Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Strawberry Fever

I always have a mental list of projects, fabrics, threads or techniques that I want to try. Sometimes, two or three ideas come together to form a plan. Sometime ago, I saw some walnut purses on the Embroiderer’s Guild forum. They immediately went onto the list and at Christmas I saved four walnut shells for when I got around to them.

A couple of weeks ago, I acquired my first cone of Gilt Sylke Twist but didn’t know then what I would do with it. Recently there has been a spat of strawberry embroideries, led (I think) by Carol’s strawberry CQ quilt. Hopefully, Carol will post a picture of her block on her blog for you to see but in the meantime she has posted a step-by-step guide on how she stitched a detached chain stitch strawberry that I think is her own design.

This started me thinking that my Redde GST would be perfect for a strawberry, and lo and behold, Mary Corbet worked a beautiful strawberry in redde GST satin stitch with a lattice in pink GST over the top. I decided to make a 'strawberry' walnut purse.

I made a template for the fabric cover and marked the outline onto a piece of fabric large enough to fit into a hoop will I stitched reverse chain stitch inside the outline.

I ran several rows of running stitch outside the outline to gather the surplus fabric inside the shell before cutting out the shape (with surplus). I covered one half of the shell first with wadding, which I glued to the shell and trimmed to fit. I then covered the shell with the prepared fabric and pulled up the gathering threads on the inside. The cover moved about a little, so I temporarily laced it in place to do the next step.

I had decided to cover each half of the shell in detached buttonhole with return, starting from the top. The Gilt Sylke Twist is a somewhat stiff thread, more like wire than silk; it took a little getting used to. I found that it is better to work with shorter lengths (I have a tendency to work with long threads even thought I know it is rarely best practice!) and that the thread sometimes needs to be eased into the stitch to prevent kinks forming. I needed to take my time and just enjoy working with this beautiful thread. I kept stopping to twist the shell under the light to see the gold sparkle.

After reaching approximately half way, I realized that the rows where distorting around the shell rather than going straight over the top and that they were not going to fully cover the surface. I went back across the work I had already done and eased the stitches open with my tekobari, which helped but it still doesn’t look like enough. I could open the stitches more but I think that will spoil them and the effect of the thread. I think it needs some filler rows but I’m not sure how to go about doing that. I know that detached buttonhole is used to cover heavily padded shapes or preformed shaped such as beads, so there must be a way to resolve this problem.

At the moment I am not sure how to proceed. I’m wondering if it would have been better to cover the shell with spiralling trellis stitch instead.

Happy Stitching


Melissa said...

OH how cute is this going to be!!!! I hope you learn how to resolve your problem, wish I could help but I have no experience with that sort of thing. What if you just kept going?
OH and others can see some of Carol L's work at the Hand Embroidery Group Blog.

Anonymous said...

Like Melissa said, I have no experience in needlelace, so no advice to offer - but it looks lovely to me.I id have soem questions though - How do you start new threads doing detached buttonhole? And what is a tekobari? thanks - Im looking forward to seeing your progress on this

KV said...

Such a great, fun project!

Kathy V in NM

Elmsley Rose said...

This is so fantastic that you are doing this, and I will be following your posts with eagerness!

Have you seen http://www.employees.org/~cathy/