Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stitchy News!

Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since I last did one of these posts. Some of the news I'm sharing today dates from when I was having Blogger problems last month, so while it might not be 'new', as such, I hope that it'll be new to you :)

Moonsilk Stitches recently posted a beautiful colourful floral crewel-work finish of a kit by  Laraine's On Capri (linked to at the end of this post, which shows pictures of the lovely flowers in her garden). Laraine has a wonderful quick pictorial tutorial (hey, that rhymes!) showing how to make some gorgeous gathered ribbon flowers.

I've seen a few different ways to make these, and this is the simplest method by far. I imagine it could be quite versitile though; for example, I can see making them in different sizes and then layering them to make a more complex flower. Or making a whole bunch of small ones and stitching them down to the fabric in a group, to make flowers like hyacinths. Oh, the possibilities! Methinks I shall have to try this ;) 

In related news, I recently came across an interesting post at a blog called Sewn By Sabila, that showed readers how to colour white satin ribbon using watercolour pencils, water, and a paintbrush. Sabila goes through several different ways to get the colour on, and the results she achieved are beautiful - multicoloured ribbons with subtle colouration and colour changes that rival the best specialty ribbons. These hand-made beauties would make gorgeous flowers, and the ability to make your own colour combinations (instead of having to go with a mixed-colour ribbon that you buy) is wonderfully intriguing! You could personalize ribbons for gifts or gift projects, match team/school/group colours...very interesting!

Blackwork designer Jeanne Dansby has added two new beautiful geometric designs to the Blackwork Smalls page on her blog: June Butterfly and Rosa. Both are lovely, and are a great size to use for cards, or any place a small pretty design is needed :)

Shannon, the stitchy blogger of A Bit of This and That, recently decided to shut down her blog for personal reasons, and I was sad to see her go. Shannon is the second person who decided to "follow" me, soon after I set up Eglantine Stitchery, and it was a wonderful encouragement that came at the right time.

This is the first blog I have ever hosted, for anything, and I had a lot of doubts when I first started out, especially about whether anyone out there really wanted to read about me blabbering on about stitchy things. I am a person who is very enthusiastic about the great many things I enjoy, the foremost being stitchery and books, and although I find it exciting, often other people do not. Also, I was aware that my, er, eccentric tastes in designs and techniques was not in accord with the majority.

Therefore, I was happily surprised when Shannon decided to keep blogging! It's touch and go for the next little while, to see if she can recover her blogging mojo, but she has started two new beautiful projects, and I hope that we will get see them develop as they progress!

Mary Corbet, of the always-interesting embroidery blog NeedleNThread, has posted about a number of remarkable things lately:

For those interested in Couching, there are two posts covering some test work Mary did couching gold thread in 'random' curves over laid threads of flat silk and over blue fabric. Both are unique looks, and would make great filling stitches for a project, or a great project in and of itself! Different threads and textures would lend an entirely different look, and varying them in the same piece might be fun.

There is an interesting series of technique guides from the Royal School of Needlework that Mary recently reviewed (going from oldest release to newest): the RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork, the RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Crewelwork and the RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Silk Shading. I found the review for the Blackwork guide to be very interesting, since the stitch guide covers the two styles of blackwork - geometric and pictorial 'shading' - as seperate stitch types.

I was awed by the idea of an embroidered framing mat that Mary presented, using works submitted from an exceptionally talented stitcher, in a three-post series: the inspiration post, a closer examination of another picture using gold thread and pearls, and the revelation of the special and extraordinary nature of the pictures being framed. I have never seen an embroidered or beaded framing mat before, let alone one of such intricate design, and the works are gorgeous. I love the idea of making a custom mat that way, and the balance that is achieved, wherein the design complements but doesn't upstage the picture, is enviable. This is a fantastic idea, especially for treasured antique photographs or heirloom stitcheries!

Speaking of heirlooms, Mary wrote a post called Needlework Price Tags: The Things We Save For about forgoing certain projects in order to save up and attend a conference. While the post is interesting, it is the thoughtful comments from readers (almost 60!) about how and why they spend money on stitching, and what that means to them, that are of most interest. Sewn By Saliba references Mary's post and provides another take on the subject from her perspective as an Etsy seller.

Also, Mary has recently started a new section on her site, Ask & Share, where readers can interact, ask questions, provide input and show off their projects!

I'm sure I'm forgetting something (*rolls eyes*), but that's it for now! I hope that you find something of interest, and - as always - Happy Stitching!


Karen said...

I'm glad to see Shannon came back! I've been seeing a few posts on blackwork lately, making me think about doing some myself. As for the beaded matt, I've never seen anything like it... it's beautiful.

Money and hobbies are always a challenge. I mention regularly that I'm trying to stitch more from my "old existing stash" than buy new stuff. I have so much that's it's hard to justify additional spending even though my interests have changed and my skills have improved over the years. Right now, I keep weighing the option of new stash and signing up for a course through the Embroiderer's Guild of Canada. I see new things I like and have a wishlist of new designs a mile long, but realistically I can't buy it all....

And as for the Mary's post about supporting etsy sellers, local needlework shops and buying hand made, I agree it's important to support the needlework shops and I am a huge supporter of local craft fairs and supporting their talents. I do have to say, from the perspective of a vendor in a craft fair, that I am really astonished at how people will spend $30 on something plastic made in China and will probably break within a few weeks without a thought and compplain about spending $30 on something hand-made with many hours of work and far superior quality by someone local.

I love your Stitchy News posts! It's great to see a summary of what "going on" like this.

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Wow, Karen, thanks for the wonderful and thoughtful comment! I always wonder if anyone finds these little tidbits of information as interesting as I do, and am very happy to hear that you enjoy the Stitchy News posts :)

Ha! I totally know what you mean about money and hobbies. I don't have much stash of my own, but I do collect second-hand stitchy magazines and am trying to do some of the projects that attracted me to those issues in the first place! Like you said, there is so much on the market right now, and so many projects that are attractive, but you just can't buy them all (unless, of course, you manage to win the lottery, as I am ever-optimistic of doing, LOL).

In my case, I'm sternly trying to limit myself to only buying kits/projects that I absolutely love and can see wanting to keep for a long time. But it's a lot harder than it sounds, and I'm not as good at that when it comes to stitching gifts :) Part of the reason that I'm making myself a stitchy tool kit is so that I can put all my tools in one place, since I constantly end up buying multiples of things (like needles) that I don't think I have enough of (largely due to the fact that supplies are so limited and inconstantly stocked here).

Re: the craft fair: I couldn't agree with you more! It's not only amazing, but it's stupifying and frustrating that the majority of people will pay for cheap imports instead of actual quality work! It's something that has puzzled me for years. Thankfully, there are folks who understand and are willing to pay for handmade work, but unfortunately they are few and far between and seem to be scarcer these days. Practically speaking, buying an item of quality that will last is much more economical than buying a sub-par imitation. Yet people persist in being "penny wise and pound foolish" ;)