Before I tell you all about how I fared with the Glazig embroidery and the Boutis embroidery, just a quick note on my red stumpwork beetle. Due to a late cancellation by one of the participants of yesterday's class, I have one spare kit. Since this kit has officially sold out, this is your LAST chance to be able to purchase it. Grab it! As I am working hard packing up new kits at the moment, all other kits (except for the goldwork pomegranate) will be shelved once sold out. However, you will still be able to download the patterns.
As life tends to come between me and my threaded needle, I've roped you all in to keep me on track of this year's resolution to embroider more. How? you might ask. Simply by blogging about project progress each month. The thought of letting you, my dear reader, down, spurs me on immensely!
First up, are my French embroidery projects: the colourful Glazig embroidery kit by Pascal Jaouen and the Boutis white work kit by AveryClaire. My goal was to finish them both before today. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to accomplish them both. To no fault of my own.
Not only where the instructions of the Glazig kit very meagre, so was the amount of thread accompanying the kit. I have nearly finished, but not quite. I still need to do the last of the weaving in the red 'fire' bit. This is the first time ever I have run out of thread in an embroidery kit. As this kit is stitched using Au ver a soie silk perle, you really want to be able to use many short lengths as the thread is so prone to wear. This is actually what the instructions tell you to do. Even so, I would have preferred to re-stitch some parts as the thread has really suffered. However, I could see half-way through the project, that the threads were probably not going to be enough, so I didn't. On another note, silk perle is an ultra-slippery thread and some stitch combinations really require practice. Again, not possible with the amount of thread provided for in the kit. One way around this would be to substitute the silk perle with cotton perle.
Overall, this expensive kit just doesn't deliver. Apart from the meagre instructions and the lack of materials, the work drawing and the picture of the finished embroidery do not quite meet up. Furthermore, the way certain single-stitch areas are pre-printed onto the fabric means that you can't completely cover the ink with your stitching. Needless to say, I have emailed Pascal Jaouen two weeks ago to ask him to send me some more thread so that I can finish my project. So far, I haven't heard back...
What I was able to finish, were these stylish Boutis ornaments by AveryClaire. I enjoyed my foray into this elegant white work technique immensely. And I have so much spare thread left, that I could stitch up some more :). I might just do that before next Christmas. In the meantime, I'll keep an eye out for further kits by the very talented Karen of AveryClaire!
Next week, we'll check in with St. Laurence to see how he is doing. Hope to see you then!
First of all, thanks to you all for the many supportive comments regarding my husband's job hunt! So very kind of you. We'll keep working on it and I am sure somewhere a door will open again.
And secondly: I received my prize today from the Stitch your heart out competition of Inspirations Magazine. The lovingly wrapped parcel contained a copy of the book 'The redwork circus' by Jenny McWhinney, one of my favourite embroidery designers and the ONLY book I didn't already have by her on my shelves :). Furthermore, the parcel contained the 'Robin' embroidery kit by the very talented Nicola Jarvis. And to top it off, I also received a packet of postcards and a tea towel with the 'Frosty Garden' design by Nicola Jarvis. It really felt like Christmas. The fox itself is still down-under enjoying the warm sunshine. Inspirations is planning a really wonderful thing for you all; fingers crossed it will come to fruition!
Thirdly (this is the last point, I promise): I've opened my own Etsy-Shop to sell my hand-stitched pendants. Normally, I sell these when I demonstrate embroidery at the museum in Oberammergau. However, as the museum is closed during the winter months, I figured I might as well try to sell them online. A permanent link to my Etsy-Shop can be found on my shop page.
So, let's now explore the main objective of this blog post, shall we?
As many of you know, I love exploring different embroidery techniques. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about French boutis embroidery and my good friend and fellow embroidery tutor Marina Berts from Switzerland suggested that I'll give Glazig embroidery a go. When you say Glazig you say Pascal Jaouen. He is a designer and embroiderer from France who developed historical Glazig surface embroidery from Brittany into a vibrant modern art form. Do explore his website as the beautiful pictures of his haute-couture creations are stunning!
So, as I really liked his designs and was up for a new challenge, I ordered one of his kits. Thanks to Google translate and my very rusty school French, I managed the ordering process just fine. A couple of days later, my shiny kit arrived. Now I had to tackle even more French :).
The kit contains a piece of linen with the design screen-printed on. I am not a huge fan of this as it means that I'll need to cover all the lines and can't adapt the design much (in fact, when I started stitching I soon noticed that there are design lines on my fabric, that are not to be found on the photograph of the design...). It further contained a piece of thick woollen cloth, a needle, a crystal cabochon, pre-cut silk #12 perle threads and instructions. All prettily packed in a super handy tin.
I started by translating the instructions. There isn't much there. Apart from a short note on Pascal and Glazig embroidery, it only tells you that you shouldn't use a hoop, you should baste the two layers of fabric together, keep your threads short, start with the chain stitches and don't wash afterwards as the wool will shrink. And that's it. On the back of the instructions is a clear picture of the finished design (the one that doesn't exactly exactly match the lines on my pre-printed fabric) and a working sketch detailing which stitches go where. The instructions to the 10 different stitches used in the design can be found on separate cards also packed into the kit. This is of course a clever solution to keep your kits, and especially your instructions, economical.
And this is how far I've come after I sorted the threads and cut them to the recommended length. And yes, I do use a hoop :). The fact that I can't wash the piece after I've embroidered it, made me decide to use a hoop. This will mean that I am not exactly following Pascal's instructions as apparently you stitch the chain stitches only through the linen and not through the wool. I can't quite envisage this, not even when I would hold the piece in my hands. I suspect that you do scoop up some wool every now and then.
The wool is a mystery to me, to be honest. In the instructions it says that the wool prevents puckering and gives a dimensional effect to the embroidery. Hmmm, actually, the non-puckering and the dimensional effect exclude each other, in my opinion. And looking at the picture of the finished design, it doesn't quite work. What I suspect is that using the linen onto the wool recreates the original feeling of stitching on traditional clothing. Glazig embroidery was used to adorn the men's clothes of the Quimper region in Brittany.
And see all the thread tails hanging on my piece? Although the instructions say that you should start with the chain stitches and then commence into the more complicated stitches, I could tell from the picture that one and the same thread was used in going from one type of stitch to the next. So, I will finish all my chain stitches first, but will still be able to continue into the next type of stitch with the same thread. And I do like the stitching! The colours are so vibrant and the design is so much fun. I can't wait to start some of the stitches specific to this type of embroidery! I'll keep you posted on my progress in a further post.
Meanwhile, would this kit be for you? Not being fluent in French isn't a problem as Google translate provides you with a decent enough translation. However, if you are used to step-by-step instructions, this kit doesn't provide that. You have to figure out a lot for yourself and fix a few flaws here and there. So, if you like Pascal's vibrant designs as much as I do, you love an interpretational challenge and you are prepared to fork out between €35 and €75 plus pricey shipping, then go for it! In the meantime, I would love to hear if you know of other embroidery designers offering kits in a special 'old' embroidery technique. Please do leave a comment below!
Jessica M. Grimm
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