Ribbon Embroidery with Mary Jo Hiney – via Craftsy

Well, the first of the gifts I posted has been received, so I finally have something new to share with you.

A few months ago, I decided to try my hand at something new, so at the recommendation of my friend Lori, I took a Craftsy class in ribbon embroidery, run by Mary Jo Hiney. Full disclosure: this is by far the most expensive thing I’ve ever gotten involved with via Craftsy. This is only because I bought all the class kits from Mary Jo Hiney Designs. I still have no idea where I can buy silk ribbon locally, and given the amount and varieties required for these projects, it was much easier just to buy the kits. These are the first three lessons, so I’ve still got a whole lot more to play with.embroibering with ribbon mary jo hiney cone flower

I’m so pleased that I was slightly lazy and purchased the kits. The ribbon is wonderful! It’s so soft and delicate, and because it’s hand-dyed, there’s such great variation in the color of each piece. Every stitch looks different!embroidering with ribbon mary jo hiney herb and pencil violet

Fortunately, there wasn’t too much of a learning curve on this one. If you can work a needle and thread, you can pick up ribbon embroidery really quickly. The one aspect of this I struggled with most was getting the ribbon to open up once it’s pulled through the fabric, which is especially difficult with the wider ribbons. I also ran in to a few problems accidentally running the needle through previous stiches in the back of the fabric. This pulls the stitches flat, and I found it easier to go back and make a new stitch over the top, then to try and rearrange the existing one.embroidering with ribbon mary io hiney rosebed

All in all, these turned out nicely enough that I was happy to gift them. I sent them to Dad and Goong, who are in the middle of building a house that’s much larger than their condo, and therefore clearly in need of things to decorate with, right? I do really hope that they were being honest when they said they’d have them framed – I didn’t want to get in to framing them myself because I have no idea what would suit in the new house – and find somewhere to put them up.emboridering with ribbon mary jo hiney

Many thanks go to Goong for the above picture of the three pieces together.  I love how she laid them out, and she kindly agreed to let me post this.

As for the other gift I’m waiting to post about, I made a major mistake on this one. I sent it to some family overseas who are going through a particularly tough time. Unfortunately, I didn’t look up the customs and duty information there, and it turns out that there’s an extremely low threshold before gifts attract taxes. I think it’s ridiculous to have to pay to accept a gift, but now I feel like an idiot for insuring it at a price that covered cost and about $2 an hour in labor. Hopefully it will be returned to me and I’ll send it back without insurance and a much lower declared value. After all, with the number of people selling quilts on Etsy at cost price, I feel that I can easily get that value down without making a false declaration.

Until next time, happy stitching!

– Jane

Introducing Abigail

Seven months, and seven days later, my Nightshade by Tula Pink needlepoint, Abigail is finally complete! To be really honest, I was a little worried about the brightness of the colors of yarn I’d chosen when they arrive – I knew full well that they’d look somewhat different than they had online, but these were quite a long way off what I’d expected, especially the teal. Now that I can look at the completed project from a distance, I really love them. It’s not quite Evening Shade, but it’s close enough.

I’d initially thought that this canvas was slightly larger than the one that came in the Parisville kit. I had no problem completing Antoinette on my seventeen-inch frame (the frame was a bit of an afterthought, so didn’t arrive until I was almost finished with Marie), but I had to order the three-inch extenders to complete this project. This made the frame slightly too large for the canvas to wrap around well, and it kept slipping out of the snap on grips. As you can see from the gallery, I did some experimenting with painters tape to get the canvas and frame to stay together. When I had the paint over the snaps, I needed to replace it each time I picked the project up, but once I taped the two pieces together underneath the snaps, it stayed perfectly in place.

tula pink night shade needlepoint

This project was a bit of a tough slog, and this is by far the longest I’ve ever spent on a needlepoint project. There’s just so much background! It’s much more fun to fill in all the pretty details than it is to do the backing. There were points where I’d go as long as a month without touching it (also because I was quilting so much and learning to knit – but more on that in another post) but now I’m so pleased with it.

I did the background a little different to the other projects as well. The last two, I put in all of the darker color before I put in the lighter, but I knew that because there was such a lot of background, and – this will sound strange, because it’s obvious in the photos what the backing looks like with only one color put in – I found it really difficult to conceptualize what was going on without putting in both colors as I went along.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the yarn I purchased is the same Anchor Tapisserie Wool that comes with the kit, and the colors are:

Teal: 8918

Purple: 8594

Light purple: 8588

I’m building up a good stash of left over yarn, but former Nanny offered to take it off my hands and see what she could do with it.  I’ll be posting it back home to Sydney with my next package, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

Here’s the entire gallery of my progress:

The next project will be Tree of Life. I’m a little worried about making the repetition in this look good, but I love the colors, and The Birds and the Bees is my all time favorite Tula line.

