Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TAST - Sorbello Stitch

Finally got last weeks TAST stitch done so here's Chicken Little No. 87.  The Sorbello stitch is used to make her chain.  The stitch has a distinctive knot look to it, although you can't see that here very well as I've worked them quite close together.  But I quite like the chunky look of the stitch even though its only worked with 2 strands of DMC.  The chunky look kind of reminded me of rapper 'bling' hence the gold chain.

Encrusted Calico progress

Some more progress on the encrusted calico.  I added two threads across the centre of the bone button and added some buttonhole stitch across them.  It still didn't look like 'enough' so I added a large cross stitch at either end.  Not sure I like it, but it needed something.  Here's hoping it will grow on me 😀

The Beads are working I think.  There's enough of them there to add some interest and not so many as to shift me too far out of my comfort zone.

I love how the large button (top left) came out.  I used three of the colour range to create a graduated effect with needlelace (detached buttonhole).  And topped it off with a few beads to hide how it went a bit wonky in the centre. I'm not sure to how to avoid that but lets just say it was all part of the grand plan to use the beads in the centre.

Learning Number 3:
Work Picots before filling in around them.  Otherwise its quite frustrating trying to find somewhere to put the pins in.

Learning Number 4:
Save Woven wheels until the end.  You'll just end up catching them with the needle and pulling them out of shape.

Learning Number 5: 
Never, never, never ever mix all your beads together.  Even if your storage system is awful and bulky and just a pain in the backside.  You'll eventually find some better way to store them and then you'll need to either throw them out and buy some more, or spend hours and hours and hours throwing them all over the floor, I mean sorting them back into their colour groups.  I did the latter because I have masochistic tendencies obviously.  But they look lovely now, again.

Learning Number 6:
Based on my other learning more planning of the stitches is required.  Or at least a general idea of where the 'bigger' stitches will go based on the space needed to execute them (picots) and the durability of them once they're done (woven wheels).

Its all part of the journey though... so onwards and upwards.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Not a lot of progress on the encrusted calico piece in the last couple of days, due to the Viking costume, work and just general life.  But the Viking warrior costume was a hit with Miss P.  Unfortunately due to the early hour, the wet weather and the fact its winter here the photos are dark and fuzzy.  Will get her to put it on again to take some more pics if it ever stops raining.

On the encrusted calico front there is some progress, not a lot but some.  I did stem stitch band on the dog bone button and that worked well although its a bit boring so will have to come up with something a bit 'extra' for that.

I do have a plan for this weeks TAST stitch (Sorbello stitch) although I haven't started the stitching yet.  I was really struggling for inspiration this week, some just seem to fall into place and others are a real slog.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chicken Little #86 - Herringbone Square

A bit late with my TAST for the week, the new stitch was published this morning.  But here he is.  I love the look on his face, looks like he's saying 'I dare you to make fun of my skivvy' 😆

The stitches came out a bit bigger than I planned, there is actually only two rows of the stitch there, 10 'squares'.

As for this weeks stitch, it's Sorbello stitch.  The link to the tutorial on TAST is here.  I borrowed a pic from Sharon's tutorial.  Hmm what am I going to do with that one??

Haven't started on the Viking costume yet... thats tomorrow afternoons job.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A bit more progress on the encrusted calico.  Managed to add a few beads without hating them, so I've definitely had some 'growth' as an embroiderer 😊.  Sorry about the lighting its dark and grey here today.

Oh! I did also have an idea for the bone shapes, I'm going to try raised stem band.  So we'll see how that goes... you never know I might even include some beads haha.  If the raised stem band doesn't work out I might try some 'cast on' loopy bits.

Finally came up with a plan for the TAST stitch for the week... Herringbone Square.  I can't say I'm a fan of the Herringbone family of stitches, I just want them to all be uniform in size and shape and it never works out that way.  Will hopefully post a pic of the finished piece tomorrow.

