Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mr Bear

Well I've made a start on the bear.  I've done a rough attempt to trace out the darker and lighter sections onto my fabric (calico again).  That in itself was a bit of a mission as even using a lightbox trying to figure out where the area changes are wasn't that easy.  But I was only after a rough idea and hopefully what I've marked out will be enough.

I had a quick play on a scrap of fabric and decided that the lighter stitches will be done with 1 thread and the darker 2 threads.  And I'll just change the size and closeness of the stitches to get the diff 'textures' of the pen strokes  That and try and follow the direction of the pen from the original image.  And if that doesn't work then I'll just make it up as I go πŸ˜€

I've already discovered that when you're sewing in just one colour its very hard to see the picture appearing.  And I guess with this type of image the close up view is not what you're actually aiming for.  You need to step back from it to really see the image.  Its funny how much better it looks in photo form than it does sitting on my lap.  I guess thats just down to that extra distance.

I'm still pondering the nose and eyes area.  I'm thinking of a black felt to get that really dark colour.  But then the debate will be whether I just stitch them down or I cover them with stitches.  Hmmm something to ponder over.

One thing I have found since I took this photo is that running stitch is too orderly for this image.  The strokes of the pen I believe are done in rows across an area not up and down.  I discovered this the hard way of course.  So I unpicked it and am now back doing straight stitches.  I'm not sure if that makes sense so I've tried to illustrate it below.  Not that my running stitch is any where NEAR that precise.  But it does illustrate the columns of running stitch versus the rows that I mean.  

Anyway I better go and get my day started. Until next time!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Chicken Little #100 - Drizzle stitch

Here she is, Chicken Little number 100.  I think this is my favourite chicken yet.  

Drizzle stitch is of course usually an upright stitch but in order to get her hair to sit 'nicely' I gently tacked each drizzle down in a couple of places.  If I was going to moan about anything it'd be the second 0 in one hundred, it just didn't want to be the same size as the other numbers.  But if thats my biggest complaint then I reckon it came out OK.

If you go to the Chicken Little page above you can see the whole flock.  (next to Home)


Just thought I'd throw another photo in of the Kantha piece now its washed and ironed.

Whats Next?

Well yesterday I found a cool sketch of a bear, basically done in just dashes.  So with my running stitch kick I'm currently on I thought I'd have a go at translating that into stitch.  Spent a good wee while finding the right image, making my pattern, having a think about how best to go about it, getting my fabric all ready and then.... NO black floss!! Argh.  I used it all up on the Kantha piece and  didn't have any spare.  Insert rude words here!.
So what to do?!?  Well I spotted some pictures of embroidered cheese cloth the other day, or what we call here Muslin.  Very thin, very loosely woven.  The idea being that you can pull your stitches tighter of looser depending on the look you're trying to achieve.  Now I'm not a big fan of buttonhole stitch (well the whole family of them actually) but this kind of thing doesn't require any great tension, you definitely don't want your stitches to be of a uniform size.  The piece I saw also used running stitch just to pull various areas together but I actually liked the look of buttonhole wheels best.   No idea what I'll do with it (and now I'm out of white floss as well), but maybe it can form part of my fabric book if I ever get that off the ground.

No plan, just making buttonhole wheels until I'm done with it. 😁

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Kantha Progress

Well its done.  All bar the washing of the pens marks, ironing etc, so I guess what I mean is the stitching is done. πŸ˜€  And yes I unpicked most of it and re-did it, even the white birds at the top which I liked. But I like them even better totally filled in.

Some things I've discovered about myself during this:
  • I like embroidery thats 'coloured in', all my Chicken Littles for TAST are generally outlines, but I prefer embroidery that fills its space.  It doesn't make sense to do that for my chickens because I just wouldn't have time to crank one out each week and I'm not trying to create a 'work of art' I'm just trying to display the current weeks stitch.
  • While this isn't a great example of Kantha at all, I really like the simple design.  I love the fact that I've created something with a simple running stitch.  And I'm eager to do more.
  • Straight lines are for even weave fabric only.  Not cheap calico.  Enough said.

TAST - Drizzle Stitch

Well we're finally here, the 100th stitch of this round of TAST - Drizzle stitch.  I actually played around with this stitch a few months back while working my way through the various stitches/techniques in the A-Z of Stumpwork.  And I then used it quite a bit for my encrusted piece.  

I did have a chicken image all picked out for stitch 100, but when I saw it was Drizzle stitch I knew just the image to use and it wasn't the one I'd picked out.  Oh well, the best laid plans and all that.

