Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Mid-winter greetings

In the UK we really are having a 'bleak midwinter' with snow disrupting all kinds of things, traffic, work, holiday plans, schools. I seem to remember snow every year as a child but don't remember this disruption (maybe it was just because I was too small to notice).
Anyway on this, the shortest day of the year, I'd like to wish you all Happy Mid Winter Celebrations however you are choosing to party/stay warm/stitch/bead/quilt/celebrate.
And for the new year, I hope it brings you sharp needles and shiny threads.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Teeny tiny chrysanthemums

Progress is continuing on the shell box piece. The large chrysanthemum has been challenging me but I think I've solved it now, but that journey is going to be the subject of another post. In the meantime I've gone back to White Blossoms where I have also been challenged by some teeny tiny chrysanthemums. This is a lovely JEC design, mainly worked in white silk with the odd bit of black and gold for contrast. It's a deceptively simple design, the scale of the various motifs proves the challenge. The colour combination is challenging as well, the slightest gap in the stitches means the colour of the fabric shows through. Depending on the colour of the fabric this isn't always such a problem but on this piece the colour combination makes the gaps very obvious and, for me anyway, not acceptable. The two chrysanthemums below are my first attempts and even taking into consideration of the magnifying properties of digital close ups (in reality the motifs are about 1.5-2 cm across), I've decided that after applying the "can you live with it rule" I can't and they'll be coming out.
Apart from the gaps the other things that bothers me is the shape of the petals, they aren't regular. So how to solve this? I ended up doing three things, I went down a needle size, went up from 1.25F to 1.5 F, and put some guide lines in between the petals. I've used yellow couching thread for the guide lines so I can see them while embroidering and can then take them out once the petals are completed.
This process worked very well on the smallest of the flowers so I went onto the larger of the two, well when I say larger this one is about 2.5 cm across.
They also seem to work better working from the centre outwards rather than the other direction, not sure why but it works so I'll continue with this method.
I'm happy now with these chrysanthemums so I'll continue to put in all the basic shapes then will go back and put in all the knots which go over the top. I've only done about a third so far, so quite a bit more to do.
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