A new book: Raised Embroidery by Kelley Aldridge

So last week I spent sorting books and the same week received a new book.

I love books. They are like friends to me; some are close friends and I wouldn’t part with them and some are acquaintances. And like friends they have different interests; some friends like goldwork, some like stumpwork, some ribbonwork, others like beading and color or design. But even with their differences, they all have creativity in common.

And my newest friend is from the Royal School of Needlework (http://www.royal-needlework.org.uk/) libraries, Raised Embroidery by Kelley Aldridge.  Kelley’s first statement in this new book is: “There are already a number if excellent books available on this subject, written by some very talented embroidery artists, but this book is about exploring new possibilities.”  I like that!

While the material in this book is basic, the inspiration just jumps off the pages. The photographs are clear and concise and the information is presented in a clear and orderly fashion.  I learned how to wrap an embroidery hoop which I have never seen in any other book and I love the little blue boxes with hints…hints always make a task so much easier. And I have always referred to this technique as stumpwork but Raised Embroidery is more accurate as it incorporates more techniques to give a three dimensional look to your needlework.

But my favorite thing about the book is the new needle artists she introduces with pictures of their work, and in one area she mentioned a ceramic artist that inspired her.  I spent some time google-ing these artists and was introduced to more artists that will inspire me to continue my study of Raised Embroidery.

 

I have toyed with Raised Embroidery over the years; my first attempt was my stitching doll. She has all sorts of techniques on her: her hair is couched doll hair that I added after I put her together. Her apron is needlelace and her hands are stumpwork and I added sewing embellishments for her to hold.

 

 

 

Many years later I did leaves for the cherries on my heart (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/a-heart-for-all/), the feathers on my shuttlecock on my Nelson Art Gallery piece (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/nelson-atkins-museum-of-art-needlepoint/) and most recently several different areas on the Wicked piece (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/melissa-shirley-wicked-fun-stuff/) were raised work.

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So with my new book and new ideas fermenting in my brain (Thanks Kelley for the idea of small projects in a large glass bowl) I will pursue one of the techniques on my thimble (instead of bucket) list.

And if you would also like to add a book to your library for inspiration I recommend Kelley Aldridge’s Raised Embroidery. It has techniques and projects but the pure inspiration is the best! The title says so and it’s true. And be sure and Google the people mentioned in the book too; they have more inspiration to share.

 

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue

Melissa Shirley Wicked: Fun stuff

You should know that stitching does not happen overnight. I probably stitched on the background and letters for a good three weeks and maybe longer since I know it got boring. Big projects like Wicked are home projects; you just don’t pack these up and take them to a 2 hour stitch-in…at least I don’t. I like to have them set up in my stitching nest and it is usually the one in my bedroom, where I can get away and just stitch. These times always remind me of the old Calgon commercial….”Needlepoint take me away!”  I have my TV with recorded shows and my needlepoint, who could ask for anything more?

I usually have small projects (anything smaller than 12 x 12 inches) that I can take to a stitch-in or stitch downstairs in the family room stitch nest. Sometimes these are just my doodle canvas to audition stitches for the big project or another piece. And then there is the computer work that I often let get away from me…my own that is. If I have a teacher’s work I keep on top of these…they have a schedule and so do I. We all have deadlines and other things to do in our lives.

I really like Melissa Shirley’s “Wicked”…I guess, otherwise why would I stitch it?  I can’t imagine buying a piece of needlepoint I didn’t like let alone stitching one. Now that’s not to say that while stitching a piece of needlepoint I have not become less enamored with it. But I don’t think I have ever abandoned a piece of needlepoint; I even completed a notebook class.  (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/wilanna-bristow/) Wilanna Bristow, my first ever seminar teacher, even told me she had never seen one completed.

I have taken a technique class at seminar that I knew I was not taking for the piece, but to learn the technique or a class from a particular teacher; and I knew I would not complete the pieces after class but I stitched on them during class and kept all the information and samples in a notebook. The remaining supplies I incorporated into my stash.

But this is a whole other blog post; see how I can get sidetracked? …so lets get back to “Wicked”

Again I started with the “W” and moved right. I left all the beading until the very last but I’ll tell you about that as we go along. All the little white circles on all the letters are beads representing stars. All these were left until “Wicked” was stitched. More about beading later.

