Monday, 18 August 2008

Karahana, trefoils

It is frustrating to have so little stitching time when I am tantalizingly close to finishing Karahana. An hour here, an hour there, I have finished padding and stitching the trefoils, next I have to outline them with a couched pair of #4 gold.

For me stitching with #1 gold over the padded shapes has been the most difficult technique on this design. From some angels my stitching looks awful but from others it looks ok. I all depends how the light catches it.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Karahana, stems and trefoils

Lucky me, I was able to stitch Friday evening, all day Saturday and much of Sunday. Better still, on Saturday I was stitching with friends. Sue invited me to join her and Jenny (another member of the Bournemouth Crew) for a days stitching at her home.

Jenny, a very experienced stitcher and accredited teacher of Japanese Embroidery, was adding the final touches to Yushoku Summer, the Phase XI design. After learning all 46 techniques in Phases I-X, students learn about 'sensibility' through Phases XI-XX. Yushoku Summer is stitched on a special fabric called Ro that is woven with a row of holes in the weft valley and is used for summer kimonos. Sue informs me that Jenny completed the stitching on Sunday. Well done, Jenny.

Sue is also close to completing Bouquet from the Heart of Japan, a Phase I design that she is stitching as a practice piece. It is common practice to stitch a practice piece along side or between Phases to consolidate the techniques you are learning.

With so much stitching time I was hopeful that I would finish or at least come close to finishing Karahana but as usual I grossly underestimated how long things would take me.

I did manage to outline the two woven effect leaves with a couched pair of #4 gold threads and to complete the lower part of the stem in the same way.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

After my initial elation at completing the bottom half of the design, something bothered me about the way the leaves joined the stem; it looked clumsy. I examined the photographs supplied with the box chart and those that I took at Bournemouth (there is always a stitched version of the Phase pieces available during the class for students to refer to) and could see how it differed from mine. I am going to rework mine. It won’t take terribly long and I will not be satisfied if I leave it as is.

The trefoils are padded in the same manner as the flower centre but not as fully. I used two layers of padding cotton (four strands) and one layer of silk (four strands on the central part and 2 strands on the outer parts). The stitching is a horizontal foundation in #1 gold. As usual the foreground element is padded and stitched before the elements behind them. In this case the center part is uppermost.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

When all three parts are padded and stitched, the trefoil is outlined with a couched pair of #4 gold.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I probably still have as much stitching remaining as I manged to do this weekend.

Happy Stitching

Friday, 8 August 2008

Needlepoint Group Project 2

(I thought I published this several days ago, but apparently I only saved a draft, so belatedly here it is)

Area D: two Rhodes Hearts (colour A, medium) either side of over lapping Cross Stitches (colour A, light). There is a little more stitching to do in this area, the chart suggests the lightest colour A should be used but I am considering another option. I will wait until some more stitching is completed so that I can see how the colour change affects the overall balance.

Area E: Upright crosses tie down the intersection of long stitches worked in a grid. The chart suggested the dark colour A perle cotton for these stitches. As I could not match this shade in perle cotton, I used Colour A floss in the darkest shade. The upright crosses are worked in alternating rows of colour A and colour B. The stitches also alternate between two shades of the appropriate colour. The chart suggested the dark and medium in each colour way, but I used the light and medium for colour A and the dark and medium for colour B. Finally cross stitches are worked into each 'diamond' shape formed by the grid using colour B light.

The central area is complete except for a few stitches in areas B and D.

Happy Stitching.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Karahana, woven effect

As discussed yesterday, last weekend was stitching free so here is one I did earlier.

The three leaves on Karahana are stitched in a design called woven effect. I have already used this technique on Venerable Friends and I like both the stitching and the finished effect. You begin by laying a weft foundation, but unlike a normal foundation where you cover the fabric completely, for woven effect you lay two stitches then miss a stitch resulting in a stripped effect. When the entire motif has been filled in this manner, stitches are laid perpendicular to the foundation at 5mm intervals.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The perpendicular stitches are couched between each pair of foundation stitches. This holds both the foundation and the perpendicular stitches in place. Stitching into the space between the original stitches then completes the foundation. These stitches also serve to hide the couching stitches and the perpendicular stitches now appear to weave under and over the foundation. Finally the new stitches are couched half way between each perpendicular stitch so that they also appear to weave in and out.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

For the scroll on Venerable Friends the foundation was stitched in flat silk and #1 gold was used for the perpendicular stitches; on Karahana both the foundation and the perpendicular stitches are worked in #1 twisted gold. I like both versions but I think that the twisted good looks really effective.

I stitched this leaf while in Bournemouth earlier this year. Last night I completed a second leaf slightly smaller that the smallest petal. Where as it took me 4.5 hours to fill the petal with #4 gold couched round and round, it took me little more than an hour to fill this leaf from start to finish.

Happy Stitching

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Another Place

I didn’t do any stitching at the weekend; instead I was having a fab time in Liverpool.

We went to see the Brouhaha Street Carnival that was part of the European Capital of Culture events. As well as the colourful carnival that we expected to see on Saturday afternoon, by pure chance we were in China town at the right time to see the Samba Carnival that we did not know was taking place.

On Sunday, before heading for home we made a small diversion to visit Antony Gormley’s 'Another Place'. I’ve wanted to see this for as long as I’ve known about it and I wasn’t disappointed. 100 cast iron statues of the artist gaze out to sea along a 3-kilometre stretch of beach. Some are nearly 1 kilometre out to sea and spend much of their time under water; others are high up the beach and are only fully submerged during the highest tides. When made, the statues were identical but time, tide and weather have affected each in a unique way. The tide was fairly high and rising while we were there so I did not get to see the sea life that has made its home on some of the statues. Man has contributed his mark with the inevitable graffiti on some and the addition of a swimsuit for one statue and a dress for another.

All in all a such a good weekend, I didn't even miss my stitching!