I've made a start on it and I'm pleased so far with how its turning out.  I think it may well end up being my favourite chicken yet!  πŸ”

The tutorial for Drizzle stitch on Pintangle is here and I've borrowed one of Sharons images below.  It looks a bit weird sitting there all by itself, but they're usually sewn in groups and can be as long or as short as you like.

What Next?

So yet again, I'm back around to what next?  I'm still feeling quite enamoured with the whole running stitch idea.  But I'm also keen on the blackwork idea, in particular showing shading with only black.   So I'm thinking I might start some experimenting with both/all of those.  Black, shaded running stitch.  What could possibly go wrong?!!? 😜

I'll post Chicken Little Number 100 in a day or two.  Until then Ciao!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Chicken Little # 99 - Woven Chain Bar

Quite a fun wee stitch this one.  I believe in theory it's supposed to be a considerably longer chain used to couch down threads, ribbons etc.  In this instance I actually couched down the threads using a single strand of floss so they were fairly secure and then used the woven chain over the top of that.  They make pretty good chook feet I reckon.  :-)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

TAST Stitch # 99 - Woven Chained Bar

Number 99 this week... sigh...  what am I going to do without TAST each week?  I haven't got a definite plan for this weeks stitch but I'm thinking the woven pieces look a bit like feet.  So some chicks perching on a bar maybe?  The tutorial on Pintangle is here and I've borrowed Sharons photo below.

Kantha progress

This was initially going to be the first piece for my fabric book but now I'm unsure.  

I think I've probably done more unpicking than stitching on this so far.  There seems to be a lot of books available, but not a lot of information online unless you're making a quilt, rather than a picture style embroidery.

What I know:
  • Running stitch using two strands of silk thread (I'm using DMC floss because its what I have)
  • Colours - traditionally reds, rusts and golds, but as time progressed any colours.
  • Stitch length, no real guide to actual stitch length but the gaps between stitches should be half the length of the stitches.
  • You can pile the stitches up side by side, or slightly offset between the rows.
  • Seems to be a lot of work where the outlines are done in black.
What I've found:
  • Getting my stitches to be of an even size is hard, but no doubt just practice.
  • Getting the stitch rows close enough together is also hard, but again probably just practice.
  • Not sure that 2 strands of DMC floss translates to the types of silk threads traditionally used.  It seems a bit thick, especially for the outlines.  I wonder if a single strand would work better.
  • I've decided rather than placing the rows of running stitch slightly apart (almost like seed stitch filling) I prefer more of a double running stitch for the filling and thats what I'm going to go with now for the filling (hence all the unpicking).
The image I'm using as my 'pattern' I found on the internet, although I can't find a proper source for it.  The best I could do was an Indian folk art blog that once you get there takes you off somewhere else.  Anyway the image is out there, its not a great quality image so I had to tidy it up.

Now the perfectionist in me after about half an hour was going crazy and I was already thinking about needle painting it instead to get a smoother finish.  But I persevered thinking its practice, my stitches will get more even, etc, etc.  As you can see the top birds bodies have rows of running stitch and I actually quite like them like that (although I'm going to unpick those wings).  But I was much happier with the larger fish bodies where the two colours have in effect created a double running stitch.  So after I had sewn the lower birds in the same method as the top birds I decided to try the double running stitch for the bodies in a single colour and I think it looks much better.  (I've no idea if thats 'allowed' but oh well)  So I'm going to go and unpick all the various running stitch fillings and do that I think.

I actually really like the picture, yes its a crude simple design but its supposed to be.  There is something about it that really appeals to me and I can't put my finger on it.  And yes I could start again and needle paint the life out of it, or fill it with fancy stitches but I think it'd lose its charm.  Hmm.. dunno.  Time will tell I guess.

Right back to the unpicking 😁

Friday, September 1, 2017

Chicken Little # 98 - Triple Chain

Another cold and dreary day here today, which is the perfect excuse to sit and sew.  Who am I kidding? It doesn't take much to convince me its a good time to sew, but at least on a cold and wet day I feel less guilty about it.  πŸ˜„

So close to the finish line now, number 98.  Triple Chain, tutorial on Pintangle here.  

Triple Chain almost has a feather look to it I thought.  Although it'd also be good for leafy stems I imagine.


One of the ladies in the Year in Stitches Facebook group posted a photo recently of a piece of Kantha work she'd done and it was amazing.  So I've been doing a bit of googling about Kantha and have come up with a project of my own to try.

Kantha embroidery is basically a style of running stitch embroidery originating in West Bengal.  Its used for both artwork and quilt making.  Often done in yellows, golds and reds, but any colour goes really from what I can make out.  What I like most about it is the beautiful designs achieved with the simple running stitch.  Although I'm sure once I get started I will soon find out that achieving a consistent look with a running stitch is not that simple at all!