Tree of Life
Tree of Life

I also purchased the Bees Knees kit because everything at I Heart Tula Pink was 20% off, but I don’t like this colorway much, so I’ll spend time making a decision between Sunset and Lapis. Any suggestions?

Bees Knees
Bees Knees
Sunset
Sunset
Lapis
Lapis

I’m thinking Sunset, as the Lapis seems as though it’s going to end up too similar to the colors I used for Abigail, but I’ll see how I feel as I’m getting towards the end of my next project.  I also really want to do another (yes, another, if that’s believable) Parisville kit and work out a sort of Mist colorway, but I think that will be completely dependent on whether she’s released anything new once I get towards the end of the two kits I just ordered.

Mist
Mist

In other news, I posted a couple of gifts out last week.  I’ve decided to hold off on the posts about gifts (Christmas aside) until I know they’ve been received so as to not ruin any surprises. I’m expecting to have a new post for next week, and one for the week after, but it’s always a guess with the international mail.

Until next time,

Happy sewing!

*Photos of kits from http://www.ihearttulapink.com; photos of fabrics from http://www.tulapink.com

WIP – Abigail – Electric Evening Shade

I’ve been meaning to get around to posting this for over a week now, but it seems like time has gotten away from me.

It took roughly two weeks for the yarn I’d ordered from the U.K. to arrive, and it turned out I was right in my hunch that the colors displayed on my computer screen would be somewhat different from how they appeared in reality.  I had been hoping to end up with an Evening Shade colorway, but the yarn was a lot brighter than I’d expected.  I’ve decided to call this ‘Electric Evening Shade.’  I’m sure it’s going to look wonderful when it’s completed, despite being different from how I’d envisaged it.

For those who are interested, the new yarns are from the same Anchor Tapisserie wool line that comes with the kit (which I frustratingly haven’t been able to find in the U.S.).  The teal is 8918, and I understand that you can’t see much of the two purples at this point, but the darker one is 8594, and the lighter, 8588.

I imagine it’s going to be a month or two before this pops up here again, as there’s a lot of background to fill in, and as I’ve decided to stick with the pattern, it’s significantly more complex and time consuming than the backgrounds of the either of the Parisville needlepoints that I worked on through 2013.

WIP: Abigail – The Beginning

I decided that I would go with the Tula Pink Nightshade needlepoint.

Coven_Absinthe

I’m still not crazy about the colors, so I ordered some extra yarn in the hopes of having it turn out to look something like her Evening Shade colorway.

TP16_EveningShade

It’s all a big gamble though as I have no idea how close the colors that come up on my screen are to the actual thing.  I’m in such suspense too, as I ordered everything two weeks ago and my package seems to be taking a little longer than normal to make its way here from the U.K.

Previously I haven’t posted anything about my needlepoint projects until they were either complete or almost complete, but I thought that I’d show this one as more of a work in progress, posting each time I finish one of the colors – there are only five, so it won’t be all that often.

As I’m now done with the black (for the most part at least: I might add a stitch or two as Come to putting the other colors in) and I’m waiting on my new yarn, I’m going to have to make a start on the white.  This is apparently some sort of needlepoint no-no, as the instructions always say to start with the darkest color and work through to the lighter hues.  Hopefully my colors come next week, but in the meantime I’ll putting the white in, while keeping away from those spaces in which it meets the actual colors.

I’ve decided to name this one Abigail.  Long story short: I convinced my English Literature professor to let me write my term paper on the Australian children’s book, Playing Beatie Bow, by Ruth Park.  I hadn’t read this book since I studied it in school, so I’d quite forgotten that the protagonist is Lynette at the opening of the narrative, and changes her name quite early on to Abigail, as she had a fervent desire to be named after a witch.  I thought it suited quite well.  This is my tiny nod to a sadly largely forgotten but very entertaining novel.

I still can’t work out exactly how I want her to look.  I’ve already unpicked and redesigned her face once.  I’m happier with it now, but I think I might end up fiddling with the nose a little more.  It’s a bit difficult as the pattern suggests that I do all sorts of things that are impossible given the directionality of the stitches.

