Saturday, September 24, 2011

Inspired yet? Designing for Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery

I'm going to try to embed this totally inspirational little vid that I saw here:
(If it doesn't work, click that blog link above and scroll down ... you'll be inspired.)

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

It's for those of us who love to stitch Brazilian dimensional embroidery, and would love to make our own designs, but don't quite know where to start.

Start by making notes when you stitch -- the colors you are using, the number of floss strands you use, any ideas you have that will make a flower or a stitch more interesting.

When you are chatting with a friend on the phone, keep a notebook and pencil handy.  Doodle.  Draw circles. Draw leaves.  Leaves are just curved lines. Start with the center leaf vein ... a nice, gentle sweeping curve.
Now add a fatter curving line on the top.
And another on the bottom.
    That would be a leaf. See:

I do my computer drawing with the tools in Word (Insert-Shapes-Curve), and I also like some of the circles and other shapes. Other apps can be used but I got used to drawing with Word tools. However, you can purchase a circle template at the office supply store and start your designing that way.

Designing all starts with Step 1:  Pick up a pencil.

I'm periodically making notes about design because one of my fellow Brazilian embroidery stitchers asked for tips to start designing. I'll tell you what I do, and if it helps someone else, I'm happy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Brazilian Embroidery Flower ... and A Second Opinion

I'm busy thinking up new flowers for a Brazilian dimensional embroidery design.
Sometimes I get a second opinion. Cuthbert thinks it's just fine.
Emmy could care less:
    Here's a teaser, but I won't say more. It's for one of my new Millefiori designs that I'll teach at our BDEIG 2012 Seminar next June.
Mmm. Doesn't it look like someone squirted a huge dollop of pink whipped cream on top of a pie?
    I'm not sure yet what I will plant for leaves. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Some Blogs Are Total Inspiration!

Break Time! It was time to see if anyone else is roaming around the Internet. I came upon this absolutely delightful blog "be yourself, everyone else is taken". The name itself was enough to capture my attention, and the photography on this blog by a lady named Beth is just awesome, and her writing most interesting.

So, before I go back to stitching, I'll entertain you with a flower from my own garden.
This is an Asian Pear Tree in bloom a couple of years ago in my garden. Some enthusiastic gardening birdie planted it for me several years ago and I had no idea what it was until last year when it was loaded with golden brown apples.
      I didn't know what it was and thought, "How sick can I possibly get if I bite into one?" So I did. I knew right away that it was an Asian Pear or Chinese Pear - an apple loaded with enough water to drown a house plant. --and I had enough apples to be able to give them away to almost everyone I knew -- and a few I didn't.
      The tree is 15' tall this year, loaded with branches and leaves and ONE apple. Just ONE.
One, poor, lonely little apple that is growing larger each day. A friend of mine told me that because this spring was so wet here in Oregon the bees didn't do all the pollinating they were assigned to.
     But it's ONE apple, and I know it will be delicious in a few weeks. Yum.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A New Flower in Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery

This is a sneak peek of my newest rose, Heirloom (truly a lavender rose).
I was playing around with a stitch I developed a while back called the Piggyback Cast-on. I first wrote about it in my book Take A Stitch, and have used it on several of my Millefiori Brazilian dimensional embroidery designs.
This is a variation. I'm making a rose for a Rose Garden design I plan to release next summer, and also to teach at our BDEIG Seminar 2012.  So I'm giving you a preview.

I used a different method to finish the piggyback cast-on stitches and I added more cast-on stitches plus a bead (I like beads!) at the center.
          This is a lavender rose called "Heirloom". I have one growing in my rose garden here at my home, but somehow this one is much prettier.
Do you like it? I was very happy with the way it turned out.  And because I was just stitching a sample to see if the stitches worked, I didn't add any greenery - with floss.
Instead, I pulled out my trusty fabric markers (you remember these - they were on one of my blog pages for most of this summer), and drew some rose leaves.

And since I'm in a flowery mood, here's a photo I took of the Marco Polo Rose (yellow) growing in my garden:
...and my embroidery supervisor, Cuthbert:
...and Cuthbert, looking cute:

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The NEW Pistil Stitch - A Request and a Knot

And here's another picture of my New Pistil Stitch, a little balloon flower that I wrote about in the previous post.
I want to write about how I made that little bow, but first, I have a request in the interest of copyright courtesy and "where credit is due".

      I hope you'll use this stitch often if you like it, and if you would like to publish it anywhere else, on your web logs or online or on one of your own designs for resale, please give credit and let people know it's from Rosalie Wakefield at Millefiori.  Thanks!

That little bow and the streamers are just knots that you make in your strand of floss. We've all done them, accidentally or on purpose, and discover that a knot which suddenly appears in your embroidery thread stops dead, cold, at the fabric.  What a perfect opportunity to turn it into a stitch!!
       It's how I thought up the Knotted Turkey Stitch (lots of little knotted loops side by side -- perfect with Cire or Nova, lightly twisted floss weights that unwind to straight fibers and beautiful turkey work).

So, to use the Knotted Loop Stitch for half of the bow, bring your threaded needle up and tie a knot about 1" to 1-1/2" above the fabric. Go down and out right next to this spot and - OOPS! - knot stops on top of the fabric. 
    Wait a minute!  Even bigger OOPS!  --it made a pretty loop.