Meanwhile this week I also need to make a 'Viking' costume for Miss P as this week is Book Week at school and they're having a 'come as a book character' day at school.  And as her favourite books of late are the 'Horrible Histories' series... she's chosen 'Vicious Vikings'.  So watch this space for that disaster later this week 😆

Friday, June 16, 2017

Encrusted calico piece progress: 

I've made some progress with this over the last couple of days, although I did get a bit distracted yesterday trying out a wee macrame owl that I found a tutorial for online.  Which was fun, although frustrating as the measurements for the cords were off so I got 90% of the way through and then ran out of cord grrrr.  To be fair maybe my knots were a bit loose and the tutorial was fine.  Either way I will give it another go over the weekend this time using longer cord.

I have done a bit of unpicking and re-doing, I had initially just grabbed a pile of creamy natural colours, but the combination wasn't right.  Its weird that a pile of 'creams' wouldn't go together, but they didn't.  So instead I put my trust in the experts and picked the colours White through to 3787 on the DMC colour chart.   And to me that seems to be working better.

To date I've used French knots in varying sizes, by varying the strands of floss and just making some looser than others.  We've also got Raised Cup, Bullions, Drizzle, Picots, Buttonhole Wheel Cup, Whipped Wheels and just some wee straight stitch daisy's/stars.

I've been having a ferret through my jar of Mills Hills beads this morning and picked a few that I think will go.  I haven't really used beads in my embroidery to date so we'll see if I can find a way to incorporate them that doesn't result in me unpicking them and tossing them back in the jar.  (which is usually what happens)

I also haven't figured out what to do with those bone shaped buttons yet.  I might well regret sewing those on.😮

Learning Number 1:
That having all these lumpy bits as part of the fabric almost, does make some of the stitches harder to do because you keep bumping into one bit or another as you stitch.

Learning Number 2:
They also provide a bit of a challenge with the raised stitches too.  If they were felt you could get away with a bit of surface work to ease things along.  But its all part of the challenge, right?

This weeks TAST:

I haven't started on my TAST stitch for the week yet.  No inspiration has hit me yet with what to do with Herringbone Square.  (The link to Pintangles tutorial for this stitch is here.)  I've borrowed Sharons' photos of the two versions, the standard Herringbone Square and the Laced version.

Really not sure how to Chicken-ify those at this stage.  (and yes I know Chicken-ify isn't a real word, but then I just used it so it must be!)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ok... so as I said before I've just I've discovered 'Encrusted Calico' (or 'encrusted muslin' in the USA) on Pinterest.

For those in the dark, like I was a few days ago, Encrusted Calico is a method of embroidery that is all about texture on a piece of calico .  They are usually in just one colour range (like whites/creams) so the star of the piece is the texture rather than the colours.

A beautiful example that pops up at nearly every google search for encrusted calico is one by a lady called Catherine Rosselle (her flicker album is here although she appears to dabble in a lot of diff styles of embroidery/fibre art).  She has actually embroidered over her 'lumpy bits' although a lot of people see to leave the raised bits un-embroidered.

Gorgeous huh?  Well if you start googling about this type of work there are many, many, many links to a free Embroidery Guild tutorial but once you get there you (or at least I) couldn't access it.  Frustrating!!  The other thing that comes up again and again is 'encrusted pebbles', where the theory being that the fabric is then wrapped somehow around a small rock.  Again there are multiple links but all lead unfortunately to a now defunct website stitchinfingers.ning.com.

The best I could come up with was this PDF for 'A Mermaids Chantelaine'.  This gives some idea of the idea behind encrusted work and what stitches may be useful.  And some uses for creating scissor cases etc.  Nothing to do with pebbles though.

I'm going to give it a go based on what I read in the PDF and the photos I've seen around the net.  I'm not sure if I will try and wrap it around a pebble.  I think for the minute I'll just work on creating something and then figure out what to do with it.

The theory is that you sandwich bumpy/lumpy items like buttons curtain rings etc between two pieces of calico and then stab stitch the two pieces together to hold the item between the two layers.  Well I didn't do that did I? No I stitched them to the background fabric... and THEN stab stitched them through both layers.

