Sunday, 29 December 2013

Last Post

It's that time of year again, nearly the last day of 2013 and the dawn of 2014! Just think of how much stitching I can accomplish in 365 days, how many projects I can complete....sigh
There will be another big milestone this year, 2014 is the year I turn 50. How different the world is now to when I was born back in 1964.
My next project arrived in the mail on Saturday. As usual a gorgeously presented kit with all kinds of exciting bits. There is even a teeny tiny embroidery hoop that  measures only 8cm. The pieces are all unexpectedly printed onto the silk....simply brilliant, simply Amy Mitten all over.
Winter Casket Keepsakes - Amy Mitten
May Your Hands has progressed. You can't see it all as some of the smaller pieces are wound around the Millenium but they are all done and now I am working on the Needle Keep, Scissor Keep and Pocketbook. I am up to Lesson #3 out of 4 posted but 1st January is not far away when  Lesson #5 will be posted. I am enjoying the change from counted to surface work on this project although my techniques are in their infancy!

I love the look of the vine and blueberries and there is quite a bit of this spread over the pieces. Of course being a 'maximalist' kinda girl I have chocked the vine with more leaves and blueberries than Trisha
The Pin Keep flower and vine is so pretty. I didn't put the piece back on the roller frame before doing this. I should have as it has ever so slightly pulled but only I would notice. Was just enjoying 'inhand' for a moment!
I forgot to post about my finish on the Thistle Threads Mini Casket. I finished sometime ago. I coloured this in with pencils and am using it for 'ORTS' the leftover threads one has whilst stitching.




Thursday, 19 December 2013

A Delicious Project is Complete

I DID IT!!!!! I finished the Mermaid Needlework Treasures and the set is proudly on display in my curio cabinet. I just need to blog as I have an insane need to share the  joy  and to spread the needlework love to all those out there who might happen upon my blog.
You can still do this project, It is a beyond fabulous mecca of learning and a joy to produce such a high quality end result. Thank you Amy Mitten for your brilliant design and excellent course, I learnt soooo much.
The set of four pieces are represented by, an antiqued mirror scissor keep with stumpwork mermaid , a fish pin and needle holder, a scallop shell thread and thread winder holder and a snail tape measure. In reality the pieces are even more sparkly and brilliant than one novice photographer with and iphone could ever portray.

Oops - missed basting has since been removed - thanks Amy for alerting me ;P


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A Fabulous Finish Is Near.....

Only eight sleeps to go until Chrissy is here and only four sleeps to go until Amy Mitten releases the first instalment of the Casket Keepsakes AND I am going to finish the mirror for the Mermaid Needlework Treasures before that kicks off.....YES! I am getting prouder and prouder of myself the closer I get to finishing the last raised backstitch. Such a cool project and a cool result. I cannot wait to photograph the set together and to know that .... I DID THAT! 
The twisted personality thread used to lace the sides sure is correctly named by Amy as it does have  a mind all of it's own but it is endearing and I like it's result.
The antiqued mirror looks amazing and I am loving all sides of this scissor keep.

Several rows of raised backstitch to go yet but looking good!
The May Your Hands has taken a bit of a back seat this week so I can finish the Mermaid.  I so want to be able to show my Mum the completed Mermaid set when she comes for Xmas day.

May Your Hands - Thistle Threads
I received the two latest kits for the courses that Tricia at Thistle Threads is running. The Tudor Rose started on 1st December and I need to look at 'will I start this'  and the Abby Couzzins starts 1st January. The WIP pile is surprises there!!!!
Now another fabulously simple but highly effective item arrived in the post last week from Country Bumpkin. I received my Supporting Frame with Hand Rest and Trestle which was designed to accompany Margaret Lee's new Chinese Embroidery Book release. It's quite frankly excellent value even with the $80ish  AUD freight to NZ . Easy to put together and to adjust for frame size and angle. It also holds the Millenium Frame and would appear to have a superior slope adjustment.
Fantastique, but I see all these frames are now on preorder for Feb 2014. So glad I ordered mine early on.

The slope adjustment is so simple. The little peg with the yellow top just pops into one of the other holes. All other adjustments are screw and wingnut.

