Wednesday, January 31, 2007

TAST Chevron Stitch

Week 5 of Sharron B.'s TAST challenge was Chevron Stitch. My only reference book which showed it was Jacqueline Enthoven's "Stitches of Creative Embroidery". Once I got into the rhythm of the stitch I found it easier, just had to remember when to keep the thread up and when to keep it down before inserting the needle for the next step! Not really one to do in front of the television. I stitched a little pyramid shape in variegated silk Colour Streams thread then added little highlight stitches in 2 strands of the new DMC stranded metallics, and a very "hairy" stranded thread whose name I have lost, but I think it was for machine embroidery (in the bobbin only)and bought at a Craft show. Really must learn to save wrappers and labels from my threads, it would be so much easier for future reference. Wish I was one of those organised people who kept a sample book of fabrics and threads, but I'm just not.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

TAST Cretan stitch

Here is a little exploration of Cretan stitch for Sharron B.'s Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge on her blog at which I started on Australia Day, see post below. I got a bit carried away with the sparkle!! The top row is alternating Cretan rows in stranded cotton with a short straight stitch capping off one row in a sparkle metallic "chain" yarn. The next row uses Pearl 8 thread, I think, and I used 2 rows interlocked then threaded 2 rows of metallic chain yarn through the centre. On the left below them is a free form design using Pearl 8 again and the metallic "chain" yarn again. On the right is another free form design using a silky ribbon tubular ribbon yarn, variegated, which stitches beautifully. I explored using another metallic chain yarn to do some needleweaving and wrapping, and one leg of the Cretan has a little buttonholed section as well, just for fun. Hope to get week 5 stitch worked by the end of this week.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Happy Australia Day!

26th January is our national day and over the years our family has celebrated in various ways. For 3 years now I have volunteered for the National Trust (a non-government self-funded organisation) at the Parramatta properties. This year I was rostered at Experiment Farm Cottage at Harris Park, where Governor Arthur Phillip gave James Ruse, a farmer convict, land in 1789 as an experiment to see how long it would take a man to become self-sufficient in the new colony of New South Wales. This year we had racks of costumes available for hire so people could take a souvenir photo of themselves on Australia Day. In previous years we had a photographer take photos and print them out on the spot, but our regular volunteer was not available. Although I didn't do a lot of business, I still dressed for the occasion. I wore my Regency inspired outfit with cotton petticoat, long over the knee stockings (socks), leather flat shoes, chemisette and gown, and white cotton day cap. I do a pretty good impression of Whistler's Mother I'm afraid, ggg, and it was an extremely hot day to be dressed in silk taffeta, but the Bush Music Band was great to listen too, the damper and billy tea and the sausage sizzle were great tucker, and just being at the 1830's Anglo Indian bungalow that is EFC was terrific. Oh, and I did some embroidery to while away the hours too, I started exploring Cretan stitch for Sharron B.s TAST challenge. More about that later.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

TAST Week 3 Detached Chain Stitch

This week I have experimented with little detached chain "suns" using several different threads and methods. The first two are holographic gold sequins "couched" down with detached chain stitches in variegated silk thread. I think it was Colour Streams thread, I unwrapped the skein and lost the label long ago!! The large sun on the left is couched over a buttonholed "ring" made over my little finger with stranded thread and then couched using long legged detached chain in stranded purple and pearl 8 orange threads.I added a gold cup sequin with a bead in the centre. The small sun on the right is couched over a buttonholed ring worked in pearl 8 orange over the end of lead pencil. The couching is in the variegated silk thread and there are 3 beads in the centre of this one. I'm really hoping to fit in some more chain stitching this week, and perhaps even go back and do week 1 and 2, ggg.

Monday, January 15, 2007

TAST Catch-up

Okay, confession time. I have a "black belt" in Procrastination. Always have, always will. I can't decide how to present my stitch explorations !! I think if I'm going to try to complete a stitch every week that I should at least make something useful from the pieces I stitch. I have several sample books already since I've completed 4 years of Embroiderers' Guild NSW courses. I thought perhaps I should embellish some CQ blocks, but my first attempt was dismal. Now I'm stuck, and I'm really not the "just do it" type, although I know I really should be! Therefore I'm posting a couple of little swatches I worked during the Embroidery By Design (formerly Intermediate) Certificate which I took at the Guild 2 years ago. I promise that I will decide by the next challenge day what form my samples / pieces will take, and get to work on them. Cross my heart XXXXX

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Buttonhole stitch - Tailor's Buttonhole

The second stitch in Sharron B's TAST challenge is buttonhole stitch. There has been an ongoing debate about buttonhole stitch / blanket stitch and the difference for many years amongst embroiderers. Older embroiderers remember doing hand worked buttonholes which used tailor's buttonhole stitch as opposed to closely worked blanket stitch which today is called buttonhole stitch. I found this diagram of the tailor's buttonhole stitch in Oldhams Big Book of Needlecraft which I believe is from the 1960's or perhaps a little earlier. There is an extra loop put into the stitch which forms a "bead" on the edge which would give a more robust buttonhole when used on tailored coats, suits and work wear. This might be an early Victorian innovation since the buttonoles and eyelets used on pre-Victorian corsets and clothing seem to be just overcast or satin stitched like modern eyelets, with no "bead" on the edge of the cut hole.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Counted Thread Band Round Robin-WIP

My on-line group "The Stitching Post" is doing a Band Round Robin, with participants all around the world! We decided on Counted Thread techniques which might include such styles as Pulled Fabric, Assisi, Blackwork, Cross Stitch, and Hardanger to name a few. I have decided to do Wessex Stitchery, a multi layered style using just a few very basic stitches. I took a day class in this a couple of years ago with the E.G. NSW and really enjoyed it. At the time my husband was recovering in hospital from a heart attack, luckily only one blockage treated with a stent. I felt a bit guilty sitting and stitching in a class while he was in ICU, but my friends thought it was good therapy for me and I had to agree. Do you think I got a bit carried away with the stitching on this sampler? So far I've taken 2 whole days to stitch this much. We are only supposed to do a 2 inch band or so, but I really enjoyed the stitching. I don't plan to repeat this on the other 10 or so samplers which might come to me! I'm going to let each sampler "tell" me what technique it would like on it, I might even repeat a technique with a new design or colour than previously used. It promises to be great fun, a real challenge because of the distance and especially for me because I procrastinate a lot, and end up rushing to get things finished by the inevitable deadline. Hope I can be a bit more disciplined in 2007!! New Year's Resolution there??