is very simplistic - this is the first side of a biscornu that I embroidered.
This is very late and I need to start my August exercise since we are well into the month. The second half of the biscornu will probably wait until I have stitched the August TIF.