Monday, February 9, 2015

New thread!

I really wasn't going to start anymore new projects. I've buckled down and focused on knocking things out of my queue with the goals of gulf wars preparations.  But appliqueing a gajillion halberds takes a half a gajillion spools of thread, so I just had to go to Joanne's.  And while I was on task in the thread aisle, this little display lured me in and caught me.

Thread display Thread display, more colors

How could I pass up filament silk at a good price?  I could not.  So, I bought two spools to play with, one in red and one in white.  My intentions were a quick test of the thread so that I could decide if I really liked it.  Once I had the thread it was really soft and shiny and "oh so" pretty!   Also rumbling around in my mind was the desire to make something for a friend.  These two motivations were all I needed as an excuse to have fun in the design phase.  I found something I liked in one of my favorite design books: "Treasury of Byzantine Ornament" by Arne Dehli (published by Dover).

Design pattern Template

Above are a snapshot of the original and my template on tissue paper.

Stitching the pattern outline The stitched outline

Transferring patterns to black fabric is always a challenge.  I am ever the optimist - feeling that one day I will find a transfer method that make me happy.  The truth is that the process is fiddly no matter what the approach.  This time I chose to pre-stitch the outline from a tissue paper template.  This method is popular with a lot of fine embroidery enthusiasts, especially on dark fabrics or fabrics that won't or shouldn't take a pen or chalk or other potentially messy options.

I shouldn't have used the silk on this step.  It was so smooth that the template really didn't want to come off and the stitches got pulled around too much.  After a bit of coaxing and pulling some of the stitches from the back, it finally looked good again.

Stitching progress

And here is the first bit of stitching.  I'm doing laid work in the red with gold highlights for the couching.  The gold approximately matches the detail lines from the original drawing.  The filament silk is very shiny and as fiddly as filament silk is expected to be, but not really more.  I'm planning on a slighly thicker gold for outlines and the border in white.

I hate progress pictures at this point.  The silk is still a bit wonky.  The couching is freshly done.  The outline isn't in yet.  The whole thing is just "off."  I share them with you, my dear readers, because those who truly inspired me do the same.  Pretty things don't start pretty.  There is a magic point along the way where it all blends together and starts to look nice.  Sometimes it doesn't actually blend and those projects are educational as well.  I don't think I would have been brave enough to try some of the techniques that I've seen in project blogs if people didn't share these "in between" progress pictures.  In that spirit, here are mine.  I hope this one works.

(With that little aside, the red is lucious and the gold is sparkly, and distances are most forgiving - so I am optimistic)

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