Monday, October 31, 2016

The Nestlings, Technique and Tools

I haven't done a piece like this for a while, so I thought I'd give myself a break, as it requires no painting or designing. The first step is of course framing up. I have tried a number of ways to stretch the embroidery to be drum tight pre-stitching: from Evertite (too expensive, especially for large pieces); poor-man's Evertite (a term coined by Caela Tyler from a class I took - which involves using regular stretcher bars and then hammering and shimming the sides to spread them as the piece gets loose); to this technique from a class I took with Kay Stanis. Kay demonstrates this technique at her website, as well as on youtube. This last technique is the best, and is what I have been using since.
While I'm on the subject of framing up, I have been using this thumb tack kit from lacis, called  "Corjac" Thumbtack Kit; it works so much better for putting in and removing thumb tacks than using my bare hands. Better still, it works with my existing clover thumb tacks.

I ordered the instructions for The Nestlings from Inspirations magazine a while ago - I was very captivated by the nest. Then when I seriously looked into stitching it, I found that the threads called for are from Australian manufacturers, and not available easily in the US. Fortunately, this is where the MC in color program becomes useful J!

The ground is cream Southern Belle.
Here are the DMC colors I've picked. I may replace some with silk later on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

SFSND Challenge - Jewels of the Sea Part 2

I found out that I have to use ALL the crystals - no leftovers allowed. As I have already matted and mounted the piece on a backing, and the two large red crystals just do not fit into the design, I took their suggestion of using the extra crystals as part of a "signature".

The addendum piece is a separate piece:

To be associated with the main piece however they feel appropriate:

I've decided to mail the whole thing in, as it is a small piece, and the crystals are difficult to photograph with their reflections. Even though it's not due till mid-January, they say I can mail it in now.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

SFSND Challenge - Jewels of the Sea

I was lucky enough to have scored a set of Swarovski crystals that is the basis of the "Jewels of the Sea" challenge. This is the second "Stitch at Home" challenge from the school.

I really enjoy their challenges - they allow me to go to town to try new things - and I don't have to frame up the piece, or to send it in.

I was able to use all but 2 of the crystals, which I will then have to send back. For this piece I used painted cheese cloth, tulle edged with memory thread, and lots and lots of invisible thread. My quilting friend (thanks, Leslie!) provided me with the background - hand dyed batik - which worked well with the design. I did find out that the batik fabric tears easily; the next time I will iron on a backing to strengthen it.