Friday, December 1, 2017

Slow Going...

Oh my goodness what a crazy few weeks the last couple have been.  A new job with lots of new things to learn has left me I guess mentally tired and I've not even felt like stitching.   My rabbits have horrible teeth so they've just cost me a fortune in vet bills (thank goodness I'm now working) and my new ducks are trying at every opportunity to make babies with my existing disabled ducks so I've been playing 'love police' every five minutes.  And now the 'old' ducks need vet attention as well.  Flipping heck!  Anyone want some randy ducks?? 😜

So yeah, if you've stopped by hoping for great progress I'm afraid you're not going to get it.  I have learnt however why a lot of blogs fail (maybe).  You feel pressure to write something (and hope its interesting) and sometimes life just gets in the way.  So I am still here just not getting much done.

So how much progress have I made?  One wing, yep just one.  There are plenty of tutorials out there.. but I've taken a few 'starting off' photos in case anyones curious.

With wings and petals etc that stick up from an embroidery you need to use wire.  "Wired shapes' is what they're usually called if you're googling for info.  You need the wire to provide some stiffness when you cut the petal out of the fabric after its all stitched and pretty.  The wire also helps you push the wing into the required shape or at the required angle.  I've read a few 'how-to's suggesting you use florist wire,  I found some of that at the local craft store but found it too thick and there was only the 1 option.  A week later I found some jewellery wire which is much thinner and much nicer.

So in a nutshell you need to then couch the wire down to your fabric.  I have found the easiest way to do this is to bend it into a rough loop and then as you couch you pull the wire until its sitting on the outline of your wing.  Some people use tweezers apparently but I would've thought that could end up putting kinks in your wire which you don't really want.  Not for a wing anyway.  It is a bit fiddly this bit and an extra hand would come in handy but its do-able and once its couched down its plain sailing.  Oh! they recommend at least 2 inches of wire hanging out (so 4 inches in total) for attaching the wing to another piece of fabric and then securing.  And you want them really secure when you get to the attaching bit because people are apparently quite keen to touch them simply because they stand up off the fabric - who knew?!? haha

One tip I've learnt along the way is for the ends of the wire, use some tape to stick them down.  Otherwise you'll end up getting your thread caught in them time and time again.  I've found that Micropore works really well, you know the paper tape they use for medical dressings and the like.  What I find good about it is that you can actually lift it and shift it.  Because you want to get as many wings (or whatever) out of the one piece of fabric I squished them all in without even thinking about all the extra wire hanging off.

So once you're all couched down you need to run a buttonhole stitch around the wire to probably secure it and make sure you fabric doesn't fray when you cut out the wing.  I have seen some suggest that you actually do the buttonhole stitch AFTER you've filled in the wing.  I haven't tried this, but I might with the next one.  Anyway, you want those stitches really close, you're trying to completely cover the wire.  I've seen another suggestion of using a permanent, acid free, etc felt pen to actually colour the wire the same colour as your thread before you do the buttonhole stitch just in case you can see a wee peek of the wire showing through.  Another good tip I think.  When I did my poppies, I managed to find some red jewellery wire which I used instead.

So here is my solitary little wing.  I found a tutorial for wings that suggested actually putting the 'veins' in first, which I did in this case.  Not sure I like it, but its about the journey not the destination, right?  haha

Sometimes I do wonder if I have learnt anything at all about embroidery over the last couple of years.  What made me think that stitching white thread on white fabric when I can only stitch at night was a good idea??  Headshake.  I think the key word here is thinking... I didn't think I just wanted to get at it!  And it shows.  Oh well.

Anyway I'm afraid thats all I have for now.  Take care!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

So... What Next?

I've spent the last week full of a horrible cold, topped off with going back to work 3 days a week, a school athletics trip, sick animals and just generally feeling fed up.  Which is very naughty when really I'm very fortunate for all that I have.  Anyway, needless to say inspiration has again been lacking.  I don't know how many embroidery samplers I've looked at recently and not a single one has inspired me to make a start on my stitch book.  Or anything else for that matter.  And I find that just ends up with me feeling even more uninspired.

