Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Winter wreath - tracing paper and pearlescent floss

Using tracing paper and a micron pen

After all the chalk marks on my navy blue linen faded, I decided to try stitching on tracing paper.

I was curious to see how much I'd departed from the original - I'd just been eyeballing everything as I stitched...

Checking my progress

Looks like I make things bigger when eyeballing the pattern... I didn't stress, because I'm not aiming for an exact reproduction.

Stitching over tracing paper

I stitched over the tracing paper on a big french knot dandelion - I was inspired by this great tutorial by Mary Corbet on Needle n Thread. By the way, I'm really enjoying stitching with that Nun's Boilproof vintage floss.

Couching the stems

Next I couched the dandelion stems, using more Nun's Boilproof vintage floss.

finished Dandelion - tracing paper method

Here's the finished Dandelion - the tracing paper did help me stitch those knots more carefully. The only drawback was of course, when I removed the tracing paper, several knots were pulled.

I think I'll do a combination of tracing paper and just eyeballing for the rest of the dandelions.

Trying some Pearlescent Effects floss

I tried some Pearlescent Effects floss on the French knots in the center of that large white flower. The texture is really rough, and it's not French-knot friendly, but it has a nice icy, iridescent look:

Pearlescent floss in the large flower center

Next, I added a line of gold metallic DMC floss, couched around the flower center:

Gold couched threads around the center

Here's all my progress so far - I'm still deciding if I'll add the berries.

Progress so far

Any thoughts on the tracing paper or Pearlescent floss? I'm curious if any of you have tried either!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Winter wreath progress

Add another small woven wheel rose

I'm having a great time progressing on this project - I'm embroidering a version of The Winter Wreath from Kazuko Aoki's book, The Embroidered Garden.

Detail on large white flower

Up above is a closeup of one of the large white flowers. It's all done in split stitch, which is very-time consuming, but I do like the texture. Oh, and tons of little french knots in the center. The stems are two strands of vintage Nun's Boilproof floss, couched with a thin white sewing thread.

Closeup of tiny white rose

Here's a small woven wheel rose, and the round flowers made up of french knots - shall we call them dandelions? I'm least confident about my stitching on those, but we'll see how it progresses...

Closeup on the large white flowers

Another large white flower and a large woven wheel rose. The rose stems are couched gold DMC embroidery floss.

embroidering outdoors

I took this project outside and was delighted by how much better it looks in the light - it really captures the detail more.

I opened an Instagram account of my own this week - follow me @nyfloresita if you like! I also post on the Feeling Stitchy account to promote Feeling Stitchy blog posts, and Amy posts on Fridays.

A photo posted by floresita (@nyfloresita) on

There's such a wonderful community of stitchers on Instagram, and Flickr has really slowed down in terms of finding new stitching online. For now, I'll be maintaining both accounts, and we'll see what the future will bring!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Planning a book review

Planning a book review for Feeling Stitchy

I've been remiss in doing a book review for Feeling Stitchy for a gorgeous book by Kazuko Aoki, The Embroidered Garden. I received the book some time ago from the publisher, and I finally got to work this weekend, gathering materials, and doing some planning and stitching. I chose the "Winter" wreath, which I intend to interpret freely, choosing my own fabrics and threads.

By the way, the book link takes you to Amazon, and contains code for the Feeling Stitchy Amazon account - if you buy a book through that link, we receive money in our account which is used to fund more giveaways and reviews on Feeling Stitchy. If you do buy there, thank you! If not, no worries! :)

Step 1: fabric and hoop

My first step was choosing a fabric - and I was delighted to find a beautiful navy blue linen in my mother's fabric stash. I loved the idea of a strong contrast with the white flowers.

gathering threads

Next, I chose a handful of threads - my goal in this project is to buy nothing new, and use up some of my prodigious thread stash. :)

The final project will be a wedding gift, so I wanted to work in the wedding colors, one of which is gold. I had some beautiful DMC gold thread and gold metallic floss. I also had two skeins of super-shiny DMC rayon floss in a copper and darker brown shade that I wanted to use. Added to that were some off-white shades of 6 strand DMC floss, and some vintage threads I was gifted YEARS ago. :)

pretty texture

I traced the image directly from the photo in the book. I didn't focus on details, but just a general idea, and replaced the large green ivy leaves with circles for white roses.

Next step: using white carbon paper and chalk pencil to transfer

Once I had my finished design, I used white carbon paper to transfer the image. The resulting image was very faint, so I traced over the white lines in a yellow Clover chalk pencil.

re-tracing over pattern

I first stitched the branches with a combination of regular DMC floss, and couched lines of rayon floss, which gave the branches a really pretty sheen in the light.

Interesting vintage thread

I was fascinated by the two Nun's Boilproof skeins I had - they look like a very thin perle cotton, but are SO very soft to the touch. They piqued my curiosity and I found this blog post about them.

After split stitch on large flower

Here it was after at least 12 hours of stitching. The filling for the large white flower was the most time-consuming - tiny split stitch, using 3 strands of floss, but it was worth it - the texture is so nice!

later progress

Next, I added french knots to the center of the large white flower, a large white rose, gold stems for the roses, and couched gold strands throughout the branches.

Here's a sideview of the work so far, which shows off the rayon threads and texture pretty nicely:

detail view of my progress

This project was slow to start, and a little intimidating, but I am enjoying it so far! What do you think?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Photographing Embroidery

closeup on Summer hoop

As much as I love my fancy camera (what I call my Canon DSLR) I struggle when taking photos of embroidery. My first love was point-and-shoot cameras, and I long for them whenever I have a detailed embroidery photo to take.

The photos above and below were taken with my phone camera, which I've found works better for me at times than my DSLR.

All the colors

I recently did a review of Coloris floss for Feeling Stitchy, and the biggest challenge was photographing the beautiful rainbow of shades in the flosses. My DSLR is capable of so much more than a phone camera, but you really have to know what you're doing. It's frustrating not to be able to pop it in "Auto" mode like a point-and-shoot and get lots of crisp, detailed, bright shots without any effort.

Finished hoop

Here is a photo from my DSLR - it has all the detail I want, but it took so much work - I had to put the camera in Manual mode, carefully light the scene, then color-correct in Photoshop, and I'll admit I'm still not 100% happy with it. I feel like it's just... missing something.

Here's another from my DSLR:

Hoop with Coloris colors used

And one more from the phone camera:
closeup on Summer hoop

Does anybody else struggle with photographing their embroidery?