Monday, June 07, 2021

Finally a Trinket Box

 Way back in 2012, I received my first Cabinet of Curiosities course kit and blogged about it. I have since purchased a flat top casket and done the Stumpwork course, and collected all sort of other supplies along the way.

After 9 years, I've finally got a Trinket Box! And I had so much fun making it.

The top has the enamel from a Halcyon Days box celebrating Jane Austen in Bath. The box broke and somebody was selling just the top, so my husband picked it up on eBay for me. (I have an enamel box collection) As I was thinking about what to do, and figuring out how to mount the enamel, I realized the purl purl would be able to hold the it. So I adjusted the suggested box top to fit.

The front is the grotto from the instructions (which I've had practice with while doing the mermaid).

The other long side has the theme of the top. I designed Chawton Cottage.

The ends used motifs from the CoC motif files.

It took me a day to do the finishing - although I was working on 2 boxes for part of it, so I could test different ideas. I need edging ribbon for the other before I can share it. It was fairly straight forward once I got going. And I can see how the techniques can be used for other projects, especially gluing the wove paper to the back of the embroidery before cutting it out and working with it. I'm glad I've made up the box before starting the casket designs and stitching, because it gives me a much better idea of how things will change size and how much extra space there really is to fill on a panel.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Moving Right Along with UFOs

My EGA chapter UFO challenge has been great. There are still times when I pick an easier to see project, or a more portable sized project, but for the most part, devoting myself to a project for a month has been good. So far, I've been finishing things, which is very gratifying, but the next round of projects won't be so easy, since there is a lot left, or I'll be staring something new.

In any case, I'm very happy with the Lorna Bateman Acorns and Berries pincushion I finished.

And the Trish Burr field mouse

One of my longer term, low light or watching TV projects is this needlepoint pillow. I've been working on it at my desk while watching webinars or during meetings. The canvas is very well coloured, so it is generally easy to work, and there is a chart for any place where I'm not sure, or I've forgotten what I'm doing because I've stopped to take notes.

It is a kit from Elizabeth Bradley, part of a series of Chelsea Flower Show kits.

I do have another finish of sorts. I finished the final panel on a stretcher that has 6 other sides for Thistle Threads trinket boxes. So I'm ready to actually cover 2 trinket boxes. I shall start tomorrow!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

How do you decide what to do with your embroidery?

 Working from home gives me the chance to pick up embroidery to stitch while I listen to a webinar or a meeting, rather than doodling, or trying to multitask which means I neither get the most out of the meeting, nor do the best job on the task. So I've been getting lots of pieces done, which means framing, which means putting them somewhere.

Case in point, when I finished Becky Hogg's Foxy a few weeks ago, I still had the hedgehog and sleeping fox from Helioblue waiting to be put up. And my Japanese bridge and waterlilies. So, my husband and daughter helped me - they have a much better eye for arrangement and I can't draw a straight line with a ruler, so things are always crooked. And we ended up with this.

The blue x is where I've left a space for the Helioblue badger when it comes out. The thing is, the wall opposite this is filled with samplers, and the side walls have a window, and a cupboard and door, so there isn't much more wall space. I still have stuff I'm working, in fact, last weekend I finished this daffodil from the RSN, based on the Bacton Alter cloth that was made out of a dress belonging to Elizabeth I (kits here

And I finished stitching the mistletoe a while ago. Not only do I have to find a place to put these two, I had to find a hoop or frame that looked good, and now I have to find a spot on the wall!

Plus, there are two other Bacton Altar Cloth kits, which were out of stock when these two were ordered, so I'll want those eventually. 

In the past, I've gone on gift giving stints so I don't have to worry about where to put things. I've made pillows, but there is a limit to the number of pillows one needs, although they do wear out eventually. I've made pin cushions and scissor fobs, and while I've discovered I can use more than I thought possible (one for each project I'm working on), I still can only make so many. I've made tons of lavender sachets for myself and as gifts. 

I do have some trinket boxes and a casket to cover, but I need a few less demanding projects to work on while I watch TV or have a few minutes to wait. 

My husband doesn't think he'll have a problem fitting more in, and he may be right since he has a huge number of photos, artwork, and space memorabilia on his office walls. Or maybe I'll use my librarian skills and weed a few things out. Only time will tell. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

3 Finishes!

The two pieces I started a week and a half ago are finished. The Relics in Situ butterfly looks wonderful. But I'm not sure my eyes can take the 1" actual size piece. I also need to figure out what to do with the motifs; ornament, needlebook, scissor fob? And Foxy from Becky Hogg Embroidery is done! I really love all the types of metalwork in the piece. It really shows what you can do with the technique.

I've also finished my Monet inspired Japanese bridge and waterlily piece. I've spent a lot of time just looking at this, thinking about how to give a painterly feel to the piece, then when my daughter mentioned that it wasn't supposed to be an exact replica of a painting, I started to relax. But, I did want to have the fullness of the painting, so I had to add lots of leaves to fill the blue space above the bridge, and lots of waves for the water. I even shaded the ribbon lily pads, and added some ribbon water lilies to give the lush feeling of the paintings.

I stopped at this point to spend some more time thinking, and decided that some branches amongst the background leaves would help, and more tiny wavelets.
And here is the final. It looks neat with the light behind it, but that is out of my skill range as a framer.

So here it is in the frame. It is a shadow box frame, so it helps with the depth of the piece when you see it IRL.