A smidge of work got done on the Floral Glove. I hated getting the three strands of Soie de Paris wrapped into the Gilt #1 Lizardine and it is not easy to stretch the gold wires without a slightly wider gap appearing where your thumb nail holds on. They are slightly messy and wider coiled down the bottom but I am hoping it will not be so noticeable when the other gold is applied and the webgimpe. The inner and outer coils of Gilt Pearl Purl Super once applied made the silk threaded Gilt #1 Lizardine pop out due to it's be thicker. I like that result.

Still a ways to go to finish the fourth lesson! All the gold needs to be applied in these roundels and the beads in the centre of the rose. Mermaids Treasures took over......

Monday, 9 December 2013


Brilliant is what I think of my new Lowery frame which arrived this week from Country Bumpkin. What a super duper simple by really effective system. It is slender metal and much less intrusive than a chunky wood stand and the adjustments for raising/lowering the stand and flipping the frame are easily made without lots of turning.....AND the clamp holds the chunky side of the Millenium frame with ease. I had been looking at the Necessaire but they never ever ever have any stock and I got sick of looking. Go Lowery!!!!!

The May Your Hands has been progressing slowly. I am still on Lesson #1 and plugging away on the satin stitch in the sawtooth border.

May Your Hands -Thistle Threads
The third project piece for the Cabinet of Curiosities, The Pincushion,  is all framed up and the 30ct waste canvas basted onto the Duchess Satin. The waste canvas will be extracted after the stitching is complete and so will leave a sort of low relief raised stitch but is primarily a way of doing counted work on satin. I have put a few tent stitches into the central motif before setting this aside to work on the doll for my daughter's birthday.

The Pincushion - CoC Thistle Threads
I finally after a very long wait due to Jenny's schedule and me changing the colours in the standard kit, have received my Millefiori Heart Brooch kit from Jenny Adin Christie. The kit comes in an oh so pretty calico carry bag. So neat but into the 'stash bank' or 'needlework retirement entertainment fund' it goes for now.

Millefiori Brooch - Jenny Adin Christie
Silver Needle sent me the two little Gingerbread mice kits I ordered from Just Nan. Adorable but they are so late here that they won't see the xmas tree until 2014 now. They will have to hibernate until closer to then but not so close they don't get stitched!

The Piece de Resistance this week was one happy little girl seen here celebrating her 7th birthday with her new friends. Jazmin named her newly stitched friends Claire and Bun Bun and has proudly taken them to school today to share news with her class along with some cake of course.
Makes all those stitching hours truly worth it.
Jaz is keen for me to teach her to stitch so I bought her a little kit to start on, a wee gingerbread man. My 12 year old daughter is not so keen. I might have another generation starting on needlework!  I was the only one of three girls to take up the passion like my Mum. Just think, girls about a year older than Jazmin were stitching full samplers back in the 1600 - 1800's.

Jaz, Claire & Bun Bun
Have a happy week

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Trucking Along

I am wondering now just when Amy Mitten is going to post the last set of instructions for the Mermaid Treasures mirror finishing. I am keen to put this one to bed and into my display cabinet as a completed set. It's been a while since she last posted but maybe she is busy coordinating the kits for the smalls tutorial that starts December 21st!
Meanwhile I have made progress....
I finished the Rose Glove scissor holder from the Cabinet of Curiosities project designed to give you a feel for background in gold work. The result is very pleasing but even if I should decide to use this technique on a casket.......will the specialty threads in enough quantity, whatever that may be, ever be available to purchase? There is never any consistent supply of all these fabulous threads which is the real downside.
Rose Glove - Thistle Threads CoC
I managed to achieve my goal of completing the work required for Lesson #4 of the Floral Glove. I made it with a day to spare before the next lesson was posted. I love this project and it is really starting to bling up.

Floral Glove - Thistle Threads

A sweet wee little package arrived for me this week from Trish Burr.

I have also been making some mega slow progress on the May Your Hands. Man this linen is hard work on the eyes. I got the border under the word scissors (4 sided stitch), the ABC (satin stitch)  and it's border (rice stitch) and the initials/date (tent stitch) sorted.