Part of the appeal of Kantha is the texture created by the multiple layers of fabric and how the running stitch creates an almost puckered look.  (Crazy that I've spent the last couple of weeks crying over puckers in my embroidery and now I'm trying a style that creates them!! I'm fickle, what can I say).  For this, my first foray into Kantha, I'm not using multiple layers of fabric.  I want to just try the technique and see if I can create something even close to the beauty I've seen created with this style of embroidery.

There's a link here to a short article about it and some beautiful Kantha embroidery photos.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Chicken Little # 97 - Feather & Chain

Another chicken closer to the end of this round of TAST.  This weeks stitch was Feather and Chain, which as the name suggests is a mix of both Feather and Chain stitches.  The link to the tutorial on Pintangle is here.

I love the look on her face, you can almost hear her gasp.

I'm often asked where I get all these chickens from and I'd love to be able to taken credit for them, but alas I can not.   I have squirrelled away a ridiculous amount of chicken clipart over the last 18 months and I just browse through my 'chicken folder' until I find something that either fits or I can adjust to fit the current stitch.  

While a magician won't tell you their secrets, I'm not a magician so I've also included a shot of the original clipart.  As you can see I've only really used half of her, and I've used a mirror image to get the whole chicken.  Or there abouts anyway.  I really wanted a good expanse of belly to show the feather & chain stitch and that other wing was just in the way mostly.  πŸ˜€

The Dyeing & the Fabric Book

The other day I was busy playing with tea, coffee, paint and some lemon juice to see what kind of colour results I could get.  Well lets just say its probably just as well I only used some small swatches to play with.  πŸ˜

The coffee by far gave a much deeper colour than the tea, I love the drip effect.  The paint came out well, I especially love the bubble wrap pieces.  The lemon juice was a total bust which was disappointing, but not unexpected.  The Tumeric produced a vibrant lemon yellow colour, the paprika and cinnamon, not so much.

Needless to say I ended up going shopping.  Yes I know I said I wasn't going to, but I'm weak.  

I can't say I'm too much closer on the idea for my fabric book.  But I do have some ideas for my next project, I think my sticking point now is that I don't want to hide the results away in a book that will probably just end up in a drawer somewhere.   Which is ridiculous considering I have 97 chickens siting in a shoe box haha.

I ordered some frames & mats this week for a few pieces that I've done recently (like my tree and the encrusted work) and I think I want to continue to frame up some bits, maybe create a wee montage above my sewing table.   So do I use my idea for the book or for the wall - ugh dilemma!  Although I guess I could start with a small version for the book and if that works out go larger for the wall.

Anyway so in short, progress on the fabric book idea, not much.  Plenty of options but nothing I deem worthy so far of sharing with the group.  The dyeing, meh, so so.  Will try and use the bits I dyed, you never know they might be just the thing.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mess or Masterpiece?

I've joined a new Facebook group about fabric books and while its only been running a couple of days I must say I'm feeling totally out of my league.  So I need to pull something out of my proverbial hat.   I, like so many others, have Pinterest boards up to the wahzoo with different styles of embroidery to try and I love them all and I want to try them all.  But where do I start to make something I'm not going to feel embarrassed about sharing with the group.  Thats the kicker.

Step One:  Spend a whole day pinning ideas into my newly created 'Fabric book ideas' folder.  
Result:  Left feeling totally overwhelmed with everyone elses obvious natural talent and artistic abilities.  Sigh.

Step Two:  Pick a theme, trees I like trees, lets go with that.  And I'd really like to try a mix of appliquΓ© and embroidery.  
Result:  Euphoria.  Yay!  I'm getting somewhere.

Step Three:  Pin some more pictures of trees.  Ok but how do I then incorporate that with the fabric collage type thing?  Um...
Result:  Panic.  Ugh.

Step Four:  Pep talk to myself.  "You can do this.  You just need to make a start and the ideas will start flowing.  Go upstairs and have a ferret around and see what you've got."
Result:  Hope.

Step Five:  Do what I'm told and go through my stash of fabric.
Result:  Curse myself for getting rid of my quilters stash.  Find hot pink spots, stripes and zig zags, thermal lined curtain fabric and some cotton with a print that looks like a cross between fruit salad and cat vomit (where did I even get that?!?).  Any way NONE of that is going to cut it.  Back to panic.

Step Six:  Make a list of what I COULD work with.  White calico, cheap linen, denim, an old sheet that I already hacked up to make a mock up of a costume for Miss P and the woven-y woolly fabric I used to make the actual costume.  Well, I'm not going to change the world with that lot am I?
Result:  Shopping?  No, be strong Kimberley, be strong.  To be fair I already have so much craft stuff I could start my own shop.  Why is it you never have what you need for the next project though?  

