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Posts Tagged ‘work-in-progress’

I finally returned to embroidery after about 5 years! I made some progress on the Swiss Folk Heart crewel kit mentioned here. It’s slow going but I hope it won’t take another 5 years.

Here’s a work-in-progress shot:

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And a detail:

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I think the embroidery is ehhhhhh (and the smartphone pics) but I’m not going to let that stop me.

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Previous posts on the project are here and here.

I’m almost half-finished:

The last band pictured is the seventh of thirteen planned and then there’s the rest of the border sooooo almost halfway there.

PCStitch has been a big help. I downloaded the trial Pro version and after tinkering around with it I can do some basic stuff. It’s much easier than this:

It’s $79.95 at the official site but it’s $52.97 on Amazon. And guess who just got paid?!

This is what I’ve been able to do:

Then it’s so easy to copy/paste into a field that’s the exact width of the sampler and then move it around. Voila! No math!

I’m stitching over one on an 18 ct evenweave fabric. If I could start over, which I can’t, I’d choose a different fabric. The weave is really loose compared to aida and I have to be really careful with the tension of the floss. I’m really comfortable with double-running stitch, I like to use it exclusively and the journeys and side-journeys come as almost second nature to me now, but I have to make sure to pierce the middle of the floss on the return journeys otherwise it’s really obvious and the floss disappears into the weave of the fabric.

If anyone has any experience, any tips, hints, resources, I’d really appreciate it. I’d also love to hear from anyone using PCStitch or any other design software.

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I’ve “sketched” some new designs for my mom’s sampler. Previous designs are here.

I took one of the bees and after a lot of fiddling I came up with this:

I had to try out both versions but I think I’ll use the second as a band in the sampler.

The motif on the right is adapted from an image of a vintage iron transfer I found in the flickr group Hoop Love. This may be the final version.

The motif on the left is based on a band from the Beginner’s Guide to Blackwork by Lesley Wilkins. I also have Traditional Blackwork Samplers by Wilkins as well. The Beginner’s Guide has more “raw material” in that it’s mostly filling patterns and bands whereas Traditional Blackwork Samplers has, well, samplers.

In fact, that’s where I found this:

Or rather, that’s where I found this in pieces as part of a larger band in a sampler. I don’t know if you can tell but almost every quarter of these two motifs are different. I had charted them on graph paper but I really needed to see them stitched up before I could make a decision. Only the bottom two on the right are the same and the design I finally settled on before I realized (with the help of my boyfriend) that they aren’t even my style. Seeing them in context with all of my other designs really highlighted the differences and I decided to scrap them altogether.

This all leads up to the focus of the sampler: an embroidered comic! It’s a little macabre but I couldn’t resist.

The story is that the beekeeper is trying to smoke the bees to sleep in order to gather their honey and they take offense to this.

In the second “panel” they swarm out and he throws the smoker over his shoulder in surprise. The empty space where the smoker and his arm used to be draws attention to the swarm and then this draws the eye to the right where the dotted line indicates the smoker’s movement.

He runs with the bees hot on his tail. I positioned the flower (and plan on adding a second) to indicate a left to right movement and the swoop of the dotted line-smoker-bees also helps this I think. I’ve since re-charted the dotted lines and the smoker to fill up the empty space in the center bottom. I’ve also re-charted the position of his arms:

I think I’m going to use the fragment on the left. These were my “sketches” of the beekeeper figure and I didn’t bother to fill in the netting of his mask.

Back to the comic though: The fourth panel is the beekeeper’s demise. Here the viewer sees the beekeeper in repose (maybe he’s just sleeping) and holding a flower. I squeezed two actions into one panel and I hope it works. The bees have used the smoker against the beekeeper. This development plays on the previous two panels and the device I used to show movement. The technique used to tell the story turns literal within the story.

So, that’s the comic and what I have for the sampler thus far. I think my mom will like it and find it funny and I decided it was more important to give my mom a present that was from me and have it be off-kilter rather than something I found in a book (not that there’s anything wrong with that) that didn’t represent my aesthetic.

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This is a kit I’m working on right now.  And this is all I have been able to finish so far. So when I say, “right now,” I mean, “whenever I’m least intimidated.”

It’s all satin and stem stitch with some french knots thrown in. Here are the instructions:

And here’s a detail of my stitching so far:

This is my first time working with crewel wool and I really like how dimensional it is. Unfortunately, the ground fabric feels mealy (kit circa 1977) and has a very loose weave. I’m having a really hard time getting good line definition with the satin stitch. If the wool goes between threads it leaves a huge hole so I need to pass it through the threads of the fabric but that’s not always easy.

I’d like to do backstitching on the lines like Mary Corbet of Needle’ n Thread did in this post but I don’t know if there’ll be enough wool. I can’t find crewel wool locally. Or at least I’m unwilling to drive around on the off chance someone has it. It’s a little frustrating. Here’s how much wool came with the kit:

The wool measures about 2″x7″ and the stamped area is about 13.5″x15″.

Finding this kit on ebay was a dream come true because I’d planned on creating monochromatic folk art embroidery myself. I still think it’ll look beautiful but I obviously need to re-think this project.

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This is a gift I’m making for my mom. She’s really into bees but I guess you could see that for yourself.

It’s in the early planning stages, obviously. There are many, many, many mistakes. I wasn’t pleased with the beehive on a branch band until the very bottom. And some of the bees are very weird.

But I couldn’t tell how my charted designs would look until I stitched them up so this is a learning process.

It’ll eventually take the form of a sampler, with bands of repeating motifs. I’m also going to be using bands of flowers from blackwork books.

(I can’t edit the pictures of my charted designs so when I can figure that out I’ll update this post.)

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