Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hearts and Flowers

I had a very slow weekend and did very little done. In fact I got no stitching done, but I did bake cookies and a cake :) I also managed to get a tiny bit of sunlight in the morning to take final pictures of Hearts and Flowers.

The above is a slideshow of all the pieces together, but just in case you can't see them here is a close up of the faces of each accessory.

Starting with the scissor fob which was the last accessory to be finished. The fob is stuffed with polyfill and there is also a 2016 Canadian quarter inside it for weight. Very apropos as I got this kit from Seminar 2016 in Toronto. The scissors in this picture are Nogent scissors I bought a few years ago. I don't think I've ever used them for cutting anything.

My favorite part of this fob are the Swarovski crystals I managed to find that matched this project perfectly. A little white heart and a blue flower.

The second accessory is the needle book.

And when you open it, you find the thread counters we received as gift favors at Seminar 2016, this time the heart is blue.

And the last one is the pincushion which I think is my absolute favorite. Bullions are a pain in the behind to stitch but you can't argue the results you get when they are finished.

My one regret is that I didn't have pretty pins to stick in my pincushion to really show it off. I will have to look around and see if I can find some for exhibition.

This set will be joining Fandango and Hana at Seminar 2017 :) Notice I've only picked pieces that don't need to be framed >.< All my other larger pieces are not framed and there's no way I'm dragging them on a plane with me. I will have to see if there is a lighter, temporary way I can frame some of them.

Friday, January 20, 2017

La Broderie de Perles - De Rose Vêtues

I finished Hearts and Flowers Monday night, but I'm still waiting for some good lighting to take the final pictures. In the meantime, I decided (maybe unwisely) to start a new (tiny) project while waiting for my goldwork class to start next Friday.

This small project is one of many I plan on stitching from the book by Yukiko Ogura called La Broderie de Perles. I bought the book 3 years ago now and always planned on stitching a few designs but always had a hard time tracking down all the beads.

It took a while (months of back and forth actually) but I lucked out in finding an online store that was actually willing to help me track down all the beads. You would think it would be easy since the bead number is included in the pattern, but no bead size is mentioned. The worst is that some of those bead numbers are completely wrong! The ladies from The Beading Room were amazingly patient with me and I was finally able to put together all the beads.

The piece I decided to start with is called De Rose Vêtues. It shows a pair of pink tulips with lovely shades of green for the stems and leaves. This is not the smallest design in the book, but the smallest one from the patterns I want to stitch.

The fabric was measured and cut months ago and just waiting for me to start. The top fabric is some sort of even weave I found at the fabric store and the one behind is muslin. Backing your fabric is great for hiding the ends of your threads :)

The book comes with all the patterns to iron on your fabric. When I cut all the fabric and ironed them I planned on ironing the pattern on as well. Unfortunately, they didn't work. I think it lost whatever it was that made it iron on :(

Fortunately, I had bough transfer paper from the craft store last year. I never got the chance to use it yet. I was planning on using it next week to transfer my goldwork pattern onto the fabric. This is a good opportunity to practice.

I started by placing the pattern centered on the fabric.

Slowly lifting up the pattern, I slipped in the transfer paper. I went with blue, because I read somewhere that it blends in better with white so it won't show as much once the piece is finished.

I have a pen with a cap shaped like a crayon making it perfect for this task ;)

I traced over the pattern, making sure to press hard, but no matter how much I pressed I didn't get much on the fabric. After doing it over twice I gave up because I didn't want to ruin the original pattern. It seems this stuff stops working over time despite never being used.

So out came the light-box. I'm glad I tried this out this week, imagine I found out next Friday that the tracing paper is useless and I'm unable to trace my goldwork pattern. I will have to make sure to pass by the fabric store and find an alternative product.

Now that my pattern was traced, I took out my threads and beads. The nice thing about these designs is that they use DMC thread so I can raid my stash. I love this color palette ^_^

I really should have sewn together the two layers of fabric, but I was too eager to start. I just hooped it up and pulled the fabric taught. Hopefully stitching the beads on will bind them together.

The first night, I didn't get far. I got one flower stitched.

The instructions don't mention anything just the name of the stitch in french, in this case point de feuille, and the DMC color. Nothing is mentioned of the number of strands. Luckily I managed to get my hands on another book by Yukiko Ogura that contains more information. It says to use a single strand doubled with a knot at the end, which is usually the norm when embroidering with beads.

Tonight I stitched the second flower and took the time to take more pictures of the process. All the stitches in this book are stitches that many would recognize, you just do it with beads.

The next step is the greenery: stems and leaves. However, (I'm sensing a trend here) while pulling out the beads and double checking the numbers, I realized I'm actually missing one of the greens :( I've found it at my usual online bead store but I'm going to wait for a sale. The worst is they just finished having a 40% sale >.< The rest of the beads have since been checked and double-checked to make sure I don't run into this issue again.

