Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Smidgen of Progress

I finally worked on this project this weekend.  Not to get too excited as it was only a little amount.  I am currently taking a Casalguidi course at my local needlework shop, so I've been trying to finish my homework on that first.  Fortunately, it has been snowing here so I'm inside stitching.  My last Casalguidi class was supposed to be this past Thursday but it was too treacherous outside, so the class was postponed.  One good thing about all this snow - it really brightens up a room.  In fact, on Saturday morning when I started working on 'the pond', it was too bright.  I had to actually pull the shades down to block the sun a bit.

So, I've been working on this.  There is really nothing to take a picture of.  If I were to do that every time I update this blog, there would be hundreds of pictures with little progress.  I'll wait until it actually looks like I've accomplished something.  I do think though, that I've got a good groove going - knowing how much thread to cut, what order to do the stitches, and how exactly to manage all this fabric.

Until next post... bye bye.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 1, for real

I started "the Pond" (what I'll be calling it from now on) today.  Our clocks went back an hour this weekend so it is an extra long day.  It was a beautiful autumn day (anyone have a synonym for day?) and I actually found it too bright in my dining room.  I don't have a stitching or craft room so I use our formal dining room.  For the amount of times I entertain, it is just fine.

To start of I had my husband Glenn take a picture of me.  He took one with me not knowing and it is actually the more appropriate picture.  It sums up what every embroiderer suffers from - absent mindedness.  I'm about to cut my silk thread and I lose it.  I didn't move, didn't go anywhere... nothing.  I just sat up for a moment and whoosh... gone. 

This picture is just priceless.  What Glenn didn't capture on film was me having a hissy fit.  A moment after this was taken, I took my pants off, thinking the thread magically hopped inside my pants.  As it turned out, it was wedged between the back of the chair and the seat.  How in the heck did it end up there??

Anyway, you'll see how much fabric there is.  As mentioned, it's 32x32" and that's a lot to manage when working with an 8" hoop.  Can't do it any other way.  The next step is one that is very hard for me - cutting brand new silk.  The threads are so lovely all bundled up and they sound amazing.  You might ask - what????  Take a skein of silk (works well with Silk 'n Colors), place it up to your ear and squeeze it.  It makes a 'squeaky' sound.  It's as if it's alive.  But once I make the first cut, I'm ok.  Now the problem I have with variegated thread is that you have to be very careful in keeping the variegation flowing.  Embroiders will know what I mean, but in a nutshell you have to keep track of which end is in the needle and which end goes first into the fabric.  Say your silk is forest green on one end and celery green on the other.  If you begin stitching with the forest green (i.e. forest green makes the first stitches), you'll end up with celery green stitches at the end when you need to finish off your thread.  When you start a new strand, you have to have the forest green on the needle and continue stitching with the celery green.  I hope this makes sense.  Another difficulty with variegated thread is that you have to complete the 'x' as you go.  So you have to plan out how you are going to complete a block of stitches.  Your goal is to see a gradual change in color as you move along.  I have made my life easier by cutting all my thread lengths.  For the variegated threads, I've cut 36" length and have labeled them in order as I cut them.  For the solid silk, I'm cutting 46".  You might think, why so long?  When working with solid colored threads, I fold the thread in half (when 2 ply is required) and when I make my first 'x', I catch the loop on the back so I don't have to make an away waste not.  A lot less hiding of threads is required.  Then I'm only working with 23" of thread.

When first working with the Thread Gatherer Silk 'n Colors silk, I have to say that I'm not impressed so far.  Perhaps my thread lengths are too long?  Perhaps.  I found with color 106 (SNC106) Lavender Haze, by the time I got to the end of the thread, one of the strands looked very weak, as if one little tug would have ripped the thread.  It was also a bit too fuzzy.  Silk always seems to get fuzzy but this seemed more than normal.  Perhaps I'm being fussy?  It looks good... so far. 

The colors aren't quite right on film.  The color along the outside is the Lavender Haze and it's a lot more purple looking, not pink as shown.  The outer square is the Soie d'Alger 1343 Periwinkle as I call it and it's quite a stunning color.  The inner square is the SNC185 Alpine Grasses and it's quite pale; shades of green and a bit of grey.  The innermost part of the design is being left blank.  It is going to be an Algerian Eyelet and I'm saving those for the end.  I do not want to snag it.  So, it is these 3 colors that form the border all around the picture; i.e. forming a grid.  So, only 24 more like this to go!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today is the BIG DAY!

The name of this lovely piece is "The Pond Quilt" (although I've heard it being called Waterlily Pond Quilt) and is designed by Martina Weber at  The picture in no way does the piece justice.

The colors are bold, bright and beautiful.  The finished size (on 32ct. linen) is 22x22 inches.  That's pretty big.  With allowance for framing, I'm working on a piece of 32x32 Antique White Belfast linen.  The threads are, in a word, yummy.  I'm using some DMC floss, Rainbow Gallery Braid, Thread Gatherer Silk 'n Colors and Silk Perle, and Soie d' Alger Silk.  I ordered the Delica beads as a kit and they came in the most adorable glass containers, I can hardly wait to start using them.  But, since the beads are the last thing to attach on a project, my guess is that I'll be using them around December of 2011... yes 2011! 

Well off to start the border.  I figure I will do all of the border and then each individual square.  The border will take a long time and I will post my progress.  I  found the centre on my huge piece of fabric and am ready to start.  Happy stitching to me!