Friday, October 1, 2010

The Queen of Stumpwork, Jane Nicholas, Thank you for teaching me!

The class with Jane Nicholas was totally awesome. She is very nice and a great teacher. If I get a chance to take another class with her, I will absolutely take the opportunity. And she has a new book out, Stumpwork & Goldwork Embroidery Inspired by Turkish, Syrian & Persian Tiles, and she showed us the actual pieces that were photographed for the book. Yum! They are so, so gorgeous.

So on to the class project. It is a stumpwork piece, with a dragonfly, raspberries, two leaves, a hellebore flower, and some wrapped bead berries with detached-work cups. Here is a picture of three of the petals for the flower. They are done with wire couched around the petal shape, then I did buttonhole over the wire. Next, I did a short row of long and shot buttonhole stitch around the outer half of the flower, slanting down toward the inner point. Then I filled in the petal with long and short stitch, and finally added seed stitch in a dark burgundy to add a bit of color to the flower, I love hellebores, they come in a wild variety of colorways. I liked the photo of this one, partly for the contrast between the petal color and the spots.

Next is where I had gotten to on the background as of Thursday morning. The branch with three twigs is the raspberry branch, and it is formed with wrapped chain stitch in DMC floss. The other branch is plain chain stitch, and forms the ivy. The blue "log" is the body of the dragonfly. It will be getting wings, which is the next picture in the queue. The body is formed of two soft cotton strands, which are couched down and then you do a stem stitch anchored by the couching stitches. It looks very cool. I have also seen this stitch used for twigs on larger pieces.

 Here are the dragonfly wings. They are stitched using a fine gauge wire held down with whipped stitches in light aqua rayon machine embroidery thread. The base fabric is a sandwich of aqua chiffon ribbon, metallic fabric like lame in rainbow iridescence both held together with stitch witchery. After the wire is wrapped, veins are stitched in fly stitch down the center in a metallic cord. 

 This is the fabric I did two of the raspberries on. The circles you see is where I cut them out. They were done with french knots using six strands of floss and one wrap. After the knots were finished, I did a running stitch around them, cut out the circle and pulled the running stitches tight to gather the berry into a ball. This is then stitched to the ground fabric at the ends of the twigs. I haven't yet done the sepals, so on the fabric they look rather lonely.
 This is the cupped berry base, my practice one. It seems pretty easy to do, although also it is very easy to get it wrong. Mostly, I was hoping I was doing the knots in the right holes, but it looks pretty nice, I think. Also, one of the leaves is on here in process. It was very neat, the way she showed us to do them. First, you line the wire up along the central stem and couch it, then you whip it all the way to the tip of the leaf. Next, using the same piece of wire, you bend the wire to follow the leaf from the base to the tip, couching all the while, then down to the base again. Finally, you bend the wire out to form the leaf stem and couch the two corners together. Then you do buttonhole stitch all around the outside edge. I have several options for filling, and have yet to decide which I will do.
Here is the piece as of Thursday afternoon, with the dragonfly finished on it. There are also two raspberries applied on it. After I anchored them onto the base fabric, I added some beads in various coordinating shades of red and pink. It gives them a little shine, just like real berries.
After I draw up the directions, I will also be posting the awesome tip Jane gave for starting buttonhole stitch in stumpwork. I never will have to try to figure out how to get it started again. And it is so simple.

THE Magpie

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