Thursday, July 21, 2016

Basics of Stumpwork Class...maybe I should have started with this?

Before you read about the wonderful class I just took.  Here is a peek at one of the slips for the birds.  This one is an Acorn Woodpecker (very common here), and it will be stuffed, and one of the wings will be a wired element.  I might pad the tail....outlined with stem stitch, filled mostly with split stitch, and a little herringbone stitch to make the feathers.

And now the main part of this post.

I got to take a stumpwork class with Celeste Chalasani this past weekend, and it was glorious.

I teach myself how to do things all the time, by the process of making every possible mistake or wrong turn, or misreading of the instructions, until I finally figure something out.  This is a wonderful, but time consuming process.

So, I took a Basics of Stumpwork class with Celeste Chalasani sponsored by the Bay Area Sampler Guild.

She provided a kit, a textbook, and a bunch of muslin squares to practice on.  I took notes on mine.

I learned a much easier way of doing just about everything.

Follow the link above to her website to see if she is teaching near you!  Or you can purchase her Craftsy class (I bought it, but have not yet taken it...)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


I have several needlwork projects going at once.  Not counting the pile of shame lurking in my linen closet of abandoned projects.

A brief list reveals: A) A large needlework canvas showing sound waves in colored blocks,  B)  Amy Mitten Fibers To Dye For Excursion #3, C) a perforated paper needlebook of poppies.  D) A basket of flowers on a beautiful purple background, E)  These stumpwork birds.

Every once in a while, something actually gets finished.  This happened last night.  I will show you, and it will give me a chance to talk about how much inspiration turns out to really be problem solving.

I finished  Amy Mitten, Fibers To Dye For, Excursions #2,  I loved the black silk and the spot motifs, but I left out the alphabet, in the interest of time.

In the meantime, I decided that I wanted to try some ribbon embroidery.  In my mind I started to see some gold satin, and black velvet, and some hand dyed silk ribbon, coming together as a pillow.

I went to Needle in a Haystack and got some Gloriana hand dyed Ribbons.  I bought #133 Pecan and #001 Charcoal, and a bag of odds and ends.

Then I went to my local fabric store and bought some gold satin, and some black velvet.  The velvet was expensive, so I only got a quarter yard, and that is where my design inspiration started.  I now had to limit my design to the size of the width of the velvet I was using for backing.  I knew I wanted strips of velvet on the front, because I wanted to try the ribbon embroidery on that.

Pro Tip:  If you have never done ribbon embroidery before, you should try it, but not on velvet, it is very thick and hard to pull the ribbon through, requiring much cursing, and a thimble.

Here is the finished pillow.  I love how it turned out.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Why I wrote a blog...

If you have read any of the previous blog posts, you know a few things about me by observation.

#1 I am not a professional photographer.  Sorry about that, I live in a very dark house in the redwoods, and my best camera is on my iphone 4.  I hope you enjoy blurry pictures.

#2  I am babbling on at you about something I actually know very little about.

#3  I sure do like birds.

#4 And embroidery.

This is why I started a blog.  I have never done much designing of my own.  I enjoy stitching and have been doing it off and on for a good portion of my life, but mostly I recreate other people's designs, which is soothing, and good for learning stitches and techniques, but does not always reflect me.

Not that every project has to, but when I started playing with stumpwork I found that I started having visions of things that I could use it for.  Birds, bugs, comic book characters, pictures I took, and so has a creative element to it and a free form design idea that seemed to work well for me.  I can't see myself charting a cross stitch design, or laying out a black line for some crewel work, but building dragonfly wings out of organza and copper it!

So the purpose of this blog is for me to document the process so that next time I decide to design something, I can look back on the process and refine it for the next one.  My hope, if you are reading and following my blog, is that you use it to help you design something if you've felt nervous about not being an Artist.