May Your Hands - Thistle Threads
I really need to start work on the doll for my daughter's birthday which is this Sunday 8th. If I don't get cracking she might not have it until xmas!!!!!....... if she's lucky!!!!!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Empathy & Gloves

I have been reading Amy Wilson's blog  and chuckling at the title of her latest post, The @#$%unplayed piano. I say chuckling as the heading is totally showing her frustration at finishing complex pieces. But I also have total empathy for her as I know how annoying it can be and how finishing can be so darn difficult in respect to the standards you set yourself and the desire to do all those stitching hours justice. The blogger community is great for reminding you that you are not alone out there.

I look at finishing small projects and the frustrations and wonder just how on earth am I going to do justice to the finishing of a 17th century casket and mirror frame let alone all the stitching to come before that. Oh well, it just doesn't pay to look at the bigger picture or too far ahead, baby steps!
Baby steps it feels like I have been making in my needlework progress this week, but it is progress.

I have finished the tent stitch on the Rose Glove and have got quite some way towards completing the Elizabethan Knitting stitch for the background. Just need to do above the tent now. It's looking lovely, sparkly and blingey. I must say that working with the 6 end silk gilt thread hasn't been too horrendous. It really is quite flexible and I am not wasting much. I still don't think I would ever want to background a casket in it, too slow and laborious and supply of these specialty threads is always precarious

Rose Glove - CoC Thistle Threads

I  have made some progress also on the Floral Glove. There appears to be a bit of a glove thing going on this week! I have couched the Elizabethan twist 2% around the Rose and it's leaves and couched down the AGT 1451 around the central arabesque.  Looking good. I want to try and finish the carnations before 1st December so I am still up to date with this lesson. BUT I also have a doll to make for my daughter's 7th birthday so not sure if it's going to happen.
Floral Glove - Thistle Threads
The postie delivered me some goodies from the Essamplaire this morning. Yummy but very BIG projects. Into the stash they go but Margriet had 20% off so I just had to have them. They are Frances Cheney (1664) a whitework sampler and 17th Century Lady Needlework.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

My Projects Are All Calling To Me For Attention.......

I have so many projects I want to work on and so many WIP's. I have been juggling all this just fine but now things feel like they are starting to close in. With spring gardening, school finishing for the year in about 5 weeks and then 6 weeks school holidays and then we are the venue for the family xmas celebration and so need to sort my menu and supplies, I am feeling like the walls are closing in! Organising xmas presents for kids also takes loads of time. Thank goodness my siblings and parents all agreed to stop present swapping.
Whilst all those in the northern hemisphere are hunkering down spring here in the southern hemisphere creates loads of extra garden work and much less time for stitching.

I have however, of course, managed to achieve some results this week. I have finished all the tent stitch words on the May Your Hands and started some of the interesting stitches that I have not done before. I completed the grassy mound in long armed cross stitch and have started the border under the word scissors in 4 sided stitch. I have moved the work to  a frame now as I need to do the satin stitch in the saw tooth border. It's feeling awkward though as is a larger frame with all the pieces on one piece of linen. I miss working in hand!!!! 

The Grassy Mound

May Your Hands - Thistle Threads

My gorgeous helper - Louis
I received a few goodies in the mail this week. Adding to the 'stash bank' as no foreseeable start date on these lovelies yet.
I ordered this mermaid themed sampler and threads from The Inspired Needle. The sampler is a Just Nan and the threads are all boxed up and tied with a bow by access commodities. I just need to order the linen for this now.
 Sirens of the Sea - Just Nan
I also received two patterns I ordered directly from Giulia Punti Antichi

Mary Queen of Scots Needle Casket

 A Canadian Journey - Sewing Necessaire
And of course I also received my kits for two of Amy Mittens outstanding creations. The fabulous sampler The Final Soliloquy and the Secrets of  a Queen I Purse.