Step Seven:  Requirements gathering.  I'm an analyst by trade so lets start at the beginning.  The need to be met is to create a page made from fabric.  Lets not even entertain the idea that we're working on a whole book at this point, my confidence just won't take it.  Because we're aiming for trees, nature, leaves, birds etc we want natural colours.  (So the fruit salad up-chuck fabric is out for sure).   And I want to make a collage of the fabric before I start embroidering.  
Result:  Back to self doubt.   Right I need colour variations and I don't want to spend any money.  (well not today at least).

Step Eight:  I was going to get to the point eventually, right? 😊
I keep reading peoples amazing blogs about their efforts with eco-dyes.  Now I should point out I have no, and I mean ZERO, experience with any form of dyeing, painting or even colour pencils (unless you count me picking them up after my daughter has left them lying all round the house).

The more I've read the more curious I've become.  But when you're inexperienced its also easy to become over-whelmed.  But I have to make a start right?  Thats the hardest bit, that first step.
Result:  Action.  Doing something other than pondering my own lack of skill, talent and supplies.

Step Nine:  Now to be honest it currently winter here and even in summer I don't have a garden full of Tansy, Dandelions etc.  So we're going to have to play with whatever is in the cupboard.  So we're starting with the most basic of dyes - Tea and Coffee.  We've all ruined something with one or both of those.  And I also found some acrylic craft paint, no idea if that'll 'stick' but we'll give it a go.

So here's my list of 'experiments, which are currently still drying, brewing etc.

  1. Wet fabric and then drips of coffee applied.
  2. Dry fabric this time then drips of coffee applied.
  3. Wet fabric scrunched into small balls then drips of coffee applied.
  4. Dry fabric and then coffee brushed on to cover the fabric
  5. Wet fabric then coffee stripes brushed on
  6. Wet fabric then coffee applied using the end of an old cotton reel
  7. Dry fabric then coffee applied using the end of an old cotton reel
  8. Wet fabric then watered down acrylic paint brushed across it in stripes
  9. Wet fabric then the watered down paint was watered down again and then spritzed on
  10. Dry fabric then using the watered down paint I spritzed it onto some bubble wrap and applied to the fabric.
  11. Dry fabric brewing in left over coffee
  12. Laid down some toothpicks on a piece of calico and spritzed the fabric with tea
  13. Dry fabric then dripped tea on it
  14. Wet fabric then dripped tea on it
  15. Fabric brewing in left over tea
  16. I thought Miss P would never forgive me if I didn't try sprinkles, so I did
  17. Wet fabric with Cinnamon sprinkled on it and then spritzed with water
  18. Wet fabric with Paprika sprinkled on it and then spritzed with water
  19. Wet fabric with Tumeric sprinkled on it and then spritzed with water
  20. Fabric soaking in Tumeric water
  21. Dry denim with fresh lemon slices laid on it
  22. Dry denim with fresh lemon juice dripped on it
  23. Old sheet with lemon segments laid on it
  24. Dry demin with lemon segments laid on I
  25. Used a bit of the old sheet and blotted up the lemon juice I had dropped all over the bench
  26. Found one lonely dandelion flower in the lawn, so I chopped the petals up over the last piece of linen and then spritzed it with water
  27. Threw a few seeds onto dry denim and then spritzed it with lemon juice.
  28. Laid out a few leaves onto dry denim and then spritzed with lemon juice.
Yes I got a bit carried away 😊

So I guess the next question is how long do I leave these?  As they're currently taking up most of my kitchen bench it won't be able to be that long, especially if the family wants dinner tonight.  

It'll be interesting to see what 'takes' and what doesn't.  The linen I don't think has been washed before so it was definitely resisting the liquid a bit more than the calico.  And I think I might put the lemon juice bits and bobs in the sun this afternoon (if I can find any sun that is).

And I guess most importantly will any of it be any use for my fabric book??  But I've wanted to give this a go for a while, so if nothing else I can definitely cross it off the to do list.  

Thanks for stopping by.

Dandelion petals and lemon juice with seeds/leaves
Acrylic paint

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Chicken Little #96 - Reversed Buttonhole Bar

I've had this chicken drumstick in my stash of chicken images for ages, just waiting for a chance to use it.  I'm sure some will think 'but thats not a chicken' but well this is my 'Chicken Little' project and from the start the idea was that somewhere in the project there would be a chicken.  Not necessarily a whole chicken, just a chicken.  And besides it makes me giggle to include it.

I don't think I mentioned this stitch earlier this week.  The tutorial on Pintangle is here.  I've used it to create the circle around the drumstick.

