Showing posts with label Thread Painting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thread Painting. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Viceroy Butterfly Take Two

I last posted on this project in November, but the other day I think I saw a Viceroy on our patio, so that brought it to mind again. It is a little early in Toronto to see Monarchs, so I was standing there trying to remember what distinguishes a Viceroy from a Monarch. The difference is that a Viceroy has two rows of white dots around the edge, while a Monarch only has one. I couldn't remember before it flew away, but I did remember that the Viceroy has pointier wings, as you can see here, so I still think that's what it was. The design I'm using actually looks more like a Monarch:

This guy has been through hard times, but I think he is finally on the right track! After my last post I took out all the long and short stitch that was on the left side, so only the split stitch outline was left. Then it sat for months until today while I tried to think of a better approach.

I realized that to get better coverage I would have needed to stitch much more densely than I had been. The embroidery would have become very heavy, possibly fragile, and not what I wanted for a lap quilt. This week I was looking at my copy of Diana Lampe's Embroidered Pansies, and I was surprised to notice that all her pansies were thread painted with two strands of floss in the needle. Two strands! Shocking!

Why not use two strands here? I had been toying with the idea of filling the butterfly with closely worked rows of stem stitch, so that's what I did today, and that's what you see above. I am very pleased with the result! It is fast, easy, covers well, and still maintains the sheen of the thread. Stem stitch keeps most of the thread on the front of the work, which keeps the whole thing light. Plus with two strands I can start each row with a loop knot, which further reduces the bulk and speeds things along.

I am so relieved to have this sorted!

I am linking this post up to WIP Wednesday #96 at The Needle and Thread Network. Three posts in a row this week! I'm on a roll. :D

Related posts: If you haven't looked already, you can see the unsatisfactory long and short stitch in the November 2012 post, and the first post on the project in October 2012.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Two From Trish Burr

Some of you may recall the butterfly embroidery in long and short stitch that I started last summer. The more I looked at it here on my blog, the less happy I became, so I figured it was time to call in the expert! I bought these two books from Trish Burr:

The first one is Needle Painting Embroidery, Fresh Ideas for Beginners (Sally Milner Publishing, 2011). The second is Long and Short Stitch Embroidery, A Collection of Flowers (Sally Milner Publishing, 2006). Although they were not published in this order, this is the order I recommend you buy and read them in.

Once I started to read, I immediately saw where I had been going wrong on the butterfly. Although it is called "long and short stitch," there are in fact no short stitches in the technique. My mistake! In her books Burr does something that is really genius, and which for me was totally the missing link. All her photos and patterns are the same size that they will be in real life:

So you can see exactly how long your stitches should be, how close they should be, and how they will blend together. The 2011 book has several little practice petals and leaves that you can do to perfect your technique. It also has a number of projects, organized in three levels of difficulty. The Little Bee Eater, which Burr recently taught in an online class, is one of the projects in this book.

The 2006 book is more advanced, and goes into more detail on shading and choosing colours.

This book also has scale photos of the projects to go with the patterns. Surprisingly, there is not that much overlap between the two books. All the projects are different, and the 2006 book focuses more on colour, while the 2011 book looks more at technique. Although obviously, those things cannot be entirely separated! I think you would do fine with either one, but personally, I am glad I bought them both. My long and short stitch has already improved!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Inspirations 75

I have a serious backlog of reviews that I'd like to do for Friday Book Review Days. My review of Inspirations 73 has proven to be one of my most popular posts, so here is the latest - Inspirations 75. Trust me, the photos alone will be worth it!

Inspirations magazine is published quarterly by Country Bumpkin in Australia.  The production values are consistently high.  I have to admit that I have not made many of the projects - Cottage Garden will be the first one (although I do have more kits in my stash).  But there is so much to learn in these magazines, from the history of embroidery, to various unusual embroidery stitches, through colour and design, that it is always worth the long wait between issues!

I particularly love the photo styling that Stylist Fiona Fagan has done for this issue. Since I started this blog I have become much more attuned to how photos are styled! Nikki Delport-Wepener's stumpwork cover project Bauhinia was beautiful to start with, and the mix of real flowers, beads and skeins of silk threads that Fiona has added to the photo raise it to a whole new level.  Don't the skeins of thread in the artist's palette look great?

And what more can you say about this one?:

The actual project in this photo is the cauliflower pincushion in the upper left hand corner.  I love the small scale corn cobs and tomatoes that Fiona has found to go with it.

As for the actual content of the magazine, there is a really excellent article by Anna Maria Salehar about her approach to thread painting portraits.  It is great to get a glimpse into her creative process.  I was struck by how much the work feels like an intricate and compelling puzzle that Anna Maria slowly pieces together. I think the hallmark of a good artist is the way they are able to transcend their chosen medium. Anna Maria certainly shows us the way!

I don't usually like to choose a favourite, but this time I do have to say that I am quite enamoured of Jenny McWhinney's "Early Bird" redwork peg bag:

I always love the combination of red and white, or red and natural.  These birds are so cute, and I like Jenny's new approach to redwork.  Instead of a solid line, she uses a sketchy, broken line that makes the work feel more like an etching. My only quarrel with the design is that she uses three shades of red, which I think is unnecessary and distracting, given all the careful line shading in the design. But that is easily corrected. Washing lines are against the by-laws in my neighbourhood (I know, it's not green), but this would also make a great framed piece for the laundry room.

Right inside the front cover is an ad for an upcoming Country Bumpkin book of embroidered blankets and quilts.  The large embroidered heart immediately caught my eye, so I was pleased to see several more in the "Hearts and Roses" drawstring bag by Lesley McConnell.

The hearts in the drawstring bag are quite small, but the patterns could easily be enlarged.  I would like to use them on quilt squares, maybe nine all together.   The combination of polychrome embroidery and patchwork is something I see in the Australian quilting magazines a lot, and I'd like to make one myself.  After my redwork quilt!

So once again, there was plenty of inspiration here.  Highly recommended!

Related Post:

Inspirations 73
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