For the past couple of months, I have been investigating a particular silk embroidery technique from Tyrol. In lieu of a better name, I called it 'Italian couching'. Since this name is already taken in the embroidery universe for not one, but two very different embroidery techniques, I have dropped it. The sparse German literature on the matter refers to it as 'linen vestments from Tyrol'. Perfect! Taken.
What is so special about this particular silk on linen embroidery? Several things. But my most recent discovery involved the embroidery technique itself. Upon closely studying my pictures I had taken in the Diözesanmuseum in Brixen, I discovered that there were no short stitches in the laid-work. Not even when a shape narrowed. Hmmm. Not a 'normal' Bayeux stitch in silk after all. So what did the stitchers from Tyrol do different?
Basically, to achieve a curving petal or leaf, they sculpt their laid-work when placing the long couching stitches on top. As this is a little hard to explain in writing, I made my first ever instruction video. You'll see me work a simple leaf. Whilst stitching the laid-work, I sometimes push previous stitches out of the way. When adding the long couching stitches, I really 'work' my laid-work to form a nicely curved leaf with really nice tips. And I think this is the reason why the Tyrolian stitchers 'sculpted' some of the embroidery elements: really, really nice tips! And I think this sculpting is what makes this style of embroidery differ from, for instance, the Castelo Branco embroidery from Portugal. But please correct me if I am wrong.
By the way, you can help me a lot in promoting my YouTube channel! Please take the time to not only like my video, but please also subscribe to my channel. The more views, but especially subscribers, and my videos will get noticed by many more stitchers. I will try to add to my channel regularly. And I also have an ebook in the pipeline on these linen vestments from Tyrol. So far, I have written up instructions for two of the eight flower designs seen on the chasuble from Brixen.
But first: I am going on my first official holiday in about six years! I am not teaching embroidery at my destination, nor am I attending a conference on archaeology. And neither is my husband :). To make sure that I will relax as much as possible, I won't read my email, nor will I do any Social Media. And no blog either, sorry. This means that any orders placed before Friday the 30th of March 24:00h CET, will ship before I head to Crete. Later orders will not ship before Monday the 16th of April. In the meantime, have fun watching my video!
As I know that many of my readers are in fact crafters themselves with blogs, websites and Etsy-Stores, I thought I'd share with you a new kind of trade organisation, based in the US, from which I benefit greatly. I have been a member of the Craft Industry Alliance since well over a year now. The CIA provides support and handy resources for craft professionals. No matter how small their businesses are. So let's explore some of the benefits of becoming a member!
For me, the best part of the CIA is their Coffee Klatsch. It is held twice a month and for the duration of 45 minutes we meet in an online meeting room. This is great, great fun! As we all know, crafting can be a lonely business. Sure you'll communicate with your costumers, but how many of us have fellow crafterpreneur friends? I for instance live very rural and although I am in several local artisan organisations, they are heavily geared towards wood carving and painting. In addition, marketing, social media and webshop are not their cup of tea. Contrary, the attendees of the Coffee Klatsch are usually much more advanced with their marketing and social media strategies than I am. After all, most of them are Americans and especially social media is and has been a part of their lives for a much longer time. This provides a great learning opportunity for me with lots of friendly mentors. And most of them are female and work with textiles, just like me. The times of the Coffee Klatsches generally suit me well as they tend to be in the evenings for Western Europeans and mid-day for Americans.
Another great resource is the CIA Journal which comes out twice a month. This is a fantastic online resource with many interesting topics. Although Insurance or Tax issues are always written from an US point of view, points raised make you think about your own business and how this is regulated in your country of residence. Since we are artistic people, we tend to put off dealing with the nitty-gritty...
The Journal always comes with a resource. This is often a Checklist or a list of organisations covering a particular article in the Journal. I especially liked the checklist on how to gain more subscribers for your mailing list. It contained many obvious points which I had NOT implemented yet. After all, we as solopreneurs tend to wear many hats and not all we have to do now was taught to us in school. Or how about a checklist on starting and nurturing your own Facebook Group? Since Facebook has changed its algorithm, Business Pages get less 'weight' in your newsfeed making it harder for businesses to get noted (I have seen a dramatic drop in referrals to my website since this has been put in place :(.).
