Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Sunday Yarn - 19 Feb 2017

At the moment, I have a virus - possibly a touch of the 'flu, so I'm not getting much embroidery done.  However, I have been able to do a decent amount of knitting and I wanted to share the results with you this afternoon.

First of all, I've completed all the knitting on a new baby project, the cream cardigan above.  It needs a bit of a press, some buttons and some embroidery now.  The arms seem a little too long to me, but it might also be that they're a bit 'thin'.  The pattern said to use size 6 (5mm) needles with the DK yarn, but I found it a bit too loose, so used size 8's (4mm).

The sample here is me having a go at cabling using an on-line tutorial I found last night.  I changed direction twice (to see how it worked), thus the odd look about it.  I also used up an old 4 ply yarn on this, so that was good. ☺  Always pleased to use up odds and ends.

And I'm almost at the end of my first ball of yarn on my scarf.  I wish I'd use another 10-20 stitches in this one so that it'd be wider, but I'm certainly not starting again now!  It'll be fine in use and will be long enough to layer up.

Next, apart from the finishings on the two recent baby knits, will be making a start on the full size things for me! ☺  I'll be using mostly chunky yarn, so it'll be similar to knitting a baby garment in 4 ply.  The 4th thing I have in mind to do for me is for super chunky, so even quicker and easier!  My mum's ordered a waistcoat using the oddments of chunky yarn too, so shouldn't have much in the way of bits and pieces hanging around afterwards.

Back to embroidery tomorrow and, all being well and I'm able to edit a post in time, there'll be some more detail on the silver thread work on the wedding dress project.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Friday, 17 February 2017

Wedding Dress Modesty Panel - Silver Threads

Time for part three of this project and stage three - working the silver outlines and stems.

As is true of many embroiderers, my go to metallic thread brand is almost always Kreinik.  It's pretty rare that they don't have what I need and I have a good supply of their threads in stock.  Japan Threads #1, 5 and 7 were perfect for this project.  I used #5 to work the larger flower centres and #7 matched the silver work on the dress exactly.  I used #1 as a couching thread. I just needed to take care to make sure that each couching stitch went over a net thread or else it would be useless in holding the Japan #7 thread down once the stabilizer was dissolved.

Here are a few photos showing progress though the piece.  They're self explanatory really, so minimal text today. ☺

The light was reflecting to beautifully off the silk flowers and the silver metallic thread, so I had to take this shot and try to capture at least some of it.  Those of you who've seen this kind of work in the 'flesh' will know just how limited even the best photography is, but it gives a good idea.

I was posting regular updates on Instagram and was delighted around about this stage to know I was definitely on the right track as I got the comment "I love love love it!" from the bride. ♥

I had wanted to have a gap in the silver thread above the 3-leaf section just either side of the top centre and put jewels in the gap, but it would have been too hard to sink to the end without being very visible, so I re-jigged it to put the jewels either side of a line instead,

By this point, it was already beginning to look quite complete, but there were still two more types of trim to add.  More on that next time.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Work in Progress Wednesday - 15 February 2017

I confess, I'm not getting a lot of embroidery done at the moment.  To be honest, I'm more into knitting just now as I'm doing baby projects both for this year's Shows and also for friends' newborns.  I've also been stashing some yarn for some knits for myself.  More on those projects on Sunday...

At least I've got a little more progress on the everlasting violet thread painting to share.  I'm expecting to need this for a special greetings card in May, but there may be up to two more also needed, so I really should get back going with it.

I took this photos with my phone, so the colour isn't quite as faithful as I can get it using my camera.  I need a few things sorting on my technology - camera battery door fixing, new laptop battery and the power supply 'pin' thingy fixing, so I hope to get to that as soon as I can and be able to work more comfortably instead of having to compensate for some problem most of the time.  Frustrating!

Join me again on Friday for the next instalment in the wedding dress modesty panel series.


Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Monday, 13 February 2017

Wedding Dress Modesty Panel - Cream silk stitching

Welcome to part two of the wedding dress panel series.  Today we're looking at the creation of the basic satin stitched flower and leaf motifs. I had a couple of kind comments on the stitchery from the last post, but I only showed photos of the embroidery and embellishments on the dress proper, i.e. not my work at all. Sorry for any confusion there, it seems I wasn't sufficiently clear. From now on, all the work is mine! 

To be honest, a lot of them were not worked terribly well, especially not the smaller flowers, which weren't that easy to create.  However, I wasn't too worried about that as I knew the dodgy parts would be covered by outlining and beads, so I could get away with working a few flowers before finding the best method.  Above you can see all the small motifs done - a first milestone, then below a detail shot of one part once the first of that medium flowers was complete.

It was at the point in the 3rd photo that I ran out of thread!  I'd badly underestimated the amount of silk needed and thought that what I had in stock would do.  It didn't - not nearly!

