Tuesday, January 31, 2012

EEC - circles

I've been trying out different ways to make these. This one looks best so far but I'm still not happy with it. I will try some other thread. My hardest part is making the stitches even. They turned out well on the half portion edge but going all around wasn't so good. I did some with a true buttonhole stitch, with the ridged edge on the outside and some with it inside. It seems to look better if I keep the ridge on the outside. This one was done with a regular buttonhole (blanket) stitch. I tried marking a line to follow but I need a solid template instead of eyeballing it.

I'm having trouble keeping up with Karen's latest additions. I wish the text had more photos. I'll forget details from the movies and they are only available for a limited time, but I guess the basic idea is all I need, since I keep changing things anyway. I just haven't had the time or energy to pursue it this week. Tomorrow is my first half-day back to work. I kinda suspect I'll be sleeping the afternoons away the rest of this week. I don't think I've even checked out the latest TAST stitch this week!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

TAST Cretan Stitch

I could not get excited about this stitch and wasn't going to do it at all but then decided I should at least make the effort. I think it's too much like other stitches and didn't motivate me. I also tried to embroider the kind of stitch and you can see why I generally avoid that! So hopefully the next one will inspire more than this one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Karen had a video on ruching fabric recently. I wasn't planning on doing it and didn't really, but the idea of it enticed me to make a ruched flower. Actually, I was looking in my files for instructions on the Japanese Kanzashi Fabric Flower and found I had instructions for a ruched flower!

So I tried it with some crushed voile that I had. This is the first attempt. I decided I made the bottom part too long which is what makes the center. It's just too poufy here but a button in the center might fix that.

Then I stitched a second version with less fabric in length and shorter in width. It turned out much better, at least for this project. It still needs something in the middle but I don't think there is as much bulk.

I've placed the two flowers tentatively on the piece where I added a vine. I will probably remake another like the second one and use it instead of the first sample. I may add some French Knots around them too.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

EEC Week 2

I've stitched all the seams and am now working on the embroidery embellishments. I used perle cotton in size 5 and size 8 for both. I embroidered the Y stitch from TAST on this section and added the webstars. I still have a few to add. I've been considering some tiny buttons for the loops OR the prairie points. I've never had any trouble with this type of embroidery transfer pen not washing out. If I were going to apply it to silk or another fabric I don't commonly use, I would test it on a scrap piece first. I really love the ferny look here. I used the blanket stitch on one seam.

I have a running stitch on one side and cross stitch on the other. It's hard to figure out what to do here as the embroidery makes it kind of busy anyway. Still, it's the same thing for the whole length so it does need something.

I'm going to try the wadded up poufs in the section near the top, not shown here. It has a sort of multi-sized snowball pattern on the fabric. I'm going to use some crushed voile that I bought recently. It's light enough to go in this section well and would not do well as a section piece on its own because it is so sheer.

I will probably add some more embroidery of other stitches not already used. The plain cotton section might be good for some cross stitch text although I honestly hate doing cross stitch. I love the look of it but not doing it. I'm not good at embroidering block or cursive lettering either!

I do like the way this is looking though I feel like I'm going awfully slow. I keep telling myself I can always snip out unwanted stitching and start over. Most of the time it feels right before I begin.

On the pre-embroidered section, I might take a leaf from someone else's page who used the long tube to stitch down a curved vine-looking section. Since it's solid white, it might make a good contrast against all that existing embroidery. I'll think on it. Hmmmm.....if I already had some tatted baby lace done, that would work with the vine too.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

TAST - Feather Stitch

I didn't do a lot of variations on the Feather Stitch but I stitched enough to get the feel of it. I used the water soluable markers to draw some guiding lines but still found myself counting threads to get the spacing even. The curvy one was tricky. I didn't have the space to add more curvy lines with it but I think it would be good in different colors. The last one was a whim. I kept increasing the number of threads as I moved down to make the line larger. Then I went back and added French Knots, which I needed to practice for another project, and enjoyed seeing how it took shape.

I used the other half of the page I'd already embroidered with the Blanket Stitch. This is how the whole page looks now. I haven't figured out how to label the stitches. I didn't really leave room for that and am not sure I need to. I'm not good at embroidering words.

I divided the sections with plain sewing thread this time instead of perle cotton and when I took the center line out, it didn't leave traces of color. Yay!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I found some cording at JoAnn's Fabrics and added some loops before I basted. Now I'm just waiting for inspiration. I ended up getting a lot of trims during my shopping. I'll use them on other pieces, I hope!

I've done the embroidery Karen showed us so far in the past but not on a project like this so I need to practice a little first. I'm also getting ahead of myself. All I need to do right now is embellish the seams. I might do something with the Fly Stitch from TAST. Hmmmm....yes....things are coming to mind now. Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

EEC Pinned for Basting

I finally put together some pieces and pinned them. I'll ponder it a bit before I do the actual basting. In fact, I was just going to run into town for something and I think I'll run by JoAnn's and get some tiny white cording - or braid. It needs something besides the embroidery, I think.

I love Karen's whitework but I don't have any confidence in my own skill! I keep wanting to add color because I use color so much but at the same time, I love the white. I suspect I will add buttons too...white ones,with an elegant pattern. Maybe. So much thinking!

TAST - Blanket Stitch

I only used half a page this time. I guess my stitches were more compact. Most of the samples are done in perle cotton size 8.