I am not going to tell you specific threads, because I feel that is part of the stitch guide and should be protected by copyright. The stitches are also protected by copyright …not the stitch but their use in this project. But since you can see the stitches in the picture I will use names.

Letter W: I started with the moon. It is lightly padded with a stranded thread (I may have gotten the padding thread from my stash) and then stitched over in Diagonal Gobelins with a thread that had some glitz. I outlined the moon also, since the cat was stitched with a black furry thread and did not want to be dragging this into the moon.

I padded the vertical slates of the fence and the center of the pumpkin only before stitching over them with the appropriate threads. I used the same thread to pad the areas as I used to stitch them.

The cat called for a stitch that to me seemed more difficult to do with the furry thread so I changed it. I used a brick stitch for the cat’s body and random stitches for his tail.  I also used a stranded thread to stitch the two fangs on the face, I though a furry thread was not needed and another thread would make them look more like fangs. On hindsight, who was going to notice this but me? You would have to be too close to the canvas to notice this, but what can I say…it was my choice and at the time it felt right.

I left the cat’s eye (white square) and the curly q (rectangle on picture) on the pumpkin for later. I did use a highlighter in the stitch guide to note the areas I was leaving to do latter. It is easy to miss these details once you have stitched a large project. It has taken a long time to stitch and you are excited to get it finished and may even be stitching on a date deadline, so it is easy to overlook a small detail that will bug you later on. Just mark the stitch guide or keep a notebook handy to make notes.

I outlined the “W” after I finished all but the final embellishments.

Letter I: This was one of the three most difficult letters to stitch. It has a lot of details and several different techniques required.

I stitched the “I” in the following order, although I think the stitch guide started at the bottom and moved up… I stitched from lightest thread to darkest thread for the larger areas and left padded area until last. I Basketweaved the face, stitched Witch’s dress, coat, and then the pumpkin. The pumpkin is self-padded in the center section only. I stitched the details on the face and the nose, leaving the eyes for later (white rectangle). I left the hair (white rectangles), hat (white triangle), beading on hat White oval) and flower (white circle), skull beading (white oval) and the curly q (white rectangle) on the pumpkin for later. I have not done much applique, so I had to build my confidence up. The beading suggested was not a method I was familiar with so I had to decide whether to learn this or do something else. And the flower I knew how to do but it couldn’t be stitched until the hat was in place.  I stitched the outline of the letter “I” even though the top was not completed. Then I moved on to…

Letter C:  I outlined this letter before I began the details of the stitch design. This is one of the major changes I made to the piece and one of the easiest to stitch. The curves of the spider web were supposed to be beaded, but I didn’t do this. I stitched the spokes of the spider web first with a shiny braid and then couched the curves with the same thread using  a thinner matching thread to couch (I either had both threads in my stash or purchased them). I couched the long line the spider was hanging from last. I used the unstitched picture as a guide but since the entire letter C was stitched in Nobuko, no black lines were showing except the thread the spider was hanging from and the spider and the background had been stitched over these too.  So everything on this letter was surface applied. The spider was supposed to be beads also but I stitched the body in a Cashmere Stitch and later stitched the legs in Bullion knots. I left the stars (white circles) and spider legs (white rectangle)  until later.

Letter K: Another difficult letter. Again stars (white circles) are stitched later. I really had to think about this letter and how I was going to stitch it so I took a few days to live with the letter and look at it closely. By “living with the piece” I mean I leave the needlepoint up in the stand and uncovered, so I can see it while I am working on another piece, sitting down to study the piece, or just walking by the needlepoint. I had to decide the order I wanted to stitch and if I wanted to do it like the stitch guide suggested or whether I was going to add my own stitching to the piece.  I even thought about moving on to the letter “E” but it was also presenting its own difficulties and I wanted to save the letter “D” for last because it was easy. So after living with the piece a few days and really looking at all three letters that were giving me some difficulty (I-K-E), I came to some decisions. I made notes and checked the kit to be sure I had the things I needed and then began to stitch again.