Expect another update in a couple of weeks – assuming my yarn arrives soon.  I’ve ordered from these people before and the delivery was quite fast, but all sorts of unexpected things can happen with international shipping.  Otherwise I might just give up on that idea and go with the original colors.  I’ll keep you posted.

A Tale of Two Sisters – Two Takes on Tula Pink’s Parisville Needlepoint

After three months I’ve finally finished my second Parisville by Tula Pink needlepoint.  I’m really pleased with the way that this turned out, especially considering that I winged it in the background department.  Unfortunately I can’t do a side by side comparison with my first version of this, as I left it in Bangkok with Goong, but looking at the pictures, I think I actually like this background more – but I’ll leave it up to you to decide which one you like best.

Antoinette Close Up

The idea for the stripes came after reading Juliet Grey’s Marie Antoinette trilogy during my holiday.  The narration was constantly referencing Marie Antoinette’s striped dresses, so this felt like such a natural change for me after that.  I did consider a number of different options, but given the directionality of the stitches, this was the only way I could get straight lines with flat edges.

I’m feeling a little bad for Goong, as – background designs aside – this piece came out looking somewhat nicer than the first.  I’m putting this down to having a frame that fits the entire work surface inside, maintaining an even tension on the canvas, which made it easier to run the yarn through with a more consistent tension.  It’s far from being perfect, but it’s a lot smoother than the one I made the first time around.  It also meant that I could work more quickly, which gave me some added motivation.

Unfortunately, there’s really nowhere to display her in this apartment, so she’ll have to go in to a drawer until I move, at which time I’ll take a look at having her framed.

Now, I’m looking at various online stores trying to decide what long-term project to take up next.  I keep looking at Tula’s Nightshade needlepoint, but it’s my least favorite of the colors from that line, although I do love the design.  I’m contemplating ordering one and once it comes I can see how much yarn is needed and change the colors around.  I’ll keep you posted.

Antoinette and Marie side by side.

Thanks to Nick for the new pics of Antoinette.

Slowly but surely – The Fashioning of Antoinette

I’m really trying to keep up with posting at least one or two things a week during the semester, but I imagine I’m eventually going to run out of time and new projects.  For the moment, I’ll go with a post on a work in progress.

I put one of these Parisville by Tula Pink needlepoint kits together for my parents, and decided that I’d make one for myself as well.  This time, I thought I’d keep a photographic record of my progress.  I took one picture for each day that I worked on it, although I did not note how much time of each day I gave to working on it.  I did give up on the photography once I started putting the background in.  I was really just because I forgot to do after the first day, so decided I’d just wait until I was finished with it rather than having a photograph missing from the sequence.  My apologies that the color in some of them is very off.

It took me twenty-four days of work between the beginning of November and middle of December to put together the center image, but I couldn’t tell you how many hours.  This girl doesn’t win so many points for being well travelled as Marie did, but so far she’s been worked on in two cities on two continents – and for several hours during a car ride between Kamphaeng Phet and Bangkok – so she’s got a few miles on her.

I’ve also decided to go off script for the background, which was one reason for convincing myself to feel better about forgetting to photograph my progress, as it’s now a surprise to those who were being occasionally annoyed by my progress photos on Facebook.  I didn’t want to end up with exactly the same thing as I’d made before, so it’s pretty simple – actually, much more straightforward than Tula’s pattern – but it’s looking really nice.

I expect to be finished with this in the next week or so.  It’s something of a coincidence that I ended up taking classes that involved legitimate film watching.  The sewing machine is something of a disturbance if I’m actually trying to pay attention to a film, but the needlepoint is perfect busywork.

Now, off to watch Chinatown – I can’t believe I haven’t seen it yet! – and get back to filling in my background.

And here’s a picture of my first version with the original background.

Marie

Miss Marie – Parisville Needlepoint

Completed November, 2013

IMG_0001
I do love to travel, and it’s great to have projects that are portable.
Actually, this quirky needlepoint from Tula Pink’s Parisville collection has been with me for approximately six months, and dragged through six cities on four continents.  She got a little stretched out, but I think she held up pretty well through all her travels.
I’d started making her for Dad’s wife, Goong (which is a Thai nickname translating to prawn or shrimpif the word sounds familiar), before realizing that there’s not a spare inch of wall space in their Bangkok apartment.  They have just started building a house in the North of Thailand, and there will be plenty of room for her once that’s completed, but who knows how long that will take.  Hopefully she won’t just end up in the spare bedroom with my elementary school “artworks.”