Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Spring Flowers

It's spring again and there are lots of wild flowers starting to bloom here. I usually get inspired to make a flower embroidery in the spring. This spring I made a bookmark of the nodding onion. I'm getting ready to plant flowers in the garden now too.  

The Nodding Onion or sweet onion is a wild plant native to western Canada. The bunches of nodding pink flowers bloom from May to July. The fresh leaves and flowers of the nodding onion have a mild taste like chives. They are a traditional food of Northwest Coast First Nations. The bulbs were steamed in pits and braided into strings like garlic or pounded into cakes and dried. Nodding onion bulbs are usually harvested in the early spring before flowering. The bulbs can be confused with death camas but are safely identified by the distinct smell of onion.
Nodding Onion Bookmark

The design was quick and simple to stitch. It took only a few hours to stitch. The flower is made up of rows of double running stitches with a single chain stitch on each end and a couple straight stitches. The stem is worked in a double chain stitch. The leaves are done in broad stem stitch. They were very quick to stitch but the leaves are a little too thick. Onion leaves are quite thin.

Corner Edging

The edging is two rows of blanket stitch. One is facing the outside and the other is facing the inside. Using the two different colours gives a striped look. The solid line around the inside gives the edging a more finished look than a single row of blanket stitches. The picture shows how I worked around the corner when the corner has four stitches instead of two.

Speckles the Chicken

I'm making another floral piece now that looks very different from this one. I will have that one in the next blog. The main project that I have been working on is for the Penticton Arts Council. Speckles the Chicken a downloadable pattern for beginners and children.


Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Stitch Challenge

In the last few weeks so much more is happening online. I've been taking part in the Community Stitch Challenge on Facebook. It is being put on by Sue Stone and Each week there is a free workshop and Question and Answer session with a needle worker. My favorite workshops so far have been the ones by Cas Holmes and Emily Tull.

Teapot Collage

After watching the Cas Holmes challenge I made the teapot. Cas showed us how she uses paper and found objects in her needle work collages. I've not done embroidery on paper before but it seems to be getting very popular now. I see lots of pictures online of embroidered gift cards and embroidery done on top photographs. After sewing the collage she stitches it onto a piece of stiff watercolor paper. It holds the piece flat and stiff and looks like it would make the work ready for framing.

The Teapot is a collage made of several different types of fabric and papers. I choose to embroider the teapot because I wish that it could have stayed longer. The handle got broken off right after I brought it home so it has to go. It was a little surprising how many people choose a tea pot or tea cup as their special object.  

eye beginning

I really enjoyed the challenge by Emily Tull. Emily Tull mainly does portraits and she showed us all how she observes and draws the eye. Then uses the drawing to embroider the eye. The results were really impressive. Almost everyone posted a nicely done eye. Many people commented that it was the best eye they had ever made.
eye finished

There have also been workshops by Sue Stone and by Richard McVetis. This week the challenge is by Emily Jo Gibbs. If you want to check it out all the workshops are still available to watch online. If you're interested join the Stitch Challenge Facebook Group   

Maiwa's on Granville Island, Vancouver BC has moved the supply store online. They sell a huge range of supplies for textile artists the main focus being on dying. They have some embroidery supplies including Japanese Sashiko Thread and Soie d'Alger Silk Thread. They have a large supply of natural fiber fabrics and blanks that would be great for embroidery. The supply store also carries supplies for felting, knitting, sewing and other textile arts.  

Saturday, 4 April 2020

How to print a design on tissue paper

This year I took part in the Embroidery Association of Canada's Bookmark Exchange. I designed this bookmark with a swirl pattern on it. The blend of colours gives the piece a nautical look.

Finished Bookmark

With a mirror design like this I prefer to draw only a quarter or a half of it by hand. Then do the rest of the work on the computer. I can copy and flip the image so that both sides are exactly the same and  it's nicely centered. It makes it easier and the design is all ready to print out.

It looked difficult to copy the design on to the cloth. The cloth would be hard to see through and it is very close to the same colour as the water soluble ink. I've copied designs on to tissue paper before and sewed through the paper. Tissue paper is soft and thin making it easy to sew through. This method also works good for pieces that can't get wet.

So could I use the printer to print it onto the tissue paper? I tried cutting out the tissue paper to size of a sheet of copy paper. It looked like it was working at first. Then just before it spit the paper out. The paper got sucked back into the machine again.

Printing just tissue paper

I cut out another piece of tissue paper. I taped it to a sheet of printer paper to make it thicker and heavier. Just one small piece of tape on each side. It went right through the printer and I got a good copy. The printed lines are clear, dark and they won't wear off like pencil. It won't stress or tear the paper like a pen.

printing taped to computer paper

I basted around the outside edge to hold the paper in place and mark out the lines for the edging later. I stitched the basic lines of the pattern. The lines are straight and there is lots of free space. The paper starts to fall off by the time the stitching is done. This may not work for a complex design the tissue paper can break up and start to fall apart too soon. once the stitching is done. Stretch the cloth and move it around to loosen the paper and pick out what doesn't fall out with a pair of tweezers.

Removing Tissue Paper

After the paper was removed I added the rest of the detail and filled in the circles.

Adding whipped stitches and details

I wanted the piece to be covered on the back. I basted the front piece to the backing fabric before doing the edge. For the edging I did a row of blanket stitch through both pieces of fabric. Then carefully cut out the bookmark around the blanket stitch.

Blanket Stitch Edging

Bookmark Plaid Backing

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Welcome Back

I haven't been on the blog for about a year. So what have I been doing. I finished the Design for Embroidery course from the Embroidery Association of Canada. I got my work published in Embroidery Canada Magazine. At home my garden has gotten a lot bigger and I have been doing renovations in the front room. Creating a better place to embroider and use the computer.