I decided to stitch the bird first.  There were three stitches suggested for him, his head was Basketweave , I did not like the Basketweave on his beak so I stitched long slanting stitches over these to a point for his beak. His body a Cashmere pattern and his tail a straight stitch pattern. I stitched his pretty much as suggested but I did cover more of his body than was suggested because I had decided to make the wing a stumpwork piece. I also couched the black line from tip of his beak to the large eyeball bead using the black braid I had used for the spider web in letter “C”. I left bird’s eye to add later (white square)

The wing took some thinking about but and I decided to do it more like a stumpwork attachment than what was suggested. The suggestion was a second canvas finished like a small ornament and attached along long top side to main canvas by sewing The wing was stitched on a separate piece of canvas, I outlined the wing in satin stitch over a wire that I used later to attach wing to canvas. I also could bend the wing to give it more dimension.  I striped the canvas threads back to the stitching and wove them into the backside and covered these canvas threads with a piece of ultra-suede with an applique/sewing method. The wing was saved to attached later.

The pumpkin is self-padded with the same thread. If this piece had not been kitted I would have used floss or perle cotton to pad but I had a bunch (3 skeins). I outlined the letter but left pumpkin curly-qs, eyeball veins, birds feet and wing application for later (white rectangles and oval).

Letter E: I made more changes here too and even left some elements off. The easy part were the logs at the base of the letter. Before I did anymore I outlined this letter. Next I tackled the caldron; I would have to say the applique of the caldron wasn’t that hard. It is a padded piece of black leather but I did not put the metal handle on the caldron nor the lip of the pot. I didn’t think a handle was necessary and the pot was boiling over so you wouldn’t see the lip. The boiling and steam were a challenge I ruched the Flair for the boiling portion and I tried the technique suggested for the steam but didn’t like the way it looked.  I took it out (what a pain). Since I was trying to cover the painting error; I wanted to be able to manipulate the thread. So I couched long lengths of Flair twisting as I applied for steam.

The flames were the hardest, didn’t care for the fiber given for this, Flair didn’t work so I tried a glitzy ribbon. I stitched Turkey Tufting with glitzy ribbon threads and then frayed ribbon with a sharp needle. I like it better than the other ideas, but I’m still not happy with it. I will say, when I finished stitching this letter the only thing left were to embellish with the stars (white circles).

Letter D: Always good to have an easy part to complete stitching or almost complete stitching. The D and C were the two easiest of the letters. Small bats at top of D were Basketweave and larger bats (lower part of D) were Basketweave faces and Directional Diagonal stitches.  I outlined the letter “D” after I stitched the bats.  I left the stars and eyes of the bats to bead later (white circles, ovals and rectangle).

Next time we will do the embellishing.

Later today I’m off to our first art show of the season and always one of my favorites. I may even get dinner and ice cream.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today.

ttfn…sue

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Needlepoint

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had 40+ for the holiday so we were very grateful for many things. Now it’s time to get ready for the Christmas holidays. It seems like I’ve done nothing this fall but put up Halloween and take it down; put up Thanksgiving and now I’m taking that down to put up Christmas. I think the older I get time passes quicker and I move slower.

Since I have more than one project going at the same time I have finished some other smaller projects while I was working on the blue bird. I really had to be in the mood to stitch the blue bird and so there were days I did not touch him. I did another big project while I was doing the blue bird…I don’t know why but sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.

KC Needlepoint, our newest needlepoint shop opened in June. (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/no-stitching-todayjust-making-new-friends/) and they have local landmark painted canvases. And of course, one of them spoke to me right away and I had to have it. I could see it finished but was not sure how to stitch it but had an idea. So over the summer I looked at the canvas, made some decisions on what to do first and started on the canvas.

2015-12-08 KCAG1 unstitchI try to remember to take a picture of the unstitched canvas before I start stitching but I got ahead of myself on this one. I was so excited to stitch it I forgot. But I did get a picture before I had gone too far with my plans.

