Viola now finished and I’m happy with this one. Thirteen more flowers to do!
One wired leaf and three wired petals in this one. The single stranded buttonhole stitch around the outside edge of each was time-consuming but worth the effort. For all that I’ve been dabbling in embroidery for more years than I care to remember, this is the first time I’ve ever done colour shading to this extent and I did a practice petal first of all. I think perhaps the petals should be flat rather than bent but that’s easily rectified.
Viola will be next, and then Flax, with more colour shading in each and when I checked my stash against the colours listed, I was yet again short of quite a few. I spent a couple of hours looking online for DMC equivalents in Anchor but that then involved searching through my embroidery floss boxes and checking lots of labels. My collection is sorted by colour, not brand or number and it was proving to be a difficult task so I gave up and went to my local sewing crafts shop to buy the nine shades I didn’t have – along with several others. Well, I mean, the shop has every colour of DMC and of Anchor threads and lots of them are just soooooo yummy and totally irresistable and I wanted them all but I took a deep breath, stepped back and settled for just the twenty I had in my hand. This time.
This is Pokeweed, my latest piece from Sachiko’s book. I don’t like this one as much as the others I’ve done, probably because I had to re-stitch almost every part of it. Several times I mis-read which stitch I should have been using and a couple of times I had finished something then realised I’d used the wrong colour. Anyway, it’s finished now and I never need to look at it again if I don’t want to. On to something else after a much needed cup of tea.
My embroidery lap stand arrived on Thursday and I was using it by the afternoon. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of sewing with two hands yet but practice will win out I’m sure. I finished Chives on it late Thursday evening but couldn’t post photos yesterday as I had a long-awaited enjoyable day of retail therapy with the glamorous S.
The stand I bought was a Sonata Seat Frame from Siesta Frames Ltd. The illustration on the box shows the stand to be stained a darkish brown colour but you can see from the photos below that the one delivered to me was not stained or varnished at all but I prefer it that way. The box wording states that the frame is of ‘hardwood’ construction, but the swivel arm looks like a softwood pine and the base appears to be MDF with a thin wood veneer finish to the top and bottom but I don’t mind, I bought it for its usefulness, not its looks.
The smaller images give an idea of how adjustable the stand is. It’s just as easy for a left-hander (me) to use as for a right-hander; the swivel joint that holds the clamp arm moves away from and towards the base in a generous arc; you can rotate your hoop to get to the back of your work by loosening the rectangular block screw at the back of the lower jaw; the frame height is adjustable and the support rod for that can be turned in a full circle if need be.
I wasn’t sure if I could use this stand comfortably while sitting back on the settee but it was fine. I also tried it whilst sitting on a straight-back dining chair and just perching it on the table, both of which were OK too. I think this might be one of those things that after you’ve had it for a while, you wonder how you ever managed without one!
As from 8am this morning my workroom was off-limits so that repairs can be carried out to the ceiling and walls following water damage in December. This means that JP and I will be sharing the living room during the day for the rest of this week, something we haven’t done since I claimed an empty bedroom for a work room!
Before I emptied the workroom of all things craft related, I made another small scissor fob needlecase, using an isosceles triangle as my template. It will hold several needles but it’s not too big, thick or heavy and an added bonus is that I haven’t lost my scissors once since I began using it on Sunday!
I finished the Olive project this afternoon. It could be better in some areas (as could the photo) but overall I don’t think my stitching is too bad. Some of the greens look slightly blue in the photograph but in reality they’re fine. The three wired leaves are edged with buttonhole stitch although the latter isn’t easy to see, plus some fiddly needle weaving with single strand embroidery cotton for the flower petals.
The next project in the book is Chives, and I’ll be starting that as soon as I’ve published this post. All the embroidery experts recommend using both hands to embroider so I finally succumbed and I ordered an embroidery lap stand yesterday. Will using two hands to sew enable me to double my output speed? Only time and practice (of which there is bound to be plenty) will tell. Lap stand is an oxymoron – it will neither be on my lap nor standing. It has a base board which is designed to be sat upon. The stand I really wanted to buy is waaaaay over my budget at several hundred £s and only available from America and I might be fed up with hand embroidery next week, so I’ve settled for a lighter, smaller, collapsible, and ever so much cheaper model which should be with me in just a day or two. It feels a bit like Christmas!
I haven’t owned a needle case for many years but was tempted to make one after seeing a lady use one at the monthly Janome owners’ club meeting this Thursday. My first attempt was larger I think than the one I saw and it’s a tad too big for lugging around although it will keep a goodly supply of hand needles identified and within easy reach. The embroidery for the type of needles was executed without much thought or template whilst watching television (you can tell, can’t you?) but I can’t be bothered to undo it all. At least with them marked this way, selecting the correct needle for a specific task should be easier. We’ll see. I also cut out a small triangular piece of card and marked it with the type and sizes of the particular needles in that section, then slipped the card into the relevant felt pocket but I’ll not sure if that will prove to be helpful. If anything, I’ll just forget that the cards are there!
Here’s a couple of questions for all you sewers out there: In a multi-pack of needles marked sizes 3 – 9, how many different sizes are included and how many needles of each size are there?
The little case was made yesterday as a test for a smaller sleeker version and to double as a fob for scissors, but the thickness of the felt plus fabric at the folds means that the triangles don’t line up with each other the way I wanted them to when it’s closed. I’ll work on a solution to that problem and hopefully make another better and more colourful version to show you later this week. Those ‘blue’ stitches on the tree are actually shades of green, believe it or not!
I’ve just finished the Clover from Sachiko Marimoto’s book. I didn’t much like the way the book explains how to finish off the wired leaves – I think they look untidy at the back but I’ll stick with Sachiko’s method until I come up with something better. Approximately 4 x 3.5″
At my sewing group meeting this morning, one of the ladies had a nifty little needle case with her that I’m keen to have a go at making but until I work out the pattern, I’ll start on Sachiko’s second project, Olive.