So what did I do? Well I went back through my Pinterest boards and had a look at the things that I've pinned on the basis that 'I like them' rather than 'I should try them'.  I'm not looking for another big project as I don't think I'm going to have time for awhile, but I need something that I can pick up and put down as required.  And something to stop me having to watch all the Car programs on the TV that hubby likes.  😊

So what did I decide?  Butterflies.  In particular stumpwork butterflies that will let me also practice needle painting.  I bought the A-Z of Stumpwork last year and worked through the various stitches. Made a mini stump work sampler just to try out the techniques.  I also did the Celeste Chalasani stump work Poppies project on Craftsy early this year which I enjoyed.  Of course there are the books by Jane Nicholas and some of those look amazing.  But anyway... yes butterflies! I'm going to make some butterflies.  Well I'm going to TRY and make some butterflies.  So watch this space, there could be another disaster happening any minute haha.

I think I'll start with a fairly simple shape, I quite like these ones below.  Fairly simple shape to start with and nothing too intricate colour wise.

Tea or Coffee is done!

So I think its come out OK, especially seeing it was just using up some scraps.  I do like the way the stems connect the various flowers.  I still don't like those big flowers, although I wish I had done the first two a bit more open like I did the third one.  And I think that bottom area is a bit light on colour variation, compared to the top half.  (shrug).  I think it looks better in real life than it does in the photo.  It is what it is, gave me something to keep me occupied and I learnt a few things.  Another piece for the drawer. 😝

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A bit more 'Tea or Coffee?'

Don't you just hate it when you run out of thread?  Well a particular colour of thread.  

When I first started embroidering 2 years ago I dug out my old cross stitch threads and I had 3, nearly full, skeins of DMC 3371 (the very darkest brown) and I remember thinking 'I'll never in a month of Sundays use all that'.  

Never say never Kimberley!!!  Because I just ran out, not after finishing a flower or stem but right in the middle of it, probably another 2 inches of thread would've done it.  (grumble grumble).   But all is not lost, I've called the store closest to Hubby's work and there are 2 skeins (I'm not taking any chances) sitting on the counter waiting for him to pick up on the way home.  Who says he doesn't have his uses?? 😝💋

Anyway, not too much left to go now, although all the bits currently accessible in the hoop are predominantly 3371 (of course they are!).

I took the whipping off that centre flower, I tried living with it for a few days but it wasn't growing on me.  I've left the large light coloured flower to the right a bit more 'open' and we'll see how that sits once the lower bits are filled in.  The one thing about this design that I don't like is those big flowers and I must say that after stitching them they haven't gone up in my estimation either.  😀

Never mind though its all just for fun.

Latest learnings:
  • Next time I decide to stitch onto a pieced fabric try and use a backing fabric as well.  I'm not sure if everyone finds this or if I just spend too much time pulling/tightening my fabric in the hoop.  The original swatches were pieced together using a machine, ironed flat and all that.  But a number of the seams have still looked a bit, um, just not secure as I've then hand sewn over them.  And I wonder if a backing fabric may have helped this.  (or just added to the issues haha).  Although I guess thinking about it crazy quilters often piece onto a backing fabric as they go to get all those fancy shapes, so maybe thats how they get around this type of issue.
  • Next time I buy linen give it a good tug and stretch before buying it.  The darkest bit of fabric on the bottom left is some type of linen that I bought at the fabric store (its not an embroiderers linen) and the weave is so loose.  Although again I guess a backing fabric would help here.

What next?

So I'm starting to think about what do once this project is done and I really do like the idea of a stitch sampler and the more I look at the one I already started the more I think I've moved on from that and the style of it isn't for me any more.

So I found these drawings of leaves online and I'm thinking they make quite good inspiration for a stitch sampler.  Ideally I'd like a fabric book that I can just pull out when I'm looking for a 'look' or a certain stitch.  So I might ponder these for a few days and see if I can come up with a bit of a plan.

I also haven't forgotten that I need more needle-painting practice.  So I should keep my eye out for something not too serious that will give me some more exposure to that.

I'm back to work next week so stitching time is going to be drastically cut.  😂

Thats it for now.  Thanks for stopping by.