Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Celtic Rose, Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery

I called it "The Celtic Rose" because the intertwined bullions reminded me of Celtic Knotwork. This was one of my Millefiori designs a while back.
     The design shown above is from my book, My LadyFlowers, and I used it on a bell pull that I have named "The LadyBelle Pull" (Millefiori #913). 

The border is the Lacy Chain Border Stitch that I thought up and is a combination of lazy daisy stitches followed by 3 detached buttonhole stitches in the outer loop of each chain and finished with a vertical, longer lazy daisy stitch where each chain in the first step starts. I always thought it looked ... well, lacy.

I'm sharing the picture (and also blatantly advertising, I guess) because I was snapping pictures of the bell pull flowers (there are 7 of them). I'm writing instructions for these flowers to go with the fabric print that is one of my Millefiori design offerings. There are 80 floral designs in my book, My LadyFlowers, and over 100 stitch techniques, mostly intermediate to advanced level.
     Here's a picture of the bell pull. Yes, the walls in my bedroom are painted lilac - to match my favorite flower, no kidding!

     This lilac is growing in my back yard and will be in full and total bloom in a month or so.

And now I am going outside to play in my garden~~    

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hummy Art Quilt ... Almost Finished!

The little hummy art quilt that I've been working on is just about finished!
     I have a friend named Mary who is A True Quilter and after I finished all of the Brazilian dimensional embroidery on the flowers and hummingbirds, I raided my fabric stash and pulled colors. Mary made really excellent suggestions to this not-so-creative quilter (my perception of quilting is that you cut fabric up into tiny pieces and then sew it all back together).
   Mary suggested that I complete the sewing machine zigzag edges all around (since she didn't think it was a "true" attic windows pattern anyway), and then fold a 1" wide strip (the pink fabric) right next to the embroidery as though I was matting a picture.
    From my stash, we found a nice dark green but when I got back home I ended up using different pinks and greens than first chosen. It was interesting that as soon as I pulled the final fabrics, I just KNEW they were the perfect choice. The only down side was that I had to change my mind about another trip to the fabric store, and use what I had.
Here's a better picture -- the binding pinned in place and ready to blind stitch hem. As soon as I have it all finished, I'll post another picture.

     A blog is a good exercise in self discipline. I had to actually finish something I started and the hummers didn't end up hibernating in my UFO (UnFinished Object) collection. I am seriously thinking about pulling out a crazy quilt top that I started ages ago, cut off a flower stitched with really AWFUL color choices, and start embellishing!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Idle Gibberish" you say?

"Fiddle faddle!" sez I.
     I just entertained my hubby with news about my blog, and he asked what I blog about.
     I said, "Well ... Brazilian embroidery ... and sometimes pictures of my flowers ...and sometimes pictures of our cats."

"Oh," says he. "Idle Gibberish..."

He is one very lucky person that I didn't happen to have my embroidery needle in my hand. But I'm not complaining. He spent the weekend putting up shelves in our laundry room. And they look VERY nice.

And just so I won't waste this interesting space, here is a picture of a Brazilian dimensional embroidery flower I designed.
I named it "Tahitian Glory Vine" and it's from my book "Tropical Flower Garden".
    What was fun - and you can try any variation - is that the petal center veins are cast-on stitches.
    Next, I worked around, needle up on one side of the petal, through the cast-on loop, down and out on the other side of the petal. I alternated petals so I wouldn't come up in the same place that I went down with the needle, but I tried to have approximately the same number of stitches across each petal. Sometimes I went through each cast-on loop two times.
     By the way, when I cast-on I make the loops to the thickness of my fingernail, plus the needle -- just a little looser than cast-on stitches are usually done. I do this because I think the floss looks prettier if you can actually see the loop. (It's bullions that you would work down to a nice tight stitch.) It's one of the reasons I can add things to my cast-on stitches and loops.
     When I was finished I plopped a bead at the flower center, mostly because I am partial to beads. This is a nice sturdy flower to stitch on wearable items, too.
     If you look at those tendrils, I call them "Travelin' Tendrils" and they are really just waaaaay off-set lazy daisy stitches. If you want me to tell you exactly how I make them, leave a comment and I'll write more.  (I still have to write about the Ridged Blanket Stitch...)   ...and I haven't forgotten the little Hummy Art Quilt either.

Hmmm. Idle Gibberish, he says. Well, it will be leftovers for dinner tomorrow night, for sure!
    --or I might re-think that. He actually cleaned up EVERYTHING in the laundry area and even put all of his tools away, and even vacuumed up the drill crumbs and he DOES fix the computer when I gum it up.  Okay, then, I will fix him something good for dinner tomorrow. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery -- Knotting More; Knotting Less

Beginning and Ending Knots:
   Any and all comments by fellow stitchers are welcome; this is just what works for me...

