Not much stitching last week. Instead, I have started to translate the instructions for my embroidery kits into English. It takes me about a day each to come up with a proper translation and to make them available to you online. In my webshop, you can now find the kits John's Sun Flower - crewel embroidery for beginners and Wilhelmina Beetle - advanced goldwork in either German or English. Apart from the detailed instructions, my kits contain fabric, threads, needles and all other sundries to complete the embroidery. Usually, you will also need a 20cm embroidery hoop, scissors, an aqua trick marker and a light box or window.
As I know that many of you have a lot of stash lurking in your homes or want to save on postage, you now also have the option of only buying the detailed instructions. John's Sun Flower and Wilhelmina Beetle are now available in either English or German for direct download.
A word on postage: I use a very simple and therefore cheap website platform. The lower my running costs, the less you pay at the checkout :)! However, being a very simple platform, combined with an intriguingly complex German postage system, the webshop is not able to accurately predict your postage. It gets it right for German customers most of the time. There also seems to be a good fix for EU costumers. However, oversees is a mess. Currently, you get standardly charged for a parcel up to 2 kilos. Since my post office clerk, a very nice young man, has the last word, I often only know at the post office what the real costs will be. That's not tragic, just a little bit inconvenient. Since you all pay through PayPal, I'll return any surplus immediately. The system is set up in such a way that underpayments do not happen.
Over the next months, I will add more kits and direct downloads. However, it will be busy weeks with teaching commitments and demonstrations at the museum. So please be patient!
Tomorrow starts my course with the very talented Elisabeth Roulleau at ArtTextil in Dachau, Germany. Elisabeth was trained at the famous Lesage school of embroidery in Paris. I will attend a three day beginner's course in tambour embroidery. Learning how to attach spangles and beads onto fabric. I am very much looking forward to this CPD opportunity! I'll tell you all about it in next week's post.
I must admit that showing off my embroidery skills to tourists each afternoon, six days in a row has proven to be a little tiring. Answering the same three questions over and over again in German, English, French and Dutch is a little repetitive to say the least... However, scientist as I am, it provides me with a perfect opportunity to study our modern global society.
So what do people ask? The majority want to know how long it will take to stitch the fox? Approximately 200 hours. What will it be turned into? A piece to adorn my studio wall. For how much would you sell it? Well, 200 stitching hours times €8,50 minimum German wage + material costs would leave us at about €1800. (Note: I can not sell it as the design isn't mine, but Millie Marotta's!). A lot of people then comment that spending 200 hours on a piece that is mere art and that you can never sell is madness. Wow, do I need thick skin!
Explaining to people that stitching makes me happy, didn't always make them more respectful. Quite a few did simply not get the point. It shows that our modern society is very cost driven indeed. It makes you wonder what we modern humans have lost. How many would greatly benefit from working with their hands more, instead of mainly with their heads and digital enhancements? Interesting observations and musings, don't you think?
And here is my progress with Millie Marotta's fox. It really starts to grow! It is not easy to photograph, so you have to take my word for it: the colours are spectacular. So far, I have mainly used satin stitch, knots, chain stitch, Vandyke, pistil stitch and a bit of needle lace. Over the coming weeks, I will try to spend a decent amount of time on this project so that I will have it finished and framed in time for Nadel & Faden in Osnabrück at the end of September.
A fellow member of the Pilatushaus and avid stitcher herself, Coletta, has kindly donated two boxes full of embroidery fabric and threads. How cool is that? I can't wait to rumage through this treasure and sort it all into my stash boxes. As you can see, Sammie seems to love the box too.
Due to the lovely exposure on Mary Corbet's blog, I get a lot of questions about how to subscribe to my blog. I do not regularly send out a newsletter. As you can imagine, putting out a tri-lingual newsletter takes up a lot of my time. This blog saves that time. My website and email provider do not offer the option of an automated blog content newsletter. Instead, you are able to sign up for an RSS feed via the button to the right of this post. Some browsers and fire walls do not allow you to use RSS. However, you can simply check back each Monday for a new blog post.