And last, but not least there are the Webinars with knowledgeable people on a specific topic. Although these are live events, they are also recorded and kept in the archive (just as the past issues of the Journals are!). These webinars contain a wealth of information. I particularly liked the one on making short videos. The idea of starting my own YouTube-Channel is a bit daunting. Especially as I had no idea where to start! Thanks to this webinar, I now have an idea of how to make this happen in the not too distant future :).
I hope this blog post with my personal experiences with Craft Industry Alliance has given you an idea of the benefits of becoming a member! Why not click the below link and join today:
This blog post contains affiliate links. If you decide to become a CIA-member and you used one of the links in this article, Märchenhaftes Sticken - Jessica Grimm gets a small kick-back. Thank you in advance!
P.S.: I only received three positive comments on my blog post last week regarding making thread cards for Heathway Milano Crewel wool. Since making such real thread cards would take me a very long time, I am at present not willing to undertake this task whilst interest is so low.
I've continued work on Strawberry Fayre and have finished the first of the four inner hearts. The stitching is largely the same as for the front and the back heart. As I really did not like the way the picots under the strawberries had turned out on the front heart, I swapped threads. The instructions tell you to use a stranded variegated spun silk (Gumnut Yarns 'Stars'). This thread is far too fluffy to make a nicely defined stitch. As a result, my picots turned quite fizzy. Strangely enough, the picots in the Inspirations pictures are sharply defined... Another hint that the threads listed in the instructions might not have been the ones used by Carolyn Pearce :). As I wanted better picots, I looked for a thread less fluffy and with a tighter twist. So here are my new picots using House of Embroidery #12 perle 'bush'. Much better indeed!
$Unfortunately, I ran out of the green Güttermann Sulky thread. Although I was able to substitute it with a thread from my stash, I wasn't a happy bunny. Reading the comments on my Instagram account, I am not the only one who has run out. I don't think this is acceptable for a kit priced at €138 or $170. So far, I only had good experiences with kits from Inspirations. I stitched my needlecase 'Cottage Garden' and 'Home Sweet Home' with the original kits and had no problems. My issues with Strawberry Fayre, and the solutions I have started to implement, have given me the confidence that I will be able to stitch future projects from Inspirations using my own stash!
Seeing today's blog post on real thread cards over on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread combined with a recent enquiry by one of my readers, I am pondering making real thread cards for the Heathway Milano crewel wool I sell. Since there are now 33 fabulous colour families which each have nine lovely shades, this is going to be a huge undertaking. So I'd like to ask if there are other readers potentially interested in these thread cards. I am thinking of wrapping the nine shades of a colour family around a strip of card and then glueing several strips onto an A4 page. Two pages back-to-back in a pocket and the pockets into a sturdy cardboard file. How does that sound? Please share your thoughts below!
For those of you who missed last week's post on the new Heathway Milano crewelwool colour families, you can find a free pattern of a Russian doll here. And don't forget, if you like what you read, please consider making a donation using the PayPal button on the right :)!
Before we dive into a new and adorable little embroidery project, I have an update on the silk shaded feather distance class by Jen Goodwin. After lengthy correspondence with Jen on the issues I had with her class, it became clear we would never see eye to eye on the project. I asked for a refund and, professional as Jen is, I became it. This wipes the slate clean. I, on my part, have learned that it is probably not wise to sign up for an online class when the end product is not shown. Now let's move on to some other embroidery!
I received this happy postcard in the mail through postcrossing and fell in love with the simple Russian dolls depicted on it! What if I modified the design a bit and tried out the new colours by Heathway Milano 100% merino crewel wool? Match made in heaven, I would say!
And this is the happy result! The design uses simple embroidery stitches and is worked on traditional linen twill. However, you could easily take any other densely woven medium-weight fabric. You can even swap wool for stranded cotton! As I seem to have been bitten by the beading bug lately, I couldn't resist adding some here. Especially the beaded daisies, as featured in 'Strawberry Fayre', are just too good not to use. Not having the embroidery supplies to hand? Let me do the legwork for you! I have a limited number of material packs available containing 10 skeins of wool, fabric, needles, beads, spangles and beading thread. You can find them here. If the packs sell out, but demand is still there; I'll add a pre-order option.
The best part of this new quick and easy design? I'll leave it up to you if and how much you'd like to pay me for it! I have installed a PayPal donation button in the right-hand column of this blog. If you like what you read each week, please consider making a donation. You can find the instructions for 'From Russia with Love' in my webshop. Add it to your cart and proceed to checkout as normal. You won't be charged! Happy creating and hope to see you next week!
Jessica M. Grimm
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