To start - point the tip of the floss to the tip of the needle (one in each hand). Grasp the tip of the floss with the hand holding the needle and wrap it around the needle 2-3 times (this is a quilter's knot - probably diagrammed online somewhere, definitely on YouTube via Google online search). Pull the needle through. Moisten the knot (this tightens the rayon). Then fray out the floss on the other (short) side of the knot. ...and then start stitching.
     Here's something to help you remember, something I heard at a quilt show one time:

   This is the Sneaky Snake (wiggle the floss).
   This is the Silver Rat (point the needle to the floss).
   See the Sneaky Snake wrap itself around the Silver Rat  
         (wrap the needle with the floss).
   .... And swallow it whole! (pull the needle through).

[and I really wish I could remember which quilt instructor told us that, because I would definitely give her credit!]

To end - On the back side of your embroidery, slip the needle under 2-3 threads, wrap the needle again (counterclockwise so the Z-twist rayon floss unwinds itself or 'flattens out' the plies) just once or twice. Pull the needle through and tighten the knot, moisten, cut floss. If you fray out the floss, you don't need to have a long floss tail on the back.

Another ending (one I often do, but probably not recommended for wearable items that might be laundered often): Slip the floss beneath some stitching on the back side and weave one direction and then back another direction. This will also secure the floss nicely.

The BDEIG (Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild, Inc.) website has a "Fair Judging Recommendations" page up that explains more about knotting B.E. See the section on Worksmanship on Page 3-4.

I have an earlier entry on this blog (even with a photo) about the back side of Brazilian embroidery. It's not SUPPOSED to be nice and neat, like traditional embroidery with cotton.
      This is what works for me; but others might have other suggestions that also work just as nicely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Things This Blog Can Do... And A B.E. Design for You

I've been checking out all the good things Blogspot/Blogger can do. I found the little icon that lets everyone subscribe by email.  See? There it is over there on the left side. Just sign in with your email. Feedburner will open up a little window and you'll be asked to type some really atrocious spelling (to keep auto spammers out) and then you'll get a confirmation note in your email, followed by lots of messages  ... from ME!!  Easy as pie.

I'd like to find a way to make my pages wider to get all of my words to fit. The way I see it, I have only two choices:
          1. Select a different template
          2. Say more in fewer words.

I'm thinking ...

While I'm thinking, here's some Brazilian embroidery to entertain you.
I made these flowers with a version of a Brazilian dimensional embroidery stitch technique I developed a while back and have it and about a hundred others published in one of my books, My LadyFlowers.
      I call it "Stretch". If you look at it closely, you'll see that it is a double cast-on drizzle (I used 2 darners and 2 entire floss strands).
      After you load the needle with as many loops as you can, turn your fabric over and knot both floss tails together as close to the ends as you can.
      Then str-e-e-e-e-t-t-t-t-t-c-c-c-c-h it out as far as you can (usually about 4-5"). Next, thread another needle with regular sewing thread and start winding "Stretch" around the center (where you started the drizzle), tacking the loops, on one side only, on the fabric. 
      It's really fun when you use two colors, usually the darker color next to the fabric to give that impression of depth (and dimension). And, of course, variegated floss is wonderful. I used Lola, but any floss weight will work just fine.
      You can add a bead or two before you start wrapping.
      Also, you'll notice that some of the double cast-on drizzles look different than the others. One is made with regular looping, and the other two are made with up-down looping (aka, "up-down cast on", alternate stitch, needle tatting ...everyone has a favorite name...).

I always think these little floral designs would be perfect motifs for crazy quilts -- and down the road a bit, I'll start posting pictures of those two CQ quilt tops that I pieced some time ago. (I have definitely found that stitching alongside of blogging is a VERY good way to actually get a project finished!)
Here's a picture of the book, My LadyFlowers by Yours Truly, Rosalie Wakefield:
Oh, yes ...for sure, that's a commercial - blatant advertising, I calls it. --because I sell my books and designs, too.
     Actually, my books are up at Amazon, or you can order them directly from me. 
     Or if you wait patiently, I will probably eventually get almost all of this onto this lovely little blog that is so much fun to write.  And, as always, whenever anyone has a question about any of these stitches, just drop me a note. As you can see, I love to chat!
          (Well, so much for writing a post in FEWER words....  I'll keep trying, though!)

Have fun!  Don't forget to sign up for these blog messages email delivered via Feedburner in case you don't always remember to tune in. Thanks!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery on Another Little Quilt

I'm busy working on my website,, and I forgot how much fun it was to work on some of these embroideries. I especially have fun embellishing and encrusting little quilts. Here is a picture from a Brazilian embroidery design, "I Spy - Flower Patches" that I did to go with a book I wrote, An Artist's Garden.
     The website isn't finished yet, but here is a picture I'm currently editing, resizing and everything else you are supposed to do to websites:
All of the dimensional embroidery (stitched with mostly lighter-weight floss) is consolidated in the center panel -- except for the "Big Bad Bug" at the lower left -- one of my basic-stitch B.E. designs from several years ago. I called it 'your basic bug'.

I stitched it on ultrasude and made it into a brooch. I stitched it a second time onto a large silk leaf from the craft store and tucked it in amongst my houseplants.
     I remembered how much fun it was to embellish the outer border with all the little beads and buttons and charms and thought you might like to see a picture:
Those letters, "Flower Patches" are from the scrapbook store and I attached them to the fabric with one of my favorite quick-stick glues, "Fabri-Tac", from the local craft store. I used alphabet beads at the top that read "I Spy With My Little Eye" and just stitched them down.
Here's another little thumbnail. That border fabric had lots of little frogs, so I embellished their little eyes with blue or black and manicured their little fingernails and toenails with red seed beads.

