Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I am back...

... and feel as if I have hit the ground running. I cannot believe it has already been two whole weeks since I got back.

I had a fabulous time away, making new friends and catching up with family and friends in both England and Denmark, before enjoying the life of a tourist in and around Barcelona. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make it such an amazing trip.

I knew, I would be busy when I got back.... Beating Around the Bush kicks off on the 5th of October and I still have so much to do. I know I have talked about it before, but it is such a buzz, with enthusiastic stitchers from all over Australia and indeed the world coming together and I really love teaching and being part of it.

DAWN CHORUS - 2 day workshop


PURPLE GRACE - 1 day workshop
BROTHER RABBIT  - 3 day workshop





























This year I will be teaching 6 days of classes: The NEW 'Dawn Chorus' crewel embroidery pattern. This was such a lovely pattern to stitch and I am really looking forward to sharing it with others. There is still places available in that group, so if you are in Adelaide on 6th and 7th of October and want to join us, I am sure the good people at INSPIRATIONS will be able to help you join the class.
The 'Purple Grace' is always fun and a good practise in crewel shading and perfect, plump padded satin stitch.
I am particularly excited about the luxury of the 3 day workshop that has been introduced this year. It is just perfect for 'Brother Rabbit' and will give the everyone time to properly explore and practise all elements of this project during class time - such luxury!
As well as all the classes I will have a stand at the most amazing MARKET DAY on Saturday 8, October at Immanual College, Novar Gardens. As you can probably imagine, my 'kit packing department' (that's when I wear the 'kit-packer-hat and my one and only best kit packer helper, Heidi joins me for some kit-packing fun) is kept fairly busy these days.

On the topic of MARKET DAYS....


... SAVE THE DATE...
19 November
for ETSY made local

... just imagine a whole street full of handmade and vintage goodies! 

Next post: Stitching updates... pinky-promise

Anna x


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dressing - Drifting on the Breeze WIP

More progress on my floating man....
Last you saw this fellow he looked more like some crazy stick-insect gone terribly wrong.


The first pieces of 'clothing', the lower sleeves have been added so that I could finish the padding of torso and he is slowly bulking up and looking more like a person. Of course he does still need a head!


It was a similar thing at the other end. I had to complete the lower legs before the padding for the pants could be added. I didn't want to use satin stitch for the socks so instead opted for stripy socks in raised stem stitch. This is such a awesome stitch for raised smooth shapes and great if you want the colouring along the length instead of across. It is a bit tedious, but so worth the effort. 
With the socks done, I could complete the padding and now the fun part of dressing the figure can really begin. 

Pants first. I didn't set out to make stripy pants, but was more thinking of using a different shade for each leg. I have no real plan for colours and patterns (as usual) only a vague 'feeling' of how it will look. Working that way can be a recipe for a lot 'reverse stitching' but so far so good - the stripes seem to work.


Each trouser leg is stitched individually. You can see where the small one was before it was taken off the card. To make a needle lace piece, you first place a cordonnet around the shape.. This is a doubled length of thread that is couched onto a firm surface (I use card covered with plastic film) to form the shape. It is kind of a support frame for the needle lace.


The the needle lace fabric can be stitched onto the cordonnet, usually some kind of blanket stitch. I primarily use a corded blanket stitch for clothing because I like the dense look and firm finish.
Each little stitch is worked into a stitch in the previous row, trapping the laid thread.


It is quite a therapeutic little stitch once you get going - a little like knitting or crochet, just back and forth in even rows...
I did not think things through when I stitched the first leg from the top down. If I had started from the bottom, I would have been certain that the stripes would match.....


Although these pieces are small, filling them rows and rows of little stitches does take a bit of time and I have to set this one aside for today.. perhaps tomorrow???
It would be nice if this little person had his pants on before I leave on Friday.

Best stitches,
Anna X

Monday, August 1, 2016

Body building - Drifting on the Breeze WIP

There has been a bit of progress on this project.


One of the things I really enjoy about raised (or stumpwork) embroidery, is thinking ahead and working out how I am going to lift certain parts of the design and how to layer the various elements.
It is not really as complicated as it may sound, but a matter of trying to 'see' your pattern in layers..
With 'Drifting on the Breeze' the clouds are at the very back (I am already thinking about how I am going to stitch soft, fluffy clouds...). Next is the short part of the scarf - over the cloud but behind the figure. That is going to be completely free, so if I did that now, it would be in the way and most likely get damaged before the piece is finished. So although it is towards the back, I will add that later for practical reasons.  
That brings me to the figure - resting his head on his hands... 

I won't need to make hands this time... but I still need to make some nice round arms. 

I prefer to use thread to pad of long, skinny shapes. You can get a much firmer, more rounded shape than if using felt. The other advantage is that you can gradually make it smaller, by trimming a few threads at a time.
I am using a perle 5 for this - mostly because I have plenty at hand. To make the thread easier to manage and shape, and to give it some body, I run it over beeswax several times, until it is quite stiff and firm.

The thread is then bundles up until I have the thickness I need for the fattest part of the shape (the upper arm). It then gets couched in place.
The bundle is rather flat over the upper arm, but there will be felt going over the top of that part to form the sleeve.
The wrist and lower arm is covered with overcast stitch. I am not sure yet just how much of it will show, but better safe than having to fill it in later.

The excess padding threads gets trimmed back. They will come in handy as a bit of extra padding behind the head later.


The other arm is done the same way - it looks as if he is playing peek-a-boo 
I padded the legs the same way as the arms. The only difference being that the last few thread tails were taken to the back at the toes (and ankle). They look way too skinny but again more will come on top. 

I started to build the body with felt. It needs probably another two layers, but when I got to this point, I realised I will need to finish the lower parts of the sleeves before the felt padding can go on top.
Time for the first, tiny pieces of needle lace....

Happy Stitching,
Anna