The other thing I try to do is research my projects if 2015-12-08 KCAG2 researchpossible. By this I mean if it is an actual place like the art gallery or a lighthouse I look them up on Google to see the actual place; this will give you a better sense of the actual colors of the area and the structure. I actually learned something about the shuttlecocks at the art gallery. There are three of them two on one side of the gallery and a third on the other side of the gallery; the gallery building is representing the badminton net (from the artist statement). I’m seldom on one side of the gallery and had not noticed it or did not remember it being there…but I thought it was an interesting bit of trivia…I’ll be good if I’m ever playing Kansas City Jeopardy.

First, I painted over the feathers on the birdie and let dry for several days. I stitched the background like there was no badminton birdie on the lawn leaving the ball of the birdie unstitched. Using one of the pictures I had I cut the birdie out and loosely basted an outline of the feathers. Then I stitched three feathers with Kreinik braid and then this project almost came to a screeching halt.

In my mind I had made three stumpwork feathers and attached them to the canvas. I had gotten some white wired braid and #12 and #16 braid from Kreinik and tried making a feather. My first attempt failed miserably and I decided maybe I should read about making wired stumpwork. Like I said before, sometimes I jump in with both feet and realize I have bitten off more than I can chew.

I kept mulling this idea over and over, and the canvas looked good with the three feathers I had already stitched on the canvas but I could see it with these three dimension feathers too. I knew I would not be happy until I figured it out. I took it to a gathering where a group of stitching friends were going to be and showed it to them. They all liked it just as it was but I told them what I saw…then one of them offered a piece of advice she had learned in a class…use a piece of voile or any light weight fabric to stabilize the stumpwork. Voilà, the light was flickering; I would mull this around and figure out what to do.

2015-12-08 KCAG3 ribbonI was heading for the fabric store when for a piece of voile when my daughter in law suggested voile ribbon (great idea then I will not have to buy 6 inches of fabric); and as a matter of fact we have some in the gift wrapping area of the basement… This turned out to be the lightbulb on moment I had been waiting

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for. The ribbon was perfect.

My next hurdle was all the needleweaving books said you needed to uses one piece of wire for the outside. I have no problem with this but I also wanted a piece down the center for stability. After one miserable failure I just kept playing around until I got what I had envisioned in my mind. I used Kreinik #16 wired braid and #12 braid for weaving. It worked great after I got the hang of what I wanted it to do.

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These are the finished pieces. Yes, I did Stitch a second one for the shop without the neddleweaving but with the same overstitching technique…they’re going to have to use a frame.

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Hope everyone is finding time to stitch this time of year…it is so relaxing .

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today and all through this holiday week-end.

ttfn…sue

A heart for all

You all are so sweet to read my blog, I want to share a Valentine with you.

I have been reading about Stumpwork: A Beginner’s guide to Stumpwork by Kay Dennis (http://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Guide-Stumpwork-Kay-Dennis/dp/0855328703/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266015043&sr=8-3 )  and A-Z of Stumpwork from Country Bumpkin Publications (http://www.countrybumpkin.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=40&products_id=432817) … Both stumpwork books available at Nordic Needle ( http://www.nordicneedle.com/ ) I am also reading Ann Strite-Kurz  (http://www.needleartworks.com/dsgnr/ask/askimages.htm)  book Stitch Variations and Mutations. I decided to play around with these for Valentines Day and this is one of my results.

 

I made the heart outline on the computer and then stitched it on a 10 inch square canvas, eyeball centering it. I stitched the red and white band down the center using 1 strand DMC #5 Perle Cotton: red (321) and white (blanc) in a Scotch Stitch variation (later will fill some centers with red bead). Then I stitched the left red and white band using the same threads and Scotch stitch in a different variation. I repeated the threads on the right band with still a different Scotch stitch variation with a French knot in the center of four areas.

Next I did the cherries using DMC Floss red (321). First I used a red pilot pen and marked the placement on the canvas, I free-handed mine but you can use the dots on the canvas graph as a guide. I stitched the cherries in the following order: felt padded, thread padded, and basketweave.

Felt Cherry: I attached three layers of felt to the canvas with 1 ply of DMC floss red (321), starting with the smallest and ending with the largest. Over this I placed a layer of stitches going the opposite direction of the last stitches using 6 ply red floss. Then I placed the last layer of stitches over everything. And finally using 3 ply of red (321) floss made the Jessica around the cherry. Remember some Jessica stitches slip under other Jessica stitches.

