Wednesday, 31 July 2013

WIPW - kavelfrans or woolly worm

Work In Progress Wednesday. Go to Pintangle for reports and eye candy.

Today my report is on the wrist warmers in Swedish wool embroidery I am making.
After completing the embroidery, I lined and top stitched the wrist bands.

Next came the wooden stick, and bleeding fingers!

The pictures below illustrate how the wool is wrapped around the stick and then stitched together into a fringe.
It does not show, however,  how many times I pricked my fingers, how the needle slid, how the thread cut into the flesh each time I tightened the thread, nor how many drops of blood tinted the wool!

I changed the colour whenever I wanted to and got a colourful 'woolly worm', that skinned my fingers when I tried to pull it off the stick. What does one not do for one's passion of embroidery!
I made four 'worms'.
Next I stitched two 'worms' on each embroidered band, cut the loops open and trimmed the 'fur'. Finally I held the fur over the spout of a steaming kettle to fluff up the fibres.

See what beauty is going to keep my hands warm on cold winter days in Tokyo. I will have fond memories of my hardship.

After completing this step, I found this neat way of making the same kind of kavelfrans/fringe/woolly worm.
Go and have a look.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Are you ready?

According to the Embroiderers' Guild of Sweden, Täcklebo Broderiakademi, aka BRAK,

30th July is World Embroidery Day

So are you ready? Have you got everything you need for a bit of stitch fun? Sharpen that needle, select some thread, pick out a piece of fabric, or continue with an ongoing project. Let's enjoy!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

TAST # 74 -Zig-zag Chain Stitch

Here we have a member of the chain family, the Zig-zag Chain Stitch. It is the #74 TAST stitch and how to make it can be seen on Pintangle.

It is not new to me, I have enjoyed working with it on many projects. Here are the stitches I used to fill my TAST travel sampler:
As you can see I have worked them in ones and in twos, alternating the rows.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Broderande berättelser - Stitches that Tell

A long time ago, once I had started taking part in TAST, I also learned about Stitching Fingers and became a member.
It is so nice to see and get inspiration from all the wonderful things other needle workers create, to be able to show my work and to receive comments and help.

One of the biggest attractions is that you find members from all over the world and can learn so much about styles and methods favoured in other areas of the Globe.

One day I got to know a Swedish member, Ingalill Jigborg. Since then she has been sharing with me the events of the Embroiderers' Guild of Sweden or BRAK Täckelbo Broderiakademi.

As I am now in Sweden I thought I would take the opportunity to visit the BRAK's 20th Jubilee Exhibition. It is held in the town of Eskilstuna, at the City Museum.

The theme is 'Broderande Berättelser', which roughly translates to Stitches that Tell.
Oh, what a delightful show! It was well hung and well lit.

The accompanying book, hardcover, and beautifully printed, held a story for each embroidered picture.
Some stories and pictures brought tears to my eyes, others made me smile and many gave me an opportunity to reflect on life, lifestyles and values.

Here are a few examples:
'The story of my life is written in my face'

'Livstecken' by Berit Johansson

'Då och nu: arvet' by Bodil Englund is a celebration of needlecraft though generations.

In this collage she has incorporated pieces made by herself, her mother and grandmother. Her wish is that this piece will inspire the next generation to continue stitching.

Here is another celebration of a Mother.
AnnMargret Johansson Pettersson has made a beautiful line drawing embroidery of her mother. We can see how she, through hard labour, did the washing in the 50s.

I love the added red cross stitches.
Ljuset (The Light) by Elisabeth Kalvenes-Skallsjö
An interpretation of light seen in a small chapel in Italy.
In spite of all the structure of gimp and lace, this is indeed a 'light' piece.

A lot of structure can be found in this piece by Sophie Holmblad, 'Det händer i hjärtat'.
She has felted and painted the hands, added real pencils and small items. Again, it is in celebration of hobbies and crafts three generations have busied their hands with.

I like the attractive composition of this piece: 'Tant Vera' by Helga Aiff

The old lady is just a shadow in her colourful and lush garden. The flowers are cleverly made up of simple stitches over small scraps of fabric.

Now for Ingalill Jigborg's creation:
'Första mötet'.

It is a delightful scene from the day in her childhood when she stood on one side of the street where the tram ran. On the other side stood another 4-year-old girl. They looked at each ohter, wanted to play and become friends but their parents had strictly forbidden them to cross the street.
The story has a happy ending; their parents relented and they were eventually allowed to meet and have stayed friends for more than 72 years. Isn't that a wonderful tale?
Look at all the details, the smart use of fabric for the trees and the stones on the pavement, the fence and the dress, ribbons, lace... This piece is full of childhood innocence and charm.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

WIPW - Wool embroidery in Sweden

Work In Progress Wednesday 'should' be posted on a Wednesday. As I am now in Sweden and in another time zone from Japan, I am still posting on a Wednesday but half a day (at least) later than usual.

Well, never mind. Here is my report on the progress I have made on the wool embroidered wrist warmers.

I really enjoyed embellishing these two rectangles of black cashmere. Although I had a rough sketch, and marked the fabric with white pen, most is free style embroidery.