The Tree

The tree is done.  Its definitely got some issues with puckering and I don't think they're due to the fabric.  I think its all me - dang it!


  • I had to add some fabric to the edges to fit my 8 inch round frame, which meant I had two different types of fabric and I only did a single row of straight stitch to join them.  So they weren't that well secured.
  • I really should've used a rectangular frame.  Or been a bit braver about squashing stitches.
  • With the tree trunk to one side and then the mass of French knot flowers completely covering the width of the image I probably should have either used a stabiliser on the back, or even used a second layer of fabric as a backing fabric.
But...  I still love it.  I'm so pleased to have that hilly background.  I'm pleased I used my back to front version of split stitch for the tree trunk as its given it more texture than true split stitch would've done.  The rocks in the front could've done with some padding behind them or even a small darker thread around the edge of them to make them stand out a bit more.  But for a first effort I'm pretty chuffed.  Puckers and all.  I'd definitely use this printable fabric again.

So what to do with the puckers?
I've found a few tutorials to try and remove some of the puckering and I'm going to try this one from Mary Corbets Needle'n'Thread.  I would've loved to have a go at it today but I need to go and buy a cork board or a piece of polystyrene/foam.  I did try the ironing board but its not padded enough.

So here's the finished tree in all its puckered and un-ironed glory.  I'll let you know how the blocking goes.  I'm hoping if it doesn't help too much maybe a professional framer might be able to help, or at least hide the worst of the puckering with a nice mat.  πŸ˜€  Either way I'm glad I tried it.

Now I'm just feeling a bit lost as to what to do.  The black work idea is there, but I want something I can pick up and do straight away, so I'll have to put my thinking cap on.  

That's all for now.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

TAST - Zig Zag Coral

Chicken Little number 95!! Ninety FIVE chickens.  Only 5 more stitches to go in this current round of TAST.  Although it sounds like Sharon is cooking up some new challenges for next year - yay!

The zig zag coral is the peachy pink zig zag on the kite if you were wondering.  Apparently its also really useful to use as a couching stitch.

Here's the link to all 95.
Thanks Rose for pointing out I had missed adding the last couple of stitches to the album. 😁

Tree Progress

I've been making a lot of progress on the tree project.  I'll be SO over French knots by the time this project is done haha.  The weather is awful here today so the photo isn't too good, colour-wise.

As you can see the puckering seems to be getting worse.  The fabric just won't sit right in this frame.  I'm sure this is due to the larger frame and the add-on fabric to make it fit, sigh.  Well fingers crossed most of them will stretch out once its done.  

I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo, but when you look at the flowers they look quite textured. Not in a French knot texture kind of way, but more that it looks like the French knots are layered on top of each other, or some are larger making them pop out from the fabric more.  But no they're not, it must be from the changes in colour, because when you look across the fabric they're all the same size and height.  

I almost don't want to post this picture because the colours are all wrong, its so dark here today.  But an update is an update right? πŸ˜€

What Next?

How did we ever survive before the internet?  For small countries like ours we were so limited in the sharing of new ideas for craft etc.  But the internet, oh how I love thee.  And I'm sure I'm not the only one that loses hours... and hours... and hours to Pinterest.  Although I sure do get frustrated at times with it as well.  But Blackwork... I'm curious about blackwork in particular the shading side of things.  I've found some amazing patterns out there.  There are plenty of sites out there with various 'patterns' for free but I'm yet to find a good one about the shading side of things.  Anyway I think thats where I'll head next for a bit, although I'm not a big fan of counted work I've spotted an amazing ladybird picture in black work that I'm just in love with.  So we'll see... you never know which direction Pinterest will take me in next week haha.

Here's the picture thats got me all hot and bothered about black work.  I know its not strictly blackwork, what with the bright red ladybug and all.  But I love it.  Its terribly intricate looking at the detail but such a simple design overall.  (The links to the patterns are below the photos if you're interested.)

The site appears to have some beautiful patterns, check out this Blue Jay

And would life be complete without a chicken of some kind? I think not.  I had a bit of trouble finding where to buy this one.  It almost looks like he was a free pattern from a magazine? not sure.

Anyway thats it from me today.

Monday, August 7, 2017

TAST - Portuguese Stem

Chicken Little Number 94 is done... I'm pretty pleased with how this wee guy turned out.  Although it got a bit 'squishy' around his eye, even though I swapped to regular stem stitch around the eye.  But thats OK, I'm not that proficient at stem stitch as I use split stitch more.

Tree Progress

I've finished the main tree -yay!  I've done the rock in front of the tree, which weirdly ended up using the same colour range as the tree, but just without the darkest colour.  I did the two main trees in the background using seed stitch and 3 various greens.  I'm not sure about doing the other background trees, but no hurry on that decision.  Excitingly I've started on the field of flowers.  The flowers are going to take a VERY long time.  1 thread with 1 wrap French knots are so tiny!  But I think anything bigger would've been too big.