Why does it matter? Well the idea being that by stitching them down first you're creating extra texture that may show through to the top layer.  But thats the point right, creating texture?  Oh well I've done it now and I'm not going back.  (note to self: don't do that next time).

The PDF suggests using sewing machine cotton for the stab stitching as its thin but I just used one strand of DMC floss (white).  They also recommend only using plastic types things, not metal as it can rust or discolour the fabric.  But there are some out there who have used metal, and some who even used rusty metal to add additional colour to the piece.

Here's a photo of the types of lumpy things I have used.  I've got buttons, a couple of beads, a couple of curtain rings, 3 of those plastic things you put in to hide screws (I think these are from a cheap book case), the bone shapes are from an old scrapbooking kit.  The big grey thing is actually out of hubbys' garage they're used with roofing screws to keep things watertight.  And there is another thing there with a hole in it that I'm really not sure what it was for, I think again its something to do with screws.  As you can see I've put one of the beads inside a small curtain ring.  And one of the weird white screw things is actually sitting on top of a button, I figured it'd create some additional height.

My fabric area that I'm working to is a 10cm x 10cm (4" x 4") square.  Although my fabric is prob about twice that.  I've outlined the 10 cm square using a water erasable pen, you can just see the pen in the photo (I think).

I didn't take a picture after I'd sewn these all the background, as the photo was just so I could remember where I had planned to put each bit, but I just lightly stitched each item on.  Through the holes where I could and I did a rough kind of cross stitch over the non button bits.  But as I said you're not really supposed to do that, but after now attaching the top layer of fabric I'm not that worried about it to be honest, it hardly shows.

This next photo shows how the second layer looks stitched on.  I haven't put the top layer in the hoop, it doesn't appear to need it as yet.  There are a few ripples in the fabric, this is quite normal apparently and can be used to add extra texture.

I have started to add a few French knots and a couple of raised cups, nothing very exciting yet.  I have no real plan as to what I'm going to do with the stitching... other than texture (of course) and in this kind of neutral colour palette.  They also suggest using a variety of different threads, I don't have much laying around here at the moment, so I think I'll probably just use different numbers of floss strands to get some variation.

Picots, buttonhole wheels, bullion knots, couching, beads, etc are all good texture type stitches to include.

We'll see it how it goes I guess :-)

(will try and take the pics during the day next time)



This blog has been around since 2008 and never made it off the ground.  In fact I'm not sure if it will make it off the ground now either.  But only time will tell :-)

But as a little bit about me:

I'm currently participating in the TAST challenge over at Pintangle where I've been learning to embroider for the last year or so.  Pintangle is an awesome site run by Sharon Boggon and her stitch dictionary on the site is second to none!  SO many stitches listed, all with both written and photographic directions.  Sharon also runs a Facebook group for the TAST challenge.  The TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) challenge introduces a new stitch each Tuesday for members to have a go at.  Anyone who frequents Pintangle will know me as 'the chicken lady' because I make little embroideries with a chicken in it using the stitch of the week.  I'm currently up to 85 chickens I believe. (crazy I know!).  My album is here if you'd like to see my chickens.  Here is last weeks stitch Knotted Cable Chain.  I'm calling this one 'Ode to Miley'.  The knotted cable chain stitch is used for the chain link on the wrecking ball.  I used a bit of crayon to fill in the wrecking ball a bit (not sure I'm that keen on it, but I think it needed something)

Now that I'm feeling a little more confident with my embroidery skills I'm branching out a bit and trying different types, styles of embroidery.  I also crochet, knit and sew a bit so there may be a bit of that stuff on here too.

I'm currently trying some 'Encrusted Calico' or 'Encrusted Muslin' as the Americans call it apparently.   To me the two fabrics are VERY different so not sure what the Americans call Calico (note to self: must google that)... Anyway I'll post this and then do another post about the Encrusted Calico hopefully.