Final Project Beginners Crewel Embroidery Halloween Theme
This is the final project from the Beginners Crewel Embroidery Course. It was in the spring edition of Embroidery Canada 2019. I haven't put a picture of it on the blog before this. The design was made in the fall using a Halloween theme. It shows off a variety of stitches and techniques I learned during the course.
These are some pictures of the pieces that I made during the Design for Embroidery Course.

Quilted pink eyelet lace

The first one is a small quilted sampler using a piece of eyelet lace sewn between two pieces thin material.
Texture sample green squaresTexture sample with stitch names

Next is a sampler of textured stitches the names of the stitches have been added.

Positive and Negative Space Sampler

The last piece is a sampler from the lesson on positive and negative space. While taking the course I enjoyed reading a lot of interesting books about embroidery, art and design.

Over the winter I've been sorting through and organizing my supplies. It's a small space and I'm trying to figure out what will fit in the front. The weather is warming up now and I'll be able to continue with the renovations over the summer. I've got a few more projects on the go now that I will be sharing on here soon.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Paisley Circle

Embroidered Paisley Finished
Here is another piece that I completed for the design course. The point was to design a colour scheme and then use it in a piece of embroidery. This circle is 8 inches I thought about making the circle smaller the design seemed to be a bit too crowded then. I think it needs some decoration around the edge not just a blanket stitch. It doesn't really look like it's finished yet.

I did the darker green outline first to put an edge around the area to be filled in. Then I could follow the line around when doing the border. The outline and the center are filled with long and short stitch. As I worked in each line of stitches I drew the curl on top of the threads.

Filling in the paisleyGreen Outline for PaisleyIn the original drawing I had a scalloped edge. A scalloped edge that size would take a long time to sew if I tried to fill them in. Instead I used the Portuguese knotted stem stitch. The round knots make a bumpy edge and it works up really quick. Being a knotted stitch it uses much more thread by the end I used two skeins of the purple thread.

The flower petals are done in padded satin stitch. The center of the flower is edged in stem stitch with french knots inside. It worked better to sew in the petals and add the center afterwards. I tried it both ways and the one where I did the center first didn't look as nice. All the curls were done in stem stitch with french knots for the small dots inside. The large dots are done in the padded satin stitch.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Embroidered Brooch

Blue Brooch Embroidery
This started off as an experiment to see how whipped running stitch would look as a filling stitch. In the rectangle it gave the design a woven look. These pieces looked best when viewed from a few feet away so the colours blend together. When viewed up close the running stitch base stands out more. I made the brooch as an after thought and finished it is 1’’ by 1 3/4’’.
I worked the running stitches for the whole rectangle first because I wanted to get the rows of stitches to line up. For the top three rectangles I used blue running stitches. In the bottom one I used the rainbow variegated thread to see which would look more like a bright sunset.
Running Stitch base

The whipping was done afterwards. I used the same blue as the background for the top. I used variegated threads for the rest. When I was done I took a look at the four pieces together. I was most interested in the blue variegated rectangle. I thought it was a nice scene and would be a good size for a brooch.
Whipped running stitch rectangles
To make the brooch I had to cut the pieces up to cut out the rectangle but decided that it was worth it. I snipped the corners off to reduce bulk and cut out a cardboard and a felt rectangle the same size as the embroidery. The fabric is strung over the cardboard as described in my post Goldwork Ornament and a brooch pin is attached on the back.
Brooch BackBrooch Construction
Whipped Running Stitch base for sunI made the sun at the end after trying out the rectangles. I wanted to see how it would work filling in another shape since running stitch curves around so nicely. I worked from the outside in and started a new row each round rather than making a swirl.  I used yellow for the running stitch base and a variegated yellow-orange thread for whipping over top.
Embroidered Sun

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Window View Corrections

Window View with Corrections

I have finished all the tree stems and all the large branches that need to be completed before the rest of background. I’ve gotten to the point where some problems are starting to show up. The building, the tree tops and the fence post all look a little crooked. The door and the hill stick out too much. I can see a few little fixes I could easily make. I'm not sure which one is affecting the piece the most. 

Map of Problem Areas
 I went back and looked at the scan of the drawing I made the pattern from. I circled all the areas of the picture that stuck out and made a few notes on how I could improve the look. I went through and made the changes shown below. Overall it did make the design look a lot better.
door removed
original door
Door new fillingThe most obvious thing that did not fit in well was the door. I removed the stitching from the door so that it could be completely redone. I filled the door back in using the same colors as the fence post and the shovel handle. The door still sticks out a little more than I wanted it to but looks better than before.
Hill with green stitching
Plain yellow hill
The yellow ochre hill is way to bright. First I tried to tone it down with white thinking it would look like patches of snow. That made the hill look even brighter. Using the same green as the trash can I made straight stitches on the hill. These look like trees growing on the hill. This toned it down a bit and added some texture instead of being a large block of color. 
fence post close upfence post corrections

The light brown fence post looks a little crooked. The light colors on top of the post don't blend in. I took these light lines out. Widened the post at the top and finished it off so the stitching at the top was straight.

Roof edge correction
Roof edge close up
The fix that changed the piece the most was straightening the edge of the lower roof. Even though it was just a few stitches and was the fastest of the changes to make. It is near the focal point and the vanishing point of the picture. This little fix changed the perspective of the whole building. 

Tree top removed
Tree top slanted
Tree top correctionThe right tree was not straight at the top. It was slanted at the top making it look like it stopped just before the top edge. It would be even harder to keep the top straight with a crooked tree top. 
I have the piece almost finished now and will write one more post showing the final piece.