Oh Puck-er!
I usually use a 6 inch hoop for my chooks.  I like that size because I just find it a good size in my hand.  But this photo measures slightly more than that in length and I didn't want any of the stitches getting crushed.  So I swapped to an 8 inch frame, my photo is printed on A4, so I've had to add on some width to make it sit in the frame.  This has resulted in it not sitting well within the frame and I've ended up with some puckering on the edge of the tree where the trunk nearly touches the edge of the picture.  I'm hoping that when I frame it, the stretching will pull this out, it does seem to disappear when I pull the fabric tight in the frame.

So far I'm really happy with how it looks.  Even if my photo is a bit blurry at the top of the tree 😊

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

TAST - Crested Chain

Finally got last weeks stitch done.  I was going to use the Crested Chain as the spines on a dinosaur costume for a chicken but couldn't find/design a decent image to work with.  Then I saw these guys and thought - Punk hair do's.  But that looked awful.  So with time running out I unpicked their hair and made a flag banner using one of my daughters variegated threads.  While I'm not usually a fan of variegated threads in this instance it provides a party/festive feel, so it was just right!

I used felt for their sunglasses, if you were wondering.  I was going to use satin stitch but the frames were just a bit wide and I wasn't convinced I could do it neatly enough, esp with the hassles I'd had to date with this design. 😎

This weeks TAST

Is Portuguese Stem stitch.  The tutorial on Pintangle is here.  And I borrowed Sharons' photo below.  No idea what I'm going to do with it yet.  

Until next time...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tree Progress

I've been making some progress with my tree project.  I'm quite pleased with the leaves, but as suspected getting the shading right on the branches and trunk is difficult.  I've tried to fill based on the shading in the photo, but it almost doesn't work if that makes any sense.  Its not just colouring in.  What I've done is that once I've 'coloured in' based on the photo, I've gone back and put in some of the darker thread in between the lighter colours.  Not extra split stitches, but just some straight stitches in between the rows of split stitches.  This (to me) seems to have made the lighter areas not so overpowering (I hope).  Here's a close up of what I mean.  You can just see a few of the darker threads in amongst the lighter areas.  

I think being able to draw/paint would definitely help with a project like this.  But you gotta give it a go, right?

TAST - Crested Chain

I'm running behind on this weeks TAST stitch - Crested Chain.  I thought it would make a great set of dinosaur 'spikes'.  Not a chicken I know.  But I was going to do a chicken in a dinosaur costume.  But I couldn't get the image to look right.  Then I was going to do chicks with Punk hair, but when I tried it that looked awful, so now I've changed it to a banner, but I'm running behind.  So you'll have to wait and see that one :-)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

TAST - Crested Chain Stitch

Hmm...not sure what to do with this weeks stitch - Crested Chain.  It looks quite similar to Bonnet Stitch, of which I was not a fan.  If its like bonnet stitch it's going to look best with a thicker thread and probably good tension.  And I use 2 strands of DMC floss and have terrible tension.  Oh well, I'll just have to find a great chicken picture to detract from the stitch itself haha.

The tutorial on Pintangle is here if you want to have a go.

The Tree

I've made a start on the tree.  Its started off not too bad.  I can see now why Elza sometimes uses regular sewing machine thread, even 1 strand of DMC thread is quite thick for the wee branches.  While I aim to one day be able to needlepaint like Elza and Trish Burr and other amazing artists like them, I don't think the smoothness of their technique would work for the leaves of this tree (thankfully) so while technically I've used the same technique I've tried to keep some texture in the stitches to replicate the leaves.

For the bark/thicker branches I'm using my tried and true favourite split stitch and for the smaller branches good old back stitch.  I quite like the look of the split stitch for the bark, it works.  But as I said the single strand of DMC does seem a bit thick for the smaller back stitch.

For the next project Tip #1 - Try out some sewing machine thread compared to a single strand of DMC.  Ahead of time of course so you can colour match.

The biggest hurdle I think for this project will be the shading.  I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination so shading is a completely foreign concept.  I've again picked a spread of colours with DMC doing the work for me.  So I'll just be doing my best using those for the shading and hoping the end result works.  It's all about learning new things so we'll just see where we end up.  And if nothing else I imagine its practice, practice, practice.

Oh! as for the printable fabric.  I'm quite impressed with the print quality.  Although its definitely noisier to stitch than regular calico.  You can definitely hear the thread going through the fabric.  Not sure if thats the ink or just the fabric itself.  I can't feel any difference between the printed area and the non printed, so I guess it must be the fabric.  Must remember to have a wee stitch on the outer edge and have a listen.  (not that its weird to be listening to your stitching at all, yeah right!)