And now that I have entertained myself for a few minutes, I'll go back to work.
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brazilian Embroidery with Blending Filaments

I've mentioned often that I enjoy adding sparkle to my Brazilian dimensional embroidery. Beads, metallic threads, Candlelight thread, Kreinik cord, etc ... all love to get acquainted with my needle and see what I will do to/with them.

Most of the time the threads don't mind that I have my way with them. The extremely fine cellophane blending filaments, however, tried to argue with my needle, breaking apart on a whim.

Never one to throw anything away (much), I like the idea of re-use, re-purpose, re-cycle, daydream, re-invent. So I pulled out all of my Kreinik blending filament spools -- 4 or 5 at a time, held them together and crocheted a row of chain stitches.
When you do it with a crochet hook, it's chain stitch. When you use a needle, it's a chain of "lazy daisy stitches" without the tack (detached buttonhole).

After I made the chain as long as I wanted, sometimes 4" or 6" long, I pulled out a tapestry needle and made a detached buttonhole stitch in each chain stitch loop. Sometimes I went back and made two detached buttonhole stitches in each.

That's a close-up, above, of a bead embroidery picture that I did which was published in Bead & Button Magazine back in 2003, and available in their Kalmbach Bookstore. You'll see a larger picture there.

A group of ladies in our local BDEIG chapter in the Portland/Beaverton, Oregon area selected a picture (Google "coloring pages" online for ideas.) This search engine is great for inspiration -- just ask my 4-year-old grandson who is the proud recipient of a half-dozen Star Wars coloring pages that he got to select himself yesterday morning! (Back to the subject...) We combined Brazilian embroidery threads, beads, buttons, including lots of pressed glass flower beads we found at Beadcats, and used ultrasuede, cotton sateen, brocade, or any other fabric we chose, and we each had a completely different finished embroidery.

So, that's one way to use up your threads. If you look at the picture above, you'll notice that I stitched a button in place first. Next, I curved the strip of crocheted/embroidered blending filament fibers around the button. And to make the flower "look" tubular, I added a few fly stitches.

I wrote about it in The B.E. Wrap-Up, our BDEIG quarterly newsletter, but I also - never at a loss for words, it seems -- wrote an article and submitted it to Bead & Button for publication. Imagine my thrill when they accepted. It made me feel "famous." But the best part is that I didn't have to throw anything out and enjoyed the creative embroidery.

I hope this idea inspires you to look at your stash with a fresh eye.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery and Weavers Cloth

I love to stitch on Weavers Cloth. Most of our Brazilian dimensional embroidery designs are printed on Blazer Poplin or Trigger Cloth. Both fabrics are a poly/cotton blend, but weavers cloth has a looser weave. My name for weavers cloth on white is "faux linen."  --looks like linen, but is very soft, doesn't wrinkle, etc.
     In addition, I usually add a backing fabric of poly/cotton blend to hide any shadowing floss tails (I do this to all of my Brazilian embroidery). My choice is Symphony Broadcloth which is often on sale at JoAnn Stores.

This is one of my new designs, "Reverie."  You saw my "Reverie" embroidery on white blazer poplin here. As soon as I have all of the instructions and fabric prints ready, I'll start selling this design. It features a new flower, my Crepe Paper Rose, which is major fun to do.
     I found this lovely sage green weavers cloth and it looks so trendy (I thought) that I decided to use it for one of my Millefiori designs. The mat is red, suede finish, and the gold frame is a happy result of one of my treasure-hunting trips to Goodwill. This is one of the few places where I have good luck finding square frames!

So, I hope you enjoy this design. You can see what I have been doing while I'm waiting for the flowers in my garden to start blooming.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Don't Be Shy

You can't hide from me, Little Camellia. I found you waaaay in the back of my camellia bush, shyly hiding your face from my camera. That's OK, you're not alone.
I also found these shy little snowdrops -- they look like silly geese trying to fly away from my Oregon-in-March spring garden.  But they are blooming anyway, and they waited long enough that I could get a fairly good picture:
I also haven't forgotten my little Hummy Art Quilt, all ready to be made into a quilt. I have enlisted the help of one of my friends, A True Quilter, to make suggestions about fabrics and in what order. Here's what I sent to her:
Oops!  Not that one.   Cuthbert!!!  What are you doing in this story??
By the way, have you noticed the resemblance of The Magnificent Cuthbert the I of The Kingdom of Cuthbertland to ....
The Queen, her majestic self, Elizabeth I.  The collars are the same, and the pointy chin and nose bear a striking resemblance. I like to think it's in the Royal Genes.
     Here's the Little Hummy and some fabrics I need to decide about:
...or one of these ...???

...or maybe I should just go to the fabric store.  I tend toward bright fabrics, but am patiently waiting to make up my mind and forestall the "Oops" moment when the colors don't work, and I don't notice it until everything is assembled.