This was actually listed as a buttonhole stitch but since I'd remembered reading somewhere that a true buttonhole stitch was actually different, I chose to call it blanket stitch. You can find a good explanation of the difference at at this website. Most serious embroiderers, including Sharon, know the distinction, but in almost every instructional book, they are lumped together so they just go with the flow. The true buttonhole stitch has a knot along the line which helps with stress and repeated rubbing when used for a buttonhole, which was the original purpose. I used this stitch near the bottom, in the pale green. I even tried a decorative version at the end of that line, where it curves up and then back down so there's no reason you can't use it for embellishment in the same way the blanket stitch is.

I loved all the variations Sharon showed in her post and tried most of them. I had a little trouble with the heart shape at the beginning but figured it out by the end. The bottom samples are done in embroidery floss. The bright pink was several strands but not 6. The bottom one was only 2 strands of Coats Pastelle thread. I really like the flower shape. Lots of potential with that one.

Friday, January 13, 2012

EEC - week 1

Embroider, Embellish and Create started this week! I've had fabrics out but after reading everything and watching the videos, I was prompted to look for more samples. I even ended up buying some new fabrics. Somewhere I have a storage tub of linens I set aside to upcycle. I need to find that now. Last night I laundered all the fabrics that hadn't been washed before. There were a couple of linens that wrinkled badly. They are for a future project but I'm so disappointed in how wrinkly they turned out. Hope that presses out!

So here are the tubes for my rouleau loops. I found a tip in Pattern Review via another link that I can't remember. You use a narrow ribbon as the way to turn the tube right side out. It was helpful but I'm not sure it will be my chosen method yet. The tubes are cut on the bias but the one I cut that way did not press out well so I tried cutting on the grain and it was much easier to work with. Since the loops are just folded over, not placed on a curve, it doesn't matter. Except I wanted tiny loops that were spaced out like buttonhole loops. I'll have to use cord or something else for that.

Today I'll make some prairie points although I'm not sure I'll use them in my first piece or not. I had some other things in mind.

Like this. These are vintage trims I had in my white fabric stash. The pleated one might be a bit too fussy for now. I should keep it simple. I didn't realize the embroidery was done with the backing attached. That seems like too many layers for me so I've been pondering what I want to do with that. I really would prefer the backing to cover the back of the stitching.

I'm learning new variations of the blanket stitch in TAST and have been thinking about incorporating those too. So many decisions! I've reminded myself the first piece is basically a practice piece and I don't have to do everything with it. In fact, I may hold off on the special bits and save them for when I feel more knowledgeable in what I'm doing!

I have a busy weekend planned so I'm not sure how much more I'm going to get done on this. I hope to make the prairie points and get the fabric pieced together. We'll see!

Friday, January 6, 2012

TAST - Fly Stitch

I've been having a hard time figuring out how I was going to use TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday). I wanted a sampler of some sort, but not too formal and not too informal either. I didn't want to just do a length of fabric with stitches. I'd probably roll it up and put it away. I didn't want to do 52 separate projects either.

I finally decided it will be a book with separate pages. The fabric I'm using is 28 count evenweave that I bought a long time ago. I got 1 1/2 yard on sale once. This page is 8 inches square but I've stitched off a 1" boundary all around. All the pages will have this 1" boundary. I do better with boundaries! In this case, I've also divided it into 4 segments but that may not always be the case. This one is for the Fly Stitch and I already plan to follow some of Sharon's suggestions and try it several ways - different thread and with variations. There will be at least 4 samples and maybe more. She has also suggested using different fabrics. I may do a small sample on another fabric and then stitch it to the page in some cases. We'll see. I'm kind of making it up as I go. I expect the 1" outer boundary to be somehow finished later. I'm not especially concerned about it right now.

Here is my finished page. I tried to do several variations as Sharon suggested. My favorites are the leaves and the ones with beads. Adding beads is tedious but I did get faster with it as I went on. Originally I thought they were added at the same time the stitch was made, but I figured out they were added afterwards. I only have one needle small enough to allow seed beads to pass over the eye so I put a few beads on the thread before I put it back in the pincushion to mark it.

I see lots of possibilities with the reverse fly stitch (bottom left). You can barely see it here but the red thread bled a bit when I damp stretched the piece. I was surprised as it's tatting thread which is supposed to be colorfast. I noticed the black pearl cotton that I used to divide the page into quarters left a tidge of color too. I wonder if it has anything to do with the evenweave fabric? The blue pearl cotton didn't bleed.

I used pearl cotton in size 8, 2 colors of 1 strand each embroidery floss, tatting cotton in size 20, tatting cotton sizes 40 and 50, and the top leaves were done in 2 strands of the same color embroidery floss.

I used the right hand bottom quarter to stitch the elements I liked the best in a sort of decorative format, as if I were really using the stitch on a project. I may not do that all of the time but I like the idea of doing it. I hope I can keep up with this project!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fabric Postcard!

Look what my lace friend Sally sent me! This is our February program and she's been working out the details. I was so surprised to get one!

She mailed it through the regular mail but is looking for a small quantity of the clear cellophane envelopes that are usually used. I blurred out my address.

Last night I saw the one she sent herself but didn't know I was getting one. I love the embroidery on this. The flowers on the left are a sticker that she then stitched on. I only know that because she mentioned the stickers last night and how they stayed on. We're doing this program as a fun way to showcase handmade lace. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with, including me!