Autumn Pond Piece Finished!

Autumn Pond stumpwork embroidery

I got through a lot of tv and audiobooks working on this project, but it’s finally finished! It’s definitely a style departure from my last piece but I’m really happy with the outcome.

Silk ribbon and organza background made with layers of Mistyfuse

I experimented with some new techniques on this one, including using Mistyfuse to make a pretty abstract background that would reflect the murky fall pond layers – but in a pretty way. I started with one layer of silk ribbons, then added another layer of Mistyfuse and organza on top of it. It still wasn’t dark enough for my taste at that point, so I added yet another layer of Mistyfuse/organza to get to the colors that I wanted. At this point I had basically obscured my pattern transfer and ended up tacking and tracing on top to add it back in. I am happy with how it came out though!

Close up of stumpwork waterlilies

I used a huge range of threads for this, with most coming from stash. My Oliver Twist variegated collection got a good workout, but I also used some historic replica threads and some thicker ones that were almost like yarn to mix up the textures. In the end I made 17 pieces of needlelace and 22 flower petals for this project that only measures 5 by 5 inches.

A test mockup before framing

I ended up going with a different mat color than this entirely when framing, but it was useful to try out some different options before I actually went to the framer. In the end I went for a dark gold frame and a brown fabric mat with a pinkish tint to it, with a wider area than this highlighted so the background is more of a feature. I think it lets everything breathe a bit more and shows off the background I spent so much time on.

This is going to an exhibit at a local museum in a few weeks, so I’ll be happy to see it framed and finished! Sadly it will have to live somewhere else until December when I get it back from the show. In the meantime I started brainstorming my next project, and might have even gotten braved and purchased some sewable electrical circuits…


Stumpwork Waterlilies Update, A New Class, and More!

It’s been raining and cold here for about four days now, which means I’ve been spending lots of cozy time in the studio with the dogs and the space heater. It thankfully enabled me to get a lot done over the past few days, so I thought I’d catch y’all up here.

Kantha fabric stumpwork flower

After my Fall Forest class at Denise’s shop I got a ton of questions from students about what the next steps for stumpwork beginners might be. I suggested 3D flowers and lots of them wanted to return for it, so I’ll be teaching that in November. Since we wanted to keep it really simple, I spent a bunch of time thinking about how to design a fun flower that wouldn’t require a ton of extra decoration. I also wanted to show students how to reuse textiles or how to repurpose textiles that they may have scraps of.

I ended up basing my sample around a piece of kantha cloth that I had in my stash. I loved using the petal shape as a viewfinder to pick out all of the different micro patterns and looks within the fabric! We’re using kantha scraps from Skippy Cotton for the class, but this would work just as well with a Liberty style print fabric or any other small scale print.

Needlelace waterlilies in a mix of threads

I’m getting close to the end of the piece making phase of this project, which is a bunch of fall colored waterlilies. I made 22 tiny flower petals in addition to these, so I’m only 8 or so waterlilies from being able to put it all together. I used a lot of Soie Gobelin mixed in with thicker threads because I liked the textures it made, but it really stretched the whole process out in terms of time. I hate showing these kinds of progress pictures sometimes because they are so messy, but all raised embroidery projects go through that ugly spaghetti phase for a bit when they have tons of needlelace pieces. I really need to hurry up and finished this one though or I’ll miss the date for the show! I’ve only got two weeks left to finish it.

Since I’ve still got a lot of needlelace to go, does anyone out there have any good tv, podcast or audiobook recommendations? I feel like I’ve watched everything out there at this point and would love to make some new discoveries.

samplers teaching

Raised Line Forest Sample

Raised Line Sampler

I’m usually someone who maps everything out in detail ahead of time, so this simple sampler was a successful experiment in being spontaneous. I headed down to my local needlework shop and grabbed a bunch of autumnal threads that appealed to me and assumed I would make something work. The final mix was a blend of Silk Road Straw Silk, Planet Earth silk, and Vineyard silks in different thicknesses and tones. Extra texture was added with Frosty Rays ribbons, which I couched down using their own metallic thread core.

This piece is a great exercise in simplicity since it uses three basic stitches: couching, raised chain band and raised stem band. The base was made with overtwisting, which is easy but requires a really twisty silk like Soie Ovale. It’s in Alison Cole’s Stumpwork Masterclass book for those of you who want to look it up! I may use this as a fall class sampler this upcoming year, as it’s a great introduction to basic stitches and how they can transform themselves into real art.

As a bonus, Inspirations Studios liked it too! They featured it in their newsletter earlier this year.