With the recent greatly appreciated increase of English speaking readers on my website, I am pondering the idea of translating my embroidery kits into English. Do you like that idea? And, to save on postage, would you like me to offer the designs also as downloads only? Please leave your thoughts on this topic below!
A warm welcome to all my new readers who found me through Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread! Today it will be all about foxes. We'll start with my progress on the Millie Marotta fox. For those of you brand new to this project, you'll find an earlier post here.
It took a while, but finally I had the whole intricate design transferred onto the fabric using the paper tear method. Using larger stitches on the top and tiny stitches on back, I back stitched all along the design lines through paper and fabric. I then gently tore the paper away. Now I could finally start with the REAL stitching. Or so I thought...
Then, these three orphaned baby foxes walked onto our farm. Adorable, cute and very labour intensive. No stitching in sight. You can check with Timmie & Sammie that I am a pretty decent cat mum. However, baby foxes are a whole different species. They need to be fed special formula milk and cat food every two hours and then you'll have to stroke their tummy or they'll get sick.
So time to drop them off at the wildlife sanctuary. Sounds simple, was really simple too. Apart from the fact that on our way back, about 100m from the sanctuary, we hit a stone, ripped a tyre and broke the steering transmission. Aaaarrrrrrggggg! I am sure that if I had been born a bloke, I would have loved to see the car being winged on the ADAC truck. Alas, being a girl, the only thing I could think about was my lovely embroidery waiting for me at home.
And this is all I've done so far. A bit of satin stitch in House of Embroidery perle #12, colour 46b Brass and three colonial knots in DMC Diamant colour D301. However, from tomorrow onwards until Sunday the 17th of May, you can see me stitch this design at the Pilatushaus in Oberammergau. Why not come along and have a chat?!
Regular readers of my blog know that the lovely Mary Corbet every now and then provides me with an excuse to abandon my carefully planned stitching projects. Last Monday, she did it again. Anticipated for months, her eBook 'Stitch Sampler Alphabet' became available. At about the same time, my father did a bit of wood working and made a splendid new planting table for my mum's upcoming birthday. Now I hear you wonder what that has to do with the new eBook? Well, everything! I decided to stitch my mum a present. And there comes the handy eBook.
I started by printing the tracing for the M. This is so convenient about the eBook format; you only print what you need. Using a blue aqua trick marker, I transferred the M onto a piece of cotton linen blend and put it into a hoop. Then I rummaged through my stash of lovely non-every-day-threads. Please remember: you can NEVER have too many speciality threads. Although Mary uses DMC and Anchor cotton threads, I decided to go with mainly silks. I just love their sheen and feel. In the end, I decided to use three different purples of Pearsall's, one Au ver a Soie deep purple perle and a green variegated thin cotton perle (probably Tentakulum; it had long lost its label...).
As Mary suggests, I started by putting in the dainty flower sprays. First the French knots for the flower heads, then the petals, the leaves and more French knots to create a super flowery composition. At first, I tried to place my stitches at the exact positions Mary's stitches are in. But I soon gained enough confidence to stitch my own version.
Next to go in are the different line stitches to connect the flower sprays. You start with a basic line stitch, say chain stitch, and you embellish this simple stitch in a few steps to something quite spectacular (in this case: wrapping, button hole scallops and French knots). This is so much fun! And it provides you with infinite stitch opportunities.
And here is my finished letter. Since knotted chain stitch and I do not bond at all, I substituted it for a normal whipped chain stitch with French knots. Perfectly possible; after all, I am the boss. The eBook really encourages you to try new things and be your own boss with a particular design. For me, the whole process was a huge eye opener. I had never embellished stitches in such a way before. It truly is a bit addictive and I am thinking up excuses in the form of more presents to try out some more...
And this is what I turned the finished M into: a wrap to go around a glass jar. My mum can put it on her desk to keep her pencils in or put it on the table to hold spoons and forks. At present, it contains a pretty tea light in the form of a purple flower.
Have I whet your appetite? Than go over to Mary Corbet's website and purchase your own copy of this lovely embroidery book!
Jessica M. Grimm
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