Sunday, 28 June 2009

No posts for a while

The extra blue silk for braided chrysanthemum arrived so I've finished it off. Only took a couple of extra hours. Off out to buy some foam core this afternoon so I can take it off the frame. Treasure ship is completed and off the frame. Actually I went back and added some extra stitching to the shippo design on the sail. It's not on this picture as I've not taken any more photos. So that's it for a few weeks - my phase 10 and teacher class starts at the beginning of August so I am not going to be posting for a while, well here anyway might post over on the Japanese embroidery blog. I do have a piece on the go, it's a design of my own and is for an on-line exhibition for the Hand Embroidery Network. Because it's for the exhibition I'm not going to post anything until after the exhibition is completed. I'm keeping a notebook/sketch book type thing so I'm sure will have lots to post after it is all over. I'll be back mid August after teachers class and phase 10, hope to have lots of photos to share. Happy stitching.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Once upon a time ...

... there was a little girl called Jane.
Jane liked to play lots of different games, but her most favorite thing was to play with sharp needles and brightly coloured threads.

One day while the sun was shining she was playing her favorite game, but sadly on this sunny day things weren't going too well.

She was colouring in the background of her newest picture and had two colours of blue to choose from.

First she tried one, but it was too light, then she tried the other, but it was too dark, next she tried both together but that wasn't right either and Jane was very sad :-(

Jane decided that all the blue should be rubbed out, so she did that and then finished colouring in the other petals, well, all but one because she'd run out of blue so would need to contact the silk fairy to get some more. While waiting for the new colouring in silk to arrive Jane thought she would share some pictures of the lovely flower with her lovely friends in magic cyberspace.

Well, OK, I'll never make a million as an author, but I think the chrysanthemum has turned out quite well. And ... it's taken a lot less time than Treasure Ship, approx 60 hours so far (including the rubbing out!).

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Correcting a cord

In my last post I spoke briefly about one of the cords on the chrysanthemum being started at the wrong place. Thought I would expand on this a bit. I've moved the orientation of the photos so it's as it would be if you were stitching. Hoping this will help with the explanation! One of the difficult things about cords is finding and keeping the angle of the stitch, and with this particular one - double central, keeping the pattern central. The cord is formed from four stitches worked on the top left to bottom right angle, then four on the top right to bottom left angle. They cross over in the middle to form a pattern of interlocking squares, these squares should line up along the middle of the cord. You have to be careful to keep each side even, if it's not the squares won't be the same size. So if this is as clear as mud you'll understand why I thought that I'd start on a straight bit so I could get the angles right because once you start going round a corner it's a whole different story.

Now the thing is normally cords are started at the end closest to the stitcher, but in this case the end closest to me was a curve (see pic below) and it is sideways on, but the other end (see above) was fairly straight. So I thought start at the other end, get the angle going right, and then going round the curve will be easy. Hmm. So off I started. You can see that the angle of the stitches is very steep and the little squares ... well ... they aren't!!

It didn't take me long to figure out this was a bad idea. So some reverse stitching later, I started on the other end of the cord. It took me three attempts to get the cord going, and even on this last attempt the first two or three cross overs are not quite right, but then they get better so I decided to leave this attempt in.

When stitching curves the angle of the stitches have to be adapted so the stitches on the inside of the curve are closer together on the inside and wider in the middle, while the stitches on the outside of the curve are wider on the outside and closer in the middle. This means the squares aren't square, but this is ok as it adds to the impression of a curve in the pattern, as the cord straightens they should gradually become square.

So this is it completed, in the end and ignoring the false starts it really didn't take very long to do. It's not perfect, but it was very fiddly to start and then work round that curve at such an odd angle so I'm pretty happy with how it is so am going to leave it be.

For any Japanese embroiderers out there who are wondering why this double central doesn't have padding. The design is a challenge piece and doesn't come with a box chart, there is only a photo. In this it looked to me like none of the petals were padded, and since there is also so guidance on thickness of thread I decided that all flat silk would be 2F while all twists will be 4T. This means that both double and single central cords are quite light being worked only in 2 strands of flat silk so I've not padded them.

Monday, 1 June 2009

The lesson for today ...

Well it's been a while since I worked on Braided Chrysanthemum but following a couple of days off after finishing Treasure Ship I put Braided Chrysanthemum back onto the stand and started stitching again. This one doesn't take anywhere near the amount of time as Treasure Ship and it's fun playing with all the colours. I took advantage of the lovely sunshine today to take some photos outside. Not many petals left to do on this one but I'm struggling with the light green braid on the left hand side of the photo. I started at the inner end because it's a straight section and I thought it would be easier to start there even though generally braids are started at the end closest to the stitcher. Well that'll teach me(!), there is generally a reason for these things and starting at this end has made the angle of the braid all wrong. So it'll have to come out and I'll start at the correct end even thought it's a tight curve, and therefore more difficult to start, at least the angle will be better.

So the lesson for today, do what it says in the text book.

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