Friday, March 29, 2013

Field Mouse "Pierre" finished

Nowhere near the best work, but better than expected. I will sit on it and see if he improves in a few days.
At this point I am taking a break from my "birds, flowers and cute animals" phase - although I still need work with cute animals.
I have a few frames on order and will post the framed pieces once they arrive. I haven't decided whether I want to frame Pierre or not.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Field Mouse

This piece is very difficult. It may turn out to be a "Fail".
Too many colors to keep track of...

So I gave up following the "rows" and started just winging it, using the color photo as a guide.
I'll find out how it turns out when it's done.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Field mouse tail and foot

The tail does not look cute - maybe it needs to be less hairy. I will revisit when the fur is done. The foot is interesting. This was the first time I stitched with doll's hair. The hair which is stitched around the toes for definition is more delicate that I expected, so I had to be careful when I pull through.

Details of the foot.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tanja Berlin Field Mouse

My next project is Tanja Berlin's Field Mouse. I got this kit 5 years ago (pre-JE), together with the Red Poll kit. After failing miserably with the Red Poll - it looked like a bird fluffed up with Salmonellosis, I shelved this piece. I'm hoping that I'll be able to do this successfully this time. This kit came with all the threads and pre-printed fabric, which is nice.

It has very detailed (and complicated) instructions. It's more structured than Trish Burr's techniques - possibly due to formal training at the Royal School of Needlework.

I can hardly wait to get to the mouse. So far the plants and especially the wheat are not fun to do!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kingfisher finished

I decided to just fix the back feathers by rounding the corners, instead of unstitching them. It is somewhat better.

The side feathers were done with 1/2 strand of light yellow Japanese flat silk. It turned out really fine and fluffy.
Then I decided that he was too skinny, and needed a rounder tummy. Here's the final version - I'm going to name him Kenny. I will review him tomorrow and see if anything else needs to be done.

I am done with doing birds for now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kingfisher back feathers

This piece is getting difficult. It definitely is an advanced piece. I had to redo the top tail feathers - it didn't look right the first time.

Then the individual back feathers were not too bad until I had to put the silk edging on. I had to go to full Japanese embroidery mode - awl to split the silk (1 into 2), tekobari, my prescription glasses for JE, finger cots. It took some getting used to, the silk sinks quite a bit into the floss, unlike using floss on top of floss.
It does not look good - I'll have to sleep on it.

Friday, March 15, 2013


The problem with this piece is that the French knots for the lichens and the seed heads were so much fun that it was hard to stop!
Ready for the bird next. So far I haven't used any silk.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sacred Kingfisher

After I realize how expensive church linen is, I decided to use cotton sateen instead. When I was tracing the design, I found that the cotton sateen I have is too rough, so I use Southern Belle muslin instead.

Since I wasted a lot of time hunting for the correct colors the last time, I decided to organize my work area. I use a music stand for the book and instructions. This is also a great place to put my magnets and park all my needles, lined up per the instructions for the section under work. I organized the 40+ skeins into bins of 5 each, and then retrieve and line up the skeins required for the section I'm working on in a separate bin on top. Once the section is finished, these will be filed back into the big bin and the next set retrieved into the top bin, and so on.

Since the instructions specified Eterna silk, which is no longer available, I determined the colors required and plan to substitute Japanese silk instead. For a description of the Eterna silk colors, see EternaSilkColors.  Another idea is to split the Glorianna threads, especially for the several values of the "jonquil" side feathers - maybe I can just use the Glorianna (variegated) narcissus instead. I may try this out later.
Here's what I have for today.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Falling Stars

Gracie is completed and framed. Here she is in a simple brown wood frame.

I decided just to put trim around Betty and call her done.

My next big project is JEC special dye piece - Falling Stars, or variously been referred to as Fireflies or Lightning Bugs. I have it framed up, and the 3 bright circles are the fire flies, and not reflections from light. The fabric is advance as it is somewhat transparent. I'll wait for class next month before starting on it.

In the meantime, I plan to do another Trish Burr piece, now that I feel I can handle her birds. It's the Sacred Kingfisher from the Color Confidence book. This is not going to be a practice piece so I will use church linen and be much more careful with the transfer, and finish it properly.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bee Eater finished

Bee eater is (maybe) done! The signature is not great - I may re-do it; the date is ok. I was extra careful with the beak and the feet -  both turned out well. She is very cute - I think I'll name her Betty.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bee Eater Feathers

It is much easier doing random long and short stitches this way, particularly for the feathers; they are supposed to be sticking out and not lay smoothly in one direction. But let me not get too carried away - I sometimes mess it up right at the very end...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Trish Burr's Bee-Eater

While waiting for the frame for Gracie to arrive, I decided to do a practice piece. This is from Trish Burr's book Color Confidence in Embroidery. This is what it looks like from the book. It seems to have very good step-by-step instructions that I can follow - we'll see.

I used Kay Stanis' backing technique method to attach a grey silk onto the muslin backing. I used a pencil to trace the outline and was ready to start; but had to run to the store to get the colors that I don't have.