Make another for the other side of the bow. Add the streamers by coming up from the fabric, making a knot and pushing it right down to the fabric with the tip of your needle.

By the way, this stitch also makes very pretty little butterfly wings. Make a large Knotted Loop Stitch for the upper wing and a small Knotted Loop Stitch for the lower wing.  Add a bullion (or bead) body and a fly stitch for antennae. Very pretty. Sparkly thread (I like Candlelight, which is a Z-twist fiber) - even prettier!
      Oh, you noticed!   Yes, I make my butterflies starting with the fly stitch. The fly stitch is finished with a 10-wrap bullion as a tacking stitch, which then becomes the body of the butterfly.  (Two for the price of One is a Very Good Price!)


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A NEW Stitch for Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery

This is a Pistil Chick:
and this is an example of a brand new stitch for Brazilian dimensional embroidery that popped into my mind a while back.

I'm sort of late sharing this stitch with you because I was waiting for our BDEIG newsletter, The B.E. Wrap-Up, to be published. It now is. If you aren't already a guild member, click the link, scroll to the bottom of the page, fill out a membership app and send it in. There's a free education project in the August issue that explains more about the New Pistil Stitch, and includes a freebie traceable pattern.

Now I'll tell you all about the New Pistil Stitch.
Remember the pistil stitches we use in Brazilian embroidery to stitch the original Geron Daisy (shown above)? They are also called long-tailed French knots, knot-on-a-stalk and other occasional names That-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned. (Yes, I read Harry Potter...), especially when you've taken your fabric bite, added the knot by wrapping the needle, and then going down and out?  ...and then to look at the finished stitch and see that it is loose and floppy and just not neat ...and you need to add a little tacking stitch like a bow-tie (or noose?) just under its chin?  Or you give it up and make a straight stitch and then add a French knot to finish?

Well, the NEW Pistil Stitch is MUCH easier.  The New Pistil Stitch begins by casting-on (not wrapping), and the needle comes up at the knot, not at the base of the pistil stitch. This will make a more secure long-tailed pistil stamen.
          This is my "Oopsy Daisy" made with all NEW Pistil Stitches:

Here's how:
>  Thread needle and knot floss.
>  Bring needle up where you want the knot of the pistil stitch to be [A].
>  Make a 1/2" fabric bite (or the length of your pistil). [A-B]
>  Bring the needle back up at [A] again and cast on with your left hand:
1 time with Lola, 2 times with Iris, 2-3 times with Glory. 
>  Wrap floss to the back side of the needle.
>  Pull needle through.
>  Sink the threaded needle into the fabric just to the right of the cast-on loop (the only place where you can), and if the pistil stem seems loose, just pull the "floss from fabric" toward you and the loops will slip down the stem a bit.
>  Pull needle through the fabric to back.
>  The Cast-on Pistil Stitch is finished!  Make more.

You can edge a leaf with New Pistil Stitches:
Whoaaa!  That's a BIG leaf!
     Well, just remember to come up on the outside edge to start your New Pistil Stitches.

Remember, the New Pistil Stitch is a cast-on pistil and is worked exactly opposite of the traditional pistil stitch, and it will make a more secure "at the fabric" long-tailed pistil stamen or petal.

Actually, I had so much fun that I was looking for places to use the New Pistil Stitch (Wait until I start with another infrequent stitch - the detached buttonhole!).  So I looked around for a flower with LOTS of stamens. I don't know where this stitch was back when we were all stitching the BDEIG Flower of the Year, the St. John's Wort:
I stitched this one but I used my Millefiori Knotted Turkey Stitch (different than the usual Turkey Work).
But I'd been there, done that.  Looked around for another stameniferous flower.  I found "Grandfather's Whiskers". Yes, it's a Cleome, and that's another name for this garden charmer.
And while the mood was hot, or the irons were in the fire, or the needle was in the fabric, I made another design -- little balloons decorated with the New Pistil Stitch, and little Baby Balloon Flowers growing nearby.
I printed these designs onto one fabric and am offering them for sale at my Millefiori website. (Look for #994 - Pocket Projects). These are three little 3" x 3" designs that work well on crazy quilts, wearable items and ...yes, even Pockets! 
          --and, of course, you all know how to embroider a pocket easily. Just undo the stitching, add the B.E. design, and stitch the pocket back in place on your shirt or Levi's (back side or knee patch). If you use a hoop, baste the pocket to a lightweight backing fabric.

Oh, yes -- one other thing.  That little Pistil Chick up there at the top?  Well, very soon I'm going to write about how I think up designs. Hopefully, some of our creative Brazilian embroidery stitchers will want to make their own. I'll tell you what I do and you can then do what you do. It will be fun, and it doesn't hurt a bit.
       If you look at that little Pistil Chick, you'll see that it's really just a rolled rose with a few modifications. I added my New Pistil Stitch for the little Pistil Flowers and made a pistil Mohawk hairdo just for fun.  It's not every day you see a chicken with a Mohawk.

The next time I write, I'm going to tell you about something interesting I discovered about the lazy daisy stitch.

And maybe if I wrote more often, these posts wouldn't be SO long.  But I hope you have fun trying my New Pistil Stitch.