The next part of the drama was to source a supplier who didn't charge the earth for shipping and would do so quickly, so not Barnyarns this time, but Silken Strands - a small, family business based in Wales.  Highly recommended for speed of service and reasonable postage costs.  I confess to having enjoyed 24 hours off the project to catch up with some other tasks whilst the threads arrived ☺

Drama stage three was receiving the threads (I bought two packs to be sure of having enough!) and finding that they were a whole shade lighter than the original one I'd had a few years!  Possibly it had darkened in storage.  Anyway, Janet and I agreed that, in view of the timing, it was more important to carry straight on and hope it wouldn't show later on than to try and source another shade.  Those of you who are, like me, very sensitive to nuances of colour (and have good screen resolution) may be able to see where one shade ends and the second began.  It was clearer in real life and screamed almost painfully at me....

You can see the colour difference again here in this close up, but it fades into less significance when the whole lot of the silk work is done.  To be honest, that colour change was the only real disappointment to me in this project.

That's it for this time.  Next time I'll be taking you on a tour of the silver work parts.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Friday, 10 February 2017

Wedding Dress Modesty Panel - design and sampling

Here's the project many readers have been waiting to read more about - the wedding dress modesty panel.  Today's introductory instalment covers the purpose, design and transfer of the project and is the first in a series of six posts.

My lovely young friend, Lauren, has been living mostly in Ghana for the last couple of years and, as often happens, met and fell in love with a nice, local chap. ☺♥☻ Their wedding date was set for mid December and she bought both of their wedding outfits on a long trip back to the UK.

However, there was a small problem with the bridal dress - it's a bit low at the back.  By European standards, it was pretty decent, with the back finishing around about bra level, but by Ghanaian standards, it was too low for polite company.  To quote the bride, "You can flash your boobs any day of the week, but one flash of a woman's back....!"  So, in order to avoid offending local cultural sensibilities, Lauren sent me this photo of the needed 'addition' and asked me if I could help out with some embroidery to make it look like it was part of the dress.  I quite liked the idea of the challenge and hopped on a train over to her parents' place in Halifax clutching my art box which I'd refilled with white, cream and silver threads of all types.

Here I am determining the size and shape of the panel - running carefully around the edge with some red sewing cotton and a tapestry needle so as not to jab into her!

After lots of holding up threads against the stitchery on the dress (which seemed to have been done in machine rayon and silver Jap style thread, then hand embellished), and then trialling some on some scrap net pieces, these are the threads that matched best with the original materials and survived the necessary work process.

I worked a couple of small samples, this one trialling a couple of different Madeira shades - ecru/2404 and off white, and also trying out some of the beads and sparklies Lauren and her mum, Janet - an accomplished seamstress, had bought in for the project.  You might also notice a sort of 'haze' on this photo, as if there were a plastic bag or something underneath the net.  Well, in a way there is, as I had to used Romeo water soluble stabilizer to work this piece.  The net is quite fine, but nothing like fine enough to be able to hand work enough stitches on easily.  Stabilizer provided the perfect solution.  Once the stitchery is complete, you just rinse it out well.

Naturally, I took a lot of photos of the embroidery design on the dress and here are some of the details from those pictures.  I used these not only to create a suitable pattern using motifs as close as possible to the originals, but also to get more of an insight into how they were worked and how best to set about it myself. NB These 3 photos are from the dress proper and are not my work.

After looking at it for a while, I traced around the edge of the panel and began to put together a design idea trying to make it look as 'at home' as possible.  I'd been told not to worry as Lauren's hair would cover it much of the time and it just needed to give an idea, but, hey, this is me!  It had to be spot on, right?? ☺

Here it is set up in the hoop after the tricky task of tracing the outlines onto the net using a fine black biro.  You can clearly see the stabilizer here and also that I tacked along the top and bottom of the panel to keep it still.  Given that the net's just that little bit stretchy, I had to be very careful not to have it held taut in the hoop, but to sit as it would in the dress.  The Romeo 'fabric' acted as a stabiliser in that sense too.

Next time I'll show you the first stage of the stitching - the ecru silk flowers and leaf motifs.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Monday, 6 February 2017

Lilac Bellpull Project

Here we are at the second project of last autumn's stitch-a-thon!

Actually, I began this one in the summer shortly after getting all the projects for the Bingley Show sorted, but didn't get to work much on it until a few weeks later on.  I used it as a bit of an alternate project alongside the autumn leaves some of the time. Not often, as this one was over-due anyway and the leaves one was to a fairly tight time schedule, but I did a little bit here and there for variety.

The starting points were that the bride (a Chinese friend who'd actually got married back in July) loved purple shades and has very little room in her home - no living room, poor thing - and so something to hang was best.

