Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Springtime in Ontario

There's a wooded park in my neighbourhood with lovely trilliums currently in bloom - aren't they gorgeous? The trillium is Ontario's provincial flower:

Cool looking fallen tree trunks, with some roots barely hanging on:


Mossy tree  roots:


 This isn't a great shot but you can see the ravine.  Not much rain this spring, so this creek is almost dry:

I know most people hate dandelions because they're weeds, but I love them.  I think they're beautiful and they remind me of playing in the grass as a kid:

This park is in the middle of an urban sprawl so many people walk through to just take a walk, or to walk their dogs.  There are two high schools down the road so lot of kids hang out here.  I adore that it's a well-used and well-loved park - but I really abhor all the litter.  I tried hard to keep litter out of these shots.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review - The Art of Embroidery by Françoise Tellier-Loumagne

The most recent addition to my book collection is The Art of Embroidery by Françoise Tellier-Loumagne.  

This 304-page book has over 500 colour photographs.  It's not a technique book, but rather a visual feast.  Flowers, rocks, leaves, railway tracks, cauliflower and farm fences are just some of the items beautifully photographed to show all the glorious texture that exists out there.  Françoise then interprets those photos into textile pieces using various techniques (embroidery, quilting, adding found objects, etc.).  The way she uses embroidery is quite stunning.

There's very little text.  It's really about showing us that textures exist everywhere, and how to let our imaginations run wild when recreating that texture using cloth and stitch. 

Below is a selection of  some of my favourite page layouts.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TAST 2012 - French Knots

Two VERY quick-and-dirty samples of french knots - not much time for stitching this week. 

  • Milliner needles are a must (the eye and shaft are the same diameter, so the knots slide off easily)
  • Keeping tension on the thread is essential.  I HIGHLY recommend Mary Corbet's french knot video tutorial

I tried for some realistic looking lily-of-the-valley. The knots are doubled #8 perle cotton, 6 wraps each knot.  They're still out of proportion: 

These french knots are a single strand of cotton floss.  I used pink tulle for the 'champagne':

And here's my embroidered lichen.  I've posted these before but I love this project so far.  I need to carve out a chunk of time next week to finish this:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TAST 2012 Catch-Up Week

I missed a few TAST stitches so I combined several into one piece:

Stiches used:  Detached Chain Stitch, Whipped Wheel, Barred and Alternating Barred Chain,  French Knots and Chain stitch.  The quilting will be Running Stitch.

I will finish this quilted fan because it's almost done anyway, but I'm not as pleased with it as I anticipated. 

What I learned from this project:
  1. A full size and full colour cartoon is worth the time.  Quick sketches do not show potential design problems.  This piece needs more negative space, it's too crowded.  I didn't realize how much negative space would be taken up by the small flowers because I didn't include them on my sketch - I only sketched in the branches.
  2. I have a bad habit of leaving only a small amount of extra fabric around a design area.  Had I left about 4 inches of extra fabric rather than only 1 inch, the negative space issue wouldn't have been as big a problem.
  3. Whipped Wheels use up tons of thread and take A LOT more time than I expected.  But they do look amazing, once you get the hang of wrapping them evenly.  Next time I'll work the wheel on a slip before stitching it to the project; it will lay flatter and neater that way.
  4. I need a larger stock of perle cotton colours, in various weights.  I used stranded cotton for the tree branches but it doesn't give the look I prefer.  Stranded cotton has none of the elegance of perle cotton.
I like this design enough that I'll make a larger version.  I'm treating this small piece as my mock-up or cartoon for the larger one.  This was an excellent exercise.