Right I'll leave it there, get Miss P into bed and get sewing!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Encrusted Calico - Woohoo it's finished!

Yep, done and dusted.  As I think I mentioned I spent a bit of time 'rounding' it up as the outer edge was looking a big weird.  But of course now it possibly looks like it should be a circle and its not.  And of course if you give that thought any credence I could be here for the rest of the year and to be honest I just don't have the fabric around the edge to do that.  I've already well and truly blown past my 10cm x 10cm border (4" x 4").

I'm pleased with the end result and to keep Hubby happy I'll find a frame and put it on the wall somewhere (behind a door or something haha).  I might type up a quick how-to at some point, put all my lessons learnt in one place, in case someone else like me is poking around the net looking for the same thing.  But I think before I do that I might do another one, not as big and actually covering a pebble/small stone seeing thats what started me down this route in the first place.  Will see what else there is to learn about actually covering a pebble, I did find some comments somewhere about the challenges of dealing with wrinkles in the fabric caused by both the lumpy bits and of course the wrapping around the pebble, so that'll be interesting.

Anyway, here is the finished result.  Its another grey, wet day here so you'll have to excuse the lighting, I did my best.

What Next?

So whats next?  Well I don't have a pebble just yet so thats out and I can't have nothing to do.  That'll just drive me potty.  I have had a fascination with Van Goghs Starry Night for quite a while, reckon it'd look great in thread and turns out someone beat me to it (not surprising).  But that doesn't mean its off the to-do list, just not right now.  

There is a lady in South Africa called Elza, not sure what her last name is.  Elza prints photos onto fabric and then embroiders the details.  For someone like me who can't paint, dye etc this sounds like a great idea.  So I think thats what I'm going to do next.  I've found my photo, I've printed it onto some 'ready to print' fabric which I haven't used before.  But we'll see how we go, its printed at 9cm wide by about 18 cm tall (3 1/2" x 7").  Here's the photo below (I have a fascination with trees believe it or not, not actually chickens haha).  Anyway based on the way Elza does her embroidery I will embroider the foreground tree, flowers, rocks etc but the print of the background stays untouched.  So you get to keep the depth of the photo I guess.  What do I know? Nothing thats what, but I'm going to give it a go.

Elza seems to do flowers and birds and they're A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  She doesn't sell patterns or do classes but she does share advice etc from her Facebook page.  If you want to check her out, here's her Facebook page.  Elza'z Embroidery

TAST - Closed Herringbone

I've also finished Chicken Little # 92 - Closed Herringbone.  I've had this chicken image in my folder for a while, not particularly keen on it, but figured it might come in handy for a 'filling' type stitch at some point.  Turns out it was perfect for Closed Herringbone - yay!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Encrusted Calico - Progress

Well I'm nearly there.  Although I'm not too happy with the shape, I think I might try and round it up a bit.  The initial plan was to kind of have a bit of a wavy, more random edge but the sides haven't worked out that way.  

Oh well, a few more days stitching will save me having to worry about what my next project will be for a bit longer.  That and what I'm going to do once TAST is finished - gulp! 

Hubby is suggesting rather strongly that I frame this one when its done.  Whats wrong with a box full of embroidery - thats what I'd like to know.  But yes I might frame this one and I have my first stump work piece that needs a frame too.

You may or may not have noticed that the other bone button (from the bottom right) is missing.  Once I'd shifted a couple of bits around I figured I might as well get rid of that one as well.  Hey! don't judge its my project and I can do what I want 😝

TAST - Closed Herringbone

Still a few more weeks of TAST to go.  This weeks stitch is Closed Herringbone, the tutorial on Pintangle is here and as per usual I've borrowed a picture from the tutorial.  Hmmmm, it kind of lends itself to long tail feathers or maybe a thatched roof.  Although its highly unlikely I will be able to get it THAT neat and even.  Will have to put my thinking cap on.  

Thats it for now.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

TAST - linked double chain

I was starting to think we wouldn't see the sun again for a short while there.  But its back - yay!  And as promised here is Chicken Little #91 - linked double chain.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

TAST - linked double chain

The weather is totally awful here today.   A big snow storm affecting the whole country, we're only a small country but still.  Not a lot of snow in our area, but its on the hills and we've definitely got the wind and rain and its terribly cold.  And lucky for me I didn't HAVE to go into work so I didn't which means I've cracked off this weeks TAST stitch today - linked double chain.  The Pintangle tutorial is here , with a picture from the tutorial below.