So now I need to rearrange all the pieces on my wall. I have a Helioblue sleeping fox and hedgehog to put up (with space for the badger that should be coming soon, I hope). And now Foxy to go with the Kingfisher and fritillaria from Becky Hogg Embroidery. And a hummingbird sampler from OwlForest to go with the hedgehog sampler. And several other WIPs. I may need to start making boxes and sewing accessories since I won't have wall space!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Butterfly and Foxy starts

 Last weekend I really indulged myself in embroidery, which was good because my work week was busier than expected. I've still got a few things to finish, but I had such fun learning about caps & coifs from Relics in Situ, I wanted to mention them again and show the lovely butterfly I've started. They have so many photos of such wonderful pieces from many collections, it really is inspirational. And their background research on stitching is so interesting. There is a lecture coming up Elizabethan Embroidery: Gloriana's Gifts and the Power of the Needle so you might want to sign up for their newsletter to be notified of the date. 

What was interesting about the two caps and coifs motifs to stitch, a butterfly and a bird, is that they were in two sizes, 1" and 2" high. The 1" is the actual size on the coif, the 2" is more the size of the flowers on the coif. I started the 2" butterfly but I look forward to the smaller one. I only did a bit because I had to get on to Foxy.

Foxy is a kit from Becky Hogg. I've already done her Kingfisher and Fritillary, which I love, and I needed a third to make a picturesque grouping (that's my excuse, you are welcome to use it anytime). So here was where I left Foxy on Sunday night. 

Every goldwork/metalwork piece I try gives me a bit more confidence with the techniques, but I suspect I will never get really good at it until I stop worrying about wasting metal threads and play around a bit. I've gradually let myself play with silk threads, but metal threads are more expensive. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Fun with Buttons

 My DH gave me a gift of an online course with Chrissie Juno Mann, that also included a tour of Chawton Cottage with a focus on the needlework. I am now considering how to find very fine muslin to make a shawl like Jane Austen made. Despite having to get up early enough to start at 7 am (3 pm GMT), I thoroughly enjoyed the class. Chrissie is lovely, and an excellent and patient teacher, and all the ladies attending were very nice. 

The kits contained excellent linen that was easy to work on. Bullion stitch puts quite a bit of strain on fabric, and a bullion rose even more so, but it was fine. I ended up pulling a couple of colours from my stash. Chrissie mentioned doing a variegated rose by changing threads, but I decided to be lazy and just use variegated thread! And as I was looking, I saw some nice blue perlé thread and couldn't resist making forget-me-nots (knots?). I like the trellis stitch background but I think I might tack things down with a contrasting colour next time.

And here is the rose and forget-me-nots done up as a button.

I tried something a bit different for the second button. Using perlé for the rose rather than stranded floss. I really like this look too. And I'm very happy with the buds.

When both buttons were done, I cut down the plastic shanks a bit with my heavy duty Kevlar strength scissor, then put in some thick felt, and stitched the two buttons together with herringbone stitch like I do with ornaments.
The one nice thing about a quick project like this is that it rejuvenates you for the longer projects, so I'll get back to my waterlilies tomorrow.

Next week I've got another online class. "Caps & Coifs: Exploring Embroidered Headwear in the Tudor and Jacobean Periods" with Relics in Situ. I've attended several of their lectures, and one other with an embroidery project, so I know it will be fun.  

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Stitching Monet's Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge

 Back in 2016, the Gentle Pursuits of Richmond EGA chapter president, I think it was Catherine Jordan, gave us a 5x7 challenge for the year, 5 stitch and 7 threads in a 5" x 7" size. I had a lot going on that year, so I never finished the design, but I really liked it, so I've kept it around since then.

This was as far as I got in 2016. It is hard to take a photo showing the actual colour of the silk, especially because it is shot silk. I had done a few things on silk at the time, but I'd mostly worked on linen, so working on silk like this was a new experience. 

This year, my current chapter, Muchas Manos de San Diego, is having a WIP challenge, so I pulled this piece out as one of my 5 to work on. Each month, a number is pulled and members work on that piece for the month. So for February-March, I'm working on this piece.

I started by adding a muslin backing - I've learned so much since then and have found a backing to be very helpful. This piece really needs depth so after finishing the final background tree, I padded the bridge to bring it forward.

I added more plants to the water's edge behind the bridge before finally starting the bridge, covering the felt in two colours of ribbon. 

The bridge is a bright colour because that's how it looks in the photos. Most of the paintings don't show the trellis for wisteria that you see in photos of this bridge, and since I wasn't trying to recreate a specific painting, and I love wisteria, I used purl purl for a trellis, and then I used silk serpentine gimp for the vine. I didn't even tack it down, just wound it around the trellis frame.

I used messy bullions for the leaves and flowers, Soie Perlee for the leaves, and various stranded silk and cotton for the flowers.

Back to some ribbon work for the water lily pads. darker, thinner ribbon in the back, brighter, wider ribbon in front.

After much thought on the flowers and viewing of photos and paintings, I decided I needed a few stumpwork flowers. Since they are tiny, I made them in two pieces, which I'll pull together at the sides.

I think they'll look quite nice. I'm holding off putting them in, because I need to think about how to add a few more waterlily flowers so they aren't flat and add some further colour to the water so it isn't stark blue. I may start with adding the rest of the water's edge plants so I have a better sense of all the colours that will be next to the water. 

Any and all suggestions are welcome.