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.