Next up is lining them, and then making a fringe with the help of an ice cream wooden stick (see above). It is a first for me, and I am not sure if I can understand the instructions! Queenie, just bite the bullet and get on with it!

To see Sharon's Work In Progress report about shuffling furniture and tidying up, go to Pintangle.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

I have this aunt...

Not all but most ladies among my Swedish relatives have or have had some kind of connection with textile. The interest in and execution of weaving, lace making, knitting, crocheting, dressmaking, millinery and of course embroidery,  have always been there, and some of us carry on the tradition.

One of my aunts, I-L E, was 'born' to cross stitch. It might actually be in her blood, her mother stitched, and also her father, when he was well into his 90s, was introduced to cross stitch at the Old People's Home. He thought it was a wonderful way to 'blow away the cobwebs of the brain'.

As long as I can remember she has been busy on some complex design, for birthdays and seasonal greeting cards, and also worked hard to make things for various charity events. Although now a gal of 90+ she still needs no glasses to see the tiny stitches. Unfortunately her hands are gradually getting stiff though, and she can no longer work as smoothly as she once did.

I have always been so impressed by the way she controls the thread. In most of her work she uses three strands of embroidery floss and without using a laying tool she makes the strands lay flat on the surface and cover the ground fabric.

When I visited her the other day she dug out an old piece she wanted me to have. Aren't these summer flowers just lovely?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

WIPW - A new project

For my Work In Progress Wednesday report this week I have something totally different.
The Kafferepet  quilt is tucked away until autumn when I will continue work on the borders.

Instead I have started another project.
Last year in Sweden I visited several 'sloyd' exhibitions. At one of the events I was given a coupon that offered me a discount at the Svensk Hemslöjd shop. I selected this book. It is all about Swedish wool embroidery.
From the many projects I decided to try my hand at making a pair of wrist warmers. This is what some of the ones at the Sloyd exhibition looked like.
I first drew some floral pattern in what I think looks a bit folksy, one design for one wrist and a different for the other wrist.
I then started stitching. So far I have used Stem, Chain, Straight and Berry Stitches.
Oh, how difficult it is to photograph black cashmere!

So this is my HWIPW - Holiday Work In Progress Wednesday! More progress next week I hope.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

TAST - #73 Portuguese Stem Stitch

Time has come to show the TAST stitch of the week, #73 Portuguese Stem Stitch. It is an easily mastered rope like stitch. Want to give it a try? Go to Pintangle and learn.

I have seen other names, like Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch, but there is actually no knot in it.
Also I found, in a Swedish embroidery book, Hemmets Handarbetslexikon, the following information:
They call it Spanish Stem Stitch (Spansk Stjälksöm), and notice that the wraps are taken only over the top stitch! Or is this a totally different stitch?

Anyway, here is my take on the stitch. I used my new stencils to draw both heart and curvy lines.

The first time I used Portuguese Stem Stitch was during the Sumptuous Surface Embroidery course and like that time I used some pulled stitches here for the centre of the heart.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

WIPW - Roses

It is a hot summer here and my Work In Progress Wednesday, is just a short report.
Why not head over to Sharon's WIPW to see more eye candy from others, as well as what she wrote about various uses of her cz stencils, mine one among them.


I have made two more stray stems by using my cz stencils and TAST stitches #27 Basque Stitch and #20 Butterfly Chain

Then I played with the #73  Wrapped Coral Stitch on the edge of the rose petals. There are some Pistil stitches and Colonial Knots, too.

Friday, 5 July 2013

TAST #72 Wrapped Coral Stitch

After a week of rest from TAST it was time again to be challenged by a new stitch - #72 Wrapped Coral Stitch.

Look at my first stitches, in yellow, and compare them to the blue and green I made later:
Why do you think they are so wobbly?
The answer is, that I worked them in hand, without a hoop.
I do not always like using a frame or hoop. Some stitches are much easier to manipulate when the fabric is not stretched. That is not the case with the Wrapped Coral Stitch.
Once I had confirmed that and got a rhythm the stitch grew on me and I would say it is one of the most enjoyable TAST stitches I have learned.
So I played around with my Sharon B's cz stencils.
If you want to see what the others think of #72 go to Pintangle. That is also where you should go if you want to buy a set of stencils for yourself.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

WIPW - The Flimsy Kafferepet

Work In Progress Wednesday, go to Pintangle to see more progress on offer.
Sharon usually shows a lot of eye candy in her progress of crazy quilts blocks. This week's progress is slightly different; it is going to help others create eye candy.


Last week I showed you the last details, the lace,  of the centre blocks of the quilt. Here is a picture of the whole quilt. Now, remember this is a flimsy.  It has not been pressed. There is no back, no wadding and no quilting. I will start on that work in autumn.

As you can see the embroidery work on the border is still in progress. Here are the latest additions:

TAST stitches #10 Running Stitch and #8 Chain Stitch.
Of course I used my new Sharon B's CQ Stencils to draw the curves.
The Bluebells have been decorated with metallic thread to add a hint of shine.