Sunday, December 28, 2014

CQJP2015...ready, set, go!

I'm gathering my fabrics and have my muslin (calico for you girls in the UK and Australia) cut out ready to be pieced.  Beginning January 1st, the challenge begins.  Well over 140 participants will begin putting together a crazy quilt block and will finish it embellishments and all, by the end of the month. And then we'll do it again in Feb...Mar...all thru the entire 12 months of 2015!  This is a personal challenge headed up by Kathy Shaw so that we can challenge ourselves to improve our skills. 

Hopefully, I'll actually get some skills because right now I'm sorely lacking. I've re-viewed Allie Allerton's craftsy class on crazy quilting, and dusted off my Judith Baker Montano DVD so that I don't feel so nervous.   I'm very much looking forward to this year long challenge and will post the pictures on this blog.   

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ribbon Embroidery Stumpwork Sampler

This is excitement! For the last several months I've been gathering the supplies I needed to work Di Van Niekerk's beautiful RES Sampler and am finally beginning work!  

There are several pieces that  Di Van Niekerk offers to get started on her RES Sampler, and as I am fairly new to ribbon embroidery and brand new to stumpwork and always like to have as much help as I can get, I bought the first of the DVDs (which covers how to do the first 4 panels on the sampler), the RES book, the panel itself and the starter kit.  This is the sampler itself. Isn't it pretty? 

And here are a few other goodies. The 1st DVD pictured below can be bought at Amazon. Well, actually all 3 of the DVDs and the book can be bought at Amazon, I just chose to buy the 1st DVD, first.  Also pictured are two of the 2 mm handpainted silk ribbons and one of the 100% pure hand dyed stranded silk (Au Ver A Soir) imported from France that go in the kit.  Many other silks, cottons and overdyed threads, along with handpainted ribbons are included in the kit. 

Di has many outlets world-wide where you can buy her kits and individual supplies, books, panels, etc, but I chose to order directly from her. She is in South Africa, but it was easy as pie to order from her. She and Renn (her trusty side-kick sister-in-law) are both so personable, and their customer service is second to none. I had a few questions (well, more than a few) but they always responded quickly and were so very helpful. 

After securing an inexpensive set of stretcher bars (I really want the Evertites but have to save up for them), I set to work and without too much trouble was able to stretch the panel on the bars and begin.

Below is a pic of the lavender, with stems and flowers finished - got to do the leaves and grass next! 

 Before I got the stretcher bars I tried my hand at the stumpwork hydrangeas in the same panel. I'm the world's worst at French Knots but after doing a few dozen I'm finally getting the hang of it.  These little guys are worked on a separate plain cotton cloth and will be cut out of the back cloth, gathered and attached to the hydrangeas on the panel.  Don't worry, Di explains in the DVD and the book exactly how to do that.   This is how you begin: 
Looks funny doesn't it? But all you do is make heaps of French Knots and then make a running stitch around them, cut them out and pull the threads of the running stitch to gather them up into plump little flower heads, then attach to the panel. I'll take more pics to share with you as I do that.  I have to make several more hydrangea heads before I'm to that point though. 

This RES sampler is a very good one for beginners. Di has many more samplers and beautiful works to be completed on her site, though so please wander around her site - it's a feast for the eyes. I'm sure you'll find several somethings you just have to have! 

If you're new like me, I don't think you'll have any trouble following Di's instructions. For a glimpse of her style, go to Youtube and search for Di Van Niekerk - you'll find lots of short videos on how to do many of the stitches on this panel. 

See you all soon and in the meanwhile, happy stitching!