When I first saw this I thought how the heck am I going to chicken-ify that?!?  But luckily it wasn't so hard.  I might sound like I'm being a bit of a tease saying I've done the stitch this week and not showing my version of it.  But its still drying and its so dark here today I don't think I stand a chance of photographing it.  So you'll just have to wait 😴

Progress on the Encrusted Calico

I have made some progress over the last few days on the encrusted piece.  The spiral trellis that I was going to practice a bit more before adding, well I added it, even though I didn't practice it.  I'm sure any good embroiderer will look at it and go 'yep you should've practiced it a bit more'.  But I'm quite pleased with it considering it's only the third time I've tried it.

Oh! I have another confession to make I did actually pick my two layers apart for a bit of modification.  I had a small curtain ring with a bead inside it and as I've worked on the stitching the bead had kind of gotten lopsided.  So I unpicked the two layers around that to remove the bead.  It meant that I had to unpick another bit to get to it, so while I was there I removed button that I had underneath a plastic 'thing' (I'm really not sure what it is, hubby bought it up from the garage for me).

I did notice the other day on the one piece of info I did find about encrusted calico that they suggested you add the bits between the layers as you go, where as another site had said to make the sandwich first.  That may've been more helpful to read at the start rather than over half way through.  Oh well, next time.  πŸ˜†

So that must be a new learning right?

Learning Number 7:
I think there could be some merit in not sewing all your bits between the layers right at the start.  Because if like me something doesn't work, or shifts in the middle of stitching it can be a bit of a pain to undo.

Learning Number 8:
This one is totally obvious to most but actually in practice not always easy to do.  When working on your piece don't hold onto the fabric where you have already stitched.  Thats goes for any embroidery really.  But I've noticed that the bone button stitching looks a bit rubbed.  The thing caused me no amount of angst to start with trying to figure out how to cover it over and now the threads look a bit worn.  I'm not sure if I've been holding on to it while stitching or its just fluffed up a bit as my hand has gone back and forth around it.  I guess the other option would be to do the 'filling in' first and then the actual 'accent' bits at the end.  But then the filling would drive the accent bits rather than the other way around so thats not a great idea either.  Just be careful with handling your stitching alright?

Um what else?  Oh the curtain ring.  So once I had removed the bead I decided to fairly loosely button hole around the curtain ring and fill it in with just a single coloured group of French knots.

Its actually quite cool to look at the 'before' shot and where I'm at now.

Monday, July 10, 2017

TAST - Woven Trellis

Whoop! Whoop!  Chicken Little Number Ninety - yep Nine OHHH.... Its crazy I know but 90 little chickens 😝

If you want to check them all out, the link to my online album is here.  

The next TAST stitch will be up tomorrow :-)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Chicken Little Number 89 - Italian Border

Ok so in order to catch up to 89 stitches for the current round of TAST I've done an extra stitch this week - Italian Border.  Still from the list at Pintangle but not in the current TAST list.  Sharons tutorial is here.

I'm really pleased with how this wee guy came out.  Italian border is a variation of Fly Stitch and when I was wondering what to do with it and scrolling through all my chicken images, I wondered whether it'd work one of top of the other and well I reckon it works pretty well as a grass skirt!

TAST - Woven Trellis

This weeks TAST stitch is Woven Trellis, the tutorial is found here.  I've have a plan for it, but haven't started it yet.  Yes I know I better get moving, but I still have a couple of days to get it done.
Here's a pic of the stitch from Pintangle.

Encrusted Calico

Miss P has been sick this week which isn't good but it has allowed me some extra sewing time.  So I've made some good progress with this.  I was a bit worried about the rather big lump of rubber (bottom right) and what I was going to do with that, but after doing some Picots further up, I figured there wasn't any reason why I couldn't use those to cover something.  I'm sure there is a proper name for it, but I don't know what it is. 😊

You know how when you have these 'great' ideas and you launch forth and find that while they look OK they don't fit quite right, or one is way thinner/longer/wonkier than the others?  Well that didn't happen.  They fitted just right, they're all of a pretty even size, I didn't catch one with my needle or anything!  I thought I'd just run a darker colour either side of each woven bit up to the centre just to break the large expanse of the same colour and that looked great too.  Topped it off with a few French knots to fill in the centre in the same darker colour and voila!  I'm so pleased with it.  I'll try and get a closer picture when its daylight.

Weirdly while the TAST stitch this week is Woven Trellis, from a completely different website I came across Spiral Trellis stitch.  The two stitches, don't really bear a lot of resemblance to each other, but once I get another one or two done as practice I'm going to use that for the last of the 3 same shaped 'bumps' on the left there. (just by my thumb).

Anyway I'm rambling, thanks for visiting 😁