Thread Padded Cherry: Using 6 ply red (321) DMC floss I stitched the padding stitches going the opposite direction of the final stitches. I stitched the padding stitches twice. Over the padding stitches I stitched the final satin stitches using 6 ply red (321) floss, carefully laying the threads. Around this cherry is another complete Jessica using 3 ply red floss.

Basketweave Cherry: I used 4 ply (You may need 6 ply depending on you tension.) to basketweave a partial cherry behind the thread padded cherry. I also did a partial Jessica around this cherry using 3 ply red floss.

I made the leaves off to the side using a method I found in the Stumpwork books for making wire leaves. I also learned that when you do Stumpwork you incorporate needlelace techniques too. I was too excited to see how the cherries would look, I added the leaves and stems. DO NOT DO THIS…patience is a virtue and it sure makes stitching the background easier if you wait.

All the backgrounds are stitched using 1 strand DMC Flouch .

Upper Left Background: Stitch the background of the cherry area using 1 strand white (blanc) DMC Flouch. This is a Woven stitch stitches in rows from left to right and right to left. I started I the corner where the red and white bands meet.

Upper Right Background: With 1 strand white Flouch I stitched this area with a backstitch starting again in the corner where the red and white band meet. Stitch all the rows in one direction before beginning the rows that are perpendicular to first rows.

Lower Left Background: Traditional Nubuko stitched with 1 strand flouch. My long stitch (over 3) meets the red and white bands in the corner.

Lower Right Band: Decided I need to repeat the green and brown and so in this small area I stitched a reverse Nubuko using 1 strand white flouch for all the long stitches (over 3). The small over 1 stitches are alternating rows of either 2 ply green (890) DMC Floss or 2 ply brown (840) DMC Floss. I started with a green/white row.

Now I would make the leaves…I used two 12 inch pieces of 28 gauge green wire. The center vein is 2 ply green (890) DMC floss wrapped over the 2 wires at the end to make 4ply vein. This 2 ply vein thread should be at least 24 inches long to begin. Do not cut off it will be used later to attach leaves to back of canvas. Over the two wires and the 4 ply vein I wove 3 ply of green floss back and forth from the tip of the leaf to the open ends of the wire. Use a lon-n-ng 3 ply thread and weave snuggly…do not end thread, it will also be used to attach leaves to back of canvas. My leaves are about 1¼ inch long.

Before apply the leaves I made the wrapped back stitches stems using 3 ply brown (840) floss.

I attached the leaves to the canvas by slipping the wires through the front of the canvas to the back. I also placed the extra 4 ply vein thread and the remaining 3 ply weaving to the back side of the canvas.  I secured the wires to the canvas along the stem stitch lines with the 4 and 3 plies of remaining floss.

I was going to place this heart in a red tray, but that won’t work stumpwork does not work well under glass. So now my thought is a box, I would love to find a shinny red one or a picture frame. I can picture both so I will wait and maybe next year it will be finished finished.

Hope these instructions, picture and graph are clear to you should you decide to try my project. I am going to write up the instructions and use pictures and hope to publish on a website that my DH is going to attempt to build for me soon…I hope.

We are expecting more of the white glitter that falls from the sky, BUT I am not going to complain. My best friend’s daughter lives in Alexandria Virginia and she can complain. I talked with her this week and she has 30 plus inches of snow in her yard. She has 2 young sons who no more get outside than they need to come in…”I’m cold…I’m done playing now…I need to get…I gotta go.”  Been there, bought that snowsuit.

But if you are lucky enough to be able to stitch this week-end you might also want to listen to the Gone Stitching blog. I have no monetary interest in this website but I think it is so interesting and such a great addition to the needlepoint community. I found a couple months back and have downloaded 10 episodes to my I-touch but haven’t figured out how I did it so I still have to download the rest. BUT I have listened to every episode and found them all very entertaining and informative. Go to their new website (http://www.gonestitching.net/index.php/?SID=a4vhk4v2dn9541e1pdhhfro1e1 ) and you will see the blog link. There is also a great contest beginning there too. Check it out!

I am not thinking about the snow anymore…I’m just wishing you the warmest of week-ends, great stitching and

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

ttfn…sue