I did manage to do a little work to continue on with creating all the pieces for the Kereru Wall Quilt. I finished and cut out one bird and stated the second. Still getting the hang of this machine embroidery and thinking about shading. Good practice for getting my brain to start thinking this way for eventual stitching of my own casket in who knows how many years time. I wonder how far down the chain I am now for receiving my flat top casket from Thistle Threads!
Oh and I nearly forgot. I also received my order from Traditional Stitches. This one has taken a while to supply. I love the Nantucket Letterbox and the pattern was one from Sue Hillis sometime ago but I just love it and seem to have fostered a love of mermaids from doing Amy Mitten's Mermaid Needlework Treasures. Speaking of that Amy has released the first instructions for completing the mirror. I have to go source some distilled water. Why is there always something weird you need with these things that you may never use again. Mind you having said that I might use this technique on the 17th century mirror I will one day work on from Thistle Threads oh and maybe a casket mirror. So excellent Amy. another technique so well described that I can take to another project.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Learning New Things

 My needlework focus this week has been mostly towards completing all the words on the May Your Hands. I have the pillow book to finish. Takes ages as it is tent over one and slow going but the script is lovely.

May Your Hands - Thistle Threads

I made what feels like unsatisfactory progress on completing the snail tape measure from the Mermaids Treasures. I got it all constructed and laced up but everything seemed to interfere with finishing this so it's still showing it's skeleton! Hopefully I can get it done this week before Amy posts the mirror finishing instructions.

Snail tape Measure - Amy Mitten

 I ended the week with a trip down to Cottage Flair in Ngongotaha, Rotorua to participate in an art quilt course over the Saturday/Sunday. Dianne the tutor is lovely as is Jill who owns the shop. Dianne works for Pfaff which is great as I have the Quilt Expression 4.0 and with all these new techniques it was great to have someone on hand who knows your machine as features get used doing this that you never knew you had. I did the course with my Mum this time as she was keen and only lives about 10 minutes down the road.

The quilt is a 3D art quilt featuring five Kereru (native wild pigeon), Cabbage tree (native with white flowers, Puriri tree (native with red berries) and Karaka tree (native with yellow berries). There were so many new techniques in this class it was really rather mind blowing and I didn't finish even one pigeon. We kinda jumped around learning all the technique. We have scheduled a finishing class at the end of March to give us all an incentive to finish all the bits and to not let this become a very expensive WIP. The background needs to be pieced together and quilted before all the applique is applied.  

This is what the finished quilt looks like - the goal!
This is my partially machine embroidered first pigeon. To start the process a photo is obtained and then it is printed onto iron on transfer paper. It is then ironed onto Gygli stabiliser and a sandwich made including a piece of polyester, calico or quilter's muslin etc along with a piece of tearaway which means you don't need a hoop. Then whip your rayon embroidery threads into you machine and start embroidering in free motion. Most definitely need to practice, practice, practice to get this looking authentic and pay close attention to shading. After the embroidery is finished you cut out and seal with tiny amounts of fabric glue and shade the white edges with dye pens and stitch on with straight stitch.
We also worked on creating the authentic looking moss covered Puriri tree branch in the lower right corner. First you use a double layer of fabric with vlisofix or heat n bond in between so it sticks. Then you start layering up one side with all sorts of random greeny type wool fibres. Then you sprinkle the tiniest amount of bond powder over the wools and place a hot water soluble bag over this and iron under a heat proof sheet for a while until it semi sticks. Then you free motion randomly all over the bag. I haven't done it yet which is why the photo is shiny but you need to then dissolve the bag in super hot water and it will come away and voila you have a mossy/lichen tree branch.
The cabbage tree branch in the lower left uses a different technique. You place a piece of fabric magic on the back of the fabric loose and free motion in this case a random brick pattern all over the fabric magic. The take it over to your iron with steam on and hover over the fabric magic and watch it shrink into this amazing bark like!
We also had some instruction on the leaves but I didn't actually make any to photograph. What you do is trace them onto vliso, iron on to fabric and cutout. Place the cutout onto a doubled piece of washaway which holds it steady. Then stitch down the vein which will then hold it in place before satin stitching the edges etc. After that you can cutout and some will be vlisod onto the quilt and others left semi attached. Apparently the vliso stays sticky enough even after washing out the washaway.
The red berries are little felt balls cut in half and stitched on and the yellow ones are machine embroidered onto either a transfer like the pigeon or fabric and then attached. The white flowers are wool/silk fibres placed between two layers of a hot water soluble bag and free motioned into circles then cut out and stitch on to the branches which are made like the leaves and detached.
Whew - what a lot of info to take in - need to do some to stay fresh!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...