So for now I guess I will have to put it away. I was so hoping to get it finished this weekend since it's such a small design. It's a sign I should take out one of my WIPs :P

Monday, January 16, 2017

Heart and Flowers part 3

Since posting last week, I stitched all the beads on Heart and Flowers and started the finishing process.

However, before I could do that I did have one more thing to do on the needlebook. The instructions for this part were placed in the finishing section so I missed it. I had to stitch a border of four sided stitch AND blanket stitch on top of that, all around the piece.

The kit comes with everything to finish the set into a fob, needlebook and pincushion.

There is a piece of light blue fabric to stitch at the back of the cutwork to kind of hide the inside of the accessory. You don't want stuffing peeking out :P

I like to trim the edges to fit just in case the fabric creates a shadow.

Then it was time to cut out the pieces out. Before cutting, I created a channel half an inch away from the edge so I can make sure to cut straight and in the right spot. I found a half inch a bit too generous. It was hard to fold and maneuver around, but better be safe than sorry.

I started with the pincushion. The kit came with a long piece of quilt batting with instructions to cut squares to fit the inside of the stitched faces. I found the quilt batting a better option than regular stuffing. This way when you stick a needle in, it won't sink all the way in and get lost.

All the pieces are whip stitched together.

Once I had one side fully stitched to the gusset, I layered all the quilt batting in making sure they all sat on top of each other smoothly.

And then just stitch the other side on top of it.

Here's a picture to see how big it comes out. I'll post prettier pictures later.

For the needlebook it was really fast to do. The kit came with a piece of felt that fits exactly inside the stitched area. I simply backstitched it to the center line with a double strand of the white thread used for attaching the beads.

I have a line going down the spine but that's okay.

Here it is all done. Again I'll post better finished pictures later.

The only thing left is the fob. I've already made the cord (you can see it in previous pictures) but I still have to make the tassel. Hopefully I can get that done tonight. I'm not worried, this project will be finished before the end of the week for sure ;)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Heart and Flowers part 2

I wasn't going to share another post on this, but I did enough progress on it this weekend that I think I can :)

I've finished all the bullions and all the cut work areas. Switching between bullions and the cutwork really helped speed things up. All that's left now is to attach the pearl beads, but I think there might be some stitching left to finish the edges of the needle book. I will have to take a closer look at the instructions later. The fabric is really wrinkly since I stitched the bullions in hand.

Scissor Fob
Needle case
Pincushion - front
Pincushion - back
I'm pretty confident I will be done with everything including finishing by next week. In other news, I got my kit for Alison Cole's cyber class. This class won't start until January 27.

There are still a few things I need to gather for the class, luckily I don't have to worry about ordering a pair of goldwork scissors and a mellor. I got those when I ordered the dupioni silks. So that was a good bit of luck :)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hearts and Flowers

You'll notice that while everyone started a new project on new years I didn't. That's because I cheated. I started my new year project a week early. The day after I finished Hana in fact :)

When I went to seminar last year I bought a full kit from Katheryn Drummond called Hearts and Flowers. This design was taught in 2015 at the EAC seminar in Calgary. Watching the posts on Facebook, I was green with envy that I wasn't able to attend. I've been itching to start it since coming home with the kit and I finally allowed myself to take it out last week.

Hearts and Flowers - blue version
I prepped the fabric on the night of the December 25, started stitching and haven't stopped since.

Hearts and Flowers is a sewing set stitched in the punto antico technique. Katheryn chooses the lovelies colors for her designs. The original is pink but it also comes in violet and all white. I decided to change from purple and go with blue and haven't regretted my decision.

In the set, there is a scissor fob, needle case and pin cushion. As you can see below I've already embroidered all the four-sided stitches, satin stitches and whipped stitches.

Scissor Fob
Needle case
Pincushion - front, back and sides
The next step for me was to stitch all the bullions.

However as much as I've learned to like them I got tired of doing so many by the time I got to the pincushion. I'm actually further along than that when I stopped.

All the white squares are covered with 8 bullions each
I decided I would switch between doing the cutwork area and the remaining bullions for a change of pace. Below you can see the various steps involved. Add to that more bullions on each corner of the cutwork area, and repeat that two more times.

I'm very near the end and the rest is pretty much the same across all the faces, so I'm not sure if I will write another post on this project until I'm ready to cut out all the pieces.

On a side note I want to mention this product I bought through an instagrammer a few months back. I only just got the chance to use it for the first time last week.

They're stitch clips, or at least that's the name I found for a similar product. For about 18$ Canadian I got 12 clips total and they are available in many different colors. Each set of 6 comes with a charm. I'm quite partial to the purple, it makes a nice ring every time I move the frame around. They are very easy to use and stretch the fabric very nicely on the sides. I want to try them on a set of scroll frames one day.

Normally a set of stitch clips only comes with 4 clips and cost over 24$ US, so I'm quite happy with this product. If anyone else is interested the instagrammer is Bokowayanatiajka.