In Patricia Ann Bage's 'Beginners Guide to Drawn Thread Embroidery', I found this design, the centre of which I'd worked a few years ago, also in purples, as a wedding card.  The bellpull ends I had in stock were quite narrow though, so I needed to adapt the pattern ever so slightly to take it in about 4 threads at each side.

I didn't seem to take many WIP shots, so we can do this all in one post.  Here we go:

At this point I realised that two things needed changing:

1) The purple squares just didn't work.  The shade of purple was too red to co-ordinate well with the lovely, rich, blue-purple in the centre motif (much more glaring that it appears here), and; 2) I'd miscounted on the chart and should have left done klosters blocks of 13 stitches, then 9, then 13 again.  So, I took it out back to the innermost green square sections and re-worked it with the correct spacing and the red-purple replaced by Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid in 032.

As you can see, it wasn't very comfortable to work this piece.  The fabric I was using was really too narrow to fit into the nearest size of frame I could make up (Q snap 8"/11" rectangle).  Maybe it was partly this, but also an unhealthy mixture of not reading the instructions properly, rushing to get the project completed after the Autumn Leaves one so as to get on with the next (I wanted clear decks as far as possible) and/or over-confidence that led me to mess up with removing the threads as you can see here:

I removed all 12 rows instead of removing 4, leaving 4, then removing the final 4.  I just didn't read the instructions for the filling stitches or look closely enough at the pattern at the right time.  Lesson learned!  So, I had to choose alternative fillings that didn't require a central bar of threads still in place and that would look OK in this fairly long space.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any decent photos of the final stitched stage before the awkward sewing up part, but here it is finished up and you can see the fillings in the close ups.  A little narrow, but not too bad on the whole.

I'll leave you with a photo that I snapped on my phone (very badly, sorry!) of the happy couple and their witnesses signing the register.

Which project next?  The bridal dress panel is coming up soon. ♥

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2016/7

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Sunday Yarn - 5 Feb 2017

How long is it since I last wrote a Sunday Yarn post?  A long time, methinks.  Perhaps for some of the baby projects last year?

I have two pregnant friends again (different ones from last year) and I'm also planning to enter the knitting categories in one or more shows this coming summer, so I'll be keeping my knitting needles busy as well as my embroidery ones.

As you can see from the photo of the blue cardigan above, I've worked my 'go-to' baby girl pattern again - I think this will be the 5th time now, but the first in a premature size.  The Otley Show has a class 'specially for baby jackets to go to the local premature baby unit, so I wanted to join in. ☺  I got some lovely, pure cotton yarn for this one.

Below is my 60% worked, rather narrow, bright pink scarf.  The yarn for this one is wonderfully soft too - 50% cotton and 50% bamboo.  It's done in double stocking stitch and will be for me.  Mum gave me a pair of bright pink gloves and so I decided to knit a scarf to go with them.

Last, but not least, we have the two bigger patterns I bought the other day with some of the yarn to work them in.  The jumper/sweater (on the right) is in a girls' size rather than adults', but I'm sure I can size it up OK.  I bought the same yarn as seen on the photo for that one, and another one I really liked to work the other one in.  I might even make two of those - do another in black.  We shall see.

More updates when I've more progress to share.

Back to embroidery tomorrow.  I only write yarncrafts posts on occasional Sundays - my blog isn't changing direction.☺)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Friday, 3 February 2017

Autumn Leaves Wedding Pillow - The Final Piece

Welcome to the sixth and final instalment on the Autumn Leaves piece.  This time I share a few shots of the completed piece from various angles - trying to catch the light on the sheen of the threads and to show the backing fabric too. ☺

Finished size is about 6"/15cm and it was made up in the same way as its big brother - with a piece of scrap cotton pinned to protect the backing from the metallic threads whilst being sewn together.  Enjoy!

Coming up next: a lilac counted thread bellpull.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Monday, 30 January 2017

Autumn Leaves Wedding Pillow - Numbering and Metallic Leaf Flecks

This is where we left off in part four of this series, the completed silk thread painting.  Part five takes a brief look at the metallic work.  I say brief as I, sadly, didn't take many WIP photos during this part.

I love metallic touches in my pieces and am a big fan of Kreinik threads.  The numbering was done in copper coloured #8 fine braid in shade 021C, couched down with cord shade 021C.

Numerals complete and time to add a few metallic flecks to the leaves.  These were the threads I chose from my collection of Kreinik Cords:

At this point, the piece is still in the hoop.  Part six, next time, will showcase the completed little cushion/pillow.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Friday, 27 January 2017

Autumn Leaves Wedding Pillow - Leaf 5 and Complete Sprig

Welcome to part four and we start with part of the outlining of the fifth leaf (and some lovely sheen on the silk threads).

This was the last section of thread painting on this project and here are a few shots of how it was done.

Not much out of the ordinary to report this time, except the usual working and re-working of the leaf veins.  I don't miss that, I can tell you!! ☻

Next time we add the metallic parts.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017