Just a quick post today shortly before I go to bed :). This week I am joined by five incredible women doing a whole week of goldwork embroidery at my studio in Bad Bayersoien. We have so much fun! And lots of delicious cakes and desserts too. Oh, it is soooo hard to be an embroidery tutor... Have a look at some of the eye-candy in the making. Next week's post will feature a more in-depth review of students' work!
Here are Mari-jan from the Netherlands and Kristin from Berlin discussing buttonhole thread whilst framing up their slate frames. Mari-jan works on a beautiful Art-Deco iris and Kristin has fun with the Christmas-decorations from Hazel Evrett's goldwork book. In the other picture you'll see Monika and Sabine, both fairly local ladies. Monika works a flower design from Inspirations, but in a whole new spectacular colour-way! And the Sabine has fallen in love with a peacock. Yup, strange things happen when you embroider!
And this is the culprit: a small clutch-bag (the handle is a later addition). It was brought in by one of my Sticktreff regulars: Claudia. It belonged to her grand-mother.
The fifth lady in our party, is Erika from the next village. She will stitch up a Madonna much in the way of my St. Laurence. Extra special, it will be a copy of the Madonna her late husband once bought. Do look out for next week's post with all the details and a lot of eye-candy!
My head spins with creative ideas for yet more embroidery projects. I wish my hands were faster... So, let's check in with progress on my Bavarian Hösenträger (suspenders)!
Here they are, just before I rolled my slate frame. This is about a quarter of the total length of 112 cm. Right now, I've progressed to one third of the total length and that has taken me 51.5 hours. Apart from these two 'lengths', I also need to stitch a breast piece, or the Steg as it is called.
This year, I am also attending a course on wild herbs. I love to know what is edible and/or has medicinal uses. And I've discovered that some of our local wild herbs can even be used for dying. However, since Bad Bayersoien lies at 850 m above sea level, I need to be patient for spring to really kick in. But then I will be out and about collecting wild herbs!
And as part of my course portfolio, I need to make a 15 plant herbarium. Now that got my creative juices flowing big time! How about a stitched version? I am thinking silk shading the plants, mounting them, adding a pocket on the back for the pressed herb and a sheet with botanical information, and then turning the whole thing into a leporello. That would be fun, wouldn't it? Can't wait to start :).
On a personal level, my husband finally comes to live with me. Ten more days and he will be here! So far, we haven't been able to find him a new job. However, he has secured many short-term free-lance projects. Not the security one wants, but it is a start! As we will have to move his stuff from his accommodation in the Netherlands to here, we will be on the road in a couple of weeks' time. I will try to keep my blogging going, but life might take me out...
In this part of the world, spring has finally arrived! Time to done my walking boots and stride out. I love to go for long walks in the countryside and I really miss it in winter when there is just too much snow to go for a good walk. So yesterday, I downloaded a circular walk near Murnau and off I went. Mainly along fields, through hamlets, crossing the bog and along the river Loisach. Heaven!
Didn't I do any embroidery this week? Of course I did! I just did not take it with me on my beautiful walk :).
Last week, another parcel from Nordic Needle arrived: the Broderibox for March inspired by the astrological sign pisces. Fish to you and me. The contents were a bit of a shock to me. I really did not like the colour combination of light pink, purple, cream and minty green. Bummer. However, an embroideress needs to do whatever embroideresses do. Grab those threads by the horns. And grabbing them turned out to be a good thing.
It is not at all bad to be pushed out of your colour comfort zone every now and then. I did notice that these month's threads were a little different from the two previous months. They were thinner. In the online information bulletin, it did state that some of them were especially suited to pulled and drawn threadwork. Excellent! I can do that.
Above are the contents of my Broderibox. I really liked the purple Gloriana silk and the minty green soie de alger at the top. The sparkly purple metallic thread on the left is also well within my likes. The creamy silk perle on the right is the type of thread I am suspicious of. I really can't handle silk perle. No matter how hard I try. Don't get me wrong; I love perle and I love shiny silk. Just not combined, please. I really hate the fact that silk perle is so slippery that it gets untwined faster than I can stitch. This elegance stuff was no exception :).
The other two threads at the bottom of the picture are a cotton perle #8 and a stranded cotton by Threadworx. Not my colour combinations. Might have mentioned that before :). And then there was this super-handy pair of tiny precision tweezers. As I already have a pair, I decided to run a giveaway on Instagram. The tweezers are making their way to lucky winner Heather in Novia Scotia. Do follow me on Instagram under @maerchenhaftesstickengrimm. After all, you never know if Nordic Needle comes up with another 'duplicate' :)!
And this is what I stitched: two fish found in a colouring book by Millie Marotta. I used Zweigart 40ct Newcastle natural linen, a combination of surface stitches and drawn threadwork. In this case: Schwalm whitework embroidery. My aim with these pieces is not to stitch them to perfection. I do not make much of a plan before I thread my needle. Doodles, that's what I call them. Pleasant doodle embroidery. Do you do any doodling with needle and thread?
A couple of months ago, I wrote about antique monogram stencils produced by Johann Merkenthaler. In the meantime, I started experimenting with using these stencils. First, I wanted to use some sort of water-based paint as was used originally. Although, you should be able to wash-out watercolours by Caran d'Ache, my experiments weren't satisfactory. When fresh, the marks do wash-out, but not after they have completely dried and are a few weeks old. Now, I am a fast stitcher, but you can't always predict how soon you will be able to finish a project! By the way, you can find my original blog about the stencils here; it includes a free download of an old Merkenthaler catalogue.
So, what to use? In comes the best invention since sliced bread: the aqua trick marker! I had thought of using a marker before, but dismissed it in my head as some of the lines in the stencils are soooooo tiny. However, I was getting desperate. Out came the marker, fine white linen, the stencil and some masking tape. But first things first, iron your linen flat until it resembles a sheet. Tape it onto a surface using masking tape. Position your stencil sheet and tape that too. Now you are all set to go! The stencil sheets are so waver-thin that you CAN easily trace those tiny lines with your marker. Remove the masking tape and the stencil.
One of the things you need to remember, is that these stencils mostly don't produce continuous lines. For reasons of stability, most elements produce an interrupted design line. I've marked some of the interruptions with red arrows in the left picture above. In comes your handy marker again! Look carefully at the original stencil and complete any breaks in the lines. It can take some getting used to in order to be able to read the design correctly. Especially with very elaborate and floral script. You can see the enhanced design in the right picture above.
And this is the embroidered design after rinsing. I used one strand of stranded cotton throughout. The initials are stitched using rows of stem stitch. The flower heads are made up of a central larger lazy daisy flanked by two smaller lazy daisies. The stem is also stitched in stem stitch and the leaves are satin stitch over a split stitch border. A pretty design just right for spring!
Want to stitch your own monogram using these antique stencils? Check out my webshop to see if I stock your monogram. Don't forget to not only check, say JG, but also GJ as that can often be used too. I also stock single letters. Fine linen, aquatrick markers and needles can also be found in my webshop. Looking forward to your order!
P.S. I've made some new beaded pendants. They are now available through my webshop! My flirt with Etsy wasn't a lasting one as it is really hard work to stand out from the crowd. I love my craft too much to spend most of my time behind a computer screen thinking up another flashy marketing strategy ;).
Jessica M. Grimm
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